Sunday, December 25, 2011

good tidings of great joy!

merry Christmas!

this is the picture my dear husband wanted to use for our Christmas card this year...  i don't think the look on hadley's face says "peace"; is that just me!?!


i went with this instead...  it sums up 2011 and is my prayer for the wild year 2012 promises to be.  baby number 3 arriving in april and a move to meridian, ms either before that blessed arrival or shortly after!


 
i hope this joyous season finds you happy in whatever circumstances the Lord has brought you...knowing He is always wrapping His loving arms around us.
and my favorite passage about the birth of our glorious savior...
"now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. and behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. then the angel said to them, "do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. and this will be the sign to you: you will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. and suddnely there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest and peace and goodwill toward men!"
luke 2:8-14
and i tried desperately to share our christmas card with you all here on the blog but it would never leave the picture in "working order" for more than about 15 minutes before they became "little x's" instead of actual pictures...oh well...not what christmas is about anyway.  merry, merry!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

santa success!

why is santa so scary to my children?!?  they love to watch movies about him and never once in those movies has he done anything to make them think he is anything less than lovely...  but, oh, my sweet girls are so unsure of him in person! 

i don't remember if i shared this picture of "santa 2010" last year but a refresher in case i did not or you missed it...



i am not sure two children have ever looked more miserable!  if i remember correctly, this was our second trip to see santa...  we did go twice last year and the first visit wasn't good either!  a few days after visit #1 hadley started talking about going back and vowed she would not cry or scream...a reminder to not take the promises of a 2 year old all that seriously. 

fast forward to santa 2011...
we returned to bass pro shop to see their santa; we took the girls to see him 2 christmases ago when audrey was just a tiny thing.  hadley wasn't so sure but there were no tears; just a look of slight concern.  a few things probably helped us out this year...
1. we went at 10a on a thursday morning 
2. we spent extensive time prepping both girls for the big visit 
3. going at 10a allows santa to be SUPER patient with your 2 and 3 year old girls and they finally warm up to him not only enough to talk, but enough to actually sit in his lap!
4. santa has candy canes! which hadley is all about these days
5. the photographer had a stuffed rudolph toy; which was audrey's "security blanket" for the actual lap sitting portion of the visit!



i was so pumped about the picture, i had to share the "cropped" close up version above..but humor me and look at the full picture.  does anything strike you all as odd?  i will give you a second to think that over. 


why would anyone be scared of santa with that creepy little elf in the corner?!? now the idea that he is scary is something i can get behind!

 

Friday, December 16, 2011

o tannenbaum

not that i expect my 4 or 5 readers to remember...but this very blog had a post last december with the exact same title and it is likely to happen every year from here on out so consider yourself warned.

this year we went back to "what we know" and picked up a tree at home depot...very authentic, i know! it is beautiful and i love it and it will droop like any true christmas tree and not petrify on the spot (see o tannenbaum 2010 with the hyperlink above if that doesn't ring a bell)! the girls and jay did all of the decorating...i honestly did not put one ornament on the tree the night we decorated! and i didn't go behind them and rearrange either; i forget who suggested i do/did that. but i have had to touch a few since as for a few days a precious little 2 year old who resides here thought she could touch the tree like it was no big deal.... but really, i just unwrapped ornaments and they put together a lovely tree.

i should have taken a picture before i sent all the "family" gifts to birmingham with jay on tuesday...it looked so much more loved then with all the gifts below but life isn't perfect. it really is the most wonderful time of the year...i LOVE the lights! and the girls LOVE the lights...they could drive for hours looking at lights! we don't have any out front in the bushes or on the house but we do have these little beauties warming up the front door...


