Tuesday, November 30, 2010


well, did ya want some pics?! :)  Here are a ton!!  Granny Lina gave Emma a bib for her to wear while she gobbled throughout the day.  

 We had our first feast over at U Mike & A Kim's.  Dani scooped up Emma when we came in :)
 ...and she spent a little time with Gma Burton
 After dinner, the boys spent a little time on the couch watching the game.  Looks like they're having a ball :)
 Before Cora came over, UMike had a little time to spend with Emma!  He had her watch her first football game :)
 U Steve was playing with Emma too!  And contrary to popular belief - he did NOT make her cry :)  Emma sat next to him during dinner and he helped rock her car seat that she was sitting in and everything.  
 For our second feast, we were back at home.  Our first time hosting!  I was a little nervous, but actually quite excited.  There were 14 of us, so we had to piece the area together for us all to be able to sit down at once. 

 Emma and Teremama
 We did a little craft time :)  I figured, it's my house, my rules - everyone had to take part.  We each wrote what we were thankful for on a feather and hung it on the wall.
 John was thankful for many things, but mainly his new family!
 Here are Emma and Jayce giving each other a high-five ;)
 I interrupted Ann getting her shoulder's rubbed, so that we could take a pic with Emma - and Paige is ALWAYS ready to pose :)

 cousin besties...these two are  peas in a pod
 Jayce having his own feast with mommy
 had to catch Shurl in the act of grazing :)
 We introduced game time to the Aguirre Thanksgiving!!  And they LOVED it!  We played a little farkle followed by Taboo

John & Jess not so much in to gaming, they just hung out on the couch
 ...and Isaiah was caught getting in to trouble!

 ...and there you have it, our Thanksgiving day in a minute!! So thankful for all the many blessings of the year, family and babies :)  But most of all, for our salvation.  Thank you Jesus for loving us so much.  

Monday, November 29, 2010

Another praise!

I know, I know, where are the pics?!  And Emma has definitely grown in the past week!!  I promise to post some by Wednesday :)  

I just had to share another praise, to have you join Tyler and I in praising God for all the blessings we receive.  

OK, so, we have Kaiser insurance through JAMZ.  When I went down to part time, I lost my benes and was added to Tyler's policy (so my coverage didn't skip a beat).  I had already done a ton of research and knew that it was cheaper for me to have my own policy on my own.  It was about $153 cheaper per month :)  HOWEVER...I went part time in March, and was pregnant, so I was declined and had to stay on Tyler's insurance.  

Nothing we could do but pay the monthly fee, and wait until Emma was born for us to be able to go to our original plan.  

She was born, I applied, and I was DENIED.  Boo.  The reasons they gave: 

  1. Hands, Right Shoulder, Knee and Ankle Pain (Raynauds Syndrome)
  2. Low Platelet (Thrombocytopenia)
They gave the option for reassessment, so I wrote a letter.  I hadn't complained about pains and am not being medically treated for my Raynauds with prescriptions.  So that claim was bogus.  My low platelets were while I was pregnant, which is normal.  And now that I'm not, my levels are fine.  And all my levels had been normal prior to the pregnancy.  

They wrote back.  Denied AGAIN.  This time the reasons were: 
  1. abnormal tests (vague, I know, didn't want to TMI :) )
  2. Raynauds Syndrome
This time I didn't have the option of asking for them to reassess, but I wrote another letter anyway.  I was fired up because I felt like they were just browsing my list of medical history and randomly picking reasons to deny me.  Too bad for them that I can track all my visits and info online with dates to argue what's really going on :)... My abnormal tests were followed by 3 normal tests, including a letter from Kaiser saying 'you're good now' (how's that for medical jargon?).  I sent them the copy of the letter I'd gotten from them.  And I reiterated their concerns from Raynauds weren't valid, blah, blah.  

