Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tiny Wings


Last night I was contacted about a fundraiser happening on February 28th (tomorrow) on Facebook for Maddie's family.

I hadn't heard Maddie's story until yesterday - and I think I've been crying since I read it. Maddie was a sweet, beautiful 4 month old baby girl. She was in the care of a babysitter when she stopped breathing. Her parents were called at work and given the horrible news. Sweet Maddie had passed away while napping in her crib.

I can't begin to imagine their grief and pain. I was asked to share a link with you all about the fundraiser going on for her family. The auction is called "Tiny Wings Auction - In Memory of Madison Paige Staats" and you can click here to go directly to it.

Auction Details:
This auction will open Monday, Feb. 28th at 12 pm cst.
ALL MONEY RAISED WILL GO TO THE STAAT FAMILY.
Lets open our hearts & wallets :)
God Bless♥
Lets make this huge & raise an incredible amount to help Maddies family.
**If you would like to add anything from your boutique send me an e-mail at srs07_megan@yahoo.com & I will give you more details. I need all info sent to me by Sunday at 8 pm cst.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Blog Changes

This is nothing huge, just a couple of things I wanted to share!

First, I asked you guys for recommendations on Recipe Blogs...and you so delivered! So much so that I created a new blogroll just for them! It's on the left hand side of my blog. I'll keep adding to it as I go through all of those great blogs!

Second, Jamie designed a new blog button for me! It's on the right hand tool bar! Thanks Jamie!

Last but not least...I added a couple of new store favorite buttons! On the left are buttons for Shabby Apple and Shabby Baby! Check them out!

Watch for a giveaway, coming verrrry soon!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thankful for the little things.

Several months ago, after about 6 months of prayer, Chris and I decided to move our letter to a different church (same denomination). We weren't sure where our decision would lead us, until my friend Sara mentioned she was getting baptized, and I told her that we would like to go be there for her on that special day.

Long story short, that church ended up being the perfect place for us. They were just getting ready to launch a new campus and we've had the wonderful opportunity to be involved in helping with the launch. Now we both get to volunteer each Sunday and serve alongside other believers, which for us, is a very powerful experience and something we've wanted to do for a long, long time.

One thing that our new church does differently than I am used to, is that there isn't a Sunday School. Instead, we meet on Wednesday nights at church members homes. Such was the case this past Wednesday night.

While having our Bible Study, our leader asked us to think about something small that we are thankful for - something that you might normally take for granted.

If you know me in real life, I am ridiculously, painfully shy. I absolutely hate speaking to a group, even if I know some of the people in it well. But I knew the answer for myself immediately.

Breath. I am thankful every single time I watch Brayden breathe...in other words, I am gleefully thankful every single minute of the day for him. Of course, I feel the same way about Brody, and I always will. It just has a slightly different meaning with Brayden.

God laid it on my heart to share Brayden's story with the group. I thought Chris was going to pass out when I started talking (just for the fact that I don't usually talk to a group like that!). I explained how I watched machines breathe for him for weeks, and how I will never forget watching him breathe, completely on his own, finally free from the ventilator. And when I pray for my kids and I thank God for them, I am always reminded to praise Him for those little things, that might often be overlooked.

What are some of the little things you are thankful for?


Thursday, February 24, 2011

3 Months Old!

Yesterday, Brody turned 3 months old!

(Usually I spend more time getting a smile - but we were running out the door for small group when I took this shot!)

Brody, what are you up to these days?

- You don't go back to the doctor until next month, but you are close to 14lbs. WOW!!!

- You wear a size 2 diaper.

- At this point I am your favorite. I love saying that. Brayden always liked Chris better!

- You wear size 6 month clothing and have for the last 2 weeks. Oh.My.Word.

- You love your swing.

- You are on a regular nap schedule - you nap at the same time as Brayden for 2.5-3 hours. I think you'll be a one nap baby just like he was.

- You were sleeping 9 hours at night without waking and then going back to sleep for 2 more hours until you hit your 3 month growth spurt. Now you go to bed at 10, wake up once to eat, and go back to sleep until 7-8am.

- You love to talk - I say "Oooooh" and you say it back. It's precious.

