Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Saying Goodbye and Personal Struggles

I haven't been posting very much lately and I apologize for my neglect to this blog.

Last week, my last remaining grandparent passed away. She was 92 years old and lived a long and active life. She will be greatly missed by our family.

Ethan received these flowers from his daycare.

Mason Cousins

some of the great-grandchildren

My father and his siblings.

The preacher did an amazing job at the funeral service. He mentioned, during the service, the special game Grandma and Ethan played with marshmallows and that really meant a lot to me. It was so nice to have almost all of our family together again and paying tribute to the woman who corner stoned our family.

Changing Gears

On a completely different note, I've been really struggling with some personal issues right now. I have been avoiding posting on the blog for the fear of revealing too much and later on regretting it. I admire those that can lay everything out there and share their inner, most personal, feelings and struggles. I'm not that type of person. I worry about being judged and what others will think of me far too much.

Yesterday, I was angry about the situation. Today, I am devasted and depressed. I feel like it takes all my energy to project a normal, happy person to the rest of the world and, most importantly, my son. However, on the inside I'm crushed and feeling betrayed and hurt. Laundry is piling up, dishes aren't done and work isn't getting done but I just don't care...I just can't care right now.

I'll be back with puppies and rainbows soon enough but, for now, I'm needing time. I know I'll get through this struggle and will end up stronger in the end and with a better sense of self.

Thank you for letting me share with you, my blogging world friends, and for your support even though you know not what you are supporting or the details of what caused this situation.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Celebration

I'm really late on putting together this blog post on our St. Patrick's Day celebration. Celebrating St. Patrick's Day is a family tradition for me and I love the food, music and, of course, beverages that have been "Irished" up.

Ethan was decked out in green and wore his shamrock hat.

Some refreshments to help us celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
Irish Coffee - one of life's simple pleasures.

Beautifully decorated table at my parent's home.

Let the celebration begin!
Corned Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes, Carrots and Irish Barley Bread - Yum!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Celebrating 5 Years of Marriage

Today, Jim and I celebrate our five year wedding anniversary. How lucky am I to have spent the last five years with a man who supports me, is a hands-on father and who is even better looking than when we started dating.

Here's a walk down memory lane of some of my favorite pictures from our wedding day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Individual Meat Loaves - Barefoot Bloggers

Well it's that time again, time for another challenge from the Barefoot Bloggers. For our first March recipe, Ina Garten's Individual Meat Loaves was selected by community member Tonya, blogger of What's on My Plate

Meatloaf is one of those traditional recipes that people either seem to love or hate. I don't think I ever had meatloaf until just a few months ago. I can't remember my mom ever making the dish. By the time I was old enough to remember, our family had shrunken from having six people around the dinner table, including a teenage boy, to having only three since my older siblings were all off at college by the time I was three years old. My dad traveled for his career, so dinner was often just me and my mom. Not a big enough crowd to crank out a big loaf of meat for.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl
When I purchased my beloved Pioneer Woman cookbook, I finally decided to try meatloaf for the first time. The name of the dish kind of turned me off but I thought it would be an easy crowd pleaser. The Pioneer Woman's recipe was really delicious and everyone had multiple servings. I also found a true love for left over meatloaf sandwiches - holy yum! Putting some between two slices of garlic bread, amazing! Just sayin...

So anyway, back to the Barefoot Contessa's recipe.

The recipe was easy enough to make and was rather tasty. The texture of this recipe was really nice. Not too sticky or, on the flip side, dry and crumbly - it had a great moisture and texture balance. Ethan really got a kick out of the little, individual loaves.

*Gasp - I forgot to take any pictures of the final project. Blogger fail!! But who doesn't know what meatloaf looks like??

I will probably stick with my Pioneer Woman recipe but this was a fun one to give a try. I'll definitely make the individual loaf sizes again. It was such a convenience for wrapping up the leftovers and will make it easy to grab an individual portion to reheat for lunch. Leftover meatloaf I come!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What I'm Craving this St. Patrick's Day

I adore St. Patrick's Day. It's always been a big holiday for my family. My mom loves to celebrate her Irish heritage and use to do it in a big way with a large St. Patrick's Day party. She no longer hosts the elaborate parties but, if I'm lucky, she'll still cook me her famous corned beef and cabbage dinner.

Here are the items that I'm loving for this St. Patrick's Day celebration.

