Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It Happens Too Quickly...

...they just grow up so fast. One minute you're worried about them gaining back their birthweight and then next minute, you look and they're walking around in a "big girl" Tinkerbell nightgown. How does it happen???

Shayne's ex-wife (Auntie Dee-Dee), kept Nalley for me today while I went to the dentist and got some last minute laundry done for packing for our trip to Alberta tomorrow. When I went to pick her up, she was wearing this ADORABLE little nightgown, walking around as if she were the most beautiful princess ever...well, she is. Diedre spoils her rotten every chance she gets...they are so in love!

I know, we hear it all the time, what an unusual situation we's great! Diedre and Ray, have Joshua, Maybel's half-brother who is 3, and all of the kids are totally in love. Maybel calls us both Mom and I swear that Nalley is going to too...she's that much in love with Auntie Dee-Dee.

Leave it to Diedre to buy Nalley her first princess nightgown, she bought her first Princess sippy cup and block set and also her first bikini...she really does spoil her!!!

Magnolia Designs has Branched Out

I guess that I have just forgotten to blog about my business, Magnolia Designs, having taken a turn earlier in the year. I started out just over 2 years ago with my pottery studio in my basement. I do custom hand-painted pottery, specializing in children's hand, foot, and finger prints. It has been a success, so far. I do have to admit though that it isn't what I had imagined it to be... all fun and no stress. In that respect, I am happy that it is the size that it is and that it is in my home, and not in a retail location that I am bound to all the time.

With my business, I do it all. From the initial appointment to design each piece, to background painting and all the artwork and hand-lettering, to glazing each piece (by brush, I don't use dipping glaze because the results are much more consistant and beautiful by hand...albeit, MUCH MUCH more time consuming), to firing, etc... Because of that, it takes a lot of my time for each order.
Last winter, I started designing digital scrapbook layouts, note cards and invitations (for my kids and for gifts) and was approached by some of my customers to start carrying scrapbooking and paper supplies. Well, I guess you can say that after some careful consideration, I did jump at the chance. It is a passion that I share with LOTS of other people. Scrapbooking (both digital and paper) is THE LARGEST growing hobby in the world right now.
I carry (or can carry) a TON of major brands like the following:

I will also be offering a beginner's digital scrapbooking workshop this fall for all who would like to learn the basics of Digi Scrapping. We will be doing a layout together and learning basic fundamental skills needed to build on for more advanced techniques. E-mail me if you are interested and I will give you the specifics, when I have them ironed out.
In addition, I am also entertaining the idea of "hosting" crops at on & off-site locations. If you are interested, please let me know so that we can brainstorm together.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A CT Invitation....For ME!

I recently answered a Creative Team call from Shauna Burke-Smith, aka Pineapple Plantations Designs, co-owner and designer for Scrap Having no experience on a CT and only having been digi-scrapping for about 8 months now, I was hopeful, but had no expectations.

SOOOOO, when I checked my e-mail last night and had one from Shauna that said "CONGRATULATIONS" in the subject line...I went nuts! The first line read like this:

"Having waded through well over 100+ applicants, as many galleries and thousands of layouts I have FINALLY (gosh some of you girls are impatient!
He he he) made my decision and I've chosen YOU!"

I'm obvious totally honored and I can't wait to get started! Shauna and her family just moved from Hawaii to New sad...not that New Jersey isn't great, but HAWAII is FABULOUS!!!! Since spending 12 of the best days of my LIFE in Maui this spring, I can honestly say, there is no place better on least that I've been.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chicken Parm Recipe

I wish I had a picture of this, I am one of those people that love the cookbooks with the recipes. If it looks good, I'll try it...I am a visual person. These are really just instructions for how I modified Sheri's recipe.

Marinade some boneless skinless chicken breasts in some low-fat Italian dressing. Discard dressing before you bake the chicken. Place chicken in single layer in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish (we always use our Pampered Chef baking stones). Top with thick spaghetti sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Take chicken out of the oven and top with shredded parmesan and mozzerella cheeses. Recover with foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Take the foil off of the chicken and let it get bubbly and slightly golden. (I don't like it when the cheeses on top of things get hard and crusty, I like oooey, goooey cheese...)

I served it with fettuccine noodles and mushroom sauce and steamed broccoli. It was a treat to have something that we don't usually have. It was FAIRLY low-fat and super good!

Things just NEVER go as PLANNED!

For those that know me, you'll agree I am a planner. Sometimes (a lot of times) to the shagrin of my sweet husband. I like to have things on the calendar well in advance. I do occasionally like to be spontaneous, but only when it's my idea!

I am also VERY social and LOVE to get together with my girlfriends and play. It doesn't happen as often now that I have kids, but I still love it. I had made plans for TWO nights this week (which NEVER EVER happens). I was supposed to go out with a girlfriend on Tuesday night to celebrate our 33rd birthdays which are a month apart. Those plans got canceled and rescheduled for another night. It worked out just fine because Tuesday was also Daniel's birthday dinner, so we all went over for that.

