Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easy, Easy Easter Garland

Even though Brandon and I have been in our house for six months now (CRAZY how time flies!!), I still have quite a large to-do list... I'm sure when it comes to your home, there will always be a to-do list, but ours is pretty basic: Hang something, anything! Last weekend we had a monumental moment - the first nail went into the wall. It was huge people!

It's not like I don't have anything to hang, I definitely do! In fact, I have stuff propped up on just about every wall in the house, but I feel like each little spot still needs something... It still isn't quite right. And it's not that I'm indecisive... I just want it to be perfect... that's reasonable, right?! In the past, I've moved from rent house to rent house and everything switched over exactly. What hung in the living room of Rent House #1, went in the living room of Rent House #2. But those were itty-bitty, tiny, gingerbread, college kid houses, this is my first "big girl" house... Correction: OUR first ADULT house. And I want it to feel like home, not like a temporary rent house. So, I'm changing things up a bit.

My rent houses had a lot of red, and by "a lot" I mean a LOTTTTTT of red. It made sense at the time because the houses were so small that every room kind of needed to flow since they were all pretty much touching. But now I'm completely red-ed out... I want our house to feel warm so we painted the living room a lovely shade of gold and we are working with lots of greens and browns. I really like it! It's slowly starting to feel like home!!

But one major thing was missing... During Christmas, I could ignore all the "lack of things on the walls" because we had a dazzling, sparkly Christmas tree to focus on... But since Christmas, well, there's been a lot of blank walls to focus on. We needed some holiday decorations!! Easy, Hobby Lobby, I'm there.

Then my OCD kicked in... All the Easter decorations were bright pink, purple, yellow, blue... That wasn't exactly the look I was going for... Remember, I want warm colors. So, a big thanks to sweet Kimberly, from Key Moments, for leaving a comment on my blog so that I could find her blog and see this adorable Easter Garland!! 

It was the perfect easy-to-assemble decoration for our house because I could choose whatever colors I wanted! All you do is take some scrapbook paper and draw yourself a little rabbit outline (this took me a few tries to get it just the shape I wanted). Then trace your outline on all the pretty paper and cut it out! Kimberly used cotton balls for her tails, but I didn't have any so I just grabbed the large size craft balls from Hobby Lobby and they worked PERFECT! I hot glued those bad boys on and ta-da!!... bunnies! To finish it off, I just used a hole punch to pierce their ears for the twine to go through and then hung it from our mantle!

I absolutely love it and I'm so thankful that Kimberly shared this great idea!! I probably used a few too many bunnies, but I couldn't decide on which paper to eliminate! This was a fun little project that I was able to knock out quickly and with little effort, but I feel like it definitely added a little homey feel to our house!

Be Blessed!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Making Dreams Come True

Today I'm going to tell you about an organization that is near and dear to my heart, the Make A Wish Foundation! I was first introduced to Make a Wish in fifth grade, that's the year I met Linzie...


Linzie was the new girl in my class, we were instantly friends. She told me that she moved to my school because the kids at her previous school were mean to her, she left it at that. When I got home that afternoon I told my mom all about my new friend, and how I didn't understand why anyone would be mean to her - she was really nice and laughed a whole lot. I'll never forget my mom lifting me up and sitting me on the kitchen counter, I watched as her face went from serious to sad as she began to explain to me that Linzie was very sick. To this day I'm not sure how my mom knew all this information, then again, when you are in fifth grade you don't pay much attention to the buzz around your small town. My mom told me that when Linzie was born she wasn't a healthy baby like most kids, so in order to make her better they gave her a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, they didn't screen blood for diseases until 1984... Linzie was born in 1983. The blood that she was given in order to save her life turned out to be HIV-positive. Like most fifth graders, those three letters meant nothing to me... What's that mean? What is HIV?

