Thursday, October 30, 2008


First things first, today is our niece Mary Ann's birthday! Happy birthday, Mary Ann!

Happy Halloween! Aren't these the cutest little bumblebees?? I bought the boys' costumes, but made Sophie's wings and tutu. She'll have fun playing dress-up with them after Halloween is over, I'm sure!

We have a big day planned today! We'll go downtown to trick-or-treat at Melissa's office in the morning. Her office encourages family and friends to bring their kiddos in to trick-or-treat, and it's become an annual tradition. This will be our third year doing it--the first year, Sophie was only about 6 weeks old and last year the boys were only about 4 weeks old. This year we're taking three pseudo-walkers! After that, we'll take them to the bank to see Kelly and my old office buddies. It's been a while since I've been in there--it will be fun to see them all. Then trick-or-treating tonight!

Have a wonderful Halloween!

Turtle Tutorial

Turtle tutorial...tasty turtle tutorial...toasted tasty turtle tutorial...toasted tasty turtle tutorial to try... Seriously, say "turtle tutorial" and try not to smile--it just sounds fun!

You might have had these before, but when I took them to work the other day they hadn't ever seen them. Sacrilege!! This is a super-easy (& yummy!) treat that everyone should experience:

1. Lay out small pretzels on a baking sheet (I lined mine with Reynolds Release aluminum foil--that product is genius).
2. Top with a Rolo candy.

3. Bake at 250 for about 5-6 minutes (Rolo will start to crack open and look deliciously gooey).

4. Remove from oven and press a pecan half on the top. Chill in fridge until they firm up a little, then store them at room temperature.

Voila! Turtles! I've also seen this done with Hershey's Kisses topped with an M&M, but caramel trumps chocolate any day. I might try that with a dark chocolate kiss, though.

Warning: These are SO easy and SO fabulous...if you find yourself making a batch at midnight after a particularly stressful day, I can't be held responsible. Feel free to call me, though, and I'll attempt to talk you down. I've been there.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No, I'm NOT pregnant!

To answer yesterday's "two truths and a lie" quiz...I AM NOT PREGNANT. :-) Seriously, news like that would give my husband and my dad simultaneous heart attacks, and then where would I be?!

1. TRUTH--Dad and I both went skydiving several years ago, that was his Father's Day present one year. It was AWESOME, I recommend trying it if you haven't!! We did tandem jumps (where we were both strapped to an instructor), and it was the greatest thing. We didn't have to worry about when to pull the cord or anything--we got to really experience the whole thing.
2. LIE--Not pregnant. :-) Don't get me wrong--I would love, love, love to have more kids, but pesky things like a mortgage and car payments stand in my way. I'm telling you, if I could wipe those debts away I'd have a couple more babies! That's why I need to win the lottery...but I don't play the lottery... I make a pretty mean chocolate chip cookie--how many bake sales would it take to pay off a mortgage?! Ha!!
3. TRUTH--Our first dog's name was Champ, and he was a German Shepherd. Our next dog's name was Toby, and he was a poodle/schnauzer mix.

Thank you to anyone who was actually excited about the possibility of us being pregnant! It counter-balances the NOT so supportive e-mails and phone calls I got that questioned my need for a lobotomy. :-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Perfect Fall weather!

Today is my friend Jeannette's birthday! Happy birthday Jeannette!

The weather is perfect today! Sunny and 55 degrees right now. Here's a picture of the tree in our front yard--we've enjoyed watching it change colors.

This picture cracks me up--it's Blake with his Elmo trick-or-treat bucket. This was taken before we went trick-or-treating Sunday night, so the bucket was completely empty. It was like he KNEW good things were coming from that bucket!

The thyroid sonogram results came back fine, so we still don't know what's causing my phantom symptoms. Grrrr!!

At Bible study this morning we played a game at our brunch table called "two truths and a lie", where you list three things, one being a lie and two being truths. Can you tell which of these is the lie? I'll post the answer tomorrow:

1. I've been skydiving.
2. I'm pregnant.
3. My first pet's name was Champ.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Today is my friend Ann's birthday! Happy birthday Ann!

