Monday, January 31, 2011

Our Weekend and A Valentine Countdown

Wow, it's January 31st.  Where the heck did that come from?  I can't believe how quickly time is flying around here...and that before we know it, Valentine's Day will soon be here...and then my birthday...and then March...which leads to spring...and wowsers.   Just crazy I tell ya.

How was your weekend?  We had a great weekend around the house.  The Hubbs rearranged our office to make room for me to have my very own space.  Yahoo and a big hallelujah!  Our kitchen counter was beginning to be the dumping ground for everything...piled high with bills and to do lists and this and that...and it made the whole kitchen feel messy.  I have been thinking for a while now that I just needed my own space.  My own Mom space if you will.  

This weekend, he wanted to set up his desk and computer area differently in preparation for a better functioning and more organized work space for himself, and in the process, he helped me achieve the same thing.  I was beaming.  I don't have pictures right now, but I hope to show you soon.  Since moving in, our office area has not been painted.  Probably best as it would have most likely been painted a shade of khaki.  :)  Right now, we each have our own bookshelf, our own desk, and our own computer...mine being the shared computer when needed.  My desk is an old table we found on Craigslist years back and his is an old lawyer desk we inherited from his parents when we first moved in.    What's funny is that when we first moved in here about 7 years ago, we basically took all the hand me downs we could get, with the exception of buying a new couch and a new bed...and eventually a couple bookcases.   We were newly weds and we weren't trying to spend a fortune furnishing our new home.  Not our style.  Not being the wealthiest folks around and being purposefully frugal, we haven't really spent the money replacing much, and so as you can imagine, non of the furniture in the office coordinates at this point.  There are no curtains up, and we still have yet to hang some framed goodies...but you know what?  I don't care!  I have a nice, clear, functioning...space....and I love it!  Lots to look forward to as far as little (and big) projects around the house go in the upcoming months.  I'm getting pretty excited.  Kitchen cabinets getting a makeover soon, Coop's room, our room, the office...lots to do and plan.  Fun!  We are both getting to the point where we are wanting more and more to make this house feel even more like home.  

Also, a huge praise and jump for joy moment for us at church today.  Coop is quite attached to us when it comes to being around other folks by himself, and while that is quite alright and we're happy to have him feel comfortable at his own pace, it is nice to see strides being made here.  We took Coop to KidZone and as we left, he seemed to be okay.  He cried for a moment, but I took him in and got him settled and that was enough to help him feel at ease.  B and I got to sit in church together the whole time today, and our number never flashed up on the screen.  When we went to pick him up, he was smiling and was pleased as punch.  He said, "No cry me."  Then he smiled and gave us big hugs.  I'm so proud of him, and so thankful.  What a big little man!

And now, since Valentine's Day is around the corner, I wanted to share a sweet little Valentine's Day countdown with you all.  It's just so cute and leads to a family spending time together in preparation for the upcoming holiday.  So great.  Go check out Paiges of Style for the full tutorial and envelope downloads.  Or maybe, make your own countdown.  Tell us about it...

How do you prepare for Valentine's Day in your neck of the woods?

COURTESY OF PAIGES OF STYLE


Blessings to you on this last day of January,


PS - Look for some Valentine Inspirations coming in the next couple of weeks.  I'm sure you've seen a lot already, but I'd like to share a few of my favorites...oh and my Mama's Famous Sugar Cookie Recipe!  What a treat!

Once Again...OOPSIES...Sorry RSS Feed Subscribers

Just a little FYI...

It is almost midnight...and it is time I go to bed!  I can hardly see straight!  I am trying to follow some of my goals for this year by not spending as much time on the computer...especially during the week!  So tonight I was writing a few posts that are meant to go out in the next couple weeks!  It's going well.  I got some things accomplished tonight, so tomorrow I can spend the whole day with my little man and not feel like the computer is calling my name.

Well silly me, being all tired and such, accidentally wrote the wrong date for a post to be published, and so instead of saving it as a draft, Blogger posted my post!  Ugh.  How dare they?!

