Monday, August 31, 2009

Some Questions And An Award

Some things I have been wondering....

*Why does every person in the room automatically need to talk to me as soon as I turn on the vacuum?

*Do children have an internal clock that goes off at 4:00 each day, turning them into complete monsters, thus making me wonder how I will actually make it until Blake arrives home an hour and a half later?

*How does a puddle look so attractive to a child, yet bath time can elicit such strong protests?

*Does anyone else find it odd that our husbands know exactly when the next (insert favorite college team here) football game is coming on, yet not the slightest clue when a child's soccer game is scheduled for?

*Who coordinated football season with the holidays and when can I speak to him about that?

*How can I get in touch with someone who might be interested in recording Lainey's screech (when Jack comes near her) to use on prisoners during terrorist questioning?

OK, that's it for now. Just a few things rattling around in this brain of mine. See? I don't have room for LSU's prior football coaches.

Moving on....I got an award! Was just thinking that it had been a long time since we passed them here I go. It came from Allyson and Dave....the cutest couple, always on the go and living life.

So, I award the following:

Sassafrass Jane - an old friend, a newby to the blogosphere and definitely one to read. Seriously funny. Super cute.

The Lenzers - another old friend from my working days, mom of 2 with another on the way. She has a candid way about reporting on motherhood that I can definitely relate to.

Monica - a family friend and one that I've really enjoyed getting to know since our blogging worlds collided. She has a love of travel like me and I know we'd be great friends in real life if we lived, oh, maybe in the same part of the country.

And, there it is! Pass it on, girls.....make someone's day!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Night

I really love the end of the weekend. Kids in bed early and a big meal finished, enjoyed and wrapped up for lunch on Monday. Tonight, I made Jann's Chicken Enchiladas and they were a hit!

So, I'm busy menu planning and gearing up for a week of school, Soccer sign ups, Catechism registration, a trip to the Farmer's Market (pumpkins, anyone?), Donuts with Dad at school, and many afternoon hours watching Carter hunt insects for a school project. Yes, like the ones we did in the 9th grade. He's doing it in the 3rd. Here's to aggressive education!

Some weekend photos:

Scenes from the drive way...gorgeous weather brought us outside both days. I love this picture....all 3 playing together. Caroline, that's your Thomas tent from a couple of years ago. He still loves it!

Lainey, our tough girl.

Jack found a baby slug on the side of his crocodile and surprisingly wasn't completely horrified by it.

They're a motley crue, huh?

Worlds of are Lucy and Charlie Brown at Camp Snoopy. I will be absolutely giddy if they do a Great Pumpkin theme for Halloween. One of my favorite videos!

Carter spent his visit on the side lines since he was grounded. No big rides. No Icees. Life is rough.

Obviously, he's totally enjoying himself here.

Our local farmstead opened its new entrance and it's as lovely as the rest of the place.

We finally took that nature walk I've been wanting to. Lots to see in the woods. Check out Lainey's clothes here. Also on my list this week - sorting through summer clothes and bringing out the fall ones.

Blake woke with the kids this morning and took them to the park. It was 50 degrees, so he went into her closet to find something with sleeves and to find long pants.....I was not prepared. These jeans are size 18 months and are baggy on her. She's such a shrimp!

But, oh, so cute.

Punkin Jack.

They love the goats.

And, I love this picture.

Blake took everyone into the baby goat exhibit. Notice that the goat is asleep. Ever seen that in a petting zoo? These have to be the most well fed farm animals ever.

Their favorite part - tractor bikes!

Help from big brother. She's a lucky girl.

How was your weekend? Anyone see Halloween costumes at Target? Put a smile on my face! Tuesday, September 1st, marks the beginning of "harvest" here at the Starnes house. Blake has forbidden me to put out Halloween decorations until October. So, I refer to September as harvest time and it sufficiently annoys him. Mission accomplished!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Football Season Preview

This conversation pretty much sums up what football season sounds like in our house:

(Watching the SEC coverage on TV).

Casey - "Who did we lose this year?"

Blake - "Who did who lose this year?"

Casey - "LSU. Duh. We're talking football here."

Blake - "Riiiiiggght. Y'all were not very good last year, so it doesn't really matter."

....small gasps....we don't talk about LSU not being good even if we stink....

Casey - "I'm talking about graduates. Are our freshmen good?"

Blake - "Case. I appreciate you trying. You really don't know what you're talking about."

....more TV.....they start talking about Alabama.....discussing Nick Sabin, former LSU coach, who now coaches at Alabama....

Casey - "Wait. Nick Sabin is coaching at Alabama? ALABAMA?!!!! I thought he went pro and coached for Miami!"

Blake - "3 years."

Casey - "Oh. Are you sure?"

Blake - "3 years, he's been at Alabama. Go pull the flag out of the front yard and take your link off the blog."

I got some work to do ladies. Must delete the blog in order to put free time into studying football. Kidding, of course. But, I'm really going to try this year.

And, by that, I mean, I'm going to do more than put the kids in cute LSU gear.

Geaux Tigers!!!!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nature vs Nurture

I really do look at her sometimes and wonder where she came from.

Her love of makeup, lotions and all things sparkly.

A preference for age 1....she'll change them several times a day.

Who taught her these things? I spend all of 10 minutes after getting out of the shower prepping for the day. But, she studies me. She watches and learns and mimics the few cosmetic things I do.

"Try Yainey, Mom", hand stretched out, big eyes open, politely asking for a dab of lotion.

But, the baby dolls? We are not around newborns often and she's been raised around trains and dinosaurs and dirt. I have never sat her down to show her how to care for an infant, yet she knows what to do.