 

just like the chandeliers i posted about the other day, i originally made these little "tomato cage trees" last year for christmas jubilee. but, unlike the chandeliers, they were super easy and i whipped up a few for my front porch. 

to make these christmas trees, you only need a tomato cage (easily found at home depot, lowes, wal mart, etc.), a few cable ties, some mini christmas lights and 21" decor mesh. the mesh can be found at tons of stores here around mobile, even hobby lobby if you get it before everyone else buys it, or if you need to find it online here is a good resource but it looks like many of their colors are out of stock! the amount of lights and mesh depend on the height of your "tree"...mine are approximately 5' tall. that took 200-300 lights and 2 rolls of mesh but i like mine super lit and fluffy and full! you could add the narrow mesh "ribbon" and ornaments to make it look like a real tree or leave them simple.

to get started, i grab my first strand of lights and a cable tie. make sure to have the plug end of the strand at the bottom so you can plug your tree in after you finish! i cable tie the strand of lights to the cage about where the first light is located and leave the excess hanging for more "plug" allowance. then i simply wrap lights around the cage until i think i have enough; only placing additional cable ties if i am connecting additional strands. after securing the lights, i cable tie the mesh to a stake, again at the bottom and tuck the loose end to the inside of the cage, and wrap up the tree. it might take you a minute to get things looking just like you want; especially if this is your first experience with mesh... i leave the mesh on the roll and allow some of it to kind of stay rolled and then fluff it before allowing it to stay rolled again so it gives it some "body"...if that makes no sense to you at all, then just get started and you will likely figure that out shortly! to connect a second roll of mesh, i cable tie the end of the first roll to the end of the new roll and tuck it inside. be patient! if you are doing more than 1, i wouldn't secure the mesh of the first one until you have completed tree 2 in case you get in a rhythm and figure things out and want to adjust tree 1! i think they are really cute alone, in a pair or a sweet little "family" of 3 different heights.


what wonderful christmas projects are you all working on?!?  tuesday the girls and i started "santas" out of their hand prints but after the paint dried i didn't get a minute to make his face. i'll share that after santa gets a proper face!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

my name is sara and i am a slacker

i am a slacker because i haven't touched this blog in over 5 weeks and because this post has been sitting in "the archives" since last december!  lots going on around here but i will touch on that another day...  with this post, i was just too lazy to take the time to put it together...these bad boys took a crazy amount of time and quite honestly after they were hung, i didn't want to think about them again for a really, really long time!
  
but when i saw this post over at remodelaholic, i realized decided it was way past time to share!
  
the "bad boys" i am referring to are chandeliers made from electrical conduit, some cable ties,
a clothing pricing gun and the bottoms of water bottles! 
  
 


what do you think?!?  would you have dreamed they were made from thousands of water bottles?!?  don't ask where i got all of them...you wouldn't have done it.
last year i was decorations chair for christmas jubilee (the junior league of mobile's holiday shopping market).  we have the market at the fairgrounds and as you can see the main building is a less than gorgeous, metal building which is screaming for decorations!  when the market chair and i met to discuss our plan, we had lots of the same ideas and one was to figure out how to put some draping on the ceiling and make chandeliers!  after looking at tons of pictures online (if only pinterest had been around!) and then several ideas of how to make this work, my brilliant, engineer husband came up with the plan to make the frame from the conduit.  i really wanted plexi so they would appear to "hang from nowhere" but drilling that many holes would have shattered more pieces of plexi than i had in my budget to break and i was very pleased with how the frames turned out. 
i doubt you are going to be making anything on this "grand" of a scale as the largest frame is 3.5'x3.5' but i will give you a general idea of how to pull this off.  we had 3 frames set inside one another (see "sketch" below) which were held together with cable ties!  i LOVE cable ties by the way.  the "inner frame" had the longest strands of bottle bottoms, the "middle frame" had the middle length and the "outer frame" had the shortest (again, see the lovely sketch). 



to get the plastic "discs", we simply laid water bottles on their side and ran a razor blade around the bottle; about 1/4" from the bottom.  then we took retail pricing guns and shot the barbs through the "top" of one disc and the "bottom" of another and continued like that until we had a strand as long as we needed. like, on the sketch above, it looks like the discs are "floating in space"...imagine that empty space has a pricing barb connecting the two.  i hope i am making sense here...i made these over a year ago and i am a VERY visual person so i am not the best at "worded directions"! 

