Monday, August 31, 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Little miss HATES me trimming her nails. Unfortunately, hers grow like crazy, so this is usually a bi-weekly occurrence. I have to sit on the floor and try to distract her with books, while I try to trim all her little digits. She wiggles and waggles while I struggle not to clip something other than nail. It hasn't been fun...until lately. The past few times I have trimmed her nails, she then wants to do it to herself and me. She acts like she's doing what I do and tries to give me a book and then clips my nails. I think this has helped her fear of the nail clippers tremendously. She realizes it doesn't hurt and cracks herself up while taking care of Mommy and herself. I'm going to have to watch myself because she is copying everything I do lately. If I sneeze, she sneezes. If I laugh, she laughs. You get the picture. I've always said little ones are sponges and that is oh so the case with Miss Ava.

Oh and on another note, she took her first independent steps last night. She has been "walking" between Steve and I but really not walking more like falling. Last night we were practicing and spaced ourselves farther apart. She took at least 4 steps to get in between us and was so proud of herself. I'm happy that the walking will start soon because she is almost 13 months but on the other hand my world is going to drastically change too. I'm already chasing the little monkey all over the place. I think she's going to be a runner. She is a super fast crawler and that's the way she likes to walk too. Let the chasing begin!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mommy Time

I'll be the first to admit I used to look at moms on What Not to Wear and think, "how did they get that way?" Well, I totally get it. You get so wrapped up in your child(ren) that you stop thinking about yourself. I would rather buy her clothes than me, I fix her a great, healthy lunch and I eat whatever I can find, and so on. I have been telling myself that I need to workout but that's as far as it went. Our gym has a daycare that you can take your child to for up to an hour and a half. I kept saying that Ava wasn't old enough but now that she's one I really don't have an excuse. I dove in head first. For the past few weeks, Ava and I have been going to the gym M-F from 8-9. It's been great. I get to workout and not worry about the wee one, and Ava is getting to play with other kids. That time has worked out great because there aren't too many kids in the daycare. Ava is plenty worn out by the time we get home, so she's usually ready for a nap. It's also great because I have to sign Ava up ahead of time and I would feel awful if I signed her up and didn't show. In other words, it forces me to go because I signed her up. It's a win-win for both of us. Here's a few pics I snapped of her during her nap after the gym today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Who Wore it Better?

I have a habit of reading fashion and gossip magazines while on beach vacations and since I went on 2 this summer, I read my fair share of trash and fashion. This is my version of the celebrities that wear the same dress and then the magazine poles the readers to see who wore it better.

These are my two celebrities...Ava and Sweet Pea. Tell me, who wore these better?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'll admit...

I'm totally addicted to Etsy. I love to browse the different categories, see what other people have just bought, or shop by color. I love shopping and shopping from my desk is even better!! Being down to one income (BTW, that is not me complaining), I can't shop the way I used to but I can still look. Here are a few of my Etsy faves at the moment.
I'm starting to think fall. Aren't these perfect for cool weather?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Great Weekend

We had my favorite kind of weekend, busy but fun. The weekend started with me dropping Ava off at my mom's work so she could have a sleepover with Mamaw and Papa. We then visited our friends in the hospital who just had a beautiful baby girl. We took Pasta House with us and just hung out with them and baby G for a couple hours. It amazes me how fast you forget just how itty bitty a newborn is. Steve's still talking about when is baby 2 coming for us. Although he was talking about that when we brought Ava home from the hospital! When we came home that night we curled up on the couch and watched Stepbrother. Not my first choice but I still find myself laughing even though I tell myself I shouldn't. Steve went to bed and I stayed up and watched Twilight...I know I'm almost 30 and I know the acting is not good but I still love it and can't wait for New Moon in November!

Anywhoo, Saturday we cleaned the basement. With Ava gone we were able to work for hours straight without worrying about the munchkin. Not fun but so needed it!! We took a car full to Good Will and threw away a ton of stuff too. Our basement is so clean I think you could eat off of the floor, I wouldn't, but you could. When Ava got back we just chilled out for night which was nice.

