Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Best Squash Casserole Ever...

My family is a huge fan of my mom's squash casserole. I expect it every holiday, family get together or what not. I think for my birthday one year I actually requested it! Y'all, it is seriously that fabulous... Once mom gave me her recipe and I somehow or another lost it....I had planned to make it for dinner last night and searched for the recipe. I knew the basic ingredients, but not how much or if I left something out. I pouted for about two whole minutes, felt like my moody child, and then decided to just wing it....

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. I started boiling a pot of water while I diced four large yellow squash.

I threw my squash into the boiling water....

I poured two quart sized baggies of Cheeze-It's....
(Mom uses regular, I had cheddar jack on hand, white cheddar would probably be good too)

As Ryan and Caleb watched TV, they crunched the baggies until they looked like this:

I shredded half of a small block of sharp cheddar cheese...

And waited until my squash was tender. Then I drained the water from it....

And threw it in a bowl with half a stick of butter.
(Don't snicker! Paula gets away it!)

I took one of those hand held potato masher things and started mushing (you like that?) the squash and butter together. I added the Cheez-It crumbs and cheddar cheese, along with two eggs.

I mixed it all up and poured it into an oven safe dish...

I baked it for forty minutes, until it was barely browned on top....

Amazingly good stuff! If you make it this way, you will never go back to traditional squash casserole. I mean how could it not be better with that much cheese?!?

Potty Training a Stubborn Child

My sweet little boy is potty training and he's doing great! I've never been more intimidated by anything to do with raising my child than potty training. I don't know what it was about actually doing it, but I literally dreaded it. When Caleb was younger, I never batted an eye at getting him to sleep through the night. I never worried about the fits and the terrible two's. I never minded any of it...I just dealt with it.

I didn't know where in the world to start with the whole potty training business. It seemed like different things worked for everyone. Things range from what age is appropriate to start and how to go about it. I studied everything I could to find the easiest approach. Some people throw huge potty parties, others got the child to  teach their doll, and some used Pull-Ups. There seemed like forty-seven million different ways to go about. I was struck with fear thinking nothing would work for my child and we'd be worrying about it when he went to school. Seriously this all went through my head...

So we tried a couple of things. We tried the Pull-Ups that get cold when you pee in them. Caleb did it anyway. Sometimes he would tell me he was wet and then other times he just plain didn't care. We wasted money on those expensive things! I only bought one pack and knew they weren't going to work. 

Then we tried buying big boy undies so we could entice him to want to wear them. I told him he couldn't get his undies dirty if he wanted to wear them like a big boy. Didn't work....at all. So then I tried dressing Elmo in undies and using a potty book with Elmo in it. We praised Elmo for using the potty...I admit I even dropped a couple of raisins in the potty to show that Elmo could do it. Caleb was so happy for Elmo, but just didn't care to act like Elmo did. We tried M & M's as incentives...we tried Thomas the Train stickers...we bribed the kid like crazy! Didn't matter...

In desperation, I reached out to other parents. Many suggested just taking the diapers away. You'd do a lot of laundry, but it forced the kids to use the potty. I was terrified, but knew this was probably our only way. We ended up buying the plastic training undies from Gerber to put on with the undies. They buy just enough time to catch the mess before he leaks onto everything. And it worked like a charm!!!

Caleb is working on day four of no accidents! When he sees us get so excited for him, he gets excited and proud. We make a huge deal out of it each time. This past weekend we started handing out prizes for a complete day of no accidents because that it truly is a huge deal. Friday I promised him fishing on Saturday...so we went fishing on Saturday. Caleb then got a dollar from Granny and a dollar from Granddaddy on Saturday for no accidents. He learned he could buy some candy with that and it was a big deal. Then on Sunday evening, Caleb got a new coloring book for a prize. 

The mess has not been bad at all. He caught on really quick. We've learned that twenty minutes after he drinks something he's ready to use the potty. We ask him quite a bit if he's ready to potty and he will tell us "Not yet" or "Yes". On Saturday morning, he woke up and told me he had to potty, but most of the time we have to ask him. We've learned that if he wants to do something, we make him try to use the potty first and he does well with that. 

Caleb hates using the toddler potty. We're actually thankful for that. He's learning the use a regular toilet and it makes it much easier for traveling with him. The only thing the little potty is good for is using for a step! We recommend buying some of the disposable potty protectors for using on public toilets. You can find them at Toys R Us. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Just Keep Swimmin'

Caleb is such a happy child! 

