Thursday, December 30, 2010
2010 held some serious kicks and surprises for our family but they all worked out for the best. here is hoping for a less stressful 2011 but filled with family and lots of laughter!
PS- Kudos to Hubby for updating the look of the blog. I told him that if I am to blog more in the new year that I must have a new backdrop. I love what he came up with!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Today on Daily Steals you can get the Extra Large Pillow Pets for only $6.99! These are usually $20-$40! Miss Mia has been begging for the lady bug pillow. Now that these are on sale, she will find one under the Christmas tree!
Shipping is $4.95, but that is still 1/2 of what they are in the store! Go HERE to take a look!
Monday, October 18, 2010
If you would like to join, click here:
Thursday, September 30, 2010
So what do you think? Separated at birth?
Monday, September 27, 2010
So welcome to our house. Complete with Bentley and Miss Mia playing and watching Toy Story 2!
View from the living room/dining room into the kitchen and entry way.
I love this house's kitchen. The house was built 5 years ago but all the appliances are 1-2 years old because the sweet lady who lived her before us hated all things that weren't Kenmore. Thus, we have all new appliances. The fridge is three weeks old!
View out of the kitchen...and of the best pantry ever. I'll post about it later. Seriously, I have waited so many years for this pantry and kitchen.
Corner view of the kitchen with our green bookshelves. Oh, how I missed our stuff!
Down the hall we go to Miss Mia's room with her new door sign made by a sweet lady I found on Etsy.
Reading area, toy box...all our attempts to control the chaos
Her most beloved bed and even more beloved kitchen and pea pod tent that has to be up at all times for her animals to go camping.
Miss Mia's bathroom complete with picture of her and her Papaw feeding chickens!
Our utility closet. Hubby makes fun of me for decorating it. I loathe folding clothes, so if I can make the process better with some decorations (particularly the Shaq and Chipper Jones bobble-head dolls) then its just that much better.
Down the hall we go into the master bedroom...
My birthday was a few weeks ago and Hubby and my parents collaborated on all new bedding..including 800 thread count sheets!!! Hallelujah!
Other view of the bedroom including doors to the HUGE closet and master bath...
Love this bathroom!
Although you can barely tell from this picture, the thing I love most about this new house is the garden tub with jets! Judge me if you will but after a week of moving, sometime the only thing that gets me through the day is knowing that I have those jets at the end!
More to come...from the right side of the Red River!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
10) I finally joined the rest of civilization and watched the first Twilight movie. I was fully prepared to judge and of course it bit me on my backside and it was that horrible. (I promised my nephew that I would read the books with him. So I decided to watch the movie first, see what I was in for. I am really judging myself for not hating it more.) = )
9) Our church is doing a garage sale as a fundraiser for their summer mission trip, and I have decided that it is my mission to personally donate most of our house! = ) Seriously, our garage is beyond full of items. How did we get this much stuff in only 6 years of marriage? Especially given the fact that when we got married, all Hubby brought was his clothes and literally 2 small paper boxes of miscellaneous stuff.
8) The class I TA for have their research papers due this week. You cannot imagine the belly-aching that a 10 page paper can cause. I awoke this morning to literally over 25 frantic e-mails. (Papers are due today) I have been meeting 2-4 hours every single day with students. I am thinking about recording my responses and posting them on you tube because I am saying the same thing over and over. With papers due today, that means that I have 90+ papers to grade..that's 900 pages (turn around time, one week!)
7) Went to West Texas for a great Easter weekend with my parents, grandparents, & brother's family. Such a great visit. Funny to watch my highly competitive family play Cranium. Even more fun when you put my mother and Hubby on a team. Oh, the horrors! hehe
6) Miss Mia has decided that the "terrible twos" can be quite fun. She has announced in the last few weeks that she "will never sleep ever!" (actual quote) and when she got in trouble and I told her I would spank her or put her in time-out she said, again direct quote, "well, then just spank me then!" Oh Lord, come to my rescue! I have since seen her put her bear and gator in time out. I asked her what they did to earn the punishment, and she said "gator looked at me funny."
5) I won one of the big fellowships that I really wanted for this summer. All of July, Miss Mia & I will live in Lubbock as I research for my book. I am so excited!
