The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I am Thankful for....

So I realize it is pretty predictable to write a list of things that I am thankful for the day before Thanksgiving, but that's just me.  Predictable.

This year it is easier than ever to think of all the things I am thankful for.  I am amazingly blessed and know that I don't stop and appreciate it all often enough.  So here is a list.  A short, not in any particular order, list of things I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my husband and my children. 
I am thankful for my family.  All of them, near and far.
I am thankful for our house and our cars and for the food we will eat tomorrow when so many in the world have nothing.
I am thankful for my girlfriends.  All of them.  Even the ones I only talk to like once a year!
I am thankful for my husband's job and that he works for a Godly man.
I am thankful for my church and for our Pastor and for the great teaching we get every week.
I am thankful that I get to stay home and raise my kiddos.
I am thankful for my health and the health of my family and friends.

And last, but most definitely not least,

I am thankful for a Savior who died on a cross for my sins.  Thankful for His Word, thankful for His sacrifice, thankful for His love, thankful for His faithfulness.

I hope ya'll have a great Thanksgiving holiday! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

A List

You know how much I love a list!

1.  My brother took his mixer back.  Now I am back to mixing Sunbeam style.  It is a perfectly good mixer.  It just doesn't have a flour power rating.  I miss that.

2.  My dessert from last week, Warm Winter Lemon Cake, was simply amazing.  Very easy to make.  Very easy to eat. 

3.  I will be lucky to get in a new main course this week with Thanksgiving.  Maybe I will try a recipe from another blog on Friday or Saturday.  It is for BBQ Turkey Quesadillas.

4.  Molly has started pulling up.  Great, except with pulling up comes falling down!  Today she fell from standing in the kitchen and bumped her head and now she has a bruise on her forehead.  It is very sad.

5.  Isabelle is still operating in a fog of birthday happiness.  Everyday she plays with every single toy and book that she got at her party.  My house has been a mess for 10 days straight.

6.  Jason's birthday is in one week.  He is older than me, so this is a fun time of year for me.  I get to call him old.  In six months, on my birthday, it all ends.  Also, I have no idea what to get him.  Men are too hard to shop for.

7.  I want to buy every toy I see for Isabelle and Molly.  I must say I never truly understood the spoiling your kids thing until having kids.  It is not that Isabelle and Molly want the toys and beg and plead for them until I give in, I just want to buy them everything.  I especially want to buy the classic fisher price toys and a pink kitchen for Isabelle.

8.  This morning Isabelle was looking for Jay.  She was yelling out the window, "Jay?"  It was pretty funny considering that is what I did yesterday when trying to get Jason's attention while he was putting up Christmas lights.

9.  Speaking of Christmas lights, here is a glimpse into our personalities.  We have multicolored lights on the house.  We needed more.  I bought more at Target.  The new lights included purple, which the old lights did not have, therefore they are going back so that we can get the lights like we already have.  We also had to change the bulbs out of our existing lights so that two red bulbs would not be next to each other on the house.  Meanwhile, at the entrance to our neighborhood is the house with rope lights, regular lights, blinking lights, icicle lights and yard inflatables.  The blinks don't go together, the rope lights are in no pattern or regular shape, and the yard inflatables are past their prime.  It is a mess.  And we are worried about purple lights.  On two strands of lights.  That were going to outline the garage, not go on the house.

10.  Isabelle doesn't like my kisses.  Seriously, she wipes them off.  Only mine, not Jason's, not Aunt Buh-Buh's or Scott's, not Cait's or Josh's, just mine.  And she thinks it is funny.  I do not.  I thought the problem was lip stick or lip gloss or lip balm, but nope, just me.  I hope she gets over this very soon.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Adventures in Cooking

Last Sunday I started my adventures in cooking.  I made 55 cupcakes for Isabelle's birthday from scratch using Martha Stewart's recipe for Yellow Butter Cupcakes and One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes.  I also made the buttercream frosting using her recipe.  They turned out pretty good.  The yellow cupcakes were pretty dense and rich, and I am not sure if they are supposed to be that way or not!!

