Monday, November 30, 2009

Black Friday fun...

Festive attire? Check. Comfortable shoes? Check.
Ready to go shopping...

Elm* balloon critter? Check.

Comfy ride? Check. A fun time was had by all!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Glimpses of Thanksgiving Day...

Bountiful goodness...

Happy giggles...

Family togetherness...

Delicious flavors...

Fun playtime...

The simple pleasures of Thanksgiving Day!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Giving thanks...

I am thankful...
For a fun-filled, food-filled, fellowship-filled, family-filled holiday...
For a fun time shopping with mom, dear sis-in-law and sweet E...
For some fun bargain-finds for myself...
For a wonderful, sweet carousel ride with my little E to top off the day!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving thanks...

I am thankful for...
...after Thanksgiving sales
...a sweet sis-in-law and wonderful mom to shop with
...comfortable, yet adorable athleisure shoes
...comfortable yet cute, velvet sweats (aka Mommy uniform)
...a daughter who loves to shop
...the bliss of being with family.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving thanks...

I am thankful for...
...my beloved family
...my mom's (and Granny's) Thanksgiving dressing
...using mom's tried and true recipe to make pumpkin pie
...homemade cranberry sauce
...a day off of work for my hard-working husband
...a day off of work for my hard-working dad
...a day out of the office for my mom, although she'll still be hard at work in the kitchen!
...the opportunity to share traditions with my sweet daughter.

One little Indian....


...says "Happy Thanksgiving" to you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Getting ready....

Giving thanks...

I am thankful for...
...coffee makers with timers
...husbands who 'put the coffee together' the night before
...hot tea
...chocolate chip cookies
...M&M's
...Christian fiction, cookbooks and other treasures from the library
...my repaired foundation, my repaired living room walls, my repaired sewer leak, my repaired plumbing leak, my repaired bathroom floor (finally...thank you Lord!)
...my tiny house, my computer, my home office

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving thanks...

I am thankful for...
...morning snuggles with my daughter
...silly sing-a-longs in the car
...my daughter's amazing Christian school and the awesome 3's preschool teacher
...the fact that my house is over-run with children's library books
...cute little girl pj's
...adorable little girl dresses
...matching hairbows for every little girl outfit
...unconditional love.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Giving thanks...

I am thankful for...
...a sweet, God-fearing husband
...a beautiful, loving daughter
...an amazing, supportive family
...cherished, dear friendships
...my beloved church home
...faithful, Christ-centered, Cross-focused pastors
...the chance to be reminded of what's truly important
at a Thanksgiving service on Wednesday night.
...eternal life in Christ.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

George!






We went to see Cur*ous George LIVE! yesterday and had so much fun! In March, we took E to see another show at this same venue. Now that she's a bit older, I think she understood the concept of a live show a bit more....she had such a great time watching George through her new binoculars and bopping to the music! Fun times with our sweet girl...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Preschool Thanksgiving Feast....






E's class had their big Thanksgiving feast yesterday, complete with storytime, crafts, a big meal, a surprise birthday cake for E's teacher - whose birthday was Tuesday - and so much more. E had so much fun that she cried when it was time to leave to come home! Such fun times with my girl!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happiness is...


...a pile of new cookbooks from the library
...freshly made chocolate chip cookies
...a cup of hot tea
...and time to enjoy them all. Bliss!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sweet moments...


Often, after dinner, E colors in a coloring book, draws her own creations on blank paper, practices writing letters in one of her many workbooks or some other "art paper" activities (her word for it). Last night, after coloring for a while, she handed me one of her markers and told me she wanted me to help her make a list. She asked me to "write down these things I am telling you....I need to tell you the things I am thankful for."

Without any prompting, she listed her friends at school, her teacher, hubby and I, her favorite stuffed mouse and much more. It was such a sweet moment.

We've been talking a lot this week about what thanksgiving is - both the holiday and the act of being thankful. It was so sweet to hear her burst forth with her list of beloved things.

