Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Let it snow...

I am still in the process of going through our Christmas photos & the pics I took while in Puyallup/Parkland, but I did come across this one of Evan from a couple of weeks ago and had to share. He just makes me smile sometimes!

I hope everyone has a delightful New Year. See ya' in 2009!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More family favorites...

I thought I would share a couple more of my family's favorite recipes. The Baked Macaroni with Ham and Cheese has been in the Mitchel family since I was little, and Mark has adopted it as one of his favorites. Chicken Chalupa is a Taylor family favorite, and Mongolian Beef is a great recipe for the wok.
Baked Macaroni with Ham and Cheese

1/2 pound short tubular macaroni, such as ziti
6 T. butter
3 T. flour
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound cooked ham, sliced 1/4 inch thick

Bring water to a boil for pasta in stockpot or kettle

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Butter casserole or souffle dish.

Salt water and add macaroni to rapidly boiling water and cook only until slightly tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Pasta will cook further in the oven, so it should be slightly underdone.

In saucepan, heat 4 tablespoons of the butter and stir in flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until bubbly, about 3 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and vigorously stir in milk to blend well. Return pan to heat and stir and cook until sauce is thickened. Add 3 tablespoons of the grated cheese and stir until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cut ham slices into 1/4- inch cubes.

Place colander in sink and drain cooked macaroni. Shake colander to get rid of excess water. Return macaroni to pot and toss with cream sauce and ham.

Arrange layer of the macaroni in casserole; cover with generous dusting of paprika and layer of the shredded cheese. Continue layering until all are used, ending with the cheese. You will find 3 layers about right. Dot top with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until bubbling.

Mongolian Beef
Makes 4 servings
Preparation Time: 15 minutes; 4 1/2 minutes to cook

1 pound lean flank or sirloin steak, thinly sliced across grain and cut in 1 1/2-inch-long strips
2 T. soy sauce
1/2 t. salt
1 T. dry sherry
1/2 t. dried red pepper flakes
3 T. peanut oil
1 T. sesame oil
1/2 t. chopped garlic
1 bunch green onions, each cut in half lengthwise, then cut diagonally in 1-inch-long pieces

Put meat strips in bowl; add 1 tablespoon soy sauce, next 3 ingredients and 2 tablespoons oil; set aside. Mix remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce with sesame oil; set aside. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in uncovered wok at 400 degrees. Add garlic; stir-fry 10 seconds. Add beef; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add onion and sesame oil mixture; stir-fry until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately. **We always serve Mongolian Beef over rice.

Chicken Chalupa

1 doz corn tortillas, softened and broken in large pieces
1/2 lb longhorn cheese, grated (I use extra-sharp cheddar cheese instead)
3-4 chicken breasts, cooked, skinned, boned and broken into pieces
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz sour cream
2/3 cup milk or chicken broth
1/4 cup minced onion
1 small can diced green chilies

COMBINE: soups, sour cream, milk, onion, & green chilies.

In large greased casserole, layer as follows:
1/2 of tortilla pieces, 1/2 chicken pieces, 1/2 soup mixture, then 1/2 cheese. Repeat layers for two complete layers.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 min.

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Candy Cane Cookies

I absolutely love this recipe! I can remember making them as a little girl, except back then our candy canes were always a little bit lop-sided!

Candy Cane Cookies
Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library

1/2 cup butter/margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt (I usually don't add this much)
1/2 teaspoon red food color

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, confectioners' sugar, egg and flavorings. Belnd in flour and salt. Divide dough in half; blend food color into one half.

Shape 1 teaspoon dough from each half into 4-inch rope. For smooth, even ropes, roll them back and forth on lightly floured board. Place ropes side by side; press together lightly and twist. Complete cookies one at a time. Place on ungreased baking sheet; curve top of cookie down to form handle of cane.

Bake about 9 minutes or until set and very light brown. If you wish, mix 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Immediately sprinkle cookies with candy mixture; remove from baking sheet.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies.

