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Tuesday, June 28, 2011


That is what time Ella appeared at my bedside this morning. Miller was not far behind. They could not wait to get the day started. We arrived at the beach last night about 7:15. Unfortunately I am having some technical difficulties and cannot share the pictures with you yet. Just imagine pictures of the kids running down to the sand and literally rolling in it (including SW)they were so excited to be at the beach. Unless I can get my pictures loaded, I will be back in a week wiTh probably more pictures than you will care to look at :).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blueberries and Turtles

The kids and I went blueberry picking yesterday with The Baker's.  The farm that we went to is not open yet, but somehow by the end of their conversation, the owner told Carey where the key was and told us to have fun by ourselves.  We had the entire farm to ourselves.  I don't know who had more fun, Carey and me picking as fast as we could, or the kids.  

The big kids picked some
but really just enjoyed being in the wide open, running around and enjoying the farm.
The little kids had fun finally being free
 And picking berries
Picking blueberries never crossed my mind with the 100 degree days we have had here in Alabama, but Carey had done her homework and saw that the day was going to be cooler.  It actually was not that bad and there was a good amount of shade.  Don't get me wrong, we were all dripping wet
but it was not unbearable.  I don't even really remember much complaining about being hot.

Now I just need to do something with all my blueberries!  I am tempted to make jelly, but the kids don't like jelly so it is not as much fun.  Although jelly does make great teacher gifts!!!

And to make the day even better, Murray came home with a Turtle from our front yard (old house).  Miller named the turtle Wesley:)
Ella and Miller loved holding the turtle and watching him walk around, but Sara Wells was the most enthralled by the turtle.  I think it was probably the first real turtle she has ever seen.  I can only imagine what was going through her mind as she was trying to process this new creature.
We finally convinced the kids to let Wesley go home to his family because his kids were probably waiting on him to get home from work.

What a day!  Isn't summer great!

Stuffed Squash

One of my favorite things about summer is all of our fresh veggies.  This year has been a flop in our garden due to the deer's hungry appetite and lack of watering because we are not there, but Murray and his dad did plant a big garden at the farm so we do have some fresh veggies of our own this summer.  I realized I have not shared a recipe in a while.  We had this squash a couple of nights ago (and tonight) and it is just too good not to share!  And pretty simple.  All you need is:

1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
bread crumbs 
parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425.

Melt butter in pan with olive oil (these measurements are just guesses.  I probably used more butter, why not! You want the pan nice and coated).  

Caramelize the onions (don't forget to salt and pepper onions).  The key to caramelizing onions is low and slow.  

Cut squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out seeds.  Salt and pepper squash.  

Because this squash was from the farm it was little big and tough because we do not get there to pick it as often as we should.  So, to get it a little bit more tender, I cooked the squash on top of the stove for about 5 minutes in the same pan with the onions.  This is not necessary, but it does get some of that good butter on the squash!
When the onions are caramelized, add about 1/2 cup of bread crumbs.  (Again, this is not exact, you just want the bread crumbs to soak up all the butter and olive oil.  You could start with 1/4 cup and then add more if needed.)

Fill squash with bread crumb mixture.  

Top with parmesan.  

Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes.  The squash will start to look very tender.  
Delicious!  Murray's favorite part about this dish is that you can cook it all one pan.  He is always amazed at how many dishes I can dirty cooking one meal.  This dish took three, the cutting board, the knife and the pan!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Ella and Miller get very excited about special days, especially if that means giving presents.  This morning, you could tell that they were so happy for Daddy to have his special day and that they got to give him gifts.  But it was very interesting throughout the day to see how they tried interpreted Father's Day.

Ella's interpretation:
As I have mentioned before, you can always count on a good one-liner from Ella during church.  And it always kills me because it is hilarious and I want to die laughing, but I cannot share it with anyone.  Today during the worship service as Murray finished praying for the fathers in our church (or it could have been during the prayer, I cannot remember) Ella leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, 

"Today is Father's Day.  That means we get to celebrate Daddy."  

She looked at me a smiled like she was so happy for Daddy, which she was.  Then she came to a very logical conclusion for a child.  

She smiled with that excited look in her eyes and leaned in to tell me more of her thoughts, "Soon it will be Kid's Day and you will give us presents."  

