Wednesday, February 4, 2009

M is for My favorite things

I thought it would be fun to have one posting for all of my favorite things from this last year, more of a list than commentary, but hey, it's my blog so why not? So, without further adieu, here are my favorite things that I have learned, found, experienced, or whatever else I deem worthy of this post.

My Favorite...

... headline from the past year

This has to start off my blog posting because I still cannot get over the sheer stupidity of Plaxico Burress. First of all, having a name like Plaxico just screams newsworthy, but shooting yourself in the leg with your own gun while carrying concealed illegally at a club in NYC, makes it my favorite. Sadly, he has gotten more publicity from this act then he did being a top wide receiver. Go figure.

...Mommy Moments

Madison is regularly in time out. When she gets whiney or obnoxious (what, my kid?) she goes straight to time out. It is my saving grace. So anyway, a few months ago I was finishing dinner and ended up sending Madison to timeout for something or other. She was so quiet and actually went up there without much argument. I was talking to Ryan on the phone a while later while taking Hunter to bed and noticed that she was laying on her bed all quiet and everything. I commented to Ryan that she must be really tired if she went to bed all by herself before eating dinner. It still didn't hit me that she was in timeout. About 10 minutes later she came down crying, asking if timeout was over yet. She had been in timeout for about an hour and never said a word! I felt so bad, so now when she goes up to her room for a timeout she asks me not to forget about her. In my defense, she has never had a timeout, before or since, that she did not start yelling "Mommy, is timeout over yet?" within 1 minute of getting there, so of course I forgot! I never have to remember, she constantly reminds me!

Now Hunter, he is a fantastic child. He doesn't give me any grief, he is happy most of the time, and he actually likes to cuddle...he gives the best hugs. But man, the little stinker can crawl like a speed demon. Not too long ago we went to a friends house for a few minutes. The kids were all playing in the backyard and so we went out there to say hi. I put Hunter down and was kind of following him around a little bit because they have a pool. He kind of started crawling towards it and then would turn and come back to play somewhere else. He started crawling towards the shallow end again and so I was watching him, he kept getting closer and so I started walking towards him. He saw me so he sped up (he does this all the time) and went right over the edge into the cold water. I was there, literally, a second later and grabbed him out. He was under about a second and a half, but he was not happy. He was fine, he didn't even swallow any water.

So, Ryan comes home from work, says hi to Madison and she, before a hi or anything, tells him that Hunter fell in the pool today. He looks at me and says, "Well, there goes your mother-of-the-year award." Smart-A.....

...Kid moments

Madison has finally figured out how to say "I love you" to people. She used to just say, "I Know" when people said it to her or ignore it. Now she will say it to me just out of the blue...which is so sweet. But, she is also trying to figure out if saying it will get her something she wants. The answer? Nope, I am not that gullible, but I sure love hearing it anyway.

Moment #2 is becoming somewhat of a daily thing. We were in the car a while back and I told her that I needed to grab a coke from somewhere. She agreed and told me to hurry because coke makes me happy. Yep, my 4 year old lets me know when I am grumpy by suggesting we go on a coke run.

...Moment of Despair

The saddest moment of this past year was when Madison cut her hair. Many of you might be wondering why she has a semi-bowl cut in our family picture. It is because she cut her hair right before we had it taken. I took her to a hairdresser and had it evened out the best we could, but it still didn't look great. It has almost grown out now, thank goodness. She looks so much better with hair!

...Blog entries

I love reading every one else's blogs, especially the funny stories. So, here are my favorites...

I got hooked on this girls blog through a friend, and even though I don't know her I still love to read her postings. She is a fabulous writer and I love her adventures. This has to be my favorite though, I made Ryan read it, and if you know Ryan he doesn't read blogs (apparently he only reads chat rooms), and he even laughed.

On to people that I know, Brynn, you win the best blog entry with Haley running around nekked and playing with your unmentionables. I love this picture!

What is my favorite blog posting that I did this year? Hmmm, this one I suppose. Even Ryan got a kick out of it. I rarely am witty, and even more rare is when others get my wit. I suppose I am like Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail" where she never comes up with a good retort at the moment she needs it, I am much like that....they always come to me later, ahhh, but this posting, it was a moment of sheer brilliance on my part. Those moments come few and far between so I am savoring this one for a while.

...Household Tips

I put on my posting about baking soda earlier this year, it works, try it. I have also started putting about a 1/4 of a cup in each load of laundry, I swear it makes my clothes look cleaner and fresher.

Vinegar is another new found love of mine. When I have new clothes I put a few tablespoons in the wash with my regular detergent and it seals the colors in. It keeps my blacks and reds from fading and bleeding onto other clothes. I also use it to clean everything. I have a spray bottle of 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water that I use to clean my counters (vinegar is a natural disinfectant and sanitizer), but the best is using 1 gallon of warm water, 1-2 cups of vinegar and 3 T of ammonia to mop with. My floors have never looked better, although it did take a few moppings to get rid of the buildup of floor cleaners. Seriously, try it, those nasty black spots that show up after you mop won't show up when you use this.

