Thursday, August 30, 2012


It's game day, y'all!

You can feel it in the air! Everywhere you look there are Gamecock fans of all ages, shapes, and sizes decked out in their Gamecock spirit wear {including the Bakers}. It's an awesome sight to behold. Last year, I actually started a post on this particular phenomenon, but never uploaded the pics. Oh well! If you live anywhere near Cola., don't need my pics to understand.

Any who... I haven't posted about in a while. And I realize I'm a little late in posting this, but I have recently created some fun theme invitations, as I had a client planning a tailgate engagement party. And NEVER FEAR! If you are not a Gamecock fan - I can change the culahs {colors}!!!

No need for fancy tailgate spots for a great party! Why not have a team spirit shindig in the comfort of your home?!?

Go for it! And GO COCKS!



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Finds and Faves

Don't you love it when you stumble upon something and it suddenly becomes your new favorite thing? I do! That seems to have happened to me a few times recently.

A while back I was browsing the blogisphere and I read about a blogger's quest to find the perfect mascara. I saw some of the comments and reviews of other readers and thought mascara is such a personal choice. I think like most beauty products, there is not one perfect fit for all. You sometimes have to try a hundred to find the right product. Then I noticed I was getting low on my own mascara last week and had just been getting caught up on Just Ask Beth. I saw she had posted about a fairly new affordable drugstore mascara. I was in a pinch and decided to give it a whirl... and I LOVE IT too!!! And it's only about 8 bucks! Go get you some.

product image

The other day on FB a friend asked which meal plans others had tried and liked. I commented that I had tried Emeals and Saving Dinner. Both are subscription meal planning services which are really good, but I only felt guilty if I didn't use the suggested meals, so I didn't re-join. THEN another FB friend commented that she had just discovered the iPhone APP and Website for non-iPhone users called Food On The Table. It's awesome! It's free! And it's made me excited about planning meals again! Try it! You have nothing to lose.
It allows you to select your local stores, customize dietary needs and likes, and it automatically syncs with the local circular specials. You can select your meals according to what's on sale. I used the app and shopped by it on Sunday. It was kinda fun!

Then, there was the other day when I was cruising the streets of the Acres and I couldn't find a thing on the radio. I stumbled up a local station, 92.1 FM The Palm. I LOVE IT! From my understanding, it is a station that was started by a couple of our own home-grown superstars from Hootie and the Blowfish. They play "handpicked" music and I have heard so many awesome tunes from 10,000 Maniacs to Brandi Carlisle and old-school Dave Matthews. So glad to have found it! Makes me feel a little college-y again.
Any who! Just wanted to pass those along. Try them on for size. You never know...they may become your faves too.


Monday, August 27, 2012

40th Fanfare

I have been reveling in these amazing morning temps the last few days. It's been almost fall-ish! The 90 degree heat of the afternoon is a little more tolerable when you have a brisk morning. I guess I can thank hurricane Isaac for sending some kookie weather pattern our way, but I sure hope he takes it easy on the Gulf.

Any who, we had a great weekend! It was very productive, yet relaxing for the most part. We knocked out a few to-do list projects, which always feels good. And we went out for a yummy dinner in Harbison with Shan's family for our annual celebration of his and his brother's birthdays. It was a beautiful, crisp night and we literally had to drag the kids to the car kicking and screaming from playing in the fountain and on the playground outside the restaurant.

Thanks to my S-I-L for taking a couple of pics that I stole from her FB.

Should this caption be...The 3 Stooges or Like Father, Like Sons?
 I love Fulton "eyeing" the cake. Mrs. Baker had a cute reason why she put a 12 on the cake to honor both Shannon and Randy. Shan's is the 14th and Randy's is the 24th. She also said she didn't think it'd be safe to put 81 candles (38 and 43) on there. ;-)
Poor Kirstin.

