Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Zilker Park Photo Shoot

This past weekend all the crew here at Casita de Alaniz travelled an hour south to Austin to meet Lisa Woods of Now and Then Photography. We have heard wonderful things about her ability to capture kids in an artistic and natural way from friends and she lived up to all our expectations and more! I love the way the photos are not posed, kinda "imperfect" in a sense just as we are! We have had the privilege of having our kids photographed by such talented young photographers over the past few years and the tradition continues with Now and Then.

Here's just a small
(there are TOO many good ones to pick from)

Want to see more?

Leave me a comment and I'll tell you how!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Choosing to have an attitude of gratitude

Now that our Halloween decorations are put away and Christmas is right around the corner, I want to focus this year especially on Thanksgiving. In the past, as soon as Halloween was over it always seems as though I rush into Christmas and Thanksgiving just gets passed over like a stepping stone. Don't get me wrong, we still eat turkey, dressing and all the fixings, but I feel like I don't FOCUS on being Thankful like I should. Even our society seems to "overlook" Thanksgiving in many ways...they put up Christmas trees in August for heavens sakes!!! So this season I want to make it a point to verbalize to my kids and my husband what I am thankful for! I read a wonderful post about 20 Little Attitudes of Gratitude by Melissa at the Inspired Room just last week and couldn't pass up sharing her list...

20 Little Attitudes of Gratitude
1. Mind your manners. Say please, thank you and excuse me.
2. Smile when you see your family. Turn your frown upside down.
3. Pick up after yourself.
4. Notice when others do kind things for you, show gratitude by action or words.
5. Say I love you before going to bed.
6. Give hugs daily.
7. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Focus on what you are happy about today.
8. Create gratitude journals to keep track of daily blessings.
9. Show thankfulness for even the little things others do for you.
10. Leave love notes in unexpected places like lunch boxes and under pillows.
11. Encourage someone with a compliment.
12. Verbalize what you are grateful for when you feel like complaining about life.
13. Keep a basket of small slips of paper on the table. Write notes of thankfulness during the week and read them to each other during a family meal.
14. Remember to thank God for blessings each day.
15. Surprise your family (or friends) with little gifts or treats to show you thought of them.
16. No grumbling about minor annoyances around the house.
17. Do special things to cherish time with your family. You never know what tomorrow will bring.
18. Reflect on happy memories regularly. Make inspiration boards of special times.
19. Help someone out without them having to ask you. Watch for someone in need.
20. When you are doing household chores, be grateful you have a home to clean.

What a great way to start a season of Thankfulness with attitudes of gratitude!

Speaking of being thankful...This little school project is what inspired this post. Cade brought home a completely blank sheet of orange paper with the words "I am thankful for" at the top as a homework assignment. I explained to him that being thankful means that you are happy to have something or someone in your life. As we sat down this afternoon to talk about it he opened up to me about what made his heart happy.
This is what he came up with...
He started naming off all the people he was thankful for and then added WHAT he was thankful they did with him. Goodness knows I couldn't draw all of it so I headed to my handy-dandy
kindergarten clip art file and luckily (thank you Lord) found everything he named off!

At my house, Mommy, Daddy, Gracie
my Nani and her good cakes
Mimi when she pulls the wagon when I was thiiiiissss (shows me with his hands...about 5 inches long) BIG in her red wagon.

I'm thankful for Papa and how he plays basketball with me.
My Grandpop and how he throws the ball.

Young hearts are so impressionable.

Lord give me the wisdom to leave a lasting mark of thankfulness on the hearts of my 2 most precious little ones. I know I cannot do it without your spirit!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fun Fridays...my favorite things

Being a Mommy of 2, I have become quite the stain removal Queen! If I do say so myself :) Cade's shirts are still pretty messy at the end of the day and Gracyn, well let's just say feeding yourself EVEN WITH A BIB ON gets the necklines and sleeves of her shirts pretty dingy! I never worry one second though because when I have this in hand....
it's all good. I think I'm going to start throwing in a bottle of Zout in all of my new mommy gift bags. It has consistently taken out everything I have sprayed it on from dirt, grass, orange Cheetos mess, carrots, peas, blueberry juice, poop stains (just keepin' it real folks), and lipstick smears. The one laundry item I can't live without is my bottle of Zout!

Speaking of Laundry Room, check out the tweaks I've made in our laundry room! A curtain to hide my hideous black plugs and electrical outlets (thank you Mom for sewing my idea into life),
a new 'HOME' sign above our shabby chic memo board,
and a little shadow box, I put together.
The shadow box is to remind me WHY I do all oodles and oodles of laundry every week, day in day out. For the two little people who once fit into this teeny-tiny hospital brand t-shirt. I kept both of the kids first shirts that they wore right after they were born. Cade's is from the hospital in North Carolina and Gracyn's even has a stain left on the back from where she blew out her very first diaper !!!(I hadn't been introduced to Zout then)

Instead of dreading setting foot into this room now, I L-O-V-E going in to see this precious shadow box.

I am TRULY blessed...laundry and all.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Word Meme

Thanks for the tag Amanda! Here we go...
You are instructed to use only ONE word for each answer, ewww...that's hard because you know how this girl likes to elaborate!!!


