Thursday, March 31, 2011

Big Foot

**Update: A friend of mine had the suggestion of taking a picture of my foot now so you can see the difference and then really feel sorry for me. So at the bottom of the post is my foot today. :)

Not to be confused with Bigfoot, the Sasquatch. Although I think I'd rather share a room with that Bigfoot than to ever have to encounter this one again. Behold...
Folks, this is not a joke. This is not some extraordinary Photoshop trickery. This is my foot. For reals. Oh and guess what, I had another one that matched this one. These were the feet that I had for the last 2 months of my pregnancy. 2 Months! These were the feet that I walked around on in the 100 degree heat for 4 hours at a ranch to accompany my Kindergartner on her very first field trip. These were the feet that I was unable to adorn in ANY shoe except one pair of black flip flops that are now so stretched out they fall immediately off my normal feet. These were the feet that I walked around malls, shopping centers, city streets, & the street I live on to try and kick start labor. These were the feet that made nurses get very concerned about what my blood pressure would be when they saw them. And oddly enough, it was always completely normal....low in fact. These were the feet that I stood on while photographing people & cooking meals for my family. These were the feet that I walked around on at the pools while taking my girls swimming. These were my feet even 3-4 weeks after Ty was born. Thankfully around that time they did start to go back to normal. But wow. Did I earn your sympathy? Good. I deserve it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Well, today I've got nada for you. Actually all week I've had nada for you. I just didn't have too many funny things for a Not Me Monday post & the Ten on Tuesday this week was all about what adventurous things you eat and cook with...that would have gone down as the most boring blog post ever, considering I eat & cook with nothing adventurous. So I had a nice run last week where I was posting almost daily, then I have weeks like this. Zilch. Nothing funny or clever or meaningful to say. So, since I wanted to give you guys at least something entertaining or interesting, I'll leave you with this picture to ponder over:
Hmm....what comes to mind for you? Never mind. Don't tell me. I'm pretty sure I don't want to know what comes to mind when you see that picture. I can tell you what comes to my mind: "AAHHH!!" Seriously!? I was flipping through some old pictures on my computer yesterday and had the privilege of stumbling upon this one. Lucky me. This was me the morning that Ty was born. Before he was born. Not that that has a lot of relevance. I looked like this after he was born too. Wow. Can anyone say, "Swollen"? Don't get me wrong. I was also just hugely fat. I have always been one to use pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted, whenever. And I did just that. More so with Ty's pregnancy than I did with the girls'. And much to my surprise when I went to my doctor 9 months after I had Ty I had lost all of my baby weight. The fastest I have ever done it. With both of my previous pregnancies it had taken me a full year and I hadn't gained as much weight those times. So I'm not sure what happened, but it very well could've been that I was lugging around a mini football player as soon as he was born. Anyhoo, that's all I've got for you. Just thought you might enjoy that beauty of a picture I was so fortunate enough to enjoy yesterday. Oh and if you're really lucky, I might share with you the picture I have of my foot the day Ty was born. Now THAT is a sight to behold... You'll just have to come back tomorrow and see for yourself.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Laundry Rainbow

What would I do without all this color in my life?
It sure would be boring around here...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fun with Metering Modes

I have a crutch when taking pictures. It's the stay-in-the-shade-or-shoot-on-cloudy-days crutch. I was recently inspired by MckMama's post on backlit photos to get out of my comfort zone & step into the light...literally. Sometimes situations just arise that require shooting in full sun. It's definitely not the most ideal situation but it CAN be done. I've honestly never played with the metering mode of my camera. It's always been set on evaluative metering, which just means the camera takes into account all the light around it in making decisions on what to do for you. All this time, I just needed to switch that over to a different mode (and of course set the correct manual settings) to get decent exposure in the sun. So I sat my boy out in the grass in the sun with not a cloud in the sky to try out the new method. I have to say, I'm pretty happy with it. I would still always prefer to be in nice open shade or to shoot on an overcast day, but push comes to shove and at least I can make something magical happen out of the camera!

Not too shabby. Thanks MckMama for the great info!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I think there might be hope for me to be a famous songwriter after all. I mean, if these songwriters could do it...
I better run & start jotting down ideas before all this inspiration leaves me!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. What condiments are always, always in your fridge?

Always, always mustard & ketchup. Never, never mayonnaise. Blech! That stuff is "made by trolls." ; ) Oh & always, always ranch dressing. My kids will eat just about anything as long as they can dip it in ranch.

