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Friday, February 25, 2011

Just a girl and her dog

Alyssa and I have been walking the dog everyday lately. Desi HATES being walked. She's gotten to be about the laziest little doggie ever in the last couple of years. She is about 7 1/2 now so I guess she's slowing down. She used to run 5 miles with Jamey most everyday now she's happy to just perch up on the back of the couch and nap all day long with occasional trips to the food bowl and outside to pee. Jamey's been on night shift lately and that makes a super happy Desi. She lays about in the bed all night with me and then when Jamey gets home she gets to hop back in and snuggle all day with him. Alyssa loves walking Desi. I don't know how much exercise it is for me because a block takes us about an hour with all the stopping the examine rocks, flowers, dog poo and sticks that Alyssa does, but it's enjoyable and we all like the time outdoors. It's been really nice here lately. In the 60's and 70's for the last week or more. We have loved all the time at the park and in the yard. I took the camera along earlier this week and I got a couple of what I think are adorable pictures of her and her doggie.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tot School--Feelings

Recently I ran across a fantastic blog http://www.2teachingmommies.com/ that has lots and lots of ideas for home preschooling your tot! I've been working with Alyssa trying to get her ready for school and so this appealed to me a lot! They have units that go over a variety of different subjects. We did our first week in "Tot School" last week. We started with the Feelings unit. We really enjoyed the unit, but Alyssa is a little older at 43 months (I think the children featured in the blog are closer to 36 months) so we did have to modify it a lot. The units focus on pre-writing and Alyssa is already writing, so we substituted the prewriting for ABC writing practice. I just substituted where needed to make it fit our needs but over all I found this website to be a great resource for mom's looking for ideas to educate their little ones at home. They also have some great ideas for family nights and kid friendly recipes and that appeals to us as well! Alyssa learned a little more about sad, happy, mad and afraid and in all really enjoyed it!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Peanut Butter is gonna be a big sister!

She's cute huh? I know! I'm super excited to announce that we are expecting a Baby! We just found out and are due sometime in October. We are super surprised, super happy and a little nervous all at once! Long ago I nicknamed Alyssa "Peanut Butter." It's sort of a odd nickname for a tot but I call her that all the time. She thinks it's funny, and so she and I started calling baby "Jelly." Seemed totally appropriate. Jamey's excited but very nervous! He's even doing housework. I think he's afraid I'll hurt myself!


Alyssa when I asked her to talk to the baby in mama's belly:
Eye roll.....pulls up my shirt "Uh you can't talk to the baby through your shirt" Huffs and walks off. I almost died laughing.

Last year Alyssa was being pretty difficult at school, which was unusual for her and one of her teachers asked me if we were expecting. I wasn't but she explained that there is a Mexican wives tale that when a older child is acting difficult, having unusually bad behavior or being abnormally clingly that the mother is expecting another baby. All week last week Alyssa was difficult, having accidents and crying and clinging to me anytime that I left the house, so I'd have to say that I believe this wives tale!
It's a happy day at our house! We get news of a move and a baby all in one week! Hopefully we don't get anymore news anytime soon! I am not sure we could stand it!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jambalaya and Bread Pudding

