Monday, January 31, 2011

Help Me Decide!

Have you heard of Groupon?  It's a newish online coupon that changes daily.  Most large cities have an offer each day and you buy them online.  I've been waiting and waiting for a local Charleston salon to offer a Groupon and a couple of weeks ago my patience paid off.  I spent $50 and will receive $100 worth of services at a downtown salon.

Since I've entered this "new Mama" stage I have definitely neglected my appearance a bit.  I've let my hair get so bad that I am ready to just chop it all off and dye it purple.  I'm trying to decide on both cut and color.  So here are a few snapshots from the last few years.  Vote for your favorite in the comments or leave me a comment with your suggestions for both length and color.  I know what I think I prefer.....but I'm anxious to hear what you think!!  I"ll post my "after" pictures once I have my appointment!

 Photo 1
 Photo 2
 Photo 3
 Photo 4
 Photo 5
 Photo 6
 Photo 7
 Photo 8
 Photo 9
Photo 10

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Our Little Wildcat

Our little guy was cheering for the CATS today in his blue!!  He is awfully excited about it too!!


Tickle Monster

Project 365-Week Four

January 22: This is Scout.  He seems to be guarding Stafford who has miraculously wedged himself between Scout and the foot of his bed.

January 23:  Our sweet friends the Tuckers gave us their "exersaucer" to use.  Stafford discovers new parts of it each day.

January 24: Peter and I had the stomach bug this past weekend.  It was AWFUL!!  Monday morning he went out to get items from the B.R.A.T. diet and came back with these as well.

January 25:  We got our Bridge Run calendar in the mail today.  I'm actually thinking of doing the race for the first time this year!!

January 26:  Mmmm.....triple chocolate!

January 27:  My little Wildcat!!!

January 28: Reading with Daddy at Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Friend Who Challenges

I was very pleasantly surprised yesterday with a visit from two of my dear friends.  It made me appreciative for many reasons but mainly for these reasons.

I am so happy I have friends who are willing to go out of their way because they want to make time to see me.

I find that quality harder and harder to find in friendships these days.  People are so busy or they don't want to make the drive or sometime comes up....etc etc etc.  Certainly there are times when I have to cancel plans or don't follow through, I realize that.  But I just really appreciate the effort.  Over Christmas one of my dearest friends drove 3 hours through snow to see us and I have to say it was one of the best presents I received this year.  I appreciate a good friend and I hope my friends know it!

I am so happy I have friends who are serving the Lord wherever they are no matter what.

I have multiple friends serving the Lord on various missions fields.  I am SO proud of them for following God's call on their heart and moving to sometimes remote, sometimes scary and definitely unfamiliar places.  I am proud of my friends who are serving here in the states every day in their jobs, whether it is nursing, mommying or ITing.  I am glad for the challenge these women present to me, to serve the Lord no matter what and no matter where!

I am so happy I have friends who are willing to ask good, hard and thought provoking questions.

My sweet friend yesterday asked lots of questions about Stafford and what mommy doesn't love that?  But the best thing she asked was,

"What has having Stafford taught you about the Lord?"

I was quick to answer because it reminded me instantly of this post.  I never expected to love Stafford as much as I do.  Don't get me wrong, I expected to love him.  And love him a lot!  But I didn't know it would be like this.  I was never able to picture what Peter would be like as a father.  Not because I couldn't see him as a father but because I just didn't know what it would be like.  And now that I've seen that I feel like I have a better and clearer picture of the way God loves me.  And that is SUPER overwhelming in a good but whoa!! kind of way. 

How great the Father's love for us!!  I hope you'll read the words of this song today and meditate on their meaning!!  The second verse talks about the Father turning His face away as Christ suffers on the cross for our sins.  Again, totally new meaning now that I am a parent.  I hate to hear Stafford cough knowing he might not be feeling well.  The magnitude of what Christ suffered is so incomprehensible!  And yet the Father still turned His face from it....because he loved us....and I'd also imagine because it hurt so much to see His only son suffer so.

Remember today how much the Father loves you!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Don't Forget....

Everyday I remind myself....

don't forget how your heart melts every morning at the smile on Stafford's face when you go to wake him up.....

don't forget his sweet little hands rubbing your side when you nurse him....

don't forget that when he gets tired he clasps his hands together and puts them on his forehead....

don't forget his sweet little "kisses" and the way he takes your face in his hands and "eats" your nose....

don't forget how his eyes light up everyday around 5:30 when Daddy walks through the door.....

don't forget how helpful he is when you try to feed he puts his hands in his mouth between every bite and already tries to hold the spoon...

don't forget how fascinated he is with his jammies that have animals on the feet....

don't forget how sweet it feels to pick him up when he is crying and have him put his head on your shoulder and stop.....

don't forget the crinkle of the floor-gym....the frog song....(how could you though, you've heard it about 7 million times)....

don't forget to remember all of these sweet moments......

