Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Let us not forget the sacrifices of those who have served our country and our communities.  Whether they are living or deceased, we live a better life because of them.  Freedom does not come free.

In honor of Memorial Day I am taking the day off .  We will resume Mmmm, Mmmm Monday next week.  However, I found a fun and fitting craft for Memorial Day.  If you are home today and opting out of the barbecues, this is something you might want to try with your kiddos!

Happy Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

How Green are You?

I have never been an organic fanatic.
  However, since I had Cilla I would say that I am much more aware of my surroundings.  I tried to feed her as much homemade or organic baby food as I could when she was an infant.  I try to feed her all natural snacks and foods now that she is older.  I have made some changes in the way that I clean around my house.  I try to be conscious of the dishes that we eat off of and drink out of.  
However, this is really scary.....
So, I thought I would share a few things I have learned from research or from some of my friends who are far more educated on the topic!

Believe it or not, you can handle all your day-to-day cleaning with just seven easily available, inexpensive, environmentally benign substances. Baking soda, washing soda, soap flakes, oil soap, vinegar, borax and ammonia will take care of just about any mess. 

I use a vinegar and water mix (1 part vinegar.  1 part water.) to clean counter tops.  Highchair trays.  Toys.  Anything little hands touch or where food is prepared.
Vinegar and water also makes a great floor cleaner, however I like the BabyGanics Lavender floor cleaner.  I also LOVE my Shark steam mop which does not require any cleaner at all.

Baking Soda is great on tubs and sinks.

I have a recipe for a homemade dusting solution:
1 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 T sweet almond oil 
30-40 drops essential oil for fragrance.  Lavender is a good option, in my opinion.
Put all of this in a spray bottle and mist on furniture. Shake it before each use. 

It is best to buy organic fruits and veggies.  However, if you live in a smaller town, like I do, this is not always an option.  And, I am fully aware of how much more buying organic can be.  So, one way to wash your fruits and veggies is to wash them with clean water and then wash them with vinegar.  The best method I have found is to mix 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water into a spray bottle.  Spray your fruit (or veggie), rub it to make sure it is coated and then rinse it well.  It does not taste like vinegar if you wash it well.  This is to help get ride of  bacteria and pesticides that are present on produce.

As for meat and milk.  I think this is THE BEST place to start buying organic if you can.  You hear so much about hormones and all kinds of crazy stuff in meat and I, personally, want to avoid that when possible.  Although, I have to say, I do not always buy organic in this area either.  

Best option:  Fresh Produce
Next best option:  Frozen Produce
Last resort:  Canned stuff

One little tidbit I will end on that I always find to be a helpful reminder while grocery shopping:  Try to shop on the outside of the store.  The reasoning behind this is because that is normally (not always) where the natural (animal and plant foods) are located.  When you start walking the aisles, you start to find the canned and boxed stuff and let's face it, this stuff is just not good for us!  Someone once told me, "God gave us everything we needed to survive-plant and animals.  Then man started making things that pollute our bodies."  OUCH!

This can be taken as a grain of sand.  I know that I sometimes feel clueless and love advice from other moms or people who know much more than I do on the topic.  It is certainly not for everyone or for every lifestyle.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

School's Out for Summer

I can hardly believe I am posting this.  
Today was Cilla's last day of Kid's Day Out otherwise known as "School" around our house!
Here is picture before I took her last fall and a picture from this morning before I dropped her off.  She looks like such a baby in the first one.  I will probably look back on today's picture in September and think the exact same thing!  Our babies grow up too quickly!

