Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Read With Max Blog Book Tour!

I recently came across a great children's book series.  The books are about a Dog Leader for the Blind, with the star of the book named Max.  He is an English Lab (my fav!) who tells the story from his point of view of his adventures in dog leadership.  He is encouraging kids to have good experiences helping out people in need and to encourage those kids who need the assistance of a work dog too.

Then I got to investigating further about the book and the author.  It turns out, a portion of the proceeds from the book goes to The Leader Dogs for the Blind organization.  Even better!  A great book and a great cause!  If you head to the website, Read With Max, you can check out all their great books and awards. 
And the best part is, I'm giving away one of the books right here today!  Just leave a comment telling your favorite breed of dog below by Friday at noon and I will announce the winners of a random selection after that.  I hope you will all check out the great books by Anthony M.T. Majewski, I don't think you'll be disappointed!!!

Max is running through a few blogs on a book tour, check out the dates for the other blogs on the tour here.  And since I am the first up on the tour, I have a key word for you!  Connect all the key words on the blogs on the tour and be entered in a drawing for a $50 gift card!  The word of the day is: MAX.  Good luck!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Girl

Lately, my little girl has been more like my little demon.  She is NOT interested in her mother.  She glares when I get her from her crib, she reaches for Daddy when she is hurt.  She just wants to soak up every minute she has with her dad and Mommy is nothing but a deterance.

But last night things were different.  I picked her up from daycare and it was just the two of us.  We had a salad and grilled cheese for dinner and we sat and talked.  Okay, I talked she listened.  She fed me bites of her food and smiled at me.  She patted my on the back when I picked her up.  It was lovely.

I took her outside even though it was cold and we played an exciting game of peekaboo around the bbq grill.  She led me by the hand all through the yard showing me things that she liked.  She even pointed at a Miller-sized land mine in the yard that she found interesting. 

We went inside and she played with my hair and we played kitchen.  She brought me the remote and we watched about 2 minutes of Dora while she sat in my lap.  She smiled, she was happy and laughing.  She was her Mama's girl again.  I drank it up, enjoyed every minute and gave her lots of kisses.

She is growing and changing all the time these days.  Each day she can say or do something new.  Yesterday she said cookie.  Saturday in Wal-Mart she pointed to something on the shelf and signed please so she could have it.  She tickles us and imitates everything we do.  It was nice to just sit on the couch and watch her so I won't forget how fun she is right now.  How cute her little nose is, how tiny her feet still are.  For those 3 hours I didn't mind that she hated me all weekend or that she slapped me the other day.  I just enjoyed my baby girl and I hope she enjoyed me too.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Upcoming Events

I just wanted to let you know I was gearing up for my first ever blog giveaway!  Tune in Wednesday to read all about a great book and to enter into a drawing for a free giveaway!  Are you so excited?  I am!  See you Wednesday!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rice Party

During our break, we played outside a lot.  One day we got the bright idea to let Reese have a little rice party on our patio.  We gave her some scoops, cups, and spoons and let her have at it.  And she loved it! She played for an hour.  Which was very nice for Mommy and Daddy.  I'm so glad I save containers like this pancake mix pourer and the puffs container.  We even hid things in the rice, it was like surprise every time she found one!!


Monday, March 21, 2011

She's Cracking Me Up!

Our child, well, she is hilarious to say the least.  Lately she has been cracking me up with her antics and funny ways about life.  For one thing, she loves to give kisses.  You know the open mouth kind.  I love the kisses, but would prefer the closed mouth kind.  She'll get it one of these days.  But back to my point, the other day, she was passing out Daddy kisses left and right.  I wanted in on the action so I asked her if I could have a kiss.  She came over, kissed me, walked to her dad, kissed him, and back again several times.  She just had lots of love to go around.

She has also become a big lover of filling, scooping and dumping.  So we got out the spices and pots and pans and she filled the pans up with spices (in the containers) and stirred them around a little bit.  She would pretend to pour spices in, stir it up and then lift the spoon to her mouth saying, "mmmm."  Guess she watches me more than I think!


