December 21, 2009


This post is for Aunt Brittany (so you better comment), and anyone else who is stuck at work for the next two days and needs something to read :).

Along with starting the Advent Wreath this year, I also decided to start a new Christmas tradition with the girls back at the beginning of December.

Each girl will get to choose a new ornament each year for Christmas that will adorn our tree. Then when they grow up and move out and get a tree of their own {sniff, sniff}, they'll get to take all of their ornaments with them.

Hattie picked a ballerina of course:

And of course, she couldn't just hang it on the tree and leave it alone; she had to play with it........which led to an accident......which led to a headless ballerina......which led to Mommy pulling out the glue gun. Now all is well, and the ballerina has more character anyways! - a story to go with the ornament.

I picked Mary Ellen's out for her since I can't exactly let her loose in front of the ornaments at the store to choose one. I picked a ball since it was one of her first words. The one I chose has "merry" written all over it. Couldn't have been more perfect for her for this year!

Good thing atleast one out of the two is unbreakable.

And since I'm talking about ornaments, here's a picture of our tree:

Top heavy much? I'll give you two guesses why!

And speaking of trees, what do you prefer, colored or white lights? I like white. Sean likes colored. We have had white since we got married, but colored lights are growing on me, so maybe next year we'll have to change things up a bit......

December 20, 2009

If Only They Weren't Related

I can't help but look at this picture and think about how great arranged marriage CAN be.

You get to pick spouses who come from good families for your children.

My girls wouldn't have to worry about a mean mother-in-law if they could marry these boys. They would have good Catholic husbands who are sure to be Aggies, and they are Czech for goodness sakes! ;)

Alas, these two sweet boys who have the most beautiful blue eyes ever will never be my sons-in-law. Not only is their mother my very dearest friend who feels like a sister to me, but Sean is also her cousin, which puts these arranged marriages in the "no-go" zone. In fact, Hattie and Luke already fight like brother and sister, and I know they will both look at this post one day and go, "BLECH!"

December 10, 2009

Santa Will Just Love These!

Hattie's school asked for volunteers to make 3 dozen cookies for our wassail and cookie social at church this Sunday. Part of getting a tuition cut at the school is through tithing, and a big chunk of tithing is service, so I signed up! Plus, I love to bake and I love to eat, so it's a win/win situation! :)

After making these (and tasting these!), I had to share the recipe because they are just yummy, yummy goodness!

Spiced Sugar Cookies
2 & 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
2 stick butter (I know that's a lot, but tis the season!) :)
1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract

1.) Mix flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt; set aside. Beat butter & sugar in large bowl with mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually stir in flour mixture until mixed well.

Then if you are going to use cut outs, refrigerate the dough for atleast about an hour to firm it up. I didn't, so I skipped this part.

2.) Preheat oven to 375. Place rolled dough or cut-out dough on greased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet for one minute, then remove to wire racks. Cool completely.

3.) Once cooled, dip one end in melted chocolate. I used the microwavable candy wafers (chocolate flavored) from Hobby Lobby. Then sprinkle on sprinkles and place cookies on wax paper so chocolate can dry and harden.

Yields about 4 dozen.

So I plan on sending 3 dozen off with Hattie to school tomorrow. The other dozen goes to me, myself, and I! I might share a little ;).

December 7, 2009

Just Some Christmasy Pictures

On Friday we got SNOW! The girls LOVED it.

This weekend we had Christmas with Sean's family since they will be out of town for Christmas this year.

By the time gift wrapping was over, you couldn't even see the carpet on the floor b/c it was completely covered in wrapping paper and ribbon. Santa sure was generous!

Lastly, I'll leave you with two of my favorite things in one picture: naked babies and Christmas trees! :)

That chair placed strategically in front of the Christmas tree was put there to block access to wrapped presents and indicates that this little girl is a fan of mischief! ;)

December 1, 2009

Advent Wreath

This is the first Advent that we are doing the Advent wreath tradition in our house.

Yesterday marked the first Sunday of Advent. I think it's a great way to stay focused and keep your kids focused on the CHRIST in Christmas.

Wanna do one with your family?

Here's a helpful website that explains it and provides the prayers you say each night as you light the candles.

Happy Advent to all!