This week I have already done a new entree and will do my dessert tomorrow. 

Last night for dinner I made Almond Dijon Chicken

I loathe touching raw chicken and so I try very hard to avoid making dinners that involve chicken.  I also can't grill and don't like to pan fry chicken, so if I do make chicken it tends to be baked.  This chicken was SUPER easy and pretty tasty.  Even Isabelle ate some!

My dessert tomorrow is a warm lemon cake.  I will let you know how it goes.  It looks delicious and I can't imagine a cake tasting bad, but who knows. 

I am rather optimistic about my commitment to making one new dinner and one new dessert each week.  I have already planned what we are having next week and I am looking forward to cooking.  Now to get started on sewing!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Birthday Party Fun

Isabelle's birthday party celebration was yesterday and since we have some family out of town who couldn't join us, I thought it would be nice to show a few pics of the party!

Here is a picture of the cupcakes!  These are the Martha Stewart cupcakes I mentioned when I said I would be baking something new each week!  They turned out pretty well.   The vanilla cupcakes were pretty rich and dense, not light and fluffy.  Not quite sure if that was the recipe (which had 2 1/2 sticks of butter plus 2 cups of buttermilk) or my baking inexperience.

I wanted a Yo Gabba theme so I made the cupcake toppers to be all five of the characters.  Gabba cupcake toppers on the internet are not particularly cheap, so I made my own!

The birthday girl opened lots of great presents!  She got a great pair of black boots from Grandma Kathy and the moment she saw them she took off her other NEW shoes to put on the boots.  It was pretty funny.

Notice the beautiful, shiny, silver shoe that she discarded!

The favorite gift of the afternoon was the apron, chef's hat, and grocery store cart full of groceries from Aunt Buh-Buh, Uncle Scott, Josh, Cait and Lauren.  She went crazy over the play eggs and it took quite awhile to get her to finish opening her presents because she wanted to play with the plastic eggs.

I realize this picture is not the greatest, but taking a picture of her was pretty difficult by this point.  This is the only picture we have of her standing up in her apron!  Somehow we didn't get any of her playing with the eggs!  Of course she was running all over the house and not really in the mood for posing for pictures.

She got some great new clothes, books, bath toys and regular toys.   I don't think she is running out of things to do anytime soon. 

By the end of the night, she was pretty tired, but not too tired to take one last spin on her new sit and spin toy from Grandma Kathy!

We are so thankful for the many friends and family that could celebrate with us.  I know Isabelle had a great day!  Now to start thinking about Molly's birthday which is less than five months away!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Isabelle is TWO

I did not anticipate being emotional on Isabelle's second birthday.  This does not bode well for future birthdays.  I can't believe my baby girl is two.  Where did the time go?  I realize all parents feel this way and I also realize it only gets worse the older they get.  Which as you can imagine, does not help my current situation.

So on Isabelle's second birthday I would like to take a minute to list some of her likes and dislikes at this age!


Yo Gabba Gabba (still....)
Coloring.  She just might be an artist like her dad!
Taking off her clothes, Molly's clothes or her baby doll's clothes.
Swinging on her swing set.
Playing with (aka laying on top of) Molly.
Raiding my kitchen drawers to play with my cooking utensils.
Puzzles.  Especially the letters puzzle right now.  And just for the record, she knows probably 90% of her letters!
Jewelry.  That she gets from her momma!
Her Daddy!  She is so excited when it is the weekend and she can get lots of time with Dad!
Running in circles.
Washing her hands and brushing her teeth.  She has seen Jason and I brush our teeth and now copies us by spitting in the bathtub!
Talking on Skype with the grandparents.
Seeing her family.  Loves visits from Caitlin, Buzz, Lauren, Scott and Buh-Buh.  Loves when Grandma Debi comes to visit and loves going to Grandma Kathy's house.


