Friday, November 13, 2009


Transitions come quite often in a two-year-old's life---especially in my two-year-old's life. A few months ago, he moved to a new house, his daddy got a new job (and a new schedule), and he got a new baby sister. A month ago, he started to process of potty training. Just this week, we made one more transition, as if he hadn't had enough! Although, this change seems to be a good one so far. We put up his fire engine bed and took him out of his crib. He absolutely loves sleeping in this bed! For the most part, it has been a bit easier to put him down for naps and bedtime in it. The first couple nights were hard because he was just really excited about it. But, after threatening to make him sleep in his crib (which I have kept up in his room to illustrate my threat), he settles down and goes to sleep. When he woke up in his bed the first morning he slept in it, he exclaimed, "I DID IT!" He was so proud that he slept in his "Big Boy Bed" all by himself. This bed was given to us by our friends from church. All of their kids used it as well. I am thankful for this bed because it made the tradition into a "Big Boy Bed" just a little bit easier!

I am a mom.

As I looked at Madelyn's big, almost blue eyes staring back at me yesterday, I marveled at the fact that I am a mom. I mean, when in the world did that happen? I remember people telling me when I was pregnant with Jackson, "Oh, this is your first? Once you have kids, your life is over!" I would beg to differ with that statement. My life isn't over now that I have kids. I've just started a new chapter. Sure, I can no longer expect a full eight hours of pure sleep. I can't go to the restroom without a little boy following me to the toilet and asking, "Mommy, watcha do'in?" But, I have these two precious little people in my life who I love unconditionally, and they love me right back. I have a little boy who will walk into the room just to tell me he loves me. And a little girl whose bright eyes and big smile light up my whole day. My husband and I are responsible for raising these two individuals up in a way that glorifies God. It is up to us to teach them about life, death, sin, repentance, Christ, truth...the list goes on! What an amazing opportunity we have! So, the next time I have to clean poop off of Jackson's body, the floor, and the couch (yes...that actually happened today!), or Madelyn wakes up every couple hours through the night, I want to strive to focus on the opportunity God has blessed me with. I'm sure it won't make those difficult moments in motherhood any easier, but it will help to keep that purpose in mind.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Homemade Spiced Applesauce

A trip to Oak Glen this weekend resulted in a 5 dollar bag of grainy, somewhat mushy Arkansas Black apples. Although I was disappointed, and after I chucked two whole apples in the trash can, I was determined to do something with the rest. What can you do with a bunch of bad apples? I decided to make some applesauce. Here is the recipe I came up with, and, if I may say so myself, this is an extremely tasty and easy recipe!

2 Tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup (NOT THE FAKE STUFF!!!)
1 tsp. Pure Vanilla
1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
5-10 Apples (5 big or 10 small), peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 cup 100% Apple Juice
Cooking Spray

Heat a large skillet on medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Add apples. Add apple juice. Add all spices. Add Maple Syrup and vanilla. Heat until apples are very, very soft, stirring often. Turn off heat. Mash slightly with a potato masher. Don't over mash...make sure there are still some chunks in the apple sauce. Enjoy warm or chill for a cold treat! Serves 6.

Oh, and one more tip: If you want to make some YUMMY apple cinnamon oatmeal, just add 1/2 cup applesauce to 1/2 cup plain instant oatmeal and 1 cup water. Add 1 more tablespoon of Maple Syrup and 1/2 a teaspoon more of Ground Cinnamon. Stir. Heat in the microwave for 4 minutes. Stir again. Serve with cold milk. Makes about 4 servings.

