Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DIY lightning bug IKEA leaf

Before Vince was born my cousin was going to Phoenix to go to IKEA and I asked her to pick me up somethings, I asked for this awesome throw blanket and those giant leafs that they have in their  children's section for Vincent's room. She sent them with my parents and I never did anything with them..... Till now.


As I was out looking for more Christmas decor, I stumbled upon a strand of yellow Christmas lights. From what I can remember I have never just seen a strand of yellow. After seeing them a lightbulb went off in my head, remembering that I needed to do something with the IKEA leafs I had. So I got them and starting DIYing right away.

First you just take your normal IKEA leaf and assemble it (it's IKEA of course you have to put it together.) Once you have it all set up grab your lights starting from the bottom and with your handy dandy exacto knife cut small enough slits for each light to go through but not too big to where they would fall out. I skipped a light sometimes to give it a neat look, so you could see the lights above the leaf as well. When you go to hang it the leaf might be too heavy and bend down so I attached a hook screw in the roof and tied a ribbon to the leaf up to the hook. It was super simple and I love the outcome! He loves looking up at it and looking at the lights.

Vincent's view






He loves looking at it!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Decor is up!

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas.... In our house. I love Christmas, and this year especially. Vincent's first Christmas will be spent here in Albuquerque at our home. We are going back home before Christmas, but Jacob wanted Vince to spend his first Christmas here, in the home be brought him home too. This will be my first actual Christmas away from my family but it will also be nice to start new traditions here.

We are doing a relatively small Christmas since we just both got new iPhones and this new iMac. And Vince won't be able to open his gifts. I am thinking about wrapping our iMac box to put under the tree, to remember we already have our Christmas gift sitting up stairs. We will still do stocking stuffers and little gifts I am sure. And of course we will get Vince some things. And our family will probably spoil him. He is too cute not to spoil!

We put up our tree yesterday and I re decorated our holiday table (post found here) I wish last year we would have bought a better tree when they all went on sale, but we had just found out we were pregnant and wanted to save for the baby. I'm not the biggest fan of our tree but it will hold us off another year. I am still contemplating decorating outside. It is so windy here that it is hard to keep things on the ground. The base also has some crazy rules about what you can't do. I do love seeing christmas lights when I am driving home so we might. I was thinking maybe this weekend, but we are supposed to get our first "big" snow on friday. Last year I somehow managed to get out of driving in the snow and I hope this year I am just as lucky.






One of Vincents first ornaments from my aunt, uncle and cousin


Another from his Great-Grandma aka G.G








I am excited to go home! We leave in 2 weeks, were flying and hope we don't have any complications with  it. I am guessing flying there will be east but flying back on the 20th might be a little crazy. This time I'm thankful that Jacob will be with us. He has not been home in a year, which is longer than when he lived in Japan. I guess he came home more because I begged him too. It will also be nice to get some warmer weather. It is getting pretty chilly here. Also excited for the Mexican food, last visit I didn't eat much and this time I am going too! Were going for a week so we will be able to do more as well. I am all around just excited to go!

Jacobs work holiday party is this Friday and I wish I could say I was a little more excited than I am. It will be the first time I leave Vince not with a family member. They have childcare services there but its at a casino and that freaks me out so we will be having a friend watch him. She adores him so I know he will be taken care of. We still haven't even thought about what we are wearing, I am trying to avoid it hoping maybe we won't go, just kidding. I know Jacob and I need to get out alone, but you better believe I will have my phone very close and texting for updates.

Monday, November 28, 2011

DIY Ornament Table Runner

So after I made my Thanksgiving table look pretty decent for just throwing it together the morning of, I really wanted to make something cute for the Holidays. Our dining room is slowing getting taken over by baby stuff because its where it fits, and I don't want to put his stroller in our garage because we have found quite a few black widows in there, so please excuse the stroller. We also put the pack and play in there because we had to move it to fit our tree. And with having a 2 story house that pack and play saves us!

As I was decorating our tree I realized I had a lot of left over ornaments from this tub of blue, silver and light blue ones that I wanted to make something with. For Thanksgiving I made a runner with a brown scarf and wanted a runner this time too. So I made a ornament runner. Now it is a 2 piece runner and I might even get a piece of silver fabric or something to put underneath it but I love how it turned out so far. There will be more I ad to our table in the next week once I make it out to Hobby Lobby along with making is new stockings (we currently don't even have one for Vince yet.) But here is is so far!

