28 August 2015

27 August 2015

20 August 2015

13 August 2015

10 August 2015

Pork Chop Willy's Grilling Rub

Recently Chris decided to grill some pork chops for dinner. But he wanted a new recipe. Enter this pork grilling rub from Epicurious. The chops were delicious and juicy. I don't know if I can attribute that exclusively to the recipe. I'm sure Chris' grilling skills had something to do with it, too!

3 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
Six to eight 10- to 11-ounce bone-in pork rib chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick
Vegetable oil spray

Preparation Instructions
At least 1 hour and up to 8 hours before you grill the pork chops, prepare the dry rub, combining the ingredients in a small bowl. Coat the chops with the spice mixture. Place them in a large plastic bag, seal the bag and refrigerate it. Fire up the grill, bringing the heat to medium. Remove the chops from the refrigerator and let them sit covered at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Spray the chops with oil and transfer them to the grill. Grill for 18 to 20 minutes total. Turn onto each side twice, rotating the chops a half turn each time to get crisscross grill marks. The chops are done when just a hint of pink remains at the center. Serve hot.

06 August 2015

05 August 2015

The little slugger's first birthday party

On Damon's birthday, Chris took a vacation day from work. He also did this for Avery before she was in school. It makes the birthday that much more special to have Daddy home from work. We enjoyed lunch together (where Damon ate more of Avery's sandwich than she did) and then dessert at our favorite local
fro-yo shop. Then we went home to give a few presents to Damon.

Avery wanted to give Damon a train set. So we found a durable wooden one that can expand with add-on sets. He might not be ready for this right now, but it won't be long before he's zooming the trains along the track. In the meantime, Daddy and Avery enjoy playing with the trains!

When it came time to plan the family birthday party, I was a little stumped on a theme. I knew Chris would want a sports theme since he's endured six years of Avery's girly parties.

So when I found this adorable invitation on a designer's website, I knew we found the perfect first birthday party theme. Chris agreed and fell in love with planning a baseball party.

After we decided on the theme, the rest quickly fell into place. We planned a menu full of food found in baseball concession stands or on the baseball field itself:

nachos...soft pretzels...corn dogs...

peanuts...Cracker Jack...


sunflower seeds and bubble gum.

While we didn't want a full St. Louis Cardinals theme for the party, we knew we wanted to include Chris' favorite team somehow. I found these (somewhat pricey) baseball helmet bowls online. We wanted to buy them for all of our party guests. Instead, we used them on the food table, as decorations and for the kids' desserts.

I also found a relatively easy-looking baseball cupcake online. It was a little time consuming to make all of the stitches on the cupcakes, but they turned out pretty well. I was just glad that everyone recognized them as baseballs!

Damon enjoyed opening presents for a few minutes. Then he was done with all of the commotion.

Daddy didn't mind finishing the job himself. I think he enjoyed the room full of boy toys and clothes. It was a nice change of pace from the Barbies and pink skirts he's survived with Avery.

My handy sister found this activity board online and created it herself. It's filled with hardware that Damon can spin, pull and push. The Internet is a wonderful place for ideas for us non-creative types!

The final activity was the cupcakes.

I was a bad mommy and completely forgot to turn on the video camera when we sang "Happy birthday." But Damon didn't flinch when the entire room burst in to song for him!

What a special day to celebrate the special boy in our lives!

04 August 2015

First grade, first day

I know this is hard to believe, but Avery started first grade today. Last week was Meet the Teacher Night when we met her teacher and saw her room. Avery is excited about her "real" desk this year. She knows several other students in her class, which will help her transition into the new year.

Avery had to get Damon in a few pictures with her. And Damon was happy to oblige.

Daddy was excited about Avery's first day, too. He went in to work late so all of us could see Avery off at the bus stop together.

Good luck, girlie! We know you will rock first grade!