Saturday, November 29, 2008

Random Things About Me

Jacquie, one of my favorite bloggers, tagged me to list eight random things about myself. I have also been tagged by some of my other favs in the past several months to do some variation of this list by Meagan, Michelle, and Meredith. Sorry I'm late girls!

1) I can only eat steak if it is well done. Derek thinks I'm missing out on the true taste of a delicious steak, but I just can't do it. If it has any tint of pink, I ain't goin' there!

I don't think so.

2) I am THE biggest homebody. I do like to go to the beach and I plan on many more trips there, but some of my favorite "vacations" have been "staycations" where Derek is off work and we spend the week around the house. I love it when the kids are in bed and I "build my nest" on the couch for Derek and I to just hang out together and watch tv.

To build the perfect nest, you need a comfy couch, one soft pillow, one soft throw blanket, and one snuggly husband.

3) I don't enjoy reading. If it is not about autism or a nursery rhyme, I'm not going to read it. I do like looking at magazines, mostly pictures in fashion magazines.

My idea of a good read.

4) People often think I can't cook. The truth is I CAN cook, I just don't like to very much. I think this is partly because my husband and son are rather picky and Derek does not eat leftovers or casseroles. So, it seems like a lot of wasted time. However, I do cook every single day for the kids, and when I do cook for Derek I make sure it is something he loves. It is a hope of mine to someday love cooking. Surely this can happen?

Maybe addling a little more butter would help???

5) I LOVE photography and hope to one day take some classes and get better at it. I'm done paying other people lots of money for something I would love to do myself.

"You kids smile and act like you love this!"

6) I try not to put my jeans in the dryer (unless I'm in a time crunch), so they won't shrink in length. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect jeans. I'm just so thankful jeans now come in long lengths!

We be scared of the dryer!

7) I can't hardly go one day without a Diet Coke. I know all that aspartame can't be healthy, but I'm hooked. I didn't have one at all on Thanksgiving and I thought I might go into withdrawals.

Is it a sign you are drinking too much Diet Coke when your two year old pretends to be at a drive thru saying, "Diet Coke. Thank you so much,"???

8) I love surprises (as Derek says, the good kind). I beg and beg Derek to let me open Christmas presents early. I get so excited! I practically shake them until the wrapping paper wears thin. Ha! I guess I'm still a kid at least at Christmas time.

I know a lot of you have already done this list, but if you haven't, please play along. It's harder than you think to come up with eight random things about yourself. :)

Friday, November 28, 2008


I am so thankful for these children of mine. We tried really hard before we left for Thanksgiving at my Dad's to get a picture. First we tried to get the kids for a Christmas card. We moved the coffee table and had them stand on it so they couldn't run off. Ha! This is what I got...

I guess we'll try again. LOL! Getting two kids to smile and look at the camera at the same time seems to be a little difficult around the Horton household. This last picture is my favorite. Ella Grace adores Evan and I love how she is watching him and laughing so hard.

Then, we thought we might try pictures of the kids with me and then with Derek. Well, here's how that went...

Finally, we got one, but by that time it was time to go. We didn't get one with Derek. :(

What a wonderful Thanksgiving we shared with family. We went to my Dad's side for lunch and had a scrumptious meal and then headed on to Derek's mom's for dessert.

Ella Grace loves all her cousins. As a matter of fact, that is the only way I got her dressed. She was not wanting to put on this dress, but I told her she had to wear it to get to see her cousins and she was dressed and ready in no time. Here she is with her cousin, Will, and Derek's dad getting books read to her. She was in heaven. Evan had a great time watching movies.

We also tossed around the football in the backyard. I even learned how to throw it AND catch it! Hee hee hee.

It was a GREAT day, but I didn't get to see my mom and I REALLY missed her!

I found a yummy recipe for a corn casserole on Everyone seemed to really enjoy it, and it was super easy. Here it is...

1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can creamed corn
2 eggs, beaten
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 stick butter, melted (or 1/2 c. oil)
1 c. sour cream
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (opt.)
Shredded cheese (opt.)

Mix all ingredients except cheese. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top, if desired. Bake in casserole dish or 9"x13" baking dish for 30 to 45 minutes or until fully cooked in center. I didn't even add the cheese ( I actually forgot), but it was still yummy.

We are getting Christmas decorations down today, and I'm excited to get working on it! This is the first year Ella Grace will understand what is going on, so it should be LOTS for fun. She already knows Santa Claus "brings toys for Evan and Ella," as she says. Fun, sweet times!

