Friday, December 31, 2010

A Gingerbread House Competition with a bunch of home builders....



So what happens when you get a family of home builders together in a spirited gingerbread house making contest?? .....

Uh... things get crazy ya'll! Power tools start flying, beer starts flowing, and this friendly little competition becomes an all out war. I kid you not, my husband went out to his truck to grab his framing square, tape measurer, and various tools, and started laying out a floorplan. He then started rolling out the dough, building the walls, and calculating the roof cut in.


All in all there were about 4 days involved in the building competition and our house turned out absolutely AWESOME! I was in charge of "decorating"... the house is complete with stucco walls with stacked stone belly band, a full round turret with metal seamed roof, decorative keystones, composition roof, beam columns, and to top it off a cute little chandelier in the entry way... yah you could say we went a bit overboard but what the hey!


And the finished product with our competitors...


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Christmas marathon week oh my!

So Christmas is always quite the production here between all of the family we have living near. We started off the marathon on xmas eve opening presents with my brother since he was working on Christmas. Then we headed to do presents with my step family. Then Christmas morning we started the day at my Dad's house, eventually migrated to my Mom's and finally we ended up in the mountains with hubbs family. After leaving the mountains we made the trip to see hubbs grandparents and extended family and then we pretty much passed out from pure exhaustion, granted this all took place over an entire WEEK. It's a lot of hustle and bustle and not so much relaxing... after this new baby comes I think we're going to have to start a new tradition... everyone can migrate to OUR house for once!


We had a blast though with the little dude enjoying his first 'real' Christmas. He really could care less about the presents, ripping the paper wasn't of too much interest to him, but the toys... the toys he enjoyed. Our house looks like Toys R Us now... seriously. Santa was very generous to HL to say the least.

One of the best things we did this holiday was take the dude skiing for the first time!! We didn't have very high expectations considering that he's only 13 months old but we figured he would have fun, and boy were we right. He loved it, he laughed the entire way down the mountain, he shouted at the people on the chairlift, he chewed on his mittens, and had a blast.


And now we're back to home sweet home a week later oiy! Time to unpack, organize the plethera of toys, get back into the swing of things and oh yea get ready for New Years. I guess our relaxation will have to wait until 2011 some time huh?
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Friday, December 24, 2010

The Night Before Xmas in the Maven House

Twas the night before Christmas and in the Maven house
Not a creature was stirring, except Kane the trouble maker not even a mouse
The stockings were hung on the chimney entertainment unit with care
In hopes that mommy and daddy St. Nick soon would be here
Little HL was nestled all snug in his bed crib
While visions of sugarplums milkie, puppies, lights, and trucks danced in his head
Mama Maven in jammies, Daddy Maven in his boxers cap
are almost ready to settle down for a long winter's nap until HL wakes up
........
So Merry Christmas to you all and to you all a good night!
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What cooking with a toddler looks like - Rice Krispie Treat Balls

Cooking with a toddler... well make that a one year old... kind of a toddler. I wasn't quite sure what to think, I had grand plans of baking with my baby and then I realized that I might be nuts but why not let's give it a try.

To my surprise it was a great success! My little scatter-brained dude actually sat attentively! I'm sure the constant nomming of marshmallows and peanut butter chips helped a little bit. He enjoyed the stirring and kept saying "HOT!" (glad to see he's been paying attention to our safety lessons).

And there was lots of taste testing... and he was such a good helper!




And a good sharer... I think he liked them :) I will definitely do it again. We went for some Rice Krispie Treat Balls... no formal recipe, just butter, marshmallows, and krispies. I did add in some green food coloring to one batch and some peanut butter chips to another. Both were delish!
 
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pink & Blue Baby Party, the gender reveal pics!

As promised the gender reveal party pics... here's a ton of them...


