28 October 2011

snug as a bug

You may remember at the beginning of the month when I talked about Mabry falling down and hurting her face.  These photos are all from a few days after that incident.  I promise her face doesn't look like this anymore.  I just thought that these photos were really fitting with the rest of the post.

I'm almost hesitant to say this because I don't want to jinx anything and have it go away yet again, but I do believe that fall is finally here!  Mabry and I are loving the cool, crisp air and all of the colors from the falling leaves.  
Snuggly 10.3.2011

My favorite part of fall is all the snuggling on the couch under mountains of blankets and drinking hot chocolate (for me) and chocolate milk (for Mabry) and watching movies.  I also love the warm comfort foods that suddenly sound so delicious after a summer of eating not much more than salads and grilled chicken.  Tell me I am not the only one who hates cooking in the dead heat of summer.  
Snuggly #3
Snuggly #2
What about you, what are some of your favorite parts about fall?  Any good suggestions on a must try recipe?  What about a movie that would be a great way to spend an evening?

27 October 2011

drama queen

I have to give a lot of credit and respect to all of the single parents of the world. Raising children on your own is hard. I find myself getting closer and closer to the end of my rope and more and more grateful that I am lucky enough to have a light at the end of the tunnel. Single parenthood doesn't have to be forever for me. Mabry and I are both lucky.

Now that Mabry has all but given up her naps I have been struggling with finding ways to occupy the afternoons.  Much of the time is spent in a few hours of quiet.  Sometimes she reads books or sometimes she watches a movie.  Usually it works.  However, there are times when I can tell she is tired and needs to sleep.  Unless I can get her tired enough she will fight the nap with every fiber in her being.

These are all photos from this summer.  I had taken Mabry to the park to try and use up her energy so she would sleep for me.  The first thing she did was climb on a metal slide.  A very hot metal slide.  The next thing I knew she was screaming at the top of her lungs.  Immediately I thought she was crying because she had been stung by a bee.  Turns out she had set her hand on the hot metal and gave herself a pretty good burn.
Drama Queen #3
Kisses from Mama weren't enough to calm her down.  She screamed the whole way home.  Screamed even more when I put her hand in a glass of cold milk to try and ease the pain.  When I went to put the aloe on her hand you would have thought it was battery acid the way she carried on.  
Drama Queen #2
There was only so much drama queen action I was willing put up with before it was clear that we needed a time out from one another.  So I wrapped her hand up in a towel and ice pack (more screaming) and put her on her bed to cry herself to sleep.
Drama Queen 8.18.2011
Which she did for all of thirty minutes.  Not before I traumatized her by going back into her room and taking some photos.  Some day when she is a teenager I plan to whip these out and remember the good old days.

Just because I think my kiddo is cute (and quiet) when she sleeps I thought I would throw in a few more photos taken the next night:
Sleeping beauty #2
Sleeping beauty 8.17.2011

26 October 2011

camping princess style

Nothing says a good time like a camp out in the living room with a good friend and Beauty and the Beast.
Watching Beauty and the Beast with Baby Norah 10.8.2011
Watching Beauty and the Beast with Baby Norah #2
Watching Beauty and the Beast with Baby Norah #3
Watching Beauty and the Beast with Baby Norah #4
Watching Beauty and the Beast with Baby Norah #5
Ps.  Wishing a very happy birthday to our favorite guy, Dan!  Wish we could be there to spend it together.  We love you!

25 October 2011

loud artistic soul

Drawing in the bath 10.5.2011
I love the bathtub crayons from Crayola.  They keep Mabry quiet and entertained giving my mind a much needed quiet time out. 

I read a story earlier today about a woman who has a daughter slightly younger than Mabry who talks nonstop.  She referred to her daughter  as "machine gunning" her words out of her mouth.  I couldn't help but smile, nod and think to myself I know exactly where you are coming from, Lady. 
Drawing in the bath #3
Speaking of nonstop talking, is it every toddler's M.O. to interrupt everyone as often as possible??  My Mom recently sent me this email:

"Saw this on Kelly’s blog and didn’t know if this might work with Mabry:In our parenting class - we learned something that I thought was wonderful but would NEVER work with Harper. At least not at this age.  It's called the "interrupt rule" and it is taught to teach children not to interrupt adults but also that what they have to say is important to you.  When I'm talking to another adult or to her dad - we teach her instead of interrupting - to come up and put her hand on my arm and then I put my hand back on her hand so she knows I know she has something to say and then at a good breaking point I can say "Harper - did you have something to say?"  We didn't even try this at first because I knew she wouldn't get it.
Well - we finally did it one night this week and just forgot it.  Yesterday I was talking to Scott and realized a little hand was resting on my arm. I couldn't believe she remembered! So we played it out and she was THRILLED when I gave the the floor to speak.  So thrilled that she wanted to "play the interrupt rule game" all night long."
Drawing in the bath #4
We've been working on this method for a little over a week now.  We still have some kinks to work out, but for the most part this has worked out great. 

Anyone else have tips or tricks on how to have some quiet in their day?