I got a call today, and as long as I can verify that I'm not pregnant (I have to take a prego test in their lab), they will insure me!  And yes, we're pretty positive that's a no-go at this time ;0

So exciting!  What a blessing, we can now save that much money a month and put it towards the long over due car purchase :)  God is so good, all we have to do is trust that He'll provide.  I haven't been let down once!  

AND - be your own advocate!  There are so many times that we're given quick and incorrect responses to things like this, or anything really.  And we just say, 'oh well, it is what it is'....I've always had that attitude.  When you know it's wrong, stand up for yourself!  And if you need help writing letters for this kind of stuff, let me know.  I have lots of experience writing letters to explain facts and points of views :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pumpkin Obsession

For YEARS, I have so looked forward to hints of Halloween because that meant it was pumpkin season!!  I used do run to my favorite bakery, Old Tyme, to pick up a slice of pumpkin cheesecake.  Then I learned about pumpkin ice cream.  Then I started to bake my own pumpkin pies, followed by an assortment of pumpkin treats over the past few years.  This year alone we had on Thanksgiving: pumpkin pie, apple-pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake...so apparently a combo of what I've just mentioned above.  

Tyler and I were browsing the isles of Target today after church and saw that the holiday flavors of ice cream were on sale...and since it was still early (and the Starbucks at the entrance smelled delish!) I thought: coffee floats with pumpkin ice cream!!!


YUMMMMM..... :)  I'm savoring it now.  So good I had to share in the moment.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Emma received su preimera muneca (her first doll) from Tia Amparo - really it says it (in Spanish) on her chest:)  

Emma loves to play with her!  This is her only Mexican/Spanish speaking friend at this time:)  Whenever we play with her, we only speak in Spanish.  Hoping that this way, she'll have reasons to play and use her Spanish...some day...when she starts to talk, of course:)  

Several people have asked if we were going to teach her Spanish.  I thought that was an interesting question.  In my head I think 'of course!, why ya asking?!'.  We want her to speak both well, so yes that would be our goal.  And Tyler's been brushing up on his Spanish for the past 4 years now.  Mainly speaking it with Lita, but he's coming around to speaking it at home too.  He really speaks it better than he gives himself credit.  

ANHOW, here's Emma and her friend!

don't you think the reddish/brown hair from the doll makes emma's hair look reddish brown too?  

Remember to Thank Him

OUCH...so true...read on...

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2010 devotional by Greg Laurie

So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?"

— Luke 17:17–18

Luke 17 tells the story of some men who had a lot to give thanks for. Prior to being miraculously touched by Jesus, they were complete outcasts—the very scourge of society. These ten men had the worst disease of the time, leprosy, for which there was no cure. They couldn't get any lower in that particular time in history with this incurable disease.

Those found to have leprosy could have no contact with others. They had to leave their house and their friends and live apart from them. These men were living an isolated, miserable life. Their clothing would have been ripped from perpetual mourning. Their skeletal heads would have been uncovered. They had to cry out, "Unclean! Unclean!" wherever they went, in keeping with the Law of Moses. But they had heard about Jesus. And seeing Him in the distance, they cried out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" (Luke 17:12–13).

I find it interesting how the Lord responded. There were no special effects, there was no swelling music—not even a dramatic touch. There was only a command. Jesus simply said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests" (verse 14). According to Levitical law, the priest would take them through an eight-day ceremony, examine them, and make sure they were truly healed of their leprosy.

They weren't healed yet, but still they went—and God healed them completely. However, only one of the ten decided to go back and give thanks, and he was a Samaritan. The Jews looked down on the Samaritans, yet it was a Samaritan who came back to give thanks.

How like us it is to forget to give thanks. We are so quick to ask for God's help. But we also need to remember to give Him praise when He comes through for us.

just the other day, as I was praying before a meal I was like, "OH yeah, thank you for...." and sadly, right at this moment I can't even remember what I was praying for that He answered and I just about forgot to give thanks for.  We take it all for granted, seriously, unless it's a life threatening event.  

and what faith?!  how many of us wouldn't start walking until we were healed?  But these guys trusted in His faithfulness, and knew their healing would come.  Talk about walking in faith.  something I wish I did so much more.  

