Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Picking Peas

Martin: Oh my god. Look at this floor.
(Proceeds to bend down to clean up all the peas that Aubrey has dropped during dinner)
Aubrey: What are you doing, Daddy?
Martin: I'm picking up all peas you dropped on the floor!
Aubrey: Oh, okay Daddy.
(runs away to continue playing with spice jars).
Martin: Well, she's a real help.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Sleeping Sun

On a particularly dark morning.

Aubrey: Oh no, mommy! The sun is sleeping!
Me: I know, it's tired this morning.
Aubrey: We gotta wake it up!
Me: How do you do that?
Aubrey: We gotta say cock-a-doodle-doo. COCK-A-DOODLE-DO!!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Author

Over the past few months, my mom has been completely manical about trying to get everything that I ever owned out of her attic! In one box she sent over I even found 6 or 7 old retainers, which I'm really glad were kicking around for the last twelve years just to finally end up in the proper garbage can. On Sunday, I mentioned to my mom that I was redoing our bookshelves in the living room since the clutter of every photo we have printed was starting to be a bit much to look at and I wanted something a little more manageable for the eye. She took the opportunity to suggest that I take my boxes of books home with me, and of course, she threw in a couple extra boxes as well. The extra boxes contained mostly scrapbooks from my childhood through high school that my mom had assembled. I haven't really dove into looking at them all, but I did manage to find a handful of books I wrote as a child, mostly in third grade. Reading through these books was way more fun than it probably should have been and even 20 years later - I thought they were pretty good. I think my favorite part about the books is how much I really tried to model an actual published book. All of my books have not only the title and author's name listed, but also the illustrator (myself, again). A publisher (mostly J.V. Publishing or Detar Publishing, my third grade teacher's name,  or Jenna Publishing), a copyright, and a dedication page. At the end of every book is an About the Author page and in one of them I even included a picture or myself on this page. The About the Author page is definitely my favorite; it's exactly the same in every book and apparently includes all the important details that my readers need to know about me.

Jenna Van Lieshout was born in 1986 in Batavia Hospital and lives in Albion. She goes to Albion Primary School. She is in third grade. Her family two brothers Alex and Mitchell a mom and dad and a cat named shadow. She has written 5 stories including John F Kennedy. She gets her ideas from work at school. Her favorite sport is dance. She went to Washington D.C. when she was seven years old.

The first book I read this in, I thought I had included dance as a favorite sport because the title of the book was The Elephant Who Took Ballet. And I really couldn't figure out why I found it important to tell everyone about some random vacation my family took. Then I realized, the whole thing was pretty random and I had included the exact passage in every book of mine. Also, I wish someone had taken the opportunity to give me a lesson in grammer. I read the teacher comments in the one book that had teacher comments and they all just talk about my great imagination. I mean, a little constructive critism would be nice!

And my newly arranged bookshelves.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Gabe: I have some Oreos.
Me: Wait. You have oreos here??
Gabe: Yeah, you want some? I can go get them. 
Martin: Gabe, she's pregnant and she can't drink. Oreos are like crack to her now. You're definitely ranking higher than me. That blows my whole washing dishes move out. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

38 Weeks

I am 38 Weeks pregnant today! Meaning just 14 more days until D-Day, if she decides to come that day. Anyway, I've been feeling really great and am taking every opportunity in these last few weeks to eat as much as possible. I am crazy excited about next weekend being the superbowl! I have un-officially decided it is the best holiday to land right before having a baby. A day filled with unabashed gluttony on appetizers - I'll take it!

In baby news, they sent me for another ultrasound this past Monday to make sure everything was stable. Exactly 14 days after the first ultrasound when they thought the baby might be too small and she had grown exactly 2 pounds! making her 6 lbs 1 oz as of this past Monday. If she continues to grow at that rate, she'll be nine pounds by my due date and since I have no aspirations of getting a crazy big baby award, I'm hoping she slows down just a little. 

mmmm peanut butter....Aubrey's not the only one that licks the bowl clean

Friday, January 25, 2013

Peanut Butter

We have a peanut butter lover in the family.....