1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Your significant other? driving
3. Your hair? short
4. Your mother? faithful
5. Your father? entrepreneur
6. Your favorite thing? family
7. Your dream last night? none
8. Your favorite drink? lemonade
9. Your dream/goal? seeking
10. The room you're in? kitchen
11. Your fear? testing
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? ???
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you're not? dishonest
15. Muffins/donuts? donuts
16. One of your wish list items? coverlet
17. Where you grew up? Texas
18. The last thing you did? laundry
19. What are you wearing? jeans
20. Your TV? Disney
21. Your pet? backyard
22. Your computer? ON
23. Your life? blessed
24. Your mood? relaxed
25. Missing someone? sister
26. Favorite pastime? reading
27. Something you're not wearing? make-up
28. Favorite Store? Target
29. Your summer? busy
30. Your favorite color? yellow
31. When is the last time you laughed? fortnight (ha! out smarted the game)
32. Last time you cried? Tuesday
33. Who will/would re-post this? Ginny
34. Four places I go over and over? Church, Wal-Mart, Chick-Fil-A, Dry Cleaners
35. Four people who e-mail me? Mom, Dad, Amanda, Aunt Janie
36. Four of my favorite foods? breads, pasta, zucchini, cheesecake
37. Four places I would like to be right now? cruise, date, shopping, sleeping
38. Four people I tag? Ginny, Ashley, Rebecca, & Melissa

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

One AwEsOmE Chick + UBER Creativity = Kristi's Kringles

I feel like a proud parent as I sit and write this note to you today! One of my dearest friends has made a huge decision, and I am so proud OF her and FOR her! Our story begins one Sunday morning over a year ago when we noticed a couple with 2 young boys walking the halls of our church. Steve and I approached them and introduced ourselves only to find out that they had recently moved to the area and were looking for a church home. Their oldest son is very close in age to our son and their youngest son reminded me so much of Cade at that age! After class, we asked if we could sit with them during service and the rest is history as they say! We are now members of the same church, life group, and play group! They are an amazing family, full of love, light-heartedness, and laughter!!!
This holiday season, if you are in the market for some unique, customized, made just for you holiday cards then my super cool friend Kristi has just what you're looking for! Her new online shop a.k.a. Kristi's Kringles specializes in digital photo cards (holiday, birthday, birth announcements, moving cards), blog design, and more! And at only a BUCK a piece, that's right kiddies,
a DOLLAR a card
she's got the best deals on the Internet! PLUS, as an added bonus if you order before Thanksgiving, you'll receive F-R-E-E labels that coordinate to match your design!!

Her grand opening special of 10% off every card order lasts until November 10th. So round up your kiddos, snap a shot, and head on over to Kristi's Kringles to place your order today...tell her Casita de Alaniz sent ya!

Check out some of her designs...

Cool Colors
Love me some VINTAGE
Love the layering, love the font, love the colors, I love EVERYTHING
So Precious for a new addition She offers many more and can customize to match your submitted photo, go check her out!


Monday, November 3, 2008

Menu Monday

Black and White Rice Krispie Treats

4 tbsp. butter, divided
1 ½ oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
4 cups mini marshmallows (or 40 regular marshmallows), divided
6 ½ cups Rice Krispies, divided
½ cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Line 18-22 muffin tins with paper liners. In a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt 2 tablespoons butter, dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Stir frequently to incorporate cocoa and prevent scorching. Add 2 cups mini marshmallows and microwave for 1-2 minutes, until fluffy and melted. Add in 3 ¼ cups Rice Krispies and stir to combine, making sure chocolate covers the whole batch. Stir in mini chocolate chips and divide the mixture evenly among prepared muffin tins, filling each half way up. Press down to create a level top.In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt 2 tablespoons butter and remaining mini marshmallows in microwave for 2-3 minutes, until marshmallows are fluffy and butter is completely melted. Add in vanilla and remaining Rice Krispies, and stir to coat cereal completely. Divide evenly among chocolate-filled muffin tins, filling each the rest of the way to the top.

Chill in the refrigerator 15 minutes or let sit at room temperature until set before serving. Peel off cupcake liners and serve! Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

I don't know what it is about Rice Krispie treats that make them so appealing to me! Maybe it's the simplicity of the recipe or that they remind me of my childhood. But I tell you what, if you sat me at a table FULL of delectable desserts and a plate of rice krispie treats, I'd likely start with one of these yummy, chewy, crunchy, and oh so fun treats! We made these for Friday's playgroup and I rushed out the door without taking a picture of the final product. They really turned out nicely with chocolaty bottoms and white tops.

Perfect for a Halloween play date.

Recipe from Baking Bites

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick-or-Treat, Smell My Feet!

I use to LOVE to say that as a kid! And this year was no exception!

Our friends the Murrahs' hosted a huge Halloween party for everyone in our Young Families class at church! We took the kids trick-or-treating around in their neighborhood together. Cade really had fun this year knocking on doors, saying TRICK-OR-TREAT and gathering up goodies in his orange backpack. Do you know what character carries an orange backpack?
In years past he's been,

a dalmatian puppy '05
my vintage cowboy '06
an Aggie baseball player '07
and this year...drum roll please....
DIEGO the animal rescuer!
Even after the trick-or-treating was over, Cade helped Mrs. Debbie hand out candy to the kids that came looking for treats at her door. He really got "in to" guessing what the other kids had dressed up as. One little girl came to the door dressed as Cinderella, and he said, "ohhh Mommy look, she's a pwetty, pwetty pwincess!" He's already noticing "pwetty" girls at age 3 1/2...YIKES :)
Steve did another stellar job on carving our pumpkin this year! He's got the steadiest hand this side of the Mississippi...I can't even compete! When I asked him if he did toenails, he said I couldn't afford him! HA!!!

Steve carved a friendly witch and Cade put together her little cat!

And Miss Gracyn you're asking??? She went to the party as her own sweet self wearing a pumpkin shirt and comfy leggings! She had fun crawling around "unobstructed" and pulling up on all of the furniture at the Murrah house. Don't worry your pretty little heads, my dears...she'll be suited up, walking, and looks for treats next year with her brother! Hope all of your Halloweens' were SPOOK-TACULAR.