Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Today is a day to celebrate all the dads!  I am so thankful for my dad - someone I have looked up to in my life, someone who I can trust and respect.  I found this quote and it immediately made me think of my dad's influence in my life.  He has always encouraged my sister and I to be strong and independent, offering advice and life lessons along the way and loving us unconditionally.  Love you, Dad!

I am so proud of my husband for the father he has become.  I love watching him with our boys.  He is such a great daddy - so fun loving and a great example for our boys as they grow up.  My favorite part of the day is when my husband gets home, not only because I get a little break, but seeing my boys faces light up and Braden saying, "DADDY!!!  You're here!!"  They already share such a special bond and I can't wait to watch that bond continue to grow over the years.

And a special thanks to my father-in-law.  For without him, my husband would not be the man and father he is today.  I am so thankful for the influence he has had in my husband's life; a great example of faith, morals and family.

We are so blessed by our family!  We hope all the daddy's and grandpa's feel our love today and everyday!  Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stuffed Peppers...a new recipe

I think I could eat Mexican food everyday.  I love a little bit of spice.  One of my favorite meals is stuffed peppers.  It's one of those all in one meals.  I don't feel like I have to make a side to go with it because it as everything you need:  meat, veggies, grain, dairy.  I love those kind of meals, makes my life so much easier!

I have been trying to find that perfect stuffed peppers recipe.  I had used one that I liked for awhile from my grandma's church cookbook.  It is really good, but not a ton of flavor.  I had tried a couple that I found on Pinterest, but there was always something missing.  Then, I saw this picture:

YUM!  At first glance, of course, I pinned it to my 'Favorite Recipes' board, but couldn't stop thinking about how yummy they must taste.  Tonight, I made these peppers and they were SO good!  I think my favorite thing about them is that the peppers are roasted first, then filled and baked.  They were the perfect texture.  And had just the right amount of spice.  But best of all, the hubs approved and Braden, my 3 year old, loved them!

Here is the link for the recipe.  I actually looked around at the blog and many of her other recipes looked really yummy too. 

Another thing I discovered with this recipe is Homemade Taco Seasoning.  I usually have 2-3 packets of taco seasoning in my pantry, but when I went to get it tonight, they were gone.  So I googled "homemade taco seasoning" and found several recipes.  Here is the one I ended up using - tastes EXACTLY like store bought. 

2 Tbsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp cumin
2 1/2 tsp salt (could probably reduce this amount a little)
2 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix well.  Store in a tightly closed container.

I don't think I will ever buy the packets again.  It's just too easy and made up of spices I always have in my pantry and use on a regular basis.

Let me know if you try the peppers - I promise you won't regret it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Boys: 4 months and 3 years

My little buddy, Cooper, had his 4 month check up today at the pediatrician.  Let's just say he is HUGE!...He weighed 19 pounds 5 ounces and his length is 26 and a half inches.  His daddy has given him a new nickname, "Tank". 

It is so fun to watch him grow from month to month, thanks to Aunt Cici for making his super cool month onesies.  He is just such a joy.  Smiles all the time and "talks" constantly.  He loves to play on his tummy and rolls over almost instantly when you lay him on his back.  He hasn't quite figured out how to roll back the other way yet.  We started feeding him rice cereal recently and he is starting to really get the hang of eating off of a spoon.  It is so funny to watch his face with the first bite! 
He is starting to cut his bottom two teeth and drooling like crazy, shoving everything he can find into his mouth (including Mommy's hair, ugh!)  He really loves to be sitting up so he can see everything.  He loves to play in his exersaucer since it brings him up to a higher level for viewing.  He loves to be able to watch his big brother play too!  Love my little booger!

And since this blog was not created at the time of Braden's birthday, I will say a little about my big buddy!  He would not want to be left out!  Oh my 3 year old, what a blessing he is {even when I want to pull my hair out with his new 3 year old attitude}!  One look at this picture and you'll understand my can you discipline that face?

Well, I have figured it out for the most part.  It's still a day by day adventure :)  He is so much fun, saying lots of funny things these days.  I wish I had kept a journal to record all of the funny phrases and words he has come up with!  Instead of a birthday party, this year we decided to take him to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX.  He had a blast! 
Before we left on our trip, I had made up a questionnaire to ask Braden while we were driving.  Some of his answers really surprised me.  I loved hearing what he had to say. 

