Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dancing Queen!

Elyse can dance! Shake that booty baby!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bows


We were at this fancy-schmancy baby shop this week and I saw some really cute baby hair bows. When I saw they were almost five dollars each I thought, "I can do that!" And do that I did.

I bought all the supplies at Michaels. The clipy things are actually over in the jewelry section, I have no idea what they are for but they worked for this.

It's easy. Here's how you do it.

You will need: Hot glue gun, ribbon and "findings" or some other clipy thing and artificial flowers.


1. Make two loops of ribbon, securing the ends together with hot glue. One should be bigger than the other.

2. Glue them on top of each other and both on top of a flat piece of ribbon..
3. Take a small piece of ribbon and wrap it around the middle, turning the loops into a bow. Secure with a dot of glue.
4. Glue the ribbon onto the clip.


Ta da!


The flower one is even easier. Just glue an artificial flower to the clip!

With my new short do, I might just have to borrow a few...

And all of this was only about $9 and we have enough to make 12 clips!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Clear Out Those Catalogs!


Rachel at Little Notebook recently reminded me of a great website called Catalog Choice.

Is your mailbox full of catalogs you don't want? Mine is. Usually, I glance at the pages and toss the catalog right into the recycling bin. Not only does it waste paper, it often makes me want things I don't need! I see all kinds of beautiful things on the pages and think I NEED THAT (but really I don't). And, if I want to see what new products a store has, I can always look online.

So that's where Catalog Choice comes in. You create an account and then go through and decline the specific catalogs you receive and no longer want. Once you click the title, they do the rest of the work! How cool is that?! Right now we receive a catalog with guns and all kinds of police stuff from the people who used to live in our house. I can't wait to cancel that one!!

Another way to clear your mailbox is to opt out of credit card company offers. You can do this by calling: 1-888-5OPTOUT. I haven't done this yet but I'm going to give it a try.

Now, can we just figure out how to get rid of the coupons and circulars that seem to fill our mailbox everyday. You know the ones that the poor mailman has to stick in everyone's box! I feel sorry for the guy...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reuniting...

My 10 year HS class reunion was last Friday. It was a lot of fun (minus the interruption from Elyse...she WOULD NOT go to bed for my parents. Well, she wouldn't go to bed until I was literally pulling into the driveway, but that is a different story...)

Anyway, we hung out at El Tio Pepe, talked, drank and ate at the reunion. The same groups kind of formed with a little more mingling. Everyone pretty much looked the same. At least we thought we looked the same until we looked back at the yearbooks and saw what we really looked like back then (what were we thinking!)

Here is a picture of some of my HS friends with our kiddos the next day. Notice a green shoulder on the right...my friend Christina and her son Ethan are there but somehow the photographer didn't get them. :(



Then, on Sunday, Elyse and I drove to Columbia to visit with some of my roomates, Robyn, Ali and her baby Anderson, Jessica and her baby Ella. We had a lot of fun. Spending the day with three babies is quite different than what we did in college (although I guess we really sat around and hung out in college too, but in college it was our choice.

Here are some pictures of that trip:

Ella, Anderson and Elyse playing together.



Ella preparing us for tantrums (sorry Jess, I just thought this was funny!)

And everyone together...Robyn, me, Elyse, Ali, Anderson, Jessica and Ella.

It was great to see all of you!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fish Face



She was my puppy a few weeks ago because she followed me around. Lately, Elyse is my puppy because she can do tricks! Yesterday we taught her "fish face." Check it out!

Hey Baby!!


Blowing a Kiss!!



Dennis is out on a ship for about a week and so Elyse and I decided to come out to STL. I tried e-mailing Dennis these pictures but I think his e-mail stripped the attachments, so here we are in our early morning glory. Please disregard the "I just got out of bed" look...

We love you baby!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When life hands you lemons...


