4.28.2008

Playing outside

The girls LOVE to play outside - especially Lauren who constantly asks to go out. The other day we were passing time, waiting for Andy to get home and I decided to break out the sidewalk chalk.

I love seeing their little legs in shorts. Look at those cute knees! We don't have a lot of outdoor toys right now, but they love to walk up and down our entryway. They think they're big stuff stepping up and down this front step all by themselves.

Lauren enjoyed carrying the bucket more than she liked drawing with the chalk. Notice the chalk on her mouth.

Jillian had chalk ALL over her shirt. This is her kindly offering to share her chalk with mommy.

The plan was to take the girls pictures with this drawing with the camera on my phone and send it to Andy at work - but the girls wouldn't stay put long enough. Oh well - I thought my sidewalk art was cute so I took a picture anyway.

Congrats to Mike!

I'm late on this post, but just wanted to say how proud we are of Andy's brother, Mike. He recently graduated from Purdue and has already landed his first "real" job.

I wish I could explain to you what it is that he's doing, but I can't. His degree is in construction management and he's working with an exciting new company, who has already begun to trust him with some major projects. Go, Mikey, Go!

These pics are from his graduation party last weekend.

Jillian wanted to help Mike with his gifts.

Another Keller family photo - this time with Merrie Leigh - Mike's girl, who we love and adore :)

The girls were letting Mike's balloons go outside. My girls were very confused as to why they were doing this.

Jilli thinking - Why do we let the balloons go, when it's so fun to hold on to them?

Sweet Sophie




Last week, we celebrated Mike's graduation from college (Andy's bro)! We were all together with the family and as usual I was snapping shots of all the kids playing.

I caught some "classic" shots of our niece, Sophie - and by "classic" I mean:

1) She was wearing her pajama bottoms, because when she woke from her nap and daddy was getting ready to bring her, she refused to take them off.

2) I attempted three times to get a picture of her actually looking at me and the camera. This girl has the attention span of a monkey after a shot of espresso and I love her for it! I was saying Sophie! Look at me! Say cheese! Which she would do, but in the 1/2 second it would take me to actually snap the shot, she had already looked away. Shannon, I know you're laughing out loud right now!

3) Her super sweet smile!

We love you, Sophie! So glad you're our niece and cousin!

Cuties



I just loved these pics of the girls. I took them the other night after dinner (and right before baths! Not a moment too soon!).

Menu Monday

I found this recipe that I had made a while ago and tried it out again. I have to say it was a winner, mostly for the fact that the girls gobbled it up and ate it again several times for leftovers (so it wasn't a fluke!).

It's a basic chicken broth/garlic flavor recipe, which you can't go wrong with. The Orzo pasta (shaped like thick rice, if you've never seen it before) was easy for the girls to eat with a spoon. And because of the seasoning and soft texture, they even at the zucchini and tomatoes!

But, if your kids are still finger-feeding, I always recommend Ditallini pasta because it's the perfect size for little fingers and moms don't have to chop it up at all.

Chicken and Orzo Supper

1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 clove garlic
1 can (14oz) chicken broth
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 can (14.5oz) italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into slices (2 cups)
2 Tbs. parmesan cheese

Heat oil in medium-size skillet on medium-high heat. Cook chicken and garlic in oil 4-6 minutes, stirring frequently, until chicken is brown.

Stir in broth and pasta. Heat to boiling; reuce heat to medium. Cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender and most of liquid is absorbed.

Stir in tomatoes and zucchini. Cook uncovered 5-10 minutes, stirring occassionally and greaking up tomatoes with spoon, until zucchini is tenter. Sprinkle with cheese.

Jenni's tips: I used canned diced tomatoes, so I didn't have to break up any tomatoes with a spoon. This meant I was also missing the Italian seasoning in the tomatoes, but we didn't miss it in the flavor. Also, if your family isn't big on zucchini, don't worry about hitting the 2 cups. That's a lot of zucchini for any dish, in my opinion.

4.22.2008

Menu Monday

This is an updated oldy-but-goody. I love the classic eclair dessert and the only difference in this one is peanut butter.

I've made this twice in the past month for different occassions. But, my guilty confession is that Andy and I have been known to eat the leftovers with forks right out of the pan.

Easy Peanut Butter & Chocolate Eclair Dessert


1 3/4 c. cold milk
1 pkg (4-serving size) Jell-O instant vanilla pudding mix
1/4 c. peanut butter
1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
24 full-size graham crackers
6 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
3 Tbs. butter

Pour milk into large bowl. Add pudding mix and stir until well blended. Add PB and mix well. Gently stir in Cool Whip.

Layer one third grahams and hyalf of the pudding mix in 13x9-inc dish, breaking grahams as necessary to fit. Repeat layers. Top with remaining grahams.

Microwave chocolate and butter for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Spread immediately over grahams.

Refrigerate at least 8 hrs (I served mine after about 4 hrs and it was fine!).

My new ride


A few weeks ago I went to a Mother's of Twins Sale, organized by the twin's club I belong to with the hopes of scoring a triple stroller.

