Saturday, January 31, 2009

Things That Make Me Happy

I wrote this post right around Christmas and never got around to posting it, hence the reference to my Christmas trees, which I promise are not still up in my house. Enjoy!

There are some things in this world that no matter what is going on they make me feel warm and fuzzy inside whenever I see them. On the top of my list right now was my main Christmas present this year.

After years of wishing and lusting, I finally got a wheat grinder. Thanks Mom and Dad!! This one also comes with a hand crank and you can get all sorts of attachments, like a meat grinder that also makes pasta and peanut butter, a food processor, and an oat flaker. For now I just have the grain mill attachment and the hand crank. I've made 2 loaves of bread with freshly ground wheat and managed to burn them both. I always forget that I have bread baking. Oops! But I'm so excited to finally get to use the wheat I have stored and to get to stop buying expensive whole wheat flour.

Next on my list of happy things, my pantry.

There's something about walking into this little room and seeing shelves full of food that makes me want to pull a chair in there and just sit and look. I hardly have enough room in there to do laundry because of all the food we have. And see all my lovely blue water jugs? Oh the joy of stored water! Yes, I'm strange, but it all makes me so happy. And you know what's even better? Knowing that I've paid so little for it all! I love grocery shopping too.

At this time of year I get to see one of my other happy things every day.

My Christmas trees. I love them! They are a set of three little trees that we got at Micheal's 5 years ago for $12. They have wooden trunks and make the most fabulously looking cluster when decorated with white lights and red and silver balls. I might just have to pull my chair out of the pantry for some good Christmas tree staring time. I've been tempted on multiple occasions to leave my trees up year round. They just look so good!

Speaking of looking good, how can I not feel happy when I see these baby blues?

Now, the child himself doesn't always make me feel happy, but whenever I see these fabulously blue eyes, I go all mushy inside. I want to squish him to death.

And not to be outhappied, you can't deny that this little model makes you smile from ear to ear:

She is such a girl, and listening to her play pretend with Little Mermaid and her pretend cousin Abbey (she has a real cousin Abbey, but since she's not here she has to pretend) makes me smile. Oh, the happy.

Anyway, so there you go. Things that make me happy. I know I'm smiling now, how about you?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fun with Food.

This morning I was feeling like giving breakfast a little more life. So instead of asking if the kids wanted oatmeal for breakfast, I asked them if they wanted rainbow oatmeal for breakfast. Of course that received a positive response. I gave the kids the choice of what color of the rainbow they wanted. Ella wanted red, but I persuaded her that pink would be better for her digestive system. And Alex wanted blue. So I did a little mommy magic, and voila, rainbow oatmeal.

Ella didn't touch hers because she wasn't feeling well, but Alex ate all of his. I've decided that I need to use food coloring in more food. That's what it's for, right? The next time I make pasta, you better believe it's going to be fun colored. Maybe bread too. Oooh, what about yogurt! So many fun ideas.

Ella has been begging me for weeks to make macaroni and cheese for dinner, and since I don't consider the boxed stuff to be dinner worthy, I went on the hunt for a good homemade recipe. I actually detest homemade mac 'n cheese. It's always oily and lumpy because the cheese separates, and it just looks and tastes gross. But I found me a recipe that sounded a bit different, so I gave it a try. I was tempted to color it too, but decided with all that dairy I ought to just try it plain the first time. Well, let me tell you, this mac 'n cheese was fantabulous. I got the recipe from, and I thought I would share it with you.

Chuck's Favorite (and now ours) Mac and Cheese

  • 1 (8 ounce) package elbow macaroni
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (12 ounce) container small curd cottage cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until done; drain.
  2. In 9x13 inch baking dish, stir together macaroni, shredded Cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle topping over macaroni mixture.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is golden.
I left off the bread crumbs and just topped it with more cheese. It was creamy, rich, and I'm sure super fattening. But that's why it was soooo good. And that's also why there's no picture of it. We ate it too fast!

On a side note, literally, I added Twitter over in my side bar. Throughout the day there are always random things that I think about blogging about but I don't have enough to say to fill a blog post. So I figured I could Twitter it. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Did you know...

