Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Charlie Brown Christmas

We watch a lot of movies as a family, but particularly during Christmas time. Recently Miss Mia has began requesting certain movies, but really likes a few Christmas movies. She particularly likes I Want A Dog for Christmas Charlie Brown & Charlie Brown's Christmas.

So channeling Charlie Brown, Miss Mia and I decided to decorate the one very small and quiet sad tree in our front yard for Christmas.

Here is Miss Mia with our finished product! The expression is her asking where did the birds go. (Many many geese were flying over our heads while we decorated.)

Today we leave for Texas to spend time with my family for the holidays. Before we leave, however, we have a lot to do. I have to finish wrapping the last minute gifts that we bought on sale last night, take the dog to the kennel (aka puppy camp), finish cleaning the house (laundry, bedding, vacuuming etc) & then go to Miss Mia's Christmas party at her Mother's Day Out.

Since Miss Mia is having her party, I had to dress her in something cute & festive.
This was the dress that we chose. She is pointing for the rest of her breakfast. Mean Mommy made her take a picture while she was trying to finish her breakfast.

Wondering what she's going to get at her party today...will Drew-Drew kiss me under the mistletoe? = )

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tis the season to be baking!

It will come as no surprise that I love to bake. It is also no surprise that almost every gift I get from people at Christmas goes in my kitchen. I get an alarming number of Williams Sonoma gift cards. This brings my heart so much happiness, I can hardly stand it!

This Christmas has already been in keeping with the traditions of my gifts helping me in the kitchen. Hubby, Miss Mia and I decided to open gifts early as a family since we would be with my family during Christmas, and with his family over New Years. True to tradition, Hubby got me cooking accessories. The difference, however, was that I had forgotten that I had ever mentioned wanting these things.

My gifts come from the kitchens of Martha Stewart and Nigella Lawson. Two of my favorite women!! If I could somehow combine the two--that lady would be unstoppable! From Martha, I recieved her alphabet cookie cutters, which Miss Mia & I have already tested. They work really well. Then from the Nigella Lawson Living kitchen, I got these beyond beautiful measuring cups. Seriously, how beautiful are these? They look like little pieces of art in my kitchen!

I had totally forgotten about these cups. Yesterday, while waiting for my ladies Bible study to begin, I was pursing the books at Barnes & Nobles and happened upon Nigella's Christmas cookbook. True to form, it was beyond beautiful--elegantly written, beautifully photographed & mouth-watering. I only had half an hour to devour the book, but I got some really good ideas. Oh, and did I mention that while I was reading the book, I was sipping on a Starbucks Peppermint Hot Chocolate? I think that one of their ingredients might be some sort of addicting drug..I would have so gone back for seconds if I had another coupon. (Shameful, yes, but delicious, even more so!)

So let me leave you with one of my favorite Nigella recipes. I use this so often that I have it memorized. You will love this sauce! Put it on everything! I have even used it in a fondue pot at a party and we dipped fruit & other yummies into it!

Nigella's Sticky Toffee Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Serving suggestion: Vanilla Ice Cream


Put the sugar, syrup and butter in a pan and slowly bring to the boil, allowing the butter to melt and the sugar to dissolve. Let the mixture bubble for a couple of minutes before carefully adding the cream. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce is thick, sticky and glossy.

Serve with a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Monday, December 14, 2009

11 days...

Only 11 days until Christmas. I am so excited, I as you can tell from the picture above, so is Miss Mia! I thought I'd provide you with an update on my advent calender "wish list" of things to do this holiday season.
So far we have:
-Exchanged a few gifts
-Made hot chocolate and home-made marshmallows
-Put up a sash for Christmas cards
-Made a gingerbread house (See previous post for the final product!)
-Listened and sang along with Dean Martin Christmas carols..(this might be my favorite thing!)
-Drove around to look at neighborhood lights
-Opened a gift (Target giftcard..which I promptly went and spent! Thank you Grandma & Grandpa K!)
-Made a traditional family dessert (Hubby's mother makes fabulous Christmas cookies with hershey kisses in the middle. I experimented this year with the various flavors of kisses, and after MUCH research, I concluded that the Melt-aways are the BEST!)
-Exchanged ornaments with the family. (This is a tradition Hubby & I started before he was Hubby. This year we let Miss Mia even select ornaments for us to be from her. )
-Watched a seasonal movie (I have yet to watch Meet Me in St. Louis, but I think we've watched Elf at least 3 times, and watched The Santa Claus with Miss Mia and Polar Express.)