We also celebrated the 40th birthday of my dear friend Anne Stuart on Friday night. Her hubby, sister, and sisters in law threw her a fantastic BBQ and party. My slack self didn't take the first picture either. Sometimes I'm just too lazy or having too much fun and I forget. I got a great but very dark video at the night's end, but will NOT be sharing that! ;-)


In the last year or so we've started attending and hearing about lots of great 40th birthday celebrations... trips, fabulous parties, surprise gifts, etc. It kinda reminds me of when everyone was getting engaged and there was so much pressure for the guy to come up with the most creative scenario. So I'm saying it now...the heat is on! Shan and I have two years to get it together.

Our birthdays are 2 months apart and we celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary that same year so we want to do something out of the ordinary {for us}. I love that we get to celebrate that milestone together. We've thought of doing a once-in-a-lifetime trip together, individual parties, surprise/no surprise, a joint party for the 2 of us, a group party with several others who turn 40 at the same time, a mountain/beach weekend with friends...all kinds of stuff.

So many great options! What to do, what to do???

I'd love to know how other folks celebrate milestone birthdays. What's the best you've ever heard about or attended?


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Get into the groove...

So far, so good with the first week of school. We are gettin' into the groove!

This week I have been super busy, but trying to stay super organized too. During the summer I threw all meal-planning, laundry schedules, and anything "organized" out the window. I have a lot of catching up to!

This week, I've got the boys back on their "Hamburger Helpers" chore chart, I started a meal plan again, and have been trying to get my laundry system back in gear. So, it's not just the first week back for the's the first week back for mom.

While meal planning I thought about how great slow cooker meals are. I have always loved my using Crock Pot, but I think it only made it to my counter top once this summer. I decided to drag it out and dust it off.

{And you might have gotten married around 1999 if your Crock Pot looks like this...}

{Someone please tell my husband that I want need this one! Mine is 13ish years old and the plastic lid is now cracked.}

SCCPVP600-S Crock-Pot® Smart Pot Slow Cooker
I am hoping to return to work a couple of days a week this school year and thought it'd make my life easier if I did a few crock pot meals a week. So I started shopping around my favorite blogs and Pinterest for some new recipes.

The first first one I found was an Easy Crock Pot Lasagna... and it was! And it was also very tasty.


  • 1 pound (16 ounces) ground beef {I used ground turkey.}
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce {shhhhhh! Don't tell my family!}
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 6 uncooked lasagna noodles {Whole wheat noodles work just the same.}


  1. In a large skillet brown beef and onion. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Drain.
  2. Add spaghetti sauce and water and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Mix ricotta, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, 2 Tablespoons Parmesan, egg and parsley.
  4. Pour 1 cup of spaghetti meat sauce into a 4 to 6 quart sized slow cooker. Place half of the noodles and half of the ricotta mixture on top of the sauce. Cover with 2 cups meat sauce. Top with remaining noodles (If the noodles don't fit exactly break them to fit) and cheese mixture and meat sauce.
  5. Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until noodles are soft. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella and remaining parmesan. Cover with the lid to melt the cheese and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  6. Do not overcook and don't try to speed up the process by cooking it on high.
  7. *Works best with a 4 to 6 quart size slow cooker.

No complaints from the fam, except for maybe a certain 3 year-old who happens to currently detest all food, so it's a keeper!

Next up...

This yummy Crock Pot Mexican Chicken and Rice from a blog I love called Skinny Mom. I'll let you know how that comes out too.

I'd love to hear if your family has any tried and true crock pot recipes.

Now, on to my pile of laundry!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Highlights 2012

We are always a little sad to see the lazy hazy days of summer come to a close. This year, because of the school calendar changes, we had an extra week or two to enjoy. It was wonderful thing. It allowed us to squeeze in a couple of extra adventures.

I thought I'd share our summer highlights...

(There are a gazillion pics, but I blog mainly to preserve the memories for my sweet boys.)

Edisto with Friends
We had a great Memorial Day trip to Edisto with friends. (I posted about it here.) It was definitely a highlight so I re-posted it!

Boppa's Birthday
My Dad's birthday is June 1st. We celebrated at mom and dad's with my brother (Uncle Clayton, Aunt April, Madison, and Emma) and his family. The kids had an awesome time playing chase, kickball, and splashing with Oliver in the baby pool. They love seeing each other and I just wish it was more often! The moon that night was an amazing sight...I snapped a crummy pic with my phone that doesn't do near the justice.

