Monday, October 7, 2013

Back To Reality...

Well now that the cooler days and chilly nights are slowly moving in, I am hoping to get back to the world of blogging.  I did very little of that over the summer as you can see.  It was a busy summer, but over all a good summer.  Ava wrapped up her softball season in July and with that we went almost right into cheer leading and all the practices for that.  Ava finally lost her first tooth on July 16th.  One year to the day of my Step-Dad's (her Poppy) passing.  She thought that was pretty neat because of the timing.  I told her, he was giving her something to celebrate.  So, she eagerly anticipated the arrival of the tooth fairy for the first time.  She has since lost 2 more teeth and has a couple more that are loose.  I tease her and tell her if she keeps losing all these teeth so quickly together she won't be able to eat a whole lot.  lol    


Ava turned 8 in mid-August.  She had a great birthday.  We went to dinner at Texas Roadhouse with family the night of her birthday and then afterwards I took Ava and my two oldest nieces to the mall and spent a small fortune there on all three girls.  lol She had a party with her friends the following weekend and anyone with little girls probably knows all about the store Justice and she received a lot of gift cards from there. I turned 3-ahem-6 the day after Ava's birthday. 40 is definitely staring me right in the face.  Though I have to say, I do not even feel close to 40 at all.  School started in mid August as well around here, and she is now in 3rd Grade.  She has yet another awesome teacher.  We have really lucked out with her getting great teachers every year. Our weekends have been busy with Ava cheering at the JFL games and also going to watch my nephew play for his school's JFL team.  He is a really good player and he loves playing.  He plays on both defense and offense.  It is so cool hearing him make plays and then hearing the announcer say his name and jersey number over the speaker.  He definitely makes us proud.  Yesterday was the last of the JFL football season for Ava's school/team and the team of JFL playesr she cheered for played awesome. They only lost one game and to another school that was undefeated as well.  Can't wait to watch these boys continue to play and the girls continue to cheer.  We have a banquet tomorrow to go to for the players and cheerleaders. 


Now, we have a couple weeks off and then we will be heading into basketball for Ava.  This will be the first year they are allowed to play and really it isn't competitive yet, but it is more like learning the game, preparing them for when they do play competitive play.  So this year they will be playing against each other, none-the-less, Ava is so excited for basketball to start.  She is also wanting to give volleyball a try once she is old enough to play that.  She definitely keeps me busy with all the stuff she is trying out.  I figure she can just try these things now and then find a couple sports she likes the best and we will stick with just a couple things and she can concentrate on those things.  She is also doing Girl Scouts but that is just every other week.  I was on the fence of letting her do Girl Scouts this year, but we will see what happens this year with how busy we are and if Ava still wants to do it after this year is over. 


I definitely feel like we are constantly on the go and it kind of makes me thankful I only have one child. Especially when I have nieces and nephews who also keep me busy with the things they do.  But I wouldn't want it any other way.  Well hopefully I won't be such a slacker when it comes to blogging more frequently. This weekend we have a family get together and are having a bonfire.  My cousin Megan is missing her family (she left for her first year of college in August) and she will be there.  I cannot wait to see her this weekend.  Should be a fun time for all of us and especially all the kids that will be there!  :) I have to say, I love coming from a family that has a lot of people in it.  Especially since we actually get along so well.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Throwback Thursday

We just passed the one year anniversary of the passing of my wonderful step-dad Dan.  This past year has been difficult to say the least, and one year later we still miss him dearly and think of him every day.  Our lives have been changed in knowing him and in having to say good-bye much too soon.  We love and miss you. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

She lost it...

This past Tuesday Ava finally and I really do mean finally, lost her first tooth!  That's right I said her FIRST tooth.  I was hoping she would lose one over the summer, and also before her 8th birthday at that. We just got in under the wire with less than a month to go until she turns 8. 

There was a lot of wiggling going on and she was determined to get this tooth out on her own.  She would not let me pull it at all.  On Monday night, we spent literally a few hours wiggling it back and forth and this tooth was so loose.  Finally we called it a night and decided we would give it a go again on Tuesday.  Well Tuesday morning she wakes up and it came out all on it's own!  Talk about one excited little girl.  She was even more excited because she lost that tooth before her 5 year old cousin could lose a tooth of her own.  lol  Oh the drama that would have ensued had Olivia lost a tooth before her.  :)

Tuesday night she was so excited for the "tooth fairy" to make her arrival, she could barely sleep, and getting Ava to sleep was quite an event because she would lay there but just couldn't quite fall asleep.  All I know is the tooth fairy was getting quite tired waiting on her to fall asleep.  Thankfully the tooth fairy was able to sneak in, leave some money and grab the tooth without waking her up!  Whew!  

