Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Madel(e)ine and Weekend Recap (with video!)

We celebrated two birthdays this weekend... Madeleine and Madeline.  Madeleine was turning 5, and Madeline was turning 1.  Confused yet?  It gets better.  Madeleine passed on clothes to Sybilla who passed on the clothes to Madeline.  And I've worked with both Madel(e)ines' mama's and been to both of their weddings.  Silly similarities aside, we had a great weekend!

Saturday we went to Madeleine's birthday party where we stuffed ourselves silly on hot wings, hot dogs, and fajitas.  Well, I did anyway.  Billa chowed down on 'shie's' (goldfish) and de-boned hot wing meat.  I made Madeleine's cake for her, which was supposed to be a Tinkerbell cake, but ended up being a really lovely fancy flower cake instead.  No worries, it worked out for the better I think!

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The flower cake I made for Madeleine; it was swirled pink vanilla and chocolate inside.

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Madeleine's birthday was actually Monday, but when you asked her at the party, she said, "It's today!"

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Sybilla has discovered a love of frosting now!

After a nap and some more baking on my part, we drive up to Cedar Park to visit the other Madeline and bring her cupcakes for her birthday party.  Her party was a family only affair, so we stayed and played on Saturday evening while her mama, Caroline, and I caught up with each other.  Billa fell in LOVE with Caroline's cat Casper, who was VERY patient.  This cat is ginormous, by the way.  Anyone who thought Gumerry was big never met Casper.  He weighs in at 27 pounds (Gumerry topped the scale at 22) and is the size of a Smart car.  OK, maybe not that big, but he's still large!  While he was very patient, he did not like being picked up or pounded on by both girls, so he made himself scarce very quickly, which is not his norm from what I understand.  I hate to break it to you, Casp, but get used to it.  Your child pet is about to change!

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I made cupcakes designed to look like the Hungry Little Caterpillar...I loved these, they were so colorful!

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Billa and Madeline get some instructions on how to pet Casper (bless his heart!)

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And here is Madeline enjoying her cake; her mama called to tell me that she would have kept on eating cake if she hadn't taken it away from her!

Today we enjoyed a lazy Sunday, the deinition of lazy meaning "let's clean house, do two loads of laundry, the grocery shopping, and then watch a couple of movies."  It was lazy more in the sense that we didn't really cook much (hot dogs for dinner and blueberry cake for breakfast) and there was no schedule.  We just went with the flow, as you can see.

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Kickin' back while watching the Little Mermaid

Billa also enjoyed her dinner which she will tell you about here:



And there you have it. Until next time!

Love,
The Guerra's

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Recipe thuRsday: Double Bean Burritos

Since I've started tracking my caloric intake, I've been perusing lower fat and healthier recipes in an attempt to try and aid my weight loss.  It seems to be working because after tracking my food for almost two weeks, I've lost 3 pounds!  Yay me!  My favorite place to search is Cooking Light magazine, of which I received a subscription for Christmas from my husband's aunt and uncle.  While I'm waiting for my first issue to arrive, I've been searching their website and found lots of great stuff there.  One of the things I've tried that was a huge success was Double Bean Burritos.  These feature black beans and bean dip hence the double beans, and they are very customizable.  This dish is also vegetarian, so it can be a nice budget meal as well.

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Double Bean Burritos
1 can (14 oz) of black beans
1 small can of bean dip
1 can of Rotel
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1/2 cup light or fat free sour cream (or fat free Greek yogurt)
1 avocado, sliced thinly
2 cups brown rice, cooked
1/2 cup salsa
6 burrito size tortillas

1.  Rinse and drain the beans and cook them in a small saucepan with the can of Rotel until heated through.
2.  Warm up the tortillas and spread 1 TBSP of bean dip in the center of each one.
3.  Place 1/3 cup of the rice on top of the bean dip, followed by 1/6 of the bean/Rotel mixture.
4.  Top with a small sprinkle of cheese (about 1 oz), sour cream (1 TBSP), sliced avocado (1/4-1/3 of the avocado) and salsa (1/8 cup) as desired.
5.  Roll up the burrito and enjoy!

