Saturday, February 27, 2010

get excited

My "ginormous baby shower giveaway" was such a hit, I've decided to do another one. This time however, I'll be giving away incredible mother's day gifts. Tons of great gifts for the special women in your life....or you! 3 winners will be stocking up on gifts for the entire year! I've been watching for months for the perfect items to include, but I still have a few spots open. If you have a terrific product you want me to consider, email me quick! Giveaway starts 2nd week of April. Don't worry. There will be some awesome giveaways in March too. Oh, and Monday :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Emma's Yellow Walls

Every since reading "The Yellow Wallpaper" in high school, I've been a little freaked out by, well, yellow wallpaper. Watching the PBS Emma changed my mind. Emma's living room walls Austen lingo, "quite enviable". You can watch it online until March 9th. I found it befitting a quiet evening by the fire. :)

Anyone else have an Olympic hangover? Watched figure skating until midnight, bed by one, up before 6. Worth it though. The competitors were breathtaking. (I didn't even mind that USA didn't metal. Is that bad?)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

9 Month Update


I can't believe that my baby boy is already 9 months old. The time is going much too fast. I love love love having such a sweet baby. I can honestly say that being a mom to 9 month old Collin and 4 year old Lydia is easier than it was being a mom to just 9 month old Lydia. A lot easier. I had no idea what a joy it could be to have a happy baby. Sometimes I hear him laughing in his crib in the morning and I live on that moment all day long.

9 months old and 22 pounds. I will miss those cheeks when he thins out. I probably kiss them 20 times a day.

The best news is Collin is sleeping much better. He will often sleep 10 hours in a row! No matter what I do however, he pops wide awake at 5:45am, but some babies are just early risers. Still, 5:45 am is REALLY early. Naps are still touch and go, but often I get him to take a good afternoon nap. My life is totally dictated by those naps. Bad naps = mommy has a bad day. Good naps = mommy is loving life. You can't understand that unless you've had slept deprived children. You really can't understand losing your mind until you haven't slept through the night in 8 months. (I'll still let him wear that cute onesie though. It gets me sympathy at the grocery store.)

Huge shout out to "The Sleep Lady". Her book "The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight", literally saved me. I've read every sleeping book out there (seriously, every one) and this one just meshed with my parenting style. It was all about consistency coupled with love, scheduling but not extreme. She even talks about how to get a baby to nap - instead of just saying babies "should nap" like every other book. Shocker, some babies don't just sleep when they are tired. I can't even think of the agony of trying to get baby Lydia to nap. Oh, I feel a panic attack coming on, next topic!

Anyway, thanks Sleep Lady. I'm handling life so much better now.

Watch the video below to see a glimpse of my cutie toot baby. Click here to see how much he loves to swing. Want to see Collin's adorable efforts to crawl? Click here. And seriously, you need to click this for a guaranteed smile. LOVE this baby!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

School Party Idea - Decorate your own cupcakes

Lydia's sad little peanut allergy often keeps her from joining in the fun at school functions. As such, I thought I would make sure her birthday treats were a little more exciting than the usual grocery store cupcakes.

I saved a week's worth of plastic baby food containers and filled them with homemade buttercream icing. Then I packaged some candy for decoration. Nerds, skittles, gummy worms and marshmallows. A little plastic ring to top it off.

I wrapped up the supplies along with a plastic knife and set up the preschool table with cupcakes and juice.

Some of the kids just ate the frosting and candy, some showed real culinary prowess with their decorating skills. In all it was a fun (and easy) party for a bunch of 4 year olds. Of course, I left before the sugar high hit :)

Cutest Card EVER!

My sister in law Sara always comes up with cutest cards, but this one takes cake. Just some cardstock, leftover felt, glue and thread. The best part is the front banner is on the same string as the inside name banner. Pop it out of the card and hang it up! Thanks Sara! One of these days you'll have to start blogging and do tutorials for all your cute things.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Our Valentines Day

We ended up spending a snowy Valentines weekend relaxing at home and saved the babysitter for Shane's birthday. It was perfectly lovely. Heart pancakes for breakfast, Mexican take out for dinner. The Valentine Lady made her usually sneaky appearance. At least left evidence of her visit. (Yes, those are Christmas lights still on our pillars. Shane calls it "Daddy's Shame". I call it, "Daddy works really hard, so give yourself a break.)

Sometimes a impromptu family picnic in the living room is better than reservations at a 4 star. Sometimes.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Semi-Heartfelt Apology to Tennessee

It would seem that I have some strange ability to influence the weather. At least in regards to snow. 2008 we spent Christmas in Spokane, WA and I was desperate for snow. As soon as the tickets were purchased (6 months before), I started praying for snow. Seriously. We would be saying dinner prayers in August and I would throw in a "Please bless us with snow this Christmas". If you watched the news, you probably saw that those prayers were answered. See for yourself.

Anyway, it would seem as if I have wielded this power yet again. I haven't been praying for snow here in Tennessee, but I've been wishing. If you ever look at my "Currently" sidebar, you know just how much. Well, this winter, Chattanooga has had the most snow it's seen in 20 years. Granted, that still isn't much, but it's is enough to cause crazed panic. Again, I fear it is my fault. Three weeks ago it was Lydia's birthday and I thought playing in the snow would be the perfect backdrop. We woke up to snow. Last weekend I told Shane it just didn't feel like the winter olympics with out snow. By the time the Opening Ceremonies began, the ground was covered.