The true mark of my advancing age is that I hate eating out now. It's expensive, the food is usually pretty mediocre and I have to hope that my 3 1/2 year old will behave long enough for us to enjoy our meal (or get a sitter which adds to the cost). Once a month or so Jamey picks out something that he wants and I cook it up. It's usually a nicer meal that requires more work than the typically daily fare and it usually packs a lot of extra calories as well. It's fun for our family. We do a variety of different stuff and Alyssa always gets to help in some capacity and Jamey enjoys the eating and the time in the kitchen with his girls. This week we had Jambalaya and Bread Pudding. It was fantastic! Here are the recipes in case you want to try it yourself! Much better than anything we would have eaten out and we have leftovers. I did half both recipes because they make a ton and we still had leftovers galore!
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya (from Esquire Feb 2011 edition)
(We have tried several of Esquires recipes and so far have loved them all!)
1 stick plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 lbs diced and andouille or other smoked ready to eat sausage
3 cups chopped yellow onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped green bell pepper
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp mined garlic
4 lbs roasted chicken skin and fat discarded
1 qt chicken stock or low sodium broth
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
8 sprigs fresh thyme tied together with kitchen twine
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp hot sauce
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp ground coriander
4 cups uncle ben's original rice
1 bunch scallions chopped
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and start chopping
In a large pot (at least 8 quarts with a tight fitting lid) melt butter until foamy over medium high heat add andouille and cook stirring occasionally until lightly browned 5-10 minutes
Add onions, celery, bell peppers, salt and pepper and cook until onions are translucent 5-10 minutes add garlic and cook until fragrant
Add chicken, chicken stock, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, hot sauce worcestershire and coriander. Stir to combine. When liquid comes to a simmer add rice, cover and transfer pot to preheated oven. Cook until rice has adsorbed all of the liquid and is tender 30-40 minutes. Do not remove lid before 30 minutes to check quickly for doneness as you will interupt the steaming process. Remove from oven discard thyme bundle and bay leaves. Add scallions and stir to combine. Salt to taste. Serve in bowls with extra hot sauce on the side. Serves 10-12

The Best Bread Pudding (Paula Deen foodnetwork.com)
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs beaten
2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups italian bread cubed (allow to stale in a bowl overnight)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter softened
1 cup chopped pecans

Sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter melted
1 egg beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup brandy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13x9 pan. Mix together sugar, eggs, and milk in a bowl. Add vanilla. Pour over cubed bread and allow to sit for 10 minutes. In another mix and crumble brown sugar, butter, and pecans. Pour bread mixture into prepared pan and sprinkle brown sugar mixture over top. Bake 30-45 or until set. Remove from oven.

For the sauce mix sauce ingredients in saucepan and stir until sugar is melted. Pour over warm bread pudding.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Home Haircut

My sweet precious one cut her hair last night. The only surprising thing about this is that she didn't do it sooner! We kept anticipating that she would at some point cut it and it finally happened! She's so hysterical! She can anticipate that she'll be in trouble and I found a massive hunk of hair and no Alyssa. She smartly hid from me to avoid getting in trouble. We took her over to the hair salon and got her hair straightened up. It's short...really short. I'm not nuts about it but it's the best you can do! Hopefully this will be the end of her career as a beautician...I don't think it's gonna be for her!

I don't know how well you can see it in this pic I took but she basically cut straight back. It goes under past her ear. My husband just laughed hysterically! Sadder still she has been asking if she can grow it out so she'll look like the princess from Tangled....it's gonna take a while...
After the "fix" It's cute cause well she's cute! But I'm not a huge fan. She looks sorta like a boy with a bowl cut...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chicken thigh and sweet potato stew and a new quilt....

Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew


6 bone in chicken thighs, trimmed of skin and fat
2 lbs sweet potatoes peeled and cut into spears
1/2 lb button mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 large shallots, peeled and halved
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup dry white wine
2 tsp chopped rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
Toss it all in the crockpot and cook on low for 5 hours. Doesn't get any easier than that!
Nutritional information: 285 calories, 6 g fat, 35 g carbohydrates, 17 g protein, 5 g fiber, 519 mg sodium

I thought this was pretty tasty. Turned out great for something that required pretty much no work. I got boneless, skinless chicken thighs on sale not long ago so I pulled them out of the freezer and they worked super well. We choose to just ladle out the chicken and vegtables and not eat it like a stew. There is a pretty flavorful broth that could be eaten with it. Very good, very easy and right up our alley!

In other news I'm going to be an aunt (again) in July! My youngest brother and his girlfriend are expecting a baby boy! Ryland Michael will be his name. I have the honor of making the bedding for little man and so I started on the crib quilt last night. Ryland will be my first nephew and I can't wait to meet him.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My not so great, very bad mom day....