Ann refers to my trio as the "trifecta" (the greatest nickname ever!), so in honor of her birthday, here are a few of the pictures from this weekend's photo shoot. I was able to crop these photos and add the borders, but I haven't had time to do much editing otherwise. These are the outfits I made them for their birthdays. More pictures to come!

We took the kids out for early trick-or-treating this weekend--one of the churches near our house had a "trunk or treat" event where church families parked in a big circle and handed out candy. The families were all in costumes and had their trunks decorated--it was awesome! They also had pony rides, which Sophie loved. After that event, we went to "Night of the Living Zoo" at the local zoo, and they had games and candy stations throughout the zoo. We had the kids in their costumes, and bundled up in the wagon. They were cute and toasty warm! The looks on their faces were priceless--they LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it! They were eating suckers like crazy. When we got home, Blake had half-eaten suckers stuck to the inside his costume! It was dark and I thought he was accidentally throwing them overboard, but apparently not. They each have Elmo treat buckets, and as people would drop candy in their buckets the boys would smile and practically dive in head first to dig around in it. Soooo cute! Sophie was a little more disciplined. :-) She said "Trick or treat!" and "Thank you!" for her and her brothers. Such manners! :-)

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Blake refused to be outdone by Graham, and took his first steps today! They're both big walkers now! Blake also says "Hi Kitty!" as clear as a bell!! Really cute!

Kelly and I did Dream Dinners this morning and made a month's worth of meals in 2 1/2 hours! I love this place! Some argue that it's a little pricey, but I swear it saves us from ordering takeout. We ran out of freezer meals a couple of weeks ago, and we've (shamefully) eaten more frozen pizza and McDonald's than I care to admit in the last two weeks!

We had the pictures done this afternoon at Portrait Innovation, and it was...disappointing. They were running about 45 minutes late, and the kids were cranky and tired by the time we got started. The girl helping us was obnoxious, and I think she scared the kids. The atmosphere there is terribly chaotic and rushed, which was scary enough for kids as young as ours. We took them in their Halloween costumes and changed them into their birthday outfits, and we felt so rushed and frantic that it wasn't a good experience. Sophie clung to me and eventually dissolved into tears. We walked out of there spending over $100 for mediocre pictures (we had to spend that much to get the CD of all of the shots they took), and I'm having buyer's remorse. Hopefully I can take some of the pictures from the CD and edit them so we like them better. If I could justify the price, I think it would be better to go to a professional studio or hire someone to come to the house to do the photos while the kids are so little. That way we could catch them when they're comfortable and in their own surroundings. Maybe this was the push I needed to convince myself to splurge on a decent camera?? Sigh...I should have saved the $100 to add to my "our camera bites" fund. Lesson learned!

I pick the portraits up tomorrow, so I'll post some of the pics on here when I get them loaded.


GRAHAM TOOK HIS FIRST STEPS LAST NIGHT!!! It's so cute! I'll try to get a little video on my camera and post it on here. Blake acts like he wants to walk, too, so I bet it will be within the next few days. Hooray!

There were a couple of posts that didn't post to the blog within the last couple of days, so I posted them now. They're below...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thyroid Sonogram

I had my thyroid sonogram yesterday afternoon, and she wouldn't tell me if she saw anything. Apparently the radiologist will send it to my primary doctor, who will then send it to the surgeon. Good grief! I don't think she found anything, though, because she didn't take a lot of measurements and it was over pretty quickly. Then why do I feel like there's a lump in my throat??

Big day tomorrow--Kelly and I have Dream Dinners in the morning, then the kids have their pictures taken in the afternoon. I hope the kids are on their best "photo-taking" behavior! We're starting them off in their birthday (Elmo) outfits, then changing them into their Halloween outfits. I'm finishing up Sophie's wings and tutu tonight. They're all going to be bumblebees--I bought the boys' outfits, and Sophie will be in a leotard and tights along with her tutu and wings. I thought about trying to make their entire costumes from scratch, and I'm SO glad I didn't. Where does the time go?! I need more hours in the day!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Morning with the 3-year olds...

