Thursday, January 31, 2013

Andrew Turns 13!

For Andrew, his birthday falling on a school day was a big bummer.

He woke up to balloons all over his bedroom floor and I'm not sure whether he or Lily was more excited about it! :)

"Mom, can I pleeeeeeeeease stay home? It's not fair that I have to go to school on my birthday!"

It was the first day back after Thanksgiving break and he hadn't missed any days of school all year, so he knew the answer before he asked the question.

Resigned that I wasn't going to give in and let him stay home, off to school he went. 

While he was at school, I worked on his cake.  His Xbox controller cake.  It seemed fairly easy, so why just have a plain pan cake? 

Andrew's favorite kind of cake is chocolate with white icing. Perfect.  I followed my favorite cake recipe for the yummiest from scratch-ish chocolate cake, homemade buttercream frosting and knew he'd be thrilled!

In order for this cake to be authentic, it had to be thick. Double layers and we were set. I printed out a paper Xbox controller to use as a guide to cut the 13x9 cakes into the right shape.  Truthfully, George cut it out because he's more skilled at stuff like that than I am and I didn't want to mess it up.

After the cut out, all I had to do was frost it and create the knobs and buttons. I opted to use the buttercream frosting for the whole cake because it tastes better than fondant and just used marshmallow fondant for the knobs.

I was happy with it and I knew Andrew would love it and that was all that mattered to me.

When he got home from school, he went into the kitchen like usual.

"Mom! This is awesome!"  
My work was done.

We had given him the choice of where he wanted to go out for supper or his choice of what supper he wanted at home and he chose to go to The Golden Corral. 

Andrew and Lily were most excited about the desserts.  Man, they're cute.

After supper, it was time to head home for presents and cake! We gave him a subscription to GameFly which is like NetFlix for video games and money {first time he's ever gotten money from me or us} and I made him a special card just from me reflecting on all of his birthdays.  He loved his cards and gifts from family and friends! We have very thoughtful people in our lives! Thank you for always thinking of us!

We had a happy, simple family celebration for his birthday this year and it was relaxing and perfect. He was happy and that's ultimately the only thing that matters.

I can't believe my first baby is now officially a teenager!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Stephanie Street aka Sesame Street Live

One of my favorite parts about two years old is the language development. Lily calls Sesame Street "Stephanie Street". Completely enunciated into "Steph-a-nie Street," plain as day.  {I've mentioned Amy and Victoria a lot, but what can I say? We love them!} So when I won tickets to Sesame Street Live earlier this month, it was a perfect mom & daughter double date! 

The girls and probably moreso their moms, were super excited to go!

We'd hit a warm week in January for Pittsburgh so we didn't have to have coats! Why does that matter, you ask?? Well because it's important to see these girls' cutie Elmo outfits they had on, of course! Who doesn't love toddlers in Elmo shirts and red tutus?

We made our way inside and there were tons of "Oh my! Look how cute they are!" as we made our way to find our seats with all our stuff, I kid you not. I will note that no matter how long you've been a parent or how many kids you have, taking an active {read: runs like the wind} toddler and carrying purses, camera bags and diaper bags will make you sweaty. 

We got programs and souvenirs the girls were happy to read and play with as we waited for the show to start! We kept them corralled in between us, but truthfully they didn't need it much. They were only on their feet to dance and to get up to climb on our laps. 


The dad in front of us kept asking how old Lily and Victoria both were as he listened to them chatter back and forth and also with us. We've got talkative understandable kids. I'm guessing it has nothing to do with who their mothers are haha.


Lily was a little apprehensive as the lights went down and the characters began to come out and stayed close to me for a few minutes and then was pretty enamored with the whole show and danced and sang along!

 Victoria was ecstatic from the get go! She was even shouting for the characters to come back when they'd leave the stage. It was so fun to watch our girls enjoying the show!  It was a show about making music and these two girls looooooooooooooooovvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeee music, so it was perfect!

They enjoyed some snacks after intermission when we headed up for a potty break and diaper change and were definitely excited when the show started back.  Lily loves her some french fries!

