Monday, April 30, 2012

What are you reading?

Oh my goodness.  This picture just makes me laugh each time I look at it.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Easy as cake

In light of the most recent kitchen disaster on Matt's birthday, I've discovered the easiest, most delish recipe for single serving cake.  All I can ask is how did I not know about this??

I'm not a big recipe poster - because I don't consider myself an all-star cook.  But when it comes to easy, few ingredient recipes, I have a whole box full.  The crockpot has saved my family from starving since our precious wee one arrived.

Anyways, my grandfather, ironically, forwarded me this recipe the day after my cooking failures.  And I'm pretty sure he doesn't read my blog, so it was all in God's sense of humor, I guess.  So I googled it (as all good skeptics do) and sure enough, it was a legit idea.

What did I have to lose? So I tried it.  Good decision on my part.

1 box angel food cake mix
1 box any flavor cake mix your heart desires (I used funfetti, because, honestly, you can never go wrong with funfetti)

Dump both in large ziplock.  Shake to mix.  Dish out 1/3 cup cake mix into small bowl or mug.  Add 3 Tablespoons water.  Stir.  Microwave 1 minute.  Voila.  You are done.

Feel free to add a scoop of icing or my personal favorite - strawberries and cool whip.  Best part is that it keeps for whenever you get a cake craving and it isn't that bad for you...unless you go back for seconds, like I just did.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Maddie's Nursery (again)

I'm slowly working on filling out the baby book I made for Maddie and needed a couple pictures of her nursery that I worked a good 8 months on during pregnancy.  It kept me busy and helped ease my impatience.  Now that's we are actually seeing the sun in all it's glory (oh how I've missed it!) I decided to snap a few better photos with the new camera and natural light.  Makes such a difference.  If curious, you can check out all the DIY items, etc in the post I did back in December before my life forever changed.

This room still makes me smile every time I walk into it.   

Now if we can only get this cute little one to appreciate it just as much...and smile (not fuss) as she falls asleep in her cozy crib.  We will get there.  One day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


It's been "springy" in the 40s lately (I never thought I'd say that feels warm), so I've been walking outside with Maddie and Mocha every day.  I love it.  I can take the stroller and walk on the pavement.  Not snow.  Not ice.  Concrete.  It's amazing.

I have been traumatized since living up here.  Maybe I did it to myself, since from day one of arriving in Alaska I'm terrified of wildlife.  Bears and moose in particular.  We see them all the time.  Like on the highway the other day when I had to slam on my breaks because a moose was strolling across the street.  Whenever you see random traffic's not always an accident.  Sometimes it's just a large beast enjoying life.  On the roadway.

Moose are a lot like cows.  In that they are usually slow-moving and have a "whatever" approach in their demeanor.  But did you know more people are attacked by moose than bears and wolves combined?  I'm not joking.  And they are HUGE!  The second largest land animal in North America, if curious.  And they are largest in Alaska - 7 ft tall at the shoulder!   When I'm walking I'm constantly looking for open garage doors or cars driving by, so I can jump inside if a moose starts chasing me.  Which means I typically avoid the trails when alone.  I like to think I'm cautious.  Not crazy.

Wildlife up here freaks me out.  Many a nightmares are filled with moose or bears chasing me. 

Anyways, I should have known better when Matt and I saw a moose and her babe taking an evening walk with us the other night.  Down the street.  In our neighborhood.  So, as I'm walking Mocha the next day, she stops to do her business by a fence.  And I hear rustling.  Guess who it is?  Mama moose and her baby a foot away from me! Starring me down. Sure they were on the other side of the fence, but I reason that they could jump it.  So I run across the road, in front of a car, carrying Maddie on my chest and pulling Mocha who is thinks her 80 pound body can compete with their 800 pounds.   Goodness.

It was neat, however, when I looked up earlier in the week and saw a bald eagle flying just above the tree tops outside our home.  Where else does that happen?  Take it all in stride, I suppose.