My mom explained that HIV was a disease that was very, very dangerous. If Linzie ever got sick or if something happened and she got hurt on the playground, I was to go get a teacher immediately. Mom told me that I didn't need to be scared, most likely the kids at Linzie's last school were scared and that was why they acted mean, out of fear... Instead, I needed to understand it was important to protect myself, and equally important to protect Linzie. The most valuable lesson I learned in fifth grade was that some people, like me, needed protection with latex gloves, other people, like Linzie, needed their hearts protected by much stronger things, like kindness and friendship. My mother, with amazing grace, encouraged me by telling me how happy she was that I was Linzie's friend because she knew that I would take very good care of her heart. The next day, I returned to school aware but not the least bit scared, and on a mission to protect Linzie by being the best friend ever. {Daily, I pray for the grace, wisdom and courage of my mother}

Linzie and my little group of buddies fell right into stride... We spent our days making friendship bracelets, playing basketball and chasing boys during recess. If anyone was mean to Linzie, I didn't know it - my Mrs. Ford's fifth grade class embraced her with no hesitation. At her birthday party, she proudly showed us her most prized possession - a picture of her with Reba McEntire. She loved Reba! She told us all about her grand adventure... She had gone to the concert, went backstage and even got to hang out with Reba!! It was awesome. On my way home from the party I told my mom all about Linzie's cool experience. How in the world did she get to do that? My mom explained that there was an organization called Make A Wish that helped sick kids get their wishes granted. From that day on, I was in awe of Make a Wish and it's ability to make dreams come true. 

Linzie never made it to middle school. During the summer after fifth grade year, she got sick. My parents had always taken my little brother and me to the hospital to visit family and friends when they were ill. They wanted us to understand how important it was to give people your time, and more importantly your prayers, whenever they were in need. At the time I didn't understand, but we weren't allowed to visit Linzie because our germs could make her worse. So instead of visiting, we became pen pals. In my last letter to Linzie I had enclosed my best string tying work - a colorful friendship bracelet. A month after the start of sixth grade, Linzie went to meet Jesus. My other two best friends and I attended the funeral with our parents. Linzie's mom hugged us and thanked us for our friendship to her daughter. With big tears and an even bigger smile she pulled me aside and told me that the friendship bracelet I had made kept getting tangled in Linzie's IVs, but when the nurse tried to cut it off Linzie put up quite the fight. They decided that she could keep it on... she never took it off. I still have mine today as well, it's in my "Special Box" with a picture of my fifth grade class. 

I have had the privilege of being a wish granter for Make A Wish for three years now. It's the least I can do to return the favor for the great joy they brought my friend! 

Big Sister Taetum, Me and Wish Kid Malie
Since 1980, Make A Wish has been taking the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses and making them a reality. Their mission is to bring the child hope, strength and joy. How amazing is that?! 

This is how the basic process works - A Wish Kid is referred by a medical professional or his/her parents, Make A Wish matches the child with two wish granters, the wish granters help the kid figure out their wish, Make A Wish finds donors to sponsor the wish, and tada! A child's dream comes true!

I serve as a wish granter for the organization. Our purpose is to be the liaison between the Wish Kid and Make A Wish. We help the parents with the required paperwork (which is pretty minimal) and we try our best to spoil the Wish Kids! The most important responsibility is helping the child determine what their wish is - it can be ANYTHING their little minds can think of! Make A Wish will make it happen! 

Wish Kid Keller and his sister Olivia came to visit me at an OU Basketball Game!
Brandon is their other wish granter, but this was the cutest picture... Sorry B.
Have you ever been to a child's birthday party and little brother/sister is upset because Birthday Kid is getting all the attention and tons of presents? It's a hard concept for a child to grasp, today is Birthday Kid's day. Now imagine how much more difficult it would be if everyday was Birthday Kid's day because instead of it being his birthday, he is sick. Make A Wish thought of this and made sure little brother/sister isn't left out. When we come with gifts, EVERYBODY gets them! When Wish Kid decides he wants to go on a trip, EVERYBODY goes! Make A Wish understands that an illness doesn't effect only one person, it is felt by the entire family. Their goal is to bring hope, strength and joy to the entire family.

Oh and did I mention, Make A Wish makes sure that the Wish Kid gets his wish at ZERO cost to the family. Make A Wish pays for every. single. thing! From the limo rides, to the flight, to the food, they even send spending money! It truly is amazing...

I have had the privilege of working with two awesome Wish Kids, their incredibly strong parents, and their ridiculously adorable siblings. I instantly fell head over heels for both of these precious families! Both Malie and Keller wished to go to Disney World! There is a special 70-acre resort called Give Kids the World that Disney created just for Wish Kids! They resort is staffed by volunteers and medical professionals so that the kids and their families can spend a stress free week at Disney, knowing that if anything goes wrong they are in good hands! The resort is designed to appear as a scene out of Candy Land! It is so awesome!! 