...make LEMON BASIL COOKIES! I'm not kidding. These sound uber-weird but they are really good. My mom has a "botanical quilting appliqué club" (if you want to join let me know) and she wanted a treat to bring. Since I love to bake, I volunteered to make the treat. "What should I make?" I said. She responded that one lady had once brought rosemary cookies. Rosemary cookies? Yuck. But they were good she said. "Maybe we could make cookies with the basil that's growing outside." Really?! Basil cookies?! Oh, how I love the internet. After a mere seconds on Google, I found the recipe. Lemon Basil Cookies. I made them and they were actually very YUMMY!! We left out the coconut because my mom despises it but give them a try. I would add more walnuts.  

I think you will be surprised too. Oh, and the recipe says to use teaspoons to scoop them on the cookie sheet but I thought that was too small so we used tablespoons.

Enjoy!!

Go slow to go fast...

Rachel over at Small Notebook has declared August to be a month of preparation. And, the planner that I am, I am totally in and ready to start spending time in August to make life easier in September and beyond.

I'll write about some of my plans for the next few weeks.

The first is to make life on the computer a little easier...

Since my job is online (I teach classes for an online university), I spend A LOT of time on the computer, and my first goal is to streamline my life on the computer. Here are some things I need to work on:
  • I teach the same class every eight weeks, and the same issues come up every time! My goal is to address issues (misunderstanding with assignments, reminders, etc.) from the get go so they do not even become issues. (Proactive!) I am going to write out e-mail reminders for various things and have them organized by week. Then, I will just have to copy and paste. I'd also like to set up some checklists to have available. This way, I can mark things off when students complete different aspects of assignments. I will make grading much easier!
  • The second computer issue has been a thorn in both Dennis and my sides for awhile! Our internet connection is SO FREAKIN' SLOW!! It worked great for awhile, but lately it has been rediculous. That's why you haven't seen any new pictures of our pumpkin on her Shutterfly website. It takes forever to upload pictures. I get it going and before even a fraction are done, the connection times out (and I've even set it up to stay on later). So, last night, I did my research and I think that switching from phone internet to cable internet is going to be the solution. I think we might even splurge for the premium package. It will make life a lot easier. Does anyone know about the difference between the two? Will cable internet really be faster as promised?
  • The last thing I need to do is come up with an organization system for my pictures. Right now they are a mess. I know I can give them labels, ratings, etc. and I think that will help. Another thing that will help is to delete the bad ones before I even download them from my camera.
There's my plans for computer simplification. More PLANNING to come!

Visit with Angela and Eleanor

Elyse and I went to visit our friends Angela and her friend Eleanor yesterday.  The girls are close in age and they had lots of fun "playing" together!

I love your hair, Eleanor!!  Where do you get it done?


Sweet girls!


 

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pebbles



Another little baby came to our play group one day with her hair up in a cute little Pebbles Flinstone pony tail. I asked her mom how she did it and she said she used rubber bands from her braces!! (Before they ever go in her mouth of course!). She was nice enough to send me some and we fixed Elyse's hair the other day. Doesn't it look cute! I just have to be very careful not to let these little things get on the floor because they will certainly wind up in her mouth!


It didn't last too long, I wanted to take it out before it fell out on her own, but it certainly created an interesting hairdo for the rest of the day!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Inspiration: Podcasts


This Sunday's inspiration is a little different than most. I'd like to share with you two podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis. In fact, they get me through most of my runs. You can download them on your iPod and they can keep you company while you do laundry, dishes or just sit on the back porch.

In case you aren't familiar with podcasts, they are audio broadcasts of just about anything. The two below are both ministers that have weekly messages that can be downloaded. Both can be found at iTunes or on their respective websites and downloaded for FREE!!

Joel Osteen: You've probably seen him on TV on Sunday mornings. His positive message always reminds me to live the life God has set out for me.

Unity Church of Overland Park:
Patricia Bass is the usual minister for this podcast, but there are also some guest speakers. Her message is practical, and reminds me to bring things back to my spiritual side. Often, I write her message on a big sheet of paper and stick it on the fridge for a daily reminder.