For decorations I made some giant lollipop/cotton candy things with giant pixie sticks and tissue paper. We also had vases full of pink and blue leis for everyone to identify the team they were on. I managed to find pink and blue candy canes to fill the vases! Go figure. Found some adorable little onesies at Kohls for the new addition. We also had 2 baby boards, one to keep track of all the votes on either team (clearly team pink was the leader!) the second for everyone to put their baby name ideas. I found a ton of decor at the dollar store- plates, napkins, cups, bottle favors. And then there were balloons... everywhere... have I mentioned how much I love balloons, and so does HL ;)




We had a bunch of family and friends over for dinner and for dessert, the cake that we were anxiously awaiting!! Managed to get our local baker at King Soopers to make the cake for us for a total of $22! I gave her some ideas on what I wanted and she made us a cute pink and blue cake, she and our ultrasound tech were the only two people who knew the sex of the baby until cake cutting time... Daddy cut into it... yelled it's a BOY.. and we high fived ;) here's the video,



Here's some of team pink and team blue... and of course that tempting little envelope that sat on our fridge for 3 days before we knew whether the peanut was a little brother or little sister. It's VERY clear by those ultrasound pics that it is indeed another BOY!


What a blast we had, I'm so glad that we made another celebration for this baby instead of just finding out in the ultrasound room, it's a lot more exciting and the whole family gets to participate. Tons of fun!
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16 weeks pregnant, finally feelin it!

Alrighty 16 weeks down... baby's the size of an avocado... and here's the comparison for you
<---then pregnancy 1, now pregnancy 2--->

Not too much new this week except for the fact that we're having a BOY!!!! The gender reveal party was absolutely perfect, we cut into the cake and saw the blue icing and of course I started crying. Little HL is going to have a little brother!!! I am so excited, I really knew that I would have another boy since I was pregnant last time and sure enough I was right (should've trusted myself, I switched my vote to team pink in the end).

This week I am finally starting to "feel" pregnant, you know the time when you finally start feeling all the stretching and uncomfortableness, it's finally kicked in. I feel like I have a softball sitting inside my belly and every time that I move or do anything the softball is squishing things in there... it's uncomfortable. This baby is sure tucked up in there so I feel a lot more aching and stretching than last time, hopefully he decides to pop out and say hi instead of staying hidden away inside my ribs and organs. I'm excited to see my belly finally starting to pop out a little bit.

I've been eating a ton, which is relative I guess, I'm still at the same weight (-12 lbs). One of the worst things this week has been the migraines. Awful awful migraines about 5 of the 7 days.. what the heck is up with THAT?! Hoping that goes away, but the Dr. appt and ultrasound went well, and everything else is going great. And it's almost Christmas :)))) so all in all happy times. Read more!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Cookie Recipes

There's no better time to bake a bunch of cookies than Christmas, it's a pass to eat all the cookies you want as opposed to some random day in July. Joy Of Baking.com has a billion cookie recipes, with pictures (I refuse to make ANY recipe without a picture, I mean you have to know what you're aiming for right?) Here's some of the ones I'm going to try but like I said there are a ton, I'd love to spend a whole weekend making them ALL!

Candy Cane Cookies, Peppermint Whoopie Pies, Gingerbread Men, Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies, Rum Balls, & Spritz Cookies


One of my favorite holiday cookies are Oatmeal Scotchies mmmmmm

Ingredients
  • 1 cup soft butter 
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease cake shaped pan.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs and vanilla together. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Scoop into pan. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on baking sheet or cooling rack.

-courtesy of Paula Deen
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

We're Renovating

pardon the dust... Read more!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Yea I really just said that, well kind of

Is it called "saying" it if it happens in your own head... ok well whatever... Here's a conversation that literally just happened in my head (don't act like you don't have conversations with yourself) I'm not schizophrenic people... shut up.

I sat down with a bowl of Campbells Chicken & Stars...

"what cute little stars, I don't think I've ever actually had the stars before...
haha I wonder if these come up whole just like ramen and spaghetti o's...
(remember that drunken highschool night with the regurgitated spahgetti-o's whoa...)
speaking of which, why in the hell do they come up whole like that??
I mean don't people chew their food or are these super noodles or something...
and even if you didn't chew that well the acid in your stomach should surely break them down...
I remember learning about hydrochloric acid in chemistry class, that shit is gnarly, no star would stand up to that!
They should've made that one of the chemistry teaching experiments, "The Effects of HCl on Chicken & Stars"
ha...
But seriously why am I still eating toddler food... I mean Spaghetti O's, ramen, chicken & stars... really my tastebuds should've evolved a little better than that...
Well I guess I do eat things like Fois Gras, hummus, leeks, and lots of bizarre cuisine, maybe I just have an appreciation for the classics.
I hope my kid doesn't end up eating ramen his whole life..."