The Baker Beach Vacay
Mid-June we savored every minute of our 10-day stay at the beach. We go with Shannon's family every year to the Garden City/Surfside area. His mom and dad, as a tradition {along with 4 or 5 other couples}, enjoy the "camping life" and we stay in a condo near-by with Shan's brother and sister-in-law (Uncle Randy and Aunt T) and and their girls (Kirstin and Madeline).

This year we were so delighted to have Shannon's cousin David and his children, Robert and Katie come in from Texas to visit. They stayed with Shan's Uncle Terry at our same complex. There was a lifetime of memories made among the cousins. TOO MUCH FUN! We are excited that David's wife Kitin will be able to join us next year. This year she was concentrating on some much need r&r at home and recovery. We are beyond happy that she is now in remission!

Annual Cheesy Beach Pics

Kirstin 13, Robert 11, Sam 9, Katie 8, Madeline 7, Fulton 6, Oliver 3

The Fabulous Baker Bunch

Some Shady Characters

The Beach Boys

Soaking It All Up

And later...back at the camp
All Beached Out

As a newlywed and new mother I couldn't understand why in the world someone would want to stay in a camper for a week at a family campground. I personally, was accustomed to the oceanfront vacays my parents always took us on. Camping was out of the question. But MY HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED! I am now the mother of a 9, a 6, and a 3 year-old boy and they love every minute of it. We are surrounded by the ocean, pools, mini-golf, playgrounds, duck ponds, nightly activities, an arcade and a camp store. there's no need to leave the campground. Never a dull moment.

There are some fantastic qualities to a family campground. I have never seen so many walks of life in 1 place...more so than Disney World. And they have some really funny rituals - too many to get into - but funny nonetheless.

But there is one I just can't resist posting about. It's the Golf Cart Strip where there's a whole-lotta-hands-slappin'-goin'-on! Decorated carts, loud music, dancing...etc. Think Vegas on a very mini scale!

Let's take a look...Shall we?
(see video below)

My cousin Allison, her husband Ed and their son Kyle opened their beautiful home in Awendaw to us again this summer. We spent a relaxing long weekend on the boat, cruising the Intercoastal Waterway.  I was so excited to get to go this time, as Oliver is old enough now to participate in the festivities.

The big boys enjoyed a day of off shore fishing. {Poor Shan got sea sick so he wasn't having that grand of a time, but S & F loved it!} Allison, Oliver, and I boated to Bull Island and played in the tide pools, collected sea shells, and had a picnic lunch. I can't complain at all...lovely day.

The next day we all went out on the ICWW and attempted to go shark fishing but the bait fish were a little hard to find. So instead, we took an amazing and long scenic tour. I snapped some pics of my dream house, a famous shrimp boat, a precious blue house boat that I must have, and my boys enjoying their life at sea. We topped our day off with dinner at the IOP marina. It was a another lovely day!!!

Sam and Fulton ADORE their big cousin Kyle. He is very musically inclined and oh-so-cool to my 9 and 6 year old. When we weren't on the boat, they were having mini jam sessions in Kyle's room and Shan and I were enjoying catching up with Ed and Allison and soaking in the amazing view from their home.

I have to admit...I'm sold on life-on-the-SC-coast. Shan just has to say the word and I wouldn't hesitate to change my blog name to "CTBaker left the Acres".

Our trip had a bonus...On the way home we stopped to visit my best child-hood friend and her family in Mt. Pleasant and got to meet her newest sweet baby girl, Aldyn Parrish Gage.

She is so sweet and tiny. I can't wait to see her again!

I feel like we lived in the water, sun, sand, and bathing suits this summer. We had a few trips to the coast and some refreshing days at the pool with friends. All-in-all...I wouldn't have changed a thing! In fact, it just might be a tough summer to follow. We were blessed with an awesome opportunities.
Now, if I could just get in school-year mode. Hmmmph.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Ready. Set. Go!