Now here we are a few days later and this kid has three other teeth that are a bit loose.  Not completely or extremely wiggly, but I am pretty sure they will be out in the next couple weeks.  We may have to start a soft foods diet with the lack of teeth she is going to have.  lol  Wonder what her 3rd grade photos are going to look like this year.  lol 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Popping In...

to say hello.  I've been pretty quiet in the blogging world lately.  Life has been busy.  This past week and next week, we have some down time before cheer leading practices start up for Ava.  She had her last game a week ago.

Ava's team had an awesome season for the games we were able to play, that didn't end up being rained out!  We had several of rained out games too.  We had one game (with our other softball team) that was a close game and they gave us a good run, but for the rest of the games, we dominated this year though and remained undefeated.  Our girls were definitely unstoppable this season and for as few practices as we were able to get in, it just amazes me how well they played together and how much better they got as the season progressed.  We were all a bit sad to see our season end though.  We are definitely looking forward to next season.  Fingers crossed these girls can stay together because they are only going to get better and better over time. 

These girls definitely meant business when they were up to bat or on the field.  

Giving every game all they had to give.  They also had awesome coaches this year too.  And we hope they have the same ones next year.  

I have dozens and dozens of photos to edit from this season and am about half way done is all.  I think Ava will have a scrapbook full of just softball photos from this season.  


Since we have two weeks in between her last softball game and the start of cheer leading practice we are trying to enjoy a little down time and relaxing around here.  We have been on the go a ton this summer with games. School officially starts back in 4 weeks for us.  :(  It makes me a bit sad to think we do not have a lot of time left and I know these next 4 weeks are going to be busy for us with practice, back to school shopping, and her 8th birthday coming up in August too.  My calendar is filling up with photo sessions too and that is keeping me quite busy as well.  I have a newborn session and another baseball team I am editing right now and then I need to finish up Ava's softball team photos.  

I hope your summer has been an enjoyable one so far!  We have definitely been enjoying ours quite a bit.  :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Take Me Out To The Ball Game...

Take me out with the crowd, Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack, I don't care if I never get BACK!  Let me root, root, root for the "Cardinals", If they don't win, it's a shame! For it's one, two, three strikes you're out, at the old ball game!


This is where you will find us a couple days a week at least!  And this week is no different, except Ava and her team have a tournament this weekend, so we will be at a ball park even more this week. Which is just fine with me.  Ava has a fantastic coach this year and the girls on her team are playing amazingly well.  As a parent, I could not be more proud of how much she has grown already and having only a few practices under their belt because of the rain we've had this year.  I am just amazed! 



 These girls are just fierce and ready to take on whatever their opponents want to give them.  The girls definitely have a "Bring It" mentality and attitude. But they are great kids because if a kid gets out or gets hurt or anything, they step up and rally around them offering support and encouragement or show their concern.  







As you can see from the photos, these girls take this game seriously.  They are not afraid of a challenge and they lay it all out there.  I cannot wait to see what the rest of the season brings for these girls...and the coming years for that matter.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Ava & her Poppy!  These two were inseparable when they were together.  He was the best Poppy a child could ever wish to have.  We miss him every day, but so grateful for the time we had and for the wonderful memories made while we had him here. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Busy!

The last couple weeks have been over the top busy around here.  I've had little time to spend on personal things online and that obviously includes my blog.  I think there are days, sometimes even weeks, where I feel like I could use an extra few hours a day, but more than likely we would just stretch ourselves even thinner than we already do.  Ava has had games and practices.  I've had work.  I've had photo sessions too.  I've had kids and more kids sleeping over than I can already count.  We have just been on the go.  And realizing there is no end in sight for our busyness to slow down, I've decided to take a temporary leave of at least posting the weekly menu and will resume it again once school starts back up and we return more to a normal schedule.  I know last week I didn't get a post up of the Throwback Thursday, but I have a few scheduled in advance for the next few weeks.  

With how busy we've been I have to say we are enjoying our summer so far.  We have been making plans for a couple shorter trips for the summer.  Ava has so much going on with softball and once that is over, a couple weeks later she starts cheerleading practice which takes us up until school starts and we will busy with games, school, and all that comes with that.  We have made it to the pool a couple times.  The weather here in Illinois has still been pretty crazy.  It reached like 99 degrees today and tomorrow it is supposed to only be like 80 for the high.  Crazy weather.  We hope you are enjoying your summer so far.  I do love not having to fit school into our schedule right now.  So glad about that!  :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Throwback Thursday

A rare moment of my sister giving me a kiss when we were little.  This was one of my Mom's favorite pictures of us.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What's On The Menu?

