Merry Christmas!!!

It has been a GREAT year here in our family. A year of both great JOY and great CHALLENGE. We come to the end of this year, praising God for all He has done in us and through us and asking Him to direct our paths in the near future. Thank you for the encouragement by way of your comments and prayers on my (not so frequent) blog posts. Mental note: Must be more disciplined in 2013. I will admit (with every ounce of humility it requires,) that in some ways, it has taken me every bit of these last 10 months to adapt to having two children. I am so thankful for the twists and turns God gives and for the amazing depths of GRACE He gives right alongside them. He is God and He is Good!

Wishing you all a Wonderful Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!!! 
We will be back then with pictures!!!


Meet English Tea Paperie and a GIVEAWAY!!!! (Winner announced!)

Winner: Linda Baker... Congrats, Linda!! Your cards are on the way!

     I have often thought that I would love to go through an entire Christmas, buying only handmade gifts for everyone. There are so many amazing Mom-tre-preneurs and cottage industries out there and thanks to ETSY and the internet, they are so accessible.
Well, today I'd like to introduce you to one of my favorite girls in the business!

English Tea Paperie is an adorable shop, owned by an even more adorable person, Chloe.

Chloe and I met several years ago when her best friend, Bridget and I met. So I guess she would be one of my best friends' best friend? Chloe is originally from England and when we met she was on Holiday in the US visiting friends, and oh, the love of her life-- whom she eventually moved across the pond to marry! For as long as I have known her, she has been an extremely sweet person with flawless taste and a classy wardrobe. Chloe turned that great taste into a beautiful business selling hand-designed paper products. If you are looking for a heartfelt gift for a mom, friend, child's teacher or even yourself--please check her pretty products out!

I am pleased to be able to tell you that from now until December 31st-- English Tea Paperie is offering free shipping!!!! (Which for me is a big deal! I love free shipping!!!) *No code necessary--shipping will be deducted at checkout.*

Also, Chloe has graciously offered 10% off for readers of this blog. (All three of you! :) Just use the code ourlittlelife for an extra 10% off your entire order.

***Place your orders on or before December 17th to guarantee Christmas delivery! That is ten whole days!***

     One more little treat-- a fun giveaway! I've a set of 10 gorgeous Christmas Social Note cards for one lucky reader. Here is a picture but they are much more beautiful in person. The quality is amazing and I love the use of the Luke 2:11. The grosgrain ribbon makes it an adorable little package anyone would love!

 and a close up of the pretty little Scripture tree!!

To enter this giveaway, just head to English Tea Paperie and pick your favorite product or design. (Be sure to check out the scripture cards and the Monogram styles. Gorgeous! )
Then, come back here and leave a comment telling me what you loved!

To get an extra entry, you may like ETP on Facebook and then come back and leave a separate comment telling me you did so.

Winner will be chosen by Random on Wednesday evening, December 12. If you win, your cards will be shipped the following day, to get them in plenty of time for Christmas!


Italian Herb Bread (No special equipment needed!)

I recently rediscovered this recipe for Italian Herb Bread in one of my Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks. (Homemade Harvest, Gooseberry Patch)

It is a wonderfully quick and easy recipe, it uses all pantry ingredients and it makes two loaves. Also, you do not need a mixer or a bread maker to prepare this bread--just a bowl, a spoon and and oven (plus 2 loaf pans!) Have I sold you yet?

Try this out next time you are making Italian for dinner! It also makes a great accompaniment to Beef Stew, Vegetable or Tomato Soup or a Big Salad!