It is inherent.

I'm convinced.

Look at these doesn't add up.

I didn't know I wanted a daughter until I had one. And, here she by day....ever so quickly....teaching me a whole new part of the parenting equation. How to love differently, how to protect more fiercely, how to prepare for a broken heart unlike one I've known before.

Movie Reviews

Still escaping at least once a week for some toddler-free time at the movies. Cheapest therapy around. Give it a try. My sister, Ceason, loves to tease me because I go alone....and now prefer to go alone. Best way, I promise!

Inglourious Basterds - Fantastic. Gory and a few too many scalpings for my comfort level, but very clever and very Tarantino-esque. I thought my love died for him with Reservoir Dogs (still one of the best soundtracks ever), but no. I loved it.

And, Brad Pitt? He was adorable. Blake loves to tease me about him being a celeb crush and he's not.

Benecio del Toro? Yes.

Brad Pitt? No.

I married a pretty boy. Why would I need a crush on Brad, too?

Orphan - Knew the twist. Not impressed. Weird and not in a good way. I like weird. I didn't like this.

The Time Traveler's Wife - I really wanted to like this movie and I, unfortunately, did not. Have heard great things about the book and I adore Rachel Adams. But, it didn't play out was confusing.....and didn't make a lot of sense to me. Maybe if I had some prior knowledge of the story, it would have helped.

I really wanted to see 500 Days of Summer, but have heard it's terrible. Anyone?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Looking For Love

I've been cooking like mad lately. It's what I enjoy doing. Preparing a good meal for my family.....choosing healthier options than what most restaurants offer....saving money by eating in....all around? Win, win, win.

I love to cook and love to learn new recipes. I get stuck, though. And, right now, I'm stuck on The Pioneer Woman. She spells everything out so beautifully in photos and makes it all seem very achievable. Fairly simple meals and room to make them your own. I'm hooked.

Let's start with Cajun Meatloaf. Yum. Double yum. Cajun flavor and a honey glaze on top. Delish.

And, I had to try this one....Not Your Granny's Mac n Cheese....if for no other reason than to shut Coco up. She's been telling me for months to make it. And, she was right. You heard it here. Doesn't happen often, so I will give it the attention it deserves. Coco got it right.

A new request in this house....Crispy Yogurt Chicken. Much healthier than fried chicken and just as tasty.

Blake's new favorite meal? Chicken Spaghetti Casserole. It's similar to one my grandmother used to make and just as tasty. Best thing about this dish? Leftovers for days.

And, let's not forget about dessert. Oatmeal Crispies. So simple and delicious.

Wait. One more. Chocolate Sheet Cake. Marrying into this family required me to figure this out. How do I attempt to re-create Blake's grandmother's masterpiece? The pressure! He insists I'm pretty darn close.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I need a new drug.

A new recipe site.

A new love.

A website is preferable, although I do love a good cookbook. Can you help me?

New Is Old Again

Are you ready to have some fun today? Check out this link!

I love it. Found it months ago....tucked it safely into my favorites....forgot about it....and rediscovered it. A simple browse into your pictures, 10 seconds processing, and you get an image back looking 100+ years old. How cool is that?

Years ago, I took a photo of my mom on Santa's lap around the age of 4 and made it into a Christmas card for our family. The picture itself was darling, but the black-and-white rustic finish made it even more enjoyable. I see lots of fun Christmas projects ahead with this little on-line treasure.

A few examples:

Give it a try. Then, save to your computer. Voila! Can't wait to see how they print.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Maybe It Is Time To Say Goodbye To The Chaos

That only babyhood can bring.

Our youngest will turn 2 in a matter of weeks. One crib left in the house and that will go soon, too. One left to potty train and she's close to done already.


No more diapers?
No more messy meals?
No more baby bag?

It does sound nice sometimes.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Midwest Travel Report: Parkville, Missouri

Such a darling little town.....such a snag in our plan of where to live. We are really enjoying Johnson County and the amenities are hard to beat. But, every time we venture over the river and into Parkville, we are mesmerized.

The precious downtown area.
The trees, people, the trees!
The itty bitty population (5,000).
The college in town.
The schools.
The charming people and laid back life.

Sigh. Maybe we should flip a coin.

A distinct building on Park University.

Found another house to live in. Not for sale, though. Love this one, though.

Main Street shopping. Lovely 70 degree weather.

Cute wine store...everything is cute here. And, I'm a big fan of "cute".

Coco, you will love this store once you bring your southern booty up here for a visit.

Just a little sample of their stuff. I bought many fun things.

Including this hand-made hat for Laine. Old lady-esque design and a fun twist on cold weather gear for the approaching season.

I do think she is adorable.

The Main Street Inn.

Farmer's Market each weekend.

A train on one side of this enormous park and the Missouri River on the other. It was almost too much for Jack.

Carter took the little ones out to play football with his impromptu friends. Lainey picked flowers the whole time. She is such a girl.

My precious, funny, sweet and entertaining mess of a middle child!

Big muscles.

Our boys.

We sat in between two playgrounds and let the kids run between each of them. Carter was just beyond with some big kids. Blake and I shared a blanket and some kettle corn and the blues music from the festival played in the background. All around, a perfect day.

I love to see the little ones playing together....check them out in the next two pics on the slide.

So happy to see them getting along.

Saw this shirt and thought it was cute.

Parkville at night.....we're mid-way on Main heading up the hill.

Love Spaghetti Western's window. She has such cute ideas!

We'll be back in September for a Blues Festival. And, definitely again for the holiday season.....can only imagine how precious Main Street will be!