I have a few kitchen items I can't live without anymore. The first is a scooper from from Sur La Table, I found it for just a few dollars, but I use it all the time, it really cuts down of the messes I make when I cook.

The second is Wilton brand baking pans. They are a few extra dollars at target or wherever, but they are worth it. They mean it when they put non-stick on the label. Next time you have to buy a muffin tin or something, get Wilton, they rock!

I finally found a brownie mix that I like. I tried a bunch and never really fell in love with one kind, until now. They are my favorite (in my opinion only, everyone has their own favorite style) and they are so easy to make. I make them as cupcakes when I make treats for Madison's class. Try them and see what you think. As a side note, they usually go on sale for a $1 a box every couple months, I never pay $3 - something for a box of brownie mix.

Now, for one of my favorite things period. Makeup! I love makeup and hair products, I might have a bit of an obsession with them, but heck, if you've seen me without either you must understand why. It took me a lot of years to figure out how to use makeup properly and really understand what it can do for you. This year has brought several favorite items into my collections.

If you have uneven skin (like me) try a green tinted concealer. I got one from Clinique (it was the only counter that had a girl working it when I went to buy some). It makes my skin look so much more smooth and even when I put my foundation on over it.

I have dorky, stubby eyelashes so I am constantly trying to find awesome mascara. I love, love, love Christian Dior's backstage mascara. It actually gives me eyelashes. If you don't want to spend $23 on mascara (I don't blame you) I also really like Maybelline's Colossal Volume Express, not quite as good, but only about $7 instead.

...Quick and easy recipes

My mother-in-law taught me the easiest cookie recipe ever. Any time I am in a bind and need a treat (or really want an easy sweet) I make these. Take a box of cake mix, any cake mix you want, add 2 eggs and 1 melted stick of butter. Add whatever other sweet you want in it and bake at the cake box temp until done (usually about 10 min). They are yummy and easy. My favorite is a German Chocolate cake mix, chopped walnuts or pecans, coconut and chocolate chips. They are so good! I made German Chocolate cake mix with peanut butter chips for M's preschool treats the other day (more on those later). You can use yellow cake mix with chocolate chips for an easy basic CCC recipe. Enjoy!

My wonderful friend Amy taught me her chicken secret. She gets the bag of frozen chicken and puts it in the crockpot with chicken stock and cooks it, chops it and then separates it into freezer bags for use later. I used to do this with ground beef. I got the big thing at Costco, browned it all at once and then put it in bags in about 1 lb size. It made it so much easier for dinners and I didn't have to thaw it for very long.

I could go on and on, but I think that should do it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Home

N is for New home, because that is what we got this year, a new house. I love our new home, it is so nice to finally be in a home that we can grow into and move around in. Keeping it picked up and cleaned, though, that is not very fun! I haven't taken that many pictures of the inside of the house, you have to come visit if you want to see it :)

This is what we had:

1850 SqFt single story home, 4 (yeah, right) bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 car garage, no storage space

This is what we have now:

3800 SqFt 2 story home, 6 bedrooms, 4 baths, 3 car garage, LOTS of storage including a pantry!

On the Road Again

Yep, O is for On the Road Again...we traveled so much last year and loved every minute of it. We won't be traveling quite so much this year, but we are so grateful for the memories we made during each of our trips. I looked at our calendar last night and noticed that the month of February is empty. I mean EMPTY, I have 2 birthday's and Valentines day on it. I turned to Ryan and told him I was bored just looking at the calendar.

I don't have the time, nor the inclination, to recap each of our trips last year, but several of them are already posted on our blog. Here it is, though, our year in travel:

Ariane and Brian came to visit (That's a picture of the three of us at the top of the Stratosphere at dusk)

St. George for MLK weekend with Thomas and Amy (We have done this for the last 4 years and I finally got our first picture this year, stay tuned for a posting dedicated to all of our fun with the Simms' family)

Ryan's birthday trip to Memphis for the University of Memphis vs. University of Tennessee basketball game

Allie came to visit for her 21st birthday

Easter Party in Utah

Amily and Aunt Lori came to visit

Utah for Collin's graduation

Memphis in May canoe race

Utah for Parker's wedding

Hawaii ( here is another one )

Alyssa and Colin come to visit

Omaha/ Bemidji/ Minneapolis/ Des Moines (it was exhausting but awesome)



We moved, I count that as a "trip" but not a vacation because I cannot count the amount of trips I made from our old house to our new house with a car full of stuff and two kids

Dad and Ariane come to visit (we always hit up In and Out Burger when they come, this time Hunter got a hat, I think he ate more of his burger than Madison did, too)

Utah ( see this post too! )

New York City (I know my post says part 1, there will be more when I make some time to put it all together)

Ainge family comes to Thanksgiving

Utah for the Ainge family Christmas party

Tennessee for Christmas

Whew! We had lots of fun travels and a few different visitors, hopefully this year will have more visitors and less visiting! We love our family and really enjoy all of the time we get to spend with them each year, I wouldn't trade the exhaustion, hassle, and messed up schedules for anything.