Sunday was early church, lunch, mowed the lawn with the hubby, and made spinach noodles for dinner. I even squeezed a nap in there too while daddy and baby played. Like I said, very busy weekend but we got a lot accomplished and had fun while doing it. The weather was AMAZING here over the weekend too. Now it's back to the week as usual.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Ultimate Carrot Cake

My husband and I are huge carrot cake fans but we rarely eat it and I never bake it at home. We like it so much the top of our wedding cake was carrot. We ate it the day after our wedding too! When Ava's birthday was coming up, I knew I wanted to make a carrot cake so the recipe hunt was on! I found a recipe on and tweaked it a little to my taste. It was a huge success. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of it because I didn't think about taking a picture before hand and there was no cake left after the party to take a picture of either. The recipe was easy and super yummy, so I thought I would share even without a tantalizing picture to tempt you.

Ultimate Carrot Cake
4 eggs
½ c. natural applesauce
¾ c. vegetable oil
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
3 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
3 c. grated carrots
1 c. chopped walnuts or pecans
8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained

½ c. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan.

2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, applesauce, oil, sugars, and 3 tsp. vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in carrots. Fold in nuts and pour into prepared pan.

3. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely.

4. To make frosting: In medium bowl, combine butter cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla. Beat until mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped nuts. Frost the cooled cake.

If you don't like nuts or pineapple then just leave it out. I hope you find a reason to make this deliciouis cake...Enjoy!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Big Day for a Little Lady

The big day came and went, and we were all exhausted the next couple days. My baby turned one. I know that everyone says "enjoy it while they are little" and "they grow up so fast" but you never really absorb all of those words until you have one of your own. Then it becomes all too true, too fast.

We had the big party with both sides of the families and friends, so our small ranch was jammed with people. I wasn't anticipating the 100 degree weather that day. In my mind, people would be in the back yard sipping tea and lemonade while the kids played. The reality was my brother sweat his butt off cooking hot dogs and a few people stepped outside only to realize their skin was already melting off! Despite the heat, the party was fun...just crowded.

Ava was very curious about her presents and wanted to keep looking at it before moving on to the next gift, so I had to move things along a little at times. The poor girl looked scared out of her mind when everyone sang to her and had no clue it was OK to dive into her cake. It was a very big day for our little one. Next year will be much more low key.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Goofy Girl

The older she gets the more fun it is to be around her. She is developing quite the little personality and is starting to do sneaky things that she knows she shouldn't. She got some blocks for her birthday. You know the old school kind that most of us had as kids. Well, the first thing my daughter does is see how far she can shove one in her mouth. She then decides to share with me. Hope there is no lead in that paint!!
Later the same day I was cutting up a watermelon. BTW, the kid is obsessed with fruit which will become clear by the end of this little story. While I was cutting it up she was playing very loudly in the kitchen with some toys. All of a sudden I realized it had gotten very quiet and I think we all know what that means. Ava was doing something that she really shouldn't be doing. I look over the edge to see my lovely daughter reaching into the trash can and using her fingernails to scrape bits of watermelon off the rind I had thrown away. Ewww!! Thank goodness I had just put in a new bag and it was the only thing in the trash can but still. Gotta love all the naughtiness she is now getting into. I can't wait to see what else is in store. Before she realized she was busted...
After she realized she was busted...this is her best innocent face. And notice her hand is still in the trash can!

Monday, August 17, 2009


My final blog of the UK...yay!! Scotland was a a great way to end our trip. We arrived in the city around 5 and made our way to the B&B. It rained that night, so we took a cab there and by the time we unpacked our bags and chatted with our hosts it stopped raining. Steve and I packed our umbrellas and headed out to explore a little. We didn't stay in the old town where all the touristy things are so we just explored new town a little. We ate at a great little Italian restaurant near our B&B. The crazy thing about Scotland during the time we were there was that it didn't get dark until around 10:30 which was great for us. The down side was it got light there around 2:30AM!! The first morning I woke up thinking it was around 7AM only to find our it was 2:30. It took a little getting used to but after all our walking we crashed pretty easily each night. Anyways, the first night we saw the Sir Walter Scott Monument. We didn't venture up the 200 something stairs but it was a stunning monument. The next day we walked over to the Edinburgh castle at the top of the Royal Mile. We had a very lively tour guide who took us around the castle as he told interesting stories that we never would have known wondering around on our own. It is really amazing to think about people building this castle on the side of a cliff. While we were visiting there was also a small parade that had bagpipers. We were so excited to hear the bagpipes but by day 4 we had had enough!! Every place we went had someone playing the bagpipes and more often than not they were not good. In order to see more of Scotland, we took an all day trip into the highlands. Our driver was a young guy who was very interesting himself. We stopped to see Hamish the Hairy "Coo." (aka cow) He was quite cute. In the highlands, the cows have adapted to the harsh weather. The long hair protects their eyes and keeps them warm during the long winters. The highlands are also covered with sheep. These are a few of the friends we made along the way ;o) There little black faces were so adorable. Our farthest stop on the highlands tour was the infamous Loch Ness. We ate lunch next to the loch keeping our eyes peeled for Nessie and even took the boat tour to hear all the Nessie stories. We left a little disappointed but the Loch is truly beautiful. Our last day, we decided to take a tour of the Underground City. A little creepy but still fun to explore. The only way to see the underground is to pay to go on a tour...a haunted tour. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate scary things. Well, our tour guide did her job well because she scared my silly. The underground is not well lit and the stories she told led my imagination to wonder a bit. I was happy to see daylight although it wasn't much daylight because it was raining.
We spent the rest of our last day wondering the Royal Mile and picking up a few souvenirs. We had a long and very busy vacation. We are very fortunate to travel as much as we do. I know these are memories that will last a lifetime. I'm already trying to figure out where to go next but the little one will be going with us. Two weeks was too long without her. We also want to travel with friends. I love traveling with Steve because we do travel so well together but it was so nice to have Hart and Valerie with us for a bit. Friends will only add the to memories and the stories.

