Sunday, September 25, 2011

The good news.

First of all, thanks to everyone for your emails, FB messages and comments about the pregnancy. We are truly very excited and know that this is a gift from God - a very unexpected gift, but hey, we love surprises! We'll take it!

We told our parents and our family via the telegram you saw in the previous post. We figured since it was such a surprise to us, and since we've told them about the last 2 pregnancies in person, then why not really surprise them by letting them find out through snail mail. It was so much fun last Friday and Saturday to have my phone ringing every few minutes with someone else in my family who'd gotten the news from their mailbox! They were so excited. And it meant the world to us to hear everyone's congratulations over the phone. I come from a huge family, so of course they were all thrilled and will gladly welcome another grandchild into the mix.

As for details...
I am due April 14th, 2012. This is the day after Chad's birthday!
I am 11 weeks pregnant and have just now started to feel 'back to normal.'
Weeks 7-10 were quite terrible, although 'terrible' is a relative term; there are so many who have it worse than I do during the first trimester, and so I try to look on the bright side. I battle severe exhaustion and horrible nausea, but I do not throw up and rarely ever have to run to the bathroom, so I consider myself lucky. But I don't think anyone would disagree when I say that no matter who you are, the first trimester is generally not nice to you and you are more than ready to get back to your normal self!
I do not battle morning sickness, either, which I guess is a blessing when you have kids; rather, my sickness would hit around late afternoon every day and would last through the night. I probably drank 6 gallons of Ginger Ale during that 4 week period! It seemed to be the only thing that would help (even with meds.) But at least Chad was home when I was feeling icky and he could help with the kids if I needed to lay down or go to bed early.

As for any kind of 'hunch' as to the gender, I have none. And even if I did, I would be wrong. I'm always wrong on those type things. But for those that are superstitious, I was definitely nauseous with Sam (rarely had any bad days with Mary Ella) and the baby's heart rate on ultrasound was in the low 150's. (Which would make me think BOY, but Mary Ella's heart rate was 158 and Sam's was 170 on first ultrasound, so who knows!) Of course, we are praying for a healthy baby and since we have one of each we may not even find out - who knows.

As for cravings, just for my record: loaded baked potatoes (which was a common denominator in both previous pregnancies and seemed to be the only thing I could eat or even wanted when feeling nauseous) and, as of late, any kind of ice sorbet. Our Yogurt Mountain up the street has had pink lemonade sorbet for the last few weeks and I might have had it 13 times already. Yikes. Oh well, at least it's not chocolate ice cream with a mountain of toppings, right?? I haven't been sensitive to any types of foods this time, which is odd; usually I despise Mexican food during my first trimester, but I've been able to hang in there and eat it this time without feeling like I was going to puke. Which makes my husband happy!

I was able to see my little baby on ultrasound a couple weeks ago to confirm the due date, and things seem to be progressing normally so far. Prayers are appreciated for a healthy pregnancy and an easy transition! Thanks so much again for all your sweet comments.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Some send letters. We send telegrams!

Telegrams are much more exciting.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bucket List Revisited

How did you do on your Summer Bucket List?
We knocked out a lot, but the summers seem to get shorter and shorter, don't they?

We'll try to knock off the rest of those items this fall, along with everything on our new list!
Some of these I got from the popular Fall Bucket List on Pinterest, of course. 

And to get myself in the spirit, I went ahead and put out the kids' ghosts from last year! 
And I might have purchased some punkin shirts from WalMart. :)

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Beer Can Chicken, Crunchy Green Beans, and the BEST loaded mashed potatoes.

We like to eat around here, in case you didn't know.

Last week one of my E-Mealz called for a roasted whole chicken, and I decided I'd try beer can chicken instead. After browsing online for recipes, I text messaged my friend Ashley over at, and she e-mailed me (about a millisecond later) with not one, but TWO recipes! She's good like that. I did 'tweak' the recipe just a little bit and added a stick of butter, because, I mean, everything is just better if you add a stick of butter. So instead of only using the spices, we make an herbed butter first. Easy tweak.

