Monday, May 30, 2011

two fun announcements and pure randomness

Morning peeps! Happy Memorial Day! This post will probably just be a bunch of randomness that I have been meaning to share for the last few weeks, but I do have a few exciting things to share. We have had lots of excitement in our family recently and I have fallen behind on the blogging.

First up on important news...Steph and Jess are officially college graduates! They both graduated from The University of South Alabama College of Nursing and I am so proud of them! I can't believe it was 5 1/2 years ago when Jeremy and I graduated. Time flies!! Being at their nursing convocation brought back so many memories of our days in nursing school. We know exactly how hard they worked for that degree and couldn't be happier for them! I truly was so proud during the program, you would have thought I was getting my degree again. :)

This is Jess and Steph with their friend Christy. They met in nursing school and all finished together.

Second thing that I am just dying to announce is that Steph and Andrew got engaged!!! Yes, that is right...Gracie will be here in September, Jess and Brian are getting married in October and then Andrew and Steph will be getting married in March or April. Fun times ahead for this family!! I have a lot of pictures to share of their engagement, so, I will just save the story and fun pictures for another post. But, here is one of my favorites.

And another so you can see her gorgeous ring.

Okay, on to the randomness...

You might already know this little trick, but I thought I would share just in case. It's for all you moms out there that have baby girls with really fine hair. I guess Ella Claire has Jeremy's hair because it is extremely fine and silky and a bow, especially a big bow like I like for her to wear, will not stay in her hair. It drives me nuts, I have tried everything and usually just resort back to the white baby headband. A few days ago I was in Tiny Town (It's a local children's boutique, for any of you readers who don't live around here. By the way if you are ever in Mobile, stop by, or maybe don't, because you will want to purchase one of everything. I seriously have to stay away and when I do go in, I go straight to the clearance rack). Anyway, I was in there purchasing some new bows for my sweet pea (another thing, I'm picky about my bows and I personally think they make some of the prettiest), and I just happened to mention to the sales lady the problem I was having with keeping bows in EC's hair. She recommended I put hot glue on the inside of the alligator clip. Great idea! I went straight home to try it but looked everywhere for my glue gun. Couldn't find not one of them, which is crazy because I know I buy one every time I'm in line at hobby lobby! They're so tempting those cute tiny little glue guns! A few days later, I borrowed my moms and came home and found mine a few hours later, when I wasn't even looking for it. Funny how that happens, huh? Anyway, it worked great! The bows stay right in place, right until Ella Claire gets tired of it and yanks it out! ;) But at least the bow will stay in place until it's removed.

Hot glue on the inside of the alligator clip...

After I put the glue on the clip, I held it for just a moment to let it dry, then I clipped the bow to a strip of wax paper so I could move on to the next bow. You can see toothpicks laying there on the wax paper. After I did a few bows I started using the toothpick to spread out the glue and make it a little more even.

So, if you have trouble keeping a bow in your baby's hair, give the glue gun a try!

Okay, this is really old news, but I just had to tell you how obsessed I am with pinterest. I love it! I love it for keeping up with projects I'm working on or should start working on VERY soon (EC's big girl room...hmmm hmmm), recipes I want to try, and even new hairstyles that I probably will never have time to try, but want to really bad. :) I also love having the app on my phone because anytime I'm sitting and waiting, like at the doctor's office, I can look at beautiful pictures on my phone. Here is a screen shot of my boards.

Yeah, don't even look at the time on that, I'm a night owl. And that would be the reason I yawn all day and can't wait till nap time. :)

One more thing, I have to share this recipe. I feel like I should be sharing some sort of BBQ recipe since it's memorial day, but this is what's on my mind. I made these one night for dinner when I had the most odd things on hand in my fridge. They are mini lasagna cups, and we will be having them again. I had these wonton wrappers left over from trying this recipe that I found on a friends blog, they were yummy too, you might want to try them as well! I have already made them a few times. Anyway, I had the wontons left over and I had ricotta cheese left over from making lasagna on mother's day. So, this seemed like a great way to use up those things that would probably go bad before I used them.
Here's a picture of the won ton wrappers just incase you are like me and have never bought them before. I found them at walmart in the produce refrigerated section, at the very end by the salad dressing.

I did change it up a little. For one, the recipe calls for ground beef and sausage and I had NO ground beef or sausage, so I substituted with spinach and just made it vegetarian. Jeremy likes to eat healthy for the most part and agreed they tasted great without any meat. I also spruced up the ricotta cheese by adding some parmesan cheese and parsley flakes for color. The blog mentions using mozzarella cheese instead of cheddar for the topping and so I did that too. So yummy and so quick!

So, this post is jam packed with randomness. Are you over stimulated? Will you come back again? I sure hope so! :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's official, baby Stephens #2 has a name!