Cilla had such a great year.
She made some of the cutest crafts.
She made some new friends.
And she absolutely LOVED her teachers: Ms. Darlene, Ms. Rachel, Ms. Jennifer and Ms. Briana (not pictured).
I appreciate these ladies so very much.  It makes you feel so much better about leaving your baby behind when you know they are happy, having fun and loved.
Cilla is going to miss Ms. Darlene rocking her!
One quick thing that I want to always remember about Cilla's year at school is how she worked the napping system.  Since Christmas, napping at school has been hit and miss.  She quickly caught on to  the connection of not napping and going to the playroom.  Her teachers always said she laid so quietly in her bed, but as soon as they offered to get her up, there was no fight!!!  That's my girl!!!  She would get to go to the playroom next door if she didn't nap! 
Thanks for a great year!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


My heart is broken in half for the people of Joplin.  
I can not imagine losing everything I own within a matter of minutes.  I can not imagine half of my town being leveled.  And worst of all, I can not imagine losing someone I love so tragically and right before my very eyes.  And some people are experiencing all of horrific circumstances all at once.  That leaves me speechless.  
Yesterday, Flint loaded up his car with supplies and headed north about an hour and a half to help in any way that he could.  I am so proud of this man.
You will not believe the pictures.
Flint and I talked about how humbled we felt to be in a position to help.  That we could help with supplies and that his job allowed him a day to minister to others.  It is the least we could do.  We would want someone to help if the roles were reversed.  As Christians, God calls us serve others and to help those in need.
We are praying for the city of Joplin and still praying for the people in Alabama and the southern states that were hit by tornados.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pig Tails

We had a first today...
Our very first pig tails!!!
Call them what you want, pig tails or doggie ears.  Either way they are one of my very favorite things about little girls!
If you have read this blog much at all, you know we had a bald little gal for about 18 months, then she started to get hair and she wouldn't let me do one thing with it!  NOT ONE THING!  Many of you know that one of the things I really hoped for when I was pregnant was a baby with a head full of hair.  What does God bless us with- a bald baby!  He has such a sense of humor!  But, she wore the biggest bows and flowers in every color for about 13 months.  And then one day, she would have NO more!  So there is not one picture of Cilla with anything in her hair from just after one year old until about two years old!  Luckily, she is turning more and more into a little girl who loves frills and bows.  So, she is finally letting me put a bow in her hair.
Today one of my best friends, Katie, kept Cilla for the morning and if anyone can work Cilla over, it is Katie.  So, of course, I go to pick her up and what do you know...She has pig tails in her hair!!!  Love love love!  The bows do not match perfectly, but she still looks so cute!
Now I need Katie at my house every morning!
I was taken back at first because it really made Cilla look more like a little girl and less like a baby.  Oh how times passes too quickly!
Having a blast at Katie, Paige and Avery's house!  
She would move in if I would let her!
These were not the best pictures, but all I had was my phone.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mmmm, Mmmm Monday: "Crazy Wings"

There was a little restaurant in Waco called George's and it is on our list of things we STRONGLY miss about Waco.  Both Flint and I loved many things on the menu but both of us would probably agree that the best thing on there is their Crazy Wings!  So, when I came across this recipe I was overcome with excitement.  These are great for summer to throw on your grill and take to a barbecue.  These are a great item to take to a tailgate party.  They ALWAYS fly off the platter!  They are not hard to make, but it takes a little practice to perfect them.  Just being honest.  If you have an occasion you want to make them for they are a crowd favorite, but I would have a practice run first.
Without further ado:

Chicken Jalapeño Poppers or "Crazy Wings" 
(as they are known to all you Wacoans!)
Thin sliced boneless skinless chicken breast (Dove or Quail)
Monterrey Jack Cheese
Jalapeños (I go light on the Jalapeños)
Cut chicken into “fajita” like strips (2-3 strips for each breast). Cut a 1/4 – 1/2 inch wide piece of cheese. Slice jalapeno into 6-8 slices and discard seeds. Roll chicken strip with cheese and one slice of jalapeno in the middle.  If you are in a hurry, you can use them from a jar. Take bacon and wrap around both sides of chicken (there should be bacon covering all four sides of the chicken roll). Secure with a couple of toothpicks. Put on grill. Cooking time will depend on the size of your Chicken Jalapeno Poppers. Medium sized poppers should take 15 – 20 minutes. Make sure chicken in cooked thoroughly and the bacon is crispy before serving!
Warning:  You have to keep a close eye on these on your grill.  With all the bacon grease dripping, it causes the fire to get pretty big, so you have to constantly flip and move the poppers around to keep them from burning.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"I Love You So Much"

