Friday, July 31, 2009

Yes, Jewels for our Princess!!!

Yes! I don't know whether Izzy or I was the more excited person this afternoon when opening the mail and seeing a whole envelope full of BEAUTIFUL bracelets for Izzy!!! I was giddy and she was in heaven! Izzy's pretty well known for showing her bracelets that she wears 24/7 to everyone she meets, but for the last few weeks, she has been jewelry-less since she wore all of her bracelets out! We are so happy to have our stock replensished--and it's quite full now! Some of them have cute little charms, and one of them says IZZY. I love having a girly girl. Will post some more pics of her wearing the bracelets in coordinating outfits ;). She is sleeping right now (and of course, wearing one of her new treasures). My friend, Lynne Peterson, from Hershey made Izzy her first baby bracelet given at my baby shower and has subsequently made her more bracelets as she has grown. (Lynne has a side jewelry business, so if you want her contact info, let me know.) Thank you soooo much, Lynne!

What interest of yours does your child find interesting?

Okay, okay... I see so many Messiah alumni who played soccer posting pictures of their kids with little soccer balls before they can even walk (or lax players' kids with sticks). Well, my daughter is on the track not to becoming a star athlete but an electrical engineer. Yep, an engineer. She looooves to play with Justin's meter, so here's my ode of pictures to Izzy and her future based on her daddy's interests! (Pardon the lack of hairbow... I can't stand seeing her hair in her eyes!)

Relaxing with the Fowlers

Last night we had a relaxing evening with the Fowler family at the pool. Swimming, eating hotdogs, and just unwinding. Every time I hold their newest addition, Henry, I get sooooooo excited for our bundle of joy to arrive! Aren't these pics of Izzy sweet? Every time we are in the pool, she is more and more brave and comfortable. :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Random "recipe"

Last night, Justin and I tried something new and different... I cut up some chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces and stuck them in a bag with caesar dressing. The chicken marinated for about 1 or 2 hours, and then I strung them on skewers. Justin grilled the skewers and basted them in BBQ sauce the whole time. Strange combo but delicious!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A little older and a little more relaxed...

Well, now I'm 26 years old. I remember when 19 seemed sooooo old and sooooooooooooooo cool. Now I'm married and a mom, and it feels weird to feel so young (still) and yet 30 is getting closer!!! I can actually see it now! Scary! :) I'm not supposed to be 30... only my mom was supposed to age, not me!

July 16 was a happy day, as it is supposed to be every year for me. Justin found a wonderful card that I opened when he was long gone for work and I'd just woken up (I'm eating up the sleeping in thing until #2 arrives). We made last minute plans to go to eat with my parents in-law and my brother-in-law, Jordan, at Macarroni Grill, and then two days later, we packed up the car and headed to the BEACH!

We found a house/cottage in a really quiet neighborhood at Garden City Beach to rent for 3 nights. Previously, we weren't going to get to the beach this year with the baby bills that are coming, but Justin needed a little breather from work... and it was a great birthday present for me, too! Izzy is getting to be a great traveler in the car. Last year, we stopped at FATZ Cafe at about the halfway point to the beach to eat lunch, and we did that this year, too. We got stuck in some beach traffic on the way down, but we had smooth sailing on the way home--thankfully.

We really relaxed at the house and the beach. Izzy wasn't too sure of the sand and water at first, but soon she was having tons of fun in the oversized sandbox. ;) She would dig sand, fill buckets, and collect shells all while Daddy and Momma got to relax and read novels! We had tons of fun going in the waves with her, too. She especially liked seeing sandcastles built and then being able to wreck them whenever she wanted. We went to the beach twice a day each day in between Izzy's naps. One afternoon, she picked up the toy bag and started packing it up, and then she [tried to] put on her swimsuit cover up--it was OBVIOUSLY time to go back to the house for a nap. We thought it was sooo funny.

On Monday morning, we went to breakfast with Justin's grandparents, since they live just a few minutes from where we were beachin' it. I don't think we wanted to leave on Tuesday morning, but work was hounding Justin! We weren't gone very long, but he was in high demand Monday and Tuesday morning. As soon as we got home around lunch time on Tuesday, Justin was off to the office and then to a meeting at a plant in town. I am thankful to have a husband who works so hard (esp in a recession) to provide for his growing family!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mmmm Another Tasty Tuesday!