November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Countdown & No Babies Allowed

We are getting ready for Thanksgiving around here. Hattie and I made this during M.E.'s naptime this morning:

Mommy & Daddy Pilgrim and two baby Indians. Hattie is obsessed with cutting and gluing right now. Good quite activity for Sissy's naptime!

We are going to Sean's family's house for Thanksgiving this year. I am making his favorite chocolate pie (the easy peasy one on the back of the Instant Jello Pudding box), and I am also making these pumpkin pie bites, and of course green bean casserole because no Thanksgiving is complete without green bean casserole!

And in other news, Hattie taped this on her door the other day:

She let us all know that it says, "No babies allowed." She keeps her door shut all the time. Poor Mary Ellen. Having them share a room in a few years sure is going to be..........FUN! :/ My sister and I use to split our room in half and claim a side when we were mad at each other. Having a sibling teaches children so much about sharing and compromising, but sharing a room goes above and beyond getting kids ready for things like college roommates and spouses! I'm sure they'll appreciate the big picture when it comes time to share a room ;)!

I probably won't be back on here before Thanksgiving, so I hope you all have a blessed one with family and friends and good food!

November 23, 2009

Hattie's Thanksgiving Feast

Hattie had a lovely Thanksgiving prayer service and feast at school today. It started with prayers and songs in the church.

The kids were all so cute! Hattie sang her heart out. She is one of 14 in a class of mostly girls. There are only 4 boys. Her teacher has been there since like forever, so some of the moms and I have speculated that she picked her class that way because she's up there in age, and boys (at this age.....or any age, really) have a tendency to act more like this:

I'm not saying boys are harder! They just seem to have more energy at this age. I know I have my work cut out for me in about 10 years, though, and little P's mom won't have a clue about mean girls and gossip that hurts and all of the fun drama that comes with having teenage girls. Aye, me!

After all of the presentations, we went over to Servant Hall and had ourselves a little pilgrim and indian feast. Hattie was the cutest indian in the room :)!

It was a feast of cheese, gold fish, carrots, celery, oranges, and bugles - remember those? I hadn't had bugles in forever! I remember putting them on all of my fingers and pretending they were long nails and then eating them off one at a time when I was little. Bugles are the underestimated chip, I think. They were good! Then we washed it down with apple juice. Not exactly my beverage of choice, but there were lots of content 3 and 4 year olds in the room with non-watered down Motts apple juice - the good stuff! It was a grand feast :).

November 5, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1/4 cup olive oil (I use less, probably more like 2 tbsp)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray.

Spread the sweet potato strips out onto the baking sheet in a single layer, coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and spices, turning them over to evenly coat on all sides with oil and spices.

Bake for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes with spatula. (I cook mine about 20-25 minutes, turning every 7-8 minutes. Otherwise they are almost burnt and the kids won't eat them like that. Maybe it's just my oven, though?!) Serve warm.

They are SO GOOD! We love them with ketchup.

November 3, 2009


Could she look any more Irish? Maybe if she had a pint in her hand, huh :)?!? I mean, I know she's wearing green in this picture and she definitely holds an Irish first and last name, but when I see pictures of Sissy bear, I still can't believe how Irish she looks. Those blue eyes, that pale skin, that strawberry blonde hair, it all just baffles me! Hattie came out looking exactly like I thought she would. Mary Ellen, not at all. And I love that they look so different from each other. I find that things that I never dressed Hattie in, I put on Mary Ellen all the time because different colors compliment their looks. Hopefully this means they will never fight over clothes!!!! It will be easy. I'll just say, "Now, Mary Ellen, you should just let Hattie wear that red shirt because you know, red really isn't your color. You look absolutely beautiful in blue. It shows off your eyes better." Then she'll agree and go off and find a blue shirt to wear, right?!?! Right. :)

And in other shocking news, Miss Hattie Ruth is taking a much needed nap, a nap that she hasn't taken in days and days and days, which is why it's much needed. I have always been pro naps, but I never really realized how vital they are to my sanity. It's been rough. So when she wakes up, she gets to indulge in all of the bribes I've been bribing her with for days and days to get her to nap. These bribes include but are not limited to: Sprite, Halloween candy, and watching Tinkerbell. I know. But desperate times call for desperate measures!

And seriously, could the day be any more beautiful! I think I've fallen for fall...........

October 30, 2009

Halloween Eye Candy

They sure do look as sweet as candy, don't they?

I've been bad about blogging lately. It's the one thing I can slack off on; well, that and laundry, and I tackled that yesterday - piles and piles of it!

