Saturday, January 31, 2009

Nonnie and Poppy...

My boys call my parents Nonnie and Poppy. They live 5 hours away, but we typically see them every 2 weeks. It is an arrangement I made with them when I moved here right after having Walker. Most people think we are crazy for travelling the way we do, but it has become a way of life for us. We take turns every other week, and this was their week to come here. This is a little bit of what we've been up to...

Nonnie makes homemade strawberry freezer jam. Connor could live on the stuff. Literally every morning he eats atleast 2 pieces of toast with this jam on it. He ran out of "strawberries" as he calls it on Wed., and I tried to replace it with store bought jam. He HATED it and has been boycotting his toast ever since. When Nonnie got out the jam she brought him this morning he was so happy he started licking the jar. Now THAT is some good jam!
Here are Walker, Poppy, and Connor at a local park on the slide, WEEE!

Nonnie and Walker playing ball in the backyard. He is not afraid to tackle his Nonnie. Good thing she is resiliant.
I thought this picture turned out so sweet. Just a lucky shot my Dad (Poppy) got at the park today.
Here are Poppy and the boys feeding the ducks. These ducks are the whole reason we frequent this park. Walker loves them.

We have played a lot this evening. I've been kicking everyone's behind on the Wii , you believe that don't you? Yeah right! But it has been fun all the same. Hope you are having a great weekend with the people you love!

I am getting geared up for our Super Bowl Party tomorrow night. Any big party plans on your end?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Craft It Forward and a Pillow...

One of my very first blogging friends Tricia, came up with this genius idea over on her blog Craft Addict. Basically, it is called Craft It Forward and here's the rules:

If you want to win a handmade ♥GIFT♥ from me. Be one of the first 3 bloggers to leave a comment on this post, which entitles you to a handmade item from me. Winners must post this giveaway on your blog, meaning that you will {Craft it Forward} too, creating a handmade gift for the first three bloggers who leave a comment on YOUR post about this giveaway! The gift that you send can be any price range and you have 30 days to make and ship your item(s).

Now do you see why I thought this idea was genius? How fun is this gonna be? Remember, it’s the spirit and the thought that count! When you receive your gift, please blog about it, sharing appropriate Linky Love! If you are not one of the Top Three to comment on this post, you can still play along. Please start your own {Craft it Forward} chain, and encourage your blogging friends to do the same.
I was too late to win a gift from Tricia, but I saw that the Hat Chick was participating so I hopped over to her blog and voila, I WON! So now I am Crafting it Forward on my blog. This is gonna be fun way to share some of the great crafts we are always making .

On that note, thought I would share a pillow I made last week. I thought it turned out pretty cute. I am probably still gonna add an applique on the front, but for now I am leaving it as is. I wanted to do a pillow like Kimba made here, but I did not have enough fabric, so I simply took the fabric I had and cut it into strips, and then sewed them together. I left the top open and stuffed in the pillow. Last I cut the remaining top into strips and tied it closed. I added extra strips of fabric to the knots to make my ragamuffin fuller.

What do you think? I could make you one if you win, or maybe a tassel or sock monkey?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

All Boy...

I always thought I wanted a daughter. Oh how I would do her hair and dress her in pink and purple. She would be the perfect little lady, full of class and style. We would have tea parties and play with dolls. Her manners would be second to none. Then, God decided that was not his plan for me. Instead he blessed me with this...

Two miniature Al Bundy's that love to put their hands in their pants...

And show plumbers crack...
And eat like this...

And even pick their noses, YUCK!
But, at the end of the day. I realize that God knew better. He decided the boogers, and butt cracks were what I needed. But occassionally, I do get a glimpse of those sweet babies I always I knew I would have one day. The babies that are growing up way too fast, but are always gonna be my babies...

And it is in those moments that I realize I am raising some really special boys that are gonna grow up to be wonderful men, with wives and children that they will know how to treat well. I guess looking at it that way, it makes my job pretty darn important!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Smooshy Face Technique...

My boys crack me up all day every day. Today Walker was working on some of his "funny faces", as he calls them. He has just recently discovered that he can contort his face into all sorts of crazy looking shapes and I often find him looking at his reflection on my appliances or in a mirror. Well today he decided to teach Connor his "Smooshy Face" and all the techniques he has mastered. I was laughing so hard I could barely take the pictures.

This is Walker giving Connor the smoosh.
Again he tries to show Connor appropriate technique.

Poor Connor just can't seem to do it himself quite yet, so brother squishes him some more.
Look Connor, THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT! (Walker is losing his patience now.) One last time, but notice these are still Walker's hands on Connor's face.
Nothing like a little brotherly love. There is just no other like a brother!

Weight Watcher's Wednesday...

