Friday, November 30, 2012

The Grump

Peter doesn't get grumpy very often but when he does I notice.  Most of the time I notice before he does, point it out, and make him even more grumpy.  I think I have a case of the "I didn't realize I was grumpy but clearly I am" lately.

So...as usual time to make an "I'm thankful for" list.  Because I have so many things!!

*My children were angels, yes angels, during our 15 hour trip back from KY.  We had to go unexpectedly for my Grandaddy's funeral and honestly I was dreading the trip.  2 hours in the car, 2 flights and a 4 hour layover in Denver.  Seriously they were amazing.  I'm sure our traveling companions were thankful for that too!

*My house smells fabulous.  Absolutely fabulous.  We got the perfect tree last night and although it only has lights on it I already find myself getting in the Christmas spirit.

*My children are currently napping simultaneously.  I do realize that as soon as I hit the "publish" button they were probably both wake up but for now I'm thankful. (This was yesterday....I'm praying for a repeat today!)

*My dear husband is master's complete.  Complete!!!  I can't even express in words how excited I am that he is finished writing papers!!!  This means that when he comes home at night we can actually hang out.  Did I mention how excited I am?

*I no longer have a HUGE whole in my kitchen ceiling.  We had a leak the first week in October and have had a hole since then.  Ridiculous!!  Finally they put the last coat of mud on this morning and I have my kitchen back.  Hallelujah!!

*The sun was shining here today.  Albeit it was raining simultaneously but still!  It was beautiful.

*I LOVE our new church.  It took us a while to find one because Peter was gone for so long but now that we are settled and meeting people it is wonderful!  Did I mention it is 2 blocks from our house?

*Even though the circumstances were sad I'm so happy my boys got extra time to spend with their extended family, especially Ma & Pa!






Insta-Friday

We traveled unexpectedly back to KY for my Grandaddy's funeral over the Thanksgiving Holiday.

We spent lots of time in the airport and with family. Here are some of my favorites...especially that gorgeous KY sunset. Just takes my breath away!!

We also had a visit from "Umple Steven". I love the pic of the Little Guy hugging him in the airport.

Only one pack n play at my parents so we improvised. A big box is much more fun and kept the Little Guy contained.

The Littlest Guy is barely 7 months and is already crawling up the stairs!!! I am going to have my hands full with that one!

Happy Friday!! Hope your weekend is wonderful!















Thursday, November 29, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup


I've had this soup recipe on the back burner...ha ha...for a couple of weeks and I'm finally finding time to post it.  I'm planning to make it tomorrow morning!

I just love soup.  Maybe because it's an all in one meal.  Maybe because it is so warm and comforting.  Regardless, I find myself making soup once or twice a week.  

As I've started to transition from a super strict paleo diet to a mostly paleo diet I've searched for recipes that will appeal to the rest of the family but don't have a lot of "forbidden" ingredients in them.

I found this gem on "Point-less" Meals blog and it is a winner!  Point-less Meals is a great resource for yummy & healthy recipes!  She assigns the Weight Watchers points to each one also if you are following that plan.  I've adapted it slightly.

Italian Wedding Soup

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4-6 medium carrots, chopped
10 cups chicken broth
approximately 1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bag fresh spinach

First you'll want to mix up your meatballs.  Mix your turkey, bread crumbs, cheese, beaten egg and seasoning.  Form into approximately 48 small meatballs.  Place the formed meatballs on a baking sheet and set aside.

Saute the onions and carrots in olive oil.  Cook until the onion is translucent.  Add the broth and bring the pot to a boil.

Reduce the heat and drop the meatballs one at a time into the broth.  Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.  Stir in your spinach and cook for a few additional minutes.

This soup is so flavorful and satisfying.  And it is healthy too!  The bread and cheese of course aren't paleo but spread out over 4 to 5 servings it isn't a lot.

This is a must make during the chilly winter months!  I hope you enjoy!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thankfulness Tree

When I started this project I was super excited about it.  Although I still love the idea, losing my dear Grandaddy this month has honestly made being thankful a little harder than usual.  I loved him dearly and honestly he taught me a lot about thankfulness.  Everyone who knew him commented on his generous and giving spirit.  Everyone was thankful for him!  I guess I need to saddle up and start thinking thankful again!

So we will continue the thankfulness tree at our house until we run out of leaves!

