Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday, Emily!

My sweet Emily... I can't believe you turned 5 today! I love your sweet smile and enthusiasm. Your energy and passion are limitless, sometimes getting you into trouble! This year you started Kindergarten and have to wear an adorable little uniform. This is your 3rd year of soccer and you scored a goal in your 1st game of the season! Your favorite color is still pink (of course), and your favorite singer at the moment is Taylor Swift. You get excited every time you hear her songs come on the radio and sing along in a VERY loud voice. Speaking of... you still haven't learned to control your volume yet, and your voice gets louder and louder as your excitement builds when telling a story. We've suffered many headaches, but wouldn't trade you for the world! You are also a wonderful big sister to Tyler. You are so loving and caring to him - he simply adores you! Keep making us smile with all of your funny dance moves and unexpected comments. Happy 5th Birthday, Emily! I love you with all of my heart.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Best Shot Monday: 1st T-Ball Game

This past weekend I finally didn't have to work and was able to enjoy some quality time with my family. We had been working nonstop supporting our "Go-Live" at work since the week after Easter. It was getting at little old (to say the least) and I was thrilled to go back to working more normal daytime hours today.

Despite the rain we've had all weekend, Emily still had her first T-Ball game on Saturday. She was so excited to go, but got a little nervous meeting her teammates since she didn't know any of them. They practiced a little before the game and it was so funny to watch the interaction between all of the kids. Everyone wanted to bat, but no one wanted to field the balls. I dreaded the thought of how long the game was going to last, but luckily there was an unspoken rule I didn't know about that each kid got one turn at bat before switching sides - Whew! I managed to capture a shot before the rain became to heavy.

Emily was beside herself on Saturday evening when she learned to tie her shoes by herself for the very first time. She pushed the loop through and her eyes just lit up with excitement when she realized that she finally did it! The first words out of her mouth were, "Mom, can you get the camera so I can tie my shoes for you?" She's so my kid! Every since I showed her I can shoot video clips with my new D90, she wants perform for me (even more than before). Then she'll sit there and play the clips of herself over and over again, laughing hysterically. I've included a clip on here after the T-ball pic, per Emily's request! :)



video

For more Best Shot Monday pics, head over to Mother May I

Monday, April 27, 2009

Best Shot Monday: English Football

Here is a shot of my first experience watching a live English football match while visiting last month. What a day! It was a bit chilly outside, but the sun was shining ever so brightly at the beginning of the game. But following the rules of typical British weather, the weather changed just like that halfway through the game when the ominous clouds started to roll in across the sky. Just then, the sky opened and the heavy downpour of rain began, soaking us in a matter of minutes. Just when I thought there could be nothing worse than sitting there in the cold wet rain, it started sleeting. This lasted for almost a half hour or so and after the game we had to walk to the car (which was about 2 miles away by the way) feeling as though we had peed our pants. Lovely! It was definitely a game I will not forget anytime soon!



For more Best Shot Monday pics, head over to Mother May I

Friday, April 17, 2009

Recipe Friday: Taffy Apple Pizza

I tried this recipe years ago at a Pampered Chef party and really liked it. I hadn't made it for such a long time, so I decided to make it over the weekend. Hope you enjoy!



Ingredients:

1 package (18oz) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 medium Granny Smith apples
1/4 C caramel ice cream topping
1/2 C peanuts, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape cookie dough into a ball and place in center of Large Round Stone; flatten slightly. Using lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough to a 14-inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Bake 16-18 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes. Carefully loosen cookie from baking stone using a serrated bread knife; cool completely on baking stone.

  2. Peel, core and slice apples into roughly 1/8 inch slices. Arrange the slices evenly over the cream cheese mixture.

  3. Microwave ice cream topping on high for 30-45 seconds or until warm; drizzle evenly over apples. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the apples. Cut into wedges.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Endless Trees

Here is a shot of a tree-lined footpath near Buckingham Palace that I captured while visiting England. More photos to come...PROMISE!


See more pics over at Wordless Wednesday here and here

Monday, April 13, 2009

Best Shot(s) Monday: Dandelion

Yes, I'm still alive! We came back from England in the beginning of the month and we've been running around nonstop since - like always! I know I've been slacking posting to the blog. Cara over at I Miei Due Bambini even called me out last week on her blog and I got another reminder today that I haven't posted anything so I made sure to get at least these two pics uploaded tonight to share with you. I have plenty of pics stacking up. I just need to find the time to transfer them to the computer and write about them.

