Friday, December 30, 2011

a few christmas bits

Ha ha ha!  I couldn't wait to share this picture!  He looked hilarious in his Captain America mask!!  

A funny to share: 
This week Audrey was crying about something.  After she got over it, I asked her if she was ok.  She says yes, so of course Christian wants to let me know that he is ok too.  My dad says to him, "you're good!"  Christian responds in a very matter-of-fact voice, "well, I am kind of awesome."  You just never                                                                    know what that kid might say!

 An up-close shot of Audrey's new dress up accessories.  She loves to be a princess!  
Memaw and Papa (Chris's parents) got the kids these learning tablets...which they are definitely calling iPads.  Pretty cool stuff. :)

I love it that they have had such a good time playing Cootie and Don't Break the Ice!  I remember playing those games with Andrea when we were kids! 

The boys just before bed on Christmas Day.  We had a great day, spent entirely at home!  
It is SO difficult to get a picture of this girl without her hands in her mouth, and when she's actually smiling at the camera!  
At about 9:00 on Christmas night, I realized that there were no pictures of the two of us together.  I set up the camera with the timer.  We got so tickled that it took about ten minutes to get anything decent.  I love this guy!

Monday, December 19, 2011


I just have a few recipes that I wanted to share.

The first is for the totally awesome candied pecans that I tried today.  As a rule, I'm not much of a pecan eater.  Recently I was given a lot of pecans (thank you!) and so I decided to do something with them.  Let me just say that shelling or cracking pecans...whatever you're supposed to call it...was a little more involved than I thought it would be, but it was totally worth it!
This is a really simple recipe, which you know is often the first thing I'm looking for. :)  Instead of just tossing them in a bowl as the recipe suggests, I put the egg and water mixture in one gallon storage bag and the dry ingredients in another.  This way they all get coated evenly and I can toss the bag after.
Even the kids loved them!  I'll definitely be adding some of these to my homemade gifts this year.

Next on the list and totally not a gift-giving sort of recipe is one for pork chops.  Normally Chris cooks pork chops on the grill.  One evening he wasn't going to be home from work in time to cook them, and I absolutely do not grill.  I searched for some way to bake them.  This was the first one I came to that didn't look scary to me, and I already had the ingredients- score!  These golden pork chops haven't been made exactly to the recipe even once in my house.  I love this recipe because it is super-versatile!  I do not use onion or mushroom, but I'm sure it would be good with both.  As for the soup, I have used combinations of golden mushroom, beefy mushroom, and cream of mushroom.  All are really good!  I always have at least one of these on hand.
Whether or not it takes the entire sixty minutes to cook just depends on the number and thickness of the chops.  If you don't have a meat thermometer, they are definitely worth having.  This way, you know for sure when it's done without over-cooking.

The last one for today is by request.
For years (and by that I mean at least 8 or 10) I have been making Artichoke Dip and taking it to most every party and family get-together.  I'm pretty certain I've never eaten artichokes in anything else.  Not that I know of, anyway. This is not your run-of-the-mill spinach dip.  It is fantastic!  I serve it with Fritos, but it's also good tortilla ships or baguettes.  This recipe came from a Longaberger recipe book called Fresh From the Pantry.  Although I looked on their site, I didn't find the recipe in their current selection.  It's easy to make and sure to be a hit!

8 ounces cream cheese, softened, cut into cubes
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (trust me when I say buy the real stuff)
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon dill
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine all ingredients into a food processor (mostly I use a blender).  Process until blended.  Pour into a pie plate or 9X9 glass baking dish.  
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  For best results, do not reduced fat mayonnaise or sour cream.

Friday, December 16, 2011

pine straw and snot

I am feeling a little guilty about the fact that I still have not been back on the treadmill since we got back from the cruise...
Instead I have been spreading pine straw for three days running (with two little darlings underfoot, I might add).  
Those little darlings have been awfully whiney at points since they both have the snots (just in time for Christmas).  
Speaking of that, I took both of them to the doctor yesterday.  I'm not sure why, but I actually made an appointment.  An hour after that appointment time they saw fit to put us in an exam room.  I explained that previously when Audrey had these same symptoms, she was given a prescription for Claritin.  No.  She doesn't need that.  I also explained that I was trying to keep Christian from getting into the whole coughing-until-he-can't-breathe business.  For him (and maybe for a lot of kids with asthma- I don't know) a cold turns into breathing treatments.  I was informed that there was nothing to do but wait.  When he gets to that point, then I should start the breathing treatments.  Grrrrr.  I did not leave there a happy Mama. 
Even when they don't feel awesome, they are insistent on "helping."  I love my babies.


