November 20, 2009

For Our Pretty Bird...

Finally. I'm getting to this post.

Finally. The bird mobile is done. I got to scratch it off of my "to do" a little over a month ago.

Charlie sent me this link last August (as in of '08) suggesting that I make one of these for McKlayne. I haven't been working on it since then...but it has been a while...on and off since the Spring, probably.

These are the Pottery Barn inspired canvases that Kyle, Charlie and I decoupaged the month before McKlayne was born:

Here are the birds that I sewed and stuffed in Design Sponge Fashion (thanks Mel and Blaire for your help along the way) :

The backs.

The breasts.

And here is the mobile. My sweet husband patiently spent half the time it took for me to make these bird to find the correct position for the birds to balance on the branches. Without him, the birds would be sitting defeated on a shelf in her room. My brain does not understand physics at all.

And while we're at it...the rest of her room:

I got these old flashcards (and the frames) at a garage sale. Picked out some of my favorite cards, put fabric behind them, and spray painted the frames. She loves books. I just wish there would have been a "dolls" flashcard to represent her two loves.

I got these vintage paper dolls and the frame at the Austin City-wide garage sale (Don't go there expecting "garage sale" prices or steals or you'll be disappointed. But there are still some great deals to be stumbled upon. I will definitely go back.)

Friday Funnies a little late but still to come!

November 13, 2009

Friday Funnies

Asher seems to be apologizing for a lot around here these days. It's always for things that he is truly sorry for. Sometimes, it's for sweet things like, "I'm sorry. I did not mean to step on your foot, Momma."

Other times it's for things like:

"I'm sorry that you have pimples back there, Momma" (referring to the tiny bumps on the back of my arm that I've loathed my entire life) "You're too pretty for that..."

Or like when McKlayne pooped in the bath tub, (for the 6th time in the last month) "I'm sorry that you pooped in the tub, Nayne. I forgive you."


During Baking Day this week, Asher grabs the camera off the counter and starts taking pictures, while I'm busily at work mixing up some brown bread. A few minutes later he says, "I took a picture of your bottom, Momma. It's a cute one."

November 6, 2009

Friday Funnies

Last Saturday night I was talking to my brother, Jordan, on the phone. I was asking him if he'd spend the night so that we could leave to go run (we had an 11 miler to do...we're training for the Austin marathon) the next morning while Asher and McKlayne were still sleeping. While talking to him, I said, "You can just take Asher's bed." (as in to sleep in...we put Asher in another portable bed in McKlayne's room.)

When I got off the phone, Asher was very upset...and he told me, "No, I don't want Jo to take my bed away. I won't have anywhere to sleep. How will I sleep without a bed? I want him to leave my bed here in my room."


Proof that living in this town has brain-washed our child:

While we're driving around the mall parking lot, Asher points up towards this sign, and says,

"Look, Mommy, that mouse is saying Gig' em, Aggies!"


We were jumping on the trampoline earlier this week, I double-bounced Asher and sent him flying, which knocked him down pretty hard. As I went over to help him up, he told me in a serious voice, "Hey, you better settle down, Mister!"

November 4, 2009

He left a boy and came back a MAN...

...Asher, that is. (Kirby is crying while I write this post.)


I had always thought about how fun it would be to take my son(s) camping someday. So when our new friends Joe and Isaac said they were going, Asher and I jumped at the chance. I had wondered when Asher was going to be old enough to sleep outside for a night. Isaac is almost a year younger than Asher. So I thought if they were willing to try it, we were definitely going.

For our first experimental camping trip, Joe and I decided that keeping it relatively close to home would be preferred. We ended up going to Hilltop Lakes just outside of Normangee. I wouldn't say that they were the nicest campgrounds that I've ever seen, but they were definitely adequate for the men. (And the community is pretty interesting with an airstrip, golf course, motel, restaurant, and small lakes.) I would recommend it.

We got there in the evening with enough time to let the boys run off some energy while we got a fire going for dinner. Here is Asher's fire. If you've read some of our recent posts, he has cultivated quite the imagination. While we were prepping the campfire, he kept asking me to come see his fire as he would throw sticks into this hole.