Today has been quite a day...and since it's 4 pm...I'm so sad to say that it's hardly over. Ever have one of those days where you just sigh and wonder what else can go wrong? I'm a Stay at Home mom about most of the time, the the rest of the time I do work in a small hospital a few shifts a month. Occasionally I wonder if working full time would be easier...Today started off by my sweet, precious one arising at 6 am in a deplorably bad, demanding mood. I think we had "cup throwage" and crying about 5 minutes after arising. I was sick yesterday and missed my chance to grocery shop while said precious one was with her dad. So today we had to hit the grocery store, with mom not feeling quite 100% and itty bitty being well sorta less than good. Precious child of my heart was tremendously awful. Yes awful...Running circles around me, slinging stuff off the sleeves, crying, screaming...you name it she did it. Ever read "Llama Llama mad at mama?" Picture that minus the sweet patient mama at the end. 2 trips to have a "talk" in the bathroom and several disdainful looks from elderly people at the commissary later we finally left. I shop 2 weeks at a time thank the good lord above so that's over for a bit.


Precious one has spent 90% of her day today harassing the cat. Poor fat Gwen is actually too sweet and lazy to run from her harasser and just lays there and looks pitifully at us. 2 trips to the corner and another "talk" and my sweet one has finally left the kitty alone (for now...I'm on to her now....). Is it sad that I wish that Gwen would claw her good just once so she'd leave her alone? It's awful, awful of me I know....but its the same story most days with the poor cat. I think poor Gwen liked our home better when it was childless.

I have accomplished very little today. We did manage to have our tot school and a trip to the library (with minimal screaming, running or fit throwing) after grocery shopping. I do however have a mountain of laundry, something growing the in the downstairs commode that I can't identify and a den that looks like the toy box exploded. I do however not care at the moment. So here's to a better day tomorrow!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Finally Finished--Jamey's Quilt!!

In October I started my husbands "Ugly Shirt" quilt. Said quilt is exactly that, it's a quilt made out of his old ugly shirts and some old military uniforms as well. Here is the link to the original post that I did about his quilt. http://kephartangiejameylyssie.blogspot.com/2010/10/quilting-storiesjameys-story.html

I hand quilt my quilts so they take me quite a while, but I feel like the effort is worth it when I see the end result and I enjoy knowing that every stitch in the quilting process I put in myself (as irregular and as imperfect as they are). Jamey's quilt ended up being a little extra special because I did a good bit of the quilting on it while I was at the hospital in November caring for my father. It helped keep my mind and hands occupied when he didn't need me, and it gave my dad something to fuss at me about (I can't do it as well as he would you know! My grandmother was also a quilter.) Jamey is so happy that it's finally finished and I'm sort of sad that I am finished working on it! Never fear I have another quilting project about to begin....my daughters! I'm redoing her entire bedroom and I'm doing it all myself. Purchased the material yesterday and can't wait to get started cutting into it! Have I mentioned that I love quilting?

Here are a few pictures of our little princess with what could possibly be....the world's ugliest quilt!! He says within a year he thinks she'll take it over and he'd be ok with that.



I did actually go out in public with him while he wore each and every shirt on this quilt! (Military camo's with Hawaiian shirts and all!) The black and Hawaiian shirt that serves as a border on the top and bottom he actually wore on our first real date in 2000!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Braggin on my young un.....

Yep it's that time....

Time to brag on my darling gal....that light of my life, that precious, wonderful and all things fantastic child of mine....she's wonderful did I say that???

I emailed this to her grandfolks so they could see just what a genius she is....I'm probably going overboard cause it's just A's but hey I'm proud....bear with me! Give me my moment folks! I introduced this this week so I'm super proud of my gal! (Did I mention she's wonderful and fantastic and smart??? Well she is!)
If you look closely you can see that the farthest lowercase a has a smiley face....now that's creativity folks! A's have also taken up to appearing on the walls in the hallway, her chalk board and on her Barbie car. Baby she's got it!!!

Now off to get a life...it's currently apparent that I need one! :)



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Feelings Unit from Tots school

So I am super, super excited! Next week Alyssa and I will be doing a Feelings unit that I got from this site http://www.2teachingmommies.com/2011/02/my-feelings.html and I have been asked to do a guest blog on my cousin's blog about the unit after we complete it. (She's also preschooling her 2 year old at home and has some pretty good ideas for crafts, counting ect. Her blog is http://633woman.com/2011/02/09/counting-fun-for-toddlers/ and she has a bunch of good ideas for fun/cheap activities with the developing young un. She's also craftier than myself and she's good at reusing materials to make games.