20 October 2011

i'm just sayin'

If you happen to go through my archives you may find that several photos are missing.  I apologize for that.  The integrity and maturity level of some people has caused me to have to spend my evening taking down roughly 75 photos.  On the positive side, sometimes you have to get rid of the toxic relationships to set yourself on a path to much greater things. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I'm free!

photos from the nc zoo trip

NC Zoo #6NC Zoo #8NC Zoo #15NC Zoo #16NC Zoo #21NC Zoo #31NC Zoo #34NC Zoo #36NC Zoo #37NC Zoo #39NC Zoo #40NC Zoo #42NC Zoo #51NC Zoo #53NC Zoo #58NC Zoo #59NC Zoo #64NC Zoo #61

19 October 2011

happy belated birthday

The next couple of days are going to be finally playing catch up.  It only took me almost a month of saying I was going to sort through the 2000 photos I have been throwing into a folder on my desktop all summer to actually get (most) of it done.

My parents and sister came to visit us at the very beginning of September to help celebrate Mabry's fourth birthday.  We spent a whole day at the zoo and then came home and threw her a little party.

Complete with chocolate chip cookie cake...
4th Birthday Party with Family #2

presents and...
4th Birthday Party with Family #5
4th Birthday Party with Family #9

an audience. Which so happens to be one of Mabry's favorite things in the world.  
4th Birthday Party with Family #6

Please don't judge her crown.  I wanted to make her something special for her fourth birthday.  Turns out felt flowers aren't really my thing.

One present was too large to wrap, so she had to close her eyes and wait.  You can almost feel her excitement.
4th Birthday Party with Family #10

My parents bought her an easel.  Mabry immediately channeled her inner artist (Aunt Leah would be so proud) and got right to work.
4th Birthday Party with Family #13

One side is a marker board.  This would be a picture she drew of me.  I was told to stand right next to the easel while she worked.  We were all impressed with the way she drew the nose.  
4th Birthday Party with Family #12

The other side of the easel is a chalkboard.  Perfect for practicing writing the alphabet and words.  Something we have done almost daily since her party.
4th Birthday Party with Family #11

Tomorrow our trip to the zoo that I mentioned earlier in the post.

18 October 2011

let's have a little fun in the kitchen

Since  Dan has been gone I have made it a goal to try and learn at least two new recipes a month.  I really wanted to start branching out and giving us more options when it came to our meals.  Having the same things in rotation all the time was starting to become very boring and bland.

I did alright randomly picking things out of cookbooks or having something passed on from a friend.  However, when Pinterest was introduced into my life it seemed like an endless supply of awesome recipes had been dropped in my lap.

Today I thought I would share some of my favorites with you:

1.  Buffalo Chicken Roll Ups:  We love these.  They are quick, easy and only around 100 calories each.  Won Ton wrappers are usually found in the produce section.  It took a few unsuccessful searches and asking a worker to finally figure it out.  Also, these freeze easily in a Tupperware and can be popped out a few at a time, placed on some tin foil and heated up in the oven at 350 for about 10-15 minutes as a quick lunch.  I made some last month and just had the last of them for lunch yesterday and they were still good.

2.  Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken:  This is so simple to make and honestly you probably have all (or almost all) of the ingredients in your pantry right now.  Every time we have made it we have eaten it on bread like a sandwich with a side of cucumber dill salad or some other fresh crunchy veggies. However, I think it would be just as good over some noodles or rice on its own.

3.  Best French Toast Ever:  This recipe came from my cousin's blog.  I am not usually a fan of french toast but this stuff is fantastic.  Mabry and I probably eat it at least twice a month for dinner.

4.  Asiago Pasta:  One of the easiest meals to make.  Basically while you cook the pasta you throw all of the other ingredients (most of which I don't even measure) into a bowl.  Once the pasta is cooked you throw it in the bowl too, mix it up and serve.  Quick to make and quick to clean up and is really yummy.  This is Mabry's favorite dinner at the moment.

5.  Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos:  I was a little nervous that this would be too spicy for Mabry.  I myself am a huge fan of spicy foods and was rather excited about trying these tacos.  The salsa I used was homemade and had quite the kick to it, making me even more nervous.  So I didn't follow the recipe exactly and only put in half the can of chilies and drained the juices first.  However, the meat ended up being a little bland for my liking, Mabry ate every last bite of it up.   Next time I think we will add the whole can (undrained).  

6.  Lettuce Wraps:  This recipe is a knock off of P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps only with less oil.  The whole house smelled fantastic for a few days after we made this.  We ate these with nothing else and found them to be very filling.  Mabry liked hers without the lettuce and just ate it over some rice one night.  

7.  Pesto and Cheese Stuffed Shells:  Really good fresh and equally as good frozen.  Another cheap, quick and easy meal to make.

8.  Roasted Green Beans:  The best green beans I have ever eaten.  There is nothing else to say.  

9.  Better Than Steak Broccoli:  I have to be honest, I had really high hopes for this recipe.  Both because of the name and because it was similar to the way the roasted green beans were cooked.  There was too much lemon and it caused it to have somewhat of a bitter taste.  I also doubt I could get Dan to agree that this was better than steak.  I didn't think so and am certainly not the biggest steak fan out there.  I have made this a few times since and have either halved or completely cut out the lemon juice and have liked it better.

10.  Caramel Apple Spice:  Worth a stop at Starbucks to pick up the syrup.  Maybe you will luck out and have a nice barista who will give you a pump.  Mine was rather grouchy.  I did make a little adjustment to this recipe as well.  Instead of three pumps (6 tablespoons) I only put in half that amount in an effort to save myself 120 calories.  It still tasted like the one from Starbucks only not quite as hurt your teeth sweet.  Making it more enjoyable and a heck of a lot cheaper.

If you try any of these recipes let me know.  I am curious to know what you think of them.  Also, if you have something you would recommend me trying out let me know.  I would love to add new things to the list!  
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