OH - would you please pray for Tyler and I: guidance in some very important decisions we have to make almost immediately, and peace with the full event.  THANKS!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Emma dimple update

I know I had shared what the ultrasound technician commented - that Emma looked fine, but I did want to share that we heard from the Doctor this weekend, and got the official word that the dimple...is just a dimple :) Now ya know she has one and where!

Praise God for keeping her healthy!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sharing is caring

So, i'm a little on the nutty side today.  I feel overwhelmed.  I've had 4 little meltdowns to equal my morning breakdown this morning...but at least Emma quit fussing and now she's smiling at me ;)  

After sharing some frustration with a cousin over skype this morning, I was reminded about a little 'trick' I used not too long ago.  And it worked.  Every time I felt frustrated towards a particular situation, I prayed for that person (the situation involved).  I only found myself praying once after that  :) 

Thought I would share that with anyone else who'd like to pray through their frustration, anger, annoyances...whatever your not-so-good feelings are that you're having.

I'm gonna jump back on that 'trick' and Lord please help me!! :)  And whoever reads this, please pray for me.  Thank you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Emma's time without mama

Yup, I went out of town all day Friday and most of Saturday and Ms Emma stayed behind.  She stayed with Teremama and Tia Diana on Friday...and apparently had a ton of visitors!!

Cousin Jessica...
 ...baby Jayce...
the three little buddies ;)
 Here's the 'official' babysitter...but Isaiah doesn't want to be left out if Gwammy is holding Emma!  So he joins them ;)
cousin Shirley
those were all that were captured on the camera, but I know there were more!! 

 ...daddy home at last!!
...and on they went to have their restful evening ;0

The next day, Emma got all dressed up to go spend some time with the Boyd fam!

 ...and yeah that was it... Tyler forgot to take pics ;) 

...then mama came home!!  And she missed her little girl so much!!

love how she looks NOTHING like me in these shots of us together :)  it's only when you get a good chub face shot that she looks like me ;)  ......anyway, she did really good and I did...OK.  There was a mom's nursing room at the Arena so as much as I wished I would have taken her, it was nice to be able to sit and focus and listen to the stories and everything that was shared over the 2 days.  Not to mention the time to chat with a friend:)  I hope to get some of her pics that she took, and if I do I will be sure to share!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Daddy's weekend with Emma

It is not often that daddys, are given overnight baby sitting duties.  However, when Connie attended the Women of Fatih Conference over this last weekend thats exactly what happened.  It was her first time away overnight and I, like Charles, was "in-charge".   We had a good time playing, and laughing, and daddy making every sound-effect known to human vocal-chords (see mom and dad, all those sound-effects I made as a kid are now coming in handy!).

She slept 8 hours that night, which has sparked a great sleeping pattern in Emma over the last 3-4 days.  (each with 8+ hours!!!)   Josh and Dani had a vintage window frame sale, and so I got Emma dressed, (with a bow), and took off.  Our first road trip, just Emma and me.  (Editor's note: Connie had pre-picked outfits...need to give her credit).

Emma had a great time with Family, and met some new Uncle's, Aunts, and Cousins that she hadn't met before!  Uncle Mike got to meet her, Aunt Kay, and Josh and Dani!  Cousin Jessica got to hold her, as well as AuntNette, Gma Burton, and both Aunt Kim and Kay!  She was a happy little girl with all of the attention.

Sad, I totally forgot to bring the camera or take any pics.  But they all had theirs out so I know there are a few out there.

Once daddy had his window picked out, and had his free hotdogs, (of which I had 3)...it was off home to nap before heading to a friends 1 year old b-day party.   Emma wasn't happy to be back in the car-seat, so we ended up just dropping off the present.

