One of my favorite things...

I have a lot to do today, including putting groceries away, but I had to blog really quick about my absolute favorite thing to do.

I love putting nice things on the curb and seeing other people get excited to put them in their cars and drive off with a great treasure. Do you do this? It is so much easier than a garage sale. Or even donating to goodwill. And who knows who you might be helping. We live on a busy street, so things don't last very long. An hour tops.

Maybe tonight I will do a Christmas post... Until then, back to the chores!

Xoxo, s

p.s.  and because i love a post with pictures, here's Savvy photographed by my sweet friend earlier today...



{mostly} Ethan's Birthday Recap

yikes.  i just re-read this, and it is long.  and rambling.  so i'm going to delete the bulk of the rambling... y'all don't really care about the rambling, right?

let me begin with the beginning of the last week of "school" -- i got my shopping done, did the school program thing, celebrated ethan's birthday, and had savannah's 6 month appointment {doesn't every baby have their 6 month appointment at 7.5 months?  by the way, she is 19 lbs, 9 oz, and 28 inches long, for my record keeping purposes}

the wrench that i threw in the mix?  i decided on monday that we should go to longview and celebrate christmas the weekend before christmas.


but on to ethan's birthday...

we started with a little celebration at school...  we really started by going to get donuts for breakfast, then getting the cookies for school.  {i wanted to bring donut holes, but they were out! boo!}


and then we had a little family get together that evening.  {store bought cake, on sale!}






and he received the fire truck of his dreams which has dominated our living room.  and has no "place" on his single toy shelf in our 900 sq. ft. house.  and i think i am going to puke when i think about what santa is adding.  thankyouverymuch.


and sister thought it was all about her... she had so much fun with the paper!




and she's been doing this thing where she stands on one leg.  lord, help me.  we're so certain that she'll stand soon that we moved her crib mattress down tonight. 


then, on saturday, we had birthday, round 2 in longview.   


it was all very fun.  ethan played with an older cousin all night, and learned about pretending to play football and tackle.  i definitely felt like he was growing up.  what happened to my baby???

then, on sunday morning, we woke up, noshed on faustino's aunt bonnie's hash brown casserole that i brought.  {i need to give y'all the recipe for that one} and had christmas.  i was on cloud nine when i opened up my gift from my parents.  what has happened to me that i am that excited over household appliances?  but i am!

anyway, the house has that whole, toys out of place thing going on... and i've not been able to get it under control... as i have been christmas carding {with my shutterfly freebies - turned out pretty cute, btw, and then my etsy ones came in at the last minute.  people will get them monday after xmas.} and canning more cranapple butter.  along with disciplining children that must surely be acting out because of the full moon/eclipse/winter solstice.  right??

and then we did the gingerbread house thing... which was a blast... you can read about it here, on sabrina's blog.  if only someone could have taken pictures when it got really out of control... not enough hands...

but i gotta go... i just realized that i have christmas eve/christmas day food to wrap my brain around.  i've known all along that christmas is on the 25th...  oh well :)


A Good Sign

i've got a long, picture heavy post coming.  it's written.  i have to flickr the photos, etc.  i'll post it tomorrow.

but for now, i will just post one thing.  my cat came back {or rather, let me pick him up out of the neighbor's yard}

it took five weeks {almost to the minute} to get him back.  i have had the most vivid dreams of his return.  what a great ending to my day.


he's skinny, but so sweet.  very affectionate.  it took about an hour for him to calm down once i got him inside.  i can't begin to tell you how relieved i feel.  he's okay.  he's back with us.  and it seems like he is really happy to be home.  its a good sign for us. 

and ethan can stop breaking my heart with "i really miss hobbes, mama" and "where's hobbes?  i miss him"

meanwhile, my himalayan is totally peeved at not being an only kitty anymore.  {growls and hisses}


on another note, did the full moon make your children misbehave today?  or was it just my children?



let me just get this out here -- my christmas cards will be late.  and i am sad.  and sorry.  and stressed.  i should have opted for expedited shipping, because once the company got behind, they still have to ship it... i should get them by thursday.  so... if i work quite quickly, you could get them after christmas.  see the thing is, i like to hand address my envelopes.  oh man, i am bummed.

i'll be back later with a post about celebrating ethan's birthday and early christmas with my family.  until then, i'll just be peeved about my christmas cards.