A New Trick

This isn't a new trick...I've been doing it since Christmas-time.  But there are grandparents, aunts and uncles, and all kinds of other people who are dying to see me roll over!!

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

I tried to get a picture of this favorite of ours but they were gone before I could get my camera out!  We love these meatballs and I fix them pretty often.  I usually modify the recipe because I never can seem to have 1/2 pound of each type of meat.  And now that Pete avoids pork I usually use beef only.  You can make modifications as well but here is the original recipe.  Enjoy!!!

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup prepared Italian salad dressing
1-2 cups cubed bread (I've found that mostly stale or stale works best)
2 T. minced fresh parsley (I use dried)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
3 oz. fresh mozzarella

Combine the first 10 ingredients in a large bowl.  I  like to add the meat last because putting in the bread and dressing together allows the bread to soak it up and then you get more of that yummy flavor.  Cut your mozzarella into cubes.  Divide meat mixture and shape around cheese.  One pound of meat will usually make about 24 meatballs.  The original recipe called for these to be fried in oil in a frying pan.  Instead I would suggest baking them.  I place mine in a mini-muffin tin (which is probably why I always manage to get 24).  The little cups allow extra juice to pool in them which keeps the meatballs really moist and delicious.  I bake mine at 375 for about 7-10 minutes.  You'll want to modify your baking time based on how large your meatballs are.

These are great on spaghetti, subs or even as a stand alone.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!!

Project 365: Week Three

January 15: Guess who fed me this time?  I'll give you a wasn't Mama!!

January 16: If you follow the "Scavenger Hunt Sunday" one of the prompts last week was hair. I opted to use another shot but I liked this one of my brush and Stafford's side by side.

January 17: Doing such a good job holding his head up! 

January 18:  I blogged about my journals earlier this week here.  It is encouraging and funny to look back through them.

January 19: These came in the mail this week!!  They are Stafford's personalized thank-you cards.  I couldn't resist once I saw that little plane!  Plus the little guy has to learn to write his thank-you notes!!

January 20: I'm excited about this stuff.  Can you guess what it is?  Powdered peanut butter!!  At 45 calories per serving it is 1/4 the calories of the regular stuff.  I haven't tried it yet so I'll be sure to let you know how it tastes!!

January 21: Ahh....finished laundry.  Well, almost.  I still have to put it away.  I love looking at all those little tiny shirts and pants.

I really struggled with finding subjects this week.  I have to admit I skipped a few days and then took multiple pictures on one day.  Any advice for those of you that are really good at taking a daily picture of how to make it interesting?  I try not to have all the pictures of the little guy especially because at this point it's hard to "pose" a picture.  Any advice would be great!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Leek Stuffed Chicken

It's stuffed chicken week at our house.  So far we've tried out Leek & Herb Stuffed Chicken and Brie & Apple Stuffed Chicken.  I have two additional packages of chicken in the freezer so who knows what else we'll be trying by the end of the week!

Here is the recipe for the Leek & Herb Stuffed Chicken.  I've shared this fabulous Leek Soup before and you know how much I love them!!  They have this sweet oniony taste that isn't too strong.  If you haven't cooked with them before I totally recommend trying them  out!

Leek & Herb Stuffed Chicken


3 medium leeks (white and light green portions only), cleaned and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)


1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (the recipe called for pecans but I use what I have on hand)
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil


In a small skillet, saute leeks in oil until almost tender. Add the rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and saute for about a minute.  Take your pan off of the heat and let it cool down.
Flatten each chicken breast half to 1/4-in. thickness.  If you haven't ever done this before I suggest getting saran wrap and placing it over top your chicken.  You can pound it with anything, I use the side of a meat tenderizer.  It is messy!  Top the chicken with your leek mixture. Roll up and secure with toothpicks.

Mix your walnuts, bread crumbs, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Brush mustard over chicken, then coat with pecan mixture. Place seam side down in a greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish. Drizzle with oil.

Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 35-40 minutes.  Don't forget to take out the toothpicks!! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Father Son Bonding


I LOVE this picture because I LOVE watching my sweet husband be a father.  He LOVES our son so much and it shows!  What a blessing!!!

Dear Diary

In preparation for our move (more to follow on that in another post!) I've been slowly cleaning the house.  We don't live in a particularly large house and neither of us has a penchant for collecting things, however, our house seems to.  Wouldn't it be nice if you could put that on your criteria for new homes.....fenced in yard, garage, electric stove, doesn't collect junk....that house would sell like hotcakes!
Anyway, while I was going through our bookshelves in the basement (yes we have a basement in Charleston) I found two old "quote books" that I made in the mid 90's.  I started these books when my first boyfriend and I broke up.  I remember pretty much thinking that my life was OVER and that I would never love anyway again.  To help me make it through the rest of my years I started these quote books that I would read and add too whenever my heart was just breaking again.