Mommy, I covered in peanut butter! Take my picture!! (Also, excuse the intense bedhead)

And someone may have figured out how to use the camera on my phone making this one of her first artistic shots.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Circle of Trust

Me: Did you tell your boss that I'm having a baby anytime in the next few weeks so you're probably going to need to take a few impromtu vacation days?
Martin: I will say something tomorrow.
Me: I'm due February 9th. And also, you probably don't need to go back to work the afternoon we get back from the hospital.
Martin: I was definitely not going to do that.
Me: Well, you did that when we had Aubrey.
Martin: That's because I was in the hospital for two days and I had cabin fever!
Me: (silence)
Martin: I'm sure you probably felt the same way and I just was the one with the ability to leave. I would expect you to do the same thing if you were in my shoes.
Me: Yeah, ok.
Martin: I mean, I didn't even want to spend the night in the hospital the second night but I had to do that.
Me: (silence)
Martin: What I meant was I wanted our whole family to be home. Isn't this the trust? The circle? The circle of trust?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


It's been cold around these parts. Really cold. Like single digits cold. For those of you in some parts of the country posting pictures of frozen cats I realize single digits are probably considered some sort of heat wave (I'm talking to you, bailey), but around here it's quite chilly. When Aubrey and I left this morning it was a mere 7 degrees out, and with the winds that are constantly barreling across the field on the side of our house it felt well below zero. As soon as we stepped of the deck and entered the driveway without being protected by the house as a windbreak, Aubrey stopped dead in her tracks. She was completely paralyzed by the cold and wind and unable to take a step forward. I lifted her up and whisked her into the shelter of the car. When we arrived at my mom's house moments later, she buried her head in my shoulder before I even lifted her out of the car, scared that she would feel the intense cold again. And our house, which is normally set at a balmy 62 degrees just can't keep up with the weather. This morning the thermostat read 58 and this evening it was up to 60. But what better way to beat the cold than a warm bubble bath serenaded by Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Circus

A couple Friday's ago I got a phone call from my mom.
Mom: Sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if we can take Aubrey to the circus next Thursday night. We need to know so we can get tickets. 
Me: Ummm....yeah, sure. 

In the days leading up to the event my mom got Aubrey pretty pumped up about the circus and by dinner on Wednesday evening she was telling Kerri that she was going to see elephants and lions at the circus. I tried to temper down the lions and elephants things was in the school gym. And I didn't want her to be dissapointed. Turns out she was fine, even without the lions and elephants and was completely enthralled with the circus acts. Laughing, clapping and counting along the entire time!

Since attending the circus, she's been all about being a circus actor in our home and continues to ask Martin over and over again to lift her up high like the circus.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

It's So Messy

Aubrey: Mommy, come play with me.
Me: Ok. One minute, Aubrey. Let me just clean up this counter; it's a mess.
Aubrey: Ok mommy.

I start cleaning counter and other various kitchen surfaces.

Aubrey: (singing to herself) It's so messy. It's so messy. It's so messy. It's so messy.........
Me: Jeez, you don't have to rub my domestic failures in my face. 
Aubrey: What mommy??? It's so messy It's so messy.....

It's at this point I realize I'm talking to a toddler and she's not rubbing my domestic failures in my face, she's making a song out of something I said. From now on whenever I want to talk about what a mess my house is I'm going to say Mommy looks beautiful today and see what type of song I can get out of Aubrey.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Secret Celebrity Boyfriends and Sitcoms

I've come to the conclusion that I have the best friends in the world. I only wish they all lived with me so everyday could be a day filled with hilarious conversation. Over the holidays, Caton, Ingrid and Amanda were all in town! It was basically a dream come true. I don't know if the four of us have all spent time together since my wedding......which was a long time ago.

Conversation over lunch:
Amanda: (telling us all about her boyfriend who is in a band and came to NYC for recording and was on some radio interviews/podcasts that her father is stalking and listening to on repeat).

(the conversation thread has changed, but the question is still burning in Ingrid)

Ingrid: So, what is your boyfriend's name? He's not a secret celebrity or something? Do you have to conceal his identity? Like you're telling us his name is Max but it's really Justin Bieber or one of the Jonas Brothers.

Amanda: (Talking about how much she can't stand Adele. Caton and I are laughing hysterically because we've already heard this line of reasoning earlier in the week and Ingrid is patiently trying to wrap her head around it)
Just as the conversation on Adele is beginning to wind down and Amanda is beginning to get her composure back:
Ingrid: I mean, I have plenty of celebrities that I don't like for completely irrational reasons.

