Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fireplace Completion!

I have a completed fireplace!!!
Yes, it took us 3 months to finish the mantel.
We like deadlines...and I was all "I AM having a decorated mantel for Christmas."
So hubby got er dun.

You can see the progression of our fireplace project in these posts...

We debated on what to do with the mantel.
We ended up sanding down the weird piece of wood we had and staining it a dark brown.
And by "we" I mean "hubby"...with my design direction of course ;-)
And I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Here's the final reveal.
We'll make it a Christmas reveal.

Christmas Fireplace 2010

Christmas Fireplace 2011

What do you think???

Here's some other views...

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Eat Cheese...Get Cracker

Ellie is getting to the age where she is understanding right from wrong.
She is starting to understand cause and effect.
And she is starting to understand consequences.

At lunch one day, she asked me for more cheese.
"mo.  cheese.  pease."
So I got her some.

Well...she decided she didn't want to eat it.
In this house, if you ask for more of something, you are expected to eat it.
Or at least eat SOME of it.

To help her along in this lesson I placed an animal cracker on the table.
And a tiny piece of the cheese she was refusing to eat.
Thus began the epic battle of...

Here is a pictorial view of this training session :-)
(please excuse the crumbs on the table - she's a messy eater)

"I want that Mommy"

"What?  I can't have that?"

"I have to eat that first?"

She ate the cheese! (after about 5-10 minutes of whining and crying and sitting quietly and contemplating)  And is enjoying her animal cracker!

"Whew...that was a lot of work."

"But so worth it!"

Friday, December 9, 2011

Reindeer Cookies

I made these cuties for a cookie exchange today at my playgroup.
I know all the mommy's will be fighting over them ;-)
Actually...I think they might be pretty popular with the kiddos too.

I got inspired from Pinterest.
It should be called Inspirest...Inspiredest...Inspirethee...Inspiroroni...
well...maybe it shouldn't be called that.

The original blog post can be found here at Bakergirl.

Here are some tips in case you want to make these yourself.

* I used the premade dough roll and I aint ashamed to admit it!  There is therefore no condemnation when it comes to saving time during the holiday season.  Can I get an Amen?!
* The pretzels are Keebler's Right Bites fudge pretzels. They come in a box with six snack packs.
* I bought one box of the good pretzels and then bought a bag of non-chocolate coated pretzels for the rest of the batch I save moolah :-)
* I could not find mini M&M's to save my life at Target.  So I went with plan B.  Chocolate chips point down for the eyes and red cinnamon candy balls for the nose (they were in the baking aisle).
* The regular pretzels didn't stick so well in the cookie.  So I used my newly acquired icing piping bag and little round tip from my cake decorating class (a future post waiting to happen) to pipe a small line of icing on the cookie then jabbed the pretzel on top.
* Follow the 1 inch ball guideline!  I didn't follow that rule with my first batch and they all came out too big.  The smaller the cuter they are!

Be sure to send me a pic of your reindeer if you make some!
And I will feature you on my oh so popular blog! ;-)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Embrace the Camera - Lights Lights Everywhere!

I've been too busy living life to document it.

This is a busy season...right?
How is it going to be Christmas in 2 1/2 weeks?

This past weekend we got to go to Disney!
We have a wonderful friend who hooked us up ;-)

The funnest part was seeing the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at Hollywood Studios.
I've never seen so many Christmas lights all in one condensed space. was all synced with music.

Anna wanted to take our picture.
She said " stick your tongue out."
I listened...and hubby didn't :-)
(sorry for the blurriness...she's only 3 you know)

And here's another one from Anna :-)

Here's a little glimpse of how amazing it was.
But...I's you really expect anything less?

-Linking up with Emily today-

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One More from Thailand...

First of all...
I would like to blame jet lag on my lack of posting.

I usually write my posts at night and schedule them to appear in the morning.
But when you fall asleep on the couch every night shortly after putting the kids to bed...
wake up in the middle of the night fully clothed with your contacts still in and all the lights on...
stumble to the bathroom to get ready for bed...
and then lay awake in bed for an hour, because your body is like "ummm...didn't we just do this?"
then you don't get a lot of posts written :-(

I had one more Thailand post I wanted to share with you all.
But before that...
my friend started a blog
and thought it would be hilarious to post a video
of my hubby trying to feed me a food that terrified me - remember that post?
I did not know she was recording that is the real Cheryl right there lol...
check it out here - ABCs and Frozen Peas

And now on to the last (I think) Thailand post...

