Wednesday, July 20, 2011

photo fun

Morning! Today I thought I would share with you something neat I have decided to do for Ella Claire and Gracie and any other little ones that might be apart of our family one day. I find myself making mental notes almost every day to remember something funny or cute that EC says or does. In reality, I will not remember a thing unless I write it down. Mom brain, pregnancy brain....whatever you want to call it! 

Last Christmas, I decided to make a photo book for my parents and Jeremy's parents and both of our grandmothers. They LOVE it and Ella Claire loves looking at it too. A few weeks ago, I got an email from shutterfly for a free hardcover 8x8 photo book. I decided to make one for Ella Claire, starting from where I left off in the other book from Christmas. So basically, every year, I am going to make a photobook for each of our children. It's such a great way to keep your favorite photos organized and remember those special moments or funny comments. Now, I'm a little OCD about pictures. I take a ton and print out all of them and keep them in a photo book and I have a hard copy of them all on CD.  If I had a fireproof box, which reminds me, I really need to pick one of those up, I would have those CD's in my fireproof box. But, even though I do all of that, I still like the idea of my fav's being in a book; it's like our own little story.
This is the book I just got for FREE from shutterfly. I only paid shipping.

This is the one I made for Christmas...

It came from picaboo. I will say, the quality of the photos are much better in this book, but it's a little bit more expensive. I got these books bogo and I think Picaboo is having that sale again right now. This is the back of the book. I chose a brown linen for the cover. But there are many options.

A few pictures of the inside...

Here is the front and back of the shutterfly book.

I love that you can add text to the spine.

I forgot to take pictures of the inside of the shutterfly book for you, but here is a screen shot I made while designing it. I added text all throughout the book. I made sure to acknowledge EC's age, her favorite things, favorite foods, her 1st boo boo, and a few things she loved to do at each age. 

A few tips if you decide to create your own...

1. Up load your pictures to the website then start your book. The programs will allow you to just pull pictures from your computer as you create the book, but then when you are finished it has to upload the pictures and your book design and it takes FOREVER!! Like, I'm talking 3 days. Not kidding. So just save yourself the time and frustration and upload all the pictures to the website then start your book. If you forget a few pictures, you can always go back and add more. This is a screen shot I took of it uploading my pictures and book. If you can read under the title Uploading Project, it says, "You're almost there!" This was not true, this was about 48 hours into the upload and it took another day or so. Frustrating!! I actually ended up starting completely over and uploaded the pics first. Worked much better that way.

2. Start early and be patient. It takes a while to design the book. You design the entire thing, front to back, so you pick out the backgrounds, colors, layout of each page, text, etc...  I got the email for a free book and procrastinated. Then a few days before it expired I decided to go ahead and make one. Because it took so long to upload, I almost missed the deadline. I literally ordered this last book hours before the deal expired.

3. Go back and check every page for misspelled words, and correct dates. Enough said for that, don't ya think?

Okay, after complaining about how long it took to upload, it really is worth it! I am so proud of the books and I know I will always love looking through them. Ella Claire loves them too! They are great entertainment in the car and we took it to the doctor's office this week and it kept her quiet while we waited.

Happy memory making!!

One more brother in law and sister, along with a team from our church, left early yesterday morning for a missions trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Our Pastor mentioned Sunday that they will be ministering to the Honduran army while they are there. We are praying that the Lord will do mighty things through them! Please pray that lives are changed and souls are saved and also for the mission teams safety! Also, my sister and BIL left Madelaine here with my mom and dad and I know that was a VERY difficult thing for them to do, especially for Kim. So, pray for extra strength for them while they are away from their baby girl! Thanks so much!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

sneak peek

Last week, Jeremy and I got a little sneak peek of Gracie. We had our 4D ultrasound and we think she looks just like big sister, Ella Claire! I took EC's 4D pictures with us, so we could compare immediately and so far, from what we see, they look just alike. That means, I'm going to have another baby that looks just like her daddy! That's okay with me, though! :)

This picture is of her heart, and I'm posting it because it shows her heart rate in the top right corner of the picture. 144 bpm, that's the slowest it's been so far!

Here's her sweet little profile in 2D.

and on to the good ones...

A profile shot in 4D.

This next one is neat because you can see the cord floating in front of her. At first we were afraid we wouldn't get any good shots because the cord was right in the way.

She put her hand in front of her mouth...

...then started sucking on the side of her pointer finger.

Then she threw out a peace sign. :)

She gave us a little smile.

And then, she put her foot right in front of her face, as if to say she was finished being photographed.

Another shot of her foot, that happens to look really long!