Anyways, here are some fun "Halloweenish" pictures we've taken throughout the month of October. Hattie had her first costume party that she attended a few Saturdays ago, and I got the girls dressed up and did a little photo-shoot before-hand. Sissy is NOT happy about being a flower, I can tell you that!

Sissy-bear (Mary Ellen's current nickname) took her first steps yesterday :)!!!! Can I get a FINALLY!?!?!? We are so proud of her, and I have to say "Sissy-bear" fits her so well because she is as cuddly and warm as a bear, but boy, does she have a temper like one, too!

Hattie is sporting a "recession costume." It comes complete with things we already had, and I just put everything together in the most cohesive, "costumey" way. Then I went to Hobby Lobby and spent $1.29 on materials to make the antenna. She's the cutest butterfly I ever did see!

And Sissy-bear is probably the sweetest yet most stubborn flower I ever did see.

I was in College Station with Sean to watch the Aggies (WHOOP!) beat the h*ll outta............ someone?- can't remember who?! (WHOOP!), and we had time, so I stopped at the Once Upon A Child up there. If you ever go up to College Station and have babies, you need to go to this resale shop. It is probably the best one I've ever been to............ or rather, second best to one that I would go to while living near Plano. Dallas mamas spare no expense at dressing their babies. This shop in College Station has LOTS and LOTS of great, beautiful clothes at really cheap prices. I try to go there atleast once a year. So I saw this little flower costume and thought it would go perfect with Hattie's recession butterfly costume. A flower and a butterfly just go so well together, right :).
I also got this little dress for $4:

Cute, huh!?!? So you Aggie moms need to go check it out, but don't take all the cute girl clothes in sizes 18-24 mos or 3-4T! :)
And finally, because this is getting longer than I expected, Hattie had her Halloween parade and program today at school. She's the spazzy blue crayon in the middle:

That's all folks! Have a happy and SAFE HALLOWEEN!!!! And remember to "fall-back" on Sunday. I sure hope my kids get the memo to sleep in an extra hour!

October 8, 2009

This is YUM-O!

So I rarely have luck with crock pot recipes. They just usually come out bland or underwhelming, but using the crock pot is something I really want to get into the habit of doing more because it makes dinner time "easy-peasy."

Yesterday I hit the jackpot with this recipe I found in the October issue of Southern Living. It was yummy (and would have been even better if it hadn't been 95 degrees outside). I can't wait to make it again when it's cold outside.

Slow-cooker Turkey Chili

1.25 lb. lean ground turkey
1 large onion chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (1.25 oz) chili seasoning mix
1 (12 oz) can of beer
1.5 cups frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
3/4 tsp salt

Cook first 4 ingredients in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, until turkey crumbles and is no longer pink. Stir in beer and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Spoon mixture into crock pot, stir in corn and next 6 ingredients until well blended. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours. Serve with chopped red onion and shredded cheese on top. And some cornbread! YUM-O!

October 1, 2009

An Update


*has the most crooked bangs ever. Poor baby got a mama hair-cut. After I took this picture and looked at those awful crooked bangs, I got the scissors out and did more chopping. Now they are short but straighter!

*is trying to say so many things, but her verbal abilities aren't quite up to par with the stuff she is trying to say. So many things right now come out as, "dada," but in context and with her emphasis on different syllables depending on what word she is trying to say, I know she is either saying "Daddy," "peekaboo," "thank you," or "Hattie." She has said "Aaaddy" a few times for Hattie but usually still sticks with "dada." "Mama" only has one meaning because I'm special (and usually the food source!) :).

*is still not walking. I'm not worried. In some ways, she's such a daredevil, but in other ways, she's sooo cautious. Or maybe it's just that she wants to be carried everywhere ;). She's a smart one! I predict she might be taking steps by Christmas.

*plays so well by herself. It's often that I find her playing in a corner of the playroom with a toy or two. And she stays that way for a long time, like 30 minutes sometimes. After having a firstborn who still has problems with entertaining herself (probably because she is my firstborn), I am in awe and so grateful for this ability!

*knows what the word, "NO!" means but rarely chooses to abide by it. She's a stinker!

*has figured out how to put her finger up her nose and make "nasally noises." It's her new favorite pastime.

*is at such a fun, fun age! She is soaking everything up. It's almost as if I can see the wheels in her little head turning. I love it!


