Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2 Days In ...

OK - my kids aren't behaving any better and I even took them to the park and even decorated cookies with them and our friends.  Good thing this little treat came in the mail ...

and I had this little bottle open, so I could put it to use!  Thanks Mrs. Fitz!  I love it!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Miscellaneous Merriment

Is it bad that today is the first official day of Christmas vacation and my kids are driving me nuts? It is going to be a long two weeks!

Last Friday Bia had her winter "pee-formance" (as she calls it) at school. She was so excited for it. Nana, Poppa and I were excited to see Bia in action. So much anticipation and then this ....

 She stayed like that the entire time the class sang!  At least she didn't bust out crying like several of the little boys did.

Santa came to visit Chatty at Boys and Girls Club.  They always have the best looking Santa ...

Here are a couple shots of how I ended up displaying my photo Christmas cards ... I nailed a ribbon on the wall and glued the cards on the front in my archway leading to the kitchen ....

and the other side .... 

 a close up

I am heading to the airport shortly to pick up the in-laws ... wish me luck this week ... it is going to be a long one and at the end I will he hosting a grandparent detox session!  Tis the Season!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Baking Service Announcement

Since it is Christmas and I am nice most of the time I am going to give you my recipe for the most fabulous chocolate chip cookies ever.  Seriously - these are the best chocolate chip cookies!  You can thank me later.  The secret to these cookies - butter flavor Crisco (all good southerners know Crisco makes everything better) and brown sugar! 

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 3 dozen cookies


3/4 stick Crisco® Baking Sticks Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
OR 3/4 cup Crisco® Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)


HEAT oven to 375ºF. COMBINE shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into shortening mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. DROP by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet (I use parchment paper instead). BAKE 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies, or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet on a cooling rack. Remove cookies to rack to cool completely.

recipe courtesy of www.crisco.com

That's right, no butter and no white sugar!

To make them even yummier for the holidays substitute this:
Dark Chocolate and Mint Morsels
for the chocolate chips.  I have to give props to Mr. ESPN because he found these chocolate chips last year (he is my Chief Cookie Tester).  They are only available during the holidays so stock up!  Go get some now and start baking - your BIG and little Cookie Monsters will thank you!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Countdown is On

4 more days of work and then I am off for 2 weeks!  Awesome, it can't come soon enough.  The inlaws are arriving next Monday so there is a lot to do to get ready.  My house is a mess - shocker I know - but I have been putting off the deep clean until this coming weekend because my little elves create havoc wherever they go.  I snapped a few pictures of our decorations and thought I would share:

Family Room

And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

I got a little crafty and made this sign:

I took Sarah's idea at Clover Lane and made
ornaments from our past Christmas Cards

Since I have a fake tree, I always get a live wreath

Apparently the girls were acting out Daniel and the Lion's Den
According to Mr. ESPN the lion got drunk and fell over.

Our Advent Calendars courtesy of Casey
(this picture was taken last week)

Our Big (candy holding) Advent Calendar

And because I like my other sign so well I made one with our name

But now I need some trees or something on each side of it

One of my most favorite things about Christmas -
Photos and Photo Cards! BTW I hate this card holder.
Every time I put a new one in another one falls out. 

And just some random thoughts ... Chatty now wants a laptop, I-Touch and an I-Pad for Christmas in lieu of the 2 cute puppies.  Bia named off random things including Dora doll house and Little Einsteins movie in addition to two cute puppies.  Sadly neither of them are getting any of that!  Well I did find two cute stuffed puppies that will be in their stockings but that's as close as it is going to get this year.  5 weeks until my 1/2 marathon - I (slowly) ran 10 last weekend and was hurting all day!  Mr. ESPN just called me on his way to work to tell me the Phillies just signed Cliff Lee (pitcher) ... seriously is that not the lamest thing to call your wife about at 7:15 a.m.?  Sad part is I already had heard it on sports radio on my drive into work this morning.

Is it Friday yet???