One of Us: We are hilarious. They should make a sitcom about us.
Ingrid: Well, then we have to decide who we each would cast for ourselves.
The Remaining Three: What?! We would play ourselves! Obviously!
Ingrid: But then it's not a sitcom, it's a reality show.
Us: (disappointed) Oh.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Photo Collages

I don't think any of these pictures are neccesarily new to this blog, I just got really into photo collages since I've downloaded an app that allows me to create them on my phone. I was always wondering how people were able to splice their pictures, and while I'm sure there's a better way, I've become obsessed with making photo collages on my phone. 

First snow!

 Just a day when she was really into posing for pictures. 

 Playing dress up and eating chocolate

 The progression of Thanksgiving table setting. 

 Cutting my hair. 
 Getting ready for bed. 
 Drawing pictures
A great Sunday in January. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

There Was A Sunday

I'm sure these pictures are going to post completely out of order because I've been having issues uploading photos onto my blog (the upload button is completely gone? help!) so I've been having to write my posts on the computer, save them as drafts and then add the photos from my phone. Therefore, I've been trying to keep my posts to one photo to eliminate the need for arranged photos since I don't really know how to do that from my phone, but yesterday was just too amazing of a day to pin down to one photo.

An Ode to Sunday (once again):

There was a delightful breakfast with friends after waking up from a company Christmas party.
There was a two hour ride home with the windows rolled down and my love by my side.
There was a detour to look at a tractor trailer in a parking lot somewhere in Rochester.
There was a quick grocery shop.
There was a Make-Your-Own-Sub lunch.
There was lots of sliding.
There was a leisurely walk.
And, for Aubrey, there was  a little digging in the remaining snow from the driveway pile as if it were a sandbox.
There was a nap in Aubrey's bed.
There was two episodes of Parks and Recreation and two episodes of The Office with my loves.
There was grilling of steak in the warm January breeze.
There was steak and salad for dinner.
There was some coloring on the floor.
There was a beautiful picture present hanging on the wall.
There was a bath with lots of bubbles.
There was lots of books to be read before bed.
There was a Very Hungry Caterpillar whom has been memorized by a toddler.
There was a toddler who's parents let her nap for too long and whom didn't want to sleep.
There was a Sunday I don't want to trade.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Growing up on a dairy farm, my dad always had a very black and white opinion on horses. There was a period of my childhood when I seriously thought another common name for the horse was "hayburner" as this is what I would hear my dad scoff every single time we passed by horses in a pasture in view of our traveling vehicle. Martin has very similar views on horses as my father (it must be a dairy farmer thing?) and attempted to instill these opinions into Aubrey the other night. Aubrey the animal lover. Aubrey whom loves to watch the team of horses run in the pasture at Papa's house (Martin's stepdad's). Aubrey who got a gorgeous horse dress from Mimi for Christmas.

Martin: (going on some useless tangent about horses and their waste of existence while I pretty much ignore him. Entire conversation stemming from a dress!)
Aubrey: (apparently not ignoring her father and getting angry at him starts shaking her arm at him and yelling) No! No! No! Stop it daddy!
Me: Yeah, Martin calm down. It's not that big of a deal if she likes horses.
Aubrey: I love horses.
Martin: You mean you love Brownie the Cow.
Aubrey: No. I love horses.
Martin: You see what this is going to lead to?
Me: It's not that big of a deal. So she likes horses; we don't have a horse.
Martin: Not yet! But liking horses leads to having a horse.
Me: Well, when I was a kid I wanted a horse and I never got one and I turned out fine.
Martin: But you're still mad about it! You're bringing it up right now!
Me: This is the first time I've ever brought this up since I've known you! And we're talking about horses!
Martin: Well, you've probably had nightmares about it. That's where that stuff comes up. In your dreams.
Me: You are ridiculous.
Aubrey: I love horses.
Me: Yes, you do. And you love cows too, right.
Aubrey: No. I love horses.
Me: Yep. Horses and dogs too.
Aubrey: No. I love horses.
Martin: Do you love kitties? What about kitties.
Aubrey: I love horses.
Martin:(at this point there is practically smoke coming from his ears because he is so distraught and because he is already a grumpy old man who is way too set in his ways). I give up.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Twelve Year Old Boy

I'm finally getting over this terrible cold I had last week that lingered from Tuesday until Tuesday. Now I'm just dealing with the aftermath which is basically a constantly runny nose. The good news is I'll blow my nose all day long if it means feeling less stuffy and in general just.....better.

