Sunday, April 28, 2013

Things…and Stuff.

I don’t really have any particular “event” to blog about, and the idea of going through my photo stream and picking out photos since the beginning of the year nearly makes me break out in hives. But I feel like blogging, which seems to be a rare occurrence around here.

I think the biggest thing we’ve got going on right now is T-Ball for Christopher. It’s so cute. I only have a few pictures; my mom and Stephen have more. The games are basically a comedy show; it’s 3 & 4 year olds just chasing the ball around and occasionally fighting each other for it. Running the bases backwards. Taking 10 times to actually hit the ball off the tee. I played softball as a kid and loved it and I hope that Christopher can find a sport that he enjoys playing, as well.

Christopher is actually pretty good! His attention span is about 2 minutes so that’s kind of a hindrance, ha! But he hits the ball well (he usually wants to go get the ball after he hits it instead of running to first base) and he’s good at fielding the ball too! When he’s not distracted by the dirt in the in-field or a helicopter flying overhead.

I’ll have to add more pictures later, these are all I have for now.

First practice
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Picking out a bat; we just let him try on a helmet, we didn’t buy it.
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One day a few weeks ago, Stephen and I were walking across the front porch and noticed a bird was building a nest on top of the fan on the front porch. Within a few days she had laid eggs and I knew I couldn’t take it down until nature had run its course. And now we have three baby robins and one “Mama Birdie,” as I refer to her, living on our front porch.

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The weather recently has been WEIRD. We’ve been teased with a few pretty days but the last 2 weeks have been COLD. Like we’re still wearing our winter jackets. I’m blasting heat in the car. I know this summer during triple-digit temperatures, I’ll be wishing for cooler weather. But right now I’m over these winter temps and ready for some SUMMER.

This was us all bundled up the other day while Christopher played outside.
Poor kid just wants some nice weather so we can play outside and not freeze our booties off!
I have no idea why he’s making a pouting face, he did that right before I snapped the picture.
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Not impressed.
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So that night we decided to at least PRETEND it was summer and grill some food. Stephen grilled some delicious chicken and yellow squash. We also had new potatoes and quinoa. It was yum-O.
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We love grilling. Last weekend we did have a pretty day on Sunday, so we grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and ate outside. Tonight we grilled steaks and had my parents over. My brother happened to be in town for work, so he came as well. Stephen grilled ribeyes, filet mignon, squash and zucchini. He also sautéed mushrooms and made jasmine rice. I made PW’s “The Bread” (it.was.GOOD.) and roasted asparagus. And my mom brought a Strawberry Pie.

I didn’t take a pictures…but it was a FEAST.

I may never eat again.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April Trip to Branson

I KNOW… I know. I just posted our March trip to Branson! I said we love Branson…RIGHT?!?

Right after we got back from our March trip, my parents mentioned they were planning on going to Branson in two weeks time. So we invited ourselves along! We called Nana and PopPop to let them know we were going and they decided to meet us there, as well! This is the second or third time we’ve gone to Branson with my parents and Stephen’s mom and step-dad. We have SO much fun when we all go together!

We left out last Wednesday morning (Stephen is almost always off on Wednesday and he is usually able to arrange his schedule to take off on Thursday and Friday as well. I know this will not always be the case for our family but I am SO glad we can do it this year and I hope to take advantage of this as much as possible!) Again, it was just the 3 of us in the condo on Wednesday night. My in-laws made it to town early afternoon on Thursday.

I wanted to do something other than just SDC and shopping this trip. Branson has so many great entertainment shows, but not many you can take a three-year-old to and have them actually enjoy it. However, Christopher has been interested in horses recently so I decided he might like the Dixie Stampede. The tickets are pricey – I paid $55 per adult plus about $5 more per adult in “processing fees” and tax – I could have paid a little less but you weren’t guaranteed good seats and that was important to me and Stephen. It IS for dinner AND the show, which makes it kind of not as bad. Since Christopher is only three, he can sit on our laps and eat off our plates. AND they offered vegetarian for Leonard, so that was perfect!  We went to that on Thursday evening with my in-laws. I was SO glad I got the good seats, we were on the second row from the arena and it was totally worth the extra money, in my opinion. CHRISTOPHER LOVED IT! He got a little Dixie Stampede flag and waved it and cheered for the North (the side we were on) as they competed in competitions. It was fun for the whole family and I’m really glad we went.