NOTES ON COOKING:
Read the ingredient list on your bean dip when you purchase it.  I was about to buy the recommended Frito Lay brand which is actually about as natural and good for you as bean dip can be (really, just read the ingredients!) when I compared it to my grocery's in house brand.  The list was identical as was the nutritional info.  The only difference was the price.  We found no difference in taste and it was worth the $.50 in savings!

I use Mahatma brand brown rice, which involved longer cooking time than instant, but provides better nutritional value.  They have a new cooking method which involves placing one or two cups of dried rice in a large pot with 10 cups of water and boiling for exactly 30 minutes.  At the end of 30 minutes, you drain the water and your rice is done!  I was amazed, it really does work and it cuts down the cooking time by about 15-20 minutes.  Make sure to check the rice before draining, just in case, and use a sieve, not a strainer to drain it off!


To keep the calorie count low, go easy on the sour cream and cheese.  Salsa is just vegetables, so the calorie count is very low; you can pile that on for more flavor and veggie intake.  Avocado is very high in fat, but its the good-for-you fats and they're chock full of antioxidants, so don't worry too much about them!  You can use reduced fat or light versions of everything listed above, but with everything on there, you'll average about 500 calories for the burrito per the Cooking Light recipe. CL actually recommends using sharp cheddar since more flavorful cheeses will allow you to use less but get more flavor, but this is Texas and I don't really like sharp cheddar on my Tex-Mex – to me, it just ain't right!

This dish makes great leftovers; just make sure to assemble everything once the ingredients have cooled and wrap it up in foil to keep the shape of the burrito until you reheat it.  Reheat it on 50% power for about a minute, flip it over, and repeat.  

Buen provecho!
Kelly

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Recipe thuRsday: Cherry Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Thursday everyone!

I've been hankering for cookies a lot this past week so after my husband took the remaining Cherry Almond Wedding Cookies to work, I needed a different baked good fix.  I decided I needed chocolate!  And of course, I still had dried cherries.  I can't think of anything better than the two combined.  I took two different recipes and mashed them together to create this one.  In a nutshell, this is an altered chocolate chip cookie recipe, which I have made chewy and very chocolatey.  Alton Brown has a great episode on three different types of chocolate chip cookies, all of which were adapted from the Nestle Tollhouse cookie recipe. My favorite of course, is The Chewy, so I melted the butter which I think makes a HUGE difference in creating a soft, chewy cookie.  I wanted the cookies to be double chocolate, so I subbed out some flour for cocoa powder based off another recipe (again, a Tollhouse one--really, if you're going to mess with a good thing, go with the best).

These cookies came out rich, chewy, and super sinful delicious.  The cherry was very subtle, I think next time I might add more chopped cherries in there, or perhaps a swirl of cherry preserves.

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Cherry Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks of butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup of white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla (or cherry liquor if you have it on hand!)
2 cups of AP flour
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp of kosher salt
1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips (about 12 oz)
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped finely

1.  Preheat oven to 350F and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.  In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and sugars and mix for about 1 minute.
3.  Add in the eggs and the vanilla, mix to combine.
4.  Add in the cocoa and salt until incorpaorated.  Scrape down the bowl as needed!
5.  Add in the flour and baking soda until flour is mixed in.  Fold in the chocolate chips and dried cherries.
6.  Roll into 1" balls, chill for about minutes in the fridge and then bake for 12-14 minutes.  Allow to cool on pan for about one minute and then remove to racks.

Enjoy with a tall glass of milk, or for an even more sinful treat, ice cream on top.  We had a Culver's Turtle ice cream cake with ours as well, and it was sooooo super delicious!

Some tips and notes for baking:
Dried cherries can be expensive so to make them stretch a bit more and get more cherry in every bite, chop them finely.  I recommend tossing them in a pinch of flour first though to keep them from sticking as you chop.  Repeat as needed!

The batter will be very soft and almost like thick brownie batter.  Allow it to chill for about 15 to 20 minutes before rolling it to ensure that you don't have too many problems with it.  Or you can roll the balls, place them on the cookie sheets, and then chill them for about five minutes before placing in the oven.  You might need to flatten them just a tad before baking!

And of course, cookie dough always freezes well, so you can pre-roll the balls and place them on a cookie sheet, freeze them, and then put them in a bag for single baking as you desire.  If you're trying to cut out some of the calories, you might be able to get away with cutting out half a stick of butter and not adding the entire bag of chocolate chips, but these are so rich, that you probably will feel satisfied after eating just one of them!

