Thursday, September 30, 2010

I am with the band...

Andy pulled out Guitar Hero last night and AG wanted to play. He insisted on doing drums and bass.

Excited about finishing his song and a 1 note streak. Yes, my 20 month old managed a 1 note streak for his first try. Ha. I'm betting it won't be long till he has this figured out.

Guess all there is to say is that I am with the band...

New faces and family pictures...

Here's our family picture from May. 

Here's our newest one with lots of new faces. 
(I'm sure the new faces were like why in the world are we doing this?! And what have we gotten ourselves into?!)

So, we take family pictures. I find them humorous. Dave started this tradition last year by sitting in the big leather chair and pretending to read a story to everyone at Christmas. I am not sure if it was the humor in the moment (Dave reading in a thick Russian accent) or having a picture of the whole group goofing off but either way a tradition was started. So, while not everyone can make it month to month we still try and snap one. This month we had several faces missing but not to worry...October Family Dinner will be here before we know it. Pumpkin carving, anyone? And Dave, I hope you have plans to read a Russian Christmas story once again this year...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Daybook for September 26th

Outside my window: Rain! Glorious rain! It hasn't rained here, at our house, in a month. Maybe even longer. My allergies have been in an we've been laying low and staying inside. Thankfully, it rained all night and today. We are expecting more tonight and tomorrow. With this rain we are suppose to get some cooler weather...finally!

I'm hearing: Andy working on projects in our bedroom, rain outside, and the Falcons vs. Saints on the tv. AG is taking a long Sunday afternoon nap.

I'm thinking about: All we need to do this week around the house before Mtn. Day company arrives. I'm also thinking about doing a series of posts showcasing all of the work we've done on our house. Stay tuned for "This Old House..." series.

I'm praying: That Mountain Day weekend would be a wonderful time with family and friends. Safe travels. Wonderful new memories.

I'm thankful for: My hard working husband. I'm grateful for all that he does. I'm also thankful for this rain. Our area is desperate for it.

From the kitchen: A new recipe for breakfast casserole this week during family dinner with our college students. Along with a huge batch of cinnamon rolls. I'm also making some treats this week for Mountain Day.

I'm reading: Recipes. Lots and lots of recipes. Also, reading several blogs on meals that freeze well.

One of my favorite things: Mountain Day Weekend.

I'm creating: Packing lists and To Do lists for our upcoming trip. Also, I need a new background for the blog and a new family picture for the top...need to put that on my To Do list. :o)

Around the house: Projects. Always something to do around here. Andy's working on doing the final touchups in our bedroom and finishing his chest of drawers. Pictures to come. I'm reorganizing AG's room and closet. We pulled out AG's clothes from last fall/winter and there are several items that he can still I've washed everything and need to put it all up. (I had to buy stuff big last year due to AG's belly and we had to roll everything up. He has slimmed down and grown taller. Things actually fit the way they are suppose to this go around! Ha.)

A few plans for the rest of the week: Grocery shopping and the library tomorrow. Lots of quality time with our college family this week: CFA Tuesday, Family Dinner and Game Night at our house Wednesday, and Girls Night Thursday. The rest of the week is full of Mountain Day activities and spending time with my family that is coming up for Will's college visit.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Laying a foundation for learning...

As a mom with a background in Early Childhood Education I am very passionate about laying a solid foundation for my children when it comes to education. My teaching philosophy and classroom management style go hand in hand with how I parent and raise my child. It is my hope and desire to provide my children with spaces within our home that they stake as their own. Spots where they can play, experiment, and grow. These spaces also have to adapt and change as they grow. For awhile now I've been looking forward to creating a new space for AG to "learn" in. So here are some new areas in the Edwards household that our geared towards AG...

First up, is his play space. (Which we created over the summer in a corner of the den.) This space now contains two bulletin boards that will most likely change with the seasons for right now. As AG gets older these will be come more detailed and interactive. For now, less is more. Learning at this age is all about exploration and at his pace. My goal right now is exposure to different pictures, texts, and vocabulary. The first board contains calendar photos from my collection. Three are taken from Williamsburg and the top right is taken from Berry. All relate to the fall. And AG has had experiences at Berry/will have experiences at  Williamsburg this fall. The next one just contains the vocabulary word "Fall" at the moment. As we do different things this fall we will put pictures of AG up on this one. The first big thing that will be highlighted will be Mountain Day next weekend. I'm also thinking we'll put a collection of leaves collected from Berry around the edges. (Once they change!) 

