Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chicken Enchilada Dip (Go Steelers!)

Having lived one hour south of Pittsburgh for a little over eight years, I am hugely excited that the Steelers are in the Super Bowl. Of course, I would have preferred that they be playing the Eagles, but I am used to disappointment when it comes to my team.
For all of you that will be having a Super Bowl party (or attending one) and need a great dip recipe, here is one that I love and find very well received by all those I serve it to.

Chicken Enchilada Dip

1 large can (12.5 oz) and one small can (4 oz) of chicken
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies, drained
1/4 - 1/2 tsp of garlic powder (depending on your tastes)
1/2 - 1 tsp of chili powder (depending on your tastes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients and place in a medium sized baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until edges are golden.

Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Out with the Old... (A photography question)

It has been about two weeks since disaster struck.

I had so many plans and in a split second they all had to change.

You see I was trying to be a better photographer and learn more about my camera, a good thing, but it wasn't my lucky day.

I heard a strange noise and as I continued to look through my camera everything was very dark.

Initially I was puzzled and adjusted my settings again.

But, when I looked at the lens from the front, I could see that something was very wrong.

I tried everything.

Nothing worked.

My lens was jammed at f22, barely letting any light through the teeny tiny opening.

I took it to the camera shop the next day hoping it was an easy fix.

No such luck.

They would need to send it away for a 3-4 weeks and it would cost me about $75.

The lens (a Sigma 28-80mm f3.5 -5.6) only cost about $85.

I was not a happy camper.

After all I had Austin's birthday party, Mark's birthday, my cousin's engagement pictures, Mia's first birthday and maybe first steps and so much more quickly approaching.

My 100-300mm lens would not suffice for those events.

So, I am now in the market for a new lens because fixing my old one seems ridiculous at that price.

I have already missed Austin's birthday party and Mark's birthday so I can't afford to miss any more great moments.

My question for all of you who are photographers or at least really like to take pictures and are lucky enough to have a DSLR is:

What is your favorite go-to lens and why?

Thanks for your feedback.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rub a Dub Dub, Two in the Tub

Until about a week ago, we bathed the kids separately. We did this both because they have different bed times and because we figured Mia would be a little overwhelmed by a bath with the wild man (at least when it comes to bath time).

Mia has always liked the water and her baths, but in general she is low key and gets scared and weepy when there is too much commotion or craziness.

That we figured would make the two of them bathing together a disaster. However, Austin asked if they could take a bath together and so we decided to give it a shot.

We were wrong! They had a great time together. Austin splashed and "swam" less and was even happy to share all of his bath toys with his sister.

He has really started wanting to do more with her lately. I think he has finally realized that she will become a playmate for him and that will likely be more fun that playing alone or with Mommy and Daddy.

Austin "taught" her about all the toys in the tub and they had a good time laughing at each other's mohawks.

So, since then they have been bathing together. We give them their baths and then Mia goes to bed and Austin gets to spend a little more time with us (lately playing Wii Fit, but I will tell you all about that in a later post). It has worked out really well and the joint bath time has been fun for all of us.

If I haven't mentioned it lately, I can't get enough of my precious family. Each day is such a blessing and joy with my husband and two beautiful kids. I am one lucky lady!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Nana's Tractor

When we arrived at Nana's house for Christmas, it was dark. Upon waking up in the morning and starting to get his bearings on things, Austin looked out the window and immediately spotted it.

Nana's tractor.

It was a VERY cold day, but Nana wanted to take him for a ride as much as Austin wanted to go. After breakfast Nana put on about ten layers of clothing, Austin was bundled up and they headed out. Unfortunately, the tractor needed gas and so the wait was longer than expected, but Austin was so excited he didn't care.

He quickly wanted to be a part of the experience and not just a passenger. Nana showed him how to lift the bucket on the front and he was thrilled.

He seemed a little annoyed that I was taking pictures because he wanted to concentrate on the task at hand. Smiling at the camera was not on the agenda!

They weren't going very fast at all and Nana let him "drive" around the yard for awhile. I guarantee he is still having dreams about driving that tractor.

He is a tractor nut and though he has gotten to sit on idle tractors or ride on lawnmower tractors, this was a much grander experience. The fact that it was Nana's tractor made it that much more special.

It didn't take him long at all to know exactly what to do. At nearly three years old he was an old pro.

It was a memory that he and Nana will never forget. He is eager to go back and drive the tractor some more. Unfortunately, it will probably have to wait until Spring when the weather is a little more predictable.

For me, it was such a joy to see my mom and my son not only enjoying themselves, but bonding in a way that only a loving Nana and her sweet grandson can.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Drool Happens

Poor Mia has been cutting four new teeth.

And you know what that means....DROOL!!!

This face makes my mouth ache.

But, fortunately she is still in pretty good spirits most of the time.

For more Wordful Wednesday posts visit:

Friday, January 9, 2009

My First Christmas

I am "soooo big" and just had my very first Christmas!

