Tuesday, December 31, 2013

S'mores Dip

I made this tonight for our New Year's Eve bash, and everyone was asking for the recipe. It is so good!

One 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 C chocolate chips
One 16 oz tub of marshmallow creme

Melt chocolate chips into sweetened condensed milk in the microwave thirty seconds at a time, stirring after each thirty seconds. It takes about a minute and a half.
Spread into pie plate and top with dollops of marshmallow creme. 
Microwave thirty seconds and spread the creme over the chocolate, covering it completely.
Serve with graham crackers.

Monday, December 30, 2013

White Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Crackers

These are so delicious and so simple to make. Spread peanut butter onto a ritz cracker and top with another cracker. Melt white chocolate or almond bark and coat the crackers. Let sit so it can reharden. My lead teacher made a batch of these for my husband and me for Christmas, and we couldn't get enough!

Chicken Lasagna in Ranch Sauce

This is a different spin on chicken lasagna. It is incredible! It makes two small casseroles: one for dinner and one for the deep freezer!

2 cooked, shredded chicken breasts
2 jars Alfredo sauce
1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
1 package broccoli slaw
Cooked lasagna noodles, cut in half

Preheat oven to 350
Sauté broccoli slaw in olive oil
Combine Alfredo sauce and ranch mix
Layer noodles, broccoli, chicken, and sauce until all ingredients are used up
Bake at 350 for 40
If frozen, bake at 350 for an hour

PEP Talks- 10 months

Welcome to month 10 of PEP Talks! It has been a busy, busy month, and I am not slowing down!  I am pulling up on everything and even using it to take some steps! I love my "Push" toys! I go up and down the hall! I also really like the storm door at my house.  Mom and Dad make sure it is shut and locked before I stand up beside it.  I love to see the world and wave at the people walking by.

This month was also Christmas! Mom and Dad read me a story out of my little Bible about a baby born just like me, but He grew up and saved the entire world.  That's a lot of pressure for a little baby, but the Bible says that he wasn't just any baby... He was the Son of God! It's an amazing story! I'm so glad that He came!

Mom and Dad said that Christmas is not just about gifts and trees and Santa, but the reason for Christmas is to celebrate Jesus' birth.  We made sure not to get caught up in our busy lives with travelling and shopping so that we could celebrate the real reason for Christmas.

Christmas brought all sorts of fun things to my house! A great big tree grew overnight right in the corner of the living room!! And every morning when I'd wake up, there would be new boxes wrapped in brightly colored paper or tucked inside bags with tissue paper.  I had to check them out!

We had several Christmas celebrations.  The first one was with my Poppa's side of the family.  I am a proud member of the fourth generation on both sides of my family! I was glad to get to take a picture with Pap, Poppa, and Daddy!

At my Paigey's house, we made Christmas cookies!  Mom says I look like a little German baby in my red plaid sitting in front of the jumping jacks and eating my zimtsterne (That's German for Cinnamon Star)!

I also got to decorate the lebkuchen! It's another kind of German cookie.  My great-great-grandmother made these a long time ago, and the recipe has been passed down, unchanged, ever since.  Mom is so excited that I get to make them now like she did when she was little.

I also got to celebrate my first New Year's Eve! I didn't quite make it to midnight, but it was fun nonetheless. The day after new year's Mom and Dad had to go back to work, so I went to spend a couple nights with my Paigey! I also got to see my Omi and Opa again and my Aunt Nana (pronounced "nonna"... It's her nickname). I hadn't seen her since I was 3 months old. She was amazed by how much I've grown!

I also have learned to clap my hands :) It's so fun, and everyone joins in! I learned just in time to cheer for Bama and Auburn in their bowl games! 

So that pretty much covers it! Only one more PEP talk until my birthday!! Woo hop! Talk to you next month!

Parker E. Poe

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Smoked Sausage with Broccoli, Bacon, and Brussels Sprouts

My mom made this delicious dish over Christmas using the leftover veggies from Christmas dinner. It only takes one skillet!

First, you have to know how she made these Brussels sprouts! I normally don't like them, but with this recipe, I had seconds! 

Brussels sprouts
Bacon bits
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Onion powder
Garlic powder

Sautée the sprouts and bacon bits in a little olive oil and season to taste. 

So with those leftovers, add a little more olive oil to your pan and combine them with sliced smoked sausage and some steamed broccoli. Basically, you're just heating it through. 

