Monday, December 30, 2013

Listing: Day 30

30 Days Of Lists
Today is the last day of the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

This time next year I will...
  • Have an almost 1 yr old boy, an almost 6 yr old girl, and a 15 yr old step-daughter.
  • Have a new car (hopefully!)
  • Be married for 9 yrs
  • Be back to my pre-pregnancy weight
  • Have my windows paid off - only debt being our mortgage & the new car
And that is the end of 30 Days Of Lists! Now I just have to decide if I want to do something else with my lists of just leave them on my blog.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Listing: Day 28 & Day 29

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

Day 28: Memories made this year...
  • Going on a family vacation to Colorado
  • Being pregnant
  • Meeting our newest nephew
  • Having Claire switch schools and handle the transition really well
Day 29: Things I'm letting go of...
  • WORRYING so much about the kids, I think with 3 kids the amount of worrying will kill me
  • Obsessively checking facebook/email/pinterest/twitter/feedly on my phone
  • My current method for Project Life - I need to revisit it in a way that will work better for me
  • Stuff, lots and lots of stuff will hopefully be leaving our house in 2014

Friday, December 27, 2013

December Daily - December 25

Anaya was already back at her mom's house and since all we had this morning were Claire's gifts from Santa, I let Justin sleep in until 10am. Claire was super excited to get the My Little Pony Hot Air Balloon and another LaLaLoopsy (Haley Galaxy & her alien). I was happy that the makers of My Little Ponys don't use nearly as much crap to attach the toy to the box compared to the LaLaLoopsys I was opening yesterday.

We went to my mom's house today for brunch and opening stockings. We tried to leave Claire there so that Justin and I could go home and clean up a little bit and get presents put away without Claire's "help" but she was quite insistent that she needed to go with us. Although that did lead to the eventual chasing of Claire with the vacuum cleaner. She's not scared of it, she just thinks it is fun to shriek and run away and hide from it.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

Can't get enough of...
  • Peppermint Bark Bells
  • Sleeping
  • Carbohydrates that I'm not supposed to be eating - they are ALL I want
  • Yoga Pants

December Daily - December 24

We opened our presents at home on Christmas Eve morning. Everyone was excited by their gifts. Claire loved getting so many more LaLaLoopsys, although she did pretty much want to go play the computer once we were done with presents. Anaya got her new cell phone & two cases for it. Justin got a new sleeping bag and two cds that he had been wanting. And I got new computer speakers (mine were seriously 10+ yrs old and crackled) and some yoga pants that I never want to take off.

After opening presents we had some breakfast - homemade cream cheese & strawberry cream cheese coffee cakes - they were so delicious and some bacon. Then the kids played with their new stuff and old stuff, I worked on activating Anaya's cell phone and we all just hung around for a while. Eventually, it was time to head over to my mom's house to do Christmas over there!

My parents had been working on a puzzle when we got I kind of took over because I have a small addiction to puzzles which is why I rarely do them because I'm stuck until it is done. Once my brother & his family arrived, we started passing out presents and opening them. Lots of awesomeness. Claire had a melt-down post present opening because (1) she wanted MORE presents and (2) we were making her pick up one toy before getting another out. So we all pretty much vacated my parents house to go home and get the kids back to happy and put away a some presents. Then we went back to my parents house so Anaya could open her stocking (before returning to her mom's house) and we ate dinner (soup!).

And that was our Christmas Eve. Lots of present opening. A few meltdowns from the younger children. It didn't help that my nephew (about 14 months) wasn't feeling good either.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

Things I heard today...
  • Open presents NOW?!?! (Claire)
  • Go to Ga's NOW?!?! (Claire)
  • No Claire, not yet (Justin, Anaya & I)
  • This is so cool (Anaya)

Listing: Day 27

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

Ways to unwind...
  • Read a book
  • Bake something
  • Take a nice warm shower
  • Go for a walk
  • Do something mindless but productive (so I feel accomplished!)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Listing: Day 26

Well, December Daily is over, but 30 Days of Lists continues until December 30. I'm working on getting pages completed for my December Daily far I have a cover, and intro page and Nov 30 done. And I have basically NO motivation to work on it. I'm also attempted to catch up on Project Life, I'm back on the first week of November. and again with the NO motivation. I have gone through and picked out my pictures and figured out my layouts, now it is just a matter of resizing them, uploading them and ordering them.

I'm not sure if it is the being pregnant that is making me lose my motivation...or if it is the fact that I got sick over Christmas...or if it is just that time of the year. Hopefully I'll find my motivation again soon and can get these projects wrapped up before the little boy gets here!

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

I am thankful for...
  • My family
  • All the awesome new stuff that we got
  • That Christmas is over (it was fun, but I was ready to be done and relax)

Monday, December 23, 2013

December Daily - December 23

Tonight is Christmas Eve Eve. Since we have Anaya for Christmas Eve this year instead of Christmas Day, we start our celebration on Christmas Eve Eve. Everyone gets Pajamas. Well, usually. This year, Justin & I didn't want pajamas, so the kids each got to open their pajamas...and then because Claire is spoiled we let them each open one more.

Claire got two sets of footie pajamas (she picked the pair with reindeer feet to wear to bed) and then a snow globe from Anaya. Anaya got her pajamas, and I was going to let her open the present from Claire...but I couldn't find it. So instead she opened one of her gifts that my parents brought back on Friday from our extended family - a scrapbooking kit from my Aunt Lynn.

On years when we have Anaya for Christmas Day, the pajamas happen on Christmas Eve. But since we have her for Christmas Eve, that means we're opening all of our family presents on Christmas Eve morning (tomorrow!).

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

Who I consider 'family'...
  • Justin, Anaya, Claire, baby boy
  • My parents & brother & sister-in-law and nephew
  • Justin's parents & brother & sister-in-law and nephew
  • My extended family of grandma's, aunts & uncles, cousins & their kids (at least to some degree since I haven't actually MET all of my cousins' kids)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December Daily - December 22

It SNOWED! Not a lot, but 2-3 inches I think. Enough that the driveway had to be shoveled and Claire had fun running around in the snow. The plows were out late last night and again this morning, so by lunchtime we were fine to go to my mom's for lunch.

I did make the questionable decision of shoveling our driveway while 35 weeks pregnant. That is probably not recommended, but I think shoveling was easier than it would've been to bend down and play in the snow with Claire! Claire loved making snow balls. She made one snow angel on the driveway before I shoveled too much of the snow. She didn't really want to play in the grass, she mostly just wanted to play on the driveway and I kept taking all her snow away.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

Things that can wait until tomorrow...
  • Washing the rest of the baby's stuff
  • Calling the doctor's office about getting TDaP boosters
  • Cleaning out the fridge
  • Hanging stockings
  • Taking out the trash & recycling
  • Going to the grocery store
  • Finishing wrapping presents (although it will HAVE to be done tomorrow!)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

December Daily - December 21

Today's plan was to go to Union Station to see KC Southern's Holiday Express Train (aka Rudy). But after all the throwing up yesterday and some more this morning, we had to skip it. We tried to go to it last year, but the line was too long. This year I actually got reservations! And we still didn't go.

Instead Claire wanted to help me wrap some presents, the only problem was most of the presents I still needed to wrap were for her! I convinced her that she should help by putting on bows & picking out ribbon for the presents I had already wrapped. I'm not a huge fan of ribbons & bows so I usually don't put them on. Claire is an expert ribbon and bow picker outer. Then she carried each present down the stairs and put it under the tree! We did wrap a couple of presents for her cousin, and one for the baby, and one for Anaya.

Otherwise we've mostly spent the day sitting around inside. Claire still isn't well - although she acts completely fine...and then she throws up. The weather got fairly crappy just after noon with some freezing rain which was followed by snow starting around 8pm. We all stayed in our pajamas all day. And, today at least, she only threw up once, so hopefully she is on the mend and the rest of us won't be coming down with whatever it was just in time for Christmas!

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

Positive things from this week...
  • Winter break started!
  • Had our 34 week OB appointment, baby boy is still doing fine - heartbeat of 153bpm.
  • Washed my sheets & comforter - LOVE clean sheets
  • My vacation from work started - no work for NINE WHOLE DAYS (including the weekends)!

