August 31, 2008

24 Hour Camping

We had BIG plans for this weekend. We've been looking forward to it for weeks. The plan: Drive down to Mustang Island State Park on the Gulf Coast and camp on the beach for the whole weekend. We rented (from the base equipment rental place) a tent, 2 coolers, a 10x20 foot canopy, 2 lanterns, a Coleman stove and bought about a hundred dollars worth of camp food and other supplies. The camera batteries were charged, everything was packed, and we were excited and ready to go Friday afternoon. Some friends that were going with us had just left and we had a few stops to make before leaving ourselves.

Then we got a call. Steve's flight commander said no one can go to the coast this weekend because of Gustav. The weather shows sun and shine for the whole weekend there. We were BEYOND disappointed. I felt like crying. We were SO looking forward to this. We decided to make the best of it and take all our camping stuff out to Canyon Lake and camp there. We got out there Friday evening and had a lot of fun. We found a nice camp site with our good friends, Josh, Kelli and their daughter Kaitlyn, as well as Tom, a guy from Steve's flight. We had a nice campfire and slept very well that night (especially Steve and I on our air mattress...I know, we cheaters). Saturday morning we got up and took the kids swimming in the lake, then rented a pontoon boat for 4 hours and took it out. The boat was the highlight of the weekend. It was a blast! Steve and I have since vowed that one day we will live near the water and own a boat like that. The kids loved it, they guys turned into kids and Kelli and I just loved watching them all and soaking up the sun (we've not loving the sunburns today, though!)

When we got back to the camp site, we started a fire for dinner and Tom started scratching at some ant bites. Next thing we knew, Tom swelled up all over and looked like he was ill. Steve took him to the ER, where he was quickly drugged up for his anaphylactic reaction to ant bites. By the time Steve and Tom were done at the ER, Steve had to drive Tom home (about 40 minutes away) because he was VERY drugged and in some pain. He would then have to drive back out (another 40 minutes) and that just seemed like too much. So, less than 24 hours after getting there, Josh, Kelli and I packed everything up and we all headed home.
We were pretty disappointed that our weekend wasn't what we planned, but we did have some fun. So, this evening, we had them all over to eat some of the 'camp food' we still have left over and we all enjoyed steak, camp-taters and s'mores on the grill. We also enjoyed looking at pictures we took this weekend. Here are some for you to see:

Gabby had a tooth coming in, hence the extreme drool

Once again, not Oreos...

Nothing like breakfast cooked on an open fire

Tom, Steve and I swimming to an island

The Koper children screaming in fear when we took them in the water

Steve being pulled behind the boat

Our lunch break on the boat

Steve and Josh getting on the boat

August 21, 2008

Pictures for the Sake of Pictures

I haven't posted any pictures in a while and I know you are all wondering if we still look the same. So here we go.

My 25th Birthday:


Gabby is fully in walk-mode. She only crawls about 10% of the time.
Steven was having quiet time in the play room, and got a little TOO quiet so I checked on him and found this. Out cold with a lap full of cars.
Gabby watching Baby Einstein in her playpen.

Today, we went to The Witte Museum in San Antonio. It was a really cool place, and we had a blast!

Steve riding a bike on a rope.

Steven pulling himself up on a pulley-seat.

That's not Oreo on her face. That's my girl with a mouth full of dirt! Ewww!

August 19, 2008


...for Shawn Johnson! We've been rootin' for her all along!
(We made fun of Steve - it looked like he teared up at the medal ceremony, awwww)

Top Ten Tuesday

Lately, I've been bored with all the same-ol' same-ol' recipes I make and have been looking recipes up online or making them up as I go along. Here is a top ten list of my favorite new recipes from the past couple months. The first 5 are links to great ones I've found online, and the rest are 'Leah Koper originals.' They are things I've made up as I'm going along and turned out good!

1.Waffles. I don't make waffles very often, but in the past I've always made Bisquic Waffles (super easy) but this past week, I wanted to make them with whole wheat flour, so I found this recipe by Emril and substituted whole wheat pastry flour for the cake flour his calls for. They were very yummy with some turkey bacon and eggs!

2. Baked pancakes. I had these once at a friends house and forgot about them until recently. I looked it up and it is super easy. I just add a little sugar and lemon juice to the recipe and cover in syrup when it's done!