Again, if you don't read Hallelujahs by rss feed, then you are foot loose and fancy free and can carry on with our regularly scheduled program.  But if you are reading this in Google Reader or other rss feed, and you see a post with all sorts of Valentine lovelies in it...OOPSIES.  You are more than welcome to read it, but just remember, it is meant for a few days from now.  Just be prepared to see it again soon!

Hey, what can I say?!  I'm not perfect.  Thank goodness!  That would be a lot to live up to!  :)

Blessings on your Monday friends!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oops...Sunday Worship Published A Couple Weeks Ahead! RSS Feed Readers Take Note!

Hi friends, I've got some fun Valentine's posts coming up this week and look forward to sharing them with you.  Yay!  Also, just wanted to inform you of a big ol' OOPS I just made.  For those of you who follow along through an rss feed, I just wanted to say a quick apology and OOPSIDAISY.

Rss Logo Clip Art

I was typing up a post intended for Sunday, February 13th, and accidentally hit publish!  Oops!  I unpublished it of course, but once you hit publish, intentionally or by mistake, these bad boys are on rss feeds in an instant, with no way of taking them back!  Eeek!

Anyhoo, there was nothing wrong with the post, and it was nearly finished...so please read it if you'd like but know that you will see it again...maybe with a few tweaks on Sunday the 13th as well.

Those of you following along without an rss feed, I'll look forward to sharing that post with you in the next couple Sundays.  Some scripture, great love excerpt, and a Brandon Heath Song.  Good stuff.


Have any of you ever published a post by mistake, not knowing that all your rss feed readers were getting a great glimpse of your errors?  Oh well, what can ya do?  


Thanks for your understanding all, and thanks for hanging in with me.  It's a huge encouragement to me to have a connection with so many of you, to hear from you, to share ideas and enjoy this life with you through blogging.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Favorite Things Friday: Snack Idea - Uncle Dan's Ranch Dip

Okay, so lately, my favorite things are favoring some tasty treats.  What can I say?  :)  I LOVE food!!!  So here we go.

Veggies and dip.  Gotta love it.  Awesome go to snack that can be ready made in the fridge for a midday pick me up, accompaniment to lunch, or a quick bite.  I love offering a big white platter full of colorful veggies and dip to guests and also enjoy bringing it to a shindig.  Everyone loves it, and it is a dose of health...slathered in ranch.  :)



We found and have come to love a ranch dip that is the creamiest and yummiest.  Maybe you've heard of it and know it well, but it is fairly new to our taste buds.  Uncle Dan's ranch dip mix.  Own it.  Mix it.  Love it.

Uncle Dans Classic Ranch Dressing, 3/4-Ounces (Pack of 8)

Enjoy!  Happy dipping!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Food for Kids...Hide A Veggie and Jazz It Up Every Once And A While

Cooper has always been the best eater, and it has been my joy to cook for him.  I remember steaming veggies and blending fruit when we were introducing him to flavors and getting all giddy watching his little face contort and scrunch up as he figured out what he liked and didn't.  So fun.

Well, as a two year old, he has become a little pickier, and I think partly due to my becoming a little lazy with cooking.  As my arthritis seems to be coming and going over the past months, the meals I have been cooking and the food I have been preparing haven't always been the balanced, exciting, and healthy meals I was getting accustomed to making.  I think he got used to being a normal kid as far as eating habits go!

I started getting a little creative, like many moms with wee ones do, and just wanted to share two little ways I try to hide a veggie or jazz up something ordinary for Cooper.  Super easy and pretty obvious actually, but I always think it's fun to see what other moms are doing to help their kids enjoy their food.