Martin: Man, you were really having some congestion problems last night, huh?
Me: Um. I don't think so? Why was I bothering you blowing my nose or something.
Martin: Your side of the bed looks like it belongs to a twelve year old boy who just discovered what he can do with his body parts.

He always has such an eloquent way of phrasing things. It really brings beautiful images to your mind.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I'm Just As Scared As You Are

As I've mentioned, Martin and I have been the proud owners of a pool table since Christmas morning. I'm not really sure where my fascination with pool tables or with having one in my home stems from since I can barely hit the white ball let alone get the white ball to hit another ball into a pocket. Pool for me is a lot if coaxing of the balls under my breath and hoping to at least get a few in before my opponent eventually wins.

But now that we own a pool table we really need to get down to business. No one will think I'm anything more than a poser if I put a pool table in my house and then can't even properly set up the triangle ( is that the proper name for that?) Last night, Martin and I decided we both needed to hone up our skills and also we wanted to do something together that didn't involve washing dishes or falling asleep to the Office (although we did do at least one of those activities together last night). Martin isn't great at pool either, but he's better than I am and managed to beat me both games we played. Even Aubrey cheering relentlessly every time I shot at anything wasn't enough to pull for a win. There was one point where I had a very small gleam of hope for my future in the game. I got three of the right color balls ( solids) into the pockets IN A ROW. I looked up at Martin, completely flabbergasted by my sudden stream of luck and quickly replied to my glance.

Martin: Don't worry. I'm just as scared as you are.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Late Night Snowball Fights

Whether it's Martin walking into the house with Aubrey after dinner at my mom's a day I'm working late or me coming home with Aubrey after watching a movie at Grandma's while Martin's out snowmobiling with friends, Aubrey is always up for a late night snowball fight! She can't really form a snowball and her throw is just as bad as her ball-forming technique but her giggle is infectious and who can turn down a snowball fight with a giggling two year old?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Searching For Baby Jesus

Have I mentioned that Aubrey loves playing with Baby Jesus. She hauls Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus around the house teaching Baby Jesus her most revered knowledge. The other day she read him "her book" filled with pictures of her that she got for her birthday.

And this is me in my daddy's hat. And this is me with Brownie the Cow.

Oftentimes, Baby Jesus does very human things and his mom, Mary, needs to step in whether it is to change his diaper or pat his back because he's crying. She really knows a mother's role. And when Baby Jesus wants to go visit other characters, like the shepard or the donkey, Aubrey is clearly aware of the fact that Jesus is a baby and cannot walk because she is very diligent about making Mary carry him wherever he needs to visit.

As with most toys, no matter how loved, they tend to get discarded when Aubrey is briefly distracted by something. She's like a dog with a squirrel but the squirrel could be anything from a rabbit in the yard to a mom washing dishes at the sink to the prospect of a cup full or milk. So from time to time approximately 6 times a day baby Jesus is lost and we need to find him. No matter how hard I try to keep him and his play contained to the dining room where the nativity sets, he still seems to disappear again and again. New Year's Eve was a particularly rough day for Baby Jesus.

Me: Aubrey, where is baby Jesus?
Aubrey:  I don't know!
Me: Well, you better find him. I told you to be very careful with him.
Aubrey: I don't know. I sorry mommy.
Me: Well, look for him.
Caton: (From across the kitchen) What is this conversation?! I want to videotape this and put it on youtube.

A little later in the evening just after people have arrived and I once again am looking for baby Jesus to tuck him away safely for the night.

Me: Has anyone seen baby Jesus?
Kelly: Let me go look.
Me: (entering the billiard room - so fun that I can say that!) Has anyone seen baby Jesus in here?
Alex: Is everyone looking for baby Jesus at this party. People keep coming in here asking about him.

But somehow, he always turns up. I'm torn between wanting to pack up our nativity while we still have all the pieces and wanting to keep it out because Aubrey enjoys playing with it so much.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

On Being Married.