2. How do you like your steak cooked? Your burgers?
Steak - sitting in a pool of blood on the plate (or as my husband would say, "Moo'ing when I stick a fork in it.") Burgers - Medium well. I can take a tiny bit of pink, but NO red and I hate it if blood soaks in the bun. I mean, gross is that!? "I'll take a medium rare hamburger patty & some blood-soaked bread please."

3. What's your favorite use for fresh tomatoes?
Wellll...typically I'm not much of a tomato eater. I love tomato sauce but I won't just eat the tomatoes. But BY FAR the best use of fresh tomatoes is biscuits with tomato gravy! (In case you're wondering, I am from the South & this IS a Southern dish.) You fry up some Mississippi sausage and, using the grease, make a brown gravy, add fresh diced tomatoes, salt & pepper, & simmer. Pour over freshly baked biscuits. Mmm.....

4. What's your go-to dinner when you haven't planned anything in advance and you don't feel like going out?
Sadly I usually resort to feeding the kids frozen chicken nuggets & fries. I do try to include some raw carrots or broccoli (dipped in ranch of course) & fruit so I feel a little better about myself as a mother. And Marty & I will eat whatever we scrounge up from the pantry/freezer. I'll eat cereal & he'll eat some sort of microwaveable burrito (Yummy!).

5. What's your favorite snack food lately?
For a salty snack I love Pita Chips with Sea Salt. For a sweet snack I can put down some dark chocolate covered almonds.

6. What's your favorite weekend breakfast to make at home?
Excuse me while I go off on a tangent here because I LOVE me some breakfast! I love all things breakfast; eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes, name it! We love breakfast so much around here that I, many times, will make it for dinner. I'll do breakfast tacos or chocolate chip waffles. The kids love it! But let me just go ahead and say, "You're Welcome" for this one because trust'll be thanking me. This quick & easy recipe I make sometimes on weekends for breakfast is so delicious, you'll not only be having it for breakfast but for dessert and for a snack with afternoon coffee.
Cinnamon Pull-Aparts

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
3 regular (NOT jumbo) cans of buttermilk biscuits
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Mix together one-half cup of brown sugar & 3 Tablespoons of milk. Pour into bundt pan. Separate biscuits from cans & from each other. Place biscuits end on end (like they're standing on their sides, side by side all around the bundt pan). Melt 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of sugar, & 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Stir until it all comes together & pour over biscuits. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Upend on large plate. Stand back. No, like really...get back. People will come swarming in to get their hands on this.
It's totally low fat & definitely on your diet plan.
**Thanks Mom for that one!**

7. What's your favorite thing to grill? How do you do it?
Probably my favorite thing we grill is a pork tenderloin. We lay out a package of bacon (each slice side by side) on some foil. Lay the tenderloin in the middle of the bacon. Slice the tenderloin down the middle length-wise. Smash up a package of softened cream cheese & chopped jalapenos in a bowl. Spread the mixture in the slice you made down the tenderloin. Wrap it up in the bacon. Use toothpicks to secure. Put it in the oven on broil for a few minutes until the bacon is cooked. Wrap up the tenderloin in the foil & stick it on the grill until it's cooked through. The result is a moist, tender pork with a creamy sauce with a bit of a kick. It's delish!

8. What's your favorite wine for under $10?
I've really been on a big white wine kick lately. I like red, but I haven't been drinking much red. So one of my favorite whites for under $10 is Cupcake Chardonnay (I may be off just a tad on the price. It might be $11.99 or something, but it's close to $10). I also like the Beringer Pinot Grigio. (I think this one is something absurd like $5.99!)

9. Give us your most delicious cocktail recipe.
I'm not much of a cocktail drinker. I have 3 small children to get up with in the mornings, remember? But I did make a white sangria once for a New Year's Eve party and it was so tasty and the hit of the party if I remember correctly. maybe I don't remember, but's the link to the recipe: White Sangria

10. How do you like your eggs?
I really like eggs. oh, here we go again talking about breakfast...mmm I like them scrambled. I like them boiled (with salt & pepper). I like them fried. I'm not a big poached fan. If I had to choose a favorite I'd probably say scrambled with butter, salt & pepper, & a little shredded cheddar cheese thrown in at the end. Wrapped in a tortilla with crumbled up bacon will do too. Ok, ok enough about breakfast...

Want more Ten on Tuesdays? Click here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Outfit Yourself!