These pictures were taken when Emily and I went to the park the other week. It was such a mild day and we had a wonderful time. She met a little girl and they kept running off playing "detective," looking for the prettiest flowers and other little treasures at the park. She kept bringing dandelions back to me, so I decided to snap a couple shots of them. She saw the pictures and said, "Oh they're so beautiful and sunshiny!" Tyler didn't make it to the park with us that day since he decided that taking a nap was more important. Maybe next time! Tyler is going to be 16 months already next week. He now has a total of 10 teeth; the top and bottom front four and his upper first molars, which came in at 14 months. Well anyway, enjoy the shots below and hopefully I'll be posting sooner than the last time.





For more Best Shot Monday pics, head over to Mother May I

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Resting after a Long Day

Leaving for England tonight to meet Stu and the kids. Hopefully Tyler will be this rested and calm when I get there, but I doubt it! :)


See more pics over at Wordless Wednesday here and here

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Theme Thursday: Laughter

I know I know.....it has been ages since my last post. Well it seems that way, anyway. We have just been so busy around the house and running here and there that I haven't had much time to do anything. And to top it off, I have this big project at work that "Goes Live" on the weekend of April 17th. Let me tell you - I CAN NOT wait until that is over. Just ask my dear friend and co-worker Cara over at I Miei Due Bambini. She is definitely feeling the heat as well. We have been teasing her recently that she has been "edgey" around the office. We love ya, Cara! :)

But I do have something to look forward to until then. My family is going across the pond for our annual England trip to visit Stu's family. This will be Emily's 4th time going and Tyler's 2nd already. Not bad for only being a 4 year old and 15 month old. World travelers already. I think Tyler had his passport picture taken at only 1 month old. Unfortunately, I'm not able to vacation as long as the rest of the family, due to work constraints. My husband leaves next week with the kids, and I will follow them on a plane with my mom the following week. He's brave to take both kids on the plane, handle luggage and rent a car by himself, but he is so good with them I have no worries. It seems like everyone else around me is more concerned. :) I'll have to blog later on in the month about how that goes.

Well, I regret to admit that I haven't taken any photos recently in all this mayhem so I have to post a photo I took a couple months ago of the kids. The two of them adore each other and are always ringing the halls with laughter when they play together. On this day in particular, though I remember them laughing non-stop for the longest time. We walked into the room where they were playing and both of them had tears of laughter coming from their eyes. It was a precious moment so I thought I'd share a picture of that day for this week's theme.


Go visit The Land of K. A. for more themed photos.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Best Shot(s) Monday: The Zoo

We finally had a break in the cold weather the other weekend, so we decided to take a trip to the zoo. Many of the warmer weather animals weren't in their cages yet, but we still had a great time just being able to walk around outside without freezing.













For more Best Shot Monday pics, head over to Mother May I

Friday, February 13, 2009

Recipe Friday: Black Bottom Cupcakes

This recipe was passed down by my mother years ago to add to my recipe box. I've never taken these to a party or event where they weren't a huge hit. But beware, they're addicting! I must have made these well over a dozen times, and do you think I snapped a picture of the final product - No! Therefore, I had to google the image you see below to include in the post. I don't know if you're like me, but I am always more willing to try a recipe if it looks tempting in a picture. I'd like to add a couple tips for this recipe from experience. Bake these the day before you want to eat them or take them to an event. Although they're tasty the first day, for some reason they are so much better the next day. I store them in a sealed container on the counter, but I know a couple of people who have refrigerated them overnight. If you choosse to store them in the fridge overnight, allow plenty of time to return to room temperature, because again, for some reason they taste better like that than chilled. One last tip... don't overbake them. Just like cheesecakes, if you bake them too long they turn a very unattractive yellowish color and the cake obviously tastes less moist. I just stick a toothpick in the cake part and as soon as I can pull it out without any batter sticking to it, they're finished! Enjoy!



Ingredients:

Cake Batter
3 C Flour
2 C Sugar
1/2 C Dry Cocoa
2 tsp. Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp. Vanilla
2 C Water
2/3 C Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp. White Vinegar

** Mix the ingredients of the cake batter together. Then mix the filling
ingredients together in a separate bowl

Filling
1 8oz cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 C Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1 10oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Beat the cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt until creamy.