if you find yourself wanting to make some of these...please let me know and i will answer ANY questions you may have.  i fully expect one to make an appearance in my house in the future so when that happens, i'll take better pictures with step by step directions (i was under too big a deadline to worry about that last time!)  there are just so many variations you could pull off and it is a great re use of resources and easy on any budget!

let's look at them one last time...


i hope after this last hiatus, i was able to leave you with some inspiration this afternoon!  but most of all, i hope you are enjoying this blessed Christmas season!  be back soon....
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 7, 2011

mrs verna's jambalaya

ooohhh....if there weren't two crock pots of this in my kitchen, cooking beautifully as i type, i would desperately be trying to figure out how to have some for dinner! 

this week is Christmas Jubilee and i am cooking lunch today for the 40 plus women on the committee, not my usual family of 4!  for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of listening to me talk endlessly about this wonderful fundraiser over the past 4 years, poor you, i am sure you are wishing you had.  i can't tell you how much i have loved the 4 years of being involved but it is a crazy amount of work and this week promises to be a long one, so i wouldn't expect much action here on the blog.  but then again given my track record of late, your expectations are probably already quite low.  i may surprise all of us with a little extra time in the mornings as the girls are in birmingham living it up with grandparents all week!  so without further delay...my jambalaya recipe...i have to leave you with a little something for the week and i am trying to get recipes on the blog as i cook them so this morning is a perfect opportunity!

this is seriously so simple, delicious and divine!  we first had this at our sweet friend todd's parent's house during mardi gras...years ago!  i got the recipe from mrs. verna then and have been enjoying it ever since! 

Jambalaya
2 1/2 cups of Uncle Ben's Original
1 can french onion soup
1 can beef broth
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 bunch green onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
2 tsp tony's
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
dash of Tabasco
1 lb conecuh sausage, sliced
2 lb shrimp or the meat of one rotisserie chicken, chopped
white wine

Mix all ingredients together in a 9x13 pan.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours stirring every 30 minutes.  If at any time you go to stir and things look a bit dry, add some white wine to moisten things up.  If you don't want to use wine or just don't have any, water will be just fine. 

Serve with some french bread and a salad. 
This is easily doubled to feed a party full of people so enjoy with friends!

and i will leave you with one picture of a Christmas Jubilee creation from the past that i hope to share with you all this week...finally!  it has been a draft post for probably 10 or 11 months now!


so are you curious?  tickets are available at the door; adults are only $8 so do come join us at the greater gulf state fairgrounds this weekend for a market that should be one of the best yet!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

happy birthday to my sweet audrey

two years ago, today, we welcomed the sweetest little munchkin into our lives.  i can't imagine life without those sweet smiles and precious "i hold you, mommy?" requests.  thank you for being such a wonderful second addition to our growing family.




audrey and hadley enjoying audrey's new roller coaster!
i think we are in trouble....there really is NO room for this in the house but my nephew has one and it is the very first toy audrey goes for every time we are at their house.  it only seemed logical to get her one of her very own.  it was hard to get the girls off of it long enough to brush teeth and put on pajamas...they were all sorts of riled up from the constant rides and we didn't have birthday cake until we got home from church!  my guess is mommy passes out tonight way before they do!

  

happy, happy birthday love!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 8, 2011

war eagle 2011

war eagle!

jay and i like to take the girls to the first game of the season...it is ALWAYS at 6 so it is cooler and it is not such a big game that we feel the need to sell the girls extra tickets.  what was auburn thinking moving our first three games to 11/1130 kick offs?!?  it was so stinking hot!  but we thought it would be the best chance to get them to the plains so off we went!

as you can see they were less than cooperative for a family picture but at least it proves we were there

heck...they weren't even that cooperative for individual pictures.  oh and i left my camera in the car!  who does that?!?  i got it out of my purse and left it in the back seat when i was getting audrey out of the car so we only had jay's black berry but they turned out ok.
 
