Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Luke's Prayer

Luke's prayer was quite a lengthy one tonight and I don't remember all of it, so I can't include the whole thing, but the end went like this:

Thank you for Daddy who prays.  Thank you for Luke who prays.  Thank you for Leta who doesn't pray because she can't talk yet.  Thank you for Mommy who prays.  Thank you for God who listens and Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Seen and Heard

Recent Luke quotes:

1.  (While hugging and kissing my belly) Oh Max, I missed you during my nap.
2.  (During prayers) Thank you that God beats the devil.
3.  Mommy, I am cool. (this one about made me cry thinking how sure and confident he is in himself and his "coolness" and how it won't be long until people in the world try to tell him he's not "cool" and he won't be as sure or as confident in himself.


Is getting quite a lot of words.  She says quite clearly:
Baby, bye, hi, mommy, dada, go, no
With the help of context or an interpreter, she says:
ball, please, and a million other things....

I should be more efficient at this sort of post.  Luke says something quite humorous every day, if only I were better at remembering them.

Girls Night Out!

Now here is an event I wish I had remembered to bring my camera to!  After much trying to not have a baby shower (this is #3...and second boy! all we're going to need is diapers!) I finally conceded (that Beth Sears is quite persistent *wink*) to having a girls night out.  They chose one of my favorite restaurants, Sophabella's.  There was quite the crowd there and it was fun to sit around and talk and eat a meal without feeding or disciplining anyone (Kyle had to stay was just the girls!  hahahah).  My only requirement was that I get home AFTER the kids were in bed and I did, so the evening was a success.  They did get a bit carried away and had a gift card tree with gift cards to places just for Max and some just for me!  Completely unnecessary, but made me feel loved and I'm sure I'll have NO trouble spending them all!  

Visit from the "Regular Grandma"

Last Monday my mom drove down to Ponca City and spent some time with  her parents.   Thursday late morning the all arrived to spend some time with Luke and Leta.  L&L were exited to be the center of attention and spent the time being cute and silly with all sorts of grandparents watching them.  Them mom took my grandparents back to PC and arrived around supper time Friday.  She was able to stay for a long visit and didn't have to leave until right before lunch on Thursday morning.

Saturday we got up and headed to the Edmond Farmers Market.  It was HOT! Both kids were played out by the time we made it home, but we've been enjoying our watermelon and other things since.  Saturday evening we got out and set up the slip-n-slide.  (Luke has asked to play slip-n-slide every. single. day. since we got it)  Luke quickly got the hang of sliding.  Leta never really tried and was content to splash in the little pool area and drink from the spraying water.

Sunday we all went to church followed by the traditional Qdoba.  This summer our church is doing small groups every other week and on the "off" weeks we're doing some sort of fellowship activity.  This past Sunday it was an all church kickball game.  Luke wanted  to kick once so he, Leta and I acted as one person.  Luke kicked the ball and we made it to first.  That's where we handed Leta off to my mom.  Luke was tagged out at third base and couldn't understand why he didn't get a chance to run home.  After that he was more into playing in the dirt.

Monday was a Body and Soul day followed by the church playground.  Tuesday morning we went to the Edmond Historical Museum followed by a quick trip to Target for milk.  The EHM has a small hands on children's museum, which is perfect for spending and hour or two in on a hot day.  Or a cold day, too, I would assume, but we're not having any of those lately!  Luke enjoyed playing with the train table, but when he was done with that he found some blocks that he took into their tepee and "constructed his structures".  Leta wandered around a bit, but then settled down and colored mostly with markers and a little bit with the crayons for the rest of her time.  She made two very nice pictures.  The marker was also quite easy to get off her face, neck, arms and hands.

Wednesday was more Body and Soul followed by the Splash Pad.  I didn't bring my camera this time because I figured the pictures would look quite similar to our last trip.  We then ate lunch at Chick-Fil-A, which is exciting enough for L&L but today the COW was there.  Leta was in love and terrified all at the same time and spent quite a bit of time mooing at the cow.  Luke was more brave and waved to the cow and gave him a high 5.  