Second, is a space dedicate to "art/writing". This would be a very early version of what an elementary school teacher calls "the writing center". The small, white, magazine stand is the perfect size for AG's "writing center". It's a separate space from his play table. It contains his materials. As he grows this will be expanded to contain a variety of materials but for right now Color Wonder Paper and Markers are perfect! And they make Mom very happy because they are mess free. Ha. The space for magazines is the perfect spot to keep AG's books from the library. This is in addition to the book basket on the floor in his play area that I fill with books from our personal library.  His writing center will be getting a coat of fresh paint in the coming weeks. Along with his Mom's old toy chest from when she was little. The toy chest contains different manipulatives that are in individual containers.

Third, AG's having his morning juice while pondering what toys he sees out. We rotate his toys in and out. Every couple of weeks we pull stuff out of the attic and put stuff up. I do this for several reasons. One, it cuts down on the space looking cluttered, it provides variation, it gives AG time to appreciate what he has, he gets excited to see something he hasn't seen in awhile, etc. I try and put stuff out that are similar in nature. In November, I'll probably go ahead and pull out his Little Drummer Boy set and Nativity set so that he can get two full months to play with them since they are seasonal.

The last space that has become an "AG space" is the fridge. Right now I'm doing things seasonally. So, here are calendar photos representing "Fall". The top space on the fridge will always contain a picture of a real piece of art. I love Norman Rockwell and this is one of my favorite pieces by him. The spot below will always be a picture of art taken from a children's book. We currently have checked out the book that this picture is taken from. I showed AG the picture in the book and then pointed to the fridge. He smiled, laughed, and pointed with me. He totally connected the two things and it was fun to watch his brain process what I was showing him. I have quite a collection of calendar photos to pull from and am always on the hunt for new ones. I look forward to changing these out every few months.

That's my biggest project from this last week. Next up, I'll be showcasing the shutter now hanging in the back hallway. Stay tuned. :o)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

52 Recipes. Oven Fries. Recipe 13.

These oven fries are pretty much the best oven fries you'll ever eat. Period. I kid you not. Spuds are serious business in this house and when I discovered this recipe I thought we'd give them a try. They are perfectly crunchy on the outside and well seasoned...yet still fleshy on the inside. Mmmmmm. 

I, being a lover of all things Rachael Ray have been slowly converting all my cookware/bakeware to her line of pots/pans. The main reason for this is that I LOVE the way her products cook my food and how easy they are to clean. This summer I found a deal on her Oven Lovin' Crispy Sheet and purchased it for my collection. This recipe was attached on the sheet and we tried immediately. These are perfect when paired with something off the grill or toasted sandwiches. 

Herb and Cheese Oven Fries
By: Rachael Ray

3 Large baking potatoes cut into wedges
3 Tablespoons EVOO
1/2 to 1 Teaspoon each of  oregano, thyme, and parsley (I eyeball it depending on the size/volume of my batch of potatoes)
Fresh ground sea salt and black pepper
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat Oven to 450 degrees

Scatter potatoes and drizzle with EVOO. Toss with seasonings. Spread out in a single layer on baking sheet. I grind fresh sea salt and pepper on them right before they go in the oven.

Roast potatoes for up to 50 minutes. It'll vary depending on how thick/big your potatoes are. I set my oven timer for 30 minutes and then rotate them. Depending on how they look I can gauge how much longer they need to go. The last 5 minutes of cooking sprinkle cheese on the wedges so that the cheese melts.

Serve immediately. Yum-O!

While you don't have to have her Crispy Sheet to make this recipe I will say I think my potatoes crisp up better on this sheet. I've cooked oven fries for years and never had my fries turn out this well every single time. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

AG gets a sandbox...

On Saturday, G-Daddy came up to help Andy do some yard work. They tilled the back yard to prep it for growing grass seed. After tilling it they decided to build AG a sandbox for his playhouse. So they made a run to Home Depot for some supplies. They worked well after dark...

The next day we stuck AG in the sandbox and Samson opted to join him.