If you have any additional questions or are interested in getting involved, please do not hesitate to contact me or Make a Wish directly by visiting! Make A Wish has chapters throughout the United States, so regardless of where you live there is a place for you to get involved! A wish is granted every 38 minutes, wouldn't you like to be a part of making a child's dream come true?! 

Be Blessed!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What I Really Think About The Bachelor

I got a special request last week that I give you my two cents about this season's Bachelor... Boy, did she open a gigantic can of worms! Ohhhh where to begin?

For starters, yes, I watch the show each week despite the fact that it's trash television at its finest. In the past, I have felt very strongly convicted about certain television shows and I quit watching them (Ex: Sex in the City... I'm sorry but in my rather conservative opinion, that show seriously crossed the line for my viewing pleasure, no pun intended). After this season, The Bachelor is kind of in limbo for me... Skinny dipping, shared hotel rooms, girls being so ridiculously awful to each other... the list goes on... But this season, I felt that despite the bachelor himself having zero morals, there were a few girls who I really liked! They seemed to make a little friendship circle and stuck together, they avoided drama and they seemed to be women I would want to be friends with.

I am also very intrigued by adorable Emily being the next Bachelorette so I'm pretty positive that I'll be tuning in again next season. Emily was so stinkin' cute... especially with that southern accent! She was one of the only people I can remember who declined the overnight date, she explained that she had a daughter at home that she wanted to set a good example for... And I loved her a little more! Overall, I'm a much bigger fan of the Bachelorette as opposed to the Bachelor. When there are a bunch of girls all trying to reel in one boy it's a colossal cat fight - tears, profanity, empty threats and wayyyyy too much drama. When there is a bunch of dudes checking out one girl it's like a little frat party - there is, of course, some rivalry and competition, but primarily it's horse play, "man hugs" and lots of use of the word "bro." I think it's funny and amusing. So, yes, I just officially talked myself into it... I'm watching next season, no promises after that. Plus, a few of my girlfriends use it as an excuse to get together for a girls' night each week and I really enjoy that time with my friends... Before you even make the argument that we could watch another show, I know this and I've thought about it and I'm sorry but I can't stand watching Dancing with the Stars, so no, that won't work. Bachelorette it is.

Alright, let's break down each vital player of this season's Bachelor... If you want to read each person's actual bio just click on their name and it'll take you there, this is also where I borrowed the pictures from. We'll start with Bad Hair Ben:

Ben: Seriously?! What in the world are all you girls fighting over? Why in the world would you act so incredibly ugly to each other, humiliate your families by literally throwing yourselves at this boy and basically act like a fool on national television for a guy who doesn't care enough about you (or himself for that matter) to go get a hair cut! Now, I know quite a few men who can totally pull this look off, unfortunately Ben is not one of them. His hair drove me INSANE the entire season - it was either sweaty and greasy like he hadn't showered in a week or frizzy like he might have been electricuted just a little bit. I couldn't even concentrate on his pointless conversations for being distracted by his awful butt-cut. Needless to say, I didn't love Ben. Matter of fact, I thought he was a complete dud. He tried to look super outdoorsy, but if you knew anything about horseback riding, fishing, repelling or driving a boat, it was clear this was his first rodeo. Girls kept referring to him as "deep," I guess they edited out all those parts because I just didn't see it... Bottom line - the show dropped the ball by picking him as their main man.

Courtney: Oh "Crazy Courtney" turned out to be the big winner... Winner, loser, whatever you call it when Ben is the prize. She was notorious throughout the show for playing out every model stereotype known to man. Anyone that references Charlie Sheen and "winning" as much as she did wasn't "winning" any awards in my book. Bless the girl's heart she is truly beautiful, but my Mom raised me to believe "Pretty is as pretty does" and Courtney's actions and attitudes were a far cry from beautiful. She treated other contestants incredibly awful, she dipped (pun intended) to a new low on the show by pretty much getting naked multiple times to lure Ben in... Her father must be so proud. By the end of the show she tried to pretend she was the victim, but I'm afraid her problems were all self-imposed. I was truly glad she was the winner, she was there to get attention and further her modeling career and I'm not sure what Ben was there for (maybe promote his wine some more) but it wasn't to fall in love and treat a girl with respect... I kind of thought they deserved each other. And seriously, were black gloves really necessary... she's so weird!