4) My Duke Blue Devils won the National Championship & saved my bracket!!! Thank you Duke..and thank for my whole $5 in "winnings" from Hubby! haha
3) Finished my Comps- and we all survived (thank you Lord!)
2) I have an interview to teach with a small college in Texas (very exciting)
1) We are moving to Houston at the end of June!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Please forgive me for my continued absence. I do think about you everyday. I check my favorite bloggers daily. I just don't have a lot of free time on my hands. Most of my free time is spent trying to get a little sleep, folding the mountain of laundry in my utility room, or trying to raise my child. Life is beyond hectic, but tomorrow will hopefully be my last written exam. Tomorrow is my last written, and luckily it is in my major field. My brain is beyond mush right now. Hopefully, with a good night of sleep, all will be restored and I will be able to sit and right beautiful essays for six hours. Next, I am hoping that I will have passed all of my written exams and then can move on to the oh so dreaded oral examination. I get nauseated thinking about the entire process, but I have to pass this next one to get to the next.
I do apologize for the boring Comprehensive Exam talk, but my head does not know how to talk about anything else right now. I have found lately that I cannot have a conversation without bringing Comps into the mix. I find myself introducing myself, "Hello, I'm Ashley, and I'm taking Comps right now. Please don't judge me yet, and wait for a better first impression once I am not wondering the extent to which the American Revolution was truly revolutionary."
My poor house is in total neglect, my baseboards are missing my loving scrubs. Did I mention, there is a pile of laundry in my house that is higher than most points in Texas? Did I also mention that I forget what more than 4 hours of continuous sleep feels like?
Did I also mention, that while I do study, basically non-stop, that I have a bit of a internet deal finding addiction? Bought a few cheap finds off Anthropologie, Miss Mia got a $11 Michigan State Cheerleader Outfit
(Makes her Grandpa 'Paddles' who is a Spartan alum very happy), and then found a few to die for pieces of jewelry that some of my family and friends will find in their Christmas stockings! = )
So dear blog, please do not give up on me, for I will return. Hopefully with more fun and exciting stories to tell. Even better yet, I'm hoping to get a coupon class going soon both in person and a web-based version. But for now, my notes need one last glance over before tomorrow...
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I'm taking a small break this morning to peruse through some of my favorite blogs before I go back to the trenches of studying. Tomorrow will probably be the hardest exam of my academic career. The thoughts are quite vomitacious.
Upon my searching, I found this poem found by chikaustin. Holy cow did this thing speak to most of my life. I am quite a Type A personality but since becoming a mom I have found that it is beyond easy to get distracted with the forty billion things we have to do. I know many single girls that this would apply to as well..but I won't name names. ; )
If You Give A Mom A Muffin
If you give a mom a muffin,
she’ll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She’ll pour herself some.
Her three year old will spill the coffee.
She’ll wipe it up.
Wiping it up she’ll find dirty socks.
She’ll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
she’ll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her
she has to plan for supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She’ll look for her cookbook.
The cookbook is setting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The checkbook is in her purse
that is being dumped out by her two year old.
She’ll smell something funny.
She’ll change the two year old’s diaper.
While she is changing the diaper the phone will ring.
Her five year old will answer and hang up.
She’ll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her
that she was going to have a cup.
And chances are… if she has a cup of coffee
her kids will have eaten the muffin that goes with it.
– author unknown
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Oh, and did I mention that in the midst of this madness, I am doing a diet detox? (And putting Hubby on one too?) Hubby has even started a blog to document the pain that an opinionated West Texas wife does to a man. You can read his blog at www.thehungryhubby.blogspot.com
I have so many good things to post when I do come back. I've been keeping photos..Miss Mia is in the midst of potty training, the weather is finally warm enough to play at the park, and I have made some truly amazing creations in the kitchen..But all of that will have to wait...
Sunday, February 14, 2010
The winner was the ever so adorable Mr. Wyatt.
Like Drew-Drew, Mr. Wyatt has been in Miss Mia's life since 7 weeks. He really is cute and posed for many pictures on my camera.
Ballentown's day is really hard on a girl. You need to lay down and prop your feet up.