...that I used to be in the military? Yep, it's true. That's where Anton and I met and got married. I joined the Air Force in January 2003. I went to basic training in San Antonio, TX from January until March.

Here's my flight, as we called them. We graduated as the honor flight.

The bottom bunk there is where I slept the whole time. I'm giving my mom, dad, sister, bro-in-law, and nephew the grand tour when they came to see me graduate.

And there I am in my sexy uniform with my sexy sister. I weighed less then than I did in high school. I'd like to go back sometimes just for the weight loss aspect. And you see those lovely glasses? We call them BCGs, which stands for birth control glasses. In other words, you don't ever have to worry about being attractive to the opposite sex while wearing those things.

After basic I headed to Monterey, California, to train to be an Arabic linguist. I sat around for a while waiting for my class to start. That's when I met Anton. We were married 5 months later.

I slept there on the top bunk before Anton and I got hitched. I wish I could go back to how easy it was to keep such a small space neat and clean.

Look at those evenly spaced hangers! It was also nice having someone tell you what to do, how to fold your clothes, when you could sleep, etc. Having to make the life decisions for a whole family is so exhausting compared to that.

And there I am in my BDUs, battle dress uniform. That's what I wore most of the time I was in the military.

I was in the military a grand total of 11 months. Right after we got married I got pregnant with Ella and got out. If I had stayed in, Anton and I would have been apart for 2 years. So out I went. And that is the story of me in the military.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Family Profile

Ever since Ella was a baby I've been wanting to make silhouette pictures of our family to hang in our house. So today I finally got my butt in gear and did it. Of course, I haven't done anything besides make the computer file. I still need to print them and find some super fun oval frames for them.

I made them by taking a picture of each person standing in front of a white wall. Anton took my picture, since I can't really take the picture and be in the picture.

Then in Photoshop Elements I used the magic wand to select the white background. I had to use the selection brush to fine tune it a little bit.

Then I inversed the selection and filled it in with black. If you aren't an Photoshop user, that probably all sounds like Greek to you, so just ignore me and move on. It took a little bit of time to do them all, but so worth it in the end.

I did learn that you want girls to have their hair in pony tails. Ella looks so much better than I do with my mammoth looking neckhair. If I weren't lazy, I'd pull my hair up and take another picture. But for now, these will have to do.

I'm going to hang them in my bedroom for now. I don't have any spare wall space in the livingdiningkitchen room. I thought this idea was cute:

But I'd have to write a full equation to figure out how Anton and I managed to have two cute blond kids. So I stuck with the simple traditional with a splash of color. So if anyone knows where I can snag me some oval frames, let me know!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Hamfatter Award

The other day my sister and I were talking about blog awards. Where do they come from? Who makes them up? The other day my sister got a Lemonade Stand Award. What the heck is that all about? A lemonade stand? Really? Come on, people, where are you getting this stuff from? So we decided that we would make up our own award.

Sometime before the aforementioned discussion, we were also having a chat about the origin of calling someone a ham, as in, "You are such a ham!" So I looked it up and found out that the word originated in the early 1880s from a song called The Hamfat Man. It was a black minstrel song about an awkward man. After that, people would use the term hamfatter when someone was trying too hard to be funny and not succeeding. That was ultimately shortened to the word ham.

So in honor of Alex's pure silliness yesterday, I hereby give myself ... The Hamfatter Award!

I now pass this award on to all my blog readers. Award it generously and spread it around the world!! We want everyone to be the honored recipient of the prestigious Hamfatter Award. The world will be at peace when they have all received such recognition. Go forth, and be a ham!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Alex Eating Fast

We were eating lunch the other day and Alex was getting impatient waiting for his food. So he started pretending to eat really fast. We were laughing so hard. He kept doing it over and over again, so I finally grabbed the video camera.

What a ham! I love how each time he did it he would go back to sitting all prim and proper as if he hadn't just done a thing. Here you can see it again:

What a nut! It made for a good laugh, and he did finally get his lunch and calm down.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Poor Baby

Yesterday Alex was playing around in the house when Anton noticed something funny about his neck. He called him over and had him turn around, and sure enough, there was a huge lump on the side of his neck. Now, just so you can appreciate how large the lump really is, I will first show you a picture of how his neck normally looks:

Such a cute little neck. I've often wondered how in the world it holds up his huge head.

