Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Break 2012

Spring Break, Baby!

Last week was the kiddos' spring break.
We enjoyed being lazy at home without having anywhere to be. Although I will say the week went a little slower for me (and that is not necessarily a good thing when you are pregnant!)
Chad was in California Sunday thru Tuesday night so I was on my own with the munchkins, but we made the best of it with a trip to the McWane Center's Pirate Party, a spaghetti dinner (2 nights in a row!), and looonnng baths at night to kill time. (The bathtub has been an easy go-to activity the last couple weeks; it's something they love and I can sit on the counter top and read while they play and splash.)

We renewed our McWane membership a couple weeks ago and I look forward to having something indoors the kids can do this summer, especially since Sam is walking now and he loves that place. If you've never been, it really is a great place for kids; wide open spaces, tons of activities to keep them entertained (and wear them out at the same time) and also a great place for moms who have tiny babies too because there are plenty of places to sit with the baby while your 'big kids' are off having fun.

Anyway, last week, in celebration of spring break, they had a pirate celebration. The staff dressed up as pirates and they had a huge inflatable pirate ship outside with a jumping area and a big slide. They'd also built a gigantic sandbox out on the sidewalk complete with buckets and shovels and buried treasure. They had tables for pirate tattoos, eye patches, jewels, and more. This was right up Mary Ella's alley of course, and we went with Wendy and her kids. They all had the best time.

This was Sam before we left the parking deck:

Spaghetti casserole is my go-to meal when Chad is away because my kids love it and there are always plenty of leftovers, so I can usually get 2 nights out of it. Sambo never complains.

And spaghetti nights = extra long bathtub nights as well.
I found these bathtub crayons at Walmart and they were a hit with the kids.

 Mary Ella spent most of the week in costume and even managed to attain a British accent.

 We went to Donut Joe's one morning for breakfast. Sam ate 12 donut holes. Twelve.
Mary Ella chose the donut with the most toppings, of course. 

One night we randomly decided after bath time that we were gonna flat iron Mary Ella's hair.
I blow-dried it straight first and then flat ironed it with my Chi. 
She was absolutely amazed. I was too! She looked like a completely different child!

For about an hour afterwards she just sat in the living room with her little hairbrush and brushed through her hair! She loved being able to run her hands through it and brush it out. It was so funny to watch.
She also informed Chad and me that she would "definitely for sure need a Rapunzel dress now" since her hair had gotten so long. Bless her. 

And when Chad returned, I managed to actually cook a decent meal, courtesy of the Publix Apron Meals website; this one was the Creole Shrimp Saute, and I'll share it here because it was super delish.
(Confession, though: I did not buy my ingredients at Publix. Well, I did buy the Scampi Sauce there, but the other ingredients came from Aldi. We have a new Aldi that just opened in our area and I am slightly obsessed with it. Even the shrimp came from there - $3.99 for 12 oz of shrimp! Can't beat that!) 

Anyway, here's the recipe:

Creole Shrimp Saute:

You will need:

1 tablespoon Italian parsley (chopped)
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into bite size pieces
1 (9-oz) pkg fresh angel hair pasta
12 oz peeled/deveined shrimp (thawed)
2 tablespoons blackening seasoning
1 cup fresh pre-diced tomatoes
3/4 cup white wine
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1/2 cup scampi sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

*I chopped and prepped all my ingredients that morning so all I had to do was throw them in that night. Makes it so much easier!

First, cook your bacon in a sauce pot for 5-7 minutes until it's cooked through and crispy.
Meanwhile, cook your pasta in boiling water until done.

And by the way, I am not posting pictures of every step. But is there anything more appetizing than bite-size pieces of bacon frying on your stovetop? No, there is not. So this picture is just to get your mouth watering. You can handle the rest without seeing pictures. :)

Sprinkle your shrimp with the blackening seasoning and add to the bacon; cook 1 minute. Then stir in your tomatoes, wine, garlic, red pepper flakes; cook 2-3 minutes until the shrimp turn pink/opaque.
Then stir in your scampi sauce and lemon juice and heat until it's all melted and yummy.
Serve over pasta and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

This recipe is really delicious. I found it to be a little on the spicy side so I might omit the red pepper flake next time. (And if you are wondering about the Scampi Sauce, this stuff is found at the fresh seafood counter and comes in a little tub; it is actually called "Scampi Sauce" and it's Publix brand but if you can't find it elsewhere just use some butter, some cream cheese and some creole seasoning and you should be fine! I'm sure most places would have something equivalent though.)

We served it with a caesar salad and some crusty French bread.

I hope everyone else had a great spring break and I know some of you are just now getting started!
Enjoy every minute!

blessed signature


jessica said...

Oh my stars Mary Ella's straight hair fabulousness! She DOES look like a different child. Bless her! I love it, but I think I like the curly Mary Ella better.

Jamie Grizzle said...

As if ME could get any cuter - I love her hair straight! Her curls are adorable too - but it sure is fun to have the option of transforming into a straight hair beauty as well!

I am also obsessed with Aldi. I have been going for years. I love the prices and the fact that there aren't a million options. I can take 12 years to decide on something as simple as what cereal or yogurt to buy. At Aldi, there is one option and it is good and cheap!

Ashley B said...

Hey - I am made a variation of this dish twice this week because of you! I didn't have scampi sauce so I just used cooking cream cheese with herbs and it was delicious!
I can't believe how different Mary Ella looks with straight hair. I hope by straighten it out you didn't straighten out her spunkness :)
Hope you are doing great!

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