November 25, 2010

give thanks

in the year 2010 i am thankful for our many wonderful blessings....

let's start with this little guy, who was born earlier this year. he has brought so much joy to our family and we love him to pieces. it was his very first thanksgiving, and he certainly enjoyed his feast.

miss emma is next. she's a special little girl and we love her so much.

and, i'm always thankful for my very best friend.

i am so grateful for my sisters. here's one...

and here's the other. it's good to know that you always have someone that you can call.

and of course my parents. they mean so much to all of us.

emma enjoyed her time with her cousins...

and i enjoyed my time shooting the fall leaves. they were just beautiful...




November 21, 2010

::recipe:: Squash Casserole

4 lbs. yellow squash (about 10 squash), sliced (you could use half zucchini, half squash)
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese, divided into halves
homemade croutons
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Saute the yellow squash and onion in a little olive oil. Add the chives, garlic salt, and pepper. Saute until tender.

In a separate bowl, combine cheddar cheese, sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, eggs, and 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the squash mixture from the saute pan. Combine the squash mixture, cheese/soup mixture, and half of the homemade croutons. Spread into a lightly greased 13X9 casserole dish.

Stir together the remaining homemade croutons, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, and the melted butter. Sprinkle this mixture on top of the casserole.
Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes. Let it sit a few minutes before serving

Homemade Croutons

5-6 croissants
melted butter
Jane's Krazy Salt

Cube the croissants. Brush with melted butter. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with Jane's Krazy Salt. Bake at 250 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Flip croissants. Bake for another 10 minutes. Repeat this process until the croutons are golden brown and crispy.

My casserole went into the freezer, to take to my mom's house for Thanksgiving, so I don't have a final photo to share. I would never give y'all a recipe that I hadn't already tried, so know that I cheated and spooned myself a small portion of the casserole into a ramekin and stuck it into the oven. It was SO yummy! A great alternative to the old green bean casserole, and I love that it uses fresh veggies, not canned. It's a five star in my book. Let me know if you give it a try. Also, know that I used low-fat sour cream and fat free cream of mushroom soup. Happy Cooking!

November 20, 2010

We headed to the farm...

and the sunset was just beautiful.

We spent some time with the animals.

And Rob snapped a great photo of sister with his phone. Don't you just love it when that happens?

She's a farm girl. I promise you.

And our little buddy was along for the ride.

Emma's first pick was to ride the ponies.

Oh my goodness does she love a horse or a pony.

She enjoyed her ride to say the least.

And Buddy did too.

The sky was just amazing. Or "amazin" is how sister would say it.

We did some major sliding.

And she did some major crawling.

Rob was off the week of Thanksgiving, so we wanted to kick it off with a family outing, just before we headed out of town.

I love family outings.

These two did some dirt mound climbing.

While I did some photo shooting of this little guy...

Daylight was running out, so we headed over to the riding toy section...

I am pretty sure that Carson wants one of these tractors. Actually it's really me that likes them so much, and you're supposed to buy what you like, right?DSC_2646

Emma liked them too, and the four of us enjoyed our time together on the farm.

November 18, 2010

Dear Carson,

You are nine months old today. If I thought about it too long, I would cry a river, so I won't go there today. Let's keep this positive :)

You love:
...being held
...looking at your big sister
...being worn by your momma~in any type of sling or baby carrier
...taking a bath~with your big sister
...kisses on the neck
...being tickled~you are SO ticklish
...being swaddled
...your paci
...your toy piano & your toy pots n pans
...rocking with your momma
...eating in your highchair "clack" your paci, by waving it in the air

You are full of smiles and always cracking up, especially at your sister. You aren't quite as quiet as you used to be. I suppose that you have been influenced. See below...



Your sister was described as confident, independent, observant, and fun to be around by her teachers. It was so funny to me how well they "pinged" her. I wonder what you will be like when you're four.

You nurse at 7 am, 11 am, 1:30 pm, 4:30 pm, and 8 pm. When the time changed, you starting getting up at 5 am. omg. I was still feeding you the "dream feed" around 10 pm, but I thought, "if I cut that feed out, how much earlier could you possibly get up?" I was right. You slept this morning until 6:30 am, without the dream feed. Hooray! I added the 1:30 pm feed to help compensate for the eliminated dream feed. This also helps you take a later and longer afternoon nap, which makes everyone happier during the witching hour, when daddy comes home :)

My body never got used to that dream feed. After nine months of staying up until 10 pm to feed you and nine months of your daddy coming into your nursery (almost every night) to wake me (we would be passed out in the chair together), I am sort of glad it's over. I will miss it too, because holding you while you sleep and smelling your sweet baby smell, just before turning out the lights was always a treat.

Your naps are from 9 or 9:30 to 11 or 11:30 in the morning. And, from around 1:30 or 2 to 4 in the afternoon.

You poop more than anyone I know. 3 or 4 times a day.

You have the longest eyelashes and prettiest blue eyes I have ever seen.

You are the perfect size to snuggle and hold :)

Although, you are beginning to wiggle more...rolling and scooting around on the floor.

You can sit up for a long time now too.

You are in 9-12 months stuff. You got new pj's yesterday. They have firetrucks on them, and I love that.

I have a new love for cars and trains and all toys little boy. Don't get me wrong, I love that Emma plays with my Barbies and Babydolls, but all those cute little cars are a first for me. I'll admit that I'm a little obsessed. Maybe it's because I've never lived in a house with any little boy toys. If only I had some of your Daddy's toys for you to play with. There's something really special about your children playing with your childhood toys. Don't you think?

Let's not leave your daddy out either. He can't wait for the remote control everything.... And, you should have seen the required specs on your first dump truck. It had to have knobby tires and all, along with about 84 other specs.

Your hair has grown longer and doesn't stick up quite as much. Your daddy likes this. He thinks you look more like a little boy. I don't like that "little boy" part so much. Could you please stay small forever?

You weigh 19 pounds 5 ounces. 35th percentile. You are inches 28.5 inches long. 50-75th percentile.

At your 9 month check up, you got ZERO shots. I was so happy, and I am sure that you were too.

You rarely cry. And are almost always HAPPY. I must have had a sixth sense about your disposition. I bought you this outfit when you were still in the womb.

Speaking of the womb, you sleep in a "woombie" now. If you are curious, you should google it. I felt like you were getting a little big for the swaddle, but oh how you would cry without it. Your woombie is like a sleep sack, without the arm holes, so you can move about within the sack. I thought it might help you with the transition from swaddle to sleeping solo. So far, it's working :)

So now, instead of sleeping on your back, you sleep on your side, with your head tilted back...just like me :)

You make the perfect baby brother. If only we could get sister to stop taking your toys. You do cry when she does that. But, she loves you oh so much.

And, I am pretty sure that you feel the same way.

Love you Buddy.

Don't grow up too fast, okay?

November 12, 2010

::recipe & craft:: Tortilla Soup & Turkey Day Fun

Okay, I'm back, just like I promised. This post is going to be long and all over the place, so grab your cup of coffee or tea, and get ready...

Let me start with the zinnias that Emma planted this past summer. They are still blooming! So, if you love fresh flowers, but hate paying for them at the store, go plant some! You won't regret it.

And now for the Tortilla Soup Recipe. I think this is my all time favorite soup on the planet. My mom made it for us as kids, so I wanted to share....

1 whole chicken
4 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans chopped green chiles
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 can corn
baby carrots, split in half, lengthwise

Boil your chicken in water, until done. Remove the chicken from the broth, debone, and chop. I usually pour my chicken broth, which was made from my chicken, into a separate container. We will use it later. If you wanted to cheat, you could use a rotisserie chicken, but then you would have to buy chicken stock.

In a large stock pot, add ALL of the remaining ingredients, tomatoes through carrots. Then add 2-3 cups of your reserved chicken stock to the soup. Bring to a simmer, and cook until onions are translucent. After that, I add my chicken back into the soup. If you add the chicken too early, it can fall apart and leave you nothing by the end. If you like, add more chicken stock. Everyone likes their soup a different consistency. It will look like this....

Top with black olives, green onions, jalapenos, and fresh cilantro.

Then, top with shredded mozzarella cheese and tortilla chips. It is yummy, makes a TON, and is a crowd pleaser for sure :)

After you've done all that cooking, you can clean you sink with these two guys....
  • Bar Keeper's Friend-This is the best stainless steel cleaner around! We bought new pots and pans for my anniversary this year in August. After 7 years, my non-stick pans were done! I ended up with stainless steel cookware and bought this cleaner to go along with them. Both the cleaner and the pans were bought on (although it wasn't near this pricey when I bought it), but I've been told that you can purchase the cleaner at World Market, Lowe's, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Pour some into your sink. Scrub. Rinse. Dry.
  • Then, smear on some Orange Oil. You won't be disappointed!

Next, I finally found a use for all of my saved corks...

I've been saving them since our very first bottle of wine together :) So, we have a few. Occassionally, we write on them with a marker...with the date or what we were celebrating. If you don't write on your corks, you should. It's fun to look back on.

We made Turkey Day Place Card Holders. And this is what you'll need for each turkey:

  • 3 corks-Our family can feel good knowing that each of their place card turkeys required Rob and I to drink 3 bottles of wine :)
  • 2 bobby pins
  • red felt
  • yellow or orange felt
  • 1 ball-we used wooden ones about 1" in diameter. i bought a sack of them at hobby lobby, in the craft department, on the wooden items aisle. there were 16 in a pack for $2.99. i wanted to use gum balls from a sweet gum tree, but y'all would be proud that i laid that idea to rest, without losing too much sleep :) you could use anything round that you wanted.
  • 2 wiggly eyes
  • feathers
  • toothpick
  • paper
  • tacky glue and hot glue
  • tape
Start by gluing 3 corks together, like a triangle. I used hot glue for this.

Then, flip the corks over, and hot glue two bobby pins on the bottom, for feet.

They'll look like this.

We made 16 of these little turkeys...

Grab your red felt, and cut two "rain drop" shaped gobbles for each turkey. If you are getting your kiddos to help out, I would highly recommend cutting the gobbles and the beaks, before you start. Glue the gobbles to the top of the cork.

Then, they'll look like this...

Next, we glued the wooden "turkey head" on top of the red gobble. I smeared the hot glue, and Emma attached the head. Then, let your "little hands" add the wiggle eyes, with tacky glue. I'll admit by this point, I was a little scared. They didn't exactly look like turkeys....

Grab your yellow/orange felt and cut diamond shapes for the beaks. Apply a little hot glue, just below the eyes, fold the diamond in half, and stick the beak on. I did this part, so Miss Emma wouldn't get burned.

Then, add you feathers to the back of the corks. On a few of them, I did have to trim some feathers on the bottom, so the turkey would stand. And, a couple of the turkeys were leaning one way of the other, so I added a drop of hot glue to the bottom of those, so that they would stand up straight. Be prepared to vacuum post feathers.

One little turkey had some "hot glue" damage to his head, so I added a feather to cover it up.

I told Miss Emma that she could choose which turkey would be hers. And, of course, she chose the Mr. Turkey with the feather on his head. She always chooses the one that is different from the rest.

Cut a square of paper. Write the person's name on it. Attach the toothpick to the back of the paper with tape, and stick the toothpick into the cork. You're done! And, I do think that these are the cutest little turkeys that I've ever seen :)
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