- You also love to smile. At first you would only smile for me, but now you will smile at anyone who talks to you.

- You drink 5-6 ounces every 3 hours during the day.

- You eye our food longingly. I think you are dying for some real food.

- You love your lovies. It's so cute to watch you hold them.

You are such a sweet baby. I love watching you watch your big brother and I can't wait for you to be able to play with him!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Beef Brisket and Sweet Carrots

Last night I decided to try out a new Paula Deen recipe for dinner; Beef Brisket. It was SOOO good! I used a 3.5lb brisket and this recipe is just so simple! I also made green beans and brown sugar carrots! It was a great meal!

Beef Brisket

(Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 bay leaf, crushed

4 pounds beef brisket, trimmed

1 1/2 cups beef stock

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Make a dry rub by combining chili powder, salt, garlic and onion powders, black pepper, sugar, dry mustard, and bay leaf. Season the raw brisket on both sides with the rub. Place in a roasting pan and roast, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Add beef stock and enough water to yield about 1/2 inch of liquid in the roasting pan. Lower oven to 300 degrees F, cover pan tightly and continue cooking for 3 hours, or until fork-tender.

Trim the fat and slice meat thinly across the grain. Top with juice from the pan.


Brown Sugar Carrots


1 lb baby carrots
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
2-3 T butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut carrots in half lengthwise. Cover with water and add butter, sugar, salt and pepper. Heat over med-high heat. Cook 15-20 minutes or until carrots are softened and most of the liquid is gone.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A new take on an old favorite - Fettuccine Alfredo

I love fettucini alfredo. I hate jarred alfredo sauce. I think I've tried every brand and I didn't like any of them!

I found the Pioneer Woman's recipe for it a few weeks ago and wrote it down. I ended up changing most of it - the ingredients and the way she went about mixing it, so here is my version, adapted from hers:

Ingredients

1 pound fettuccine noodles

1 1/2 sticks butter

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a saucepan or skillet, warm butter, cream and 2 cups of cheese. Add salt and pepper.

Drain pasta and put in a large serving bowl.

Once sauce is combined well, pour over pasta, mix well. Top with remaining cheese.


This was, by far, the best recipe I've made for fettucini alfredo! I served it with grilled marinated turkey breasts.

I'm making many new recipes this week and I'll be sharing some of them with you!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Twins?

When Brody was born I said he looked just like Brayden. Almost no one agreed with me though! But now more and more people are saying he looks so much like his older brother. What do you think?

Brayden at 2.5 months:

Brody at 2.5 months:

Brayden at 2 months:
Brody at 2 months:
Am I crazy or do they look a lot alike?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Very Special Post.

As many of you know, Arkansas Children’s Hospital holds a special place in my heart. And two years ago today, we brought Brayden home.

Before January 15, 2009 I had never been to ACH. I hadn’t even heard that much about it, though it’s nearly impossible to live here and not know someone who has been touched by the doctors and nurses there.

Brayden was born with a rare condition called PPHN or Persistant Pulmonary Hypertension of the Neonate (Newborn). In short, Brayden’s body didn’t realize he was born and was not oxygenating his blood. You know how when you go to the doctor they check your oxygen levels? Usually it’s 99 or 100…Brayden’s was in the 40’s. At first, no one could figure out what was wrong. He was transferred from the hospital he was born at to another local hospital. Finally, the neonatologist there diagnosed his condition. The problem was that he had been without adequate oxygen for an extended period of time. ACH was called in – they flew down to get him that night.

(Team Brayden)


We ended up spending 5 long weeks at ACH, though of course, 5 weeks is a short visit for some patients. The thing that stood out to me the most is that ACH doesn’t feel like a hospital. It’s hard to describe…but it just doesn’t. I think a large part of that feeling comes from the people who work there. Everyone – every single person – from the security at the front, to the insurance workers, to the cafeteria workers and the doctors and nurses, they all go out of their way to treat you like an individual. You aren’t a number or just another patient (or in our case, parents of a patient) you are Jenna. And Chris. And Brayden. Everyday when we would go down to the cafeteria for lunch they would ask us how Brayden was doing. When I would venture out to the gift store or to the coffee station – they would call us by name and carry on a conversation with us. When our doctors would meet with us to discuss what was going on with Brayden, they were talking person to person. I never had the feeling of a cold bedside manner or that my son was just another number to them. Everyone who works there truly, honestly cares.