I printed all my stuff out tonight and I'm ready to get it all ready so next Monday morning we can get started. Today we went to Storytime at the library on post and had a wonderful time! We got to read some cute Valentine's books and we also got to make some v-day crafts and play with some friends. I'm planning on making storytime part of our biweekly routine. Tomorrow we are doing http://www.atozteacherstuff.com/pages/231.shtml this little M&M counting chart! Don't you love all my links tonight?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Letters and Shapes

This week we are working on letters and shapes. Alyssa has been enjoying it a lot so far! I found this little dry erase pad at Target for $6.99 and it's been a hit. It has numbers, letters and shapes so it's pretty versatile. Alyssa is doing very well tracing her letters and she's mastered the letter A! Upper and lowercase. I've been emphasizing the letters in her name lately in an attempt to teach her to write her name. Since A's have appeared on the walls in the house I figure she's got that down...(not thrilled she's writing on the walls, but hey that's what Mr. Clean magic erasers are for!!! I should buy stock!)
Here she is tracing her letters. The intensity!! She can write her Aa's and her Ll's pretty well. She has a little trouble with the concept of connecting the A at the top but she's really improving a lot.
I found this exercise for shapes and thought it was pretty neat. She really enjoyed it and spent quite a while focusing on this activity. I gathered up some cookie cutters and a few of her toys for her to trace. I laid out an assortment of different colored markers for her to use and let her trace each of the objects onto a sheet of paper.
She liked the hearts and the "cookie-man" best.
After she finished tracing the shapes she then matched the different objects to the tracings and told me what shape she had made. We also threw in a little counting and she counted how many hearts, stars, circles, squares and cookie-men that she had traced. A super easy/cost effective activity that was a big hit. I might let her practice her cutting by reintroducing this activity next week and let her cut out the shapes instead of matching.
I also found a super cool blog that I wanted to share. I'm going to start using some of their ideas/units next week. They are definetely more creative than I am and I love some of their ideas and they have free downloads! Awesome huh? I thought so too! Here is the link if you want to check it out!
http://www.2teachingmommies.com/

Now to get ready for work! I'm working 2-10pm this evening!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Valentine Mobile

I have been home preschooling Alyssa the last few weeks. It's been a lot of fun. I'm surprised at home much I enjoy our morning preschool sessions. Arts and crafts are my strong area....letters and numbers...well I'm getting better! We made this fun Valentine's craft that we got out of her highlights magazine (if you don't subscribe to it, it's well worth the money for your preschooler! Alyssa loves getting it in the mail and then working the pages and reading the stories!) Here's our craft that now hangs proudly in her room! (She even made extra for her friends for Valentine's Day!)


Materials needed:
Colored paper, scissors, glue, crayons, markers, Yarn, hole puncher, and a small person happy to glue, glue, glue!
First we cut our our hearts. She choose what color hearts she wanted. We used the scrap paper from the hearts to cut out different shapes and scraps to glue to our hearts. She decorated each heart differently. They turned out so cute! She was so very proud of her hearts!

After all the gluing is complete, allow hearts to dry. Help itty bitty punch holes in the hearts and then thread yarn thru hearts and hang!!
She is so proud of her heart mobile!

Visit with the Putman family

I feel very blessed to have an extended family in Alyssa's first family. Last weekend we had the oppurtunity to visit with her first grandma, half sister, uncles, aunt and cousins while they were here in San Antonio. One of Alyssa's uncles graduated basic training from the Air Force and we were invited to meet up with them to spend the day Saturday. Alyssa enjoyed it so much! She loves seeing her sister and Shyanne loves seeing Alyssa! I got to meet her aunt, DeAnna who I have been chatting with on facebook for quite a while for the first time. It was a lot of fun and the girls were so excited to see one another. The joy that Alyssa gets when she sees her sister make me so glad that we are able to have these wonderful people in our lives. Alyssa's firstmom wasn't able to come out, but I'll be sure to send her the pictures! Here's a few pictures from our visit on the Riverwalk!
Alyssa who isn't a huge fan of having her picture taken refused to participate in this family photo! And sweet Shyanne wouldn't keep her eyes open!! Congrats to Nicholas on graduating basic training!

