Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Cards

It was some time around September that Derek looked at me with a distressed face, "I'm just thinking about trying to get that picture for the Christmas card." You see, taking a picture of my sweet little kidlets for a Christmas card is NO easy task. One is either not looking at the camera, not smiling or crying. By the time it is all over, I am a sweaty mess!!!

When Evan was at A-Camp, there was the sweetest photographer that came out to take pictures of the kiddos for memory books. Her name is Lori Sparkman, and she did this all out of the goodness of her heart and the pictures were awesome! I ran into her several weeks ago and asked if she would be willing to take pictures of our motley crew. She said she would would happy to and even came to our house! This was such a blessing because the last time we tried to take pictures outdoors, Evan ran for the hills seriously and literally. So, the thought of her coming to our home just seemed like a dream.

My intention was a cute picture of Evan and Ella Grace in front of the tree. I told her she would perform a Christmas miracle if she could get a family picture of all of us smiling and looking at the camera. Well, she is a miracle maker...

I was so excited to have a picture of all four of us actually smiling AT THE SAME TIME and looking at the camera.

Here are a few more she took that I really like...

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mommy & Me Christmas Party

We had a ball this afternoon at Ella Grace's Christmas party through our Mommy & Me group. It is sad to me that Evan is too old for that! It just doesn't seem right! He had fun hanging our here with Daddy though. I don't think he even missed us! Ha!

Ella Grace chose to make an ornament and then color a candy cane.

Mrs. Claus read stories while we waited for Santa. Evidently, Santa got lost on his way to the Community Center. Ha!

Mrs. Claus also handed out all the gifts.

How sweet is this???

She is so proud of her Cinderella book.

Then, it was time for the big meet Santa and tell him what she wanted for Christmas. Soooo exciting!

Not so sure about it just yet.

He called her "Brown Eyes" and she told him she wanted a "grocery cart." Soooo sweet!

Fun times!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Cookies & Treats

I saw where Kelly was doing "Christmas Cookies and Treats" this week on Show Us Your Life. I'm a little late, but I wanted to share one of my favorite treats to make around Christmas. I had a party last night for my high school girlfriends and made "Turtle Bars." This is a recipe I got from sister and it is SOOOO good and SOOOO easy.

  • 3/4 C Butter
  • 10 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 C Chopped pecan pieces
  • 1 (12 1/4 oz.) Caramel (I use the ice cream topping in a jar)
  • 1 Package Vanilla Wafers
Melt butter. Crush wafers and stir in butter. Press mixture into bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Then, sprinkle pecans. Drizzle caramel over the top. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes (I usually bake a little longer 12-15 minutes). Let stand and then cut into bars.

If you enjoy ooey, gooey, chocolate, and caramel, then this is the treat for you. It is SOOOO good and one of my favorites!

I also made some Creamy Cheddar Cheese Soup by Paula Deen last night, and it also turned out really good. Talk about major comfort food! Yummy!

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 large pimentos, diced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup green onions
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Dash cayenne pepper, optional
  • Suggested Serving: your favorite bread or croutons

In a saucepan, saute onion and pimentos in butter for 5 to 7 minutes. Blend in flour. Add stock and cream. Cook until thick. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add 1/4 cup green onions, salt and pepper, to taste, and cayenne if desired. Garnish with remaining green onions.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Catch Up

Derek has been off for FIVE days! It has been so nice, and it has gone by SO fast! We have gotten a lot done though. Operation Christmas is in full swing. We have our tree up, the mantle decorated and some of the outside decorating done. Santa is almost finished with his list, too. It has been a very productive five days. We enjoyed Thanksgiving at my in-laws. Hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving!

I need to catch up on several things.

The kidlets got their school pictures back. I thought they turned out cute. Evan had to have re-takes! The first one made me laugh, laugh, laugh. I wish I could have kept one. The re-takes are much better and I love that you can see his missing tooth. It also appears he is right in the middle of saying, "Cheeeeese!" Soooo cute! Oh, that boy's eyes. They melt my heart!

Evan, age 7

The glam squad came to Ella Grace's mother's day out program. She got her hair curled and got to wear some costumes. They really aren't my "style," but I couldn't help myself. I had to get them. They turned out really cute, and she had a ball!