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Mac and Cheese (Hidden Veggie)




Amy's Rice Macaroni & Cheese, Gluten-Free, Organic, 9-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)

Cooper loves Amy's Macaroni and Cheese made with organic, gluten free rice pasta.  We've had Kraft macaroni and cheese and other brands too, but this just happens to be our favorite.  I have to say, it's delicious...so creamy, and I always have a few in the freezer for Cooper...and myself.  When it's a rough day, and I'm not up for spending a lot of time in the kitchen, I still want to make sure he gets more than mac and cheese in one sitting.  So, when I cook up this mac and cheese in the microwave, I try to add in a veggie that won't distract him and make him say no!  As he loves corn on the cob, corn cooked up from the freezer is not his favorite.  Because it's orange and seems to hide very well in the corn, I pull out a small portion of frozen corn and add it in.  Voila!  A little hidden veggie that won't cause alarm!  

Don't get me wrong, I always like to put the steamed or cooked or raw veggie on his plate too, all by itself.  I've never been shy to discuss with Cooper what he is eating and use words that might excite him about the food.  He seems to respond very well and is always up for at least "tasting" whatever it is I've made for him.  I don't want to take away the opportunity for him to decide what he really likes before I make up his mind for him.  I have the cookbook Deceptively Delicious, and it has some awesome ideas in terms of incorporating veggies in all kinds of meals and desserts.  But being deceptive is not my game plan from the start, and I am all about introducing Cooper to flavors and textures with him developing a joy, healthy understanding, and love for food.

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Jazzing Up the Cheerios



Trix Cereal, 10.7-Ounce Box (Pack of 6)  Cheerios Cereal, 14-Ounce Box (Pack of 4)

So Cooper loves cereal...LOVES!  I try to change it up each morning and throw in all the other breakfast options, but cereal is his FAVORITE!  Cheerios with bananas is a gold standard around here, but to jazz it up a bit I like to addd some colorful Trix.  Remember Trix?  Trix are for kids!  So instead of caving in and letting him have a whole bowl full (or ever really giving him that option to start with), I sprinkle in the fun and give some new life to his Cheerios!  He loves it!

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If you haven't seen these fun food resources yet (kind of kid inspired), check out...


BentoLunch.net - What\

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 If you have wee ones of your own, how are you helping 
them foster a healthy love and enjoyment of food?  

Blessings to you,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Inspiration: TODAY IS A NEW DAY

HALLELUJAH!



Woo to the hoo for that!  And guess what...if today is shaping up to be a rough one
for ya...just remember, tomorrow will soon be today, and today is a new day!

Praying for you a wonderful today and a refreshed spirit to find the joy one moment at a time!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Personalized Quilt from Boppa and G-Mama...Best Gift Ever!

Happy Monday to you friends.  I've been wanting to share one of Cooper's Christmas gifts with you and finally have a chance.

A few Christmases ago, my parents started a most precious Christmas gift tradition for the grandkids.  Each grandchild gets a very personalized quilt (collaborated on and sewn by my parents) the Christmas they are two years old.  My two nieces had been gifted their quilts in previous years, and this year, I was giddy with anticipation knowing that Cooper, along with my nephew, would get their special quilt from Boppa and G-Mama.  Now if you're counting, that made two very detailed and meticulously sewn quilts for my parents to make this fall...mostly my Dad sewing...to be completed by Christmas...yowza!  I know they sacrificed many hours of sleep and countless nights of cutting and sewing for hours straight.  Thank you Mom and Dad!!!  What a loving gift...one that will be snuggled up to and held dear always!

For starters, my parents asked us to think of 12 ideas for the squares, things that represent favorites or serve as wonderful memories for Cooper as we look back on his first two years.  I think I could have come up with a million things, but we narrowed it down to 12.  After that, my parents did all the hard work, and it turned out beautifully.

Here's a little peek.  Forgive me for taking kinda lame-o pictures.  NONE of these pictures do the quilt justice, as the lighting wasn't the best.  We just went for it anyway.  Some of the symbols were printed from images my Dad found online, but he free handed many of them as well.  I tried to capture some of the attention to detail here...just amazing!  Just to give you an idea of my Dad as a seamster (well he's not a seamstress!), he is a jack of all trades...our Superman/MacGuyver if you will.  He tells us stories of being young and having my Grandmother teach him how to use her sewing machine so he could make clothes, tents, and sleeping bags for his GI Joe dolls.  Who does that?  He is so far beyond cool that it's crazy.  Enjoy his/their handy work!