I love the joy in his face that shines through every day... He makes my heart so happy!

Ryan's mom took these pictures of us playing in the pool this weekend. 

I am so blessed to call both of these boys mine...They are so funny together. 

Caleb is Mr. Personality right now! He keeps us all laughing. 

Ryan threw Caleb in the air several times and he just loved it! My hubby has to be strong to throw a forty-five pound toddler in the air...

Caleb said, "Do it again!" He asked for it over and over until Ryan let him dunk into the water. I think it caught him by surprise a little! 

He wore himself out in the pool! 

Weekend Recap

Friday afternoon, Ryan and I left work early to enjoy our weekend. I had to work some on my day off last weekend, so we made up for it this time! 

We went to Tellico and it was a really nice trip. Caleb is potty training right now and he did fantastic! We stopped a couple of times for bathroom breaks and he did great. I'm so very proud of him!

Ryan and I spent some time around the campfire Friday night once Caleb went to sleep. It was so nice just talking and listening to music together. We really enjoyed it.... On Saturday, Caleb went fishing at the pond. He didn't catch anything since it was so dang hot. We decided to go swimming instead. About thirty minutes from our camper, there is a perfect swimming area with a beach. Caleb loved it!

On Sunday, we took a Jeep ride to my in-laws' house for dinner. We celebrated Ryan's grandfather's birthday. 

Jeep rides in warm weather are one of my favorite things!

After dinner, we went swimming. Caleb loves getting in the pool! 

He worked up his courage by staying near the steps...

Before long, Daddy was throwing him in the air and catching him. Caleb thought it was hilarious! 

I can't believe how big and brave he's getting...

We had a wonderful weekend together. I don't know if it's just our wishful thinking or not, but Caleb is really getting more manageable. He has been such a hand full at times for the past few months, but I think we may be breaking through the terrible two's. He still has a couple of awesome fit-pitching moments, but they're becoming fewer and farther between.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pretty Bottom

Ryan sanded the boat bottom last night as I painted it. In roughly three and a half hours, we had a drastic improvement to our little boat! Our Chris Craft was in desperate need of some new paint...

We weren't crazy about the old faded blue paint and didn't care for the navy stripe painted above the waterline. We decided to raise the waterline and paint it black. 

Much better, right?!?

Yes, I actually painted the bottom. Ryan sanded and I came behind him with the roller. I have the paint spots to prove it, thank you very much! 
I haven't painted a boat bottom in about ten years and my body is certainly protesting today! 

If you let a marina paint the bottom of this boat, it would cost around $1750.00 plus tax. Ryan and I completed the project for around $100.00! We worked our butts off, my friends! The bottom paint was necessary to protect our boat while she lives in the water. 

Ryan is very skilled when it comes to taping a straight waterline and it really shows off here. 

The boat is now ready for striping, new registration numbers, and her name!

We are so pleased with the drastic change here! 

The swim platform brackets were actually made by Ryan. He cut and bent the stainless pieces to fit to the boat and swim platform. I swear he is so handy to have around! I simply love it...

Now she's ready to head back to the water....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Names, Paint, and Platforms

After yesterday's bombshell of a post, let's get back to normal and happy. Ryan and I have spent some time on the Chris Craft this week. We used our "date night" that my parents give us each week to complete a couple of much needed projects. 

The name on the back of the boat just didn't fit us. It was painted on instead of the vinyl lettering we're used to seeing around here. I was quite worried about removing it. The name had been there for many years and I was afraid the gelcoat under it wouldn't match the surrounding part at all. And I was completely right. Luckily Ryan had a few tricks up his sleeve!

Ryan sanded the name off carefully. 

Once he got the name off, he started to wet sand the back of the boat.

He buffed it to a shine and it's ready for her new name!
Our friend that is making the lettering for us is the best in the business. He makes gorgeous graphics and I am looking forward to seeing how beautiful ours will be! 

Ryan and I also installed a swim platform!

We had to cut it to fit the boat's curves so it was quite an ordeal. 

We couldn't be happier! Now we have to refinish the teak. 

Ryan began sanding the sides as well. We'll be painting this week too. Instead of the blue/navy combo that's going on, we're changing everything to black. I think it will be beautiful floating in the water! 

Tune in later to see how she turns out! 


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