We had so much fun and were very lucky to have been able to go! Better share with our best friends! Making memories.
You can read Amy's post about it here!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Say Hello, Will Ya?

1. What blogs do you visit daily? Please list 1-3 of your favorites.
A couple of my favs:
Amy at Our Journey as Rookie Parents ~Amy's a blog friend turned in person friend who was the friend I was searching for after moving to Pittsburgh aka sanity saver for me and the mama to Lily's bff Victoria.  {holy run-on sentence, but I'm leaving it!}
Kristen at First Name Smith ~ Kristen is one of those bloggers who makes me laugh. She. is. hysterical. She's also mama to a boy just a week or so younger than the Lilinator, so I love to see what they're up to in sunny Florida, you know holding baby alligators and such.
2. Are you on Instagram? If so, what is your user name?
Of course! I spend way more time on instagram than twitter or facebook. To see bunches of Lily find me: littlepunkypie
3. Can we find you on Pinterest? What's your Pinterest address, and what can we expect to see you pinning most? (recipes, DIY projects, home decor, etc.)
Oh Pinterest...I love you! A virtual bulletin board for ideas? Yes, please! My husband was never so happy to have me toss out the magazines I'd been hoarding saving. You can find me here pinning lots of printables, birthday ideas, recipes and home projects.
4. What are your favorite blog link-ups to participate in? (weekly link-ups other bloggers have...any number will do...please link us to them!)
I used to do these all the time and an all time favorite is 5 Question Friday, but lately I haven't done any. I enjoy Shannon's So What Wednesday and have participated a couple times, but I love reading hers and the links even if I don't. {She's got a babe a couple weeks younger than Lily too which is how I found her.}
5. Why do you blog?
I've always been a writer. Journaler. Utilizing writing for an outlet. Blogging just became a way to connect with other people. I've had a variety of them over the years--this one started under a different name to document my pregnancy with Lily and now is more an expression of our lives~ documenting our adventures, my thoughts, and a lot of photographs.  I love the connection, the feedback and being able to reflect.
6. Tell us one random fact about yourself.
I'll make mine all school being a teacher on hiatus: I went to a School for the Deaf for preschool as a hearing child, I skipped 2nd grade and I started college in 1990 and graduated in 2005. ;)  ***i did take a 10 year break in the middle ;)
Link on up with Laura and "meet" other bloggers!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Steph's Snippets

Too much going on, so it's time for randomness.

~First, let's just get this out of the way: 

This weather sucks. 

It's beyond cold. And when it's near 80 in hometown, AZ and I live in this frozen hell... {Yes, I realize that's an oxymoron, but so is this stupid weather.} ...I can't help but want to be in Arizona! Anywhere, but here.  That's a country song, of course.

~Speaking of country songs... Gary Allan, one of my long-time loves, released a record this week and for the first time, in who knows how long, I drove out in single digit temps to buy it on release day! I'm still not ready to just iTunes everything, so cds are still for me.

He makes me swoon. Luckily, my real-life guitar playing husband makes me swoon too! We went to see Gary in June--which reminds me I still have to blog about that.  If you haven't heard it, listen to his latest single, "Every Storm Runs Out of Rain..."  I cannot. get. enough.

~I have zero personal space. If I'm doing something, anything, Lily is right on top of me.  It's not even that she's not independent because she totally is a "want to do it myself" kid, but holy jeez.  I go upstairs to pee, she's flying up the steps behind me.  And there's no sitting next to me, it's on me.  Rest assured if she can't be right on top of me because I'm doing something where she physically cannot, she'll do something that required immediate attention from me.  Perfect example on Tuesday, I was making meatballs.  Meaning: homemade mix up meat and eggs and gunk where my hands were busy. 

I turned around to find this...look closely...

Why yes, that is a frog pajammie wearing Lily in the refrigerator.  Washing my hands to take a picture was necessary as you can see.

And as I'm typing this, we're watching a new Bubble Guppies and she's literally leaning on my arm making it nearly useless because she can't get on my lap.  Yes, I know there will be days when I long for her snuggling and wanting to be close...I know. But, I would like to at least go to the bathroom by myself.

