Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year In Review

January 2008
February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008


While I'm confessing and all, I must own up to what I did yesterday.

Last night, I went to the grocery store late (9:00ish). What a pleasant place H.E.B. was on a Tuesday night! I was passing the bakery looking for an Angel Food Cake to go with my Chocolate Fondue I'm taking to a New Years Eve party tonight and stumbled across a blast from the past--Cream Horns, now with a new and improved fancy name--French Vanilla Twirls.

Well, it was all I could do to NOT open them there in the store, but that wouldn't be pretty, eating a cylindrical shaped object in the middle of H.E.B. at 10:00 in the evening now, would it?

I have self control....especially with food! (Though I do recall being 14 months pregnant and eating half of a bag of peanut M&Ms while shopping at Target--but I promise I have never eaten at the grocery store--unless Riley handed me a Goldfish.)

That is, UNTIL I was putting my recyclable bags in the back of my car and just happened to notice that they put the Cream Horns right on top!!

Can you guess what I did? I took them, along with my purse, to the front of my car and proceeded to GOBBLE one up on my way home. Like a food addict you see on 60 minutes, right? It's only bad if I don't tell anyone, right?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Out With the Old

My email inbox is out of control. At this moment there are 3,564 messages in it. 631 of those haven't even been opened. AAAAAAH! Recipes I requested, sales I missed, recipes shared, emails I replied my head, but never actually typed the words (sorry, friends!)

I want to delete my entire inbox to start 2009. Aaaah, I felt relief just saying it.

I don't want to lose pictures or recipes, those are the things I'll have to save or print. Other things I'm worried about are address book updates. I can ask for those again without being a nuisance, right?

I think "empty inbox" has been on my To Do list for over a year now. January 1, 2009 is the day I actually do it AND cross it off my list.

UPDATE: There are now 3,566 emails in my inbox!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

December Traditions

We decorate the house for Christmas after Thanksgiving....hopefully it's finished by Sunday night! Riley "helped" with the tree this year and had his first cup of hot chocolate to add to the festivities!

Russ does a fabulous job on the lights as usual. Riley helped him turn them on for the first peek. He was in awe of all of the Christmas lights this year.

A new tradition that we started this year is opening the first gift of the Christmas season on December 1st! Riley gets to open a big box of Christmas books. I put all of his Christmas books away with the decorations and on December 1, he opens them all again--books that he's had and new books we've added since last Christmas!

December 1 also brings forth The Christmas Calendar! Last Christmas, Riley loved it so much, we were still giving him two Skittles every day in March. We didn't know how to stop it!! Riley points to it often and says, "This is for after dinner." He loves counting from one up to the date. He's pretty strong up until "fifiteen, fifteen, fifteen..." (13, 14, 15).

This year, we thought Riley was ready to enjoy the Christmas movies we grew up on--Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. For us, it was officially the Christmas season when those movies came on t.v. Each of us enjoyed watching them this year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday!

WARNING: These videos are indeed sideways, there is nothing wrong with your head!

I'm much better with photos than videos (duh)so bear with me. When will I learn that you can't take video vertically? Ugh.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Stupid and What's His Name

Stupid has reared its ugly head again at my house. This time, with a friend--Poo Poo Head.

"Poo Poo Head and Stupid!" is Riley's new phrase of choice. Oh dear.

Russ and I are wondering--who is Poo Poo Head and who is Stupid?

Or am I both? ;-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Southern Comfort

I made Chicken Pot Pie Tuesday night when that cold front blew in. The timing couldn't have been better...and I'm sure that's part of the reason I went back for seconds--twice (and had it for lunch 2 days following)!

The recipe is from a dear friend that I've known for a long time--Little MKV. She delivered us two for dinner when we brought Riley home from the hospital. One to eat for dinner that night and one to freeze. I'd forgotten how good they were until I made them. The recipe is the easiest I've tried and by far the tastiest. I have to share. I hope it's okay...

Chicken Pot Pie

1 pkg. frozen peas and carrots (I used a mixed veggie with lima beans and corn too)
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup onion (she asked me very nicely to put these in, but if you know me at all, I don't even let onions into my house!)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 1/2-3 cups chopped, cooked chicken (or turkey)(I used canned, rinsed and flaked it)
2 refrigerated pie crusts (use Pillsbury in the red box, refrigerated section)

Rinse frozen veggies under running cold water to separate; drain.

Heat butter in 2 quart saucepan over low heat until melted. Stir in flour, onion (blech), salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in broth and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in chicken and vegetables.