But now as summer is approaching and bears are coming out of hibernation...the saga just continues.  I'm just excited it'll soon be free of snow!  Oh the good things in life.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

At least I tried...

You know when you have these grand plans of how something is going to go?  And then it goes completely different.  Actually terribly wrong.  Has this happened to you?

This happened to me.  Most recently for Matt's birthday.  Sorry dear.

I had asked him if there was anything special he wanted for his birthday dinner at home (side note: we did go out to eat and see a movie over the thankfully it wasn't all a bust).  He requested fajitas.  And strawberry cake.  Easy right?  That's what I thought.

I decided I didn't want to make a huge cake that we'd have too much of, feel guilty about throwing it out, and regretfully end up eating all of it.  So I found this "cupcake for two" recipe on Pinterest.  Perfect!  Unfortunately they weren't strawberry, so I thought, I'll just add some strawberries to the batter and icing. Made sense to me.  I baked away but as the timer was approaching to end, my baby started crying.  She can wait a few minutes, I thought.  Ding!  But they weren't done yet.  So I waited another few minutes.  Ding! Not done again.  Seriously?  At this point, Maddie is very upset with me for not feeding her.  So rather than them just burn, I decided to turn the oven off and just let them finish their mostly done selves in the oven.  After I finished with Maddie and got her down for a nap, I went to check on them.  They looked lovely.

My goal was to have dinner ready by the time Matt got home.  I started up the inside grill (because there is still about 3 feet of snow outside) and get the chicken ready to throw on.  In the mean time, I put a few tortillas in the toaster oven to warm up and get the fixings out. Unfortunately, our fan above the stove doesn't work too well, so when the chicken goes on the stove top it's sizzling causes the smoke alarm to go off (this has happened before, sadly).  Which then makes my dinner helper, Maddie, get startled and start crying.  Which then causes the dog to start barking.  So I'm opening doors trying to fan out the fumes when Matt pulls up the driveway to me holding a crying baby and smoke erupting from the doorway.  Happy birthday....

I hand over Maddie who is wailing at this point so I can finish up.  He tries to change her diaper and it isn't working, plus she decided to pee over all her clothes and on Matt, so we decide to switch duties - me - baby, him - dinner.  While I'm upstairs I think, man it's really smokey up here...meanwhile the smoke alarm goes off again!  What I forgot to tell Matt was that I had put tortillas in the toaster oven and didn't set the timer properly.  He turned around and smoke billows are pouring from the mini door.  Our house was so smokey and smelly!  We opened every door and window, turned on all the fans - and it's in the 30s outside - so our daughter wouldn't get smoke inhalation.  So now our house is cold too.
Scorched tortillas. And me getting our baby away from the smoke.
We finally get Maddie settled down and dinner prepared.  After we eat (in front of the space heater because we are still trying to air out our home), we go for a walk (for some fresh air), I spend some time getting Maddie down for the night (poor baby had a traumatic evening) and then head downstairs to enjoy the delicious looking cupcakes I'd made.
This is before we took a bite.
With the icing oozing off (because apparently the strawberry addition made the icing a bit runny), we take a big bite.  Completely raw in the middle.  Seriously? The poker thing came out clean...I don't even know what happened.  Strawberries is all I can guess.  That or the kitchen just had it out for me that day.

At this point we just bust out laughing.  Again.  To tears.  What a night.  All I wanted to do was make a special dinner for my hubby.  Thankfully we had ice cream as a backup and parked it on the couch.

This is probably why we usually go out to eat for important celebrations.  I promise...I usually know what I'm doing.  Usually.

To top it all off - our house still kinda smells.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Warmer Travels

After enduring the winter season of Alaska as described below, we hopped a plane and headed south.  I'd been looking forward to this for months.  I am already planning our escapes for next winter. None of this not getting out business.
I won't deny that I was pretty nervous about flying with Maddie for the first time.  We had quite the journey ahead...I actually had nightmares about the disasters that could be and did as much research and preparation as possible.  And she did awesome!  Only a little fussy on the last flight - but I was too after 14 hours of traveling at that point.  