Simply lay out your ornaments to whatever style you would like and glue gun away!!!








Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back in the gym!

After taking some time off (my 5k weeks ago) I got myself back in the gym. I'm not sure why I have been so unmotivated to work out. It's totally not like me, I was in Zumba 2 days before I had little Vince. Maybe the cold weather is stopping me, or just being lazy. But I'm over it! I live working out. It puts me in a great mood, and I could definitely benefit from it. I miss my pre preggo body, but to be honest some days I don't even have time to look in the mirror. I even try to avoid it, pictures are where I really see it and that makes me want to get back in there.

Running outside is a little cold for me and I don't like bundling Vince up too much because I don't want to overheat him, plus I don't like being cold. So the gym will have to be the place I get that body back. Which should be easy, it's a mile away, free and a very nice gym. If they only had childcare there it would be perfect. But Jacob goes to the gym in the morning so he will be able to spend some nice time with Vince in the after noon.

My goals are going to be small, I need to build back a lot of strength that I have now lost. Yesterday I just did arms and jumped rope. I forgot how hard jumping rope was, and now especially after having a baby, things just aren't the same. All you mommas out there know what I am talking about.  I plan on going to the gym 3 times a week which should be pretty easy to do. I plan to stay motivated through Pinterest and looking at old pictures of myself. And just the desire to be as healthy as I was before!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Mac family now

In the matter of a month we have became Mac people. I always loved my PC's but never really played with any Mac's (except for Oregon Trail in elementary.) With all the buzz about iPhones when they first came out I must admit that I was jealous of everyone who had them, but I was with T mobile and no iPhone there. Years go by and more and more versions of the iPhone come out, everywhere I went I saw people with their cool iPhones. Well now I can say I'm one of those "cool" people and I love it! I love all the apps, how clean and crisp the graphics are, and how easy it is to use. I don't think I will ever get any other type of phone.

For a while we have been looking into iMacs, our personal laptops are getting old and we didn't want to get to the point where we didn't have any computers. We decided to go with a Mac because I really want to get into photography, like I have said before and because of all the great reviews on it. We would go to the store and play with them and say one day we will get one. Well that day was yesterday. We went to see if they had any deals on them and our luck they did! It came with free Apple TV. Not that great of a deal but it sold us! I guess we needed that extra little push to make us get it.
Not the best picture, but our new set up!!


Now we are deciding which editing software would work best for the type of photography I like. I want to get into shooting newborns and families. I am falling more in love with photography when I shoot Vince and hopefully soon will be shooting some of my friends new little babies! I think photos of when they are newborns are priceless and honestly wish I had more of Vince. I don't have too many of his sleeping. And now after finding out about Pinterest I have so many ideas that I wish I would have known about before hand!!

Any advice or suggestions would be awesome! We are so new to the Mac world we want the best!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Amazing Thanksgiving

I was a little nervous coming into Thanksgiving this year due to the fact that I have a 3 month old who breastfeeds and wondering how that would fit in with all my cooking I wanted to do. But I started early getting all my recipes ahead of time and I even made a Thanksgiving Game Plan with very detailed instructions with the time stuff needed to be put in the oven and taken out. Also doing a lot of my prep on Wednesday. And with all my planning everything turned out amazing! I cooked so many new things that I had never cooked and everything but our rolls were 100% homemade. And I even got Vincent feed and even had quite a bit of down time that I got to hang out with Jacob and Vince.

My Menu was a little overboard just for 3 people but I really wanted to cook it all, and I love eating and couldn't think of anything that I wanted to X out of my menu. I got a lot of recipes off Pinterest and the rest off Food Network. I will do my best to share all the link, but for some I just took pictures on my iPhone of the recipes so that it was easy when I got in the kitchen. I recommend every recipe I did and will be including a lot into our weekly meal plan!




My Turkey:
Brined for 3 days in
1 gallon of water
1 1/2 cup salt
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tbsp of pepper
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
3 cloves of garlic smashed
1/4 tbsp of fresh ginger
6 cups ice cubes

Bring everything except the ice to a boil, then take off the heat and add the ice. Let the brine get to room temperature. Put turkey with everything removed in large zip lock bag and add brine. Leave in fridge breast down and flip after a day and a half. Remove the night before and dry off the turkey completely and let it sit in the fridge uncovered overnight.