Monday, November 24, 2008

With Thanksgiving in My Heart

Friday we went to have Thanksgiving Feast with Evan at his school. The cafeteria was all decorated for Thanksgiving. It looked so cute. Ella Grace was SO excited about going to see Evan and "the kids." We arrived at 10:40 for lunch. Isn't that crazy early??? There's just something about eating cafeteria turkey and dressing before 11:00 a.m. I can tell you it sure hasn't change much since I was a kid. :)

Ella Grace and Derek waiting for Evan.

We were so excited to see Evan's class filing into the cafeteria. The look on his face when he saw us was priceless. He was smiling from ear to ear and SO excited we were eating lunch with him.

Just look at that face!

I was just as excited to see him in the middle of the day. We snagged him after lunch and took him home with us. He was VERY excited about that. Although, I don't think we would have made it out of there without him even if we had tried. After lunch, he was latched on to both Derek and my hands. :) I was thankful we could just take him home.

Here is Evan's pinecone turkey. One of his teachers is from Jamaica (we LOVE her), so Evan's turkey had a Jamaican theme with red, yellow and green feathers.

Happy Thanksgiving, Mon!

I am so blessed beyond measure. I have so much in which to be thankful! I am so thankful Derek is home and not 8,000 miles away. I am so thankful for my two beautiful, healthy children that bring such joy to my life each and every day. I am thankful to be a child of God and for His grace and mercy. I am thankful for my entire loving family and wonderful friends. My cup is overflowing!

Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all! I hope you have a fantastic day with your loved ones.

Gobble Gobble (or maybe it should be Wobble Wobble for me after all that turkey and dressing)!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kelly's Bloggy Baby Shower

Okay, this is just like me showing up late! I didn't want to be rushed, and I wanted to have time to write a note to my sweet friend, so I had to wait.

Sweet, sweet Kelly! We sure go way back! Many memories I have of you including watching Brady Bunch marathons, eating at Mazzio's on Sunday nights, your never ending wardrobe of dresses, and countless others. I could go on and on, but I think my most favorite memory is more recent. This is it...

I cried the day you e-mailed me about this miracle. I adore your faith and how you have given God all the glory through your struggle and now through this blessing of Harper.

I can't tell you how excited I am for you and Scott as you wait for Harper's arrival. As for advice, I don't really think you need any. You are going to be a fantastic mom and have already loved Harper even before you knew you were expecting her. You will be a natural. I know you are going to enjoy each and every day (and 4:00 a.m. morning). I am so looking forward to meeting Harper in person and watching her grow.

Love you bunches,
Leigh Ann

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I haven't been to Branson since I was a little girl and my parents took my sisters and me to Silver Dollar City. I have always heard people rave about Branson, but I just thought it was all "country" with shows. Not that I don't like country music and a good show, but it just didn't sound like a fun way to spend time off. Wow, was I wrong! I have totally been missing out. It was not what I expected at all!

My mom, sisters and I headed out early Saturday morning...

My mom, my sisters, Millicent and Melinda and me. I was so excited.

When we arrived, we hit the shopping right away. We went to the Disney store first. How fun! My mom got Ella Grace the most beautiful Cinderella dress-up outfit with shoes that light up. That girl is going to be in heaven!

Mom and me outside a shop. It was VERY windy and VERY cold. With the Christmas music that played in the background, it definitely felt like Christmas time. We even saw snow flurries!

I got these cute Christmas decorations with our names on them...

I got some Christmas shopping done, which I was so excited about, and I also got some shopping done for ME! hee hee. My sisters and I bought these boots. Of course, I made them pose with them. Ha!

We saw girls in these boots everywhere. In the store we bought them, we got the last several pair they had left. We began to wonder if we were too old to wear them since every "girl" we saw wearing them seemed to be 14 and under. ha! We did see some girls our age wearing them, too. We got quite a bit of attention walking together wearing the same boots. It kind of felt like I was back in junior high walking around the mall with my friends while wearing the same outfits. It was SO funny!

After the afternoon of shopping, we headed over to check in to our hotel. We stayed at the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing. It was SO nice. It looked exactly like the pictures on their website.
The shopping was right below our room!

That night we took my mom out to dinner for her birthday. We took her to Joe's Crab Shack. Before we left, they adorned her with a crown and birthday sash and the restaurant sang to her. My mom can be a little shy, but she was a VERY good sport.

The birthday princess.

After dinner we went back to our room for our slumber party. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time!

Sunday, we went to downtown Branson for more shopping. I got more Christmas presents marked off my list. Woo hoo! The funnest part was taking my mom shopping for new clothes. My sisters and I helped her pick out some things and bought them for her.