There's other podcasts that I like, I'll share more on a different day!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Toy Bag

One of the moms at our playgroup had a bag with all her daughter's toys and I thought it would be good to have one for Elyse too.  And, since I am visiting my mom, you are probably not surprised that we had to make one.  I think it turned out pretty cute. 

I had it pretty easy.  My mom cut, ironed and of course figured out what the heck we were supposed to do.


I sat and sewed straight lines as I was told.


And this is how it turned out!


This is a great pattern, very clever.  It is from Whistlepig Creek Productions, the pattern number #1144, Six Pack Stack.  It was pretty easy, and took us just over an hour (with several interruptions from a 9 month old little girl!)  Give it a shot!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Etsy

I just discovered Etsy. It's an online "marketplace" where people like us can sell their homemade stuff. I've been playing around on it and found some cool "stores." I love it because I think it is great to support these "at home" businesses. And the prices are surprisingly low.
Come browse with me...
3 Little Muses: Cute Baby Clothes
Nella Designs: Great notecards and address labels
Baby Bug Shoes: Soft shoes for baby
Home Studio: Scrabble Tile Necklaces
Bella Bee Designs: Aprons and stuff

Any other Etsy stores you like??


And they have this neat color tool where you can click on a color and it will find items that match. Try trowing items around. It's fun.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

100 Things About Me, Part 1

1. I make cookies just to eat the dough.
2. I am left handed.
3. When I was a little girl, I decided I would only marry someone who would move me up in the world, not in status but in the alphabet. (I hated when Suzie Bahr always got to go first!). Luckily Dennis moved me from a "L" to a "K"!
4. I took piano lessons for many years but didn't practice like I should have.
5. My pinkies are crooked (maybe from the piano lessons).
6. I still get excited every time I heard Dennis' car pull into the driveway from work.
7. Sometimes I put things on my "to do" list that I already did just so I can cross it off.
8. On vacation, I like to get up early and fill my day (much to my honey's dismay!).
9. I hate the grocery store ads we seem to get in the mail everyday!
10. Thunderstorms scare me.
11. A little mess does not bother me.
12. I love markers, especially Sharpies of different colors.
13. I make the bed every morning, except on vacation (or when my hubbie does it...thanks baby!).
14. I love Bare Essentials makeup.
15. I do not believe in tanning, especially in tanning beds.
16. I love fancy lettering.
17. I am still surprised every time I finish a run.
18. Peanut butter never lasts very long in my house (and doesn't usually get purchased because I cannot be trusted!)
19. I hate horror movies (sorry Dennis).
20. I can't name movie stars to save my life.
21. TiVo is fabulous!
22. I love cuddling up in one of Dennis' huge sweatshirts.
23. I eat my veggies.
24. I could walk aimlessly around Target for hours.
25. My friends and family are very important to me.
26. I love sleeping in on the weekend (and since Dennis does too, we have a system...he sleeps in on Saturday and I get to snooze on Sunday!)
27. My mother in law calls me "noodle girl" because I really love pasta.
28. Toenails should always be painted red.
29. I can't wait to learn to take really great pictures.
30. My love language is "Acts of Service."
31. I do not like socks...they always get holes and I hate matching them up when I am folding laundry.
32. Love Actually is my favorite movie.
33. I really like my handwriting (especially for a lefty!)
34. I heard it from everyone, but I never really knew I could love a baby this much.
35. In my opinion, almost every man looks sexy in his dress blues.
36. I check our checking account balance at least once a day.
37. Ketchup totally grosses me out.
38. I can write backwards and in mirror image.
39. Red and green together bothers me when it isn't Christmas.
40. I really thought I wanted to be a second grade teacher but God had a better idea for me.
41. I'm trying incorporate meditation into my daily life.
42. I eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning.
43. I have very poor control of my facial muscles...I cannot voluntarily frown, wink or do any of the other crazy faces that Dennis can.
44. Made up songs crack me up.
45. It drives me crazy when people do not capitalize "I", especially when it is my students.
46. I think politics are really important but I hate "talking politics."
47. I love watching shows where people lose a ton of weight.
48. I am really good at giving the "chillies."
49. Details drive me crazy.
50. I like projects, especially ones I can finish in one day.

