Monday, September 29, 2008

the loot.

So off to CVS I went this morning for my usually weekly run. I have been addicted to CVSing for a while now but wanted to share my goods with you. Today I managed to get out of the store with $88.56 worth of stuff and only spent $8.23 out of pocket! Crazy, I know! And shhhhh - don't tell AJ about the Spiderman costume or it won't make it until Halloween! :) Have a good week!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Boo Boo

Do you see that Band Aid on that cute little boys chin? Yep, we finally did it! We ended up in the ER for stitches (well, glue this time). My most talented, coordinated son decided that he would try and do a face plant on the ceramic tile. Unfortunately, the maneuver ended up with a split chin. He is such a tank!

Friday, September 26, 2008

tubby time

I know I post tubby pictures a lot but I just can't help myself. I love tubby time and the sheer enjoyment that the kids get out of it. I think I need to start taking more bubble tubbies!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday Confessions Part IX

1. So, I've been a little lacking in the field of blogging lately as I decided to take a brief hiatus to get over the major migraine I had last week. I figured giving my eyes a break for a little while might be beneficial. I am supposed to go in for an MRI next week before meeting with a neurologist. When they did an in office EEG last week, they saw some micro seizures (whatever that means) and want some more testing done. All I know is that I don't want to have any more migraines like I had last week!
2. Anyway, on to more positive news - my Dad came to visit this weekend. He was our first official family visitor in our new house. The kids were SO excited to see him and couldn't wait to get back into the little games they have going with him. Elizabeth pretends that she is the Mom and AJ is the Dad and he is "Joey", the baby. It is pretty cute to listen to.
3. It was also another weekend of soccer. I am not sure how I feel about the whole thing - well yes I am - I am not ready to have coaches yell at my kids!!! Seriously, at age 5, is there any need to yell at the kids to try and get them to do what you want. I understand that coaching young kids is hard but come on! You need to be constructive and teach these kids. Elizabeth cried all last year because she didn't like soccer and this year she has loved it. However, I am scared that her coaches are going to ruin her love for soccer before she even gets a chance to build her self-esteem about the sport. Their continual yelling this past weekend really got under my skin but it didn't really upset me until I saw Elizabeth on the verge of tears while she was trying to play goalie. We have practice tonight so we will see how things go. I might just have to be the postal soccer mom that gives the coach a piece of my mind. It's just like Sarah Palin says, "The difference between a pitbull and a hockey mom is that a hockey mom wears lipstick." Watch out there coach - I have my eye on you!

4. Jacob is vocal! And when I say vocal, it isn't just noise that comes out but more like a blow horn at times. He likes to be loud! The other day he was playing a game, with himself I might add, where he would stand on one side of the room and count, in Jacob-speak, and then run to the other side and laugh hysterically. I tried my best to get it on video but he toned it down a bit for the camera. He is definitely a character to be not to be reckoned with. My next goal is to get his singing on video.