I had THE best time with my girls. I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful mother and two great sisters. They were all my first friends, and now they are my best friends! :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

I had a FANTASTIC time on my girls' trip to Branson with my sisters (I'll post more on that later). I was SO glad to get home to my wonderful husband and terrific kiddos. I really missed them, and I was glad to be home. It reminded me of the night before I left. TBS was running "The Wizard of Oz" all weekend, and Ella Grace watched some of it for the first time. She LOVED it. I thought she might get scared of the flying monkeys. Honestly, they still creep me out, but she wasn't scared. She was busy looking for Toto in every scene. LOL! Evan didn't care for it much. I guess maybe that is more of a girl movie???

Here she is front and center.

I can't wait to write about our trip. We had THE best time ever. I totally scored on some very good shopping. When I got home, look what was waiting for me.

I got the market tote I ordered from Faith. How cute is that? I've heard it is "life changing," so I'm expecting big things out of my new lime green friend. Ha! I think this is going to be fantastic to carry all of the potluck dishes I'll be taking all over the place during the holidays. If you need a personalized gift (or if you are like me and just want to buy yourself a gift...hee hee) and have not visited Faith, I highly recommend you jump on over to see her. She can do anything. She has even made a couple of things for me that are not on her site. She is SO good!

It is so good to get away sometimes, but there is nothing like going "home." :)

Oh, and look who was in the paper on hunky husband pumping cheap gas. He was on the front page. Hee hee. He was thrilled let me tell you. Ha!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Paintin' Pottery

This morning I took Ella Grace on an outing with our local Mommy & Me group to a pottery studio. Ella Grace was so excited to go "paint," and we got to meet up my one of my favorite friends, Kim, and her two sweet kiddos. There was so much to choose from as far as pottery to paint, but I/we decided on a Christmas tree ornament and a butterfly. Since it was our first time, I didn't want it to be too ambitious!

I really wanted to get Ella Grace's hand print, but she was not having it. You know, that would require her to get a little messy, and the girl does NOT like messes! Ha! She did a great job painting the ornament red and then she was more interested in watching all the other kids paint. There were SO many people in the studio. It was pretty much organized chaos, so there was a lot for her to watch. In the end, she also painted a butterfly. I had to finish it up though. :) All in all, it was a great time and afterward we met Derek and Evan for lunch at Chili's.

Ella Grace painting her butterfly (pink of course).
You can also see our red ornament with green and white polka dots in the background. The colors are supposed to be more vibrant once it is "fired." I just want to know where these places were when I was a kid. I would have LOVED doing stuff like this.

I hope you all have an excellent weekend. I'm off early in the morning for my girls' trip with my mom and sisters. I'm sure I'll have lots of pictures to post when I get home (all to the protest of my girls...they like to look at my blog, but they don't necessarily enjoy being the feature of a post...hee hee). They are just going to have to get over it. Ha!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pee Pee in the Potty

There is nothing better than when your two-year-old daughter takes herself to the potty and tells you afterward she has gone.

Ella Grace has taken herself once and asked me twice today to go "potty." She is doing great. She has been wearing panties and has been doing fairly well staying dry. She informed Evan's doctor out of the blue today that she has "dry panties" and she "gets candy." Ha! However, now she is telling me, "Come on. Hurry. Pee pee potty," a lot when I know her only motivation is candy. She briefly sits down and is then ready for "candy." I'm not above a little Skittles bribery, but I think I've created a little monster. LOL!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Things are Lookin' Up

Thank you all for the sweet encouragement you all have given me after last week. I just love my blog friends, and I feel so blessed to have found each and every one of you through blogland! Thank you for praying for Evan (and for me)!

This is a MUCH better week. Evan is back to his little self, and I am so glad! Maybe it was the time change or the weather. I don't know, but it has passed and I am SO thankful. He is eating take-out Mexican right now (his favorite)! Plus, he is out of school the rest of the week, and I know I'll enjoy some extra time with my sweet boy.

Right now this is what both my boys are doing. They are both on their laptops! Evan is truly amazing on the computer, so we had this old laptop repaired for him. I definitely see a career in computers in his future.

