Thursday, March 29, 2012

Best Buds

I've been waiting to share this photo.  
Clearly the
Click It Up A Notch

photo contest is the perfect time!
This is by far my favorite photo from the past month and definitely so far from my photo class.  Our assignment was to find good light and stop motion.  

I'm not a huge advocate of kissing the puppy but somehow this shot just happened!  I love the lighting and the expression on the Little Guy's face.  Plus I took it in manual!

I'm getting a new computer when peter gets home (in oh, less than 24 hours!!!!) and I can't wait to get some photo editing software.  This is the first image that I'm going to play around with for fun.  I can't wait to continue to improve in my photography!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

1st Quarter Top Photos

Wow!  I can't believe the first quarter of this year is over.  And we all know what that means for this family!!  Can't wait to include pictures in the next quarter that will have all THREE of my guys in them instead of just the Little Guy.  Until then though these will feature him!

I love his silly expression in this picture!!  He is SO into "bubbles" right now.  He knows what the bottle looks like and finds it in the bathroom and brings it to me and says "bubbles!!!".  So cute!

This is one of my practice pictures for my photo class.  I'd like to crop it but I don't have my photo software yet!  I love the Little Guy's face!  Pure joy!!

This is the first picture I took of the Little Guy for my class.  His face is blown out and I'm anxious to try some additional pictures in this chair once Daddy gets back.  It was a really cloudy day but I'm finding cloudy days here in the northwest are different than cloudy days in the south.  I think there was also a reflection from our white porch rails.  Regardless look at those beautiful eyes!

Oh my word.  I WISH I could show the video from this bath.  These two cousins are hilarious.  Hilarious!!  They "painted" with shaving cream for a while and then just made all kinds of noise and jumped around and splashed.  Such a fun moment.

Love the color of his eyes in this picture too.  This was one of our first visits to the playground. He is starting to get SO big!  He had so much fun getting dirty as you can see from his upper lip.  I just love watching him be a little boy!!

I hope you'll join Sarah, Amber & Ashley and link up your favorite photos from the first quarter of 2012 too!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bear in Waiting

This is one of my favorite shots from this past week.  I am SO sad that it is off in color and focus because I feel like it is SO representative of what goes  on in our house lately.  Little Guy eats and Bear waits patiently for anything he drops!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Last Miscellany Monday!

Last Monday

Today starts the week of "lasts".  Well, actually Friday started off the week.  We'll do our last meal without Daddy, our last bath without Daddy, our last night waking up next to no one.  Oh my word I am so excited!!  I've been trying to stay calm over the past few days because I know it is going to seem like a long week.  But for some reason today it just started getting really real!!  I've been giving little hints to the Little Guy but haven't really come right out and told him that Daddy is coming home to our house.  I did however buy some matchbox cars for Daddy to give him when he gets off the plane.  Right now firetrucks are the way to my little mans heart.

The Big Guy

Speaking of the way to someones heart.  For my big guy it is always a great meal.  It doesn't have to be fancy but it has to be good!  While I was home over Christmas my aunt had us to dinner one night and made this chicken pot pie.  I can't say that I've ever been that excited or impressed with pot pie until I had this recipe.  Wow!  It is so super good!!  And like all of the recipes I share, it is easy!!  I hope you'll check it out and enjoy it as much as we do.  I'm making a fresh one for dinner when the Big Guy gets back!

The Littlest Guy

Man this little one is getting antsy.  I don't know if I just didn't know what contractions felt like or if I'm just having more this time around.  Regardless I keep telling the littlest that he needs to hold his horses.  Number one it is just still a little too early for him to come.  Number two, I'd really prefer NOT to deliver him on my own.  Number three....he is still nameless.  I swear we won't be the family with "Baby Boy" least I don't plan on it.  The Big Guy says that is his number one priority right now, coming up with some choices.  We didn't even necessarily plan on keeping his name a secret this time (we were very hush hush with our first) but at this point it is so late I guess we won't reveal until the big day again!

