Friday, October 29, 2010

Photo Story Friday: Milestones

Pin It Mothers of all ages experience milestones each day. Whether you have little ones, or grown up "babies," it is so exciting to see them grow and change. It's the small, everyday accomplishments that make life so sweet. My mother asks me often if my two-year-old ever pays attention to my six-month-old. Up until recently, my answer was always the same, "They're both too young." Elena has been too interested in playing with her toys to interact with her baby sister and Kate hasn't been able to do much other than try and turn her head in the direction of her sister's voice.

This week the Lord has given me a glimpse of the joys I am about to experience as a mom of two girls. Kate has started sitting up this week which allows her to view her world in a totally new light. She's grabbing at things and whipping her head around in all directions to check out what's going on. As a result, Elena has started "playing" with her little sister. She brings her toys, tries to get her to laugh, and even tries to clean her little face when she drools. Kate adores her big sister and Elena is so gentle with her.

Of course it's not all happy-go-lucky ALL of the time. Kate pulls Elena's hair and Elena snatches toys out of Kate's hands when she wants them back, but that, too is part of growing up. Regardless, I am thankful for these sweet days and look forward to all those future milestones that God will allow me to be witness to.

PhotoStory Friday

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Tummy Time

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Lately, I just can't get enough of my little Kate...She is such a sweet little soul! Unlike her big sister, she LOVES tummy time! She's content just laying with her little head turned to the side grinning at me. She does love her reflection in the mirror, but her favorite is when she sees mine smiling back at her, also. I took a similar picture of Elena at this age also. It was neat to capture Kate in a comparable position. I LOVE MY GIRLS!

Wordish Wednesday

Lovely Photo - Wordless or Not-So-Wordless Wednesday at Aspire

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Portrait Challenge

Pin It As promised, I am joining yet another photo challenge this week. I know this Portrait challenge is not necessarily a "self-portrait" challenge but when I saw the maternity picture used as an example, I couldn't help but think of this picture. When I was expecting my dear sweet Kate, I loved looking at all the maternity shoots out there. I felt so huge and unattractive but the photo shoots of expecting moms made me think I might not LOOK as bad as I FELT. I had a great friend who was going to do a shoot for me but I never did get the courage to finally make a time for us to do it...instead, I put my two-year-old down for her afternoon nap and nervously set up the tripod in the playroom. I actually got some good shots, and this was my favorite:

The best part was that I didn't have to leave the comfort of my own home or be self conscious around someone else pointing a lens in my direction.

Pumpkin Princess

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Elena has never dressed up for Halloween before this year. We were on the fence about celebrating the holiday, but ultimately decided we didn't want to deprive her of the fun of dressing up each year. Her favorite movie lately has been Cinderella. She goes around singing "Cinderelli, Cinderelli!" and calling all of her shoes "glass slippers." I was convinced when I asked her what she wanted to be she would say Cinderella (I hoped that's what she wanted to be because I knew how pretty she would be in blue).

Boy was I wrong! She wanted to be a pumpkin! At first I thought, O.K., she just didn't understand what I was asking, so I rephrased the question: "Honey? If you could dress up as anything in the world, what would you want to dress as?"...still the same answer, "A Pumpkin, Mommy!" This went on for several weeks. I finally gave in and set out to design her the perfect pumpkin costume. She's a girl, so I didn't want to dress her in the typical unisex costume. I also didn't want her to be a jack-o-lantern. I thought that was a little too cliche. I had seen some adorable fairy costumes using long tu-tus and decided to go that route. About $12 in materials and about 1.5 hours of work, I had her costume, complete with pumpkin wand and leafy crown. She insisted on glitter so she helped me glitter paint the leaves and butterflies later.

So what do you think of my little pumpkin? I love to hear your comments so send some my way!

Entertain Exchange  

Pretty in Pink

Pin It I have vowed to join a few more photo challenges. When I saw this week's pink theme at I Heart Faces, I had a photo in the vault that I felt was perfect.

G is for...

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I celebrated my birthday this weekend and my sweet husband signed me up for Barb's online photo class as part of my birthday gift. Since having my girls, I have developed a new interested in photography and I can't wait to learn more about how to use my camera. Check out this link and consider joining me as I start the adventure of learning: photo basics course. Also, join us in the ABC photo challenge fun! It's a great way to look at the world around you in a different light each week with a new letter.


