Thursday, April 30, 2009

can't get enough of texas!

we decided to take lemons (our gps was stolen) and make lemonade....another trip to dallas!  here we are getting our tires rotated and i wanted to capture us with the costco logo.  sonny said it was a bit much, but he still took the pic:)  
while we were in the neighborhood we decided to fulfill a lifelong dream of sonny's and go to medieval times.  when we pulled up to the castle we knew we were in for fun.
ari, with his new sword.  i think he's trying to look intimidating:)
spontaneous sword fights were erupting all over the castle.  and the parents didn't even try to stop it!  it was GREAT!!
the king and queen of the castle
ari, cheering for the red and yellow knight.  he was out of his seat, cheering, and shouting advice to our knight.  apparently he didn't hear ari, cuz he was defeated, but ari just took over cheering for any knight who was going after the knight who outfought ours.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


my husband is a HUGE lord of the rings fan and so i have seen the trilogy.  many times.  but, i have never read the original works by j.r.r. tolkein and he has always wanted me to.  now, this isn't my first choice in reading material, but i must say there is something so special about reading a story together (with your spouse, children, friends, etc) and then getting together to watch the film version.  we have done this before and have done it with our kids and it is such a unique and memorable experience.  we even watched the "uncut" extended version and everything was so much clearer to me this time!  now, i need to start book two:)

Monday, April 27, 2009

meatless mondays

this has been a fave of mine since the first time i tried it.  long before sonny went vegetarian.  it is a recipe my friend erin introduced me to and it is from the moosewood restaurant, a vegetarian restaurant that has also published a wonderful line of cookbooks.  i remembered to take pics throughout the prep, but when it came to the finished just kinda ate it right away.  sorry!

Sweet Potato Quesadillas

 1 cups finely chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 cups grated peeled sweet potato (about 3 potatoes)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

generous pinch of cayenne

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 cup grated sharp cheddar (a cheese with a "bite" is best, but it's up to you)

Sauté the onions and garlic in the vegetable oil until the onions are translucent. 

Add the grated sweet potatoes, oregano, chili powder, cumin and cayenne and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. 

When the sweet potato is tender, add salt and pepper to taste and remove the filling from the heat.  

heat tortillas and put sweet potato filling on one side and a generous amount of cheese on the other.  hook them up, slice, and enjoy!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

new adventure

this week i started a new adventure.  i am honored and excited to be the home educator of this smiley 7 year old boy.  noah and i enjoy having him in our home and look forward to lots of learning, not just in academics, but in character development, social skills, and just life!  thank you to all of you who've asked about this and supported me in this new endeavor.  i look forward to field trips where some of you can meet and get to know daniel.  he is an avid animal fan so get out your zoo passes and join us!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

OT for me!

spinning, jumping, swinging, foam pit, tunnels, hippity hop balls....sounds like fun, huh?  well, this is actually therapy.  work.  occupational therapy to be exact.  i was introduced to this incredible world when i worked in a program for children with autism and other special needs.  wow.  this stuff was so effective....and so FUN!  well, noah gets to be assessed at sensational kids today...a local OT center that specializes in sensory processing disorder.  this is a rare find and i'm so thankful OKC has such a place.  although noah is definitely not a severe case, i do see some sensory issues in him and want to address them during this key 0-5 yr old window.  i'm so excited to see what the therapists say and what activities we can do to help noah's nervous system function as well as possible for the rest of his life.  thanks for reading this and caring.  cuz i know you do:)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

if only it worked that way

my mom and i are always teasing the boys about how they're getting too big, we don't want them to grow or have any more birthdays.  they always protest loudly and say even if we put a brick on their head they'd still grow. 

yesterday, ari (age 6.5) said "mom!  i got it!!  since you want me to stay young forever we should just go to chuck e. cheese's every day.  it's where a kid can be a kid!"