Welcome! It is Weight Watcher's Wednesday (Week 2) and I am thrilled to tell you I had another great week! I lost 4 more pounds for a running total of 10lbs. YEAH Weight Watchers! This past week was not quite as easy as the week before. We had a more regular week and ate dinner with Lon's grandparents a couple times, and while Mama is a wonderful cook, she is not one to skimp on calories or fat grams. We also had 2 birthdays which involve cake and other goodies. I just want to tell Toni, she is a dear friend but not a blogger yet, that the cupcakes from her kids' party were the best I have ever put in my mouth, and I have eaten a lot of cupcakes in my time. Probably why I am in this predicament now and back on WW!

Now on to something other than cupcakes, I am making real strides in turning this into a lifestyle change this time around. I have made some serious adjustments in the way I view this whole process. The old Mandi would have said, "With a week like this, I'm not gonna have a loss anyway, so I might as well eat what I want." Excuses excuses. Well atleast I am honest. Lon and I were discussing it the other night (at Cracker Barrell of all places). I told him I had a light bulb moment. It occurred to me that just because I had a cupcake (or 2) at a party, did not mean I should blow the whole week. It is all about moderation, right? Life is not something that you can plan every single meal or you will go crazy. Well this past week was a baby step in that direction.

The recipe this week is gonna be another chili. I promise to get away from chili next week, but it has been so "chilly" outside, and we have been so busy that I cook quick and easy as often as possible. This week I am gonna give you my chicken chili recipe. It is a little spicy, but DELISH!

White Chicken Chili

4 chicken breasts
2 cans of Rotel
2 packets of McCormick's White Chicken Chili spice
2 cans of Navy Beans (I used 15.5 oz. cans)

I buy chicken breasts in bulk at Costco and freeze them. If your chicken is not frozen, it should still work the same, just not have to cook as long. I put my chicken breasts and rotel in the crock pot on high until done (usually about 3 hours). When it is no longer pink in the center, I take 2 forks and shred the chicken. Add the rest of the ingredients to the crock pot and turn down to low. I let it simmer another hour or 2 and serve it with tortilla strips and fat free sour cream. I love this and it heats up great through the week!
You could probably add more veggies like corn or celery, but Lon is not a big fan of veggies so I have to cook to his preferences. I'm sure you could get much more creative than I do.

I take the whole crock pot and divide it evenly into 6 hearty servings at 5 points each. I put 4 of the servings in gladware bowls and in the fridge to eat later. It reheats great and is perfect for lunch through the week.

Next week I hope to start taking a picture every week of myself to see my own progress. I know you won't able to see a big difference week to week, but in a few months it will be fun to look back.
Any of my other blogging buddies on WW, did you have a good week?

Brought to You by the Letter C...

So Amy at A Little of This and a Little of That has this fun little game going on her blog where you are provided a letter, and you have to tell some facts about yourself that start with that letter. Never one to miss out, I decided to play along. I was given the letter C. Here we go...

1. Connor Brett is my Crazy redheaded boy. Connie Bea is my Mom's name and we named Connor after her.

2. Children... I have 2. Walker and Connor. We are done and will have no more. Yes a girl would have been nice, but I am Content with my 2 Charming boys.

3. College is where Lonnie and I met and fell in l0ve, ETSU to be exact. Some of my very best friends are from this time as well.

4. Crafting is a passion of mine. Any time, anywhere, with anyone. Need I say more?

5. Compassionate and Caring. I like to think I am both of these, or atleast I strive to be. Sometimes I probably am caring to the point of being naive.

6. Creativity is one thing that keeps me motivated. If I can turn any Chore into something Creative, I will enjoy it much more.

7. Coffee. I love it! I am a bit of a Coffee snob and like the good stuff, even though my dad says I ruin it by using too much Cream and splenda.

8. Chocolate... I must have it everyday. Even on Weight Watcher's there is room for a little chocolate. My sister has just turned me on to the Dove's dark chocolate. I have always been a milk chocolate girl, but I am not one to discriminate!

9. Computer... I love my computer and all of the blogging buddies I have made because of it, and how easy it makes keeping up with family and friends.

10. Cooking... I love it and even though I am doing a healthier version of it these days, I will always have a sweet to and love to cook and entertain.

On that note... If you want to play, leave a comment on this post letting me know, and I’ll assign you a letter. You write about ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter, and post it at your place. When people comment on your list, you give them a letter, and the chain continues on and on! Thanks for playing and have a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Next Hot Chef...

Well it is official, I am raising the next Hot Chef that America is gonna swoon over and love. We got out Walker's Easy Bake Oven (thanks Wewe) today for the first time, and he sported his cool new apron Nonnie got him for Christmas. Let me just say the child was in his element. You should have seen him tasting his batter and whipping up the icing for the cake. I am thinking maybe he will be the next Curtis Stone from Take Home Chef.