The colors further down are more true to the actual hue and color.  This lighting looks quite funky!

Cooper loves all the sports we've introduced him to so far.  He loves throwing, swinging, kicking, and dunking so football, baseball, soccer, and basketball were perfect choices to be represented on a square.  



Choo choos are definitely a favorite of Cooper's.  A must have square.



Cooper dressed as Superman for his first Halloween, and my Dad nicknamed him Super Duper Cooper.  He is pretty darn super duper, so the name has stuck.



Cooper loves playing the guitar with my Dad whenever we visit their house.  He also runs to grab his play guitar every time we turn on music and have a dance party.  When our dance parties turn into parades, he straps on his guitar and doesn't even think twice, playing a tune and belting it out!



Cooper wears Converse every day.  We love them around here.  It all started when he was a baby, and since, he has been gifted or given a new pair every time his feet have outgrown the last pair.  His first real Converse were an electric blue, and they will forever hold a special place in my heart.  Look at the  detail my Dad was able to sew on these bad boys.  I just can't believe it.



We couldn't forget about construction vehicles.  Dump trucks and bulldozers are our favorites.  Cooper has a few and is mesmerized any time we see them working on a construction site.



Rubber boots are a staple around here with all the rain, and these look identical to Cooper's favorite that he wears practically every day.  



Cooper developed a liking to lawnmowers very early on, and it was one of his first and most frequently used words since he started talking.  I asked him what he wanted for Christmas, and all the said was, "A blue lawnmower (mawn-mow) please."  Since he already had a little lawnmower, I put a big bow on it and put it under the tree with all the other fun things we were giving him.  The first thing he ran to on Christmas morning, his mouth wide open with excitement, was his lawnmower.  Go figure.



Cooper has a minor obsession with tools and offering to fix everything.  He can tell you the name of each of these tools with ease, knows how they work, and is very capable of operating several power tools.  He most recently fell in love with needle nose plyers.  He seems to think they are the bee's knees for some reason.  I just like hearing him say, "Needle nose plyers."  The darn tootin' cutest for sure.



We've enjoyed Cooper's drumming skills since we introduced him to the Bee Bop Band (drum and instruments) I spoke of HERE.  We don't have a dance party or parade without a couple drums.  To continue the drumming love on a grander scale, I found a junior drum set at The Salvation Army in November (pictures HERE...they have since been arranged correctly), and my in-laws gifted them to Cooper for Christmas.  We love it.  I am the Mom who welcomes the crazy drumming.  We'll see how long that lasts!



While we don't want to be the parents that let their kid watch too much tv, Curious George quickly became our little tv buddy, and Cooper's favorite little monkey.  We also read about him just about daily.  If I'm going to have to watch a kid show every now and again, I'll gladly take George any day.



M&Ms somehow made their way into Cooper's mouth, and we could never go back.  They quickly became a favorite treat...especially as he mastered potty training.  Thank you M&Ms for the lack of diapers around here lately.  I have thoroughly enjoyed sneaking handfuls of you time and time again.



I love the fabrics of the quilt and the detailed borders my Dad was able to incorporate...blues, greens, yellows, polk-a-dots, stripes, patterned, bugs, trains, and turtles.  So fun and cheeful!  



My Dad (Boppa to Cooper) and my Mom (G-Mama) outdid themselves.  Truly a work of art.



I will be forever grateful to my parents for the ways they make our lives special...for the attention to detail that matter enough to them...for the time they take to make us all feel special...for the love they are not afraid to give us...for the example of creativity, grace, joy, fun, and generosity they set for us as parents...for the sweet way they love my son as if he was their own...the light of their life every time he is near.  I thank them.  I love them.  They are my forever friends and Cooper's forever buddies!

Blessings to you this Monday.  Fill your week with sweet memories and gifts of love.



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