She's also become an avid outdoorswoman.  Not just enjoying the weather, but dragging her father by his hair across the room and pounding at the door until we open it.  Saturday's storm really put a hitch in her plans and she demanded to go out for hours.  I finally opened the door, put her out there and brought her back in.  She was done demanding after that.  She does love it out there though.  Especially when Daddy chips golf balls into the lot behind our house.  

She was a Daddy's girl this weekend.  Not that she hasn't always been a little but mostly if she wanted something, she came to me.  This weekend it was all about Dad.  She gave me the most withering glares if I came to get her from her nap.  She refused to even look in my direction and she saved all her smiles just for him.  I just hope she doesn't forget about me for good!

My little girl is getting so big.  She is becoming Miss Independent, helping put her clothes on and throwing trash away.  She still loves to read and lights up whenever we grab a book from her overflowing bookcase.  She grabs our hand and leads us where she wants to go but still tilts her head back and puts her thumb in her mouth when we cuddle her close.  We had a great spring break together, it just makes us count the days until Summer Vacation!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Break

We have spent this week running around like crazy people.  But we have had fun.  And while we didn't get a chance to spend as much time with the people we wanted to see, we did get to see a lot of people.  We started off going to Maggie's gymnastic meet on Saturday.  That was just awesome.  This isn't the best picture, but I was pleased with the video so I'll be okay.

Then we spent time with my family.  We got to love on this cute little face.

We spent the day with Baby D at his house on Monday and had a great time playing with some new toys. I think this was the closest they came to one another the whole time we were there.  But they definitely agreed, they loved the jack in the box.  They played well those 5 minutes together, even sitting still while I grabbed my camera.  It was fun to watch them. 

Monday night I was able to catch up with my good friends Mary and Eric and their cutie pie, Clara.  I had missed them a lot.  And even though Reese had less than stellar behavior, she had fun with Clara too who showed her each of her toys and was very thoughtful. 

We came home on Tuesday, just exhausted out of our minds.  Poor Reese slept the entire way home and then took another 2 hour nap later that afternoon.  She played hard and had a hard time catching up.  I think she was glad to be home.  I know I was.

And now we are just enjoying our time together.  Playing outside and at the park.  I have a full-time walker now so she thought walking around with the wind blowing through her hair was just fabulous. 

Spring break, ahhh, it's the best.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mags

This weekend Dustin and I were lucky enough to go see our niece perform in a gymnastics event.  It was amazing.  Really, really amazing.

Two years ago we were putting the pressure on Maggie.  She was a natural gymnastic.  She's flexible and just the right amount of fearless.  But she wasn't sure about gymnastics.  We all knew she would be great at it, it just took a little convincing to get her to feel the same way.  But she came around, and as we all knew she would, she excelled immediately.  She can bounce and fly around as if she was born to do it. 

This weekend she had a meet in Columbia and we were able to go.  I wish I could go to each and every one of them because it was such a great day.  That Maggie was just wonderful!  I just loved how she looked in her leotard and how she walked with such grace.  She was beautiful.

The first event was the one Maggie hates the most, the bars.  She feels like it is a weakness for her, even though that was the last word I would use to describe it.  She nailed her pinwheel flip around the bars and stuck the landing!  And that's how it went all day long.  On the balance beam she never wavered, the floor routine she pointed her toes and kept her movements sharp.  The vault was the last event and she sprang into the air and came up smiling.  She was perfect.

video
I really can't say enough about what a great day this was.  I loved watching Maggie in her element.  I loved watching how proud her Mom and Dad were.  It was fun to see her strength and pride to this commitment.  She was just awesome!  Here's a little video of her on the bars, I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lent: Day 1

Today is Ash Wednesday.  The beginning of Lent.  The day Jesus left for the desert where he stayed for 40 days and 40 nights to fast and pray before his death.  So in honor of his commitment and sacrifice, some give things up as a sacrifice during the days before Easter.  Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent are all meatless days also because, again, it is a sacrifice.  So when one sacrifices, one must remember to think of Jesus in the desert and his purpose there.

And this year, right out of the gate, I failed. 

It wasn't like I thought, "screw Lent, I'm eating chicken!"  It was more like an epiphany around 2:00.  "Oh crap!  I'm not supposed to eat meat today."  That was right after enjoying the chicken salad I had for lunch.  Whoops!  So, as of 2:00 tomorrow, I'll be off the hook. 