Lindzi: Wow. Has anybody ever seen someone hold it together like this girl did? What. A. Champ! I really liked Lindzi throughout the show... Probably because she rode in on a horse! She seemed very genuine and sincere and fun. I was very impressed at how well she mananged to avoid all drama, I don't think any of the other girls didn't like her and THAT is quite an impressive feat! She was dumped for Crazy Courtney and I'm sure it was a painful ordeal but Lindzi held her head up high and walked away with her class and dignity in tact. I thought it was awesome!! I was very impressed with Lindzi...

Nicki: Little Miss Fort Worth was such a cutie! I thought she was sweet throughout the entire show and I was impressed by her wisdom on how to handle Courtney. She seemed to be one of those people that truly always has a smile and something positive to say! The thing that just pulled my heart apart for Nicki was when she brought Ben to meet her parents and she and her father got to have a little personal time together. Nicki is divorced and her dad was talking to her about how he felt that he should have protected her better, that he shouldn't have given away her hand so easily and that many times he felt guilty for the pain she suffered as a result of her marriage ending. Break my heart! Her sweet daddy made me like her even more!

Kacie: The Tennessee twirler was one of my favorites from the start! She was down to earth, adorable and trying hard to stay out of the drama. Up until the rose ceremony when she got eliminated, she had virtually gone into each week's elimination with a rose already in tow. She seemed to capture ol' Ben from the start. I really liked to hear Kacie's prospective on things, she received a lot of attention and even when she was critical of other girls, she said it nicely... Kacie's road to romance came to a complete stop when she introduced Ben to her parents. Turns out opposites don't always attract! Ben is a wine maker, her family doesn't drink. Ben wanted to move in with whomever won, her mom put her foot down on that in a hurry. Personally, I thought the editing made her parents seem more rigid then they probably were... I think they were just trying to protect her. My parents would have said and done the exact same things. I especially enjoyed the part where her dad said that at this time he wouldn't give his blessing if Ben proposed. Good for him! Her dad didn't know this guy from Adam, I liked that he wasn't just passing his daughter off without thinking twice! I am still a Kacie fan! She represented the South well...

Emily: Despite her awkward rapping, Emily was my black horse. I was more than a little hesitant at the start but she ended up winning me over BIG TIME! She quickly became my personal favorite and my choice for "Best Dressed." Emily was clearly very intelligent (PhD Student) and I loved hearing anything/everything she had to say. She was incredibly well spoken and insightful. She was right in the middle of the drama, but she truly had the best of intentions... Unfortunately she felt the need to warn Ben about Crazy Courtney and of course, that hit the fan on her. One of my favorite things about Emily has been hearing her opinions AFTER she left the show. The girl answers questions perfectly! Read her post-elimination interview with People Magazine here.

So, there you go... my favorite girls plus Bad Hair Ben and Crazy Courtney. I really do enjoy watching the show and I don't blame the girls for signing up - free travel to amazing places looks pretty fun to me too! I do wish they would realize a couple of key things though - (1) Ladies are to be pursued, not vice versa... Yes, we all flirt and do what we can to "encourage" a boy to ask us out, but let's TRY to keep from throwing ourselves at them. It's rather unattractive and let's face it, men tend to like what they can't have anyway! (2) Traveling the world and going on crazy romantic dates are not real life!! Don't be overwhelmed and buy into a man just because he wines and dines you at the start, especially if there is actually a television show scheduling and paying for it all. Make sure that the boy you fall for, is going to respect you, love you and do everything in his power to take care of you when the cameras stop rolling. That is wayyyyy more important than the fancy stuff in the long run. (3) Whenever you get dumped please don't question "what YOU did wrong." Most likely YOU didn't do anything wrong, you aren't supposed to marry every man you have a crush on. When you find the true Mr. Right, he will love you even when you do actually mess something wrong. Until you meet that man, learn from your experiences, remain confident, never ever ever question your self worth and just have fun! Now, I'll climb off my soap box...

Be Blessed!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Recipe Monday: Oreo Layer Pie

Happy Monday everyone! I don't know if it's the fact that the days feel longer, or that we are sleeping with our windows open so I wake up to little birds chirping or this morning the wonderful sound of rain, or maybe it's because a little spring cleaning finally took place at our house this weekend, but I'm just excited about life! It's nice to feel happy for no certain reason... 

