Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Card 2010

Thank you everyone for your votes and input! I took all of your opinions into account and I think I found a happy medium that combined my favorite elements from each card. Here is the finished product, and our official 2010 Christmas card!


Family Wall Red Christmas Card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

One of my favorite things about Christmas-time is receiving cards from friends and family. And my absolute favorite cards to receive are ones with photos! It is so fun to see how everyone's family is growing and changing each year. If you have never considered doing a photo card, this is a great year to start!

For the past two years, I have ordered my Christmas cards from Shutterfly. They have a wide variety of designs and options to choose from. For example, you can choose to use anywhere from one photo, to five or six photos on your card! You can also choose between flat or folded cards, whether to print them on cardstock or photo paper, and whether you prefer a glossy or matte finish. You also have three different size options -- 5x7, 4x8, or 5x5. But my favorite thing of all about this site is that they have an option to fit every budget!

Last year I just could not make up my mind on which design I liked best. I knew that I wanted a 5x7 card, and I knew what color combination I wanted, but I just couldn't decide between these two, very different designs.



So what do you think I did?

I ordered some of each, of course! :)

This year I am once again torn, but I don't want to order two different designs again. I strained my brain way too much agonizing over which recipient got which card.

So I would like to enlist your help in choosing between these two.

Here is option number 1.


And option number 2!

Leave me a comment and let me know which of this year's options you like best! And be sure to head on over to check out all of the beautiful and affordable card and invitation designs that Shutterfly has to offer!

Oh, and if you are still looking for a great Christmas gift, check out another of my favorite Shutterfly products, their customizable photo calendar!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe was the first Pioneer Woman post that I ever read. I instantly fell in love with her wit and humor. And her love of butter. :) I made these last Christmas and let me tell you - they are every bit as fabulous as she says they are! Instead of trying to paraphrase her recipe, I decided to share her original post here. If you love her as much as I do (which I know you will), you can check out her site here

This recipe can also be found in her cookbook,
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From An Accidental Country Girl

Cinnamon Rolls 101

Hey! I have a great idea. Why not start a holiday tradition of delivering these delicious cinnamon rolls to your friends and cohorts?

Growing up, my mom always made them for her good friends at Christmastime, and you could literally hear the primal groans of pure joy rising from the rooftops of our town. I’ve carried on the tradition through the years and have won friends and influenced people just by delivering these rolls. They really are that good.

A warning. If you follow these instructions and wind up delivering these cinnamon rolls to your friends, be prepared for any of the following to occur:
1. They’ll call you after they’ve taken the first bite and profess their eternal love for every ounce of your body, even your toe jam and love handles.
2. They’ll pass out after the first bite, hit their head on the kitchen counter, sustain a concussion, and sue you for damages, despite the fact that the one bite they tasted of your cinnamon roll was the single most profound culinary experience in their miserable little life.
3. They’ll call you and ask for the recipe, saying, "HOW did you make those?"
4. They’ll call you and propose marriage.
5. They’ll hug the cinnamon roll pan, get maple frosting all over their clothes, and send you the bill for the dry cleaning.

Let’s start by making the dough.


Mix 1 quart of whole milk, 1 cup of vegetable oil, and 1 cup of sugar in a pan. "Scald" the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point.) Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. Go fold laundry or sculpt or play Twister with your mailman or something.
 


When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in 2 packages Active Dry Yeast
 


Let this sit for a minute so the yeast gets all warm and moist and happy.
 


Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour.
 


Stir mixture together. Cover and let sit for at least an hour. Go throw away the rest of your wrapping paper or build a Lego Rottweiler or do Yoga or watch Home Shopping Network and order a frozen pizza oven for your countertop or some cellulite cream.
 


After an hour, the dough will look like this.
 


Now add 1 more cup of flour
 


1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
 


And 1 "scant" (less than a full) teaspoon baking soda and 1 heaping tablespoon of salt
 
Stir mixture together. At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it—overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to splurge out of the pan, just punch it down. Or, of course, you can just go ahead and make the rolls.

Let’s do that, shall we?



Sprinkle surface generously with flour.
 


Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. 
 


Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Rectangle should increase in both width and length as you roll it out.
 


Here’s my beautiful, weird, lovely, delightful friend, Hyacinth. She came over to make cinnamon rolls with me. Ain’t she purty? 
 