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bia and Chatty's Christmas List

Now if you know Bia, you know she loves her (stuffed) puppies.  On Thanksgiving she told her Daddy she wanted a real puppy.  A few days after that conversation we received the LL Bean catalog in the mail.  I was perusing through it and saw some photos of the following:

Puppies in Tote, design 7 of 15

and showed them to the girls.  Chatty and Bia decided they wanted those for Christmas - two in fact - one for each of them.  Anyway on the way home from school yesterday Chatty announces that she doesn't want two cute puppies (when they requested puppies they requested cute ones) for Christmas. 

Bia: "Why?  I want two cute puppies!"
Chatty: "Because it will be a lot of work to take care of them."
Bia: "I take care of two cute puppies"
Chatty: "Mom I want a laptop instead"
Me: "Um OK"
Chatty: "You should really get me a laptop"
Me: "We'll see"

Next thing you know she will be asking for an IPAD and an IPhone ... and she is only 6 1/2.  I told her she needs to ask her Poppa for the laptop! 

As a disclaimer - Mr. ESPN does NOT want a dog - cute or not - he claims he is allergic to them ... I think that is just an excuse personally!  Because really who could resist those two sweet puppy faces???

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tis the Season ...

For fights at our house.  Seriously, my girls can argue over anything and everything.  Not that this is anything new, but you would think with Snowball the Elf watching they would try a little harder.  Here are a few of the things they fight over:
  • Who sits in Daddy's chair
  • Who sits next to Mommy
  • Who opens the door
  • Who turns on the Christmas lights
  • Who sits in Mommy's chair
  • Who takes a shower/bath first
  • Who uses which bathroom
  • What television show to watch
  • Who puts the forks versus the napkins on the table - because did you know forks are so much cooler than napkins?  Me neither!
  • Who hugs Mommy first
  • Who sits next to Nana and Poppa
  • Who sits on what chair to skype Grandma and Grandpa
  • What movie to watch
  • Who sits next to Mommy on the couch
Seriously they fight about all of these and more on a daily basis.  It is driving Mr. ESPN and I insane!  Can you imagine how they will be when they are teenagers (God help us)?  The one good thing - 5 minutes after arguing about these things they are loving on each other.

BTW - thanks for the comments on my last comment on my last post.  The whole drop kicking someone for complimenting Mr. ESPN on how skinny he is was based on my MIL.  God bless her she is a sweet woman and I love her dearly but every time I talk to her recently all she can talk about is how skinny her son is and even referring to him as the Incredible Shrinking Man (no I am not even kidding!).  They are spending a week with us at Christmas and I am not sure I can handle those kind of comments for 7 days straight!  We all love our husbands dearly but doesn't it get a bit annoying when people compliment them over and over and over again (even if they are great husbands and look good)??? 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Random Rants and Observations at the ESPN House

A bunch of randomness
  1. It is supposed to be in the high 70's here in the desert.  For the love of winter could we actually get some cooler daytime temps?
  2. Why does Chatty insist on waking up at 4:45 am today and want to talk and eat?  These are the moments I seriously think she is not my child.
  3. Sara Evan's version of Go Tell It on the Mountain is one of my favorite Christmas songs ever.
  4. Our elf, Snowball, isn't doing that good of a job.  My kids are wild and misbehaving like they are getting paid for it.  I feel like Super Nanny is going to show up any minute and shout "Gotcha!"  If she could help, it might be worth the embarrassment.
  5. My Christmas cards will be in the mail tomorrow and once again Mr. ESPN's only contribution is dropping them off at the post office.  Oh and he licked a couple envelopes.
  6. There are presents under the tree - even though I have threatened "Santa won't be coming to this house" more times than I can remember over the last few days.
  7. Being at the soccer field that is an hour away at 7:15 am in 46 degree weather isn't how I prefer to spend the second Sunday of Advent.  We told Chatty God would understand she had a tournament and it was OK to miss church last week.
  8. It's lovely when people stare at you in the grocery store parking lot when your kids is screaming "That hurts Mommy!"  I had escorted Bia out of the store and she proceeded to throw a fit in the parking lot when I held her arm (so she wouldn't run through the parking lot).
  9. Andes Peppermint Crunch Candy: 25CT Bag
    These are really good and addicting!
  10. If another person tells me how skinny Mr. ESPN is and how good he looks (as if I don't already know), I am going to drop kick them and then I am going to eat some chocolate and drink a glass of wine!  Just a warning ...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