I hope you enjoyed your Memorial Day and were able to take a minute to reflect on why we celebrate this holiday or perhaps even remember a loved on who has served or is serving our country right now, protecting our freedom and the things we hold dear.  Yesterday was pretty low key for us.  We hung out playing Legos and Ava received a new microscope from a friend of mine, so we played with that.  It's been years (and I do mean years lol) since I've used a microscope.  We looked at tons of things under the microscope and had so much fun.  We had some crazy storms pass through our way yesterday.  Lots of broken and uprooted trees and downed signs, lights, etc.  Our power went in and out for awhile, but we were pretty lucky because we had power all afternoon and evening.  Other neighborhoods right around us and even two blocks away were not so lucky.  No tornado sirens went off around here, but we took shelter for a bit because it was pretty bad out.  Crazy Illinois weather.  We didn't make it to the pool one because the last several days have been cold and the water wasn't warm enough and the weather obviously didn't cooperate with us anyway.  However it is in the upper 80's this week, so I think we will get to the pool sometime this week.  Ava has games today and Thursday.  I don't think the game will happen today because we had so much rain and quite a bit of flooded areas and we are due for more rain today too.  So fingers crossed we have a game on Thursday at least!  We are starting our first full week of Summer vacation and my schedule feels really off, but in a good way.  lol  So glad to not have the routine of school.  I have several photos to post hopefully this week of Ava and some of her friends on the last day of school.  Hopefully I'll get a blog post up this week about that.  It was a fun day for sure.  Anyway on to this weeks menu.
  • Crockpot Chicken Casserole, mashed potatoes, and vegetable
  • Cheeseburgers, tater tots, and fresh vegetables
  • Taco Salad
  •  Sesame Chicken and rice
Have a wonderful week ahead!  :)

Monday, May 27, 2013

May We Always Remember...

Digi Stamps by The Saturated Canary.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Throwback Thursday...

Today is Ava's last day of 2nd Grade.  I have no idea where the time has gone, because I feel like I just sent her to school for the very first time, not that long ago.  The above photo is from her very first day of Pre-K.  She was 4 in this photo and she is now soon to be 8 in a couple months.  It truly seems just like yesterday.  I cannot believe I am soon to have a 3rd grader.  Thank you to Ava's amazing teacher Mr. Gus and her wonderful school, for yet again another fabulous school year.  I could not be happier with the all the teachers Ava has had.  She is receiving an outstanding education from very dedicated, inspiring, encouraging, and loving teachers.  We could not be more blessed.  :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

What's On The Menu?

Oh my I am having a hard time getting with it this morning.  Just one of those tired kind of Monday's.  We had a super busy weekend and it is definitely catching up with me today!  Friday after work, Ava had softball practice, then we went out to dinner, and then to the mall to do some shopping and Ava also picked out a few gifts for her best friend's birthday on Saturday.  Saturday, we were up early, busy doing things around the house, I made Lilly (Ava's Best Friend) a card, then off to the birthday party.  After dropping Ava off for the party, ran more errands.  Then, it was time to pick her up from the party.  We had a graduation party to go to for my cousin's oldest daughter that was about an hour away.  What a fun party it was.  They even had a DJ so there was lots of dancing to be had.  Yesterday, we woke up pretty early once again and ended up going out to breakfast at Charlie Parker's. If you live or are traveling through Central Illinois, you should try this place!  It's about 45 minutes from where we live, but worth the drive over for breakfast or lunch even.  After breakfast, we did some shopping.  Ava ended up with quite a few new clothes and two new swimsuits for the season and several pairs of flip flops.  We were supposed to have softball practice yesterday, but it was cancelled and I have to say this tired Mom, was pretty happy about that.  When we got home yesterday, we did practice some outside minus hitting the ball, because I really didn't feel like testing our luck on not breaking a window or something.  :) 

Now for this week...today Ava took cookies and juice to school to celebrate her "summer birthday".  She was so excited for that. This is our last week of school and it is only a 4 day week.  Woo Hoo!  :)  Tomorrow, Ava has park day at school, where they get to walk about 2 1/2 - 3 blocks to the park and play all day and even have a picnic lunch at the park.  I don't remember doing these kinds of fun things when I was in school.  lol  We are also supposed to have Ava's first official softball game of the season on Tuesday evening as well.  Weather permitting...and guess what?!?!  Rain is in our forecast for tomorrow.  And not just rain, thunderstorms actually.  Not a whole lot going on for Wednesday.  Thursday, the last day of school and Ava is out at 1:50.  I'll meet her for lunch on Thursday and then after school she has her friend Lilly coming home after school with us to hang out.  So I need to get busy planning something fun to do for the last day of school.  Last year we did ice cream sundaes on the last day, at the park after school with several of Ava's friends.  Ava has a game Thursday evening and she is supposed to have Girl Scouts, but since most of her team is Girl Scouts and her leader is one of the coaches, I don't think we will be having Girl Scouts.  Friday, a day of relaxing (I hope) and enjoying not having to wake up so early (I hope for that as well).  Ava and I need to sit down and plan out our Not So Bummer Summer activities and journal for this summer as well.  Maybe we will do that on Friday.  Nothing major planned over the weekend.  And Sunday we have a graduation to go to and possibly Ava's teams softball photos.  As for this week's menu, I think we will keep it fairly simple.  Here is this week's menu below:
  • Loaded cheesy fries and vegetable
  • Breakfast for dinner - Stuffed French Toast, Turkey Bacon, and fresh fruit
  • Three Cheese Chicken Alfredo Bake & Salad
  • Chicken Nuggets, tater tots, mac & cheese, and vegetable
  • Pizza Bread & Salad
So what's your week looking like?  Has the school year ended where you live?  Now that summer is here for us I am just planning a Monday - Friday menu.  Weekends we tend to grill out more or hang out with friends and have cookouts with them.  So for the summer I am just going to plan meals during the week. :)  Have a great week ahead!  :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Since this past Sunday was Mother's Day, I thought I'd post another favorite photo of my Mom.  I have carried around this photo in my purse for years.  It is truly one of my favorite photos of her. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Finally...

