Friday, February 26, 2010

Time for a Little Decorating

I have seriously neglected Ava's room as far as decorating goes.  I put it off because I didn't want her room to be too baby or too grown up.  I knew what I wanted in my head but hadn't found it in the stores yet.  For now, there are 2 pictures on the wall and that's about it.  I don't even really like the pictures that much but I didn't want the walls to be completely bare.  I have a plan to add some white cubes to the wall for her to store some of her smaller things and want to hang a couple more pictures too.  I found this artist and think her drawings are so sweet.  I love them all and think they would look great framed in her room.  Now I just have to decide which ones to get.  I'll make sure to take some before and after pictures of her room as I start to decorate.  Let the decorating begin!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Thanks for listening, for always being there, for being my best friend, and for being a great mom!  I love you and hope you have a great birthday!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Elmo Everyday

There is no question in our house who the favorite Sesame Street character is...ELMO!!!  When Ava gets up in the morning, she will bring us the remote and ask for Elmo.  When she drinks milk before taking a nap, she wants to watch Elmo.  If she's crying in her crib at 2 in the morning and we go in, she will ask for Elmo.  The little red guy gets lots of love in our house.  She only has a few Elmo toys but she does love them.  This little travel Elmo set is great and she adores it.  She always puts Elmo on the table.  Who knows why.  If only we understood all her chatter, I'm sure she would tell detail.  We've actually had to limit Elmo in our house to only watching him on TV once a day because she would literally watch it all day if I let her.  It's a good thing that I actually like Sesame Street too otherwise I might go a little nuts.  The last shot is of her kissing Elmo.  She's big into giving kisses now which is so cute!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chicken Taco Soup

I tried out a new recipe last week and loved it for so many reasons. 
  1. It's super easy to throw together.
  2. You can make it in the crock pot.
  3. It is so flavorful.
I modified this recipe.  Sorry there are no pictures but it was gone before I had a chance to take a few (also a sign of a good recipe!)

Chicken Taco Soup

1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn
1 (12 fluid ounce) can of chicken broth
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel), undrained
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts

shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)
crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Put the first 7 ingredients in the crock pot and mix well.  Add the 3 chicken breasts and nestle down in the liquid.  Cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5 hours in the crock pot.  Remove chicken breasts and shred the meat.  Return to the crock pot and cook on high for 1 hour or low for 2.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips as a garnish.  Enjoy!!

This was not a kid friendly recipe because it does have a kick to it but my husband loved it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A New Word and Obsession

After receiving stickers for Valentine's Day from my mom, Ava quickly learned how to use them and how to say sticker.  It comes out more like "ticker" but we know what she means. 

A few days after learning the word we went to the doctor for her 18 month check up and she had to get 2 shots.  The nurse put pretty little band-aids on her legs and Ava proceeds to say to the band-aid, "No, no sticker. No, no."  She was not happy that the sticker was causing her pain.  Poor thing did not like those stickers at all.  Who can blame her!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's Never Too Early

Ava now prays before dinner.  I say pray but what would be more accurate is that she folds her hands and then watches Steve and me as we pray followed by saying something that sounds vaguely like Amen.  It is the cutest darn thing!

With an 18 month old, you never really know how much they understand.  Praying was something I wasn't sure she was going to catch onto.  I was way wrong on that one.  She and I were reading a book the other day and there was a picture of a little boy kneeling by his bed and praying.  She immediately puts the book down, folds her little hands and looks at me like, "OK mommy, time to pray."  Little sponges, I tell you! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book Club: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Last Thursday we had our first book club meeting at my house.  It was a blast.  I know I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I have never been a part of a book club before and come to find out none of the other girls had either.  I think that turned out to be a good thing because we just made it what we wanted it to be.  There were 11 of us that made it that night and it was a great group of people.  Not everyone knew each other and I think that made for interesting conversation about the book we read, The Lovely Bones.  There was also a good mix of people as far as life experiences go too.  It's great to look at things from someone else's perspective and take yourself out of your own little world.  There was plenty of good food and wine to get the party started while everyone was getting to know each other for the first half hour or so.  Finally, we decided we should probably talk about the book!