I ordered our leaves on etsy this year because I'm learning that sometimes it is worth making things on my own and sometimes my time is worth more!  I was super pleased with them.  They came in 5 different colors.  Each day at dinner the three of us would say 1 thing we are thankful for.  I recorded the Little Guy's by writing his name on the back so I could save them and look back on the things he was thankful for each year.

So we could use it year after year I just quickly sketched and painted a tree.  I actually like the idea of using this year round because I think sometimes we forget to be thankful in the day to day.  As inspiring as it is to read "Thankful November" posts I want to challenge myself to have a thankful heart and attitude each day.




This is by far the thing I was most thankful for!  The Littlest Guy has finally started giving us some good nights of sleep.  I have to say that extra sleep improves my outlook on life exponentially!!


I encourage you to be thankful!  Even in the hard times it is the attitude that we should embrace and push ourselves to embody!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Letter to My Children

Dear Stafford & Reed,

You are the lucky ones.  Or as your Daddy would say, blessed.  Even though you don't remember it, I will.  I'll remember what it looked like to see your sweet Great-Grandfather smile when he held you.  I'll remember how proud he was that you Stafford were named for him.  I'll remember it for you.

I'll remember how he used to take me horseback riding.  I always rode Dusty.  And how he paid for me to have horseback riding lessons.  I'm sure my love of horses comes from him.

I'll remember how he took me fishing.  How to bait my own hook.  How to just sit back and enjoy the day.  I'm sure my love of fishing comes from him.

I'll remember that first UK basketball game I went to.  Megan and I sat on the 7th row.  They played Morehead State.  I thought my Grandaddy was super special because he was an usher.  And he was.  I'm sure my love of UK baseketball came from him.

I'll remember that his favorite president was Truman.  How much he respected him for having to courage to end WWII.  How emotional he would get when we recounted his time in the service.  I'm sure I got my love of history from him.

I'll remember riding on the back of his lawmower to the park.  And sitting on his knee of the way back. How he always had a pack of cigarettes and a comb in his pocket.  I'm sure that's why I love taking you boys to the park.

I'll remember how fiercely he loved his country.  How he insisted on buying anything and everything that was made in America.  I'm sure I love my country even more because of him.

I'll remember how he took us to Baskin Robbins for a treat.  He always ordered Pralines & Cream.  For as long as I can remember that's what I've ordered when I go.  I'm sure I get my love for ice cream from him.

I'll remember how he and Namaw took us to the fair every year.  I remember riding the rides and having so much fun walking around with them.  I thought of them the whole time we took you boys this year.  I'm sure I get my love for fairs from him.

I remember how much he loved to travel.  I was in awe that he had been to all 50 states, many of them twice.  He could name all the counties in KY and knew almost every road.  He had a fantastic memory for the details.  He thought KY was the greatest place on earth.  I'm sure that's why I love to travel but am always happy to finally be at home.

I remember how much he served others.  How he always brought Namaw fresh flowers.  How we went out every Thanksgiving to Walmart after our meal and bought hundreds of dollars of groceries to donate to the food pantry.  I'm sure I got a desire to serve others from him.

I remember how much joy his family brought him.  How seeing us and then one day his great-grandchildren would light up a room.  I remember how he would play with us and how important we were too him.  I remember how he always would ask him when I was moving home.  I remember him letting me take his comb and comb his hair when I was little.  How he gave me a sack of carrots and potatoes one Christmas as a joke.  I remember that he always had a box of Cheese-Its in the back seat and a pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit in the front.  I remember his stories of growing up during the Great Depression.  I remember driving up one Christmas and seeing a new car with a big red bow in their drive way that was for me.  I remember eating Christmas meals at their house.  He always loved that country ham.  I remember the paper fight we would have each year at Christmas.  His eyes would sparkle and no matter how old or fragile he was you could see the life there.

I remember that he never, ever complained.

Yes my sweet little boys.  I will remember all of this for you.  And some day I will show you the pictures of your sweet Great-Grandaddy.  My Grandaddy.  He was an amazing man.  You may never know him but they lessons he taught, the way he loved and the things that were important to him I'll pass on to you.

You are blessed my children to be a part of this legacy.

I love you,

Mama





Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2013 Reading Goals

I've always been a big reader.  My sister used to get mad at me in the car on long trips because I wanted to read instead of play games or talk to her.  The floorboard would be stacked with books and I'd barely have enough room for my legs because I'd bring so many.