Merry Christmas, family and friends.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

99.9%...'s a boy :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Card Photo

Evan and I had a successful "photo shoot" in front of our Christmas tree this morning. He did really great! No "sad face," no wandering eyes...his only request is to "see" himself after every couple of shots. He likes to look at the photos I've taken and laugh or say "cute!"

I think this one is going to make it into the card this year. It only took 37 photos to find that one perfect shot:

Tomorrow Mark and I find out if we are having a boy or a girl. We are super excited! Unfortunately, Mark has a final during our ultrasound appointment, so he will have to wait until after that to see the photos, and hear the results. That is if I tell him at all :-) Cindy is going to be my Mark stand-in...and keep an eye on Evan during the test. I cannot believe I get to find out in less than 24, so excited!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sad face...

With Christmas just around the corner, I am working diligently on our annual Christmas cards. I really want to include a photo of Evan (in his new Christmas sweater), in front of our tree. He has been a little ornery lately about smiling in front of the camera, so I decided to take a few test shots. The results weren't exactly what I was hoping for!

I asked Evan to make a "happy face" for the camera, and he replies:

"No mama. I make sad face."

So what do you think? Should I include this in our Christmas card?!?

I will be taking the "final" photo tomorrow...I hope he brings his happy face :-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New pics of our little munchkin.

It's been several months since I have posted updated photos of Evan, and my dad is starting to complain about not having new photos for his computer background. As the dutiful daughter, I suppose I owe him some new pics of his only grandchild!

Evan relaxing on my new Nautica pillow from Ross. Aren't the colors lovely?

Mark's favorite photo of the bunch...we love his wispy hair and cute lil' dimples!

The "I just woke up from nap and aren't too happy about it" face.

Running from exhibit to exhibit at North West Trek the day after Thanksgiving.

On the Tram at North West Trek. Can you tell that I was at Wal-Mart at 4am that morning!?!

Looking out the Tram window.

Cuddling with his favorite aunt, and perhaps favorite person, the day before Thanksgiving.

A visit to Pioneer Park in September.

Dancing at the Doodlebops concert in September.

A very wet visit to the Puyallup Fair in September.

We are getting ready for Christmas around here. I put up the tree last Thursday, and finished wrapping gifts over the weekend. Cindy is taking me to the WSU vs. Gonzaga basketball game tomorrow night, which I am so excited about! I absolutely love going to the much excitement! Mark, Evan, and I have a graduation party to attend on Saturday, and we find out if we are having a boy or girl ont he 17th. Mark is finished with finals on the 18th, then we are home free until the new year!

Mark just called to tell me that it is snowing outside...Happy Winter!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo courtesy of Cindy Ledgerwood.

Mark, Evan, and I spent a wonderful Thanksgiving on the West side. We were able to visit with both sides of our family, plus see Mark's grandparents, who were visiting from Arizona. Evan was spoiled rotten by grandparents (and my sister), and we took a trip to North West Trek.

Hope every one's holiday was relaxing!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Feeling a wee bit better...

I can't believe it has been almost two months since I have posted! I have not felt up to much of anything the last couple of months. My morning/noon/night sickness has taken over, but I am finally starting to feel human again. I am really hoping I am over the worst of it. With Evan I was almost 28 weeks before the nausea subsided; I don't think I could handle another 3 months of this! But on a positive note, we find out if we are having a boy or a girl in 5 weeks. I am so very excited about that. I have been so good and only have purchased one pack of (gender neutral) t-shirts so far. Can't wait to do some shopping for this little one :-)

Hopefully will post more pics soon.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

...and Baby makes 4.

Yes, Mark and I are expecting again! We have known for a couple of weeks now, and the news is slowly sinking in. I took three pregnancy tests just to be sure, but I really wanted to wait until after the ultrasound to start telling everyone. Of course our parents were the first to know. Mark even took photos of the pregnancy tests and sent them to his brother & my sister via his phone :-) I have photos from the ultrasound, but I am waiting for Mark to set up my scanner so I can post them. We are due next spring!