Morning Glory


Monday, October 25, 2010

Different as Black and White

Pin It My girls are as different as night and day, sugar and salt, black and white. When we found out we were expecting again, I was secretly hoping for a boy. I loved my little girl and couldn't imagine another one filling my heart the way Elena did. My husband's words of wisdom from the day we discovered our second child would be a girl, ring true in my ears each day: "I have a feeling each one will fulfill different needs that you may have as a mother."

How right he was! I don't write this to compare the two, just to highlight how my sweet Kate has expanded my heart to love in a way I never thought possible.

Elena slept through the night from 3 weeks old...Kate rarely sleeps through the night.

Elena ate solid foods at four months...Kate has yet to keep down anything other than breast milk.

Elena didn't have a problem going to people...Kate often gets scared or unhappy if we aren't close at hand.

Elena would stare at HERSELF in the mirror for hours...Kate will stare at MOMMY or DADDY for hours.

Elena didn't smile or interact with people much...Kate laughs, smiles, kicks and gets excited for people.

Elena never got the hang of breast feeding...Kate was a pro after the first couple of weeks.

Elena did NOT like to be cuddled...Kate LOVES to be cuddled.

My mother-in-law and I talk often about how we don't understand how two babies from the same mom and dad can be so different, but I wouldn't have it any other way. God knew what he was doing when he entrusted to us these two precious girls. I am so happy HE knew what was best for me and gave me my sweet Katie-Bug. You have filled my heart to overflowing!

The Paper Mama

Menu Monday

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My oven decided to go out on me a couple of weeks ago so I'm having to do all my meals at the beginning of the week sans oven. It's not a big problem, I just didn't realize how much I depended on it. Luckily the broiler still works so I can still broil my veggies and fish. Hopefully the part will be in early in the week so I can fix my chicken wings Thursday.

Monday: Shrimp Alfredo with red peppers and broccoli
Tuesday: Broiled Salmon, wild rice & veggies 
Wednesday: 5-bean & turkey chili
Thursday: Chicken Wings with Spinach-Strawberry Salad
Friday: Beef Tacos
Saturday: leftovers or eat out
Sunday: leftovers or eat out

for more weekly menus, visit

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cajun Shrimp and Grits

Pin It This recipe is a "stick to your ribs" kind of recipe: NOT for those who are watching what they eat. Every now and then we splurge with a feel good meal and this is one of my husband's favorites. I start with my basic cheese grits and add thick-sliced bacon, shrimp, cajun gravy and green onions to take it up a notch.

serves 4

1 cup quick grits
3 cups water
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
dash of salt
6-8 slices of thick-sliced bacon
30-40 large shrimp peeled and deveined
2 green onions diced for garnish

1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup sifted flour
2 cups half & half
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1-fry bacon in pan and set aside on paper towels to drain, reserving grease
2-boil water for grits
3-drain excess grease from the bacon pan and sauté shrimp with a dash of Cajun seasoning
4-Add dash of salt to boiling water then slowly add grits as you stir. Reduce heat and cover for about 3 minutes, then add garlic powder and cheese, combining well.
5-Remove grits from heat and add shrimp.
6-slice or crumble the bacon into the grits

1-melt butter in the pan used for cooking the bacon and shrimp on medium high heat
2-sift flour into melted butter, stirring constantly to create a rue
3-slowly add cream and reduce heat to medium
4-add Cajun seasoning and black pepper
5-stir until gravy reaches desired thickness
6-spoon over each serving of shrimp and grits and top with chopped green onion

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

SOOC Photo Challenge

Pin It I've decided to enter some photo challenges this week. This is an older photo but when I saw this week's theme at Simplicity, SOOC (Straight Out Of the Camera) I immediately thought of this shot. It is a sweet capture of my little girl getting her first dip in the ocean guided by the loving hands of her daddy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Day of Rest

Pin It Last week was hard: Patrick had symphony which meant I got to see him for about 2 hours in the afternoon and was alone with the girls the rest of the time. Thursday I noticed I had a scratchy throat and by Saturday morning, I had almost no voice at all. Patrick also had to judge his last band competition of the season Saturday which meant yet another day alone with the girls. That has become our routine for the past month. Elena likes her "normal" routine with Daddy and Mommy putting her to bed at night so bedtime has been difficult to say the least. Most nights I just ended up closing her in her room and letting her cry herself to sleep so I could watch after the other crying little one. Poor Patrick didn't get home until close to ten sometimes eleven and then we started the night watch since neither girl has been sleeping through the night lately.

