Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my awesome mom's birthday! I am so excited because I know most of the gifts she's getting and they are wonderful! Caleb's super excited about his Giggi's birthday as well. It means that he gets cake!

    I hope you have the best birthday yet! We all love you so much and can't wait to spend the day with you. You make the best granny ever and Caleb is so lucky to have you. Can't wait to see you tonight.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Love Him

I am so blessed to have Ryan in my life. It's the little things that make him so absolutely wonderful. We have been so busy lately and haven't had much time together. This morning we woke up early and had our coffee before Caleb got up. It kinda had me thinking all day.

I love him because he knows exactly how I like my coffee and I know how he likes his.
I love him because he puts up with my crazy renovations and gets it done.
I love that he cooks me dinner when I'm exhausted or sick.
 I love how we can be sitting on the couch and he reaches over for my hand just because.
 I love how he is silly with Caleb every day.
I love his patience for mine and Caleb's whining at times!
I love that he holds me when I go to sleep every night.
 I love how we can share a can of black olives together.
 I love how he has changed for me. I love that he wanted to.
I love our projects together.
I love when he goes to the store and comes back with a rose for me.
I love that he'll rub my shoulders in the evenings.
I love that he wants to spend time with our families.
I love him because he's one of the best men I have ever known.

I am literally the luckiest, most blessed woman in the world because he loves me back....

The Family Room Progress

We made great progress this weekend on the family room! Saturday morning we loaded up in the mommy mobile and picked out the hardwood floor. We went ahead and purchased it because the flooring has to acclimate to the room for approximately three full days before we can lay it.

Look what is finally mudded and sanded!
I am showing you my future scrapbook room!

Hubby started to remove the carpet and pad so I could paint!
Thank Heavens I didn't have to clean up all of that dust. We just rolled it up in the carpet and threw it in the trash!

First coat of paint!
I love the shade of beige I finally picked out.
The first coat covered great.
We used a flat paint for the first coat. It serves as primer and first coat for the walls.

When Caleb woke up this morning, he decided to "help" Mommy clean.
He has this crazy fascination with brooms and vacuums.

Pure joy when cleaning......he is truly my son!

When Caleb goes to bed this evening, I will apply the second coat of paint and finish taking the carpet out of the other half of the room. I have a little more work to do around the windows. By the time this is all finished, it will be time to lay the flooring!

Power of Prayer Sunday - 2/27/11

Today I come to you all asking for prayers for a young family. Kellie and James lost their beautiful little girl Madison. Maddie was just four months old and passed away last week. Please pray for Kellie and James while they go through this very difficult time.

Crystal has been a dear friend to me and I would like to put her out here for your prayers. She and her boyfriend, Michael, have been together for several years. They are looking to strengthen and solidify their relationship with the Lord and as a couple. Please pray for them while they continue down the path He has laid out for them. They are such an amazing couple and I truly believe God has great plans for them!

My aunt, Kelly, has also asked for prayers for her family. One of her daughters has been very ill for quite a while. Jessica found out recently that she has Ulcerative Colitis and has had a terrible time dealing with the flare ups. Please pray for better health for her so she can take care of and love all over her precious little girl!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Feta and Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Chicken

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Feta Cheese and Sun Dried Tomatoes
Doesn't that look amazing???

Well, that's what's going to be cooking in our kitchen tonight!


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
5 large sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon thyme
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled finely
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I use Italian style)
olive oil
toothpick (or Butcher String)
green onion, chopped (for garnish)


Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 55 mins

1 Sauté garlic and red bell pepper, in Olive Oil, for about 3 minutes (just enough to"combine" the flavors).
2 Put aside to cool.
3 In a bowl, combine Feta cheese, breadcrumbs, thyme, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic and red pepper mixture.
4 Toss until well mixed (this will be your "stuffing").
5 Lay a flattened piece of chicken breast on a cutting board or your counter.
6 Put a 1/4 of the above mixture on the flattened chicken breast like you would be making a burrito and roll as tight as you can get it.
7 Secure it with a toothpick or butcher string.
8 Place chicken breast "roll" on a baking sheet (I spray it with Pam so it doesn't stick), brush with olive oil (this gives it a nice golden brown texture), and season with salt and pepper.
9 Preheat oven to 350°F.
10 Cook for about 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 180°F.
11 Garnish with chopped green onion and serve hot.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Renovation Progress

Ryan and I have been diligently planning and designing the next project in our house. While the family room/scrapbook room/home office is nearing completion, we can't just stop there! The largest thorn in my side is my kitchen right now. I swear, there was no planning when they put my kitchen together in the 70's. I can assure you that a woman was nowhere near the design process.
This is a picture from before we stained the cabinets.
See where my dishwasher is? A good four steps from my sink.
Why in the world would someone not put it beside the sink???
I suppose someone wanted to drip water from the sink to the dishwasher several times a load?