5. My son will hate me for this but I just couldn't resist. My dear Dad decided to buy Elizabeth a make-up kit while he was here. I said it was okay because I know she is generally low key with the stuff and doesn't make too big of a mess. What I didn't anticipate was her playing beauty shop with AJ and him being her latest customer. Apparently brothers are fair game for making to look like clowns. What a good sport you are AJ! If only you knew the blackmail we have for you in the future. :)
6. I have added a new section to my photography website where you can check out the great holiday cards that I will have to offer if you do a shoot with me. They are under the heading of "portfolio" and then "the creative possibilities". (And just for those of you that know those crazy models, I know the names are wrong - anonymity people!) If any of you that I have done a shoot for in the past are interested in these cards, please contact me.
7. Have you noticed that I haven't posted my weight lately? Well, I must confess, not only have I fallen off of the bandwagon, I was left in the dust! I have made a resolution to start back on my plan to getting healthy and lose weight. Of course what would this plan be without a little procrastination so I won't be starting until next week (gotta finish that ice cream in the fridge, right). Anyone want to join me?
8. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look at the post below. My kids are riding their bikes with no training wheels! I know this a major milestone for them but I never knew how cool it would be to stand back as a parent and watch the joy they got out of the realization that they could do it themselves. Elizabeth was particularly fun to watch. She has been very timid about having her training wheels taken off and last night she decided on her own that it was her night. She went from very nervous to comfortable and confident in a short amount of time. And to top it off, her first question when she woke up this morning was, "Can we practice with our bikes tonight?" That excites me so much that she is enjoying it!
9. I was recently contacted about going back to work as a nurse. The shift was perfect, the place was perfect and it wasn't too many hours. I have been going back and forth about it all week and have finally decided, I am going to take one more year off. I am loving my time with Jacob and want to relish this time as much as I can. We tease all of the time about the "youngest child syndrome" and how he goes and does where ever and whatever everyone else does. Our few hours alone each week are wonderful. I am also finding myself being able to enjoy his last little bits of babyness. Our lives are slowly becoming that of taxi mom and go here and do that. I don't want to lose these few hours that I have by going back to work. Maybe next year!
10. I am looking forward to this weekend! Maybe a little too much as I have been asking myself since Monday, is it Friday yet? I'm not sure if it is because we really don't have too many things planned or I just want to spend some time with Mike but I can't wait. I am hoping we can head to the beach this weekend too. It has been so long since we have been because of all of the tropical stuff going on. Hurry up weekend - I am ready for you!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Major Event In Our Household

I am sure I have told many of you that Elizabeth is very timid when it comes to riding her bike. Well something got into her tonight and off came the training wheels and she was on her own in no time. AJ took his training wheels off this past weekend and he was pretty quick to catch on. I think peer pressure must have been the key. This is a major even in our household and I am so proud of these kiddos!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Much better

First, I need to clear up that no I didn't have the stomach flu. I have actually had a migraine for three days that my prescription medication didn't take care of. Yesterday it got to the point that I was so nauseous that I was vomiting. Fun, Fun - let me tell you! My most wonderful and caring husband came home in the afternoon to pick the kids up from school and take care of them while I hung out in bed. I thought things were getting better but woke up in the middle of the night with a mind splitting headache again so I drug myself to the doctor this morning. After some great meds, I am feeling much better this afternoon and let me tell you - nothing would bother me right now either. :) And per usual, thank you Lynette for all of your graciousness in watching my kids so much lately! I'm not sure what I would do without you!

I think my little man was feeling my pain yesterday as I discovered him passed out on the rocking chair in my room as I helped Mike get Elizabeth off to soccer. I did eventually have to move him to the bed as the deeper he fell into sleep, the more he slid to the edge of the chair. This no nap thing is really catching up to him!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday Confessions Part IIX

Wednesday Confessions will be postponed due some pretty nasty praying to the porcelain goddess. Thanks for you understanding!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Artist in the making

After reading some hints from other moms about art projects at home, I got up the guts to get out the tempera paints and let AJ have at it. Well, now I feel a little guilty that I haven't done it before because the little guy had a blast!

Several things I did to make it a "cleaner" event:

1. Made sure that I had washable tempera paints. (On sale for $0.99 for large bottles at Michael's)

2. Saved a Styrofoam egg container. I placed each color in am "egg cup" and filled the remaining "cups" with water for rinsing the brushes.

3. Supplied AJ with multiple brushes (he's not so great at rinsing yet).

4. And with rinsing in mind, I also gave him some extra paper towels to wipe off any excess.

5. I made a smock out of an old pillow case. I cut a circle out of the bottom seam for the head and two holes for the arms. This worked great!

Now that I know how easy it really was and how much AJ enjoyed it, I see more painting in our future.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mama Monday - Buddy Post: Children and Surgery

"Doesn't it just seem insane? Nobody wakes up, at least nobody who is sane, and thinks it is a good idea to cause their child pain that day. It wars with everything a parent is supposed to do. We are supposed to love, nurture and care. We are supposed to protect them from pain. But yet, it is the right thing to do. So we do it because we have the courage to do so. To be brave when our children want us to cut and run. To force them into these impossible situations because it is the right thing to do. We do it because we have the courage to do so. We do it because we love our children so much that we have to no matter how much it tears us apart on the inside while we do it. We are their advocates."