*is terrified of the dark right now - A new fear for her. As of last week, she needs a nightlight and her door cracked for bedtime.

*was taking her nap so well and is now only taking it about 3 times a week. If no nap, she has an hour and a half of quiet time in her room in bed. I'll take it!

*is loving her dance class. I got to watch her a few weeks ago (parents get to sit in and watch once a month), and she did so well and just shined the whole hour.

*listens to everything we say, especially when we're not talking to her but to each other. We have to be waaaaay careful!

*is not sucking her thumb anymore!!!!!! I get no credit for this. Two weeks ago we were at the library, and this old (scary - even to me!) librarian came up to Hattie while she was sucking her thumb and told her if she doesn't stop doing that, her face is going to start looking funny because her teeth will start sticking out of her mouth. It made a HUGE impression (and scared the livin' daylights out of her), and ever since, she and her thumb are not friends! This might be the culprit of rare naps these days, I'm thinking, but I am grateful this habit is over (hopefully!) before baby teeth fall out and permanent ones come in.

*challenges me a lot these days. She talks back often and has become more willful. I fuss at her a lot. I spend a lot of time correcting and redirecting. Sometimes I think having a 3 year old is more exhausting than a newborn, but then, at the end of the day, I get in bed and don't have to get back out until about 6:30 a.m. the next day, and I think, "Nah! Newborns are way harder!" :) It is definitely mentally exhausting right now, though.
One thing I've started doing with her is reading a Psalm every day at lunchtime. While she's munching on her lunch (keeps her quiet!), I read a psalm. They are short enough and chalked full of things that I need to hear in the middle of the day, and after I'm done reading, we talk about it in a way she can understand, so I hope she's getting something out of it, too. Makes for a calm moment anyways, one that we both look forward to!

*is so friendly and so polite to other children. I get to see her interact with kids her age often, and most of the time, she makes me so proud with how gentle and nurturing she is, even at 3!

*is at such a fun age right now, too! She has a sense of humor. She laughs when she's supposed to while I read her a book or when she watches a cartoon. And she's got such a great imagination and wants to help with everything! She still thinks that Daddy and Mommy hung the moon and know it all. I'll enjoy that while it lasts!

That's all I got for now! Happy October!!!!! Now begins my favorite time of year! For the next three months, my house will be decorated for some upcoming holiday: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas!!! I always feel like the house looks so empty and glum in January. Now we just need our first real cold front of the season!

September 23, 2009


I decided to cut Mary Ellen's bangs today. I put her baby hair clippings in this envelope for her baby book:

I wanted to grow her bangs out like Hattie's, but I was tired of fighting the battle of the bangs in the eyes because she wouldn't keep a bow in her hair to save her life. The poor thing was starting to look like a sheep dog.

Anyway, I think the bowl haircut kind of suits her. With that face, she could pull off any hairstyle! And she has no excuses for not learning to walk because she can see where she's going now :)!

September 21, 2009


The dress - $35
The babysitter - FREE (thanks, Aunt Brittany!)
The jewelry - $20
The shoes - $25
Getting to have a night out with my hunk of a husband - PRICELESS!

Can you tell I only bargain shop :)!?!?!

Yes, the night on the town was work related for my hunk. But the alcoholic drinks flowed like milk and honey, and the food was great. And the kids were AT HOME IN BED. And I was so proud to be on HIS arm all night. So I didn't mind. Nope. Not at all. We had FUN!

September 17, 2009


is her new word, which is added to......
"mama" and
"dada" and
"uh-oh" and
She finds one and chases it around all day, calling it by name. Hattie never did that.

And she NEVER keeps her "purties" in her hair. She rips them out within 5 seconds of me putting them in.
She loves to grunt and "out-noise" her sister.
I think we might have a bit of a tomboy on our hands :).

September 3, 2009

The Best Chicken Nuggets

This recipe is one that I have made over and over again for the last couple of years. Sean loves it, and the girls love it, too, so I thought I'd share another way to cook that chicken breast you have sitting in your fridge!

Chicken Nuggets
(serves 8) I normally don't use 2 lbs of chicken so mine doesn't serve that much and we still have leftovers,
and the leftovers are GREAT in a salad the next day for lunch!
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3/4 cup butter, melted (I use the lowfat stuff!)
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

1.) In a bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and all your seasonings. Place melted butter in another shallow bowl. Dip chicken cubes in butter and then roll in bread crumb mixture.