Thai Modes of Transportation

This is a tuk tuk.
It's one of the most famous modes of transportation in Thailand.

This is Steve and I riding in a fancy tuk tuk.
Our hotel had one that would drive you down to the skytrain station for free.

Speaking of the Skytrain...
it is an elevated train like a monorail...but not really

This is me on my hot pink Thai phone trying to navigate the Skytrain map.

One mode of transportation we did not participate in was what I like to call a truck bus...
very unique.

There were about 200 gazillion (I counted) mopeds everywhere.
And apparently they have no rules.
They just zig zag through traffic...
somtimes going the wrong way on the street...
and push their way to the front...
like this...

We took cabs a lot.
So thankful English is pretty well known in Bangkok!
Made getting around in the cabs so much easier.
Here we are trying to tell a cab where we need to go...

And the most fascinating of all modes of transpor-tay-shee-owns


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Embrace the Camera - Thailand Style

Even while in Thailand, I was able to Embrace the Camera with my kids!

We Skyped with them almost every day.
The time change (12 hours) made it difficult...
but we would try to catch them while they were eating breakfast...
or right before they went to bed.

This is me and Ellie on a Skype call :-)

And that is how you Skype with an 18 month old.
Make funny faces and tell her that you love her :-)

I was SO thankful for technology while we were half way around the world...

my babies on another Skype call

We were on the search for free wifi every where.
I had to stay connected for my own sanity.
My kids were like a billion miles away and I HAD to be within an email away from them.
I couldn't stand the thought of not being able to know how they were doing.

Here we are taking advantage of free wifi at a Starbuck's at a mall.

This is me Skyping on my iPhone in a coffee shop in another mall.
Did I mention there were a lot of malls in Bangkok??
Steve had to shoosh me a few times...
I had my earbuds in and was probably making silly noises a little too loud ;-)
But I didn't care!
I was talking to my babies!

I can't even imagine what it was like being in foreign countries years ago away from your family.
before internet...
before email...
before Skype...
When all you could do was make a super expensive phone call or write a letter.
Thankful for technology.
And now I'm thinking of Napoleon Dynamite :-)

Joining Emily with ETC

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thailand - Food That Terrified Me!

Let me first preface this post by saying...
I am a somewhat picky eater.
I would like to consider myself a Recovering Picky Eater.
I was way worse when I was younger.
I've gotten to the point now where I just don't like the taste of some things.
I'm sorry...but yogurt looks great...smells great...but tastes like sawdust.
Same with pop tarts, tomatoes, pickles, mushrooms, flaky pastries, broccoli, and any tea...expecially chai...
oh my gosh chai tea makes me gag just thinking about it.
And I've tried...promise.

So...with that being are some pics of Food That Terrified Me!
It was actually my friend Andi's idea.
Every day I kept pointing things out to her and say "That terrifies me!"
And she was like "this sounds like a blog post."
And I was like "that's a genius idea."
There would be a dozen more pics if she had given me the idea sooner in the trip ;-)

This first pic is a fruit.
No idea what kind.
It was red on the outside and a scary gooey with black seeds on the inside.
A pack of herding rhinos couldn't make me eat this.
Unidentified Fruit

This next one just does not come through in a pic like it should.
It had a gelatinny (I just made that word BTW) larva coccoon texture.
I've decided the only thing gelatin I want to eat is Jell-O, thank you very much.
And there was a LOT of gelatinny food choices in Thailand.
Sago Dumpling with Minced Pork and Peanut

These next 2 were in a food display case at a food court in a mall.
No further scary explanation needed.
squid on a stick
squid on a stick

Seaweed flavored Lays.
No Thank You.
Seaweed flavored Lays potato chips

Now I love corn.
Especially on salad.
But with my ice cream...
Not so much.
KFC Dessert

This next item was meant to be an ice cream topping.
It was black, gelatinny, slimey looking, in black sauce.
Sends shivers down my spine ;-)
Unidentified Black Gelatinny Stuff in Black Sauce

And just so you don't think I hated all the food in Thailand...
here are a few yummy pictures!

