Thursday, June 30, 2011


I LOVE my cousins. I have so many fun memories of cousin time, and I always look forward to seeing them! (Hint, hint to all my cousins... come out and see us in Mississippi!!! :) We miss you!!) I really, really hope my kids treasure the time they have with their cousins as much as my sisters and I did. Here's a little glimpse into a some recent cousin time:
Park-man and his cousins. They are a year older and two months younger than Parker!
This is what they do best: make a mess! That and be loud and crazy...

Jude and his mama.

Parker thinks Eli is the coolest. For reals.
Their Papa spoils them with Happy Meals.
Reading time with Zanny! I can't believe they were so still!

We all went swimming, but this is the only shot I got... they were VERY good! Can't wait to do it again!

Parker misses his cousins, "E-I and Ju-Ju"!

Friday, June 24, 2011

More silly faces...

I think I have the silliest 22 month old ever. This kid LOVES to play. LOVES to laugh. LOVES to be hyper. LOVES to say CHEEEESSEEE to the camera. LOVES anything loud, crazy, and goofy. (Don't get me wrong. We defnitely have our disobedient, rebellious, attitude-filled moments... we just don't necessarily have pictures of those moments!) Here are few of those silly moments:

He paused for just a millisecond.

This is Parker's new thing. Getting EVERY couch cushion on the floor. Piling them up. Diving. Jumping. Screaming.


Since it's SO stinkin' hot outside, we need SOMETHING active to do. This is what Parker prefers. Hope you enjoyed a look into silliness!

A Date Night In with Fondue!

I think date nights at home are my FAVORITE. I absolutely LOVE getting dressed up, going out, ordering fun stuff, etc....but it's really fun to come up with a fun menu, cook dinner together, and not having to relieve a babysitter. My absolute favorite part is that you aren't limited to a menu! You get to choose EXACTLY what you want, and prepare it EXACTLY like you want it. Obviously, kitchen disasters happen, but I love experimenting with new recipes and new foods!

When we do date night IN, we usually make an appetizer to have while Parker is eating dinner and to tide us over until his bedtime. Once Park-man is in bed, we get to cookin'! SO. Here's our appetizer from our date night IN this past week:

2 8oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayo
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded crab meat (or Krab, which is what we used! It was under $3 compared to $15 for the real thing.)
juice of one small lemon (1 Tbsp.)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 Tbsp. coarse grain mustard
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

-Preheat oven to 350.
-Combine crab and lemon juice in lg. bowl , then add remaining ingredients.
-Mix well and spread into med. baking dish.
-Bake for 20-25 min. or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
-Serve with slices of sourdough bread.

Voila! YUMMY crab dip. Please, oh, please don't make this for just 2 of you. We ended up eating about 1/4 of the dip! This would be PERFECT for game night, football game, or for family gatherings!
Kyle enjoying his first bite! :)

Then came the FUN. FONDUE! We registered for our electric fondue pot when we were engaged and were so excited to receive it! Unfortunately, until now, we'd only used it one time for chocolate fondue. We can't wait to have fondue for meat again! I googled "fondue recipe for meat melting pot" and found a recurring recipe so we went with it.

Coq Au Vin Fondue

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup burgundy wine (we used merlot)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced

-Heat vegetable stock in fondue pot until it begins to simmer.
-Add all other ingredients, bring to simmer.
-Place individual pieces of desired meat or veggies on fondue fork and put in pot until correct temp. is reached.

That's it!! So simple. We ended up having to add some soy sauce and pepper to the recipe to give it a little more flavor. We may use chicken broth next time and play around with some spices to give it a bigger kick.

Below you'll see our fondue choices:
We used portobella, broccoli (my favorite), salmon, and yellow squash. And here's a recipe for the dipping sauce we made:

Lemon Teriyaki Dip

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

-Combine all ingredients in a small pot.
-Bring to a boil and ensure all sugar dissolves.
-Serve with fondue.

(The longer the sauce boils, the thicker it will get. We wanted it be a little sticky so we let it boil for a couple minutes.)

Kyle working hard.
Our yummy meal!

We have had a couple very special dates at The Melting Pot in Memphis so i guess this was our attempt to recreate it! Anyone else have any luck with fondue at home? I would love to hear your tips and recipes!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Silly Boys.

I try to get good pictures of my guys. It rarely happens... the problem is the whole "like father, like son" thing. They are almost TOO similar. Look and see for yourself:
First try: Dummy smile for Kyle, cute smile for Parker.
Second try: Nice smile for Kyle, cheeseball smile for Parker.
Third try: Cheesin' it up more than ever! What???
Fourth try: FINALLY. A decent picture! :) I guess it's a good thing we don't use film anymore... I hope you enjoyed this progression of smiles. It may be another year before I get them both to smile in the same picture again!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Fun, Easy Project!

Now that life has calm down a little bit, I have gotten really excited about being able to pay more attention to making our house feel more like a home! First on our list was cleaning up weeks and weeks of neglect... as in about 8 loads of laundry, cleaning out the fridge, clearing out messy closets, dusting, sweeping, mopping, etc., etc., etc............... those things were not that exciting, but I KNEW that had to happen before I could have a little fun with re-decorating!