Ella Grace, age 3

Derek and I went to the last Razorback game in Little Rock for the season. We had a great time. It's always nice when we win, so we won't even talk about this week's game. Derek summed it up when it was over, "That's just so disappointing." =(

My kidlets have been LOVING the Christmas "Alvin and the Chipmunks!" I think I may have introduced them a little bit too early because the chipmunks are driving me crazy! Ha! There is only so much of that I can take, and they want it on CONSTANTLY in the car (and really it is the same two songs over and over)! The day before Thanksgiving, Derek was downloading some more Chipmunks music (thanks, honey), and Ella Grace got SO excited. She took off running down the hall and tripped. She tried to break her fall and instead broke her right arm! It is a tiny fracture, but we spent the evening before Thanksgiving in the ER for a splint and will have to go to the ortho doctor in the morning for probably a permanent cast. SIGH! I am so thankful it was not a terrible break, but I can't believe it has happened again. When I first started blogging we were dealing with her broken leg! The broken arm seems to be a little better than a broken leg as far as her mobility is not as limited. My heart is just broken. I hate it for her, and I just pray it is better and cast-free by Christmas. How am I going to get a big cast in all her Christmas outfits I have already bought? SIGH!

Bless her heart! Those chipmunks are really on my bad list now!

Ella Grace with her tiny pink cast when we was 13 months old.

A few of Ella's friends brought her a little something to make her feel better. She spent the afternoon yesterday doing nails with her new nail polish set. I think everyone around here has polished nails now...even Daddy!

EG's beauty shop

Tomorrow I start back to boot camp after about three months off. Oh, goodness. It's going to be ugly.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Very First Giveaway

The winner is Elainaann! Congratulations, and I just love your name! Thanks for playing everyone. That was so fun. I want to do it again!!!

Y'all, I'm so excited because I am doing my very first GIVEAWAY! Nothing feels better than to give, so I'm super excited!!!

CSN contacted me and said they would love to let me pick something from their site to give to one of my readers! Well, I was so excited about the opportunity. I went over to their site at They have the cutest baby things including adorable crib bedding, lamp shades, clocks, mobiles, picture frames, and lots more.

After going through the website, I decided a toy would be perfect since Christmas is right around the corner. I decided to look for something that my children would have loved at that age and that could go for a girl or a boy. I decided on the Chicco Talking Farm Playset. I know I picked a good toy when Ella Grace strolled by the computer while the picture was on the screen and exclaimed, "I wish I had one of those!" Ha! And, she just said it again now!!!

So, if you have a little tot in your life you think would enjoy this awesome toy or if you would like to win it to donate to an organization or your church, please leave me a comment and you will automatically be entered to win. Feel free to advertise the drawing on your own blog if you know some people that would be interested. I'll draw the winner on Friday, November 20th, at 6:00 p.m. You can see all the specifics on the toy here.

You can also see the other great products CSNbaby offers by clicking the links below.

Yay for toys! Yay for a giveaway! Thanks CSNbaby!

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Met the Pioneer Woman

I'm sure all of you are familiar with the Pioneer Woman. Her blog about life on the ranch is interesting, and she is so whitty and funny! I also love looking at her recipes. They always make me hungry. I had no idea she was coming out with a cookbook until my good friend, Abby, told me. Ree was coming to Little Rock for a book signing.

Why in the world the book signing wasn't at a book store, I have no idea. It was at Wal-Mart of all places. It was funny because initially on the schedule was a, let's just say, "less preferred location." My friend, Abby, said she actually e-mailed PW's personal e-mail letting her know that Wal-Mart was the "yucky" one. Later, it was changed to a much better location. While standing in line, Marlboro Man was signing authographs and mingling with the crowd while we waited in line. When Abby and I got to him, he actually said someone had written in about changing it to a better Wal-Mart. We laughed so hard because it was Abby. We told him she was the one that wrote in and he said we should have been moved to the front of the line (but he didn't...I sure would have taken him up on it). LOL! Abby got our picture with both MM and PW, so I'll post them when I get them from her. I thought it was funny that MM autographed the picture of his rear end. Ha!

I got to see blogging beauty buddies, Becky and Cortney. I snagged these pictures from Becky. Aren't they just the cutest?

There are a lot of good recipes in the cookbook that I'm going to try, especially over the holidays. It sure was fun to meet someone I've read so much about. Pioneer Woman was very sweet and very beautiful. Here is the link to her post about her visit to my Little Rock. I find her hilarious. Can I just say how comforting it is to hear she wears a Spanx? That makes me just feel better. since I am a fan of that, too. LOL!

Abby and I were gone a little longer than I expected. I left my cell phone in the car and Derek had been trying to check on me. When I finally got to call him back, he joked, "I didn't think I could call the police and say, 'The last thing she told me was she was going to Wal-Mart to meet the Pioneer Woman.' They would have thought I was crazy." That made me laugh out loud because it does sound a little crazy. HA!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day to all the heroes out there including my amazing husband, Derek! How blessed we are to have such brave men and women willing to go wherever to protect all of us!