Friday, December 20, 2013

December Daily - December 20

Today was Claire first day of Winter Break! My mom & dad had made arrangements to drive 2.5 hours to see our extended family, but my doctor doesn't want me going 2.5 hours away from my hospital (he really doesn't want me more than an hour from my hospital). The plan was for my parents to come get Claire and take her with them. But then my dad wasn't feeling great so my mom was driving in by herself and she wasn't sure if she was still okay to take Claire. We were fine with it, but she wanted to make sure first. Then Claire apparently threw up about half way through the trip there. And again right after lunch. When she's not throwing up she is acting fine. So, we'll see. Obviously if we'd known she would've just stayed home, but she was fine last night and she was fine this morning with Justin.

Normally I am the picture taker at all events. And I like it that way because then I have the pictures! But since I wasn't going, I had to ask my parents to make sure they took pictures. I think it will be kind of interesting having a different perspective of what is going on. My pictures normally focus mostly on Claire (and Anaya if she is there), with some of my nephew. I haven't actually seen any pictures yet...there may only be one or two, who knows. The rest of my family isn't quite as picture taking crazy as I am!

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

With a day to myself, I would...
  • Work on December Daily 2013 - I only have two actual pages done, TWO!
  • Wash baby clothing & sheets & everything else
  • Clean my desk?
  • Get sucked into looking at pictures of Claire as a baby and accomplish nothing...
So I did actually have a majority of this evening to myself. Or at least mostly to myself, my husband is around but he's doing his own thing. So here's what I actually did with 6 hours of kid free time:
  • Went to the grocery store
  • Put gas in my car
  • Went to Target
  • Finished washing & drying my sheets and putting them back on my bed
  • Cleaning up my very messy desk & empty my overflowing trash can

Thursday, December 19, 2013

December Daily - December 19

Today was Claire's Winter Party at school. I don't go to her school very often since I work. Justin usually does the drop off, we're experimenting with a bus bringing her home. We don't have a lot of interaction with her teachers except for at special events. I usually try to volunteer to do something, but since I'm so very pregnant, I didn't want to sign up for something that I might have been unable to follow through on.

The theme of this party - since it couldn't be Christmas - was Snowmen! Specifically the book, Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner. The teacher read them the book. They did two snowmen crafts, one that involved glittery puffy paint and one that involved foam stickers. One of the other mom's brought in snowmen cupcakes.

My plan was to leave after snack and let Claire ride the bus home as usual, but she asked me to stay for "just a little bit". Which meant I ended up staying until the end of the school day and having her be a car rider today. Although we did stop and talk to her bus driver and they told each other a couple of knock-knock jokes which are currently Claire's favorite things ever.

We also drove out and saw the Christmas Lights at the Farm again. My mom wanted to see them, so Claire & I picked her up and then we watched the entire light show. Claire loves it so much. Since my mom was there, I got out and walked around with my camera to get a few different pictures since I didn't get very many good ones last time.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

Projects I finished this year...
  • My Pregnancy Album from 2008/2009
  • My Colorado Family Vacation album
  • Project Life 2012

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December Daily - December 18

My mom got this recipe from the mom of my best friend when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. We lived in Topeka at the time, and I had two best friends. Our house was in the middle of the street, Crystal's house was at one end and Abby's house was at the other end. Crystal's mom and my mom became pretty good friends and at some point, her mom gave my mom a recipe for "Crunchy Air". This stuff is not as well known as it's popcorn counterparts, but possibly even more delicious because there is no kernel. The corn is puffed so if you coat the puffed corn in enough caramel, it tastes like you're eating caramel covered air. So addictive.

Crunchy Air (aka Caramel Puff Corn)

10oz of butter corn puffs*
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Put the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a medium/large sauce pan and bring to boil. Allow to boil for two minutes, stirring regularly.

While that is boiling pour corn puffs into a large roasting pan.

After the caramel sauce has boiled for 2 minutes, remove from heat and add the baking soda. Stir until it get foamy.

Pour the caramel sauce over the puffed corn and stir to coat the puffed corn.

Bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring it around every 15 minutes. When finished, dump onto wax paper and spread out to cool. Break apart clumps of puffed corn once it is cooled. Store in an air tight container.

*Butter Corn Puffs are NOT the cereal. This is found in the chip/popcorn aisle. The three brands that I know of are Art & Marys, Jays/O-KE-DOKE, and Chesters. The different brands are sold in different sized bags. I usually can find Art & Marys or Jays in an 8 oz bag, so I buy two bags and use about 1 & 1/3 bags to 1 & 1/2 bags depending on how much caramel coverage I want. If you want more caramel coverage, just use one 8 oz bag.

(the pictures are actually from when I made it a couple of weeks ago, but I am planning to make more tomorrow night)

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

On my shopping list...
  • Stocking stuffers
  • One more Christmas present for Justin
  • Groceries for next week
  • TDaP vaccines for Justin & I

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December Daily - December 17

Tonight I started wrapping presents - finally. I didn't get as many wrapped as I would've liked, but I did get started.

I'm a little weird about wrapping presents. I LOVE wrapping presents, but I refuse to use boxes. I've wrapped cast iron skillets, rolls of duct tape, clothing, and more all without boxes (not necessarily this year, but at sometime). The more obnoxious the shape of the gift, the more fun it is to wrap. Because it can't just be wrapped, it has to look nice too!

It kind of looks like UPS/FedEx/USPS just threw a bunch of boxes in my closet. Luckily I can't wear most of the clothing that I can't get to anyways since it won't fit right now. Otherwise I would've had to deal with this sooner!

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

I wish I had done more _____ this year.
  • exercising
  • to make new friends
  • organizing / cleaning
  • blogging

Monday, December 16, 2013

December Daily - December 16

Tonight Claire & I drove out to look at the most awesome Christmas light display EVER.

Okay, so I'm possibly a bit biased since at one point in my life programming things like this was my job. But there were a lot of other people there enjoying the display, so I'm not THAT biased. I'm not sure exactly how long the "show" was, but we sat there for at least 20 minutes and I don't think it had looped yet. All of the images are synced up to music. Sometimes it is just patterns & lights, other times it is actually images that go with the words. I kind of love Christmas lights. Sorry if that makes me a bit insane. I'm tempted to run Claire & I out there again some was that cool looking.

Also, taking pictures of LED lights is difficult.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

Favorite things to eat this time of year...
  • Crunchy Air
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Soup - my mom always makes one Christmas Eve
  • Sugar Cookies (or any type of cookie)
  • Chocolate Babka - made it for the first time this year and it may become a tradition
  • Anything that involves mint or crushed candy canes

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December Daily - December 15

I have a hard time when I have two big activities on the same day, both of which I think so should go in my December Daily album because they are both so CHRISTMAS-y and traditions.

This morning, we went to visit my in-laws for Christmas. Since we only have Anaya every other weekend, it was either this weekend or the weekend after Christmas and sometimes our weekend schedule gets a little off during holiday breaks from school. And I didn't want to wait until two weeks after that because that would be getting awfully close to the little boy's due date!

Claire was most excited about the LaLaLoopsy Mermaid from Justin's parents and another LaLaLoopsy doll (Mint E. Stripes) from Justin's brother (and family). Anaya was super excited to get a CrazLoom from Justin's brother. She used one of her friend's looms and loved it. She's been making the bracelets without a loom, but has really been wanting to get a loom. This was the first Christmas for our nephew, Riley. He was mostly just into the wrapping paper and trying to eat it.

After we got home, I started cleaning up my kitchen/diningroom, making butter frosting and setting things up to have a couple of Anaya's friends & Claire decorate cookies. We ended up with just one of Anaya's friends, Anaya, Claire, my mom and & I decorating cookies. I still have about 2 dozen un-decorated cookies and bags of frosting in all three colors. The kids all made a mess, but we had a good time...and very little frosting got on the floor!