Okay, so I have this huge kitchen and this picture shows all of the cabinet space.
When you have an arsenal of kitchen appliances and gadgets like I do, a little space would be nice.

What are our current DIY plans?
Have mercy, but here it goes:

1. Relocate the dishwasher closer to the kitchen sink.
2. Move the fridge to the end of the "L" where the dishwasher currently resides.
3. Replace the fridge location now with top and bottom cabinets for more storage.
4. Build a small island and hang this gorgeous beauty over it:

Remember those new pots and pans I got from hubby???
Oh, yes.......

5. Buy new countertops to give it all an updated look.
6. Paint the cabinets white (because I have this huge fetish with white cabinets now)
7. Paint the walls a chocolate brown (yet another obsession)
8. Strip the stain from my table and chairs and paint them black
9. Replace the sliding glass door with French doors.
10. Add a new window treatment over the sink
11. Install a cabinet on the other side of the kitchen for cookbooks and wine glasses for display
12. Take out the drywalled area above the cabinets to open it all up and leave room to decorate.
13. Install the new chandelier I already have for over the table.

By the time this is all resolved, I will have double the storage and cabinet space. I'll have a much bigger area to prep food and create new dishes. This project is going to take a while, but I will post our progress and things we learn from it!

While this list looks really long, it's not actually going to cost an arm and a leg. Most of it is actually labor filled tasks. In all honesty, the French doors are going to be the splurge of the project. Ryan will be able to relocate everything and build the island and cabinets needed.

So, when does it all start?
We must finish the downstairs section of our house.
I haven't forgotten it. I have been slowly but surely sanding here and there on the drywall.
I have become quite the pro!
My biggest mistake was letting Ryan know that I can patch drywall spots like nobody's business!
What's left?
I have to drywall around the two windows and it's ready for paint.
Instead of trying to clean all of the dust from sanding, I have lucked out.
Saturday when Caleb does to bed, Ryan and I are finally ripping out the carpet!!!!
Then the paint is coming out, baby!
Next week I get to pick out my hardwood floors. This will be the first time I've ever installed them, so I will be sure to post some tips on that experience.
Then we'll be ready to decorate!


Family Night....

Hubby and Me......

My two guys!
They were so cute in matching outfits.

Family picture night went better than any of us expected! Caleb and Zoey were such cuties and I just can't wait to get the pictures back. Mom and Dad took us all out to dinner afterwards.

Zoey was so hilarious! She's getting really picky when it comes to eating. Every time Brian, Giggi, or Tara tried to get her to eat a little, she'd shake her head "no". Eventually, she did get hungry and eat!
Caleb did just fine eating dinner.......
With Granddaddy's help, Caleb was covered in food!
We found out he loves beets, green Jello, chicken livers, and popcorn shrimp.
He also ate some of Mommy's salad, meatloaf, mac and cheese, green beans, bread, banana pudding and pie.

We had to change his shirt before we left.
He went to sleep as soon as we all got back home.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Love of a Garden Tool

We visited Giggi and Granddaddy last night and Caleb got a surprise. He wants to "help" around the house more and Giggi found the perfect solution:

He got his very own shovel, rake, and garden hoe!

He was beyond excited to take them outside!
After Giggi showed him what to do, Caleb "worked" hard pushing the leaves around!

He was so serious!
Even Daddy and Grandaddy played along....

Belle and Caleb are starting to become buddies....
I think she realizes she has no choice anymore!

I just love this "What?" face!

My Angel...
bruises and all!

Caleb is such a Granddaddy's boy!
They love playing together.

Mom's birthday is coming up and she has asked that we ALL get together and have a picture done.
I guess we'll see how that turns out tonight!
I have a feeling it's going to be a zoo with six adults and two toddlers!
Ryan, Caleb and I are also getting our first official family portrait done as well.
I have the perfect place to display it and I've been working on a frame project for it that I will post about soon.
I am just praying that some small person in our household decides to cooperate with us....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Pantry

This past week I learned the value of my pantry. I have been working pretty hard to stock up things and it paid off last week. Ryan didn't have to go to the store at all while we were feeling icky! There's another vote for wife of the year....Ha! I have this crazy obsession with making sure there's plenty of food in the house. I'm always afraid of us all being sick or getting snowed in or something of the sort and not having enough food on hand. This is my solution:

My pantry!
I told you I stock piled the noodles....(I got them for FREE!)