Then, as Connie will most likely post about, we visited some friends in Tracy.  On the way home, Emma was not happy about having to be in the car-seat again, so we did a mid-way-point by stopping at Grandma Boyds.  Emma ate a little, and then enjoyed being in Grandma Boyd's arms.  Here is a video of her time there, and her "cooing" at GMA.

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Last thought (that I'll share) for today...

I say this since this is the 3rd post for this morning....

Why do we feel that we need to show a 'perfect' front to those around us?  Someone asks us how we feel, and we automatically say "Fine.  Great.  Wonderful...".  

Someone asks how things are going and we say, "Fine. Great. Wonderful...".

Why are we so afraid to show who we really are?  What we're really going through?  

I've recently learned that some friends are going through some rough times.  Not because when I asked the questions above they told me, but out of the blue I learn that a friend is on the verge of divorce, and an other's home is going in to foreclosure.

It makes me sad that Satan has put in our minds that we need to keep the mess to ourselves, when God tells us to reach out to one another to ask for prayer, advice, or just an ear to listen.  Why does Satan always win?  

I'm not saying I'm perfect in these areas (or any other for that matter).  But one thing that has really been working inside me for the past year or so is transparency.  Telling others you aren't OK, that you are a mess, that things aren't as well as you'd like them to be is OK.  It's more than OK, it's what we need to do to have others help us carry the loads of our burdens.  

I know there are many out there that ask, "How are you today?" and they don't intend to listen.  I want you all to know that, when I ask these questions, not only do I have every intention to listen, but I have every intention to share in your joy or pain.  I will pray for you and with you.  Remember that I've gone through hurt, divorce, loss, disappointment and all the pains life has to offer, just like everyone else.  God has pulled me through each instance, and will continue to do so because He's that good :)  

I love people.  and I love YOU people that Tyler and I share our lives with.  Whether I know you or not.  

OH...and if I don't ask, it's still OK to share with me.  

Praying that each of you that reads this feels joy and comfort in coming across this, and that you will share with someone what is weighing your heart down.  Community guys, that's how we're intended to live life.  

OH - ( i guess these are like PS's:))...Satan does NOT always win.  We may give in to his lies at times, but we know the ending, and it is Satan that is defeated.  

  1. “… that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrews 2:14)
  2. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13)
  3. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:15)
  4. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)
  5. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Revelation 12:11)
  6. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

    Therefore God has also highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and of those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)

Poor kids...in the hands of their parents ;)

Do you remember when you got to the age wishing you could pick out your own clothes?  You just can't believe your mom's making you wear...whatever it is :)  

Poor Emma of course has no way of voicing her opinion (and we kinda like it that way right now) - YET.  When I came across these jammies, I so had to keep them!  They're cassette tapes!  just made me think of growing up.  I loved making tapes.  I'd record stuff off the radio...in high school we went through a phase of just recording our fave 45 seconds of songs for a full tape.  Just enough to get us excited and singing, then it was time for the next song.  

 here's a close up of how some of the labels read :)
and I feel like this expression says it all from Emma's perspective ;)

yeah...I know, she has no clue yet...poor thing :)

A new journey...

I am thinking about finally working on something that God has been bringing to mind for some time now...will you please pray for me on this?  That the Lord will guide each step and process that I will go through in taking on this challenge...I don't want to say too much...yet :)   If I follow through - or how about I say, once it's complete, I would love to share it with you, even if it's just about the experience.  