Since these are both from today, I'll probably just do a couple of pages for the 15th. I haven't actually started on my December Daily album at all. I can't decide how I want to do it. On one hand, I really like my 2012 Blurb book, but I also like my other albums that are actual paper scrapbooks. And I like seeing what other people are doing for their albums. Plus I know I'm getting a Silhouette for Christmas, so if I do an actual album I can try out cutting things out to have see-through elements. But, regardless of how I do it, because I have kept up with posting these stories, I will know what goes on each page and the stories that go along with the pictures!

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

I like to avoid...
  • Cleaning my house
  • Arguing with people
  • Leaving my house when it is cold/snowy/icy
  • Worrying about the future - particularly the "what ifs"

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December Daily - December 14

Today we got just a little bit of snow. They kept changing the forecast. At first, it was going to be icy on Friday (so I ended up working a half-day from home) but then it didn't do anything until much later Friday. At one point they said we'd get 2"-4", with the heaviest stuff starting around 6pm Friday night. But sometime around 7pm, they changed it to just a dusting to 1" for our area. I like to refer to these as the "Snow Storm that Wasn't". It's hard to tell, but there is actually of dusting of snow on the deck in the picture.

However, the roads & sidewalks were a bit icy today, so I stayed home and baked. A lot. I made two batches of sugar cookies for the kids to decorate tomorrow afternoon. And I made the most ridiculous bread ever, Chocolate Babka. I should've let it rise longer, but I was ready to be done making it. It's VERY delicious, it just probably should've risen longer, particularly after the loaves were formed.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

Stocking up on...
  • Butter/Cream Cheese/Chocolate Chips
  • Freezer Meals
  • Wrapping Paper & Scotch Tape
  • Diapers/Wipes
Some of these things are because of the holidays, some are in preparation of having a baby in January.

Friday, December 13, 2013

December Daily - December 13

One of our Christmas time traditions is to paint ornaments. When we started this Anaya loved it, Justin didn't and I was indifferent to it. I mean, it was my idea, but I'm not really into painting so I didn't care all that much about actually doing it. Now, Justin still doesn't like it, Anaya is 14 and more or less over it, Claire doesn't care much about painting, but I make us keep doing it because it's a tradition! It's what we DO! According to Justin & Anaya, I told them last year that we weren't doing it again, but I don't remember that and it's so fun to pull out the past year's ornaments that we painted.

Therefore, while dinner was in the oven, we sat down and painted our ornaments. Justin's isn't quite done yet, he needed his paint to dry before he could finish it. Claire painted the orange Reindeer (all by herself, all we did was put paint on her paper plate). Anaya did the red owl. Mine is the snowman (or woman?). And Justin's ornament is the monkey.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

I get excited when....
  • Things go the way I plan
  • A song comes on the radio that I like
  • I cross things off my to-do list
  • I get mail that isn't bills

December Daily - December 12

I was planning to work on wrapping presents tonight and include that as my December Daily...but I didn't wrap presents. I even bought new wrapping paper at Target last night...I just wasn't in the mood. So instead, I'll follow Ali Edward's prompt and write about 12 Blessings on the 12th of December, but mine is more 12 Things That Make Me Happy on the 12th of December.

  1. We have a healthy baby boy with just over a month to keep growing before he will be here!
  2. It is December 12 and I am ALMOST done Christmas shopping (seriously, TWO presents left to buy!).
  3. Claire was finally feeling better and went back to school today!
  4. Working from home (occasionally).
  5. Living so close to family.
  6. Having all the children in the right rooms, even if their stuff is still making it's way there.
  7. 0.5 Journaling Pens (Project Life or Copix), I use them for everything, even addressing Christmas cards and writing to-do lists.
  8. New coordinating wrapping paper for Christmas presents this year.
  9. Being able to pull a homemade meal out of the freezer.
  10. I finished addressing all of my Christmas cards, now I just need stamps!
  11. It is supposed to snow this weekend, not a lot, just a little.
  12. This recipe for Chocolate Babka (which I've never had) that I'm thinking about making this weekend.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

Places I went this year...
  • Colorado
  • my OB's office (a lot)
  • work
  • the Zoo
  • Bass Pro Shop's Winter Wonderland

December Daily - December 11

Tonight, I finally started addressing my Christmas cards. I know, I'm old school with my little address book instead of having it all on my phone/computer/google.

This will probably take me the rest of the week...and part of the weekend. Just because I get tired of writing...and I have to find addresses for a few people. Plus I still need to buy stamps which means my Christmas cards won't go out in the mail until at least Monday! Last year I think I got a picture of me dropping the envelopes in the mail box, we'll see if I attempt that again.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

Without _____, I would probably ______
  • coffee / be sleepier
  • my family / be lonely
  • my cell phone / be bored

December Daily - December 10

Claire ended up coming home sick from school today. It is probably just a cold, but we're not really sure. The problem is that when Claire is sick...everyone is miserable. She is not really the type of child that wants to curl up on the couch and snuggle, I've heard of such children, but when Claire is sick, she wants to keep going and bouncing and doing things but only things that she WANTS to do. She absolutely MUST have her way. Which makes for a trying few days. Let's hope she gets over this...whatever it is...quickly.

So, even though Claire protested, we did watch Despicable Me 2 tonight. Such a fun movie...although possibly not terribly appropriate for a 4 yr old. I know, it's rated PG, but there are some jokes that I wouldn't want her repeating! But it was funny and we enjoyed it and Claire only complained about watching it for about 30 minutes.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

I was a friend this year by...
  • Listening
  • Baking things for people (dinner rolls for Thanksgiving, cookies for my nephew's party, treats for people at work & some of Justin's friends)
This was hard for me...maybe I wasn't a good friend this year? Maybe it is the fact that I don't really have many friends, I have family members...and co-workers...and acquaintances...but not a whole lot of friends.

Monday, December 9, 2013

December Daily - December 9

Tonight, Claire & I decorated a gingerbread house.

I kind of followed this tutorial How to Build a Gingerbread House in 5 Simple Steps, she did one step per day and made it a 5 day process. I did Days 1, 2 and 3 on Sunday and Days 4 & 5 on Monday evening - I didn't really this to be a 5 day process. We already had all the ingredients (Day 1), Claire did get to help me make the gingerbread (Day 2), but I didn't end up cutting out the pieces and baking them until after she went to bed on Sunday evening (Day 3).

Our only mishap was that I had planned to get the Gingerbread house built on Sunday night so that it would be all ready to go when I got home from work on Monday. I didn't get the house built, but I had told Claire that we would decorate it when I got home from work. Then we still had to make the royal icing and build it which resulted in lots of requests of decorate it NOW? I did have an entire extra disc of gingerbread so after building it, to give the icing time to harden, we cut out gingerbread men and Christmas trees. Then after we decorated the house, we decorated the cookies too.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with it until whenever we decide to eat it!

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

My favorite outfits/accessories...
  • Yoga pants & Justin's Old Navy Fleece
  • Skinny jeans, long sweaters & fake uggs
  • Sweater cardigans
Right now, I pretty much live in my yoga pants. I usually refuse to wear them out of the house (well, OUT places, I might wear them to run across the street to check the mail), but at 7.5 months pregnant, yoga pants are acceptable everywhere but work and church. I seriously cannot wait until I can wear actual jeans, not maternity jeans.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

December Daily - December 8

Tonight was Claire's Christmas Pageant at Church.

She was quite insistent that her boots matched her dress and were the shoes she was going to wear. I decided it wasn't worth the fight. She did sing along with the songs...and did the motions. But I got very few pictures because 1) there was a slightly taller boy in front of her and (2) she spent most of the pageant looking backwards at the large screens showing them performing.

Before the performance started, I was trying to get a picture of her in her new Christmas dress. Requests for her to look at the camera, resulted in her looking away. Results for her to hold still, resulted in her hopping up and down. Telling her that I didn't care if she pretended to sleep, but could she just do it while looking at mommy, did not results in anything worth while either. Let's just say, she was being uncooperative. And the lighting in the lobby was terrible.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

On my movie watching list...
  • Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  • Ender's Game
  • Divergent
  • Despicable Me 2
I rarely see movies in the theaters, unless I'm taking one or both of the kids to it. Since most of these are in theaters now or coming soon, I won't actually see them for at least 6 months when they come out on DVD.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December Daily - December 7

This morning, Claire, my mom & I went to the Preschooler's Angel Breakfast.

