A Sigh of Relief

Little Guy and I have both been fighting a doozy of a cold this last week or so.  Nothing out of the ordinary...just the usual runny nose/hacking/coughing/sore throat variety.  Yuck!  We've been drinking lots of fluids and resting, but hadn't done much else to fight it.  I kept figuring it would go away with time.
Last night he woke up at 1:30.   He was crying in a way that put me on edge immediately.  Moms, you know what I'm talking about.  There is a difference between a whiny attention needing cry and one that actually means more.  I took him into the living room and comforted him.  Right away I could tell two things.  One: he now had a fever.  Two: his breathing had become shallow and ragged.  He sounded like he was on the verge of hyperventilating, even after he drifted back to sleep.

I woke Hubby and we gave our Little Guy a dose of Tylenol and some cold water to drink.  His condition remained unchanged.  We knew we could take him to the doctor today, but who knows when we would have gotten an appointment.  We just didn't like the way he sounded, and decided to take him to the Emergency Room at our local hospital. 

We got there at 2:30.  The staff were wonderful, and though it took a while to see a doctor, they made sure we were comfortable and everything went as smoothly as can be expected.  Chest ex rays were ordered, and I was very grateful we had all went (since pregnant mommies can't be in the ex ray room with their sick little boys, but daddies can be).  That made it much better for Little Guy than if he'd had to go in with a stranger.  They gave him a breathing treatment and by the time we left (around 4:30) he didn't sound all that bad. 

Luckily, the chest ex rays ruled out Pneumonia and other scary problems that could have existed.  He needs lots of rest, medicine to control his temp, a prescribed steroid and lots of love.  I took today off and tomorrow will be Hubby's turn.  We are both hoping that this will pass by Wednesday, but time will tell.

As always, we are ever thankful for God's blessings.  We have a strong and mostly very healthy little boy (who will recover quickly), access to wonderful medical care, and good insurance.  These are the items topping my "count my blessings" list for the day.

Don't Mind Me...I'll Be In The Garage

Well, with any luck...I'll be in a lot of them!  The Garage Sale season has begun again, and I couldn't be happier about it.  So far, I've only been to a couple.  Exciting finds so far: An excellent copy of Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book, a tee shirt for Little Guy that shows a dinosaur riding a motorcycle (he loves it), several small silver photo frames, like-new Thomas the Train tennis shoes for Little Guy, and a couple maternity shirts for myself.  Obviously, nothing super exciting so far, but it's early.  I know I won't be disappointed. 

I love saving money (which shopping the sales certianly helps me do), but I also love the chase for the perfect item at the perfect price.  It's an adventure.

Each year I go into the season with an open mind.  I'll never know in advance what might spark my interest.  I almost always find some fun item or the other that I didn't know I needed until it was sitting in front of me, with a 50 cent sticker.  On the other hand, I also approach each Garage Sale summer with a "grocery list" of items that we need/could really use.  These are things that we'll probably buy new if we can't find them used, but hopefully I'll get lucky and find them cheap.

This year, the items that I'll be looking for are:
  • cotton pants and shorts with elastic waistband for Little Guy.  We are hoping (praying) that he'll begin to show an interest in potty training soon, and I think he'll be more open to the whole process if he doesn't have to struggle with buttons and zippers.
  • a wooden wall shelf (and maybe a little bookshelf) both for Baby Boy's nursery
  • a dresser and chest of drawers for our bedroom.  We currently have mis-matched dressers which I'd love to give to the boys.  My hope is that we'll find something a little better (maybe even -gasp- matching?) to replace them with.  A headboard would be nice too, but I won't hold my breath for all that at Garage Sale prices.
  • a few cute outfits for the new Baby.  We have everything he'll really need, but if I see something really cute and inexpensive...I'll snap it up.
  • Fisher Price Little People (the new chunky ones)....Little Guy is really playing with them a lot, and I'd like to expand his collection.  I figure this is something Baby Boy will eventually enjoy too, so it's a win-win.
Even if I don't find anything from my list, I know that I'll have a great time looking!  I bet I'll find some fun surprise items as well.... 

