Tuesday, November 16, 2010

James' 2nd Birthday!

We had a crazy fun weekend with lots of different activities including celebrating Memaw's and James' birthdays.  Sunday, November 14th was James' 2nd birthday, and we had a little party at Lita and Pop-Pop's (my parents) house and invited Memaw and Gramps (Rich's parents) to come over.  The menu was spaghetti, garlic bread, and broccoli, since that is a meal that James likes to eat.  He especially likes broccoli, which is funny, because he's pretty picky otherwise.  I also made a truck cake since he is into all things with wheels, but especially likes construction vehicles.  Rich and I got him three vehicles--a bus, a delivery truck, and a tractor--which all go speeding across the floor when you pull them back.  He got a big Tonka dump truck from Memaw and Gramps that used to be Rich's when he was a little boy.  Gramps repainted it, and it looks great!  He will have great fun with it outside in the yard and in the sandbox we are hoping to get soon.  Lita and Pop-Pop gave him a fire engine that makes siren noises, lights up and the ladder rotates.  Mom also found a fire hat that says "Goose Creek Fire Department" on it--perfect!  He (and Anna Ruth) have been enjoying his new toys since then.  Here are some pictures of the day:
James is happy to be 2!

eating his second helping of broccoli

My first attempt at a truck cake--I was happy with the outcome, and James liked it too! 

James enjoying his chocolate cake

James trying to figure out how it all works and enjoying every minute!

playing with his truck at home while wearing his new hat

Fall Smocked Dress for Anna Ruth

Here is another dress I smocked for Anna Ruth.  I like how it turned out.  I had a hard time figuring out what kind of design or picture to go with.  But I wanted it to be elegant, so I think the geometric design accomplishes that.  I am also working on a matching outfit for James, so I'll post pics when I get that finished.  I am enjoying smocking more and more as I get better at it, though!  I have two more dresses to work on for Anna Ruth for the winter.  But if I don't have time to get it all done, I'm sure they will fit her next winter as well, so that's good. 
Here are my two cuties all dressed up for church!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Puppy Chow

Puppy chow is a really good treat that is easy to make and very addicting!  I made it today to take to a fall festival because it's easy to fill up a cup and eat it while walking around.  Here's the recipe if you want to give it a try.  Bonus:  It's a yummy gluten free dessert, too!

1 C chocolate chips
1/2 C creamy peanut butter
1/4 C butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
10 C Corn Chex cereal
2 C powdered sugar

Combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a microwaveable bowl.  Heat on high for 1 min., then stir.  Add vanilla and stir well. 
Place cereal in large bowl.  Pour chocolate mixture over ceral and toss lightly to coat.  Sprinkle 1 C of powdered sugar, toss to coat, then repeat with the remaining sugar. 
YUM!  Here's what the finished product looks like:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

James' Words at almost 2 years old

It's so interesting to see the difference between boys and girls.  It really is neat to see how from the very beginning of their existence, they display different characteristics.  James and Anna Ruth have been so different, it blows me away!  James is so into vehicles of all varieties--cars, trucks, airplanes, trains, tractors, etc.  He plays with his cars ALL DAY LONG!  He rolls them on different surfaces, pushes them across the kitchen floor, and rams them into stuff.  When he's not doing that, he's climbing, throwing, running, or destroying.  He also loves to be outside digging in the dirt or throwing and kicking balls.  He is obsessed with Pop-Pop (my dad) and his Daddy.  So with all that activity, he doesn't have much time for talking.  Now, he certainly gets his point across, just not necessarily with words.  I remember at this age, Anna Ruth was speaking in complete sentences and already talked incessantly.  I don't think I even attempted to make a list of her vocabulary, because it would have been such a long list.  But I'm finally getting together a small list of James' words now that he's almost 2 years old!  Lately, he has started trying more, instead of just shaking his head when we would ask him to say a word.  So, a lot of these are pretty recent new words.
Here's the list:
Anna (for Anna Ruth)
Bi-buh (Bible)
all done
ni-ni (night-night)
boo-dah (he says this for shoe, and we have no idea why)
nana (banana)
buzzzz (birds)
Hun (he calls me this sometimes, because he hears Rich saying it)
gah-gah (lollipop)
my-min (vitamin and medicine)
He will also answer the first two catechism questions:
Who made you?  Gah (God)
What else did God make?  Aaaall tins (all things)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blue or Pink?