Yesterday,  the weather finally cooperated with us enough to get part I of this lovely young lady's Senior Session done.  Finally. 

After being rained out twice.  We got these part done in the nick of time too because we have rain in the forecast for the next 6 days or so.  Everything is pretty green outside right now at least and pretty colorful.  

She has such a pretty smile and she smiled so easily.  When asked to pose she stayed so still too.  These are just a few from the first session. 

Part II will hopefully be done in the next week or two.  She had a slight malfunction with the dress she had chosen, and she really wanted some photos with a dress, so we opted for a part II.  Now we just have to see what the weather decides to do on how soon part II can be done.  :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

What's On The Menu?

Summer vacation is almost here for Ava and I could not be more thrilled.  We have a week and a half left of school and we are both so very ready.  I'm ready to not have an alarm clock wake us up nearly as early as it has been for the past 9 months!  lol  I am ready for the freedom that summer brings of not having to be home during the week at a certain time, so Ava can be in bed at a decent time for school the next day.  I am ready for time at the pool (if this weather ever warms up enough and stays like that for more than a couple days at a time).  I am ready for trips to the park and picnics.  I am ready for softball games to start, since most of our practices keep getting rained out.  I'm ready for evenings of fun and no homework.  :)  I am ready for more relaxing days ahead for the next 3 months!  This week though we are pretty busy. We have softball practice a few times this week.  Ava has a birthday party for one of her best friends. I have a photo session to do.  I have work. We have a graduation party to go to as well.  On top of anything else that gets thrown in this week.  I need to meet Ava for lunch at her school, as well. So with all we have going on, we will be do some easy meals this week and I am even going to opt out of cooking on Friday and Saturday the graduation party we are going to is serving dinner.  So here's the weekly menu:
  • Cheeseburgers, waffle cut fries, & salad
  • Corn Dogs, chips, and fresh vegetables with Ranch dressing (Ava's request)
  • Italian Subs
  • White Chicken Enchiladas 
  • Dinner out
  • Graduation Party...yeah no cooking for me!  
So what are you looking forward to this summer?  I also love that the days are longer and there is just more fun things to do and enjoy!  Enjoy your week ahead!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I have many favorite photos of Ava, but this one always brings a smile to my face. We were at my Mom's house one afternoon and Ava was being really quiet and good.  As any Mom knows, that means time to investigate what they are up too.  Well Ava managed to get the doughnut box off the dining room table and was hiding behind the sofa enjoying a huge doughnut covered in sprinkles. She had sprinkles everywhere!  Of course, I had to get a picture and she has that "what is there a problem?" expression too.  lol  She was in Krispy Kreme heaven.  :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Movie Review - Lincoln

Do you love history? Do you love American History? Then this would probably be a movie you'd love as well.  This film was directed and produced by Steven Spielberg with a stellar cast including Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, Sally Fields as Mary Todd Lincoln as well as several other Hollywood well known actors such as Tommy Lee Jones, Hal Holbrook, James Spader & David Strathairn.  This film covers Lincoln's dedication and passion for passing the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery but passing this before the end of the Civil War which they are hoping to end within a month.  Daniel Day-Lewis does an amazing job portraying Lincoln.  From the stories history has handed down of Lincoln, generation after generation, it is like having a one on one experience with Lincoln and fits the image you conjure up of Lincoln in your mind. 


He was a man of great personal conviction.  An honest man that believed in equality for all. He lived a life of strong values and morals.If you are a fan of history and a fan of our nations 16th President I think this is a must see. 

What's On The Menu?