PS I know what you are thinking.  My last post was all about getting rid of stuff, and this one is all about accumulating more.  I promise there is a method to my madness.  I'll be getting rid of things I don't need anymore to make room for stuff that we do need...or at least that I want.  haha


Spring Cleaning

We live in a lovely little house, but it is indeed little. Like many from the same era (it was build in 1957) though charming, it lacks storage. Each of the three bedrooms has one closet. None are terribly large. One is downright tiny. We do have one linen closet and one coat closet, as well as some much appreciated storage space in the basement.

This hasn’t been a big problem, up to now - because we’ve only needed two of the three bedrooms. But it won’t be long until Baby Boy will be moving into that third bedroom. Baby Boy's nursery (which we also used for Little Guy as an infant) is the room with the tiny closet.  It is also the room which is currently used for nothing but storage.

A co-worker asked if we’d be moving to a larger house now that our family is growing. The answer is no. Though our space seems small by modern standards, we certainly have more space than many do. There is plenty of room for two fun little boys to run, play, eat and sleep. And plenty of room for the parents of those boys to lead a comfortable and happy life as well.

Besides, anytime I start to feel even a little frustrated with how much space we do (or don’t) have, I am reminded of the typical frontier home (think “Little House on the Prairie”). Many families lived in one room cabins or tiny sod structures – and they often were raising several children in those cramped spaces!

So, it’s not the house that’s the problem. It’s our accumulation of unnecessary and meaningless“ things” that brings trouble.

The time has come for some spring cleaning!  We need to review those things we have and toss what we don’t need or use. We did something similar when I was pregnant with Little Guy, and we had a big garage sale to get rid of a lot of our stuff. I remember that almost being more effort than it was worth though. This year, I think maybe it’s just time to purge – taking everything right over to the Goodwill store as a donation. Someone can then get use of the clothes and dishes and etc. which we don’t need or use anymore, and we’ll have a little room to move again (well, for now anyway).

Our purging will have boundaries of course. My sewing and crafting supplies are off limits. Hubby’s collection of sports stuff and ball cards: ditto. Anything that holds sentimental value will stay put. You get the idea.

This weekend I plan to start with the clothes in my half of our bedroom closet (I know it's a small step, but I have to start somewhere, right?). I’ve been toying with the idea for a few weeks, but have now been inspired by my Blog-friend topchelseagirl to get really get started. 

Spring cleaning...here I come!


3 Little Pigs - The Toddler Version

Little Guy is so funny! He has started telling me bedtime stories, which has been so much fun. He gets very animated, “talking” with his hands and using cute facial expressions.

Here is Willie’s version of “The Three Little Pigs”:

There were these three pigs
And they lived in a house
And the bad wolf came and he huffed and puffed
But he got tired
Because the house was made of bricks
He couldn’t eat the pigs, so he went home for pizza
The end.

Granted his version is a lot shorter than the one I usually tell him, and the details are a little different…but I think it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever heard. He is such a fun little boy!


I'm With the Band

Music is a big deal in our little family. Hubby played the Sousaphone in his high school and college marching bands. I never played an instrument, and frankly can’t read music or carry a tune…but I can operate a radio with the best of them. Between Hubby and I, we've amassed quite a collection of records and compact discs.  Gradually we're building a digital collection as well.  We've tried to expose little guy to artists we think he'll enjoy.
This is a Sousaphone...not a tuba.
From a young age, he has shown an avid interest in music, and we are trying our hardest to encourage it. We won’t start him with any lessons until he’s older of course, but we’ve humored him with several musical toys (he has a little saxophone, a guitar, drums and two pianos).                                                                                                                                                                       
Lately a favorite game is “Playing Band”. Little Guy will assign each of us a toy instrument and we will play along while he plays the instrument he has selected, and also sings. Occasionally, he will shout, “stop the music” and once we’ve stopped he’ll giggle and then we start all over again. It’s fun and adorable to see him playing and singing and conducting his little family band.

Are we in tune? No.
Is he a savant who will be playing concertos before he’s in kindergarten? No.
But does he love it? Yes, and so do we.

We aren’t the Partridge Family by any means, but we sure are having a great time!



