Thursday, January 31, 2013

This and That . . .

My sewing machine and I have been very close lately. Between getting ready for a show, personal projects, projects for friends, and gifts there has been no shortage of quality time spent down in my craft area. Thankfully, the girls are at a good age for allowing me chunks of time to get things accomplished. That's not to say that I am not refereeing arguments  finding toys, and getting snack, but they do allow me to get things accomplished.

I have also been super motivated lately. That helps a ton. It is really amazing what you can all get done in the day if you just keep doing. As a stay at home parent it is easy to just get the basics done and not do anything else in the day. And some days that is what you need to do, but other days it is fun to see how many little items you can get checked off of those many to-do lists.

Peachy is so good at amusing herself. She is always creating and coming up with imaginative play. It is fun to see where that play takes her. She has had some really good sayings lately as well. The other day we were talking about when you get married and why. I of course told her you get married when you are a grown up and love someone so much you want to spend the rest of your lives together. She accepted that, but then countered with, "Or you can get married to get your kids." The other day while we were diving there was a school bus stopped in front of us. She wanted to know why we were stopped and I explained that it is the law to keep kids safe. We talked about how we wouldn't want to hit anyone with our van. "Well, they can always go to the doctor, though mom." Cause, you know, that would make it all better.
As for Cream, she is turning more into Cream everyday. Her favorite word is no. She will say it and say it and say it. I am sure it is because she hears it and hears it and hears it. She has been showing some interest in using the toilet lately. So far she just likes to sit on the special chair in the bathroom that she usually isn't allowed to play with. The other day though, I caught her in time to make her poop on the potty. One less diaper for me to change! She also found a pair of Cream's underwear sitting around recently. (Don't ask. It happens.) She actually got them on part way and really thought she was big stuff running around the house with them over her pants. This morning she was bound and determined to get her own pants on. She had the concept down, but just didn't quite have the coordination. If I so much as pulled them up an inch, she would yank them off and start all over all the while saying, "No. No. No." I think we are in big trouble with that one.
We had a couple of nice days at the beginning of the week. (Remember that nice for us means above zero!) It was calm and we got some fresh snow. Peachy loves playing out in the snow, but Cream not so much. Cream does enjoy being pulled around in the sled. And it is a good thing that she has a nice big sister that is willing to do that for a bit while momma shovels.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

If You Give a Mommy the Weekend Off . . .

If you give a mommy the weekend off, chances are that she will wave goodbye from the door with a smile on her face.
And after she waves goodbye she will just sit and enjoy the quiet for a little while.
When she has had enough quiet, she may venture to her favorite stores all by herself and buy things all for herself.
She will enjoy watching movies that her children and husband would not enjoy and eating treats whenever she feels like it without hiding behind the cupboards in the kitchen.
Hours will be spent doing what she loves without having to worry about changing a diaper or breaking up a fight.
And even though there is no one else home to keep her up, she may have a hard time sleeping at night and probably won't be able to sleep in long in the morning either.
Soon it will be time for her family to return and she will be waiting by the door waving hello with a smile on her face.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Foodie Friday: Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

It was one of those afternoons where I felt like baking. I didn't really plan on it, the mood just hit. I thought of some ingredients that I had in the cupboard and a quick Google search led me to this recipe at the Prepared Pantry. I had one problem. I only had one egg and the recipe called for two. Google search to the rescue again and I found out that half of a banana mashed in addition to 1 teaspoon of baking powder can be substituted for an egg. A little mixing, a little baking, and a while later I had these,  a tasty little concoction whipped up with items I already had.
If you would like to make some of your own just follow the recipe at Prepared Pantry, but substitute a half a mashed banana and 1 teaspoon baking powder for one of the eggs. :o)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What Peachy Wore Wednesday (IV)

Another week and another great dress-up outfit from our Peachster!
This picture was actually taken at Mr. Cherry's recommendation. And the pose is all Peachy. :o)
And after removing the tights from her legs, a head covering is born.
And now for the full body shot.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fabric Letters

As I was planning for Christmas, I was a bit stumped as to what to get for Cream. She is young enough that she wouldn't even notice whether she got anything big from us, but as a mom, her mom, I wanted to give her something special. With an older sister she doesn't really need any new toys, either. I ended up going with some new Melissa and Dough wooden puzzles. (Thanks Amazon daily deals.) I also gave her the typical of pajama, a tooth brush, and some books. Still nothing that special.

