Tuesday, January 26

Brooklyn's 1st Visit to the Dentist

Brooklyn visited the dentist (Dr. Rhodes) for the first time today and did AMAZING! Emma (although traumatized at age 3 at the dentist) really made the dentist sound fun for B. Brooklyn woke up excited this morning talking about going to the dentist and getting a new toothbrush. They needed 4 xrays and she did great until the 4th and then the gag reflex kicked in. It scared her. We will try for that one next time. She was awesome laying there getting her teeth brushed, flossed, poked, and painted. Way to go B!

Emma had an appointment too and she also did great. You never know with her. They both were cavity free, which is one of the few appointments for Emma that she has not had a cavity.

Thursday, January 21

Emma's First Masterpiece

This is the masterpiece that Emma brought to the car after art last week. I looked at her in shock because I was so overly impressed. Doubting her talent a bit, I asked her, "Did you really paint this?" She smiled and said, "Yes!"
I don't mean to brag and I really am blogging this for our own scrapbook, but seriously. My 6 year old did this. Emma explained that they got to pick a picture from an old calendar. She chose the beach because we had gone there for Thanksgiving. She told me that her teacher helped her pencil in the drawing, but she did the painting herself. I asked her about the shading and she said that her teacher helped her with that. I went in yesterday to her class and told her teacher how impressed I was with her painting. I also wanted to feel her out a bit about how much Emma actually did of the painting and how much Mrs. Nadine did for her. Mrs. Nadine said, "She did it! Isn't it awesome?!!" She went on to say that she coached her along and taught her how to look at the picture and mimic it. Amazing! I took this picture on my phone, but I'm going to have John start to photograph her work so we can watch it progress over time. I hope she sticks with it and keeps on loving it!

Tuesday, January 19

Fun Weekend

Brooklyn was sick all last week, so we were happy that on Friday she felt better and we could get out of the house and enjoy the weekend. Both of the girls had separate birthday parties to go to on Friday night, so John and I divided and conquered.

On Saturday, I worked the Bridal Event with my sister in law and niece. It was a long day of standing on our feet, but the three of us had a great time together. The day makes for great people watching and great fashion tips. John had the girls for the day and he planned a fun day for them. They met Finley and his kids for donuts at Rick's first thing. They ate and then went to the Cake Walk to watch them make the cakes.

John took the girls to Barnes and Noble and the Pet Store and then back home for lunch and naps/quiet time. After they rested for a bit, he took them to Lewis and Clark (an outdoors store in NWA) to climb the very large climbing wall. Emma had done this before a few years ago and Brooklyn had never done it. I love that you can go and do this for free! I'm a little sad that I missed out on watching the girls do this, but luckily John took video! (I tried to upload the video, but the file wa to big) Emma climbed to the VERY top and rang the bell and Brooklyn went about 1/4 of the way up. Emma was about to give up at one point, but he reminded her of the Happy Meal he had promised and she did it. So proud of her!!! I met up with them at McDonald's for dinner and we celebrated her achievement. ;)

John had Monday off for MLK, as did Emma. With a little warmer temperatures, we hit the trail with bikes and scooters. We rode down to the pond at the hospital to feed the ducks. Belle was with us and she was going crazy. She loves to chase birds and when we say the word in the backyard, she runs like crazy around the yard. It is a fun game. We decided to take her off the leash to see what she would do. FREEDOM! She ran like crazy around the pond and into it many times. This was probably cruel of us to do to the ducks, but we knew she wouldn't get them. Belle will go into water until it hits her belly and then she's out. It was fun! We left there and rode to the park and then headed home for lunch. We ended our day by taking the girls to see the Chipmunks at the theater. It was a hit!

Monday, January 18


As most of you know, John has taken up photography in a pretty serious way. I love seeing him have a hobby that he enjoys and to be honest, I LOVE that he loves to take pictures of our family. His favorite thing to shoot is landscapes and anything that gets him outside in nature.

He took on a 365 day Photoblog Challenge for the year of 2010 and he has taken some great shots. You can look back at some of his pictures from January and also follow him through the rest of the year.

This is one of his shots from today when we took Belle for a stroll and encountered some ducks along the way. Poor ducks. Happy Belle!

Friday, January 15

Funny Stuff

Emma and I have had two very funny conversations lately that I wanted to make sure I documented.

This one took place back in December when we were on our way to Elle's birthday party.
Emma: What school does Elle go to?
Me: Butterfield Elementary
Emma: Mom, I go to Young Elementary. Our schools have the same last name!!