Friday, November 12, 2010

There are No Shortcuts to Anyplace Worth Going

This was an 'ouch' for me - had to share! From P31 Ministries

"Laziness leads to a sagging roof; idleness leads to a leaky house."
Ecclesiastes 10:18 (NLT)         
Devotion: Life for a boy is measured in milestones. The first time you wear "big boy" underwear. The first time you are tall enough to ride a roller coaster. And the first time you eat a Big Mac meal all by yourself. For my youngest son Robbie, the last milestone came at age 6. And it also came with a life-message about the danger of shortcuts.
For a first grader, lunch in the cafeteria is a novelty. With two older brothers, Robbie knew it meant I would be joining him occasionally with a special lunch instead of his normal sandwich and fruit. He couldn't wait for his turn to have Mommy show up with lunch hidden in a paper bag, stamped with a familiar golden arch. The first time I did, he was thrilled.
Robbie majestically created a plate from the paper wrapping, dumped the fries onto the "plate," and sampled his soda. Like a king on his throne, he surveyed his lunch. Then Robbie dug in with abandon to his double-decker burger. And just as quickly, secret sauce started dripping down his little fingers.
He caught some with his tongue, but surplus sauce still oozed down his hands. I could see his shirt about to become a dining accessory, and started rustling through the bag and under wrappers. "Wait Robbie, I'm sure I brought some napkins," I said.
"It's okay Mommy," Robbie said raking his fingers through his hair. "My hair is a napkin." He grinned, thoroughly pleased with himself.
I stared. Speechless.
That was a teachable moment for me. You see, I didn't know I had to tell my children not to use their hair as a napkin. Now I know.
I learned something else from that experience. Convenience trumps correct almost every time when children are small. Which is why dirty clothes get dropped on the floor directly in front of the hamper. Or glasses get set on the counter above the dishwasher. Bad habits are easily formed, and it seems in our human nature to choose ease over diligence, quick over thorough.
Sadly, with enough choices like that, we end up with a life-culture of shallow rather than deep. Instead of pushing through to the next level of excellence, we settle. Instead of the few extra seconds it takes to find a napkin, we use our hair. And then we wonder why things aren't the way we wish they were.
I catch myself looking for the occasional short cut. But I've discovered there are no short cuts to anyplace worth going.
I'll never have a clean home unless I get to work. I'll never save money unless I shop smarter. I'll never be an excellent writer unless I sharpen my skills. I'll never be a great wife or mother unless I make it a priority. I will never wake up one day and find that my dreams have become a reality, unless I'm willing to do what it takes to make that happen.
Besides a good story, Robbie's "My hair is a napkin" experience is a great lesson. It reminds me that convenience isn't always best. Shortcuts don't always work. And I've still got a lot to learn about parenting and life.
Dear Lord, I praise You today for who You are. You are worthy of my best efforts. Forgive me when I try to take a shortcut in serving You. Help me to remember that Your way isn't always the easy way. But it's the best way. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps: 
Identify one area of your life that needs more work. What two things can you do this week to make small positive changes in that area?
Reflections: What "shortcuts" have you taken in life that proved to be bad decisions?
Why are shortcuts seldom helpful when pursuing the dreams in our hearts?
Power Verses: Proverbs 13:4, "The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied." (NIV)
Proverbs 31:27, "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." (NIV) 

The Bigger the Battle, the Bigger the Blessing

Loved this encouragement! From Girlfriends in God.

Today's Truth James 1:12 (NLT) "God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

Friend to Friend I [Pam] had one baby and a toddler and was four months pregnant, dressed in a white suit as I carefully stepped out of my house to head to Bible study. A heavy rainstorm had hit the night before, and there was a film of red clay mud all down the front stairs.
With a toddler, diaper bag, and Bible-study bag in tow, I gingerly stepped onto the first stair, holding on to the handrail. Then, I gingerly took step two, only to fall flat on my back, desperately clinging to my baby to keep him from hitting his head. Sliding down the rest of the stairs, I finally plopped in a puddle on the bottom landing.
Shaken, I stood up and checked on baby Brock, who was smiling from the adventurous ride and seemed completely unharmed. Once relief set in that he had survived the fall, I burst into tears. Fear gripped my heart. Lord, what about this baby inside me? A fall like this can cause a mis­carriage. Please protect this little one!
I took inventory of my belongings, spilled across the lawn and the stairs. I would have to take a wet rag to most of the things, but they all seemed intact. Then I looked at myself in the reflection of our bay win­dow. I was one big mud pie, head to toe. I checked my watch. If I took the time to clean up, I would definitely be late to Bible study. Then a thought came: Maybe I should just stay home.
Remembering Ephesians 6:11-13 about life being a spiritual battle, I loudly proclaimed, "Satan, get out of here! If you think a little mud or a tumble is going to keep me from God's Word, you are messing with the wrong woman. I take my stand in Jesus and through His shed blood, I claim the victory. If you're working this hard to discourage me, Satan, then something really great is on the other side, if I persevere. The bigger the battle - the bigger the blessing on the other side!"
With that, I got up, went inside to change clothes, and then drove to Bible study, where I did receive more encouragement to win the battles of life I was dealing with at that time.
I'm glad I learned that lesson long ago, because during the writing of my LOL with God devotional, I think nearly everything I own broke: my car, my com­puter (it crashed twice), the icemaker, the washing machine, the printers in our office—and more importantly, the hearts of two of my three sons. This mom was carrying their pain on her heart, but I knew I'd receive a blessing, and others would too, if I pressed on through the battle.
Press on! Blessings ahead!