The above quote was taken from a blog about a mother with a special needs child in need of many surgeries, therapies and procedures.

My children have only had to endure minor surgeries but none the less, I feel the same way. Looking back on them now, I am certain that it was much more traumatic to me than it was to them but going through it was heart wrenching - each and every one.

I also have utmost respect for my mom and her ability to survive day to day with a disabled child, needing many surgeries as a small child and still to this day enduring many procedures and therapies that many of us would find excruciating to go through and heart breaking to watch as a parent.

I am doing this post as a way to shed light on the experience of a child having surgery. Erin's sweet little boy will be going in for surgery on Tuesday and she needs support and prayers from all! Please refer her to her blog for more info.

On to my stories. First we have Elizabeth. For those of you that did not know her as a little girl (and by little, I mean younger than three), she had what is called a hemangioma above her left eye. A hemangioma is a benign growth of blood vessels. They are in the category of birth marks and rarely cause problems - much more cosmetic than anything else. That being said, we decided to have hers removed. Our thought was that children can be very mean and we didn't want Elizabeth to have to deal with that. (I also have to add that she actually had a total of three but we only decided to remove the one above her eye.)

Anyway, back to the surgery. In preparation for her surgery, we went to Build-A-Bear to make something special that she could have at the hospital. I had read once somewhere that this was helpful with children and made them feel safe. She picked out the bear and dressed it in scrubs. She told us it was her nurse bear that would take care of her and keep her safe. We also let her bring her favorite blanket with her.

She was given Versed (a relaxant) before she was taken back. The surgeon let me hold her as they put the gas mask on her to put her out. We were then told it would be about 45 minutes so off we went to the waiting room. I was a wreck, not because she was in pain or having something major but the thought of her going under anesthesia killed me especially knowing it was elective. Mike was nice enough to go get us some lunch so we could take our mind off of it for a little while. After an hour had gone by and no news, I started to worry even more. Finally at the 1 hour 20 minute mark (yes I was watching the minutes tick by), the doctor came out and got us. He took us into the consultation room and explained that everything went well and what to expect. We then headed off to the recovery room to find a very sleepy little girl with her requested Dora band-aid upon her head. I had been warned that children wake up confused, upset and mad so I was prepared but luckily she woke up peacefully and then drifted back to sleep. She did encounter some vomiting afterwards that the nurses gave her some medicine for but it just extended our stay in the recovery room a little longer.

In the end, her surgery was easy and she recovered very well. By the time we made it back home in the afternoon, she was asking for chicken nuggets from McDonald's as a special treat. She was pretty sleepy the next day but never had any pain. She did encounter some itching when the incision started to heal but I just kept Vitamin E oil on it and that helped quite a bit. The doc also told me that would help the scar be less noticeable as well. She has healed great and looking back I am very happy that we made the decision to have it removed.

On to AJ:
Unfortunately I don't have any pictures to go along with AJ's surgery as I was the only one with him and didn't have my head on straight enough to think of taking pictures. AJ was tongue tied and was showing signs of speech delay. It was recommended to us by a developmental specialist and a speech therapist to have his tongue clipped to see if it helped. I have a hard time even calling his a surgery as they only clipped his frenulum (the small tag of skin under your tongue) but, he was put under general anesthesia for it and this is where my mommy emotions kick in.

My experience with him was much of the same as it was with Elizabeth, with the same drugs and the same procedure for putting him under general. We let him take his blankets as well. The BIG difference was when he came back - he was psycho! I am not exaggerating here! As I stated before, I had been warned about how kids react when they wake up but man - this little guy was M-A-D!!! It took two nurses and myself to hold him down so that he wouldn't hurt himself from all of the flailing and thrashing that he did. He also just screamed, not cried, but screamed for about 30 minutes. To my amazement though, you could see the effects of the drugs wear off as he gradually came around to his normal self. It broke my heart to see him like this and know that there was nothing that I could do but wait.

When we got home in the afternoon, he was back to his old self. He didn't show signs of sleepiness but I think that was because he was only out for about 5 minutes.