I love this sweet girl of mine!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Domestic Diva Experiment: Cracker Jack-like Caramel Corn

Warning: This stuff is so good and so addictive! We like it better than packaged cracker jacks or similar sweets, because it's not as sticky and there's not an overwhelming amount of "goo" on the popcorn. I used almonds in the batch I made, in place of the peanuts, because that is what we had on hand. So yummy!

CARAMEL POPCORN (CRACKER JACKS)

Recipe from COOKS.COM

4 quarts popped corn (I used a regular bag of microwave lightly salted popcorn)
1 16 oz container peanuts (optional, or use almonds or your favorite nut)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup white corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 250°F degrees.

Measure 1 cup of light brown sugar into a medium saucepan (with high sides) and stir in 1 stick of butter, 1/4 cup of corn syrup and a pinch of salt.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly (set timer for 2 minutes).

Remove saucepan from heat and quickly stir in 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and vanilla (mixture will foam up). Stir mixture down.

Using a pot or bowl which is large enough to hold all of the popped popcorn, combine popcorn and hot mixture, stirring and tossing to mix thoroughly using a large spoon greased with butter. Add peanuts (optional). When pouring liquid over popcorn be careful because the mixture is HOT.

When thoroughly mixed, spread the coated popcorn on a greased baking sheet. Do not overload the baking sheet; bake in multiple batches if necessary.

Bake 15 minutes at 250°F; turn over using a silicone spatula and bake another 15 minutes.

Allow to cool thoroughly and store in air-tight containers in a cool place.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Perspective...

I made a very hard decision last week: I turned in my 30-day-notice to my biggest client.

Ever since E's been born, I've slowly built up my freelance PR consulting business with more and more and more work. Magazine writing here, copy writing there, editing here, project work there....and then about two years ago, a project fell in my lap that turned into an ongoing, they-pay-real-money-every-month-BIG-BIG-CLIENT.

Balancing it all was a challenge, but I was doing it, somehow, although I am sure I was not doing a super job at anything - mommy-hood or consulting. I am positive that the clients figured out that the magical reason I was only available for phone calls at 1 p.m. CST is because that is when my sweet daughter was napping. But a good gig turned into a bit of a nightmare for me (and my sweet family) as the client demanded more and more and more. Bigger and bigger demands from the powers that be meant that I was getting more and more stressed. I found myself running home from morning errands or outings with friends to hurry my sweet daughter into bed so I could get on now-daily conference calls with this client to go over the same problems, issues, concerns and challenges over and over and over. Despite my best efforts and the efforts of some excellent team members I was working with, projects stalled, mistakes were made, higher-ups were disappointed and more. Although the higher-ups told me they were thrilled with the work I was doing and were very happy with me, I was not happy with me....not at all.

I was not being true to myself and not being as dedicated to my family, friends and loved ones as I always promised myself I would be. Was I letting the almighty dollar and the "prestige" of this client take precedent over the things in life that truly are the most important to me?

The light came on after having coffee with a PR consulting colleague a few weeks ago. I was telling her of my challenges with this client and how some of the higher ups were very challenging and were making it hard to move forward on projects and get things accomplished. She advised me to raise my rates "to compensate for all they are putting you through," she said. But after some contemplation, I realized the only decision I could make was one in quite the opposite direction: I had to quit. It was time to re-arrange my priorities and regain some focus.

Last week, in what probably seemed like an out-of-the-blue snap decision to those hearing the news, I turned in my 30-day notice to this company's CEO and marketing director. I was terrified of those phone calls, I can tell you. And for days after, I was not as relieved as I expected to be....I felt like a failure....like I couldn't "hack it" as a freelancer with big clients AND a family.

