Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Grilled BLT salad

Has anyone started wondering if I still cook anymore? Ha, so it's just Lance that wonders if I still cook? At this stage of our life, less is more and repetition happens. We have standbys that will please everyone and things I know I can make that won't make me want to throw up once I smell the finished product (food smells are still bothersome). I really like summer and the minimally prepared seasonal foods that go with them. Lance tolerates salad reasonably well and Lucan, well, not so much. But in the case of this BLT salad, I was able to deconstruct it some where Lucan was eating "parts" of the salad along with us. And in the eyes of Dinner: A Love Story, that is a dinner win.

2 romaine lettuce hearts, cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup cherry tomato halves
1 cup cooked largely diced bacon
1 cup seasoned croutons
1 medium avocado, skin and pit removed, and diced

1/3 cup mayonnaise (you could also sub plain greek yogurt too)
¼ cup milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
½ teaspoons garlic powder (the original recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic and that was waay too much)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Heat the grill on medium high.
Brush the romaine lettuce with olive oil.
Place the romaine lettuce on the grill, cut side down for 3 minutes, then flip it to the other side and grill for 3 minutes (really watch your lettuce - if your grill runs hot, you don't want to burn your salad. Burnt lettuce is as about tasty as charred paper. I speak from experience.)
Plate the lettuce.
Top the grilled romaine lettuce with the tomatoes, bacon, croutons, and the avocado.
To make the dressing, whisk the mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, garlic powder, and pepper together until smooth.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad.
The best bites are the ones that include a little bit of everything on them. And of course, no burnt lettuce :) For inquiring minds, Lucan ate bacon, croutons and some avocado. That's kind of a balanced meal, right?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lucan's 3 Year Milk & Cookies Birthday Party

Birthday Par-tay Recap

This year marks the third birthday party I’ve thrown for Lucan. As a reminder, we’ve had a) a crabby themed party b) a Hungry Caterpillar themed party and c) and now a Milk and Cookies party. I figured this was the last year I really got to “choose” a theme for the party so I milked it (ha! Did you catch that!?) for all it’s worth. That and I got really lucky in the fact that my friend Molly had done a Milk and Cookies party for her son and let me borrow a ton of things from her. Where would I be without my friends? Nowhere NEAR as blessed :)

Molly loaned me all of the milk bottles, the cookie containers and shared the printable files that weren’t personalized. The bottles were definitely one of the cutest things about the party; Molly had asked around on facebook if there was anyone who had extra Starbucks Frappucino bottles and hit the jackpot when she found a friend who was addicted to the stuff. 
I purchased an art file off of Etsy for the party invitations and then had them printed at a local printer here in town. Easy-peasy. The rest of the printables I printed off a color printer and then cut them out in my "spare time" (spare time meaning the Wed night before the party at 10:30 PM).  The pennant banner was a last minute addition. I printed off the individual triangles on just regular paper because I didn’t want to go through the hassle of going and printing them at a professional printer or purchasing cardstock. I made a slightly larger triangle and traced it onto paper bags I got from the grocery store! Each paper bag pennant triangle served as the backing for the colored pennant. I used glue dots to adhere the two layers together, checked with my mom to make sure she had some twine, punched holes and called it good. And it was the item (besides the milk bottles) that everyone commented on at the party. 

We served four different kinds of cookies, two kinds of milk (white and chocolate) and my mom had one of those giant chocolate chip cookie cakes made for Lucan. Lucan loved his cookie cake, especially licking off all the frosting and not eating a bite of the actual cookie. Silly boy. I made monster cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies and hot chocolate cookies. I purchased the chalkboard clothes pin labels off of etsy with a credit I won in a giveaway. My momma, the saint, made peanut butter cookies and graciously hosted the party. One of the nice things I’ve found that if I’m having “family” only parties is that if I have them at my parents’ house I don’t have to make a full meal for everyone. And I don’t have to clean. 


