Wednesday, November 30, 2011

things + stuff

finals are coming, fast - i have a four to five page paper due in my political science class that until this week i have totally skated through paying little attention to its purpose. this should be fun.
rowan's first preschool christmas program is on tuesday and you can bet there will be video and tears, lots of   denial ugly crying happy tears.
we are hopefully doing santa, snowflake lane, american girl shopping, zoe's birthday celebration (cause you know, she is turning eight and stuff!), dinner with grandpa and more; the weekend after this and i am pretty excited. let's hope for a little bit better of a photo then last year, do you think stella is over her slight santa aversion?
this week i hope to blog about our tree, that i work at target and why we are pretty sure the baby factory will be closing for good. wait, wha? you heard me.

until then...happy december tomorrow! (are you in denial like me that the end of the year is already almost here?)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

on her list; zoe

last but not least, my not quite a tween but with just as much personality and independence as you can get. it gets trickier shopping for zoe every year, she is advanced in so many ways that we are constantly struggling for ideas, toys, things to do that keep her challenged and entertained. art and other porjects alike a for sure a fail safe - i am always keeping my eye out for new fun kits, crayola products, or fun diy i can teach her. i have teetered on the edge of buying her a sewing machine these last couple of years but am not sure at eight she is quite ready (i would get her a nice used one and skip the play ones that break) so maybe in two years i will take the plunge (next year is no gifts because we are surprising them with a trip to disneyland on christmas day!)
we stick to the everyone gets the same number of gifts rule and we try to do things that while they are special for the receiver are things that will last, be enjoyed together, and are practical for us.
so what are we getting our icarly obsessed, bored easily, adorable second grader? i'll show you!
toms are number one on the list, she was really bummed when rowan got some for back to school and she didn't so we decided to hold off and pick her some up for christmas! i am pretty sure these are the ones i will go with or if not just the plain grey canvas since i know those hold up well. nordstroms is for sure where they will come just can't beat their return policy if something goes wrong!
headbandz and angry birds are two for sures as well, i scored the angry birds game on a black friday deal and i can't wait to all play these as a family! we have been working hard on building a good game collection and it is always one of our favorite family activities.
a goodbyn lunchbox - i love the idea of these and have been wanting to get zoe one for a bit, what perfect time like now! she will love getting to customize it to her style for sure. i am on the hunt this xmas for some cute 'party' dresses that zoe will feel extra special getting dressed up in. i always love gap's quality and value and so far have found five i want to get her including this one!
paper jamz drums, the last few years zoe has been successively working towards getting all the equipment she needs to start a band. last year between her dad and i she got a new SUPER nice small guitar and a real microphone set up. this year it is all about the drums, i don't know if her dad plans on getting her a set (i doubt it) but i thought this would be the perfect substitute for now.
a homemade fort in a bag, i pinned one of these awhile ago but it had finally dawned on me that this would be perfect for zoe! she is ALWAYS building forts and getting upset when they don't hold strong for her - i plan on sticking it with different sized heavy duty clips and some king sized sheets! i think i am most excited about this gift.
if my squinkies sneak plan doesn't work out, zoobles are also a new fav in the house - very similar to littlest petshops (which we have a million and five of) they are super cute and even stella enjoys them.
finally, the girls are also getting a trampoline for their big gift from grandpa - it is a combined gift but i am totally fine with that. they are going to flip out from excitement! we had to hunt down a smaller version of the ones you see everywhere; i know i have touched on the fact before that we have a non existent yard except for the ten feet on the side of the house where this eight foot trampoline will fit perfect, and it comes with the safety enclosure!
what is your older kid getting this year that you are really excited about?