You can see the arm and hand above the head.
On Monday I had my ultrasound to find out if the baby is a boy or girl as well as to make sure everything is developing normally.  It went well; so far everything looks good.  She did have trouble getting a good look at the face, so I am scheduled for another ultrasound in a month to look at that again.  The baby will be a good bit bigger and so it will be hard for him to hide then! :)  They want to check for cleft lip and palate, but she said she doesn't suspect anything, it's just routine to check it.  Anyway, during the ultrasound the baby was moving all around and I was thinking to myself that it probably was a boy because of how active he was.  But I asked the ultrasound technician to write the gender down in an envelope and put the pictures in another envelope for me to keep.  I then took the envelope to Bi-Lo where I got them to make a cake with white icing and either a blue or pink inside.  They don't technically do that, but when they heard what it was about, one of the ladies in the bakery said she would bring her own stuff from home to make the cake since she thought it was such a fun idea.  She did a great job, and it was funny because all the ladies in the bakery were telling me to come back with pictures so they could see the reactions.  They really got into it!
The pretty cake from Bi-Lo

The next night my parents and Rich's parents and us all went out to dinner at Sesame Burgers & Beer.  If you've never been, you should try it!  Tuesday night is $3 burger night, so it's a great deal for a huge, really good burger.  And they let you choose how you want it cooked, so it's not a well-done dried out burger.  I always get sweet potato fries to go with it, and they are so good!  Anyway, after eating, we cut open the cake to find out all together what this next baby will be.  It was a fun and exciting way to discover it was a boy! 

Rich and I cutting the cake

We pulled up the piece and it was blue!

We are all excited about another little boy!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Little Girls Tea Club

Anna Ruth recently received this invitation:

She is so excited about her new tea club!  She loves to dress up, and she got to pick out a special tea cup and saucer that I had been given from my grandmother to take with her.  Her tea cup was the most admired one there.  The girls learned about good manners (sitting the correct way in your chair, saying "Yes, please" or "No, thank you" when asked if you would like something, keeping elbows off the table, chewing with your mouth closed, putting your napkin in your lap, asking nicely for something to be passed to you, etc.), and they listened to a story about a girl who has a tea party and learns some Christian character qualities.  After the eating and drinking, they played dress up.  Anna Ruth had such a great time, she keeps asking me when the next tea club will be.  A month is a long time to wait when you're 4! 

Look at all that cute and pretty food!

Anna Ruth enjoying her strawberry cream cheese sandwich

All the pretty little girls

Monday, September 13, 2010

Old project

This is an old project that has been completed for a couple months, but I never got the chance to post a picture of the finished product since I was not keeping up with blogging at that point.  I smocked this dress for Anna Ruth.  Her favorite color is purple, so she loves this dress.  This was my third smocking project, and the most challenging one so far.  The small little roses were hard for me to get the hang of.  The funny thing is, the ones on the back look the best since they were the final ones I completed, but they just get covered up by her hair when she wears the dress!  Oh well.  Now I am trying to figure out a pattern for a maroon dress for Anna Ruth for the fall that will match a maroon outfit for James.  I was thinking of something like fall leaves on her dress and rakes on his outfit or something like that.  Any bright ideas?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Random Ramblings

I am very much looking forward to my vacation this weekend.  Rich is taking time off work from Thursday lunch through Tuesday.  So that adds up to 5 1/2 days in a row of being home and spending time with me and the kids.  I did say MY vacation, too, since we will be farming out the kids for several days in there as well.  AR will be headed to Rich's parents and James to my parents from Friday to Sunday.  Then we will drive to Greenville and drop them off at my sister's house where they will have tons of fun with their cousins for a couple days, and we are staying with some old friends in the area.  Rich and I are both looking forward to a break from the normal routine.  My 26th birthday is on Saturday, so we will also celebrate that during the time.  Yay for generous family that is willing to give us a break!

Last night I saw an ad for a new Secret deodorant that is waterproof.  The line they used said, "Keeps working in heat, humidity, and water!"  I was like, okay, so all your other deodorants did not work in the heat or humidity or when wet??!!  Wow, what good to me is a deodorant that only works when you're not hot or sweaty?  If it doesn't work in the heat and humidity or when I start to sweat, it's basically useless to me, especially here in Charleston.  So, either all their previous deodorants are crappy and useless, or they are just trying to sell something new without it really being new at all.  I just thought it was crazy, and I hope people don't see it and think that it's some great new product. 

This pregnancy has been really great so far.  I have rarely felt very bad, and have only have a few waves of nausea a day and sometimes none at all!  I am hungry a lot and am able to eat normally.  With all of my previous pregnancies, I was very nauseous and sick for the first trimester, could not eat much at all, and usually lost at least 5 pounds during the first 15 weeks.  It is so strange that this time around it is so different.  But, hey, I'll take it, especially with two crazy kids keeping me busy all the time.  If anytime I needed an easy pregnancy, it's now.  I was hoping maybe it meant I was having twins, but that's been ruled out.  Oh well, I'm just happy for one healthy baby and that I'm not sick!