Jacob's story:
Jacob was my most recent experience with surgery. I did a post on his surgery here. I'm not sure if I was just used to the effects of the drugs or numb to it all but I found myself laughing at Jacob most of the time before hand because he seemed so drunk and happy. They did run into complications with his. (He had to have reconstructive penis surgery - isn't he going to love me for posting that?!) So much as the same as Elizabeth, we waited a lot longer than they said it would take and every foot step that I heard down the hall I would jump hoping they were coming to get me to see my little man. The waiting is horrible. I tried reading, eating, talking to my mom, watching TV, pacing and so on but the minutes just tick by so slow.

At last, after almost 2 hours, the doctor came and got us and let us know how things went. He took us back to recovery and this time I could hear him screaming down the hallway. It kills me to hear them scream but I know it was the drugs. He was inconsolable and mad. For him, having his blanket over his head was the only thing that calmed him down. I must say that the nurse in recovery bugged me this time as she kept telling him to calm down. Jeez lady, he's only one.

In the end, no matter how upset and cranky they all seemed, I know that I as a parent made the right choice.

Erin, I wish you the best with your little guy tomorrow and I will be thinking of you. Hang in there and know that what you are doing is because you love him and want what is best for him in the end.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sweet Friday - Recipe Flop

Mini Cheesecakes

2/3 c graham cracker crumbs
2 8oz pkg. cream cheese
2 Tbsp. white sugar
1/2 c white sugar
2 Tbsp. margarine, melted
3 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease or line with liners a 12 cup muffin pan. In medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and margarine with a a fork until combined. Measure a rounded tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing firmly. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes, then remove to cool. Keep the oven on. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla until fluffy. Mix in the eggs. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the muffin cups filling each until 3/4 full. Bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan before removing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
I'm not sure if you noticed but I titled this "recipe flop." I'm sure that is a little dramatic but hey, what can I say? Anyway, I wasn't a big fan of this recipe but Mike really liked it so that is why I decided to post it. For me the cheesecake part was not creamy enough for me and the flavor just didn't seem smooth. Who knows?
Anyway, the reason that I chose this recipe this week was to make something that was already portioned out for us. You know the whole portion control is one of the best way to control your weight? I'm not sure if they included cheesecake in this equation but I figured it couldn't hurt to try.
With that being said, make sure to check out Shelley's Sweet Friday recipe.
Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday Confessions Part VIII

1. Seriously? Is it Wednesday already? I am not sure where the time has gone. I feel like my weeks are just flying by. Before long, the holidays are going to be here. Ugghh!
2. Seriously. I cannot wait for Grey's Anatomy to start. Yep! I have Sept. 25th marked on the calendar.

3. Seriously! I am really tired of Spiderman! My son, the spiderman freak, goes to school dressed in the same spiderman shirt and spiderman shoes everyday. (Thanks Camden for the shirt - don't know what we would do without it!) And every night - yep you guessed it - Spiderman pj's. But back to the shirt. He begs for this shirt everyday. I think he would sleep in it if I would let him. Worst of all, I think his teachers think he only has one shirt because that is all they have seen him in. I might just have to send in a note on that matter. Oh well. I know it is a phase, but seriously!

4. I am seriously excited about my Holiday Mini Sessions that I am offering. Did you see the post below? I ordered my postcards and they should be going out to the "locals" sometime next week. Yea!

5. OK - here is a serious one for you. Is it my responsibility to pick up after the adult in the house being I am the "housewife" and that is part of my "duties" or should the dude get off his butt and help out a little. At least pick up your dirty underwear. ( I have to preface that this rant is not mine but that of a dear friend that shall go unnamed for fear of the wrath of her crazy mother-in-law.) But, seriously!

6. As if I am not seriously addicted to the Wii (well Mike more than I), they just released a new game yesterday, Wii Outdoor Challenge, and I want it but just can't justify spending any more money on that silly system. However with all of the rain and hurricanes around here it might be a good investment for the kids to have some active play inside to burn up some of their energy, right? Go with me on this one - I need to get Mike on board!