AG trying out his new pad.

That evening Andy made another run to Home Depot to pick up more sand. AG was happy to show us around. He even left the light on for us...

Finished sandbox and a freshly scrubbed playhouse.

And the makings of a new backyard...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Daybook for September 20th

Outside my window: It's dark. I can tell the days are getting shorter as fall approaches. Although with this relentless heat and lack of rain you would never know fall was approaching. I'm ready for cooler weather.

I'm thinking: That the next two weeks are going to be packed. Lots to do around the house before Mountain Day Weekend next week. We have lots of family coming up for the weekend and my cousins, Will and Clint, are both looking at Berry for school next year. We are excited to show them all that Berry has to offer and Mountain Day is a perfect showcase. Andy has his 5 year reunion, also that weekend. After that we are headed to the Braves game for Sunday, October 3rd, to see Cox's last regular home game and the Braves take on the Phillies. After that we'll be in full packing mode trying to get everything together to get out of town on Thursday, the 7th.

I'm thankful for: The hard work that Andy and my Dad did this weekend in our backyard. AG is in love with his new sandbox!

From the kitchen: We had chili from the freezer tonight. Quick and simple. I purchased ingredients today to make crescent rolls from scratch. I'm going to give it a try this week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they turn out as well as the cinnamon rolls that I made last week. Also, I'm planning to make some fall theme sugar cookies with AG this week to help celebrate the first day of fall even though it's going to be in the high nineties all week...

I'm wearing: My Harvard t-shirt and a pair of Andy's old soccer shorts from his freshman year at Berry. 

I'm creating: I discovered an old set of shutters in our cellar this summer. I'm working on refinishing one of them to hang in the back hallway to display photos, notes, and invites on. Once I get it done I'll post photos.

I'm reading: The new Pottery Barn that came today in the mail...with a preview of their holiday collection. Ah. :) And I'm looking forward to vacation in two weeks because I'll have time to read several of the books that I've set aside. I also need to pick up one right before we leave because it is set to be released that week. 

I'm hoping: To finish the mass purging/organizing event of 2010, soon. This has taken me much longer than I intended but I have adjusted my expectations because that's how life is with a toddler. 

I'm hearing: The Braves play the Phillies.

Around the house: Grocery shopping today. Laundry. Working on the shutter.

One of my favorite things: Family Dinner with our college students. Today we planned our next event...Family Game Night and Breakfast. I need to finalize my menu and get everything together. It should be a wonderful way to kick off Mountain Day Weekend a few days early. Martha would approve.

A few plans for the week: Projects around the house...hanging up AG's bulletin boards, relocating our diplomas, hanging up the shutter in the back hall, cleaning out our room, checking off a few more items off my "Fall Cleaning To Do List", and starting packing lists for our trip. I also have to teach tomorrow and Wednesday. We have dinner with our college crew at CFA for College Night tomorrow and Girls Night with dinner at Moe's, Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice premier, and a pizookie on Thursday. And speaking of premiers I'm excited about the return of Modern Family and Glee this week. 

How to earn...

...your Domestic Goddess Girl Scout Badge. 

Last Monday, I tried something that I've never done before. I made bread from scratch. Specifically, I made cinnamon rolls from scratch. I have a mental list of things that I want to be able to Master in my kitchen. When I came across a recipe by Suzanne Beecher a month ago I decided I might as well jump in and see what I could manage. (Not to mention the fact that she describes this recipe, from her Home Economics Class, as easy. She also said it has never failed her.) After dinner, I gathered my ingredients and put the Braves on for AG to watch while Andy was at his Men's Group. They turned out fabulous! I  didn't have huge expectations because I didn't want to be disappointed. I was amazed. Light, flaky, and perfectly sweet. To quote my grandfather, "They'll make you slap your grandma right out of the saddle!" Several of my college girls came over just to taste test for me and we decided our next family dinner will showcase said rolls. 

From a cooking perspective I loved how easy they were to make and prep. I was in and out of my kitchen in under an hour and a half with three pans of rolls ready to be baked when I wanted. Not bad. I'm sure I can shave some time off that once I don't have to read the recipe every few minutes. For a first run I couldn't be more pleased. These will be making the rounds this holiday season for sure. The recipe can be found in Suzanne's book, Muffins and Mayhem, on page 44. 