R & D

For my accounting friends, you might think this post is about Research and Development but in reality it is about my breasts.  I went for my first mammogram ever last week.  It was a little painful and awkward but overall not too bad.  I got a call from my Dr.'s office today saying I need to go back in because my right breast is very Dense (D) and they need to get a few more scans of it (no need to worry Nana and Poppa - very normal for young women - ask Beth!).  So I call the center to make an appointment and the receptionist reads my report and says "Oh you only need additional pictures on your right breast and here it says your left breast is Remarkable (R)!"  I called Mr. ESPN and told him and he asked me if I told the lady that my husband agreed with the "Remarkable" comment!  And that's how they officially became R & D!   

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Parenting is Tough

We had one of those moments last night where Mr. ESPN and I felt like we were failing as parents.  I know my kids are young but you try to instill values and morals in them at a young age.  For the most part I think they get it but then last night I was snapped back to reality.  Chatty's school sent home a note.  It said the first grade teachers had decided to adopt three boys from our district for the holidays.  They were asking for donations from the families and encouraging us to have our kids donate their own money (or do chores to earn money to donate) so they could experience the meaning of the holiday.  I thought this was a great idea and thought Chatty would excited to contribute. 

We donate toys and clothes all the time and we discuss why we do it.  We also contribute to the offering at church and talk about who it helps.  Last Sunday we purchased items for some families our church "adopted" for Christmas.  As we picked out the stuff we explained to Chatty and Bia who it was for and why we were buying it.

So I went in Chatty's room and talked to her about the note the teachers sent home.  We emptied her piggy bank (girl has some serious cash) and talked about how if all of the first graders donated a little bit of their own money these three boys could have a wonderful Christmas.  Reluctantly she agreed to donate $6 (mind you she never has to spend her own money on anything ... maybe that is part of the problem).  So we put the money in the envelope to send to school.  When I went to tuck her in bed I noticed she was teary eyed.  I asked her what was wrong and she said "I don't want to give away my money" and starts crying.  I was shocked and mad and disappointed, but what could I say?  We talked about the meaning of Christmas - Jesus' birth - and what God teaches us - to be kind and helpful to others, etc.  She seems to get all of these concepts but then she says to me - "I don't get anything back from giving them my money."  WOW!  I tried to explain the feeling of helping others and doing what God teaches in the Bible is your reward, however that is a hard concept for a 6 year old.  After we talked more about it I told her if she didn't want to give her own money to help these boys she didn't have to, but that I would be disappointed because Mr. ESPN have tried to set a good example of helping others.  Yes I did give her a bit of a guilt trip but I wanted her to know it was her decision to make.

When I went in the kitchen I told Mr. ESPN about the discussion Chatty and I had.  He was frustrated and said we need to find a way for the girls to really see how blessed they are.  We would like them to see in person how many others in our community do not have much.  Unfortunately a lot of the programs I know about require you to be older than 6 to participate.  I am going to contact our church's Children's Ministry Director and see if she knows of any opportunities (a group of us were discussing this very thing a few weeks ago at church). 

Let me know if you know of any organizations that might work for us.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's Not Christmas Yet

I know everyone says it is the Christmas season but to me it doesn't officially begin until December 1 (however with that being said I already decorated my house) ... because today is my birthday!  I had grand plans to write a nostalgic post about turning 36, but no one wants to hear that crap - plus who has time? 

Seriously I have never seen my phone buzz so much - between texts, phone calls, e-mails and facebook messages.  Thanks to all of you who sent me one!  I really appreciate the love!  But one question for you .. don't you think it's weird when random people from high school or college send you HAPPY BIRTHDAY notes on Facebook?  I think it is a bit odd, especially from those people who I barely talked to in high school and are friends with on Facebook but never correspond with.  Maybe it's me but it's a bit weird!  It does make me look super popular though!