All the Things I Didn't Do

I don't know what kind of spare time I thought I was going to have while Peter was gone.  I had all of these goals that I wanted to accomplish.  Books I wanted to read, crochet I wanted to learn, Pinterest crafts I wanted to try.  The list goes on.  I just have to say, it is exhausting taking care of a toddler on my own.  I suppose it would be better if I weren't pregnant but man by the end of the day I have zero energy remaining!  I did fulfill one goal by taking my online photography class.  I'm really excited about what I've learned through this class and although a toddler isn't the perfect subject I feel like I've improved my photography in just 3 weeks!  

Decisions Decisions

We still have a lot to do to get ready for the Littlest Guy.  I've done a few things on my own like clothes shopping and well, more clothes shopping.  But we still need diapers, a crib and other essentials for the beginning.  I for SURE want a new bathtub because I hated the one we used for Little Guy.  

Two things I haven't decided on are my diaper bag and the baby's stuffed animal.  I've talked about this before but each month I take a picture of the baby with their own stuffed animal.  For the Little Guy it was a pelican.  I just haven't decided on one yet for the new baby.  All of the animals that appeal to me now I think I like because they give Little Guy so much joy.  He loves monkeys, elephants and the walrus is his favorite at the zoo!  I don't want to do something just because he'll love it.  Maybe another bird since we already have a pelican?  Any suggestions?

I have a Vera Bradley diaper bag currently.  It has been a great bag but I plan to get a new bag since they'll be in different rooms in the nursery when we go to church or MOPS.  And honestly the first one is getting worn!  Any patterns stick out to you?

Doodle Daisy Ellie Blue Rhythm and Blues  Baroque Item image


We are getting ready to transition first from a family of 2 to a family of 3 and then quickly to a family of 4.  If you've gone through something similar (especially regarding helping toddlers adjust to Daddy being home and adjusting to a new brother!!) I'd love to hear your thoughts and advice!!

Last picture with Daddy...he was just a baby when Daddy left and now he is such a big boy!!

Happy happy Monday!!!  Can't WAIT to share our weekend with you next Monday!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Can I Eat The Whole Pan??

Oh my word.

I am trying to hold myself back from going back into the kitchen and getting more of this chicken pot pie.  It is seriously good.  And the best part...yep, you guessed it!  It is easy!!!

I got this recipe from my wonderful Aunt.  She is a fabulous cook and we share recipes often!  We aren't much of a baking family so we both used some short-cuts in this meal.  As a Mama of a toddler I can't always do things the hard way.  That being said, everyone has different strengths in the kitchen.  We used store bought pie crust for this recipe but I'll include the pastry recipe in case you are like my Mother-in-Law and Sisters-In-Law who are excellent in pastry!

Valerie's Chicken Pot Pie

  • 4-5 chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes (you could also use baby carrots)
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (I suggest the whole bag)
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 pre-made pie crusts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Grill the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and olive oil.  You can do this in a grill pan or on a traditional grill.  I used an indoor grill since it was chilly and Peter wasn't here to watch it for me!  After the chicken is cooked cube it.   You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions and parsley. Mix well.

At this point the original recipe calls for dividing the mixture into 4 ovenproof bowls and making individual portions.  I used a 9x13 pan instead.  I spooned all of the filling into the pan and then covered the mixture with pie crusts.  However I only made a 1/2 portion of the recipe above and I used 1 and 1/2 of the pie crusts.  So you could either use a larger pan or you could use two.  It is a great meal to make and then freeze the second part or take the other half to a friend who could use a  yummy dinner!!  I would say the 1/2 portion would serve 4-6 adults.

I baked the pot pie for 1 hour at 375.  I could barely wait to try it and it does not disappoint!!  

Here is the pastry part in case you want to attempt that!  Maybe next time I'll give it a try!

For the pastry:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper
For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

I'd love to hear if you decide to try this out.  Actually please invite me over for dinner because I can't get enough!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

This Week's Outtakes

He loves to watch video on my phone.  Of himself.