And here's what it looks like now:

Look at that thing! He doesn't act like it bothers him, though he says it hurts when we push on it. So we'll watch it for a few days, and if it doesn't go away, we'll take him to the doctor.

I'm beginning to think that there is nothing in the world my kids won't catch. Did you know Ella has had thrush, reflux, hand foot and mouth disease, the rotavirus, and more? She's a walking carrier monkey. So it comes as a relief when my kids come up with new and far less messy illnesses such as a lump on the neck. I'll take lymph nodes over bodily fluids any day!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Crazies

Have I ever mentioned before how cute I think my kids are? Well, they are. They used to be really good about smiling big for the camera whenever it pointed their way, but lately things have been different. Ella will do a coy little model look most of the time.

Alex has begun avoiding me like the paparazzi.

Maybe it has something to do with the length of my lens, as my sister seems to think. Or Alex just ignores me all together and pretends like I'm not taking his picture at all.

His TV shows are much more important than mommy's future memories of him.

So the other day when I was shooting these photos I decided to try another tactic. I asked them to make silly faces. It worked like a charm. They were both up in my lens demanding me to take more pictures.

Silly goof balls.

And while I'd much rather have a cute smiling photo, I'll take what I can get.

But you have to admit, they are cute no matter what silly faces they're making!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Better Late Than Never

Before Christmas I found the coolest Intructable about how to make super fancy snowflakes. So being one for a challenge, I gave them a try. I asked Alex what kind of a snowflake he wanted, and he said a snowman. So Snowflake#1, The Snowman:

Not bad for the first attempt.

Next I made one for Ella. The Hearts:

And see her name in there? Pretty cool, huh?

Then I asked the kids what I should put in daddy's snowflake. Ella voted for stars and Alex for a runner. So here is daddy's Homestar Runner snowflake:

It's not really Homestar Runner, and if you know who Homestar Runner is without clicking the link above, you've earned some extra points in my book. But I couldn't resist the runner/star connection. Anyways....

Later I was showing the in-laws how to make snowflakes and I made another one for Alex:

This one was tricksy. Trains and names. Phew!

I also made a bunch of snowflakes as the gift tags for my sister's family's gifts, but somehow I never got photos of them. They had guitars and princesses and hearts and Christmas trees and 2008's. So I've had fun making these and plan on doing them again next year. They're really not that hard, so bookmark that Instructable and give it a shot next year!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Budding Artist

My sister made Ella the cutest notebook for Christmas.

And Ella has not wasted any time putting her art skills to use. She took it with her to the doctor when she had her horrid ear infection, and to help distract her I asked her to draw a princess.

The big one there is the princess. Isn't she beautiful? But the one that's my favorite, and something that's become a bit of a trend, is the one with the arrow pointing to it. That is a little person, and the line going all the way around the page are its long arms holding hands. Lately all of her people have long connected arms. I don't know where she gets it from.

There's Ella and Mommy...with long connected arms. To try and give her something new to draw I suggested that she draw a cat. Well, she did. And is it just me, or do they look like flattened roadkill? She even wrote "cat" all by herself. She's getting into reading, writing, and numbers a whole lot. While we were driving back from Utah I suggested that she write the whole alphabet. So she did. I had to coach her a bit, but it was all verbal since I was in the front and couldn't help. And here's how she did:

It's a little bit all over the place, but I think she did fabulously!! She also decided to write her numbers too. There was a bit more coaching on those, but she was able to take my verbal descriptions and draw them really well.

The 8 is my favorite. It's so cute and squishy.

I was going to put in more pages of her drawings, but seriously, they are all pictures of long armed people. Every one. There was one person with two sets of eyes, some with lots of accessories, but they all have long, squiggly arms. I wish I knew where she got it from. And since I don't ever want to forget her squiggly armed people, I've recorded it here for all to see. She's a doll, and I love her drawings!

Sunday, January 11, 2009