Because of that individualized care and because God just had a bigger plan for him, Brayden improved at miraculous rates. His doctors were willing to try out of the box ideas and give him the chance to fight on his own instead of going right into surgery. I can never repay them for all they’ve done for our family.

(Brayden's favorite nurse, Sayward)

But one thing that I do is get involved with fundraisers for ACH. Chris and I have done radio-a-thon’s and even a TV interview all in hopes of raising awareness and funds for ACH. And now I have a unique opportunity for YOU to get involved too!

My friend Jaimi recently wrote a children’s book called Silly Sock. Silly Sock focuses on teaching children that no problem in life is too big or too small to put in His hands! God loves us and wants to help us and guide us!

50% of all purchases of Silly Sock are going to go directly to ACH! So if you have kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids, friends with kids, friends who are going to be having kids (you get the picture) this is a great little gift to buy them AND it is benefitting a great cause!!

If you’re interested in purchasing a Silly Sock book (or books!) please go here.

A note from my friend Jaimi, the author of Silly Sock:

From February 14th to February 28th, 50% of all proceeds from the sale of my new children's book "Silly Sock" will be donated to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Honor of Logan Grant Villines. To purchase books, you may visit http://www.sillysockbook.com or http://www.authorhouse.com/. Our goal is to raise $1400.00 in 14 days. You may also donate books directly to the children of Arkansas Children's Hospital. I know this would be a blessing to them. If you wish to donate a book or books to them, please make your purchase at http://www.sillysockbook.com and put Arkansas Children's Hospital, 1 slot 661 Children’s Way, Little Rock, AR 72202-3591 as the address you would like the book shipped to when you make the purchase online. If you have any questions or would like to participate in helping raise funds for Arkansas Children's Hospital, please contact Jaimi at jaimi@sillysockbook.com


Please help me spread the word on this awesome fundraiser! Tweet, facebook and blog about it!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Funny little Valentines

My two little heart breakers want to wish everyone a happy Valentines Day!

B1:

B2:
I don't know why these pics are so tiny...

I ordered Chris a heart shaped pizza from his very favorite pizza place in Chicago, Giordanos. He LOVED it. He was so, so excited!
And along the food lines, my mom ordered us cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes (they have a show on TLC called DC Cupcakes)!!! They were SOOOOOOOO good!!!

And yet another tiny picture - Chris got flannel Tory Burch reva's for me! My mom got me the purse for Christmas! Yay!
And no picture - but my boys got me roses and Chris brought us Chickfila for lunch! It was a great day! Tonight we celebrated with my family at a local favorite steakhouse! I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines Day!

Favorite Deals- ONLINE!

I've talked before about couponing and saving money.

Now that I've got 2 kids -2 years and 2 months in fact - I do more and more shopping online. It's just easier! Especially when there is snow on the ground, or worse, ice. I just don't like having to haul my kids out in that.

That said, I still like to look for a good deal!

Here are a few of my favorite internet sites. Share yours in the comments!

When I'm looking for a online coupon, I go to retailmenot.com. They usually are the most accurate and up to date with the current online codes. They also offer some printable coupons!

If I'm looking for an actual printable for a specific item - like Huggies, for example - I go to coupons.com. You can also check Red Plums site for more coupons.

When I'm looking for a good deal on kids items, I go to Zulily. You have to register an account (just click the link and it will take you to the right page). It's really easy and they have great deals every single day. I've seen Petunia Pickle Bottom on there and lots of other great brands!

Another site I check daily is Baby Steals. They have a new item every day but you have to check it early in the morning before they sell out!

I recently joined Ebates as well. You earn cash back for shopping through them. I was looking for a cast iron skillet and found several online. I had just joined Ebates so I checked on their site and found the same product PLUS I got 6% cash back! Score!

And lastly, I get asked a lot about Swagbucks. They really are what they say they are! I use them as a search engine and earn points. I've cashed my points in for Starbucks giftcards and more recently, for Amazon gift cards! It's easy!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

This is what we do when were trapped.