Here are two easy meals for families! The spaghetti recipe is good for make ahead. We think it's even better as leftovers and just heated up.

A good stand-by (if you have Rice Krispies):
Crispy Ranch Chicken
Prep: 10 min, Bake: 20-25 min, Serves: 4

2 c crispy rice cereal
1/2 c grated Parmesan
1 oz. envelope ranch salad dressing mix
2 egg whites, beaten
4 chicken breasts or 8 thighs (skinless, boneless)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a large baking pan with cooking spray. Combine the rice cereal, Parmesan and ranch dressing mix in a large bowl.

Place beaten egg whites in a medium bowl. Dip each chicken breast in egg whites and then in the cereal mixture to coat evenly. (Sometimes, after laying the chicken on the sheet, I sprinkle more of the cereal mixture on the meat.)

Arrange the coated chicken on the baking sheet. Drizzle 1/4 c melted butter over chicken, and then bake until golden and juices run clear, about 20-25 mins. Serve hot.

Spaghetti Pizza Bake
Serves: 4, Cook time: About 1 hr total

8 oz. spaghetti
16 oz. spaghetti sauce
1 egg
1/4 c. milk
1/4 t. dried basil
1/4 t. salt
1 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. garlic salt
20-30 pieces pepperoni slices
1 lb. browned meat (ground beef or we use hot Italian sausage), drained
2. c mozzarella

Cook spaghetti al dente.

In a bowl, beat egg, milk, 1/2 c. mozz. cheese, salt, garlic salt. Stir in spaghetti.

Spread in 9x13. Bake @ 425 for 15 minutes. Reduce temp. to 350. Spread meat, sauce herbs, and then remaining mozz. cheese. Top with pepperoni in rows. Bake for 25-30 mins. Cut in squares to serve.

I will post some "fancier" recipes next for serving to guests. :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Middle School Youth Group End of Year Party

On Saturday, I made a bunch of different kinds of hamburgers and brought other foods to the Faber home for our pool party with some of the youth group kids. The Fabers organized pool and water balloon games, and set up a Bocce Ball Tourney. The turnout was smaller since it's July, but fun was had by all. Somehow, I managed to get hit by two water balloons even though I wasn't in the fight. ;) We ended the evening with ice cream sundaes before everyone left... good thing, too, cause this momma has loooooved desserts this pregnancy!


Happy to be with Cora

Yes, cool moms dress like cows.
Enjoying little baby Henry

Friday, July 10 was Chick-Fil-A's "Dress Like a Cow Day" to get a free meal. The Fowlers and Clarks decided to meet for lunch that day. I used contact paper to make spots for both Izzy and my black skirts, and I used up a bunch of Sharpies on our tops. Izzy had a black bow, and I wore a farm hat with some cattle on it. Izzy was giggling and giggling at Cora, Mary Grace, and Dorn all through lunch. Carla and I enjoyed visiting, and it's always a highlight for me to hold Henry! I loved hearing Izzy "mooooo" at everyone when we first walked into the restaurant. I semi-tortured her by making her pose with the large cow for a picture, but of course, as soon as the cow went outside, she was obsessed with looking at it through the window!

Justin, Izzy, and I spent the evening at the Fowler home with their whole family and Justin's brother, Jordan, and his friend, Scott. We had a good time just hanging out and eating pizza/salad/chocolate chip cookies. The guys enjoyed playing Rock Band, and I ate up spending time with baby Henry. Izzy was hyper running around with Cora, Mary Grace, and Dorn, and she danced while the guys played Rock Band. :)

No Transition?!