Italian Herb Bread makes 2 loaves
1 envelope Active Dry Yeast (Not instant)
1 3/4 Cup Warm Water (110-115 degrees)
4 Cups All Purpose Flour
3 Tbs. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp. EACH of Dried Oregano, Dried Basil and Dried Parsley
Garnish: 2-3 tbs. Melted Butter

Add yeast to warm water in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve and wait 5 minutes. Blend in all remaining ingredients, (except butter) and stir until smooth. Cover with a thin towel and set aide to rise or double in bulk, (about an hour and a half.) Punch Down and turn dough out into lightly floured counter or board. Knead until smooth and large bubbles have disappeared. (Don't fret too much about this step. Just fold your bread over and press down and then fold it over the other way, trying to get out large bubbles of air. It will still be airy and fluffy, this is a good thing.)
Divide Dough into 2 loaves and place in 2 lightly greased 9x5 loaf pans. Cover and Let rise again with Towel until double (about another hour)
Bake at 350' for 35-40 minutes. Remove from pans and brushed tops with melted butter. Allow to cool slightly before slicing your husband a piece so he can see how awesome you are.. don't tell him how easy it was.

** I do both my rises in the microwave, (off of course.) it guards against drafts and doesn't take up room on my counter!

Happy Baking!


Happy Fall Ya'll!

  We have been enjoying some Fall-ish days here in Georgia and I have been taking full advantage. Some of the leaves in our backyard are beginning to change and I could sit at my kitchen table and just watch the season change all day!
    I did finally do a little decorating for the season-- so here's a shot of our Fireplace:

The "Give Thanks" banner I found at TJ Maxx 2 years ago and I love it!
I bought a yard and a half of burlap from Hobby Lobby and I know I will use it in Christmas Decor too. I am loving burlap right now-- (I know everyone and their mother is too, if Pinterest is any indication!) 

Speaking of Pinterest, Lucy and I did this Fall craft idea because I wanted to include a canvas art project of hers as part of our decor. She loves to decorate as much as I do!

Also, from Pinterest, I got the idea to stick chip board letters in a pumpkin with straight pins and it worked like a charm! Below you see the finished project-- I tied a little ribbon to the top because it looked a little empty-- but now that I know it really works, I will build on the idea next year! We also did a traditional Orange Pumpkin for our front porch with painted polka dots and our name-- I'll have to snap a photo of that as well! I did learn that bigger letters are better, as mine were a bit small-- but I was working with a one hour "Mommy Break" while Lance was watching the girls, so I made do. :)

Such an important reminder. I have loved seeing this throughout the day and "checking myself."

A few Fall Firsts: Lucy got her first ever haircut!!!!! She did great. Also Abby attended her first ever Dodge County Indians Football Game (Her Daddy's High School Alma Mater!) She loved the Marching Band the best--as does Lucy.

I hope you are enjoying your Fall as much as we are! I have big plans to share a few more things soon-- next on the list: a Recipe for a quick and easy (Homemade) Herb Bread! You don't even need a mixer to make it! Woohoo!


Twinkle Toes: The Bun, The Tutu and the Stuckeys


In preparing for Lucy's first Ballet lessons, I felt as though, I was going to ballet. I have been that excited. Not in that scary "TLC dance mom" way but enjoying it in a vicarious, magical way. When we received the handbook, I was impressed with the professionalism shown with even these tiny little girls.

      She was to wear her a very specific color leotard, tights, shoes, no tutu and... wait a minute. No Tutu? Yep, that's what it said. No tutu except once a month on "free day" Let me just say, it took me all summer long to convince Lucy that we had to follow the rules and that no one else would be wearing a tutu either. Also, she was to wear her hair up, preferably in a bun. A bun. Well, knowing that I gave birth to Princess Flyaway, (second only to me, the REAL problem behind the ozone layer in the 90's. Me and my can of Vidal Sassoon, that is.) I took my task very seriously. (Maybe too seriously for anything hair related?) I came to battle with my brush, rubber bands, hairspray, water and bobby pins. (Because after watching the Summer Olympics for the weeks prior, no kid of mine was going to wear a head full of those little mismatched colored "bang barrettes." Please, someone tell me some Mom-Tre-Preneur was watching the Olympic Gymnasts this year and sketching out a prototype for ground breaking hair care which will politely take the place of these little barrettes in 2016. Let's not arrive in Rio looking like the 80's. Enough said.) On second thought, I'm definitely taking this too seriously. Ha!
      Anyway, one Doc McStuffins episode later, a nearly perfect bun emerged and I ran off to throw my clothes on while hoping it wouldn't get messed up. Not sure what kind of tomfoolery I was thinking Lu might get into. If her bun couldn't survive cartoons, it certainly wouldn't make it through her first petit jete'. The bun ended up holding quite well all the way until nap time and I laughed at myself at what a sense of accomplishment this gave me. It's the little things.