Another kind friend, Kelly, loaned me the glass drink dispenser for the chocolate milk. Chocolate milk was definitely the crowd favorite. The straws were from Molly. Like I said, I have great people in my life. 
Last minute party details included assembling the pennant banner, taping on the milk bottle wrappers and adding decorative paper to the cookie containers. If there isn’t a ton of last minute things the night before the actual party, it isn’t a Kara party. Lance says that he’s just come to expect it out of me :) I think he'd appreciate if there wasn't last minute stuff, but we don't always get what we want! 

For Lu's first birthday party, I made a laminated "happy birthday" and "lucan" pennant banner and I reuse them year to year. I forgot to make a welcome sign so we hung the Lucan pennant banner outside. Just in case people were confused.

No birthday party is complete without a few construction themed birthday presents.

It was at this point my really nice DSLR Nikon unexpectedly up and died on me. I was happy that I had captured most of the party up until then, but I still wasn't pleased. I naively thought that if I took out the batteries that it would fix itself. I was wrong. I ended up working with a local photography retail store to have them mail it into Nikon in which I received a bid of almost $300 to fix my camera. I wasn't pleased as the repairs basically equaled the value of the actual camera. Annoying.

Anyway, I missed getting to shoot everyone's expressions as Lucan opened up his final present: ours. This present included his "big brother" t-shirt and our announcement that Lucan was about to be upgraded to big brother this December.

On Lu's actual birthday, he was pretty sick with strep and an ear infection so he got to hang out with Mom and Dad. We had thought it would have been fun to take him to Chik-Fil-A or out for ice cream as his special birthday treat, but it just didn't happen. Instead we stuck around the house and had his special ice cream sundae at home. Not nearly as fun in my eyes, but fun in Lu's eyes, which is the most important thing. This boy loves his ice cream!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

30 Things I'm Thankful for in June

Do you ever have one of those months that just feel incredibly blessed? June was definitely one of those months for us. With the official announcement of baby #2, a visit from my college bestie and her family and a weekend trip away, I just feel so lucky to have celebrated this month.