And this chicken... mmmmm. It's so good. We paired it with some loaded mashed 'taters and crunchy green beans. I've included the recipe for all three. The holy trinity of a wonderful home cooked meal. You're welcome.



1 3-4 lb chicken, giblets/insides removed
1 12-oz can light beer (I used Bud Light; I bought a 6-pk because you can't buy just one beer, apparently.)
1 stick of butter, softened to room temperature
1 T. paprika
1 T. onion powder
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. dried thyme
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and pat dry your chicken bird. Mix all spices together and combine them with the softened stick of butter, to make an herb butter. You can then put this back in the fridge to chill for a bit (say, 30 minutes) or you can go ahead and rub the butter mixture generously all over your chicken, including under the skin and inside the cavity.
Open your beer can, and pour about 2 ounces into a 13x9" baking pan. Then, set your chicken on top of the opened, still quite full, beer can. Yep, just shove that can right up it's little toosh. It'll look funny. It'll make you laugh. Take a picture.
Then put your chicken in the oven and cook for 1 hour, 15 minutes or until the juices run clear, and make sure you baste the chicken every 30 minutes or at least once, about halfway through cooking. After removing from the oven, take the chicken off the beer can and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. Then carve and enjoy!


This is my mom's recipe and is oh so delish. Note: You will want to eat these like French fries so even if you are cooking for just 2 people, please do yourself a favor and go ahead and buy 2 whole bags of frozen green beans. They shrink in this cooking process, and you'll want more. And more. And more.
(Note: I call them 'crunchy' green beans, but know that they aren't, like, Pringles crunchy. They still retain their green beany texture, but just have a slight crunch on the ends and edges.)

Bag(s) of frozen, WHOLE green beans
Olive Oil
Seasoning salt (I used Lawry's)

Dump your bags of green beans onto a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and a generous amount of seasoning salt. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until they start to look smaller and brownish on the edges and crunchy. During cooking, you may want to toss them with a spatula a couple times.


Is there anything better? I think not. Which is why there is no picture here. (And why I am 5 pounds heavier this week.)

4 regular sized potatoes, washed and cut into small chunks (you can peel or leave the peels on, it matters not.)
1/3 cup ranch dressing
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 to 1 bag of REAL bacon pieces
1/3 cup milk
1/2 stick butter
salt, to taste

Boil your potatoes until they can be easily stabbed with a fork. Then drain them and return them to the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir/mash. Add salt to your liking. Then, please, for the love, lick your spoon.

 You can thank me later.

And by the way, I took the master list of recipes off my sidebar over there, but if you click the "CLICK FOR RECIPES" button, you'll find the master list of every recipe I've ever posted.

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We're enjoying the weather!

Just a few pictures from the past week. We're enjoying the cooler temperatures, aren't you?
The park and the flag football field are so much more pleasant when it's not blistering hot! 

She loves to push Sam in the stroller, now that we have a stroller she can actually push without causing a hernia. And of course I'm happy to let her.

Daddy is playing flag football on Sunday afternoons.
He used to be fast, but now he is LIGHTNING fast.
Mainly due to his 'white lightning' cleats that we found on the clearance rack.
Makes him stand out, don't you think?

And of course, to keep it real, here's Sam at dinner a few nights ago. Clearly not happy about the fact that we were out of Velveeta Easy Mac and and Mommy had to make macaroni from scratch.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

chad and sam

You can definitely see where Sam gets his head shape and his hairdo! Love em.

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Saturday, September 17, 2011


Everywhere we go, people tell me she looks like Shirley Temple. I'd have to agree. What do you think?

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Friday, September 16, 2011

I was featured!

Hey friends!

I was featured (or, to be exact, my playroom was featured) today over at Scissors and Spatulas, one of my favorite DIY/crafty blogs. I'm so excited! Hop on over and check out the entire "Featuring You Friday" post and make sure to add this blog to your reading list! It's so inspiring.

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Baby Gracie!

Well, I totally forgot to blog about one of the best things that happened to me this summer! I became an aunt again, this time to my very first NIECE!