Buen provecho,
Kelly

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

Yesterday Billa and I had some time to kill before we picked up Michael from work so we headed over to Costco to do a little shopping and browsing. When I returned the stand mixer I'd gotten from Michael's dad and stepmom, I got an iPod touch but I still had some credit left over so I saved it for a later time. I used some of it to get a couple of baking items and some new jammies for Billa which are super cute.

While we were walking around, Billa discovered a fortune cookie in my purse, so I let her have it as a snack. I had to laugh when I read her fortune:

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Yeah, I never saw that one coming!

Happy Tuesday,
Kelly

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend Recap: Fun with the Marinos!

It felt weird not to have a cake to make this weekend since my friend Beth picked up the cake she asked me to make her on Friday afternoon after work.  So Saturday I spent some time giving my baking blog a facelift and letting Billa get some additional rest, as you can see here.  She was watching UP for the fifteenth time this week (ok, really the fifth time, but it feels like we've seen it almost fifteen times!) and feel asleep while watching.  I love the little arms behind her head!

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Typically Saturdays are spent running errands and doing shopping or delivering a cake, but since we'd  done most of that already during the week, the only trip we made was to Sprouts to pick up some specialized ingredients for a baking challenge I'm participating in this month.  I had planned on making cookies and it was good timing too, since we got an invite to hang out with the Marino family for hot wings Saturday evening.  Things got started with an impromptu dance party (I wish I had taken video, the kids were hilarious!  Billa especially was jumping around with her arms in the air, waving them back and forth) and we had a great time visiting, eating hot wings and trying my new cherry double chocolate chip cookie recipe that I had thrown together right before we left.

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The Marinos invited us for more fun on Sunday for a dayhike to Pedernales Falls, just outside of Drpping Springs.  Michael and I have both camped and hiked there, but it had been YEARS since either one of us had gone so we were very excited to go.  Unfortunately, Billa was not as excited.  Our timing was all wrong and it was a little too much for a kid who had spent the majority of her week in bed, in her mama's arms, and sick.  She did enjoy herself, but we should have eaten lunch first.  She also didn't nap AT ALL, despite hanging out in the car with myself and Baby Hayden (who also didn't nap and probably should have).  She slept on the way home, but it was too little, too late at that point.

I'd post some pictures of our excursion, but both sets of camera batteries were dead.  Fortunately, Anthony had a spare point and shoot Canon with them that he let me borrow.  Unfortunately, our card reader is dead and our USB camera cable is incompatible, so I have to wait for him to get them to me!  But they probably deserve a post all of their own anyway :o)

Our weekend was capped off by a lovely visit from Michael's mom who dropped by for dinner.   She and I went to go get Chinese while Michael stayed home with a napping Billa.  We enjoyed dinner and I made the rest of my cookies.  She gave Billa a bath while Michael and I did some much belated house cleaning, which was a really nice break actually.  I don't mind doing housework, but if Billa isn't occupied, it can get really frustrating very fast!

All in all, despite our hiking setbacks and ridiculous amounts of TV viewing, I'd day it was a stellar weekend!  Hope you all had a great weekend too!

Adventurously yours,
Kelly et al

Friday, January 15, 2010

Worst Week Ever or Thank God it's Friday!

Poor Billa.  Someone needs to tell VH1 that we have a candidate for the Worst Week Ever!

Sybilla has been ill since Monday night and Thursday was the worst of it.  Yeah, three days later and it was worse.  She'd been feeling generally yucky on Monday night and most of Tuesday.  No big deal, I thought.  I'll just work from home on Tuesday, and she'll go back to school on Wednesday.  Wednesday morning dawned cloudy and overcast with a high of 101F.  Outside it was in the 50's and 60's.  Home again it was!  She had woken up almost every hour the night before, so Mama and Daddy were feeling a little rough around the edges themselves as well.  By the end of the day, Billa was still feeling pretty awful and that was when we hit the 101F.