Just waking up from her first nap in her bed!
All smiles after waking up!
Giving Raggedy Ann a kiss :)
Well, we were definitely wondering how difficult the crib to twin bed transition would be... most people kinda made me nervous about it! HOWEVER, there was no transition! Izzy saw the two of us painting the walls of her room, Justin painting her bed, and me putting her new bedding on the mattress over the course of a couple weeks. She and I moved her clothes into the drawers underneath the bed and the closet. I bought one rail from a consignment store, and the Willinghams gave us another rail... the bed just wouldn't look good up against the wall with the way the room is laid out. The walls aren't decorated, and we don't have any extra pieces of furniture in the room yet, but we wanted to get her used to the bed before the baby is here in August. I want to take my time with the room decorations and not rush to just put something up. There is a trunk that sits at the foot of the bed so that Izzy can use it as a step to get into the bed herself, and I'm going to paint and decoupage it this week to match the lavender/green/white colors of the room. All that said, Izzy took her naps and slept in the bed overnight with no problems, and she fell asleep the first night faster than when in the crib!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tasty Tuesday!

OK, I thought someone out there might enjoy some recipes that I have tried and marked for use again. Let me know if you try either of them!

1. Low Cal/Low Fat Recipe: Chicken, Orzo, & Spinach Casserole
(I halved the recipe for our family to make 4 servings, but it's original form makes 8.)

Prep: 25 min, Cook: 42 min, Servings: 4

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 c uncooked orzo pasta
1 (8 oz) pkg sliced fresh mushrooms (The original recipe called for 8 oz, but I used 8 oz for this halved recipe, and that was the perfect amount.)
1 T oil
1/2 of a 10 oz pkg. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
1/2 can of low fat cream of mushroom soup
1/4 c reduced fat mayo
1 t lemon juice
1/4 t seasoned pepper (I just used black pepper)
1/2 c shredded, reduced fat Mont Jack cheese
1/4 c Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

Boil chicken and water to cover. From the time you put the chicken in the cold water on the stove to finish cooking, it should be about 12 minutes. Remove chicken to a cutting board, reserving broth. Cook the orzo pasta in the broth according to package directions, omitting any salt or fat. Chop chicken and set aside. Saute mushrooms in oil (or butter) until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken, pasta, spinach, and next 4 ingredients. Spoon mixture into a 13 x 9 dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 for approx. 30 mins.

2. Quick Prep Recipe: Spiral Stromboli
Prep: 10 min, Bake: 25 min, Serves: 3

1 tube (11 oz) refrig crusty French loaf
1 c shredded part skim Mozzarella
1 cup shredded Cheddar
1/4 lb thinly sliced deli salami
1/4 lb thinly sliced deli ham
1/4 c chopped roasted red peppers or 2 oz. pimientos, drained (I used to pimientos)
1 T butter, melted
2 to 3 T shredded Parmesan
Marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 375. Unroll the dough and pat into a 14 in. x 12. in rectangle. Sprinkle with Mozzarella and Cheddar to within 1/2 in. of edges; top with meat and red peppers (or pimientos). Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with short side; seal seam and tuck ends under.

Place seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with butter; sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Slice with a serrated knife. Serve with marinara sauce.

We really enjoy the easy and tasty Stromboli. I tried the orzo recipe since my college friend Naphtali likes orzo so much, and both Justin and I really liked it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A very full beginning of July!

On Wednesday, we joined some of Momma's friends and went to Izzy's very first movie in the theater! (Thanks for the invite, Angie.) At first, she was kinda scared of the big screen and loudness, but soon she had fun and made it through a 90 minute movie!
Afterwards, she enjoyed playing peek-a-boo with Maggie in the parking lot. :) Since we missed her morning nap that day, we had to stay out and stay active before going home to nap in the afternoon. Izzy thought trying on 100 different pairs of shoes at Target was the best thing! She got new white sandals since her others were much too small. It's funny, cause I want her to wear her pink everyday shoes most of the time, but she's just like any girl who gets new shoes--wants to wear the new ones all the time! That evening, we ate dinner (cooked by our pastor's family) at church before our friend Joby led the Wednesday night topical study. I love any time I get to hold Joby and Carla's sweet newborn, Henry, but eventually he was hungry, and I had to give him to his mom!