The conversation about the book flowed really easily because it dealt with such strong topics as rape, murder, infidelity, adolescence, etc.  The funny thing about The Lovely Bones is that while it did provide conversation topics, no one in the group would have recommended it to a friend.  For me, the book was not something that I wanted to read.  The idea of a serial killer walking around in a neighborhood with no one the wiser really creeped me out.  Now that I have a daughter, I view things differently and this book really pointed that out to me.  It was disturbing to be in the murderer's head at some points in the book.  Some might find that interesting but for me it was too much.  There was also a sex incident in the book that we all found a little odd.  It seemed out of place and thrown in for interest that was forced.

We voted for our next book and it ended up being a tie.  We are reading The Happiness Project this month and then Dear John the following month.  I think after the dark book we just finished The Happiness Project was a good choice.  We were joking that next month we will all be so much happier.  If any of you have read The Lovely Bones, I would love to know if you liked it or not.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Celebrating Valentine's and a Birthday

Our Valentine's Day consisted of some family time with Steve's side to celebrate Melanie's 12th birthday and ice cream cake.  The ice cream cake was right up Ava's alley.  When we got home there were flowers and oh so yummy royal riveria pears from Harry and David.  It was a great Valentine's Day in our house and I hope all of you had just as much fun in yours.

Friday, February 12, 2010

V-Day Art

Ava loves to color so when thinking about what to make Dada and the grandparents I came up with this little art project.  She loved putting her finger on the ink pad to make a heart with her little fingerprints.  She really got into coloring the inside too.  Hopefully everyone will love their little cards that will be arriving in their mailboxes shortly.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Our Morning

Waking up in our monkey jammies...
pushing Piggie around in her tennis shoes...
with only one sock on...
As long as the rest of our day is this good, we're set!  Hope you all are having a great day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


My first sewing project is complete and a success.  There was a moment of wanting to chuck my machine out the window but after a little guidance and practice I have my first finished piece.  Ava will even be able to wear it.  I thought my first project would have to be something that I wouldn't use but it turned out pretty good.  I have to say that it was easier than I thought.  The dress took about 2 1/2 hours to complete from start to finish.  This is coming from a girl who hasn't touched a sewing machine since high school 10 years ago.   Now that I know what I'm doing or at least on the right track, I know I could make one in less time.  I think I'm going to make another one using the same pattern just to practice my sewing skills a little more but then on to more patterns.  I already have a few picked out that I'm itching to try.  Oh and one of the best parts of sewing is the fabric shopping.  Even Ava was getting into it!  She was not into the whole modeling thing though.  The puzzles were much more interesting at that time.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Day Activities

We got a couple inches of snow here in the Lou, so that means we're staying in.  I know, I's not the end of the world to get a couple inches and we could get out if we really wanted to but there really is no reason to.  I'd rather stay in and be warm and cozy.  We might get bundled up and head out to play in the snow for a while though.  Although, Ava's cough is still hanging on like a champ.  Poor kiddo :o( 

This morning during my daily blog cruising, I found these adorable Valentine print outs from Vale Design (images are hers too).  These are definitely on our agenda for the day. Along with some cleaning, reading, baking, and of course dancing.   Should be a busy snow day for us.  Hope you are all staying warm!

Friday, February 5, 2010

And Sew It Begins...

I know...goofy play on words but what can I say, I'm a little goofy.  My dad gave me a sewing machine for Christmas (thanks Dad!) that has been sitting in the box until 2 nights ago.  I finally got it out to figure out how to use it.  Things started to come back to me from the small amount of sewing I did in a high school class but not much.  Colleen, who is a great seamstress, was having a sewing night at her house with a couple girls and I needed to at least know how to thread my machine.  I learn so much better from watching rather than reading the instruction book.  Therefore, the sewing night was a must for me!  I had my pretty fabric all washed and pressed, my machine threaded correctly (thank goodness) and my pattern from Frog Legs and Ponytails (the Caroline dress) ready for action.  I loaded up the car and headed over to Colleen's. 