This past week I think went by even faster than last week and the weekend was quite a blur too.  I worked quite a bit this past week.  Ava has practice twice this week.  The practice on Friday was cancelled due to rain (yet again).  In fact it rained most of our weekend, but still had practice on yesterday.  It was cut short due to rain, but at least we were able to get in a little over an hour of practice.  I'm pretty grossed out by the earthworms all over sidewalks and parking lots though.  lol  Creepy!  We are due for more rain throughout the week too, but hopefully we will get to have our practices like we are supposed to this week.  Ava also has her class field trip on Wednesday and it's an outdoor field trip, so I hope it stays nice out with no rain so all the kids can enjoy themselves. My Senior session was rained out last week and it looks like the ground is too muddy and soaked today as well.  We will see what happens with later in the week and if we can reschedule it.  I have several sessions on the books, but the weather isn't all that cooperative right now.  lol  Oh Mother Nature!  Another busy week ahead though with Ava's softball practices, Girl Scouts, and just every day life such as work and of course household chores.  This week is also Teacher Appreciation week and yet again Ava was blessed with an amazing teacher for the year.  We have had some of the most amazing teachers for Ava each year she has been in school and I truly feel so blessed that Ava has had such incredible teachers the last 4 years.  So this week I will be putting together a Teacher Appreciation gift for her teacher. I definitely have plenty of things to keep me busy this week.  As for this weeks menu it's below.  :)
  • Salisbury Steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, and vegetable
  • Crispy Chicken with creamy Italian sauce served over pasta, garlic bread, and salad
  • Taco salad and salsa & chips
  • Loaded baked potato and chicken casserole
  • Dinner out
  • Oven baked fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, and corn on the cob
Have a wonderful week ahead!  :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Throwback Thursday


August 1977 - My Mom, my sister and me. My first week home from the hospital.  My Mom definitely had her hands full since my sister and I are only 13 months apart.  :)

Monday, April 29, 2013

What's On The Menu?

Where did the weekend go already?  Actually the last week for that matter.  It's been non-stop on the go it seems this past week.  However, we had a good week overall.  This weekend flew by.  Ava had softball practice on Friday and then afterwards she stayed overnight at one of her best friends.  Saturday Ava came home and had her friend over for a couple hours to play.  After that we were off to my nephew's bowling party.  All the kids had a great time doing that.  We ended up having my niece sleep over so she wouldn't be stuck at home with her brothers and several of their friends.  So we stopped at the Redbox on the way home and picked up some movies and a Wii game.  Sunday was a day of playing inside for the girls.  It rained here all weekend long, so it was a weekend of indoor type activities.  Alyssa ended up leaving around 6:45 and then it was time for Ava to practice her spelling words, get a shower and then not long after that bedtime.  I am so excited that we only have 3 weeks left of school.  I wish the weather would feel more like Spring than it has.  Over the next couple days we have weather in the 70's and 80's even, but then after Wednesday our temps start to drop into the mid-50's again.  What's the weather like where you are?  As finicky as the weather we are having in Illinois?  This week we have more softball practice (weather permitting), I have a couple photo sessions to do, but not much else other than that and of course work, but that's a given.  I've started doing some spring cleaning (slow going this year lol) and I am hoping to get more of that done this week too.  Here is this week's menu.  
  •  Steak topped with blue cheese, baked potato, and salad
  •  Chicken Enchiladas and spanish rice
  •  Goulash, garlic bread, and salad
  •  Chicken noodles, mashed potatoes, and green beans
  •  Pizza bread 
  •  Monterey Chicken, garlic and rosemary smashed potatoes, and salad
Have a wonderful week ahead!  :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Throwback Thursday

My three nephews (L to R) Jordan, Kylar, and Austin.  This photo was taken a little over 7 years ago. Jordan was 3 1/2 years old.  Kylar was 8 years old and Austin was 5 years old.  They were close then, and still are to this day. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Softball Practice...Finally!

Finally this past Sunday, Ava and her teammates were able to get on the field for their first practice of the season.  Finally!!!!  The last 3 practices have been cancelled due to the crazy weather we've been having across the Midwest! So glad we are not diving head first into the season without any practices at all.

Last year the practices lasted only an hour.  This year the practice is 2 hours long.  That made me a bit leery since I wasn't sure the girls would be able to hold out for 2 whole hours, but they all did great.  No complaining or whining that they were tired and they only had like a 3 minute break to get a drink and then back out on the field they went.  And they had fun the whole time too. Which is equally important! lol   

Several of Ava's friends are on her team and perhaps that is what makes it the most fun of all for them.  We are moving the practices from Tuesday to Sunday instead, so our next practice (weather permitting) is Friday. So it is pretty much softball practice most of the weekend for us.  :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

What's On The Menu?