Place 1 prepared pie crust in the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate. Pour chicken mixture into pie plate. Place remaining crust over filling. Turn edges under and flute. (NOT my specialty, by the way.) Poke holes with a fork in the top to vent. Bake at 425 degrees until golden brown, about 35 minutes.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Good Times in Grapevine

We rather suddenly decided to drive to Flower Mound to visit Robbye and Mike last weekend. They had gone to see ICE at the Gaylord Texan a few years ago and really enjoyed it. We thought Riley was at the age where he would enjoy it, so we took a chance!

It was a winter wonderland of ice. In a tent. Kept at 9 degrees Celsius. We had hats, scarves, gloves, coats...we had everything! Then put an Eskimo parka on top of all that. My little pengiun waddled the whole way through!

Everything us ice--except us!

There was a slide made of ice! Russ was a pro and Riley got stuck and had to be rescued...and wanted to do it again!

That night Robbye tried a new dessert recipe. We made Banana S'Mores--recipe courtesy of Sandra Lee.


The next day we headed back to Grapevine, but this time went downtown. What a quaint little place. Great shopping and some cute lunch venues--we had to skip out and get Riley in the car seat for his nap and our drive home.

We saw Santa Claus!! Riley would NOT sit in his lap, "No thank you," but would shake his hand and accept a furry little stuffed animal!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Let Me Get This Straight..

So what you're saying is:

Texas beat OU in October (45-35).
Texas beat Missouri in October (56-31).
From this information, the BCS deduces that OU and Mizzou should play in the Big 12 Championship.


Colt McCoy isn't afraid to be tackled.
Sam Bradford is. C'mon, you've seen him slide like a ballerina into the invisible first down line on that field.
Mack Brown played his 2nd string quarterback the last quarter of their last game against Texas' most historic rivalry.
Bob Stoops played an injured Sam Bradford every moment of the game with a 13 point lead, to finish with a 20 point lead. To pad their BCS points, I presume.

It worked I guess, but Mack Brown has more style points than a BCS computer could ever give him.

Colt for Heisman! Go Mizzou!
Hook 'em Horns!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Someone's In The Kitchen With Mommy

It's no secret that I like to be in the kitchen--cooking of course, not cleaning. Well, my budding little chef loves it as much as I do. (Once, when we asked him what his name was, he said Riley Cookin'.) He pulls a barstool up to the kitchen counter, washes his hands, and he's ready to go!

A couple of weeks ago I wanted to make some pumpkin bread. Riley particularly enjoys baking when it involves the KitchenAid mixer. He doesn't love that thing when it's on high speed though--"too loud" he says. He prefers fold or stir.

I read him the recipe and he repeats it back to me. He may know more kitchen lingo than my Babe! Riley helped with every step, holding the measuring spoon or cup and dumping it in. "I want to do it myself" or "my turn" he says.

At one point, I turned of the mixer, lifted the whisk attachment up and walked to the pantry to grab something. While in the pantry, I heard a slurping sound. It was my kitchen assistant with his entire fist in his mouth!! He had dipped his entire hand into the pumpkin bread batter and was busy licking it off. (Now, I'm ALL about eating the dough/batter, I think I actually prefer it to the finished product, but c'mon--use a spoon!)

Sunday morning we made some pigs in a blanket. He rolled the weenie up in the dough and everything! He's a better eater when I let him get involved in what I cook.

He wasn't into eating dinner tonight so I told him we could make some cookies if he finished eating. He did...the motivation worked! We made some oatmeal-raisin/chocolate chip cookies and once again, he just couldn't stand not having several pinches of that dough. Another favorite kitchen tool of his is the whisk. he knows it by name and loves tell me how to use it, "mix it easy Mama, like I do."

I'm so glad he loves to be in the kitchen like I do (most of the time). Some days though, I do admit I don't have the patience for a 3 year old kitchen assitant. I'm thankful that Russ can read that about me and entertain him otherwise.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Charmed, I'm Sure

A charm bracelet tells a story and I thought I'd share mine.

The charm bracelet I wear is a gift from a former student (Elyssa) from way back. She gave me this as an end of the year gift with a charm attached--a little girl at a desk. The next year, when Elyssa was a third grader, she brought me another charm--a crayon. Do you have any idea how cool that is when your former students remember you, much less bring you a wonderful gift?

Since Elyssa, I've added many more:

The Kiss--from Russ. I'd never seen this charm when I received it as an anniversary gift. Perfect.

A rocking chair--from Nana. I wanted that charm from her because she always got up from her rocking chair to let me sit in it when I came over. Spoiled rotten.

A camera--from Shelly. She drew my name for our Bunco gift exchange. I didn't specify a charm, but she picked a perfect one.

Elephant--from Russ. This was to represent our trip to the 2004 Black Tie and Boots Inaugural Ball.