As I link up all of these I must say how impressed I am with myself, I was worried that I didn't have all of these posted, but I had most of them. Yeah! I will blog about December's trips when I finally finish this darn Year End recap.

Princess Madison

Princess Madison: \ˈprin(t)-səs, ˈprin-ˌses, (usual British) prin-ˈses\ (noun)
1: a woman having sovereign power 2: a female member of a royal family ; especially : a daughter or granddaughter of a sovereign3: the consort of a
prince4: one likened to a princess ; especially : a woman of high rank or of high standing in her class or profession

See also: precocious; tenderhearted; fun; intelligent; persistent; inquisitive; curious; lovable; creative; sharp; nurturer; cheerleader; devious; clown; big sister; teacher; energetic; witty; student; independent; confident

There is so much I can write about her that it is a little hard to know where to start. She is now 4 1/2 years old, and so incredibly grown up. It is amazing to see the difference one year makes with her age. She is very articulate and is really beginning to understand the world around her.

Preschool I notice the changes most in her preschool behavior. Last year she had bad days on a regular basis; she had a hard time sitting still, paying attention to what was going on around her, and she loved to distract her friends sitting next to her. She has done so much better this year. The preschool teacher has a system, when the child behaves acceptably during that day they get a sticker on the sticker chart. When they get 5 stickers they get in the Treasure Box. This year she has gotten a sticker all but one day. That is incredible! That tells me that she has learned how to sit still in class, participate in the activity, not distract the other kids, but most of all, it tells me that she has matured and is ready for a good kindergarten experience. She is so excited to go to school every day, I know she will really calm down and relax once she is able to have mental stimulation every day. She is too darn smart for her own good! She needs to put that energy towards learning and I am not able to do that for her like school will. She already loves homework, in the mornings when she eats breakfast she gets out one of her activity books and does what she calls "homework." She loves learning and just can't get enough of it.

Big Sister She loves her little brother so much and wants him to play with her like her friends do. Unfortunately, Hunter is not very good at taking directions! She likes to give him hugs when he is sad, he does not care much for them, but she just wants to comfort him so much. When I ask her to leave him alone (she often tortures him while thinking she is comforting him) her favorite thing to say to me is, "But I'm the big sister!" She takes her job as big sister seriously! She does such a good job of thinking of him and taking care of him, when he cries she goes immediately to his side and tries to calm him and make him happy.

She loves to make him laugh and is constantly making funny sounds or playing funny games to make him giggle with her. She grabs him, looks at me and asks for a picture to be taken of them together. On the other hand, she thinks that because she is the big sister everything belongs to her first. She is constantly stealing toys away from him and putting up barricades around her dollhouse so he can't get in and play with her. He just absolutely adores her. When she goes outside to rider her jeep she always asks if he can ride with her. Whenever she pushes the "gas" pedal he bumps his head, so all on her own she has started putting her hand on the back of his head when they go so that he doesn't get hurt. Little things like that just melt my mommy heart.

Devious she is starting to figure out little things that she can do to get her way in a "sweeter" manner. Recently she has started asking me to do things for her, like find her sippy cup, and before I answer her she will say, "I'll give you a sticker," in a sing-song way. It is so cute! Not that it works on ol' hard hearted mommy, but I sure do get a kick out of it. She has also started closing her bedroom door when she is doing something she is not supposed to, and she has started learning how to lie. That one makes me the saddest. I am working really hard to teach her that lying is not okay and that she will get in bigger trouble if she lies than if she tells me the truth. It's a hard age for mommy!

Creative She is so creative! She takes business cards from everywhere we go because she calls them her "credit cards" and puts them in her purse for when she "goes to the mall." It cracks me up. She also loves to cook and play in her kitchen. She is always whipping something up and asking us to eat it. She even has her own aprons and is always asking if she can help cook dinner or put snacks together.

She loves money and loves to play with my parents' change. When we visit she heads straight for the kitchen and puts together a batch of money for us all. It worries me a little that she is "making" money at such an early age. Should I worry?

Each of these pictures remind me of a special even from the last year, we were so busy and had so much fun. She grew and developed so much and I can't wait to see who she becomes this upcoming year.

(From the top, clockwise) Swinging high at the park, Super Girl in mid-jump, playing at the beach in Hawaii, mommy and Madison, Karoli park in La with Paw Paw and Dee Dee, playing around on the firetruck at the children's museum, sleeping in the stroller after a long day at Disneyland, her real smile while playing with Hunter's bat costume hat, and her love of all things princess comes out in her balloon animal request at the Halloween carnival.