Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sew What?: January

Yeah! I have finally gotten back into a sewing groove. (Thanks to my hubby who gave me a whole Saturday to sew one weekend.) However, I seem to be stuck in some kind of t-shirt rut. Anyway, here are some things I have made the past month. I even managed to get a couple of photos of the kids modeling my handiwork.

A pink minky snowflake for Claire.

And a matching blue snowflake for brother.

I absolutely love this skirt. I am thinking about making one for myself it is so CUTE. It is one of my new Portobello Pixie patterns I mentioned here. I put a patch on a plain white t-shirt with some of the extra fabric for a matching top. I think Claire can wear this now with brown leggings or tights and when it warms up with sandals and a short-sleeve t-shirt. Very versatile!

Another patch t-shirt to match some green corduroy pants left over from a Christmas outfit.

I love this new octopus monogram. It will definitely be on summer outfits for the kids. But, I couldn't wait to try it out on a onesie for David to wear now.

Another patch t-shirt. Do you see a pattern her. Honestly, I think this patch will come in handy to cover up holiday monograms and get longer wear out of tops/outfits or to even cover up a nasty stain.

A Valentine shirt for Claire. I actually finished it in time for her to wear it several times before the 14th. Yeah for me. Now, I just have to keep it clean!

Baby brother got a valentine shirt too.

I actually cut out and appliqued this dress last fall. Yikes. I just now got around to sewing it up. Fortunately, it was a size too big last year so it fits perfect now. My procrastination paid off.

My mom smocked this dress for Claire. Its been a work in progress for about 2 years now. In her defense, the smocking pattern was horrible and each of those elephants were probably re-done about 3 times each. She finally got it finished and I offered to hem it for her. Now it will be ready to wear when Bama starts their championship season in 2009.

That is all for this month. My goal for February is to work on birthday and Easter outfits for the kids.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday?

It is cold (and snowing) outside right now. So, I thought I would share my two favorite soup recipes. These are both from a sweet family friend from Will's Dad's church in Alabama. These are staples in our house during the winter-time, and, if I've every brought you a meal (for new baby, illness, etc.), chances are you had one of these.

Easy Potato Soup
1 large can (like 48oz. size) chicken broth
1 (2-lb.) bag of hash brown potatoes (Will's likes the cubed potatoes best, but shredded potatoes will work too)
1 large onion, chopped
1 pint whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste
Cook onion in broth until softened. Add potatoes. Cook 15-20 minutes. Add whipping cream, salt and pepper. Thicken with cornstarch or flour if desired (mix with a little water before adding to soup). Top with bacon bits and grated cheese. Serves: 4-6.

Taco Soup
1-lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can chili beans
2 can water
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
Brown meat and onion; drain. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Serve with corn chips and shredded cheese. Serves: 4-6.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Update on David

We went to the doctor for David's 9-month well check today and ... all was well! His head is still big (>97th percentile), but its growth has finally started to plateau off so the doctor is not concerned about anything (other than he has a big head). Praise the Lord!

On another note, apparently his body is working extra hard to hold that big head up and he is starting to slim down a bit (or maybe it is all the crawling and cruising). Today he weighed 19-1/2 pounds (25th percentile) and was 29-1/2 inches long (75th percentile). These are numbers I am used to! Claire was always very low on the weight chart and a little above average in height.

Friday, January 23, 2009

25 Random Things about M-E!

This is all the craze on Facebook right now so I thought I would post my list here since (1) I have not posted in a while and (2) it does not require pictures (see #1). If you read this and want to play along, leave a comment with the link to your own blog so I can read all about you.

1. I have flat feet.

2. I married my high school sweetheart.

3. I am adopted.

4. I was born in Houston, Texas.

5. I love coffee. I drink 2-3 cups a day. I started drinking coffee when I got married so I would not waste the pot of coffee we had to make for my hubby each day.

6. I love all things Disney. My husband and I have been to Disneyworld every year since 2001.

7. I love to plan and organize things ... events, meals, closets, etc. I would like to become better at executing all of those well laid plans.

8. I was very overweight in high school. I'm not going to give you a number, but I lost 40 pounds between my sophomore and junior years. I lost an additional 15-20 the year after I graduated from college.