**The colored words are links to the stores**

Ok, so I've had lots of comments & questions about the clothes for our MckMama photo shoot, so I thought I'd "help a sister (or brother, I guess, if you're a guy and wondering how to dress your family for some pictures) out" and post some tips on clothing choices for pictures along with the info on exactly where I got everything you see on us! Tip #1: Start with one article of clothing and build around it. Trust me on this. Do not walk into a store & start looking at everything they have hanging up and try to envision it working together. Don't do it. You WILL get overwhelmed. Pick ONE thing you like for you or one of your children & start to build everything else around it. For instance, for this clothing group I started with my son's shirt.
It's just a simple grayish blue & white check button down. But it was the colors I wanted (more on color schemes later) and I knew he would look good in it. So that was my starting point. From there I figured he would wear jeans with it and I wanted a dark jean to contrast with his light shirt, so I knew we would have some dark denim going on. I then found the grayish blue dress & shirt that my girls have on. They did NOT match his shirt exactly...but close enough. I wanted everything to be coordinating, but not matching. Tip #2: Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. (For those of you with just boys, I know this can be hard. There's not much you can do to accessorize boys, but just be sure & accessorize yourself!) So for my girls I had Reagan wear tights under her dress just for another layer of color & the jacket over the top of her dress. MacKenzie had on white capri jeans & a dark denim jacket for some more contrast. Instead of me wearing just the grey dress I wanted to have more going on, so I used a simple white cotton shrug, belted (you can't really see the belt in this shot but it's super adorable and purple!) over the dress. Tip #3: Find things that coordinate within a color family, but don't match everything together exactly. I found my gray dress (which was not a blue-gray like the other clothes) at Francesca's, a very reasonable dress shop we have here where I live. And I saw a light blue shirt in the window of J Crew that I knew would work great for my husband. So all in all we had pale blue, a bluish grey, dark denim, slate grey, & white with a tiny splash of purple all working together to create a fun & interesting look.

For this next trip we're going to take down the lane of clothing choices, you're going to have to stick with me. It's quite a windy road with lots of stops, but as you can see the resulting look we have in this picture is SO worth it.
This grouping started with Reagan's pale pink skirt (Remember Tip #1). I knew I wanted a sort of Anthropologie-esque look for these (without, of course, actually having to spend Anthropologie prices) so when I saw the skirt at Gap Kids and it really screamed that look, I knew we would begin our building with that. Actually let me back up. I saw the skirt & really loved it, but for some reason I walked out of the store without it. I went next door to Charming Charlie (If you're not from around here, it's a fantastic jewelry & accessory store. Cheap!) and started finding some great pale pink headbands. I also found the brown crochet head thingy that really spoke "vintage" to me. So I grabbed the headbands and ran back to Gap Kids to see if the accessories I had just gotten would match the skirt I had fallen in love with and left behind. Lo & behold, the accessories & the skirt were made for each other! I mean, truly meant to be. So that's when I grabbed the skirt & decided it would be my foundation. Oh, while I was in Charming Charlie I also grabbed an ivory flower made of lace & other fabrics. Since I was going for a vintage look I wanted my colors to be pale pinks & ivory (instead of white). The flower had a pin & a clip on the back so I knew we would be able to use it on some article of clothing or in someones hair (Tip #2...accessories!). The next step was finding something for MacKenzie that would be complimentary to Reagan's pink skirt but NOT match it (Tip #3). Here's another tip: You don't have to find everything for your kids in the same store. Sometimes they do have great groupings that work & you can do it (like in our previous outfits: everything for the kids was from Gap Kids), but especially for a more vintage look, things should be almost mismatched. So I went to a few stores looking (bringing the skirt with me each time) and I finally found an ivory dress with a tiny touch of pale pink in it at Old Navy. Lucky for me it also had a tiny bit of a faded blue-green color in it, and my son already had a shirt that was that color. Things were starting to come together! My next mission was to find an ivory (not white) shirt for Reagan to wear with her skirt. Boy, that was an undertaking. Everywhere I went the shirts were white. Finally an ivory shirt (the perfect ivory shirt I must add) was discovered at Target! (for $6, gotta love that.) Then it was on to finding something for my boy to wear with his shirt. Again ivory colored shorts for boys...not an easy find, but I finally found some at Old Navy. The scarf Reagan is wearing I literally saw at the last second as I was walking toward the check out line of Target one day. I immediately noticed the pale pink, ivory, & some light browns in it. It was the perfect combination of all the colors I had been building. So I grabbed it, not knowing who would wear it or how. Once I had all the kids covered I had them each try on their clothes and I began to pair different accessories with different clothes to see how they all worked the best. Here's something funny: These outfits were for the kids to have the pictures taken without me & Marty. But for some reason I thought, "You know, I love these outfits so much that I may want to jump in a few pictures with them if I can." So everything I have on is stuff I already had. I got my shirt at Marshall's last summer & it happened to be the perfect pale pink (AND had polka vintage!). Marty never changed from the first grouping we did. I knew he would not be terribly happy about having to change clothes and let's be honest. it's all about keeping the husband happy in these types of situations, right? so he stayed in what he had on and what do you worked!