This was our discussion just the other day:
Me: Em, I made you an appointment to go to the doctor and talk to him about your tummy.
Em: Ok. Mom, what makes doctors know everything?
Me: They go to school for a really, really, really, really, really long time so they can learn how to take care of people.
Em: You mean, like, they go to school on Sundays?

Thursday, January 14

Winter Fun 2010

The snow started coming down on January 3rd and from then on out it stayed snowy. The temperatures here in NWA were crazy cold. We were in the negatives a few days with wind chills hitting -20's. Brrr.......
Springdale was scheduled to have Monday the 4th off from school, but who knew that the snow and icy roads (that could not melt) would keep us out for an extra week. Emma was ready to get back to school and I was ready for the routine to get back, but I'm thankful we had that time. Things are busy and "on the go" already and I'm glad I didn't wish that week away. We did crafts, watched movies, played with our new toys and games, made a snowman and had some fun sledding too!

Wednesday, January 13

Christmas in Little Rock

On Christmas afternoon, we packed up and headed to Little Rock. The roads were fairly clear on 540 and perfect once we got to I40. We had to take 2 cars because John had to be back at work on Monday and the girls and I wanted to stay a bit since Emma was out of school. It was a good thing we had 2 cars because we had a lot of luggage and gifts, plus Belle.

We got to Little Rock around 5:00 and we had Christmas with my parents and my sister's family. It was fun to watch the girls pass out gifts to everyone and to watch them give Claire her gifts. They were so excited for her to have her own grocery cart! The girls were spoiled with gifts. They got a few new games, a Build a Bear (which ended up being GG and Mom building the bear!), puzzles and ZuZu pets. Actually Brooklyn already had a ZuZu pet from her birthday, but my parents got her a bag and blanket for it. Emma received a ZuZu pet and the bag and blanket. (we found out the next day that you should not put the ZuZu pets near your hair and turn it on. The picture describes what happened. Oops!)

They both got a Barbie plate set that included a bowl, glass and plate. They loved it all!

For some reason, we did not get a lot of pictures while opening gifts, but John did get a few of the girls of my family. I'm not sure how my Dad and Terral did not make it in any of these. I guess John enjoys taking pics of girls more. :)

I love this one of my Mom and sister.

Claire Bear and Cathy! Love it.

Brooklyn, Emma and Claire. How I love these little girls and how I love how much they love each other!

On Saturday, we lounged around and played with new toys. On Sunday, we did a lot of the same thing. We went out for BBQ at lunch and then John had to head back. The rest of us headed over to my sister's house around 4:00, so we could celebrate Claire's 2nd birthday! My camera did not make it over to their house for some reason, so I have no pictures. It was a cupcake party for the family. All of Terral's family and our family were there (minus John) and we had a great time celebrating a sweet little girl.

On Monday we ventured to Emma's favorite Little Rock hotspot, The Wonder Place. I wish I could open one in Northwest Arkansas. It is such a great idea and really lets their imaginations come to life. This was the first time we had been since Brooklyn was under 1, so it was brand new to her. She loved it and has been asking to go back.

My parents hung out with the girls on Monday night while I was the 7th wheel at dinner with some friends from college. It was great to catch up with them in person and laugh like old times.

The girls and I packed up on Tuesday morning and headed back home. It was a great visit! I wish it wasn't 3 hours away, so we could all play more often!

Tuesday, January 12

Christmas Morning

Ah, Christmas morning. Cozy inside and a blanket of snow outside. Perfect!

Going to bed, we told the girls a million times not to come out of the bedroom, but to yell for us and we would come get them. Emma apparently did not hear any of that and came to our room at 7:15 to wake us up. I freaked, but then realized that she had not seen a thing because she saw the dining room window first and everything was covered in snow. I lead her back to her room with her eyes closed and John and I got the camera ready. Before going out to the living room, we all hung out on B's bed and read Luke 2 and told Jesus Happy Birthday!

Emma went to bed very concerned that Santa would not know which chair was hers and which was Brooklyn's, so I put their little pillows that my Mom had made when they were born in each chair. Santa gave them a new PetShop House to play with together! He also brought new Doodles, slippers and a PetShop Pet for the new house. Their stockings were full of fresh Playdoh, new toothbrushes, fun Band-aids, toe nail polish in crazy colors and a few little chocolate treats!