6:15 came awfully hard this morning for mama, but not for these guys!

They were chompin' at the bit! I think Fu and Sambo were both feeling extra "big" today, as they have both bridged to the next level at school.

You know all the things mamas say on the first day of school about time flying by and all that stuff...well, it's fo-real! I felt all of that and more this morning. They both looked so grown up and I didn't have to do a thing to help them. Very bittersweet.

They were ready to roll well before it was time to go. The dreary rainy morning wasn't stopping them like it was their mama. Fortunately, I convinced them to let me drive them instead of walking (scootering). And at 7:15 they were on their way to another school year.

I am now the proud mom of this adorable 1st grader...

Fulton's 1st day of 1st grade - Mrs. Geiger's class

And this handsome 4th grader...

Sam's 1st day of 4th grade - Mrs. Brown's class

When Shan texted me to find out how their first day went, I was happy to send him this pic...

Everyone is all smiles!

I think it's gonna be a great year!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back to School Prep

In the last week or so we have been making lists and checking them twice. I love the excitement back-to-school time generates. New shoes, backpacks, a few fresh pieces of clothing, and the school supply displays popping up all over town cause a sense of giddiness among parents and students. It's kinda like Christmas.

When the boys got their classroom placements we also got... dun-dun-dun ...The LIST! Each year we get all hyped-up and rush out and battle the Black Friday-like crowds to get all the specifics. Some of the teacher requests crack me up. They ask for certain brands, colors, styles, etc. I can remember my mom taking me to pick out my new Trapper Keeper and getting a pack of pencils or Erasermate pens (remember those??) and loose-leaf paper. That was it! I think it has kinda gotten out of hand. And I really don't know how, when, or why. Whatcha gonna do? They need their stuff.

But I happen to be a bit of a school/office supply junkie and the drawers of my craft room look like the early stages of hoarding. Sooo shopping for school supplies is right up my alley. I actually get a little jeally that I don't get to use all of it. Pencils...I love the smell of new pencils. And there are few things more awesome than a brand new pack of Crayola markers!!!!

Any who...

 So what's in The Pig bags?
Let's see...
1 clipboard
14 (yes, fourteen) composition notebooks
2 spiral notebooks
2 1" binders
1 1/2" binder
1 small sketch pad
1 pair of scissors
1 set of watercolor paints
1 box of colored pencils
1 zipper pouch
4 boxes of #2 Ticonderoga pencils
2 packs of wide-ruled notebook paper
2 boxes of washable markers
3 boxes of tissues
24 glue sticks
1 red pocket folder
1 pack of TWISTABLE colored pencils
Antibacterial wipes

That would be the teacher-requested school supplies for S & F We're not quite there with O yet.

And along with buying all those very particular supplies, I like to buy a few surcies for our teachers and make them a Teacher's Tackle Box. I remember being a school-based speech therapist and #1 loving little surcies from parents and students and #2 being so thankful when they were useful. It's nice to feel loved and appreciated!

These pics are actually from last year but I'm putting together the same thing for them this year. My friend Misty did a similar one last year too.

I will be happy to share my PDF files for you to print your own labels. Just contact me by leaving a comment below or on Facebook.

So the last couple of days have been spent doing all the back-to-school prep out and organizing their clothes, locating lunchboxes and backpacks, and packing up the school supplies. The boys are super excited about their Back-to-School Rally tonight. They'll get to drop off their goodies and meet their teachers. Good times for the Baker boys!

What do y'all do to get ready for the new school year?

Stay tuned for highlights from our last minute vacay and "Summah 2012"!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Olympic Overload

I don't know about y'all, but the 2012 Olympics have really cut into my shut-eye! I'm dyin'! We have so many awesome athletes that I am totally sucked in. Thankfully they end very soon and I'll have a week to get back into the sleep groove before the rude awakening of school on August 20th. Geeze!!!

As for my boys, they have taken on a love for the Olympics, just like their momma. Every morning they ask which events are on the schedule for the day. They cheer our people on, hoot and holler, and even act it out a bit. They were super jacked when they saw wrestling and thought it'd be a good idea to try it out on each other. Ummm! NO...STOP!