Gracie Adalee Rutledge was born August 19th, the day before we left for the beach. I did not get to go to the hospital because me and the kids had that fever/rash virus and I was scared she'd get it, but I felt like I was there by all the pictures I was getting. I loved it. Adam, my brother, is one proud Daddy and of course my sister in law Ashley handled childbirth like a pro, pushing out her 9-pound, 2-ounce chunk of love with ease! What a champ!

One reason I was waiting to post was because I did not have any pictures of Gracie other than iPhone pics until I finally took my camera up there to take some. Isn't she beautiful?


She has big blue eyes - they remind me a lot of Mary Ella's. She also has TONS of dark hair and the longest fingers and toes I've ever seen on a baby! I love her.


What a great blessing to have a new baby in the family. Sam and Mary Ella are proud of their sweet new cousin. Mary Ella is so interested in babies now and loved holding Gracie. And Sam surprised me when he seemed to be interested in her too; he just smiled and smiled and even gave her a kiss when I told him to love on her.

We love you, Gracie girl! Welcome to the world!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2-Ingredient, No Machine Required Ice Cream (from Our Best Bites)

Oh me, oh my.
This stuff is sooooo good.

If you follow any of the blogs on my sidebar, you probably saw Our Best Bites' post already. But if you didn't, allow me to introduce you to this amazing recipe! I'll admit, I was a little skeptical when I read "2-incredient home made ice cream" and even more skeptical when I saw that no machine was required. But easy peasy recipes are right up my alley, so I jumped on this one, and let me tell you, I'm soooo glad I did.

All you need is 2 cups heavy whipping cream and 1 can of sweetened condensed milk.
Whip the cream with your mixer until stiff peaks form (or until it looks like whipped cream; you'll know.)
Then FOLD it GENTLY into your evaporated milk, a bit at a time.
Don't stir, don't mix, don't beat it to death.
Just fold it in, little by little. That way the whipped cream doesn't lose her air and go all flat on you.

You can also add in your toppings at this point.
We added a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter, a chopped up banana, and some crumbled Nilla Wafers.
And then we let it freeze for about 4 hours. Then we tasted and went to heaven.

The texture is so smooth and creamy; reminds me more of gelato or a really smooth frozen yogurt.

This. is. yummy.
Go make it now!

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Front door fall decor.

Saw this on Pinterest. 
I know, I know. You did too.
That's probably why I saw it. Because I was re-pinning your pin.
It's what I do best.

I wanted to do a wreath but my Wal-Mart didn't have just plain, do-it-yourself grapevine wreaths.
(You can get them at Hobby Lobby and JoAnn for really cheap though.)
I was gonna go get a wreath later, but then I saw this hanging grapevine basket thingy in our garage and thought it would work just fine. It's a hanging door basket for holding flowers and such, and I think I bought it at Hobby Lobby a couple years ago. So it's not a wreath, but it'll do.

i love the clear, crisp quality of a camera phone picture, don't you?

The wooden letter is also from Hobby Lobby. It's hot glued to my basket.
I painted it with acrylic paint (lime green). I used my finger to paint it.
Then I used the end of a foam brush (the wooden end, not the brush end) to 'dot' the white circles.
EVERYTHING ELSE on and inside the basket is from WalMart.
Go to the fake florals aisle. 
Look for the massive array of orange and yellow fake florals.
Then look on the bottom shelf. 
There you will find small floral twiglets between $.84 - $.96 cents each. 
Get the ones you like.
I chose a big orange flower, a bunch of yellow flowers, 
some orange berry twigs and some grass-looking twigs.
Then go to ribbon. 
Find you some Halloween-looking ribbon. 
Buy the whole roll. It's $2.00 a roll.
When you get home, arrange your flowers how you want them in your basket 
(or if you're doing a wreath, use hot glue to fix your flowers to your wreath.)
Get your ribbon, cut off a big long strip. Like, as long as you can. 
Tie it around your basket handle or around your wreath in a simple bow, like you'd tie your shoe.
Fix it so that your 'loops' in your bow are a decent, normal size. 
Then take your STILL-VERY-LONG ribbon ends, and tie another bow. And another. 
As many as you can. And feel free to use hot glue at any point during this process. 
When you're done with the first roll of ribbon, move on to the second roll. 
Tie and glue and wrap and tie again. 
Just keep making loops and bows until it looks somewhat decent. 
I'm no good at bows. 
I just wing it until it looks good. 
But you don't wanna see mine up close.