Hope you enjoyed these. I know a lot of people don't like the 4D pictures because they can look somewhat distorted through the fluid. I think they are amazing and I can't believe technology allows us to see our baby's facial features before she graces this world with her presence. It's amazing to see how active she is, even 13 weeks before she is due to arrive. What a precious miracle!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

homemade chocolate peanut-butter cups

Calling all chocolate and peanut butter lovers!!!

Today, I have just the thing for you! I've had this recipe posted on my food board in pinterest for a while...just waiting for the perfect time to make them. When better than at 7 months pregnant?? As you know from last years post, I always try to make some sort of patriotic dessert. This year, I just couldn't decide on one and the creativity was lacking just a tad. So, with hubs help and while EC took her afternoon nap, we whipped up these delicious chocolate and peanut-butter cups. There isn't anything patriotic about them, so the patriotic plate I placed them on will have to do. :) I'll let you click on the link for the recipe, but share a few of my pictures from baking.

These must be seriously dangerous for expecting momma's, because the author of that blog mentions her craving for these while pregnant. I can attest to those same chocolate and sweet cravings; it's basically all I want to put in my mouth these days. Terrible, I know! Don't worry though, I shared with anyone and everyone. I handed them out to family and then took the last of them to work to share the chocolate love.

The original baker uses a regular sized muffin pan to make hers, but I thought that might be a little too much, so I made mine bite size and used a mini muffin pan. I did have some chocolate and some of the peanut butter mixture left over and decided to make the large ones and they were much easier to make, especially coating the paper liners with chocolate. But the bite sized ones were just so cute and more of an appropriate serving.

Just a few simple ingredients.

Chocolate in the double boiler, ready to coat the muffin pan.

Coating the mini pan was a little difficult, so I opted to not go all the way up the sides. Just far enough to make sure the peanut butter would be completely covered all the way around.

Mixing up the peanut butter mixture.

This is how I divided my peanut butter up. 

Scoop in your peanut butter mixture.

Ready to be smothered in chocolate.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

let freedom ring...

Happy Late 4th of July! I hope you enjoyed celebrating this great country's birthday, and made some lifelong family memories. I'm all about memories. I have the most wonderful memories of July 4th's spent all day in my grandparent's pool with my cousins from Florida. We would swim, literally all day, eat lots of watermelon and dessert's all decked out in strawberries and blueberries. YUM! I'm hoping to create the same kind of fond memories for our children.

Our weekend took a little unexpected turn when I woke up Saturday morning with pink eye in both eyes. This was my first experience having pink eye myself, but EC had it about 2 weeks ago. I caught it early, so thankfully it never got too terribly bad, just a little annoying. You know how it goes, just a little eye itching and burning, and the topper, wearing no make up and throwing all mascara and eye liner away. JOY!! Oh, and the drops....they didn't hurt, but I have never been one to put anything in my eye! Not even saline. Now, I'm sure if you have dry eyes, saline would be welcoming to you, but it was just hard for me putting something in my eye. And, now I know why we basically had to put EC in 5 point restraints to put the drops in her eyes. :)

I also didn't mention in my last post, but I have had a yucky cold, including a sore throat, cough, major head congestion and a slight fever, since Sunday a week ago. Today, I am mostly better, but not 100 percent. So, I'm going on a week and a half of this stuff. Needless to say, I'm ready to feel normal again!

About a week ago, Jeremy and I heard from some friends that we made while living in Birmingham 5 years ago. They were headed to the beach for the fourth and wanted to know if they could stop by and stay with us a night on their way. We were so excited to get to see them and catch up and have them in our home. I was a little nervous when I woke up with pink eye on Saturday, because they were supposed to arrive Saturday afternoon. I had already called and warned my friend about my cold, and now I had to warn her about my pink eye too! She said she wasn't afraid of her or her husband getting sick and not to worry. So, Saturday night, we had a great time catching up and enjoyed being with old friends. Here we are with Jennifer and Charlie, before heading out the door for church Sunday morning. Notice the swollen right eye, it was worse than the left and no eye makeup! :(

(I'm learning more and more about photography and in this picture, I had my ISO up too high and it's causing it to be grainy. I'm learning that it's challenging to know what to do with your camera and remember to change the settings in different light! )

Sunday night, our church put on our major outreach for the 5th year in a row! Celebrate Freedom has become a huge event in our community. There are tons of activities for kids, a car show, concerts and lot's of food. This year in concert we had The Brighter, The Martins an 33 Miles. Every year the grand finale is a HUGE fireworks display that will not disappoint! I would be willing to say it's the best in town!
(The rest of these pictures were all taken from my iPhone. I didn't bring my camera along for all the fun!)

Clapping along to 33 miles.

Ella Claire got a little restless before the fireworks. Thank goodness water bottles are so entertaining!