Thursday evening we drove to Waxhaw to spend the evening with the Weir family. Justin and Cam went to the same high school, but were in different graduating classes. They ran into each other at a trade show in their engineering field of work a couple months ago and reconnected. We had the Weirs over for dinner once, and this week they invited us to their home for dinner. Izzy was very interested in Emory, who is just beginning to crawl and move around. She was so cute trying to share her Lamby with him. It wasn't too hot later in the evening, so we sat on the deck and ate pound cake for dessert while Alex and Izzy played together..
On Friday, Justin didn't have to work! Yay, for a day with Daddy!!! He took us out for breakfast, and then we all went grocery shopping together. It's just being together that is sooooo much fun. Justin started and finished a bunch of projects around the house with Izzy. They put up a ceiling fan in our bedroom together, and then Justin painted Izzy's bed to match her new bedroom. She'll be moving into her twin bed and new room this week! Later, the three of us went to Qdoba for dinner, and while eating there, we ran into the Davenport family, friends of our from church. Izzy had a blast kicking in the big water fountain with little Miss Bonnie Dav. :)

Saturday was just as fun as Friday for our little family. Justin finished the final coats on Izzy's bed, while Izzy and Momma made a Pistachio Chocolate Pound Cake for Sunday lunch. I wasn't paying attention at one point while holding the beaters, and looked over to see that Izzy was standing on her stool licking the beaters that were in my hands. :) The three of us went to the pool right after our very special lunch of peanut butter and honey sandwiches. ;) Every day at the pool, Izzy gets more and more brave. The first time we went this summer, we lasted 20 or 30 minutes cause she screamed the whole time. On Saturday, she was loving being thrown in the air and caught in the water, putting her face in the water and blowing, and even swimming with her floaties back and forth from Daddy to Momma! She walks all around in the shallow end with her very sophisticated toys--cheap tupperware and a $ store ladle! We came back for naptime, I finished making food for our Sunday lunch, and then we got ready to go to the home of the Parsons family (where Justin and I met and had our first real conversation!) for an Independence Day celebration. There was lots of skeet shooting, pipe smoking, fireworks exploding, food grilling, and friends fellowshipping. Izzy looked so patriotic in the dress the Hollinger family (my college friend Naphtali's parents) gave her, and she especially enjoyed the horses, other young kids from church, eating ice cream, playing in the dirt, and watching the loud fireworks. I couldn't believe she wasn't scared of the shotguns and fireworks!

This morning, we gave Izzy some allergy medicine since her nose was surprisingly runny, and then we headed off to church. Izzy looked so beautiful in the new dress Grammy gave her. We are currently training her to sit through worship, and she made it longer today than ever before. It helped that she first saw Pastor Trice giving the welcome, then Poppy led the worship service, and finally she saw my friend Carla Fowler up on the platform. Izzy witnessed her first baptism of her beloved baby Henry Fowler! After church, we had the Surratt family over to our home for a stromboli lunch, but Izzy came down with a 102 degree fever. :( We enjoyed our time with new friends, but we had to stay home from evening worship. Poor little girl!

What a full week and weekend! We will miss Daddy when he goes to work tomorrow, but I think Izzy needs some rest to recoup and Momma is probably not going to have much energy after going, going, going!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Catching up!

I'm trying to start blogging... I love reading all my friends' and friends of friends' blogs, so maybe somebody will read mine and not be toooo bored. ;)

We're already into July. Has anyone else felt like this year is flying on by? We will be having a baby NEXT month?!? Speaking of baby, I am 33 weeks along with baby #2. We are getting really excited to finally know if we are going to have another daughter or a first son. Everything's been different with this pregnancy--had sickness but much less than with Izzy, carry out front and not so wide, baby doesn't kick as incessantly but hurts more when he/she does move and kick, more energy for the most part, etc. I have finally hit the start of uncomfortability. The doc said that my hips would be looser with a second baby, and they ache each day now, but it's nothing to reallllllllly complain about. Seeing Izzy with the baby here at the house day in and day out is really intriguing me. At least she has baby Henry to see me holding at church or his home, and she seems to be pretty interested in him... at times.

Izzy and I have been going to one of our two neighborhood pools a couple days per week. She still takes two naps, so after the morning nap, we pack a lunch and head to the pool. The first week was not very fun with all her screaming, but now I can't believe that she walks all around, plays like crazy with her toys, and even put her head in the water today and laughed when I took her out in the deep end. I let go of her for a few seconds since she wears "floaties," and she was okay. She still hasn't figured out to keep her mouth shut so she doesn't choke on the water while floating. ;)