All the little kids got halos as we came in (and a bag of activities to keep them entertained for the boring portions). After a few opening songs they had all the kids go in the diningroom to get ready and then they led them out to the stage. They sang a couple of songs and then had them stand up there while the pastor prayed for the breakfast. We ate, did some more activities, and then they had the children's pastor go up, invited ALL of the kids up to sit and listen to the children's pastor read a story.

Claire did awesome. She sat when she was supposed to sit. She kind of sang, although not very much, she did do most of the hand motions. She stayed where she was supposed to be and just did a really good job of following the directions. She is sometimes so crazy for us, that I forget she's usually pretty good for everyone else. I was just really impressed with her today.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

What I am going to Remember about Today...
  • Claire doing such a good job at the Angel Breakfast
  • Getting the baby's crib set up
  • Why I don't go to Target on the weekends during December
  • Claire saying the baby's giraffe stuffed animal is "a little bit" her's

Friday, December 6, 2013

December Daily - December 6

Tonight, Claire & I made salt dough ornaments for our tree. We still need to paint them, but I didn't realize they take two hours to bake when I decided to start making them at 8pm! I also think we rolled some of them out too thin and they may be too fragile. And they seem really dry around the edges. We'll see...luckily the ingredients are cheap which means we can always make another batch and try again! While they were baking I found some different directions and their dough looks a lot softer than ours was...ours was kind of gritty.

Claire was insistence that we had to make a cat ornament using one of our Halloween cookie cutters. Silly child. We also made a couple of snow flakes, a hand print, a Christmas tree and two circles. Claire liked helping mix and roll the dough, she didn't care that much about making the hand print (but that was what I really wanted her to do) and she LOVED using the cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Although she wanted a triangle and an oval, and I don't have cookie cutters in those shapes.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

On My Reading List...
  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich
  • The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks (it's been by my bed for over a month)
  • Gone by James Patterson (i started it a while ago and then stopped reading it)
  • 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
  • Two Guys Detective Agency by Stephanie Bond

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December Daily - December 5

Tonight I got out our Fisher-Price Nativity set. Claire opened that box and exclaimed, "My Baby Jesus!".

She got it all out of the box that we store it in, then she set it up. I re-arranged it the "right" way...then she came back and played with it some more. She likes to put all of the different animals on top of the manager as the Angel. She also likes to put all the different people inside the wise mens' tents.

Since this is more or less sitting in our hallway, after she was done playing we put all the pieces in that bench except the manager & the two backgrounds since those two really fit inside the bench.

Also, this has nothing to do with the Fisher-Price Nativity set, but I love the graphics on the side of the Hallmark boxes. I think the one that says "Hang a Memory" might be about 3x4 which will be perfect to put in my Project Life album!

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

{Holiday} Traditions...
  • Seeing Santa
  • Painting Wooden Christmas Ornaments
  • Looking at Christmas Lights
  • Buying Hallmark Ornaments
  • New PJs on our "Christmas Eve"
  • Opening presents at my parents' on Christmas Eve
  • Making homemade Cinnamon Rolls to have Christmas morning
I say our "Christmas Eve" because it just depends on which day we have Anaya. If we have her on Christmas Day, then we get our Pajamas on actual Christmas Eve. If we have her on Christmas Eve, then we get our Pajamas on the night before Christmas Eve and we open our presents on Christmas Eve morning.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December Daily - December 4

I have nothing for today. I had an OB appointment. Baby Boy's heartbeat was a good 145 bpm. Everything looked good, and nothing we talked about was terribly interesting to anyone but me.

Actually, today's December Daily page will probably be about our Christmas books. Claire dumped the all out tonight and I got a couple of pictures of her sitting in the middle of a pile of books. Then, before bed, I read her three of them. And I can always add in another picture of us reading or of the basket of books from another night if I really want something else.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

I am happy to report...
  • less than two months until baby boy is here
  • I'm back on the low-carb eating plan after three weeks of sweets
  • our insurance hardly changed for the new year - THANK GOODNESS!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December Daily - December 3

Today's fun and exciting December activity was to go look at Christmas Lights. I normally save this for a Friday, but this Friday it is suppose to be 25 degrees (and possibly wet). Next Friday is when Anaya is here and she didn't really want to go look at lights with us. And then there was only one Friday left, and I didn't want to put it off that long. So pretty much right after I got home from work, Claire & I got in the car and went to Paulie' Penguin Playground.

I like going to Paulie's when it is still kind of light outside. They have some obnoxiously large number of inflatables (most of them featuring penguins) and you are welcome to get out and traipse around their front yard looking at all the inflatables. It seems like a few were missing compared to previous years.

I was planning to go to a few other of the displays in our area, but after walking around the penguins and the fact that I hadn't actually planned out a route, we ended up just driving through a few sub-divisions where we could see lights because Claire really wanted to see some Christmas Lights. Maybe at some point we'll get out again just to drive and look at Christmas lights - with an actual plan of where to go. I could see Paulie's being its own day in my December album.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge. Each day they post a list topic and then we make a list. Here is today's list:

This is the only time of the year I/we...
  • listen to Christmas music
  • make Crunchy Air - kind of like caramel popcorn, but it's not popped corn it's PUFFED corn.
  • watch Christmas movies - they get put away with the rest of the Christmas decorations
  • make a huge batch of cinnamon rolls

Monday, December 2, 2013

December Daily - December 2

We had carpet installed today! Whee!

We got all three of the kids room re-carpeted today. The carpet that was in the new baby's room (Claire's old room) and Claire's new room (Anaya's old room) had been in the house when we bought really needed to be replaced. The same carpet is still in the master bedroom, but we just have too much furniture (and stuff) to want to replace the carpet up there. Anaya's new room is in the basement, so it just had concrete.

I was a little worried about the color. It isn't exactly what I had planned on when I thought about it in my head. But we wanted the faster install and they only had one color of each variety for the fast install. It's a little darker, but I think it will be fine. And it Claire's room it gets a hint of pink because of her walls which is kind of interesting.

Now I can FINALLY start working on the baby's room...kind of. We have the dresser in there, but it is still full of Claire's clothing since it is her old dresser and she doesn't have a new dresser yet. The crib is at my mom's house...and I think I'm getting our glider back from my brother.

30 Days Of Lists
Around our home...
  • too many toys!
  • cats (three of them)
  • lots of stuff where it doesn't belong (because we're in the process of moving the kids rooms)
  • computers - we possibly have more computers than people...
  • new carpet!
I'm joining in on the 30 Days of Lists - December Edition challenge.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Daily - December 1

This morning we got up and decorated our Christmas tree. I turned on Christmas music and the girls did a lot of the decorating. I did have to put the star on top of the tree, but the hardest part of that is actually trying to get the cord down through the branches in such a way that is reaches an outlet.

Claire was so excited to decorate the tree this morning. We set it up last night, but we only put our new Hallmark ornaments on it, we did not get out our box of other ornaments. I had Claire wake up Anaya while I found some Christmas music to listen to on the radio. I was planning to have breakfast first, but Claire could not wait that long to start decorating the tree. She kept wanting to hang multiple ornaments on the same branch so Anaya & I were having to watch where she was putting them to make sure she didn't overload a branch. We forgot to hang up the Disney character lights until after we hung up the ornaments, so they are mostly on the back side of the tree since I wasn't going to try to wrap them around the branches that already had ornaments. Anaya kept telling Claire which ornaments were whose, but Claire was quite insistent that one of the Tinkerbell ornaments (that was Anaya's) is actually her's.