You know how insomnia hits at the worst times? Like its lurking around just waiting for a night when you really need to sleep. Just waiting for that moment when you have two back to back crazy busy days with limited down time and you really really need all available down time to be devoted to sleep so you can get through the next crazy day. It's always on days like this that you find yourself looking at the clock with a racing mind at 1:30.....and then 1:35.....and then 2:00 and then 2:15 and get the point.

Martin's birthday came and went without much any fanfare on this blog. I'm not sure why I omitted talking about what an amazing person he is on his one special day of the year, but for some reason I did. And then I never even mentioned that he is now 28 and still amazing and even if he's worried about getting old I'm patiently waiting for his hair to gray (little known fact: I love salt and pepper hair).

On one of the many crazy days in December (working in retail doesn't offer much holiday relaxation) I was suffering from the exact case of insomnia I described above. After watching the clock tick by for more than two hours I seriously thought I was going to die and I was quickly approaching the level of frustration that can only end in a really mature way (yelling at Martin for things he didn't do and crying about things I can't control) when I scooted over in the bed and crawled into Martin's nest. And even though Martin and I rarely cuddle when we sleep. And even though Martin had no idea I was on the verge of a breakdown and I really needed his acceptance. He opened his arm up, pulled me in tight and with a swift motion kicked my nervous breakdown and it's friend, insomnia, aside. I fell asleep within minutes and awoke in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

As I untangled myself from Martin's arms to shut off my alarm, I couldn't help but think to myself, this is why people get married. Because when it comes down to it we're all just looking for someone to take us into their nest when we need it the most. Thank you, Martin, for taking me into your nest. I love you!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

35 Weeks

This photo was taken on the evening of New Year's Eve. The evening before a massive headcold crawled its way into the left side of my head and has been hiding away like an unwanted mouse ever since. I've gone through more tissues than I can count and haven't had a good night's sleep in five days. That coupled with the fact that I'm taking nothing in the interest of the life growing inside me and it's been super busy at work; I'd say I could be happier. But no worries. I'm sure I'll get through this. Thursday was really the worst day and now it's less of an unwanted mouse hiding in your house and more of that mouse that died in the walls and you're just waiting for it to decompose so the smell will finally dissapate. I'm not really sure where I'm going with this mouse metaphor, but at this point it's not getting erased.

So....35 weeks means that as of next Saturday I will officially be full term, meaning I could have the baby at any time. I'm torn between wanting to have the baby as soon as possible and wanting to hold off as long as possible. It's different from last time when the sheer uncomfort I felt by the time I reached my due date overrode any other feelings I had about wanting to keep the baby inside of me for as long as possible. With Aubrey, I wanted to stay pregnant forever because I was terrified of being a parent. This time around, I'm not terrified of being a parent but I also feel like we have so much to do before I can possibly have this baby. We have yet to get our crib set up. I don't have the carseat gathered or together. There is no hospital bag packed. The monitor we used with Aubrey fell in a bucket of water and broke. We have yet to replace the thing. Also, and mainly, I have absolutely no desire to get a baby and a toddler ready and out the door every morning before heading to work during the cold of winter. The more time that goes by before I have the baby, the later in the year it will be when I return back to work.

That's just a brief look into some of the thoughts that are jostling around in my head at any given time (jostling around but carefully trying to avoid that dead mouse). Now that we really are reaching the end I'm going to try to post updates weekly until the final day. So....until next week, that's a glimpse at my pregnant life.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Judging Pickle Trays.

On New Year's Eve, Caton came over around 6:00 to help me set up for the party. She had the fantastic idea of making a champagne punch (another huge hit) and so brought over the ingredients to prepare the beverage. As I was bustling around trying to figure out what I needed to do (pregnancy brain....need I say more...) Caton began to prepare the punch. Suddenly I hear Caton screaming and look over to find the punch bubbling out over the top of the serving container.

Caton: Oh no! I shouldn't have stirred that ice cream! It's overflowing, what do I do?? (All this is shouted as Caton tries to somehow shield the container with her body)
Me: (rushing over to the container) Put it in the sink! (Then the whole think ended pretty uneventfully as the bubbling stopped just as I approached the punch.)
Caton: I don't know why I react so horribly in stressful situations. I promise, I really came over here to help, not make a mess.