Even my husband ate this dish! Quick and simple and a great way to use leftover veggies!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Burlap Door Hangers

I made these as Christmas gifts this year.  The Braves hanger is for my mom and my brother.  The cross is for my sister-in-law.  Green and purple were her wedding colors. I used regular acrylic paint.  I also outlined the baseball with black puff paint.  For the wire, I was limited in my options since I just went to Walmart to look for some.  This is floral wire that I've used.  My students made smaller ones for Christmas ornaments, and we used jewelry wire to hang those.

Merry Christmas!

We couldn't decide between these two designs, so we ordered some of both.  Merry Christmas, from my family to yours!

Parker's 9 month pictures

I'm a little bit behind posting these, but trust me, they were worth the wait!

As always, big thanks to Ryan for taking such great pictures! Can't wait to take LP's 6 month pics in January!

One Ornament... Unlimited Possibilities

I absolutely love the clear glass ornaments! So many options. They can be painted, inside or out, or filled with whatever you wish.  Here are two examples of what I did with these ornaments this year.

These adorable snowmen were hand-painted and filled with fake snow.  One of the other ex ed teachers came up with this idea for our Christmas Craft Show Fundraiser the Ex Ed department holds every year to raise money for Special Olympics.  I bought one for Parker and wrote her name and the year on the back with Sharpie paint pens.  I'm thinking we'll get her a snowman ornament every year as a tradition.  Snowmen are my favorite winter decorations!

This is my other ornament... my very favorite one!  I *carefully* squished and stuffed Parker's newborn hospital hat into the ornament.  Lucky for me, this one was plastic.  All that shoving would have broken a glass one for sure.  Then I topped it off with her hospital bracelets.  Great way to save these keepsakes and show them off every year!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Parker's Christmas List

Hey guys! Parker here again interrupting your regularly scheduled blog to present to you my Christmas list.  Mom and Dad are pretty smart and realized that I have plenty of toys and such, so they have asked for essential items, such as formula, wipes, and diapers.  I, however, have a few items of my own which I absolutely must have for Christmas.

1) This blue rectangle

Mom uses this thing all the time.  It makes a sound, she picks it up, and magically my daddy is transported into the blue rectangle.  I can hear him speaking, but cannot see him.  Sometimes, it's my Paigey that is trapped in it.  Either way, I require one of these.

2)  The tissue paper that is in the owl-themed gift bag

I care absolutely nothing for the gift inside this bag.  I have demonstrated this several times by removing it so I can more easily access the tissue paper underneath it. Nor do I want the paper that is in any of the other gift bags.  I only want the red tissue paper inside the owl bag.  I want to put it in my mouth and bite small pieces off.  Then I want to spit them on the floor, making Mom pick up the wet, slobbery paper pieces.  This provides me with endless entertainment.  Thanks in advance.

3)  Access to my secret hideaway

Ever since I kind of got stuck under here, Mom and Dad have guarded the entrance like the three-headed dog guards the entrance to the underworld in Greek mythology.  I would like for them to be distracted for just a couple of minutes while I make my way back into this most perfect hiding place.  A couple minutes is all I'd need; I'm very fast.

4)  Daddy's glasses

I love Daddy's glasses.  I love the way they feel when I wrap my fingers so tightly around them.  I love the way they taste.  I DO NOT love when they are ripped away from me and placed out of my reach. Let's stop this crazy back-and-forth dance. If I could please just have them, I'd really appreciate it.

5)  THESE!!!!

I do not know what they are, but there is awesome stuff on top of them all the time.  Food, computers, mom's books and pens... They are magical trays of wonderful, and I must have some for my very own.

6) And speaking of Mom's books and pens...

I have recently discovered my appreciation for ancient world literature, or at least the book that contains the stories.  It's so big, but the pages are so thin and ready to be crinkled.  I also love to steal Mom's pen while she's not looking.  Then I chew on it.  I also take her notebook.  Then I chew on it.  If these were to just appear in my room one day, I'd know Santa got this list.

7)  Shoes

My shoes, Mom's shoes, Dad's shoes, Uncle Jacob's shoes when he's here... I don't care whose they are.  They need to be mine.  Again, so I can chew on them.

