Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Taking in the quiet

It took Emery and I {ok ME} a little while to get back to our Monday date days since Kayden started back to school. Just her and I to do as we please with our day. Some Mondays we are forced to run a few errands but I still try to squeeze in just a little something to make her feel special. She is my HUGE firecracker stuck in a little body {I know that feistiness is going to take her far!}. So to say a few hours once a weeks makes a positive difference in that attitude of hers is an understatement! I leave Monday mornings/early afternoons thinking "all is right with the world"......now come 3:02 when we pick up big sister my attitude might have shifted a bit!!

A couple Mondays ago found us at the park. Books in a bag, picnic in tow, and blanket tucked under an arm. With nothing on the agenda but to have fun and enjoy the sunny afternoon.
There were some unexpected quiet moments, leaving me wishing they would linger a little longer . Like hearing her feet running through the grass, watching ants busily going no where, observing fluffy clouds floating by, and watching the leaves blowing in the light breeze. It was quite dreamy and QUIET....and quiet is hard to come by in this busy world we live in.
Every so often she would jump onto the blanket to grab a bite or two and then back off to play with her newly made friends
Monday's aren't the normal dreaded days around our house yet the much anticipated for this little blondie and her mommy! It's gives us that little jump start to our week and leaves us both smiling!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I always wanted a boy.....well I think I did anyway. Wasn't in the plans. But 2nd best to that is getting a little nephew who also decided to make his debut on the EASIEST day to ever be remembered! 9-9-09
*NOT a fan of grass but he cooperated for his Auntie!*
Proud parents of the Birthday Boy
Party musts: stuffing your face with cake and balloons
Guests: Mamaw, Gran, and Papa
The people he probably would LOVE some personal space from!! We just can't get enough of him!!
Isn't this the best part of a 1st Birthday? I think so!
1 years old
Thanks Braxton for being a boy, for coming on an easy-to-be-remembered-day, for your sparkling eyes, for you squeezy cheeks, for your SMILE that lights up a room, and for letting your auntie kiss and kiss and kiss your face off!
*OH and for letting me fix your hair even though you're a boy*

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


We are trying to enjoy the last bits of summer weather we are having and so a couple weeks ago we headed to the Ocoee for a day of fun! A husband. 2 Daughter's. A niece. A friend. The friends' daughter. 3 life jackets.....just in case. 1 kayak.

We picnicked 1st......or force fed the kids because they were too excited about getting in the water to realize they needed some energy
*You must excuse my excessive use of collages but they are soooo much fun!*

Back to business. I've been telling Jon for years about this spot at the Ocoee where I used to go in college.....a natural rock slide and the blue holes. He had never heard of them. So when a friend mentioned that we should go to the blue holes I was jumping up and down with excitement that FINALLY someone would allow me revisit those fun college times!!

Funny enough it was Emery who was the BRAVEST of all and needed not a bit of coaxing to slide down!
It goes without saying that the Ocoee is ALWAYS good for some BEAUTIFUL scenery!
We ventured down from the slide and found a spot for the kids to swim and jump off rocks safely
You can start in one hole, swim under the rock formation and pop out to the other side......endless fun!
Before heading home we went to a "beach" are and let the kids practice kayaking
It was a fun day......just as much fun as my younger college days sans the snake I almost came face to face with...EEEKK! *Heather R do you remember that???!!!*

Monday, September 20, 2010


A couple Sunday's ago found us scheduleless (not a word but I want it to be one today....you get it right?) and ooooooo even right this very second just thinking about a free Sunday gives me dreamy thoughts of all we could do or better yet NOT DO! We're not professional {nor do we try to be!!} at any 1 specific thing yet just try to enjoy a variety of activities and someday the girls will find their niche and focus in on that! For now we just enjoy various things with them! So biking was on the menu. Sunny blue skies and 2 little people who can now both ride a bike {rather than sit in a basket} make for perfect riding conditions! We weren't really sure how far Emery would make it and didn't want to get out too far and then not want to ride back.
So at 1 1/2 miles we stopped for a rest, snack, and drink....and a quick picture OF COURSE!
AND with NO struggles at all we made it back to the car with 3 miles under our belts.....realizing we could have made it further and proud of little Miss 4 y/o for doing such a good job AND having fun!!
{this was their idea for a pose.....love those girls!}

