Friday, December 25, 2009

My Husband Rocks Friday-Christmas Edition

My husband rocks because he's good at building things. My mom wanted to do something different with the stockings this year, so Travis (along with my Dad, brother, and sister's boyfriend) built two stocking stands. Mom had the idea, but it was up to Travis and Dad to figure out how to build it. She wanted to use scrap metal and most of it is. I even helped a little, mostly by laying out the stars and painting.

They look good, don't they?

These are just the most recent of Travis' fabrications. He's good at building so many different things, that I just can't list them all! Whatever it is that needs to be built, he's my guy!

Merry Christmas & I love you, Trav!

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Husband Rocks Friday

My husband rocks because he (finally) took the time to sharpen all of my kitchen knives. Now I can chop, cut, trim, and slice with ease. Not to mention, I can make supper faster. See, I told him there was an up-side to sharpening those knives for me!

Oh, how life would be, shall we say, dull without him! I love you, Trav!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Best Wagon, Ever

I just love this little red wagon. I would say that it is the best wagon ever! This particular wagon is Elizabeth's Christmas present. Travis & I couldn't wait until Christmas to give it to her, so we put it together this weekend while she was napping.

After her nap, and after she had a chance to wake up from said nap, we took her into the front room to see her new ride.

She must be Daddy's girl...she had to check out the wheels first!

Going for a ride around the house.

This is fun!

After bundling up, we headed for a riding tour of The Estate.

Such a pretty girl, even under all those layers!

I have a feeling we'll get lots of use out of this thing!

Creamy Fudge

I promised to post my Creamy Fudge recipe, so here it is! Yum, yum. I hope y'all like it as much as we do!

You're going to need to break out the squares of chocolate.

And chop.

And then, when you realize that you didn't have enough semisweet chocolate, go to your chocolate chip jar. I know that some people don't like to use chips while baking anything other than cookies because they contain some sort of "stabilizer". Maybe so. I do try to use baking squares, but I ran out and these did just fine.

Here I am with my trusty kitchen scale measuring out the remainder of the chocolate.

Add a can of this:

And stir. Then, place the chocolate and sweetened condensed milk over a double broiler and stir until smooth and all of the chocolate is melted.

Add salt.

And vanilla. Ooo, and smell the vanilla. And then try to teach your 20-month-old how to smell the vanilla-without trying to drink it! Hey, she's learning!

And pecans (optional, but necessary in our house)! I didn't have enough pecans shelled in my freezer, so I used the little bit that I had. It turned out to be less than 1/2 cup. Like I said, not nearly enough!

Line an 8X8" pan with tin foil. Oh, excuse me...aluminum foil. (I didn't have foil, so I lined my pan with parchment paper. Works just as well, maybe even better. Spread the fudge in the pan and give hubby the spatula to lick.

Let set in the fridge for a few hours until firm. This picture turned out a little dark, but you get the idea. It's just plain goodness!

Here's the entire Creamy Fudge recipe:
  • 16 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 oz unsweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Chopped pecans, optional
Line 8" square baking pan with foil. Combine chocolates and milk. Cook over a double broiler, stirring constantly until chocolates have melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Pour into pan and spread evenly. Refrigerate until firm or overnight.

Cut into 8 strips and then cut strips into 8 pieces. Place pieces between waxed paper in an airtight container. (I don't do never lasts long enough for me to go through the trouble of cutting it into pieces for Travis and myself.)

Store at room temperature for up to 1 week or refrigerate for up to 1 month. (I promise it won't last a month!)


Monday, December 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I can't believe that Christmas is next week! We'll be leaving home early next week to spend a few days with my family and sister, so I think I'll skip a Menu for this week and hope I've made enough to get us through. If not, I'm always game for a warm sandwich!

Here's what's on the Menu:
  • Taco Salad
  • Meatloaf; mashed potatoes; fried zucchini
  • Parmesan Chicken nuggets; brown rice; green beans
  • Ribeye Steak, grilled; baked potatoes; frozen broccoli
  • Roast; carrots; mashed potatoes; green beans
I made a batch of yummy fudge a couple of days ago and hope to get the pictures and recipe uploaded. I hope y'all have a great week!

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Husband Rocks Friday

I've seen "MHRF" posts on a few other blogs and thought I would give it a try. Hmm, now let me think...

My husband rocks because he knows how to do "electrician things". Just the other night, he wired an entirely new switch for my closet. The light turned on at the door of the bathroom. We wanted to use that switch for our new vent fan (which he also knows how to wire up!), so he put a brand new switch in my closet! Woo hoo!

