Thursday, March 31, 2011

handsome little man

I just love this little guy.  He brings so much joy to my life. 
We have discovered the Bumbo, which means we can sit and watch our big sisters play cards (or pet shop). 
Notice the Polo outfit... I bought 5 boy outfits when I found out I was preggo with LE 6 years ago.  We did not officially know she was a girl, but my mom was so adamant, I gave her the benefit of the doubt.  (But still bought a few boy things just in case.)  I was able to whip it out this week b/c of the cooler temps and able to snap this perfect pic of him hanging in his bumbo.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Ok, I have been accused of having 3rd child syndrome b/c I don't blog enough about R2.  Honestly, he gets loads of loving especially from his big sisters.  He is a quick booger when it comes to capturing smiles and giggles. 
Bath time is his FAVORITE time of day.  He loves to splash in the pool.  My seniors say it is from all of the time I spent in the pool when I was preggo.   
He turns 4 months on Saturday which is so unbelievable.  I will devote some extra blog time towards the birthday boy, per PawPaw's and other's requests.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Friday night was the Friends and Family Party at the new gym I am teaching.  The girls went to zumbatomic (zumba for kids) and Ben and I got to see the facility for the first time.  It is top notch.  I could not believe the number of machines.  I am teaching general aquatics, not just to seniors, so if you are in the area come try it out.
At the end of the night they had drawings for bikes, personal training sessions, gift cards, Ipad 2, ipod touch, and we won a Wii! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Goldilocks and 3 Pooh Bears

We have been learning about bears and to celebrate we had bear day. Bella brought most of her Pooh Bears to the party.  We read multiple versions of Goldilocks and made porridge.  We had to go for a walk b/c it was too hot to eat, but when we got back thankfully it had not been eaten, but was just right.

Monday, March 21, 2011

my go-to snack

I am tired of spending large chunks of money on trail mix that is predominately raisins and peanuts, so this month I scoured the bulk aisles and Sam's and decided it was cheaper to make it our way.
I am so glad we have a HEB Plus near our home with a huge selection of nuts and dried fruit.  I buy the black/white bags of dried fruit that are $1.99 a bag and then dice them myself.  I also added a handful of dark chocolate chips (which I usually have to go back and replenish b/c of two little blonde elves who snatch them).

Richards Family Five Trail Mix
dried banana chips, shaved coconut, dried papaya & mango, craisins and raisins
dark chocolate chips
cashews, almonds and peanuts (from Sam's)
Mix together, quantities according to your liking.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

smoovie night

Daddy makes the best smoothies around these parts (and they are good for us too). When we asked what the girls wanted to do for family night, they both wanted to make smoothies. I think it is funny LE knows the special sound - "IGH", but does not hear the"TH" sound in smoothie. It made smoovie night blog worthy.

Daddy's SmooVies
1/2 cup Greek Plain Yogurt
1 1/2 cup skim milk
2 - 2 1/2 cup strawberries
3 - 4 large chunks fresh pineapple
1 banana
2 T. agave nectar (or to taste)
2 T. honey  (or to taste)
2 handful of ice
Blend in your handy dandy blender and serve.
You can also add 1 T. vanilla protein powder.

Friday, March 18, 2011

top o' the mornin' to you

We did not find a pot of gold at the end of our rainbow, but we enjoyed the journey and even sampled some new fruit along the way.  Hope you enjoyed your St. Patrick's Day.  Hope you did not get pinched.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

new job

This is my new playground. 
I auditioned on Saturday afternoon for an aquatics fitness instructor at 24 Hour Fitness.  At first, I was going for a substitute position.  But, after my interview she offered me a position as an instructor with 3 classes at the new 24 Hour Super Sport facility opening near our home.  I am keeping my Silver Sneakers instructor at the Y, and will keep working on a couple more certifications this spring. 

more precious than silver

J is for jewels and we learned Jesus is more valuable than anything else. I am also learning that spending every day with my kids is more valuable than spending time anywhere else. The girls made necklaces to remind us of  Jesus. We dyed penne & pinwheel pasta.   Then, we strung the pasta on necklaces.  LE gave her's to Daddy and Bell gave her's to Mommy.