Happy Birthday, Mr. Ethan

what a treat it is to be ethan's mom.  he is a curious, spunky little boy with a delightful sense of humor and a very stubborn streak.  he has an amazing memory.  he has a sweet heart.  and i love him so very much.

i can honestly say that he has made the past three years the very best years of my life.  what an amazing blessing he is to our family.

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i have a secret weapon.  his name is wilbert.  and he is our elf.


so far ethan has had impeccable behavior.  he has eaten whatever dinner i have told him to.  including vegetables.  has not thrown fits when asked to go potty or take a bath.  and has even gone down easily for naps.  he wakes up in a better mood.  all thanks to our elf, wilbert.

perhaps you need an 'elf on the shelf.'  it has been worth every. single. penny.

i am not exaggerating.  ask my husband.

go get an elf.

xoxo, stephanie


Christmas Procrastinator

so.... its december.  and most people have had their holiday decorations up for a while.  not us.  we have that lone mickey ornament from disney... and an empty xmas tin of peanut brittle.

i swear, i will get my act together this weekend.

and christmas cards... yah...i haven't started them.  at all.  i haven't even picked one out.  last year's rocked, and this year, i haven't even taken the photo yet.  nice, huh?

so then i start seeing everyone blog about getting free chistmas cards for blogging about shutterfly's 50 free cards thing... and i think... aha!  i just might be getting ahead by procrastinating.  so last year's card was designed by a great etsy artist... and took some coordinating.  and then printing.  and shipping.  and it was definitely the 11th hour by the time i got them addressed, stamped and in the mail.  this year, i think i might try out simplifing with shutterfly's holiday cards and photo cards.

they really are quite cute:
or maybe this one?

or about a zillion more...

and then, while i am there, maybe i will even make a holiday calendar with the kid's photos for my parents... or my grandmother...

and maybe while i am at it, work on creating a birthday invitation for mr. pickles as well.  because his is coming up.  and i have yet to plan it.  well sort of.  i have somewhat planned it, but not nailed a single thing down.  am i a commitment phobe?  seriously... what is my deal??

but back to the holiday cards... i have not a clue what i am wearing, nor is my hair cleaned.  i have clean laundry all over that needs to be put away.  and now it is past midnight.  lets hope i have a productive weekend.  i guess i have already started by checking off this blog post from my list!

xoxo, s


Y'all, it was WONDERFUL

i really love disney.

you see, i had never been to disney world.  and i have always wanted to go... so when the opportunity arose to tag along with my husband while he attended a conference, i jumped at the chance.  and then i realized that there are thick novels of information written about visiting disney world.  so i read them.  and researched online.  and plotted out all aspects of our trip, basically sending me close to the loony bin at times.

but it was worth it.


we ate delicious food.  stayed at a great resort.  and saw nearly everything on my list.  i absolutely loved it... so did ethan.  it was the perfect age to take him, because activities were ethan focused.  savannah didn't care if she wasn't riding rides.  she had fun just looking around.  or sleeping in the stroller.  or being nursed someplace publicly.  yes, i was that mom at times.  i'll never see those people again, so who cares, right?

one truth you must know about the trip was that ethan had some sort or viral stomach bug and had diarrhea for the entire trip.  start to finish.  as in, the morning we left i was cleaning his duvet in the bathtub.  it got more interesting from there:  the airport, the plane, etc. etc.  it stayed strong all the way through needing a outfit change as we were checking out of the hotel.  yes, it was that bad.  and yes, we have had some potty training regression.  ohhhh well.  i have a new found respect for my husband -- my jaw hit the floor several times when he volunteered to take ethan to the men's room.  amazing.

fun times, right?  well the little guy never skipped a beat.  i wish i had that kind of stamina.   

the plane trip was wonderful, and this contraption was a helpful addition.  i don't know if it did anything other than make sure that the wiggle worm stayed put.  it was worth it to me... i probably wouldn't want to risk it and see what it would be like without it.  and we rented a double stroller.  if you are in the market for a double stroller, might i suggest to you the city mini?  it was fantastic.  seriously.  i would love one.


disney's magical express and not having to worry about car seats was wonderful.  the food at JIKO in our hotel was wonderful.  looking out our windows at animal kingdom lodge and seeing the animals was wonderful.