I am trying to get better at couponing, but it is hard.  I feel a little overwhelmed trying to keep it all organized and figuring out what I should buy, because you can't buy EVERYTHING that's a good deal!  I've read all the info, watched videos with all the things I need to know and lots of good tips, but actually getting it together every week is daunting.  I have been able to do a little, but I know I could do much better.  I usually save around 50%, but that's because I'm mostly buying BOGO deals, so it doesn't really say much for my couponing skills.  I am working on it, though, and I will update with any progress and success.  If you have any tips, please feel free to share!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cupcake recipe

Here's a recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Icing.  I made these a while back and they got rave reviews, so I thought I would share the recipe for you to try.  Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the final result, so I looked for one online that looked similar, and so that is what you will see here.  It's not exact, but gives you some idea of what they will look like.  Enjoy! 

2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup boiling water

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 standard cupcake pans with liners or coat with non-stick cooking spray. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the sugar, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla until blended.

2. In separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, and gradually add to the sugar mixture, until the mixture begins to come together.

3. Very slowly add the boiling water, and blend until the mixture is smooth and soupy.

4. Ladle the batter into the cupcake tins, filling ¾ full. Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 18 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

5. Cool the cupcakes in their pans on wire racks until cooled completely.

(Do-Ahead: At this point the cupcakes can be kept covered at room temperature up to 2 days or frozen for 6 weeks. Defrost and ice with the cinnamon butter cream frosting.)

Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting

Makes enough to generously frost two 9-in. layers or 24 cupcakes

4 ½ cups confectioners sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 T vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 T milk
Chocolate curls or chocolate chips for garnishing cupcakes

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir the sugar to aerate it. Add the butter, vanilla, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of the milk, and beat on high speed until the frosting is spreading consistency. If the frosting is stiff, add a few more drops of milk, beating after each addition.

2. Frost the cooled cupcakes and garnish as desired.

P.S. If you try these, leave me a comment and let me know how they turned out!

Man vs. Woman

Here are a couple of funny pictures I've had for a while that I thought would be fun to share:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Family in Town

This past weekend my grandmother (my Dad's mom) and my Uncle Dave (my Dad's brother) came into town for a visit.  It had been several years since we'd seen them, so it was great to have them here.  Anna Ruth had been making drawings for her great-grandmother all week, and she was very excited to meet them.  We also got to see my sister Jessica and her husband Brian, since they have just moved to Charleston!  The details are getting worked out, and we are all excited to have them around and get to spend more time with them.  The kids are especially excited about their dog, Beaufort.  Anyway, we had a wonderful Sunday lunch with everyone before they went off to visit the rest of the family in Greenville, SC.  Here's a group shot before lunch:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blog Reboot & Typical Day

Hey y'all! Long time, no write, right? Well, you know how life gets and keeping up a blog is not quite at the top of my priority list. But it is fun, and I would like to put up a few more things than I have been. It's tempting just to post pictures and stuff on facebook, but writing about my life now seems like it will be interesting to look back on in a few years. So, I am attempting to get back into the swing of things.
I am hoping to post pictures and videos of the happenings around here, some recipes that I try and enjoy, cute quotes from the kids (mostly Anna Ruth right now), smocking projects I've been working on, decorating ideas and tips (from me or just stuff I've found somewhere), and also couponing successes.

I thought I would start off by writing out what a typical day around here is like.

Here goes: My typical day starts off around 7 or 7:30. Rich is generally still home, so I join him on the couch to read the Bible for a little while. There are usually a few noises coming from the vicinity of James' room, but I ignore them until they become cries. Anna Ruth gets up and plays in her room until it's time for Rich to leave, and she will give him big hugs and kisses to send him off. James does the same, but quickly returns to Mommy. He loves his Daddy, but he sure is a Momma's boy at the moment. :) After Rich leaves, I feed the kids breakfast, which is usually cereal. I'm not much for one to make a nice, hot breakfast, and actually the kids prefer cereal anyway. It's a win-win situation. After breakfast, the kids play while I get the kitchen cleaned up, and generally tidy up around the house. They are pretty good about playing together, but they do have some run-ins over toys fairly often. Occasionally I will let them watch Sesame Street at 10AM, which will allow me to check e-mail, facebook, Southern Savers, and a few other blogs I enjoy reading. It's safe to say that not much gets done until the kids go down for their naps after eating lunch. They both go down at 1PM, and usually stay down for around 2-4 hours depending on how late they got to bed the night before, and how busy the day has been. During nap time, I try to pick up the house, do other household chores, and maybe even catch a rest myself. I mainly just enjoy the silence. The time from when the kids get up to when Rich gets home seem to be the longest hours of the day. The kids are wanting to get outside or see Daddy or just be wild and crazy. I have been trying to let Anna Ruth help me with dinner preparations whenever possible, and she loves to help. She also sets the table almost every night, which is actually a big help. When the kids hear the door open, they run squealing to the door, yelling, "Daddy, Daddy!" He appreciates the enthusiastic welcome, and I am grateful for a break from the kids being at my feet. We eat dinner together, and have family worship before getting the kids ready for bed. We always sing the first and last stanzas of Psalm 23 when putting them to bed. With the kids down, Rich and I have time to catch up talk about our days. We are usually both exhausted and try to get to bed before 11PM to be rested up for the day ahead.