So here are some pictures chronicling how I earned my Domestic Goddess Girl Scout Badge:

Dough mixed. Kneaded in my Kitchen Aid. And left to rise for 20 minutes. Punched down. Flattened. And rolled out.

Melted butter brushed across the top and sprinkled with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Rolled up. Cut. And in a greased pan ready to chill in the fridge.

Rolls fresh from the oven the next morning ready for icing.

Good enough to eat and slap your grandmother.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Aunt Meg and Uncle Andy...

...are engaged! We are so excited for them and we can't wait to see them in two weeks in ATL. I'm sure there will be lots of photos taken then but till then you can enjoy this snapshot from last fall. Love you both!

And for inquiring minds, yes, that means we'll have two Andys in the family. But it's a-ok because I'm now an expert at communicating with people having the same names. Andy and I both have sisters named Caroline. So we always have to refer to them as "yours" or "mine". It's not that confusing to us anymore after 5+ years. Meg and I need to get to practicing. :o)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And for his next trick...

Andy and I realized very quickly that AG was and is a thinker. He studies and analyzes everything because he loves to figure out how things work. Really. This would be the same child that figured out how to turn on the Xbox, while it is in a child locked cabinet, before he was 10 months old. Andy and I didn't figure out how it was turning on "by itself" till about six weeks later. We now keep the batteries out of the guitars and drums when we are not playing with them because AG WILL turn on the Xbox. Last month he decided to remove batteries from the tv remote in the living room and carried them to the back of the house to put them in the Guitar Hero drum that he could turn on the Xbox which is still locked up.  We've never shown him how to remove and replace batteries. And he managed to put them in the right spot...guess his mother the teacher should give him a lesson on + and - so that he may learn how to install them correctly.

Anyways, fast forward to yesterday afternoon. I'm cooking dinner. Andy's finishing up work at his new desk in our room. He's had the door open so AG can come "visit" him. While at the stove I see AG cruise thru the front hall from the bedrooms headed to his room. I didn't think much of it till moments later I hear the "VeggieTales" theme song blaring from his room. I then yelled over the music to Andy asking him if he was still in our room. He was. We then realized that AG had found a CD in our room and decided he needed to hear it. So he went on his own to his room. Opened his CD Player/Alarm Clock (which on a side note he's figured out how to set the alarm. I'm not even joking.) and removed his Baby Einstein Lullaby CD. He carefully placed it on the bed next to his CD player. He then put Bob, Larry, and the whole gang on full blast. Andy and I got to witness a dance party for one. Life with AG is never dull. Looks like we might have an engineer on our hands.

Ps- Today he decided he needed to figure out how Andy's measuring tape worked...

Sunday, September 12, 2010


In the chaos that is our life I've slacked (BUT NOT FORGOTTEN!) about our goal to try 52 new recipes this year. I have several back recipes to post and this coming week I'm planning to channel my inner domestic-goddess and try my hand at several new recipes. Including cinnamon rolls from scratch. Plus, in our honor of our trip to Williamsburg in 3.5 weeks I'm planning to cook several things out of my Williamsburg cookbook that my dear friend, Ginny, gifted to me from her grandmother's attic, I believe. I'm going to try and cook at least one new thing a week from this cookbook till we leave on October 7th. The weather is SLOWLY starting to cool off but that has yet to deter my desire for comfort/seasonal food. I've got lots of seasonal recipes collected to try in the coming weeks. I already informed Andy that he should be excited about what I have planned. Ha.

Here's what we are trying out new this week:

-Corn Pudding (Williamsburg...I'm thinking it'll turn out as a souffle)
-Savory Slowcooker Chicken
-Apple Crisp
-Cinnamon Rolls
-Chocolate Chip Cookies (I've got two new recipes to try out. If I've got time this week we'll break one or both of them out.)

Lots of cooking and baking...stay tuned. Recipes to follow. And maybe a photo or two. :o)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ready to see the Mouse...

