Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Our little farmer with Daddy
And Mama

Trying out the tractor

Taking her for a ride :o)

This is fun!

Daddy playin some blues- notice they have the same expression

Just hangin :o)

Hope you had a very happy Halloween!

Potentially Promising Morning

Well Charlie sat in his tractor this morning and wanted to play.
A much better response than the previous shrieks of horror ha, ha.
Not sure if he'll wear it but maybe we can get a few shots of him sitting with his overalls.

With cowboy hat :o)

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Year And A Half!

My sweet boy,

It's been a long time since Mama wrote you a letter and I'm sorry for that. But I couldn't let this milestone pass us by. Yesterday you turned 18 months; a year and a half! I can't believe it, you're growing up entirely too fast for Mommy's comfort.
Charlie, you are a very social creature right now, which I find funny since your Daddy and I can tend to be on the quiet side. When you and I are out and about, I see you trying to make eye contact with everyone we come into contact with. Then you say "hi" until you have a captive audience. You'll flash a smile, giggle and try to carry on a conversation that consists of some "giggles" (a word like to use often) and other words. You close with a wave or "bye bye."

You love music and are quite the dancer. You have smoother moves than your Mama, ha, ha! You'll roll your shoulders, bop your head, bend your knees, tap dance and do a jig! You really like Trader Joe's for their fantastic music selections- especially the disco hits LOL. You also still enjoy Garth Brooks greatest hits, and anything else upbeat on the radio.

You are quite the practical jokester, you're always trying to find new ways to make me and Daddy laugh and crack yourself up in the process.
Right now your favorite thing to play with is the mini kitchen from your Aunt ChiChi & Uncle Jeff. You also love to play with your tractors and trucks, clean with Mama's dust buster and broom and stack whatever you can to climb on things. I think if you could fashion suction cups to your hands you would be crawling up the walls. You're also trying out new acrobatic moves, like somersaulting, rolling over and over and whatever else you can dream up.

You love to read books and often when we are in the kitchen and I am working at errands you'll grab me by the hand (or leg) lead me over to your books, pick one out yourself and then back up to sit in my lap. I love having that time with you.

Although now you know how to give kisses you are much more generous at blowing kisses than giving the real thing.

Charlie you are a big nature lover and would be content to play in our front yard for hours on end, scraping the trees with sticks, picking out special rocks, watching ants march and just exploring.

You also adore animals. If it has fur, feathers or scales you are in love. You are also so gentle with Malcolm, you kiss, pet and snuggle with him.

Today we had bible study and though my stomach was in knots, I prayed again that you would have fun with your friends and teachers. Guess what, my dear? I peaked in on you mid-way through and you looked like you were having a great time. Then when I went to pick you up, you were so happy to see me -and I found out-hadn't shed one tear!

My sweet boy, you have such a gentle, tender spirit to you that everyone sees when they come into contact with you. I am so honored to be your Mama and I look forward to each morning with you. I don't think I tell your Daddy enough how thankful I am to be able to spend my days with you, sweetheart. You a truly a blessing from God.

Love Always,

Really Hope He'll wear it....

Getting a little closer to finished with the tractor costume. I've gotta put a little yellow stripe in there, but my biggest concern is that Charlie won't want to wear it :o( Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

18 months

Charlie turned 18 months today. Thought I would take the list of words he is using that I jot down on our blackboard in the kitchen and add it to the blog.

There's currently several words Charlie says that I have yet to decipher, but we'll add them in once I can translate!
  1. yum yum
  2. tickle
  3. pop pop (grandpa)
  4. no no
  5. yes, yeah
  6. ok
  7. owl
  8. cat
  9. dirt*
  10. light
  11. uh oh
  12. door
  13. mama
  14. dada
  15. up
  16. wiggle
  17. giggle
  18. happy
  19. mommy
  20. malcolm, malc
  21. bubble
  22. ball
  23. baby
  24. digger*
  25. hot
  26. boat
  27. apple
  28. baba
  29. bye bye
  30. wow
  31. moo (for cows)
  32. baaa (for sheep)
  33. raspberries (for elephants)
  34. grrrr (for lions)
Charlie also uses baby signs for please, milk, bye bye, no & yes. Charlie is also starting to put two words together like "uh oh, dirt" or "milk please" :o) Dirt and digger are his favorite words (other than giggle).

The Best Chili Recipe EVER.