And keep a keen eye out to make sure Mommy isn't going to still your new sucker from your other Ballentown Joby.
Miss Mia, Hubby & I wish you all a very Happy Ballentown's day!
I bought this print here. I just loved the colors, pistachio, brown and blue. I was even more pleased when I saw the print in person. It is just gorgeous. I ran down to Michael's that day and bought this picture frame for $15. (Thank you 60% off coupon!) I look at this picture every morning and it just brings me calm.
More Etsy...I have blogged before of my love of Belle & Boo. I bought a few prints for Miss Mia's room before but needed something else for one of her walls. I had the frames already for past artwork in Mia's room. I also had these fabulous mats that I bought 20 for $5 at Pottery Barn after Christmas sale. (I have had these mats in the 'to-use' someday pile for 2 years!) One day, when perusing through Belle & Boo, I came across 2 prints that I loved. Dark haired girl, feeding chickens or looking at a caged bird. They screamed Miss Mia. The prints, however, were $51. So I bought the same picture in her card section for $3 a piece. I am so in love. Miss Mia loves the chickens picture best of course.
The Etsy love does not stop there. Also in Miss Mia's room is another collage of Etsy prints that I bought at small sizes, matted with already owned mats and framed with similar frames. I bought this print here. I used to sing 'You Are My Sunshine' to Miss Mia before she was born and then to get her to sleep when she was an infant. The song has such a special place in our family. Whenever my family gets together we always sing and play instruments. My beloved Grandad used to request we sing 'You Are My Sunshine.' Since he's passed, we sing it in honor of him and whenever we're feeling nostalgic.
This entire collage, mattes, pictures and frames included was $15.
Nine Years ago, Hubby took me to meet his family in Michigan as his new fiancee. They took me to Saugatuck one afternoon. While window shopping, I came across the art studio of James Brandess. He is known in the area for painting pictures of all things Western Michigan. (i.e. the dunes, lighthouses, Dutch village and of course tulips.) I wanted something to commemorate my first trip and found this beautiful print. What I did not know, is how long it was going to take to frame it! It is an 15X15 which has been a difficult frame to find. When I went to Hobby Lobby's 50% off framing specials, to do what I wanted was still $80 after the half off! So I held out. Then one day, a few weeks ago, Hubby and I went to after-Christmas sale at Garden Ridge. I found this 20X20 frame for $10. I loved the metallic-wood frame. Then we bought a royal blue matte board for $1.50 and after almost nine years, the picture is finally on the wall! (And I am so glad we waited to do it right!)
Another frugal find of late was found this past week at Target. At the end of the aisles in the home section, many items were 50-75% off. I found this shower curtain for $7.50!
I have found of late that cooking is providing me a necessary escape from not thinking about my exams. I have been trying new foods and new recipes. I often don't cook with recipes but I find that my psyche needs the recipe. I need to completely immerse myself in another person's ideas. Pioneer woman is providing a necessary outlet. Hubby is quite proud of this development. Last night we tried MM's favorite sandwiches. Such a hardy meal. Hubby professed his love after the meal. (Those who know Hubby know he is a man of few words, and thus the meal must have been something extra!) After making this meal last night, I e-mailed a dear friend who just started a relationship and told her this was the trick to ever-lasting love! haha!
Today we are trying Pioneer Woman's pot roast...I'll let you know how it comes out!
The food that provides me the most comfort and is my favorite to make is my Chicken Tortilla Soup. When I was pregnant with Miss Mia, I ate this soup once a week. Not even kidding! Hubby can barely eat it anymore b/c of the memories of coming home night after night and smelling my soup. Yet I am still not tired of this most delicious soup. With the crazy snowy days we've been experiencing in Oklahoma, it makes it even better. Plus, it gives me the fabulous spice and Tex-Mex flavor that is so lacking in Norman!
My lovely soup in my even more lovely Le Creuset pot! (Another post is so required in my love for these pots!)
Here is my recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken
- 1 medium onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, chopped
-1 tbsp olive oil (can easily substitute a different oil if you don't have olive oil stocked)
- 2-3 Tbsp. butter
- 2-3 jalapenos, chopped (can be eliminated or seeded if you are like my Northern relatives and don't like heat)
-3 cans Rotel (I usually use 2 cans hot and one original, but again, do whatever heat your family can handle)
-1.5-2 c. frozen corn
-1 carton chicken stock
-2-3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
-Saute onions, garlic and jalapenos in butter and oil until tender. Add chicken and cook until done.