Asher was a natural camper. When we would go on walks, I expected my "I don't like my hands dirty" boy to stick close and on the main trail. No way. He would just walk straight through the woods making his own trail. If he'd had a machete and backpack, I would never have seen him again. I honestly couldn't keep up as it was. The holes/trails he could fit through were about a quarter of the size that I could. And I found my self sprinting around a different way to head him off or pushing through all the brush.

Asher and Isaac played well. All they needed were a couple of shovels and the great outdoors and they were totally content. Asher repeatedly told me throughout the trip, "Daddy. Isaac is my friend."

As the Apels were in charge of the meals for the trip, I quickly realized how much I equate camping with eating junk food — smores, powdered donuts, etc. I think the healthiest thing we ate were the nitrate-free hot dogs. (Sorry, Terry-men. I'm pretty sure we'll rethink this next time.)

Isaac was a champ at tent-sleeping. Joe put him down and we never heard from him until the next morning. Asher was a little harder to convince. But I think it was a little more due to the excitement of a new adventure than being afraid or uncomfortable. (If we tell him that he's going to Seaworld or somewhere exciting the night before the trip, we can hear him talking in his room extremely late that night. We've all been there.)



We had a really great time camping and spending time with Joe and Isaac. We will definitely be doing this again. Who's coming with us?

November 3, 2009

Freezer Cooking Day

For the last 6 months, I've been designating (about) every other Monday as my "Baking Day." I'll bake enough muffins, quick breads or cereal bars to put in the freezer that will last us around 2-3 weeks. (recipes at the bottom of this post...since I'm always up for trying new recipes) This has been really helpful to me for snacks or a hurried breakfast (if we're trying to get out the door quickly for some reason) or even just a lazy-day breakfast when I don't want to scrub the eggs off my (used-to-be) non-stick pan. (This is absolutely the WORST part of making breakfast to me...does anybody else hate this?)

Anyway, Asher loves to help with this, while McKlayne pretty much just likes to taste-test.

Our church has a HUGE fellowship meal after our service on Sunday evenings...which is something that I LOVE but most Sundays it has stressed me out, trying to make a meal, plus a side dish or dessert, and get everyone dressed, ready, bags packed and out the door in time. So, about a month ago, my wise husband told me that he'd like for me to find a way to make Sundays more restful.

My solution?

Several weeks ago, Crystal, from
MoneySavingMom inspired me to have a freezer cooking day...she is also who inspired me to have my very first baking day 6 months ago...and I am sharing this, in hopes, that maybe it will inspire you to make meal preparation easier on days that are busy or difficult!

Read up on how to package and freeze meals properly here. (This had been what kept me from attempting something like this in the past, but this lady gives great, easy-to-follow instructions!)
**Secret Ingredient to a successful Baking Day: If you have kids (and you live in a college town), get yourself a cute college girl, who wants to learn how to cook but can also step in to help with babies when needed.**

Madeline (my cute college girl)

Then, get all of your ingredients for each meal, along with the recipes (even if you have it memorized because when you have several different meals going at a time and if you're trying to double/triple recipes-it just gets CRAZY!) and group them (along with the pans or bags that you're freezing them in) together like so:

Then get to work...leaving your once clean kitchen, very messy...and rejoice as you think about all the hours that you're about to redeem since you're getting that kitchen REALLY messy ONE time rather than FOURTEEN!

In about 6-7 hours, we made 14 meals (not all pictured here):

-3 meals of Spaghetti Bake
-2 pans of Lasagna
-3 pans of King Ranch Chicken
-2 meals of Baked Ziti
-2 meals of Angie's Fideo
-1 meal of Sloppy Joe's (meat mixture)
-1 chicken pot pie

This has worked SO well for our family that I will probably do this every month. In two weeks, we've already eaten 4 of these meals, I'd designated 4 of these meals as New Life (our church) meals (2 of these down and 2 to go) and two families from our church have needed meals and I took them each one of these. So we've only got 4 left...but it's been such a blessing to be able to run to the freezer in the morning (or at about 4:00 in the afternoon in desperation) and pull out one of these ready-made meals. A stress free wife/Mommy=a MUCH less cranky and irritable wife/Mommy.

