Google Analytics

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Baby Butts Drive Me Nuts

Why are rolls and dimples only cute on a baby?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Build a Bear Fashion Show

While we in Hays a few weeks ago, we went to a children's fashion show sponsored by one of the clothing stores and benefiting this charity. Since then, Ella has been obsessed with putting on her own fashion show. We actually got her talked down quite a bit. She had in mind a fashion show in the park, which she planned to promote by putting up signs around town and hand delivering personal invitations. She settled for a smaller show with Madeline after supper last Saturday.

With some help from Nathaniel, the girls set up chairs for everyone in front of the trampoline. They also prepared water and pink lemonade, which they sold for one cent per glass. (Luckily Banker Matt was on hand to buy a round as no one else had any money.)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rachael Ray's Best Basic Brownies

If you know me well at all, you know that I am a brownie freak. I love brownies to a degree that is just insane--only fudgelike brownies, though. I really don't get cakelike brownies. If you want something cakelike, eat cake...with lots of frosting. But if you want a little taste of heaven, make gooey, fudgy brownies (and then eat half the pan before they cool).

I have tons of incredible brownie recipes. (Ask Don Foster if you don't believe me. He's the only man I've ever met who loves chocolate as much as I do. Clint Stalker is his closest competition, but Don has him way beat. Only Don Foster could eat a pound of chocolate walnut espresso tiles while waiting for the UMW bazaar dinner to begin, and then come back for more. It makes me feel loved.) Most of my favorite brownie recipes, however, require fancy chocolate (which I don't always have on hand and can't buy in Satanta) or take a long time to make. (Like the one that's baked in hot water bath and then submerged in an ice water bath as soon as it's taken from the oven. The result is divine, but it's a lot of work.)

My new favorite brownie recipe for when you need chocolate and you need it now comes from Rachael Ray. Her Best Basic Brownie recipe is quick, easy, gooey, and delicious. It requires no fancy ingredients, and it's just plain good.

Here's the recipe (finally):

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 9 pan. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 sticks melted unsalted butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk in three eggs, one at a time. Stir in one cup unsweetened cocoa powder and one cup flour. Transfer the batter to the baking pan and bake until just set, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool and enjoy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Said No Texting, Young Lady

Emilia loves to play with Ryan's phone. I guess she's updating her status on Facebook?

First day of school

Ella starts first grade today. She's a little nervous, but also excited. Just for comparison, here are some pictures from the first and last days of school last year.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back to daycare

Today was Emilia's first day at Julie's. She cried most of the day and didn't sleep much at all. We hope tomorrow will be a better day.

Mommy's Little Helper

Monday, August 17, 2009

A few recipes

Here are some links to a few recipes I've tried in the past few days.

First, I made this yummy corn salsa from the Pioneer Woman. I made it with Brent's fresh sweet corn, but I think frozen corn would work (it would be good but perhaps not sublime). If you're looking for recipes or just looking to waste some time, PW's new online cooking community Tasty Kitchen looks like it has some good ones.

Vera Bradley also has some recipes online. I've tried the Southwestern Cornbread, Corn Salad, and Autumn Pasta Salad. They were all good, the salads especially. While you're on the Vera Bradley site, if you're looking for a gift for me because you love me so much, I'm really liking the Carnaby and Blue Rhapsody this season.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Still a busy girl....

This week Emilia learned to climb stairs (and she'll make a mad dash for them any chance she gets). She's also starting to stand on her own for longer stretches of time--you can see her standing in the picture with Ryan. She's been teething, so she's been a little grumpier than usual this week.

She's also showing her ornery side. Yesterday, we were shopping in Garden, and she crawled under a display of clothing. Ella tried to get her out, but she figured out how to move under the clothing rack to keep away from Big Sister.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ella performs "I Wuna Love You"

I know you've all been waiting for this..... here is a video of Ella performing her song, (insert drum roll here) "I Wuna Love You." I'm sure it will be available for download on i Tunes soon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back to School

This is our last week of summer. Next week Ryan and I go back to school for workdays on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then school starts on Thursday.

I think we're all ready to go back. Ella is looking forward to being in the first grade, and it looks like Mrs. Ploger will be her teacher, which thrills us. (We know Nicole won't put up with any of Ella's nonsense.)

Ryan and I will both be glad to have a little break from housework. I know it will still be there when we go back to school, but the more we're home, the more messes we make. Sometimes it seems like all we do in the summer is clean.

I know this sounds terrible, but I'm also looking forward to getting a little break from the girls. I just don't think I'm cut out to be a stay at home mom. Emilia's had such separation anxiety this summer, I really haven't been away from her much at all. Even when I teach water aerobics three days a week, she's waiting for me when I get home, and I usually don't even get to change out of my wet swimming suit before I have to hold her. When we were in Hays this weekend, I left her with my mom for a few short stretches while I went shopping (Thanks, Mom!), and it felt so freeing. I was actually able to find a few things to wear back to school. (It's kind of funny... I had much more luck shopping in Hays than I did in Amarillo, but I think it was because I couldn't really look in Amarillo with Emilia always on my hip.) On Sunday, Emilia fell asleep after church, so my mom stayed home with her while my dad, Ryan, Ella, and I went out to eat, and I realized it was the first meal I had eaten in months without having to wrestle Emilia. (Of course, going back to school won't help with that since I'll go feed her over my lunch break.) I love being with her and Ella, but at this point, going back to school really seems like a break--I know I won't feel the same way in a few months, though.

I am worried about sending Little Miss Separation Anxiety back to Julie, especially since she's become a problematic napper, but I'm worried more about Julie's sanity than Emilia's well being. Julie is wonderful, which makes things so much easier. I'm sure drop-offs will be rough for a while, but we'll all survive.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Creamy Mexican Corn Soup Recipe

This recipe was included with some kitchen utensils in one of my wedding gifts, and I make it every summer when we have fresh corn. It is delicious!