I don't know about you, but I am getting SO excited about Christmas. In the past, I have been one of "those" people who didn't put their tree up until about mid-December and usually I only minimally decorated. Not this year! I am super excited about decorating and feel the Christmas spirit flowing big time. The Junior League of Little Rock puts on an event every year called Holiday House. They have all kinds of vendors and sell anything you can imagine from children's clothing to Christmas Decorations to party food. Michelle, Abby, and I set out last Thursday night for some shopping. I picked up a Christmas present for Derek and some decor mesh for my Christmas tree. If you haven't seen or heard about this mesh, it makes all the difference in decorating a tree. I got some last year, and I loved it. It is super easy to use and really fills in the tree. I got another roll for my tree and also a more shimmery style for my front door. I'm going to attempt some sort of garland decoration around my door.

I picked up these Razorback Tervis Tumblers for Derek. I just knew he would love them, and he DOES because he has already found them when he was cleaning out the car. Rascal!

I try to pick this mesh up at Holiday House because I can't find it anywhere else. It really is fantastic.

Derek and I also have Santa all taken care of. This is also very uncharacteristic of me at Christmas time. I rarely have any shopping, let alone ALL of Santa, done by Thanksgiving. We have found some things I know Evan and Ella Grace (and probably their Daddy, too) are really going to enjoy. We got most of their things at Toy Up, but I just couldn't find the play kitchen there I was hoping to find for EG. I thought about ordering one from Pottery Barn Kids, but it was way more than I wanted to spend. I wanted something wooden and something that would match her room. Then, we were at Target, and I saw this...

It was on display, and EG got a chance to play with it and loved it! I think this will be the last year we can try out a Santa gift first. Ha! It will match her room and is SO cute. Plus, it was half the price of the one from Pottery Barn! Had I known how good it felt to have shopping done early, I sure would have been doing this a long time ago.

Now, if all that isn't enough, I am super excited about going on a girls' trip this weekend with my three best mom and sisters. Saturday is my mom's birthday and we are taking a trip to Branson to go shopping! We haven't been on a trip together in 12 years (last one was when my mom turned 50). I am so excited about spending some time with them. Who knows. Maybe I'll also knock out the rest of my Christmas shopping. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Lastly, I got to spend the day with my handsome Veteran! We have been dieting (we both lost six pounds last week), so we celebrated with a "cheat" of a cheeseburger. It was SOOOO good! :)

I hope you all are off to a good week! Hugs!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Soup's On

One of the best cooks I know, my sister, Melinda, gave me this recipe a while back for "Cheeseburger Soup." I have been thinking about it since it has been getting colder and I'm planning on making it soon. It is delicious, and I think kids will enjoy it because of the name and moms will like it because their kids will eat vegetables. It is soooo good, and it really does taste like a cheeseburger! Here it is:

Cheeseburger Soup

1/2 lb. ground beef
3/4 C. Chopped onion
3/4 C. shredded carrots
3/4 C. diced celery
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
4 tbsp. butter, divided
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups diced peeled potatoes (1-3/4 lbs.)
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
8 ounces Velveeta, cubed (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 C. sour cream

In 3 qt. saucepan, brown beef; drain and set aside. In same saucepan, saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in tbsp. butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. meanwhile, in small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir 3-5 minutes. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Heat on low. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat; blend in sour cream.

In the past, when I have been in a big hurry, I have saved time by buying the veggies already diced in the frozen food section and it still was just as yummy. If you try it, let me know what you think.

I love soup in the Fall! There is nothing better.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm in Holland

This week has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride. We have been extremely busy, hence the lack of new posts. Also, Evan has been going through something. I'm not quite sure how to explain it. He just hasn't been himself. At first, I contributed it to the time change, but now I'm not so sure. Please pray for us as we seem to be going through some sort of transition. Maybe it is just him growing up. I don't know. It's nothing really serious. He just isn't himself lately. I guess everyone goes through times like this, but since he is my baby, it makes my heart hurt to see him struggling. I am hoping next week will be better.

I couldn't help but tear up (well, really flat out bawl) when I was reading an article today in a local magazine about a woman who has started a dance class for disabled children. Her daughter has spina bifida and wanted to take ballet, so she started a class. In the article she quoted something I had read before but had forgotten about. I think it definitely applies to families of disabled children or children with special needs. Here is what it said:

"In her 1987 essay "Welcome to Holland," writer Emily Perl Kingsley compares the experience of raising a child with a disability to planning a wonderful trip to Italy only to touch down in Holland. "So you must go out and buy new guide books," Kingsley writes. "And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It's just a different place. It's...less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around ... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills ... and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts."

I don't think it is a coincidence I read this today after a hard week. I think this is a good way to describe our journey. As much as I wish Evan did not have autism, there have been unbelievable blessings that have come out of it, and I am so thankful for every single one of them.

Me and my favorite little boy in the whole wide world!