Monday, January 30, 2012

The trouble with boys...

The trouble with boys is that they often get the raw end of the deal when you're trying to shop for age-appropriate "cute" stuff. I run into this when trying to buy outfits for special occasions, fabrics for clothing and decor, party ware, favors, etc. There is always an abundance of girly things available, but not so much for boys. I usually end up making something for them. Maybe I'm too picky, but I just don't want to do movie and cartoon characters for themes all the time. It seems that once they're out of baby/toddler stuff your choices become very limited.
What happened to cute and fun?

Ya know? Is anyone else with me?

My current holiday dilemma is Valentine's Day.

A lot of the things I've seen on the market for Valentine's Day are a tad too cheesy, especially for a 9 year-old. Unless you go the licensed character route, everything you see is plastered in hearts, pink and red, and frilly. As with any holiday, I like homemade better so I made the boys something to hand out and wanted to share it with you.

Here is a free Valentine's Printable for all you boy moms out there.


Go here to download. Print on card stock and cut. These cards will fit size A2 envelopes or you can punch holes and tie them to a favor.

{If you have trouble downloading, just email me and I'll send you a copy!}

Let me know if you have a custom design in mind for Valentine's Day. There's still time for me to whip it up!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My poor children!

Back in November, on the way home from my mom's house, we spotted and old ugly vanity and a hopeless looking lamp. I made Shannon stop AT ONCE, as I am on this DIY-One man's trash-jag.
I yelled, "Ooooo, ooooo! Pull over!"

Shan said, "I really don't think we need this. Nor can we fit it in the car."

Little voices from the back seat shouted, "What are we doing? Mommy, why are we taking someone's trash?"

But I was determined!

We removed the passenger's side middle seat and put it in the way back so we could slide the vanity in, but we couldn't close the hatch, nor could we close the door all the way because the vanity was hanging partially out. But I didn't care because...We weren't far from home and all that mattered was we got it in the Odyssey!

Please look at poor Sam and Fulton's faces in the back!
{Note Sam's guitar. Never leave home without it!}

My OH-SO-COOL and humiliated 9 year-old kept saying, "Are we really doing this?" Fulton chimed in, "Can't we just take it back?" Poor Oliver just looked completely confused as we drove the mile-and-a-half home.

Shannon and I were laughing so hard because the back hatch, which was not closed because we stuffed the middle seat back there, kept flying open...even with us going 15mph!

Every time we stopped to push the back hatch down, the moans and pleas from the backseat got even louder.

When we finally arrived home, Sam hopped out as quickly as he could and said, "thank goodness that's over!"

Oh my! I know they think I'm nuts.

Sadly, I think they're right.

But isn't it cute? Doesn't it just scream po-ten-tial?!?!

Do you recognize the lamp? See my dresser re-do here and you'll see the good as new with a fresh coat of paint and a new shade.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Once Upon a Pin 1

If you haven't already, you need to get on Pinterest. Pinterest is like Crack for the Crafty and everyone in between! I was introduced to Pinterest by a fellow blogger about a year ago and was instantly hooked.
I have tried a few projects that I have pinned and even blogged about one. I have a few I still want to blog.

This week I tried a recipe. I am a soup lover! There is just something more appealing about soggy veggies that float. I'll try most any soup, as long as there are no weird meats in them.

This recipe was right up my alley.

It originally came from a great website called 365 Days of Slow Cooking

Day 56: Tomato-Basil Parmesan Soup

Photo by Clair Buys/BYU Magazine
Makes about 2 quarts

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

1. Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
3. About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper. Add additional basil and oregano if needed (the slow cooker does a number on spices and they get bland over time, so don't be afraid to always season to taste at the end).
4. Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.

So it's starting to be spring and soup season is about over, but add this recipe to try someday when it's cold because it is delicious! This is a recipe from my family cookbook and I just adapted it to the slow cooker. It turned out great. I brought it to a church dinner and it was completely gone, so I'm thinking that means it was good. It is very creamy and rich. If you wanted to make it a bit healthier, you could leave out the half and half and put skim milk or evaporated milk in. I've tried that before and it has turned out fine...just not as rich and fattening. I give this recipe 5 stars.

I actually made a few changes but thought it was super tasty, nonetheless!
1. I did mine on the stove top because I forgot that it was on the menu for the night and missed my "crock pot window."
2. I strained the veggies and pureed them in the blender for 2 reasons... 1. to disguise any undesirable veggies from my boys and 2. for a thicker base
3. I used only 1 cup of the 1/2 & 1/2 and substituted 1 cup of skim milk.