Now drizzle 1 1/2 to 2 cups melted butter over the dough. Don’t be shy; lay it on thick, baby. You know you want it.
 


Oh, by the way? This is not non-caloric. In case anyone asks.
 


Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter…
 


…followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.
 


Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Some of the butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture may ooze out toward the end, but that’s no big deal.
 


Next, pinch the seam to the roll to seal it.Doesn’t Hyacinth have lovely hands? I’d give anything to have her hands.
 


Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in seven round, foil cake or pie pans. Then begin cutting rolls approximately 3/4 to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans. Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. This recipe makes approximately seven pans of rolls.
 


Let the rolls sit for 20 to 30 minutes to rise, then bake at 400 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes
 
While the rolls are in the oven, make the deliciously sinful maple frosting.

To a mixing bowl, add 1 bag of powdered sugar.



To this, add about 2 teaspoons maple flavoring… 
 


1/2 cup milk... 
 


1/4 cup melted butter
 


…and 1/4 cup of brewed coffee. Also add 1/8 teaspoon (a generous pinch) salt.
 



Then have a big, strong, virile man stir it up for you. I chose Marlboro Man.
 

 












The mixture should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed.



Generously drizzle frosting over warm rolls after you pull them out of the oven. And take a walk on the wild side. Don’t be afraid to drown them puppies. Be sure to get frosting around the perimeter of the pan, too, so the icing will coat the outside of the rolls. 
 
These are not non-caloric. Did I mention that?



The frosting will settle in and become one with the cinnamon rolls. And you’ll be another step closer to being the most popular person in town…or the jiggliest, depending on whether you choose to deliver the rolls to friends or lock yourself in your pantry and eat them all by yourself.

Not that I’ve ever done that, mind you. I don’t ever do things like that. I’m a model of self-discipline. And I don’t have time to do such things—I’m too busy doing the Stairmaster. Yeah, that’s me—Miss Will Power. I don’t ever consume wasted calories. And if I do, I’m always vigilant about compensating with a higher activity level and weeks of fasting. And all.

Go forth and conquer! Yes you can. And report back to me.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oakdale Homecoming, Date Night, and Prayers Needed!

Friday night we attended the Oakdale High School homecoming game. Though the game did not end as we wanted it to - they fought hard, but ultimately lost to Sunbright - the kids had a great time. Dakoda was very into the game and spent most of the night standing at the fence with his Papaw. He always wants to be as close to the action as possible! Sarah Kate was not very interested in what was happening on the field, but she had a lot of fun watching the cheerleaders and playing with some other little girls that were there, Taylor Smith, Rhylan Hicks and Neve Adkisson. I wasn't able to get any pictures of Dakoda, but here are a few of Sarah Kate and her friends. They were playing "ring around the rosie."




On Saturday, Darren's parents cooked a big country breakfast, with biscuits and gravy, bacon, fried potatoes and eggs. It was so yummy! Then we came home and watched the UT game while the kids napped. After the game, Darren went outside to mow the lawn while the kids and I played together. Then we took the kids to spend the night with their grandparents while we had a date night. We used our movie tickets that I bought a couple of weeks ago and went to see "My Soul to Take" in real 3D. (Not my choice, if you were wondering!) Here is a picture of Darren and I in our 3D glasses. It was taken with my phone, so the quality isn't great.


While we were in the movie, we got a phone call from my mom with some very bad news. My grandfather and his girlfriend were in a very bad car accident near Huntsville, AL on Saturday morning. His girlfriend did not make it and my grandfather was badly injured. He sustained a head injury, broken rib, broken arm, broken sternum and his back was broken in two places. As of today, he is still in ICU at Huntsville Hospital and has not yet regained consciousness. We are very hopeful that he is going to pull through, but only the Lord knows his plan. Please keep him and my family in your prayers during this difficult time. We very much appreciate it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Fives



Just Me and My Life

Today's Friday Fives is:

Five of your favorite posts that you have written on your blog.


I just realized that I didn't post on Dakoda's first birthday (05.30), or after, with birthday pictures! OOOPS!! So here are a few pics, plus the slideshow that I made for him. Enjoy!

Mommy and Dakoda before his first haircut
Daddy and Dakoda getting ready for the haircut
After the haircut - Dakoda did not like having it done!
Birthday Cake!
Enjoying his smash cake
So excited about opening presents (and playing with the tissue paper, lol)
Waiting patiently for Mommy to give him another present to open

So tired after a long day!