I have yet to get my Christmas Cards out, which is horrible, but I will this week. We finally took Miss Mia's pictures in her Christmas dress. When we finish the card, I'll post it, but as of now, its a work in progress!
So we still have a few more things to do before Christmas, but the best news is that school is officially done for me until mid-January. Now I get the next month to sit and read and study in the relatively quite library with all the students gone home for the holiday. Then I can return home to my family and listen to "Baby Its Cold Outside." (And you're living in Oklahoma and Texas, it has been strangely cold early this season!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gingerbread Houses

While I was pursuing the deals at Target, yesterday- I found the gingerbread house kits on sale for $8. I thought that Miss Mia would love all the candy and the house, but what I did not anticipate is how much Hubby would enjoy the project!
She found that eating the candy was way more fun than putting anything on the house. Mr. Landscape Architect really enjoyed landscaping the house with gum drops.
Miss Mia did give up the mini-balls to Hubby. She enjoyed pulling out all the "circles."
The two posing with their beautiful creation!
Eating the last few pieces of candy!
Close up of the house! Isn't it cute?

Monday, December 7, 2009

A moment of Bliss

Today was such an amazing day. It all started out so simply and ended as one of the best nights ever. I went to my Bible study this afternoon with two of the most amazing ladies. Each week we give each other new challenges, and after I discussed my need to read something that was not related to my Comprehensive Exams, they challenged me to read one fun book. This would appear to not be the hardest of challenges, but I have such a hard time not doing work. Tonight, however, I decided to take the girls up on their challenge and read for pleasure.

So I chose to read Bella Tuscany, the sequel to Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. I had forgotten how amazing her books are and how she writes in a way where I can smell the olive trees, taste the cheeses, and hear the sounds of chatter in the plazas. So I took the night off from studying, cleaned up from a delicious supper, and decided that I really need to read whilst taking a bubble bath. I had one last Bath Fizzy (from last Christmas) to use. Then with a few candles and some classical music, I embarked on the most perfect of evenings.

The more I read her striking prose on the wonders of refurbishing an Italian villa to the ways to cook various forms of wild asparagus, I long for my feet to stand on Italian soil.

I found this picture this evening of a fellow blogger who took her picture in front of Mayes' famous wall in front of her villa, Bramasole. Bramasole, could their be a more perfect name? To yearn for the sun

A via/strada in Cortona. How perfect is this place? So excited to finish this book and maybe even read a few more non-history based books over the holidays.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tis the Season

We had a beyond fabulous Thanksgiving. We spent time with family, met new members, and sat in Tony Romo's locker! (more on that later!) With the past week being Hubby's sister's wedding, we had a new brother to welcome to the family. With the wedding, cousins and family came down to celebrate in the festivities. We met some of the spouses of cousins that we had yet to meet due to their living Far North. We had so much fun meeting and spending time with the family, playing Apples to Apples a billion times and found out that Monopoly on the Wii can be very fun.

Saturday, Hubby and I left Miss Mia with her grandparents and drove to Dallas to attend the Texas Tech/Baylor game at the NEW cowboys stadium. I won us tickets and a tour of the Cowboys' locker room. I will post more about the trip and pictures soon, becasue they are amazing. Lets just say the game was great, as was the outcome, and I sat in Tony Romo's locker!

But now that Thanksgiving is over, my schedule is about to get nuts for a few weeks with the semsester winding up. But luckily our presents are all bought and the tree and all decorations are up, but I still want a few more traditions to take place before Christmas arrives!

While browsing the blogs last week I came across a great list for your advent calendar. I really liked it because it was experiences instead of things. I tweaked the list a bit to fit our needs!