A Passing Storm

Last night thunderstorms roared all around us. The local tornado sirens sent us scurrying to the basement for cover. Some surrounding areas experienced large hail and severe winds. We were very blessed to have avoided any damage to ourselves or our property. We played in the basement until the warnings passed us by, and then resumed our normal night-time routine.

I slept soundly and fitfully, my slumber set to the soft background noise of raindrops on the rooftop.

When we first poked our heads out the front door this morning, it was clear that those storms had ushered 2011 Spring into our neighborhood. Suddenly the grass is greener and the little shoots of green (which we’ve been seeing all week) are taller. The birds are singing. The breeze smells fresh, and we hungrily breathe in its promise.

I just love this time of year. Don’t you?

Note: Storm Cloud image from Bing!


A Family Treasure

I am probably one of the luckiest people in the world. I have a wonderful husband, a sweet little boy and the most supportive and loving parents a gal could ask for. I adore them all (my brother, and Grandma, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and my husband's family too).

When I can’t be with my family, I love to be around things that remind me of them. My cubicle at the office is wallpapered with pictures of Little Guy. At home, we have various items from different branches of our family tree scattered about. Some of the most priceless to me are those things which remind me of loved ones who have passed away. Old black and white photos, a worn family Bible, patchwork quilts and a few pieces of furniture are favorites. Some of these things once belonged to loved ones, others were found at garage sales or antique stores, and purchased because seeing them warmed my heart and made me remember someone who isn’t around anymore.

I had a birthday earlier this month, and was surprised and humbled to receive (among other things) a family cuckoo clock from my parents. The clock originally belonged to my Dad’s Great Aunt. She received it as a gift sometime in the early 1960s. When she died, her daughter (always known to me as “Aunt Cleo” though technically a cousin and not an aunt) hung it in her apartment. My Dad has had the clock since Aunt Cleo passed away in the late nineties.

Aunt Cleo was a pip. For as long as I can remember, she made me laugh. She was funny and feisty and full of life. Though much older than me, she always treated me like a buddy. I don’t really know how she was to other people, but to me she was an interesting and entertaining lady. She’s been gone for many years now, but I still miss her. When Dad told me they were giving me the cuckoo clock (which has been displayed prominently in their home for years), I was immediately touched by the gesture, and was pleased to accept their gift.

I’m not sure what exactly prompted my parents to pass it on to me now. I know that it has been special to Dad in particular.  All these years he has carefully kept it running (resetting each week as its only an eight day clock). The clock probably has very little monetary value, if any. It’s around fifty years old, but not rare. The value lies in knowing that loving hands in our family have kept it going for half a century. I am honored to continue that tradition.

I have hung it in our little dining room nook. The walls in that area are covered with old family photos, and it seemed fitting that such a family treasure would hang amongst those cherished photos (some of which are of the very family members who minded the clock before me).

The gentle tick tick tick of the cuckoo clock reminds me of home, and of precious family and of how very blessed I am. 

Here we are in 1997 at her apartment (you can see the clock weights behind my head in this picture).

{this moment}

Inspired by SouleMama to share one moment...via a single photo - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember...


Fun With the Kids

Little Guy and I went to my parents’ small farm over the weekend for a visit. We had a wonderful time. Little Guy loves running around the big yard, “driving” Grandpa’s old John Deere 60 (while it is parked in the barn), and visiting the animals. Mom and Dad have a donkey, a pony, a goat and some barn cats. Technically, they now have three goats as the Mama very recently had two little kids, “Sugar & Blackie”. They are small, and absolutely full of energy (reminding me of another little ‘kid’ I know).

Dad set up a special little pin for the baby goats so that Little Guy could play with them without worrying about the bigger animals. This also gave him a clean pin to play in (which was a bonus for me on laundry day). They frolicked and jumped and took turns standing on two overturned feed bowls. Little Guy chased Sugar and Blackie around saying, “Stop so I can pet you!” It was simply adorable. By the end of the day, my sweetie had played to his heart’s content. He was a happy boy indeed.

Watching him reminded me of all the fun times I had as a child growing up on a farm. Over the years we had goats, sheep, cows, ponies, chickens and of course cats and dogs. Not all at the same time, of course – but fun anyway.