Thursday morning before mom left we headed outside to play on the play set, only to find the sprinklers ON and the play set soaked.  So we changed plans and played on the driveway instead.  Luke and mom spent lots of time playing sidewalk chalk and our driveway is covered with turtles.  There is even a Soper Turtle Family complete with Daddy, Mommy, Luke, Leta and Max.  They got to have a Popsicle for their morning snack, which earned them both a trip to the bath tub before lunch.

"Regular Grandma"  When I was telling Luke how grandma was coming for a visit and how many sleeps until she would be here etc.  he kept asking for clarification on which grandma I was talking about.  I told him every way I knew how that it was Grandma Olson, from Nebraska, the one who....fill in the blank with many, MANY examples.  He looked at me and asked, "The Regular Grandma?"  So, yeah, I guess the "regular" grandma.  After talking about it, Kyle and I decided she must be the "regular" one because he has Grandma Binky and Gigi, grandmas with something else attached to their name or different about it.  But Grandma Olson, is just grandma, which I guess just makes her regular.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Dear Frozen Boxed Spinach,

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways....

I always have a box of spinach in my refrigerator thawed and ready to go.  You never know when I'll suddenly feel the need to squeeze a handful dry and throw into something.  Like....

The Perfect Smoothie!
This isn't so much a recipe, as it is a method.  I pureed all of Luke and Leta's baby food so I have a bazillion (that's the exact count btw) 6 oz containers for freezing food in.  I will buy a bag of frozen mixed fruit (any sort will do) and let it thaw and then puree it in my food processor. I then spoon it into my 6oz containers and freeze.  

1 container frozen mixed fruit puree (1 minute in microwave, and it's still mostly frozen and slides right out of the container)
1 frozen banana (30 seconds in microwave, cut off the tip and squeeze it into the blender, or substitute whatever fruit you have on hand...berries, melon etc) 
1 cup fat free strawberry greek yogurt (or whatever kind you like.  The small individual cups are PERFECT for this, but it's cheaper to scoop out of the big tub)
1/2 (10oz) box frozen spinach squeezed dry
12oz crushed ice (I just fill up my frozen puree cup twice with crushed ice...that's refrigerator for your help on that one!)
50 grams vanilla whey protein powder

This completely fills up my huge smoothie cup, plus makes about 1/2 a glass for Kyle when he gets home from the gym.  I will stuff myself silly on this ginormous smoothie as an entire meal and Kyle drinks his much smaller portion with his lunch (hey, if he wanted a big smoothie he needs to make his own!)  The entire smoothie batch has 65+ grams of protein which means this baby will stick with you.  Add in that extremely generous portion of spinach and this is one super healthy lunch!  And don't skip the spinach.  I promise you you can see it and it's not the most attractive, but you CANNOT taste it at all.

Slow Cooker Pesto Spinach Lasagna

Slow Cooker Pesto Spinach Lasagna

1 (26oz) jar prepared pasta sauce
1 (10oz) box lasagna noodles
1 (11oz) jar pesto
1 (15oz) container reduced fat ricotta cheese
1 (12oz) bag baby spinach
1 cup grated Parmesan
4 cups mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup water

Use a 4 qt. slow cooker (mine is actually a bit larger...maybe 6 qt?)  Put a spoonful of pasta sauce (~1/4 cup) into the bottom of the crock and swirl it around to cover.  Add a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break them to make a complete layer).  Smear ricotta and then pesto onto the noodles.  Add a handful or two of spinach.  Top with some Parmesan and mozzarella.  Repeat until you've run out of ingredients.  The spinach is fluffy so you're going to have to squish in down to make it all fit.  Before closing the pot, put 1/4 cup water into the empty pasta sauce jar and close and shake.  Pour this saucy water over the top of everything.  Now cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3-4.  You'll know it's done when the top layer begins to brown and the cheese is melted.  It will also pull a bit away from the sides.  Taste-test a noodle to check for texture.  Uncover and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

This was a good one and if you know me than you know how I love to mix spinach into anything and everything.  I have 2 crock pots and one cooks a bit hotter than the other.  Next time I make this I will use my "less hot" crock pot.  I think I'll also be lazy and used frozen boxed spinach because....HELLO! 5 hours later I had my fresh spinach all rinsed clean.  Luke at this really well.  Leta did too after she won the battle of "I will feed myself with this spoon and my fingers."  I recommend removing the shirt of the almost 18 month old baby before losing this battle.