8) Tiny bits of burlap

Mom recently started making burlap door hangers.  While they are really cute, the burlap gets everywhere.  Bless her heart, she tries to vacuum it up.  But it is the "craftiest" of all the fabrics, and pieces of it hide from the vacuum and await my little fingers to pick them up and rescue them from that loud, monstrous machine... Only to be captured by Mom who comes from across the room, yelling about how she just vacuumed.

9)  Lucy Paige's toys

Lucy Paige's toys are far superior to my own.  It does not matter that they are essentially the same things.  I require Lucy's toys in addition to mine.  This requirement lead me to kidnap the dolly known as "Junebug."  She was almost mine, but her blasted jingling noise betrayed me and gave me away.  I'd ask for my own Junebug doll, but I know it would not be the same.

10) This thing

It is springy, it bounces, and recently we all discovered that the protective white tip comes off.  Guess who's not allowed to play with it anymore.  If I could please have one where the tip stayed on so I could keep playing with it, that'd be awesome.  We could install it in my crib.

So anyway, that about wraps it up.  Now that you know all the real items I would like for Christmas, I expect my stocking to be full on Christmas day.  If it is not, I will know that you tried your best but were probably thwarted by my well-meaning Mom and Dad.  Oh, well.  There's always next year!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

PEP Talks- 9 months

Hey guys! Back so soon??  It seems like the months are flying by now! Can you believe I'm already NINE MONTHS OLD!!  Crazy, huh?!  In three more months, I'll get to have a birthday party! Mom, the over-achiever that she is, is already starting to plan a little at a time.  Better get on it, Mom! I have no intention of slowing down anytime soon!

So this last month was so fun! I am doing so many new things that the parents are having a hard time keeping up!  Mom and Dad make sure to always have a camera within reach.  Dad has fairly decent one on his phone, so that works pretty well in a pinch.  Mom does not have as good a phone as Dad, but that just means that she lets me play with hers.  She keeps saying that she hopes I "accidentally" mess it up so she can get a new one, but I'm actually pretty careful with it.

Something AWESOME that I've started doing is pulling up on the furniture... and my toys... and anything that sits still long enough.  Sitting is no longer cool enough for me.  It's time to rise!! Just look at me looking so big in my jeans standing up by the couch...

And Lucy's toy...  We shared it pretty well actually! Lucy is able to play more now that she's a little older, so we have way more fun together.

In addition to standing up with the couch, I also really like to be underneath it.  I love to hide! Under furniture, blankets, even my hands.   When I go under the couch, I scoot all the way to the back and when Mom and Dad say "Where's Parker?" (because they have NO idea where I am!) I just giggle and giggle.  This picture is when they caught me the last time.  Unfortunately, I got a little trapped.  Mom picked up the end of the couch and Dad got me out.  I still like to get under there though.  Nothing scares me!

I also went to four thanksgivings.  The first one was with Mom and Dad's small group. The first picture is me with Caleb and Courtlyn.  They are twins!

This is everybody (minus Lucy Paige and the twins' older brother, Adrian).  Dad is holding me funny and showing off my belly, but it's a cute belly, so I don't mind.

The next thanksgiving was at Lucy Paige's grandparents' house.  It was so much fun to spend Thanksgiving with friends!

That night, we went to my Nanna's house.  Everybody was planning their Black Friday shopping, and I helped! I really liked looking at the sales papers.  I would look at one page, then the next, and then wait *patiently* for them to turn the page to look at what else they had. It was pretty cool!

On Saturday after Thanksgiving, Paigey, Uncle Jacob, Grandma, Poppa, and Nanna all came over for the Iron Bowl (which Mom says I'm not allowed to bring up) and have Thanksgiving dinner afterwards. First though, we took some family pictures.  We did my 9 month pictures that day, too.  Those will be in a separate post that Mom will put up later.  Hint- I'm adorable!

After all the festivities were over, I snuggled up with my Nanna (Daddy's grandmother) and fell fast asleep.  It was a wonderful, very special nap.  She loves me very much and sang me songs that she used to sing to my daddy when he was a little baby like me.  