Eating food.  She has to be REAL hungry to eat something besides fruit snacks, cheese and crackers.
Going to bed at night.  This is a recent development, but she now falls asleep in front of her door.
Riding in the car.
Ponytails in her hair.

The dislikes are pretty limited.  Isabelle is a mostly happy child.  Yes, she is high energy but she is energetic and happy.  Not much makes her angry.  Of course we have discipline issues, but she is two, so isn't that normal?

Having Isabelle has been such a blessing.  I am so lucky to have been trusted to be her mom.  And while I may be a little sad that she is not my baby anymore, I am so excited to see what God's plan is for her life. 
Happy birthday, Isabelle!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My New Favorite Christmas Card.....(and how I am saving money on them this year)

Whoa that is one long blog title...sorry!

So Wednesdays are for saving money and for favorites and it just so happens that the two go together today.  My new favorite Christmas cards are from Shutterfly!  I have been on the website debating over which card I like better and well, I still haven't decided!

Here are a couple of my favorites

Here is the link for this great card, which I love!  Perfect for multiple pics of the kiddos and I love the scripture reference!

If you are looking for a card that does not have any religious theme, this one is pretty great!

Here is the link for it!

I am actually hoping to use a photo from our photo session this weekend with Carissa Miller, who is an AWESOME photographer!  I absolutely love her work and I am excited to have some new family pics including one to send out for Christmas!

Shutterfly has many more options to choose from, in fact my absolute favorite I am going to leave a mystery so that my family doesn't see their Christmas cards before they arrive!!

I also want to mention their great calendars.  We made these last year for all of the grandparents and they were a big hit.  They are super easy to make and look great!  Shipping was fast and the grandparents are already talking about how they want one this year also!

Here is a link for the calendars.

Now for the money saving part.....

Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly.  Want to learn more? Visit

Now that is what I am talking about.  Free photo Christmas Cards.  I love me some free stuff! 

I can't believe I was actually able to get in money savings and a favorite thing in the same post!  What a great day!  I feel so accomplished.  Hope you have a feeling accomplished kind of day as well.  And hey, if you don't blog have another reason to get started!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Home-making I Will Go!

Right now I have the most amazing mixer in my kitchen.  It is not mine, though I am thinking of stealing it from my brother.  It is a professional grade KitchenAid Mixer.  It is amazing.  I haven't even used it yet and I am already in love.  According to the website, it has a Flour Power Rating of 14 cups.  That means it can mix enough dough for eight loaves of bread or 13 dozen cookies in a single bowl!  Seriously, EIGHT loaves of bread, that is crazy.  And because of this mixer, I am inspired to be a better housewife.  I am inspired to cook.

If you know me at all, you realize how amazing that last sentence is.  I am not really one to cook.  Jason likes to cook, not me.  Until now.  Something about my recent subscription to Martha Stewart Living and this mixer have inspired me to be all that I can be!  And so I begin. 

I have decided to make one new entree and one new dessert each week.  WHOA!  (for some of you I realize that is not really that big of a deal, but for me it is HUGE)  This week the dessert is cupcakes.  I realize cupcakes are not that difficult, but I am making them from scratch (the icing also) and I am making two different kinds.  Both Martha Stewart recipes and both for Isabelle's birthday.  As for the entree, right now I am leaning towards Creamy Chicken and Dumplings, but I have to find out if Jason likes dumplings first!!!

In addition to my new cooking project, I have also decided I would like to learn to sew and crochet.  My mom (I hope) can teach me both!  Sewing would be a nice skill to have in order to make some simple things for the girls, or curtains or whatever.  Crocheting is just because I decided to give up on knitting!!!