Let's Pray Lord, help me not to give in to the battle weari­ness I feel. Keep my eyes off the attack and on You, the One who gives victory and blessing. Let me press through the battle until we get to the blessing, together, You and me, God!
In Jesus' name,

Now it's Your Turn Ephesians 6:11-13 tells us to "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. . . .  so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground . . ."
Some steps to help you stand your ground might include:
Go to bed with your iPod playing the Bible or songs of praise so you wake up confident and full of hope.
Speak verses of courage and confidence out loud (a good place to begin is the Psalms).
Place Scriptures and positive affirmations around your mirror where you put on your make up each day.
Take a prayer walk with a friend (this is a 3 for one deal: You will get closer to God, closer to your friend—and thinner!)
Which step could you do right now, or in the next hour, to help you stand firm? 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just curious...

The other day, Tyler and I were chatting and convo got to this: many many moons ago we used to call each other's homes (ya know - a land line) to communicate. When we missed calls, we weren't able to know that, we didn't realize someone was trying to get in touch and we fell out of it...THEN answering machines came in the picture and voila - ya got messages. We were so excited to have received a message, we'd call back immediately upon hearing the message. Then that got old and again, out of touch...THEN we got pagers. And we knew immediately the second someone was trying to reach us. Cool at first, then we started 'not getting pages' :) Along walks in cell phones - still during the pager era. We got a page and immediately called the person back on our brand spankin' new cell (I'm having a flashback of high school with just writing that - I remember the day well when I got a phone and did just this!...memories! Big fat grey ATT cell and purple pager ;0) BACK TO MY POINT...and like before, texts quit getting answered by return calls on cells...then VOICE MAIL...you guessed the pattern, right?

Most recently it's been - emails. They went from receiving replies within 2.5 minutes to...um like a week? (or never if it was at work and the message was from me...ok still working through some issues, my apologies ;0). After emails it was texts...and now emails on phones.

All of these methods of reaching one another seem to die out. I think it's pretty interesting. And I'm sorry if at this moment you were wishing that I had a job so I didnt' have time to think about this kind of stuff. :) Face it, you're here for a time out from life anyway, so just indulge me :)

So...with all this said, I want to know! What is the sure way to reach YOU to get a reply? What works for ya? See the poll below and definitely feel free to leave comments, I'm very interested to hear...seriously!  I'll let y'all know the consensus ;)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Emma dimple update

We had our ultrasound and while the technician is not able to really say anything in concrete, it has to be reviewed by the radiologist for any official word, she showed us there wasn't anything from the spinal cord connected to Emma's dimple.  She also 'educated' me (she was training so I got to hear a little bit between Emma's fit she was throwing...she had to catch her breath sometimes) that dimples associated with Spina Bifida are generally higher on the back; Emma's is much closer to her bottom. 

SO - thank you for your prayers.  God is good and looking out for us with Emma's health :)

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More pics...