Off to fix dinner for the family and stop reminiscing about our travels!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Peaceful York, England

I have had so much time away from the computer that I didn't get a chance to finish up our UK pics. We took so many pictures on our trip that are truly stunning. I just never know what to do with them. They just end up sitting on my hard drive waiting for something creative and fantastic to be done with them. If you have any ideas I would be more than happy to hear them!

Anyway...Our 3rd stop on our trip was the small town of York. We stayed at a great B&B called the St. Raphael Guesthouse. Dom and Zoe were our age and super friendly and helpful. I would highly recommend staying there if you are in the area. The nice thing about York was that everything was within walking distance so there was no need for taxis or buses which is very nice.
The first thing you notice when walking through this town in of course the Minster. At this point you should know that every town has a Minster (and an Abbey for that matter!) We ventured up the tower at the Minster and were very impressed by the views. The shot below if from the halfway point of the almost 700 stairs. The trek is not for the weak hearted but so worth it.
There is a very cute pedestrian street called the Shambles which has tearooms, candy shops and any other shop you can imagine. There was a great yarn shop there too but I didn't indulge. The street looked liked a set from a Harry Potter movie. I kept looking for Hagrid to no avail...
I mentioned the Abbey earlier but this was a little different from the other Abbeys we had seen on our trip because this was only the ruins of the Abbey. It was gorgeous though. I could see having a wedding there if I were to do it over again. You can see in the picture below just how perfect that would be.
The last 2 shots are of an amazing dinner we ate at Cafe No8. Bistro and the city wall. It was so perfect. And talk about romantic! We ate out back in the garden and the food was to die for. If I knew I only had one meal left I would be on my way to York in a heartbeat. I'm drooling just thinking about it! From the bistro you could see the city walls that surround York. After dinner we climbed the stairs to the wall and wondered around York to work off some of our food and take in the city from a different point of view. York was a dream...
One day we hope to go back and take some friends with us...anybody game????

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Simple Life

Wow, I didn't realize how long it has been since I had a chance to sit and blog. We have been so busy this summer but now we are home for a while. I have lots more photos to share from our UK trip and from our family vacation #2 to Naples, FL. All of those topics sound a little overwhelming so I thought I would start back with some easy...Ava.

The little miss is turning one on Saturday, so I have been busy planning, cleaning, and shopping for her big day. Today was a day at home for us which was a nice break. She slept late (7:30 woo hoo!) and then our Parents as Teachers gal came over to tell me what I already knew...she's a genius ;o) Then it was time for lunch. She completely loved her noodles but that is already evident in the photos above. I then wrapped a couple of her presents. The roll was gone but the cardboard tube provided at least half an hour of entertainment for Ava. She was all over the kitchen floor beating the ground, cabinets, carpet and anything else that got in her way. She then realized it could roll across the floor and she would chase it. My favorite was when she put it up to her mouth and started talking through it. Too funny!! I would put it up to her ear and talk and then she would then talk back to me. She thought it was hysterical. It's simple moments like her noodle face and cardboard telephone that I love.

I am so thankful that God gave Ava to us to raise.