7. Speaking of money, we are on the hunt for a fabulous deal to DisneyWorld in January. My in-laws are going to visit the big mouse and have invited us along but right now we are finding that that place is just WAY too expensive for our tiny little budget. I have heard of people going to Disney for very cheap but I have decided that they know something that I must not because I just can't find anything right now. Ugghh!

8. OK - here is one for you. When is defending your child over something they did out of line? Let's just say the boys and I were at gymnastics yesterday and were having a blast. And AJ was off doing his thing with the teacher and I was with Jacob. And let's just say Jacob was swinging from the parallel bar when some pscho (ooops did I say that) little girl comes over and pulls his legs and says my turn. And let's just say as a result of this he falls and hits his face on the crossbeam, biting through his tongue, bruising his chin and jamming a tooth. And let's just say, the mother of the injured child, me, says to the little girl, "We don't touch other kids - they get hurt." Not anything too crazy yet, right? Well, the little girl heads on over to her mom and is crying in her lap. Come to find out at the end of gymnastics as we are walking to the car, I say to the mom, "I am sorry if I upset your little girl. I just wanted her to know that she can't pull other kids off of the bar." This is where it gets ugly. I get in response, "How dare you reprimand my daughter. She is very sensitive and you have hurt her deeply. She was only trying to help your son. (Keep in mind the other mom was engaged in a conversation not watching at the time) And then she goes on to say, "You need to watch what you say to other children." OK - her is my big, SERIOUSLY? Did she really just turn this around on me? I didn't think I said anything wrong (and I had witnesses and credible ones at that!). I guess I am just going to have to see what next week brings. Oh yeah - I got it on film, or well digital file, as it happened. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED - it's not pretty!!!

9. Now that I have scared you with that, I LOVE READING GLASSES! As I'm sure you can figure out, I am at the computer a lot during the day. As my age has gradually crept up there, I have noticed my eye sight changing. So off I went to the eye doctor. That is a whole other story for another day. But, anyway, he is putting me in reading glasses for my time on the computer and I am in love. I can actually see what I am doing - amazing huh?

10. And just for the heck of it because I can't come up with a # 10 - SERIOUSLY!!!

Have a good week!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

And the news is . . .

Yep! That's right people. I am doing several Holiday Mini Sessions on the beach. Check out my site for all of the details if you cannot see it here. Can't wait to take your family's holiday portraits!

Tumble, Roll and Flip

Today was the first day of gymnastics for the boys. AJ is going to go on Tuesdays and Jacob will go Tuesdays and Wednesdays. They had an absolute blast (until the end for Jacob - he fell and bit his tongue). There were bars, jumps, rolls, climbers, scooters, tunnels, and of course the parachute. Those of you TPSers will recognize one of the other little girls in the class too.

On another note - I have no idea why these pictures are so horrible. I did use my little diaper bag camera but they have never been this bad before. I am going to have to look into it because this is ridiculous. Hmmm.

Big News

I will be announcing soon, a promotion just in time for the upcoming holidays. Please stay tuned!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Toys That Last...

...well not only in quality but get continuous play from the kiddos. Yes, once again I am posting to Erin Cobb's Mama Monday's. This week's topic is toys that stand the test of time. I know that my kids get WAY TOO MANY toys on various holidays and with Christmas right around the corner (who knew?), I thought it would be a good opportunity to chime in. Anyway, here are the favorites in this crazy household:

