Friday, August 29, 2008

Fun Fridays...favorite things

I love anything to do with design, decorating, and accessories. Give me magazines, stores, articles and websites! I will pour over them all! And if money was not an object, I'd have my home completely curtained, painted, and accessorized!! But back to reality...I'm a mommy on a budget baby and when it comes to decorating our home, I'm a bargain hunter! I will undoubtly find something I like while out shopping, but will I buy it? NO! I will wait till I shop around a little more and try to find the best deal! I am sort of notorious for this and it drives my Mom crazy! I can hear her now, Becky if you like it, just buy it. Sometime I should take her advice because as bad as I hate to admit it I have gone back to buy things and they've been gone...bummer! But most of the time, I check around and make sure it is really what I want, at the best price and THEN swoop in for the buy. Decorating can be a lot of fun
especially when you find a bargain because then, you can buy twice as much. RIGHT??!?!

These two little guys have been my favorite purchase recently. I call them my little chick-a-dees.

Do you see them?

No? Look closer...

These photographs are not in the best of lighting! How about now?

I love these little guys because they're so "purdy" and super versatile! I've already used them as toppers on my magazine stack. Next to my lamp on our living room in table and on my sofa table in our entry. Want to know the best part? I paid $6.00 for them BOTH. No, that's not a typo, SIX dollars total at my favorite decorating place Hobby Lobby! They were already on sale and I printed out the store's online coupon at their website and got an extra 30% off. I just saw a similar set in my last months edition of Ballard's Home Furnishings catalogue priced at $24.99! Oh so satisfying and one of my favorite things to nest on our mantle.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Well You Can Tell By the Way I Use My Walk I'm A Woman's Man, No Time to Talk!

Child of the 70's

Oh how could I resist...the temptation was far too great!

He could fit right into the cast
Saturday Night

Can you tell the Olympics are over? I am at a loss with the spare time on my hands :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Yesteryear Yearbook!

Do you ever wonder what it would have been like to live in other eras? I have wondered about it before! Ever thought about how fun it must have been to wear poodle skirts and bobby socks to school or bell bottoms and Woodstock tees. Or denim overalls and fanny packs...oh wait I DID wear those as a child of the 80's! When I was little we loved to dress up in my Granny Tot's old clothes from the 50's and play with my mom's vintage Barbie collection! My sister and I thought all those old 50's style Barbie outfits were soooooo cool! We'd even take vintage Barbie with her flipped out hair for a spin around our bedroom in her classic Mattel corvette! Ahhhhh, how I wished I had flipped out hair and long white gloves that went up to my elbows when I was an 8 year old. Thanks to a little program I came across, I get to actually SEE what I might have looked like in the yesteryear's!

Prepare to laugh your head off 'cause,

Here's a glimpse of me livin' out my dream baby...

the 50's

the 60's
NOT such a good decade for me!
the 70's

the 80's
How did I do that you ponder?
It's called A-Q-U-A-N-E-T
the 90's

Actually this is frighteningly similar to my ACTUAL year book picture!

Sad, but true.

Friday, August 22, 2008

1st Day of Preschool

When I taught Kindergarten, we would read a version of this little poem (I changed the words to fit our situation) on graduation day. All those years that I taught Kindergarten I never had children of my own. My "kids" were the students in my classroom and I got so attached to them that I cried every year that we read this. But, now that I have 2 children of my own, it really touched me in a special way and I thought it truly, truly summed up how my heart felt this morning at 8:00 AM.

You were six months old and full of fun.

With the blink of my eye you suddenly were one.

There were so many things we were going to do,

but I turned my head and you turned two.

At two you were very dependent on me, but independence

took over when you turned three.

Your third birthday, WOW...another year more,

but the next time I light those candles,

there won't be three, but FOUR.

Now you are ready for books and rules.

This is the year for your "BIG BOY" school.

The big day came; you were anxious to go.

We walked toward the school, going oh so slow.

As you climbed up the steps and waved goodbye,

I felt a lump in my throat and tears stung my eyes.

Time goes so fast, it's hard to believe

that just yesterday you were home here, with me.
So I'm holding to these moments as hard as I can

Because the next time I look,

I'll be seeing a grown man!
I love you sweet boy! I wish you a year filled with fun, learning, friendships and fulfillment. You make me so proud! A special piece of my heart will always belong to you because YOU made me a mother.

I love you "the whole wide world"


Thursday, August 21, 2008


So I am sitting on my couch in our living room, watching it rain and enjoying a relatively quiet afternoon with both kids down for their naps. Cade still takes a daily afternoon nap and Gracyn goes down for her afternoon nap around the same time, so every afternoon I have about 1 hour and 45 minutes to myself before little Miss is ready to be picked up and fed! I treasure this "me" time. I can catch up on chores, watch a lifetime movie or a food network show, check emails, and blog!

Funny random fact #1- Cade has gotten into the habit of opening his blinds after I close his door for nap time. Therefore, a bright "alien spaceship type" light illuminates out from under his door into our dark hallway everyday. How can he sleep with all that sunlight pouring in? Hmmm...I'm just now realizing maybe that's the point....delayed sleep.

