Saturday, May 31, 2008

Craftiness & A Birthday Party!






What a day!  It started out creating these adorable candle holders at one of my Craft Days hosted by Kate(I am now addicted to beading and glass etching...how many hobbies can a girl have?)...followed by a trip to a frame store & Michaels & DQ(for the birthday ice cream cake...yum!)...and ended with a fabulous birthday party!  I am both exhausted and spoiled rotten!  


The birthday party was a joint celebration for Andy's mom, Andy, and I.  We had fun spoiling Nana Ann (Andy's mom) this year!  AJ made her these adorable pieces of artwork for her office at work, we framed her two pics of AJ from our patriotic photo shoot in Missouri(not pictured here), gave her the Craft Day candle holders, the Nana sign pictured here, and a bike helmet.  She loved every bit of it!  We plan to replace her office pictures every year with updated art and place the old art in a scrapbook album.  What a fun tradition and treasured album that will become over the years.  I love traditions!  

I also framed two of the patriotic pics of AJ, Jenna, & Jamie to add to our family pictures!  I love getting pics framed!  

& to the spoiled rotten part...Andy's parents gifted me with Picture Mate making it possible for me to print single 4 x 6 pictures in my classroom!  Now my students will not have to wait weeks to get their "Star of the Week" books!  I am super excited about my new classroom photo printing abilities!  AND....a Tune Cast Auto for my iPhone....so I can listen to my fave tunes that are on my iPhone in the yellow submarine!  You will be glad to know that it also charges my phone, taking care of my lack of remembering to charge my phone problem...Did I say spoiled?!  

  

Refreshing Lime Slush


Nothing quenches my thirst on a hot summer day quite like a Lime drink...Lime Slush...Limeade...Margarita!  


I made this for a Memorial Day BBQ we went to.  Although in my usual "running late trying to get everyone out of the house in clean clothes looking presentable and have some amazing side dish" frenzy...it didn't have time to freeze, so it works wells as a Limeade as well as a Lime Slush.

Ingredients:
11 cups of water
3 cups of sugar 
3/4 cup limeade concentrate
2 liters lemon-lime soda, chilled
Lime slices are optional

Directions:
In a 4-qt. freezer container, combine the water, sugar and limeade concentrate until sugar is dissolved; cover and freeze.  (Or not if your behind schedule)  Remove from the freezer several hours before serving.  (Yeah Right!)  Chop mixture until slushy.  (You wish!)  Add soda just before serving.  Garnish with lime slices if you are an over achiever.  Yields: 5 and 1/2 quarts (a massive 30 servings)...that's another part I didn't notice...we still have limeade in our fridge.   

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Back to Work I Go...BLEH! PUKE!!!


So, back to the real world where people get up before 9:30am, bathe, and go out into the work force.  I do love my treasured three weeks with AJ, but they always come to a shattering holt...and I move back into my classroom.  Literally, I MOVE back into my classroom.  I HATE MOVING, and yet here I am in a job where I pack up and move every nine weeks...and then unpack it three weeks later.  I do love my job, it's just hard to go back to working after three weeks of doing whatever I want to in full neglect of my personal hygiene.   

AJ looked at me like I was crazy when I woke him up at 6:30 this morning...then he stumbled out of bed and fell over like a drunk sailor...little did he know I nearly killed his father when he woke up an hour earlier as I suffered similar disorientation.

And now I leave you with a nasty Skype bug that fluttered by tonight.  Love ya!     

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Scrapbook, A Ride in a Burley and An Herb Garden



















Today I ventured outside the typical realm of scrapbooking and made an acrylic album!  Acrylic albums are all the rage in the cropping world right now, and I jumped on that wagon with both feet.  I wish I could take credit for this great creation, but I just paid $15, showed up at Archivers, and followed directions.  Archivers offers fabulous classes!  I love the color scheme and trendy distressed style of this album and can't wait to fill it with my family photos!  

It was a gorgeous day here and we took advantage!  Andy and AJ went for a bike ride and Andy and I spent AJ's entire nap time working in the yard.  Check out Andy and AJ's helmets!  We wrapped up the daylight by planting flowers around our tree out front.  

I also caved and gave Andy his birthday gift early today.  I have been planning Andy's fresh herb garden for a while now, but I needed his help with the final steps of which herbs to buy.  A friend called this afternoon to let me know she spotted a great selection of fresh herbs at Whole Foods and I didn't want to miss the boat.  Happy Early Birthday to Andy and Mojitos with fresh mint for me!  


Friday, May 23, 2008

NCIS Season Finale: WOW!


If you have never watched NCIS, you are missing out.  I don't watch much TV, but this is one I cannot pass up.  It is a show that follows a fictional team of Naval Criminal Investigative Service Major Case Response Team (NCIS MCRT) special agents.  