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My parents got into town late Thursday evening. The next day, Friday, we all got up and met up at Silver Dollar City!

It was CHILLY. I hated that. I had to go to Walmart and buy Christopher a little cap to keep his head and ears warm, but we dealt with it and ended up having one of the most enjoyable trips to SDC that I can remember. I just wish it had been a bit warmer so we could have ridden a water ride or two. But we have the rest of the year for that, I guess!

SDC has a new wooden roller coaster this year – Outlaw Run. When we went to SDC in March we were short on time and I didn’t get a chance to ride. (Sad face.) This trip it was the FIRST thing I did! This is me, my dad, and Leonard as we took off out of the entrance. In case you can’t tell by the huge smile on my face… I was a little excited!

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I think we spent 6 or 7 hours at the park total. My mom and Deanna actually rode Outlaw Run after I did, with dad and Leonard. If you know my MIL…you know that’s a BIG deal.

We rode coasters, Christopher spent hours upon hours in the children’s area, we watched the Saloon Show, ate lunch there… it was SO MUCH FUN. I can’t wait to go back!

I may still be a child at heart.

Christopher passed out from all the fun about 2 minutes after we left the SDC parking lot.

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Saturday we slept in a bit, did a teeny bit of shopping with my MIL, and had a late lunch at Cantina Laredo with the whole gang.

Christopher tripped and bumped his chin while we were at the Landing. Getting a shoulder ride and wearing PopPops hat helped cheer him up.

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After we got back to the Condo from lunch, we played at the playground for a bit. Christopher likes to be “buried.”
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Deanna and Leonard left Saturday evening around 5 or so. My parents came to the condo that evening and we played cards after Christopher went to sleep and arranged to meet up the next morning and drop Christopher off with them and they were going to take him home so that Stephen and I could do a bit of outlet mall shopping.  We met at Krispy Kreme on Sunday morning and mom told me they were planning on going back to SDC with Christopher for a few hours before they headed home. While Stephen and I were doing our shopping, we got a text saying Christopher had asked to just go back home to GeeGee & PawPaw’s house because it was his “favorite” rather than go to SDC. Um. Okay, kid.

After Stephen and I were finished shopping we headed back to the condo to get ready to pack and leave. While we were there, Stephen suggested we stay an extra night since we were kid-free and not in any hurry. I liked that idea… so I called my parents to make sure they were okay with keeping Christopher overnight and taking him to daycare the next day. We took a nap at the condo then decided to go play putt-putt before eating some dinner. We went to Pirate’s Cove, which we had never been to in Branson before. (But we love the Pirate’s Cove in Hot Springs!)  It was fun! I got a hole-in-one on the first hole and stayed ahead Stephen till hole 12 and went downhill from there and Stephen ended up beating me by several strokes. Typical.

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We had some delicious Olive Garden for dinner that night and I ate so much I thought I was going to pop. We debated watching The Great and Powerful Oz at the I-Max theater but it wouldn’t be over till midnight and we were going to need to leave early the next morning to drive back home so we went back to the condo and ended up crashing by like 10:30. ha! This was one of the longer vacations Stephen and I have been on and I loved every minute of it… and yes, if you’re wondering…we’re already planning our MAY Trip to Branson!

March Trip to Branson

Our family loves Branson. I grew up vacationing there and now I take my child there and we love it. I know I have mentioned this before, but Stephen and his family have a great timeshare deal and we have unlimited use of condos during odd years. The condos are two bedroom, two bath, with a full-service kitchen, living room, and private balcony. They also have a fold-out sofa so really they can sleep 6 people plus more on the floor if necessary.

We went up in March and met up with my in-laws. We love meeting up with them there! Stephen, Christopher and I headed up there on Wednesday, but Deanna and Leonard weren’t able to get there until Thursday. Christopher woke up super early on Thursday morning.

my text to Deanna on Thursday morning:
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Once they made it to town, we had lunch at Fuddruckers and then headed to Silver Dollar City! Again, we all love Silver Dollar City. We have season passes this year and I am SOOO excited about them! We had them two years ago but Christopher was really not old enough to enjoy the park.

 Riding the Tram in at SDC – EXCITED!
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The last time I went with Christopher, he was only tall enough to ride two or three rides, and they all had to be with an adult. This year he can ride almost EVERYTHING with an adult and even a few rides by HIMSELF.