Herb Butter:
1/2 pound butter softened
3 tbsp fresh rosemary
3 tbsp fresh sage


Blend all together in food processor. Before cooking and after you let the turkey sit out and come to room temp, put butter underneath skin and all over the turkey. Fill the turkey with 1 onion cut in half, 1 whole garlic bunch cut in half, 1 whole carrot and 1 rosemary twig. In roasting pan I put 1/4th of an onion, carrots, celery and some chicken stock.


Cooked the turkey at 450 for 40 min, reduced it to 350 and basted every 45 mins. I tented with foil once I liked the color of the skin. Cooked it till my meat thermometer was at 160 degrees and let it rest for an hour before carving it.

The turkey was all my recipe made from ideas, tips and combinations of recipes from watching Food Network for all their turkey tips. I will be brining my turkey from now on. It was so moist and the skin had a great flavor and was nice and crispy.





Sides





1 pound fresh green beans
10-12 slices of thick-cut bacon
 2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the bacon around 6-10 green beans and lay on cooking sheet. Combine butter, brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper in small sauce pan and heat until everything is melted and combined. Using a pastry brush, brush mixture across all the bundles. The original recipe called for cooking it for 30-35 mins covered in foil then an additional 10-15 uncovered but our got a little over toasted so next time I will cook for 15-20 covered and 5-10 uncovered.


Mac and Cheese (off Food Network):


1 8 ounce package of any pasta of your choice
2tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup flour
6 cups sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cups melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In saucepan, melt 2 tbsp butter and garlic until the garlic is softened. Add onion powder then whisk flour and milk and cook until slightly thickened. Add 3 cups of cheese until completely melted. Add salt and pepper to taste and pour over the cooked pasta in a large baking dish. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the pasta and combine the butter and bead crumbs to top the pasta. Cook fro 20-25 minutes or until the bread crumbs are browned.





2 tbsp olive oil
1 med onion
2 cloves garlic
12 oz beer ( I used Blue Moon)
1 xlg bouillon cube
2 cups water
1 lb collard greens
1tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Black pepper to tasted

I also added 3 pieces of bacon cut into pieces to add some extra fat. Hey it's Thanksgiving right?

Chop the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large pot with olive oil over medium heat until softened. Add the beer, bouillon cube, water, collard greens, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and black pepper to the pot. Place a lid on top and allow the pot to come to a boil. Once the pot begins to boil, the collards will have wilted enough to give it all a stir without everything spilling out. Stir everything up good then place the lid back on top, reduce the heat to low and let simmer until the collards are to the desired tenderness (I simmered for two hours). Stir every 15 minutes or so.

Mashed Potatoes (My recipe):


1 bag of Yukon gold potatoes
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
4 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring potatoes to boil and cook until fork tender. Drain and return the potatoes back to pan off the heat. Mix in the cream cheese, milk and butter and mash until it is the consistency that you like. We like ours chunky and with the skins till on. But If you prefer them smooth you can mix with a hand mixer.

Stuffing (My Moms recipe):


1 loaf of any bread you prefer, I use white bread that I let sit out over night to get stale
2 cups carrots
2 cups celery
2 cups onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 sticks of butter melted
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 tbsp onion powder
Salt and Pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350. Cut bread into 1 inch squares and put in big bowl. Mix in carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Mix with your hand until all combined. Add the butter, chicken stock, onion powder, salt and pepper. Put in a baking dish uncovered and cook 35-45 minutes.



Desserts (My favorite part)


Paula Deans Cheesecake (I change it just a touch so the recipe will be how I changed it):


Crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

Combine together and put in 9 inch spring form pan. Using hands or flat bottomed glass spread the crust out along the bottom and slightly up the pan.

Filling:
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
5 eggs
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

Preheat Oven to 350. Mix the cream cheese and sugar until well mixed. Add sour cream, then beat in one egg at a time. Then beat in Vanilla. Pour over crust and cook for 1 hour. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes and refrigerate 4 hours-over night.

I have made about 4 cheesecakes in my life and this was the first one that cracked. I was a little bummed but it tasted delicious. I don't think Jacob or our friend who joined us cared one bit. That doesn't seem to bother men unless your name is Alton Brown.

I told Jacob to check and see if it was done and he decided to stab it.