Just a hilarious side note:  Audrey somehow managed to get pine straw in her pants.  This may or may not have been from rolling around on the ground playing some kind of game by herself.  After that, she just kept trying to take her clothes off!  We didn't stay long after that.  I thought that may be a tad difficult to explain.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Holy. Moley.  
We just got back from a cruise on Monday.  Chris and I have been on two other cruises together before, and it's always awesome!  Going to the Bahamas in December is pretty spectacular since it's nice enough there to wear shorts, but not so hot that you can't think straight. 

There is something so fantastic about being on a cruise!!  It's something about the fact that you're not just out of town, but removed from reality.  We for sure missed the kids, but not being responsible for them for a few days is rather freeing.  Eating and drinking whatever you want, napping whenever the mood strikes, staying up late, and in general just being on vacation is so lovely!  

Since all your food is already paid for, there is no pressure to like or eat what you order.  Add to that the fact that you can order as many appetizers, entrees, and desserts as you like at one meal, and we were set!  I even tried escargot if you can imagine that!!

The last night (when we were cruising back toward Port Canaveral) the motion was pretty out of control.  Although I get motion sickness in a car or bus, I don't normally have any issue on a cruise boat.  The swaying on last night was more than I care for, but I had some Dramamine with me so I did alright.  

We were short a couple of our peeps, but we had a great time!! 


Saturday, November 26, 2011


This has been a lovely Thanksgiving!  Thursday morning my sister and I did the Turkey Day 5K.  We (along with our husbands) did it last year, and I loved it!  Unfortunately, I didn’t really keep up with my running since then...
About a month ago I bought a treadmill and have been trying to “train” for the race.  Now please know that mostly my running is not running at all, but more of ajog.  Last year my race time for the 5K (which if you don’t know, is 3.1 miles) was 36 minutes and change.  I was pretty pumped since it was my first time!  This year I told my husband that likely I would not do as well.  Over the last year I had some trouble with my knee when trying to “run” so I ended up getting a support brace thing.  I also went to Big Peach Running Company and got fitted for the right kind of running shoes.  Thank you to Andrea, because both of those were her recommendations and made a great difference!  
When I walk/run on the treadmill I do not have this kind of success, so I was super surprised when I saw my time for the race on Thanksgiving this year was 33 minutes 21 seconds!!  I gotta say, I was really proud!  Now, if I can just keep up with it maybe I can do another 5K before next Thanksgiving rolls around.
Thursday for lunch we went to my in-laws’ house.  I ate way too much, and had a really good time hanging out with them.
Last night we had Thanksgiving dinner at our house with just my sister and her brood and Dad.  Much delicious food and fellowship was had!  
Today has been such a gloriously lazy day!  Chris had some work to do this morning, but the kids and I were definitely in our pajamas until about 3:00 this afternoon.  While they napped this afternoon, I read over a hundred pages of the book I started this week:  Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks.  It sucked me in pretty fast, and I love that!  There’s just nothing like a good book!
Tonight we had Thanksgiving leftovers.  Don't you just love how well all that stuff reheats?!  Ham, sweet corn pudding, broccoli casserole, dressing with gravy...the list goes on, and probably the kicker is the canned cranberry sauce.  For all the things I don’t eat, I imagine its probably surprising that I am willing to eat that.  It’s just one of those things I guess.  And my kids are under the impression that it’s Jello!  We don’t even eat Jello, but that’s what Christian called it.  Funny stuff.
After dinner we came out so we could roast marshmallows over the fire.  The kids loved it!  I’m not sure why, but they think its’ a real hoot to be able to play outside when it’s dark.  

This fire pit is not as awesome as the previous one...but we didn't build this one.  It works though!

Trying to get the sticky marshmallow goo off.

She just kept asking for more marshmallows!

I love it when they hold hands!

He kept throwing this beach ball in the air (pretty high, I might add) and then running away so he wouldn't get hit with it. :)

All in all, it has been a great holiday!

I have much to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

a good day to preserve

I'm so thankful that today it actually feels like fall!  It's one of my favorite times of the year, and unfortunately it doesn't usually hang around for long.  Today I have the doors and windows open and the fans going.  It makes it feel homey to me.