Anyhow, I took a BUNCH of pictures of Cade playing outside with his dump truck, but the thought of how much time it would take to upload all those pictures from my camera would shatter my tranquil moment, so instead I will let you in on some deep thoughts I am pondering:

1. Why is it that my Gunnar Peterson Core Secrets DVD takes only 20 minutes to do and yet I avoid it like the plague? I am quite sure I would physically feel better if I completed my piddly 20 minutes, but I cannot seem to get motivated to hit play and pull out the exercise ball! I was feeling so convicted that just the other day I pulled out our other ball and got Cade to do the tape with me. He enjoyed it much more than me.

2. Redemption? Nightly walks with my son. I need the fresh air and he needs to be walked. We balance each other out.

Get Ready to speed walk Mommy.

3. How is it possible that a family of 4 (one of whom only weighs 17 lbs.) can fill an entire trash can up every SINGLE day I ask you? I swear if I had a quarter for every time I carried that trash out to the garage dumpster and put a new liner in I would be living next to Bill Gates, AND hiring someone ELSE to carry out my trash.

4. Should I be more embarrassed at the fact that I absolutely positively cannot wait to see the line up for the fall DANCING WITH THE STARS or that I would STAND, IN LINE, WITH 2 KIDS IN TOW to buy tickets to the, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE tour if it came to my area?

5. I found myself arguing with my 3 year old in the car about WHY I can turn right on red instead of waiting until the light turns green. He's still not conviced...

6. If I simply play the Gunnar Peterson tape while I sit on the floor folding laundry does this still count as exercise time?

7. Is it possible to pass off a bowl of Cheerios as our dinner tonight?

8. I found myself saying "yes" out loud and pulling in my fist (you know the motion) when the American Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson won gold the other night. What will I do when the Olympics are over? I need to join a support group.

9. Wouldn't it seem only fair to house very loud, noise making INSTRUMENTS given to my son at the house of the AUNT who gave it to him? After all, it doesn't seem right for her to miss out on all the beautiful music this little prodigy is creating. (Love you Aunt Manders)

10. Why is it that days that you can't take your kids outside seem twice as long as the days you can?

11. Did I actually just spend the same amount of time typing this random post as it would have taken to just suck it up and listen to Gunnar scream at me to count out my last 4 crunches? Three Core Secrets references in one post must mean I'm feeling convicted to just do it already.

Goodbye tranquil moment, hello alternating side crunches and deep knee bends.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Yo Baby, Yo Baby, YO!

YoBaby Yogurt. A staple here at Casita de Alaniz! I think Miss Gracyn would eat it at every meal if we would let her! She LOVES yogurt. YoBaby is made by Stonyfield Farm and is an fully organic product, meaning it's made without the use of antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones or toxic pesticides! They also produce a line that has cereal already added in, which is such a plus in the mornings. I think those will come in handy when Cade starts preschool at 8:00 AM this Friday.

Gracyn enjoying her yogurt this morning...mmmmmm :)
Look Ma, I'm feeding myself
Look Pa, I'm reading

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back from Blogging Vacay

We'rrrree Baaaaack!!
Cade spent his official LAST WEEK of summer at my parent's home in Irving, this past week, soaking up all the Nani and Papa attention they could dish out. He had a great time feeding the ducks, visiting Chuck E. Cheese with cousin Whitney, dining at Aunt Manda's house, making homemade baggie ice cream, playing with the twins Tate & Avery, his nightly walks with Nani, playing on MY old elementary school playground, and playing more board games than you could shake a stick at!!! My Mom said he did wonderful all week and was a fun little sidekick. She's looking forward to the day Gracyn is old enough to stay a week with her brother.

While he was gone, I had the house to myself with only ONE it's been awhile since I've been in that position. I almost forgot what it was like to be able to "nap when they nap" if you want to! Actually most of the time I didn't bat an eye because I was trying to complete as many projects as possible while I had the chance! Sometimes I feel guilty during the day for trying to finish my "projects". As a second time mom, when I'm not nursing or playing with Gracyn, I want to spend time with Cade. Then when I'm not spending time with Cade, I need to tend to Gracyn and thus the cycle continues and these "projects" get put on the back burner! Honestly, I don't think I went to bed before midnight any night last week!!!
My project list is sufficiently depleted:
Clean out closet...check
Take clothes to Love of Christ Center...check
Organize gifting bags/wrapping items...check
Fill Gracie's photo album...check
Catch up on Baby book...check
Watch DVR'd episodes of The Office...check
Clean out Gracyn's closet...check
Organize clothes for Just Between Friends Sale...check
Buy items for playroom redo...check
While doing all these projects, I also took a break from blogging, cooking, AND laundry! It was a busy and productive week here for me at Casita de Alaniz, but I realized that I missed my little man and was so happy when the door swung open on Friday afternoon and a little voice said..."hi's me...Cade!"
As for Gracyn, she was busy pulling up on everything last week!
Here's a view...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Menu Monday