Moving on to something you actually care about, today is Recipe Monday! This week I'm featuring a de-licious Oreo Layer Pie... I took it to work a few weeks ago for my friend, Jessica's, birthday and since it received a few thumbs up from the coworkers I thought I'd share! This recipe is a breeze to throw together, it only takes a few minutes (no actual cooking required!) and it's a nice light dessert that is perfect for this springy weather. And just in case you don't know me that well... When I said it was a nice light dessert, I didn't mean it was healthy or low in calories - this girl doesn't even attempt to cut any calories in her desserts! Light to me means fluffy, airy, or literally light weight. Sorry. On second thought, I do not apologize, I like my desserts. 


What you'll need:
1 Package of Regular Oreos
1/2 C Butter
1 Large Box of Instant Chocolate Pudding
2-8 Oz Cool Whip
8 Oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 C Powdered Sugar

What you're going to do:

(1) Crush the whole package of Oreos. I just dumped the entire package (minus two - one for me, one for B) in a Ziploc and let all the air out before using a rolling pin to crush them all. You could also use a food processor, but I liked that the Ziploc was easy clean up - just chunk it! Save about a cup of the crunched Oreos to sprinkle on top, when you are done.

(2) Pour the crumbs in a 9X13 pan. Melt butter and pour into crumb mix. Stir and press crumbs in bottom of pan to make a crust.

(3) Make chocolate pudding according to the directions on the box and let it setup in the refrigerator. 

(4) In a mixing bowl blend cream cheese until smooth, then add powdered sugar. Mix. Fold in one container of Cool Whip.

(5) Top Oreo layer with cream cheese mix, then pudding, and finally the last container of Cool Whip. Sprinkle remaining Oreo's on top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Be Blessed!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My First Creeper Moment

You guys, it finally happened to me...

I had a blogging creeper moment!

Except it didn't happen like I expected it to...

Turns out I was the creeper!! Go figure.

Brandon, Me, Jordan, Chelsea, Ben & Ali

So, here's what happened: Brandon and I attended a fundraising event with our friends Jordan, Chelsea, Ben and Ali. We had a great time at the event and I, personally, always love an excuse to get dressed up! In order to raise money, there were different silent auctions throughout the large room. So Chelsea and I are "shopping" and I notice this adorable blonde girl because she's wearing the cutest pregnant outfit ever. I was standing to her side so I couldn't see her face but she had on a little striped dress with a cute cardigan and this precious little belly (and I'm not just saying "little belly," it really was a perfect little belly!)... I'm thinking, "Geeze, I hope I look that great when I'm pregnant" and then she turned toward me a bit and I can see she's sporting a ridiculously cute necklace and I'm full fledged, shamelessly staring. And I'd like to believe that I don't look like a complete weirdo staring at her outfit and smiling, but I probably did... and then I see her face...

Not only have I been outfit creeping, but now I've taken it to an entire new level - I recognize her because I read her blog daily! My head is starting to spin... I have the urge to run over and hug her because, well, you know me, I've read her entire blog from start to finish (remember that whole weird thing about me that I want to know everyone's whole story...) and in my creeper head we are practically best friends! And at this point I've completely weirded myself out. "Hi, my name is Raegan and I'm a blog stalker..."

Thankfully, Brandon walks up and I whisper in supersonic speed, "You know how I read blogs every day and I always tell you about this one because her husband is a family medicine doctor just like you and they have a really, really cute little boy and the mom makes really cute crafty things and those Symphony brownies that we ate on the ski trip and you loved were her recipe..." Eventually he cuts me off and urges me to get to the point because, well, I know a lot about her and this could go on for a while. "Well, I'm 99% positive that is her." Brandon (aka The Voice of Reason) asks the obvious question, so why don't you go introduce yourself?

Great idea! Stop creeping and introduce yourself... basic enough, right? But how do you start that conversation? Do you call her by name? Do you go ahead and let her know that you know pretty much everything about her? And to think, I used to feel awkward facebook creeping (not that it stopped me even a single tiny bit), this is an entirely new ball game. Reading someone's blog allows you to get to know them much better than just looking at their pictures!

I sucked it up, (decided not to call her by name) and went over to introduced myself. I'm sooooo glad I did!! Sarah, from Life {Sweet} Life, was an absolute doll - her personality was as adorable as her outfit! I talked with her for about ten minutes and she was so sweet! Not that I was surprised, her blog is precious. You can tell just by reading her posts that she is a very thoughtful person (always making little treats for friends or Mother's Day Out teachers) and she's a super hands-on mom (she always has tons of great ideas for activities to do with little ones!).