Here's mine!
I served it with a yummy piece of cheese bread!!! I was surprised that the boys ate as much as they did. Another plus, the recipe made so much that I've got a big ol' bowl left over in the freezer

I think it's definitely a keeper.

Thanks, Pinterest.

Follow my boards here...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ollie turns 3!!!!

It's so hard to believe that this precious chunk of love, born with black hair and just shy of  9 pounds just turned THREE!

January 15, 2009
Oliver Shannon Baker

I just want to kiss those cheeks and snuggle with that sweet baby one more time!!!

You're getting big so fast!
I cannot begin to tell you how much joy he has brought to our family.

Here's Oliver at 3...
Personality: He is spunky, sassy, feisty, and so incredibly sweet. He listens very well and minds the guidance we give him. He is helpful and compassionate. I have been told by his preschool teacher and several others that they are amazed by his good southern-boy manners. He's not so fond of sharing, but he's learning.

Toys: His favorite things are his set of Cars2 cars and racetrack, monster trucks, and Toy Story figures

Activities: His scooter! He loves his scooter that Santa brought. He'd ride it all day if I let him. His big brothers...he loves any chance he gets to play with them. Coloring and painting with watercolors seems to be a new fave too.

Foods: He really likes Mexican, but if he had his druthers, he'd eat breakfast food all day long! He loves chocolate milk  and sweet tea!

Friends: He loves all his buddies, but his best bud is Hampton "Hanton" Dubose. He is the younger brother of one of Fulton's BFF's. They are so precious together!!

Books: Snowy Olie and There's a Wocket in My Pocket

Sam and Fulton continue to be the best big brothers to him. They all look forward to seeing each other when we get S & F from school. Oliver just lights up the second they get in the car!

He was really in to Snowmen and Santa this year. And when I asked him what kind of party he wanted, he said a "snowy rollie party" (after the book he loves). Since he's a January baby, that wasn't that hard to pull off.

We had a family-style party with family and friends who are close to Oliver. It was great fun and the kids had a blast! We had a snow party indeed... we had a {styrofoam} snow-ball fight, we made it snow in the den with packing peanuts, there was a delicious hot chocolate bar that was the BIGGEST hit, and marshmallow snowman party favors. We had a yummy pizza supper with a big salad and ambrosia. Even though it was pretty chilly out, the kids bundled up and played the entire time. They didn't seem to mind at all.

For his actual birthday, on Sunday, we took him to his place of choice for lunch. Then later that evening, mom and dad had us over for burgers and a chocolate chip cookie sundae! I think it's safe to say that he was well celebrated and had a great birthday!

Here are a few {thousand}pics...

The invites
Yummy cupcakes!
Edible snowman favors

Kiddie table centerpiece
Hot chocolate bar toppings
Thumbprint mat and snowman favors
My 75% off Hobby Lobby Snowman
Another kiddie table centerpiece
Hot Chocolate bar...prior to filling the pitcher
Tissue Poms
The traditional thumbprint mat that you've seen a thousand times...but I love it!
My cute snowman wreath
We frosted and snowed the door
Jack and Newt
The Birthday Boy
Carson and Sam
Sweet Thompson taking a break from the "Snow Ball" fight
Yummy salad and ambrosia to go with our pizza
Mom and Robin guarding the food
Kiddie Table 1
Kiddie Table 2
The Griers and sweet baby Mae
Nate and Henry grabbing some grub
Parker was such a good sport as the only teen amongst the youngsters
Chow time!
I got mobbed at the hot chocolate bar! It was a HUGE hit!!!
Sam...he takes his with a heap of chocolate chips, 2 peppermints, a few marshmallows, a double shot of whip cream, and a dash of cinnamon
Hampton's hot proud!
Oliver and 2 old men in a coffee shop enjoying their hot chocolate
Ted and Patrick convo at the kiddie tables
Dr. Ted showing off his pickin' skills
Oliver and his BFF, Hampton.
Happy Birthday to Ollie! Sam was kind enough to strum along on his guitar as we sang to Oliver. Precious!
Hampton and Oliver trying to open the heavy present
Personalized car mat made by Muzzy and Boppa...I don't know who loves it more---me or Ollie!
Oh yes we did! We had a (packing peanut) snow storm in the den.
Thanks to my friend Sazy at Cottage & Vine for the peanuts!!!
Ollie playing on his mat post-party amidst the blizzard
The snow plow stopped by the house
 Singing Happy Birthday 1 more time

 Presents from Mommy and Daddy
 Sam and Fulton LOVE present time too
 Ok! Share with your little brother guys!
Happy Birthday, sweet Ollie-Bird! We love you more than you could ever imagine!!!