Alyssa talked all night long about how much fun she had with her sister! I know that my sister means the world to me and I'm so glad that Alyssa and her sister are part of one another's lives even while being raised in seperate homes!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Off we go....To Alaska!!!

We have been restationed! Welcome to the life of a military family! Our family of 3, plus 3 furry critters is moving (again!). No one is ever THAT surprised that we are moving, we move all the time! But we are moving to Fort Wainwright, Alaska!! Shocked?? We were too! We had hoped to move closer to home (home being Alabama), and we are moving farther away! We don't have our official report date yet but it will be sometime this summer.


We are excited, nervous and a whole slew of other emotions all at once. Moving itself isn't fun, but we love meeting new people, exploring new places and having new experiences. It's a little like starting fresh everytime. When we made our first move several years ago I was terrified, and it was only 2 1/2 hours away. Now it's not scary really, it's just well time to move! I look forward to taking pictures of the northern lights and other Alaskan wonders, but I will miss my Texas friends terribly! I have so enjoyed the friendships that we have made over the last 2 1/2 years here in Texas. So off we go on yet another adventure this summer....69 hours away from Sweet Home Alabama!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tea with a Super Hero!

So I am behind on my blogging and this is actually an old picture that I was saving to do a little blog on! At 3 1/2 my darling gal is obsessed with tea time! She has tea about twice a day with her babies, bears and even her crocodile! She invites myself and her daddy regularly and is quite the hostess! Occasionally I let her have "tea" being apple juice and she adores that. She'll force you to drink massive quantities as well! My father in law complains that we have turned his little blue jean, boot wearing tom boy into a real girlie girl! He's hysterical, but when in town he too participates in tea time with "The Rose!"
Don't you like the Superman PJ's? She loves them!!!

Cruising!


Last week we went on a Royal Carribean cruise with your good friends the Renaud's. It was so much fun I don't even know where to start! Completely relaxing, totally enjoyable and definetely worth doing again! Our family doesn't really take such big vacations usually, but this was a exception and well worth the expense! Mike and Ali invited us to accompany them on this trip which was Mike's "welcome back from Afghanistan" trip. He just got back a few days before Christmas. We ported in Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico. Mexico was by far our favorite port. We visited Passion Island while we were there and it was so beautiful!!! Overall I very enjoyable vacation! But now we are home and back to reality! No endless food and back to doing dishes!! Can I go back??? haha! Hope you enjoy thie pictues. They are in no particular order just a few of the ones that I liked best!
Taken in Honduras at the resort we visited.
Ali and I with a sleeping Alyssa between us on the beach in Mexico.
In Honduras after too much fun in the sun. She fell asleep sitting up and missed seeing the monkeys because we couldn't wake her up! She slept almost 4 hours when we got back to the ship!!
Passion Island (or Isla Pasion for those of you that habla) Gorgeous huh?
Jamey having a little to much fun at Senor Frog....ok we ALL had to much fun there!
Sunrise in Mexico. Taken from our balcony on the ship....SO pretty! I have some of the sunset that same day but I haven't edited them just yet.
Alyssa in Mexico. She got her hair braided in Honduras! I can't believe she sat still that long!!! But she did! My mom says that she looks like Bo Derek in the movie "10" here!
Again in Mexico! She loved the beach there. The beach in Honduras was very crowded so she didn't have nearly as much freedom to run about!
Honduras in the hammock swing. I love this photo of her. She just looks so darn gorgeous!
Alyssa and Teegan. This is our friends Ali and Mike's daughter. Alyssa ADORES her. She also calls her "Tea-GAAAAN" sounds very southern!!!
And no blog would be complete without a funny face a la Lyssa!!