Four Seasons--from Robbye. This was a special gift from Robbye for being a bridesmaid. I'll always remember what she said, "You've been a friend to me through all seasons."

Special Daughter in Law--from Thomas and Karol. It's a wonderful thing when you love your in-laws--and I do!

Monkey--from John, Julie, Jackson, Jordan, P.J., and Joshua Powell. A birthday gift that I'd requested to represent Riley.

Two Peas in a Pod--from Russ. He gave this to me when Riley was a baby and said that we were "two peas in a pod."

Longhorn--from Uncle Roy. I'd been wanting this one for a while and I love that he's the one that got it for me--we always talk Texas Football when he's around. He's a big fan too!

Dog Bone--from Russ, to represent our dog, Doak.

Flip Flop--from Russ. I love them, he hates (wearing)them.

Mother and Child--from Russ. He gave me this one after Riley was born.

Passport--from Russ. This one represents our 2 trips to visit special friends in Gothenburg, Sweden. I'm looking for more stamps on my passport!

Star--from Russ. I've always liked them...and now it's Riley's favorite song to sing!

Cat--from Russ. Represents Corky and Callie.

Little Boy--from Russ. He gave me this and said our baby was turning into a little boy. Ugh.

I love this bracelet and the story it tells. I'm anxious to add more "chapters" as life continues to unfold.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

So Fresh and So Clean Clean

Riley loves showers and baths--especially in our bathroom. There's no toys in there either, go figure. This picture was one I just had to share though--he looks like such a grown up.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day!!

Thank you for doing what you did.
Thank you for doing what you do.
Thank you for sacrificing your life and your family for mine.
Thank you for being braver than I.
Thank you to your mother and father.
Thank you to your wife and children.
Thank you for not being too afraid.
Thank you for sleeping places I would never.
Thank you for eating meals I would never.
Thank you.

Thank you to my grandfather Bob Harris.
Thank you to my grandfather Bill Powell.
Thank you to my father in law Thomas Cook.
Thank you to my nephew Justin Rokohl.
Thank you to my friend Wayne Turner.

I can't even begin to comprehend the sacrifices you and your family made so that you could protect us.

I taught my first graders about Veterans Day. I helped them understand what a veteran is and who they are. They are living and non-living, they are grandfathers, sisters, nephews, and mothers. They are wounded physically, mentally, and emotionally. They are heroes.

Here is one of mine:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Candy Land

What was I thinking buying Candy Land for Riley a week after Halloween? Just the mention of the word makes him think he needs some.

I've been wanting to get the game so we could try it out with him. Tonight all 3 of us played and Riley beat us both!

He would've won the second game too, but we pushed it. Should've stopped while we were ahead. There would've been no putting his feet on the gameboard, knocking over our pieces, skipping ahead, etc. The first game was much more cooperative. We'll just pretend that second game never was bedtime--we should've known better.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Best Week Ever

IF you're a Red Raider who voted for Barack Obama. I'm not.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Meals

With a 2.75 year old, meal time hasn't been my favorite time of day for some time now. Mealtime seems to turn into a time to stuff my face while bargaining, manipulating, and bribing--and that is in the comfort of my own home. In public it has often turned into one of us eating while the other is outside walking around with Riley.

Lately though....meals have been pleasant (Shhhh! I don't want to jinx this). Riley has eaten whatever is on his plate, not just the fruit! No crying, no leaving the table, no expectations of sweet things, no nothing.

We've had pleasant meals at our house. We EVEN enjoyed a wonderful brunch at Z Tejas WITH Riley! We went late to celebrate Nana's 87th and my 36th. Each of us was able to stay in our seat and enjoy our meal. Russ and I had to take him to the potty twice, but that was painless.

I hope this isn't just a passing fancy or a growth spurt. I think I'm enjoying eating with my family once again.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fall Traditions

Our first fall tradition happens during TX-OU weekend in Flower Mound. The day after the game, we head to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch and have some fall fun! Riley loves the hayride, the big slide, and the train.

Then there's the Halloween thing, nothing extraordinary except Riley actually was allowed to have a teeny bit of candy this year. He wants "brown candy." That's my boy--he wants chocolate!!

Finally, there's Dinner in a Pumpkin--our family's after Halloween tradition. I originally wanted it to be ON Halloween but that day is just too hectic. I won't go into the recipe, but it's: ground beef, taco seasoning, a bag of frozen mixed veggies, sliced mushrooms, a can or two of black beans, and a package of Spanish rice cooked together, then put into a hollowed out pumpkin and baked. We love it! Riley really appreciated the novelty of scooping his dinner out of a pumpkin this year--and he ate so well!