He LOVES Curious George.  

His face is too blown out in this picture but I love his expression.  He was playing trucks in his closet.  This window is at perfect eye level so he loves to go in there and play trucks and look out the window.

Playing trucks on my bed.  He calls it "night night".

Yet another truck picture.  He is always playing with his hair (just like his Mama) and he was tired so he laid his head down on the side of his crib.

Loves a bubble bath!

In his new CATS shirt!

Oh how I wish I hadn't cut off the top of his head and my focus was just a little better!!  But regardless I LOVE his expression!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Favorite Weekly Photo

It seems like every post lately starts with "I'm really enjoying my photo class"....but it is true!  When I made the decision to invest in a DSLR 2 years ago I expected photography would be easier than it has been.  When I say easy I don't mean that I think it is easy to be a photographer.  I just thought I would be a little better at it.  I also thought this about cake decorating and you see how much I've been doing that in the last year!

I've always been "artsy" and so I think I assume artsy things will be easy for me.  Well, photography is mathy and no one told me!!  I've mentioned before that my engagement ring is the highest form of math I prefer to use.  But I'm going to have to start increasing the use of math in my life again if I want to become better at photos.

I also need to repeat that a 19 month old is NOT a willing or an easy subject!!  So I can't say that I really LOVE any of the photos I have taken yet.  But I do love the things I'm learning.  I'm taking my class through a website called "ClickinMoms".  I especially like it because it is very interactive and I really appreciate how much feedback the teachers are willing to give you.

I wish his whole arm/hand was in the picture because I know that would make it better but with the lens I have I end up doing this a lot.  I'm excited to get a new lens!

I'll be posting some additional pictures that I've taken as  practice but I think this is my favorite for this week!
**Linking up with RachelCourtneyDarcy, and Jennifer 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I've probably mentioned a million times how I adore shopping at TJ Maxx and Marshalls.  I go a lot.  The more you go the pickier you can be.  You figure out what goes on sale and what doesn't.  You go and find something new each and every time!  We have one that is about 3 miles from our house and honestly it has been so hard to do any type of shopping with Peter gone other than going here.  It is a short drive and we can be in and out of there quickly!

A couple of weeks ago I was going to an appointment in a different area of town and visited a new TJ Maxx. And look what I found!!  I have never seen anything like this there but I got a great deal for a new Little Tikes slide!  Little Guy has been sliding all day long and although I originally planned to keep it outside it has been perfect for our rainy 40 degree weather.  I am loving this find!!

Yum Yum Yum!  Mint chocolate chip has never been my favorite ice cream (I've been ambivalent towards it).  For some reason this baby wants it!  And this brand at our local grocery store is wonderful!!  I'm loving it for a few more weeks before I get to start taking the weight off!!

I am always loving this little guy.  Lately I've been giving him a choice about what he wears to bed.  He loves trucks, monkeys and balls right now and has lots of pjs featuring those prints.  The last couple of days I've asked him if he wanted trucks or monkeys.  Both times he has said balls.  Guess we need to get some more pjs with balls!!


I'm loving UK's chance for a title this year!!

You know what else I'm loving?

I have milk in my refrigerator that expires AFTER my dear sweet husband gets home.  It has been a LONG six months and I can not WAIT to see him again!!!!

Mostly I'm just loving life!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Playground By the Sound

Doesn't that just sound like an awesome place to play?  We've been wanting to try this specific park out for a while.  It has an incredible view and it is an awesome playground!  I love it because it is enclosed and there is a side for "tots" which fits us perfectly!  Here are some fun shots of the Little Guy having a big old time.  He LOVE to go "shoutside" right now and he played hard for 2 solid hours!

Heading to the slide

Looking up at the "eh-plane" flying over

He found the sand pit and did not ask if he could go in!

Waving to another airplane

My sweet boy!

The Tuckers came out to play too!!