- While chicken is cooking, put Rotel into blender or food processor and blend until no longer chunky but not completely smooth.
-Once chicken is cooked, add Rotel, chicken stock, corn, and cilantro. Let come to a boil.
-Once at a boil, lower heat to simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes.
-To serve: Add chips and cheese to your hearts delight. Top with extra cilantro. Enjoy the warm and yummy goodness!
Along with cooking soup, we've been cooking with chocolate. Last night we made Nigella Chocolate Pots. (Be still my heart!) Nothing wrong with these! Miss Mia got into the act by licking the bowl for Mommy.
Speaking of Miss Mia....
I found her in our bed the other day with my make-up case..and this face
I knew it was just too quite in there. So much for thinking closed doors would keep her out.
After the make-up was gone...what a poser!
At least she and Hubby can sit in his 'man-cave' and play trains while I study or cook!
Saturday, February 6, 2010
I get up early, go to school, study, teach, study, pick up Miss Mia, make dinner, feed family, kiss family good-bye and head back to the library to study, then sleep...Repeat! Repeat! Repeat! The nightmares have really began. Somedays I wake up and feel like I am so ready to take these on..then the next day, or minute I want to run far away where they will never find me!
To keep my sanity, I have been cooking. A lot! Making big meals for the family so that I don't have to think about packed lunches for Hubby and I the next day. Then there is the baking. I recently fell into the path of the Pioneer Woman and subsequently her cookbook. I am so in love with both. Tonight we tried her chocolate sheet cake. With one simple bite, the clouds parted, angels and doves came down and I think I might have heard a deep voice say..."and it was good!" Miss Mia is usually found somewhere under my feet whilst I am baking. She is more than prepared to lick the bowl, spoonula, etc. Tonight she wanted more. "More 'poons Mommy, more cake! Need more cake!" After more bites than she needed we had to cut her off or call the Betty Crocker clinic!
Tomorrow is the Superbowl. We have always been at someone's house having a party. This year, however, Hubby asked if we could just stay home and watch it. I loved this idea. I can go to the bedroom and read, we can control the menu, beverages, clean-up (or lack there of thesedays). Or we can record it to our DVR, do something else, and then fastforward TO the commercials! Homeland is having Crazy deals on meat this week and we just bought 5 lbs of ribeye steaks for $15. So we are having steak tomorrow...and for many more meals to come! We'll also have cake!
Friday, January 29, 2010
1. lemons (smell, zest, cooking, in pie...all good)
2. Bravo Tv (again, no judging)
3. Butterscotch fondue
4. funny text messages
5. Clean Sheets
6. Smell of Mia's shampoo
7. Fabulous sunglasses
8. Dark chocolate
9. Great boots
10. Degas artwork
11. Yankee Cotton Candles
12. Smart water
13. Body pillows
14. Leather journals
15. Sonic diet cherry limeades (oh, darn you snow, now I really want one)
16. Re-writing notes (no judgment)
17. Anderson Cooper reporting in Armani t-shirts (they grant me crazy chuckles!)
18. Honeycrisp apples
19. Smell of pine-sol
20. Singling Taylor Swift songs in the car with Miss Mia (we can do a mean 15 and You Belong with Me)
Friday, January 15, 2010
The fabulous ladies at Craft Hope are getting together to raise money for the people of Haiti. They are asking those who craft, or even have fun accessories to give to donate them to the Craft Hope Etsy shop. ALL proceeds will be given to Doctor's Without Borders going to Haiti.
For all details go here.
So if you love to craft, please help, or if you're not a crafter and more of a buyer...then this is a great way to help too!!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
As most of you know, I love two kinds of people, old (85 and above) and young (all under 10). I find both endlessly fascinating. I worked all through my undergraduate with underprivileged pre-school children. The last few years, Hubby and I sponsored a child from Kentucky. That experience has been beyond fascinating. We are even more lucky, that the child we sponsored, his family has rebounded so well that he no longer is in the program. In fact, both of his parents have good jobs. It is truly an amazing story.