I finally came up with the idea of giving her a homemade fabric alphabet set. I had pinned this idea from the blog Happy Together. I used the pattern for the letters that Jessica has there, but I made the letters a little differently. (Sorry that I don't have any pictures. I need to get better at documenting projects as I do them.) I printed off the patterns for all of the letters and cut the letters out of from the printed paper. I looked through my scraps to find fabric pieces large enough for the project. (But not too large, I hate to use big pieces of fabric on little projects.) I traced each letter onto a pieces of fabric with a disappearing fabric marker. (I just did one at a time so that I could get it sewn before the marker disappeared. You could always use a water soluble marker and do more tracing at a time.) I then sandwiched a piece of batting between the traced letter and another piece of fabric that was large enough to cover the back of the letter. After a little pinning I used my machine to sew on the traced line. After sewing all 2 letters this way I took my pinking sheers and cut around each letter fairly close to the stitching. If there was a spot that I couldn't easily get into with my sheers, like the inside of the letter O, I just used regular scissors to trim that section.

And now Miss Cream has a happy little fabric alphabet set that she shares with her sister who like them as well.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Little Bit Smarter

(Please note, this is a post completely written on my own accord. Unfortunately I paid full price for my Nexus and was not at all compensated by Google. :o)
While I love technology, I don't always love the price tag that accompanies the latest techno gadgets. Mr. Cherry has a smart phone for work, but since we foot the bill for my own cell phone, I still have your basic "dumb phone." (Hey, until recently, I didn't have a full keyboard. I really have moved up in the world.)

Ever since the first tablets started to come out, I have had a serious case of techno envy. There is just something about the tablet convenience that appeals to me as a stay at home mom. If I need to look something up on the internet quickly, I could just grab my tablet. Up early in the morning with a crabby kid? With my trusty tablet at my side, I can wile away the early morning hours while rocking the babe.
I was sold on the tablet technology, but Mr. Cherry, not so much. Why would you want something as big as a laptop screen to hold on to? And that bulk doesn't come with extra computing capabilities. I have been trying to win him over to the tablet side for years now. Enter the Google Nexus. Leave it to a Google product to win both of us over. (While he will be the first to admit that Apple does what it does very, very well, that very, very large price tag is hard to swallow.)

When I started seeing ads pop up for the new Google mini-tablet, aka the Nexus 7, I was intrigued to say the least. I use many Google products everyday. Blogger, Gmail, You Tube, Google Reader. And a tablet that is meant to be used with wi-fi? Yes please. Our budget does not allow for a $100 data plan, thank you very much. I mentioned it to Mr. Cherry and he liked what he saw as well. The price, the Android base, and Google are were selling points along with the fact that it was of the mini variety.
After playing around with my father-in-law's Nexus over a weekend, we were both sold on the little device.
Now to wait and see what kind of deals would be offered for the tablet of my dreams. And, wait I did. I waited through Black Friday. I waited through after Christmas. I waited until this month to go out and purchase my Nexus. You see, it is such a nice starting price and there is such demand, that there really aren't that many deals out there. Essentially it is a good deal any old day. (In my humble, unbiased opinion.) So, out I went to Wal-Mart and picked up the toy I had been looking forward to owning for so many months.
You better believe that I bought a good case for my new toy, too. The Moko from Amazon seems to be working out well.Google Nexus 7 32GB Tablet NEXUS7ASUS- (Google Affiliate Ad)

And you know what? I love it. I am now the owner of a "smart" device and I do feel pretty smart. I use it for my calendar. I use it for meal planning and grocery shopping. I use it for reading, I even have a sample of the daily Bible that Mr. Cherry and I read from. I use it for email, Facebook, and Pinterest. I use it for working out and listening to music. In fact, I may use it a little too much. But it is so much fun to have the world of the internet at your fingertips. To have the latest book you are reading right there with you at all times.
Do I like my Google Nexus 7? Yes! Was it all that I thought it would be? Yes. Was it worth the wait? You bet! In the end is a tablet necessary? Nope. But it is a fun thing to add to my daily life.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Foodie Friday: BBQ Chicken Three Ways

This is a simple way to cook once on during the week and end up with at least three delicious meals. And even better, the first round of cooking is in the slow cooker!

Start by preparing pulled BBQ chicken. Here is how I do it, but feel free to do it however you normally would.

Pulled BBQ Chicken
1. Place 4-6 chicken breasts in slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper. Cover in BBQ sauce. I also like to add some sliced onions at this point.
2. Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on medium or low.
3. When chicken is cooked through, pull the breasts out of the cooker and shred it using two forks and pulling the pieces apart until they are the size you desire.
4. Drain the cooking liquid from the cooker and place your shredded chicken back in. Pour in more BBQ sauce until the chicken is moist.
5. You can either eat the chicken at this point or let it cook in the sauce a little longer.
Number 1
Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
1. Place the pulled chicken on buns. (I used pretzel roll sliders and they were delicious.) Add whatever condiments you desire. I like mustard and some hot sauce. Top with a slice of fresh mozzarella.
2. Toast the sandwich until the bread is lightly toasted and the cheese is melted.