Little Guy’s babysitter has a dog, and Hubby’s Mom has a couple cats, so he does get some animal exposure from time to time. I’m glad that we have the farm to go to though. There’s nothing quite as fun as playing with baby farm animals on a day that hints at the coming Spring.


Baby Boy's First Blanket

When I was expecting Little Guy, I splurged on one item.  It was an adorable baby blanket made with a fun Michael Miller retro cowboy fabric, backed with minky chenille.  I found the blanket on eBay and bought it right off.  In hindsight I should have done a little research and tracked down the fabric to make it myself. Oh well.  I loved seeing my tiny boy wrapped up in his little cowboy blanket, and he still uses it at nap time on occasion.  It was worth the splurge.

So, when we found out about the new baby, I knew I wanted to make something similar... I went to Etsy (never knew about that lovely site three years ago, but it's now a favorite!)  I found another retro Michael Miller fabric (this one features space ships and little child astronauts).  I was able to purchase one yard for a great bargain price, and decided to use a vintage chenille bedspread (in pale yellow - from my fabric stash) as a backing.  Total time to finish the project was maybe an hour.
Gathering the supplies...
The end result is really quite adorable, and the total cost of this blanket is less than one fourth of what I paid for Little Guy's cowboy blanket.  I sure hope my new little munchkin loves his blanket as much as Little Guy loves his.
The Final Result.... I love it!  What do you think?

Playing Around

with my new laptop!!  Got it this weekend, and am loving it so far.  Expect to see more from me here in the future.  For now, I'll leave you with this...its my first experiment with the photo editing software that came with my computer.


{this moment}

Inspired by SouleMama to share one moment...via a single photo - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember...


Craving a Tenderloin

If you have ever lived in the Midwestern United States, you will probably know exactly what I’m referring to in the title of this blog post without reading further. The Pork Tenderloin Sandwich (just referred to as “Tenderloin” by those in the know) is a mouth watering bit of culinary heaven that you won’t find just anywhere.

Okay, maybe “culinary” is the wrong word. You are most likely to find the best tenderloins in locally owned “Mom and Pop” type dairy bars, cafes or delis in America’s heartland. Chain restaurants rarely (if ever) get it right, so if you are looking for your first tenderloin, you will definitely want to search out a place that really knows how to make them. Go into any small town in the Midwest, ask where you can get a good Tenderloin, and the answer you receive will be where you want to go. Locals will definitely have the insight needed for the search. If you wander far beyond the borders of Iowa, Indiana and maybe Missouri…your order of a Tenderloin will probably be met with a blank stare. For some reason, the trend hasn’t spread.

So what is a tenderloin? Well, let me tell you…. A Pork Tenderloin sandwich is usually prepared from a thinly sliced piece of pork tenderloin, hammered thin with a mallet. The meat is then dipped in flour, eggs and breadcrumbs before being deep fat fried in oil. Some places may offer a grilled version, but it’s not nearly as tasty as the fried original. After cooking, the prepared Tenderloin is then served on a generous bun (almost always with a large portion of the meat hanging over the edges). You can usually tell if the tenderloin will be worth its weight in gold, by asking what the restaurant considers appropriate toppings. Most die hard tenderloin lovers will insist on one or all of the following: ketchup, mustard, pickles and onions. That is all. The yummy sandwich usually comes with a side of French fries or onion rings, but should never by violated with the addition of mayo or lettuce.

Honestly, you can’t beat a well prepared tenderloin. It’s topped my list of favorite foods for years. Throughout my current pregnancy it’s the one thing I think I’ve craved more than anything else (even chocolate ice cream), and I just can’t seem to get enough.

My birthday was last week, and hubby offered to take me anywhere for a birthday meal. My choice? A posh French restaurant? No. A swanky tapas bar? No. A local butcher/deli which boasts the city’s best tenderloin (and rightly so)? You betcha! They even sell a tiny version (aptly named the “little piggy”) for children. Little Guy ate his right up. It may have been the very best part of my birthday celebration.

Sadly (or maybe luckily) our favorite tenderloins are reached only after a bit of a drive. If that weren’t the case, I’d probably be stopping to get one every day. If you ever find yourself in my neck of the woods, I’ll direct you to all of our favorite spots for this fantastic Midwestern treat!