I think that will be my "story" in my album for today. We had a rather busy day. Before we even decorated the tree, while it was just Claire & I up, we started the Christmas Countdown Calendar, but I'll probably save that for some random day when we don't have much else going on. After decorating the tree & eating pancakes, we all got ready and drove out to Justin's parents' house for Thanksgiving. After spending some time with them, we drove home (it's just over an hour) where we got to start packing up all of Claire and Anaya's stuff because we're getting new carpet installed tomorrow. Then Justin had to take Anaya home to her mom and my family came over to help move the furniture out of the girls' rooms - we currently have a bed in our livingroom and a bed in our diningroom and all kinds of crap piled EVERYWHERE. We also had to rip out the carpet in those bedrooms because we opted not to pay the additional money to have the carpet installers remove & haul-away the old carpet. Since Claire's bed is taken apart and is in our diningroom, she's sleeping in my room which means I had to get her to sleep before I could run to the grocery store to get snacks for school because this is her week to bring in snack. AAAHHHHHH! But now it is almost bedtime. I just have to find my credit card so that I can make a Cyber Monday purchase when the sale starts at 11pm (midnight EST). And our Elf On The Shelf came back to visit.

30 Days Of Lists
I'm also participating in 30 Days of Lists - December Edition, I'll probably just post my list every day with my December Daily post. The lists will most likely make their way into my Project Life album since my December Daily stories will be going into my December Daily Album. Today was the first day, so here's my list:

Before the End of the Year...
  • get everything ready for the baby!
  • catch up (and stay caught up) with Project Life 2013
  • enjoy this time with Claire before the new baby
  • get lots of rest and don't over do it
  • make plans for 2014 (budget, Project Life, new car)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

December Daily - Nov 30, 2013

I know, it's not December yet. But there aren't enough days between December 1 and December 25 to get everything done...especially anything involving both kids since Anaya will only be here for about 4 - 6 days in there, depending on the days that you count since she gets her so late on Fridays.

This morning Claire & I went to Bass Pro Shop and took a picture with Santa. I specifically wanted to go today because they had a special, if you donated a toy to Toys for Tots, you got a free photo package that included the digital file. And then Claire enjoyed looking at the fish, and roaming around looking for "wildlife". And we were lucky enough to get there early while there wasn't much of a line for Santa. They also let you take your own pictures of your kids with Santa which so many places (like the malls) won't let you do. I can't decide if I like their picture or my picture better.

Later, I dragged everyone out in the backyard for another attempt at a family picture. I need to figure out someway to tell Justin & Anaya to act like they like each other...and the rest of us. They just stand, stiff, I'm usually attempting to put my arm around Justin and holding Claire's hand (partially to keep her from running away) and then they are just standing there...with about 3 inches between them. I did get a couple of good pictures and I ordered my Christmas cards so I'll actually post the family picture when I do my December Daily page about our Christmas cards.

This afternoon, I also took both girls to Hallmark for our annual buying of a new ornament. I love this tradition because I used to do it with my parents, I have a box in my Christmas closet of all my ornaments from when I was a kid. I also kind of dislike this tradition because Hallmark ornaments are getting SOOOO expensive. We walked out of the store and Anaya was like, "Really, FOUR ornaments cost that much money." To which I could only say, "Well, yes, at Hallmark..."

We also set up our Christmas tree and hung the new ornaments. We didn't get out all of the old ornaments because I just didn't feel like it. I'll probably go dig them out of the closet in a little bit so that we can do them first thing tomorrow morning. I probably won't do any other decorating until Tuesday/Wednesday since we're getting carpet installed on Monday. I know, setting up the tree probably should've waited, but Anaya and Claire wanted to and Anaya really wants to help us decorate it. It isn't going where there is new carpet being installed, but it is where some of the furniture was going to be stored WHILE the new carpet is installed. Oh well, it'll all work out.

And while Claire's outfit today was super adorable. And she managed to wear it ALL DAY without peeing herself. I kind of wish I could've changed her at some point since I have so many different "events" and she is wearing the same clothing in all of them. Oh well.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Menu Monday

It's Thanksgiving week! Yay! I went to the grocery store yesterday afternoon so we should actually be all set until hopefully Sunday. Unless we run out of milk between now and then...which is possible since for Thanksgiving with my family, I'm in charge of making the dinner rolls and they take an entire 4 cups of milk - they are so delicious.

Monday - Hot Dogs
Tuesday - Steak & Mashed Potatoes
Wednesday - Pork Chops & Rice Pilaf
Thursday - THANKSGIVING!!! (w/ my family)
Friday - Freezer Casserole (probably Tex-Mex Chicken Casserole)
Saturday - THANKSGIVING!!! (w/ Justin's Family)
Sunday - Leftovers or Sandwiches (egg, deli, pb&j)

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Project Life : Week 41

Week 41: October 7 - 13

Anaya had this Monday off school and then wasn't feeling well so she ended up going to the doctor on Tuesday - sinus infection. Justin blew a tire which we had been needing to replace anyway, so it just made that a little more urgent. And then it was the weekend! I played board games with my brother & parents.

I have an insert (the top two sections of a Design J photo pocket page) for some pictures of Claire & me at Deanna Rose Farmstead.

The last page is mostly about Sunday. I was planning to do some family pictures at a local park, but we still haven't gotten them done due to our crappy weather. My mom & I took Claire to look around the park to find some fun places to do them. And Claire played on the playground.

I have all my layouts completed through Week 44 (October 28 - November 3). I need to order my next set of pictures from Persnickety, but it sounds like their servers have been overloaded A LOT recently. So I may put it off until after Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


I'm not sure how Claire ended up as cute as she is, because Justin and I...we're not that cute. But Claire is adorable. She's other things too, like smart...and funny...and stubborn...and fearless. But she was just being particularly cute this day.

On Tuesday, we had another OB appointment and an ultrasound. The baby boy is definitely a baby BOY. I'm measure big again. I have 22 cm of amniotic fluid. The normal range is 5-25 cm, so while I'm still in the normal range, I'm in the upper normal range which means they want to keep an eye on it. I had extra amniotic fluid with Claire too, so I'm pretty sure it's just the way I am when pregnant.

In addition to the freezer cooking extravaganza that I did last weekend, I also have 3 crockpot meals, 4 dozen homemade cookie dough balls, a quart of chili, and 4 other casseroles from times where I split a casserole (frozen half, ate half for dinner) in my freezer. Perhaps I should stop freezing so much food? That's 27 main dishes that I already have frozen to eat sometime between now and March. But I still wanted to freeze a couple of soups (to have for lunches) and waffles (as an easy breakfast) and cinnamon rolls (just because they are delicious).

For reasons that I can't quite explain, I have been watching The OC again. It isn't available on Netflix which is really sad, but The WB has seasons 1 & 5 available to stream. Season 1 was the best season anyways. But their commercials are really obnoxious.

We've finally started painting the kids' rooms in preparation for moving everyone around to make room for the baby. We also ordered carpet, although we haven't set up an installation date yet. But soon, very soon, we will hopefully have all the kids in their new rooms and a nursery yet up for the baby boy. Anaya gets to have a pink & purple room the next time she is here since we painted it Claire's colors, but we're not moving furniture until after the carpet...I'm sure she'll LOVE it...

Friday, November 22, 2013

December Daily 2013 - Planning

I am planning to do December Daily again this year. I'm going through my previous FIVE December Daily albums and seeing what traditions I want to make sure to include. I'm looking for a color scheme. I'm pretty sure I'll do it as a Blurb book again.

This year I am also participating in 30 Days of Lists - December Edition. I haven't ever done a 30 days of list class, but I figure it might have some good ideas of things to document on the nights when we just don't have much going on. Or I can include those in my Project Life album.

Traditions that have been in other books that I want in this book too:
  • Visiting Santa
  • Baking/Decorating cookies
  • Advent/Countdown Calendar
  • Homemade/Painted Ornaments
  • Going to Hallmark to get a new ornament
  • Looking at Lights
  • Wrapping Presents
  • Church (a musical performance or other special event)
  • Giving

I've been working on a little bit of a schedule of when we'll do some of these things, since some of them include Anaya and she won't be here for very many days between December 1 and December 25. This year will also be interesting since I am pregnant. I was also pregnant in the 2008 December Daily Album that I made so I might look back at it to see how I included my pregnancy in the book.

For my color scheme, I was leaning towards Green, Red, Light Blue and Silver/Grey, but then I realized that is awfully similar to what I did last year. So we'll see. I was inspired by Ali Edwards' Joy & Light words to use those colors...and I may still.