NCIS is a federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction on crimes involving people associated with the U. S. Navy and U. S. Marine Corps.  

Last night Andy and I stayed up until 1:30am watching episodes we had recorded and didn't have time to watch yet.  The season finale left me in tears.  I felt like an idiot as I collected myself, saying, "It is only a show.  These people aren't real."  When you have to tell yourself this as you turn off the TV, you know it was worth staying up until 1:3o in the morning to watch.  

I will not tell you what happens.  I will tell you to go out and watch every season you can get your hands on.  It's even better than Law & Order: SVU

Thursday, May 22, 2008

This Is What Happens...

when a tech junkie has too much time and a toddler that is practicing his colors! video

And A Cherry On Top


I know summer is on its way when I spot cherries at the grocery store!  AJ & I have a new addiction!  Last night we had cherries as a pre-dinner snack, a side with dinner, and dessert!  This morning we had cherries with breakfast! 

Tis the season to pull out the cherry pitter and enjoy!  I have never owned a cherry pitter until now, and I don't know how survived without such an essential utensil.  It is totally worth the $13 investment.     


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Gifts To and From





Today turned out to be a very laid back, productive day.  AJ, Sock Monkey (AJ's new partner in crime) and I met Kate for lunch at Panera.  I had their Strawberry Poppyseed salad...amazing!  I really felt like a stay at home mom this week meeting AJ's friends at the park for play dates and meeting Kate for a nice lunch in the middle of the week.  From Panera we ventured to Babies R Us where AJ took possession of the coolest toddler invention ever!  It is pictured here.  It will save many tears as it blocks the soap and water from his face during bathtime.  Someone is a genius!   


I also made a couple photo holders as gifts for Andy's cousin who just got confirmed in the Catholic Church...when you can't find a religious gift that doesn't seem lame to a teenager...I say...make photo holders!  Random, I know, but I was at a loss for what to do.  

I also snagged a cute Doodlebook frame for Andy's other cousin that is graduating from High School tomorrow.  It has a pad of pages that act as a frame that you can write or color on...I think this is dorm worthy for a recent grad...don't you...we will throw in a few dollars and I am sure she will love it!

And now to the gifts FROM.  I have the greatest little sister ever!  I just received a fabulous book I oh so subtly requested in the mail!  I can't wait to get started on some new projects!  I Love you sis!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Play Date and A Party!




Today has been a fun filled day of playing at a mega park with AJ's daycare buddies and preparing for dad's big arrival home.  Andy only travels once a year for work and AJ and I HATE every second of it!  He has been gone for eternity...well...or just 6 days.  


Here are pictures of AJ at the park with his friends and our party preparations for welcoming dad home!  I love him more than chocolate covered strawberries, sleeping in and scrapbooking!  AJ loves him more than playing in water, bananas, and his Old MacDonald Baby Einstein DVD!  Now, that's a lot!  

Colorful Stitchery




I am into embroidery like you wouldn't believe!  

Think antique/funky/vintage/country chic and you have embroidery!  

I was introduced to this magnificent hobby at a "Craft Day" that I partake in once a month.  Each month three of us get together, alternating who hosts and comes up with projects.  I have to admit, I was reluctant at first...thinking... embroidery...how lame?  I love it!  I even requested a book full of how to projects and step-by-step stitch instructions for my birthday.  I can't keep up with my project ideas!  

Here are my first two projects.  One is a onsie I made for a friend that is having a baby girl.  The other is a t-shirt I made for AJ to wear on his 2nd birthday party!  Did I mention I love this craft?!  Give it a try, and I bet you will be pleasantly surprised too!  

Monday, May 19, 2008

"If a pot is cooking, the friendship will stay warm." -Arab Proverb



I got up early, cleaned house, made a grocery list, went to the grocery store, went to a craft store, bought AJ his entire spring and summer wardrobe for only $40 and made lemon cookies today...all with AJ on my hip.  He is plum tuckered out.  


What sparked this domestic whirl wind, you may ask?  

Tonight I had a dinner date!  And not with my husband either.  It's not scandalous...this is a family blog.  One of my good friends came over and we talked, cooked, and had a dance party right in my kitchen!  AJ even joined in singing Laaa, Laaa, La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, laaaa to Yael Naim's New Soul and shaking his groove thing.  What could be better than visiting with a friend while expressing your culinary creativity?  

This is our second cooking get together, and I can hardly contain myself waiting for our next one!  On the menu for next time is a gourmet dinner salad and experimenting with creme brulee!  I have been so intimidated by that creme brulee torch in my kitchen cabinet until now!