My very sweet Mother-in-law gave Kyle and I a really nice entry table with matching mirror as a house-warming gift when we moved into this house almost 2 years ago! (I can't believe it's been that LONG!) I have LOVED it, and the table is still serving its purpose well on our entry wall. I decided to move things around a little bit and decided that I LOVE my old, chippy window over the table instead of the mirror. SO...what to do with the fabulous mirror? I couldn't find a place for it as it is so in comes the PROJECT!

What I used:
Mirror frame
PDF board (it was already cut to size as it was used to back the mirror)
Krylon Satin spray paint in Almond
Acrylic Chalkboard paint

(My BEFORE picture includes a little bit of spray paint already applied...I'm TERRIBLE at remembering before pictures!)

First on the list was to spray paint the frame... I planned on distressing my frame a little bit once it was dry so I was too worried about the right number of coats to do.

While the frame was drying, I worked on the chalkboard paint. The acrylic paint takes at least two coats to completely cover it with an hour of drying time in between. I hear the chalkboard spray paint is even better (and easier) to use so hopefully I can actually find some next time I need it!

Once the frame was covered to my liking and dry, I took my electric sander to it. I was hoping to hit the corners and the raised detail as unevenly as possible to give it a naturally distressed look.
Here's a close look of the details...
Trying to show off the distressed look...
Once everything's just right, put your frame back together. Now you have a new chalkboard! Use it as a welcome sign, a message board, or maybe just a fun thing for your kids to play with!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Meal Ideas!

I LOVE Summery meals! I am a big fan of fresh vegetables, and both of the meals I'm sharing with you include them! I have gone on and on about my FAVORITE food blog called Our Best Bites... and here I go again! :) Their Greek Style Pitas are amazingly fresh and so, so tasty!
We change just a couple things about the recipe to fit our taste... we both LOVE fresh baby spinach and almost always have it in the fridge so we use that instead of a lettuce leaf. We also add feta into our sauce to give it a little texture. In the greek pico, we also used green onions instead of red onion. The red onion flavor is too strong for me, and Kyle is sweet to put up with my pickiness! Finally, we like to use a couple different varieties of tomatoes. I am in love with the orange tomatoes (I can't remember their name!) and you can never go wrong with Roma tomatoes... together they are perfection.
Kroger has had a 3 for $1 deal on corn on the cob, and it was a PERFECT pairing for our pitas! We put our corn straight on the grill for a few minutes, and it is delicious! I can't get enough of fresh corn... I even love the taste of corn on the cob right out of the fridge!

Our second summery meal is Teriyaki Chicken Salad Sandwiches. Chicken salad is SO easy, and it can be made SO many different ways! Eat it with a side of....what else, corn on the cob!
We have been going the lazy route and buying a rotisserie chicken from Kroger (pretty inexpensive, though!), and using the already cooked chicken. We didn't have any teriyaki sauce this go 'round, so we added a little Captain Rodney's (a sauce used for a baked cheesy appetizer) instead. I would even suggest a little honey if you needed extra flavor! Along with mango, we also put a handful of chopped grapes for another texture. Sunflower seeds were also pretty good in place of the almonds. Like I said, chicken salad is SO versatile that it's hard to go wrong! OH. And please, please eat it on a croissant. Don't just use sandwich bread like we did this time... you won't regret it!

Just for fun...
If you've read this blog before I'm sure you recognize this face... haha, this is the "CHEESE" face!
Parker wanted to pose with Mama for a picture!! I was so happy to accept! :)

What are some of your favorite summer meals? I would LOVE more fresh ideas!

Other fun meal ideas:
Grilled Honey Lime Pork Chops (I shared them with you HERE)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Goings-on... (Part II)

I uploaded all of these pictures forever ago and never posted it... In June, Kyle and I took a group of youth to Cherokee, NC to the Indian Reservation, and we had an AMAZING trip... there are so many things I could say about it, but in the end, we were taught so many things I could never begin to include every aspect of growth we experienced. God taught us things (from patience to flexibility to construction skills!) when we thought we were sent to teach others. I am so grateful to have gotten to be a part of this mission team! Here's a small glimpse into our time in Cherokee:
Some of the girls in our cabin... 9 of us and one bathroom! We learned to share and love each other that week!
We all got to enjoy some time in town and get some ice cream!

Also we enjoyed cooling off in the river...

Youth group bonding. We had to keep moving around or the bugs would eat us alive!

Prep for VBS at the Youth Center!

Half of us rebuilt a ramp for a sweet lady, Ms. Tootie. We LOVED getting to know her!
We learned a lot about the history of the Cherokee Indians at the outdoor drama... it was enjoyable until about hour 3... we didn't realize it would be that long!

We weren't needed at this particular moment, so we decided to act like we were hard at work.

Our three Bumblebees! They taught us to "Beeeeee Joyful!"
Craft time with kids at the youth center!

My hubby workin' hard. He was definitely in his element here!
The finished ramp and our group with Ms. Tootie!
This is our girls sneaking into the boys' cabin at 6:30 in the morning... they played a prank that was HILARIOUS, but I will not speak of here... I don't want to embarrass anyone too much. Trust me; it was funny.

Some of our girls enjoying the ride home.

Again, we had an amazing trip and would love to go back to Cherokee again someday!