9. My middle name is Claire, which is also my daughter's name.

10. My undergraduate degree is in psychology. I wanted to continue and get my Ph.D. and teach college students, but decided law school was more practical. I wish I had gone to nursing school instead. Can you say "job security."

11. I have never gone to a movie alone, but I think it would be nice.

12. I am afraid that my children will have weight problems like me, but I don't want to be one of "those" moms.

13. I played softball in high school. My position was catcher.

14. The song "You are Worthy (Prince of Peace)" makes me happy ... and a little winded after singing the chorus.

15. I love to write with sharpie markers, especially when I am marking things off a list.

16. When I was little, I wanted to be a doctor and a mountain climber.

17. I would love to make a quilt one day soon with my big basket of fabric scraps in my sewing room.

18. My children are my proudest accomplishments and the joy of my life.

19. We are huge Alabama football fans. My husband and I are both alumni.

20. I wish I had not had a serious boyfriend in college. But, I also know that I might not be where I am in life today had I not gone down that road, and for that, I am thankful.

21. We have the best next door neighbors in the world. We love hanging out with them on their back porch after work (when it is warmer of course).

22. I wish I had the girlfriends that I had now when I was in college. I have great friends!

23. In law school, I observed Lent every year even though I am not Catholic. One year I gave up pizza (you eat a lot of pizza in law school) and one year I gave up caffeine. (Obviously, that was long before children.)

24. I would like to run a 5K this year. That is a big goal since I have not run more than one mile since I got pregnant with my daughter in 2005.

25. I lived in Auburn for one year after I graduated from college.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Art of Manipulation

My almost 3-year-old knows it well. Will put the kids in the car this morning for me to take Claire to MDO. The following is a conversation I had with Claire in the car on the way there.
Claire: "Mommy, can I watch a show?"

Me: "No. Let's not watch a show right now because we aren't going to be in the car for very long."

Claire: "My Daddy said I could watch a show."
Nice. Life as we now know it is over.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday?

Tonight we had this for dinner. It is easy to make and involves a crock-pot. Two of my favorite things. I think that next time I make it I will add green peas or roasted asparagus to give it a little more flavor. It was fine without it too though.

I thought we might have a cooking disaster of Christmas Vacation turkey proportions when I called Will on my way home from work. I had asked him to turn the crock-pot off and shred the chicken when he got home from work one hour before me. He said the chicken was pretty dry. With that being said, next time, I will add a little more water to the crock-pot so my chicken will not dry out. However, the chicken ended up being fine when shredded and mixed with the sauce. Recipe below.

Chicken and Mushrooms over Linguine (from
3 chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper
1/4c. water
16oz. pkg. linguine (I used whole grain pasta)
1/4c. butter
8oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
1c. dry white wine
1 can cream of chicken soup

Place seasoned chicken and water in crock-pot; cook all day on low. Remove chicken from crock-pot; let cool slightly. Shred. Prepare pasta. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and wine; bring to a boil while scraping the bottom of skillet. Remove from heat; add soup. Whisk until smooth. Add shredded chicken. Stir to combine. Serve over hot pasta. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese (optional). Yield: 4-6 servings.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

David: 9 months old

This has been a busy month. David is growing so quickly!! Here is the monthly update:

He is still a big boy. He weighed just under 19 pounds when we saw the doctor the week after Christmas with a double ear infection. {That was NO FUN for anybody. David was miserable and could not sleep. We felt like we had a newborn again. He ran a high fever (between 102-104) and slept sitting up in his car seat for 3 nights. We were relieved when the antibiotic kicked in and after about a week, he was back to 100% and my smiley, happy boy.} We haven't had the 9-month well check yet so I don't have the official 9-month weight, height, etc.

He still has a big head! 97th percentile to be exact. I like to think that means he has lots of brain power. However, the doctor is a little more concerned (but not much). Hopefully, his head growth will plateau out at his next well check and we will not have to move forward with a CAT scan. The doctor (and us) are not too worried because he is developmentally normal and big sister had a big head too!