One morning each semester, the moms that attend MAPS volunteer to help in the child care section for the morning instead of meeting with their groups. Well, today was my morning...and I'm exhausted!! I worked with the 3-year-old group. One thing I noticed was a very distinct difference in boys and girls at that age--the girls wanted to color and sing and stay as close to the "teachers" as they could. The boys mostly wanted to wrestle and yell. I turned my back for a second, and the boys were in a huge dog-pile! I started to pull them apart when one of the sweet little girls ran from across the room and jumped right on top of the pile. Maybe my boy/girl theory is blown?? Of course, I'm peeling them all apart from their pile when the moms started showing up to pick them up...I wonder if I'll ever be invited back to volunteer...

Brent spent an exhausting morning at the tag office--NO fun, but he's glad to be done with it for another year. We made a donation to the Breast Cancer Awareness fund, so he was able to get a pink ribbon license plate for my van this year. It looks nice!

This afternoon I have my sonogram on my thyroid. I'll let you know how it goes! Tonight is a MAPS function at our leader's house, and Kelly is coming to watch the kids. I'm so excited!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Checking in

I had a follow-up appointment with the surgeon yesterday, and he said he didn't find anything alarming on the tests that he ran. Great news! However, he said that the next step would be to do "exploratory" surgery to take a scope and look around in my abdomen to see what he could find....ummmm, no thanks.... The pain has tapered off for now, and I told him that if the pain came back as severely as it had been that I would schedule that procedure. He was fine with that, but wants me to have an ultrasound of my thyroid to see if there are any nodules present since I still feel like I have a constant lump in my throat. Weird, weird, weird...

Sophie and I were at the grocery store the other day, and a little boy (4 or 5 years old) was mad and throwing a fit for his mom. They were standing about 15 feet away, and Sophie exaggeratedly leaned around me to look at him and yelled "NO!! BE NICE!!" I tried to block her view, but they were walking toward us. Sophie stared him down and when he got close enough...she yelled it AGAIN. I wanted to be invisible...

THEN, last night she had pulled a chair over to the counter and had big plans for pulling a bottle of Karo syrup down. Brent had told her "no" but she wasn't budging. He stood up to make his point, and Sophie guessed it...."BE NICE!!"

The boys are in full-fleged teething mode, and are both trying to cut their 1-year molars. Ouch! Graham has a suspicious bite mark on his arm that bears a striking resemblance to Blake's teeth pattern. The other day at the grocery store (different trip than the one mentioned earlier) Graham kept putting his hand in Blake's mouth to see what he would do. Of course, Blake would bite him...then Graham would scream in anger for the next two aisles. Dillons is going to regret their choice of having shopping carts that will seat up to 4 children...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wonderful Saturday!

Usually weekends that Brent's working are a little humdrum around here, but we were blessed with great company today! Dad, Louise and Joshua (our nephew) got here around noon today, and we picked up lunch at Arby's and had a picnic at the park. (Side note...lunch for 3 adults, Joshua and my kids at Arby's was TWENTY NINE DOLLARS. What in the heck?! Thanks for lunch, Dad and Louise! Next time I promise we'll hit McDonald's instead...) Dad ended up holding Blake at the picnic table, and I think Blake ate as much as Dad did--we couldn't believe how crazy Blake was about roast beef! Louise held Graham, and he was only interested in french fries.

We played on the playground at the park for a while, then came home to put the boys down for a nap (which Graham refused to do). We played football with Joshua, and Sophie and Graham rode around in their cars for a while while Blake napped.

My cousin LeAnn got the kids some great Halloween shirts that light up, so they all matched today. We tried to get them to pose for a picture, but this was the best they'd do. I think Grandpa was honestly shocked that they wouldn't sit still and smile so we could get a good we know why photographers make big bucks!! :-)

Tonight we had our friend Patti over for dinner, which is always a treat for us! I tried to put the kids to bed early (since they didn't nap well this afternoon) and that backfired on me...the first 30 minutes of our meal was spent listening to a chorus of three screaming babies. We finally got them calmed down, but I wonder if I've blown my chance of ever getting Patti to accept a dinner invitation from me again. :-) As is her nature, she handled it with graceful Southern charm. The food was tasty, though (if I do say so myself!), so here are a couple more recipes for you! We had grilled chicken/pesto/mozzarella paninis with the stew--I grilled them on my George Foreman grill and they turned out great! Classico makes a basil pesto in a jar that is really good.