I'll have 51-100 on a different day...this was hard enough.

Pool Time

My mom bought Elyse a pool at Target.  She LOVES it.  Here are some shots.

We didn't have any water diapers so she went sans-diaper.  What a wedgie! And have you ever seen cuter thighs?

She listened to the dog barking next door.



Prune toes


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lars


My mom recommend this movie to me. Lisa and I watched it one Monday evening and I highly recommend it. I'm not much of a movie person but this one is a gem. The main character orders a life size doll, named Bianca and she becomes his companion. While the story may seem strange, it is endearing, heartwarming and enjoyable unpredictable. Check it out.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sick pumpkin...

We are in STL and poor little Elyse is a little bit sick. She woke up with a fever. We think she has "hand foot and mouth disease" which I keep wanting to call "ear nose and throat." So for all of our friends (especially those with babies, either in our out of the womb) we will be out of commission for a few days. Big bummer. She's a strong kiddo and I think she will be better soon!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Vacation


Elyse and I are in St. Louis visiting my mom and dad so this blog will probably have limited posts over the next few weeks. I'm sure I'll put something up but it won't be an everyday thing!

If you are a STL friend, give me a call or e-mail and we can figure out a time to get together!

Friday, July 11, 2008

A weight off my sholders!

So I chopped my hair off.

Here I am the other day:



And here's the new cut. And, this was after a nap. What do you think?


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Great Dessert


I love peanut butter. And I love chocolate. Put them together and I am in heaven! So, imagine my joy when I discovered a blog dedicated to this combination! Chocolate Peanut Butter Gallery

I made these chocolate-cream cheese-peanut butter bars off the Betty Crocker website as recommended and boy, were they good. Not only do they have chocolate and peanut butter, but cookies and cream cheese...more of my favorites. Here is the recipe:

Chocolate-Cream Cheese-Peanut Butter Bars

Heat oven to 350. Spray bottom only of 13 X9 inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl stir:
1 pouch Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix
3 T vegetable oil
1 T water
1 Egg
Until soft dough forms. Shape 6 (1 inch) balls of dough. On ungreased cookie sheet, place balls 2 inches apart. Flatten in crisscross pattern with fork. Press remaining dough in pan. Bake cookies and base 10-12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Reserve cookies for topping.

In small microwaveable bowl, microwave:
1 1/4 C chocolate chips
1/2 C butter.
Microwave on high 1 min to 1 min 30 seconds until melted and stirred smooth. Spread evenly over bars. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

In medium bowl beat
1 package cream cheese
2/3 c peanut butter
3/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 c whipping cream.
Beat with electric mixer on low until blended and then on high about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Spread over chocolate layer.

Crush reserved cookies and sprinkle over cream cheese layer. Press in lightly. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Cute into bars and store in refrigerator.

I added some mini chocolate chips on the top for a little more chocolate and a pretty appearance as suggested on the "Chocolate Peanut Butter Gallery" website.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Da Da Brings me Joy


In church the other day, they had a children's message and all the kids went to sit up front. I brought Elyse up to hear. The minister asked the kids what brings them joy. One kid answered, and while waiting for the answer of another child, Elyse yelled for everyone to hear "DA DA!" I think she knew what she was saying. He brings me joy too.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Reading Stories

Here's a video of Elyse and Dennis reading together. Dennis took some liberty with the story, I hope you don't mind. Elyse seems to like it!

I'm dreaming of a pink Christmas!