2.) Place breaded chicken cubes in a greased baking sheet or pan. Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until juices run clear.

So delicious and so simple!

August 25, 2009

Butterfly Kisses & Birthday Wishes

Finally getting around to posting some birthday pictures! I decided to do a collage since blogger is soooo sloooow with downloading these days. You can click on the pic to enlarge! And most of these pics were taken by Katie.

Mary Ellen was definitely a little overwhelmed at her party. But overall, she did a great job, as long as she was in the arms of Mommy or Daddy. She warmed up by the end and even let some other family members hold her for a while. How very brave of her! Still can't believe she's one year old!

August 23, 2009


Have you seen this? If you haven't, you need to! Divine work by a bunch of talented women.

August 21, 2009


Mary Ellen had her one year checkup this week. She weighed in at a whopping 22 lbs - that's my chunky monkey!

That evening to celebrate, she got her first peanut butter cracker with dinner.........

it was a HUGE hit :).

Hattie came home from school Wednesday with her first self-proclaimed portrait of Mommy:

I'm trying not to take it too personally :). It's the thought that counts, afterall!

August 17, 2009

First Day of Preschool!

Today you started your first day of preschool. When you woke up, you wanted scrambled eggs, strawberries, and chocolate milk for breakfast, so that's what you got! You chatted all through breakfast that you were going to color and do arts and crafts and show your teacher your princess band-aid! You wanted to wear your hair down with a clip in your bangs. You seemed like such a big girl.

You walked into your classroom with your backpack on, all smiles. This year was quite different than last year when you were shy and scared. You walked right in, recognized your friends, Meredith, Dominique, and Alexis, and jumped over to chat with them. And you did, in fact, go over to your teacher and talk her ear off about your princess band-aid :)! You seemed like such a big girl.

When the parents were leaving the classroom to go to an orientation meeting, your eyes met mine. You smiled and waved good-bye with no hesitation. You ARE such a big girl! My once clingy baby has blossomed into such a confident, secure child, and I am so very proud to be your mama!

Hattie ready to go to her first day of PreK 3 class!

Sissy had to be in a picture, too, to show that she was there for moral support :).

You were so excited about your red apron.

August 12, 2009

What a ONEderful Year!

One year ago tomorrow, my sweet, cuddly Mary Ellen came into this world.

It was love at first sight.

Those little fingers and toes dazzled me.
Her cheeks, her smell, the way she curled up to snuggle into my body blessed me.

I have a special place in my heart for you, my child, for I, too, was a second born daughter. Mary Ellen, you remind me of myself in that you never allow me to forget you are near and that you NEED me so. You crave attention. You absolutely love to be in my arms. You love hugs and kisses and often lean back when I kiss your cheeks, so as to remind me not to forget to kiss your little neck. Then you giggle with glee.

A year has come and gone, and you have changed me as a mother so much! I have grown and matured. You have had the benefit of not being the "guinea pig" as your big sister was. Fewer mistakes were made, yet other things that I thought were mistakes I would never make, I found myself doing, like co-sleeping with you for the first 8 weeks of your life. Now I cherish that time I had with you, such special bonding time.

At 12 months, my dear, there are so many things I love about you.........
I love your sense of humor and your sassiness.
I love that you don't let your sister aggravate you for very long. You are not a pushover! You fight back!

I love your blue eyes and your dimples.

I love that you light up when your daddy enters the room.
I love that you start smacking your lips and kicking your legs in satisfaction when I put you in the highchair.

I love that you clap and "dance" in your car seat when I turn the music up loud.
I love that you vibrate the back of your throat as if you are purring when you're happy :).

I love how much you love Hattie.
I love how you always greet me with a smile when I come to get you out of bed.
I love your chub!

My darling, I love so many things about you!

You are an angel! I thank God for the year He has given me with you, and I pray for many, many more. What a blessing to our family you are! Happy first birthday, my sweet little toot-toot!

Wisdom From the Pope

“The inalienable dignity of every human being and the rights which flow from that dignity - in the first place the right to life and the defense of life - are at the heart of the church's message." Pope John Paul ended his address, saying: "In spite of divisions among Christians, 'all those justified by faith through baptism are incorporated into Christ...brothers and sisters in the Lord.'" Pope John Paul 2