Number 2
Pulled BBQ Chicken Pizza Braid

For the second meal I used this recipe from Red Tricycle for their BBQ Chicken Pizza Braid. I pretty much followed their recipe and used my standard pizza crust recipe.

Number 3
Pulled BBQ Chicken Salad
For the third meal I used this delicious recipe from I Heart Nap Time for BBQ Chicken Salad. I just ended up using ranch dressing that we had at home rather than making the one in the recipe, but it was still delicious.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What Peachy and Cream Wore Wednesday (III)

I am excited to bring you the third installment of what Peachy (and Cream) wore Wednesday. You can look back at some of Peachy's other fabulous ensembles here and here.
The dress up boxes have been getting hit hard in these last few weeks around here. I should make myself always have a camera at my side so I could document all of the girls' creations. Peachy is the definite leader in the dress up department, but Cream is a good student.
 In this first outfit, you will see Peachy modeling her Dora dress up outfit which she has chosen to layer with her petti-skirt in an unusual one shoulder look. The outfit is nicely accentuated with a puppy dog ear headband and pink high hell dress up shoes.
Our second look for the day is brought to you by Cream and her styling sense. Here she is wearing a star skirt over her one piece outfit. She has chosen to wear a baseball cap backward and over her eyes. Her accessories of choice are her father's belts worn draped over her shoulders.
I can see careers in fashion design in their futures. Watch for the Peachy and Cream line at a store near you in the year 2033.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Quick and Easy Gender Reveal

My friend, Janet, had her 20 week ultrasound in the beginning of December. We were all excited to fond out if she and her husband would be having another boy or a little girl. I made these fun pins for everyone to wear at our Christmas party.
I just did a quick Google images search and printed these off. I used my circle punch and my scallop circle punch to made each pin. Some hot glue to a pin back and we were set.
After everyone had made their choices, we all bit into the cake pops that Janet had brought along. (She already knew from the ultrasound.) We were all excited to see the blue inside of the cake pop!! Another boy!
Proud Momma J with her pin and cake pop.
 I just couldn't resist sharing this picture my friend snapped at the party. That is Janet's baby bump along with Tina's baby bump. Tina's bump is now an adorable, and little huge (she was almost 10 pounds when she was born!) girl, Isabella.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Little of the Peachster

This little girl that came into our hearts and lives over three years ago is growing up. A parent's job is a funny thing when you think about it. You are given these helpless creatures that you are entirely responsible for and asked to make them completely independent. All the while caring for every aspect of their life. If you do your job well, they will need you less and less every year and eventually you will essentially lose your job.

My "little girl" is growing up so fast and becoming such a fun girl. (But don't worry, when she is "ascared" or hurt, she still needs her momma.) She is utterly creative. It is so much fun to see the little drawings that she creates and watch her add more and more detail. She loves to sing and dance as well as play dress up. I love some of the outfits she comes up with out of the dress up bins. (I really need to get better at having a camera around to grab a picture of some of those fabulous frocks.)

She is also a dreamer. This has its pluses and minuses. There are so many times in the day that I have to encourage her to focus on the task at hand like getting ready to head out the door. However, she can  wile away the entire day in her own creative world of play.

We are currently taking a community family play class once a week and she absolutely loves it and looks forward to going to class all week long. She also is in Sunday School this year at our church. It is so enjoyable for Mr. Cherry and I to watch her faith grow along with her understanding of the Bible. No greater joy.
And one last Peachy story to close out this entry. The other night Mr. Cherry and I were debating whether Cream needed a diaper change. Peachy walked up to Cream, sniffed her bottom, and said, "Nope, she isn't stinky. She smells like marshmallows."

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cream: 16 months going on 3 Years