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These frogs are bouncy and the kids love them – when we went two years ago, we were all afraid he would bounce out of them and we would keep a death grip on his shoulders from the seat behind. This year I asked him if he wanted to ride by himself or one of us to ride with him and he said “By myself!” and waved at me and walked to the corral for the line. Um, I was kind of just kidding, Kid. Stephen was like “he’s riding by himself?!?” We couldn’t believe it…but he was so proud of himself and loved it.

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Christopher’s set-up on the condo floor. We took Bax with us this trip and my in-laws brought their dog.
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This is what Christopher and PopPop do to pass time while the rest of us shop at the outlet mall.
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We discovered this shopping center located away from the main strip. This is just one portion of it. There’s a lot more than this there including a Super WalMart, Target, Dollar Tree, Chilis, etc.

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While at Bed Bath and Beyond, Christopher found this Tervis Cup and exclaimed, “Look MAMA! It’s my FAVORITE!” Stephen was so proud. And I officially give up. #woopigsooie

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We had a great meet-up! Nana and PopPop headed back to their house on Saturday morning, and we took our time packing and loading up the car. We decided to eat lunch at Taco Bell before heading home. While we were there, my parents texted us to say they were heading to NWA with Ty and Britney to go to the new Cabela’s store. We met them there and hung out with them for a little while and then headed back home. It was a great trip!

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Once-A-Month Update

I’m not sure how a whole month has slipped by since the last time I blogged. (Same story, different day.)

Let’s try to catch up, shall we?IMG_5561

Christopher was not trying to be very careful when he used the restroom, and occasionally pee would fly from sea to shining sea (all over the bathroom walls and floor) while he was relieving himself. He ruined two perfectly good, UNUSED spare toilet paper rolls that were resting on the spare TP holder when he would choose not to control his flow. So after a time or two of him doing that, Stephen had the bright idea to make him “pay” for any toilet paper that he peed on. So he was told that if it happened again, he would have to get money out of his piggy bank to pay Mom and Dad back for the TP. This scene happened a few weeks later. Stephen made him count out 20 coins to “pay” for the TP he’d peed on. Christopher was so sad. “I’m not getting these back?” he asked as he counted them out to Stephen. “Nope,” his daddy answered. for the record: we did return these coins to Christopher’s piggy bank when he wasn’t looking. it was merely a lesson. (that worked!) (knock on wood)

He’s been spending the night with my parents a few times a month. He LOVES packing up his backpack with overnight essentials a crap ton of toys. When I took the photo of the back of his backpack, he said Say CHEESE backpack!!!”  Kid cracks me up.

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I love how much he loves “Elmo.”
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One morning I heard lots of noise coming over the baby monitor. I wasn’t sure exactly what he was doing, but I could tell Christopher was messing with something in his room. I got up and walked into his room to find him playing with toys. I startled him and he jumped when I walked in and immediately got a guilty look on his face and I could tell he thought he was going to be in trouble for being out of bed and playing with toys. I assured him that he was not in trouble and that as long as the sun was UP he could get out of bed and play with toys in his room until one of us came in to get him. I find scenes similar to this most mornings now. I love that he’s old enough to wake up and be independent and play. We did have a little bit of trouble at first with getting him to stay in his room. He wanted to play in the living room or kitchen. But he’s finally figured out that he has to stay in his bedroom unless he’s using the bathroom or coming to our room to get us for some reason.

He “picked me a flower” one day a few weeks ago. Pretty sure my heart MELTED when he did that. He probably picked me about a dozen more over the course of the next few weeks. I LOVE being a boy mom!
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This picture was taken while I was laying in bed watching TV one night. Stephen was at work or a ball game or something and I guess Jasper thought I wanted some company in bed. He stared at me like this for a good minute or two. I posted this picture on Instagram with the caption:
Aw, Jasper…I love you too, but no. You cannot get in bed with me.
#yousnoreworsethanstevo #andyourgasisworsetoo

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I love celebrating St Patrick’s Day. I’m not Irish, so I don’t know why. I just think it’s a fun little holiday. Last year I hosted a St Patty’s Day Bunco at my house. This year I didn’t do much in the form of decorating, but I did make some themed Sausage Balls for Stephen’s work. I had no idea what they would turn out like, but I was cracking up when they came out of the oven. Mmmm… yum. Ha!