I found this blog, it's a really great idea and I'm excited to participate. Basically, it is like a big "secret Santa." This is the explanation from the website:
Here is how it works.
  • Pink Christmas is a $15.00 donation. All proceeds will go to our Pink Christmas Family. (over the next few months you will have a chance to get to know them better)
  • To sign up you must leave a comment on this post and then send an email to apinkchristmas@yahoo.com {this is how I will double check to make sure I don't miss anyone}
  • By September 1st you will receive in the mail a pink envelope with the name of your Pink Christmas Girlfriend. (shhh remember this is a secret) You will also receive a lot of goodies from all of our Pink Christmas Sponsors. (they are the only way that this is even possible)
  • Copy the below questions in your email along with your answers. This questionnaire will be sent only to your Pink Christmas girlfriend for her to start working on your gift.
  • The deadline for the completion of the project is December 1st.
  • Please plan on sending your completed gift to your girlfriend by December 5th
  • I then encourage you to send your gift wrapped gift by December 5th, (with delivery confirmation) so it will have plenty of time to arrive to its new home. Then no peeking until Christmas morning.

  • The rules of the gift giving… well there really are no rules to making the gift. But I encourage you to use your creative juices, have part or all of your gift made by hand and share a piece of you. Keep in mind there is someone out there thinking of you during this time and creating something just for you. Only give something that you too would want to receive. And Yes you can have someone make the gift for you. (many of our Pink Christmas Sponsors would love to help you with that)

Do I know what I'm going to make? No, but I'm excited to give it a shot. If you want to sign up go to: www.pinkchristmas.blogspot.com.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Yummy and Patriotic...a great combo!


I made this yummy dessert over the weekend. Elyse took a long nap and I could spend time making it fancy...

A little tip. This recipe calls for instant pudding. Make sure you get instant. I had a brain fart and bought cook and serve so we didn't have the pudding layer. But, it was still very yummy. Maybe I'll just have to make it again soon so I can get it right! :)

Combine:
1 C flour
1 C finely chopped pecans
1/2 C butter softened.

Press into bottom of 9X13'' pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool completely.

In mixing bowl, beat:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 C confectioners sugar

Fold in half of container of whipped topping. Mix until smooth.

Spread over crust.

Beat together:
1 package INSTANT vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 C cold milk

Spread over cream cheese layer.

Cover with remaining whipped topping.

Decorate with:
1/2 C blueberries
3 C strawberries

Refrigerate 1 hour and enjoy! :)

Sunday Inspiration


Rejoice in the Lord always! I say again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in evertyhing, by pryaer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peac of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or see in me-put in into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Phillipians 4:4-9

Friday, July 4, 2008

Elyse is 9 months old!!


Elyse is 9 months old today, and more or less, has now been out in the world as long as she spent time growing inside me. This has been a big month for Elyse. Among other things, she became mobile!

Here is a list of new things for Elyse in her ninth month:
-Of course, Elyse started crawling. At first it was a little slow but now she can MOVE! Most of the time she crawls with her right leg out straight. I'm not sure why but it's awful cute!
-Along with the crawling, Elyse quickly figured out how to climb up the landing by our front door. She was even able to crawl all the way up to the top of our stairs, with me right next to her of course!
-She can pull herself to standing.
-She is eating yogurt, lots of fruits and vegetables, homemade rice porridge and...tofu!!
-She can say many different "words" and exclaims "da da" when Dennis walks in the door. (Not sure if it is what she means but it is good timing!)
-Elyse can speak a little bit of a second language, that being sign language. She doesn't do it the "textbook" way but she signs more when she wants more cheerios or food. We're working on some other signs.
-Just in the past week, we have developed some issue with separation anxiety. When I leave her at the gym she FREAKS! At least I know she likes me!

She is easy to smile and laugh, loves being out and about and seeing other people and really loves the fact that she can move.

We love you sweet girl!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Baby Yoga


A girl's got to stay in shape, and among other things, Elyse has taken on yoga. She does child's pose, downward dog, and of course, happy baby.

Here she is in downward dog. Namaste. :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Our New Puppy!!!



Did I trick you? We're not pet people, so no, we don't have a dog, but Elyse is definitely my new puppy. Now that she can crawl, she can follow me all over the house. I just say, "Lee-see, come here," and she comes speeding around the corner. It's a lot of fun!

Here's another cute shot from today.