A brand new week and the last full week of April.  I can't believe we are almost done with April. Happy Earth Day today!  Any special plans or projects for today?  Since we are still dealing with pretty cold temperatures at night we won't be planting anything just yet, but we will discuss how we can take better care of the Earth, what we are doing to help the environment already, and go to the small walking park down the street to pick up any litter.  Afterwards we will have a picnic for dinner at the park.  Another busy week ahead for us. We finally were able to have a softball practice yesterday.  Ava was so excited.  Several of the girls on her team are also part of her Girl Scout troop and her friends.  So that makes for an even more exciting season.  She did really good for her first practice.  So we are excited to see what this season brings.  :) Ava has softball practice on Tuesday (hopefully?!?!). We have rain in the forecast again on Tuesday, so keeping our fingers crossed she actually does have practice.  We've had so much rain around here lately it's just crazy.  My nephew Austin's birthday is on Wednesday.  He is turning 12.  Thursday, Ava has Girl Scouts and Friday we are supposed to have softball practice. Saturday we do not have anything yet on the calendar.  Sunday we have softball practice for 2 hours if the weather cooperates.  Hopefully, I find some extra time this week to get back to my sisters house and continue on with the endless scraping of paint off her stone foundation.  Weather permitting of course.  Keeping this week's menu fairly simple this week since we have a full schedule.  
  • Club Sandwiches, fresh veggies and dip, fresh fruit
  • Loaded Nachos 
  • Dinner out on Wednesday 
  • Italian Chicken, baked potatoes, and salad
  • Roast, carrots, and potatoes
  • Brat burgers, macaroni and cheese, waffle fries, and vegetable
And that is what this menu is planned to look like this week.  :)  Have a wonderful week ahead!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Throwback Thursday...

Going back 30 years for this one!  Eek! What was my Mom thinking dressing me like that.  lol

Monday, April 15, 2013

What's On The Menu?

So sad to see the weekend end.  It was a great weekend overall for us.  Ava's first softball practice was cancelled on Friday due to the weather, but we had my niece over for a sleepover instead.  I got in lots of time holding my niece Aliyah this weekend too.  Which makes the weekend pretty darn great.  We went to my brother and sister-in-laws for dinner on Saturday night and the kids had a great time playing with each other.  Then Sunday we were at my sister's house.  She cooked on the grill for lunch.  The kids played.  My niece Olivia is learning to ride without training wheels.  She only needs you to hold the bike up long enough for her to get her balance and her feet on the pedals and she is good to go.  She doesn't go too far yet before stopping, but by the end of the week I think she is going to have it.  She keeps telling herself "I can do it, I can do it".  It's too cute!  We ended up even having dinner at my sisters house since we were there literally all day.  I ended up scraping more of the paint off her stone foundation as well yesterday, so hopefully in the next few weeks we can have it all scraped and painted.  lol  Wishful thinking, I think to have it done in the next few weeks.  This week we are supposed to have rain all week long.  Ava is supposed to have softball practice on Tuesday and Friday, but if the forecast holds true, it looks like both practices will be cancelled.  I hope we get in some practice time before our first game.  Eeek.  Not too much on the schedule this week.  Ava gets out of school early on Wednesday because it is mid-term for the quarter.  Can't believe we only have about 4 1/2 weeks of school left.  We are both excited about that.  My oldest brother's birthday is this week and he turns 38.Overall though a pretty laid back week, especially if our softball practices get cancelled.  Onto this weeks menu:
  • Italian Beef Sandwiches, Greek Salad, Hash brown casserole, and green beans
  • Grilled Turkey Sandwiches, baked seasoned french fries, fresh veggies and dip
  • Chicken Quesadillas and salsa and chips
  • Baked BBQ Chicken, pasta salad, fried potatoes, and corn on the cob
  • Pizza and salad
  • Bacon and Blue cheese burgers, macaroni & cheese, and salad
Enjoy your week ahead!  :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Aliyah...

Can't believe she is 2 weeks old today!  I took this photo of her last night and she wasn't going to let me have her pacifier for anything.  She still melts my heart though.  Love her to pieces.  :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Throwback Thursday...

 Throwback Thursday is all about posting a photo of the past. So here we go.  :)

This is one of my favorite photos of my Mom.  She was about 20 years old when this photo was taken. My biological Dad took this photo of her.  I'd love to know what she was thinking or even looking at when he took this photo of her. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

What's On The Menu?

Wasn't it just Monday like 2 days ago.  lol The weeks are just flying by and ours has just gotten busier with one simple little e-mail I received on Saturday.  Softball practices start for Ava.  My calendar is pretty full now and we are only starting the 2nd week of April.  We have softball practice now on Tuesday and Friday evenings. Ava has Girl Scouts on Thursday evening.  I have a couple photo sessions lined up this week, as well.  One being my niece who I am super excited to try to photograph since she is a newborn!  She will be the youngest one I've ever photographed.  The forecast has us set up for some crazy thunderstorms and rain this week.  We are in the low to mid 70's early in the week, but by Friday our high is around 46 degrees.  Mother Nature seems to be in quite a mood this Spring.  lol  If the weather isn't too crazy with rain though, it looks like I will be spending quite a bit of time at my sisters house this week continuing to help her scrape the paint off the stone on her house.  We started on Friday and it looks like we barely made a dent in it.  Talk about an upper body work out.  We were both super sore come Saturday.  My sister worked over the weekend and we had the funeral for my Uncle so we are hoping to get back to it this week if the weather cooperates with us.  But I don't think I will be out there scrapping if it is in the low to mid 40's.  Ok, so onto this weeks menu.
  • Cajun Chicken Sandwiches with Provolone cheese, tater tots, and vegetable
  • Pizza Bread and Salad
  • Steak Sandwiches, shoestring fries with cheese sauce and bacon bits, and salad
  • Spaghetti, garlic bread, and vegetable or salad
  • Chicken strips, macaroni & cheese, and vegetable
  • Lemon Pepper Chicken, garlic and rosemary oven roasted potatoes, and vegetable
Have a wonderful week ahead!  :)

Welcome To The World Baby Girl...