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My favorite kid on St. Patrick’s Day!
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IMG_5702The biggest thing that’s happened to us recently is our old house selling. (Yay!) We still had a ton of stuff over there to stage the house (although I did have more “other” junk I had forgotten about) and so I had to spend several days over there packing and moving things to the house we’re living in now. It was SUCH a bittersweet feeling, saying goodbye to our first home. Stephen and I bought that house 4 months before we got married – our first home for both of us – and it’s where we went after our wedding, where we brought Christopher home from the hospital, all of those typical nostalgic things. It was a good first home for us, but we are also SO thankful that it sold and now Stephen and I are just waiting to see what will happen next. With no house here, we can accept jobs in other towns and not worry about having to pay two housing payments/utilities/etc. The hard part now is actually finding a job.

IMG_5897Speaking of which, I’ve turned in about half a dozen applications so far and still have a few more I can fill out. I went to an interview in Benton last week and I am hoping to hear something today, but I don’t have my hopes up too much. I took this picture on my way there. I got stuck in traffic at a wreck about a mile from Interstate and only about 5 minutes from my destination. I was at a standstill for almost half an hour! Thankfully I had given myself plenty of travel time and still arrived over 30 minutes early. I had to pee so bad! So after I found the school where my interview was, I drove back to a grocery store I had passed and ran in to use their bathroom. I thought the interview went well but I really have no idea. I’ve had other interviews go really well and not gotten the job so I’m not even trying to guess whether or not I got the job. Just praying, praying, praying basically all weekend long.


I finally got all my new bedding set up the way I wanted it. The rest of the bedroom is still a work in progress. (I’m VERY bad about starting projects then not finishing them. Ever. Ha!) I ordered this vinyl wall sticker off Etsy (tweetheartwallart) and put it above my bed and I love the way it turned out!
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I’m not sure if I’ll ever post Easter pictures on here so I’ll go ahead and put this one from IG up. Christopher dying eggs at my moms house last weekend. He had gotten a “Curious George” Easter book several weeks ago and George dyed eggs so Christopher had been asking to dye eggs too. He loved this! I LOVE fun projects like this. Stephen could care less…he sat on the couch and watched TV with my dad while my mom and I did this. Ha! Typical.
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I think that’s enough for now. I still need to write about our March trip to Branson and April Fools Day! Maybe later today. I have laundry calling my name right now!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Proof is in the Pin! {alternative title: oink oink moooo}

I’m linking up with Sarah for Proof is in the Pin again!

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I have a crap ton of pins to share today, becaaaaause, well… as I mentioned in my post last night, I’ve been trying to make dinner at home more often and I’ve also been trying to make “healthier” dinners. I’ve been trying out food pins once or twice a week.

Without further adieu…
Pin #1 – Cream Cheese Chicken

 

Made this last night. It was time-consuming to make and while it tasted okay…it just wasn’t worth the time and dirty dishes to make.

Pin #2Tracy Anderson 8 minute arm exercise

I’ve been doing some arm exercises because my arms look TERRIBLE and I will refuse to wear a short-sleeved shirt this summer with my arms looking the way they do now. So I’ve been doing some arm workouts with weight and I ran across this workout. I liked it a lot and have done it a few times!

Pin #3 – Asparagus and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken


Yes, please! This was easy and delicious. Going into our dinner rotation!

Pin #4 – Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo


Stephen liked this a lot… I thought it was good. Changes for next time: scoop out my spaghetti squash and mix the noodles with the alfredo mixture and throw it in a casserole dish before broiling. Also, add some sautéed mushrooms. It was pretty rich and needs a good side dish to go with it. (I mentioned this in yesterday’s blog, but I made roasted broccoli and I thought it went perfectly.)

Pin #5 – Roasted Corn

Easy side dish that has a subtle taste difference from just steaming it.

Pin #6 – Black Bean Tacos

Easily my favorite food post for this blog. These were delicious and Stephen’s already requested them for dinner again this week!