  3. Stir in the chocolate chips.

  4. Fill the cupcake papers half-full with batter and place 1 Tbsp. filling in the center of each.

  5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. **Do not overbake
*** Recipe yields about 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cupcakes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: All Played Out


See more pics over at Wordless Wednesday here and here

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Getting So Big

I sit back and look at Emily and Tyler and wonder where the time has gone?

Tyler turned a year already back in December, and he is getting so big! He was such a little peanut for the longest time, but his appetite seemed to double ever since he got off the baby food and stared tasting "real" food. Looking at him, you would never think he could eat so much. Just tonight, he was sitting in the kitchen next to me while I was cooking and started having a mini meltdown because it was taking so long. I sat him in his chair and he ate 2 whole clementines as a pre-dinner snack! After that, he polished off a healthy portion of tortellini and had vanilla pudding that Stu whipped up for dessert. He has really been trying to use a spoon/fork to feed himself for the last month or so.

He is also much more steady on his feet now and is getting into absolutely everything! He still really only says mama and dada occasionally, which is so unlike Emily at this age. Even if Emily couldn't say actual words, she would be jabbering in her own little language. Emily was always a little chatterbox and still is to this day (like her mommy, I've been told). :) Tyler is definitely much more quiet as far as speech, but I am beginning to see he understands a lot more than we give him credit. I had been showing him this video where it repeats basic words over and over and has children point to various body parts, etc. as the word comes on the screen. Tyler doesn't pay attention half the time and is only interested in watching Emily. I play the video anyway, and the other week we were amazed to see that he must have actually been paying attention. As the words came on the TV and were spoken, Tyler pointed to his nose, mouth, closed his eyes, waved, and put his arms up, as instructed by the voice on the TV. We couldn't believe it - it was out of nowhere!

Emily is also growing up so quickly before our eyes. She turned 4 back in late September and acts some days like she'll be turning 14 this September. She still has her whiny bouts at times, but it definitely has improved 100% over the past year or so. She is such a good helper around the house; always has been really. She gets up in the morning, dresses herself, and comes to me afterward to tie her shoes and sometimes help her with a button that is giving her a problem. If we have extra time in the morning, she even sometimes goes in and makes her bed, lining up all her stuffed animals without even being asked. She is also a wonderful big sister to Tyler. They just adore each other. He follows her everywhere, and she tolerates him climbing on her, pulling her hair and knocking off all of the books on her shelf after she just put them away.

Her favorite thing to do at the moment is play board games. She wants to play them every second we have from bath time to bedtime each night. Stu usually end up playing with her while I settle Tyler down for bed. Her favorite game at the moment, which is driving us crazy by the way, is Candyland - Dora edition. Like watching Dora on TV isn't enough! Stu and I still blame that show for the cause of Emily speaking so loudy ALL of the time. Those of you who are forced to watch this show as well know what I mean. She never talks quietly - she shouts everything! Emily just never learned the concept of "Use your indoor voice" no matter how hard we try." And the more excited she gets to tell us something, the louder she gets! Below are a couple recent pics of the gang. Enjoy!



Friday, February 6, 2009

Recipe Friday: Bacon and Tomato Cups

Several years ago, I found this recipe on AllRecipes when I was looking for something to make as an appetizer for a family get-together. Everyone loved them so much, but be careful about making these for family. Ever since that day, I have been summoned to make these at almost every gathering now. Luckily they're easy to make! After making this recipe so many times, I've modified the ingredients slightly to preference and have included my recipe version below. I hope you enjoy!



Ingredients:

1/2 pound bacon
1 small tomato, chopped
1/4 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried or fresh basil
1 can Pillsbury Grands refrigerated biscuit dough (I use the flaky layers kind)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a mini
    muffin pan with shortening or nonstick cooking spray.

  2. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until evenly brown. Drain
    on paper towels. Crumble bacon into a medium mixing bowl, and mix with
    tomato, onion, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise and basil.

  3. Separate each biscuit into 4 equal quarters. Roll each quarter into a
    ball and use a lightly floured tart shaper (or fingers) to form the dough
    into little cups in a mini muffin pan. (I keep a little bowl of flour nearby
    to dip the shaper in each time before shaping so it doesn't stick to the
    dough) Then fill each biscuit cup with the bacon mixture.