I'd truly be in the dark without him. I love you, Trav.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Our flooring arrived in town yesterday and Travis picked it up this afternoon. I'm so glad it's here!

We unloaded all of the boxes and we're storing them in the front living room until we're ready for them. Each box weighed 35 pounds! So, you're looking at 2200+ pounds of flooring!

I couldn't resist opening a box and laying it out. It's just on carpet, you won't be able to see the edges quite so well when it's laid properly.

Now all we have to do is finish remodeling the rest of the house before it can be installed! Our master bath and closet are ready for flooring and we want the same floor in the entire house, so we just ordered all of it. No we don't have to worry about different batches of floor, we know it all matches. I can't wait to see it put in!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Toddler Time

This morning we went to Toddler Time at the Library. Here are a couple of pictures of Elizabeth playing with puzzles before the dancing and reading started.

Not many of the kids wanted to sit still during the stories today, my child included. She was up, down, and all around. I'm hoping that as we keep going, she'll learn to sit a little longer and listen to the entire story. But, maybe that's just wishful thinking!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

This week has gotten off to a left-over start, so here's what we're having the rest of the week:
  • Sausage; macaroni and cheese; ranch style beans
  • Rib eye steak, on the grill; baked potatoes; zucchini sticks in the oven
  • Campfire packs
Tomorrow is Toddler Time at the Library, so maybe I'll sheepishly pull out my camera and snap a couple of pictures. But, just so you know, I'll be the only loon there taking pictures. The rest of the mothers are normal...and probably don't blog.

I hope y'all have a great rest of the week. I'll leave you with a picture of Elizabeth and Uncle Matt at Thanksgiving. (I wish I would have taken that stupid pacifier out. They don't really make for good pictures.) Don't let their excitement rub off on you!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Library Toddler Time

This morning, I gathered up every ounce of courage I could find and took Elizabeth to the library for Toddler Time. I was nervous; I didn't know what to expect. Elizabeth has never been in a large group of strange kids before. Well, not strange but unacquainted.

We arrived a few minutes early to return some books and cd's we were finished with and made our way back to the Toddler Time room. There were puzzles and stuffed animals all over the place. Elizabeth was the second tot to arrive and played with a puzzle...then she gave all of the pieces to the other little girl! More kids filled the room and acted like they knew just what to do while Elizabeth walked around trying to play with a few of the other kids. Everyone seemed happy to play by themselves except for Elizabeth. She wanted to play with someone...or at least with someone else's puzzle.

Toddler Time starts with a few songs with hand motions and dancing. Forget the hand motions, Elizabeth just wanted to dance. A story was read and then more dancing. Then one more story and even more dancing. I even got a couple of complements on Elizabeth's smooth moves! At the end of the reading and dancing, there was a little activity. The kids were asked to draw their favorite toy. Elizabeth drew purple and orange scribbles. I'm just glad we color at home so she knew not to draw all over everything in the room.

Toddler Time lasted about 30 minutes and then it was time to go home. I hope Elizabeth had a good time...she seemed to have had a good time. So, next week, I'll gather up all of my courage again and go to the library.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Silly Girl

I just had to share a couple of cute pictures of Elizabeth. Recently, she has learned how to take her shirt off and now she does it constantly! When she took her shirt off a couple of days ago, she promptly grabbed her little had and put it on. I took a million pictures, but here are a couple of the cuter ones.

I've been bragging to everyone within ear shot about how I just got my very first library card. I am very excited. Now, not only can I check out books for myself, but I can also check out books for Elizabeth. Travis snapped a shot of us reading a story on the couch. She sat through half of the book before she needed to move around. Just too much energy to burn off! I know the picture is a little dark because of the light colored blanket, but I like it anyway.

The library also has toddler story time Wednesday mornings. Maybe I'll try taking her tomorrow. I think she would like it!


Let me start by saying that I am still not very good at having my camera glued to my hand. So, I must apologize for not having many pictures of Thanksgiving and not having any pictures of the Thanksgivings we had with my families. I promise to try to do better!

Thanksgiving week for us started on the Sunday before. My parents were leaving to visit my sister so would not be at home for actual Turkey Day. My Uncle Keith, Aunt Teresa (who blogs here), and their kids-Dustin, Rachel & Courtney-joined us for dinner. Elizabeth always has lots of fun with her cousins (and Uncle Matt!) and we had a great time visiting.