I went from blog creeper to blog friend! I was so excited!! My first ever blog friend, you guys!!! She was so kind as I blubbered through the "Sorry this is awkward but I read your blog..." and she reassured me that she'd done the same thing before. (In retrospect, if someone read my blog but didn't personally know me and they saw me somewhere I would definitely want them to feel comfortable introducing themselves! I LOVE hearing that people read my blog and I would want to meet them and chat!!) Hopefully, we can get together soon (husbands schedules permitting) and get to know each other in real life, as opposed to blog life.

So, there you go, another random story for you! Our night out was so nice - we sat at a super fun table and greatly enjoyed catching up with our friends! Thanks so much to Chelsea and Jordan for inviting us! We always love getting to spend time with you all!

Be Blessed!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

#8: Go Snow Skiing Together

Well, we marked another thing off the Pre-Baby Bucket List! We knocked out this ski trip a lot earlier than we expected... Brandon's family asked us if we wanted to go and the date that they had selected happened to fall perfectly with Brandon's schedule so we packed our bags and hit the road... If you aren't up to speed on our Pre-Baby Bucket List, you can read all about it by clicking here.

Despite the resulting blood clot, we had one fab-u-lous little snow skiing trip! Brandon and I spent 6 days in beautiful Keystone, Colorado with his Uncle Jim, Aunt Jennifer and their three adorable kiddos. Oh how I loooooove Colorado!

We left the house at midnight and drove through the night so that the twelve hour drive wouldn't turn into a twenty-four hour drive... They have three year old twin boys, is any more explanation really necessary? We loaded that Excursion to the very brim!! I wish, wish, wish I'd taken a picture of everything/everyone crammed in. Imagine this - Front seat: Brandon and Jim. Middle seat: Gigantic car seat and at least 200 hot wheels, Jennifer, another gigantic car seat and every form of Thomas the Train imaginable. Back seat: Snowboard, Sophie in her booster seat and at least nineteen books, me and a very large batch of cookies (I've got priorities people). I would tell you how excruciating it is to drive through the night and how exhausted I was when we got there, but honestly, I was so far to the back that the rest of the adults forgot all about me and I was not called upon to drive so I slept the whole way there! Oops.

The first day of the trip we just got our skis checked out, settled into our lovely condo, made a grocery store run and little things like that... Nothing too note worthy. But the following four days, Brandon and I spent the vast majority of our day on the slopes and it was awesome!!

At Keystone, you can ski from 8a-8p (if your legs will work for that long, mine would never make it) so we had the luxury of skiing day or night! I looooooove night skiing (preferably when it isn't flippin' freezing!). The slopes are lit up but everything else is pitch dark and then you can see the tiny town's lights and from the top of the mountain it looks like you're looking at one of those Christmas Villages people display. So beautiful! Plus, you pretty much ski by yourself - no out of control children to dodge, no crazy snowboarders... it's perfect.

This might not have been our luckiest trip... The first day we got into town I lost my purse... I NEVER lose anything. It was recovered and all was good, thankfully, but it was still a headache. The next morning, Brandon lost his ski gloves... He NEVER loses stuff either! They were never recovered, but Keystone let him borrow some from the Lost and Found which was very nice! Then when we went to pick up our lift tickets, they couldn't find where we paid... even though I had the confirmation number and email. Eventually we got that straightened out but it took a good half hour... FINALLY, Brandon and I took the gondola to the very top of the mountain!! I requested that we make one run down a green (If you aren't familiar with snow skiing the easiest level is green, followed by moderate which is blue and finally black which is the hardest) just to get our legs under us a bit... It's been a few years since either of us put on a pair of skis. Brandon whined, moaned, and complained but obliged in the end. We took off down the only green and, of course, 100 yards from the top it turned into solid blacks. Lovely. We cracked up!!