Oh my! Little baby Cream is no longer so little and no longer a baby, although I still like to call her "my baby." At the end of last month, she up and turned 16 months, but don't tell her that. I am pretty sure she thinks she is at least three years old if not older. My youngest little lady is full of spunk and can be as stubborn as they come. However, she is also full of affections and is often sweet as can be.
Over our Christmas trip she decided that she no longer wants mom or dad or anyone else to feed her. She can do it all by herself, thank you. And she does a pretty good job at it too.
She had been so sweetly saying "eese" (meaning please) when she wanted something. It was so much more pleasant than the grunting she had been tending toward. However, she must have decided that manners were overrated and now rarely says please, even when we try to make her before giving her something. She would much rather throw an all out fit than let that "eese" word pass between her lips.
She received her first baby doll for Christmas from her father and I. She was so excited to see a "baba" when she opened her package. She will walk around and pat her baby, feed her baby, and wrap her baby up in blankies. So sweet. In fact, later at Christmas, when her sister opened another gift containing a baby, she wouldn't let anyone continue with anything until that baby was out of the box. "Baba!" "Baba!" And is she sees a real baby, she will bend down and talk and talk to the little person. So darling.
She still loves to climb and will pull herself up onto almost anything. I can't imagine that it feels good on her ribs, but she is so determined. I do have to keep a careful eye on her.
And she is always pretty proud of herself when she reaches her goal. And despite all of her spunk, she will still demand to be picked up and cuddled by her momma. She will wrap her little arms around me and give a strong squeeze and add a little grunt in for emphasis. All of that love totally makes up for the little spitfire in her.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Party Mix Genius

Who doesn't love a good Chex Party Mix? And preparing it is just about as easy as it gets, especially if you get the little seasoning packet. Well, it just got a bit easier! Look what I found at the grocery store yesterday!
All three cereal varieties pre-measured into one box. Genius! And it came with the seasoning packet! No more left over bran cereal that lurks in your cupboard until it is thrown out. And at under $3 a box, not all that bad of a price either.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas Vacation 2012

Opening Christmas Jammies at home

Opening Christmas Jammies at Home
On the afternoon of Saturday, December 22 we loaded up the van and hit the road for Mr. Cherry's parents' house. We had celebrated Christmas with just the four of us the afternoon before.
Quiet Time with Grandpa
After spending some quiet time at grandma and grandpa's we headed for the airport Christmas Eve morning and flew to Denver. My sister and her husband are spending the year in a Denver suburb as he completes his internship/vicarship at a church there. Even though we couldn't all sit together on the plane, we had a good flight. I had Cream on my lap in the middle of two gentlemen. Thankfully they were both very kind and one was a father of 11 and 13 year old boys who were sitting in front of us. If I peaked through the seats I could see Mr. Cherry and Peachy enjoying the flight together. (They had so much fun that Peachy told me her favorite part of flying was not sitting by me. Ouch!) One of Mr. Cherry's brothers also lives in the Denver area and was able to lend us his Yukon for the duration of our stay. So nice to have a vehicle we were all comfortable in that could handle the Colorado roads. (And that we didn't have to pay to rent.)
Enjoying some time with Uncle J
My parents drove to Colorado and met us there a little later on Christmas Eve. Since Peachy was a bit wore out from a cold and the trip, she and Mr. Cherry took an afternoon nap together. Apparently after waking up and making it down stairs of my sister's condo she promptly threw up. It was back up to bed for her. While the rest of us made our way to Christmas Eve church, Mr. Cherry and Peachy stayed home. Thankfully she only threw up that one time and was feeling better quickly.
Peachy and Papa at the Cabin

We awoke to a lovely snow cover on Christmas Day and made our way through it to the Christmas church service. What a near blessing to be able to worship together as a family with one of the family leading the service!
Cream and Daddy at the Cabin

My brother-in-law's family was also able to join us for Christmas and together they made a delicious Christmas lunch after which we went to spend a couple of hours with Mr. Cherry's brother and girlfriend.
The next day it was time to pack up and head up into the mountains. My Aunt and Uncle live in Eagle, Colorado and rented a cabin at a state park for all of us for two nights. We have been going to this particular state park with them off and on for many years now.
All bundled up at the cabin

Despite some sickness and rough nights we all had a good time being together in the beauty of God's creation. There was sledding, snowshoeing, relaxing, and lots of good food. On Friday, we all packed up and headed down the mountain for our flight back. Cream was running a fever at this point and a bit on the cranky side. But she did pretty well on the flight. It helped that we were all able to be together without a lot of people around us.
Peachy enjoying the flight home

We spent the next three full days with Mr. Cherry's family for their Christmas celebration. In all there were 19 of us staying in the same house. It means some creative sleeping arrangements and table settings, but also lots of fun togetherness. Peachy was in heaven playing with her cousins whom she adores and who treat her so kindly.
Cream playing with cousin J
Cream was okay, but really only wanted me and if I wasn't available, Mr. Cherry. She ended up staying home from Sunday church and New Year's Eve church and was in her pajamas for family pictures.
After over a week of fun, it was time to pack up and head home.
Peachy jamming on one of her cousins' Paper Jams

All told we drove over 1000 miles and flew over 1400. Thank goodness for children who for the most part traveled well, airplanes, and favorable travel conditions. What a wonderful way to celebrate the best Christmas gift of all, our infant King, Jesus.
Mr. Cherry's family

Everyone minus one cousin and one grandma at the table