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic cloves, minced
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups peeled, cubed pumpkin

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add meat, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. In a Dutch oven, brown meat in oil and butter. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the carrots, celery, water, bay leaves, bouillon, thyme and remaining pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/4 hours.
Stir in pumpkin. Return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until meat and pumpkin are tender. Discard bay leaves.


1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (18.25 ounce) package spice cake mix
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, white sugar and milk. Stir in cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin filling. Sprinkle pecans over the cake mix. Drizzle melted butter over all.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Interesting recipe!

In the spirit of Octoberfest, I tried a new recipe this week. It sounds strange, but it was good! Brent loved it.


9 lasagna noodles
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups milk
1 pound kielbasa
1 (20 ounce) can sauerkraut, drained
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
In a blender or with an electric mixer, blend mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup and milk until smooth. Cut sausage in half lengthwise and slice thinly.
In a 9x13 inch dish, layer 1 cup soup mixture, 3 noodles, half the sauerkraut, half the sausage and a third of the cheese. Repeat. Top with remaining 3 noodles and remaining soup mixture. Cover with foil.
Bake in preheated oven 25 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 minutes more. Sprinkle with remaining cheese when still hot.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Tomorrow my friend Melissa and I are hosting a SILPADA open house at my place! It's from 4-6pm...come join us! (Even if you're not in the market for new jewelry--we'll have plenty of snacks and margaritas!) **Note: The jewelry gets shipped straight to your house, so don't let distance stop you if there's something you want to order! **

If you are in the market for jewelry, I am in looooove with Silpada's stuff. We're planning to close the party this weekend, so let me know if there's something you can't live without!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Blake has a new tooth! That makes six for him--four on bottom and 2 on top. Graham still has eight (four top, four bottom), but I think he might be working on his 12-month molars--he's been super fussy and clingy for the past week.

Last week I had an upper GI test, and today they knocked me out to run a scope down my throat. They're trying to figure out why I'm having a pain in my side, but no luck so far. The surgeon talked to Brent afterward and said (praise God!) they didn't find anything obvious. He wants me to come see him in a couple of weeks to discuss the results of both tests and see what he wants to do from here.

On a positive note, isn't this cooler weather awesome?! Happy Fall!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Quick update

Just a quick update on us! No pictures with this post--now my camera is possessed, and doesn't always turn on. I've got to bite the bullet and get a new camera. Why do they have to be so expensive?! I'm wanting to check out the Nikon that Ashton Kutcher advertises (NOT a big fan of Ashton Kutcher, but the camera looks pretty cool). I need something that can take multiple pictures fast--it seems like I'm constantly trying to "re-create" a scene. One of the kids is always looking the wrong direction or has their eyes shut. My camera takes so long to snap a picture!

Brent spent Friday night helping our friends move, then I posted some of the pictures from Saturday morning's Race for the Cure. (Annie sent me team photos that I'll add soon. Thanks, Annie!) Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, Brent put up the Christmas lights on the house and shed. Yep--Christmas lights!! He's so ambitious! He said that he refused to be up on the house in the freezing cold this year, so he did them while the weather was warm. Don't worry...they're clear lights, so they don't stand out TOO much. :-) We also put up a little Fall display with hay bails and scarecrows. We joked that we might as well hide Easter eggs and try to knock out all of the seasons at once!! I'm ashamed to say that I don't even have their Halloween costumes finished yet--Brent is way ahead of me!!

I've been having some weird pains in my side, and my doctor had me consult with a surgeon this week. I have an upper GI test at the hospital tomorrow, then next Wednesday I go for a test at the surgery center where they'll run a scope down my throat. NOT looking forward to either. I'm sure it's nothing, but I'll post about the results.

The kids are doing great! Sophie is really going through the Terrible Two's--she throws herself on the ground for a tantrum at least 6 times a day. When she's happy, though, she's really happy! The boys are enjoying eating real food, and eat what we eat for each meal. They take eating seriously!

Speaking of eating, my friend gave me a great recipe for banana chocolate chip muffins that freeze beautifully:

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

3 ripe bananas
1/3 cup oil
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Blend first four ingredients. Mix in next four ingredients just until moist. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

I'm in love with these muffins!!