Today's menu featured lemon cookies, tortilla soup, and cheese-stuffed jalapenos.  I hope you enjoy these tasty treasures as much as we did!

Lemon Cake Cookies

Ingredients:
1 (18 oz) package lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon extract (I substituted lemon juice)
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar







Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Stir cake mix, eggs, oil, and lemon extract until well blended.  
  3. Roll dough into small balls, roll in confectioners' sugar until lightly covered.
  4. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 6 to 9 minutes.  The bottoms will be light brown and the inside chewy.  (unless you overbake everything like me...ha!)
Cheese-Stuffed Jalapenos

Ingredients:
25 medium fresh jalapeno peppers (I only used 5 and quartered the rest of the ingred.)
1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, softened
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 bacon strips, cooked& crumbled

Directions:
  1. Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise; remove seeds and membranes.  (Don't touch your eyes)
  2. In a large saucepan, boil peppers in water for 5-10 minutes(longer time=more mild).
  3. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  4. Beat cream cheese, cheddar cheese, & Worcestershire sauce.  Spoon into peppers; sprinkle with bacon.
  5. Bake at 4oo degrees for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  
Tortilla Soup (from Kate, thanks Kate!  This one has become a family favorite!)
Ingredients:
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 (14.5 oz) cans of chicken broth
1 can of whole corn kernels (not drained)
1 cup of chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup chunky salsa (I just dump a whole jar)
2 servings of rice cooked

Optional, but highly suggested:
tortilla chips
shredded cheddar
sour cream

Directions:
  1. Cut chicken into bite size pieces and saute in oil for 5 minutes
  2. Add garlic and cumin, mix well.
  3. Add broth, corn, onion, chili powder, and salsa.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Serve with optional ingredients.
*This soup freezes and reheats in a crock pot well.

 

Sunday, May 18, 2008

AJ has a thing for teddy bears...

and for sleeping in his bed upside down.  

A Green Thumb and Basement Shopping





This morning we checked on our flowers we planted yesterday, went basement shopping, and planted strawberries! 


Yesterday we planted petunias.  My favorite part of spring every year is planting bright flowers for our planters out front.  This year AJ got to partake in the tradition.  He was pretty much just into his red shiny new watering tin, much to my disappointment...I wanted him to dig into the dirt and get muddy.  Oh well, maybe next year.  Water is rather distracting.  We did peak some curiosity though because today he was psyched to plant the strawberry seeds he found in the basement. 

In an effort to keep AJ's toys from taking over the house we go through and bring some to the basement every now and then.  After a while we rotate toys from the basement back up and send some down.  AJ loves this because it is like getting new toys.  Andy and I love this because his "new" toy keep him entertained longer.  Well, we have developed a new routine that any time Andy or I have to go down to the basement (AJ following close behind), AJ gets to pick a toy or two to bring back upstairs.  Basement shopping is a saving grace on rainy or cold days when we can't go outside to play.

Today when I ventured downstairs to reset the internet, AJ found all kinds of new and exciting loot.  We came back upstairs with a soccer ball from mom's childhood, a yellow bug, a pillow great grandma Mimi made, a yellow sand bucket, strawberry seeds with a mini greenhouse, and a Dr. Seuss hat.  This should keep him entertained for about...3o minutes...maybe 40 with planting the strawberry seeds.  

  

 

Saturday, May 17, 2008

4 jobs I've had:

  1. Server at Perkins (They have the best potato pancakes and peanut butter cup pie! mmm, yum, yum as AJ would say)
  2. Cashier at Nell Hills (and my house looks great because of it!  but did I really need that many wreaths?)
  3. 7th grade Special Education teacher  (no comment) 
  4. 2nd grade teacher ( My passion for learning and creativity combined with adorable kids that love school and their amazing teacher...I have my dream job!)
4 Movies I've watched more than once:
Now this one is hard for me...I am the kind of person that only watches a movie or reads a book one time unless it is a classic...
  1. Dirty Dancing (now that is a classic...one I should own on DVD on day...I could actually justify buying that one)
  2. A Beautiful Mind (to me this was a true love story)
  3. Elf (I watch this one every Christmas for the Christmas tree scene alone..."I got it!"   CRASH!  I crack up just thinking about it.  It gets me every time.)
  4. Baby Einstein: Baby MacDonald: A Day On The Farm (I see this one multiple times a week, sometimes a day...)
4 TV Shows I can't miss:
Again this is hard for me, I don't have time to watch TV
  1. Law & Order (preferably SVU, but I'll take what I can get)
  2. NCIS (this is a new addiction...not too different from Law & Order...I am not sure what these shows say about me...)
  3. What Not To Wear (Clinton is hot...possibly gay...but still hot!)
  4. Does checking the Weather Channel for the forecast count?  (I'm lame, I know...I would much rather surf the net than watch TV...maybe I'll add that one...4 sites you waste time looking at...)
4 Places I've been
  1. I just returned from visiting Kansas & Missouri
  2. The Cayman Islands
  3. Cancun
  4. Hawaii
4 Favorite drinks
  1. Dr. Pepper
  2. Cranberry Juice (my newest addiction...tart & tangy & thirst quenching all at once!)
  3. Chai Lattes from Starbucks with Whole milk iced or hot
  4. Orange Kool Aid
4 Places I'd like to visit
  1. At the top of my bucket list: take an Alaskan cruise (I almost requested this as my honeymoon destination and went tropical at the last minute)
  2. Ireland
  3. The Grand Canyon
  4. Florida (I've been reading about some great family resorts...and this one is a bit more realistic than Ireland with a toddler.)
4 things I'm looking forward to this year
  1. Watching AJ grow.  He absolutely amazes me every second of every day.
  2. Spending more time at home with Andy & AJ.  This last year was too hectic & out of balance for me with a new job.  I love my job, but I love my family more.  
  3. Thanksgiving in Missouri (My heart is set on having a big Thanksgiving with my fam...even if we have to get creative and do something like have it the weekend before Thanksgiving to accommodate everyone, I think we need to all get together & make merry)
  4. Teaching 2nd grade & this time knowing what I am doing.  