Thursday, we drove to that other school's town to have Thanksgiving with Travis' dad's side of the family. One of the cousins deep fried a turkey and it was delicious! After filling our bellies, Elizabeth and I sneaked away to one of the bedrooms to take a little nap. We were up early and left before 8 a.m. and Elizabeth was too excited to take a nap on the way there. Boy, was she tired...I would have gotten up when she fell asleep, but I wanted to make sure she stayed warm under the blanket. Aren't I a nice momma?!

As you can see, I wasn't the only one who dozed off for a few minutes!

After our little nap, the girls took Elizabeth to a nearby playground. Elizabeth has started saying "swing, swing" when she wants one of us to swing her around and boy, was she excited about going to swing on the real thing. Too bad, because when we got to the playground, they had three different slides and no swings!! Oops! Elizabeth had fun on the slides. I guess I did, too!

Okay, maybe she was just a little scared in this one. She was going down all by herself!

Friday evening, we had Thanksgiving with Travis' mom's side of the family. After supper, Pictionary was the game of choice. I think Elizabeth went and tried out every lap around that table! Aunt Donna let her color on some paper and Elizabeth declared that lap the winner!!

Saturday, we were back to my home turf to visit with some of my cousins who were home for the holiday and the Texas A&M game. Elizabeth had a fun time playing with more cousins and snuggling up with Megan.

Saturday night, my Great Aunt Ann, her daughters-Karen & Joanne, and I hosted a surprise 40th birthday party for their sister Lisa. Seeing as how Lisa's birthday isn't until Christmas Eve, she didn't expect a thing! Everyone had a great time.

Here's Elizabeth & Travis waiting for the guest of honor to arrive.

Waiting for Lisa to turn in the driveway.

Sunday, for dinner, we had our last Thanksgiving. Travis, Elizabeth, Matt & I drove into town to eat with Grandma & Grandpa S and Grandma's sister, Arlene. We had a very nice time visiting without the hustle and bustle of the entire family. Not that I don't like when we're all together...I just liked having my grandparents to myself for a couple of hours!! Selfish, I know. But, I just can't help it!

We returned home (Down South) Sunday evening where we promptly grazed on leftovers that we had brought with us. It was a relaxing end to a very busy-but enjoyable-Thanksgiving week. We're going to need a couple of weeks to recover before Christmas!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Whew, I am stuffed from what seemed like a week-long Thanksgiving! I'll post about that later, but for now, here's what's on the menu this week!
  • Sirloin Steak (broiled in the oven, it's cold outside!); Fried Potatoes, Green Beans
  • Chicken Fried Hamburger Patties; mashed potatoes; gravy; squash (again...)
  • Salisbury Steak; gravy; egg noodles; sweet potatoes
  • Ribs (in the crock pot); rice; frozen corn (Dare I try my hand at homemade sauce?? Recipes are welcome!)
Thursday, we have a Czech Society meeting. I will be inducted as a Director and the meal is catered. All I have to bring is a fruit dish or dessert. I haven't figured out which yet.

It's going to be pretty chilly down South this week, so if I find a good recipe, I might make some chili, too! I hope y'all have a good, warm week!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Some Good Sleep

This past weekend, we took a trip up to my parents for a visit and an early Thanksgiving dinner. They're going out of state to visit my sister, so they won't be around this Thursday. As soon as we got out of the car, Elizabeth met the new dog, Daisy. I always think of sour cream when my mom calls the dog and then I find myself singing the commercial. I'm glad to be away from that thing!

Ok, I digress. Elizabeth loved playing with Daisy (do a dollop, do do a dollop...) and no, seeing her so happy and giddy to be playing with an animal does not move me to get one of our own! I don't even want to commit to a beta fish; they just live too long.

Aren't their little puppy butts cute?

"Hey, what's going on? Can I help?" Elizabeth taught Uncle Matt how to weld. He just wasn't doing it right!

And then there were these things. Nesting boxes. Hours upon hours of fun. Oh, how she liked to knock them down. She wasn't much help stacking them up, though. Once the boxes got three high, down they came!

Uncle Matt and his good sleep. I just found out this weekend what good sleep really is. You see, I had always thought of good sleep as being able to sleep through the night without having to put your kid back into bed. Oh, no. I was completely misinformed! Good sleep is sleeping when you should be awake. You know, like any time past 7:30 a.m. for Matt. In this picture, it was closer to 10 a.m. I hope that was some good sleep!

Back to the boxes. We all had our turn at stacking them back up for Elizabeth.

She would just come around and knock them all back down.

I think she had a good time, don't you?

Sunday, my Uncle Keith, Aunt Teresa, and their three kids, Dustin, Rachel & Courtney, came for an early Thanksgiving dinner. We had a good time and it was great to see everyone!