To dye your own noodles:
Put pasta into ziploc bags.
Add 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol to bag and 3 drops of food coloring.  Close the bag and shake.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes for pasta to absorb coloring.  Lay out the noodles onto wax paper and allow to dry overnight.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stone Soup

Our letter of the week was R for rock; I will listen and obey. I live my life on the rock. LE had the idea to make Stone Soup for lunch.

Stone Soup recipe:
At the local park, locate one large tasty-looking stone. Scrub until clean.
Boil 1 or 2 chicken breast in 6 cups of water. Remove the chicken and dice.
Add the stone and 3 cups of cut up veggies (we used frozen diced veggies b/c we had on hand and the girls enjoy them).
Bring water back to boil and cook until veggies are tender.
Add the season packets from 3 Ramen noodles.
Add 1 cup orzo and cook for additional 4 minutes. Add diced chicken.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Do you know about couscous? I had never heard about it until my vegan friend insisted I substitute it for rice a few months back. LE will not eat rice, and Bell thinks it is one of the greatest things on the planet. So, I was so excited when I found out how much better than potatoes, rice or pasta it was.
I find it in the bulk aisle, super cheap. I boil one cup chicken broth to half cup couscous.
For this recipe I sauteed 2 green onions and half diced red bell pepper. Then I seasoned with minced garlic and some oregano. Then, I added a diced Roma tomato (juices squeezed and seeded) and a dash of salt and a handful of feta cheese (after pic was taken.)
This side was served with balsamic pork chops and grilled peaches. Ben said it was one of the best dishes we had ever cooked.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Big news coming on Monday night!

dinners March 13th - 19th

Sunday -Salmon Roasted in Cilantro Salsa
Monday - Chicken Pineapple Skewers
Tuesday -Monte Cristo Sandwiches
Wednesday - Turkey Hot Dogs with Turkey Chili
Thursday - BBQ Pork Strips & Jalapeno Potato Salad (not healthy- but it's his fave, so gotta splurge sometimes)
Friday - Chinese Pepper Steak
Saturday - Chicken Artichoke Pizza

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


We are so blessed to have a little girl friend, Hannah, who is a little over 2 years older than us. She is all girl and seems to have the same taste as the girls. Every spring, she cleans out her closets and the girls get goodies galore from shoes to books to clothes to toys. Well, Hannah has become a big kid over night it seems, and she no longer plays with her collection of my little ponies, so this weekend the girls inherited an entire village. I am surprised the police dept did not respond to the squealing sounds coming from our two blondies when this bag was opened. They were in pony Heaven. Thank you Hannah and Miss Stormi for blessing the girls.

On a side note, a few weeks back the girls and I were walking Wal-Mart and saw one of these very Pony castles (marked down to a great price) but I did not have cash on me. I told Ben about it and he said to get it and we would put it in our gift closet. When I went back they were all gone, so God blessed us through other ways!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Zilker Kite Fest

One of the reasons I love living in Austin is b/c of all of the unique family activities you can find, especially outdoor events. This was the 2nd time we went to the kite festival and I swear it had doubled in size. We had to park and walk about a mile away, but the day was worth it. It was also Reader's first family picnic. The weather was perfect, the kites were great and the company was the best, although it could have been a little windier for kite flying purposes.

Monday, March 07, 2011

come along way

When I got married a salad consisted of cucumbers, tomatoes and Catalina dressing, maybe to make it fancy I would eat bacon, cheese or sunflower seeds.  But, that was the extent of it.
This week I made the most creative salad to date.  It was nearing the end of the groceries and I needed something on my stomach before heading to Sam's.  It was an experiment for sure, but it was the best salad we have made.

handful of baby red and green romaine lettuce
handful of arugula
1/4 of a fresh mango diced
1/4 of red bell pepper diced
3 sun dried tomatoes sliced
crumbled feta
4 baked chicken nuggets, sliced (180 calories)
1 T. Cardini's Caesar dressing (80 calories)

This salad was so scrumptious!  I have been keeping sun dried tomatoes on hand b/c they last so much longer than fresh tomatoes and they are cheaper in the bulk aisle.
Caesar dressing is not the lowest calorie dressing & it is really high in fat (why I only used 1 tablespoon), so I am going to experiment, but it was what we had, so Ben suggested to try it.  Enjoy.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

it's what's for dinner...