So bottom line, start with one thing you really love and build around it. Everything doesn't have to match exactly as long as it coordinates with the other stuff. And do some digging. If you have lots of time before you're getting your pictures taken, start looking early. Leave yourself plenty of time to browse around and find all the different things you need (not to mention being able to go in stores when they're having sales is key). I got that pink skirt from Gap Kids on a day you could take 40% off one item just for mentioning you were a Facebook friend. So because I started putting together my outfits way before the date of my shoot I had time to find all of the right things, try them on & get everything just how I wanted.

Thanks again to MckMama for getting some great shots of my family! We've only seen a few and so far I'm liking what I see....can't wait to see the rest!

Happy clothing hunting!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pics with MckMama

**Update** I've had so many comments/questions on our clothes for the photo shoot, so I'm working on a post about how I picked everything and where everything is from. Look for it tomorrow!

So, we had our pictures taken by MckMama yesterday and I didn't even stress out! Ok, maybe I did a little leading up to the shoot just making sure everything was ready and we all had the perfect clothes, accessories, shoes, etc. But the shoot itself was absolutely relaxed & enjoyable. She was great with the kids. Ty was a bit of a pill but that's to be expected with his age. My Mom & sister came to help and that was perfect. There is a sneak peek of a few pictures on her blog. And boy, MckMama sure doesn't play around with this whole blog thing. Just since she posted the preview of our pics late last night I've had almost 200 people visit my blog. Wow! If you found me through her, I'd love it if you'd say hello. Drop me a comment & introduce yourself. If you want to check out the pics click here. I can't wait to see all of them!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. What is your cleaning style like?
Umm....can one have a "cleaning style"? Maybe I'm unsure how to answer this because I'm not much of a cleaner. I do have a trend I like to follow if I can. On Fridays I spend most of the day doing all of the laundry, cleaning the kitchen, wiping down all surfaces in the kitchen & living room, sweeping & vacuuming. This way when the weekend comes I feel much more relaxed and feel like it's ok to just sit around with my family since I don't have those things to do.
2. What is your favorite thing to add to an outfit to take it from casual to classy?
Definitely jewelry. I am a huge fan of white t-shirt & jeans with fun jewelry to kick it up a notch. My clothes usually don't have much going on. I'm not much for patterns, bright colors, etc. So I definitely spice up my outfits with big earrings, cute rings & fun necklaces.
3. Do you like stormy weather?
It's ok I guess. We had quite the storm where I live yesterday morning & I kept thinking, "Man, this would be such a perfect morning to lie in bed and do nothing." but of course, that's not an option for me with 3 little ones running around. Don't get me wrong. I'm certainly not complaining. I guess I'm what I'm trying to say is, no. I don't like stormy weather because I can't lie in bed & do nothing and my kids & I go crazy when we're locked in the house. We like to be outside.
4. What is your favorite cold treat on a hot day?
Love some frozen lemonade on a hot day!
5. What is your favorite warm treat on a cold day?
I love sipping hot chocolate in the winter & I love a cup of coffee too.
6. Who is your favorite animated character?
For real? (off the subject of the animated character: this is the most random set of questions ever.) I really don't know that I have an answer to this. I'm not a big animated character fan I guess? I definitely don't want them on any of my kids' stuff. Nothing against them or the people who like that sort of thing. It's just not for me. You won't find any Winnie the Pooh blankets or Mickey Mouse t-shirts in my household.
7. What do you keep your jewelry in?
Funny. I used to throw everything in plastic bins & bowls in my bathroom cabinets until my husband brought out a huge mess of tangled necklaces & earrings for a bunch of people to see one time, and I vowed to never let it get to that point again. I now keep my jewelry in one of those hanging organizers with lots of different clear pockets.
8. Do any of the rooms in your house have a theme? Nope. I'm not an animated character person and I'm not a theme person.
9. Do you watch any interior design TV shows - if so, what is your favorite?
I really enjoy interior design TV shows. I don't have a lot of spare time to watch them though. I used to love Trading Spaces back in it's "glory days". I really like HGTV's Next Design Star. And I love anything Candice Olson does. Divine Design...goodness! She is good!
10. When was the last time you did something risk-taking?
For some reason all I can think of when I read this question is when I went on a mission trip to Africa a few years ago. Sure, I've taken risks since then...probably pretty big ones too. But this one was just such a huge step of faith for me. I'd never been on a mission trip. I'd never been out of the US (besides tourist trips to all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, that doesn't really count). It was literally one of those things God just said, "Go". And I went. And boy did it change my life forever. You can click here if you want to read more about it.