There is actually some great stuff in these books.  I have quotes, songs, bible verses, poems...pretty much anything you can think of.  I'll save the serious ones for another post because it talks about my favorite Bible character; Saul.  Not Saul/Paul.  King Saul.  Saul you ask?  Yep, Saul.  You'll have to stay tuned to find out why.

While you wait though here are some of the funnier things from my "quote books".

"Never deprive someone of hope-it may be all they have"  This isn't a funny quote but looking back now wasn't I being a little dramatic?? I was 15!! Its a good thing I've toned down all that dramaticness in my life.  I can hear you laughing.  Stop laughing!!

"If you lose something let it go.  If it comes back to you it's your forever.  If it doesn't it never was." Oh really? 

"We agreed that it was over
Now the lines have all been drawn
The vows we made began to fade (ok clearly hadn't made vows when I was 15 but whatever)
And now they're gone
Put your pictures in a shoe box, your gold ring in a drawer
I'm not supposed to love you anymore"
(from Bryan White's "I'm Not Supposed to Love You Anymore")

"Unbreak my heart
Say you love me again
Undo this hurt that you caused when you walked out of the door and out of my life
Uncry these tears I've cried so many nights
Unbreak my heart"
(Toni Braxton, "Unbreak My Heart")

These are probably WAY funnier to me as I read them 15 years later but I had to share regardless.  I do remember feeling at the time that I was sure I would NEVER EVER love anyone ever again in my life.  I don't deny a special love for that sweet 14 year old boy, but it certainly wasn't what I found a decade (plus) later!  As you get older your perspective changes and thankfully we are able to look back on past hurts and pains with laughter.  There are definitely times in life when whatever is happening at the time seems so overwhelming that we think life will never be the same again.  And sometimes it isn't.  Sometimes it takes a while before we feel "normal" again.  Sometimes we just have to adjust to a new normal and more often than not it is painful.

I'll leave with with a couple of quotes that are a little more helpful in the "dealing with what life has handed you currently" area.  These are courtesy of the quote book as well but all the credit goes to the Good Book.

The Lord your God is with you
He is mighty to save
He will take great delights in you
He will quiet you with his love
He will rejoice over you with singing
Zephaniah 3:17
*Isn't it wonderful to serve a God who is MIGHTY to save?  I love that line!!

I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit in you;
I will remove from you our heart of stone an give you  heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
Ezekiel 36:26-27

O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago.
Isaiah 25:1
*Isn't this verse great?  I copied this into my book 15+  years ago wondering what God's plan was for my life. 

Childish or not, my heart hurt, and I hoped I would someday be blessed with a wonderful husband and eventually a family.  How awesome to know that the mighty God, who rejoices over me, who moves me to follow him had already planned marvelous things for me!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I'm linking up with Ashley for Scavenger Hunt Sunday!!

A Different View

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to start playing the piano again.  I started playing when I was 4 years old and I miss it!  I usually see the piano from a different view so I decided to capture it this way.

 Looking Up

This is looking up from our basement floor into the stairwell.  Not particularly exciting but looking up all the same.

This is a section of a painting I bought while on a missions trip to the Dominican Republic.  It's actually trees but hopefully it looks abstract!

 This is one of my hair rubber bands.  I love it because I can dress up a ponytail without trying much.  And believe me now that I am a Mom I am rocking the ponytail most days!


This is my other half......looking up.  I thought about changing this with the stairwell picture because it is only half of our stairwell but I liked the way this defined half.  Don't know what I would do without this perfect match!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sweet & Sour Roast

Sweet & Sour Roast

Brown roast
Pack 1 cup of Brown Sugar on top of roast
Slowly pour 1 cup of vinegar over the roast
( I used 1/2 cup apple cider and 1/2 cup red wine)
Bake in oven at 300 for 3 hours

It's that easy!  I cut up onions, potatoes and carrots to go along.  Hope you enjoy!!  I'll be sharing a yummy spinach and artichoke, mozzarella stuffed meatballs and a leek stuffed chicken later this week.  Let me know if you tried it and you liked it!!

Stafford's 5-Month Update

Dear Stafford,

On January 7th you were 5 months old!  I love watching you grow!!  This past month has been filled with lots of fun and it is getting more and more fun (how could it even get more fun!) to be your Mama.  I love staying home with you.  I love taking care of you and spending time with you.  They say you can't spoil a baby but I sure try!!  I know you won't be little forever and so I try to soak up as much Stafford time as possible.

