Friday, January 29, 2010

Random Things that Make Me Happy

We are all stuck in the house. Oklahoma is in a "state of emergency." I cannot study for my exams as Hubby and Miss Mia are home with me and are not exactly "study friendly" companions. But that's OK.. With snow drifts in our back yard over 3 feet high already and more to come, I thought I would stop cleaning and just write out a few random things that make me happy. (OK, if you want to know the true thought process...watching snow fall, snow flakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes, me possibly twirling as if on an Austrian mountaintop...and alas, this post came into being. Please no judging!)

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

Calling all Crafters..Or Buyers of Crafts!

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

Introducing Daniela Alexandra

Although I woke up extremely early yesterday, I could not sleep last night. I watched Anderson Cooper (an entire post could be dedicated to my love for his fabulousness) and cried at the devastation and sadness surrounding Haiti. Feeling like we just had to do something, Hubby and I talked for a bit last night, slept on our decision, & woke up knowing that we needed to take action.

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

Julie & Julia

I've been awake since 4 a.m., so please forgive me if this post does not make the most sense. But after a week-long battle with our mail-carrier, I finally got my latest shipment from Netflix, including Julie and Julia. I knew I would love it, I just knew. Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, cooking, Nora Ephron...perfect girl movie, right?

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 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

My New Love

I have a new, Hubby has no need to worry, my new love's name is Netflix. Have you discovered this most glorious creation? I got a coupon in the mail a few weeks ago for 2 free months. So I thought what's the harm in trying. Ordered my first movie, two days later it arrived. It was fabulous..and so on! But here is the best part, the instant watch. We have our Mac computer hooked up to our big screen TV in the living room. With the help of our wireless keyboard and mouse, I can access so many movies, including TV seasons, and documentaries.

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

2009 In Pictures

Can you tell I am stuck at the house today? Miss Mia's school was canceled due to the weather, and thus we are at home. I've already completed all my other "to-dos" for the day. I have been seeing these "Year in Pictures" everywhere, and basically had to do it as well. A follower, I usually am not, but on this one, yes!

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!

Christmas Part II

We celebrated Christmas with Hubby's family over the New Years holiday. We had only been home for 2 days after being in Texas and thus I ran around the house like a mad chicken as I tried to finish laundry and cleaning the house before their arrival. Hubby and I went out and did some last minute shopping, hoping to find some good deals after Christmas and came across a Mary, Joseph & Baby Jesus for $2. OK, so some back story. I grew up Church of Christ and we never had a Nativity set since we don't celebrate Christmas as a "religious" holiday. Since we don't know the exact date of Christ's birth, etc etc. I have never really wanted a nativity set, but this one, was so funny. The baby Jesus is at least 5 years old. It was too funny not to buy.
Since Hubby's family is Baptist and have many nativity sets, we decided to use some of Miss Mia's toys and create one. (I hope this doesn't offend any of you. It was meant as a joke!) As you can see, there are cows and horses and a "stable." The smurf on the top has wings and is the guardian angel. Some lego men are the wise men. Hubby really got into this! = )
So the family got here, we exchanged presents, made ridiculously fabulous appetizers for New Years Eve. Oh, it was such a feast. Then we decided to play Hubby's Wii Ski that he had gotten from his parents. Even Miss Mia took a turn!
The next day we went to Myriad Gardens in OKC. Miss Mia loved it, especially the fish.
Here we are making fish faces at her grandparents!!

The holidays were so great this year. It amazes me how much more fun the holidays are with a little one. Since the holidays and turning 2, Miss Mia is talking more and more everyday. Sometimes in entire paragraphs. She has memorized two books, and quotes them so beautifully. Every night we read a book before bed and then she grabs her book, "Night Night moon, night night chair and rev (that's red) loom (that's balloon!)" Precious, precious memories!