At first Ella Claire was a little frightened by the fireworks, so she closed her eyes.

After a few minutes she was loving them!

Sporting our red, white and blue!!!

Independence day just isn't complete with out some yummy, sticky watermelon.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!! I plan on coming back in a few days and sharing the recipe for those yummy chocolate peanut-butter cups pictured above! See ya then!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

2 yummy recipes and special friends

It has been another busy week at our house, and it's kept me away from my computer and this blog.  So here I sit, on a friday night excited to just stop by and say hi! Hi!!! :) Our friday nights used to be spent staying out late, eating dinner out, maybe watching a movie or going shopping. But these days, and for many days ahead, I think most of our friday nights will be spent just like tonight. Cooking dinner at home, watching Ella Claire dance around and play with her toys, and relaxing on the sofa thinking about our busy week and excited about the weekend ahead. I should also add that Friday nights at home also include hubby watching Swamp Loggers. There is something about that show that he loves, and I'll admit, I have gotten into it with him a time or two. Crazy, I know!

One thing I have been wanting to get on here and share is a yummy recipe that I found online. This popped up on a blog a few weeks ago and I immediately knew I wanted to try it.

Honestly, I didn't want to try it because it looked so good, it made my mouth water (even though the fresh mozzarella was calling my name). I actually was more curious about how corn would taste on pizza. That's right this pizza calls for corn. To my surprise it was wonderful! The corn and small amount of sugar give just the right balance with the pesto. 

Here is my pizza before heading into the oven.

and then after...

Idea from here, recipe from here. I also should say that I added A LOT of mushrooms to our pizza. I'm a mushroom kinda girl and I had a pack that was past it's prime in my fridge. We all really liked it and I will most definitely be making it again. 

After making the pizza, I had left over pesto and mozzarella, but not enough for another pizza. I decided to try this recipe. A little twist on the old grilled cheese classic. This was an amazing sandwich! Seriously, good! 

All it is, is fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and pesto, grilled just like a grilled cheese. Give this one a go, you will be glad ya did!

I am well over half way though with this pregnancy, (can you tell with all the talk about food???), and realized sometime last week that I haven't taken any pregnancy pictures. For some reason, I haven't been as thrilled to see my stomach get bigger and BIGGER this time around and I have simply forgotten to get pictures. I started thinking that one day our little Gracie might want to know what her momma looked like when she was carrying her around in her tummy, so I asked J to snap a quick picture. Here I am in all my 26th week glory...

And this time around I have a sweet little baby girl that just couldn't resist getting in the picture too.

I haven't compared this picture to how I looked when I was pregnant with EC at 26 weeks, I'm actually a little afraid too. People keep telling me that they didn't gain as much with the second, but I'm not thinking that's going to be the case with me. Running and working out during my 1st pregnancy kept me from gaining too much. The result of my first pregnancy keeps me from running and working out during this pregnancy. But, that's okay, one day there will be plenty of time to workout and run, and I will not want to then...right?

Earlier this week, we had dinner with some wonderful friends that we go to church with and live just a few houses down from. We have been neighbors for over 2 years now and soon these friends will be moving about 5 hours away. We will miss them terribly! Not only do we always stay at their house way too late when we go over for dinner, but we eat way too much! Windy is an amazing cook and I'll miss her friendship the most, but also her yummy food! :)

Their oldest son, Jacob, is just a little bit older than Ella Claire, and they are just at the age where they play great together. More like, Ella Claire follows him around and wants to do what he does. :)

Brian and Windy, we are excited for you and the opportunities that this new job will provide for your family, but you will be greatly missed! 

Okay, no more crying.... moving right along...

Ella Claire has been keeping us entertained with all that she can do these days. I'm having to be careful with what clothes she wears around the house, because a few times I've turned around and she is completely in the nude. No shirt, no bloomers, no diaper! She hasn't figured out how to unsnap a onesie yet, so she wears a lot of those when we are just hanging out at home. She also likes trying to put clothes on. Putting them on is a little trickier than taking them off, so sometimes she needs a little help with that. Otherwise, she ends up getting frustrated..

Or wearing them any which of way. And that's fun too!

Her choice of foods can also be amusing. Tonight for dinner we had a cheesy chicken casserole and salad. She had already eaten, but when she saw that we had lettuce, the begging began. That is correct, she preferred lettuce over cheese chicken and pasta! I can't imagine that.  She was actually saying, "lettuce, please!" She is just like her daddy though, and I've heard stories of how he would beg for salads as a child. He remembers eating salads while watching cartoons. Hilarious!

Alright friends, I think that's about all I have time for. I hope you have a wonderful, long weekend and make lots of family memories during this fantastic holiday! Happy Birthday, USA!!!

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