So, Tennessee, I'm sorry for any inconvenience I've caused. However, I must say...BUCK UP! My word people, it is snow not acid. Stop running to the grocery store and buying up all the bread and milk because forecasters predict a chance of an inch of snow. STOP CANCELING SCHOOL when it is only flurries!!!! I am so incredibly sick of paying for preschool and they cancel the entire county because there might be snow in the forecast. Stop calling me in a panic to pick up my daughter because it is starting to snow. I know I'm supposed to be practicing positive thinking, but Tennessee's total inability to handle the tiniest (and I mean tiniest) bit of snow is driving me crazy! Tennessee, I love you but seriously. Drive slower. Dress warmer. It really isn't that big a deal.

If you were wondering, no, Collin could not move at all after I had bundled him up. Couldn't put his arms down. It was straight out of "A Christmas Story".

Bleak Mid-Winter Lovelies

Might as well enjoy the winter since it is sticking around.

““Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. “”

- ~Edith Sitwell

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Best of 2009

I just found this post in my drafts. Oops! Oh well, better late than never. A few of my favorites from 2009.

Best Beauty Product: Clinique Up-lighting Liquid Illuminator. I probably would never have tried this except it came in one of the Clinique Bonus Gifts. I add a little to my cheekbone above my blush and it makes my skin look radiant. A little goes a long way, so see if you can get a sample at the Clinique counter.

Best TV - Modern Family, Glee and Mad Men.

Modern Family is so hysterically awesome. One of the best 21 minutes of my week. (I watch on Hulu - thus 21 minutes.)

I realize Mad Men isn't new to 2009, but it was new to me.

Worst TV - Cougar Town. I saw the first episode and thought it was horrible. When did a 40 year old women flashing a 14 year old boy become ok? And who wants to see a teenage boy walk in to see his mother.......nevermind. Yuk. Not watching that again.

Best Movie: Julie and Julia.

I bet you could have guessed that I loved this movie. Cooking and blogging. But Meryl Streep was absolute perfection. If she doesn't win an Oscar for this, there is no justice in the world. Soon after the DVD was released, a few of my friends and I had a "Julie and Julia Party". You should totally have one too! Bring your favorite food and watch the movie together. Just make sure everyone has seen it before so that you are able to talk throughout the movie. Sorry if we ruined it for you Kristi!

Other movies I liked:

500 Days of Summer- This was a seriously cool and underrated flick.
Avatar 3D - Worth the hype.
The Time Travelers Wife -Maybe even better than the book?
New Moon - YUM

Worst movie:

The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. - Don't judge me for seeing it. I was on the treadmill when I watched it, so it really didn't count.

Best investment - MacBook Pro. Changing from a Desktop PC to a Mac laptop was like changing from a sleeping bag to a pillowtop mattress. You don't go back, except in emergencies. I am stroking the keys right now. I love you my little beauty.

Favorite blog post - Of everything I wrote and posted last year, I think "Leaving a Legacy" was my favorite. It made me want to write my children every week. My favorite photos were the ones when Collin's neck disappeared.

Best change- Having a baby boy! Oh Collin. I love you and your wonderful thunder thighs. I may just have to wake you up right now for a cuddle. Well....probably not, but I am tempted.

What are some of your favorites from 2009?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thank you Mr and Mrs President!

Wasn't that nice of President Obama to remember to send our family a little note congratulating us on Collin's birth? We are quite close to the Obama family, despite our political differences.

Ok, not really. However, if you send a baby announcement to the White House, in a few months you will get your own congratulation note on Presidential stationary. Lydia has one from President Bush. Makes a fun keepsake for the baby book.

Happy Presidents day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Last Minute Valentine Dessert - Chocolate Almond Pastries


We are spending Valentines day with a foodie friend and her family. I can't wait! She always makes the most delicious food. I am in charge of the desserts. In preparation I have been testing recipes and I had to share this one. It is so easy and fast, it would be great for a little candlelight dinner for two. (Or for a Valentines girls night out.) I found the recipe in Everyday Food, but I changed things up a bit to make it even more decadent.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut a defrosted sheet of puff pastry into 4 squares. (You can find it in the freezer section with the desserts.)

Fold the edges up to create a crust and poke holes in the center with a fork.

Place on silicone baking sheet. (Or parchment paper. But really a Silpat is one of those kitchen items everyone should own. Don't get a knock off. You may get plastic flavored food.)

Brush edges of pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Freeze for 15 minutes and then bake for 15 - 20 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

The original recipe calls for melted chocolate as base.

And while that's fine...

Adding heavy cream and butter...

makes it into the most delectable ganache. A ganache won't harden, so it is a better choice if you are going to serve the pastry with ice cream or gelato.

Whip the rest of your cream with sugar and vanilla.

Toast almonds until they are fragrant. Watch them! Mine seem to burn the moment I step away.

Oops! I guess I should have pierced the dough a little more. No worries. If this happens to you, poke the pastry in the middle so it falls.

Spread the ganache onto the pastry. Top with almonds and a dollop of whipped cream. Drizzle with honey to make it extra special. Serve with vanilla ice cream or pistachio gelato.

By the way - have extra ganache and whipped cream? Gently fold the chocolate into the cream and you get the easiest chocolate mousse. Great dessert for kids.

Thanks for the help little chefs!

Wow! I have been posting a lot lately. Seriously, I will not be clogging up your reader like this too much longer. I just really like holidays.
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