Monday, April 28, 2008

Random pictures from last week

Okay, so I couldn't come up with a creative title to this week's blog that tied these five "random" pictures together. I have been doing a lot of scrapbooking lately (to try to get caught up with Gabi's book), so I am going to use that excuse for the lack of creative-energy today. Plus, I am working on fitting in all my "regular" home-activities into 2 days since I am substitute teaching on Tuesday and Thursday, and Nick will be off work with us this Friday.

Who needs to buy toys when she loves to play with the plastic Easter eggs and my flip-flops?

We bought Gabi a $2 red ball, and she loves to play with it--either by herself, or tossing it back and forth with us. We are trying to prepare her for sports--okay, we're really not, but it's a nice thought! :)

Gabrielle likes to go into our entryway and pick the "pretty" fake flowers off my arrangement that I have sitting by the door. At least this week she's been bringing them to me when she pulls them off. Hopefully this new "activity" will bore her soon, and I won't have to continually stick those flowers back onto the stems.

Our first out-of-town-trip with Gabrielle's front-facing car seat to Lubbock this weekend. She really only slept about 30 minutes on the way up, and about the same on the way back (it's a 2-hour drive one way). Hopefully she'll do a little better when the newness of facing forwards wears off at little bit.

This is Gabi after we got home from Lubbock Saturday evening and breaking her curfew by 2 hours. She seemed like her energy was not going to wear out at any point. Good thing that she finally settled down to sleep around 10pm. Guess she thought that since she was in her car seat, a stroller, or a shopping cart all day that she needed a little time to run around and play with her toys when we got home.

I think that we are going to need a hair cut soon too--what do you think?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Adult time

So last Friday we hired a babysitter and headed out to an Awards Banquet at one of the local hotels for the employees of the Koch chemical plant down here. Since Nick is a part of the Leadership Team, we were able to attend even though he wasn't getting an award this year (August will be his 10-year anniversary!). These are the gorgeous red tulips that I got to bring home at the end of the evening. I had almost forgotten what "adult time" was like--getting all dressed up, having a glass of wine, and talking with people who could say things other than just ma-ma and da-da. :)

Veggie faces

Notice the "sour" faces she gives when she eats her veggies--looks just like Nick when I make him eat his veggies too! :)

Same night at of the first times I have seen Gabrielle wave by herself! Yeah!!!

More dancing

Just another way she's been dancing lately--bouncing at her knees (and you can hear the Jeopardy music in the background again!!!).

Short attention span

Gabrielle usually does a pretty good job playing by herself. As you can see in this video, she likes to play with a lot of things (in a very short amount of time)!

Fun times last week

Daddy blowing on Gabi's belly...

Gabi putting daddy in her "bead-necklace".

Gabi "tickling" mommy's toes.

I think she's laughing more from tickling my toes than I am.

The "Gabi Trail" of Grettle did with her bread.

Just in case she needs to get back to the rest of the books, I guess!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Two more recipes

I guess I forgot to post the last couple of yummy recipes lately...I hope you enjoy them if you try them out. More great reviews from Nick. And, most of you know that he really doesn't like to eat his veggies, so these were great recipes getting the "greens" on his plate--artichokes and even asparagus! :)

Mediterranean-style Chicken
2 T. Olive oil
2-3 lbs. Chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 14 ½ oz. can Tomatoes (pieces or diced)
¼ c. Red cooking wine
1 pkg. Onion soup mix
1 12 oz. pkg. Frozen artichoke hearts, cut into pieces
1 can sliced olives
1/8 tsp. Cinnamon
Brown minute rice, cooked according to box directions

In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until browned evenly.
Stir together the undrained tomatoes, wine, and soup mix. Add to chicken in skillet and bring to a boil (keep covered). Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in artichoke hearts, olives, and cinnamon. Simmer, covered for 10 more minutes or until artichoke hearts are tender. Serve over hot rice.