But slowly, as my 'resignation' has been sinking in, I'm finding that I'm taking joy in little things again. I'm not snappy with my family. I don't hurry my daughter to bed for a nap, just so I can rush to another endless conference call. I feel a sense of peace. I'm finding happiness in the little things again. I feel as if I am getting my joy back.

Make no mistake - I am still a freelance PR consultant....I DO love what I do....but I did not love who I was doing it for and what the relationship with that client was turning me into. I still have other, smaller projects that I am working on.....projects and relationships with colleagues that give me great joy. Writing and journalism will always be part of who I am....I can never give it up totally. But, I do have choices. I realized that I truly am my own boss. It was time to make a decision for me, for my business and for my family - the right decision.

It's funny how a conversation about potentially getting more money for what I was doing led me to walk away from it all together. And in this case, walking away was the best decision of all.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bag lady...


Hubby and I received free cloth, reusable bags from The Green Bag Lady at the Live Green in Plano earlier this year. Since that time, we've been following Teresa's activities through her blog.

A few weeks ago, Teresa offered cloth, reusable bags sized especially for little ones....and E won one of her creations in the contest! E is so proud of her new "purse"....she's already been toting it around the house filling it with her treasures, and she's asked when we can go to the library to fill it up with books. Too cute!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Every girl needs to accessorize...

Since our whirlwind of Halloween-related activities, I've noticed a new trend at our house -- E now often asks to wear fairy wings, a crown, a ballet skirt or some other dress up item most times we are leaving the house. She wants to "look fancy" to play at Gramma's, "be a fairy princess" to go to school....you get the idea. We have indulged her a few times (when going to places like Gramma's), but I have a feeling I am going to have to squlech this concept....it is going to become an issue if I don't.

But doesn't she look so cute in all of her pink princess-y-ness? Love it!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall carnivals - one more recap....





E had so much fun at this year's fall carnival at our church. It's so special to me to take her to this event, because I grew up going to the same event, in the same gymnasium, playing many of the same games. This year was also my first year to work the event as a "school mom". Hubby and I took turns working at the Lollipop Tree. Such a fun event and a fun tradition!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A new, yummy favorite....

Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting has always been the cake of choice in our family for birthdays and special celebrations. After not liking sweets for a long time, E has finally jumped on the bandwagon...(the Itsy Bitsy serenade at the end is a bonus!)


Monday, November 2, 2009

Cute things kids say...


For several months, E has been trying to figure out how to tell time. She can read numbers off of a digital clock like a pro.....a traditional clock with a "face"? A bit more tricky, but we're working on it...

The other day, I asked her what time the digital clock in my bedroom said. She replied "four verse twelve".....huh? It took me a moment to catch on to that one! Turns out, she was referencing their formatting Bible memory work from school.....You know, the verses are formatted name of the chapter / number of the chapter (colon) number of the Bible verse.....she decided that's what the clock looked like too! Crazy girl!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Domestic Diva Experiment: Homemade Chicken Potpie


After reading about this on a friend's F*cebook status, I knew I had to try this. I modified her recipe a bit....ohhhhh this is so good! Even if you think you don't like potpie, you'll like this. This is nothing like those little frozen discs of weird that I used to eat in college! Give it a try! Yummie! (And yes, E loved this and ate a great serving of it at dinner...)

CHICKEN POT PIE

2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans cream of potato soup
1 (16 oz.) can Veg-All (I substituted a small bag of frozen peas and carrots - I cooked them in the microwave and drained them)
2 c. chicken, cooked and diced (give or take....turkey would be great too or even ham!)
1/2 c. milk (I wish I'd used a bit more, to make it more soup-y)
Seasoned salt or other seasonings to taste - garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper
2 (9 inch) frozen pie crusts, thawed - or make your own...
1 egg, slightly beaten

Combine soup, veggies chicken, milk, and seasonings. Spoon into pie crust. If using frozen crust, remove one crust from the pie pan and use to cover top of pie. Crimp edges to seal. Slit top crust and brush with egg. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.