Here he is whipping up his recipe, you may have to squint to see it. Those Easy Bake packets are not very generous. Imagine making batter for a single cookie.

He is ready for battle in the kitchen with his spiffy new whisk.
I think it is just about right. Maybe a little more water.
Okay. It's PERFECT! Time to bake for 12 mins.
Let's ice this little beauty. TA DA!

Walker wouldn't eat his own cake. He called Nana and she agreed to come over and try it. Poor Nana. What won't grandparents do for their grandkids?

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Heart Faces "Joy"

I enjoyed entering the photo contest so much last week I decided I am gonna try to do it from now on. It is amazing how looking at everyone else's great photographs helps you to see ways to improve on your own pictures. This is Walker. He is my 3 year old and is such an expressive child. I thought this picture was very appropriate for the "Joy" entry this week.

Don't forget to go over to I Heart Faces and see all of the other incredible entries. I promise you will not be disappointed!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Attitude of Gratitude...

My friend Mandi at Misses Canadian Pie, gave me an award this week for being grateful. Of course that got me thinking about how much I truly do have to be grateful for. I think from now on, Sunday posts are gonna have an attitude of gratitude and be recaps of several things I am thankful for from the previous week.

1. It snowed this week. Keep in mind that we live close to Charleston SC. It NEVER snows here. Granted it wasn't mcuh snow, but it was enough to get everyone in a tissy and all worked up.
2. Walker and Connor want me to thank Nonnie and Pop for their calendars they got in the mail. Walker has been endlessly entertained by looking at his horses, and Connor's Tinkerbell calendar is kind of like a calendar of pin up girls for 2 year olds. He just looks at those fairies and grins ear to ear.

3. Nana arranged for us to take Walker to a "real" horse farm where they have show horses. He absolutely loved it and was mesmerized. We are now going to start looking into horse riding lessons for him. He says he wants to "ride a horse named Hot Shot really fast". Where do they come up with this stuff?

4. Papa turned 71 this week. Papa is Lon's granddad and a really big part of our life here in SC. This is a small miracle because the men in Papa's family never live past 65. That is him down there dancing with Walker on his birthday.

5. We are going to try out the preschool choir tonight at our church. Walker LOVES to sing, and I am thankful that we go to a church that has a ministry like this for 3 and 4 year olds.

6. Connor is adjusting to less time with his binky. It was cut last week and he doesn't really seem to care too much. Hopefully this week when I cut it more he will adjust easily again.
7. I am especially thankful for the little cheetoh crusted fingers that hold on to mine when we spend time together. I am so blessed to have my sweet boys.

What are you thankful for this week?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lemonade Anyone?

I was so honored to receive the Lemondade Award from my dear friend Mandi over at Misses Canadian Pie. If you don't know Mandi, you really should stop over at her bl0g and visit with her. She is a wonderful Christian and is just full of creative ideas and inspiration.

What this award is about...
Bloggers who show great attitude and gratitude. ( Now do you see why I was so honored?)

What you have to do...

Upon receiving The Lemonade Award, you also pass it on to other bloggers who you think show great attitude and gratitude. Here are the rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.

2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!

3. Link to your nominees within your post.

4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

Now for my nominees, drumroll please...

1. Tricia @ Craft Addict
3. Melissa @ 320 Sycamore
4. Susie @ Bienvenue
5. Edie @ Life in Grace
7. Positively Creative @ Livin' Life Patino Style
9. Shannon @ Bless Our Nest
10. The Gals at Little Birdie Secrets
I chose these blogs because I follow all of them and just love the people that write them. Keep up the good work!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cheap Silhouettes...

Nowadays, just like everyone else, my decorating budget is nonexistent and since I have been in the mood to decorate, I have to be rather thrifty. I have been wanting to get silhouettes done of the boys FOREVER! I've had a spot on the wall for them and everything. It has somehow always been put on the backburner. Well today was the day! I decided I was gonna make a silhouette and hang it up no matter how it looked. Keep in mind these were my first ones. I will probably end up doing them again on better paper, but for now they are pretty darn good.

I had these 8x10 frames that I got at Hobby Lobby for $2.72. Yes you are seeing correctly. They had been $19.99. I love them. Not usually a big fan of gold, but in some places I like it, and this is one.

All I did was print off a 5x7 profile of each of the boys on the printer. I then cut it out. The back side of the picture is white, so I just glued the color side of the picture to a black matte.

As an afterthought I put the boys initials on the bust with some rub on stickers. This is what they look like all finished and hanging in my hallway.
Easy peasy and cheap to boot. What do you think?

Dance 101

Dance 101, by Walker is the course I have been up to. I am not computer savvy enough to upload videos yet, so another smilebox will have to do for now. Hope you take note of all of the important tips and tricks Walker shares here. He is a great dancer, HAHAHA!
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Weight Watcher's Wednesday...