Ready to slide!

By the end of the day we were muddy, snotty and tired!

Isn't he just adorable!?! Especially the dirt clinging under his nose.  Love it!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Miscellany Monday

1. "Model" Subject

I'm taking an online photography class and since the 19 month old is the only other human in the house he has to be the model.  Let me tell you....trying to catch  this guy standing still is close to impossible.  When I tried metering light today he proceeded to punch the grey card I was using with his fist, his apple slice and his milk.  He also got to sit on the coffee table and watch episode after episode of Curious George until I was happy with my shot.  Out of control!

This is just a practice shot from a couple of days ago.  He is super into this chair and likes to buckle the buckles and then brings it to me and says "help" and I unbuckle them all.  I managed to get him watching the "monk monk" so I could practice!

2. Home?

I post a lot this time last year about what "home" meant to me.  I was really scared and apprehensive about moving cross-country.  Good thing I didn't really know what the last 8 months were going to be like.  Not sure I wouldn't been on board with the 6 month "overseas assignment" while pregnant while raising a toddler.  I might have just stayed in SC.  Regardless this place is slowly becoming home.  I never thought I'd say this but I am particularly enjoying the weather.  Not all the time.  But I love not being sweaty.  I am ready for it to get about 10 degrees warmer but on a nice sunny afternoon it is hard to beat how beautiful it is here!

View from the playground yesterday.  I wanted to get more shots but watching the Little Guy took most of my time!

3. My Little Daredevil

Daredevil may be a stretch.  But I love watching the Little Guy do little boy stuff.  I took him to this awesome playground the other day that overlooks Puget Sound.  We're talking amazing views.  The playground is divided into a big kid and little kid section.  The little section is perfect for a 1-2 year old.  He had such a blast on the slide and climbing through the tunnel.  If you look out over the Sound you can also see trains coming and going.  Being pretty pregnant I needed to sit down and being 3 hours behind Eastern time I needed to check the NCAA tournament scores.  When I looked up my bud had vaulted down into the sand pit (it was about a 2 foot drop) and was busy playing.  Next time we go I will definitely be taking him a change of clothes!!

4. Madness

Speaking of madness I can hardly wait for UK to re-match IU later this week.  I'm not going to do any predictions or bragging but I hope the CATS beat the pants off of IU.  I've had the whole season to indoctrinate the Little Guy and I still can't get him to say "Go Cats".  I guess "Meow" will have to suffice.

5. Cooking

I'm going to make an awesome chicken pot pie this week.  Come back for the recipe!!

Hope your monday and week are both fabulous!!

Photography Class--Week 2

I am taking a photography class through the website ClickinMoms.  Can I just say that a 19 month old is not an ideal subject?  This week (supposedly the hardest week) we were learning about Custom White Balance, Back Button Focusing and Metering.  We had to print out these cards on 8x10 pieces of paper and then use those to figure out if our camera leans towards a certain tint.  Well you are supposed to get your subject to hold up the card.

Clearly this wasn't going to happen.

For today's assignment I set the Little Guy up on our coffee table and let him watch a ridiculous number of Curious George episodes while chowing down on "apple apple apple" and "cheereros".  Way too many cheereros.  I swear I must have taken about 100 pictures.  I still don't think I did the assignment the right way but I have learned a lot about my camera this week and when Peter gets back I plan to get him to help me re-do a lot of the lessons, even if I don't get a critique.

This class has definitely been worth it though.  I feel more comfortable with my camera and I understand how it works better.  I don't want to become a famous photographer or even start a business.  I just want to be able to take beautiful photos that we can hang in our house and send to the grandparents.

Here is my shot of the Little Guy today.  Keep in mind that each time I put the grey card up to try to meter he would smack it with his milk, an apple or his fist.  Lovely.