I still love reading today though I have to admit I've been in a bit of a reading slump lately.  While Peter was gone last year I was so tired at night that all I wanted to do was watch the Food Network or InStyle magazine.  Then the addition of the sweet Littlest Guy as well as other life challenges have just kept it on the back burner this year.  I'm determined to up the reading ante this year and get back to one of my favorite past times.

I've decided to set some goals for reading.  I'm creating a Pinterest board if you want to follow along!  Here are the books on my list so far.  I'd love to hear your suggestions for additional books.  I'm open to anything non-fiction and some things fictional.

So here goes....

     

  


      
  
            

I'm still looking for 5 to 10 additional books since I'd like to read about 2 a month and I plan to start now instead of waiting until the new year.  I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Charlotte Russe


This is the first of my Family Thanksgiving Favorites I'll be sharing over the next week!  It is our traditional Thanksgiving dessert.  What?  No pumpkin pie?  No pie at all at our house!  This fluffy, custardy yumminess beats pie any day in my book!  It's a tiny bit complicated to make but totally worth the effort!!

Charlotte Russe

2 envelopes of gelatin
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk (scalded)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs, separated
2 cups whipping cream
1 package lady fingers

In a double boiler combine the gelatin, sugar and salt.  If you don't have a double boiler you can make one.  Simply get two pots and place the larger one on top of the smaller.  Fill the bottom pot with 1-2 inches of water and boil.  The heat from the boiling water will be enough to cook your mixture without overcooking it.

Scald your milk.  Scalded milk is basically milk that has just reached  boiling point.  You can use a thermometer if you want.  I didn't.  Just watch it very closely and stir stir stir!  You don't want it to burn and it can go from scalded to burnt very quickly.  As soon as you start to see bubbles take it off the heat and add it to your gelatin mixture.

Stir in the hot milk and then slowly add your beaten egg yolks.  Make sure you are stirring constantly.

Cook while stirring until your mixture coats the spoon.  If you've never cooked with an egg custard before you might not be familiar with the term "coats the spoon".  You want to be able to dip a spoon in the mixture and have it stick to it.  The easiest way to check is to dip your soon in and then draw a line down the back of the spoon with your finger.  If the mixture runs into the line you need to keep cooking. If the lines stay pretty solid you can move on to the next step.

Take the mixture off of the heat and cool.  Add your vanilla.

Refrigerate until the mixture mounds slightly.  This means that when you stir the mixture it gloops up a little bit.  Don't let it get too thick in the fridge.

While the mixture is cooling in the fridge beat your egg white and your cream in 2 separate bowls.  After you take it out first fold in the eggs whites and then fold in the cream.

To serve, line your bowl with lady fingers.  Alternate layers of the custard and lady fingers until you've used all of the custard.  Refrigerate until a few minutes before serving.

**

There you have it.  This is heavenly.  We seriously argue at our house each year about who gets seconds.  It is so light and fluffy and creamy and wonderful!!  It is sweet without being too sweet and tastes like a lighter version of a pudding.  It is definitely worth all of the extra effort!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!  Come back tomorrow for another family favorite!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Insta-Friday Fun


This might be my favorite picture I've taken in a long time.  I know it is grainy and blown out but I love it nonetheless.  


This kid and I had a little date last Saturday.  We needed to clear out of the house to Daddy could work on his thesis.  He was THRILLED that there were cows outside the Ben & Jerry's.  It was hilarious.  Lately when I ask him "where are we going today?" he responds with 1. the zoo 2. a hayride or 3. animals.  I have NO idea what "animals" means but I think this covered it!


This kid hasn't had a haircut since the week the baby was born.  I would've let it grow forever but Daddy said it was time!  He was so good and super excited about his purple sucker afterwards.



Another cuddling picture.  Couldn't help it.  This guy is so sweet!!


This picture does not do justice to the yumminess that is pictured above.  Almost-Paleo No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Cookies.  YUM!!  They basically taste like an Almond Joy bar but better.  And they are good for you!!  I'll be posting the recipe and a better picture this weekend!


I love seeing my boys playing together.  The Little Guy is really doing a great job learning to share.  I'm so proud of him because I know it is hard!  

The Big Guy and I are working on appreciating one another more and more.  I found this nice frame at TJMaxx and got some dry erase markers at Target.  Now we can leave each other little notes throughout the week.  I love it!

**

I also wanted to say WELCOME to my new readers!  I'd love it if you left me a comment to tell me something about yourself so I can get to know you better!

Also...with the holidays coming up if you have a shop or handmade business I would love to help you get the word out!  My goal this year is to purchase something handmade for each person in my family!!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This Kid....