He served with the best of the best and not a day goes by that I am not incredibly thankful for he made it back home to me and our little family.

This is a picture of Derek and his unit while they were in Iraq. Can you find Derek? He is the hunky one (with helmet hair). LOL!

I have to admit the 15 months he was gone was probably the most difficult thing we have ever been through in our entire married life. I wish I could have been more graceful during that time, but lack of sleep with a new baby, decisions about care for Evan's autism that needed to be made and the constant worry of Derek's safety honestly about did me in. I am proud of how brave he was through it all, even when it came to his crazy wife (seriously). Derek is one amazing person...he is so sweet, thoughtful, nice, charming and also tough, deliberate, smart, and aggressive when he needs to be (like war for instance). I really think he is as close to perfect as you can get this side of heaven. I am one lucky girl.

Happy Veteran's Day, Derek! Love you SO much!

Just several more pictures during his time in Iraq:

My pilot and his aircraft - UH60 Blackhawk (medevac)

One of his patients. This is an Iraqi father and his daughter. She lost her leg in an explosion. Most patients they would not or could not take pictures of. Derek saw some terrible things. =( His mission was a good one though. He helped A LOT of people get to medical treatment.

His aircraft in an amazing sunset

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


We had the best time trick-or-treating with the kidlets. Ella Grace was large and in charge leading the way! They would both start saying, "trick or treat" before anyone even made it to open the door. It was so funny. Here they are in their costumes.

My Indiana Jones (or Mr. Jones as EG calls him) and Minnie Mouse

Harrison Ford has nothing on this guy!

It was rather chilly here that night. However, Ella Grace refused to wear anything that would cover her dress! Her little arms were so cold! She didn't care though.

Sweet, sweet girl.

Who needs candy when you have these two around?
I think I'll just eat them up instead! =)

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Is there anything more precious than this?

The parents were invited to Ella Grace's school this week. The children were going on a field trip, so we were invited to share a donut breakfast and attend the praise and worship time with our child. Y'all, I just about bawled through the entire thing! There is nothing more precious than seeing your child sing worship songs. Ella Grace blew me away with how she knew all the words and the hand motions. She was thoroughly enjoying herself. She recited her memory verse and I couldn't help myself but to snap this picture of her while they were closing in prayer. PRECIOUS!

They all had matching shirts for the field trip. I love what was on the back.

Here is a little video of her while she was singing her favorite song. I just love it!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Birthday Girl

We had a wonderful day yesterday celebrating Ella Grace turning THREE! We woke up with her in our bed (as we do most mornings...she starts off in her bed but always makes the move to ours around 2:00...sometimes we don't even realize it until we wake up). The first thing she said had nothing to do with her birthday but, "I want my Snow White panties!" Ha! I have no idea where that came from. I told her, "Ella, today is your birthday. You are three! Happy Birthday!" She just smiled ear to ear! We made our way to Daddy who gave birthday wishes. Evan was eating his breakfast and she went right over to him and said, "Evan, tell me Happy Birthday," which he did with a mouth full of waffle. =)

We took her to eat at the Purple Cow. She loves that place! We got her some cheese dip because that is her FAVORITE and she wanted to order a salad for her lunch. =) After she ate, they brought her a hot fudge sundae with purple ice cream. She was so proud of the candles and loved blowing them out.

Then, we headed home to give her birthday presents. To say she loved her castle and princess set is an understatement. She was so excited and so happy!

For dinner, we ordered pizza and had birthday cake. Well, actually Ella Grace had birthday cake for dinner. She was so proud of her cake. For years, I have gone to the same bakery for birthday cakes. This bakery is my favorite and makes the best cakes, but you have to pay for it in advance (they are very expensive) and then go pick it up. I do not have time for two separate trips to the bakery, so I decided to try Kroger. Y'all this cake was so good! Plus, when we went to pick it up, I wish I would have had a camera because EG put her little hands over her mouth and literally gasped when she saw it. It was exactly what she wanted! Yay! The best $10 I ever spent! =)

We spent the rest of the night playing. We will be partying some more on Saturday for her big party.

I love this child! Happy 3rd Birthday, sweet girl!

Last night, when I was getting her in bed, this was our conversation:

EG: "Momma, do you like honey bears?"
Me: "Yes, I do. I think they are cute. Do you like honey bears?"
EG: "No. I like rabbits and dogs and cats."
Me: "And horses?"
EG: "Uh huh. And horses."
Me: "I love you all the time."
EG: "I love you all the time. You're my best friend."
Me: "You're my best friend, too."
Followed by kisses and hugs. The perfect ending to the day. =)