And then there was rhythmic gymnastics.

Two words...

Help me.

(Roll film.)

Any who... It's been a good ride for the US of A! I'm so very proud of our athletes and thankful for them inspiring my boys to be future Olympians... even if they're the 1st male rhythmic gymnasts! ;-)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Whodja get?

I went to a small Catholic school growing up. It was a sweet everyone-knows-everyone community, that included the teachers. There was no suspense in which teacher you would have the next school year because there was only one teacher per grade and that teacher was most likely the same teacher that had been there 30 years prior. So what you saw was what you got. Like it or not.

This is a BIG year for us. You may recall my post on my boys bridging to Upper El {Sam} and Lower El {Fulton}. Oliver will only be going into 3K at his preschool, but it's his last year there until he joins his brothers at the Montessori school. So BIG things are happening here! So much anxious energy can be felt coming from all of us.

My boys have had the great anticipation of "the letter" all summer long. I love it. With summer coming to an end, they ask everyday if "the letter" announcing their classroom placement has come.

Then the other day... it came.

And they were all smiles when they found out their placements.

We feel VERY blessed with all three of the awesome "picks" for the 2012-2013 school year. I've heard nothing but good about Sam and Fulton's teachers. As for Oliver's teacher, well, we go way back (here and here). And we just adore Mrs. Frannie. She's like a family member. Sam and Fulton have both had her and now Oliver. So exciting!

It's gonna be a great year!

So tell me, whodja get? Are you excited about your child's class placement this coming year?


Friday, August 03, 2012

Doing the "Write" Thing

Well, here we are. Winding down another summer.

May 20-something seems like yesterday. Yet, May 20-something I thought, how am I going to make it until August 20-something?

For some reason I was dreading it.

Maybe it's the "dynamics" I have going on in the house right now. Ya know...three very different ages. Three very different stages. Three very different and precious personalities. There's no doubt that I love each one of them more than life itself for who and where they are, but it all seems so daunting to manage sometimes.

But somehow I have managed another fun, long, hot summer with my little peeps.

Overall, it's been really good and I didn't go into "Crazy Mommy" mode as often as I thought I would.

And lately, I'm all for "whatever works". I think you kinda have to be that way as a mom of 3 boys!

In our effort to maintain order and reinforce our expectations for S & F, Shan and I decided to do something different this year and have tried not to raise our voices.

I'm not saying that hasn't happened at all, because inevitably there will be days when certain people choose to blatantly ignore your instruction. But it has NOT been our go-to summer parenting method like it has been in the past.

Any who...

We have decided to make them write. Yes. Write.

Kinda like your teacher may have done.

Depending on the severity of the offense, it could be 10 to 25 times of a particular statement such as "I will not..." or {for Sam} a paragraph/essay on "Why he shouldn't..." or "What would have been a better choice".

It lasts as long as they make it last. It's legal. It's portable. All you need is a notebook and a pencil. I don't think it's anything that will land them in a shrink's office either. And the best part, they learn from it.

We've reached a point where writing for a consequence is as painful as having to lose the Wii or TV for a week and it appears to be as bad as having to sit in time-out or being reprimanded in front of your friends.

I don't have to fight them to do it. They just know that they can't get up or move on until they've finished. One takes longer than the other due to the drama involved...but we won't mention any names. ;-)

Recently, I went back through the notebook and started laughing at some of "The Best of Summer 2012". I thought I'd share a couple.

So without further ado...

I posted this one on Facebook a few weeks back and got a barrage of "likes" and hilarious comments. I think lots of people can relate.

I realize we clearly have a throwing problem.

And what I love on a couple of these is how they tried to weasel out of writing the whole sentence or change it to a shorter sentence, only to have to re-write it per mom and dad's request. Ha! And then they REALLY loved us.

All I can say, is it's just a day in the life of a mom of three boys...doing whatever works.

I have been told by very wise women that I will look back and laugh at these days. I already am. And I love that some of it has been their handwriting!