Christmas Part I

As promised, I am finally getting around to writing about our many Christmases. When you have a big family that lives 4, 7, 16, & 20 hours away, you have to improvise on the holiday celebrations.
Hubby, Miss Mia & I celebrated our Christmas early in December with our few gifts, stockings, and some treats.
Then came Miss Mia's school party. We made gingerbread men and ornaments.
She enjoyed the chocolates given to her by her teacher more than anything. Later that evening we left for Texas for Christmas with my parents. We were lucky to get there the night before, because a few hours after we arrived, the craziest snow storm I have ever seen started.
We got almost a foot of snow-which is just unheard of for West Texas. Here is my parents front porch bench covered in the snow on Christmas Eve morning.
In my family, we have always opened gifts on Christmas Eve. Since my brother's family couldn't get to us because of the weather, we had to improvise the holiday festivities. Miss Mia was so excited about her Christmas presents from Nana & Pawpaw that included this baby and a beautiful baby bed.
On Christmas Day we went to my Grandmommie's as is custom. We walked the twenty feet from my parents to my Grandmommie's. The weather and snow was still too bad on Christmas day that only my uncle could visit us. The lack of people did not deter Miss Mia's enjoyment. In fact, I think she may have reveled in being the only small child. She got these adorable owl pajamas from Grandmommie, and the moment she opened them HAD to put them on.
The day after Christmas, enough snow had melted that my brother's family was able to come visit. Hubby & my neice & nephew built this great snowman, complete with cowboy hat and big ears. (Big ears are a trait on my father's side of the family!)
Miss Mia & her cousins exchanged gifts and she got this adorable outfit.
Then Miss Mia insisted on taking pictures under the tree. So we put her in and my neice in their matching shirts from Nana for picture time. Miss Mia even staged this picture, wanting to sit with backs to Cousin K!
With all the picture taking, Miss Mia grabbed Nana's camera and instructed everyone to "CHEESE!!"

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you & yours! I promise to post about our Christmases..we've had many, but I am currently so inspired with the new year and resolutions, that I just had to post.

In brief, we have been very busy, but the wonderful kind, that is taken up with family and friends. A small amount of family crises that always accompany the holidays, but on the whole, great. Miss Mia, as well as Hubby & I have been showered with love and gifts, and hopefully returned the favor tenfold!

Hubby's parents are currently here with us celebrating the New Year & finishing up our last Christmas. We had a great New Years Eve that included Hubby getting off work early, a ridiculous amount of fabulous appetizers for dinner. Garlic/Chili Shrimp, stuffed jalepenos, brie & red pepper jelly! Oh, it was fabulous!

Even though Christmas is my favorite time of year, New Years is a close second. I think it is because its a clean slate. I love that this is the time when everyone tries so earnestly to do right. I have been perusing my favorite blogs, and I love how Kelly wrapped up her year and how she made resolutions for 2010.

1. I am so thankful for Miss Mia! Words cannot express the joy, fear, love, consternation, that this little girl brings me! I understand her so well, and yet still surprised by her quirks and new remarks. This very week, she has began to repeat everything! In this past year, I finally got a little girl with curls! She has taken up walking, talking, running, jumping, climbing, yelling, singing, dancing..I love that she is so fabulously girly and yet will play in her tutu and pearls with trains & trucks.

2. Hubby has been so supportive, as always. This year has been a great exception, as we have entered into uncharted waters. He is constantly the one person that I know will help me keep things in perspective, always offers a humorous suggestion, and listens endlessly while I drone on about school and the historiography of the Early Republic. (There is a spot in heaven for this boy on that note alone!)

3. Family & Friends My family and friends have been so dear to us this year. I have always been close to my family, but with a few unexpected turns, they are closer to me now than ever before. The same goes for friends. My dearest friends have never been dearer and I so look forward to any time that I get to spend with them, whether in person or over the phone.

4. Church Family- One of the biggest decisions this year was our changing of churches. The process, the decision was quite horrific. I will spare the details, but the result was beyond anything I could have imagined. We are now blessed with a fabulous church with some of the best leadership I have ever encountered. I no longer have to worry about the intentions of these most honorable of men & we have made so many great new friendships. We are so lucky to have found this church!