Shrimp, asparagus, and pasta
1 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp
4 oz. pasta (I used spaghetti), cooked according to pkg.
¼ cup olive oil
1 T. dried minced garlic
1 T. dried minced onions
1 lb. fresh asparagus, cut into pieces
½ lb. fresh sliced mushrooms
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
½ cup dry white wine
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. dried parsley
Grated Parmesan

Heat skillet over high heat for 1 minute; add oil and heat 10 seconds. Add shrimp, garlic, and onions; cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add remaining ingredients and cook until asparagus and mushrooms are soft enough for you (I cooked them for probably about 15 minutes—Nick doesn’t like crunchy veggies). Toss in pasta and top with cheese.

Another great (and easy) recipe

As you can tell, I have been trying out several new recipes lately. I just got tired of making the same old things over and over again. So, here's a VERY easy one that was in the crock pot. I think I am going to have to find more recipes that go in the crock pot (especially for the easy clean up when I can throw that plastic liner in the trash)!

Creamy Italian Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 can (10.75 oz.) cream of chicken soup
1 can (4 oz.)mushroom pieces, drained
Rice or noodles

Place the chicken in a slow cooker (I used one of the handy liners for quick clean-up later). Pour salad dressing over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. In a small bowl mix cream cheese and soup until blended; stir in mushrooms. Pour over chicken and cook 1 hour longer. Serve over rice or noodles (I used a box of Zataran's yellow rice...cooked according to their directions).

Nick loved the flavor, and if you like, you could use the low-fat versions of all the recipe's ingredients! I used just used what I had on hand this time around.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Birthday party fun!

I had so much fun working on getting ready for Gabrielle's 1st birthday party. So, here are a few of the pictures that we took. I'm serious when I tell you that we took close to 200 pictures of her "Birthday Extravaganza" last week (Nick was the photographer, so you won't see many pictures of him at the party). So, I've had another fun job this week weeding through them and finding the ones that I thought would be great to put up on this post (our family required lots of pics since they couldn't be here with us).

So, for those of you who don't know yet, we met the Hart Family at the church that we are attending down here in Texas. The husband, Jayson, plays bass and sings with the worship team, and is a choir director at one of the middle schools here in town. His wife, Amanda, also sings with them, and is a teacher as well. Their daughter, Haley, is only one day younger than Gabrielle. AND, they tried to get pregnant with her for a while too. SO many fun things that we have in common with them!
Hope you enjoy our party!

The ladybug invitations that I made.

Thanks for the ideas, Kim--they turned out so cute!!!

The table set with all the goodies.

Pictures of the decorations...

Amanda (Haley's mom) created the labels for the water bottles.

Amanda also decorated these two cute ladybug cakes

topped off with strawberry and chocolate frosting--yummy!

AND, Amanda arranged the fruit bouquet in the pot that I painted.

Delicious "Ladybug Treats" in pink and brown (although the colors look a little off in this picture). Peanut butter filling with a chocolate shell, and a Milk Dudd for the head. Another great idea from Kim Sommer--thanks again--they were a huge hit!

Not too long after we got to the Hart's house, Gabrielle found her diaper bag, and started carrying it around, as if she was ready to leave.

Gabrielle and Haley's party hats that each of us moms created. They turned out sooo cute that hopefully I can use it again for future birthdays, or even just let her play dress-up with it.

I can't believe it, but Gabi left her hat on long enough that we were able to get a pretty good picture.

Haley just hanging out with her hat on before the cake...

Precious picture of friends.

Singing "Happy Birthday" to the two girls and keeping their little fingers away from the candles and out of the frosting (for a couple more minutes). Haley's dad, Jayson, is holding her cake on the opposite side of the picture. I think that it was one of the best sounding birthday songs with all the musicians who were in the room!

Gabrielle slowly trying to figure out how to eat the cake,

or mostly just trying to get all the frosting off.

Finger-lickin' good!

We almost got a smile out of her in this picture. I think she was a little overwhelmed by all the people there that she didn't know.

An up-close picture of her messy hands when she was finished eating.