We started out the month with Daddy being on a trip.  You were wonderful while he was gone even though we both had colds.  You were thrilled to see him when he got back!!  You laughed and laughed and it just made me so happy.  I am so glad that you love your Daddy.  And we are so glad your Daddy got to go on a trip!

After Daddy got back we had to finish up some last minute Christmas shopping and then we went to Chattanooga for your first Christmas.  You were busy working on rolling over and while we were there you started rolling over from back to front.  You do this all the time now!  Sometimes you can get back on your back again but usually you play on your tummy for a while and then fuss a little to get me to turn you back over.  You can roll over from front to back but not as well.

You are still a great sleeper.  You usually get up between 7:30 and 8:30.  I feed you and change you and then you play in your gym until you are ready for another nap.  Sometimes Mommy takes a nap with you!  After you get up around 11 you eat again and now Mama gives you some solid food!  So far you have tried rice cereal, green beans and applesauce.  You make lots of funny faces and try to help a LOT when I am feeding you.  You usually suck on your left hand the whole time in between bites.  You also use your whole body to take a bite.  It's pretty cute.  You eat again around 2 and 5 and usually take a 30 to 45 minute nap between each feeding.  After you eat at 5 you stay up until 7:30 or 8 and then you go to bed for the night. 

You are still wearing size 2 diapers and 3-6 month clothes.  You love to have your diaper or clothes changed and lately you have started rolling over on the changing table!  Mama has to watch you!!  You also LOVE to stand up.  You usually hang out in your Jumper during mealtime so Mama and Daddy can eat.  You stand on our laps whenever you get the chance.  Lately you have been placing your hands on my cheeks and pulling my face to you.  Then you try to eat my nose.  It's drooly but I love it.  You also give wonderful kisses!

Every day I get to spend with you is a blessing.  I am so thankful for you and I love you so very much.  You are my happy hearted boy!!  Your smile just lights up my life!!  I can't wait to see what changes are up ahead for you!!  We love you!!

Daddy & Mama

Project 365 Week Two

January 8: Daddy needed some help with his homework so Stafford was happy to oblige.  I love this photo!! 

January 9: I ran outside to get some shots of the freezing rain here in Charleston!  It was chilly here but no snow.  I hate what freezing rain does to the plants but it sure is beautiful.

January 10: This is Stafford's new buddy the humidifier.  Hopefully it will keep all the colds and congestion at bay.

January 11: Stafford is just starting to eat solids.  So far we've tried rice cereal, green beans and applesauce.  He sucks 3 of his fingers/thumb in between every bite!  He loves those green beans though!!
January 12: We're working on getting Stafford and Bear together.  Bear doesn't pay too much attention to the little guy mostly because Stafford is in that stage where he doesn't really have control of his hands so he is always hitting Bear.  But this was a sweet moment!
January 13: Sippy cup.  I like this shot because I turned off the flash and got a decent picture on manual.  Still lots of room to improve!

January 13: The last of the Christmas tree.  We finally got it down!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Laundry List

I have a ton of things to write about and nothing ready.  I need to upload pictures for Stafford's *gasp* 5-month update.  I need to look up the recipes for the yummy Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Leek Stuffed Chicken and Sweet & Sour Pot Roast.  I'm sure there were other ideas too but clearly they aren't ready either!

The blog world is full of linking and giveaways and is an interesting form of social networking.  I wonder if anyone has written a book about it yet.  Especially the SAHM/WAHM (however you prefer it) blogger.  I personally thought it was creepy at first to "follow" people I didn't know and read about their lives.  But now I'm getting great ideas for recipes, raising my son and photography.  The blogging world is kind of like a sorority for women with no dues and no weird initiation rites.  Well, unless you count learning to upload, download, link up and create header. (Which I STILL don't know how to do!)

A blog I came across recently is called Storing Up Treasures.  The other is a mother of ten!  She offers practical advice and a fun look into a large family.  Instead of hosting a "giveaway"  she is highlighting other great blogs!  Check her out and sign up!!

Stafford Says Thank You

Take Off Thank You Card
For hundreds of thank you card designs, click here.
View the entire collection of cards.
How cute are these??  Back in December Shutterfly did a "promote us on your blog and we'll send you a Shutterfly credit" thing.  So of course I took advantage of that!  I used my credit to but thank you notes, along with the 30% off notes they were offering and the extra 10% that the send me in my Christmas cards it was a pretty good deal!  I couldn't resist these little airplane cards that were clearly made with the little guy in mind.  Plus I can cut myself some slack since I haven't written my thank yous for Christmas!  I can't do them until my cards arrive right?? 


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