Want more Ten on Tuesday? Click here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Not Me! Monday

That's right, folks. You are not hallucinating. I am truly participating in Not Me! Monday for the first time in a looong time. Not sure what prompted me to jump back on this crazy ride, but I did. So buckle we go. (Oh and apparently it's been so long since I've participated that MckMama, the host for Not Me! Monday, is no longer hosting it so there's no link to go read more of them. Sorry about that. You're just going to have to get by with me today.)

I have not been spending 20-30 minutes of Ty's nap time the past few days lying on my kids' trampoline in the sun so I can get a little color on my pasty white self. That would be completely silly and there are so many other productive things I could be doing with my time while Ty naps. So I most certainly have NOT been doing THAT.

I did not take pity on myself as Ty was eating Taco Bell the other day because I was thinking of how bad the next diaper I was going to have to change would be. That's just nasty. I would never have such thoughts, and especially not while I, myself, was eating. Blech.

I am in no way waiting on pins & needles for this evening to be here so I can park myself in front of the tv for The Bachelor Finale. Nope.

While we're on the ahem trash tv subject, I never ever watch: Real Housewives of _____, The Real World, Teen Mom, or Jersey Shore. I mean, come on. What kind of a person do you think I am?

I did not heat up leftover mashed potatoes, sprinkle them with shredded cheese & bacon bits & eat them for lunch yesterday. And they did not taste delicious.

My husband & I didn't take our kids to McDonald's for dinner last night & just sit and watch them eat so that when we left there we could pick up "real" food for OUR dinner. What kind of parents would that make us?

And last but certainly not least, I am not so excited beyond belief that THIS Saturday we are getting family pictures taken by the one & only MckMama! And I have definitely not been meticulously putting together our outfits & every perfect accessory for the past few weeks in preparation for said Saturday.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Adventures in Cookie-ing

I've been wanting to try my hand at these decorated sugar cookies for some time, so when a friend asked me if I had a recipe for them I took that opportunity to jump in & offer to help. She wanted to make princess themed cookies for her daughter's 4th birthday party. So we gathered all the supplies, she came over & we got to work. Our adventure certainly wasn't without a few hiccups, but all in all I think the results are still cute. Here's what our adventure looked like:

First important ingredient needed for cookie baking with a friend in the evening when all children are tucked into bed:

I made the dough ahead of time & it chilled in the fridge for a few hours before we started to roll it out. You can use any sugar cookie dough you find. The one we used had a bit of lemon extract in it for a little something extra...yum!

When the dough was good & chilled we started rolling it out. As soon as we started to roll the dough became extremely sticky & was impossible to work with. We thought our adventure was about to come to a quick end. But all was saved with about a pound of flour. We floured the heck out of the dough and it began to cooperate.

Next step was to cut our shapes. We did crowns & castles to go with the princess theme.

We put them on parchment paper lined baking sheets & baked them for about 12 minutes.

Then we lined them all up on cooling racks to cool completely.

Now it was time for the icing. Royal appropriate considering our theme.

When the icing was the right consistency we split it up & colored it.

Then we put it into squeeze bottles.

We used the squeeze bottles to "flood" the cookies. We basically drenched them in icing. It was super clean & neat and wasn't messy at all. Ahem...

This next step actually took place the next night. Yep, you heard me right. We had TWO nights of cookie baking. We let the cookies dry all night & the next night we made another batch of icing, leaving part of it white & coloring some pink & purple. Then we added details to the cookies.

They didn't turn out exactly how we had planned in our heads, but we did the best we could under the circumstances & I think they still turned out adorable!

Hopefully the birthday girl will love her princess cookies!