  1. Baby announcement that I’m due with our second blessing December 4. Watching my facebook feed EXPLODE!
  2. Celebrating Lucan’s June 3 (golden birthday!) birthday among family.
  3. Recognizing that June 3 is also the date I first met my parents as I came over from Korea.
  4. 1.5 days of vacation spent with Mandy and Aaron and their two delightful kiddos. Lucan loves their daughter, Bridget.
  5. Lucan had his first sleepover with Bridget in his room. Lucan slept in his bed and Bridget slept in the pack-n-play in his room. Poor B, I think Lu was bouncing off the walls and B was just looking at him incredulously like he was a hyper-active nut.  But Lu talked about it for days afterwards.
  6. My parents exceeding blessed us by watching Lucan while we snuck off to Kansas City for the weekend.They also planted flowers, weeded, trimmed hedges, did laundry, ironed and cleaned. My parents are fantastic.
  7. We picked 22 pounds of strawberries. We probably shouldn’t have done so many. Lance has told me previously that I have a knack of taking something fun and taking all the fun out of it by going over the top. We made jam.  A lot of jam. Freezer jam and beautiful strawberry jam in jelly jars. Making 22 pounds of strawberries, into jam results in a massive amount of sugar and pectin. Let’s just say this jam was not cheap nor is it especially good for you. But tasty and jewel-like it is!
  8. Volunteering at VBS. It’s a fun time, every time.
  9. First parades of the summer: Grimes and Johnston = candy central. Lucan also got his first ferris wheel ride, which he thought was great. It should be great, for $8! Talk about rip off!
  10. The garden is coming up green and healthy. Nothing has rotted off. Yet.
  11. Attending my friend’s essential oil workshop and winning a bunch of freebies!
  12. Generous friends. We're being gifted a really nice wagon by some friends who no longer have use for it.
  13. Seeing my friend’s faith played out as she watches her dad slowly say goodbye to this world.
  14. Celebr-Asian! Lucan and I like to celebrate our heritage. We let Lance tag along with us :)
  15. Movie dates with a good friend to see The Fault in Our Stars. A very good movie version of the book.
  16. Homemade bread and strawberry jam as a treat. Delicious. 
  17. Wal-Mart having a sale on Bomb Pops (pregnancy craving!) 
  18. Finally getting our winter wardrobes transitioned into storage.
  19. Lucan got really nice gifts from our family at his birthday party. He’s a lucky little boy. And he had a ton of fun playing with all his cousins.
  20. Sunday school picnic at a friend’s house. So many people and children, so much fun.
  21. Lucan passed his three-year wellchild check up with flying colors. Our precious pediatrician said that Lucan was the best three year-old she had all week. Go Lulu!
  22. Our sump pump. This might strike you as something odd to be thankful for, but with the torrential rains we’ve experienced in the last three weeks, our house would have flooded without it.
  23. Friends and bloggers who made restaurant suggestions to us for Kansas City. We ate our fair share of yumminess!
  24. Loving our new pastor and his energy filled sermons.
  25. Long, quality conversations with Lance about life.
  26. Lucan says “thank you” for the funniest things – like washing his beloved blankie or having clean underwear to put on. I suppose Lu is teaching me to be thankful for the little things :)
  27. Lu also likes to say “momma got a baby in her tummy. I got a baby in my hands.” And then he mimics rocking a baby in his hands. (Yes, I’m the mom who thinks her child is the most adorable thing ever.)
  28. Elastic waistbands. I don’t know why so many pregnant women deny themselves the comfort of stretch. Who really cares if you wore pre-pregnancy pants until your third trimester if you are completely miserable? Ah, the wisdom of second pregnancies :) 
  29. Fresh garden food!
  30. The sweet, kind stranger who let us budge in line with him at Oklahoma Joes in Kansas City and save us an extra 30 minute wait.

It was exceedingly HOT at Celebr-Asian. Yikes.

Lucan was thankful for his balloon sword.

Sweet, sweaty cuddles.

Chik-Fil-A is one of a kind. They came out to everyone in the drive through line and handled them little samples of their ice cream. Yum!
Sweet friends and Lucan's pool. Bridget and Tristian were a little hesitant. Not Lucan!

Both were a little cold after their swim.
How adorable are they? Seriously, arranged marriage.

My college bestie, Mandy.

Our husbands are two peas in a pod. They get a long exceedingly well considering Mandy and I just usually leave them at home and tell them to figure something out :)

Parade selfie. Lucan was getting tired of waiting in the hot sun after 30 minutes.

Our strawberry adventures. Next year is probably not in the cards. This is only one of two flats we picked. Everyone was over strawberries at this point.

Ferris wheel ride. Lucan talked about it for days afterwards.

Lucan at his three year well-child check. It seems ironic that one day later he got pink eye and a cold. You should note that Lance is concerned that the mirror is going to fall off and kill Lucan.

I let Lucan push a cart at the grocery store. I'm going to live to regret that decision.
  1. Silly boy singing a "Happy Birthday"message to our friend Ron.

    Mowing. Daddy's big helper.

    This was the best family picture we could manage at Lucan's birthday party. At least we tried :)

    Lucan loves opening presents, especially with a little help from his cousins!

    First garden produce of the year! Green pepper for the win!
    A fun Citrus Lane box this month. Lu devoured his Plum Organic snacks, has enjoyed his new puzzle, and thinks his blueberry soap is awesome. We also got a wet bag for swim clothes, etc. which I'm sure will come in handy! The markers and activity book are a little mature for him, but it will be a good someday activity.

    I rocked supper with grilled romaine BLT salads. I'll post the recipe later!

    Happy, well-rested parents in Kansas City! Parents deserve a mini-break at least once a year.