Here is a link to ALL the pics from Meg's shoot she did for us...where the announcement photos came from - only 200+ of these ;)

click here

Monday, November 8, 2010

The cutting room floor ;)

i know there are at least 3 of you out there that may be interested in seeing ALL of the lovely Emma's pics we took the other day, so here is a link to see them all at snapfish :) how I wish I could narrate them for you!  We had a hoot...

my disclaimer: 
YES: I don't work, we're silly (i don't do these solo!) and we take far more pics than 'normal' peeps :) 

I had to get the perfect shot of her to commemorate this milestone!  What am I doing with it?!  Um...not much yet, we'll figure something out soon :)  

Make sure you have some time to view there are 496 photos :)  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

...and that's what's for dinner tonight!

:)  For those of you that watch know that the title of the post is from Rachael Ray's talk show :)  From time to time, I catch her show, and when i do i try to watch the end to see what she's cooking, since about 95% of the time it's something I would definitely try.  I so enjoy the fact that they're usually meals that don't take too long to make :) 

When I was making my weekly menu for this past week, I was so exhausted that I knew I wanted to have quick dinners.  I went to Rachael Ray's website and looked through some recipes, and made 3 of her recipes.  They were all super yummy so I thought I would share.  I'm including my own side notes - try them and enjoy!


Mac and Cheeseburger Sliders (or burgers)

2 pounds ground sirloin we used ground turkey

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, eyeball it

A scant handful parsley, very finely chopped worked fine with dried parsley

2 cloves garlic, minced or very finely chopped or pasted

3 to 4 tablespoons grated onion I just chopped a little

Coarse salt and lots of coarse black pepper

EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling

1/2 pound small elbow macaroni or ditalini or small elbow whole wheat macaroni

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk

A few grates nutmeg

1 cup very sharp yellow or white cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Gruyere or Swiss cheese

1/4 cup, about a handful, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Ketchup, for topping (optional)

Bacon-Tomato Jam, for topping (optional) try it!!  

12 slider-size burger buns or split brioche rolls we used some large fresh rolls:)  Just pick something that looks yummy!  HOWEVER, the recipe, for us, made 8 burgers - so purchase bread accordingly



Combine meat with Worcestershire, parsley, garlic, onion -- grate directly over bowl to catch juices -- some salt and lots of pepper. Form 8 3-ounce patties, making them thinner at center and thicker at edges for even cooking. Drizzle patties with EVOO.

Heat a cast-iron skillet or large griddle pan over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, boil a medium pot of water and add salt. Undercook pasta by a minute or so from package directions – just shy of al dente. Drain and reserve.

While pasta cooks, melt butter in a small pot over medium heat, sprinkle in flour and whisk 30 seconds. Whisk in milk and season sauce with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Melt cheese into sauce to combine then turn off heat, stir in Dijon. Fold in reserved macaroni.

Cook meat patties in the hot skillet for 3 minutes on each side for medium. Serve on buns or rolls topped with some mac and cheese and a dot of ketchup or some Bacon-Tomato Jam, if you wish. Secure bun or roll tops with toothpicks and anchor a slice of pickle atop the burgers for a cheeky presentation.

Bacon-Tomato Jam

1/2 pound bacon, chopped small turkey bacon

1 small onion, diced small just a small slice, diced works well

3 cloves garlic, chopped or grated 

Ground black pepper

A pinch of hot pepper flakes

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup ketchup 

Yields: Makes 1/2 cup


In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook bacon about 5 minutes, until slightly crispy but not all the way done. Add onions and garlic, and cook another 5 minutes. Mix in the pepper, pepper flakes, vinegar, maple syrup, brown sugar and ketchup. Mix together and cook about a minute to let it all come together. Serve on Mac and Cheese Burger Sliders.  

if the garlic is a little potent, add more ketchup as well as some parsley

watch Rachael make this dish


Sliced Chicken with apples, pears and *camembert mashed potatoes

2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes**


1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast

Black pepper

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1 Gala, Honeycrisp or Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice eyeball it, but I used 2