One of our favorite things to eat here at Casita de Alaniz is spaghetti! Oh the joy on Cade's face when he asks, "Mommy, what's for dinner?" and I reply "Spaghetti." His little eyes just light up and I know he will be asking for seconds...a rarity at dinner time for him! We like ours with Bertolli Organic Garlic and Basil Tomato Sauce and angel hair pasta. But let's face it folks, you can only eat spaghetti so many times before it becomes a little B-O-R-I-N-G. That's when I started could I change it up a bit, but still keep in the staple ingredients. Well lo and behold I found out that my girl Rachel Ray did all the trial and error for me when I came across her Spaghetti and Meatball Stoup! Just for all you English scholars out there, that's NOT a misspelling! Miss Ray herself classifies it as a STOUP due to the fact that it's a combination between a soup and a stew! It's our new favorite way to eat an old stand-by!
Spaghetti and Meatball Stoup a la Rachel Ray

3 T. E.V.O.O. - Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 Cloves Garlic, chopped (but I always add more)

1 Bay Leaf

3 Carrots, chopped

1-15 oz. Can Tomato Sauce

1-28 oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes

1-qt. Chicken Stock

1/2-3/4 lb. Spaghetti, broken into thirds (depending on how "stoupy" you like it)

1 Onion, chopped

1 1/4 lb. Ground Beef Sirloin

1 T. Worcestershire

1 Egg

1 T. Parsley

1/2 C. Italian Bread Crumbs

1/2 C. Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

Salt and Pepper

Heat soup pot over medium high heat and add e.v.o.o., garlic, bay leaf, carrots and onion. Saute for 5 minutes till onions are translucent, then season with salt and pepper. Then add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and chicken stock. Cover pot and bring to a boil.

Meatballs: Place beef in a bowl and add Worcestershire, parsley, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Thoroughly combine, then roll into balls about the size of a large walnut. Cade LOVES to come in and help me with this part!!! Once all your meatballs have been formed drop them into the soup pot. After you've added all the meatballs, wash up and stir in the broken spaghetti pieces. Cook 7 minutes more. Always taste your finished soup to see if it needs any additional salt or pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with an additional sprinkle of Parmigiano! We enjoy ours with a loaf of crusty Italian bread!

I hope you enjoy a new twist on an old favorite!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Apples of My Eye

Mark 10:15-16: Jesus speaking to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

Lord, please give me the wisdom and strength today to bless my children as they have blessed me...because to the world I may be but one person, but to one person I may be the world.

Pictures courtesy of photofunia

Monday, August 4, 2008

Menu Monday

Cooking with your kids...who else out there loves it? For us, it's a time to be engaged and work together, one-on-one. Learning about ingredients, measurement, stirring, pouring, baking, tasting, what's NOT to love??? So this weeks recipe is for the kids.

As I've mentioned before, one of Cade's absolute favorite things to do is cook. Scratch that. Actually his favorite is BAKING :) Because baking ususally involves something sweet to eat! We find ourselves making these Cake Mix cookies a lot because

a.) they' re easy

b.) they're cheap and

c.) they taste really yummy!

Almost everyone has a cake mix laying around in their pantry...right? Or is that just a Casita de Alaniz thing?!?? Grab your little helpers and let's get cookin'.

Cake Mix Cookies

1 Box Devil's Food Cake Mix, one with the pudding added in

1/2 C. Vegetable Oil, scant (means not quite to the 1/2 line for all ya'll non-bakers)

2 Eggs, beaten


1/2 C. Pecans, chopped (a staple in ours cause I LOVE them)

1/2 C. Mini chocolate chip morsels (another staple cause Cade LOVES them)

Mix in your vegetable oil first, then add your beaten eggs and finish by mixing with your hands. Add optional items as you like and incorporate well. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 6-8 minutes. Enjoy with a tall cold glass of milk.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Just Passing Through

How good is it to see old friends?

Our long time friends The Riggs family stopped in to visit us at Casita de Alaniz today on their way home to Dallas. They spent their weekend in San Marcus, back to school (YIKES...the dreaded S-word) at the outlet mall. We got a chance to sit back, relax, visit, catch up and reminisce about old times! Kay co-taught with me in Kindergarten for 3 years while I was at Brown, but I've known her since 1999 when I had the privilege of teaching her youngest daughter Ashlyn in kindergarten!!! I adore Kay and her sweet family! She is funny, intuitive, organized, caring, a good cook, full of contagious laughter, easy going, a good listener, understanding, joyful, gentle, and one of my sweetest and dearest friends in the world. Thank you Riggs family for stopping in to visit with little 'ole me and my chick-a-dees! We are continually blessed by your friendship and love!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Faces of Summer

Summertime+Snowcones=Cool Times & Purple Tongues

Friday, August 1, 2008

The BIG 3-0

Happy 30th Birthday Steve!

Happy Birthday to you,

Happy Birthday to you,

Happy Birthday Dear Daddy...

Happy Birthday to YOU :)

Happy Birthday to the "Bestest"(as our Cader likes to say) Dad and Husband

we know! We hope you had a memorable evening

with us tonight at Frank's on the Lake. Praying

that the good Lord will bless you with many

more years to come!

Love you,

Becky, Cade and Gracyn Avery