He is starting to interact so much more with Claire. In the picture below, she had put a ball in his pocket when they were playing one day. (Claire is obsessed with pockets right now.) He loves to play with her toys, which are usually things he shouldn't be playing with for safety reasons (e.g., crayons, dress-up jewelry).

He started crawling last week. Finally! He is getting into everything now. I did not have to do much babyproofing with Claire, but I have a feeling that will not be the case with David. In addition to the crawling, he has mastered the transition from tummy to rump (both directions).

Like his sister, he is quite the chatty cathey. He has mastered the "ba-ba", "da-da" and "ma-ma" sounds. He likes to talk himself to sleep and Will and I joke that he is calling for one or the other when he needs to be soothed.

He loves to play peek-a-boo and will pull his bib up over his face when he is wearing one. He gets the biggest grin when you pull it away from his face and squeal "peek-a-boo".

He is eating finger foods now. He loves puffs and cheerios and will eat pretty much anything you put in front of him. Other than oatmeal at breakfast and applesauce, we are pretty much off the baby food. Mainly because HE HAS SIX TEETH! Four on top and two on the bottom. I am afraid he is going to be my biter!

On a closing note, her is a picture of David's first Christmas. We took the same photo of Claire during her first Christmas in 2006 (they were the exact same age). See if you can tell which one is which.

ANSWER: the first picture is David. the second picture (with the wagon) is Claire. I am still in awe of how much they look alike. For a girl who was adopted and never looked like anyone in her family, it is a special blessing to have 2 kids who look so much alike and look like me!

A Baby Shower for Candice

Okay ... so I am a little behind already and it is only JANUARY! We have had a busy month with work, sickness, travel, etc.

On with the show. Two weekends ago, I loaded up the kids (and Meme) and headed to Alabama for a baby shower. I helped host this shower for my sweet friend Candice. She is having her third baby!! And, after two precious little boys ... she is finally getting a little GIRL! We are tickled pink!

Here is a recent pic of her two boys. They don't know what they have coming! Aren't they the cutest kids? Little sister will definitely have her hands full (or maybe vice versa).

Look at this beautiful table. I say that I "helped" with this shower, but all I really did was bring the cute basket of muffins and some apples. I made a very tasty toffee dip for the apples and I have posted the recipe below. Unfortunately, the dip missed its ride to the shower and I could not return to get it 2+ hours away. BTW, lists are much more helpful when you actually READ THEM!
Shower idea: we had lots of cute "pink" treats sitting out. (See the wine glass full of treats under the flower arrangement.) Valentine M&Ms are white, light pink and dark pink. Strawberry whoppers and junior mints make for a cute pink/brown combination (and they are quite tasty).

Mommy of 3 to be Candice with Laura, Heather (standing), me and Kaisha (kneeling).

Laura serves up some friendship tea. That is really what it's called. If I had the recipe, I would share it too, but I don't ... so I won't. Take my word for it ... it was yummy!

Candice opening gifts. This little gal will want for NOTHING!

Claire went to the shower too so she could play with her friend Mattie. Mattie's mom, Kaisha, is one of my BFF's from high school and these girls were born about 6 weeks apart. They had a lot of fun playing together. (See below.)

I love this picture so much and I HATE that it is so freakin' blurry! I am going to try and doctor it up on Photoshop, but this was all I could manage tonight.

Now for the dip recipe. Take 8oz. pkg. of cream cheese and mix with 3/4c. brown sugar, 1/2c. white sugar and 1t. vanilla. (I never said it was healthy. And, dipping apples in this removes any nutritional value gained from eating apples.) Let sit in fridge overnight. Add heath toffee bits right before serving. (I usually use 1/2 bag, but add more or less to your liking.) Serve with sliced apples.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday?

Tonight we are having leftovers of this recipe. It is a new one I tried on Sunday as part of my new year's resolutions to (1) do a better job of meal planning each week and (2) stay within our grocery budget. So far, so good. I used mozzarella cheese this time, but I think I will use cheddar or Colby jack cheese next time to give it a little more pizazz.

Claire ate this stuff up, which is also another new year's resolution: Claire will eat what we eat for dinner. I am not a short-order cook. She can eat her hot dogs, chicken nuggets and fish sticks for lunch, but for dinner, she is eating what we eat or she is not eating at all. She has been very good about at least trying one bite of something before she completely refuses to eat it. I think she liked this so much because of the green peas, which is a favorite at our house.