The Other One, Please

It was going to be a "baking day" and Little Guy wanted to help.  I put my apron on, and helped him to put his on as well.  I'd made us both aprons last year, and we've worn them on several occasions.  I think he looks pretty cute in his little yellow apron. 

But on this day, as soon as it was on, he said "Mommy, want the other one, please?"  The only other apron hanging on the peg is one my Mom made for me years ago.  It's a funny Garfield one, and is one I still wear on occasion.  I asked him, "Are you sure?"  He said, "Yes, like Mom's apron!"  I'm not sure if it was the red trim or the length that made him think the Garfield apron was like the one I was wearing, but either way...that's what he wanted to wear.

So I helped him put it on....

And a happier boy would be hard to find.  We had fun baking in our aprons, and even more fun eating goodies later.  A perfect "baking day" to be sure.


Monkey Business

I was recently approached by a friend with a request. She will soon be a happy Grandmother to a sweet baby girl named Ava. The baby shower invitation featured a cute little cartoon monkey, and my friend asked if I thought I could create a plush version of the critter on the invite.

I told her I’d give it a try.

I used brown chenille (left over from an earlier baby blanket project) for the body. For the face I used doll face craft velour. Sewing the velour to the chenille proved challenging, and it took me much longer than expected to get the face attached (evenly). I attempted to put a “belly” on the monkey too with the same velour, but it wasn’t working. I made a design decision at that point to not give the monkey a belly or ear detail. Otherwise, I think that this worked out okay.

Front View:

Back View (note the frilly diaper back):

Showing the Invite I worked from:


Aunt Ree’s Blueberry Cobbler

If you haven’t eaten cobbler, or if it’s been a while since you have – here’s a recipe you might want to try.

Cobbler is an old-fashioned dessert. It’s yummy warm with ice cream on top. It’s yummy cold on day two. To be honest, I always think its yummy, and it brings back very happy memories of childhood (my Mom made Peach or Rhubarb cobbler fairly often).

Hubby is not typically a huge fan of cobbler. His idea of dessert usually includes chocolate, and lots of it. But I was in the mood for something fruity, and the idea of cobbler sounded just perfect to me. My Mom is from the South, and this particular recipe is one that was given to me by my Great Aunt Ree who lives in that area still.

It’s a fairly simple recipe, and the flavor is simply heavenly. We did eat our first serving hot with ice cream, but it’s good hot or cold. I believe you could substitute other fruit as desired, but if you are a fan of blueberries….you can’t go wrong with the original.

Aunt Ree’s Blueberry Cobbler

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Melt one stick of butter in a casserole dish or 9x13 pan.

Mix into the melted butter:
1 ½ cup flour
1 ½ cup sugar
¾ cup milk
2 ¼ tsp baking powder

In separate bowl:
1 quart blueberries (room temp)
½ cup sugar
water – to the top of the blueberries in the bowl

Stir the blueberries, sugar and water gently and pour over mixture in casserole dish

Bake for 40 minutes or until top of cobbler is golden brown


{this moment}

Inspired by SouleMama to share one moment...via a single photo - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember...


Boy Crazy

I’m very, VERY excited to announce that our second little blessing is a BOY! Although a little girl would have certainly been wonderful as well; I must admit to being simply ecstatic when the ultrasound tech announced that the blurry blob on the screen was our son.

Little Guy has been so much fun, and I think he’ll be a wonderful big brother. I like the idea that they can be buddies. I’m happy that after the new baby outgrows the nursery, the two of them can share a room for at least a few years. I like that Baby Boy will be able to wear all of Little Guy’s clothes which we saved “just in case”. Really other than diapers and formula, we will need very little – if anything. That’s certainly a blessing considering how expensive baby items can be. We will of course buy some new things for Baby Boy here and there, but in general….we’re set.

The biggest blessing of all, is of course that our Baby Boy appears to be totally healthy. All the important parts are right where they are supposed to be. He has a strong heartbeat and (based on how much he was moving during the ultrasound) plenty of energy. We haven’t reached the finish line yet, but we already know how truly lucky and blessed we are to be bringing another sweet little one into this world. We are ever thankful for this gift of life and look forward to welcoming him into our happy little family.


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