Chili To Warm The Soul (Adapted from Allrecipes)

  • 2 pounds ground turkey (7% fat)
  • 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chili beans, drained, 1/2 can mashed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chili beans in spicy sauce
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can diced green chile peppers
  • 4 cubes beef bouillon (or if you have large ones just 2)
  • 1/2 cup beer (water can be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground chuck and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.
  2. Pour in the chili beans, spicy chili beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the onion, celery, green and red bell peppers, chile peppers, bouillon, and beer. Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, basil, salt, pepper, paprika, and sugar. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Remove from heat and serve, or refrigerate, and serve the next day.
  4. To serve, ladle into bowls, and top with corn chips and shredded Cheddar cheese.
  5. If you like your chili spicy you can add 2 tsps tabasco sauce and 1 tsp cayenne.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

John Deere Green

Ready or not, here comes Halloween!
I cannot disappoint my little man, whose favorite thing on earth is a tractor.

Thanks to a creative friend (thanks Siv!) I was able to get a start on the design this afternoon. Then tonight after then bean went to bed and the kitchen was put back together I ran out to the store for some extra pieces for his costume.

I spray-painted the smokestack and 'cab'. I'll use those black paper plates for the tires, cotton for the smoke coming out of the smokestack and those mini ashtrays are going to my head lights. I'm also going to make a steering wheel out of one of those plates :o)

I picked up some elastic to make suspender straps so the box can rest on Charlie's shoulders and he looks like he is driving. This is my first attempt at a homemade costume, but I'm really enjoying the process. A lot of fun and love are going into it! Hopefully he will be excited to wear it.

One another thing to add- tonight I made a new chili recipe from that was It was not easy to make while trying to feed and entertain my child, but somehow it all worked out! Allrecipes is down for site maintenance tonight, but I will post that recipe tomorrow.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Walk

Saturday was a literal deluge all day so when the sun was shining in our windows this morning, all three of us had the itch to get out of the house! I decided to take the camera along because we are making our way to 'peak' with the fall colors.
This is a shot of our pepperidge tree in the front yard. It has the prettiest leaves; bright cheerful yellows in the middle and pinky red at the top.
When Joe and I were looking for our house we wanted a quiet street where we would feel comfortable with Charlie playing in the front and back yards.
We feel so lucky to have found the home we did.

Here are some shots from our journey down the street:
Peace and quiet (such a contrast from our last home)!

A little brook
A beautiful old tree right in the middle of the road :o)
Someone has serious hat head, click on this picture to see the full effect :o)

And finally the pepperide tree looking up :o)

Hope you enjoyed the little tour :o)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Petting Zoo Take Two

Charlie loves his furry, stinky animal friends :o)

Bible Study

I started attending a bible study late last spring with Charlie. I want Charlie to have a deep and strong faith and a relationship with God; for me it's really important to learn more about the bible so I can share it with him.

The study group I attend has an opening speaker, where everyone attends together and then we break up into smaller study groups going over the lesson for the week. Once we complete the study groups we reconvene for a closing lecture. The whole weekly session is about two hours.

I can't tell you how hard it has been this fall to drop Charlie off in the baby group and have him crying and upset while I am away. The women that take care of him are so incredibly loving so that does ease my nerves. We have been trying some different techniques at having me separate, but each week is different from the last and he always cries (sometimes more than others). Today he cried when I pulled into the church driveway. If I didn't feel to the depths of my heart how vitally important it is for me to be there learning and hearing God's word then I would turn around and run as fast as I could in the other direction.

Some days I can hear Charlie crying when I am in my study group and I honestly can't focus. My stomach physically hurts every Thursday morning as we get ready. And every morning on our little five minute drive in the country I pray.

I ask God to give my sweet boy peace and comfort and to wrap his arms around him. I tried to tell Charlie today on our way over that even when Mommy can't be there, God is there; that he is never, ever alone. I know he is too young to understand the depth of those words but I hope the message will make its way to his heart in the years to come.

I am starting to feel changed by this group. As each week passes I feel as though I am being nourished by God, his word and these other women who so humbly and sincerely profess their faith. There are many women in the group that genuinely seem as if a light shines from within them. I find myself thinking, "I want that; want to be more like that!" I can only pray that God is guiding me on a path to be a little 'light' for others at some point.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Without Scaffolding

Notice the little person (with blankie) in the lower right corner?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The front of my house is up!


Not so sure about the door stain color but we'll work it out...

what do you think?

I heart my slow cooker

Slow Cooker New England Clam Chowder (adapted from a recipe on Allrecipes)

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of potato soup

1 (16 ounce) can New England clam chowder

2 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams

1 large Idaho potato peeled and diced

1 quart half-and-half cream

1 pint heavy whipping cream

S&P to taste

Optional (two strips of cooked crispy bacon and freshly cut chives as a topping)


1. Mix cream of celery soup, cream of potato soup, clam chowder, 1 can undrained clams, 1 can drained clams, diced potato, half-and-half cream, and whipping cream into a slow cooker.

2. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Enjoy with Crusty bread and a salad. YUM.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Day Procrastinator

Not sure what possessed me but about a month ago I decided that I was going to make Charlie's costume for Halloween. Since his favorite thing in the world is any type of tractor, I thought hmmm how hard could it be to make a cardboard tractor for him to wear???

Well, I still have yet to find out how difficult this project may end up being as I have accomplished zippo, save purchasing some John Deere green spray paint at Home Cheapo this weekend. Here's some inspiration:

Look at this cutie!In addition to making Charlie's costume I have to get my house Halloween ready because I am having a bunch of Charlie's toddler friends and their parents (my dear friends) over to celebrate, trick-or-treat and have a potluck dinner on All Hallow's Eve! It will be a bunch of fun, but I need to get my ducks in a row with what to make and start on my lists.

I'm one of those people, a list writer. I have lists for everyday errands, for dinner menu inspiration, for renovation projects, for everything there can be a list for. I love them and live by their tidy columns of order :o) So I'm write some more lists!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Holiday Traditions

When I think of holidays I think Christmas. Christmas has always been close to my heart because I get to be around the people adore most: my beautiful family. Both of my sisters and my Mom go into cooking and baking overdrive from Thanksgiving to New Year's. We try out new recipes and bring out our tried and true ones.

The holidays have a new meaning when you have a little one. It's the best thing in the world because you get to be a kid all over again. I cannot wait to see how Charlie enjoys the magic of the season. Last year he was only 8 months old; this year it will be fun to watch the wheels turning in his little analytical mind.

Here are some shots from Charlie's first Christmas.
Helping mama wrap presents:

Clearly overwhelmed, lol!

Christmas morning

Enjoying the tree and sparkly lights

love this shot and can't wait to take another this year

And because it's pretty chilly out tonight and they are calling for flurries I thought I would add a recipe to warm you up from the inside out. There's nothing like a steamy bowl of soup and some crusty bread on a cold fall night. Enjoy!

Cream of Six Onion Soup

3/4 lb of Spanish Onions, sliced

3/4 lb of Vidalia Onions, sliced

½ lb red onions, sliced

1 lb leeks, white and pale green parts only, cleaned and sliced

1 bunch scallions, chopped

¼ lb shallots sliced

6 tbsp butter

11/2 quarts chicken stock (extra large can)

1 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium heat cook all the onions in the butter until translucent, about ten minutes; do not brown. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the onions are tender, about ten to fifteen minutes. Puree the soup in a food processor blender until smooth. Return to the saucepan; stir in heavy cream and season with salt and pepper. You can make this more of a substantial meal by serving with a Caesar salad and crusty French bread and butter. Makes two quarts of soup.

Now go over to lovely Miss Marie's website and see the rest of the party!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Siding Shots

the new door (trim work in progress)
Swiss cheese holes are from blown-in insulation.

I don't think I could ever be a designer because the shear number of decisions I need to make on the current reno projects are staggering. My head is ready to explode from staring at bathroom lighting for days, trying to find something stylish, low priced but quality and within our specs is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I will also say that I am blessed to be able to make these changes to the house and know everything will fall into place- at some point!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hooked on Crystal Lighting

I'm contemplating a sparkly light fixture in the master bath. Not sure if this is a good design choice or not, but I thought it would look pretty with polished chrome fixtures, white cabinetry and gray/white carrera marble- what do you think? As a preface to the pictures, this light would be no larger than 9 in in diameter; a petite crystal light.

This is an inspiration pic, no doubt its way out of the budget at $500+
Some lower priced options:
And this one although shown in gold comes in silver too:
Are crystal light fixtures dated or a 'do'? Please go see what everyone else is hooked on today :o)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bathroom Cabinetry

For the master (picture this cabinet in creamy white):

and Charlie/Guest Bath (in a deeper mahogany finish):

Getting closer to choosing paint colors too.
I think BM's Bleeker Beige would pop against creamy white beadbord and dark wood cabinetry in Charlie's Bath.

The master is where I am having more issues. I'd like to do a lighter version of a muted blue in the bath and then go deeper in the bedroom. Just throwing a few colors out there, haven't really settled anywhere yet. I'm looking for something that will draw out the cool tones of the carrera marble.Wedgewood Gray for the bedroom?
Paint colors are not my forte' so any suggestions are more than welcome!

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