The above picture may be my favorite from the trip! Poor guy wiped out before even taking his gloves off!! We are around the boys quite a bit but never without being in a large group setting or for a long enough period to truly see their little personalities. After this week, we got the little guys down pat! The sleeper above, Ethan, he's the cuddler! The first night (Actually, morning, it was 5AM) he somehow managed to climb down three flights of stairs to our room. The little guy couldn't get the door open and by the time Brandon sleepily fumbled his way around our strung out bags of luggage to the door, nobody was there. B climbed back in bed and assured me nobody was out there. I KNEW I heard something... and not thirty seconds later we heard a little crying voice, "Mama?" This time Brandon hopped up, wide awake, and found little Ethan at our door. He snatched him up, hugged him and told him he could sleep with us until his Mama woke up. Ethan climbed right in with us, cuddled up beside me and went immediately back to sleep. From then on, he was our little buddy! **And if you are a fan of the movie Cars 2... Ethan's favorites are the Orange Bad Guy, Professor, Finn, and one red hot wheels that has nothing to do with the movie.

We were blessed with absolutely perfect, b-e-a-utiful weather! It snowed about 11 inches the first couple of nights we got into town so the following days we skied in perfect powder with the sun shining all day! You couldn't ask for better conditions!

I pride myself on being able to keep up with boys. Whether its skiing or rock climbing or jumping out of airplanes, I love an adventure! My mom always says that she was brave and adventurous until she had me, and then since my dad was always being brave (ie doing something crazy or risky) she had to quit and start being safe so that I wouldn't end up an orphan. I never got it, I always want to be brave... When it comes to snow skiing, I don't do anything tricky. I never attempt a jump. I avoid wooded areas. But I like to go fast... You won't have to wait on me, I promise! My precious husband, on the other hand, is a bit of a dare devil. He loves to veer off into the trees, to try any/every jump, and he does it all while going 100 mph! Stressed. Me. Out. This year, I was totally over being brave, I wanted to live!! Every time Brandon would head off into the trees, I would secretly think, "You better be careful, I don't want to end up a widow!" And we don't even have kids yet... Marriage has made me a wuss!!

Little Miss Sophie attended ski school one day and had the entire skiing process down pat! The girl could pizza (aka snow plow), she could french fries (aka keeping your skis parallel) and she understood that you need to go back and forth, not straight down. She did so good! This picture was taken on Sophie's first run down the real mountain!! She was doing great until she got a little cold and then it kind of took the wind out of her. Nevertheless, we were so proud of her for going for it! Next year, I'm positive, we'll be the ones trying to keep up with her!

One day, B got a little bored with the skis (in other words, his legs were killing him) so he decided to snowboard. I wasn't too sure about this plan since I've gone on a lot of ski trips were people decided they would "just snowboard" and from what I saw, it must be a lot harder than it looks! But turns out, my cute husband had actually snowboarded once before and was surprisingly good at it. He didn't try anything crazy but I think he enjoyed the day and I appreciated getting to slow down just a little!

Winner of the "Most Festive Coat Award" went to the guy above... Yes, I was that girl that took a picture of a complete stranger. But seriously, who skis in fur?!

Unfortunately, this is the closest we came to a group shot. Before you judge, you try getting three kids to cooperate in the snow... not happenin', wayyyyy too many distractions. So far I've introduced you to Ethan (with his eyes closed), Sophie (the ski bum) and finally, meet Aaron (in the cute green hat). Aaron is definitely the independent twin. He is completely fine doing his own thing. He prefers Thomas the Train over Cars, his favorites are Diesel and Diesel II (Don't ask me, I couldn't tell them apart). He would also REALLY like pretty much any car Ethan happens to be playing with. Aaron can spot "his letter" (A) from miles away! He preferred cuddling with his mom instead of us, but we didn't hold it against the little guy... He is really good at giving "a hug and a kiss." He says it together really quick, "Can I have a hug and a kiss?" "Do you want a hug and a kiss?" or my personal favorite, if he's getting in trouble, "But I just want a hug and a kiss!" He sure was a cutie and very informative when it came to trains!

That's our ski trip in a nut shell! We had such a wonderful time and we were so appreciative of Brandon's aunt and uncle for inviting us to tag along! We are already counting down the days until Ski Trip 2013!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Recipe Monday: Chicken Pesto Calizone

Ohhh y'all... this was yummmm-y! (PS in real life, I NEVER use the word y'all... I'm not sure why, but I have always adamantly despised the word or contraction or whatever it is. So I was going to say, "Ohhh girls..." but then I thought, what if boys are reading my blog? Doubtful, but maybe! I did't want them to feel left out... So "y'all" it was. Don't judge.) The homemade calizone is definitely a weekend meal, as you have to let the dough rise for a couple of hours... I knew this, so I decided to make it on Sunday and, of course, I still didn't start cooking until 6ish and then A Time to Kill came on so I cooked/watched at the same time which realllly slows me down... I (woke Brandon up and) served dinner promptly at 9:15pm. Oops. But it was soooo good, totally worth the wait!