For some history, here's a post about my 2008-2011 December Daily Albums, and here is a collection of posts about my 2012 Album that I posted as I was working on it throughout the holiday season.

I've also been checking out KC Parent's awesome Kansas City's Christmas Fun Guide to get some new ideas for this year.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Freezer Cooking - Casserole Edition

On Saturday, I made 22 casseroles.

2 Lasagnas (probably 6-8 servings each)
2 Cheeseburger Casseroles (6 servings each)
2 8" Garlicky Chicken Noodle Bake (4-6 servings each)
1 9x13" Garlicky Chicken Noodle Bake (10-12 servings)
4 Taco Pies (4-6 servings each)
4 Chicken Spaghetti Casseroles (4-6 servings each)
4 Tex-Mex Chicken Casseroles (4-6 servings each)
3 Chicken & Dressing Casseroles (4-6 servings each)

Originally I was going to just double these whenever I made them for dinner, but instead I just did it all in one day. It took about 5 hours and we spent $125.00 on groceries. That does not include ground beef because I still had enough beef left from the cow that we bought from my uncle in February.

I could've gotten the meals all made in a little less time if I would've planned a little better. My ground beef had been in the fridge about 24 hours, but it was still frozen. So before I could start cooking, I had to thaw all the ground beef. I also thought I'd be able to cook all of the chicken in my big stock pot, but it wouldn't all fit, so I had to cook the chicken in two batches. I did use my Kitchen Aid mixer to shred the chicken - it was so easy! Not being able to cook all of the meat as quickly as I thought I would be able to is what really slowed me down since I also needed to cook spaghetti, egg noodles and rice. I thought I would spend about 30-45 minutes cooking meat and instead it took closer to an hour and half.

Only 20 of them are in the freezer. I kept one of the Chicken Spaghetti Casseroles out for dinner that night and the 9x13 Garlicky Chicken Noodle Bake was the lunch the next day (my parents & brother's family were coming over). I ran out of foil pans so one of the Taco Pies is in my Pyrex pie pan.

I do plan to have another batch cooking extravaganza, but I have to wait until I forget how much I hurt and until Justin forgets how annoying it was for me to be in the kitchen for 5 hours. Next time I'm going to whip up about 3-4 crock pot recipes.

There are a few things I should've done differently. I should've cooked my rice and/or spaghetti and/or egg noodles while I was waiting for my beef to thaw - I reached a point where I needed at least one of those things done and it wasn't done (or even started). I should've put my lasagna's in smaller pans, same with my cheeseburger casserole since those are in the same type of pan. I should've planned my freezer space better - I used circular pans for quite a few of the recipes, but I probably could've used 8x8 square pans, I could've packed them into my freezer better. I should've made Anaya help more. I should've had a better plan for what to do with Claire, she really wanted someone (preferably me) to sit down and play with her and no one was doing it. I should've washed more dishes as I went, although then in exchange for letting Anaya have a sleepover tonight we made her do all the dishes anyways!

Things I did right: I got started quickly (even with the frozen meat set back; I had a hair cut scheduled for 7:50 am on Saturday, as soon as I got back, I started pulling things out of the fridge to get started. I made a master shopping list, checked my pantry and managed to get all my groceries in one trip (YAY!). I used my mixer to shred my chicken (that was seriously awesome). I just did it, and now we have 20 meals for the next couple of months.

Recipe Links:

Lasagna, Cheeseburger Casserole, Tex-Mex Chicken Casserole and Chicken & Dressing Casserole all came from The Shabby Creek Cottage's freezer cooking post.

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole came from Pioneer Woman.

Garlicky Chicken Noodle Bake came from my Not Your Mother's Make Ahead & Freeze Cookbook.

Taco Pie is a mixture of a bunch of different recipes, basically it is 3 layers of tortilla, refried beans, taco meat and cheese. Top with another tortilla, pour about half a can of enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with more cheese. Then bake it at 350 for about 30 minutes or until it's all melty and yummy looking. And I make it in a pie plate, so it's a pie...not a casserole.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Menu Monday

We had two casseroles this weekend, so first we need to finish those up (or freeze them)! On Tuesday, we have an ultrasound, so we'll get to see the little boy again. But otherwise, it is a pretty lazy week.

Monday - Homemade Pizza
Tuesday - Taco Pie (from my freezer!)
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki
Friday - Red Robin burgers & fries
Saturday - Breakfast Casserole
Sunday - Sandwiches (egg, deli, pb&j)

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Project Life : Week 40

Week 40: September 30 - October 6

I love this project. I love that all of these pictures are off my computer and in an album.

On Monday, we got a couple of new fishes. I haven't written out the whole story yet, but we had two fish (well, we've had way more than that, but we'd kept two alive for a while) and Justin had decided we needed two more fish. So we went to PetCo and bought two fish. And one of our original fish was being aggressive (they are all mollies or platys, so not normally aggressive fish) and managed to kill off one of the new fish within two days. Instead of just leaving it at that and having three fish, and since the jerk was attempting to kill off the other new fish, Justin went back to PetCo and bought another new fish and another fish tank. Now the jerk is in his own little tank and we have three fish in our old tank.

I had a busy weekend, that hardly involved the children at all. On Friday, I took a half day and accompanied Claire's class to the pumpkin patch. It was a lot of fun, although very tiring, particularly since I am pregnant. Then I went home, rested for a little bit, got Claire off the bus because it was Anaya's weekend with us so Justin was gone getting her. After they got back, I had to go pick up my brother and we went to the American Royal to eat BBQ. The company I work for has a party tent and Justin isn't really into BBQ or walking. Claire and I made a test batch of cookies (the actual cookies won't be needed for a while, and it was a new cookie cutter...), we made some halloween shaped cookies too that I let the girls decorate. Then, I went to a co-worker's wedding at this really neat event space downtown, The Guild. It was really nice.

And that was our week!

Friday, November 15, 2013

30 Weeks - Maternity Pictures

When I was looking through pictures of being pregnant with Claire, I realized that I didn't have any really GOOD pictures of me pregnant. Now, admittedly, back in 2008 I was working with a MUCH different camera - a point-and-shoot instead of my current DSLR. But I still wish that I had some better pictures of me pregnant with Claire instead of the only ones being snapshots from some other event or my occasional look how big my belly has gotten pictures. I really wanted to get some good pictures this pregnancy; I wanted some profesional-ish maternity pictures.

But since I am decent with my camera and cheap, I couldn't bring myself to PAY someone else to take maternity pictures of me. I probably could've asked my dad or my mom to help me out, they both know how to work my camera - particularly my dad since he's had his DSLR longer than I've had mine and was big into photography way back when I was little. But I would've felt silly. So I decided I would just take myself, and my camera, and my dad's tripod out to a park and set up a little photo-shot alone.

My camera has a timer, so the hardest part is getting the focus right. My portrait lens (Canon 50mm f/1.8) is a little persnickety about its focus. In fact, I attempted to take some family pictures for our Christmas cards about a week ago and the focus was all over the place. I really need something that I can focus on while I set up the shot and then move when I run into place. But I didn't plan far enough ahead which is why all my best shots ended up with me leaning on something (or near something) that I used for focus (a tree, a bridge, a bench). The one where I'm not leaning on something, I focused on a tree, changed it to manual focus to keep that setting and then counted the steps from my camera to the focus point. Then I turned my camera a different direction and counted the same number of steps to where I stood for the picture.

Now I have some good pictures of me pregnant. And I have a little bit more experience with my lens and getting it to focus where I want it to focus. And some more practice running to get in the picture, which is getting harder and harder the more pregnant I get! The only standard maternity pose that I tried and failed at getting involved sitting cross-legged in the grass...I probably could've done it once I thought of the focusing & counting and then moving the camera, but getting down into a cross-legged position was too hard. Not to mention how hard it was to get back up just to see the results and then having to repeat so that I was sure I would end up with a good one.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fun with Glucose

Last week, on Monday, I failed my first Gestational Diabetes test - the one hour, where I drank the 50g glucose drink and then got a finger prick after an hour. My glucose level was 155, and I think it had to be below 140 or maybe 130. I forget now.