I tried my hand at a new recipe.  It's one from Food in Jars for creamsicle jelly.  I knew I wanted to make it the very moment I read about it!  I have waited until now because it was jelly (and normally I make preserves or jam), and I thought I may be more difficult to make and be successful.  Other than a little extra patience and an awful lot of stirring, it was about the same.  It is delicious!  There is no actual cream in it, but I guess maybe the combination of the orange and the vanilla give it that taste.  I can't wait to try it on a biscuit!

Since Chris has been here today and is willing to help me, we also made a double batch of vanilla syrup.  It's super easy to make and looks pretty too.

For my final canning project of the day, I decided to make another batch of the carrot cake jam I tried out last week.  I figured since I was on a roll I should probably keep it going.  I've got this one on the stove right now, and it makes the house smell so festive!
This is not one I was so sure about since it has actual carrots in it.  I do not eat carrots, and in particular not shredded ones.  Although in the last few years I really have gotten better about trying new foods, when I see carrot raisin salad I have to try very hard not to gag.  Yech.
At any rate, this really has a good flavor!  It's even more lovely warmed up a bit.

Tonight I'll be making pumpkin bread and hopefully some kind of cream cheese icing to take to my in-law's house for Thanksgiving tomorrow!  I'm looking forward to all the delicious food the rest of this week will bring!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

just a day

Nothing spectacular...just a few tidbits to share.

I'm in the process of fixing dinner (on the menu tonight is a taco ring).  As it happens, I am in the house by myself...this does not happen everyday, so I'm enjoying it!
Christmas is in the air at my house, so the tree is aglow and the candles are making the house smell super festive.  
While normally that would mean Christmas music, I am currently addicted to listening to Adele and/or Allen Stone.  If you don't have these albums by these people, go get them now.  Thank you to my peeps who shared them with me!

For whatever reason, my children have been driving me in.sane. for the last two days.  Since my husband is concerned with my mental health, he has given me alone time yesterday and today.  Glorious.  Yesterday I went shopping (which should have been therapeutic, but since there were enough people at Tanger that I thought maybe it was Midnight Madness at 3:00 in the afternoon it was slightly maddening).  Today he suggested that I go get a pedicure. Yes, I believe I will.  Thank you.  I took my book (The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks) and enjoyed a solid hour of time for me.  Again I say, THANK YOU to my husband who encouraged this.  :) 

Feeling refreshed and almost cheery.  I love that.  
I'm very thankful for my children, but also for a husband who knows when I need a break from them.

On the agenda for tomorrow:  Avalon Church/ South Campus and then on to Sears to get a new washing machine. :)


Thursday, November 10, 2011

a guest post

A friend of ours asked me if I would be willing to share our adoption story with her.  She has an amazing blog that you should totally read.  :)  Check it out!  Journey to Josie: Adoption Guest Post from The Reinigs

Friday, November 4, 2011

belated halloween

How is it already November?
We had a rather belated Halloween...we took our boogers trick or treating last night.
As many of you know, Christian has terrible allergies that also trigger his asthma.  Not awesome.  When he first came home with us, it seemed like there was maybe one week out of every month that he could breathe easily and did not have snot continually dripping from his nose as though it were a faucet.  Thankfully, the older he gets, the longer we go between these bouts of nasty, snotty days filled with breathing treatments.

Know before I climb up on my high horse that I do not in any way discount the schooling or knowledge of doctors...
It feels like maybe sometimes doctors forget that the person they are dealing with is not just another case.  This is true for all manner of doctors (whether they treat little people or grown ones).  Just another kid to look at, but hello!  Excuse me, this one is my kid.  Maybe you didn't know, but he's really important! 

Over the weekend Christian was having a fever on and off and was starting up with his traditional snotty symptoms.  We took them both to the pediatrician on Monday morning only to hear her assure us that this was his regular stuff and that our girl was fine.  Go ahead with his breathing treatments.  He'll be fine. 
He continued to run a fever and did not keep anything down.  The. whole. day.  Parenting is pretty interesting.  I can tell you that I can't imagine anyone else throwing up that close to me and just rolling with the punches.  Nasty.  Gross.  Disgusting.  No two ways about it.  But what can you do? 

Needless to say, I am super happy that my boy is back to his normal, rowdy self. 
Since my kids are big enough to know what trick or treating is, but small enough not to understand the dates I was able to arrange for a few people to let us come to their house with costumes and candy buckets a couple of days late. 
Maybe this is the way to do it since their buckets were filled to the top!  Holy moley at the treats they picked up! 