i could gush on and on.

i never saw so many people sporting mickey clothes.  it was strange.  i knew it was time to go home when i started thinking certain things were cute, and might be nice additions to my wardrobe.  again, scary disney.  {a mickey purse?  scarf?  save me!}

but back to the fun... there were several highlights for me.  one was ethan on the tomorrowland speedway ride.  he. loved. it.  he went over and over again.  it was the best part of his trip.  he also got a big kick out of chip and dale.  and donald duck.  who knew...?



another highlight -- the fireworks at the very merry christmas party.  and the castle lighting.

and dinner at JIKO.  mmmm.... dinner at JIKO was wonderful.

it all was wonderful.  i can't wait to return. 







there are a few more photos that i put on flickr... just click on one of the photos above and it will take you there.  and if you want my psycho touring plans, just send me an email...

xoxo, steph


Childlike Hope

well, if you have been following along, you know that on november 15th, my sweet cat bolted out the door and i had not seen him since.  until tonight.  ironically, i was coming home from bringing my friend who had a baby dinner.  the same friend that i was bringing dinner to the night he left...


so, i was pulling in the driveway, and i saw him in front of the neighbor's house.  it was dusk... i parked in the drive, not even pulling all the way up, and ran for him.  he was spooked, but i caught his attention.  he knows he is near home.  i could totally tell he was interested in me, but hesitant.  i am confident we are close to having him home.

i am also shocked that after almost a month he has resurfaced.  we live on a busy street.  near even busier streets.  and the highway. 

my point in telling you this is beyond just sharing my excitement.  you see, my darling little boy has not given up on finding him.  he calls for him {very loudly} every time we go to the car.  he wants me to roll down his window so that he can yell for him as we drive down the street.  he tells me that he misses him.

i have not given him these ideas.  i answer him, that hobbs is living outside right now.  i act unemotional about it; matter of fact.  it is painful for me -- more so when i think my little boy misses him, too.  i don't want ethan to see me sad...

but he has not given up.  and now, we might get him back... i have the same childlike hope.  and isn't it the season to have childlike hope?  there are so many things the little people in our life teach us.  when i am willing to accept things, my son is not.  he is hopeful.

may we all have some childlike hope this season.


We're Back from Disney

hello blog readers... we are home from orlando.  did you even know that we left?  i didn't want to post it because lord only knows who reads this.  and i don't want to be a 'fraidy cat, but it gives me the creeps to post on the internet that we are out of town.  until i get more people to delurk, i'll let you know after we come back that we have left...  but maybe it makes sense now, why i was so frantic the week before thanksgiving?  i was packing and planning and i had a sick kid.

anyway, disney was magic.  you should go.  it really was a great time.  i spent hours upon hours maximizing our time... and it was worth it.  but now it is back to reality.  

sooo... you can imagine the unpacking tornado that has touched down on my house... not to mention that i am waiting on the a/c repair main to fix our heat.... because we have none!  {and he sounds ancient on the phone, by the way.  and he also said he'd be by in a little while.  whatever that means.} 

i have all sorts of things to say about our wonderful week... but until i can write a proper post, i will leave you with this:



We have a Crawler

i have enormous mountains of laundry that need attending to.  last night it was more like an avalanche of laundry...

anyway, i have 3 different drafts of blog posts that essentially say the same thing:  i've been busy, ethan was sick and now he feels better, and savannah is crawling at a snails pace.  she can also go from laying down to sitting up on her own.

so now that i've posted that, i will do my laundry and feel like i have adequately recorded savannah's 7 month milestone.

i'll be back after i get my act together with bunches of posts recording all the fun we've been having.  because we have had some fun, and will have more to come...


p.s.  thank you cousin kristen for teaching me the "tuck the dress in the bloomers" thing... very handy...


Happy Thanksgiving!

my heart swells with all the many blessings i am thankful for - most specifically, my husband and our two sweet children along with our good health.