What I will do differently next time:

-Ask a friend or two if I can borrow at least one (maybe two) extra large pot(s) and several large bowls for mixing so that I can have several things going at once...this will speed up the process.

-Possibly brown the turkey/beef/sausage and boil the chicken the night before.

-Figure out a new way to cook the Baked Ziti. The noodles in the spaghetti and the lasagna (though, those were not cooked before I froze them) tasted fine! But, the penne pasta in the Ziti was a little too mushy. Suggestions? Would you barely cook them next time, since they'll freeze, thaw, and be cooked in the oven again?

-Experiment with different recipes to see how they freeze.

And if you only browse my blog to see my cute kids and you don't care what I have to say, I don't want to disappoint:

Asher grabs "his" apron every time we bake.

Guess what? As I was typing this post, I realized that Crystal is having a Two Day Freezer Cooking/Baking Day...starting today!
And if you have any tips or recipes that you know freeze well, PLEASE share! I'd love to hear!
Oh, yes, the recipes that I promised from Baking Days. I usually choose a couple from these depending on what ingredients I have:
Banana Bread (my sister gave me this recipe...I love this because it uses minimal ingredients, is simple and delicious!)

3/4 c. unsweet applesauce
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking
1 tsp. baking
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. grated carrots (optional)
1 c. mashed bananas (about 3)
*I sometimes I'll add choc. chips. (Just eyeball it.)

Preheat to 350. Spray 9 x 5 loaf pan w/ cooking spray.
In one bowl combine applesauce, sugar, and eggs; beat until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, soda, powder, and cinnamon. Add to batter and blend well.
Fold carrots and bananas (and choc. chips) into batter.
Pour batter into pan(s).Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean.

Brown Bread (This is what my Baking Day will consist of today...I plan on making MANY loaves..this is my kids all time favorite snack/breakfast bread...this recipe is an old family favorite.)

With my recipe, I bake them in a can in the oven. Just save an old, tall (family size) soup can or spaghetti sauce can and a big fat shorter can like what a can of whole tomatoes would come in.
Two of either (or I use one of each) size will be enough for the recipe:
-Boil 1 and 1/2 cups water, put in 1 and 3/4 cups raisins, once it boils, remove from burner and let stand for 15 minutes. Put 2 teaspoons of baking soda in raisin mix.

-Beat together 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 egg. Then add raisin and water mixture. Add 3 cups flour.
-Pour batter into greased cans and stand them up in your oven. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Stonyfield Farm Strawberry Muffins (from the Stonyfield Farm yogurt carton)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup Stoynfield lowfat plain yogurt (I've used vanilla yogurt and omitted the tsp. of vanilla and did not taste the difference)
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped strawberries
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 12 muffin tin or line it with paper baking cups. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar andbaking soda. In another bowl, stir together eggs, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla until blended. Toss the strawberries with the flour mixture.
Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until the flour is just moistened. The batter will be lumpy. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Yields 12 muffins.

Jason's Deli's Gingerbread Muffins (Asher loves these!)
I just googled it and tried this recipe one day...
these are pretty close to the real thing!

Cereal Bars
I googled these, too, and got this recipe.

November 2, 2009

Remember this?

McKlayne would like me to note...

that she is not the only one who wakes up with beadhead in this house...

Yup. That's going to be a doozy to tame.

(And. Yes. He is long overdue for a haircut, too.)

November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We love Halloween. See how much fun we had?

One little...

Two little...

Cute little indian...


The Eagle that he was so proud of.


First stop: Jin & Jisook's


The Ash's

Aunt Ash.

Second stop: MammyOu's & Dane's

She caught on to trick-or-treating quite quickly...and L.O.V.E.D. it! She would walk all the way up to the door toting her bucket and either lift it up to the treater or set the bucket down at their feet and then just look up at them as if to say, "Now, it's your turn."

She had SO MUCH candy that she could barely carry her bucket. But, she did. And would not let it go.

Asher loved running from house to house.

And would say, "I'm a pirate indian!" or "I'm a ninja indian!" whenever he would see another child dressed up as a pirate or ninja and so on...

American Gothic throws a mad party.

Cute Black-Eyed-Peas.

Has-Been Hulk & The REAL Dr.'s Wife

The Flintstones.