Thursday was the worst by far.  Her fever spiked despite having multiple rounds of Motrin and I finally decided to give the doctor's office a call and see if I should even bother coming in or if this was something that could be treated at home.  When I told the nurse how long she'd been sick and what her temp was and that the fever had still not gone away even with the Motrin, the response was "come in, please!"  So I logged off from work for the day and headed in to the dr's office.  We were there for over an hour since Billa's fever spiked to 103.3 while at the office and they wanted to see if Tylenol would bring it down.  It did, thankfully, so no ER visit for us!


Here we are at the dr's office.  Sybilla fell asleep in my lap several times, this being one of them.  Makes my heart hurt!

Turns out Billa has RSV AND an ear infection.  She was tested for flu as well, but that came back negative thankfully.  She's been hurting so much, poor kid, that she's practically slept in my arms during the day and hasn't really slept anywhere else, except maybe the couch.  Disney should pay me as Billa has watched thirteen movies in the last three days.  I am NOT making up that number...you want me to list them to prove it?  Lion King 1 1/2, Up (twice), Curious George, Horton Hears a Who, Ratatouille, Emperor's New Groove, Happy Feet, Kung Fu Panda, Sleeping Beauty, Finding Nemo (twice), Elmo in Grouchland, and last but not least, Hercules.  OK, so technically 12 titles in all with 14 different viewings, so my average of 13 is not off.  This does not include the amount of time Nick Jr has been on either.  Ay, ay, ay.  I swear she doesn't watch nearly that much boob tube on a regular basis.  This was the only thing that kept her distracted from the pain and doggone it, I was going to do what I had to!

We now have an antibiotic for the ear infection and since daycare is closed on Monday due to MLK day, Billa won't see her friends until Tuesday which is a big bummer.  She always feels better around her friends!  I am really hoping she feels better soon, not because I have things I need to do (like work), but because it is killing us to see her hurt so much.  Now that she's talking, it literally breaks my heart to hear her cry and whimper, "Mama, hurt!  Eyes hurt!  Nose hurt!  Head hurt!"  I'm getting all teary eyed just writing that.  Excuse me a minute...ok, I'm good now.

So here's to hoping our munchkin feels better soon...and that WE don't get sick as a result.

Thank goodness it's Friday because I really need the weekend!

Cheers,
Kelly

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Recipe thuRsday: Cherry Almond Wedding Cookies

Good news...Recipe thuRsday is back on!  I took a hiatus for the holidays mostly because I was ridiculously busy on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.  Last week was just plain laziness.  But hey, good things come to those who wait and lemme tell ya, have I got a doozy for you!

This recipe is a slight adaptation of one I gleaned from CookingLight.com and originally called for pistachios.  I'm not a fan of pistachios and they're a little expensive, so I used the next best thing: almonds!  And seriously, dried cherries are so great, they're like the original fruit snack.  I have to hide them from myself, they're so addictive and yummy.  I really hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do; it was delightful and weighing in at a mere 86 (roughly) calories per cookie, you don't feel so bad for eating more than just one!

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Cherry Almond Wedding Cookies
1 1/2 cups cake flour (about 6 ounces)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 ounces)
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, divided
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 TBSP ice water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup dried tart cherries, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
Parchment paper

1. Preheat oven to 350F and lay down some parchment paper on your cookie sheet.
2. Combine flours, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.
3. Add in the butter and mash the flour mixture with the butter until the mixture closely resembles sand.
4. Combine 1 TBSP ice water, almond extract and vanilla in a small bowl.  Slowly add the ice water mixture until thoroughly combined. The mixture will remain crumbly.
5.  Add in the cherries and almonds and mix until combined.  Gently press mixture into a level tablespoon; pack lightly with the heel of your hand. Turn out onto the prepped baking sheet.
Repeat with remaining dough to form roughly 32 cookies.
4. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or just until bottoms are golden. Remove from oven and cool 10
minutes on the baking sheet. 
5. Place remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add cooled cookies; toss gently to
coat with powdered sugar. Transfer cookies to wax paper or rack to cool completely.