Tinkerbell was feeling less and less inclined to have her picture made as the evening wore on.  Maybe it was because we were getting rained on, maybe it was because I wouldn't let her eat all her candy, or maybe it's just because she's two!
Jake was a great sport and did a really mean pirate growl (with one eye closed, of course).  All in all it was a success! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

highlights from fall festival

As a rule, I try not to tell Christian that much of anything is happening ahead of time because he will pester the snot out of me until whatever that is happens.  As such, he didn't know that fall festival at his preschool was today until after breakfast when I told him to get his costume on.
Multiple times he asks with great anticipation, "is it Hallowing?"
Once Audrey realizes Christian is dressing up, she also wants to know if she can wear her "costune."
The excitement was so much for the two of them!
Christian asked me if I was staying at school with him and when Audrey hears that the answer to that is yes, she just repeats, "me? me?" until I assure her that yes, in fact, she is going to school today too.
She thinks she's grown.  She just goes right in and gets a seat at the table like she knows what she's doing!
 And yes, I realize this story would be better with pictures...I'll try to get some from the other two costume events we have. :)

Here's a little tip.  When you see children dressed up for Halloween, do not look at them (however sweet your tone) and say, "what are you supposed to be?" since that does not sound nice in any way.  If you don't know what it is, maybe go with, "who are you today?" or "wow, look at you!" 
Christian asked months ago to be Jake (for those of you who don't regularly watch Disney Junior, this is Jake of Jake and the Neverland Pirates).  It's a really easy costume, so we just made it...and for a minute today I felt a little sad for him.  Since he didn't have an easily identifiable costume, some of the people around him did not appear to be impressed.  
Not awesome.  Hello, he's 4.  Maybe you could just pretend that you think he looks fantastic since he is so obviously excited about it!
Pardon my high horse.

The best part of today was a moment that probably no one else thought anything about.  When they were in the classroom between crafts and snack, the teacher is explaining that snacks come next.  She tells them that if they have a parent there today that is who will fix their plates, and if not a teacher will do it.  
Christian shoots his arm straight up in the air and says, "I have a Mama!" and points to me with a smile on his face and light in his eyes.  Sold.  I'm done.  It didn't matter that everything else wasn't so awesome about this particular fall festival.  I'm his mom and he's proud of that!  What more could I possibly ask?

Monday, October 24, 2011

we're a wordy bunch

I think that a person's vocabulary is relatively important.

I shudder when I hear adults say things like "irregardless"  or "ex-specially" since in point of fact, those are NOT words.  
Just by being raised in the south, and perhaps by my family in particular I definitely do not pronounce everything correctly all the time...
I know for certain that more than once when I was teaching, I taught that ten and tin were homophones.  It don't think it was until I married Chris that I understood or cared they they should not be pronounced as the same word.  I came to understand that an accent can be cute or it can just make you sound ignorant.
I tried to train students (and their parents when necessary) not to say "lieberry" or  "balentine's day."  

Without hesitation I can tell you that my 4-year-old talks more than any child I have ever met.  
When I took my 2-year-old to her most recent well visit, the doctor asked if she had at least fifty words.  I laughed.  
Chris and I talk a lot, so I suppose it shouldn't surprise me that the kids are doing their best to keep up with us.

I feel like I live in the land of a thousand questions.  When we're leaving, they want to know where we're going.  When we're out, they want to know what they can do when we get home.  
Yesterday Christian asked if they could color when we got home.  When I told him was wasn't even going to answer that question he says, "we'll discuss that when we get home." After which, I tried not to run off the road.

I hate to hear adults use incorrect words.  I am embarrassed if I use the wrong word, so I do try to correct my own children when they mess up their words.  

After all this ranting, there is just one exception.
There is a Publix just down from our house.  Each and every time Christian says the name of this store, he says Puglitz and I just can't bring myself to correct it. :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

a warm october afternoon

In the backyard again this afternoon...

Apparently the fact that we put socks and shoes on Audrey's feet just prior to going outside did not send a clear message that they were actually to stay on.
Christian came quickly to report that "she took her shoes and socks off in the dirt!"

She didn't see the problem.  That girl!
I asked her where her socks and shoes were...
she brings them to me.
"He go, Mama."

The boy was intent on raking leaves today.  He seemed to be hard at work.  I discovered that this was for the sole purpose of jumping into them.

Today I wonder how and when he got so tall?  

My, how things have changed in such a short time.