The girls were so excited about their PetShop house and practically forgot their were also presents under the tree too. They each got 3 gifts from Mom and Dad this year representing Jesus' 3 gifts from the Wise Men.
Emma received a Curious George shirt, a Barbie 3 Musketeers game for the Wii, and a Make Your Own Pop Up Book. Brooklyn picked a new Mickey Mouse puzzle out for her at the Dollar Store. She had not asked for any of these things so I was a little nervous, but she loved it all. She has made both Pop Up books (will have to post those later) and has enjoyed playing her Wii game. (so has John!)
Brooklyn got a Disney Princess necklace, a Cinderella shirt and some food items for her to feed her baby doll. Emma picked out a Princess and the Frog wand from the Dollar Store. She had asked for food for her baby many times, so I knew she would love that. She had seen a Princess necklace at a store back in November and the sweet girl never stopped talking about this necklace. I couldn't find it at the store when I went back, but I found it online. We spent $12 on it and that included the tax and shipping. I could not wait to give it to her! She was so excited! These were her words as I was putting it on her and asking her if she liked it, "It is all I have ever wanted." I could have squeezed her to death at that moment.

What the girls really wanted for Christmas (along with their Daddy) was a kitten. A real one. I like to visit kittens and play with them, but I would take 5 dogs over a kitten any day. It was a running joke that John was going to surprise us all with a kitten and many threats by me to leave him if he did. :) I thought it would be fun to give the three of them a little surprise. Yes, it would have thrilled them had this thing been real, but the girls loved this just as much. I'm not so sure about John.

John and I have never done big things for each other for Christmas, so it was low key for us. I re-wrapped the xbox game that he bought as his Christmas present back in November! He got some new socks, iTunes card, a frame for one of his photographs and don't forget the new cat. :)
He renewed my Real Simple subscription, gave me the Pioneer Woman's Cookbook that I asked for (and I love it. Read it cover to cover it was so entertaining!), and I got a certificate from him to take the girls profile pictures and turn them into silhouettes! Woohoo!

After presents, I put our Happy Birthday Jesus Monkey Bread in the oven and started making our other food. The girls and John continued to play with all the new stuff. We ate really cheesy eggs and bacon, then sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and chowed down on some Monkey Bread. Yum!
The girls could not wait to go play in the snow, so after breakfast we bundled them (and John) up and they went to play for a bit. The wind was blowing so much that it was bitterly cold and they did not last long. They came back in for hot chocolate and played some more with their toys.

It was a great morning and so fun to be at our house with our family of 4. It was laid back and we enjoyed moving at our own pace.

Once we learned that the roads to Little Rock were clear, I started packing us up. We packed lunches for the car, piled everyone (including Belle and many presents) in and headed south to see my family. More to come on our Christmas in Little Rock.

Sunday, January 10

Christmas Eve

We stayed in Springdale for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning this year and then traveled to Little Rock on Christmas afternoon to be with my family. This was the first year that we have been at our home with our family of 4 on Christmas. I really enjoyed it. There were things that I missed as well, but it was really peaceful and laid back with just having the four of us together. It was made even more perfect when we woke to a blanket of snow. Ahh, a White Christmas!

I love Christmas Eve! I love the feeling of knowing that the next day is Christmas Day. Such fun anticipation! I woke up early on Christmas Eve to start cooking and preparing for all of John's family to come to our house for lunch and gifts. We were thrilled to be able to host everyone and I really did not have to do much because John's Mom and Sister made a lot too. The girls were busy that morning too making Wikki Stix candy canes for all of our guests. :)

John's parents got to our house early to drop some things off and give us an early Christmas present before everyone else got there. I was given a head of lettuce, John a picture of GO on a Monopoly board, B got a "2" candle, and Emma got a DVD about Disney World. It spelled out:
"Lettuce GO 2 Disney World!"
So fun! We actually knew that his parents would be taking us, but it was fun to actually unwrap the gift. They did the same thing for the Hannon's about 5 years ago and John's parents also used this to tell John and Amy they were going when they were little. Now it is our turn since our youngest (and last) will be 4. We are going sometime in September and CAN"T wait. :) We are so thankful to get to go. It is one of our favorite places to go in the world and can't wait to share it with the girls. Especially Brooklyn since it will be her first time. (yes, we are sitting backwards for the picture and I'm in my pj's. :))

I actually brought out the china for the occasion and we feasted on ham, cheese grits, sweet potato casserole, salad, bread, pie, and cookies. It was delicious! After lunch, we opened gifts and sat around and talked. John took some family photos and was able to get a great one of all of us thanks to the self timer and tripod!

Nelson/Hannon/Dill Family Picture

Grannie Dill and the Girls

The Cousins:
Isaac (9), Grace (13), and Luke (11)

Everyone left to go rest for a bit before we all headed up to the church for the 4:30 Christmas Eve Service. It was our first time to go to this service on Christmas Eve and it was a lot of fun. The kids (and there were a ton of kids) were all given glow sticks instead of candles. We sang songs and went through each candle on the advent wreath and talked about its meaning. We loved the service and loved getting to share it with John's family.