One of the absolute most precious things that Cilla says...
it literally makes my heart almost explode...
it even brings tears to my eyes...
I never thought that such sweet, simple little words could touch me so deeply...
"Mommy and Daddy, I love you so much!"
You know what, sweet girl?!  We love you so much, too!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chuck E. Cheese

I said I was not ready to do it.  I don't judge those who do, I just know how life is with a two year old.....  They do not let you live anything down.  Once you start something, you have to be ready to fight it in the future and I just wasn't sure I was ready for that!  I still do not know that I am.  And my toddler is PERSISTENT!
However, today I caved in.  I took Cilla to Chuck E. Cheese with some of the other kids in our playgroup. It was her first trip and it was a huge hit.  She has actually been talking about it for a while.  She noticed the mouse on the building a couple of months ago and I told her it was Chuck E. Cheese.  So, she mentions it every time we drive by, but until today she has never known what was inside.  And this is where the never live it down part comes in.  I am sure every time we drive by now, she will want to go.  But, we do not get everything we want in life, right?!  I guess it is a teachable moment!
{Chuck and Cilla}
{Hannah and Cilla}
{All Smiles}
With all the rain we are having, we needed to get out and do something fun! Success!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Here is a little glimpse into the daily life of our 26 month old.....
{crawling through our doggie door}
{climbing and unlocking our back door}
{with a tatooed arm}
{covered in stickers}
...and these are only the little things I have caught on camera!
There is never a dull moment!  Even though it can be exhausting at times and we have to stay one step ahead of her, I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

South Padre

We had the opportunity to join some of our friends from Waco in South Padre last week and what a fun week it was!
After quite the day of traveling, storms, flight delays and a lost suit case we finally made it to our final destination!  It was well worth the craziness!
Here are just a few of the few hundred pictures that I took.
I actually did not take this one.  My ever so talented friend, B. Hood, took this one.

We thought it was a great idea to take the kids down to the beach after dinner one night.  And yes, Cilla is soaking wet!  She had so much fun playing in the water.  Although, Flint was in disbelief that I would let her play in the ocean in her smocked dress, it was so fun and I am pretty sure I have not smiled so big in a long time!
Attempted family photo.  FAIL!

...and we are in the water!  

We played at the pool that was right off of our bungalow's back porch A LOT.  A. MAZ. ING!
You could not wipe the smile off of Cilla's face as long as she was at the pool or was at the beach!
  Our friends have a boat, so we got an up close and personal dolphin sighting.
A little eye rubbing before our dolphin excursion.

The Dolphins.

They came right up to our boat.
Another family photo attempt.  Not our best, but a little better than the first!
We ate at this 'jewel' twice.  They had the yummest shrimp platter I have ever eaten!
And apparently they were expecting these Razorback fans?!?!
Another day at the pool.  Another day full of smiles!
One of Cilla's favorite things to do!
Our last night in Padre, we attempted the beach pictures a.k.a. what all daddies dread most!!!
After our previous post dinner beach trip, Cilla thought she should be allowed to swim in her dress.  We told her "NO" and she acted like we were spoiling her entire vacation!  She kept trying to run into the water, however our little two year old has a tough time being sneaky!

Mean Mommy!
We had a late flight home, so our last day was full of soaking in the pool and the beach!
We had one tired little sugarplum on our hands on our way home.  Thank goodness for Mickey Mouse and Leap Frog Letter Factory!  She was such a great little traveler!
We had so much fun and Cilla is still talking about our trip nonstop!  It was a wonderful long weekend with wonderful friends whom we miss dearly!  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Beach Baby

We just got back from South Padre with some of our sweet friends from Waco.  
Here is a sneak peak.....