  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven , or until golden brown.
*** I usually double the recipe and it yields about 5 dozen bacon cups.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Theme Thursday: Cold

The pictures for this week's theme were taken yesterday morning after our first "real" snowfall of the season in our area. Although I think snow looks beautiful, I am definitely not a fan of the cold. I am ALWAYS cold, it seems. I have a portable heater running at my office desk all year long. In the winter it is cold for obvious reasons. In the summer, it feels just as cold as the winter since they crank the air conditioning so much. I remember being a kid and absolutely loving the snow. Everything about snow was great - you could build snowmen, make angels and if enough fell overnight, school would be canceled so you could enjoy it even more! But now the only "fun" I have in the snow is shoveling it. Luckily my wonderful hubby does that almost all of the time for me! If the snow could fall in about 50 or 60 degree weather, I'd be fine! :) But since that will never be the case, I'm still looking forward to Spring.




Go visit The Land of K. A. for more themed photos.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Recipe Friday: Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

My husband isn't the biggest lover of fish dishes, except of course authentic fish and chips (what can I say, he's British). So he wasn't too excited when I told him that I was going to try a new fish recipe that I found on Allrecipes.

It received such high reviews from over 3,000 people so I thought,"How bad can it be?" Needless to say, it was a hit! My husband said he loved it, and even asked me to make it again for him so I know he wasn't bluffing! And he's quite the poker player so sometimes it's hard to tell by his expressions. Anyway, here is the recipe. Enjoy and let me know what you think!



Ingredients:

1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
2 pounds tilapia fillets

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together the parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.

  3. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Theme Thursday: Project

I just had to share this project for Stacy's Theme Thursday...although I cannot take credit for any of it! I had been mentioning for the longest time that I would love a scrapbooking room so I can have a central place to store all of my supplies and have them accessible so I'll be able to scrap more often.

My husband took on the task a few months before Christmas. The room initially had an archway instead of an actual door that it looked like the previous owners had never finished. The wall leading up to the archway wasn't even a true sturdy wall like all of the other rooms in the house. They had a games cabinet that they built and the back of the cabinet was the wall. Stu knocked down all of this and started from scratch.

Once he built the frame for the door and hung the drywall, he locked the door and I wasn't able to see any of the progress on the inside. He didn't let me pick out any of the colors, furniture, decor.....nothing! I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive the whole time this was going on. I mean, how in the world does he know what furniture/accessories I need in a scrapbooking room! I noticed him peeking through some of my scrapbooking magazine and the Michael's ad in the Sunday paper every once in awhile.

It was getting closer to Christmas and I kept asking him when he thought the room might be finished. He was working on it as much as possible, in between work, part-time school, and helping out with the kids. He told me it should be finished by the end of January.

Then came the surprise. We were opening our gifts on Christmas Eve and I unwrapped what looked like a jewelry box. When I opened the box, there was a velvet pouch inside, and inside the pouch was a smaller wrapped gift. That gift turned out to be a key. I looked puzzled, and he finally told me it was a key to my scrapbooking room upstairs. I was thrilled!! It was totally unexpected because I wasn't expected it until late January. I immediately ran up the stairs and the door to the room was wrapped like a big present, complete with bow. I was speechless. He even built a little area (complete with pink chair) for our daughter Emily to craft with me. He also went to the computer where I store all of our pictures, and picked out and printed his favorites of the kids to hang in the frames he bought. What a wonderful hubby I have! So, although I didn't actually complete this project myself, I still wanted to share it with all of you so you could see the before and after shots. Enjoy!

Before


After






Monday, January 19, 2009

Best Shot Monday: Dolly

I snapped this picture of my friend's daughter over the weekend at a surprise birthday party. I just loved her adorable curly hair and the expressions she was making as she was interacting with the little dolly. She was too cute!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Bathtime








See more pics over at Wordless Wednesday here and here

Monday, January 12, 2009

Best Shot Monday: E-A-G-L-E-S

These were taken over the weekend when The Philadelphia Eagles beat the NY Giants in their playoff game. I really liked how the 1st picture turned out of Tyler, but I had to include the second one as well of him watching TV. He seemed to be really involved watching the game for a little while so I wanted to snap a quick shot. It was only later when I was reviewing the pictures that I noticed that McNabb (who is on his jersey) was actually on the TV screen while I was taking the shot.

Oh, I also wanted to mention that we just noticed over the weekend that Tyler's 7th tooth is staring to come in: the bottom right tooth next to the middle. Our little man is getting so big!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Cupcake

It was all fun and games until.......




Emily decided to taste Tyler's cupcake!



See more pics over at Wordless Wednesday here and here

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