I learned so much!!  I am so grateful to Colleen for all the guidance with my first project.  The dress isn't done but I've got a good start and hope to finish it this evening.  I just need to practice.  The unfortunate thing about my personality is I want it to be perfect the first time.  I don't want to waste my time if it's not going to be good.  This first dress is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it's a start and a decent one.  I think I'm going to make a few of this same dress for Ava so I can get more practice before I venture on to other patterns.  It felt good to spend a few hours cutting, measuring, and sewing fabric and then have a pretty dress at the end.  It was a rewarding night for me and a good start on a new hobby. I think Ava is into this hobby as well.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Valentine Goodies

I'm going to gush again about an Etsy shop but what can I say...I addicted.  I stumbled upon Monkey Moo Moo a few months ago and just adore her work.  She is so sweet and her designs match!  All of the items pictured above you simply buy and print out as many as you want or need on your own computer.  All of the items above are $3 or less!!  If you want to add a little note to your hubby's lunch or print out unique Valentine's for your little one to take to preschool or school then check out her shop.  She also makes cupcake toppers, cards, birthday crowns, etc.  I bought her 2010 printable calendar to give to a few of my girlfriends, mom and grandma.  They calendars were a hit!  I love her little note cards too.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


During Ava's nap last week, I cut out a few felt hearts from white and pink felt.  They are all different sizes.  Some are tiny, some are fat but all are definitely far from perfect.  When she woke up from her nap I had her hand me hearts to string on some embroidry floss.  We hung them from the mantel to spread a little Valentine's cheer in our house.  I cut out way to many hearts so I put the rest in a baggie and those little hearts have provided hours of entertainment for Ava.  She discovered they stick to anything else cloth so she sticks them to me, the couch, her blanket and anything else she can think of.  She then "counts" them in a way that only she understands but is so stinkin' cute. 

*Idea for this project came from A Pocket Full of Posies blog.  I will readily admit that hers is more chic than mine.  I just used what I had on hand during nap time.  Check her out...she's Christian too! 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Our Sweet Pea

Our darling bunny, Sweet Pea, passed away on Saturaday rather unexpectedly.  In memory of her, I thought I would tell you a little about her. 

I bought Sweet Pea almost 7 years ago while I was doing my student teaching.  I was still living at home and finishing up grad school so of course I needed a bunny too.  I was in a pet store and she stole my heart.  She was supposed to be a mini lop-earred bunny but for those of you who knew her would laugh at using the word mini in the same sentence as Sweet Pea.  She was actually larger than my dad's chihuahua.  What drew me to her in the store was her ears.  She had one ear up and one down when I bought her and they stayed that way for the longest time.  I thought it gave her character.  Eventually her ear fell and she became a true lop-earred bunny.  She ruled the roost at my dad's house keeping all 3 dogs in check.  That included the chihuahua, black lab and the pit bull.  She had spunk and I truly think she thought she was a dog too.

Once Steve and I married, I waited a few months and then moved her here.  Steve was not too excited and didn't quite understand what there was to love about a bunny.  Eventually that changed and he loved her too.  She was free to roam the house for hours each night and would always stay in the room with us.  If I was on the computer, she was my foot warmer.  If I was reading a book, she would snuggle up next to my leg.  She was like my baby until Ava came along.

Once Ava came, Sweet Pea took the back seat and never complained.  Ava pulled her ears, pet her way too hard, and chased her through the house all the while never biting or thumping at her.  They were actually best buds.  Ava and Sweet Pea grew to become friends and playmates.  They had their own games they would play and Ava would just laugh and laugh at her.  Just last week, I couldn't find Ava or Sweet Pea and was frantically searching the house.  I finally heard, "Momma" and looked to find both Sweet Pea and Ava laying together under the dining room table happy as could be. 

Sweet Pea had so much personality and character.  She was the 4th member of our family.  She passed away quickly on Saturday of what I think was either kidney or liver failure.  I held her as she left us and cried for all the good times she had with us and all the laughs she gave us.  She was a great pet and will never leave our hearts.