Friday, October 14, 2011

jamming it up

After my farmer's market bounty from a couple of weeks ago (and then another trip after that), I have been jamming it up.  I have made lots of strawberry, peach, and plum preserves.  Even though I have gotten some good reviews from the preserves and jams from this season so far, I must say I was already a tad bored.   I love it that there's no end to preserving!
I wanted to use all my fruit, but I needed some new recipes.

As a result of the little guy at the farmer's market who sold me an entire flat of blackberries for $3 (if you can even believe that), I had to find something to do with them.  I don't so much dig on the seediness of blackberries, so I was trying to avoid just making blackberry jam.  I did quite a few batches of the strawberry jam that my husband is SO fond of, and since that recipe worked so well I used that as my base.  I tried at great length to find that recipe on the Food Network website, to no avail.  I went back and looked at my June 2011 Food Network magazine and found that this one actually from the Ball website and can be found here.  It calls for lemon juice, and although I've made it with that and with vanilla we like it best with neither of those add-ons.  

For my "black strawberry" concoction, I used that same strawberry recipe, but I cut the amount of the strawberries in half and used half blackberries.

It turned out great!  Or, I think it did anyway. :)

I had used all my strawberries, but still had a few blackberries and tons of plums.  
One of the nice things about making jams and such is that you can generally search the internet and find a recipe to suit whatever fruit you have on hand.  I searched and found a recipe for blackberry plum jam.  It is awesome!  If you don't so much care for super sweet jams, this may be the one for you.  It's really tart and delicious!  I love it when a recipe works out well on the first try!  The only thing I did different than called for was to use 4 ounces of blackberries instead of 8 just because that's what I had.  I made up the other 4 ounces in plums instead.  

My husband told me this week that I need to have some Kelli's Jellies business cards made. 

He tells me my title should be Baller Jammer.

That guy cracks me up...sometimes. :)

Monday, October 10, 2011


Normally I get a lot done in any given day.  I've said before that being a homemaker and stay-at-home mom is very time consuming...

To ease my guilt I will say that I did make a batch of peach preserves this morning.  I also did two loads of laundry and managed to take care of my children today, but other than that I was pretty worthless!

I am a hard core serious General Hospital watcher.  
Today I managed to catch up on the seven episodes I had on my DVR.

I figure I have the rest of the week to make up for today's lack of productivity. :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

barbie shoes

I distinctly remember an episode from my childhood that had to do with some Barbie shoes.  
My memories are from a child's perspective, so I'm sure my mother's telling of this story would be a tad different. :)  I remember that one day she told my sister and me (in a very loud tone) that if she stepped on one more Barbie shoe, that was it!  All of them would be gone...
It didn't seem like much time had passed until there was nary a Barbie or accessory to be found anywhere in the Harrison household.

For her birthday, this little turkey received multiple little babies with little tiny shoes.  I almost hate to admit it, but I am the very one who created this problem!  
Both of the kids have been watching Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue, and so I thought that little fairies would really go over well with Audrey (and Christian too for that matter).
They love them!
The problem is that these little tiny babies have little tiny shoes...

Thanks to the insight of my mother-in-law, we have just super glued those tiny shoes onto those tiny feet!
Problem solved!  
I couldn't help but think of my mom and the Barbie shoe incident.  
Hopefully I have saved these from that same fate.

As my dad would say, "ain't life funny?"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

backyard play

We moved at the beginning of August.  It wasn't far...we only moved three streets over from where we were previously.  The wonderful part about this "new" place is that there are enough bedrooms for all of us (the kids are no longer sharing a room).  It has a basement, so Dad is able to have his own space.  It is split bedroom, and overall it's about 300 square feet bigger on the main level than where we were.  There are many pluses!  The only thing I really feel like we had to give up was a super fantastic yard.  Despite that, we are really enjoying our new place!
In fact, the kids do not seem to be bothered at all by the change from fenced in grass to unfenced dirt/sand.  We were planning to get a sand box when we moved, but as you can see, that is no longer necessary. 
Every day when they go out to play, Christian asks if they have to play in the garage and driveway or if they can go in the backyard. This is apparently way more fun!


They can only play in the backyard if we have a good long while to play, and if a bath is to follow!  Any day that they can, they dig!  I'm surprised they didn't have their buckets on this particular day, as that's usually part of the deal.

I decided to take these pictures because they were playing so nicely.  I didn't notice until after the fact that he had dirt on his face and her hair was just as fuzzy as could be. :)   
 In case you didn't already know, I pretty much love being their Mama!