3. Carrot Cake. So, this isn't a meal....but I wish it could be. The first time I tried this recipe, I made it a few days ahead of time and froze it, then thawed it and frosted it the day it was served. It was so moist and such a big hit, that the next time I made it I was afraid some of the 'magic' was in the freezing and thawing so I did it again just to make sure it was going to be as good!

4. Chicken and stuffing casserole. This recipe, I found on one of those days when I was like, "alright, I only have these ingredients, what can I make?" and looked up "chicken, stuffing, cream of chicken." I use corn instead of broccoli because a) it was all I had and b)that way Steve will eat it.

5.Chicken Tortilla Soup. I found this one yesterday and we had it for dinner last night. It was a cool, rainy day and I thought it was the perfect day for soup. And I love that all the ingredients (except Cumin) were things I ALWAYS have in the house. Steve isn't a big soup fan but I figured if it were 'Mexican' he would like it and sure was a hit! I didn't add the cumin (because I don't have it) and I added a 4-oz can of chopped green chilies. I'm watching what I eat so I didn't put cheese and chips in my bowl, but Steve did and he loved it. I tore up a flour tortilla on mine and it was delisioso! We also left off the sour cream.

6. Mexican Meatballs. Steve requested Mexican the other night and I was sick of tacos and fajitas and the same ol' Mexican I always make so, I just started mixing stuff: 1lb ground turkey, 1/2 a yellow squash, chopped, 1/2 a zucchini squash, chopped, 1 4-oz can chopped green chilies, 1 egg, 1 packet taco seasoning, about 1 1/2 - 2 cups plain bread crumbs. Made them into little, tiny meatballs and browned them in a frying pan with some cooking spray. I served them with Spanish rice (Rice-a-Roni has a whole grain one now, it's pretty good) and salad. Steve put his in tortillas with the rice and ate it every day for lunch for the rest of the week. They were really good and full of hidden squash (which my family won't eat) very Jessica Seinfeld of me.

7. Kielbasa Pasta. This, I make with a package of Hillshire Farm (even though I hate their commercials) turkey kielbasa, sliced; a bag of frozen pepper strips (yellow, red and green bell); a whole large onion, sliced; 3 cloves of garlic, chopped and a 12 oz box of whole wheat rotoni, cooked and drained. I suttee everything together (except the pasta), then add the pasta...a whole meal in a pot and a Koper favorite!

8. Hamburgers. I added a bunch of stuff to my burgers last time I made them and they were AMAZING! 1 lb lean ground beef, a handful of whole wheat bread crumbs (I make mine from whole wheat cereal, like Wheaties and put it in the Magic Bullet till it's like sand, and add Italian seasoning and keep it in a big bag in the pantry), 1 4-oz can of green chilies (we go though that stuff like crazy!), 1 egg, about 2 tbsp McCormick Hamburger seasoning. Form into 6 burgers, chill in fridge till Steve gets home from work (I do the prep work during Gabby's nap - around 3 or 4pm) and then he grills them. They are so tender and flavorful!

9. Chicken Nuggets. Steve and Steven love this one. It's what I do when I really don't have much time or don't feel like cooking. I thaw 3 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless) in a big bowl of hot water, cut them up into nugget-y sizes (cutting off fat), throw them in a big ziploc bag with a handful of my homemade bread crumbs (from #8), shake them to coat, put them on a cookie sheet in the toaster oven until done. So easy and really good...and pretty healthy....until I serve them with french fries!

10. Pizza. This is my favorite one to make. Steve comes home from work, I say, "How about pizza?" He says "YESSSS!" He leaves and returns 15-20 minutes later with a hot pepperoni pizza from Little Caesar's. I crack open some cokes and we sit in the living room and watch TV. I don't know what it is about pizza night, but we cannot sit at the table. Pizza MUST be eaten in the living room. It's a Koper-family rule!

So those are some recipes that I like to make lately, if you're like me, you love getting new recipes. If not, sorry for a boring post! :-) I hope you will try some of these yummy recipes and share with me if you do!