I was out of town for a few days last week, so Mark and Evan were bachelors for the second time. On Tuesday Mark had a meeting, so our friend Cindy watched Evan for a couple of hours. She took a couple of adorable photos of him:

This is what Cindy wrote in her e-mail about their day:
"Evan and I had a great time last week. He was such a sweetie the entire time he was here. I attached a photo I took of him. He was fascinated by the “sculpture” in the neighbor’s yard. I wouldn’t let him go in their yard, so every now and then he would sit and watch it spin. When the wind died down he would tell me, “Cinny, it’s off,” and he’d be off and running again. He started calling the thing “turnie,” it was so cute, I just had to take a pic of him watching it!"

Thank you Cindy and Karen for taking such great care of my kid-o while I was gone! It is such a relief know I have great friends to rely on :-)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Kamiak Butte & a new haircut.

I was feeling a little under the weather Thursday night, so I handed Evan off to daddy for some father & son time. Mark took him up to Kamiak Butte to run off some energy and enjoy the last few beautiful days of summer:

On the way back from Lewiston on Saturday, Mark and Evan stopped at the airport to watch the airplanes.

...and a new haircut for Evan! I had to bribe him with 3 packages of pez for him to sit still through the buzz cut, but it turned out great :-)

Have a great holiday!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Oh so cute in Old Navy.

For some reason I don't think Evan likes his new clothes all that much...

Off to make homemade macaroni and cheese for my two boys. Happy Wednesday :-)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Palouse Discovery Science Center (Part II)

Last October I took Evan to the PDSC for the first time. I was really excited to take him again because a.) it is only a couple blocks from our apartment b.) it's cheep c.) he gets to experience some science related projects & exhibits at his level, and d.) it has lots and lots of things to do for a kid his age.

On one of our only weekends available this summer, Mark and I thought it would be great to treat Evan to another visit. I was really hoping we would actually make it inside the Center this time; during our last trip, Evan was in love with the stuffed cougar by the receptionist's desk, so most of our time was spent there.

This trip was so much different! I can't believe how much his interests have changed in 10 months. He is a lot more coordinated now, so the soft blocks, crawling tube, and mats were much more fun. He enjoyed the ball/tube display again, but took a greater interest in building blocks & interacting with other kids. His favorite part of the day was definitely the play structure. He was so tired when we finally took him home!

Evan enjoyed the colorful plastic tiles & light table. We practiced our colors (he still calls every color green...), and looked at each other through the plastic.

Running down the big, soft blocks.

Evan loved watching to see if his ball would make it to the bottom of the tube structure he and Daddy built.

Hiding in the egg chair.

Earlier this year, I got a call from one of the receptionists from the PDSC. She told me the Center was having a grand-reopening, and was putting a display together listing the donors who contributed to the new and improved Science Center. I was a little confused, mostly because we hadn't donated any money! She went on to explain that she had a few openings in her display, and did a Google search to find pics to fill in the blank spots. My blog came up with the photos I had taken of Evan the previous October, and she was asking if she could use the photos. Of course I said yes, and this trip was the first time I had seen the display. I'm not sure why I didn't take a photo of the entire display when we were there...but this is Evan's section. To give you some prospective, the paper is 11 x 8.5. How cool is that? Does this make Evan famous?!?! Maybe in Pullman... :-)

Lentil festival is this weekend, which means Lentil Chili! Yum! My mom is coming tomorrow, and is actually setting up a booth there Friday night to sell her Fifth Avenue Collection Jewelry. I just hope the weather cooperates. It's been raining and yucky for a couple of days, but I hear Friday afternoon is going to be mostly sunny and mid-70s. I sure hope so!

Happy Birthday to my lil' sis! Happy 21, Abby!

Have a wonderful Thursday friends.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

More fun in the sun in Sunriver...

