Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tea, Princess', and Bling ... That is how we roll!

The month of January has been quite busy in the Long Household!  We kicked off January with Sophia's 4th birthday party!  She had a Princess Tea Party!!  We have been talking about this for over 6 months now, so needless to say, she was thrilled when the actual day arrived!!  She invited a few of her closest girlfriends and their mommies!

The Tea Room Menu

Ready for guests to arrive!

Thanks Pinterest!  Mommy and Sophia had fun making these edible tea cups!

Her friends!  One was a little shy and missing from the picture!

We set up a fun little photo booth behind the couch for pictures!

Mimi, Papa, and the 3 grandkiddos!
Grandma and Grandpa Long!

Everyone had a WONDERFUL time and the girls (and mom's) got to taste test tea, create their own homemade tiara  as well as eat fun ice-cream cupcakes!  Sophia still talks about how much fun she had at her birthday tea party!  It was also a great excuse for me to break out a beautiful tea set that we received for a wedding gift and haven't had the chance to use!

Two weekends ago, Nate and I had the WEEKEND without KIDS!  Yes, you read it correctly, WITHOUT kids (insert HEAVEN!)  My parents kept the kids from Friday evening till Sunday evening!  We packed those 48 hours FULL of fun stuff together!

Saturday morning we ran 5 miles, then headed downtown to the new library.  We sat on the top floor of the Downtown library for 5 hours.  Complete peace and quiet!  It was INCREDIBLE!  Below is a picture of our view!  It was a beautiful sunny winter day, temps in the mid-40's.  We played games, did our bible studies, read books, and just chilled out!  It was very recharging!

View from Library seat!
We stayed until they closed the library, then headed back to the Bosphorus Cafe to use up our last Groupon.  We both enjoyed some Turkish food and a great atmosphere!  We were able to listen to a great podcast on marriage while waiting for our food!

After dinner, we headed north to Broadripple and chilled out in the Starbucks.  We talked and played some games on the iTouch.  We then headed over to the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse for the Butler Basketball game!  It didn't start till 9pm, but we were geared up with lots of energy for this ESPN College Game Day vs. Gonzaga!  As many of you have probably heard, Butler beat Gonzaga in a buzzer beater, 64-63.  Our seats were incredible!

The National Anthem

Love me some DAWG!

After the game, notice the court is FULL of people!

Yes, this was amazing and we were HERE!
Here is a movie clip of the crowd storming the floor after the buzzer shot!  It was amazing!!

Finally, we have been spending lots of these cold winter evenings at home ... dressing up, (well, that is Sophia), and having dance parties!  What else do you do to pass those long hours b/w 4-8pm?  Ugh!!  Sophia and Jackson were quietly playing in her room alone -- always have to check when it is quiet ... I found Sophia had given Jackson a little of his own BLING!  Don't ya love it?  The perks of having an older sister!!

Please don't hate me for this in your teenage years Jackson!

Veggie-loaded soup ... YUM!

The more time goes on, I am realizing that Sophia has a very mature and open-minded pallet!  Her brother Jackson, NOT SO MUCH!  The kid is actually quite picky, which I thought it was going to be next to impossible for a child coming out of this house to be this picky!  I hope this time will pass, but it is really hard to figure out what this kid likes to eat!  I have to admit, my biggest struggle is the evening meal.  He eats his hot steel cut oats/millet oatmeal in the morning, mixed with a little organic applesauce.  He eats 8 oz of Stoneyfield Organic Plain (yes, plain) WHOLE milk yogurt for lunch with a few crackers and fruit pieces.  Dinner is so tricky!  He will eat something one day, and won't touch it for the next week!  I just don't get it??  He is also like a dog ... he only likes wet, sloppy meat!  You think I am kidding?  Nope!  The kid will eat about any chili or soup, but give him ground beef or baked chicken and he spits it out!  I am getting frustrated b/c he isn't eating many veggies these days (b/c I am not making baby food for a 17 month old anymore)!  He only really likes roasted squash and sweet potatoes.  Green beans ... gag.  Peas ... gag unless they are in my Guinness Shepherd's Pie.  Edamame ... sometimes gag, sometimes like.  The kid will eat veggies if they are "wet" in a soup!  I know, SO WEIRD!!  The kid also LOVES plain black beans.  He would eat 1/2 a can if I let him!

I have started to turn to more soups in order to get the kid to eat veggies and meat!

I found this recipe in my "Mothering" magazine and changed it slightly!  It was SO SO YUMMY!  Great way to pack lots of nutrients for a very healthy, low cal, low fat soup!

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup with Parmesan and Sage

2-3 lbs of squash (I used butternut b/c that is what was in the house), recipe called for acorn, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
4 tbsp of EVOO
4 carrots, roughly chopped
2-3 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped (white part only)
1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 cups of chicken broth
1/4 tsp of white pepper (I used black b/c it was all I had)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
4-5 fresh sage leaves, chop into very tiny pieces prior to adding to soup

Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly oil a baking sheet.  Roast the squash for 30-35 minutes.

Heat 2 tbsp of EVOO in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add the carrots, celery, leek, and onions, and cook 5 minutes.  Add broth and cook for another 30-35 minutes (until the carrots are soft).  Add squash and spices (including fresh chopped sage) and cook 5 more minutes.

Transfer soup to a blender or food processor and PUREE.  Puree to your desired consistency (took me awhile to get that!)

Top with Parmesan cheese!

Yum Yum!  It was a huge hit in our house for the kids!

Enjoy a warm bowl of soup on a cold day like today!

Do you have any favorite healthy soup recipes??

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Praise God!

I am THRILLED to write this post and share the INCREDIBLE news with all my faithful blog followers!!  Jackson was discharged from Physical Therapy today!  2 weeks ago he started walking on his own, in small bits, and NOW he is walking alone about 60-75% of the time (depends on the day and his mood!)!  Isn't what incredible?  It only took us 16 months and 1 days, but we FINALLY arrived!!  I am so thankful for our physical therapist Karen!  She was truly a blessing and worked with Jackson in incredible ways!  I loved getting the chance to get to know her better and hope to keep in touch!

Thank you for your prayers throughout the past months!!  First Steps is an incredible program despite its crazy paperwork and time tables to get enrolled!  We are thankful the State of Indiana provides this incredible service for children and their families!

Our boy is growing up!!!