Tonight I was supposed to go over to Christine's house for a Stampin' Up party that she has every year. Christine is UBER talented in the stamping and card making arena and I really was looking forward to going tonight. Until, that is, I got a call at 12:30 this afternoon and Shayne said that he was going to have to make an emergency trip down to North Dakota to personally deliver a computer that UPS has screwed up on for the last EIGHT days straight! It has been a huge ordeal and I totally agree that he needed to go down and make things right with this customer of his, but I am still disappointed, to say the least, that I am not stamping my heart out right now at Christine's.

Now, let me back up a little. I have SWORN that I will not get into stamping, and I won't. I have way too many projects of varying kinds on the go as it is...I just don't need to add stamping to that long list. I do however, totally LOVE the Stampin' Up papers, punches, etc...and I have a few already.

I am working on a super cute mini album of our little family. I am sealing it with mod podge tonight and it will have to dry and then I'll put it together and embellish it this weekend. I'll post some pictures when it's done.

In other Murray things...the Chicken Parm was DELISH...thanks Sheri. I'll post the recipe...or instructions as most things are with me. I'm SOOO not a recipe follower, I just don't cook that way. Or at least, I modify most every recipe to suit my taste, etc...and then just remember how to do it. If it has to be exact in the kitchen (other than baking, that is), I just won't make it.

Now, everyone leave some comments or suggestions or ideas or even EASY recipes ...I need some more inspiration and my family needs some healthy meals....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Terrible Blogger

I have been completely slack in blogging lately. I don't know where the days go. It is 2:45 already today, Nalley is napping, I've put the groceries away from out scream-fest outing this morning and I realized I haven't showered yet today. So, instead of jumping in and rinsing off now, I decided to do the safer, less likely to wake Nalley up thing, and blog.

My Birthday was fun on Saturday. The family came here and Shayne cooked a truly FABULOUS meal. Beer can chicken (3 of them), a spicy shrimp with snow peas that my friend Daphne gave us the recipe for, garlic bread, corn on the cob, and a caesar salad. Wendy made a delicious raspberry vanilla cake. We were lucky enough to talk Diedre, Ray and Joshua into staying for dinner with us. Then, my friend Sandra and her family came over later to drop off a gift and stayed for a drink. Britt and Jason stayed for until just after midnight and a fun time was had, to be sure!

Yesterday was Daniel's (Shayne's brother) birthday...the big 1-7! Only one more year until he's legal! His friends showed up after dinner last night and busted up our family dinner...guess who's more important at this age!!!! It was all just fine though, they're all nice kids and we needed to go anyway, Nalley was getting fussy.

I so sick of all of the dinner that I cook lately. I got some good recipes from my friend (& Nalley's Godmother), Sheri yesterday while we were having coffee and I'm trying her Chicken Parm recipe for dinner tonight. If anyone has ANY quick and yummy recipes for dinner that you can pass my way, I'm all for it!

I got a new recipe a few weeks back from Lisa when I went over to her house to scrap. She had gotten it from Becky Higgins blog. It was for Corn & Avocado Salsa, you can find the recipe here. It was totally yummy and very addicting. I don't particularly like avocado or tomato or cilantro even, but when it's all together in this salsa, it's very good! Try it!

I hear my little one waking up, so I'll blog again soon...really, I will!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Birthday to ME!

33 years ago today (August 16th) I was born in Rome, Georgia. Ironically, my brother and I were both born on a Saturday, on the 16th of the month, he at 6:30 something in the evening, and I at 6:30 something in the morning. We were both delivered by the same doctor, in the same hospital, to the same great parents, only almost 3 years apart.

Birthdays have always been special to me. Not just my own, but other people's as well. I love the thought of celebrating someone, just because they're in the world. And now that I'm a mom, I appreciate the "birth" a whole lot more. But I can say that since I've hit the BIG 3-0 a few years ago, birthdays just aren't that big of a deal to me any more. I can remember asking my mom and my grandmother what they wanted for their birthday and getting a none-to-excited answer of, "oh, I don't need anything". WHAT??? How could anyone not want anything for their birthday. At least that's how my young mind worked back in the day. (Well, my wish-list hasn't gotten much smaller even now...) I can sorta see their point though of it not really being such a big deal once you hit a certain point. There are so many other things that are more important to me now, like celebrating my kids EVERYDAY.

I have quickly realized that life passes by so fast, somedays to my sheer disbelief. I simply can't believe that my little teeny newborn baby is now almost 14 months old. Where does the time escape to?