Kitchen & Foodie Cravings

Corned Beef & Cabbage Dinner

Irish Soda Bread

Bailey's Irish Cream for some Irish Coffee

Potato Candy
I haven't tried this recipe before, but thought Ethan would like it and what could be more Irish than potatoes? The candy is basically mashed potatoes mixed with powdered sugar and then rolled with a peanut butter filling.

Fashion & Beauty Cravings

Emerald Green Dress

Personalized Little Boy's Shirt
Ethan would love the truck on this shirt and it's so adorable.

Green with Envy Cocktail Dress
I love the colors in this dress but the $$ price tag makes it completely out of my reach.

Kelly Green Heels by GUESS
I am in love with these shoes! Unfortunately, these pretty babies have been discontinued. Maybe I'll be able to score a pair on ebay someday.

Green Classic Trench by Miss Sixty
The perfect way to add a pop of fresh color to an outfit this Spring.

Home Cravings

Celtic Harp Music
My mom has this on cassette tape and I grew up listening to the beautiful sounds of these classic Irish melodies being played on the harp. It was always my favorite tape that my mother owned and I listened to it all the time - car rides, dancing in the kitchen with my mom, etc. Most of the tunes aren't the well known Irish songs that you instantly think of, but they are beautiful pieces of music. I was excited to find it on CD and plan on ordering a copy for myself and maybe even a modernized copy for my mom.

Four Leaf Clover - Luck Frame

The Irish Tenors
Another selection of Irish music. I love these guys and they are awe-strikingly talented. Just listen to them sing "Danny Boy" and you'll be hooked. Traditional, well known Irish tunes that are perfect for playing on St. Patrick's Day.

Shamrock Chicken
I have a small collection of these covered, chicken dishes. It would be fun to add this little guy to the mix.

Belleek Shamrock Vase
I love Belleek's delicate designs that consist of traditional Irish knots or trellises and the hand painted shamrocks that adorn the pieces.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Let's Go Fly A Kite!

What a wonderful Saturday afternoon! The sun is finally shining and we took advantage of the Kansas winds and went to fly kites. Of course, you can't fly kites without singing a few choruses of "Let's Go Fly A Kite" from Mary Poppins. I may not be a magical nanny, but I can still create some wonder in my little one's eyes.

Thanks to Papa Mason for providing the kites!

Little boy flying a kite all by himself...

Chasing kite that little boy let go of and was swept away by the wind.

The kite traveled about a mile through a very muddy corn field before it crashed. We were all covered in mud by the time we located the run away kite. Somehow, I seem to end up covered in mud every weekend lately.

Ethan wanted to ride his bike from our house to my parent's home. It's probably a little over a 1/4 of a mile from our house to theirs. By the time we returned home, Ethan was good and worn out and ready for his afternoon nap.

It takes a lot of concentration to pump those pedals.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Farm Boy Lovin and Muddin

This weekend, we pulled on our boots and headed out to the farm. Yes, I do own work boots for the farm and they are scuffed, worn and dirty. Those that knew me growing up would probably not have pegged me to be the one that married a farm boy and stayed in the country. It wasn't my plan but love (and Wranglers) makes us do funny things.

This is my in-laws farm out in Kirwin, KS. I love the rustic fence that lines their country road and then, over in the distance, you can see the lake. They have a beautiful bay window in their home that overlooks this view. When Ethan was a baby, I would sit in their rocking chair and rock Ethan and soak up this scenery. It's my favorite spot in their home to just sit quietly and daydream. This lake is where I fell in love with my farm boy. We would spend our summers out here, when we were dating in high school, going for Jeep rides or exploring the wildlife reserve. Now it's Ethan's favorite place for exploring and adventures.

Ethan's favorite toy out at the farm is this little car. It was difficult to find a piece of ground that wasn't a sloppy, muddy mess in order for him to drive the car that he calls “Cozy Coo.”

Of course, we had to check out the chickens. I love the supply of farm fresh eggs that we receive from these feathered friends.

After the chickens, Ethan was ready to hit the swing set. Check out those muddy shoes - we were a muddy mess by the time we loaded up to head home!

Our newest dog, Dexter, loves going to the farm. He chases the farm cats and gets to really run around and get out some of his young pup friskiness out. Jim enjoys having a farm companion and is starting to train him to pheasant hunt. However, at this point, Dexter doesn't like the feel of feathers in his mouth so the training has a long way to go.

It was much colder than the forecast predicted, so after about an hour we were ready to load back into the truck and head home. I love the variance of heights in Jim and Ethan's shadows in the picture above. They are such a pair - Ethan is a little mini-me of his Daddy.