TIPS:
Cutting the cherries into smaller bits is highly advised for two reasons: 1) it disperses them more throughout the cookies and 2) it stretches them further since dried cherries can be expensive ($8.99 a pound!).  But they can get sticky and difficult to cut.  Take a pinch of flour and thoroughly mix the cherries with the flour as you go through the cutting process.  It will make them less sticky and easier to work with!
This recipe was originally performed in a  food processor.  I don't have a large one, so my instructions are for mixing by hand.  I started by using a mixer, but it didn't really help, so I continued on by hand.  You may think you're not getting anywhere, but I promise, it really does come together in the end!
Because these cookies do not spread at all on the cookie sheet, you can put them very close together on the cookie sheet so as to bake with one sheet.  You may need to rotate the pan or extend your cooking time slightly though to ensure they are all cooked, though.

Bon app├ętit,
Kelly

Friday, January 8, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen...Christmas has left the building!

We won't spend much time talking about last night suffice it to say if I see one more newspaper headline that has the word TIDE in it, I may puke.  I really really really wish my Horns had won.  Oh well, at least we have great things to look forward to with Garrett Gilbert!

I worked from home today because I didn't want to deal with the crazy cold we're experiencing (33F as of writing this, but it was 27F most of the day) and because it was a slow day.  During some of the slower moments today, I started packing away the Christmas stuff.  We always leave Christmas up until January 6th for two reasons: 1) it's my mom's birthday and 2) technically the Christmas season ends on that day.  Yeah, bet you didn't know that.  The twelve days of Christmas actually start on Christmas Day and then run until January 6, which is the day the Magi found the baby Jesus and brought their gifts to him.  Michael had the day off so he helped me and we rearranged the living room too, while we were at it.

Here's the room before:
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Ok, you really can't see too much, but I'm sitting in front of the couch and the tree was across from the fireplace. The TV is behind the tree in this picture and a chair normally sits where the lemon tree in the background is.

And after:
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I only have four boxes and one shopping bag of Christmas decorations.   I think we may have to get a coffee table now with all that space!

I'm sad that Christmas is gone, but it's so much more special when you have to wait for it!  Now I just have to find a way to recreate the soft sparkly lighting that the Christmas tree lights made...I really liked that effect in the living room!

Happy Friday,
Kelly

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

I vow to post a birthday blog for all of my friends and family this year; if anything I will at least try!  The first birthday of the year is my mom's!  My mom shares her special day with the Feast of the Magi, which is the day that we celebrate the three wise men bringing their gifts to the baby Jesus.

Today is also the day that my daughter decided to wear her tutu to school.  Never mind the fact that just last night she was brandishing a ruler as if it were a sword and huzzah-ing all over the house.  Once she saw her tutu this morning, she HAD to wear it.  In fact, we wore it to Gramma's house to celebrate her birthday.

We enjoyed yummy fried chicken, mashed potatoes, french fries, peas, and oreo cake for dessert.  Mmmm...  Afterward, we watched Star Trek and got home very very late, but my mom had a great birthday!

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Happy Birthday Mama Moo!