Saturday night, I knew we needed a break. I had NO voice, Patrick was exhausted from working non-stop for weeks on end and the girls weren't much better. I called our dear preschool coordinator and told her (as best I could with no voice) that we wouldn't be able to make it to teach our 2-year old Sunday School class the next morning. I made a mad dash at cleaning the house after I got the girls down, and left my husband a sweet note telling him we would have the day off Sunday.

It was just what my family needed. We started the day off with home-made vanilla Belgian waffles for breakfast followed by a family devotion time on Paul telling the Thessalonians about Jesus. We had a GREAT afternoon nap time (where the girls actually napped at the same time, which rarely happens). I fixed up a yummy and quiet fattening meal of shrimp and grits with Cajun gravy for supper and we followed that with family movie night.

We cuddled up together in the living room floor to watch Toy Story 3. Armed with popcorn and raisinets, we had the BEST time. It was so nice to sit back in my chair for a brief moment and look across the room at my three favorite people, all engrossed in the movie. God certainly knew what he was doing when he set aside the seventh day for rest. It was just what we all needed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Applique Tutorial: Pumpkin

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I recently discovered story time at our local library. I have been so impressed with the program. Not your normal story time, each week has a theme complete with stories, songs, dances, activities and crafts. This week was "Pumpkin" week and I made the girls matching Pumpkin appliqués.

Appliqué is a little craft I learned how to do last fall. It's such an easy way to jazz up a shirt or make an outfit special. You don't need a lot of fabric. Scraps from other sewing projects or old clothes work perfectly. Though I used my embroidery machine to complete this project, you don't really need a fancy machine to achieve a similar look. The first appliqued shirt I made was using a 1954 Kenmore sewing machine with a tight zigzag stitch.

Here is the pumpkin design I came up with along with a tutorial on how to appliqué.

You will need:
-double sided fusible webbing (1/4 yard should be more than enough)
-stabilizer for back of garment
-fabric scraps in orange, green and brown (or whatever fabrics you choose)
-colored thread
-sewing machine

1-Print out a copy of the design

2-Cut out the individual pattern pieces for the pumpkin (if you want to make the pumpkin from multiple 
fabrics, you can cut out the different segments of the pumpkin as well)

3-Cut segments of fusible webbing that are just large enough to fit the pattern pieces inside.

4-With iron on dry setting, press webbing on WRONG side of fabric pieces

5-Place pattern pieces RIGHT SIDE DOWN onto the paper side of the webbing and trace the pattern onto the webbing

6-Cut out each piece

7-peal the paper of the back of the pieces and dry fit them together

8-Lightly pencil in the pumpkin segments and stem

8-Once again, dry fit the pieces together on your garment (or another piece of fabric if you want to attach the appliqué later) then press the pieces into place with your iron.

9-back your fabric with a stabilizer

10-use a wide satin stitch or a long and narrow zigzag setting on your sewing machine to stitch along the edges and lines:  begin with the pumpkin body, followed by the stem and lastly the leaf with vine. (I used my embroidery machine to add the name in the middle)

Here's a great applique tutorial for simple machines I found over at one of my favorite blogs:

Send me your comments and link up your own projects to my tutorial if you try this on your own. I love to see your work!

The Girl Creative

The DIY Show Off

Thursday, October 14, 2010

F is for...

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This is the Beautiful picture I get to wake up to each morning

Me and the Girls

My Grandmother & my baby Kate

Proud of my un-edited fly capture

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shutter Love Tuesday

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Like my friend at Schrockters Live, I couldn't resist participating in this week's Shutter Love photo challenge. A mama always likes to show off her babies. When my first child came along, I did not have the interest in photography that I now have. Since her birth, I saw so many precious photographs of newborns and when I had my second, I was ready and armed. I did a fun little photo shoot with my baby Kate at 1 week old. I found an adorable cocoon & hat set made by Tricity Hokes Creations (she makes the most adorable photo props for babies at such affordable prices) You can see this photo on her blog as well. It was so hard for me to choose my favorite, but here it is: