Wednesday, December 15, 2010

snapshots of our week

Nini took some pics of us for Christmas. Here are a few previews...

Ellie's new favorite thing. Her tooth finally popped through and she loves feeling it!

Nini teaching me to wear a hat

Pulling up on everything (and sporting velour)

Chillaxin after a nap

Snow (to us) in Birmingham


Daddy and Ellie "getting ready" for church

Cheering on the Bucs with Uncle Drew

Playing at Nini's house

Following Mommy everywhere

Loving on Daddy after a bath
Taking baths in the big tub now and loving it

Getting ready for Christmas

lunch with Daddy at school
Can't get enough of her tree.. love that little nose!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Note to self: You really do care

It all started this morning when I began freaking out about the Christmas card picture for this year... It is the 13th of December, I have no Christmas card picture or card, and this is Ellie's first Christmas. This is supposed to be the best card. We have to have the perfect picture that shows all of our friends and relatives how happy we are and how adorable Ellie is, right? I was really beginning to stress out because time is running out. I was really getting anxious about all of this. Then, I stopped, thought about it, and asked myself, "Self, why do you care so much about this?" Will it effect Ellie or Eric or anyone for that matter? No. So, what's the deal?? It hit me...

I really do care...

About what you all think about me...

I hesitated writing this post, because, I am not really sure who all reads this blog and it is kind of scary to put yourself out there. But, in an effort to be genuine and trying not to spend life hiding behind the fear of transparency, I'll press on...

I hate to say it, but I kind of prided myself on the idea that I didn't care. That I wasn't afraid to go against the grain, do my own thing, go against the flow. You get me? But, I realize that there is still a big part of me, even though I am in my mid-twenties (wayyyy past all that high school peer pressure, try to be cool stuff) a wife and a mom, that still worries about an image and wants people to think of me in a certain way.

I know it doesn't matter. Or at least it shouldn't matter. But, I let it. I know my identity is in the Lord and His view of me is what does matter. Yet, I am still a sinful person living in a fallen world struggling with the same old things day after day. Will I ever not really care?? Probably not.

But, for now, I'll be me (as much as I can be since I am still trying to figure out who that really is) and you be you.

Thanks for letting me get that out there. It's a bit easier to work through things when you actually stop and think about what needs working through. You feel me?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Some Favorite Things

Somethings that have made life a little sweeter lately...

  • Having our house decorated!!! My sweet husband is the man! I went out for a friend's bday and came home to lights on the tree (which I dread and takes me forever), the outside of the house lit up, the mantle decorated, stockings hung, and the Nativity set up! He even taught Ellie to just point to the ornaments, and not pull them! (We'll see how long that lasts...)
  • Peppermint Mocha coffee creamer!!! YUM!

  • The Josh Groban Christmas CD

  • Cold weather- Being from FL, I usually dread it, but it makes things seem more Christmas-y

  • Celebrating Advent- this is the first Christmas that we really ever have. We are trying to include more traditions in our family that point Ellie to Christ.

  • Which leads me to these 2 books- This one is called Treasuring God in Our Traditions and has really challenged me to be more intentional with the things we do as a family. And, I just got this book for Eric and I to read together this month. It called Come Thou Long Expected Jesus and is a collection of Advent readings by really great authors.

  • Projects! Kelly moved out about a month ago so I have been working on our craft/play/guest room. Last night I painted the walls while E coached a game. I can't wait to finish and show y'all!

  • Almost 10 month old babies! This has been the most fun age. I think that every month, but Ellie has been so happy, animated, and learning/doing all kinds of funny new things.

  • Pictures... sadly our nice camera is in the shop... again. I never knew how much I loved that thing. I saved up for a long time to get it and it is worth every penny! A sweet friend has lent me a camera so I now can take pictures again. So here are a few...


  • Love Christmas PJ's


    Decorating her tree


    Ellie loves to wear and make bracelets out of everything.
    Ellie getting her first tree. I should add that it is the biggest tree ever. My idea of getting the tree is finding the biggest one in our price range color. That I did. I think it must have been tagged wrong... It takes up half the living room and drinks at least 3 cups of water a day.

    Getting Christmas cards is another favorite thing! This is where they hang out!
    Burlap is another favorite thing. I am obsessed with it. Want to make curtains, pillows, bed skirts out of it.

    Ellie has really gotten into books. I almost teared up the other day. We were all sitting on the floor and Ellie went over, picked up this book, and flipped through every page super fast like it was no big deal. I know, I know... but she is getting so big.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Full

    "Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him tell of all His wondrous works! Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His presence continually!" 1 Chron. 16


    I feel full. So full. Taking the time to really think about all that the Lord has blessed us with is overwhelming and humbling. Overwhelming because there are so many good things that He has given to me, things I often overlook in discontentment because I want more of this or that. Humbled because I don't deserve His goodness, not even a little, yet He is so gracious anyway.

    I love Thanksgiving for this. It reminds me to stop and remember, to look back at what the Lord has done, and is doing today. To give thanks.

    For a husband, best friend, source of much laughter, personal weatherman, and solid rock.

    For such a happy, active, make me laugh, healthy little girl!



    My family, some of my best friends, and most supportive people I know (we missed you daddy!)



    More family we love and wish we could have been with them (well, we were via skype!)



    A home that's warm, cozy, and feels like us.

    All of our needs our met, we have more than enough...

    "More" Ellie has been learning to sign a little. This was her response after Kelly gave her her first (massive) bight of mashed potatoes.



    Thankful for "firsts" (Kelly and Drew's first Thanksgiving as a family and Ellie's first ever) and for a new "brother"!


    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    memories from the womb???


    It's late and I'm waiting on E to get home from a b-ball game, so I thought I'd share a thought I had. This week, Ellie has gone to 2 b-ball games with me, and it is amazing. You see, all day, she will not sit still for a second, much less on my lap. She is always moving, even if it's just a foot, always digging into the nearest bag, always looking for the worst thing possible to put in her mouth. But, I am not lying when I say she is enthralled with these games. Granted, there is a lot of colors, noise, and action, but it is so unlike her. Some people made comments about how good she is, which she is... :), but for her to be so still and pay so much attention baffled me. Then, on my way home, I thought, these really aren't her first games. She went to tons of them while she was in the womb. Now, stay with me here (not sounding too crazy am I?) Yes, I sat through, I mean, enjoyed going to almost every game up to the very end. Ellie was born right after they ended. So, I wonder if she remembers the noises of the balls, the whistles, the announcer, the ridiculously loud rap music??? I mean, they sell sound machine with womb noises, so babies must remember that sound, so why not other things? Maybe these games bring back memories... Anyone know? I am sure there is some stuff out there more scientific than my ramblings. That's all. Just a thought. Good night!

    Meals this (I mean last...) week

    (oops, just realized I never published this! This was last week.) We have been so busy with wedding stuff I now am finally back to cooking again. Just in time for basketball season... Eric coaches so he is super busy this time of year, not getting home till really late on game nights. So, I am trying to cook things that would be yummy even if they are just reheated at 10:00 pm. I also wanted to restock my freezer with some dinners. So, here is this week:

    Monday- Spaghetti (this is one of Eric's favorites)I got this sauce recipe out of this book by Noel Piper (I just got the book and can't wait to read it right in time for the holidays.) This makes enough to freeze 2 portions.
    3 lb. ground meat (We use turkey)
    1 tbs. oregano, basil and garlic powder (or some fresh garlic minced)
    3 tbs. dried parsley
    2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
    1 large onion
    1 tsp. pepper, salt to taste
    2-3 bay leaves
    10 drops hot sauce (doesn't make it spicy, just good!)
    Brown meat and drain. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer the better. Remove bay leave before serving.

    Tuesday- Eric's first game, I mean win :) So, no dinner.

    Wednesday- Vegetable Beef Soup- This is really yummy, has tons of veggies, makes a ton, and is pretty cheap. It makes enough for dinner plus 3 freezer portions. We eat it with cornbread. Make sure you use a BIG pot

    2 lb. stew beef, cubed

    5 (28 oz) cans beef broth- I use beef bouillon cubes bc I think it's cheaper (6 cubes and 17 cups water)

    2 (15 0z) cans of corn

    28oz diced tomato w/ juice

    2 cups green beans- I use fresh, frozen would work

    10 oz. frozen Lima beans

    2 yellow onions, chopped

    2 cups sliced carrots

    1 cup chopped celery

    2 bay leaves (take out at end)

    1 T Worcestershire sauce

    10 drops Tabasco

    salt and pepper

    2 potatoes, diced


    1 cup mushrooms, sliced

    frozen peas

    any other veggie you might have and want to throw in! Brown beef in skillet in EVOO. Add everything except potatoes, mushrooms, and peas. You will need a BIG pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1-2 hours, until beef is tender. Add rest of ingredients. This makes plenty to freeze. I put it in freezer bags after it cools a bit.

    Thursday- game night


    Friday- Pounded chicken (take chicken breast, pound them flat, coat in flour, eggs, then bread crumbs (w/ whatever seasoning you like) and cook in a frying pan with EVOO and a little butter, Squash and zucchini, and sweet potato fries

    Saturday- Welcome home Drew and Kelly from the honeymoon!!! Chili- Eric and Drew's favorite thing.I made this recipe up to please my husband, who hates tomato chunks...
    1 lb. Ground turkey
    1 bag Frozen corn
    2 cups Black beans (i use the dry kind, cook them before adding to chili)
    chili seasoning
    about 3 med. cans tomato sauce
    a pinch of sugar

    Yes, that is all. Brown the meat and cook all together. You would not believe how much Drew and Eric love it. It is good with corn bread or chips, cheese, and sour cream. Eric, well he likes to eat it over pasta...


    Off to take Ellie on a walk- the weather could not be better!!!

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Sneak Peek!

    Well, it seems like we have fallen off of the face of the Earth, but we haven't quite yet. Here is a really quick sneak peek of the wedding week! Much more to come! It was perfect!