 

audrey passed out on the walk back to the car!  it was a long, hot morning.  so we stopped at amsterdam for lunch...we only "tortured" the girls by making them stay about half way through the 2nd quarter...
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 6, 2011

target practice

so, one of the last times we were in birmingham, jay and pops (jay's dad) decided to get out the bb gun and that led to some time with the bow and arrow as well.  they didn't have a proper target so please check out what my engineer husband and intelligent father in law rigged up in the pics below.

jay showing hadley how to shoot
 

audrey having a blast riding her little car around while all the craziness was going on in the back yard

"target"

hadley took a "musical" break in the driveway

audrey still riding in the car!

audrey finally realized what all the excitement was about and
she LOVED running with daddy out to get the arrows!

random pictures of the girls rocking in aunt casey's old room...they are so stinking silly!
so two side notes about that, please note hadley's "blow out" (sometimes she likes to have her hair dried and trying to keep it curly and use the hair dryer just results in more frizz so i just get out my big round brush and give her "big girl hair") and two...audrey loves to tell you how silly everyone is!  everyone but her that is..."mommy silly, daddy silly, hadey silly, etc, etc, etc but rarely will she admit to being silly herself...i think these pictures prove she is just as silly as the rest of us!  i mean she laughs all the time and recently sounds like a recording of a giggling baby!
 
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

3 is a magic number...

Oh yeah it is...it is a magic number.

Is anyone else singing along with me?!? No? Darn. Am i the only one familiar with this cd? I guess not because it was actually erin who owned a copy but are we the only two?  Some good stuff on the School House Rock Rocks cd back in the late 90's...

Well, we are doing some singing around here...i am just giddy! It is saturday morning (august 20th, though you wont read this post for WEEKS) and i am tickled because we found out last tuesday we will be having baby number 3 in April! You dont have to go back and read that again...I will type it for you one more time. We are having a 3rd baby! I am slightly overwhelmed but really just thrilled! So, 3 is a magic number for us!



Now it is Tuesday, October 4 and I am finally ready to share this news with the world so I will be hitting "publish post"!  This explains most of my absense from blogging this past 2 months...  At first, I didn't want to share anything else because I couldn't share this but then I just got behind and was too lazy to catch up so I will be playing catch up again the next week or so...  And as you can see, I started updating the look of the blog and got to a certain point and just didn't feel like messing with it any more!  Bear with me...I forget how hard the first trimester is and this one has been worse than with the girls so I am praying I will turn a corner soon!  I do not sit still well and I have been doing that alot because I don't feel like doing much else; it has been the bare minimum around here for the past 6+ weeks and I would love to get back to normal.  I am guessing that will happen just in time for us to find a new normal as a family of 5! 

I will leave you with the first picture of our latest addition...


And for those of you interested in "statistical" information...I am 11 weeks and 1 day but sweet little baby was measuring 11 weeks and 1 day this time last week when he/she should have measured 10 weeks and 1 day...so my official due date is April 24 but we will shoot for April 16 (got to wait until Justin is done with tax season...my guess is it will be easier for Ashley to make the trip with some help!)

first day of school

i tried to take "first day of school" pictures this year since i forgot last year!  and the first day of school was way back on august 29th....i know, i know, i am behind. 

i had to wake audrey up since she likes to sleep late but we have to leave the house at 815 to be there on time. 
that explains blankie in her mouth!  she was not the happy audrey we all know and love...

hadley...can anyone else believe she is 3.5!?!

audrey...she will be 2 in just a few short weeks!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 3, 2011

some random august fun

i truly do not know where summer went...we stayed way busier than i ever imagined! 
here are just a few of the things you missed in august...

enjoying some home made chocolate chip cookies!

fingerpainting
 

having the most fun ever playing on a stool when i took the girls to visit my grandmother
 

playing the piano for the "listening enjoyment" of everyone around on that same visit
mama mc enjoyed it but i am not sure about the other residents...

Posted by Picasa