That's another thing about Lent.  Sure, I can sneak a chicken salad in at lunch time on Ash Wednesday; no one held me accountable.  Katie didn't care if I had roast beef or chicken or pork.  No one minds what you do, it's just the Big Guy who always seems to be checking over my shoulder.  He has a way of knowing those little cheats.

I am giving up pop this year.  This is a sacrifice like one I haven't had in awhile.  I strive big during Lent.  One year it was potatoes, another red meat.  Last year it was money to charity.  But pop, well that's a whole new realm of commitment.  Part of my determination comes from the fact that I am an addict and it's time to break the bad habit.  Part of my commitment comes from the denial of faith from my husband.  Little does he know that besides today, I've never cheated, not once.  I should've bet him.

So here we are.  Day 1 of a 40+ day journey on the path to cleansing myself from aspartame and caramel color (no one said anything specifically about caffeine here people).  I have a headache.  I am without my usual jolt of life from the caffeine that is a staple in my bloodstream.  I am grouchy and I want a steak.  But, a sacrifice it is.  No one said anything about it being easy.  And it shouldn't be.  Because really, the only one you have to prove a point to is paying attention and I sure don't want to let Him down.

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup Casserole

Today I made this recipe I found on The Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen Blog.  It was absolutely wonderful! Our entire family devoured it and couldn't think of a single thing we didn't like about it.  So I wanted to share how I made it since it is a little different than the actual recipe.  And it is full of things that are common to have around.  I felt a little sinful not sharing it too, it was great.

First, I roasted the chicken breasts in the oven at 425 with some olive oil and salt and pepper.  The recipe calls for boiled chicken but I hate the smell of boiled chicken so I chose to do the more flavorful option. 

Then I cut up carrots, celery, and half an onion to saute in 1/2 a stick of butter.

I also grated up some garlic into the pot.  In with the veggies I sprinkled thyme and some pepper.  I didn't use salt because the butter was salted already.

After the veggies got pretty soft and the onions translucent, I spooned in a huge spoonful of sour cream and a can of cream of mushroom soup.  The original recipe calls for a can each of cream of chicken and cream of mushroom but I cut it down for our family and just used one can. 

The next step was to boil some pasta.  The recipe called for quite a bit but I cut it down.  You'll have to check the recipe for sure and then I used about 3/4 of what it said.  The noodles can overpower it and we really loved all the chunks of other stuff.  And if you use too much pasta it can get a little dry.  The recipe also called for angel hair pasta, I thought that was perfect.  I got a lot of lip about it from Dustin (he thought they should've been fettuccine noodles) but when it was finished he agreed that those were perfect.

About this time, I checked in and of course my lovely assistant was up to no good.  You might not be able to see it here, but she was covered in green, as in crayon, that she had been eating.  Yes, she is missing a shoe and yes, we need to sweep our floor (or let the vacuuming dogs take a stroll through)!

Once the pasta is cooked, the chicken is probably cool enough to chunk up into smallish pieces.

Then I mixed everything together in a big bowl.  Mix it really well because I do have to admit that the only complaint we had was that the chicken wasn't distributed enough.  Also, I broke the pasta in half to help with this step too.  At this point, Dustin came in and asked if he could just put his face in the pan and start eating.  It smelled awesome already and it really looked great.  I couldn't help but agree with his thought!

This goes in the oven at 375 for about 30-35 minutes.  In the meantime, clean up the green crayon, sweep the floor and read a few books to your baby.  She'll appreciate the extra love.

And then once your casserole has been cooking for awhile, crunch up a whole sleeve of Ritz crackers.  I used the whole wheat kind and they were delish.   Let it cook about 10 minutes more after that. 

This is what comes out of the oven!  YUM!! 

And this is what the crowd thought.

Friday, March 4, 2011

This and That

Tonight has been boring.  I'm talking agonizingly boring.  Dustin made the trek home to do some work tomorrow so Reese and I are here alone and as much as I couldn't wait for her to go to bed, now I wish she was up so I would have something to do.  But she's not.