    Of course, my major concern was about Lucy having a good time and making friends. She has a sweet, tender heart and it really puzzles her when others aren't kind so I was just watching through the glass, steeling myself and watching her bloom. As stretches commenced and everyone lined up at the barre, the music from Cinderella played, So this is Love and I could see her face tense up as if she was unsure if she should stay at the barre or kick off one shoe and take off running. (As we play Cinderella at home.) Thankfully, she stayed put for the moment.
     For most of class though, I was that mom watching her daughter have her very own private ballet lesson.--sans Teacher. It was pretty funny to watch how putting on a leotard unleashed some sort of artsy spunk which gave her license to pirouette all around the room, while everyone else plie'd. She quite literally danced to the beat of her own drum. We did eventually gently discuss the importance of listening to the teacher and following directions, (After all, a perfect bun only goes so far.)

  Without a doubt the funniest part of the morning was when we were getting out of the car, and Lucy spotted a few other little girls. Amongst them were one or two Rogue Ballerinas whose mother's allowed them to wear Tutu's to class. After about a hundred conversations about this, and as recent as 15 minutes prior, Lucy looked up at me with a withering look, and sharply whispered, "MOMMY! Look. (Obvious point at offending frou-froued tiny dancers) They. Have. Tutus." (All of a sudden, she was 13 and I knew nothing and she knew everything.) So I gave her some sweet and corny (but true) phrase about following the rules and we went inside and fun was had by all.


Wordless Wednesday: Completely Unprompted Sister Love

The girls were watching Praise Baby and I came back in the room to check on them and this is what I found. Sweet Sister Love!


Three Birthdays and So Much love...

Today my little girl had her THIRD birthday. Her third. How did that happen? When did that happen? (Later this summer, I will have my THIRTIETH birthday. Ahem, when did that happen?!)

Anyway, I have developed this little tradition of taking photos of her birthday breakfasts each year. So, as I go over the huge task of weeding out photos from the Minnie Mouse Extravaganza (so much fun!)--here is a little teaser. :)

 Lucy's actual BIRTH Day.. 2009

Her first Birthday... 2010 (In Wake Forest!)

 2nd Birthday-- 2011 Bringing in Two years old with Chocolate Chip "Stones" and Strawberry "Smooties"

My Beautiful Three year old this morning. What a little girl she has become!!!


Catch up and Recap

We've been a little "busy" over the past 2-3 months. First, we were surviving--but just barely. Then, we were living day to day and finally we are thriving as a family of FOUR! There have been some crazy, crazy moments. Some quite comical, others not the least bit funny. But, mostly, it's just been many moments of life that we love to live.
We've been cuddling and snuggling...

We've been celebrating milestones and fun days...

 Guess who is turning three in 2 weeks???

Abby's Baby Dedication

We've been Crafty and Creative...

We've spent much-needed time with close friends and family...

And, most importantly, we have been grateful to watch our two little girls grow!


Introducing: (a little late..)

Abigail Grace Stuckey
Born 02.09.12 at 7:46am
7lbs. 2oz. and 20 inches long

sorry for the delay!!! I had every intention of doing birth announcements but 
haven't the time for that at the moment-- so this will do I guess!


You might have a newborn if...