My niece (Aliyah) made her arrival on March 29th and our family could not be more thrilled.  She was 4 days over her due date and that is unheard of when it comes to my sister-in-laws babies.  All three of her oldest children were between 2 1/2 to 3 weeks early. Aliyah was definitely worth the wait though.  


Just a couple hours old. I think we are all head over heels in love with her already. She weighed 7 lbs. 6 oz.   

She looks a lot like my brother, except for her little nose.  That is identical to her sister and one of her brothers.  

Aliyah at 1 week old.  Ava thought it would be funny to put these "glasses" on her. Welcome to the world Aliyah Marie.  I am so happy to be your Aunt DeDe.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Newest Set of Cards...

I've been stalking my mailman this past week waiting on my newest set of business cards to arrive.  Not because I'd run out, but I couldn't wait to see the finished product of the card I created. 

All I can say, is that I am beyond thrilled with the outcome.  I chose a different type of paper this time.  Typically, I do not like a gloss finish, but this paper was perfect for my cards.  I love the feel and the weight of the cards and I like that it completely stands out.  It is also a card that makes you want to look twice at it...and even a third or fourth time.  Times like these, I am grateful for all the experience I had working in the copy and print field.  It allowed me to tap into some creativity I might never have.  :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

What's On The Menu?

A new week.  A new month to start.  I can't believe we are already 4 months into the year already.  Oh how time passes so quickly.  Ava's Spring Break has passed so fast this week.  It feels like we were on the go and so busy this past week. Today is her last day of Spring Break before school starts back tomorrow.  This just makes me so ready for Summer break and I am hoping these next 7 weeks pass by quickly.  My newest little niece arrived this past Friday at 11:25 a.m.  I will follow up with a post and a couple photos of her in another post either today or tomorrow.  I will say we are completely head over heels in love with her already.  She is truly a blessing and our family is so blessed.  Easter has now passed as well and we had a quiet and relaxing day at home.  It was nice to spend the last days of Ava's break together.  Yesterday, we received some sad news in regards to one of my Uncles who has been battling cancer the last several months, hospice has been called in last week and yesterday they said he has possibly 24-48 hours left.  He has lasted long enough to see both of his newest grandchildren be born (one in December and the other in late February).  We are so lucky for that.  He also saw his wife of 40 years celebrate her 60th birthday a month ago.  Our family has a strong faith and we know when God decides to call him home, we will be rejoined again in heaven.  Any prayers for our family during this time is appreciated.  Overall, I am keeping the week pretty open without a lot of things on the calendar since we don't know what our week will hold with my family. Hopefully this week I will hear from Ava's coach for the softball season to see when softball practice starts.  Should be here soon.  Ava is quite excited about that and I am too.  It's fun to watch her out there playing with her friends. Well here is this weeks menu for us:
  • Turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, and vegetable
  • Italian Beef Sandwiches, hash brown casserole, and salad
  • Chicken Alfredo with broccoli and breadsticks
  • Monterey Chicken, garlic and rosemary smashed potatoes, and salad
  • Salisbury Steak, mashed potatoes, and vegetable
  • White Chicken Cheesy Enchiladas
Have a wonderful week ahead.  :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Get Well Soon Card!

Ava's friend just had her tonsils removed last week, so I whipped up this quick Get Well card for her.  The digital stamp is from Tiddly Inks and this little sweet nurse is from the Wryn collection "New Wings".  I colored the stamp using my Prisma Colored Pencils and OMS for blending, then adding a touch of stickles to the cross on the hat and to her little hair clip.  I inked the edges of the card and added some blue gemstones for bling.  Since she was having her tonsils out I decided to use a popsicle stick as a tongue depressor.  I hand wrote Get Well Soon! and outlined it with some more Stickles, no red of course this time, I opted for a diamond stickles color.  Not sure exactly who the paper is by...maybe My Minds Eye or the Paper Studio.  I left the inside decorated, but blank with no sentiment so Ava could write her friend a note of her own.  Hoping to get some more cards made this week.  Still waiting on my niece to make her arrival.  If she isn't here by Friday at 6 a.m. they are going to induce my sister-in-law. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What's On The Menu?