It isn't the awesomest picture as far as composition but I absolutely couldn't bribe him to look my way.  I was really happy because this with taken indoors and I think the lighting looks really good!  I love how you can see his individual pieces of hair...and if you get close up his eyes are actually in focus which is great!  As you can see he is stuffing his face and is also wearing his "monk monk" outfit while he watches George.  We are pretty into monkeys at our house right now.

I hope I will keep learning and my goal is to really feel like I know what I'm doing by the time Littlest Guy arrives.  Not too much longer to wait now!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

30-34 Week Update

Ok so this is not a quality picture.  I need to get someone to take an actual picture of me instead of using my phone but for now this will have to do.  I keep promising some comparison pictures from last pregnancy so here I finally have one....kind of!

Here is me at 30+ weeks with our newest Little Guy.  I had an appointment today and everything looked great!  The midwife said I am measuring great....heartbeat was a nice 154....and my blood pressure was perfect.

Here I am at 33ish weeks with the Little Guy.  I realize this is still a couple of weeks ago but wow what a difference!!  This picture was taken on vacation in the Outer Banks and it is when I first really noticed swelling.  I posted of picture of my massive feet here.  I am praying that I don't start swelling again this time!

I started this post about a month ago....before the crazy dehydration/hospital visit.  I have my 34 week appointment this week so hopefully everything will be good!  I have had such a hard time this last month shaking a cold (I've been coughing since I was in the hospital) and I am exhausted from it!  I am praying for some good sleep in the next couple of weeks.

Even though the angle is weird I think you can tell the difference between the picture above and the picture below.  Well hopefully you can!  My favorite picture is my 37 week one....I can't wait to compare those!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lighting Little Lamps

I have to admit I'm having to work pretty hard to see the silver lining today.  When I have days like that it helps me to post what I'm thankful for, even if I have to dig pretty deep.  After I'm finished my day has usually turned around and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I've been trying to keep up with Spurgeon's Morning & Evening and having a plan on my phone gives me even less of an excuse to read everyday.  I still get behind and I didn't start it at the beginning of the year so if you have the book I don't know exactly what this lesson's date is.  Regardless I was reading last night before I went to bed and found this quote...

"Go back, then, a little way to the choice mercies of yesterday, and though all may be dark now, light up the lamps of the past, they shall glitter through the darkness, and thou shalt trust in the Lord till the day break and the shadows flee away."

Isn't that beautiful?  From now on I'm going to think of my blessing counting as lighting little lamps and I know that will make my day brighter.

Today I'm thankful for sweet of my neighbors brought me her first blooms from her Camellia tree...they are gorgeous!

Today I'm thankful that someone helped me get the Little Guy to the car after he had a massive meltdown at Bible Study.  He has never done anything even close to what happened today and I didn't know how to handle it!

Today even though I miss them, I'm thankful that my sister-in-law and nephew got to visit.

Thanks to her I'm also thankful for clean laundry and clean sheets.

I'm thankful for the great deal I got on a little indoor slide for the Little Guy.  It has already given us hours of enjoyment!

I'm thankful that I had the time and funds to take this online photography class.  I really feel like I am learning something.

I'm thankful I had ice cream in the freezer because I needed it after the meltdown!

I'm thankful that I wasn't the guy standing outside in a shark costume trying to get people to buy breakfast burritos from a taco restaurant....or the same guy 2 hours later pushing the lunch's 45 and raining here.  I'll deal with the public meltdown thank you!

I'm thankful that the Big Guy leaves for home 2 weeks from today.

I'm thankful that even though it is yucky outside there is enough light out that it doesn't look gloomy.

I'm thankful the Little Guy is napping (heading there after I feel thankful).

I'm thankful I found a cute outfit for the Little Guy for Easter and for how cute he was when he saw his new shirt with a "copter" on it.  He made me leave it out of the bag all during our dinner date last night so he could see it.  Ever so often he would point to it and say "copter!".

I'm thankful I'm not swollen like the girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory like I was at 33+ weeks with my last pregnancy.  And also that I'm not blue.

Here is a shot (on manual!!) of the pretty flowers my neighbor brought me.


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