Conclusions: I may have a slight case of ADD, I should be in charge of the highschool chemistry program, and Chicken & Stars is seriously delish. The end.


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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fabulous Finds: The Spotted Monkey


Ok today's find isn't just one find, it's a whole company. I'm so glad I stumbled upon them, the CUTEST stuff guys! Meet "The Spotted Monkey" which carries all kinds of things from clothes and hats, to lunchbox notes, to growth charts. Here's my faves...


#1.. duh.. look at it! A baby Fedora hat. $29.99

# 2 because if this baby is a girl she will totally have this onesie. $24.99


 #3 I love this toy, it is so spunky and unique, the exact kind of toys I like to find for HL $19.99.

#4 The most adorable sock monkeys which I have a thing for. $27.99

#5 Allergy patches & stickers! What a great idea for kids with allergies, these patches can be put on clothing, a backpack, a lunch box etc to keep them safe. 3 pack $9.99

#6 Lunchbox love notes. This is so cute, its a booklet with little love notes and trivia.You can just grab one every day and throw into your kiddo's lunch. Each volume $3.99

See what cute stuff they have, I told you!!
This little review was just because I heart them, no sponsorship was provided from The Spotted Monkey, although I would loooovee to review some of this stuff... hint.. hint... hint ;)
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15 weeks pregnant with a 13 month old toddler!

Alrighty we're up to 15 weeks... baby is the size of an orange, what's new this week... not a whole lot to report. Oh wait, not true, this week I have been able to feel the baby KICKING!! Actually the first time was at 14 weeks 6 days which is about 2-3 weeks earlier than last time. Such a cool feeling, I've definitely missed this feeling. Here's the odd part, I feel the kicks up on my ribs right underneath my boobs... yah I know this is not possible considering that my ute is still below my belly button. And you can feel this on the outside too so I know I'm not hallucinating folks. A medical mystery, or the baby is kicking some organ that is rebounding the sensation to my boobs which means this kids got one hell of a kick so far.

What else, the big gender reveal is only a few days away gaaahhh!!! Pretty soon we'll know if we're Team Pink or Team Blue. By the way as the family goes we have a large majority in favor of pink including myself & HL. Daddy is going with blue though so we'll see...


In other news we have a 13 month old toddler!!

HL is growing like a weed and his brain is soaking EVERYTHING in at warp speed. I am amazed at how much he understands now. Oh and have I mentioned yet that this kid is a wild man... two words... CONSTANT MOTION. He is never still, no seriously, never. He is not the type to sit down and "play" instead he runs around the entire house finding ways to entertain himself all. day. long. Olympic Toddler Chasing has become my life ;)

Highlights: He is officially done with the bottle, we took it away cold turkey at about 11 months with no complaints. No more formula or purees. Still in size 3 diapers. He's about 21 lbs.

Favorite things to say: Mama, Dada, Uh-Oh, and Lights. His new word is Lights aka "aughts" and he will point them out to you EVERYwhere you go, especially every morning when he wakes up and sees the Christmas tree. His hands go up to the sky as if he's praising the lord and he screams AUGHTS!!! He also likes to go "vroom vroom" with his Hummer toys.

Favorite things to eat: He is a fickle eater. This kid will eat pretty much anything you give him it's just a matter of timing. He may adore bacon or cottage cheese one minute and nearly vomit it on you another time. He is a carb-a-holic, any bread products go over very well. PBJ's, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, cheese and GRAPES are our go to foods, he will always eat them. Seriously this kid and grapes... he has them at every meal. And milkie, well that goes without saying, he adores his milkie in his sippy.



Favorite toys: our house is slowly looking like Toys R Us but his favorite things to play with are the Swiffer (he knows exactly how to push it too, scary), the broom, and dustpan.... go figure.... He also loves to yank ALL of the pots and pans out of the cupboards. He has found a new love and fascination with the dog food, he steals himself a few pieces throughout the day...gross. One of his absolute favorite things to do is open and close doors. Doors on the entertainment unit, doors in the hallway (I'm terrified of pinched fingers), doors on his activity cube, cupboards... open & close is a wonderous game apparently.