When they went to schedule the 3 hour test, I told them to go with the first available morning appointment. I didn't care about what day, I just wanted to do it in the morning since I had to fast for 12 hours. Two days later, Wednesday, I was at the lab hanging out for 3 hours while they stabbed me in the arm four times to draw my blood. It was just as exciting as that sounds. I got there about 15 minutes early and they weren't busy so they got me started a little early. First was the fasting blood draw. Then I downed the little bottle of 100 grams of orange flavored glucose in less than 2 minutes. I just wanted to get it over with.

Then I waited and waited and felt like throwing up and waited and got up and walked around (down the hall, outside, went to the bathroom, etc). I attempted to read part of a book during the first hour, but whenever I started reading, I felt even sicker. I really wanted to throw up at one point, then the lovely lab tech guy named Michael reminded me that if I threw up, we'd have to reschedule and start the whole thing over again - and then he told me that I could walk down the hall and go outside if some fresh air would help. Finally after an hour Michael took my blood again - from the other arm, to keep it fair.

After the first hour was up, I started to feel a little better. I sat around the waiting room, watched part of a movie on my phone, read some of my book (James Patterson's Gone), texted with Justin and a couple of friends, etc. Then it was time for ANOTHER blood draw - back to the first arm again.

Somewhere around now is when I got REALLY hungry, but then it went away once my body realized it wasn't getting any food. I could drink a little bit of water, so I did. I saw some interesting people come in to get blood drawn for various things since it appears all Michael does in that office is draw blood. Ended up reading about half of my book.

I had my last blood draw approximately 3 hours & 15 minutes after I got there. Then I hurried on out of there and across the street to McDonald's where I consumed a crispy chicken club and a medium french fry.

I finally got the results on Friday afternoon - no gestational diabetes for me! Woo-Whoo!

Although I'm still eating fairly low carb because I don't want to gain 50 lbs like I did when I was pregnant with Claire. I'm currently fluctuating between 20-25 lbs gained with only 10 more weeks to go! By now with Claire I had gained at least 30-35 lbs. Not that weight is the most important thing, but I'm mostly just trying to eat fewer carbs (particularly sweets) and more vegetables (salad for lunch almost every day).

My actual results were:
Fasting: 79
1 hr: 125
2 hr: 122
3 hr: 112

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Happy Anniversary!

Justin & I have now been married for 8 years! EIGHT YEARS!

Our family has grown from us & a 6-yr old to us, a 14-yr old, a 4-yr old and a new addition coming soon! We're about to be out-numbered by the children!

Yes, the picture is blurry, I know. I was having focusing issues. Which just means I get to drag Justin out somewhere again to do another set of family pictures. I'm pretty sure it is his most FAVORITE activity ever! Hopefully next time it won't be so windy. He has also decided that we're not allowed to do fall pictures anymore because it gets too cold...but that's when I need a family picture for Christmas cards!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Menu Monday

Another week with absolutely NOTHING going on in the evenings. Love it. We'll have Anaya this weekend, so the meals have to be a little bigger than when it is just Justin, Claire & I. My mom is having her semi-regular open house on Saturday, so since I had offered earlier this year, I'm having my parents & brother's family over for lunch on Sunday...which means another meal to plan!

Monday - Meatloaf
Tuesday - Ranch Pork Chops (crockpot)
Wednesday - Hamburgers
Thursday - Skillet Chicken
Friday - Corn/Potato/Bacon Chowder (crockpot)
Saturday - Sandwiches or something light
Sunday Lunch - some kind of Chicken
Sunday Dinner - Sandwiches / Leftovers

What are you eating this week?

Friday, November 8, 2013

A New Water Heater

It is amazing the difference a new water heater makes. We knew ours was old - original to the house - so about 18 yrs old. And that we were slowly getting less hot water and the water we did get wasn't as hot, but you know, it was gradual and so we didn't notice how bad it had gotten until it had gotten REALLY bad. Plus we have extremely hard water, so we figured a portion of our tank was full of sediment build up.

As my mom and I started talking about Christmas presents for this year, she asked if we wanted her to get us a hot water heater, which I kind of agreed to and then thought about and then said sure and then thought about, because we needed one but with a new baby coming there are lots of things we need (like a car seat) that are important too. But then I started paying more attention to how much hot water we really got from our hot water heater. First it was the showers in the morning that rapidly cooled off even though ideally it would be full of hot water since none had been used since the night before. Then it was not having enough hot water to fill the tub for Claire's bath.

So, we decided that a hot water heater was necessary. Mom was researching how to get Home Depot to install it but we weren't in a huge hurry because it was only October. Then last night, I was washing dishes and had to heat water in the microwave to get the water HOT instead of half a sink of lukewarm water. After which I called my mom and asked if we could please have our hot water heater NOW.

The installation company had an opening today (Friday), and now we have hot water. Lots of hot water. Lovely awesome amazing hot water. And actual HOT water...not just lukewarm water.

So the lesson is, hot water heaters are not really meant to last 18 years. And when you notice that you can no longer fill the tub before the water gets cold, it's time to replace that thing because it much such a difference!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Things I want to make...

I've been eating low carb for a while now (like two months!). And I have seen a ton of recipes come through Pinterest, or from blogs that I read that I would really like to make...except they are full of carbs and I'm eating low carb. So, just because I feel the need to share, here are links to some things that I really want to make, but I'm not (at least not until I have somewhere else to take it so someone else will eat most of it).

White Chocolate & Nutella Truffles
Homer Simpson Donuts
Cinnamon Roll Cake - my sunday school class is getting this next Sunday when I signed up to bring breakfast
Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Icing
Chicken Stock - this one is fine to make w/ my low carb eating, I just haven't done it yet.
Creamy Tomato Soup
Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup
Emma's Favorite Chocolate Cake

And those are just the ones that looked yummy enough that I actually saved them to look at again later. I know there have been numerous Pumpkin breads/cakes/muffins that all looked delicious. Oh man, I just want to go bake something...but it is late and I shouldn't eat it anyways.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Menu Monday

On Monday I get to have the awesome Gestational Diabetes test. I suppose depending on the results, it could completely change my menu plan. I don't really think I have GD, but you never know! At least not until you're tested. I'm planning to do some freezer cooking soon, and I have a frozen casserole in my freezer from...not too long ago...but I don't remember what it is, so we're going to have it this week!

Monday - Take Out / Leftovers
Tuesday - Turkey Taco Soup
Wednesday - Applesauce BBQ Pork
Thursday - Frozen Casserole
Friday - Homemade Pizza
Saturday - Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Sunday - Sandwiches / Leftovers

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Project Life : Week 31

Summer was almost over this week.

Week 31
We got Claire's haircut in preparation of school starting. Anaya returned to her mom's house after being with us for almost the entire month of July. Claire & I went to Deanna Rose Farmstead and a trip to the pool. Since it was the end of the month, it was time for our monthly pictures of Hudson. And my dad had his birthday.

The Penguins! The Penguins!

Saturday morning, Claire & I got up bright and early (seriously, out of the house before 7:45am) to go to the zoo and see the Penguins. I wanted to go to Friends of the Zoo special morning event in hopes of it not being too busy and because there were free donuts! and coffee! and juice! Although we got there and found out it was free Pancakes (Chris Cakes Pancakes) and sausage and juice! I was sad about the lack of free coffee though. Justin & Anaya had no interest in going with us, so it was just Claire and I. Actually, Anaya thought she might go, to see the penguins...until she realized that we were going so early and walking around the entire zoo.

When we went to Boo at the Zoo two weeks ago, we didn't see very many animals. We definitely made up for it this time. And since we were there so early the animals were just coming out and getting fed, so we got to some animals a lot better than normal. Of course, it was also pretty chilly, so quite a few animals were inside. Since this was also the first Saturday after Halloween, they also had their pumpkin smashes going on. We only saw the Chimpanzee pumpkin smash, but that was probably one of the better ones to see. I tried to convince Claire to go see the Elephant one, but she really wanted to go to "Asia" to see the red panda.