Monday, November 28, 2011

on her list; rowan.

rowan is no exception to the 'we have way too many toys' situation - in fact she is in the thick of it as zoe grows out of all those preschool toys that stella is not quite old enough for yet, rowan has more than anyone.
we have unfortunately hit that age where her head is literally spinning as comercial after comercial talks her into the need to have every toy she sees. we can't go ANYWHERE without us being asked for sevenhundredandfortyfive different things and we discovered this weekend trying to christmas shop with rowan around doesn't work any longer; no matter how sneaky or creative we get! poor girl looked like her heart might break in two if i told her one more 'she really really wants' items was for a random cousin (even though it was really for her - i just wanted her to quickly forget it's existence.)
so what are we getting the girl who needs nothing, asks for everything, and really would rather play with pipe cleaners and a colander? i will tell you!
squinkies are HUGE this year and my kids are no exception to the lust for them - one problem, tim says they aren't allowed in our house anymore. he thinks it is insane to pay nine plud dollars for something that looks like it came from a quarter machine. but? but? so i think this will have to be a mama sneak at the last minute - hey, i think they are super cute! how do you feel about this tiny rubber craze?
i need a min blogger in training so this year some sort of laptop is a must have - i am not sure on what one yet, i want it to be a learning tool for sure so i want one she can grow into and won't be to baby-ish. any thoughts or play laptop suggestions?
bath toys!!! we love love love our yookido fill-and-flow spout we bought this summer and can't wait to add this similar toy to our bath time arsenal. and alex bath stickers-there are so many choices, rowan is really going to love the soup and the letters will be great for learning our letters a little better this year.
at first we were leaning towards picking up the kids camera they have at costco this year but then quickly turned towards this option, rowan loves her leapster explorer and i like how this camera has a video option - i can't wait to see what hilarious stuff she comes up with!
the fur real walking dog - not my favorite on the list but it is something she has been asking for since her birthday and the only choice she has stuck with as her number one. i guess well see how it holds up with these rough and tumble kids!
clothes! we already picked up some from this exact line including this plaid dress - i am in love with it! my favorite thing to dress rowan in is tee shirt dresses and leggings and oshkosh is the perfect place to shop for this style.
of course books will be part of christmas! these last few months olivia has quickly become a new favorite in our house and i don't mind reading them one bit! pj's, art stuff, undies, and more will all be in her stocking - i usually go way overboadr in this area and it never even fits in their stockings so this year i am going to try and limit myself and use candy as a filler if need be!
the older girls are also getting a big trampoline from grandpa, i am all for outside toys since we bought this house and this is exactly the addition that we need! i will talk more about that on zoe's list though!
what is your preschooler getting this year that you are really excited about?

stay tuned for zoe dear santa list coming soon!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

our in week in iphone photos.

this week was uneventful - i worked a lot in preparation for black friday and then we spent the rest of the week in somewhat of a food coma. can you believe it is already less that a month till christmas? i am in total denial but i am positive time moved faster this year, you too?
we started the first of our christmas shopping this weekend and i am currently browsing early cyber monday deals now, my goal is to be done...soon. one big thing this week was our new kitty max - i will do a formal intro soon but for now here are a couple of great photos of him and his new best friends and biggest fans.
 i spy a little baby in a tent that she CAN NOT have in a upright position.
 morning cartoons before we head off to our feast at preschool.
 good kitty.
 day twenty-four.
tried to upgrade stella to a more mature version of dino and this is the end result - dino, dine two, and new dino.
cat shopping adventures.
day twenty-five.
day twenty-six.

linking up with amy from a good life.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

on her list; stella.

stella will barely be approaching two when christmas rolls around this year - which means she is still at the 'i care more about wrapping paper, if i can fit in the box, and bubble wrap' then the gift it came wrapped around stage and we are taking full advantage! not to mention over the years between the two older girls we have collected enough my little ponies, little people, littlest pet shops, cars, dress-up, you name it to open our own daycare. in other words, where would i even put more toys?
so what do you get a toddler that already has everything? i will show you!
the voting is still out on the final choice of rain boots, but these are at the top of my list. these are a must have this year because ninety-five percent of stella's day is spent trying to wear big sisters rain boots with too much trouble. she will be ecstatic to get these - i am going to go ahead and place bets now that this will be her fav gift this year!
i am loving the land of nod website and all of their awesome bath toys - i know some little cousins who will be getting some from there too!
the bilibo and rody are gifts from grandpa but will for sure be winners this year! when you are overflowing with little piece toys already these types of entertaining activity toys are just the ticket.
i am back and forth on the iphone apptivity case - i absolutely LOVE the idea of it but stella already does really well with my phone so i am wondering if it is worth pulling in and out all day for her to play. we shall see. clothes and pj's are also yearly must haves!
finally a buzz of her own - she has taken to literally snuggling with big sis rowan's hard plastic original buzz and i hope she will love this in it's place. it might take her some convincing since he will lack the laser and noises of the one now but anything buzz these days is her favorite.
i know it is going to be really hard for me to keep this stuff hidden away for a month! i want to get it out and play so badly, ha!
what is your toddler getting this year that you are really excited about?