Advent Calendar

  • Exchange gifts
  • Make Christmas cookies for friends
  • Watch Meet Me In St. Louis and sing out!
  • Address and mail Christmas cards
  • Go the bookstore and pick out one new Christmas Book
  • Make thick hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows
  • Put up a ribbon sash for Christmas cards
  • Put up a wreath
  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Make a popcorn garland
  • Sing or listen to Dean Martin's Christmas Carols!
  • Drive around to see neighborhood lights
  • Go out and see public light display
  • Open a gift (new stocking, pajamas, or pillowcase)
  • Make a family traditional dessert
  • Exchange ornaments with my family
  • Eat out at a festive restaurant
  • Go to a seasonal movie
  • Host a Christmas dessert party
  • Attend a city tree lighting event

‘Tis the season.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wedding Weekend..and Thankfullness

This weekend marked Hubby's sister's beautiful wedding in Spring (just outside of Houston!) So the whole family drove down into the wee hours of Thursday evening to Houston. Friday morning we all woke up early for a princess-birthday brunch from Hubby's family. All the Michigan family was there too since the wedding. She had a fabulous time.

Saturday was the wedding. Miss Mia was the flower of the most beautiful flower girls ever! She was so well behaved the entire day. Walked down the isle with her small bouquet and was very still and quiet during the ceremony.
Before the wedding, while others were taking pictures in other places, Mia tried out center stage. She quiet enjoyed it!

What a beautiful flower girl!!

After the wedding came more pictures and the reception. We all enjoyed a lovely lunch and yummy cake. Then came the toasts (which Hubby had to give one, and it was really sweet!) and the dancing. After restraining Miss Mia to not dance along with her aunt and new uncle, we let her dance the rest and she was more than ready to oblige. She twirled, commanded others to dance beside her, and best of all had several dances with her daddy!
Aren't they just adorable? With Thanksgiving tomorrow, I am so unbelievably thankful for my family. I am thankful that we are healthy and happy and warm. I love that I have a daughter with a personality the size of Texas who keeps us laughing and guessing what is coming next. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Backyardigans Birthday..

Today marked Miss Mia's 2nd birthday party. When we asked her who could come to her party, her first reply was "Mymone." (Translation: Tyrone, the Backyardigan Moose) So we went searching for all party items Backyardigans..and found quite a bit!

We all woke up rather early this morning for last minute party prep. Mia thought some of the Backyardigans needed she tended to that part!

Here is all the Backyardigans with her delicious cake! It was chocolate with vanilla butter cream yummy! Everyone had seconds!
The whole set up! Backyardigans coming from the ceiling!
These balloons were the hit of the party!
A close up of some of the garland. I took pictures of Mia these past 2 years and made a time line of milestones. On each clip, I wrote a small caption. Loved how it came out.
Miss Mia with her party shirt and party hat on! The shirt was a cute custom made piece, complete with the Backyardigans peeking around her '2'.
Mia and her BFF Drew-Drew eating some cake and ice cream. She was more excited to have him at her house than anything else!
Opening Drew's present. He bought her some bath toys and jewelry. He already knows how to treat her! = )
So many presents!
When it was all over, she sat in the middle of floor with all her loot. She got baby dolls, books, DVDs, baby stroller, jewelry, outfits, cozy coupe, and os much more. What a lucky and loved little girl. I can't belive that she is already 2. Where did the time go?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So I thought I was done for the night, but then I checked out Kelly's Korner before I went to bed, and had to tell y'all about her latest post. As evidence by past blogs, I love kids, they have my heart. As an undergraduate, I worked with low-income pre-school kids in an amazing after-school program..but that is another story.

So Kelly is El Salvador with Compassion. Today she and her husband met Daniela, a young girl they have been sponsoring for a few years. Someone luckily videoed their meeting. The sweet little girl closes her eyes because she wants to be surprised by meeting Kelly, and because she is just a bit nervous. The video will warm your heart! It will also make you want to take them all home!

To see the video, that had me crying, go here.