2.  I am going to cheat a little bit on this one and put two because they are both about my little boy. :)


The first post was written less than 2 weeks before Sarah Kate was born and I just love reading about what my sweet baby boy was doing when he was 20 months old!

I have a few minutes to myself, so I thought that I would write a post about my little man. Dakoda is changing so much everyday. It is so amazing to watch him grow and change from a baby into a little boy right before my eyes.

He is extremely curious, and interested in everything around him. He loves to try and figure out how things fit together, and how things work. He is very aware of where things go, and how things are supposed to be. For example, if he notices that a door is open that is normally kept shut, he will make a beeline for it so that he can close it. He loves to help clean up by throwing things away and putting his toys away.

He is becoming much more independent at mealtimes. He likes to pick out his own food from out of the cabinet, and his drink from the fridge. He always wants to try to feed himself, which sometimes drives me nuts because it can be a very messy process! I am trying not to limit him too much, though. :)

Every morning he sits in his chair and watches Playhouse Disney. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is his favorite (and the only one that he will watch all the way through), but he also enjoys dancing to the songs and music on Handy Manny, Little Einsteins, and Imagination Movers.

His favorite toys these days are still "real" items, such as the phone, the mouse/keyboard, and the remote. And don't try to give him one that doesn't work, either, because he can tell the difference! His other favorite toys are BALLS! Football, basketball, baseball, bouncy ball, whatever kind of ball it is, he will LOVE it! He has excellent aim, too (which he has perfected by using Emma and Neyland for target practice).

He is still not talking much, but we can tell that he is trying harder to say words. When he wants something, he is sure to let you know about it, and if he doesn't get his way, watch out! He has quite the temper! (Of course, I have no idea where that comes from....)

He is very sweet and loving, and lots of times is content to just climb up in your lap with his monkey and his blankie and cuddle. Those are my favorite times of the day, of course. :)

He still absolutely adores his Daddy. Every evening around 5:45, he will start pointing at the door and asking for Daddy. Then when Darren gets home, Dakoda gets the biggest grin on his face and runs for the door. It is incredibly sweet! His favorite time of day is BATHTIME! That is his special time with Daddy, and every night after dinner he will start beating on the bathroom door, look at his Daddy, and ask for a "Baf!" After his bath, he usually lays on the couch with Daddy for a while and then it's bedtime.

I can hardly believe that in a few short months, he will turn 2 years old. The time really has flown by, and I am so incredibly thankful that I have been fortunate enough to be with him every single day and watch him grow.



You are exactly 31 months old today! I can hardly believe that you are already 2 and 1/2 years old. You are changing so much everyday and are turning into such a big boy. Although I am so very proud of you, it secretly makes me sad because I am not ready for you to be so grown up!
Some fun facts about you at 31 months old:
  • You are 36 inches tall and weigh around 30 lbs.
  • You wear size 3T in most of your clothes, size 4 diapers, and size 7-8 shoes.
  • You LOVE to play ball! You got a basketball goal for your 2nd birthday, and it is by far your favorite toy. It is the first thing you go for in the morning, and I’m pretty sure that you would shoot all day if I would let you.
  • Your favorite movie is Aladdin. You always pick it to watch in the van. Your favorite characters are Abu, the Genie, and Jafar. You like to dance to the songs, and you always cover your eyes at the kissy parts. You are so funny!
  • You are a wonderful big brother to Sarah Kate. You are very good about sharing your toys with her, and you always want her in the floor with you so that you can play with her. You sometimes forget that she is so little and try to play a little bit rough, but after we remind you, you always love on her and tell her you’re sorry (in your own way - we're still working on that word!).

  • You are turning into quite a chatterbox. You love to point out the things that you see and tell us about them. You have so many words now that I can’t even name them all!
  • You are going to school for a half a day, two days a week at The Henry Center, and you LOVE it! You are always excited when I tell you where we are going, and you take off to play as soon as we get there. You are always happy to see me when I come to pick you up, though, and the huge smile that you give me when I get there always melts my heart.
Everyone agrees that you are the sweetest, most loving little boy they have ever met! You and your sister are the best parts of my life, and I am so glad to call myself your mother! I love you, my sonny britches!