I'm hoping that by the time this post goes live all of this:

has melted away. Not that I don't love the snow - I do. But I also love doing other things like going to Starbucks, going to church, just GOING! And as much as I love the white stuff I can only take it for so long.

But I want to have a memory of how we spent all of the days that we were trapped.

First up, with lots of smiles:
And a little jealousy. Brayden has been GREAT with Brody with one exception. This is the jumperoo, aka Brayden's former BFF. He looooooovvvvvvvveeeeeeedddddd this thing when he was a baby! Now that we've brought it down for Brody, he wants to be in it. I made the mistake of letting him get in it once. He was so happy! But I was scared that he was going to break it!
This is just precious - Brayden was trying to "teach Brobee how to pay (play) peekaboo."
And I whipped out something from my secret stash - a Yo Gabba Gabba coloring book!

Snow days can be long days, but I love them. Chris gets to be home and we get to spend even more time as a family! Nothing is better than that!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A PW Kinda Day...(Corn Chowder & Beef Drip)

With all that white stuff falling, it seemed like a comfort food kinda day. What better than some corn chowder and french dips? These are two of my favorite Pioneer Woman recipes but I changed up the beef a little bit...

Recipe taken from ThePioneerWoman.com
  • 2 slices Bacon, Cut Into 1/2-inch Pieces (or Smaller)

    2 Tablespoons Butter

    1-½ whole Yellow Onion, Diced

    5 ears Corn, Shucked (about 4 Cups)

    2 whole Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce, Finely Diced

    1 whole 4-ounce Can Diced Green Chilies

    32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Broth

    1-½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream

    ½ teaspoons Kosher Salt (more To Taste)

    3 Tablespoons Corn Meal OR Masa

    ¼ cups Water

    Preparation Instructions

    (Carefully) slice the corn kernels off the cob. Set aside.

    Add bacon pieces to a pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Cook for a couple of minutes. Throw in diced onion and stir, cooking the onion for 3 to 4 minutes. Add butter and melt. Add corn. Stir and cook for one minute. Add both kinds of chilies and stir.

    Pour in chicken broth and cream. Add salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.

    Combine cornmeal (or masa) with water. Stir to combine, then pour into the chowder. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over low heat. If chowder needs more thickening, add another tablespoon of cornmeal mixed with water. Cook for another ten minutes.


Next up, PW's Beef Drip. I changed this one up a little bit. This is the second time I've made it so I took some notes the first time and my changes are listed below!

Here is her original recipe:

Ingredients

1 whole 2.5 To 4 Pound Chuck Roast

¼ cups Butter

1 whole Large Onion, Sliced Thick

3 cloves Garlic, Peeled

½ cups Soy Sauce

1 cup Sherry (cooking Sherry Is Fine)

½ teaspoons Salt

4 cups Water

Toasted, Buttered Deli Rolls

OPTIONAL: Rosemary, Thyme, Other Spices

Preparation Instructions

Heat butter in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions for a couple of minutes, or until starting to get brown.

Set chuck roast on top of the onions. Add all remaining ingredients. Cover pot and simmer (very low heat) on the stove for 6 hours, or until beef is fork-tender and falling apart. **If meat is not yet tender, return to oven for 30 minute intervals till it’s tender!** Shred meat with two forks until all large chunks are gone. Serve immediately or continue to simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

*Mixture can be refrigerated overnight. Remove hardened fat from top of pan before reheating.

Serve on top of toasted, buttered deli rolls. Top with cheese and place under the broiler if desired.

I made several changes this time.


First, I coated my 4lb chuck in salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Second, I used 2 whole onions and 6 cloves of garlic.

Third I changed up the liquid amounts - because my roast was so big and I let it cook a full 6-7 hours, it needed more liquid. I used 6-7 cups of water, 1 C soy sauce and 2 C sherry.


Here's what it looks like after 7 hours:

Another change - I pulled my meat out to shred it. I did this so that I could sort out the fat.
Toasted rolls with melted provolone:
Shredded beef in jus:
The final product!

 
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