I'd been watching online for used strollers, but most people wanted about $150-$200 for them. New, they retail for about $400 to the fancy Peg Perego triple stroller for more than $1000 (unbelievable!).


Andy and I went to the special "preview" for members on Friday night. We got there early and stood in line. I knew if anyone was selling a triple stroller, it would be a mom of multiples. So, we had gotten a sitter for a date night, and started our date here - so romantic :)


I walked in and saw one immediately. I walked up and asked how much she wanted. She said $50! Can you believe it? Now, it's the oldest and ugliest stroller I've ever seen... but I seriously don't care. The stress it will save me is worth any embarrassment I might face.


So, here's a pic of me with my new ride. I'm 28 weeks pregnant now. I can't believe how different it is to carry one. My belly looks much cuter this time (in my humble opinion) and not so oval and HUGE!

4.19.2008

Fresh face

I decided it was time to give my blog a facelift. So, here it is. Nothing too fancy, just they way I like it. Cool, but classic.

Another change I'm gonna make soon is to our blog address. We will soon be more than four and so we'll need a new name. I don't know what it will be yet, but you can vote on your fave in my new poll (to the right)!

4.18.2008

Bed bug update

So, Emily was asking if perhaps it was the bugs in my bed making all that ruckus last night. Which made me laugh. But, it reminded me to give an update on my buggy situation.

Since I've washed the sheets in really hot water, I've not seen anything else show up on my hands and feet. Andy never got bit. And I might just have to agree with Mindy that Andy was the problem all along. Ha!

I had several people ask if perhaps it was some type of allergic reaction, which it very well could have been, since the weather has warmed up and we've been outdoors in the grass some.

Another suggestion was that the home's prior owners could have had a pet and it could possibly be fleas. But, I haven't had any cravings for dogbones or felt the urge to pee on any hydrants... so it couldn't be that :)

Honestly, that possiblity alone makes me reconsider having our carpets shampooed soon.

Anywho - thanks for all your comments and concerns. I'll keep you informed, because I know you're dying to know about my bug bites.

My first quake

We had an interesting night last night. Lauren was up several times due to a fever from teething (my best guess). Neither of the girls have ever been real feverish, so it was a strange occurance for her and for mommy. Actually pulling out the thermometer and seeing it read 102 degrees was very unexpected.

So, I was up at 1am, 2:30am, 3:30am and then at 5:30am, I was awakened by something else unexpected. Something at first I thought was my husband having a crazy dream. We both felt it, but because Andy sleeps through everything and because I had already been up a few times, we both drifted right back to sleep.

So, this morning I said - Andy you did something crazy in your sleep last night. I know - he says. I'm still laughing that he kinda thought he was the one shaking the bed (that shows how out of it he is in the night). Then he came and told me that it had actually been an earthquake. Weird.

But, the exciting news is, it was my first! I didn't think quakes hit Indiana. But, it was a doozy. Richter said 5.4. And he doesn't just make this stuff up!

4.16.2008

The bed bugs bit!

I'm so grossed out right now. I woke up a couple days ago with some sores on my hands and they hurt like small blisters almost. I chocked it up to some type of labor I had done that day and thought nothing of it.

The next morning I woke up with several more sores on my hands and one on the bottom of my foot. Now, I'm thinking it happened in bed and possibly by a spider. Yuck!

Last night, I had Andy thoroughly inspect the sheets and the bed for bugs or cobwebs and we found nothing.

I woke up several times last night after dreaming about it and quickly inspecting myself for bugs.

So, the drama continued, when today I woke up with more bites on my feet!

I'm really paranoid now. And I'm looking for some advice on what to try.

So far, my plan is to wash the sheets and comforter and vacuum the mattress. What else, aside from spraying toxic chemicals on my pillow!, could I try??

Menu Monday

I made a new recipe for dinner last night that was pretty tasty - especially considering the minimal ingredients and steps required to make it. And (bonus) it's low-fat!

Low-Fat Zesty Shrimp and Pasta


8 oz. linguine
3/4 c. Light Italian Reduced Fat Dressing, divided
2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained, quartered
1 lb uncooked cleaned large shrimp
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, heat 1/2 c. of the dressing in large skillet on medium heat. Stir in mushrooms, onions and artichokes; cook 3 min. or until onions are crisp-tender, stiring occasionally. Add shrimp and parsley; stir. Cook 2 min. or until shrimp are pink and veggies are tender; stiring occasionally.

Drain pasta; return to pot. Add shrimp mixture and remaining 1/4 c. dressing. Toss lightly. Sprinkle with cheese.

Jenni's variation: I omitted the onion (It gives this prego heartburn). I also used dried parsley, instead of fresh. I used frozen cocktail shrimp, instead of messing with uncooked and all the cleaning that is usually involved (shrimp veins, anyone?).

I simply dumped the frozen shrimp in with the boiling linguine during the last 3-5 minutes of cooking time. That was enough to heat them through before draining the whole pot of pasta and seafood and adding it to the sauce.

4.09.2008

Another first!: Corn on the cob





I wasn't sure if the girls would be curious about the corn on the cob I made for dinner the other night, but Jillian really was... and then Lauren was after she saw Jillian.