1 Bosc pear, peeled, cored and diced eyeball it, but I used 2; and I got the pears on sale :)

Freshly grated nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon

Zest and juice of 1 lemon I skipped the zest and just used bottled juice

2 tablespoons honey

1/3 pound ripe Camembert cheese, diced into bite-sized pieces *I couldn't find this cheese.  It's similar to brie, and didn't sound too appetizing.  I used some swiss and 2 slices of provalone

1/4 to 1/3 cup milk, half-and-half or cream

10 to 12 blades chives, chopped this is for presentation; it was fine without :)

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped this is for presentation; it was fine without :)

Yields: Serves 4  **this makes enough mashed potatoes for about 10 :)  but they are yummy, so you may enjoy the abundance!


Halve the small and quarter the larger potatoes into bite-sized pieces and cover with water in a large pot. Bring the water to a boil and season with salt. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. 

Heat the EVOO in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and cook until golden and firm, about 12 minutes, turning once. Place the chicken on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples and pears, and season with salt and the nutmeg. Stir in the lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender-crisp, then stir in the honey and cook for minute more. 

Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot. Mash them with the cheese and milk or half-and half and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the potatoes among 4 plates. Slice the chicken breasts on an angle. Arrange the sliced chicken alongside the potatoes and top with the apples and pears. Combine the chives with the thyme and lemon zest and scatter over each plate.

Looks fancy, but it's yummy and you can be at the table enjoying in about 40 minutes or less!


Lazy Florentine Lasagna


1 pound wavy edge lasagna noodles, broken into irregular pieces

1/4 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced or chopped

1 onion, finely chopped just a small slice off of the onion chopped is perfect

4 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped minced garlic

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped a couple of dashes of dried works great!

Salt and pepper

1 bundle green or red Swiss chard, Tuscan kale or 1 pound spinach leaves, stemmed, leaves halved lengthwise then thinly sliced

1 cup dry white wine

4 tablespoons butter

3 slightly rounded tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

1 cup Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 cup Fontina cheese, grated used extra parmigiano and omitted this kind

Yields: Serves 4-6 add a salad and bread, and you can easily serve this for 8 with a good sized slice


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Boil water and salt it, cook pasta to 2 minutes just-shy of al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup starchy cooking liquid before draining.

Meanwhile, heat EVOO in a skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, brown well then add onions, garlic and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook to soften onions then wilt in greens, deglaze the pan with wine, reduce heat to low.

While mushrooms cook, in a saucepot over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour, cook 1 minute then whisk in milk. Bring to bubble, season sauce with salt and pepper. Let thicken, season with nutmeg to taste.

Drain pasta and combine with mushrooms, greens and a little starchy cooking water. Transfer to a baking dish or casserole, pour the white sauce over top and cover with cheese. Bake until bubbly and brown, 20 minutes or so.

We paired this with Tomato and Olive Focaccia bread from Trader Joe's,and the remaining Chardonnay (2 buck chuck is great to cook with and yummy to sip on while you're doing so!)

In trying to keep the grocery shopping costs down, I usually will omit several of the 'random' ingredients.  I look them up online to see how I can substitute them, and if there's something I have already that I can use, perfect, if not, things usually come out just fine without:)  Ingredients like maple syrup I look up recipes for and make them as well.  
              • Also, Tyler doesn't do well with onions and garlic, so for onions I NEVER add the recipe amount (when we were eating the lasagna tonight, I couldn't imagine having used an entire one!), I just take a small slice of it, as you've seen above, and dice it or whatever the recipe calls for.  Sometimes I used the dried minced onions instead.  For garlic, I always use minced and if it isn't a main seasoning, I don't generally use the amount called for.
                Not that I'm an amazing cook or anything, but I know it's easy to get in a cooking rut, so thought I'd share these easy and yummy ideas!  Let me know if you try and enjoy them!