I might have actually laughed out loud a little bit, I cannot remember.  But of course that makes sense in her mind.  I also laughed because my gut answer would have been, "I thought everyday was Kid's Day?"  You work and work to do things to make your kids (at least small kids) happy and you still end up with whining and complaining.  Sort of like taking pictures of your kids, you do the craziest things to make them smile and laugh and all you get is this...

Miller's Interpretation:
Later today as I changed Miller out of his church clothes he said, 

"Today is Father's Day for Daddy right?"  

I told him it was.  

Then he said, "When I am going to be a Daddy to celebrate Father's Day?"  

I told him "Well, first you have to grow up and get married and then you can have kids of your own."  

And he answered, "Then I will have my own Miller's?  And my own Ella's and Sara Wellsey's?"
Both so sweet and so cute.   Think their Daddy hung the moon.  So happy to celebrate a day just for him.  Both trying to figure out in their little minds what it means to have a day to celebrate Daddy.

Murray enjoyed a nice long back rub from his two girls today.  One of the ways they tried to make Daddy's Day extra special.

Happy Father's Day Murray!
We love you!!!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wrapping Up

Sadly, today was the last day of swimming lessons.  I am definitely going to miss spending the whole morning lazily at the pool.  Ella and Miller's toes will enjoy the break though.  Don't you remember swimming for so long and so many days in a row that the skin comes off your toes.  When Ella started complaining about her toes hurting I was immediately taken back to my childhood and could feel that pain.  Don't worry, it was not bad enough to keep them out of the pool.
Fortunately for me since I had all three kids at the pool by myself, Sara Wells was pretty timid around the pool.  

She spent most of swim lessons like this, eating and eating.  I took this picture because it was so hilarious watching her trying to get her animal crackers in her mouth with her puddle jumper on.  I felt bad leaving it on, but she was up and down, up and down and I never knew when her curiosity might turn into confidence.
When I realized that I was in the clear and she was not going near the water without me, I finally took the puddle jumper off which provided entertainment for the second half of swim lessons.  Sara Wells loves doing buckles!
Murray joined us last night, so to celebrate the whole family being together we went for a boat cruise to the dam to fish for catfish.  No fish were caught, which brought on a few tears from Miller.  But a promise from Daddy to have a special Daddy/son fishing trip Saturday morning quickly dried up the tears.
Murray sat back and watched the kids fish daydreaming of all the fishing trips in their future.  We try to not force the kids into what they like, but there is always excitement deep down when they start loving something that you know you will share together for a lifetime.
Miller's biggest excitement of the day was his new shark.  Miller and Ella have been working very hard on their workbooks so far this summer.  I promised Ella when we started that when she finished hers, we would go and get pedicures.  She is working very hard and about half way there.  Miller finally caught on that he needed a big reward.  We were at the store a couple of weeks ago and he saw an awesome shark that he wanted soooo bad and is still talking about weeks later, so that became his reward.  With the shark at stake, Miller worked with new motivation.  Miller finished his workbook yesterday afternoon and Murray just happened to have the shark in the car with him when he arrived.  You would have thought it was christmas morning when Miller opened the bag.
After their final swim lesson today, we celebrated with a trip to Chuck's.  Chuck's is our favorite place to eat on the lake.  You walk up and order pizza and eat outside looking over the lake.  The best way I know how to describe it is a laid back Key West on the lake.  When we arrived, the kids were not in the best spirits...
 But a little bit of Chuck's yummy, yummy pizza cured that!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Ella and Miller started swim lessons yesterday.  It is amazing at how quickly they can just pick it right back up.  Ella was definitely swimming on her own last year, but was a little rusty before her lessons started.  After two days she is now a little fish.  She is most proud that she can now float on her back.  She has not verbalized why she loves it so much, but I know the reason.  She is now like Annie (remember Annie floating in the pool with Daddy Warbucks?)  She now floats and floats, even singing while she floats.  Of course I am probably ruining it for her because every time I see her floating I remind her that if she ever gets stuck in the pool or lake and cannot swim she needs to turn over on her back and float.  
Miller let me get more shots of him as their lessons started.  I did not want to stand there too long with the camera because I did not want to cause a distraction.  
It really seems like we were just here doing this.  Somehow it has been a whole year!