So some stats about me this month:  I weigh 18 pounds and am 28 inches long.  This is a little lower on the growth chart for my height than I have been.  My doctor says I'm leveling off, which is perfectly normal!  I love to play with my toys, especially my little doll, my TV remote, my play phone, and the zebra block that makes a crinkle sound.  I call all of my stuffed animals "cats."  I call Mommy and Daddy both "Da-da."  I say "yes" to answer every question (even if I mean no), and sometimes I say "eat" but not very often.  Next month, I get to start trying to use a sippy cup and eating big girl food- less baby food for me!  Last night, I ate some potato soup that Mom made for dinner.  I felt like such a big girl! I also really like graham crackers.  I look like a little beaver when I chew them up.

I have a lot to look forward to! Until next time!

Parker E. Poe

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Chicken Pot Shepherd's Pie

This is one of those recipes that happen when you open the pantry and realize you need to go grocery shopping.  But it was so good and warmed us up on a cold night!

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can Veg-all
1 can Hormel chicken
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 pouch instant mashed potatoes (prepared)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all three cans and salt and pepper.
Top with mashed potatoes.
Bake for 30 minutes until heated through.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Guest Post by Jessica Christian

9 Ways To Boost Your Bedroom with Curtains!
Your curtains are the clothing of a room and changing your curtains can have an amazing effect on the atmosphere and style of your room, much as changing your clothes can transform you from office smart to evening formal! Modern fabrics and weaving methods now mean that you have immense choice when it comes to choosing the soft furnishings for a room. Luxurious silk, rich heavy velvet, sculptured thick cotton folds all imbue a room with a unique ambiance and personality.

Net: Net curtains are ideal to provide a barrier between your home and every curious passer-by without you needing to have the curtains shut all the time. This can be especially important in the bedroom. Net curtaining is usually white or cream, but you can get net in a variety of colours. Choose the pattern of your net curtains carefully as the wrong pattern can drain warmth and life from the room, while the right one can infuse a gentle joie de vivre into the home.


Glamorize with Velvet: Velvet is a very rich and plush fabric that feels wonderful to the touch. Having your curtains made from velvet will infuse your whole bedroom with a luxurious and sensual feel. If you want a grown-up look and feminine atmosphere, you can do no better than to hang some lovely long velvet curtains in your bedroom.

Indulge in Silk/ Satin: The cool, sexy sheen of silky satiny fabrics should not be underestimated. Available in a variety of colours, from soft pastel to vibrant primaries, silk is expensive, but deservedly so. Silk curtains are a sure indicator of wealth and success, and you cannot fail to enjoy your bedroom all the more because of them! If genuine silk is out of your price range, you can still create the same effect with cheaper satins and silk-effect polycotton.

Cotton: Cool, crisp and traditional cotton always looks good! The durable fabric not only lasts well, but it takes dye good temperedly and remains fresh and new-looking for a long time. The only problem with cotton is that is does need ironing after each wash, but once pressed the fabric, whether curtains or bedding, looks fabulous again!

Create magic with Voile:  If you are not keen on nets over your windows, why not try some voile curtains? This lovely soft and transparent fabric can be made from cotton, wool or even silk and is perfect to create heavily gathered curtains. The gathers of fabric make sure that no-one can see through the curtains into the room, while the sheer fabric allows sunshine and daylight to brighten up your bedroom easily.

Brocade: Brocade curtains are very traditional and old-fashioned looking, but they are beautiful, nonetheless. Brocade is a thick, heavy fabric, embellished on one side with patterns or pictures. Brocade was originally used as curtaining in the days before central heating and modern carpentry, and it is still useful to block chilly draughts from wintry windows. Brocade adds a rich and timeless beauty to any bedroom.

Plain: Plain curtains are useful in small rooms as they create the illusion of a large expanse of space, opening out the room. Choose a colour that goes well with your bedrooms décor scheme and perhaps even buy a spare pair in a different colour. This will allow you to radically change your room by the simple expedient of swapping your curtains!

Patterned: Patterns can be loud and flamboyant or they can be small and discreet. Choose a pattern that you like, in colours that go well with the décor of your bedroom. Avoid clashing colours in large patterns, as these can be very 'busy' and loud and detract from the charm of your bedroom.

Custom made: Designing and making your own curtains can be very satisfying! It can be tricky to get them just right though, so perhaps opt to pay a seamstress to run your curtains up for you. When you have chosen the fabric, the curtain length and even decided on the width between each pleat, you will feel a great sense of satisfaction when you see your creation hanging beautifully in your windows.

The above nine categories can help you to decide which curtains are right for your room. Take some time and study your bedroom before making your choice to be certain of loving your new look bedroom when you are done!