Bottom shelf: soups and pastas mostly.
I got the Progresso soup this week for a little over a $1.00!
And they were Buy One, Get One Free....

Middle Shelf: cake mixes, Caleb's foods, can goods....

Top Shelf: All kinds of mixes and mashed potato packets.
I store my cake plate and deep fryer up there too.

The floor of the pantry contains paper goods (paper towels, extra tissue, napkins...)

Decorating my pantry is on my "To Do" list. I want to install another shelf, buy some containers, paint the shelves, and paint the walls. It's a work in progress, but I'm liking how it's turning out.
And it brings me peace of mind!

Wanna know what makes me happy???
A crockpot full of my favorite soup from Olive Garden: Pasta e Fagioli.

Here's the easy recipe:

3 teaspoons Oil

2 pounds Ground beef

12 ounces Onion; chopped

14 ounces Carrots; slivered

14 ounces Celery; diced

48 ounces Tomatoes; canned, diced

2 cups cooked Red Kidney beans

2 cups cooked White kidney beans

88 ounces Beef stock

3 teaspoons Oregano

2 1/2 teaspoons Pepper

5 teaspoons Parsley; (fresh chopped)

1 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

48 ounces Spaghetti sauce

8 ounces dry pasta Shell macaroni; or other small pasta
Preparation: Sauté beef in oil in large 10-qt. pot until beef starts to brown. Add onions, carrots, celery and tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse beans and add to the pot. Also add beef stock, oregano, pepper, Tabasco, spaghetti sauce, and noodles. Add chopped parsley. Simmer until celery and carrots are tender, about 45 minutes. Makes 9 qts. of soup! **Just cut the recipe in 1/2 for smaller family needs!

Makes 9 Quarts

Okay, so this makes a lot of food, but you can always freeze it in smaller portions. For my family this will make about 8-10 meals and it was super cheap to make! I believe it cost approximately $15 for everything. I had the beans and such already in my handy little pantry. I used my new food processor I got from my parents to chop all of the veggies. I absolutely love and adore it!!!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday Pics

So happy to see him!
Happy to be feelin' better!

The park we visited...

Getting ready for school this morning....

I just can't stop loving on him today!

Doesn't he look older with his new haircut?

My little cutie!

Still kinda sleepy....

Just one more.....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Night Bliss

Caleb is in bed as we speak. Ryan is sitting beside me on the couch. All is well in our home tonight!

I have never been more excited to have the every day ho-hum stuff going on as I am right now. It is so good to feel well again. It has been a crazy week and I am so thankful it is over. The diaper bag is packed for school tomorrow, the house is (finally) back in order, and we've even had time to sit down and watch a movie.

Gosh, it feels amazing to be able to eat again! Never thought I would say it, but I truly enjoyed eating Arby's tonight with my boys! Ha!

Nana and Pappy kept Caleb for us all weekend so I could recover. We just couldn't wait to pick him up this afternoon. We then decided to take him to the park to walk around a bit and get some much needed fresh air. It has been beautiful around here this week and Spring is in the air! I'll post pictures of our trip out tomorrow at lunch.

Ryan and I decided to simplify our lives tonight. The sippy cup war has been going on in our house for a while now. Imagine this: forty-seven different sippy cups with different lids. Yeah, those are so much fun to match up! We chunked them all in the garbage and bought seven of these bad boys:

We had tried them before with Caleb and he just loved them. Of course, there will be no tossing of these. But they all match!!! No more searching for the correct lid. No more tiny parts to disassemble to clean. Just two pieces to worry about.
 Thanks Heavens!
The biggest thing I recommend from this whole ordeal:
Parents with toddlers need one type of simple sippy and they need to stick with them!
At $7.49 for seven, they are a great deal. We have used them for several months now and they stood up better than more expensive ones. Definitely worth every penny!
We got a whole new set tonight.
I admit it, I am a huge germ-a-phobe right now. His old sippys couldn't get clean enough after this whole stomach flu and we had been wanted to go with the one style.
Goodbye old sippys.
Hello cute, matching sippy cups!


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