Tricks: He can turn the light switch on and off. He high fives. He blows kisses and says "muah" and he can wave bye bye. If you say "can I tell you a secret" he will turn his ear into you which is hysterical and I have no idea how he learned this. He has just recently become quite the booty shaker! He loves to jam out, the second that any music comes on he immediately starts bouncing up and down, stomping his feet, shaking his arms in the air, and yelling duh duh duh. I have never laughed so hard! Where does he learn this stuff??!
What else: He helped cut down his first Christmas tree. He constantly points to pink when we ask him whether the new baby is a boy or girl... apparently he wants a sister, we'll remind him of this later in life. I am just amazed at how much he understands these days. We can ask him "where is Grinch-y" and he will grab his Grinch toy, ask him where my nose is and he will thump you in the nose, he knows what his ball is and loves to get pelted with it by Daddy. And of course my little drummer boy still bangs on everything.
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holiday Craft- Wrapping Paper Wreath


Stumbled onto this picture and thought it was such a cute idea that you could make it into a craft. I'm definitely going to make one! I imagine you could use some Christmas scrapbook paper, or wrapping paper. Use up your extra scraps from wrapping gifts...

Just roll the paper up, glue the ends, and then hot glue each of your tubes together to form a wreath. You could also use a needle and strong thread and thread the papers together into a circle. Maybe add a big bow to the finished product.

And as a variation you could make some decorative garlands in the same fashion with the needle and thread... kind of reminds me of popcorn and berry garlands. Read more!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blue or Pink, what do you think?? Gender Reveal Party

It's almost that time... when we find out what the second little babe holds for us.... will May bring us sugar and spice and everything nice or snips and snails and puppy dog tails?? We get to find out next weekend!

We had a big reveal for HL with fireworks. We had the ultrasound tech write down the results and place them in an envelope and then we waited.... we waited 3 whole weeks for the 4th of July... it was awful trying not to peek in that envelope on the fridge for 3 weeks. All of the family came over to our house for a bbq and we had bought big fireworks for the reveal. We handed the envelope to our good friend and told him to look inside and load either a blue or red firework into the tube... and we all stood on the back deck and heard a "boom" and watched the sky fill with BLUE! It was so cool. So of course we have to do something cool again this time :)

We're planning to have a gender reveal party, a pink and blue party. I saw this idea when I was pregnant with HL after we knew the gender and I swore that we'd do it the next time. So it's finally time, I'm sooo excited! I'll be sure to post lots of pictures when we're done because it took me a while scouring the interwebs to get some good party ideas.

We'll cut the cake and try not squeel,
a colored icing inside for the big reveal
Will the icing be blue...
Will the icing be pink...
Boy or girl, what do you think?

Join our party and go cast your vote in the poll ------->
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

14 Weeks: Pregnancy #2- me, my lemon, dizzy spells, and starvation


On the left is me pregnant with HL at 14 weeks and on the right is me pregnant with the new tomato pod... So at this point I can say that everyone who tells you that you'll be much bigger faster with your second pregnancy is wrong, we'll see how things continue.

14 weeks with my lemon... this has been a fairly good week. I still have a bit of morning sickness but the bad days are starting to decline. I have been pretty sore with lots of back aches both upper and lower. A new thing is the dizzy spells, they are awful. All of a sudden I just start to feel really dizzy and hot like I am going to faint and I have to sit down and cool off and try not to puke. So that's not so good.

Other than that I've been trying to keep the food intake up. From having morning sickness for so long I literally have lost the concept of what being hungry is... seriously my brain can't comprehend an appetite anymore, it's very odd. I am NEVER really hungry and the only way that I know I need to eat is when I finally start to feel ill and shaky. At that point I eat and my stomach grumbles and growls like I've never experienced. And then I go into a coma from the blood sugar spike, not fun. This has been a very new thing for me because under "normal" circumstances I eat like a lunatic, I literally graze on food all day long and don't go more than 3 hours without a meal. So this has definitely been an adjustment. I am finally starting to re-learn what hunger feels like now that the bad days are declining.


Most exciting is that we should be able to find out baby's gender next week!! We are hosting a Pink or Blue party and we'll all find out together with the family just like we did with HL. Can't WAAIIITT! What do you think tomato face #2 is... boy... or girl...??
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