1. Fisher Price Stacker - Advertised as an infant toy, my kids still flock to this one on occassion. I can tell you Jacob will still pull this one out quite often. Makes a great baby gift!
2. Fisher Price Busy Ball Popper - There is something about this toy that calls to kids that visit. My kids don't play with this on a regular basis but I can tell you when they have friends over, that is one of the first one that others pull out. I have debated donating this one but it still gets so much "love" by others that I can't part with it quite yet.
3. Bicycles (for any age group) - From the time they were small and not yet able to ride, we have had the kids on some sort of wheeled device. They love to go outside and hop on for a little spin. What else can I say - they stand the test of time.
4. Leapster - I am not a big fan of video games for kids but with all of the travelling we were doing and the moving, I knew the kids needed something that was easy to transport and they could play with in their seats. We orginally just got one for Elizabeth but soon realized that AJ was able to finagle his way around some of the games. What I like best about the Leapster is that all of the games are educational in one way or another and they can grow with your child.
5. Doodlepad - Future artists dream. We have probably 10 of these throughout the house. We have several of the big ones in the house and I have the small ones in the car for the kids to use while we are driving. I usually keep one in the mommy bag as well for those times in stores or at restaurants that you just need a little something more to tide them over. LOVE THESE!
6. Playskool Magic Tea Set - Remember the dinosaur tea party? Yep, that's the tea set involved. And the tea with biscotti's? And yet another event with the same tea set. Oh - and I'm sure my mom remembers from way back - tea mixed with Cheeze-Its. (Two-year-olds find these combinations appealing - don't ask me why!) My sister-in-law, Amy, sent this to Elizabeth for Christmas when she was two and here we are three years later and it is still in great condition and getting lots of quality tea time hours.
7. Balls - what can I say about balls except that they can be thrown, rolled, tossed, kicked, punted, hit, pitched, squeezed, batted and I am sure there are many other adjectives that I am just not thinking of. Anyway, these are always a great hit with all of the kids.
8. Books - all of my kiddos LOVE books and I am very thankful for this. We have a nightly family reading time before bed and have implemented it for each of them from birth. They have all learned that books are so important and fun at the same time. There is a great post here on some great books that many moms enjoy for their kiddos. I know my kids do rotate through their favorites.
9. Playdoh - No matter your age or gender, it always seems that this stuff attracts people just like flies to, well we won't go there. Anyway, I find myself joining in the creative blob formations that come out of playing with this stuff. To me, this is also a fool-proof birthday gift for kids under 5 that they are guaranteed to love!
10. Rody - So, if you have looked at the link, you probably said. "What the heck is that?" Well, when my mother-in-law sent one to the kids about three years ago for Christmas, that is exactly what I said. (Just a brief description - a blow up, bouncy, ride on cross between a horse and something or other.) Obviously she was in the know that season because the kids still bust that thing out at least once a day and with the layout of this new house they now have a race track to ride Rody on.
11. Tupperware Shape Sorter - I remember this toy from when my little brother was younger and had to have one when I had Elizabeth. I actually ordered it before she was even born. All three of my kids have learned the shape trapezoid and pentagon before going to preschool thanks to this great toy!

I am sure there are others but those are the ones that come to mind right now. I would love to have your feedback on toys that you think stand the test of time. Also, Jacob's 2nd birthday is coming up. Any ideas or suggestions for a kid that doesn't need any toys or clothes? We are thinking big boy bed and swing set (for all three) are going to be the winners this year.

Have a good week!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

soccer season has started

The Hornets had their first game today and Elizabeth did great. I was a little hoping she would get "into" the game a little more this year and she sure did. She stayed with the ball (most of the time) and got in there to kick it. She had a lot of fun today and in the car ride home, she said, "I Looove soccer!" I guess this means we will be sticking with it for a while. :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

hunt for a costume

I have been trying to find Elizabeth a costume for Halloween. Well, actually in all frugality (is that a word) I was hoping to find a costume that she could wear to a princess dress up birthday party and for Halloween as well and I stumbled upon this website. I love these costumes and thought I would share this little givewaway with you - go enter now!

Sweet Friday - Biscotti's

White Chocolate Cranberry and Chocolate Dipped Orange Biscotti's
This week you get two recipes for the price of one, but first I must tell you the story behind my decision to make biscotti's.

Elizabeth is a princess. I am sure I have stated that somewhere along the way. But no, really she is a princess - because her Pappy tells her she is. This is what I get told all of the time at least. Anyway, in her many adventures of royalty, she is a tea party addict. Not only does the girl use sugar cubes and hold her pinky out when she drinks her tea, she also has biscotti's on the side (all pretend, of course). Well, I thought, how fun would it be if she was able to have some real biscotti's with her tea so off I went in making some. Unfortunately we ran out of time to have our tea party before this post so I will have to post those pictures later but the little girl now thinks she is on cloud nine being she has 'real' biscotti's.

Anyway, on to the recipes.

