Tuesday, December 30, 2008

By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea...

I am having a love affair with the South Carolina sea. A few sweet shots...


Back deck of the house

Live Oaks. The most romantic tree

Sweet boy







Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry CHRISTmas, Dearies.







Love, Mr. and Mrs. B and Baby B's.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Okay...Yum.



It's Christmas Eve. I love Christmas Eve.




Here's what I made for lunch...you'll love it.



Split Pea Soup

Ina Garten
1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups medium-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
1 cup medium-diced red boiling potatoes, unpeeled (3 small)
1 pound dried split green peas
8 cups chicken stock or water
Directions
In a 4-quart stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, 1/2 pound of split peas, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Skim off the foam while cooking. Add the remaining split peas and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until all the peas are soft. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot.




Ham & Swiss in Puff Pastry

Ina Garten

package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 pound black forest ham, sliced
1/2 pound Swiss Gruyere cheese, sliced
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.
Lay 1 sheet of puff pastry on a floured board and carefully roll it out to 10 by 12 inches. Place it on a sheet pan and brush the center with the mustard, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Place a layer first of ham and then cheese, also leaving a 1-inch border. Brush the border with the egg wash.
Place the second sheet of puff pastry on the floured board and roll it out to 10 by 12inches. Place the second sheet on top of the filled pastry, lining up the edges. Cut the edges straight with a small, sharp knife and press together lightly. Brush the top with egg wash and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve hot or warm.



These photos are of my mom's cozy house decorated for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Toy

Some fun ones from my new toy:







This Time of Year

I sit here, sheltered from the snow with my tea and french truffles...I'm thinking about Evie's birthday. She'll be two tomorrow.

I've had such a marvelous time (truly, marvelous) getting to know this little lady. Evie loves baby dolls. So much, in fact, that she mustered up the guts to request one from "Grandpa Closet" for Christmas.

Evie loves chocolate and lip gloss and things that are pink and soft. Evie loves books and snuggling and when I sing to her before bed. Evie loves to pray before each meal and she loves to bake in her toy kitchen. Evie loves her Uncle Bren and her puppy, Teddy, and dancing to Christmas music. Evie loves to love.

Happy Birthday, little one.

Allen
Santa likes to leave hidden presents at my house.

Today, I spotted a package wrapped with love and stuffed - untidily - in the Christmas tree. My first thought was, "those kids!" And then I realized this was a gift for me, with a tag that read, "Ashley, Open whenever you find me."

Grinning from ear to ear, I tore the packaging and found a new camera. This one:


Sony Cyber-shot T300

The one my sweet sister, Jamie has and I love love love. The battery is charging as we speak and I've already read the manual like a novel. Why do they give you a dead battery? Now I have to wait to play with it! It suspense is killing me.

I love Santa.


Charleston, S.C.

We're going to be in S. Carolina in a week. We leave the day after Christmas. I am really anticipating this trip. Old fashioned Christmas/New Years, here we come!

The reason I'm covering all my bases, so to speak, is because we're sending our bandaged-up lap top to the "Computer Dr." this month. We figured with the busyness of the Holidays and the break in school (yes, I finished the semester yesterday!) we wouldn't miss it much over Christmas/New Years.

So I wont be blogging much this month. Maybe a pop-in here and there but mostly silence.

I am wishing you the sweetest Christmas and a perfect, clean start to the New Year. Kisses and hugs to you and yours!

It's time for 2009!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Aunt Nona's Crescent Cookies

I've heard these cookies called Mexican Wedding Cookies, Italian Wedding Cookies, Greek Wedding Cookies and Crescent Cookies...whatever they're called, they're one of my favorite to make at Christmas time.



My great Aunt Nona (or, "Aunt Donut" if you're feeling especially sassy) had a perfect recipe for them and mom shared it with me this week as we created our Christmas batch of Crescent cookies. She pulled out a little index card with the recipe typed - via typewriter - crookedly across it. The edges were beginning to brown. Here it is:








Aunt Nona's Crescents

1 cup butter
1/2 cup powder sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup ground nuts




blend butter, sugar and vanilla, add flour in rather small amounts.
then add nuts.
shape in balls or crescents
bake 350----15 min.
roll in powder sugar while warm and again before serving if desired.