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

Pizza Dough
Olive oil for brushing
1/2 lb asparagus
4 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
3 oz. spreadable garlic herb cheese (I used a goat cheese because that's what my grocery store had, and may I just say....YUM!)
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven and a pizza stone to 500 for at least 30 minutes.  Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round.  Brush very lightly with olive oil.  Trim the woody ends of the asparagus and discard.  Cut of the tips.  Use a vegetable peeler to shave the spears into ribbons.  Place the sliced mozzarella over the pizza dough in an even layer.  Pile on the asparagus shavings.  Dot the surface of the pizza with the garlic herb cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the pizza to the preheated stone and bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 12 minutes.  Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

This was so good.  The goat cheese was definitely the highlight and my bites that included that were my favorite.  I started out with the vegetable peeler, but realized I too lazy to put in that kind of time so I got out the food processor which made much quicker work of it.  I would recommend drying the shaved asparagus on a paper towel to remove excess moisture.  And DON'T skip the salt and pepper.  It really added something to this pizza.  Everyone really liked this one (Luke didn't eat well this night either, and I cannot convince him that he likes asparagus, but he did eat a few bites and probably would've done better if he could have picked around the asparagus better.  Kyle even really liked it even though it was a "meatless" meal, which he is generally not a fan of.  Next time I make this I will add chicken to it because that's how us carnivorous Soper's roll.

Baked Spaghetti Casserole

Baked Spaghetti Casserole

1lb ground beef (I used 99% lean ground turkey breast
1 small onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5oz) can crushed tomatoes ( I had petite diced on hand and used that)
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (omitted b/c I didn't have any)
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar (omitted...not because I didn't have sugar, but I figured we'd never miss it!)
1/2 lb spaghetti
1 cup cottage or ricotta cheese (I used low fat ricotta since I had several recipes this meal plan that called for ricotta)
3 oz cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
1 egg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella or Italian blend cheese

In a large skillet, brown meat with onion, pepper, and garlic.  Stir in tomatoes, sauce and seasonings.  Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes before removing from heat.  Meanwhile, cook spaghetti ALMOST al dente.  Drain.  In a large bowl stir together the ricotta, cream cheese, egg and Parmesan until combined.  Add spaghetti and stir well.  Pour into a prepared casserole dish.  Spoon the meat sauce on top of the spaghetti and cover with the shredded cheese.  Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.

I, in particular, enjoyed this one.  I happened to make it on a night where neither child ate the best, but I have to say I think it's one that they SHOULD like (but hey, what do I know?).  It made a lot and I got to have several days of left overs from this, not that I minded THAT one bit.

Pizza Penne Bake

Pizza Penne Bake

1/2 lb short cut pasta 
3/4 cup pizza sauce (1/2 of a small jar)
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
About 30 pepperonis, cut in half (I used the 70% less fat turkey pepperoni)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup pizza blend cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook the pasta as directed.  Save 1/4 cup of the liquid then drain.  To the same saucepan, add the reserved cooking liquid and the pizza sauce and whisk together.  Then stir in the chopped peppers and halved pepperonis.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes then add the drained pasta.  Toss together.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and then the cheese blend.   Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese begins to melt.   Season with salt and pepper.

We all really liked this one.  Luke and Leta picked around the peppers and I think next time I make it I'll add 1/2 an onion, diced.  It was quick and easy, which is always a bonus in my book.

Meal Plan

I only have one meal left to make on this meal plan and that's to grill chicken.  I was in the mood to try new recipes this time so several are ones that I found online.

Meal Plan

Crustless Quiche
Pizza Penne Bake
Baked Spaghetti Casserole
Shaved Asparagus Pizza
Slow Cooker Pesto Spinach Lasagna
Ham & Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Italian Omelet
Grilled Chicken

It's been so hot lately (it was at least 100 today) and I've been so hot (poor Kyle is hearing much more than his fair share of whining) that I've been making TONS of smoothies, especially for lunch.  And they're good and good for me so I guess that's what's known as a "win-win" situation.