AG's ready to see Mickey again. When we went to Disneyland in the spring we couldn't get AG to wear his ears. This week he's decided to wear them around the house. I was tickled at the fact that he had them on sideways. I tried to get a shot from the front but AG was too busy playing to pay any attention to Mommy. We only have 78 more days to go, my sweet Ginger, till we see Mickey, again. Till then you're just going to have to wear your ears and watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Ps- For inquiring minds we have a desktop Disney Vacation widget on the computer that is counting down the days till our trip. :o) 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fall is just around...

...the corner. Ah, fall how I love thee. The next few months are by far my favorite of every year. Fall brings with it it's own distinct smells, sounds, and colors that slip us right into Christmas. Like I said, this is my favorite time of year.

Around the house:
-I'm slowly pulling out fall stuff and redecorating. I'm working on a new display for the cabinet above the fridge. I need a new tablecloth for the dining room and some baby pumpkins to complete my tablescape.

-I need to take inventory of my fall candles and put those out. I bought a FABULOUS new candle tonight. "Leaves" by Slatkin & Co. If it burns the way it smells I'm going to have to buy a few more. I'm going to go out on a limb and put it in the same category as my Christmas Yankee Candles.

-I'm praying the weather cools off and Berry sends me a date for the fall plant sale. My planters are in sad shape after the relentless heat of August.

-I've pulled out of the attic some old bulletin boards. I'm going to give the frames a fresh coat of black paint and then hang 'em up in AG's play space in the den. As he gets older I'm sure I'll get more elaborate with what I put on these boards. For now I'm planning to keep it simple and put up some different fall prints that I have. Several of which were taken in Williamsburg. Pictures to come on this little project.

-I started a new weekly planning system to try and keep our chaos to a minimum. So far so good. (I started at the beginning of August.) I'm really enjoying it and it helps me plan menus for the week, keep up with papers, week to week projects, planning ahead, etc. I've always said that classroom management and household management are one and the same. Over the summer the chaos became too much for me and I began to research some ways to keep it to a minimum. I recognize that life with children is hectic but you have to be able to manage what you can and go with the flow. I've tweaked it to my liking and I probably should do a post all about it.

-This past spring I began mulling the idea of putting a desk/work space in our bedroom. At the time Andy said for us to put it on hold and we'd come back to it. Well, since Andy has taken his new job we've quickly realized the need for a desk in our room. Now that he is telecommuting he needs a place to work during the day. Last Monday, I told Andy I was heading to my favorite antique store and if I found a steal then I'd bring it home...otherwise we'd keep looking. Well, there is a reason this is my favorite antique store, it never fails me! I walk in and the first piece I see looks like something out of Restoration Hardware/Pottery Barn. It's an old library table. It has a large work top, one long drawer, and simple legs. It's solid, gorgeous, and it was screaming for me to take it home. I immediately sent Andy a picture of it. He told me to talk the guy down. It was originally $188 with a chair. I got it for $135. I loaded it in to the truck and hauled it home. I was so excited I even power sanded it, cleaned it, and primed it that afternoon. Andy painted it the next two days and then distressed it. It's perfect. We went ahead and set it in our room. We are planning to rearrange some furniture, I need to get a lamp for it, and then I'll post pics. But for now it is already being put to good use. Hands down probably the fastest turn around on a refinishing project in the Edwards house to date. Have I mentioned that I love it?! I do. And I think one of the reasons why I love it is that it is such a versatile piece. It can be used in a foyer, landing, hallway, as a console table, playroom, kids rooms, etc. Lots of possibilities. Perfect. I love possibilities.

-Speaking of meal planning, I'm excited about fall baking and fall comfort food. I've got lots of new recipes to try out this fall. Also, being the goal oriented person that I am I've got a running list of goals to accomplish in my kitchen. One of which is baking an apple pie from scratch. So with my trusty KitchenAid and fabulous food processor on board I'm tackling the apple pie this fall. Andy wants me to try it several times and perfect it for the holidays. :o) Guess I better get to practicing.

Lots more to blog about in the coming days. Stay tuned. Life is good. Fall is in the air.

Wordless Wednesday...Cow Sale Edition 2010.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Yesterday, we were driving home from our weekend at the farm (more on that to come) and AG started saying his name. It comes out sounding like "A-D!" Andy and I find it really cute. This picture is from last week after enjoying a double chocolate muffin...have I mentioned lately that "A-D!" is a mess? And a fabulous one at that. :o)