~Related: 3lbs of ground beef makes a lot of meatballs. In case you didn't know.

~Why is Beyonce lipsyncing the National Anthem news?  She can sing. Who cares. Why is it on the news so much?!

~What else is ridiculous? A game called Candy Crush Saga.  Seriously. I can't stop playing. I have two games on my phone and one on Andrew's iPod. Because I'm insane.

~Yesterday I was at Target {yes, I know I just was there Tuesday for Gary Allan} looking for a carseat since this is one of the clearance times for baby stuff, so I went to a different Target. I combed the racks of 50-70% off clothes and thought FINALLY I can get these Santa jammies for Lily on clearance!  Carter's two-pack with Santa on both of them.  The green boy version was 50% off, but the pink and red were still FULL price! Hello??? It's the end of January and these Santa pjs are still $14.99.  I talked to an employee and a manager. No luck. They wouldn't budge. Seriously?! Who is buying these at full price now?! They've been there since Halloween!  No luck on the carseat or pajammies.

~Roughly 14 years ago, Andrew's dad and I saw an lady wearing gold shoes walk down the street. I casually said, "If I ever think wearing gold shoes is a good idea, you'll know I'm officially old and lost it. Don't let me do that."   I randomly thought of that this morning as I looked down at my new silver sequined sparkly slippers. 

Two months left until 40 and I've lost it.

Happy Thursday!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Great Day for Hockey!

As I'm working on some more Christmas posts, Andrew and Lily's birthday posts, potty training and some other catch ups, I had a lot of randomness going on that I wanted to write about.

I'm super excited for the return on a bunch of tv shows. My teeny bopper self loves The Lying Game and Switched at Birth and they're both back!  Winter brings about shows like The Bachelor and American Idol that I tune into mostly. This year I'm definitely into The Bachelor. It helps to have a partner in crime to talk to about it...thanks, Amy!  But mostly, I'm excited that hockey is back!! The Steelers obviously aren't in the post season for the first time in forever, so it makes it all that much better that the Pens are back on!

Wednesday night, the Penguins had a scrimmage game that they wanted to be as authentic as possible to get the team ready for the regular season, so they were offering free parking and free admission to the public to come see full game with overtime and a shootout.  Tuesday night, we got the email with the info and decided we were in! Parking opened at 5pm and the gates were to open at 6pm.

I gave the, "We know it's going to be crazy crowded, so nobody gets to be crabby about traffic or waiting," pep talk before we headed out.  You know the one. And if you live in this city, you know exactly what I mean about traffic.

We left the house around 5:15pm to head to the Consol Energy Center which is about 10-15 minutes away in normal traffic.  It took us about 30 minutes or so which wasn't terrible at all!  The parking lot was busy of course, so I suggested we park in the garage and avoid that part of the traffic.  $7 for parking was fine by me and I typically refuse to pay for parking.  Turns out that was the best decision that made all the difference.  We pulled into the garage and found a spot straight ahead of us.  Close parking on the level we needed to be on for the gate.  Score!

Parking in the garage put us by the gate opposite the box office gate and when the doors opened, it was pleasant and orderly getting inside.  The box office gate, we found out later, was so packed that people had to be turned away because the arena filled up.

We made our way around towards a section behind the goalie where George wanted to sit.  He wanted to be up high enough to have an entire view of the ice.  We left our house at 5:15pm and were in our seats at 6:01pm.  Happy kids, happy husband!

Being the sentimental fool that I am, when the players hit the ice to warm up, my eyes filled with tears as the crowd stood and cheered! Man, I love hockey! And this town missed the Penguins during the lockout!  I teared up again during the National Anthem, which I tend to do as long as the singer can sing and then it was time for the game to begin.

The game started and within 20 seconds a goal was scored and people were on their feet again! In between plays and during intermissions, the kids danced and watched to see if they'd see themselves on the big screen. Lily and I were on before the game started. ;)
This was the best idea to have a public scrimmage... fans cheered every time a goal was scored in the building! There was no booing with the exception of a mention of the Flyers on the big screen, but even that was soldifying this city's love for our Pens!