Hubby & I have sponsored children in the U.S. in the past, and I'm thinking we need to broaden our scope too and have an international sponsorship! I love how God works in ways we never think about!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

One more chance to get candy

We took Miss Mia to my West Texas hometown for the weekend so that she could spend some time with three of her favorite things, (Nana, Pawpaw, Chickens!) and go to my old school's fall festival and trunk or treat.
Before the festival, we of course had to go feed the chickens, at least fifteen times.
Then Pawpaw let Miss Mia drive on the farm. She really loved all the buttons, especially the radio.
Then the little bee went to Guthrie CSD to trunk or treat as the sweetest little bee. She got so much candy!
Then she and Hubby went on a small walk so they could see the rest of my sweet little town.

She had a fabulous weekend, but then got really sick, and has been sick ever since. She now has the flu, poor baby. So we are staying home, drinking fluids, and watching lots of Backyardigan videos.

Monday, October 19, 2009

U2 & the Black Eyed Peas

So Hubby's birthday was a few weeks ago, and I surprised him with tickets to see his favorite band play! Last night (after driving 4 hours from Texas, & spending the weekend with my parents) we dropped off Miss Mia at some friends house and went to see U2! One of my first conversations with Hubby was of his love for U2 and how seeing them in concert was on his life's "to do" list! When I found out that U2 was not only coming to Oklahoma but Norman and the football stadium, we had to go- there was no other choice!
The view from our seats in the North East side of the stadium of the spaceship stage. The stage was so ingenious, the way they incorporated the entire 360...fabulous!
Hubby & the stage before the concert.
One cute and chilly couple before the concert.
Last night was the first night that the Black Eyed Peas opened for U2. They put on a really great show. I took this picture of Fergie for my brother for finds her very attractive!
Smoke coming out of the spaceship...U2 was about to take the stage!
Its Bono in Norman, Oklahoma!
The set during "The city of Blinding Lights."

I have been to several concerts before, but none like this one. It was like a religious experience. Over 55,000 people, all singing some of the same songs, and at one point, Bono sang Amazing Grace! It was pure U2...old and new, political and spiritual. If you've never been to one of their concerts--go! You'll thank me later! = )

Friday, October 16, 2009

Show Us Your Life= Make it Yourself!

This week over at Kelly's Korner, its Show Us Your Life- Make It Yourself! I have been very busy making a few things. We'll start with Miss Mia's Texas Tech Red Raider Tutu! With football season here, it was evident Miss Mia needed yet another tutu, but this one needed to be Red Raider inspired. I had a few ideas I wanted to try on making the tutu, and got all the tulle for 75% off at Hobby lobby. The only part I had to sew was the elastic together. Everything else is tying knots and cutting tulle! So easy, a caveman coudl do it! = )
Miss Mia loved her new tutu..She stomped around the house and twirled. She has recently learned the words to ring around the rosey & this large tutu made it so much more fun!
Future Red Raider shirt with tutu!
All of the fluffy goodness! Even put a few red and black ribbons throughout just for some extra texture and color.

The bigger DIY project came two weeks ago with the purchase of these fabulous bookshelves at our favorite used furniture store here in Norman. I could see so much potential in these needy shelves.

So we had them delivered a week after we bought them, went to Lowe's and bought some gorgeous Martha Stewart paint! (Of course!) Then we got to painting!
Look at our little helper...I even dressed her in what I thought was a baby painter outfit!
Side note...there isn't anything really on her roller, but she painted like there was!
Here is the finished product! I think they look gorgeous! I love them so much!
I found these cute knobs at Hobby Lobby for .75 each! Added such a cute flair to the shelves!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Hubby!

Oct. 2 marks Hubby's 28th Birthday! In honor of his turning 28 and inching ever so closer to those (cough!) 30s, I thought I'd make him a list of 28 things that I love about him! They are not necessarily my 28 MOST favorite, but just a random assortment. Disclaimer: I promise not to provide too much information and will avoid getting too lovey dovey! = )