A day late getting the weekly menu up.  I ended up having one heck of migraine yesterday that I just couldn't shake for anything.  Thankfully I am feeling much better today.  Not 100% but at least I am able to function and feel like my head isn't going to explode. This week it's all about relaxing and taking it day by day.  Ava started Spring Break this week and my whole goal is to just enjoy spending time with her and not a lot of time in the kitchen.  :)  So I am keeping the menu pretty easy this week. We ended up with quite a snowstorm on Sunday into Monday.  We were projected to get 6 inches of snow and then ended up with about 14-15 inches of snow.  Quite a game changer for sure.  And not the kind of weather I picture when thinking of Spring Break.  lol I'll be posting photos later of our adventures with the snow on Sunday.  This snowstorm gave us more snow than I'd say we've had all winter long here. Well here is our menu for the week below.
  • Tacos with Nacho Cheese Doritos
  • Chicken Strips, pasta, and vegetable
  • Turkey and Cheese Grilled Sandwiches, fresh veggies and ranch dip
  • Baked BBQ Chicken,  baked potatoes, and salad
  • Polish Sausage, macaroni and cheese, and vegetable
And that's our menu for the week. Need to get busy and plan our Easter dinner meal menu since Easter is this coming Sunday!  Think I might keep it fairly simple...maybe!  :)  Enjoy your week ahead.  :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cupcake Thief Birthday Card

Ava attended a birthday party for one of her friends this past weekend and that "inspired" me last week to sit down and make a card from start to finish.  I went pretty basic on this card overall.  

 Here is a close-up of the digital stamp by Mo Manning, from Mo's Digital Pencil.  This little mischief maker is called "Cupcake Thief" and I just love this stamp.  I colored her up using PrismaColor Pencils and OMS.  I colored her skin though with a Copic Marker.  Her hair is colored to match the little girls hair who this card now belongs too.  I added a touch of Stickles to the mask, wings and cupcakes to give it some sparkle, because what little girl doesn't like Sparkle on a card.  :)

The finished card.  I added some colorful buttons and some feathers for a touch of flair.  The paper is from My Mind's Eye.  The Sentiment is PC generated onto white card stock and the edges inked with Paris Pink from Memento.  The card was a huge hit with Ava and her friends.  Ava is always so proud of the cards she gives her friends and that makes me feel pretty darn good that it makes her so happy. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

What's On The Menu?

Well, we are still waiting on the arrival of my niece.  Her due date is March 25th, and the way things are looking she might just make it that long, if not longer.  We are all so ready for her to arrive.  Ava has her spring show on Thursday.  She is super excited because she was chosen to be a mouse and so was one of her best friends.  I am looking forward to her perform with her classmates.  We only have to get through this week and then she has Spring Break for the next 10 days.  That makes me extremely happy.  Now, I just hope the weather warms up for the week of Spring Break because this week looks and feels nothing like Spring is arriving anytime soon.  We are in the low to mid 30's for the high most of the week and then inching up to the low 40's by the end of the week.  Not much Spring like weather for us in Central Illinois.  Here's whats on our menu this week around here.
  • Crockpot Chicken Casserole, mashed potatoes, and vegetable
  • Spaghetti, garlic bread, and greek salad
  • Cheeseburgers, tater rounds, and vegetable
  • Chicken sandwiches, Parmesan noodles, and vegetable
  • Mushroom Steak and Gravy, mashed potatoes, and vegetables
  • Loaded cheesy fries with taco meat  
Have a great week ahead!  :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Where For Art Thou Spring?!?!

I'm thinking the groundhog was wrong about an early spring. As of this coming Saturday we will be at 6 weeks since his prediction of an early spring and well it isn't feeling much like spring around here.  He has 5 more days to get a good talk in with Mother Nature about this weather we are having.  Granted we haven't had much snow this winter, but the temperatures have been winter like.  I did manage last week to get out and play around with some icicles.  No pretty snowflakes to speak of this year (bummer), but icicles are pretty cool to look at sometimes.  

Oh, I did catch this Cardinal jumping and flying branch to branch one morning last week after taking Ava down to the bus stop.  It kept jumping higher and higher in the tree, and since I didn't have my 300mm lens I had to make due with my regular lens.  I hope he (or she) is as sick of winter as I am.  I did love seeing this lovely Cardinal because, they hold a special meaning in my family.  

The sun did end up coming out for a bit to start slowly melting the little snow we had.  As the temperature dropped again and the sun decided to hide away for the rest of the day, we were left with some icicles.

 For some reason I find the different shapes and sizes icicles form to be kind of interesting. 

I didn't want to go in and get my tripod to shoot macro in manual mode, so I just hand held the camera in Auto Focus.  That's the lazy way of doing it.  But I was pretty impressed overall. 

 I love this shot because if you look in between the two longer icicles you see a little icicle ball.  The picture doesn't do it justice because it was a perfectly round icicle.  

More icicles....lots more.  

And last but not least, this photo.  There is just something about it that I really like.  Now hopefully we have a more snowy winter come November/December, but for now I am ready to start seeing buds on the trees and bushes and flowers sprouting up around us accented with lovely green grass.  :)