Then Judy arrived just as Caton was starting to make a pickle tray.
Caton: Is there a certain way I should set this up. I was thinking.....(at this point I mostly block out everything that Caton is saying because I honestly don't feel like micromanaging the pickle tray setup)
Me: Yeah. Whatever you want is great!
Caton: (Get's diligently to work on the pickle tray. In her mind she has decided that the two types of pickles circled around the tray with the olives in the center will look beautiful. It probably will, but the tray isn't really that large. As she finishes the dill pickles around the perimeter and starts to lay the sweet pickles on top of the dill yet further in, Judy cannot contain herself any longer and interjects.)
Judy: Do you really think people are going to be able to tell the difference between those pickles.
Me: (trying to be really defensive because I had made such a stand about not caring) Yeah, the sweet ones are a totally different color than the dill.
Judy: But if you didn't watch them come out of the jar would you know that?
Me: Well I was going to suggest a column of sweet on one side, olives in the middle and dill on the other side, but I made such a point of not caring I didn't really want to interject and I'm sure this will be fine.
Caton: There! Ok, not exactly what I had envisioned, but pretty good.
Turns was fine. All the pickles were gone regardless of their arrangement.

And so Judy and Caton started discussing a potential location where Judy might take a job after she graduates from vet school in the spring. Judy is trying to explain where exactly in New York this location is when Aubrey, as if on cue, runs into the kitchen with her laminated map of New York State and drops it on the floor at their feet.

So.....getting ready.....almost as fun as the actual party.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Creating A Taco Bar

I would highly recommend this as a meal or snack option for any large gathering. It looks pretty. It takes hardly anytime to prepare. It's a huge hit. Can you go wrong?

This photo was taken before we had set out the warmed soft shells, the sour cream or the cheese. Also, I had plans of doing corn and beans but then decided basically forgot about them.

Martin had a great idea that we should have a taco bar for our New Year's Eve party and I couldn't be more happy with this plan. It just came together so well! All night long people were raving about the tacos and asking for recipes, etc.

So, in the spirit of feeling particularly instructional this evening....some steps to creating your own taco bar.

As you know, I got really into crockpot chicken tacos early in the fall. The basic recipe of chicken breast, a jar of salsa, taco seasoning, and diced chilis really can't be beat.  For this taco bar, I wanted to have lots of options so I decided to do Pork, Chicken and Beef.

Pork: Buy a pork shoulder roast. I cut out the bone and cut a bunch of the fat off before cooking. The preparation of the pork for the crockpot was definitely the longest of the three and when I say a long time I mean 15 minutes. Put the pork in the crockpot. Season with taco seasoning (Here you could either do a package of taco seasoning or do what I did and just roughly throw some garlic powder, cayenne powder, paprika, chili powder and black pepper onto the pork.) Pour a jar of salsa over the top. Open two cans of green chilis and add those into the pot. Mix everything together. Turn on low for 5 to 6 hours. When it is done everything will literally fall apart with a slight touch of a fork or tongs.

Chicken: I used a five pound bag of frozen chicken breats. Thaw the chicken the day before. Put the chicken in the crockpot. Follow the same seasoning process as with the pork. Cook on low. It will also fall apart, but not quite as easily as the pork does (I think it has something to do with the fact that there is more fat in the pork but don't quote me on that, I'm really just making stuff up as I go along)

Beef: Use a chuck roast. I think mine was about three pounds. I wish it had been slightly bigger. Place the roast in the crockpot. Follow all the same instructions.

The amazing thing about these is they are so customizable. If you're going to be gone all day at work....who really can't overcook them! They just continue to get better and better! We were having a lot of guests and I am paranoid about running out of food, so I made sure we had a lot of meat. You can always decrease the recipe if you wish!

The toppings!
My favorite part about a taco bar are the variety of toppings to choose from. I made these super cute tortilla bowls by taking large soft shell burritos and putting them in the oven, pressed down in a large bowl at 350 degrees. This yielded great results but I only had one bowl that was oven safe and big enough for what I wanted (a soup or cereal bowl isn't really large enough to allow your tortilla shell to hold its shape before it hardens) To move the process along faster I would keep the shell in the bowl until it was sort of firm and the top was brown and then let it finish the browning and hardening process directly on the oven rack so I could start a new tortilla. For the smaller ones I turned a muffin pan upside down and positioned the smaller tortilla shells between the muffin cups. These definitely browned up more quickly, but I found them to be a little bit harder to form into very nice bowls.