Mr. ESPN wanted to make me cake balls for my birthday with the assistance of his two little sous chefs.  We discussed it briefly and I told him (very nicely) that cake balls were a little advanced for the three of them and suggested the box of funfetti cake mix and frosting in the pantry.  I could sense the relief in his voice.  Anyway Mr. ESPN and the little sous chefs made 19 funfetti cupcakes (which I iced b/c well Mr. ESPN isn't so good at that part).  Yes the box makes 24 - I am not sure what happened!  In addition to that lovely dessert, my buddy the Kingston Queen made this for me (from my post last week):

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

(although her white chocolate snowflake broke!).  Can't wait to dig in - she is an awesome baker!

OK - I better get back to work because unfortunately I can't slack all day, even if it is my birthday!!  Enjoy the last day of November!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Strange Obsession

Who starts drinking coffee at 35 (almost 36)?  Yep that would be me.  I never liked coffee, maybe an occasional Starbuck's flavored drink but that was it.  Until I saw this:
I became obsessed with having one and I don't really no why.  I just thought they were so cool (and I like cool kitchen appliances).  I kept checking the ads for them and looking for the best deal.  On Friday I found a decent deal on it at Kohl's plus I had two additional coupons and decided to finally buy it.  Then I found this:

and this:

and I think I am hooked!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Eats

Have I ever told you that my favorite magazine ever is Southern Living?  I have had a subscription for at least 10 years.  They have some of the BEST recipes ever (especially if you like good comfort food and great desserts).  I use my trusty Ultimate Southern Living cookbook all the time, and it never disappoints.  I received my December issue of Southern Living in the mail yesterday.  I grabbed a glass of wine and proceeded to read it from cover to cover (as Bia and Chatty "did" my hair - i.e. brushed and put an assortment of barrettes in).  I may or may not have drooled quite a bit while I flipped through it.  Some of my favorite recipes from the issue (all photos courtesy of southernliving.com):
Cherry-Pecan Brie
10 minute recipe!!
Bacon-Grits Fritters
Potato Gratin with Rosemary Crust
I think I may may serve this Christmas Day

Pancetta-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin with Whipped Horseradish Cream
Bacon makes everything better!!

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake
They even provide instructions on how to make the white chocolate snowflake

Caramel Italian Cream Cake
Isn't this cake gorgeous?

And for my Cousin J - they even had an article on tamales!  Go pick a copy up!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Self Esteem

Bia to Poppa on the phone last week: "Poppa you come watch me dance (she takes a class once a week at her daycare - dance and yoga)."
Poppa: "I would love to see you dance, tell me when."
Bia: "You get in your car and take me to school and watch me dance.  The you tell me I great!"

Chatty had a double header this past weekend.  She scored one goal in the first game and two in the second. 

As you can see we don't have any self-esteem issues in our house!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Another Day at the ESPN House

My friend Robin and her family were in town this week and came over to visit last night.  Robin is my oldest friend - I met her in 4th grade when we moved to the desert.  Even though we have lived in separate states for most of our adult life, we still keep in touch.  It was great to see her, Trent and her twin daughters.  They also got to witness a normal night at the ESPN house which included Bia throwing a royal fit about what she was wearing and running around in her underwear refusing to put on her jeans, Chatty losing a tooth and leaving her bloody paper towel on the ground (yes she lost another one!), the girls pretending like they were WWF wrestlers with each other (I thought only boys did that), etc.  But the highlight of the night was when Bia told Miss Robin she should go in Mommy's bathroom because Daddy always poops in his bathroom.  Classic huh?  Robin - I hope you, Trent and the girls will come back again and that my family didn't scare you away! 

And no I didn't take any pictures - I was a total slacker.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Life at Our House

People always ask what we have been up to and I always say - not much - just the usual chaos that is life!  Seriously, that's how I describe our life - see below for a recap of the last few days....

Thursday - Mr. ESPN bought I-Phones for him and me ....

Friday - took the day off and packed for the family - headed to Tucson to meet up with our good friends the Cottrells for a U of A football game .... Mr. ESPN becomes addicted to his I-Phone.

Saturday - drag our kids all over campus, tailgaited with the Cottrells, froze our butts off at the football game, Mr. ESPN can't hardly put his I-Phone down

(some pics from Saturday)
 At the hotel before the game - all of our Mini-Wildcats

 Bia wanted Daddy in her picture ... who enjoyed it more?

Chatty and Ainsley join the group

These two are like "peas and carrots" (Forrest Gump)

Bia, me and Wilbur 

And an attempt at a family shot ...