**This recipe makes FOUR calizones... We wrapped two up in cling wrap and a Ziploc and froze them or if you are feeding more than two people, you can serve them all at once! They are supposed to be individual size, but there was no way I could have eaten a whole one by myself!!

What you need:

1 1/2 C Luke Warm Water
1 tsp Dry Active Yeast
1/2 tsp Sugar
1/3 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 C Unbleached Bread Flour
2 1/2 C White Whole Wheat Flour

1 C Pesto
3 C Cooked Shredded Chicken (I used 2 chicken breasts and it was plenty)
4 Oz Shredded Provolone Cheese (Or Mozzarella)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Just enough to drizzle on top)
Italian Seasoning

Adapted from My Kitchen Addiction

What you do:

(1) To make the dough, mix together the lukewarm water, yeast and sugar. Whisk, until the yeast and sugar are dissolved in the water.

(2) Add the olive oil, salt and bread flour. Stir until smooth.

Action shot by my lovely husband. Ha.
(3) Slowly add the whole wheat flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to separate from the bowl. Knead in the rest of the whole wheat flour until the dough is smooth.

(4) Move the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap (seal it tight) and allow the dough to rise for 1.5-2 hours.

Now would be a great time to watch a movie, do two loads of laundry or just kill two hours reading blogs.

(5) Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 475. Lightly spray a baking sheet with Pam and set it aside for later.

(6) Lightly cover a cookie sheet with flour and divide the dough into four portions. Doing each calizone, one at a time, spread the dough into a oval shape. (I found this was easiest if I held up one side and lightly pulled it and then slowly rotated my way around the oval, instead of rolling it out like a pie crust.)

(7) Shred your cooked chicken. **Helpful Hint: If you have a KitchenAid Mixer, drop your cooked chicken breasts in the bowl, lock the head down and turn your mixer on a medium speed with the normal paddle mixer. Your chicken will shred perfectly on its own without scorching your fingers or taking ten minutes!

(8) Combine the shredded chicken and the pesto.

(9) Spoon 1/4 of the chicken pesto mixture onto half of the dough.

(10) Top with shredded mozzarella and/or provolone cheese. I used both...

(11) Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal the calizone. (At this point you can wrap it once or twice in plastic wrap, Ziploc it and freeze it!)

(12) Move calzone to the Pam covered cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil on top and season with Italian Seasoning. Bake for 12-14 minutes. *I dipped mine in Ranch dressing. Brandon dipped his is pizza sauce... Both were good!!

We REALLY enjoyed these cheesy calzones! And they were even rather healthy!! Next time Brandon and I thought it would be fun to make each one a little different - try our hand at some sausage, pepperoni, chicken basil with pineapple, etc.  The options are limitless!!

Thank you all so, so much for your sweet calls, emails, texts, facebook messages, and most importantly prayers! I spent all of last week literally exhausted (hence the lack of blogging). I'm not sure if being worn out stemmed from the stress or the medicine or the newly thinned blood or what, but I definitely not my normal self and I was not loving it one bit! When you are on blood thinners, the goal is to have your INR (International Normalized Ratio) fall between 2 and 3. Thursday's blood test showed that my INR was 1.6, but on Saturday I produced a PERFECT 2.5!! Woohoo! This morning I went in for another check and I dropped down to 2.0, but it was good enough for me to be considered "therapeutic" which basically means I'm level enough that I can stop the shots in my belly - PRAISE THE LORD!!! Literally. So Wednesday, is my FINAL shot day! I'm not sure who is more excited - me or Dr. Husband. (I'm not sure I've been the ideal patient... Bless his heart.) I'll go in again Thursday and we'll see what my INR looks like without the shot and hopefully, cross your fingers, say your prayers, it'll still be in the golden 2's.

I'm so truly thankful for everyone's love and support and prayers! The silver lining to having this scary encounter is being overwhelmed by the outpouring of concerned friends and family... Every single day - life is sooooo good! Thank you sweet friends for blessing me constantly!!

Be Blessed!