We were a little unsure of how Cilla would handle the sand and the ocean.  But it was love upon entry!  I love the last picture of her!  Pure joy!
I have a ton more pictures to post, but I have to weed through them and catch up on the laundry first!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mmmm, Mmmm Monday: Cake Cookies

These cookies take me back to my college days.  We always had these every Friday with "Chicken Finger Friday" at the Tri Delt House when I was in school!  I could eat 5 or 6, easily!!!  So, recently a friend came over for dinner and brought dessert.  These are what she brought and I enjoyed them as much as an adult as I did as a college girl!  This recipe is super easy and will not disappoint.  You can also be as creative as you would like and the possibilities are endless with this recipe.  My favorite combo is Devil's Food cake mix with Peanut Butter chips.  I have also tried Chocolate Fudge cake mix with Chocolate Chips and plain ole yellow cake mix.  Both were yummy.  It has been suggested to me to try Strawberry cake mix or Red Velvet cake mix with White Chocolate Chips and to try a Cinnamon cake mix.  I can't wait to try those, too! 

Cake Cookies
Box of Cake Mix
2 Eggs
1/3 cup Oil

Drop onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 7 or 8 minutes.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Woman's Touch

I wrote an article for Holy Turf this week.  I think a lot of girls (and guys) can probably relate!  You should read it!
Here is a little snipit...

When I first started dating Flint, he was your typical bachelor with his very own bachelor pad.  He wanted red towels because red was the color of the Razorbacks. He had an antique gymnasium scoreboard hanging on the wall over his big screen TV in the living room.  Did I say it was a big scoreboard, because it was!  And around every corner was some sort of something from some sporting event!  He had been to the Final Four, the Super Bowl, the SEC Championship Game, the Stanley Cup, and he had the stuff to prove it.....
Click here to read the entire article

It's Wednesday so I thought I should share something that I LOVE.  These pretty Peonies make me sooooo happy!  They are my absolute favorite flowers.  I love them in pale pink.  I love them in fuchsia.  I love them in white.  I love going to the local farmer's market this time of year and getting some.  I need to plant some at my house.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2 years, 2 Months

Yesterday Cilla turned 26 months.  Time goes by so fast!  She does not sit still.  EVER.  And having her picture made has to be done on her terms, as you can see by these pictures.  But, she never ceases to amaze me.  She is so witty.  She is so smart (I know every momma thinks that!)  And she has such a kind heart that really does outshine her two year old moments!
I wish, so badly, I could bottle her up.  
I know some of you think I am crazy.  But, I love this age.  I love her sweet sweet little voice.  I love that she says something completely out of the blue every day.  I love that for a few split seconds every day, she will sit still and let me hold her.  You better believe I soak it all in!
Some of my favorite things that she does and says...
She grabs our cheeks, puts her nose on our noses and tells us exactly what she wants.
She calls herself the "stinky kid" when she has a dirty diaper or has not had a bath!
She calls herself a "wagonmuffin" rather than a ragermuffin.  I know it sounds like we do a lot of name calling at our house!
She loves to read and watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Sometimes at the same time.
She can read, or recite you choose, the entire book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?"
She can count to fourteen.  
She can say about half of her ABC's.  Although, I can't guarantee what order they will be in!
She says, "Fwint Harris like this" when she sees something that her daddy likes. 
She says, "Noah I favorite!"  As in Noah's ark.  It is the story with all of the animals!
She says prayers for all of her friends every night.  And I mean ALL of her friends!  You might even get prayed for two or three times!
I could go on and on.
Cilla Harris,  You are such a joy.  You are a very determined little girl, but you also have such a sweet tender little spirit.  I love watching you grow and learn.  I love watching you blossom into the little girl who God wants you to be.
I love you.  I love you.  I love you!