Happy Thanksgiving!


cranberry apple butter

hmmm... so i don't have the "scheduled" feature quite mastered on blogger.  par for the course...

i meant to post this on tuesday... but here it is on thanksgiving... oh well 

anyway, last week, while i was having fits about possibly losing my milk, i decided that it would be great to do some home canning.  am i on drugs?  {well, technically, yes.  but not the illegal kind.}  i always seem to take on an endeavor like home canning, when i am frankly, not up to it.  whatever.  it was tasty on an english muffin, and i know it made ethan's day.  that's reason enough, right??

anyway, i needed to make some cranberry apple butter to take to an event... but i also wanted to see if my idea was any good, and if it was, i could make another batch for gifts.


did i take photos of the process?  no.  i was doing good to get it done.  but i did take a picture of my apples.  i used several types... my favorite Honey Crisps and some Galas and a few Granny Smiths... and i think a few more of another kind, but i don't remember.

Cranberry Apple Butter
14 peeled, cored & chopped apples
1 bag of cranberries
1/2 C cranberry juice
2 C white sugar
1.5 C light brown sugar
2 T cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t kosher salt
Place all ingredients in crock pot and stir to coat apples and cranberries. Cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce to LOW for 8 to 10 hours; stirring occasionally.  Pulse in blender in batches.  Return to crock pot and cook on low additional 2 hours.

Can in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Yields 4 pints.  

it tastes like regular apple butter with a cranberry kick.  so the verdict?  i'll be making another batch for gifts {and myself...}


Catch Up

wow.  where do i start??  i have been completely absent this last week...   i haven't had it in me to even read any blogs, much less write on my own.  and my husband has been on vacation... so, one would think that means i have more free time, but somehow, it means i have less.  seriously, way less.  although we watch more movies...  and i do WAY more dishes {or i don't do them, and then have massive amounts of kitchen catch up} 

while i was away from the computer, we harvested a few of the veggies.  nice, huh?



one issue of note -- my cat is still gone.  ethan will say "come out, come out, wherever you are" when we go outside. breaks. my. heart.  he was such a good cat.

for those of you that don't know:  a week ago, my cat jumped out the front door to attack the semi-stray alley cats that have made a cozy home on my front porch.  he hasn't been back since.  i blame myself.


the 3 things that have made me feel better:  my MIL said that she would have not broken up the cat fight that prompted his disappearance either {seeing how it was at night and both kids were in the car AND it was a cat fight}, faustino has looked for him multiple times and told me not to feel guilty because it was a matter of time before he jumped out the door, and my friend told me that maybe he is enjoying the freedom.  perhaps.

i am still hopeful that i will open the door one day and he will be there.

another issue of note is that my milk is back thanks to the wonder drug reglan {with all of its not so wondrous side effects.}  I have 2 more weeks of this garbage.  the warning label should say something about it turning you into a zombie.  if i ran into you last week, after having taken a dose, you probably thought i was on drugs.  you were right.  yikes.

{did i tell you that i nearly lost my milk?  maybe i didn't go into it... it was an emotional hell for me.  a hungry baby is a sad, sad, thing.}

another time suck of last week -- i spent hours at the volvo repair shop.  two afternoons in a row.  the second afternoon i had two elementary school children who were in the waiting area as well.  if you are a mom of young children, you know that this means it was a wretched time.  they were bouncing off the walls {which made ethan hyper excited} and they were very curious about savannah.  and they had no regard to personal space.  and savannah needed to nurse.  and i am on the zombie medicine... to say that i needed a drink {which i CANNOT have on reglan} would be an understatement.  and i just thought i would get some work done on planning the disney vacation.  yeah, right.

also, we celebrated our wedding anniversary.  sort of.  at a work dinner for my husband's program.  it was... free.  not romantic, but definitely free.  oh well.  he did buy me flowers... and that is romantic.  perhaps next year we'll go on a trip or something...  i can dream, right?

and the weekend was good... and now it is thanksgiving week and i am horrified at how quickly time is passing.  i'll post a super yummy seasonal recipe tomorrow.  until then, my house is yelling at me to clean it.

xoxo, stephanie


Save Me From Myself!!!

i feel like i have turned into "that" girl.  the one that is always in crisis mode.  i can't seem to break the bad luck streak... its not all huge things, but geeeezzzzz i feel like i am a mess.

let me summarize:

i mentioned the kidney infection/antibiotics not compatible with nursing/pumping formula thing.  well now i can nurse, and surprise, my supply is low.  and while i build it up i have a normally very content  baby that has become accustomed to free flowing food.  she was taking 8 oz a feed.  i am determined to resume to full capacity.  meanwhile, savannah is showing me what angry looks like.