Hamburger Hash Brown Casserole (from
4c. frozen hash browns
1lb. ground beef
1c. diced onion
salt and pepper
10oz. pkg. frozen peas
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1c. milk
1c. shredded cheese
1/2 can (or more) French fried onion rings

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9x13-inch pan. Cover bottom of pan with hash browns. Brown ground beef and onion; drain. Add on top of hash browns. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add peas. Mix soup and milk; pour over casserole. Top with cheese and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and top with french fried onions. Return to over with heat turned off for 15 minutes. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My new look

Pardon the mess. I am doing a little redecorating around the blog. I hope to have it all cleaned up soon!

Winter Photo Shoot


On Friday, I took the kids downtown for some pictures with our favorite photographer, Miss Jadie. Click here to see a few pics from her blog. David is now 9 months old and Claire is almost 3. They both look SO GROWN UP! I can't believe how time flies. I will post more photos later this week once I decide on my faves (which will be a hard job).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

More Photoshop Fun

I have enjoyed getting to play with my new Photoshop program and learning little by little how to edit my photos. Last night I figured out how to make this hand ...


Fantastic Finds

Go to Harolds. Don't walk. Run!

Harolds is going out of business and the entire store is 80%. The store is only open for 9 more days. I have never shopped at Harolds before, but my always fashionable friend JJ has shopped there on occasion and always has cute stuff. So, when I ventured by there this morning on my way to Ann Taylor Loft to spend my Christmas gift cards, I had to stop by and check out this AWESOME sale. I got three spring dresses and one top for $70.76. Original total for these items would have been a whopping $584.00.

After that, I floated to Ann Taylor Loft to spend my gift cards. They were having a great sale too. All sale items were an extra 25% off. Sweet! I got two sweaters, two blouses and two pair of dress pants for $85. Minus my $50 gift card, that was only $35 out of pocket.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday: Chocolate Goodness

Yum! Now that everyone is on their New Year's diet, I thought I would share some of my favorite chocolate recipes. Boo Mama recently reminded me of an old childhood favorite that made a repeat appearance during my pregnancy with David, which is what got me to thinking about ... CHOCOLATE!

Chocolate Cobbler
This recipe was a gift at one of my wedding showers from a sweet lady at my father-in-law's church. It is not one of Will's faves, but I think it is simply delicious warm out of the oven topped with vanilla ice cream. It is a recipe from the Depression era so it is also very cheap to make.

Melt 1/2 stick butter or margarine in 8x8 baking dish. (Cooking times may vary if you use a larger dish.)

Batter: 2/3c. sugar, 1-1/2T. cocoa, 1/2c. milk, 1c. self-rising flour and 1t. vanilla. Pour batter into buttered dish and mix.

Topping: 1/2c. sugar, 1/4c. cocoa and 1/2c. chopped nuts (optional). Sprinkle on top of batter.

Pour 1-1/2c. water on top of all. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Serves: 6-8.

Chocolate Gravy
1c. sugar
1T. butter
1-1/2c. milk
2T. flour
3T. cocoa powder
Mix all dry ingredients in a heavy saucepan with a whisk. Stir in the milk. Cook over medium heat stirring constrantly. Remove the pot when the mixture is thick like pudding. Add the butter. Stir in until completely melted. Serve over biscuits with a pat of butter on top. Serves: 6.

Hot Cocoa Mix
6-1/2c. powdered milk
1 (5oz.) pkg. non-instant chocolate pudding mix
1c. powdered chocolate drink mix
1/2c. powdered non-dairy creamer
1/2c. powdered sugar
1/2c. cocoa
Combine all in large bowl and store in two 1-quart jars. These can be stored in a dry area for up to 3 months (or longer). To prepare cocoa, dissolve 1/3c. cocoa mix in 1c. boiling water. Serves: 24.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Blog Tag: Round 2