So, I mentioned a few weeks ago that we weren't quite ready to officially announce baby Stephens name. We loved the name, we were just having a hard time committing. Picking a name that will be with a person their entire life, is a lot of pressure! ;) After a few weeks of saying it out loud and telling Ella Claire her little sister's name, we are officially ready. And, if you want to know the truth, I was having a few things monogrammed for Ella Claire the other day and decided to go ahead and get some bloomers for baby #2. (You know we love our monograms and bows in the south!) After that, there was no turning back! So what's her name?

Gracie Joy Stephens

We don't think we are going to use a double name with this little one, we will probably just call her Gracie. But, already we are sometimes saying Gracie Joy, so who knows?!??! Gracie is not a family name, but as many of you know my moms name is Joy. Her name totally suits her; she is so joyful and positive all of the time. We're already praying that our little Gracie Joy Stephens will be the same way. We desire for all of our children to have the joy of the Lord! 

Okay, well that's all for now. Shortest post ever? Probably so! Hope you have a happy Monday! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

breakfast, a little bit of sunshine and a new bed

Morning friends! I feel like I've gotten so behind on this blog. I don't necessarily have fabulous things to say, just little things I wanted to talk about, since I do write this blog mostly to remember the simple things we do as a family.

This little girl in the picture above, has entered what I like to call, "the terrific two's"! She is a mess, and sometimes it's a lot of fun and sometimes it's extremely challenging. One thing she likes to do that I am not very fond of, is constantly scream the word "NO". I always say "no ma'am" to her, when she is in to something she shouldn't be, in hopes that she will not just say "no", but follow my lead and also say "no ma'am".  However, we do have a dog, y'all remember Gus? and I have a tendency to say "No, Gus" A LOT during the day. ;) I'm thinking that's where she is getting it from. Because, besides screaming "no" she also just walks around the house saying "no, Gus". Isn't that lovely? :)

(just so we're clear, I drew this smiley face, she is just trying to draw over it. :)

I do know that all toddlers go though this stage, so I am just trying to stay consistent and be positive and not make a big deal of it when I know she is doing something for attention. For the most part, she is very good and already obeys really well. And believe me, I make a big deal out of it when she does the right thing!

When I was in high school and college, I babysat for a family with 3 children. A lot of times, I would babysit at night and put the kids to bed before their parents were home. The youngest was a girl, and at bed time, she would always request a song by saying "peace, peace". You probably know the song, it says:

"Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray 
In fathomless billows of love!"

I remember loving that she requested it at bedtime and knew one day I would sing it to my own babies too. So, a few months ago, I started singing it to EC at night and before long, she started requesting it all the time the same way, just by saying "peace, peace". It makes me so happy inside to hear her say that. I know she doesn't understand the meaning of the words, but one day she will and it is so precious to hear her say it. Now she even tries to sing it. Just the other night, Jeremy walking by her room and she was sitting in her glider singing it to herself. Those are moments I want to remember forever.

We've been playing outside in the sunshine a lot lately. Ella Claire get's really thirsty...

We've been writing with sidewalk chalk, even writing on things other than the sidewalk.

We've been pretend driving to pretend places. She is such a little climber. She refuses to enter by using the door, and instead insists on climbing through the other side. 

On the mornings when we have no where to rush off to, we like eating a warm breakfast. Sometimes, EC even puts on her matching apron and cooks beside me.

(yeah, I need to clean my oven door. I'll get to it one of these days.)

One morning, we even made these yummy pancakes. Only thing I did differently was substitute all purpose flour for the cake flour. I just didn't have any on hand. It's not an even substitute, so if you substitute too, make sure you know 1 cup sifted cake flour = 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of sifted all purpose flour. They turned out nice and fluffy, but I imagine if you use cake flour they would be even lighter. So good!

I even gave EC a special treat and let her enjoy hers like this...

They were pretty yummy, you should try them.

She deserved a nice treat, because she has been a very big girl lately (besides screaming "no" of course.) Jeremy and I made a decision and officially took EC out of her baby crib. This was a big deal to me, and way earlier that I anticipated, but it was necessary. A few months ago she went through that phase where she hated sleep and tried to climb out of her bed. I was still sick at the time and not feeling well enough to pick out big girl room furniture, so we decided to let her sleep in her pack n play. After about a week she outgrew that stage and started loving sleep again so we put her back in her crib. In the mean time, I began the long process, (for me anyway, I'm really picky and it will take me a while to decide on just what I want) of picking out furniture and bedding for her new room. However, she decided once again she hates her crib, and attempted to escape, so we had no other choice but to take the crib down. We put her mattress on the floor in her room, moved the camera up high so the entire room is in view and bolted her bookshelf to the wall, just incase she gets the grand idea to climb it too.  We also put a child proof safety lock on her door knob so she can't escape and wander around our house at night unsupervised.