This kid...


still wants to hold my hand.

helps me with the laundry.

somehow knows how to count to 8 in Spanish.

pulls my hair-tie out to play with my hair.

tell me "yes sir" when I ask him to do something.

says "Thank you so much Mommy" when I do something for him.

asked for ice cream for dinner.

grabs the iPad to call "Grandad" whenever he can.

tells me "just games" with a grin when he finds my cell phone.

looks at the sky and the ground and everywhere BUT both ways when we tell him to look.

can often be found hanging out in baby brothers crib.

wants to "wear crocs" every day.

wears his rain boots around the house.

knows all of his letters, shapes, colors and can count to 20.

can say hippopotamus correctly.

looks for Swiper the Fox everywhere we go.

thinks we might see a garbage truck, bulldozer, firetruck, or dumptruck each time we drive.

split his ice cream with me the other day without me asking for any.

sings "If You're Happy and You Know It"

absolutely melts my heart.





Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Christmas Ideas 0-12 months

As if making out your own Christmas list wasn't hard enough now you're faced with what to get for your sweet cuddly baby.  We don't have a large family but by the time you give a list to grandparents and aunts and uncles you really need to have a variety of ideas.

Some of my favorite gifts are--
--money to contribute to an education fund
--books
--appropriate clothes (ask the Mama what size/season her baby needs!)
--gift cards to stores Mama might frequent for baby

If you are looking for toys though, here are some of my favorite options for a new baby.  Keep in mind that they grow and change so much the first year.  You may think at 2 months that you don't need toys but you'll find that before their next Christmas there will be so many skills they'll learn that it will be nice to have a few toys that are age appropriate.

I also think it is a great idea to rotate toys and/or pull out toys throughout the year.  I always save two or three toys to pull out about once a month since we have about 8 months between Christmas and birthdays.




How cute is this elephant?  Babies love to pull things out and put things back in.  This Surprise Inside the Elephant is stuffed full of fun little creatures for baby to play with.  This one is on my list for the Littlest Guy this year.


We LOVE this toy at our house.  It's also by Tiny Love.  The elephant doubles as a stacker and you can also put the balls in the funnel.  They hit a button on the base and the base lights up and plays music.  The balls are noisy as well.  I remember watching the Little Guy play with this and thinking he'd never figure out how to put the ball in the funnel and then all the sudden one day he did it!  He still loves this toy at 2.




This is Follow Me Fred by Tiny Love.  (You can get Fiona if you want a pink one.)  The little dog walks and it encourages babies to crawl behind it.  I think it is a great one if you think you'll have a crawler soon!

Product Details

Another Tiny Love toy!  This is the Sort N Learn Pelican.  I have really enjoyed their products and this one is no exception.  It has 4 shapes and you can place them in the pelicans mouth.  It can be set to say the shape or the color and also speaks in multiple languages!  It is probably a tiny bit advanced for a 12 month old but that is when we started playing with it at our house.  Little Guy still loves this one as well!

Product Details

Oh man have we gotten hours of fun out of this toy!  Any version will do but this one is made by Leap Frog.  You can set it for English or Spanish and it plays music and sounds.  The legs come off so you can use it on the floor or even propped up on 2 legs.  Little Guy still plays with this all the time and the Littest Guy is using in to pull up.  It's the perfect height for little ones and have volume control.  A must in my house!



I love these stackable boxes made by One Step Ahead.  Many of their products are unique and innovative.  I like this stacker because the boxes are made of cloth and they are so colorful.  That is a must for babies who are stimulated by color and variety at this age!  This one is on my list too!

Product Details

Scout.  We owe a lot to Scout in our house.  Leap Frog is a superb toymaker and there isn't a toy made by them that we haven't enjoyed.  Not only do they make great toys but they made fabulous phonics and numbers videos.  The Little Guy loves watching Scout and learned all of his letters, numbers and phonics quickly and early.  I couldn't believe it!  Almost all of their toys can be programmed to call your child by name (unless you're like me and they don't have his name in the list!).  You can choose which songs and games you want Scout to play.  This is definitely a favorite!  You can also get Violet, which is the purple version!


These blocks win as the cutest named toy ever.  They are "Elemenosqueeze" blocks by one Step Ahead.  Even though the Littlest Guy won't be able to stack them for a while they are great because of their bright colors and varied textures.  This is another one on our list this year!

I'd love to hear your ideas too!!

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