stay tuned for zoe and rowan's dear santa lists coming soon!

the glowstick bath.

we finally got around to trying this pinterest idea that had been spreading like wildfire - who would have thought that six dollars would provide my children with endless prune-y fingered delight? i picked up some two-for-a dollar non-toxic glow sticks at the dollar store when i was getting supplies for rowan's bash. i really like the shape of these ones, they are totally round and smooth and perfect for this idea!
we had a little fun playing with exposure when i was keeping them company for their bath - have you tried this yet?!
you know you want to try it!

Friday, November 25, 2011

sponsor highlight!

i was so excited when i saw an email from one of my favorite sponsors, mandey from mama and the dudes and mama mandolin esty shop was letting me and you in on a super deal she has happening this weekend.
she is offering a handmade set of her interwebs famous (yea i said famous!) necklace and earnings-with tons of new fabric options; normally $18 you can get them for $12.50 until sunday night at 11:59 pst. that is basically like a free pair of earrings, score!
did you think i was done? nope! she is also offering the code blackfriday30 for 30% off of one of her gorgeous wreaths - double score!

make sure to check out her shop and have a great weekend!

just do it, and thank me later.

hold on, let me recover from the buffalo chicken coma i have been in all week. you know all those leftovers you had from mandy's buffalo chicken recipe? well, i have an answer to your dilemma. buffalo chicken grilled cheese + ranch.
as usual, you start with 4-6 frozen or thawed boneless chicken breast in your crock pot with a packet of ranch dip (we used uncle dan's this last time and LOVED it), and a bottle of frank's buffalo wing sauce (very important!)
cook on low for 5-6 hours, pulling out with an hour left to shred then replace in crock-pot for remaining time.
grab two slices of your fav bread - we go with sourdough. place shredded or sliced cheese of your choice on one piece then spread a good sized layer of your shredded buffalo chicken, repeat cheese then bread. butter and cook like you would normally for grilled cheese. give yourself a nice helping of ranch for dipping - then enjoy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

happy thanksgiving!

i am thankful for: a relationship with god, our new house, a handsome hard working husband, a healthy family, three gorgeous daughters, a continued education, a job, an amazing extended family, the pnw, a great church, amazing friends, my blog community, pinterest, new appliances, starbucks, rowan's preschool, a good reliable car, a great report card from zoe, and love.
i am truly blessed this year in many ways i can't even name them all! i hope you and your family have wonderful thanksgiving together! tip; elastic waist pants for the win.

we got a text this morning that turkey was too much work so we would be dining on spaghetti - ok, we won't really be but you can bet my holiday staple of fabulous potatoes will be there. it just wouldn't be right if i didn't share this delicious, easy, and absolutely unhealthy crowd pleaser with you.

fabulous potatoes:
48oz of shredded potatoes (somewhat thawed)
16oz sour cream
1/2 bunch of green onions
2 cans cream of chicken
4 c. shredded cheese (we use mexican blend)

4 c. crushed ritz crackers or corn flakes
1 stick of butter

preheat the oven to 350
(i use all name brand ingredients (campbells, tillamook, etc) - i personally think it makes the taste a lot better.)
we just throw the potatoes in the fridge overnight before we make it, that was they aren't totally mushy but easier to mix in.
you mix all the top section ingredients together, leaving the cheese for last to throw in.
place in glass pyrex type dish and smooth out.
melt butter and mix with crushed toppings choice - then sprinkle over top of potatoes and throw in the oven for an hour. we are going to bake our before we head to our destination as to not use up more oven time, we'll just throw it in for a short bit to heat up right before dinner!

i totally just took a break from writing this post to turn the parade on for rowan, when she literally gasp'd in excitement i cried - what the hell is wrong with me lately? ha!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

identity crisis.

this is plankton from sponge bob AND tim, i guess.

lots of words wednesday.

sleeping in is never an privilege we can come by in this house - hence the baby in the sink, again. 
rowan let them out of their room, followed by too much silence...why yes, that is water you hear running.
at least she was multi-tasking in there, teeth and a wash. where did that sock even come from?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


this month was my first real go at sponsor swapping and i love it! every last lady i feature here on hi, baby is absolutely fabulous! i promise it is worth your while to check them out!