Ella came running in the room the other day so proud of her self saying, "Mommy, Mommy, I need a rubber band!  I braided my hair!"  She has been working on braiding her hair for a little while now.  This was by far the closest she has gotten.  This time she actually used multiple strands of hair to complete her braid, she just only used two instead of three.  She is close.  But don't you worry, we put a rubber band in that braid and she wore it proudly all day!  Such innocence.  This is one of the reasons I am so sad about Ella going to kindergarten.  As she gets older this innocence will start to fade.  Ella is so proud that she braided her hair and thinks that it looks awesome hanging in front of her face.  Even if someone told her it was not a braid she would just shrug her shoulders and say, "yes it is," and keep going without missing a beat or feeling the slightest bit of self consciousness that someone did not like the way that she had fixed her hair for the day.  I know that this innocence and self-confidence in her ability to be who she is, no matter what others think, will not last forever.  But while she has it, I try do what I can to encourage her to be who she is.  Of course, my pride would rather her have a big cute white bow or ribbon in to match her outfit.  But deep down I would rather her be proud of herself for braiding her hair all by herself.  Saying all this, don't be fooled, we often have arguments about the clothes that she decides to wear.  Pretty much the rule is I choose (or give her two options) for school and church and the other days she has free reign.
(You can tell I have not blogged a lot lately because I have about 10 different blog posts in one.  Sorry for that, these are just little snippets of our week...)

You know the Lee girls are getting older when they can wear pigtails!  I love pig tails!  I have so many snapshot pictures in my head of Ella when she was little with her big chubby cheeks, a huge grin and the cutest pigtails.  I have tried a couple of times recently with Sara Wells, but her hair just stuck straight out and did not curl at all.  As much as I do love little girls in pigtails, they looked terrible.  We got to the lake for our swim lessons and it was soooo hot.  It had been about a week since I tried, so I thought I would try again...
 Just enough curl for them to flop over just enough(instead of sticking straight out) and look so cute.
Yesterday after swim lessons while Ella and Miller were zombie like on the couch watching a movie (don't you remember that feeling of being so tired after you swam all day that you did not feel like you could move another muscle) Sara Wells and I made pudding pops.  There is just something about summer that makes me want to make homemade popsicles.  I don't know why, but the thought of them just makes me happy.  We tried a few last summer and they were ok.  The kids favorite was lemonade popsicles.  I just made lemonade and poured it into the popsicle molds.  I thought they were way too icy.  To me they tasted like lemon ice cubes.  I also tried chocolate pudding pops.  I made chocolate pudding and then poured it into popsicle molds.  The kids liked these, but they to were too icy.  When I was looking up recipes, I actually found this complaint from several other people.  Yesterday we tried strawberry.  I was going for fruity and refreshing.  They were ok, Miller and Sara Wells liked them, Ella only ate half of hers.  I used cool whip along with milk, strawberries and the pudding mix.  It definitely made the popsicle not so icy, but still not making the kids jumping up and down.  Do, you any of you have any fun summer popsicle recipes?  If you do, please share!
And I will close with this...  It has been a long time since I have shared any of my projects lately, but I have been sewing recently.  It took about a week to get my sewing room set up after the move, but it has been functioning in full gear (The sewing room might actually be what I miss most about this rental house.  It is right off the den, is much bigger than mine and has a very large window.  Of course if we really lived in this house, it would never be a sewing room because it is in the main part of the house, just like the formal living room would never be a play room, but its a rental and I am enjoying it while I have it!).  Here are a few things I have made in the last week or two.  
(I really wish I had made this flower come up a little bit higher on the outfit.  
Oh well, not going back to fix that!)
This is the best I could do getting a picture of the girls together...
And here is Miller's favorite new t-shirt.  

I will admit, those teeth were very tedious to sew on.  But so worth it!
I tried to make the dinosaur look mean, but to me he just looks like he is smiling.
It does not seem to bother Miller though.

I am sure that you will notice a few new t-shirts on Miller here and there over the next several posts.  It is so funny, Miller loves his t-shirts that I make him and is very particular about which shirt goes with which pair of shorts.  It may be true to say that Miller has a bigger opinion than Ella.  When I was talking with Murray about this, he said, of course he does, what little boy wouldn't want to wear shirts with dinosaurs, alligators and pirates on them!  Whatever the reason, it just makes me happy that he loves to wear the clothes I make him.

Hope you have a happy hump day!

And don't forget about the popsicles!