This recipe used a frozen pie crust, but I wanted to make my own so I will add my recipe from Food Network.

Crust:
 2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup butter very cold cubed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
6 to 8 tbsp ice water


Combine flour and butter until it looks like large crumbs, add in salt and sugar. Slowly pour in ice water until the dough is moistened.

Bring to a floured surface and form into a ball. Roll into a 12x12 circle and put in in your 9 inch pie pan.

I used the excess and rolled it  it out and cut into 3 long strips and made a braid. I was very impressed with my first ever pie crust.



Filling:
2 sweet potatoes
2 tbsp butter softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cups 1% milk
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 50 to 55 minutes, or until soft. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin. Blend potatoes in a blender and pulse for about one minute to remove all fibers.

Place sweet potatoes in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well. Using an electric mixer, mix in sugar, milk, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve with cool whip and enjoy!



I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.We sure did and I am very thankful that I got to be with my husband and son and a good friend. I miss our family back home, but we will be home soon. And of course here are some pictures of Vince on our fun day.


he even joined us at the dinner table







So for our black Friday shopping I got a kitchen aid stand mixer!!! Originally $400 big ones mine after we send in out mail in rebate it will come to a total of $140 and $60 in Kohl's cash. I am so excited! I got it in the color espresso which doesn't match our kitchen at all, and yes there were colors that matched but the color had a very rich elegance that I fell in love with. Maybe a kitchen re decorate will be coming soon. We also went out this morning on a whim to the BX here on base to see if they had any deals on iMacs because we have been looking into getting one for a while. They weren't having any sales but they were throwing in free Apple TV and that sold Jacob! This thing is awesome!!! I don't ever want to go back to PC, ask me this question in a month or so and see how I still like it.Hope every one's  Black Friday was a success!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Three Months Old!

Seriously where has the time gone!!! My little baby is getting HUGE!!! He is laughing away, cooing all the time and smiles never ending. He is sleeping away right now and I can't help but smile when I peek over at him. This week we bought him a jumperoo and boy-o-boy does he love it! His feet can touch the ground but he doesn't quite jump just yet. I love all of the milestones he is passing. As for our month by month foot canvas I finally found where I originally found it! Here it is!!! I am glad I found it so that they could get credit for it! But here is his 3 month by month photo shoot! He also hit a milestone while taking these pictures, he found his feet!! I couldn't get him to lay flat, so feet up in the air it is!!



check out his little bit of hair growing in the back



As for Thanksgiving we are going to hang out at home, at first I wanted a lot of people, but with breast feeding and trying to cook a ton of food plus getting our house ready would be a little much. We might have a single friend of ours over, who I am sure doesn't mind if I am in my pj's and our house is messy. I am still going to try to cook a lot of food because I love cooking and Thanksgiving. And not knowing when Jacob is cross training this might be our last Thanksgiving together for a little while. Hopefully not but you never know with the Air Force.

And as early Christmas presents we got iPhone's!!! Bye Bye Blackberry's, we LOVE them so far. I also got an idea from Pinterest here! All I did was get a clear case from Best Buy, I printed the chevron off the Internet because Hobby Lobby didn't have any chevron paper. Then I got a teal card stock and cut it out to make a cute little label shape. Then added a couple stickers and BAM it looks pretty close to some that I have seen online. And I can even change them with any scrapbook paper I want. Now again if I had the patience this would have look a million times better but I wanted it and wanted it now. Like how the stickers wouldn't fit how my initials should be monogrammed, so instead of it being mSc like it should be I did mCs. But who cares I love it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Part One Of Christmas Pictures!

I got some inspirations ideas off Pinterest to take some Christmas pictures of Vince, and yesterday we got to shooting some! Here is where I got the idea and although I didn't do as many lights nor did I do the lights in front of me I absolutely LOVE how they turned out! Now if I had patience I would have got Vince a red Santa hat and more lights, but because I don't this is how they turned out!
My favorite!



And here is a preview of one of our Christmas cards, I haven't put any of these pictures up because I didn't like how our groups ones turned out. Shooting with a tripod is tough! Especially when its cold out and trying to keep Vince nice and warm! This weekend we are going to try to take some more with some friends of ours. She loves photography too and wants some pictures of her family so we will swap! Wish us luck that they turn out good. We need a good picture of all of us!

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