The four of us headed home to our Papa Murphy's Pizza we had picked up earlier in the day. When we got home, we checked our mailbox and the girls had each received a letter from the North Pole. What?? To say that our girls were excited would be an understatement!

We ate pizza, cleaned up and got everything out to decorate our cookies for Santa. The girls and I had made the cookies the day before, but we iced and sprinkled our hearts content. :)

The girls had made "Reindeer Food" at Emma's class party, so we threw some of that onto our patio (which was soon covered with snow!) and then fixed Santa's plate.

We all piled onto the couch together and John read "The Night Before Christmas" and then we sent them to Brooklyn's room to sleep for the night. One of my fondest memories growing up was sleeping in my sister's room on Christmas Eve. It did my heart good to hear them talking and giggling in there together. (Until I had to go in an hour later and start threatening presents under the tree if Brooklyn didn't go to sleep! :) Ah, the excitement of a child!)
Once it was quiet and the monkey bread was prepared and in the fridge for the morning, the elves got to work. And the snow began to fall!!!

Christmas Eve, Eve

On the night of December 23rd (which we called Christmas Eve, Eve all day) we took our annual stroll of The Lights of the Ozarks at the Fayetteville Square. (We usually do this earlier in the month with the Hannon's, but with Emma being in school and other holiday parties/birthdays and sickness, it kept getting pushed back) We changed it up a bit this year and ate dinner at Hugo's instead of Tim's Pizza. The girls had never been and it is one of our favorite date dinners in Fayetteville. We love Hugo's, but John and I agreed that it is not the most ideal place for kids because it is so tiny. I think we will be heading back to Tim's next year with the girls.

The square was beautiful, as always. It is crazy how magical it still is, year after year. It never gets old.

We treated the girls to a pony ride which they loved!

We ran into the Eichler's while we were there, so they saved us from having to ask a random family to take our picture. Thanks guys!

We started a new tradition this year of taking the girls to the Dollar Tree (their most favorite place!) for them to pick out a Christmas gift for each other. They were both so excited to go and pick something out. It was neat to see. We will do this again next year, but will for sure go before Christmas Eve Eve. The place was cleared out!

The Elleman Annual Gingerbread Party

Time to play catch up on the blog and I have a lot to blog from our fun December!

Our favorite Christmas party each year is the Elleman Gingerbread Party. Allyn and Aaron started hosting this party for about 8 couples around 8 years ago. They always serve the best food for our dinner and allow us to make their house a mess for a few hours every year. We all bring our own supplies to make our houses and pretty much the only rule is that you cannot assemble ahead of time. The competition gets harder and harder each year. Each year, John and I think we will win or at least place. We never do. We really thought that this year would be our year. We made a lighthouse in honor of the lighthouse our family climbed while we were in Cozumel. Sadly, we did not win, or even place, but we had a great time trying!

Maybe next year!

Thursday, January 7

Frappuccino Concoction

I should be blogging about our fun Christmas, our never ending Christmas break, or our snow day fun, but for now, I will share a new recipe.

I blogged long ago about one of my "happies" being Nescafe Ice Java-Chocolate Mocha. It was an addiction and I have craved it every morning for about 3 or 4 years. Around November of 2008, we found out that the product would be discontinued. This was devastating for my Mom, sister and myself who were also addicts. John called his old co-workers at Nestle to find out about this for me and they confirmed it. They were nice enough to let him know what Walmart in our area still had some left. My sweet husband went to the Arkansas/Missouri line Walmart on his lunch break one day and stocked me with about 8 bottles. John's Mom got me a few more in Mtn. Home. (My Mom and Sister cleared the shelves at all Central AR Walmart and Krogers) My stash lasted me until about 2 weeks ago. It was a sad day when I squeezed that last drop out.

The closest thing to this stuff is the bottled Starbuck Frappuccino's. I love them, but they are pricey and knew we couldn't afford to buy those each week. So, I got online to see if I could find a copycat recipe. I found one and then adapted it to my liking. Guys, I think I like it better than my Java. To top it off, it is better for me (more natural) and less expensive. I make enough to last me about 4-5 days and I store it in a large container in the fridge. I like it cold most of the time, but I tried it today warm and it was just as tasty. I like it so much I had to share my concoction. You can adjust the amounts based on your preference for a stronger coffee taste or more or less chocolate flavor.

Frappuccino Concoction

4 Cups of brewed coffe
8 C skim milk
1/2 C Sugar (I use Splenda/Sugar blend and use 1/4C)
1/2tsp of unsweetened cocoa

Combine all of this together in a large container and shake to mix. Serve over ice or heat it up for a warm treat. This amount lasts me about 5 days.