1. Strong moral conviction- a must-have in any man, but mine happens to have a lot! (Suckers!...sorry!)
2. The way he puts Miss Mia to bed every night..precious
3. Bluest of blue eyes...something he passed to Miss Mia
4. Incredibly artistic (makes me jealous sometimes!)
5. His laugh...those of you who might know Hubby in real life, know that when he starts laughing really hard his entire body (but particularly his shoulders) shakes..cracks me up!
6. His nods...the poor man of numbers and design has been hauled to more history lectures, conferences, and gatherings than I can we get into the historiography of women of the American revolution, his eyes glaze over, and he nods as if he agrees with the entire conversation!
7. Always does the dishes...I'm the unloader of the dishwasher, but he always loads and does sippee cups!
8. So good to my family...he always said he fell in love with my family the first day he met them..he shows it everyday!
9. His appetite..its something of legend, but it just defines Hubby...where there is food so too will he be!
10. Ridiculously large occipital protuberance...(that is the sort of bump at the base of your skull) When I was an undergrad and taking my forensic anthropology class, we had to memorize all the bones and such..he was my test case...and still has one of the largest occipital protuberances that I have ever seen! Impressive, I know!
11. Great guitar player- mid-90s rock..he knows them all!
12. This one will sound silly..but he's a really good driver. I HATE driving, and he loves it. Even when we take 16 hour car trips, he'll drive over 12 hours of it!
13.Sense of humor..its different (lol) but its all him..
14. Loves being outdoors...whether mowing, hiking, or kayaking..he's up for it..
15. Like any 88 or 8 year old man, he loves trains. (Even subscribes to a train magazine) But it has eventually grown on me (there are many worse hobbies...even some of his other ones..)
16. Random knowledge..he knows a lot about elevators and fossilized camel teeth..seriously
17. Thickest (& curliest, if he'd ever let it grow more than a centimeter) of hair! Miss Mia & any other subsequent offspring will be blessed by two parents with crazy thick hair.
18. This is more of a memory...but when we got married, and he saw me for the first time, he teared of the sweetest things I have ever seen.
19. Fabulous giver...he always knows what to get (even when I am not giving him a list (BTW, that little side mark is geared towards snickers and comments from Cousin B!))
20. He's my "history hunter." Before Miss Mia, he used to go to the library/archives with me and help me research. He's actually found some of my most important documents for my master's thesis. (Don't worry, he was in the acknowledgments.)
21. Instead of flowers, he buys me bubble bath randomly or when he knows I'm stressed or upset (with him!)..
22. His love of James too cracks me up
23. Willing to let me fall asleep with the TV on...he's a keeper!
24. That fact that he can't sing...even a little. I find it endearing when he tries..makes me giggle!
25. His taking care of the cars...puts gas in them, gets oil changes, vacuums, washes, etc...LOVE IT!
26.Crazy Wii playing skills...he gets a perfect score on bowling almost every time...drives me crazy!
27. Amazingly good'd have to be to put up with some of my shenanigans
28. I love that he puts up with all my craziness!! I can't imagine anyone else putting up with me! hehe

Happy Birthday Hubby! Miss Mia & I love you bunches!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I LOVE having a daughter!

I love, love, love having a daughter. I have written many times on how much I have always wanted a daughter and having Miss Mia has made all those desires and dreams come true. One of my favorite things about Mia is her love of fashion and all things beautiful. My little girl is a fashionista. I blame this on her listening to Project Runway, America's Next Top Model & Rachel Zoe Project in utero!

Like all little girls, Miss Mia loves dress up, but even her everyday clothes are being accessorized and such. For example, yesterday Miss Mia wore a Pink and Navy Ralph Lauren long sleeve dress with these brown mid-calf boots! After spending the day looking fabulous at Mother's Day Out, we went shopping to hit up some CRAZY sales. Mia helped pick out some jewelry, some for me and some for her! What is hilarious is that she picked out jewelry and wore it around the store that totally matched her outfit! Apparently Mia is very bo-ho she picked out a cute gold owl necklace and this gold charm bracelet. I need bangles a lot...and so I loaded up! (Got all this jewelry at Dillards for under $10!)
On another note, I love having a daughter because she is so sweet and photogenic. This morning, in lieu of a Dallas Cowboy victory, she wore a Cowboys shirt with a cute white skirt and reading her chicken book that her Nana made her. This is truly a picture for her Nana & Papaw!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Coupon Class Coming Soon!

Attention to my Oklahoma people.... a Coupon Class will be coming soon! I am currently in talks with some fabulous people at our church to use a room and host a coupon class. Stick around for more details to come!