I'm a first time mama to the most vivacious little girl, wife to an amazing mister, and juggling a full time career. We live for the moments that steal our breath away, and strive to live every second to the fullest... and never take ourselves too seriously! At the end of the day, all we need is love, family, and laughter. Lots of laughter. This is our life journal of the crazy adventures we call, Raising Reese. raising reese.

My name is Wendy and I'm the mama to the silliest little girl in the planet. My blog is my version of a love letter to my daughter, Hannah. It's filled with little snippets of our daily lives together, with some recipes and craftiness mixed in. I hope you can stop by and stay awhile! letters to hannah.

I'm Mandey. I'd like to say I'm super awesome and you should visit my blog because of me...but I'd be kidding myself. Once you catch a glimpse of my afro haired little dudes you'll never want to leave. The hair has magical powers. Visit at your own risk. mama and the dudes.

Hi I'm Chelsea over at The Curly Cues! I am a wife and part-time working mom of a hilarious, sweet, and rambunctious 18-month-old girl. She has crazy hair. I like to pretend I'm a photographer, so I am making due with my point and shoot until I can afford something swanky. I like books and nerdy things. Lets be friends! Come visit, unless you hate babies (that's how I weed out the weirdos.) the curly cues.

Hi "Hi Baby' bloggers! Im Ashley and Im 23. Right now Im planning my September 2012 wedding, raising a two year old ball of fire, and day dreaming about owning my own vintage inspired shop one day.
I started my blog as a pregnancy journal for friends and family to keep updated on Peyton and her development/birth while I was away at school. That was almost 3 years ago. Now it’s a hodge podge baby book of her day to day life, my wedding plans, fashion posts, and whatever else pops into my head at the time! I hope you can stop by and say Hi I love meeting new readers and discovering new blogs! the peanut gallery.
Hi there, I’m Lauren, twenty-something adventure seeker turned wife, momma, & expat all in less than a year!  I met my Bulgarian husband Martin in Alaska, we got married in Vegas, made a sweet baby girl we call Francie, and moved to Bulgaria.  Now I’m navigating mommahood and life as a foreigner in a country where I don’t speak the language (yet!).  I blog about my expat adventures and of course, my sweet baby girl. baby in bulgaria.

Hi! I'm Amanda, and I blog over at Pretty Little Life. My blog is exactly what it sounds like: stories, memories, pictures, and DIY projects from this pretty little life of mine! I love my husband, I'm obsessed with my daughter, and I'm constantly starting up new projects ranging from home decor to photography to crafts! I work part time, and the rest of my days are spent balancing being a mom, a wife, a crafter, and a small business owner. It might be crazy and busy, but I love this Pretty Little Life! pretty little life.

Hi, I'm Jessica. I'm married to an amazing man, Bryan. Together we have a handsome son, Landon. I'm a stay at home mom and I absolutely love that I'm getting the chance to do that. All Things Remembered is my little place on the internet where I share what's happening in our lives and pictures of my little man. :) all things remembered.

i am always looking for new blogs to sponsor or swap with, if you think you would be a good fit here then i would love to hear from you!

outside play.

on rowan's actual birthday there were promises made of some scooter, chalk and bubble time if everyone took a good nap. she had just had the best of the best days at preschool as the special guest, i let her wear her skirt and crown and her friends were running up to her to hug her and wish her a happy birthday - this freak right here literally started crying right there in the middle of rowan's classroom.
i love our little street - maybe one car a week drives through it and it is perfect for riding bikes or coloring chalk masterpieces. rowan got a new scooter from her grandpa for her birthday - we speculated if she could do it ok, miss goes -2mph on her bike in total fear but she took right to it and was zooming around in no time. we opted for a 2-wheel because she is right on the cusp of age limits for a 3-wheel and we wanted this to last her as long as possible. this one is great, it came with these clip on things you put stickers on - rowan put her name and some other fun things. we especially love when rowan's neighbor friend christian comes out to play!