Jillian took to it like a pro. Lauren was a little more confused and was just putting the corn skewers (non-sharp side) in her mouth.

Wagon riding

The girls got this great two-seater wagon for Christmas and we've finally been able to enjoy it now that the weather is warming up. The girls love it!

We have great sidewalks and trails in our new neighborhood, some that even circle ponds, complete with fountains, geese and ducks!

Whenever we drive past the ponds, Lauren sees the fountains and says, "Wow!"
On Sunday, we went for a family walk. The girls sported their new shades.




Menu Monday (on Wednesday)

I know I'm two weeks behind, so I'm making it up by posting two delicious recipes.

The first is a delicious summer-inspired recipe. What I love most about this recipe is the chopped avocado. It gives it so much richness. I find myself hunting for the green pieces with my chips.

This salsa is great for salads - chop some lettuce, chicken and mix a little Ranch dressing with your regular jarred tomato salsa. Add this homeade salsa on top and voila! A delicious lunch or dinner for your family.

Black Bean Salsa

2 15oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 17oz can whole kernal corn, drained
1 large avocado, peeled and diced
1 small red onion, chopped
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro

3-4 T. lime juice
2 T. olive oil
1T vinegar (balsamic or rice)
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 t. cumin

Combine all ingredients, except avocado, which should be added just before serving.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Recipe #2

Spaghetti Con Gli Zucchini


2 T. Butter
2 T. Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 zucchini, sliced or julienne

Saute these four ingredients lightly - don't let zucchini get too mushy.

Next, add:

3 T. fresh parsley or 2 t. dried
3 T. fresh basil or 1 t. dried
1/2 can vegetable or chicken broth

Simmer about 5 minutes.

Toss with 1lb cooked spaghetti (or favorite pasta) and grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

This makes a great summer dinner-in-a-pinch.

4.07.2008

Baby Isabel is here

My good friend (and cousin-in-law) Jaime McCord had her little girl this morning! She weighed in at (hold on to your britches), 9lb 7oz!! Don't worry, she was born via Cesarean, so no need to cringe :) Her name is Isabel Anne McCord.

I can't wait to see pictures, but I thought in the mean time, I'll post these pictures from the shower I hosted for Jaime on Friday.

Congrats to Nic and Jaime, and new big sister, Jacklynn!

Here is Jaime opening gifts. I think all the girls would have been happy to give those pacis a test run.

Some of the guests!

Sophie and Lauren playing with GGma - Great Grandma Connie

Ring Around the Rosie - Sophie, Lauren, Jacklynn and Jillian
"We all fall down!"

Let's talk about me!

I was tagged by my friend, Emily, to post the following survey about me!

Four jobs I’ve had:

1. Cashier at Hobby Lobby
2. Sold cigarettes, candy, lottery tickets and more! at a medical plaza snack shop (to pay my way through Bible college, of course!)
3. Receptionist at church (summer job)
4. Writer for national mrktg department at Irwin Mortgage

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

1. Moulin Rouge
2. Joe Dirt
3. Napoleon Dynamite
4. A Christmas Story

Four places I’ve lived:

1. St. Joseph, MO (Born and raised!)
2. Minneapolis, MN
3. Fishers, IN
4. Carmel, IN

Four TV shows I watch:

1. Lost - Totally addicted
2. The Office
3. My Name is Earl
4. 30 Rock - All my shows are on Thursday night, it's a major dilemma for me

Four places I’ve been:

1. El Salvador
2. Belarus
3. Costa Rica
4. Cancun

Four people who e-mail me regularly:

1. My coworkers
2. My husband
3. My Life Group
4. Baby Center - updates on my pregnancy and the girl's development

Four of my favorite foods:

1. Qdoba!! - Naked chicken burrito, tortilla on the side, black beans, medium salsa, sour cream and guacamole! Seriously, at least once a week for the past five years.
2. Mom's Thanksgiving feast
3. Chocolate - dessert isn't worth the calories, unless in contains chocolate, preferably dark
4. Ice cream - Dairy Queen is my favorite, blizzards or cones dipped in chocolate

Four places I would like to visit:

1. Italy
2. Australia
3. Hawaii
4. Maine (or any New England state - I want to try to seafood!)

Four things I’m looking forward to in the coming year:

1. New baby girl - coming July 10!
2. Watching my girls grow - They'll be 2 in September
3. Spring and Summer weather
4. Fixing up our new house!

Four friends I’m tagging:

1. Crystal
2. Suz
3. Melissa D.
4. Tammy

4.02.2008

What's for dinner?


I know this has to be an ongoing issue with all my mommy friends out there. One day the girls will eat anything you put in front of them and the next day they won't touch it.

It's nearly impossible to keep track of who likes what, let alone who is eating it this week and who isn't.

Recently, the girls have been eating lots of unexpected things: green/red peppers, squash, tomatoes, and black beans (note the photo to go along with this post).

Last night was taco night and the girls basically ate a meal of black beans, with the bean juice all over their faces and arms as proof that they thoroughly enjoyed them.

Not sure what to expect in their diapers today :)

4.01.2008

It's great to have a sissie...

video

... because you never have to worry about finding a partner for Ring Around the Rosie!