Monday, April 20, 2009

are you giveaway-ed out?

i didn't think so:)  now that i'm working on projects for my giveaway winners, my friend over at imperfectly beautiful is giving away a 25 DOLLAR GIFT CERT. to her new etsy store!!  promise me if you look at her stuff you won't like her better, kay?  you probably will, but just don't tell me.  her stuff is way cute and she's been a huge inspiration and encouragement to me.

meatless mondays

mmmmm....this week we scored a yummy one.  this could easily be made for carnivores as well.  chicken sliced on top would be great.  it's easy, colorful, and delicious!  yes.  you're welcome:)  who knew beans in pasta sauce could be so filling, and so good?  of course, the feta cheese MAKES the entire meal so please don't skip it, although it would be alright without it.  oh!  and a shout out to tonya who sent me all these menu mailers that have vegetarian options...that's where i found this gem!  and to all of you who've said you have recipes for me to try....send 'em over!!
greek pasta with tomatoes
serves 6

3 14.5-oz. cans Italian-style diced tomatoes

1 1/2 19-oz. cans white (cannellini) beans, drained and rinsed

15 ounces fresh spinach, washed and chopped

12 ounces Penne pasta ( i used whole grain...yum!)

3/4 cup Feta cheese, crumbled


Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

While pasta is cooking, mix together tomatoes and beans in a large skillet. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. 

Add spinach to sauce and cook for another 2 minutes, or until spinach wilts.

Serve sauce over pasta and top with Feta cheese.

 Per Serving: 457 Calories; 5g Fat; 23g Protein; 82g Carbohydrate; 12g Dietary Fiber; 17mg Cholesterol; 289mg Sodium. Exchanges: 4 1/2 Grain (Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat.

 SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve with a Greek salad (sliced tomatoes, crumbled Feta cheese, kalamata olives and a vinaigrette dressing) and steamed broccoli.  

Saturday, April 18, 2009

and the winner is.....

to make it completely random, i let my three-year-old be the name chooser.  he was VERY excited to help:)

Christa and Celina are the winners!  

i cannot tell you how overwhelmed and honored i was by all of the entries (and links to all of your other sites).  thank you so much for your support and encouragement.  as a token of my thanks i would like to offer you a buy one get one 1/2 off code at my etsy shop.  if you purchase one sign you can get one of equal or lesser value for  half price.  just enter GIVEAWAY in the comments of your purchase and select "pay by check"  i will adjust your price and you can then pay by paypal or check.  if you don't want to create an etsy account, please email me at gratefultulip{at}gmail{dot}com with your order and you can drop a check in the mail.  i love making these signs and i think they would make the perfect mother's day or teacher appreciation day gifts.  i will do my best to make sure you get them before those big days and i'm looking forward to some of your custom ideas!

thank you again for your kind words.  i will read and re-read your comments for months to come and so appreciate you all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

need some signage?

i thought signage was a word.   i guess my spell-check didn't get the memo.'s time for a giveaway!  i've been making signs for a few months now and i have gotten such wonderful support from family, friends, and even some strangers!  it is well past time to give some away and just in time for mother's day (if you want to share:)  no one will know if you keep it for yourself)

here's the deal.  leave a comment below before friday, april 17th by midnight (PT) for one entry into the drawing.  if you leave a link to this giveaway on your blog, facebook, myspace, twitter, or any other network i'm forgetting, you get an additional entry for each link!  just enter another comment telling me where you linked from and each comment will count as another time your name goes in the pot.

o.k.  let's get to the good stuff.  i will choose TWO winners who each will receive one sign from my shop  AND a custom 4x12 sign of their choice (last name, initials, special word or phrase, etc)  i'm so excited!  start thinking what you'd like your one-of-a-kind sign to say and start commenting and linking so you can win!  i will announce the two lucky winners saturday morning.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


in december ari had been asking lots of questions about the game of chess.  sonny said he would teach him, but we didn't have a set.  a few days after christmas we saw this "chess teacher" set on clearance...
so, sonny taught ari the basics, ari studied the manual, and it has been chess-mania ever since.
even oma  has to play on her visits.  (ari turns all the pieces toward her so she can see what moves she's allowed to make and what moves he's allowed to make:)

when we had out-of-town guests, ari "persuaded" them to learn and play as well
if you know ari, this picture will not shock you.  if you don't ...this will help you know him more:)  this is a chess strategy book at the local bookstore.  noah and i read dora and clifford books while ari studied to become a chess master.  wow.  each child is unique, right?