Yikes!! I've been tagged by Melissa. This is fun and I thought it would be a nice short post. Here were my instructions:

a.) choose the 4th picture folder on your computer

b.) choose the 4th picture

c.) explain the picture

d.) tag 4 people

This is Claire (obviously) shortly after she turned one. I love all the details about her in this photo. She is sitting in her favorite chair (her first birthday gift from mommy and daddy) probably watching Little Einsteins. (That was her favorite show long before The Wiggles or Dora the Explorer came along.) She has her chubby little cheeks full of her cereal snack of Kix. Her favorite purple passy is sitting by her snack bowl so it can go back into her mouth when she is finished eating. And she is wearing one of my absolute favorite outfits from that age-her cute little pink Polo dress. This was such a fun age with Claire. I can't wait to share this time with David, but this picture sadly reminds me how quickly times does fly.

Okay ... now I have to tag 4 people. I tag ...

(1) Candice because she hasn't updated her blog in a really long time and needs some inspiration.

(2) Jennifer W. because I am curious to see if she will respond.

(3) Lindsey because she tagged me once before and it is only fair that I tag her back.

(4) Caacie because I have not tagged her before.

I can't wait to see your pics!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pretty, Pretty Princess

Yesterday, Claire and I went to my niece's 3rd birthday party that was a Pirate and Princess party. Apparently, the pirates did not get the memo to dress up. (Dylan and Stone below.)

Claire and I, along with the other princesses were there in full regalia.

Birthday girl Evie blows out her candle on her princess cupcake.

Princess Evie and Tinkerbell (Maggie) share a secret over cupcakes.

What every princess needs ... a princess memory game.

Time for a princess treasure hunt.

Yeah! A treasure chest. Everyone gets to pick a prize.

The perfect ending to every princess party ... some one-on-one time with a real, live turtle! Claire wouldn't go near that thing and the turtle was pretty content to stay in his shell.

Me and my sis Ashley ... she always throws a good party and reminds me that I should wear eyeliner.

Our pretty, pretty princesses ... Claire and Evie.
What every princess needs after a long day of partying ... a NAP with her prince. {Claire really is asleep!}
And they all lived happily ever after. The End.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Famous last words ...

"My kids do not spit up." I actually spoke this to someone when David was about 6-7 months old. And at the time, it was true. Claire never spit-up/vomited unless she was sick and that was rare. I rarely have to use burp cloths when I feed David anymore ... until this week.

{On a side note, you know you're a parent of young children if ... you blog about your child's projectile vomiting. Anyway, on with the post.}

Embarrassing spit-up/projectile vomit moment #1: Will took the kids to his parents' house on Monday and Tuesday this week so he could play golf and I could work (and his parents' could watch the kids). I did not get to see Claire before I went to work on Monday morning and my co-workers are always wanting me to bring the kids by the office so Will brought the kids by the office for a quick visit on his way out of town. Right before they were about to leave, David started projectile vomiting all over my carpeted office floor. IT. WAS. DISGUSTING! We took David's romper off and he left in his onesie turtleneck and Will had to go back home before he left town to change clothes. Needless to say, David will not be making any appearances at my office again any time soon.

Embarrassing spit-up/projective vomit moment #2: Our sweet friends from church (and fellow Alabama fans), Jay and Jennie, came over to watch the Sugar Bowl tonight. About 10 minutes into the game (when Alabama was down a whopping 21-0), right after David finished his bottle, Jennie asked to hold David. (I had just finished telling her the office story.) David spits up a little. Jennie: "Oh, its not too bad." And then he proceeds to continue the projectile vomit all over both Jay and Jennie. YUCK! A quick, impromptu bath of David, several towels and washcloths for the adults, and a few sprays of Febreeze later, the game was back on. Perhaps David's incident was a foreshadowing of how the game was going to end for us Alabama fans ... we were just SICK!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sew What?: December

Late is better than never, right? Not much sewing this month. I did manage to applique 3 little things for the kids to wear during the holiday season and 2 tops for my niece and nephew as part of their Christmas gift. I think they turned out pretty cute. I did not stress myself out and try to sew anything for them to wear during Christmas otherwise. Maybe I'll plan ahead better next (I mean this) year.

Okay ... I have searched all of my pictures and can't find any of the tops I made except the one I made for my niece.

Just take my word for it ... the others were really cute! Here are some pics of the appliques I used. I got them here.