August 15, 2008

A lazy week

I feel like I have got NOTHING done this week. Seriously, I've done ONE load of laundry all week and that's not good when there are 4 of us! My floors are all crumby and my bed hasn't been made all week (except for the day Steve made it). My excuses:

1. The Olympics are on. I can't NOT watch the Olympics! I'm really into Michael Phelps and Shawn Johnson. Swimming and Gymnastics are my two favorite things to watch, but I've also enjoyed the beach volleyball. And I've really enjoyed watching all the coverage NBC has done on life in China and behind the scenes kind of stuff - it's really interesting.

2. It's been cloudy out. A cloudy day is always a lazy day.

3. It's my "birthday week." My birthday was Monday, so no housework, our anniversary was Tuesday, so that's a good excuse to lounge around....then the laziness just kept going.

So those are my excuses for not getting anything done all week. Although, I DID make dinner 3 nights this week (3 out of 6 isn't too bad...not too good either). I made Mexican meatballs with rice on Sunday, home-made chicken fingers with french fries and fried squash on Wednesday and last night we had 'breakfast for dinner' - a Marsh favorite. We had Belgian waffles, bacon and eggs. Not very healthy but at least the waffles were whole-wheat and the bacon was turkey. And I even have a surprise for Steve tonight.... two yummy thick steaks marinating in the fridge as we speak. That means he's cooking tonight, though. I'll be better next week. I'll do all the laundry - even the sheets! And I'll mop the floors and clean out my crusty microwave - ugh.

So that's what I've been up to....nothing. Here I sit at 11am in my PJs (at least the kids are dressed) blogging and watching a Men's 4x100 medley relay heat. Go USA!

Now you're all caught up!

August 11, 2008

5 years ago today....

Tonight Steve took me to an Italian restaurant for dinner for my birthday. As we walked to the car, I realized that exactly five years ago today, Steve took me to an Italian restaurant for my birthday. It was our first "date." We were just "hanging out as friends" but had our first kiss the next day. We were married exactly one year after our first kiss. That makes tomorrow our 4th wedding anniversary. Here we are over the last 5 years:

November 2003 - Dating about 3 months

August 12, 2004

December 2005 (the fat year)

June 2006

October 2007 (In all of 2007, not a single picture of just us!)

Two minutes ago

August 10, 2008

Randomness from a soon to be OLD lady

I will be 25 in two hours. 25. My good friend Google tells me there are lots of good things that are 25 years old. Here are a few:
-The computer smily face :-)
-Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'
-The CD
So 25 makes me feel like a grown up. Somehow 4 years of marriage and 2 kids hasn't made me feel grown up, but being 25 does.

August 7, 2008

A much-needed update!

Okay, I'm back. I know you (and yes, I mean you, Entire World!) have been holding your breath waiting for an update from the Kopers. Well, you can breath now. Here it is. Life has been busy here lately, so here is a nice, long update with PLENTY of pictures.

First of all, our visit with my sisters and brother-in-law was a BLAST! It was SO good to see my beautiful sisters and just hang out and watch old home movies and laugh and talk and go shopping (Cara can shop Holly and I under the table without blinking, she wore us out!). Here are some great pictures from the week:

Gabby loves her Uncle Joe. She was crawling on his lap ALL week.

Steven also loves Uncle Joe. Uncle Joe is SO COOL!

Holly and Jr with Steven. They are such a wonderful Aunt and Uncle. They just love my kids so much.

Here is Gabby in the UT Cheerleading outfit that Uncle Joe and Aunt Holly just HAD to buy for her.

The girls hanging out at Canyon Lake. The water was so nice.

The dark ball is Steven's head! He loves to swim. He's quite the little fish!

Group picture at the lake.

Cara and I took the kids for a bike-ride to the park one evening. Here we are on the slide. Not too sure what Steven is doing in Gabby's ear, she doesn't seem to mind it though.

Aunt Cara with a Gabby-in-a-basket.

Aunt Cara is such a fun Aunt. She spent so much time with the kids. They colored and read books and watch movies. It was so sweet to see my baby sister with them.

So that was our week with Holly and Jr and Cara. I was sad to see them leave. Holly and I cried at the airport when we had to say goodbye and I was just as sad to see Cara go, but at least I know I'll see her in a few months for Thanksgiving here at our house. (I'll be hosting my first Thanksgiving....EEEEK!)