 

Sarah Kathleen Norris was born on February 17, 2009 at 8:12 am. She weighed 7 lbs 4 oz and was 19.5 inches long.

Sorry that it took me so long to update! Things are still a little bit crazy around the Norris household.


It is hard to believe that 2009 is already over! It was such a memorable year for us in so many ways. Here is a quick recap of a great year.

February
  • Dakoda broke his leg :(
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  • Sarah Kathleen came into the world!
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April
  • We celebrated Sarah Kate's first Easter, and our first as a family of four!
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May
  • Dakoda turned 2!
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June
  • We had our first family picture made
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July
  • We celebrated Sarah Kate's first and Dakoda's third 4th of July
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August
  • Darren, Sarah Kate, and I went to Los Angeles for Darren's work, where we attended our first Dodgers game!
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  • Sarah Kate turned 6 months old!
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September
  • We attended a UT tailgate, where the kids met the Dance Team and SMOKEY!!
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  • We went to Disney World!!
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October
  • Darren, Sarah Kate, and I attended the UT vs UGA game and got to watch from the sidelines!
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  • We visited Maple Lane Farms and picked pumpkins
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  • Dakoda was Superman and Sarah Kate was a Kitty Cat for Halloween
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November
  • I turned 25
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  • We celebrated Thanksgiving
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December
  • Darren turned 27
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  • We celebrated Sarah Kate's first and Dakoda's third Christmas!
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Happy New Year everyone!


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5. Sarah Kate's 1st Birthday Posts

Happy Birthday Sarah Kathleen!

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I know I say it all the time, but time is flying by so fast. It doesn't seem like a year has gone by since I was posting to say that you had arrived.

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You are such a sweet, loving, happy baby, and a blessing to everyone around you.

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You can bring a smile to my face even in the midst of tears.

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I love you dearly and I thank God every day for allowing me to be your mother.

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What are you up to these days?
  • You are a speed crawler! You know where you want to go, and you get there fast.
  • You love to eat! Your favorite foods are mashed potatoes, pizza, pancakes, macaroni and cheese, and (of course) chocolate.
  • You also love to dance and sing! You sing and dance along to the radio and tv all the time and it is so fun to watch! I call you my tiny dancer.
  • Your favorite person (besides Mommy) is your big brother. You want to be wherever he is and doing whatever he’s doing. Sometimes he plays too rough, but you give back as good as you get! Your Daddy and I love to watch the two of you play together.
  • You are starting to be a talker! You imitate our words all the time, and even say some consistently, like dada, mama, all done, duck duck, and pretty.
  • You wave hi and bye-bye, and this week you started pointing!
  • Your favorite toys are your “babies” – Belle and Alice (in Wonderland) - and your books.
  • You sleep with two blankets, Minnie Mouse, and your Cabbage Patch Doll.
  • You love shoes, but you would rather look at them and play with them than actually wear them.

I am sure that you are doing many more important things that I am forgetting to write down right now, but you just woke up from your nap and are calling my name. I love you my sweet girl, and I hope that you have a very happy 1st birthday.

Love,
Mommy 

We had Sarah Kate's birthday party today, and it was so much fun! We just do very small parties for first birthday's, so it was just Darren and I and the kids, Darren's parents, my parents, my grandmother, my niece, and our good friends Jamie and Lynnette.

Here are the yummy mini cupcakes and smash cake from MagPies. Chocolate and vanilla cake with strawberry buttercream icing. YUM!
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The food table
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Sweet tea and pink lemonade (glass beverage dispensers from Target)
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Adorable birthday banner (from Get The Party Started)
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Dakoda helped Aunt Nette-Nette scoop Chex Mix
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(his "big brother" shirt is from Euro Kids Boutique at The Adorable Child)

Sarah Kate loved her banner!
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And she also loves her Daddy :)
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And her Mommy :)
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She was sooo funny eating her cake! At first she just kept showing me her hand (with icing on it), like she wanted me to clean it off. I got some icing on my finger and put it in her mouth, and then she figured it out. But she would do it just like I did - take one finger and get icing on it and then lick it off! It was hilarious!

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She liked it so much she wanted to share with Mommy!
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She had lots of fun opening her presents!
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She went crazy over this blanket that her Aunt Nette-Nette made her!
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My handsome boy <3
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And I just love this picture of Sarah Kate with my Nana
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What are YOUR favorite posts?

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