You can see Maddie's expression that reflects my heart once we landed in Texas.
Want to know our itinerary?  Prepare yourself.  Anchorage. Seattle. San Fransisco. Dallas. Oklahoma City. Tulsa. Ponca City. Oklahoma City. Austin. Keller. Dallas. San Fransisco. Seattle. Anchorage.  Only one cancelled flight and one delay.  All in ten days.  All with an infant.   Plus we actually remained sane.  I feel like I deserve a gold medal.  And a week of sleep.

We had a great time with family and friends.  It was busy, but that's how we roll when we go back.  So many people to see and things to do in such a short amount of time.  Certainly one challenge of living so far away.

We celebrated a couple Easter celebrations and Maddie got all fancied up thanks to her grandmas.
 I mean she's just too cute.
First major holiday celebrated.
We also introduced Maddie to her southern Texas roots.
We got some good quality time with our nephew, Wesley.  Christmas is going to be fun this year with two little ones running around.
Maddie and Wesley hit it off.   Though his sweet hugs may or may not have freaked her out this time around.  Don't worry Wesley, she still loves you.  And maybe one day she'll be able to keep up with you.
 Sometimes I get ridiculous with her hair accessories.
The weather couldn't have been better.  Sunshine.  Shorts.  Sandals.  It was glorious.  I told Matt he could pinch me if I complained once about being hot.  I wasn't ashamed to boast my florescent skin.

Maddie has now met all her aunts.  She is loved...and rather stylish thanks to Caitlin.
Maddie also met her great grandparents.  I think she was a hit.

A rarity.  The whole family together.  I love that our family just keeps growing.
Sweet memories of four generations of women together.
My one request was as much time outside as possible.  And shopping.  I live in a state of deprivation of both.
No rest for the weary on this trip.  Sleeping could happen once we returned to Alaska.  Or in the hours spent at the airport.
It was bittersweet upon our return.  Glad to be in our home again and back to routine.  But sad to leave family.  Thankfully it's not forever.  But next time we visit I'm going to push for a direct flight.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

3 months

This is a few days late (about a week actually), but we just got back from a whirlwind of a trip back South to meet all the family.  It's always bittersweet when we get home, sad to leave family, but glad to be back to our routine and own bed again.

Maddie has turned 3 months old!  No longer a newborn anymore, which I can't decide if I'm happy or sad about.  I'm pretty sure she just gets cuter and more entertaining by the day.  At 10 weeks she weighed about 12 pounds, but we don't go to the doctor for another month to find out how much she's still grown.  
She is still a champ of a sleeper.  Usually will go for about 7 hours at night without waking and then after a diaper change and feeding will go back down for a couple hours.  We've started putting her to bed earlier, about 8pm, but we will attempt to get on more a schedule since we are back from traveling for a while.  "Putting her down" can take upwards of an hour.  But I figure at this point its totally worth it for a full nights sleep.

Maddie is full of smiles, giggles and coos.   She has discovered her hands and feet.  She loves to chew on her fingers.  She also has learned to swing at her toys and bring blankets or anything in her lap to her mouth to suck on.  She will only sometimes take a pacifier.  Her gas/reflux seems to be getting better which we are so thankful for!  She loves bath time - until she is taken out of her tub.  Maddie is a wiggler, loves to kick and throw her arms around.  Still fusses when swaddled, she likes her freedom.
We have been working on sitting up and she can hold her head for several minutes when she is propped up.  She also just rolled over for the first time!  She loves to grab my shirt and's funny how all the little things are so exciting when it's your own child.

We go walking twice a week with some friends, we've even started venturing outside lately (with the 4 feet of snow still left).  And Matt still watches Maddie twice a week during his lunch so I can visit the gym.

I feel like it's getting easier.  I don't know if it's the age or the just understanding what it's like having a baby.  Being her mother is such a blessing.  I fall in love with her more every day.  Happy three months baby girl.