So without a child to sponsor, we decided to go international this time. We chose Honduras for various reasons, and then I saw this little girl. Daniela Alexandra. Is she not precious??
Just look at her adorable dress and that pose. I knew she was the little for us! I am so excited about this new journey and working with Compassion International. I just had to share our picture of this lovely little girl.
In case you want to check out Compassion, you can go here. You can also watch this video:
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
After a truly horrendous day, Hubby came in the door with my Netflix and first issue from my Cooking Light subscription, that I nabbed off Amazon a few weeks ago for $5. (That's right, $5 for an entire year!!) We ate a quick dinner, and I made us lovely hot chocolates, and I sat down with a comfy blanket to enjoy the movie. As it turns out, I did love it. Meryl is so charming as Julia, whom I have always loved.
I remember the first time I ever saw Julia Child on TV. I was maybe 5 and I thought her voice was really cool. I tried to copy it, but with my West Texas twang, even my sweet mother could not suppress her giggles. (For the record, I have not tried it again, and my mother has no recollection of my attempt.)
When I was in high school, I really began to look at cooking differently, travel outside of West Texas and think of differnt cuisines. Julia came back into the picture. I read an article about her and was astonished to learn that she was 6'2! Being an over 6 foot female myself, we have to stick together! My adoration of Julia has only continued.
So, the movie..it really was great. Since I have been up since 4, I decded to see if I can find the blog that became the basic for the movie, which basically involved a google search. Read the blog, read Julie Powell's new blog. Was not really that found of the new one, but liked much of the original.
Then I got to thinking, what cookbook would I be willing to cook my way through? I would really love to attempt to cook all of the Paula Deen recipes. I feel that if I could survive the endeavor however, the next few YEARS would be cooking my way through Weight Watchers cookbooks and Heart-wise, repair the damage after a year of butter. So I think I'm leaning more towards Nigella, although Martha would be fun too. I'm not planning on doing this anytime soon, but it is an interesting notion.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
This week I have been watching fabulous movies on the American Revolution, British Empire, and Jane Austen. Oh, its just glorious!
One of the other fun features, is you can see what other people in your area are watching. I must admit that it did break my heart a little to hear that the top movies requested in our area were Bill Engvall Comedy special's and Where the Red Fern Grows. In Manhattan, they like to watch Second Chance Harvey and Mad Men. (I think I might be living in the wrong area!) = )
Thursday, January 7, 2010
We took Miss Mia to Fort Worth and to the zoo. She loved it all, especially the birds! EEk! I just know they want to peck my eyes out! = )
In February, Miss Mia played with all her new toys and her grandparents that came to visit her!
Learned in March that a toddler cannot be expected to help with grading, but can be expected to disorganize their Type-A mommy's alphabetized stack of blue book exams.
Hubby & I spent our first night away from Mia in a train..the Santa Fe Caboose at the Woodrow House in Lubbock while I delivered a paper at the West Texas Historical Association Conference.
Miss Mia became Mommy's Little Helper. She "helped" with cleaning and the general running of the house
With temperatures going into the triple digits, we decided to take Miss Mia out on the lake for the first time. She loved the canoe, the water and most of all the sand on the beach.
In July we drove 16 hours in one day to Michigan. We took Miss Mia to meet many of Hubby's "Yankee" relatives. She met her 3 cousin Charlie (above.) They actually liked each other!
More triple digit days. So Miss Mia & I hopped on an airplane and headed for..Houston. (Wait, trying to escape the heat?!) Hubby's parents had a new pool that Miss Mia & I graciously tried out for them! Miss Mia also got to experience her first airplane ride and turbulence, which she ended up loving.
I got a new camera for my birthday! Pictures of Miss Mia went into overdrive!
Hubby & I went to see U2. What a memorable night!! I hope I never forget it!
Miss Mia turned 2 in November and to celebrate Auntie K got married! (Well, that's what Mia thinks at least!) She got to be the cutest flower girl EVER!
December brought many exchanges of gifts, helping Mommy bake and helping Daddy build, decorate and landscape (of course) a gingerbread house.
What a year! How fabulous it has been!