The view from my parking spot on the roof of the garage at work. I snapped it with my iPhone the evening after this post, it's lovely isn't it?
We ate out on Friday, a delicious foray into a Chuy's happy hour. It was a spontaneous special treat that felt necessary enough to be worth the expense. And it was. We love restaurants, all of us- Landon has been asking for weeks when we can eat out again, and the kids are well-behaved enough that JP and I can go entire minutes pretending we're alone on a date. It's been a long time since we've gone out for Tex Mex and the free happy hour queso and $3.95 margaritas (two things I don't make at home) were all like a balm to the soul. Everything is brighter after 1.5 margaritas and a large bowl of queso.
Speaking of food, this week's menu is as follows:
Saturday: Mom's delicious spaghetti sauce with rigatoni pasta, salad, and extra buttery extra garlic-salty Italian bread.
Sunday: Buffalo Chicken Casserole, as recommended by CP, with a few modifications to make it way less spicey (1 Tbl of Buffalo sauce instead of 6), more creamy (adding sour cream to the sauce) and less bacony (no bacon; JP hates it). CP also recommended slicing the potatoes thin, which I plan to do as well. That'll be served with sliced veggies, blue cheese dressing (and Ranch, as my crazy blue-cheese hating, but Ranch loving husband prefers), and rolls.
Monday: PW's Beef with Snow Peas stirfry. A family favorite and one of JP's specialties. We use a mix of veggies and serve it over brown rice.
Tuesday: Leftover spaghetti sauce over a different shape of pasta. Because different shapes make a different meal!
Wednesday: Greek pizzas. Big fat pita breads from Sprouts, topped with olive oil, herbs, feta, kalamatas, tomatoes, and a bit of mozzerella. Baked and then topped with a cold Greek salad with a homemade dressing (just olive oil, wine vinegar, and oregano; as I learned in Greece, those three simple ingredients are all feta cheese needs to be fabulous).
Thursday: Tamales (with shredded beef filling; steamed), Spanish rice, and a baked zucchini, corn, and tomato side dish that I ate at a restaurant once and plan to attempt to recreate.
Friday: Homemade pizza!
So that's the week! I just discovered Sprouts Farmer's Market and now I have a big dilemma each weekend of trying to decide how many grocery stores I'm willing to stop at to get the most produce, meat, and other foods at the cheapest prices. The current routine is Costco once a month, alternating TJ's or Sprout's every Saturday, and adding Kroger as a second stop to gather up the few remaining items. Our grocery costs have gone down and our quantity, quality, and variety of produce is way up. It's a great wealth of options we have.
And finally, because I like pictures and didn't post these over Christmas, I present our snuggle Bear. It's always hard to describe Claire- she's so many things, but while we joke about her feistiness, the truth is, the girl's barely ever even thrown a tantrum and is generally a cheerful ball of happiness. She's independent and she's smart and oh my goodness does she TALK, but above all, she's incredibly sweet and snuggly. If she sees you in any sort of horizontal position, she will drape herself across you immediately. Even my brother, who is afraid of babies and very small children, was not immune.
Landon is no longer quite so small and can be played with properly. They were building legos (a present from Uncle Eric, who was quite the legomaniac himself as a child), and next thing you know, the snuggler appears.
He might not admit it, but I think he liked it. I noticed he was careful not to move his legs until she got up.
Later that day, Bear spotted her Papa sleeping happily on the couch. She moved in immediately.
Which resulted in quite possibly my favorite picture from the whole holiday weekend.
Weekends are wonderful things. The not having a job seems to matter so much less, and the fun with the kids and the watching of Downton Abbey are marvelous distractions. The worry is always below the surface, but it doesn't seem to bubble up so much on our "home days" as the kids call them. Happy weekend everyone!