Pin #7 – Cinnamon Sugar Crescent Rolls

Uuuum, okay, please pretend that these are “healthy.”  Stephen and I both had a sweet craving and I really don’t keep sweets on hand…. because we lack self control. But I was really wanting something yummy and was scrolling through my desserts board and saw these and they called for things I almost always have on hand – crescent rolls, cinnamon and sugar, butter, and powdered sugar. I opened up a can of REDUCED FAT (which, in my mind, equals guilt free… ha!) crescent rolls in the fridge so I whipped these up in no time. I didn’t even measure, just threw on a little butter and cinnamon and sugar till it looked right. They were SO GOOD. I’ve made Paula Deen cinnamon rolls I don’t know how many times and they’re delicious (and easy) – but they just take so dang long to make and these crescent rolls were ALMOST as good and about a thousand times faster. You could use Truvia if you wanted to avoid the sugar but I do think that they probably need that glaze on top. It’s safe to say that I can no longer keep crescent rolls in my fridge because I will be wanting to make these now.

Pin #8 – Skinny Taste Cauliflower Fritters

NO! Just no. These were not good at all. I don’t know if it’s something I did wrong or the cauliflower I used (frozen instead of fresh) but I did not like these at ALL. Stephen was able to dip his into ketchup and he ate them just fine but we both agreed they would go on the “do not attempt again” list.

ANNNND last but not least
Pin #9 – Eighteen25’s Subway Art Collection

 

I love these free printables from eighteen25! They have something for basically every occasion. I had most of these printed at WalMart as 8x10s for like $20 total and put them on top of my China cabinet. Fun and inexpensive way to decorate for basically any occasion of the year!

Monday, March 11, 2013

March Madness

I LOVE Daylight Savings Time. What’s with all the griping, people? I’m excited!

Our March is already looking busy! Which is crazy because I don’t feel like we lead very busy lives. We came to an agreement with someone who wanted to buy our house, so we’re supposed to close next Wednesday… yaay! I have mixed feelings but mostly I’m happy to have sold it (haven’t lived in it for over a year) and a little nostalgic to say goodbye to our first home. We will be busy this weekend moving out the furniture that we used to stage the house.

Other plans for March include a possible visit from my in-laws, our annual family Easter Celebration the weekend before Easter at my mom’s house, a schedule trip to Branson and SDC the last week of March, and of course Easter weekend to finish out the month. Plus a million things on our to-do list between now and then and the possibility of being called in to substitute teach at a moment’s notice.

I have several job applications in to schools hiring for my area of certification. I HAVE to get a job teaching somewhere next fall, otherwise I’ll have to start looking for some other type of job. SOOO fingers crossed for a good school district to hire me next year.

I’ve been doing really good with planning out a weekly menu. It’s so much easier if I can plan out our meals and do the shopping once a week and then I know I have everything on hand for dinner that night. I meal plan on Sundays (usually) and then make a grocery list and then we all three go eat dinner at the Subway in Walmart, then we do our shopping. I hate grocery shopping so it makes it more fun and I look forward to dinner on Sunday nights. I think once I have a job we’ll have to move this tradition to Saturday night.

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Another thing I love about menu planning is trying out new recipes! Last week I tried out two new Pinterest recipes and they were both good! Asparagus and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken and Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo. Which OF COURSE I paired with roasted broccoli, one of my favorite ever Pinterest finds.

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I also love that I can plan healthy meals. When I don’t have a plan and it’s getting late or we’re out of food in the pantry, our back-up plan is usually Mexican food or pizza.  That being said, I’m back on the weight loss wagon and determined to lose some weight! I started the Couch to 5K running plan back up a few weeks ago. Pounding the pavement and listening to music at full blast is the BEST way to end a stressful day.

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Other things I did last week include a last-minute subbing job 30 minutes away, a few trips to Cruizzers for caffeine, cleaning out our master closet, and making Play-Doh frogs with Christopher.

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This weekend we were able to get a little work done in our yard (and assess all the damages from winter/dogs/time IMG_5605that need to be worked on and fixed before Spring/Summer) and then I cleaned out the dungeon.  I mean… the third bedroom.  It’s our catch-all room and hadn’t been touched since THANKSGIVING. I cleaned out a huge trashbag full of junk and organized all my craft/wreath making supplies. One thing I ran across was a box of some of mine and Stephen’s old music CD’s. After the room was finished (YOU CAN SEE THE FLOOR – HALLELUJAH!) Stephen and I sat down and imported our favorites songs off our old CDs into iTunes. I think I doubled my song collection! And we still have a big book of Stephen’s laying around somewhere that we need to find and import. Needless to say I’m glad to have that task finished, it’s something we had been meaning to do for awhile. I had a ton of those “Now That’s What I Call Music…” CDs from my middle school/early high school days and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be singing 90s pop songs for the rest of the week. Ha!