Monday, April 13, 2009

meatless mondays

thank you for your positive response to meatless mondays!  i had a few people ask what sonny's motivation was for going veggie.  he had read so much on how positive it was (especially as you age) to reduce meat intake.  he decided on his 30th birthday to cut meat out all together and reintroduce lean meats slowly after 6 months.  it has been a challenging three weeks, but he has noticed a great improvement in how he feels and even in how his skin looks.  we are also enjoying the benefits of lower costs to our food budget and the environment.
i needed help when it came to finding meatless recipes (that weren't reliant on "crazy" ingredients:) and thankfully had already read the more-with-less cookbook.  this book has changed my life.  the recipes are a mere afterthought.  the theology, philosophy, and lifestyle presented in this book are radical.  and beautiful.  they have meat and meatless recipes, but use a lot of "raw" ingredients and especially celebrate the complete protein found in the combo of beans and rice.  the recipe i'm highlighting today is found in this cookbook and says it will sway even the most adamant lentil hater.  sonny really liked it.  i thought it was pretty good, but i think it would have to grow on me.  lentils are an incredibly virtuous food, and that was my first taste, so i'm definitely not throwing in the towel on them yet.  
baked lentils with cheese
serves 6
preheat oven to 375 degrees
combine in 9x13 dish:
1 3/4 cup lentils
2 cups water
1 whole bay leaf
2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/8 t. each marjoram, sage, thyme
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups canned tomatoes
cover tightly and bake 30 minutes
uncover and stir in:
2 large carrots, sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
bake covered 40 minutes until vegetables are tender.  stir in:
1 green pepper, chopped
2 T. finely chopped parsely
sprinkle on top:
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
bake, uncovered for 5 minutes until cheese melts

Saturday, April 11, 2009

medieval fair

last week at this time we were checking out armor
watching a human chess match (battles and all!)
contemplating turkey legs bigger than our heads
and getting into the spirit of the medieval fair...long live king arthur!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

biker boys

we  have had everything from 85 degree days in january, an out-of-season tornado in february, and snow the last weekend of march.  who knows what april will hold, but every time it's not pouring rain or snowing our boys are outside taking advantage of their new wheels.

Monday, April 6, 2009

a new leaf (or should i say, leafy greens?)

my husband decided to try something new as he entered a new decade last month (he turned 30)  he thought it may be good to give up meat for a while and perhaps slowly introduce leans meats a few days a week after a time.  (he still eats eggs, cheese, meat broth, and fish)  this of course, impacts me, even though i am still a carnivore.  i cook for the family so i was on a mission to find tasty meals minus the flesh.  i actually learned that these meals are less expensive and have less negative impact on the environment.  this could be good, huh?  i decided that you all may want to try a day or two a week without meat for your physical,
 financial, or global health.  i thought it may help if i share some of the tried and tasty recipes i find along the way.  
welcome to "meatless mondays"!
the first recipe is one we ate even before this new leaf.  it is delicious over rice and make
s a wonderful meal.  you could add a salad for even more fill if you like.  let me introduce....cuban black beans.  
did i mention its a crockpot recipe?  i love crockpot recipes.  find it all here and DEFINITELY let me know if you try it!

Friday, April 3, 2009

has a teacher touched your life?

may 5th is national teacher appreciation day!  we all know what a deep impact these special people have on our lives (can you still name your 2nd grade teacher?  mrs. deyoung was the best!!)  i've decided to customize a sign for the special teachers in my life and i wanted to let you know that if you'd like me to do the same for you i'd love to create one with the name of your choice in time for the big day.  here's a few i've made for other teachers (thanks for the apple idea, tonya!) and i can customize them further if you'd like.  whatever you decide, make sure to show some love on may 5th for a dedicated teacher.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


did you know you could take 4 dollar lamp shades (or free ones you have lying around the house) and make them into custom designer lamps to match any decor?  

it's true!  get out your scissors, glue gun and an ugly shade or two and get to work.  if you don't like the color or theme in a year or two, the best part is, you can change it!  

maybe you don't need new lamp shades...but is there something else you were planning to buy?  take a moment to think how you could use something you own, or a garage sale find to create the thing you were going to purchase new.  it's green.  it's frugal.  and let me tell much more satisfying then picking something off the shelf at target.  happy re-purposing!