I like them made with pecans or walnuts.



marthastewart.com


What is your favorite Christmas Cookie? And click here to find out your Christmas Cookie style. :)

aka

When you're learning to talk things don't always come out as planned:

Santa Claus aka "Grampa Closet"

Yogurt aka "Logurt"

"Aw Shoot!" (yes, we say this at our house) aka "Aw, SHOE!" (holding up foot for emphasis)

"Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way..." aka
"Jinga Bews, Jinga Bews, Jinga hem hum waayyy...HEY!"

I love you aka "I yuh you."


Thursday, December 11, 2008

P.T. Update

Evie's almost got the potty down.

Beck has refused and I officially give up.


Oh, and here's a pretty picture:

Grateful.

The incredible health we've enjoyed this year. God knows what this mommy can handle and He didn't give me any extras.

The sweet friends that I've met online. Who knew the internet could be a place to meet such fantastic, un-strange people?

This man in my life who cares about the future of our family and take a proactive role in training and guiding our children.

This same man who loves me for all my crazy faults and even finds them endearing...sometimes.

Evie's incredibly cute buns in Minnie Mouse undies.

Friends who love me and take pleasure in showing me how much - Martha Stewart nesting bowls, biscotti and coffee in the mail, making room for myself and my children in their days and in their hearts.



Mom and Dad living a perfect distance away and the route to their house being uncannily like the poem, "Over the River and through the Woods..."

The Mondays spent with Grandma that my kids treasure so much.
My in-laws who really are quite nutty but who I love with a kind of alarming devotion.
My sweet little coffee/tea station.


The yellow glow a lit Christmas tree can give the family room.

Children's books that make you want to hunker down with a blankie on the couch and read, read, read all afternoon.


Fresh baked biscotti and Mexican wedding cookies with coffee for breakfast.

Tangerine season.

Warm, wooly socks with leggings.

Facebook.com and Polyvore.com - without these where would I waste all my internet time?

Beck playing imaginary Nativity.
The promise of a new beginning in 2009.
Vacation looming on the snowy horizon.
Holiday parties with dear friends.
Christmassy books.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cookie Cookie, Who's Got the Cookie?

Today: Baking Christmas cookies for the little ones...
photo from thedailygreen.com

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Just Can't Do It.

I am supposed to be studying this:

Last time I got some major flack for posting an image of my A&P class studies. I'm curious to see what this one inspires. :)

I just can't seem to concentrate on the inner workings of the ear when I have a handsome man, two bright-eyed babies and a lit up Christmas tree in my living room...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Can't Beat the 'Bucks

Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

So-oh-oh-oh good! If you need a little kick, get it with a shot of espresso. Mmmmm...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Polyvore Love


Belle of the Ball by starcrossedb



26 by starcrossedb

Who Needs Santa? by starcrossedb

Tentative

This is not turning into a potty training blog...I promise. (Although that might be quite riveting reading in contrast to what is usually written here...)

Both children requested to use the potty today (while wearing diapers) and proceeded to GO PEE while sitting on the potty!!!!!!!! I do not like excessive use of "!" but it is acceptable in this instance.

Never mind that Beck missed and actually did his duty all over the floor. Never mind that, because my boy got the "pee premonition," told me and DID IT!!!!!!! After Beck did it and enjoyed the sticker on the chart, use of the special after-potty-soap, a potty dance courtesy of Mama and some Twizzlers Nibs as a reward; Evie decided she wanted all of those things too so plopped her little rear down and made quite a lovely contribution.

My joy is full. But I tread lightly.

Children like to do this sort of thing. Make giant leaps and then retreat back to newborn status.

We shall see...

In other news, here is a photo of Mr. B. and the cuties doing a Winter Craft last week. Quite a handsome paper snowman graces our family room window now.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nope.

If you haven't read my previous "Days are numbered" post go here...I'll wait.