Love,K-Boo, The Pirate Princess and Michael

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Gone to the Dogs

Billa is enamored with every pooch she peruses right now.  We're been against getting a dog for some time since we live in an apartment and it takes a lot of time, energy, and patience to train one and we have a cat, but that might change soon.  We're only thinking and dreaming right now, but were we to get one, below are my top six picks (in no particular order).  Also, I just want to mention that this is just a dream list; were we to actually get a dog, I'm 99% certain we'd adopt a pup from our local animal shelter or go through a rescue organization since there are too many good animals without a home.  I strongly encourage folks to look at adopting a dog rather than purchasing one, but adoption isn't for everyone.  If you purchase a dog, please find a reputable breeder and stay away from places like Petland!
1.  Golden Retriever - This was the first breed of dog my parents ever owned after they were married.  Golden Retrievers to me are as American as apple pie and they are wonderful family dogs.  Friendly, sturdy, and I especially loved the ones with reddish coats.  We would name it Strider.
Michael says this dog looks like Falcor from Neverending Story...if this was our dog, we'd probably name him that. 
2.  Black Lab  - After my parents' Golden Retriever ran away thanks to some well-meaning neighborhood kids, they inherited a black lab from one of my dad's law professors.  Her name was Tar Baby and since that wasn't exactly politically correct, she was called TB for short.  TB was like a second mother to my brothers and I.  She never laid a paw on any of us, even when we were rough with her.  In fact, my brother accidentally stuck a pitchfork in her tail and she never snarled at him, not once.  Black labs make wonderful family pets in my opinion, although they can be a bit ahem, "spirited." (Every lab I've known has a penchant for wandering)  And should we ever get one, we would not name it Molly, which is apparently the most popular name for a female black lab.
This grizzled girl looks just like the TB I remember!  [sigh] Memories of my childhood just come flooding back upon looking at this face.
3.  German Shepherd - Our house was robbed twice growing up and after that experience, my mom wanted dogs that left us with a sense of security.  We ended up obtaining two Shepherds, Gretchen and Marshall Dillon (we also had two cats at the time named Chester and Miss Kitty...given that my maiden name is Dillon, the Gunsmoke reference played out nicely :o)  Our dogs went through the same kind of training that police dogs go through and as a result, they were so protective of our family that they had to be chained when visitors called.  Regardless, they were extremely loving dogs and we have such fond memories of playing with them.  Not to mention, they are one of the prettiest breeds of dogs in my opinion; I still find myself oohing and aahing over every Shepherd I see!
This one is the same coloring as Marshall, albeit he's a little less fluffy!
4.  French Bulldog - I fell in love with French Bulldogs when I saw the movie Secondhand Lions (which if you've never seen it, please do, it's such a great movie!).  I don't typically like small dogs, but there is just something about that scrunched up face, big ears, and stocky shoulders that just makes my heart melt when I see one of these.  My initial research has shown that these can be good family dogs too and they are very friendly.  They do have a lot of health problems though, due to their flat faces.  One of their nicknames is "frog dogs"!  I think it would be hilarious to name one Ribbit in reference to that.
How can you not love these faces?  I don't know that I could choose between either one!
5.  Shih Tzu - My aunt and uncle have two of these and they are just the sweetest things ever.  And interestingly enough, not only are they of a sweet temperament, but they don't have fur.  They have HAIR which makes them allergy friendly.  Since my aunt and uncle live in New Mexico, they keep their Shih Tzus short-haired through the year and I like the way they look when they don't have foofy bows in their hair or long coats.  
 Our Shih Tzu would like the one the left...not the Wookiie on the right.  Chewbacca...is that you?

6.  Welsh Corgi - I love love love Welsh Corgis!  Again, big ears just get me.  And how can you not love their long bodies with those short stumpy legs?  And OMG, they are sooo adorable when they lay down and their back legs spread out behind them.  Cute overload!  Corgis are very clever and they were originally bred to be rat catchers in Wales.  They are also very energetic and friendly, and they can be very protective of their families too.  One of the families I use to babysit for had two of them and their only complaint was the shedding, which might be a problem, but I still love these little cuties nonetheless!
I tried to find one with his legs behind him, but I couldn't...so I overloaded your cute meter with this little guy!
What's your dream pet?
Kelly

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Billa Babble: She's Not Saying Sh*t, I Swear!

We are in the midst of a serious word explosion right now, so trying to pinpoint certain words is really hard because it seems like Billa says a new one just about every 5 minutes she's awake!  Lately, she's really been into words that end in a -sh sound, which unfortunately makes everything coming out of her mouth sound a like a swear word.  I promise, I've really been trying to be better about my dirty little mouth, and so far, she's not parroted any of THOSE words.  But for a while I thought she was!

Sine we've been doing potty field trips, Billa has learned about toilet tissue.  I don't know why I started calling it tissue; I don't even refer to facial tissues by that name--they're Kleenex, no matter the brand.  Either way, somehow she now assosicates toilet paper with 'tissue' so every time she hands me a piece, I hear "Sheh? Sheh?" which sounds a lot like sh*t without the t.  Granted, the swear word would be appropriate in this situation in a crude sense, but we're trying to use family friendly terms for the process.

Michael got a gift card to Cabela's from his company Christmas party and he took Billa with him when he went.  Apparently her favorite thing there are the fish tanks (we now have a rainy day destination, yes!) and every time she sees a fish in a tank, she practically screams "Shi!  Shi!"  As in FISHIE.  Again, when she's uber excited, it sounds a lot like sh*t.

And finally this morning, when I changed her diaper, she found a dried up baby wipe (it was used to wipe her face before bed the night before.  I promise!) and she ran to the kitchen with it yelling "Sheh! Sheh!"  I had to explain to her the word was TRASH.  Now she says "Trishhhh."  At least we're getting somewhere!