Family picture time...

So, if I would describe Gabrielle's cake-eating as "dainty", I would probably go the to other end of the spectrum and call Haley's cake-eating as "devoured". She ate the whole thing, and as you can see in the pictures, she wasn't holding much back. Way to go! :)

Get it all in there, girl!

Yeah, all done, Haley!

Look at all the fun gifts!

Maddie is admiring the balloons...her dad, Josh, also plays bass with the worship team, and her mom, Alison, also sings. Wow--so many fun people that we have met down here already.

Gabrielle carrying around the bag from one of her gifts.

A pig flashlight toy--very cute!

Gabrielle at a loss for words with everything going on.

One of her favorite gifts from the party...too bad that it was for Haley.

Guess we'll have to get her one too.

Chasing the ball after it bounced out of her hands.

Haley got this huge bubble machine that all the girls really enjoyed. Gabrielle's in the middle of the crowd trying to "catch" a couple of them too.


May be she can try saving them from hitting the floor.

Last picture before we headed home for a nap.

Birthday party videos

Here are a couple of short videos of Gabrielle slowly enjoying her cake during her Birthday party with Haley.

Haley got a big red ball for her birthday. I think we're going to have to make a trip to the Dollar Store and get Gabrielle one too! :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gabi's 12-month check-up

Today we went to see our pediatrician for Gabrielle's 1-year check-up. I was pleased to hear that she had grown over 2 inches in the last three months, and is now 30 1/4 inches tall (no wonder some of her shirts were starting to show her belly), and back up to the 90th percentile. The other great news is that she didn't gain any weight since our January appointment, and is still weighs 22.1 pounds, which finally puts her down to the 70th percentile for weight. The last of our "fun" news is that when Dr. Monzon checked her mouth with a tongue depressor, we found that Gabi had a "covert" tooth that came in on the side--I hadn't even been checking over there. Yeah--almost 4 teeth now!

The not-so-great news is that our doctor thinks that she has allergies (since she's had a runny nose, cough, or chest congestion since Christmas). So, she has to start taking Zyrtec every night before bed...and she really doesn't like taking medicine. Some of it inevitably ends up on her pajamas. *Sigh*

Nick and Gabrielle playing before bedtime.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Birthday gifts

First of all, we want to say a BIG thanks to everyone who helped make Gabrielle's 1st birthday special. We really hate being so far away from our family and friends, and all the wonderful birthday wishes certainly helped us feel closer to you.

We spread Gabrielle's gift-openings out through the week. I'm sure you can relate with the brevity of a 1-year old's attention span--even when there are new toys and presents involved! :)

Here are a few of the things that Nick and I gave her...

Gabrielle noticing during the day that there was something "new" in her play area. Luckily, it didn't hold her attention for very long, and she left it alone until that evening.

Ripping off the wrapping paper.

She's already gotten better at this since Christmas.

Checking out the pictures on the box.

Getting excited and clapping her hands when she sees the whole thing.

The Leap Frog "Learn-n-Groove" Alphabet Drum.
It's been the most fun for Nick to play with so far.

A couple of books..."Bye-Bye Pacifier" and "Bye-Bye Bottle".
We'll see if reading about it will help.

Gabrielle checking out all the new buttons and stuff on her house.

More presents from family and friends that came in the mail.

Uncle Terry, Aunt Stacey, and Cousin Tyler sent Gabrielle four little animal board books, and another "Make Your Own Prayer" book with magnets that she can have when she's a little older.

A cute Osh Kosh outfit (onsie and capri pants) from a Cheney family who were wonderful students at school and piano lessons.

A board book and CD from Uncle Steve and Aunt Muriel.

Gabrielle got three cute outfits from Grandpa Chuck and Grandma Judy.

They also got her this cute KU basketball doll--GO Jayhawks!

Grandma Debbie got Gabi a book and this Leap Frog Fridge DJ that looks like a little radio and plays songs. She's likes playing with it while I'm in the kitchen making supper.