5. Creative outlets- I know this sounds silly, but I am so thankful for all the blogs, fun websites that foster creativity, better devotion, community, and sometimes most importantly those beautiful hours of procrastination that I need so badly! I have made some great friends over this blog. Who would have thought? (Just shows how many ladies love a great baragin!)

1. Better wife & mother- While I have been the busiest that I have ever been, I still want to improve as a wife and mother. I want to not take out my stress on the two people who love me most.

2. Less stress with school- this goes hand-in-hand with the first improvement, but I know that if I just do the work the best I can, there is nothing more than I can do. I am trying so hard to not stress about school and to keep myself healthy..this will be my greatest struggle, I know

3. Reach out more to new friends- Since we have moved to a new and much bigger church, we have so many new friends. I really want to reach out more to these new people and develop these friendships more. I feel that with all our schedules and the business of our lives, Hubby and I could have done so much more in fostering these new relationships. I plan to remedy this in the following months.

4. Improve the health of myself and the family- I have mentioned before that I have been training for 5Ks and the like. That training continues, and I am one race down. Also, I am almost down 20 lbs since September, and 40 since January! I want this to continue for not only me but for Hubby and Miss Mia too. I have some very exciting ideas in mind!

5. Not feel guilty for "me" time- I think that as women and especially mothers, we feel so guilty for giving ourselves any time to ourselves. I will go months, umm 6 to be exact, without getting my hair cut because I feel it is too extravagant. I don't want to find a sitter, don't want to spend our family money, etc. I am really trying to not make myself feel so guilty for a few moments a week or a month that are just for me...I think this will cut down on some of the stress.

1. Get more involved with the women's ministry at our chruch. I have always helped with the food pantry at church and it is not something that I plan on changing, but I would like to get involved specifically with more women in need.

2. Participate in a Craft Hope project. I love what Jade and other have done! Pick a group in need and have crafty people come together to show some love and compassion. I follow the projects each time, but have yet to make anything for one. I want to change this and maybe even get a few of my other crafty friends in on the projects too. Get Ready!

3. More random acts of kindess. My dad is the absolute best at this. He always talks to strangers, some funny sort of conversation starter, helps with doors or getting someone up steps. I feel I inherited much of this from him. I constantly get people, usually over 80 = ) coming up to me and telling me they feel they are supposed to hug me. (Seriously, this happens almost once a month!) But I want to do more. Whether its a card of kindess, dropping by with cookies for a friend, helping someone up steps, I want my eyes to be open to helping others more and not being too preoccupied with my own life to notice.

4. More coupon classes. While this may sound trivial, I get so many requests that it is hard to keep up. Hubby and I have been talking about me making pseudo-business cards with a link to a site set up to help. I am still working, so please don't give up on me, on a special link with the information from my class on my blog. Hubby is my tech support and he has been CRAZY busy at work..thus changes will come..but it may be a bit yet.

5. Giving- My parents and I have discussed doing more for others than for ourselves. We have everything we need, we just don't have everything we WANT. The day when we have everything we want, will not be in this lifetime. I have really wanted to start focusing our money on one more CD or shirt that no one will wear on those who are less fortunate. My family has always held various Boys' Homes in their hearts. Hubby and I sponsor a child through Save a Child, which I highly recommend. But I would like to do more. For mothers day this year, instead of a bottle of perfume (my mother's perfect gift), maybe give the money we'd use for that and give a donation in her name to the Boys Home or some other charitable organization.

1. Pass Comprehensive Exams

2. Complete a sprint triathlon

3. Finish book manuscript

4. Get another fellowship (need money when researching!)

5. Take a vacation with just Miss Mia & Hubby--not a vacation that incorporates visiting other family (that's all well and good, please don't get me wrong!) but one that is just for us!