And don't be afraid to go crazy with topping options
Sour Cream
the possibilities are almost endless.

So there you have it! A taco bar. A delicious and easy addition to your next party!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a fantastic New Year's Eve! I know we our first ever party in our first ever home! It was a pretty monumental event. Of course, in true fashion, I completely neglected to take any pictures of the event, but here are a few of my personal highlights from the evening:

I love games. And my best friend, Caton, was in attendance. She really loves games. So, there was some game playing.

First up: Spoons!
Caton: (explaining rules to those who haven't played) It's like musical chairs without chairs, or music, or moving and with cards and spoons. Also, I have some scars from playing.
Me: But you don't always get scars.
(I did wind up getting a bloody finger somehow)

It took a couple rounds for everyone to catch on to the pace of the game. In the first round everyone except for Kelly had retrieved the spoons from the center and Kelly was still very concentrated on looking through the cards to get four of a kind.

Katie: Sometimes you can just quietly grab a spoon and people won't even notice and just keep playing.
Me: Yeah, that's like earlier tonight.
Katie: Oh yeah! Sorry! I completely forgot you did that Kelly!


Then we moved on to Taboo:
Basically any clue that Matt has ever or will ever give in the game of Taboo brings immense joy to my heart. Ever clue Matt gives he pretends as if he is the clue and then describes it in that manner.

Example: If he were giving a clue for puberty he would probably say something like: If I was a teenage boy and my voice was squeaky I would be ....

Although this doesn't seem quite as funny now that I'm writing it, one of my favorite clues Matt gave was If I was a big black bird.


And Kings Cup:

Our friend Janet's fiance Travis really made this game for me. During the first round of Never Have I Ever I said Never Have I Ever Used Food in a Sexual Setting. Travis really couldn't get past the whole food thing and proceeded to incorporate into every single aspect of the game. As in his never have I ever was Never Have I Ever Had Sex with Food. And when someone picked sex toys as a category his toy was a cucumber. And countless other food references I can't remember.


And then there was my young, innocent brother who somehow discovered alcohol last night and then couldn't stop talking. The words were just dripping off of him like he drank a gallon of truth serum. It was embarrassing for everyone around. And also incredibly funny.


And there was a sex off?

I didn't think I'd ever write about a sex off on this blog, but alas, here I am typing away. Hopefully you're not thinking of this in a literal way, but more of a sexy dancing being sexy type of way. Somehow Gabe and Janet engaged in a sex off and there was a lot of dancing on pool tables, sliding up and down walls and then the whole thing ended tragically when Janet was apparently trying to pull off something sexy on Aubrey's tricycle but ended up in a heap on the floor shouting I'm okay! and Gabe came running out of the playroom wearing a bandanna, a Dora backpack and carrying a Raggedy Anne. No one was really sure where that was going.


Matt and Judy playing pool.

I came in towards the end of this game when it was almost tied up and each just had a few more balls to get in the holes.

Gabe: They're playing for who's on top tonight.
Judy: (with a reddening face) You're making Matt uncomfortable.
Caton: I think he's making you uncomfortable.
Matt: (Attempts to call out a pocket but his voice breaks out all high and squeaky. Apparently he was a little uncomfortable).

And then moments later when he completely misses even hitting the eight ball....
Andrew: (Running over to the pool table) The ball is right here!!!!


And then there was the end of the night when people were saying their goodbye's departing.

Martin: Nice to meet you Melissa. Last name?
Melissa: Abraham.
Caton: Like Lincoln
Martin: Like Lincoln?
Melissa: Yes.
Martin: See....they're over here saying like Lincoln but I was thinking more biblical.
Caton and I: Father Abraham.....Had many sons.....And many sons had Father Abraham.......And you are one of them.....and so am I.....So let's all praise the lord.
Martin: Apparently they're a lot more holy than me.
Caton: You went to a lot of bible school classes with me, huh?


And probably one of my favorite parts of the evening......dancing with Gabe. Because it's fun, and we've got a pretty good groove. And he's an amazing dancer. And because no matter how pregnant I am, dancing with Gabe always feels like an amazing boost to my self confidence. Seriously girls, one of you should nab him quick!

2013, you came in the right way.