Week 1- Well I am just so darn proud and excited that I might be dreaming,if I am don't dare pinch me because I like this dream! I weighed this morning and had lost 6 lbs. in the past week! I am thrilled. The key to this week's success? I have worked really hard to make sure my meals are planned and I have groceries in advance. In the past that is always how I fall off the "Good Choices" bandwagon and back on the float to Sugar Mountain. Not this time, no siree!

I broke it down into a pretty simple system and this is how it works. I make myself a list and give myself 3 or 4 options for breakfast, snacks, and lunch. I buy groceries and plan for those choices so whatever my mood that day, I'll have it covered. We eat dinner as a family, so I plan out 6 dinners for the week and one night for dining out. I figured my points for each item out in advance, and and when I get hungry I just look at my little list and grab what sounds best and works in my point allowance. This way I am not rummaging through the pantry and freezer full of all the boys' snacks and ice cream. I have my little area of food and steer clear of theirs when I am hungry.

I am also keeping a notebook this time around. I am actually writing down all of my recipes and their point conversions so that I don't have to hop on the internet when I need to get a shopping list together. The notebook has helped tremendously. I can also look back on my food journals for the past week and see what I ate, etc. This is not a big deal now, but down the road when the weight doesn't come off as quick I will be able to see what I ate, etc.

As promised, I am gonna share my favorite recipe from this week and some other faves I found. I have the biggest sweet tooth ever. As you can tell that has not worked in my favor, anyway... I LOVE Skinny Cow ice cream products. They taste like regular ice cream and the points are good. Even Lon likes them and he is very picky.

These mint chocolate dippers are GREAT, and at only 1 pt. I love 'em
These chocolate fudge lowfat cones are heavenly! 3 pts. each and worth every one! They even have chocolate in the cone. YUM!

Now, for the recipe this week I am gonna tell you my Lowfat Chili recipe. I have never actually shared a recipe that I did on my own before, so I can't make any promises, but it works for me.

Mandi's Lowfat and Fabulous Chili~
1 lb. ground turkey (the leanest you can find)
15 oz. can of Hunt's Chili Tomato Sauce
8 oz. can of Hunt's Tomato Sauce
15.5 oz. can of Hanover Kidney Beans
1 packet of McCormick dry chili seasoning

Brown the ground turkey. Drain off any fat and add all the other ingredients into either a big pot or a crock pot. Stir well, and simmer on low for about 2-3 hours.

*You can let it cook longer if you like. It will only improve the flavor. If you are gonna let it cook much longer I would add 1 cup of water to make sure it doesn't get too dry.

When I figured this I did it as 4 servings/5 points each. Being that I am a scientific genius, precision is key (sorry I'm choking up at my sarcasm here), I actually divide it evenly into 4 bowls and refrigerate the ones we don't eat so it is already divided for later.

For any of my Weight Watcher's buddies out there, how was your week? Any new finds you would care to share?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bye Bye Binky

A period in my life is officially coming to an end. The past 3 1/2 years have been a love/hate relationship with the Binky through my 2 boys. I love how it can comfort and occupy an upset baby when nothing else will. I love how when a child that puts EVERYTHING in his mouth has a binky, he puts nothing in his mouth. But, alas all good things must come to an end. That time has come for binky.

We tried everything to take Walker's away. Nothing worked. Finally when Walker was 2 1/2 we told him when you get to be a big boy your binky starts to break. Every week we cut a little more of the poor binky off until there was nothing but the base left. It was the hardest thing I have had to do to poor Walker. It was like he went into a detox of sorts. No I am not exaggerating. He shook. He trembled. He tantrumed. But no matter what he did all the binkies were gone. After about 2 days of chaos he was fine.

Well now it is Connor's turn. He is getting to be a big boy and I'm afraid the binky is starting to affect his teeth. The problem with Connor is he is even more attached to his than Walker was. He sleeps with one in each hand and one in his mouth. He has them stashed all over the place. And worse of all, he has a TEMPER! When he loses his bink, he loses all control. I know this is gonna seem like a silly request, but keep us in your prayers this week. It is probably gonna be tough as we begin the process of getting rid of binky. I'll be honest. I'm a little nervous about it. This big of a change always affects sleeping and other stuff. It is like I am taking away his best buddy or something. It will be a change for all of us, but it is for the best. Here are a few of my favorite binky shots.

Monday, January 19, 2009


So I am a total amateur in the area of photography, but I LOVE IT! I have pics I have taken all over the place, so why not share one of my favorites? I stumbled upon a new blog called I Heart Faces, and for those of you like me who love photography, this is the blog for you. They are having a contest right now, so you should go over and join in the fun. Here is a picture I took of Connor when he was 1. I call it his HUH? picture, and it is one of my favorites! Wish me luck!

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