Jackson's 2nd Birthday

Saturday was a big day for our little boy. He turned two. And, as excited as a little boy could be, his parents were even more so because this was the first birthday that Jackson understood what was going on!
We had a full day of celebration. Most of the family went up to Oak Glen to the Hawk's Head Public House, a restaurant on Riley's Farms (the ORIGNIAL Riley's---not the one next to it that split off to get business on Sundays). Jackson had so much fun playing with his cousins on the grounds of Riley's. There was a bridge to cross, which provided a really good photo spot, and also a little pond with a dock. There were a bunch of walking sticks that the boys used as pretend riffles, and a whole lot of grass to roll in. We bought a big pumpkin for a dollar there and a bad batch of apples for 5 dollars. Of course, we wouldn't have bought them if we knew they were bad (more on that later...).
Next, we headed back to our house for some pizza, presents, and cake. It was great fun to watch Jackson's expressions as he opened all his gifts. By the way, I seriously don't think I could fit anymore toys in my house! He is truly a blessed little boy and has no shortage of toys and books! Jackson looked forward to blowing out his candles on his "Happy Cake" (as he called birthday cake....isn't that adorable?), and when it came time to do it, he was so excited! When he blew, though, he couldn't quite get enough air out to actually blow out the candles. It somehow took the help of his daddy and all his cousins to get the job done!
At the end of the day, we had a living room full of new toys and other gifts, a 1/2 eaten Costco cake, cold pizza in the oven, and a very tired, but extremely happy 2-year-old boy!
The Hawk's Head had really good apple cider. We ordered Jackson a child size and it came in this cute mug with the ABC's on it!
Jackson wasn't too sure about a man wearing knickers singing happy birthday to him. I can't say I blame him.
Troy and I with the birthday boy!
Jackson and his cousins!
Jackson was very impressed with all the leaves on the ground.
How do all boys like pretending that sticks are guns?
Our Family @ Oak Glen
The Family @ Oak Glen
...and again in front of the Hawk's Head Public House/ Chesterfield Colonial House.
Jackson opens David and Robyn's gift...a blow up Lightning McQueen bed, which he slept in that night!
Jackson opens a gift from Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Tim...a Mega Bloks fire truck. He is all about fire trucks right now!
Jackson gets some assistance with blowing out his candles.
The End.

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Little Sunshine

Madelyn has been smiling for a few weeks now. Her smiles melt my heart! I thought I would share some smiles so they could melt yours!

Oh, and one more thing...

Friday, November 6, 2009

A star was born...

Two years ago today I was in labor with Jackson. I can't believe its been that long! Time seriously flies by! I love this little boy so much! Happy Birthday, Jackson Thomas!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

An Old Favorite

For those of you who have requested it, I am re-posting this delicious recipe. It is healthy and perfect for the fall! Enjoy!

White Bean Chicken Chili

In an effort to make Troy low cholesterol, low fat meals, I found this recipe on and I tweaked it a bit for more taste. I thought some of you would be interested in this recipe, seeing as it is healthy! (Note: Even the garnish can be healthier, with low fat cheese and Reduced Fat Daisy Sour Cream) I made it for my husband and a few friends and we all loved it. Click on the recipe card to make it bigger. You can even print the card out to add to your own recipe collection. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Creative Food Attempt

This morning I made Jackson some Mickey Mouse shaped toast with fruit for breakfast, and, guess what? He ate it...well, most of it! All that is left was the ears and the bananas on the ears. I used two different sized biscuit cutters to make Mickey and used apple slices and bananas to top it off. I put dried cranberries and Cheerios on the side so Jackson could make Mickey's face. He enjoyed it and so did I. Oh, and there were no painful pebbles in his diaper today! :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

My Little Pear

As a mother, I can most definitely say that I get great joy out of my toddler eating fruit and veggies. I wish it was easy, though! One week Jackson will love green beans. The next week, he won't want anything to do with them. Last week, he loved this pear. I can't seem to get him to eat a pear this week. If he had a choice, Jackson would live on Chicken Dinos and fries, with fruit snacks on the side. Unfortunately, all that diet will get you is a few painful pebbles in a diaper...I'll spare you any of the other details. Do any of you mothers have any clever tips on how to get a picky and un-predictable toddler to eat his share of fruits and veggies? If so, I'd love to hear them, so don't be shy!