First things first, this has been one long week.  With the amount of snow days that have been in my schedule lately a full week of school is about the equivalent as a year with no weekends.  It's been brutal.  The kids are at war with one another.  I am at war with the kids.  They need to get smarter in a hurry.  And I mean it.

Secondly, my child has become very interested in what's under the bed.  She pulls out gift bags and stray pictures.  She finds tissue paper and ribbons.  I guess I need some good sturdy storage boxes.  Or I need to get off the couch and tell her no once in awhile.  But the boxes sound easier.

She has also become a hairy troll as of late.  This morning I almost screamed when I saw her.  Talk about some bedhead.  I am now officially done judging mothers of 3rd grade girls who have neither the time nor the energy to get a brush through their tangled manes.  Yikes!  Hair is a battle.  I slip a barrette in, 27.6 seconds later it is out.  And let me tell you about the fight I got when I attempted a pony tail holder today.  She's a feisty one, that kid.

I am filled with apprehension this weekend.  I don't even want to say why out loud.  I am getting ready to branch out and do the unthinkable.  My heart is pumping hard just thinking of it.  Tune in next week and I will tell you all about it.....don't you just love the suspense?  Let's just say Lent is approaching and I'm going for the big guns this year.  I always feel that way, but you know what?  I never give up alcohol, that would be a stretch of the ole faith muscle that's for sure.

My child is also an endless talker these days.  She sings constantly and will repeat the sounds we make often.  I swore she said love to me yesterday after I told her I loved her.  That will be quite an accomplishment.  I love her sweet affections, hugs and kisses, but "I love you" will be a little less wet than when she tries to kiss me with her mouth wide open and her tongue hanging out. Yuck! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

16 Months and Counting....

This is Reese.  She is 16 months old.  She is onery.
This is Reese in her fur coat.  Every girl needs a fur coat, right?  A dry clean only fur coat for babies.  It's practical and beautiful!  Reese thought so too.  She refused to leave her bedroom without the fur coat.  That's the way she rolls. 

This is Reese with her cell phone.  Babies need cell phones too, but you knew that already didn't you?  Her favorite part of the cell phone is when it has a picture on the screen.  Reese likes the picture very much.  She likes it so much that she will throw it down on the ground if there is no picture and scream, "Ugh!" at me until it has a picture.  "Ugh" in baby language translates 16 years later to: "I hate you, you ruined my life."  We are so looking forward to the teenage years. 

This is Reese in her favorite chair.  This chair is her favorite because she can now climb into it all by herself.  She's become an avid climber.  In fact, this morning when she was supposed to be in her room in her crib sleeping, I heard a scream and a few minutes later a child appeared at the shower door.  This translated at 16 looks strikingly like a thud from a 2nd floor window to meet her boyfriend down the block.

And actually, there are many good things about this beautiful girl too.  She loves her blankie and calls it, Nigh-nigh.  She lights up like a candle when she sees it at the end of the day. She pats us on the back when we pick her up to hug her.  She even pats her friends on the back at day care when they are upset.  She loves kisses and snuggles and her thumb.  Reese could gobble up Nutri-Grain bars like candy and she often goes to the kitchen to point to the cabinet that they are in until she gets one.

Reese is our angel.  And we couldn't love her more!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Baby D

My adorable nephew came and stayed with us over the weekend. He is the funniest little man I think I've ever seen! He has the greatest facial expressions and personality.


Reese loved him too. She kept trying to feed him a "bite" from her spoon. Since there was no actual bite to take, I don't think he was too interested. She got a little aggressive with him and it ended up as more of a whack with the spoon instead. I don't think he minded a whole lot, but there were several demonstrations about being gentle for our little dear.

The toys of the night was our pop up toy. He would laugh and laugh and look expectantly again for me to push the button. I also caught him with a toy piece of corn on the cob several times. I couldn't help but smile at how hilarious that looked.  He and Miller really hit it off too.  They parted ways as the best of friends.

We had a great time with his visit and we hope he comes back very soon. He's the snuggliest little guy and strong as an ox. I love this picture below too because I think he looks just like my sister here. He is his daddy's boy in the looks department (you wouldn't know Lulu and I had any traits) but this one has Lulu written all over it!