1 C. chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
3 T. butter
1 tsp. ground coriander (I didn't have this last time I made it, so I just left it out)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 T minced green chilies (I just use a small can)
1 1/2 C. chopped fresh tomatoes
2 C. diced potatoes
1/2 C. chopped green pepper
1/2 C. chopped red pepper (I frequently just use one green pepper and no red pepper)
2 C. vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups fresh corn, cut off the cob
1 C. milk
1 C. shredded cheese (I usually use cheddar-jack)
2-3 T. sour cream

Garnishes: chopped jalepeno, scallions, roasted red peppers, sour cream, cheese, corn chips

In a soup pot, saute onions in butter until very soft. Add garlic, coriander, cumin, and chilies. Saute two minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until juicy. Add potatoes, bell peppers, and broth. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender. Add corn and heat thoroughly. In blender, puree half of the soup with milk and cheese. Stir puree back into soup pot. (I just use an immersion blender and puree about half the mixture right in the soup pot.) Add sour cream, salt and pepper to taste. Heat slowly until soup is hot but not boiling. Serve with garnishes on the side.

The recipe says it serves 6, but I usually get more servings out of one recipe.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Water fun

While we are at my parents' house, Emilia kept trying to get into the dog's water dish. Finally, my mom filled up a tub with water for Emilia to play in. Of course, Ella couldn't be left out, so she joined the fun.

Sad Little Mommies

While Ella was visiting my parents this week (I'll post more on that later), they visited a farm, from which Ella got to take home several eggs. I'm not sure what kind of eggs they all were. Ella says one was a guinea egg and one was an ostrich egg, but who knows how reliable she is. Anyway, she and Ava became little mommies today. Here they are with their babies (the eggs) strapped to them.
Then they put their babies in the stroller, but unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of that.

Sadly, the bliss of motherhood was cut short as Ella's baby met an early demise....

on the floor.

It was disgusting. There was blood, and I think I could see a little birdie beak. I didn't do any close investigating-- I made Ella clean it up. Natural consequences, right?

In the words of Ava, "Now we're sad little mommies."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A nickname for Emilia

When we picked Emilia's name (because it was pretty much the only name we both liked, especially after the emergence of Sarah Palin blew "Sarah" out of the running), we anticipated nicknaming her "Mia." So far it hasn't happened. She just hasn't really looked like a Mia (I think because she's so chubby--in my mind, a Mia is more delicate than our chunk of loving).

Emilia currently has two nicknames. Many of our friends call her "Millilla" or "Uh-millilla" (not sure how to spell those), which originated from Caylee Good's difficulty pronouncing Emilia's name early on. (Caylee has since learned how to pronounce Emilia's name, but the nickname has stuck.) Ryan and I also have a tendency to drop the first syllable of her name, calling her "Meel-ya" (again, not sure about the spelling of that). This is really not that attractive, but we're kind of lazy, and we got spoiled with the shortness of Ella's name.

Neither "Millilla" or "Meelya" cuts it as the sort of nickname one can take to preschool, so (with some prodding from Grandma Apple) we've decided to make the effort to start calling Emilia "Mia" so that we have some choice in her nickname. I figure she's probably going to wind up with a nickname, and I'd rather it be "Mia" than some of the other options.

All of this got me thinking about naming in general. Ryan and I really struggled to find a name for Emilia, partially because we had trouble agreeing on a name (Ryan thinks my choices are too weird or too old lady), but also because so many of the names we like are so gosh-darn popular. We considered "Abigail," "Olivia," and "Sophia," all of which are on the top 10 list at Of course, "Ella" is right up there at number 10, and when combined with the spelling "Amelia," "Emilia" is number 11.

Neither "Ella" or "Emilia" were that popular when we chose those names for our children. Maybe we're just trendsetters. Or maybe we're just in tune with trends? Wired magazine has an interesting article about how parents choose names that sound similar to other popular names. (The name "Ella" is actually used as an example in the article, as is "Ava," which is the name of one of Ella's good friends). Our choice of names really would support this theory, as "Ella" and "Emilia" are both very similar to "Emily," which was the most popular girl name for years, and "Emma," which is now number one on many lists.

Even Mia is right up there on many popularity lists. I guess we're just really not creative at all, huh?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ella's Song Lyrics

Ella has written a song all by herself. Here are the lyrics (her spellings):

"I Wuna Love You"

Be in love.
Be in love.
Be in love.
I feel the love in my hart.
We are prfict togethr.
I love you.
This is love.
Bleev me.
I love you.
I love you.
We ar in love.
My hart is in love with you.

Happy Birthday, Hunter

My youngest nephew Hunter(isn't he a cutie?) turned two this past week, and we had his party last night in Rolla. He's really into horses, so his babysitter's husband brought in a horse for all the kids to ride.

We brought Ava along for the party. We got to Rolla early enough to go swimming with Stacy, Ashton, and Hunter. Emilia loves the water, but she was completely uninterested in the fancy flotation device Brandi gave us--she just wanted me to hold her.

Ella's such a strange child. She had no fear when we went to Splash Amarillo and Wonderland last week, but yesterday, when some of the kids at the pool put noodles over the end of the waterslide, she completely freaked out, started crying, and refused to go down the slide. Explain, please....

We were just about to head home after the party when Ryan heard on the radio that residents of Satanta were advised to take cover due to a tornado. Ryan called Leanne, who was in the basement. We waited until we thought the storm had passed and hit the road. We saw an incredible light show to the south but didn't drive through any bad weather at all. And apparently the tornado in Satanta didn't do any damage. I think all of Satanta must have been out watching it judging by the number of pictures I've seen on Facebook.