Happy Fall! 
My favorite time of year!

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Thursday, September 8, 2011


Today was a GREAT day. 
I mean, really great. 

First of all, it was the first day of school for both my kiddos! 
(And by the way, my husband was out of town this week and I'd left my camera in his car, so these photos are ALL taken by the iPhone or iPad. Excuse the poor quality.)

Mary Ella will go Tuesdays & Thursdays again and Sam will go only on Thursdays.
I was so glad last week when I learned they had a spot open for him; our pediatrician had mentioned possibly enrolling him in a Mothers Day Out program to motivate him to 'catch up' on his motor skills, by watching other children his age. 

Last night, they were less than thrilled when I told them they'd be spending 4 hours away from mommy the next day...

But they were all smiles at breakfast.
Don't worry, we did tame the fro and the mohawk before sending them to their classrooms.

And because I'm sentimental, their backpacks and lunchboxes, all lined up on the kitchen counter, ready to go.

 (Mary Ella's bag is a $4 Wal Mart canvas tote; Mom appliqued it and added ribbon to the top and to the handles. And her lunch box is actually an Igloo brand lunch box that I found at Ross for $3.49 on clearance. I covered the rubber Igloo label with a circle and an "M" applique. Sam's bag is by Mom, of course. And his lunch box by Stephen Joseph.)

My afro-headed oatmeal eater.

And my banana-lovin' mohawk man.

And here she is on the porch in her new outfit. I love this fabric! Found it at JoAnn. 
Perfect for school days. 

 Shirt is Walmart, and I appliqued it; 
I tried to copy an applique I saw on Pinterest. 
'Tried' being the key word.

When the kids reach K3 you no longer get to walk them into their classrooms. This was in the carpool line. I was a nervous wreck but she was ready to go.

I was more nervous for this little dude, though, than I was for Mary Ella.
We all know he's a mama's boy.
And he loves his morning naps.
And his mama.
Did I mention that already?
I was nervous to leave him.
But I got this picture in a text from his teacher about halfway through the day.
He was having a great time!

When I picked them up this afternoon, they were all smiles.
Sam saw me, pointed at me and said "I DOOOO!" (his favorite and most common thing to say.)

Mary Ella was equally excited and looked worn out when I picked her up. She was playing HARD on that playground. (I watched her for about 20 minutes from the carpool line.) She loved school and had nothing but great things to say.

We came home and rested up and went for a walk with Jamie and Gage, and then Chad came home with pizza and strawberry cake from Joe's Italian, which we will NEVER turn down. We'll never turn down Daddy being home for dinner either - he'd been out of town this week so we were glad to see him. 

After dinner we were all sitting around and Chad and I were talking about how Sam's 15 month check-up went yesterday and what the doctor said. I told Chad how Dr. A thought MDO would be a great motivator for Sam, since the kids would be his age and younger and would be moving and grooving. 

And then, the heavens opened up and the angels began to sing we looked up and saw this:

Yes, folks, you saw it here first.

And then I took him to his room so he could crawl in his own room. Because I'm sentimental like that, you know.

And, because no blog post is a good blog post without a little nudity, here's his first crawl in the nude. 

Now, I realize that for most parents, crawling equals headaches, more work, more 'watching,' the installation of those horrendous looking baby gates and baby proofing everything else in the house, but for us this is HUGE! Sam has been behind on his gross motor skills since he was an infant; he's been sitting up since 8 months, but hasn't had the motivation/strength to do anything BUT sit up since that age. Imagine only being able to sit in one spot for over half a year and only be able to play with whatever was within arm's reach! Oh this is such a great milestone for him, and we are beyond excited. Guess his first day of school really did prove to be a success, in more ways than one. 

Thank you Lord for this wonderful blessing! Yay Sambo!
We are SO PROUD of you!

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