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grandparents Day

I feel blessed for my girls that they have 1 gran, 1 aumie, 1 papa, and 1 mamaw/mamal {and LOTS of memories of an Oma and Papa} HUGELY involved in their lives! Kids need grandparents.......where else do you get run wild and not get in trouble?? Last Sunday was Grandparents Day and so we took Jon's parents out for dinner......I'm not sure we stopped laughing cause they are just fun/funny like that! {rain check with the aumie as she was out of town on buisiness/vacation!}

It's near impossible to get all looking at the camera smiling.....but this is our reality and quite frankly I like these better!
This weekend found our mamaw {Great Grandma} in the ICU VERY SICK. In fact so sick that {when Linda went back down to the ER yesterday evening to tell the nurses thank you and that she was doing better} they told her "we weren't gonna tell you this but we thought your mother was going to die. So very thankful to report today that she is doing a whole lot better. She does have a very low sodium level- 117 {normal is 135-145} and esophogitis {rated from A to D- hers is a D}. So with some antibiotics, fluids stuffed with sodium, LIMITED water intake {the lady LOVES some H2O} she's on the mend! Thanks for the prayers!!! She has a laugh that is CONTAGIOUS and I was not ready to never hear that again!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Family Date Night.....

is a night which finds just the 4 us doing something together as a family....even if only slightly out of the ordinary
like bringing dinner.....yes the pot full of food, regular dishes, silverware, candles, glasses and all outside
the girls loved it as they took a couple bites, talked a few words, and then ran off to play for a few minutes and came back to do it all over again and again and again {jon and i enjoyed it too. minimal clean up! one shake of the blanket. done and done.}
a night of lounging on a cool blanket and letting all manners slide.....a good family date night!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A tofu Twist on Baked ziti

Tofu Rigatoni Casserole
I found this recipe a few years ago while perusing a magazine awaiting a dreaded Dr's appointments.....the recipes been a keeper and I'm not dying so I guess waiting was ok

*1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
*1/2 Onion, finely chopped
*3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
*1 28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
*1 pinch Dried Oregano
*1 12-14 oz pkg Firm Tofu, drained
*1 Large Egg
*1 pinch Grated Nutmeg
*Salt and Pepper to taste
*1 10 oz pkg Frozen Spinach, defrosted and drained
*1 1 lb box Rigatoni, cooked al dente and drained
*1 lb fresh (or not) Mozzarella, grated (about 4 c., I use about 1/2 of this)
*3 oz grated Parmesan (about 3/4 c.)
1. Preheat oven to 350. 2. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion. Saute' for 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes or more. 3. Add the tomatoes and oregano. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a blender, process the tofu, egg, nutmeg, salt, and pepper until smooth (key). 4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in the spinach, cooked rigatoni, tomato sauce, 1 c. of the mozzarella, and 1/2 c. of the Parmesan. 5. Pour the pasta mixture into a 9X13 baking pan and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake until golden and bubbling, 35-40 minutes.

This is a great dish to make the night before, BUT I have found then that it's best to spread a layer of spaghetti sauce over the pasta and hold the top layer of cheese until right before baking. For me the dish then tastes kinda dry if you do not add the extra sauce on top.
*Serves 8-10....ENJOY!

The rest of our LDW

2 weekends ago we had some good friends spend the weekend with us....the Chapman's. That's not really their name anymore....rather they've married and become the Crouch's and Figueiredo's. I don't think it makes them upset that I still say Chapman's though! It was a short weekend visit jam packed with FUN.....what else can you do with, at minimum, 7 adults and 8 kids in 1 herd?
Early mornings found the kids outside.....LOVE that we're entering the early stages of fall
One afternoon found us at a football game.....life wouldn't be what Jon and I call "normal" if my girls didn't have at least 1 fight! And is it just cause I know my twin so well or does she scream princess even at a game and attempting to cheer?!!!
AND leave it to Aumie to show up with the COOL stuff.....ice cream, ALL the fixing's, and ice cream cone glasses to hold all the YUMMINESS! I may have given in to the fun and was found squeezing whipping cream in the kids' mouths?? BAD PARENT I KNOW!
Sunday we hit the water play area's of downtown Chattanooga....look at that brood of kid's! You can't expect them to sit still AND smile can you? By the way who invited the turban donned guy?
We then had some hungry people and took them to our fav hot dog joint! No worries of being quiet here and where else can you find vintage salt & pepper shakers which double as entertainment while waiting for the dogs?
Oh and sorry Nate...couldn't resist!
We ended the evening with a stroll across Market Street Bridge. The weather was beautiful, the sun was setting, the kids were free to run or walk, scream or laugh.....a good ending to a weekend spent with those kind of friends who need NO impressing!
Love you Chapman girls and your kids and husbands and your down to earth personalities! COME BACK SOON!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Recycle of the Clothing