"hey rowan and christian, let's get a photo of you two." then this happens.

stuffed pepper, yeah - you heard me.

i know, you have done this recipe or if you haven't seven people you know have and i am way behind, but holy yum. this was our first stab at stuffed peppers and it will most likely become a permanent resident in the monthly menu cycle for a while. i in no way am staking claim on the originality of this recipe but we totally changed up the spices, added an ingredient, and used pork sausage instead of their suggestion, so you know it is sorta our own creation. however, the original recipe we followed can be found here.

1 C brown rice i grabbed the first bag down the asian aisle at fred meyer
4 large bell peppers - we used red and orange, bottom trimmed (slightly sliced so it will stand in pan), cap end cut off and diced, and seeds removed
1 large onion, diced
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
1 package of fred meyer brand hot pork sausage
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1 cup grated italian blend cheese
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

cook rice according to package directions, or using a rice cooker.

preheat oven to 375F/190C. trim bottom of bell peppers so they have a flat surface to stand on. cut off a fairly generous amount of the stem end of peppers, then remove seeds. Place hollowed-out peppers in a baking dish that you've sprayed with non-stick spray or olive oil. (a dish that's close in size to the peppers will work best.)

remove stem part from the pepper caps and trim off any white membrane, then dice pepper caps and the onion into fairly small dice. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet, then saute diced pepper and onion for 3-4 minutes, until they are starting to soften but aren't browned. Remove pepper-onion mixture to a bowl, add 1 tsp. more olive oil, then add sasuage and cook until it's lightly browned.

put the onion-pepper mixture back into the pan with the sausage, add the dried spices, and saute 2-3 minutes to blend the flavors. then add cooked rice and cheese, season the mixture with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and cook just long enough to warm, about 1-2 minutes. at this point we added a splash of cream, it really helped with blending the ingredient and making them a good texture.

stuff the filling mixture into the hollowed-out peppers, using a spoon to press the mixture down so it's tightly packed into the pepper shell. Bake peppers for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and put a generous pinch of the cheese on top of each pepper. put peppers back into the oven and bake about 10-15 minutes more, until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.

you can freeze leftover peppers for a month or two, although the frozen peppers will be a little softer in texture (but still very tasty.) I cut them in half top-to-bottom before freezing and freeze two halves in a small baking dish with a snap-on lid.

the girls even LOVED them, and this morning i chopped one up and scrambled it with eggs. this is def the dinner that keeps on giving. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

it's ok, i am a genius.

total 'ah-ha!' moment the other day while i was cussing at all the tiny glad tupperware and lids falling out of the cupboard. i avoid these packaged sets for exactly this reason, but alas we have some and i used to find them useless.
so since i am the worst mom in the world; i don't let my kids buy those jello or pudding cups almost ever. i think they are a waste of money considering you can pay pennies for the same thing out of a bowl we already own - enter my idea. using the little tupperware cups for personal sized jellos on the go!
i just made the jello per the instructions then filled the cups about 2/3 full (i added some canned mandarin oranges) and put into the fridge for the normal jello set time and voila! rowan can come and grab them when she is itching for a snack, it provides her with a tiny bit of independence and she thinks it is pretty neat to eat her jello out of a little cup.

as seen on...

check me out over at the paper mama today - where i talk about how i came up with these bad boys, that we handed out as favors at rowan's birthday bash. and guess what? the little cousins are getting them for christmas too, you really can't go wrong with these fun homemade crayons! stop by the paper mama and say hi!

Friday, November 18, 2011

iphone photos.

things are about to get real nuts around here - can you believe thanksgiving is next week? and then christmas a month later? nuts.
life is always crazy this time of year with all of the november birthdays then the holidays that follow and i really wouldn't have it any other way! this year is even more nuts with something i added to day to day that i will share about tomorrow...i bet you'll never guess!
no descriptions this week and way less photos than normal but cute nonetheless, enjoy!
linking up with instafriday and weekly iphone photos at a good life.