Okay, things did not go as planned. In fact, I failed miserably.

Beck pee'd in his chair during lunch. Evie pee'd the floor. Twice. Beck held his potties until I put diapers on for nap and bedtime and then did his business.

I'm doomed.

And I'm headed to the crazy house...just in case you want to send me a Christmas card, that's where I'll be.

Their Days Are Numbered

Diapers, that is.

Disposable diapers were a fabulous invention. So convenient. So quick. Maybe a bit bad for the environment but stinkin' great nonetheless (forgive the pun).

Diapers have slowly gone from Mommy's Best Friend to The Bane of Mommy's Existence in the past three years. How much money have we spent in this span of time? Two kids, 5 diapers each per day, 365 days x 3. At roughly 60 cents apiece that is a loooot of money.

Not to mention my mental stability. You can only hold it together for so long in the midst of wiping someone else's excrement from their body. Really.

It has gotten to the point of breakdown every time I hear, "Mommy...I poop."

Breakdown, people.



So, we have 25 days until our vacation. 25 days of potty every 20 minutes (I have a special "potty timer"). 25 days of accidents on the floor. 25 days of mini-undies. 25 days of potty cheers, songs, charts, stickers, candies and dances. 25 days. 25. Two. Five.

I want both kids out of diapers. Too much to ask? I think not.

Pray?


**Update: An hour and a half later.
Accidents on the floor: 2 (per Evie)
Deposits in the potty: 0
Sigh...

Friday, November 28, 2008

26 Wishes - Wish #26

With all of these grand wishes floating around I don't want you all to think I am some greedy little birthday girl.

In reality I would be happy with a little extra love...


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every many has many..."
~Charles Dickens

26 Wishes - #22-25

Four of my wishes come in the form of DVD's. How much fun would a family or girls night be with these? I think Meet Me in St. Louis would be a fun one to have too. One can never get enough Judy.








And...Happy Thanksgiving, Dears!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

26 Wishes - #21

Lexus RX 400h Hybrid

Isn't it pretty in it's icy blue splendor?

Hey, I never said these wishes had to be realistic...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

26 Wishes - Wish #20


My 20th wish is to attend the Whole Hearted Mother's Conference put on by Sally Clarkson.


I've read many of her books and her thoughts and principles on raising godly children are inspiring. A weekend devoted to learning how to be a better mother would be greatly appreciated (by every member of our household)!


Here's how you mommies can enter to win a free conference ticket!


Tell Other Mothers about the WH Mother Conference!
If you have a blog, or a newsletter, or a group, would you consider posting, sending, or handing out an announcement about this conference? We know you don't need an incentive to want to help us, but as our way of saying "Thanks!" we'll do two things:
1) Everyone who participates will receive a free Our 24 Family Ways Kids Color-In Book, and
2) Everyone who participates will be entered into a drawing for six $50.00 Gift Certificates.


The Color-In Books can be picked up at the conferences, or mailed if you send us postage ($3.00 for first book, $1.00 for each additional).

Two $50.00 Gift Certificates will be given away each month in November, December, and January.

If your name is drawn, your certificate may be used like cash at the conference book table, the WH Online bookstore, or applied to a new conference registration (not redeemable for refund or cash).

You will be entered in the monthly drawing each time you create a new post, send out a newsletter, or distribute a flyer to your group. Reporting will all be on the honor system, so just send us an email with your name, address, phone number, and the date and description of your participation (if more than one, describe each one). Send it to Jennice Jones, our wonderful admin assistant, at admin@wholeheart.org.

Each participation email makes you eligible for a free Kids Color-In Book (maximum of 3 per family).

November entries must be posted, send, or distributed by Nov. 30.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

26 Wishes - Wishes #10-12

Wish #10 - Maybe it's cliche, but I'd love a day at a spa...


Wish #11 -
Personalized stationary from baileybea.com. Would you love to get a letter on this?




Wish #12 is for my babies to stay as sweet, healthy and delicious as they are right now.
Although I wouldn't mind if they were potty trained.That's a change I could handle...


Have a happy Saturday, Friends.