Sunday - breakfast with the Cottrells before heading north, lunch and then Chatty's soccer game and finally home ... then back to the phone store to exchange my phone. I know, I am probably the only person on Earth who didn't like the I-Phone ... got a Blackberry instead and still don't know how to use it.

Monday (today) - ran 9 miles, volunteered in Chatty's class and did more laundry - does it ever end?

And now it is almost time for Chatty to get off the bus and I still have a ton of thing left on my to-do list! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010

Take some time today to thank a Veteran for their brave service.  If it wasn't for the men and women who have served this country and continue to do so, we wouldn't be able to enjoy the freedoms we have today.  My sincerest thanks go out to my grandfathers, fathers, uncle and my big brother!  I appreciate all that you have done for your country!  Mr. ESPN, Chatty, Bia and I are PROUD to be a part of your family!

"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." -Elmer Davis

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sneak Peek

Over the weekend we met up with a friend of a friend who took some family photos of us (for a great price).  He was so patient with the girls.  Between Chatty's fake smiles and Bia's total lack of cooperation, I was wondering if we would ever get a good one.  Needless to say we got several good ones and now I am trying to figure out which one(s) to use on our Christmas card ...

It's amazing how in one split second you look like a normal, happy, sane family! 5 seconds later it's back to reality!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Like a Good Neighbor ...

Mr. ESPN and Mr. Jim are there.  I came home from Chatty's soccer practice the other night and noticed Mr. ESPN's car was in our neighbor's driveway with the lights on.  I thought this was odd and then noticed my other neighbor, Jim and Mr. ESPN were over there with shovels.  I get out of the car and ask what's going on. 

"Rattlesnake in their garage, Jim and I killed it" (no he didn't try to run this one over with his car - he brought his car over so they could see it better since it was getting dark).  WTH - don't these things hibernate for winter?  I guess they are all screwed up too since the temps here hit the 90's this week.

Here's to cooler temperatures and no more snakes!! 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Recap

I am not a huge fan of Halloween.  Mr. ESPN and I don't dress up ... and most of the Halloween decorations we have are courtesy of my mom.  I do enjoying dressing up the girls and they love everything about Halloween - the costumes, candy, you name it.  We celebrated with our neighbors with a pre-trick or treating potluck in the street.  Afterwards the dads took the kids out and the moms passed out candy. 

Speaking of which, I am not too thrilled with the large quantity of candy in my house. I was off today and officially lost count of how many pieces of candy I ate.  Needless to say it wasn't pretty and negated the 6 miles I ran this morning. 

Since our kids are always in such a rush to hit the streets as soon as they get their costumes on, we decided to do a trial run after church to get some photos in their costumes. 

Tinkerbell & a Phillies baseball player

In case you weren't sure who Chatty was ...
her favorite player Chase Utley

Ready to hit the streets

With the neighbors

"Daddy my bag is too heaby!!"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mazel Tov, Pumpkins and The Godfather

It was a busy weekend ... Mr. ESPN and I attended our triplet (yes triplet boys) neighbor's bar mitzvah on Saturday (we have known them since they were about 4 and have lived next to them for the last 6 1/2 years).  The service was very sweet (all of the women were teary eyed listening to the sweet words by the boys and their parents) and the reception that evening was a lot of fun.  We got one picture before the service and my bra strap was showing so I am not posting it.  I forgot to take my camera to the reception - so no pics!  My neighbor took one of Mr. ESPN and I and it looked like the flash was reflecting off my boob!  Lovely - needless to say I am not posting that one either!  Lucky for us, the girls spent the entire day and overnight with Nana and Poppa so we were kid free!  WooHoo!! 

On Sunday after we picked them up, we headed out to the pumpkin patch.  There were lots of fun things for the girls to do ...
Don't you just love Bia's face here? 

Daddy and his girls

On the hay ride

Our loot

Pony Rides

After the pumpkin patch we headed over to see Uncle Greg who was in town for the weekend.  By this time the girls were WILD to say the least.  We tried to get them to slow down for a few minutes to snap a photo with Uncle Greg and this was as good as it got ...

I love Bia's smile in this one - so her!