i think that i also touched on the whole oil leak in the car thing last week... well, presto!  the check engine light is on again.  great.

i thought that i had savannah's 6 month appointment this week.  no, it was last week.  i missed it.  mom of the year, thanks.  de-lightful.

the day that i was supposed to be taking savannah for her well baby appointment, i was busy having a MASSIVE allergy attack.  as in, i had already taken astelin, zyrtec and then while i was at target {buying allergy medicine} i began to spiral into such a swollen eyes, wheezing, sneezing mess that i indeed needed to take a bynadryl on the way home, and then an hour later i had to take another.  that's bad folks.  like, i honestly don't know how i made it to pick up from preschool.  or what i said.  or how i looked up there.

then, there are other random things.... ethan cried for 45 minutes straight because he was sad i took a friend food.  he thought we were giving away our food.  granted, he didn't even want to eat our food at dinner...

while cooking dinner i think i over crowded the oven and EVERYTHING took forever to cook.  {dear god, one day i would really really like a double oven.  thanks.}

and then one of the disposable pans sprung a leak.  nice.

and the two outside cats that have adopted us {another post for another day} have been on my inside cat's nerves... and the inside cat {hobbes} managed to get the front door open while i was loading the car.  and he pounced.

and then our cat --- ran away.  nice, huh?  i am a mess over it...  say a little prayer that he comes back safely.  really soon. 

and i am about to be the midnight food preserver.  i have some late night home canning of a tasty seasonal condiment i hope to post for you soon.  while that sounds cheesy and domestic, i assure you i am really just a mess.

the bright side?  the heat isn't working, but when i am cooking and canning the kitchen gets the front of the house really hot -- so things have been balanced out.  perhaps that is my silver lining... 

xoxo, steph


Teeth for Savannah and Brownies for Me

someone has been thoroughly enjoying bouncing.   i could just squeeze her to bits!!!!

and breaking news -- savannah will no longer have a gummy smile.  my baby is getting her two bottom teeth.  i noticed them after her nap wednesday... so maybe this is why she has had a horrific diaper rash?  who knows.  she got teeth a bit later than ethan -- he got them one at a time a week apart from each other at almost exactly 5 months.

can you see them?  cute little teeth... this was taken on wednesday, but they were even bigger today!

can you also see the nasty bumpy rash thing on her cheeks?  it is also on her torso.  i SWEAR i think it is the formula.  she didn't have it before saturday... let's see if it clears a few weeks after she goes back to breast milk.  if we were staying on formula i would be shopping for a new one... yikes.  i hear that finding the "right" formula can be tricky and exhausting...

and my thoughts on formula {as if you cared}:  it is for the stinkin' birds.  this stuff costs a lot of money, smells bad, and it produces lots of dirty dishes.  i'll keep my other opinions to myself, but holy smokes i will be ready to drop the whole routine of bottle feeding and then pumping and then the worst part -- dumping.  to say that this routine has been occupying a lot of my day is a bit of an understatement.  it has thrown me for a loop.  savannah is thrown a little too, and hasn't been napping as well.  one more day of medicine and then another to get out of my system... i'll nurse her on sunday evening!!!!  i can't tell you how ready i am to not be tied down to a bottle.  isn't that so funny?  most people say that nursing ties them down, but i feel all freed up by doing it!  to each their own... i know that breastfeeding isn't the best option for everyone...

and to console myself??  i have eaten quite a few of these: 

cream cheese brownies.  SOOO easy to make.  i made them with one hand while holding savannah.

you need:
chocolate cake mix
stick of butter
nuts {optional}
3 eggs
package of cream cheese
16 oz box/bag powdered sugar
9x13 metal baking pan

preheat the oven to 350.  melt butter and pour in pan.  sprinkle cake mix on top.  sprinkle nuts.  beat 1 egg and pour in to pan.  stir everything together.

in a separate bowl {or your kitchen aid!} cream together:  cream cheese, sugar and remaining eggs.    pour evenly over first layer.

bake for 45 minutes.

they are highly addictive and taste much more complicated than the 5 - 6 ingredients that they are...

if you make them, let me know what you think.  have a good weekend... i'm going to go eat my plate of heaven while i have a date with my medela pump in style {seriously, why did they think this was a good name???}

xoxo, s
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