So look out Suzy Homemaker!  I have gone 1950's wife crazy!  I am taking care of kids, cleaning, cooking and making stuff.  What else is left?  The bizarre thing is, I am excited to get started.  So look for my entree this week and my cupcake post next week.  Have a great Monday!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Favorite Things Part 2

I feel like Oprah.  Well, kind of.  I feel like Oprah when it comes to naming my favorite things.  That is really the only way I feel like Oprah.  Not, I feel like Oprah, the wildly successful, wealthy, African-American, talk show host.  Anyway.....I like writing about my favorite things.  It is so much better than complaining about things that irritate me!!!!

First up today, one of my favorite blogs, The Pioneer Woman.  You can find her at

She is amazing.  You can read her individual blogs about cooking, homeschooling, photography or her confessions blog.  All of them are great.  She does lots of great giveaways, posts lots of delicious recipes and is pretty hysterical.  The Pioneer Woman, Ree, lives in Oklahoma on a cattle ranch.  I think we could be great pals.

Next up, the Essential Cozy Throw from Pottery Barn.

I am in love with this blanket!  The weather is finally perfect to cuddle up under this blanket with a good book and a cup of coffee and stay nice and warm!  It is so soft and so wonderful and I wish it was cold all year long just because of this blanket!

Oh Ray, how I love you.  I think he might be on my list of favorites forever.  Still haven't checked him out?  You are missing out on one of the greatest artists ever.  Okay, that might be overstating it a little.  Seriously though, Ray is amazing.  Another one of my favorite albums from Ray, Gossip in the Grain.

This next favorite is a little biased.  My number four pick for today is....(drumroll please), Isabelle counting to 10!  Perhaps all children can do this by age two.  Heck, maybe most kids at age 2 can count to 100.  I don't know.  I just know that her counting is pretty adorable.  I especially love hearing three or bree as Isabelle would say.  She is pretty stinkin' smart.  I think.

And the last thing on my list for today is,

Apple Spice Cake.  The recipe can be found on Martha Stewart's website.

My friend, Rochelle, introduced me to this wonderfully delicious cake.  It is sooooo good.  I make it every year at Thanksgiving mostly because I hate pie and instead of going without dessert like I should, I eat a TON of apple spice cake instead.  It makes a great breakfast as well.  Pair it with a great cup of coffee and you will be in heaven.    As a warning, in case you decide to make it immediately after seeing the picture, the dough will be VERY thick.  It is supposed to be that thick.  I was a little concerned the first time I made it and I would hate for you to freak out like I did!

That's it!  Five more of my favorite things.  Hope everyone has a great Thursday!

Monday, November 1, 2010

First Zoo Trip

Yesterday we took the girls to the zoo for the first time.  It was a nice sunny day and we didn't have any real plans so we decided last minute to head out to the Tulsa Zoo.  Isabelle is not a big fan of riding in the stroller, so I was a little concerned she might not go for riding around the zoo for very long, and of course I was right, but we still had a good time.  Molly was great, as usual.

The first animals we saw were the elephants.  Isabelle was not overly enthused.  I finally, after much begging, got her to look at me for one picture.

After the elephants we visited the chimps and the big cats.  Most of the animals were asleep or just laying around, which could be part of why Isabelle was so uninterested.  The chips held her attention the longest, because they were actually playing when we were there.

After a few more animal exhibits, we decided to give Isabelle a break from the stroller and let her play at the playground.  This was by far her favorite part of the zoo.  We should have saved our money and taken her to the park!!!

Here is what Molly looked like for pretty much the entire time we were at the zoo!

We only stayed for about an hour and a half and that was pretty much the perfect amount of time.  Isabelle was able to see a lot of fun animals and we mostly avoided any huge meltdowns!  She liked the pink birds (flamingos is a pretty tricky word for a two year old!), the chimps, and loved the animals at the children's zoo (mostly sheep and goats!). 

Afterwards we went to McDonald's for an ice cream cone.  Another first for Isabelle.  She has had ice cream before, but the cone thing was new.  It was not easy getting her to lick the ice cream!  She figured it out pretty quickly once we got going!  She is her mother's daughter for sure. 

Overall a short, but great day at the zoo.