1.  What is your favorite color?  Orange
2.  What is your favorite animal?  Elephant cause it has a long trunk that shoots water out of it.
3.  Who is your best friend?  Kinley (Haddy) and Seth (Lucky)
4.  What is your favorite place?  The zoo
5.  What is your favorite song?  The zoo song (Animal Fair), peanut butter jelly song
6.  What is your favorite toy?  Woody and Buzz
7.  What is your favorite food?  Chicken Nuggets
8.  What is your favorite snack?  Fruit snacks
9.  What is your favorite TV show?  Doc McStuffins
10. What is your favorite movie?  The Lion King.  It has lots of lions.
11. What is your favorite book?  Elmo
12. What is your favorite thing to wear?  tennis shoes
13. What is your favorite game?  Woody and Buzz on iPad
14. What is your favorite team?  Football team
15. What is your favorite drink?  Juice (apple)
16. What is your favorite holiday?  Christmas is my favorite!
17. What do you want to be when you grow up?  A football player
18. What makes you happy?  Gymnastics
19. What makes you sad?  When I bonk my head
20. What is your favorite Bible story?  Noah's ark

This will definitely become a yearly birthday tradition. It will be so fun to see how his answers change every year!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fishing with Grandpa...

Becoming a parent is one of life's greatest joys.  Such a precious gift we are given.  Along with becoming a parent, another joy has been to watch my parents and in-laws become grandparents.  There is just something about that grandparent-grandchild relationship that is so special.  I have great relationships with all of my grandparents and many, many memories to look back on and many more yet to make. 

In my family, there are two girls.  My dad was consumed with all things girl when we were growing up.  I think he was really looking forward to my sister and I getting married so that he would have some male interaction in the family.  When my husband and I found out that our first baby was a boy and we shared the news with the family, you could just see the look of pride in my dad's eyes.  Our family, once over-run with all things girl, has now become ALL BOY!  My husband and I now have two boys and my sister has one, so far.  We are convinced that there will be all boy grandchildren! 

So since that day that we shared the news of the first BOY in the family, I have really looked forward to watching that relationship between my dad and his first grandson grow.  I love hearing stories of my dad and his grandpa and all the things they used to do together.  The things he used to teach my dad.  My dad is a man's man - he loves sports, hunting, fishing, power tools, building things, history, music, etc, etc.  As Braden has grown older, Dad has been able to show him and teach him more and more of those things.  But I think one of my Dad's greatest loves has to be fishing. 

About 6 weeks ago, Braden had his first fishing adventure with Grandpa.  (He has gone fishing before at family reunions, but not just with Grandpa).  It wasn't very long, mostly because at 3 years old, it's a little difficult to hold his attention for longer than three minutes!  But it had just been me and my mom and the boys for most of the weekend since my dad and husband were out of town on a business trip.  Braden had asked almost everyday when "Papa" was going to be home.  Every time I told him he would say, "I want to go fishing with Papa."  So when Dad got home, he was bombarded with the request to go fishing.  He packed everything up, including my first Mickey fishing pole for Braden, and headed over to one of the ponds in their neighborhood.  Dad decided it probably was not a good idea to put a hook on his line since he was just learning, but to Braden, he was fishing.  It made no difference to him.  I mainly went along because I'm pretty much obsessed with taking pictures and making sure I capture every little moment of my kids lives.  {I know, I'm one of those Moms}  This picture just captured everything that I had ever imagined for my little boy and his Grandpa.  It is definitely a framer...

This past weekend we went back for another visit and Daddy was with us.  Grandpa had already planned for them to go fishing again since they didn't catch anything the first time.  This trip, Braden got a bobber and a hook on his line.  He caught TWO FISH!  He had a little help, but he did most of it on his own!  He was so excited to tell me when he got back to the house.  He said, "It was really slimy!  But I petted it!" 

I absolutely love having boys.  I love watching them play in the dirt, play with a ball, and catch their first fish with Grandpa.  The greatest joys of my life.  Coop - your turn is coming buddy, just give it a couple years!