I am going to attempt to blog each weekend our meals for the following week.  I need you to send me your tried and true healthy recipes to try.  I hope to inspire you to try new things and healthy eating options.  I will include sides, but at this time most of my sides I do not have links too as they are usually salads or grilled veggies.  Most links have the nutritional values included.  Bon Appetit.

Sunday - Asian Noodle Bowls
Monday - Balsamic Grilled Pork Chops & Peaches, Quinoa & salad
Tuesday - Country Fried Steak, Smashed Potatoes & Cauliflower w/ Mushroom Gravy
Wednesday -Daddy and Girl's homemade Pizzas
Thursday - Keep it Tight Tilapia & Salad
Friday - Portabello Mushroom Stroganoff
Saturday - Chicken Cordon Bleu

borrowed from 5 love languages blog

Adults and youth alike are attracted to the young man or woman who goes out of his or her way to serve others. Healthy families are producing this kind of young people. As parents we must seek to build an attitude of service into the hearts of our children. Start young by teaching children to be ‘helpers’. Then celebrate their ‘service’ with cheers and accolades. Make ‘service to others’ a big thing in your family.
When children see that serving others is important to you, it will become important to them. Take them with you when you deliver cookies to the elderly. Let them help you shovel snow from the neighbors drive. Children learn by experience that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Saturday, March 05, 2011

new look

Time for spring cleaning in the RFF household and nothing is sacred.  I have been on an organizatinal rampage, from the classroom to closets to the blog.  My talented friend, Erica at Haphazared Happenstances created a new look for our family blog.  I needed something fresh in my life, but could not put something else on my plate, not to mention was lacking the creativity in this area.  Thank you so much for capturing  the springiness that my life needed.  (She said feel free to contact her for some happiness in your life)

tea for two

Thank you Miss Annie for the table and chairs for our room.  It is a perfect fit.  We have already had multiple tea parties, ok lemonade and cookies.

The goodies for our bathroom were a huge hit too, total room makeover!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Would you, could you with these 2?

We couldn't celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday without making green eggs and ham. We have had so much fun reading a collection of his works this week. We even had a birthday party to celebrate with our other homeschooling friends, Leo and Phoenix. The boys did not like the eggs, but it seems to be the only way I can get LE to eat eggs, by dying them.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Dr Seuss' birthday

Happy Birthday to our favorite author and illustrator!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

2 months down, 10 to go revisited

My guy scolded me tonight and said, "we don't have ten months to go, this is not a diet, this is a lifestyle". 
He is doing great on the lifestyle, he has lost weight and dropped a pant size this past month.
I cannot tell a difference, which is totally discouraging b/c I work out 4 -5 times a week.  This week I took Zumba for the first time, not my first choice in class, but it was a good workout none the less.  I was talking to the fitness director at the gym and she said if I want to see changes I need to be sweating 30 minutes, 7 days a week.  My goal was 5 days a week, now I am trying to bump it to 6 days, not sure 7 days will ever be a reality.
The eating part is a breeze.  I still love eating clean.  Today, we had cupcakes and ham, and I felt miserable afterwards.  I was so groggy and blah feeling (even had to take a nap) until I had some fruit.  The eating out desire is growing VERY strong.  My gym is across the street from Sonic and it NEVER fails that someone has a big old sonic drink.  I know it is better for us, but man I want one.  It is also harder now that I am working 3 days a week, homeschooling 5 days and full-time domestic goddess to not want to eat out, but we are getting the hang of it, day by day.

wordless wednesday

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

9 weeks left of school?!

I was making March's lesson plans realized we only have 9 more weeks of our curriculum!  So, last week, we spent the week on crafts, art, geography and history exclusively.  We have been learning about the continents, the influential presidents of Mount Rushmore and creative art projects.  We all three loved the break from the formal lessons. 
When I was teaching private school kindergarten, Ben's mom introduced me to the works of E.D. Hirsch, he was an education advisor to Ronald Reagan.  He is also the founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation.  He has written a series of books entitled What your ______ needs to know (per grade level).  I have been supplementing our curriculum with the kindergarten book.  It is full of ideas for enriching your child's education. 
We have also become huge fans of Between the Lions.  It has become part of our daily school ritual.