    Wasn't it so pretty?! So much more to come, plus update on little Ellie (we are about to run to the dr. for her 9 month apt... Can you believe it? And, lots of new stuff coming for Yellow Button, if I ever get on it! Missed y'all!!!!

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    The BEST toys

    Isn't it funny that her favorite toys are the junk I find laying around the house??? And it amazes me how she knows what a "baby toy" is and what isn't.... those are the one's she always wants!





    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Menu

    Since I've been at home with Ellie, one of the things I stress out about the most is our grocery bill and planning dinners. I know, it doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but I know I spend too much at the grocery store because I'm not a great planner. So, I am going to try something out. I am going to start posting our weekly menus on here. I think if I plan it out better, I'll only buy what I need, and I'll be able to look back to what we were eating when I can't think of anything to cook.

    Also, I've found some our favorite recipes off of other's blogs, so hopefully y'all will find some new ideas and things to try. To some of you, these posts will be rather dull, but hopefully you foodies will like them! So this week:

    Sunday: Celebration Dinner- Eric's home! (He was in Chicago a couple of days for a wedding)
    Italian Pot roast and Tortellini and veggies: This is so good and really good for a special dinner or anytime. Put mushrooms and diced onions in a crock pot. Sprinkle a chuck roast with pepper and cook in hot oil in a large skillet 2-3 minutes on each side. Put roast on top of mushrooms and onions in crock pot. Sprinkle w/ one envelope of onion soup mix. Pour one can of beef broth and one small (8 oz) can of tomato sauce over roast. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours (I did high for about an hour and low for about 3 because I didn't have 8 hours) Take out roast and keep warm. Into the juice, stir in 3 tbsp. tomato pasts, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning. In a small bowl, mix2 tbsp. cornstarch w/ 2 tbsp. water then add to pot. Cover and cook for 40 min. on high. This makes a delicious sauce! Mix roast back in. I then cooked some tortellini. I sauteed some onions and frozen peas and mixed it with the tortellini. I topped it with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. yum!

    Monday: White chili. I have never made this, but Pioneer Woman never lets me down! I'm serving it w/ corn bread.

    Tuesday: Sweet friend is having me over for dinner! Night off!

    Wednesday: Eat at church

    Thursday: Salsa Verde chicken burritos! This is one of our favorites I stole of one of my friends blog! Put chicken pieces in a crock pot with cooked onions and garlic. Cover with salsa verde and cook on low all day. Cut up chicken and I make burritos with whole wheat tortillas, black beans, cheese, and rice. I also serve it with this salsa. Eric loves this!

    Friday: BBQ chicken with roasted veggies. I dice up butternut squash, sweet potato, and broccoli and put EVOO on top, season, and roast in the oven.

    Saturday: SS party- I'm going to make the pumpkin cookies I wrote about below!

    For lunch: Tomato Basil Soup
    Saute one onion and 2-4 garlic cloves in butter. Heat 4 cups milk, but don’t boil. Combine 1 tbsp. tomato pasts, 3 14oz. cans of diced tomato's, ¼ cup flour, salt and pepper in a food processor. Add to the milk and simmer for 15 minutes. Add fresh basil.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    A day in the country

    Today was a really fun, fall filled day! Little Ellie slept in until 8:30, so we were all really well rested and rearing to go. Even though the weather is still quite warm, we decided that it was time to get in the fall spirit, so Eric took us out to the pumpkin patch. It was really pretty out there. It was fun to watch Ellie take in new things. Here are some pics from the day.


    There were tons of giant sunflowers everywhere. So pretty.







    So we had a good time. Ellie got to go to the petting zoo and loved the mini horse, we rode a covered wagon out to the patch, picked out some pumpkins, and lugged them home. Good day! And speaking of pumpkins, I will leave you all with an amazing (if I do say so myself...) pumpkin recipe (I figure that I steal so many recipes off of other blogs, that it is time I start giving back a little :)
    Pumpkin Cookies
    These are SO yummy and they make a lot (60 small or 40 large). They would be good even without the icing, but I would not recommend that (it is really good!) I would put a picture of them up... but they are gone.
    Cookies:
    2 cups shortening (plain Crisco)
    2 eggs
    4 cups flour
    2 tsp. cinnamon
    2 cups raisins (optional- I did not use, not a huge fan)
    2 tsp. baking soda
    2 cups sugar
    2 cups pumpkin (not the pie filling, but pure pumpkin)
    2 tsp. salt
    Cream shortening, pumpkin, and eggs together. Add dry ingredients. Mix in raisins. Drop onto a greased cookie sheet using a teaspoon (for small cookies) or a tablespoon (for large cookies). Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. There color will barely change. Let cool.
    Icing:
    12 tbsp. butter (OK, so nut so healthy, but a special seasonal treat :) That's what I tell myself...
    1/4 cup milk
    2 cups brown sugar
    3 cups powdered sugar- sifted
    3 tsp. vanilla
    Cook butter, milk, and brown sugar on medium heat until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Ice cookies on wax paper(it kind of just drizzles on.) The icing will harden in a few minutes. Enjoy!



    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    My favorite laundry







    A little look into our day. Love hanging out with my (messy) little helper!