We got to see the crocodiles, which Claire always calls alligators. We saw the hippos out of the water for once, usually we only see their eyeballs peeking above the water. We walked all over most of the entire zoo - except for Australia - but we saw most of the Australia animals from the train. We even walked through the Tropics building, which we don't normally do, because Claire wanted to see a Toucan and I figured that was the best place to find one (and we did). Although there were a ton of people in that itty bitty building because they were about to let some of the Tropics' monkeys smash pumpkins.

We had a lot of fun at the zoo. We were there for almost 5 hours, which was about 2 hours longer than I had planned to be there.

Friday, November 1, 2013

October Activities (Part 2)

I posted about some of our early October activities already, and it seems like I just found more and more stuff to go do in the second half of the month! And now that October is over, I'll tell you all about what we did!

apple picking 2013
On my last October Activities post, I lamented about wanting to go apple picking but not being sure that we would get the chance. Well, we did. I looked at a couple online, and discovered that Cider Hill Family Orchard still had picking, so Claire & I got in the car on Sunday afternoon and went to pick apples! The only issue we had was the Claire was convinced that green apples were BAD and we should only pick red apples...but the only variety that was available were called Gold Rush and they were green. It took me a while to convince her that they were okay.

enchanted forest
We went to Enchanted Forest in Lenexa at (the newly renovated) Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park this year. I don't think we went last year, but we did two years ago. Maybe we've gone twice, because it kind of seems like I took Anaya with us there once too. It was sooooo much better this year. The last time there was a HUGE line to get back into the "creepy" area and it just wasn't worth the wait. The park has been renovated and now there is a very nice pond that they set it up around and $3 got your under 12 yr old child unlimited bouncing in the bounce houses, a pumpkin to paint and rides on the hay ride (adults could ride the hay ride for free and I didn't actually see them check for kids wrist bands there at all). They also had puppet shows and magicians and other performers set up around the pond and SureWest provided a free face painter. She could've worn her costume, but I opted to not put her in it since it seemed like a good way to get it dirty and it's going to be really hard to clean anyways.

We've been to Mahaffie Farmstead quite a few times. In fact, since I grew up here, I even remember going there in high school to do a community service project for one of my classes. However, I had never gone to their Trick-or-Treat Off the Street event. It is pretty cheap per person ($3 each) and once you're in, everything is free! Claire wore her costume (which everyone LOVED). Claire was possibly more interested in seeing the farm animals than she was in trick or treating. And they had a hay ride, so of course we had to do that!

Claire was quite insistent that we had to carve pumpkins. She saw an Agent Oso episode about a girl wanting to carve a pumpkin, so then she wanted to carve a pumpkin...or two...or three. So the week before Halloween, we bought two pumpkins (a compromise!) and I told her we would carve them on Sunday. Which meant we had to talk about when Sunday was EVERY SINGLE DAY for the rest of the week. Claire was so excited to carve the pumpkins, until we actually started carving. She picked to face patterns out of a pumpkin carving pattern book we had from a previous year, I cut the tops off the pumpkin - which was the first step according to Oso. Then I tried to convince her to help scoop the insides out and she didn't care much for that and told me so was going to go "Watch Football with Daddy". After I got all the insides scooped out, I had her come back up and we decided which face would go on each pumpkin - but according to Oso only adults can actually carve pumpkins, so she went back to watching football and I carved the pumpkins.

Claire's Class Party

Claire's preschool class had a party. All the kiddos were ADORABLE. I'm not posting a picture because...I don't feel like blurry-ing out all the other kids' faces for their privacy. But Claire had fun and was even okay with me leaving her at school when the party was over. They only had about 15-20 minutes left of their day, but I wanted to run to Target without a 4 yr old...and she is used to riding the bus home.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick-or-Treat time!

We still had to work at getting Claire to say "Trick Or Treat" and "Thank You". Not because she can't say them, I think she just saw the candy and forgot. We were out for just over an hour and she almost filled her bucket. I took a grocery bag with me and emptied her bucket into my bag a few times so that she didn't get so tired of carrying it. I don't think we actually did as much trick-or-treating this year as we did last year...but this year, I got tired (being pregnant is hard).


Claire decided early on that she wanted to be a giraffe for Halloween. At first my mom was planning to make her one, because we couldn't find one in a store, but then when she was looking for patterns online, she found one on Amazon! Claire was also quite insistent that I needed to be a cow for Halloween. So I bought a cow headband, tail, and nose set at the Halloween store. Then I bought a XL men's white tee-shirt that I decorated with some cow spots (safety pinned on because I didn't get around to doing it until right before going trick-or-treating). I did pin the tail to the back of my shirt, but I didn't wear the cow nose, it was uncomfortable.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Muffins

When I'm pregnant, my "nesting" generally takes the form of baking. I've been resisting the urge this time because I don't want to gain as much weight as I did with Claire. Plus, now that I have Claire that means my baking wouldn't start until later and I'd have to wash dishes and I just don't have the energy for all that like I did 5 years ago. But this weekend, I decide to roast a pumpkin to make homemade pumpkin purée. I don't own a food processor (at least I won't until Christmas) so I used my immersion blender to purée the pumpkin which means it is better for putting in breads instead of soup or pie.

After roasting the pumpkin, I put it in the fridge until the next night because that was all the baking energy I had. Plus I couldn't decide what to make...there are so many delicious looking pumpkin recipes floating around on pinterest right now!

pumpkin muffins

I eventually settled on my tried and true (and delicious) pumpkin spice muffins that I have been making every fall for 5 years - made the first time the year I was pregnant with Claire! It's one of the best kinds of recipes with stains & hand-written notes all over it.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter (melted and cooled)
1/2 cup pumpkin purée (canned or fresh)
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, grease or paper line muffin tins. This will make 12 regular muffins, or about 36 mini muffins.

Combine flour, sugars, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl using whisk. Combine butter, pumpkin, eggs and buttermilk in a medium bowl using a fork or whisk. Add wet mix to flour mixture, stir (with a wooden spoon or spatula, not a whisk) until just moistened. Spoon into prepared muffin tins, filling about 3/4 full.

Bake regular muffins for about 17 minutes, cool in pan for 5 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool.
Bake mini muffins for about 10 minutes, cool in pan for 5 minutes then remove to rack to cool (or just dump them in a plastic container but leave the lid off until they are cool).

mini muffins

These muffins are delicious! I actually doubled the recipe when I made these on Sunday and ended up making 12 smallish, regular sized muffins and 60 mini muffins. We ate at least a dozen of the mini muffins and then I took the rest of the minis to work on Monday morning. One of my co-workers said they taste like autumn. And they all disappeared rather quickly!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What I'm Reading

I have quite a few books that I'm in the process of starting to read.


The Fall of Five

I checked this book out from the library, I need to actually READ it soon before I end up paying late fees on another book. This is the latest book (4th I think) in a young adult fiction series, The Lorien Legacies. It is about an alien race, the Garde, that has hidden on Earth after another alien race, the Mogadorians, destroyed their planet. There is also this whole bit about how each member of the Garde has a number and the Mogadorians can only kill them in order - which is kind of goofy, but it works. The first in the series was, I Am Number Four, which was made into a movie that was not nearly as good as the book.


My mom got this book and after reading it she brought it to me. I haven't been reading much James Patterson recently because some of his books are too gruesome for me right now. But I'll probably get around to reading it eventually.

The Longest Ride

My mom got this book too. I'm not really sure what it is about. Nicholas Sparks books have a habit of making me cry even when I'm not dealing with pregnancy hormones, so we'll see. I'll have to wait until I'm okay with crying. Although I think my mom told me it wasn't as sad as some of his books.


I've really been looking forward to this book. This one is also a young adult fiction. This is the third (and final) book in the Divergent trilogy. I have the first two in the trilogy and bought this one the week it came out. But I just can't get into reading it. I may need to re-read the first two to remember what in the world is going on. This is another dystopian world set in the near-ish future on Earth where society has been divided into groups based on their qualities. I have been trying to avoid the reviews on Amazon (or anywhere else for that matter) since they all seem to contain spoilers that will most likely make me even less inclined to read this book.

*Even though I linked to Amazon, I do not get any money if you click those links. They are just there.