My birthday wishes are pretty simple this year...
(1) Starbucks with my family.
(2) Nice family dinner...cooked by Shayne...everything taste better when you don't have to cook it yourself.
(3)Some YUMMY homemade cake with buttercream icing and ice cream (made by my uttlerly talented mother-in-law, Wendy)
(4) Lots of pictures of me with my family, I am NEVER in any pictures anymore.

This is a picture of the people I enjoy most in life. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these fantastic people...I couldn't ask for a better family. Thank you Shayne for being my best friend, for laughing at my quirkiness and for giving me the 2 most beautiful little girls in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Summer Celebration

We took the kids last night to our church's Summer Celebration and they both had a blast. I'm loving this age for Nalley so much, because she's just so interactive and funny. Maybel had fun and wanted to stay longer but it was 2 hours past Nalley's bedtime, and even though she wasn't cranky then, we paid for it at 12:30 -1:30 this morning.

There were pony rides, petting zoos, face painting, jugglers, dunking booths (Maybel dunked a police officer!), mini-donuts (which we ate), doughboys (which I'd never had before but we ate those as well), several bouncers, a mini play area for the little ones, tons of games, etc... Here are some cute pictures of the girls having fun. I tried my hardest to stay out of the pictures because I was schlepping around all day and looked terrible, and also I need to go get my roots done....gasp...No, I'm not naturally blonde!

Hillsong, Healer Video

Our Pastor (Leon Fontaine) was asked to speak at a church in Australia next month. The pastor in Australia has a son that sings for Hillsong Music who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. This video explains the song he wrote the morning he was diagnosed and how powerful this song has become for so many people. Pastor Leon played the video of the song on Sunday morning and I don't think there were many dry eyes in the house. This young man is a newlywed...please pray for his healing if you think of him. Take a look...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Baby, The Prodigy...

Well, not really, but it seems like it to me somedays! Seriously though, I am really amazed at how quickly these little brains pick things up. I spend most of my days playing with Nalley and Maybel and fitting in some house work here and's been more "there" lately! I teach Nalley where her bellybutton, nose, ears, eyes, mouth, hair, and feet are and we practice all day long. We also talk about colors, objects, etc...all the typical things I'm supposed to be doing. Then out of the blue, she throws me a curve ball...

Today we were playing in the floor and she was "kissing" her toys. She has long been giving sloppy, wet, yucky (although adorable) kisses. Just in the last few days has she been giving us, and everything else is sight, closed mouth kisses with a "kissing sound" to boot. It is so cute!!! Back to the story...we were in the floor kissing all of her toys today and I told her to give her stuffed monkey a kiss. She then crawled away from the monkey in the floor and pointed up to the table and started giving kisses in the direction of the Sea Monkeys. Maybel got these Sea Monkeys for her birthday in the beginning of June and they've been on the table since then. No one pays them much attention anymore, the novelty has worn off. We have never taught Nalley what they are, she's just heard us talking about them. Today she let me know she hears it all. Yay smart, attentive baby!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Silly Little Bathtub Babies

Here are some funny pictures I took of the girls having their bath tonight. I just can't tell you how much the two of them adore each other and bath time is especially fun for them.

There isn't much news here, just staying busy as usual. Nalley went to the babysitter's for the very first time today. I dropped her off at 8 and picked her back up at 12. 4 hours of flying around my house and getting everything I possibly could done. It was amazing to me how much I can actually get done in that amount of time while not worrying if you're going to be too loud and cut naptime short. Miss Mary lives 1 block from us and has a small in-home daycare, if you can even call it that right now. There was only 1 other little girl there today. She was 3 years old and loved playing with "the new baby". Miss Mary said that Nalley kept putting her arms out for little Samantha to pick her up. Of course, she is only 3 and couldn't pick her up, but how sweet is that. Overall, it went really well and I'm looking forward already to next Thursday when we do it again.

Tomorrow is our 3rd annual block party BBQ that I have organized every year. We've invited a few of our other friends that don't live on our street to add to the festivities. The more, the merrier, in my opinion. It should be lots of fun.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Always Happy

A bit of comic relief after reading the previous post? Usually, this is true....

Losing my Sanity

I'm happy to report that Nalley no longer has any traces of her super scary fever. She is on some antibiotics that seem to have done the trick for the old ear infection. However, during the course of the last 6 days, she has become SUPER clingy and always wants to be held (by ME). I can't put her down or walk out of the room before she's started throwing a major temper tantrum. I'm listening to an exhausted baby have a screaming fit in her crib right is wearing me out.

I am so tired of playing the "is she teething" guessing game. She has not always been this way, cranky, pitching hissy fits, and the like...she's normally a very sweet, easy-going, happy baby. But since she has no teeth yet and is BOUND to get one soon, I play this game with myself...are her teeth bugging her? IS she just being a cranky baby? Does she still not feel good? Uuuuggghhh....Calgon, take me away!

1st Day of Kindergarten

Maybel's first day of kindergarten, almost 3 years ago...time just flies!