This was a yummy fruit.
It was hot pink and bumpy on the outside and white with black seeds on the inside.
It was a little harder than a kiwi texture-wise.
Dragon Fruit

Diet Coke...or what they call Coke Light
It tasted different.
Different sweetener...but I got use to it and enjoyed it just the same.
Coke Light

And this is me eating yummy Pad Thai!
I will say that as much as I enjoy Pad Thai...
I don't need to eat it any time soon.
I'm good for a while :-)
Yummy Pad Thai

Hope you enjoyed seeing some scary and yummy foreign foods!
Feel free to take a guess at what the unidentified items are!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thailand...Where to Begin...

My hubby and I on the streets of Bangkok

We're back!
I thought I might blog while in Thailand...but obviously that didn't happen.
We were too busy at the conference.
And it didn't help that jet lag was zonking me out around dinner time every day.
BTW...jet lag is some serious stuff!
There's a 12 hour time difference between here and there and my body knew it!

Tomorrow is the first day of real life again.
My family went home today and Steve goes back to the office tomorrow.
I will be in charge of the kids all day and I'm praying I stay AWAKE!

I'm not really sure what to share about the trip with you all.
There's so much.
But I don't want to bore you.
Maybe I'll do a couple posts about things I learned or found out about the country.
How's that sound?
That sounds wonderful Cheryl. You always have such great ideas ;-)
You're so kind.

Here we go!

Most people in Thailand know some English.
We were SO grateful for that!...
considering I only knew how to say "thank you" and "hello" in Thai
that can only get you so far in a foreign country
I did not meet one person who knew no drivers, waitresses, shop owners.
BUT...their English not always so good ;-)

stationary display in a store

Food and Drik?  And I'm not sure I want to try some Steak Coffee.

(I think that's what they would call themselves if they had to choose)
LOVE them a good mall!
My goodness they have many massively big malls in the city.
And there are street vendors EVERYWHERE!
shopping shopping and more shopping
This is an IT Mall.  5 floors of ONLY electronics and IT related products!

This is my hubby taking a picture of himself as happy as can be in the IT Mall ;-)  Love ya, Honey!

Night Street Market outside a train station - I bought a necklace for less than 2 bucks here :-)

Seacon Square - next door to our hotel - 5 full floors of shopping shopping shopping
street vendors lined the streets with these green tarps
Terminal 21 - 6 floors of shopping heaven - themed to be an airport - each floor was a different destination (San Francisco, Istanbul, etc.)
And those are only the ones I took pictures in!
There were many more!

Stay tuned tomorrow for "Food that terrified me!"

Friday, October 28, 2011

Travel Apps - Thailand

Is this not the busiest time of year?!
Goodness gracious.
If it isn't a Fall's an oppurtunity for my girls to wear their costumes.
And you know I'm going to show those off as much as I can!

And did I mention that Hubby and I are going to Thailand on Saturday?!
As in...tomorrow!
We're kinda busy.

I was worried that our trip might get cancelled.
There is flooding in Bangkok right now with more on its way.
The leaders of the conference we're helping to run have been in prayer about it...a lot.
As of this moment...we're still going.
The area our hotel is in and the airport are still bone dry.
Hoping it stays that way for the next couple weeks!

So you might be seeing some blog posts from Thailand next week!
ooo getting all International on ya!

With that being said.
I wanted to share a travel app tip.
My hubby tracked down one really cool one that I'm sure we'll use in Thailand.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand developed this one.
Makes me think that a lot of other countries and cities may have similar apps.
Make sure to research that before your next trip.
There might be a really useful app just waiting for you!

Speak Thai

It translates over 2500 words and speaks in Thai for you.
Now when I need to go potty...
I just find "Where are the restrooms?"
and the app will ask for me.
phew...that's a relief (horrible pun intended) :-)

I'm off to finish packing and prepare myself to leave my babies for 2 whole weeks.
I mean...I'm not one of those moms that misses their kids when they're sleeping
or anything crazy like that ;-)
I'll be ok.
But I'm pretty sure I will miss them while I'm half way around the world.
{deep breath}

I mean...seriously?!