Our trip into Oregon was wonderful + relaxing + not long enough. We spent five days/four nights enjoying the beautiful weather, bikes paths, spa, + pool. I think my favorite part of the trip was taking Evan to the pool everyday. He loved "swimming" with Mark and me in the big pool. Then we would head to the wading pool. He would run around with other kids his age, laughing and jumping. Of course when we had to leave he would cry :-(

My mom, Abby, and I went to Sage Springs Spa for some much needed pampering. I chose to get a manicure/pedicure, while they got massages.

I'll post pics of our trip to Palouse Discovery Science Center tomorrow.
Happy Sunday!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Birthdays, big trucks, and cookies.

Our summer has been packed with birthday parties, weddings, graduations, baby showers, road trips, vacations, and an occasional stomach flu. Mark and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary, my sister turns 21 next month, our nephew is turning six a few days after that, and Mark and I each have a cousin expecting a baby. One of my goals this summer is to capture as many of those moments on film. I am really an "everyday" photographer, and sometimes the big events yield the fewest photos.

This past weekend we visited my hometown for a birthday and a wedding, and visited with Mark's parents.

I loved Kaitlyn's cake! Shaped like a castle, with Kaity's picture on the front; it was simply adorable!

Cousin Josh and Evan really enjoyed the pool in Kaity's backyard.

Evan in the back of Tony's "big truck."

Mark, Evan, and I are heading to Sunriver for five wonderful days! We got a head start on the food preparations yesterday by baking chocolate chip cookies. Evan enjoyed licking the mixer the best!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Welcome, Cameron

Our friends and neighbors, the Kilpatricks, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on July 10th. I invited Stephanie and new little Cameron for lunch on Wednesday, and she let me take some photos of the two of them.

Thanks for sharing your afternoon with me, Stephanie and Cameron.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Today, I am thankful.

Thankful for a little boy who adores me.

Thankful for a husband who takes me out to dinner + does the dishes + adores our little boy.

Thankful for my hobby. It truly brings me joy.

Thankful for a family who supports me + calls just to say hello + thinks my hubby is awesome.

Thankful for photos like these:

Thankful for my dear friends, especially Karen and Cindy. You are simply the best.

Thankful for the time I get to spend enjoying life. Taking in everything I love. Warm weather. Time at the park. Living my life the way I want to.

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, never have enough." -Oprah Winfrey.

Happy Monday, friends.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My first all Digital Layout!

I purchased the Digital KOTM from Lisa Bearnson's website last August, and I finally pulled it out and created my first page today! Granted, it looks exactly like the page Jessica Sprague did (because I followed her word-for-word instructions!), but I am so happy with how it turned out:

Well, I am just beat! All this digital scrapbooking has wiped me out. Happy Thursday friends.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I've been a bad blogger lately :-(

Life seems to be getting in the way of my blogging, scrapbooking, etc. in the last few weeks. Going to try to change that!

Evan and I spent a week on the West coast visiting with family + friends. We have a fantastic time while Mark was in Pittsburgh on business.

Before heading out of town, we drove up to Loon Lake to celebrate Grandma Taylor's 86th birthday. Happy Birthday Grandma!

We lucked out with the weather in Oregon. Our day at the beach was fantastic...until we had to leave. Evan cried and cried b/c he wanted to "play at the water"! I felt so bad for him! He didn't really want to play in the sand, he was much more interesting in the giant crashing waves! One knocked him on his butt, and I thought he was going to start to cry...until he starting laughing and said "fun, mommy, fun!"

My 93 year old Great-Grandmother, Vivian.

My beautiful sister, Abby.

After our trip to Oregon, one of my girlfriends dropped off her little girl, Kaity, for the afternoon. Evan adores Kaitlyn, and has even started calling her by her real name! For awhile he named her "lellow." We're not sure where he got that... :-) He and "Kait-in" played in the sandbox + threw balls and had a great time.

Happy hump-day!