So far, so good! She cried a little bit the first two nights, and even slept on the floor by the door for a few hours, but by the third night she was a pro.  She goes right to sleep and sleeps all night without trying to escape! :) Here she is the first morning after a full night's sleep on her floor mattress.

This is just a temporary fix until we can complete her new room. I'm glad she is okay with change, because ordinarily we would have transitioned her right to her new room and not had so many adjustments in between. We're hoping she adjust to a new room just as well and she did to this change. Time will tell!

Okay, well I am off to start my weekend. Hope yours is nice and relaxing! See ya soon!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

mother's day 2011

Well, I do believe I said I would try to be back twice last week. I tried but life Ella Claire has been keeping me busy and well, I just never got a chance to get it together. But, I am here now and I have pictures of our mother's day lunch and a few other things to share with you.

This year we did mother's day at our house and it was so fun! I love having our families over even though we don't do it nearly enough. My sister's in-laws live in Oklahoma, but they just happened to be in town for a little vacation and to help celebrate Madelaine's birthday. So, they were able to join us for lunch as well. With Steph's (my younger sister, who just so happened to recently finish her BSN from The University of South Alabama with honors and magna cum laude!! Way to go Steph!!) help, we tied this pretty fabric around each of the mom's and grandmother's chairs.

Looking back at the pics, I'm wishing I would have pulled out my chargers. I didn't use them because I only have gold, and would have preferred silver. But, now seeing pics of my table all set, I think the gold would have worked just as well. I just think it needs a little something else since the plates are clear. But, you probably didn't even notice that small little insignificant detail did ya? :)

I made all of the mother's day signs, bible verses and place cards with my silhouette. It was a Christmas gift and I love, love, love it!!!  Since, I was out of commission for most of the beginning of the year, I haven't had a lot of time to use it. But it is seriously a machine and a very smart one! Every time I use it, I realize it's possibilities are almost endless. You might remember from a few posts back, I made Valentine's cards to announce that baby number 2 was on the way. I used my silhouette to make those cards too.

We had lasagna, salad and french bread for lunch. The lasagna looks burnt on the edges, but it's just my poor photography skills. :) It was actually just right!

We also had brownies a la mode for dessert.

Here they are a little closer. When I saw these pop up on my google reader a few weeks ago, I knew I had to try them. Plus, they call for german chocolate, and that's one of my mom's favorites. So, I knew these would be perfect to serve her.

They were very yummy, but oh my goodness so rich! If you like caramel, these babies are for you. My mom loved them, but I actually prefer my ooey gooey fudge brownies with chocolate icing over these.

After lunch and dessert, mom opened a few of her gifts with a little help from EC. When Nonie is around, EC is never too far away.

I was very tempted to not post this next picture, because it looks like I haven't brushed my hair in weeks, but it's the only one of the three of us. So just pardon my sloppiness!

Ella Claire wouldn't cooperate for a picture.....

So, I got one of just me and the best mother around!

Okay, this post was a little lengthier than I anticipated, so I'm gonna say adieus for now. And I'll be back soon with pictures of other happenings around here! Happy Wednesday folks! You made it through half of the week! :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

a special birthday girl!

Guess who turned one last week?!? This cutie patootie!!

   Madelaine Joy Myers!!! 

She had such a fabulous birthday party too! Sometime last fall, my sister decided she wanted to have the theme "April showers bring May flowers" for M's party since she is a May baby. Our cousin Allison, knowing how busy my sister is (she's a full time teacher and youth pastor's wife), offered to plan the entire thing! What an act of kindness!! Allison has a degree in design from The University of Texas and can decorate anything...including a first birthday party! You can read more about her and her decorating on her blog here. Not only is Allison a great decorator, but she owns and operates an RV business, is remodeling her home in downtown Houston and is expecting her first little bambino in December! So, she's a busy girl too!

Okay, so back to the party! It was so much fun and so special for our Madelaine! 

A yummy salad bar

cake table..I LOVED these vintage umbrellas with the crystal rain drops!

Birthday cake and cupcakes

table center pieces

The kiddie table...

Zinnias to plant as a party favor.

M's cool birthday hat!

What a beautiful birthday girl!

With her proud mommy and daddy!

 Happy Birthday Madelaine Joy, you are truly a JOY!!!

Since the beginning of the year, when Ella Claire started talking well enough to understand what she was saying, she has been sending video messages to all of our family that can receive video text messages. We of course had to make one for her little cousin! I thought you might want to see too. So here is Ella Claire sending a birthday shout out to "Mannin"!

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