Before Christmas day I got to open some presents from family members I wouldn't see at Christmas. My Aunt Lauren and Aunt Bridget got me this Glo Baby and I LOVE it! I have been wanting a baby doll and this one lights up and plays music.

When Christmas morning came, Austin and I rushed out to see what Santa left us. We both loved the gifts we saw in front of the tree.

Mommy had some really cute girlie Christmas jammies for me, but I was so excited about Christmas morning that I pooped straight up my back before I even got out of bed. Thankfully, Mommy had some backup jammies from when Austin was a baby.

Before breakfast I got to open my stocking. I didn't get any candy like Austin, but I did get a baby doll and a stuffed snowman.

When it was time to open presents I was so excited! Mommy didn't think I would really be into Christmas this year, but she was WRONG. When they gave me my presents I held one in my left arm while I opened another one with my right hand. I never let go of that other present. I was afraid Austin might think it was his and take it from me.

I got a new cell phone. I must be a big girl now! My phone is better than Mommy's because it plays fun songs and makes better noises when you push the buttons.

After opening each gift, I took some time to eat the wrapping paper. I love eating paper!

Did I mention that I really love my new cell phone? I might also want to mention that I am teething, so please excuse the enormous wet area on my clothes.

Austin was happy to come and help me play with my new toys. I didn't mind. I am good at sharing so far. We have fun playing together.

I like these cup things that Mommy and Daddy got me. I am not really sure what they are for yet, but I like pretending that I am drinking out of them.

My favorite gift by far was the Superstar Stage that Nana got me. You should see me with my microphone when the music is playing. I have to say that I am one fabulous superstar.

I loved Christmas! It was so much fun.

Next 1st birthday.

Only 27 more days...not that I am counting.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Most mornings that we were at Nana's, Mia slept in (I think due to the elevation and peacefulness). However, one morning she was up unusually early. At first I was really annoyed, but within minutes I was grateful.

The sunrise was spectacular!

I have always been in awe of the colors and power in the sunrise and sunset.

Somehow witnessing that beauty makes me feel closer to God.

On that morning I felt like the sunrise was a gift just for me. I am sure that there were others on their way to work or having a first cup of coffee that admired its beauty. But, since I was witnessing it on my own (except for the baby) I imagined it was mine. And what a gift it was!

2008 certainly had its challenges, tragedies and low points, but I choose to see and dwell on the light, the blessings. Those were beyond measure and when I look at my life I see beauty more spectacular than any sunrise.

As I embark on the dawn of a new year, I am optimistic, grateful, joyful, blessed, encouraged, excited, proud, loved and renewed.

I know that God will do amazing things in and through me this year. My greatest desire is that I will step out of the way and let Him. Jesus is the light in my life. I hope I will be a beautiful reflection of Him in 2009.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Precious Cargo

One of my favorite moments from this Christmas...

This was easily one of Austin's favorite gifts this Christmas. It is a big boy remote control monster truck that Daddy just HAD to get for him even though the age suggestion on the box was 8 and up. It almost immediately became his most prized possession.

This is my mom's nativity set, which Austin was obsessed with. Thankfully the whole thing was very child friendly since they are all stuffed fabric pieces.

On Christmas afternoon Mark and I noticed him playing with the nativity set as he had been doing for days, but he was very intently talking to someone over there and so we listened in.

"Hi baby Jesus."

"Awww, baby Jesus you are so sad. Why so sad baby Jesus?"

"Oh, poor baby Jesus. Don't be sad. I'll make it better."

We watched him as he carefully lifted baby Jesus from the manger and...

laid him in the best place he could find to make him feel better.

Of course, he then gave baby Jesus a ride so that he wouldn't be sad anymore.

For days every time someone would place baby Jesus back in the manger, eventually we would find him back in the monster truck again.

I guess Austin must have had a special conversation with Him and knew that is where He wanted to be.

I hope my sweet boy always has such a compassionate heart and fun spirit!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Dear Santa,

I know that you have just finished your busy season and are probably taking a well deserved vacation, but I thought you could use as many days as possible to try to fulfill one of Austin's requests for next year's Christmas presents.

Over the last week or so he has been fascinated with the night sky.

He loves to look out the window or go outside in the frigid air and see the stars.

He thinks they are "bootafull."

Which they are.

I know that you are probably thinking that what he wants is a telescope so that he can see them better.

Oh no!

Believe me, I wouldn't be bothering you on January 1st to fulfill such an "easy" request.

What he wants is beyond my ability to provide, so I am leaving it in your capable hands.

Good luck Santa!

Out of his own precious little mouth, this is his request: "Look Mommy! Look at all the "bootafull" stars. We NEED a spaceship Mommy. We NEED one! Get it for me, get it for me pleeease!"

This has not been a one time request.

This is nightly.

Explaining that Mommy and Daddy don't have room in the driveway for the spaceship isn't working.

He is relentless.

I'll work on the parking space and launchpad.

The spaceship is up to you.

Enjoy your mini vacation!

With much thanks in advance,