White Chocolate-Cranberry Biscotti

1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3/4 c dried cranberries
3/4 c white vanilla chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In Cuisinart or Kitchenmaid mixer, combine all ingredients in order listed. The eggs and cups of flour should be added one at a time. Once mixed, divide into three sections onto ungreased cookie sheet. Each section should be about 10x2 inches. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; cut diagonally with a serrated knife into 1 inch slices. Place cut side down on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Dipped Orange Biscotti

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c white sugar
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 egg white
1/2 c chopped almonds
2 Tbsp. orange zest
4 oz bittersweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. In Cuisinart or Kitchenaid mixer, mix all ingredients in order except the chocolate. Once mixed, place on cookie sheet in a 10x2 in rectangle. Bake for 25 minutes. After baking, cool on rack. With a serrated knife, cut into 1 inch slices. Place slices, cut side down, back onto the baking sheet. Return them to the oven for an additional 20-25 minutes; turning over half way through the baking. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Allow chocolate to cool but not harden before dipping one side of the biscotti into it. Place cookies on wire racks, chocolate side up, until cool and dry. Store in a cool air tight container.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

I am so bad! I didn't get your card in the mail this year Dad but know that I am thinking about you on this special day! We love and miss you tremendously and can't wait to see you in a few weeks. I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wednesday Confessions Part VII

1. My little man, AJ, started preschool today! It is the first time he has gone to a different school than Elizabeth so we will see what the report is at the end of the day but I think he will be fine. He is in a class of only 6 kids so I know he will get a lot of one on one time. I really like his teacher and I think they are matched well for each other! He was a little hesitant about being dropped off until he saw the other kids and then he was just fine. Oh yeah - they don't allow backpacks at this school. They provide them all with buckets. I'm not totally sure on the whole concept but hey, AJ seems to be on board with the whole thing.

2. Am I a horrible Mom? I want to know the truth. I don't understand my emotions these days. I had a horrible time when Elizabeth went off to school but was just fine with AJ going today. Is it because we are back in the school routine and it is just what we do these days? Is it because it is preschool? Or am I really the most horrible mother that cries over one kid and not the other. Uggghhh!

3. There is nothing better than a good bubble bath. I figured you all wouldn't want a picture of me in the tub so you are going to get pictures of the kids! :)

4. Just to put it in the mind of my husband (or anyone else that would like to donate to the cause), would you get a look at this beauty? Yes, I want one and it so happens to come out in my birthday month. Hmmm, a birthday idea? Just in case you can't read it, it is a Canon 50D.5. Can you believe it is already September? I swear the year has gone by and I haven't even had time to blink. So much has changed but at the same time I still have my constants that hold me to the ground - my family and friends. I love you all!

6. My little man Jacob has demonstrated that he is REALLY interested in the potty and now that AJ is off at school I will have some more time to work with him. He is successful at pooping at least every other day if not more often. The pee thing is still a mystery to him. I do have to post another one of those, "my kids are going to kill me for this someday" videos though of what I think is his total cuteness - even if it is on the potty. :)

7. My stress over our Dayton house is greatly decreasing thanks to the help of the most wonderful people, the Zollars. Jenny and Mike have acted as our property manager's for us as our most perfect tenants move out. :( They are also going to take care of our new tenants for us. :) Despite all of the stress and frustration that goes into moving all of the time with the military, the friendships that come out of it are invaluable. Thanks guys! You have no idea how much this really means to us!!!
8. Speaking of friendships, I feel like I have been on a catch up sort of whirlwind. I have spoken to three people in the last week that I have not talked to in over a year and it seems as if we were never apart. I love those friendships that can stand the test of time.
9. This is not a confession per say but a request. Anyone that likes to cook or bake, I encourage you to hop skip and jump right on over to Shelley's blog and check out her Sweet Fridays. It is actually a lot of fun to be a buddy poster and I encourage you to do it too. (I think her readers are tired of only seeing me :)
10. Am I breaking the rules? Most of the other blogs that I read do a Ten on Tuesday which in turn is pretty much identical to my Wednesday Confessions. I just like to do mine on Wednesday because it is half way through the week. Is it so wrong to be different? Sigh...