Here is my Little Angel

Here is the Complete Picture...

I Should be Banned From All Things Sharp

So, as I hold a bandage around my left index finger because the two band-aids I have on it just aren't cutting it (ha-cutting it!) and type solely with my right hand I wonder why I have such a hard time cutting food without cutting myself.  


This morning I thought AJ and I would enjoy fresh pineapple with our waffles.  Fresh pineapple is amazing!  I'm just cutting away, thinking look at me cutting fresh fruit for my son's breakfast...what a great mom am I.  Well, as I let my domestic pride go to my head my hand slipped and I darn near cut off the tip of my left index finger.  I freaked, shear panic set in as I saw the bright red blood gush from my finger and I went running in circles screaming.  Poor AJ, he didn't know what was going on.  

You may not know this about me, but after the trauma of putting my right ring finger through a vegetable slicer a couple years ago (haven't touched that thing since) and the doctor trying to put stitches in my bony little finger...I have a freakish phobia of losing a finger...it's a seriously extreme fear that even keeps me from using the paper cutter at school.  

So, after running in circles screaming for God to be with me because I think I'm going to have to drive us to the hospital with one hand if I don't pass out first, I run down the hall to the bathroom, fend off AJ who has heard running water and is trying to climb my leg to get to the sink and the first aid kit is LACKING BAND-AIDS...really?!  As I am wrapping gobs of toilet paper around my finger, I remember the first aid kit in AJ's diaper bag.  It's a good thing I keep one well stocked in his bag, although I have yet to pull it out for him.

I get all bandaged up and lay down because I am a bit dizzy and light headed...and then I smell it...AJ's stinky poopy butt...just what I need when I am one digit down.

 

Friday, May 16, 2008

$4, The Price for Another 20 Minutes of Sleep

I like to sleep in when I am off track.  Aside from getting to hang out with AJ for three weeks, sleeping in is one of the greatest benefits of teaching year round.  

AJ leaps for joy and squeals when I finally roll out of bed and rescue him from his room that he is confined to by a baby gate.  (I know it's only a matter of time before he decides to stop humoring us and he hops the gate.)  He usually wakes up in a happy-go-lucky, pie in the sky mood and entertains himself for about an hour.  But if I linger in bed for another 20 minutes, he moves into the destructive play where he is frustrated that I have not greeted him, lifted him over the gate, and prepared his fave breakfast of cold milk, fruity oatmeal, and a banana.  

Now, if one of his innocent, unsuspecting parents has absent-mindedly left a box of wipies within toddler reach, they are sacrificed to the gods of children with slacker parents...unboxed and obliterated...shredded into tiny bits of moist scraps and scattered about the entire room. 

 I groan as I pick up the hundreds of bits of Huggies "snow" that has befallen my child's room, thinking another box slaughtered by the hands of a neglected AJ...another $4 gone...for another 20 minutes...is it worth it?  Every time this happens, (and it's been a few) I know that I should have gotten my lazy bumm out of bed when I faintly noticed the obnoxious toddler toy music had lulled.  

It's truly never a good sign when my house gets that quiet.  What's my child's vendetta against wipies anyway?  

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

And The End of My Favorite Things



And More Favorite Things







Sunflowers capture my heart.   

A Few More of My Favorite Things






























I love family photos, scrapbooks, and journals.  They keep my favorite moments alive eternally.