We participate in your typical recycling...glass, carboards, cans, plastic, ect and feel good about helping keep earth a little better of a place!
But another way I've found to recycle something is with my children's wardrobe....that's right....I'm not too good for some used clothes! It started out several years ago (about 5 to be precise) when a friend introduced me to a consignment sale. I went along a little skeptical but with an open mind that if I could find even a couple daycare outfits for Kayden it would be worth my time. That's exactly how my recycling of the clothing type began. I would find her outfits for $2-5 and then how could I be upset when she came home stained from mud and paint? As my shopping at the sales continued I was able to start putting CUTE outfits together for off daycare days and even finding church outfits. Which lead me to where I am today and that is not really doing any extra shopping except for shoes, undies, socks, and an occasional shirt to match the pants or skirt that didn't have a match.....and the KICKER is I can afford clothes that normally I would just wish about buying!

So last weekend found some really really great friends, {who drove in from Missouri} my sister, and myself in line to shop away for these babes of ours! It's really quite fun.....all of it! Standing in line catching up on life while sipping coffee, then racing in and picking through racks and racks of clothes and shoes. Then gathering in a corner to weed out the "NO WAY'S" and "ABSOLUTELY IF YOU DON'T TAKE IT I WILL"!
We then felt famished and exhausted {!} and stopped for lunch!
The best part is coming home with the basket of goodies and letting the kids model all their "new" clothes and patting ourselves on the backs for finding such great deals!! I.E.: North Face winter fleece {pictured on Taylor}- $5. L.L. Bean snow pants- $12 along with L.L. Bean BRAND NEW snow boots- $14 {pictured on Kayden}. North Face Rain Jacket {in basket for Emery}- $12. Gap Dress- $4 {pictured on Addi}. Pink Dress Gap Shoes- $8, Brand New Red Velvet Skirt- $5, and Old Navy Butterfly Vest- $4 {all pictured on Emery}.

And so much more not even pictured....enough for those fall and winter days yet to come! Then a plus.....while I'm shopping for my girls someone else is grabbing up the clothes, shoes, bows, socks, ect that no longer fit my girls and buying them. In turn I make enough money to cover what I spent at the sale! If you have a sale near you and have never shopped there give it a try!! SO WORTH IT!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

2nd Annual Treffen

This marked our 2nd year in Michigan meeting (hence the german word above: Treffen) up with family for a weekend of: camping, sand, exploring, visiting, bugs, games, eating, beaching, fires, laughing, dirt, relaxing......oh and all the wonderful things that come out of a weekend spent outdoors with family!

Lots of Family
Literally hours of entertainment......Jon and I stayed extra with Emery cause she couldn't stand to leave which warmed my heart as this is where I spent days and days of my childhood..... on Lake Michigan
The girls eat up this freedom they have of exploring the camp grounds, playing in the mud, and being with cousins
Early evenings spent watching sunsets down by the lake, making up games in the sand, visiting, and the little ones unable to stay out of the water and sand
Nights spent around the campfire.....more talking, smores, hobie pies, and just enjoying the relaxing glow that a campfire brings
On your life "to do's"......visit Michigan to climb AND race down {best part} the sand dunes
And some of our in betweens.....flying kites, sitting on washed out logs visiting with cousins while eating a snack, napping on the beach {NOTHING BETTER}, relaxing in baby pools when you just don't feel up to hitting the lake waves, and more time playing and snuggling with family!
Another fun year that we hope to repeat year after year after year! Traditions.....it's what families create right?!