I've been trying to get the kids back on their normal schedule since they all left. They were both staying up SO late and sleeping really late, too. It was nice but now it's time to back to 8:00 bedtimes and 7:30-8:00 waking up. I already notice Steven being a little less crabby now that he's on his normal schedule again.

After the family left (and my house was strangely quiet) Steve and I decided to do some cleaning and organizing. The time we've been here has flown by and in less time than that, it'll be time to move so we decided to clean out the basement and try to get rid of some stuff. We didn't get rid of much, but we did get everything organized a lot better. Also, a while ago, Steven's dresser broke (it was a cheap one we got for $20 on Craig's list, so we weren't surprised) and we don't want to buy a new one, so we did some organizational dresser-swapping. We moved all of my clothes to Steve's dresser, all of Steve's clothes to the closet to be hung up or put into a hanging shelf-unit and my dresser into Steven's room and the broken dresser to curb.

Our very organized basement storage pile. Notice the labeled We'll never lose anything (yeah right). How on earth do we have this much stuff in our basement?

The last few days I have put quite a few hours on the old sewing machine. For Steven's birthday, I made him a new comforter for his bed. He' really into Disney's Cars and I found a few comforters but didn't like them much. Most were too thick and heavy (he's a HOT sleeper, always sweaty) and the thinner ones just weren't very cute. So I made him one and finished it this week. Then I had all these scraps and was on a roll with the sewing machine and decided to make a purse. No, not a Cars purse....although that would make me a pretty cool mom in Steven's eyes!

My new "Purses by Leah" Bag. Click on it to enlarge, and admire my stitching. Go ahead, you know you want to....Actually don't. There are lots of little strings that need trimming. Just admire from a-far.

Steven's new bed-spread (shhhhh, don't tell him)

Gabby has developed a new "skill" this week. It's super fun. Watch this video, then read on.

That is the sound my sweet Gabby has learned to make EVERY time she doesn't like something. She turns into a velociraptor. Steven takes her toy, velociraptor. I try to changer he diaper, velociraptor. She runs out of cheerios, velociraptor. I put her down when she wants to be held, velociraptor. I pick her up when she wants to be down, get the idea. She's not crying. She's not sad. She's just....a velociraptor. Often, it is accompanied with a violent fall to the floor, face on the floor little "fit" of velociraptor-ness. Any tips? How do you get a 10-month-old to stop being a crazy dinosaur?

Tomorrow, we have a big squadron picnic out at the lake. Steve has to be out there early for a mandatory pre-fun meeting and since it's a pretty long drive, I don't want to drive separately so the kids and I are joining him with a trip to the lake at 7:30am. Woo-hoo. However, it will give me a chance to walk with the stroller for about an hour and get some good exercises in while he's at the meeting. Today is day 3 of my diet. I started out the month of July 6 pounds lighter than I am now. I gained it all while Steve's family was here over the 4th and then this last week with my sisters. I know 6 pounds is not really much but my pants just don't fit like they did a month ago so....the diet is on. I had one slip-up today. I had a coke. Yep. It's bad. But it was so good. But I made up for it by cutting some other areas. Tomorrow is going to be really hard. A picnic with all kids of baked goods and yummy sodas and a roasted pig (actually, a giant roasting carcass doesn't sound that appetizing to me but from what I hear, it's pretty yummy). Here is the plan I try to stick to each day. It worked wonders after I had Gabby and hopefully it will work out well now:

6 oz grain (1/2 must be WHOLE grains)
2 1/2 cups vegetables
2 cups fruit
5.5 oz meat or beans
3 cups milk (or cheese or yogurt)
150 calories "extras"

I try to stick to that each day and save the "extra" calories for the end of the day. That's my favorite part. Sitting down with a much-deserved chocolate-something, cookies, brownies, I had my coke so here I sit with no evening snack. Oh well. That coke was good. I'll just sit here and remember how good it was.....mmmmm. When I follow the plan EXACTLY, it leaves me REALLY full. Not I'm-on-a-diet-full, but actually full, like I-can't-eat-another-bite-full and I like that. I hate being hungry. Let's just hope I can stick to it and get these extra pounds off soon!

Okay, so now you're all caught up!