That's this week's installment of Billa Babble...tune in next time for more!

Cheers,
Kelly

Friday, January 1, 2010

One Word for the New Year

A few weeks ago I had a few minutes to myself at work in between meetings and I was suddenly reminded about how close we were coming to the end of the year. I decided to take the few minutes and pen down some of my resolutions with the plan that I would prep them later for automatic posting this morning.  But true to form, even the most well intentioned plans go awry!  One of my favorite blogs posed a different interpretation of the resolution – choose only one word to represent the theme for what you want to accomplish this year.  'One word?!'  I thought.  'But I've already written hundreds!'  I could have shoved Sarah's advice to the wayside and said 'Whatever!' but I like a good challenge.  Besides, I've already done half the work, right?  All I have to do is re-read them and decide what word fits best.  Done!

Not so fast, Kemosabe.  I started to notice a theme amongst my resolutions, a theme that was originally described as ME.  Choosing the word ME as my theme of the year seemed a bit, well, selfish.  But the reason I had chosen these resolutions was because I had felt that I've lost myself recently.  I've been feeling neglected and unhappy with myself and I knew that if I didn't do something about it, no good would come of it.  But I couldn't just say ME as a theme; there were other resolutions, ones that didn't  involve ME per se, things like stengthening relationships that have been neglected and spend more time together as a family, etc.  What word could be used to describe both of these aspects that I wanted to focus on?  'I'm doomed,' I thought.  'I've chosen to take on this challenge and I'll never be able to see it through! [Insert Equity scream here]'

And then Michael came up with the word.  We were driving out to Wimberly to visit with his aunt and Uncle and grandmother and he mentioned that we should choose one word for our resolutions.  Hold the wedding, what!?
"Have you been reading my favorite blog?" I asked him, shocked and delighted.
"No, I just thought it might be a good idea."  he shrugged.  I couldn't argue with that. 
"Well, what's your word then?" I asked, after explaining my excitement and the challenge issued by my favorite blogger.
"Simplicity." he answered. 
"Huh."  I grunted.  That was a good answer.  Definitely something we could work on.  But it just didn't jive with me.  "I don't know what to choose for me.  I had all these resolutions written out, and now...poof!  I can't think of one word to sum them up.  Except ME."  I explained glumly.
"What's wrong with ME?"
"Because it's selfish, that's why!  I can't make the theme of my year ME!"  He was quiet for a moment before speaking.
"I've got one for you."
"What?" I asked, curious.
"Invest."
"Invest?"
"Yeah.  You DO need to focus on yourself, so any of those things you plan to do will be an investment in you."
I paused to mull it over.  It sounded good, definitely less selfish than ME.  And it fit perfectly with my other resolutions as well!
"That's perfect, hon!"  I smiled.  "Thanks."
"You're welcome."  He squeezed my hand.  "You're definitely worth investing in."
(Hands off ladies and gents–this one's mine!)

So...[drum roll]...my theme for 2010 is INVEST.  I plan on investing in myself and my future, in my financial standing, in my relationships, and in my hopes and dreams.  I plan on being healthy in mind, body and soul.  I plan on investing in the relationships I have and making new ones.   I plan on getting my finances in order and getting us to a more stable place.  And I plan on pursuing some dreams that have been gathering dust for a little while and exploring my creative boundaries.  I've got some big goals and a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm gonna do it, come hell or high water!

Happy New Year,
Kelly

Happy New Year 2010!



Well, kids, another decade has passed us by.  I hope that you all had a safe and fun new year's eve!


Michael and I dropped Sybilla off to stay with  Michael's mom overnight and used some of the gift cards we received over Christmas to go to dinner and then to see Avatar.  The movie is amazing and I highly recommend seeing it if you have not.  We got home just in time to crack open a bottle of champagne and join in the countdown on Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve Party with Ryan Seacrest.  No lie, that was the entire title of the show, lol.  And Dick...we love you man, but seriously, lose the self tanner!  (How old is he anyway?)  I'm now headed off to bed while Michael has headed out to go pick up some friends (don't worry, he had two sips of champagne and that was it).

To all of you, Happy New Year...may it be filled with friends, family, fun, food, and good fortune!

Cheers,
Kelly

PS Rabbit Rabbit!

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