Realistically, taking a family of 5 to a Penguins game isn't in our cards. It would be a ridiculous amount of money {that my bargain loving self refuses to spend} and this allowed us the opportunity to see a game of our favorite team all together!

Lily did really well considering it was hours past her bedtime. She was happy the whole time! Even when she got really tired, she just sat with her blankie, but still smiled right along.

We stayed for the duration, enjoying the overtime period and the shootout! It was a great day for hockey!

Thanks Pens for the opportunity for this hockey loving fam to get to a game as a whole family!♥

Friday, January 11, 2013

Girls Crochet Headbands Contest...and Giveaway!

Thanks to all who entered!
*** Updated with Winner:
Congratulations, Heidi! 
Are you ready for some football?????
Remember when I hosted a fun Girls Crochet Headbands giveaway recently and reviewed and gave away some gorgeous girly accessories???   How you could forget this little beauty? I mean, come on!
{and so what if the first time in forever The Steelers season is over before the many Super Bowl wins does your team have? :) }

Well, now I’m working with GCH again on another fun project!

Girls Crochet Headbands wants to bring a little girly fun to the NFL playoffs! Growing up with brothers and living in a football town, participating in this was a no brainer!

Now through midnight January 25th, you can pin a dream girly football outfit from Girls Crochet Headbands for a chance to win the entire outfit.

Here’s how to enter:
1) Create a Pinterest board and title it “Girls Crochet Headbands Dream Football Outfit Contest”

2) Pin an entire football-themed outfit from products on the Girls Crochet Headbands website – include any products you want; be creative!

3) Tag @Girls Crochet Headbands in the comments section of each pin The contest ends on Friday, January 25th, 2013 at midnight.

The GCH staff will choose a winner from all the submitted boards and the winner will receive their entire dream outfit in time for the Super Bowl!

***To celebrate this fun and unique contest, I’m hosting a fun Girls Crochet Headbands giveaway here on my blog as well!

One lucky winner will win this adorable Football Fan Package onesie and hat! Great for either girls OR boys!

To enter, simply leave a comment below telling me who your favorite football team is.  That's it. Easy Peasy.  This is a great item for your own babe OR to give as a gift!!! Spread the word!

One winner will be chosen via on Monday, January 21st at 6 p.m.   Head on over to follow Girls Crochet Headbands on Pinterest and create your Dream Football Outfit Contest board. (Or see their example board here.)

While you’re at it, you can also follow them on Facebook or subscribe to their email newsletter so you never miss a deal!

I was provided the above products from Girls Crochet Headbands. All opinions are 100% honest and my own! I lovelovelove GCH and I'm happy to spread the word!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas Eve 2012

Christmas Eve was my mama's 60th birthday! And although we weren't there with her in Arizona, we were with her in spirit!

What our Christmas Eve consisted of was a relaxing day finishing up wrapping gifts and hanging out at home.

One of the things I love doing for my family when we're all home together is making breakfast. Other than the day-to-day bowl of cereal or frozen waffle etc. This morning I made biscuits and gravy. Lily wanted to be sure to help out.

With Andrew leaving for Tennessee the day after Christmas, George and Andrew went to the movies to see The Hobbit in the afternoon while Lily napped and I enjoyed some alone time to get some last minute Christmas things done--baking cookies, making peanut butter fudge, wrapping gifts, creating salt dough ornaments.

We made homemade pizza for supper and watched Christmas shows together...Frosty and Rudolph...before the kids opened their annual Christmas pajammies from Oma.

Oma has gotten the Christmas pjs ever since Andrew was born. I love this tradition! This year she included ornaments in their bags and McDonald's giftcards for my crazy has loved cheeseburgers his whole life and the other loves french fries!

Lily was excited to "open my present, Mommy!"   She peeked in the bag and said, "Get my towels out."  She saw the plaid part of her pajammies and they reminded her of kitchen towels. haha

Her "Lilypop" ornanment
When she got to her pjs, she was not happy at all to see Santa hahahaha!

ASU jams!
Taaaaa--Daaaa! She was willing to wear Santa!

Night night....gotta sleep for Santa!