You might have a newborn (and a toddler!) if...
  • Taking a shower in a 24-hour period requires Dad being home to hold down the fort,  is considered a REAL accomplishment and means you had a "good day."
  • 90% of your meals are eaten left-handed and with great care not to spill food on a tiny, sweet head and you often find crumbs from meals she did not eat on her little clothes.
  • The minute your children go to sleep (if they do) you do crazy adventurous things like go to the bathroom and see how fast you can "straighten up" in 15 minutes before the little one changes her mind about napping.
  • You and your husband truly understand what is meant by the phrase, "Ships passing in the Night" except that 'night' usually means the wee small hours of the morning and 'passing' means groggily sharing snippets of conversation while trying to get baby girl back to sleep.
  • You find yourself daily torn between relishing in the exhausting weeks of newborn sweetness and looking hopefully ahead to the spring, "when we will all feel more normal."
  • When you thought about writing this post, the points you wanted to mention were completely different and now totally escape you.
  • You have a renewed appreciation for being married to "the right man" as you travel through these days of weariness and lean on one another on a daily basis. 
  • You have a renewed appreciation for the promises of God's daily provision of strength and sustenance. He has been faithful to help us in this "survival stage."
  • You hurriedly wrote the last two bullet points of this post while a certain someone began to stir and request their next meal. :)

We appreciate the prayers and the kind words many of you have sent our way! 


A Lesson in Laundry

This week I learned something whilst doing laundry. ( I also learned I would like to use the word, "whilst" more often. It feels so much more Jane Austen than just your everyday "while")

Upon doing the first in what will be many, many loads of little girl laundry in which the clothes belong to TWO little girls instead of just one, I was struck with several realizations. First, time really does fly. So fast I can hardly fathom where the last 2.5 years have gone since I was folding, preparing, re-folding these tiny newborn sleepers for Lucy before her arrival. Second, the sizes are so much more obviously different when they are side by side! My skinny minnie's clothes look HUGE next to her baby sister's! Not to mention for her I'm folding pajamas, play clothes, socks and underwear-- no more diapers for her! She has gotten to be such a big girl overnight!

The difference is what concerns me most. I think it's easy when you have only one child of one gender and then you know you are having another of the same, to fall into this auto-pilot mode of expecting everything to be just as it was before, just a repeat. This is something I've noticed about my own heart and mind lately that I am having to condition myself to having TWO completely different little girls, with TWO completely different sets of needs.

Though Lucy has been fairly calm and such an "easy" child with all major milestones, I know we may get a real firecracker with little Abby. If her movement in-utero is any indication, that is exactly what is in store for us.

So back to the laundry, I realized how great an opportunity folding the clothes of these little dear hearts is to pray for them and their specific needs. I pray that God gives us what we need to parent two different, though possibly similar, children and that we do it with His grace, patience and love. I also pray He reminds me of these little lessons and opportunities in a few days when I'm buried beneath a sea of onesies and pajamas-- must remember the fact that babies go through multiple changes of clothing as opposed to my, "Mommy, I need a napkin, I have a crumb on my hand" daughter.

Here's to seasons of change!!!


To miss or not to miss, that is the question. (Thankful Thursday)

Being that we are about to meet our 2nd daughter next week (yay!) I already find myself torn between wanting just a little more time of being pregnant and wanting her to come now, TODAY and not next week. I wouldn't say that this pregnancy has been easier or harder, just different for different reasons. But as I sit at the end of a 9-month road, about to enter into a new season of life, I cannot help but ponder what things I will and will not miss. Funny how big changes always prompt that in us. I had to write this all down for myself so I remember!

To miss:
* The movements. All the little kicks and feelings that remind me of the beautiful one God has created in His image in my growing belly. From the first little flutters months ago to the full-on conga line the last few days, I have LOVED being constantly reminded from our little girl, "Hey mom! I'm in here! Take good care of me!"
* The affinity for food. This sounds funny, but any currently pregnant woman will attest, you either hate food or you LOVE it. As ferociously as I despised having to think about cooking, eating, meal planning in the beginning, the 2nd half of the pregnancy has brought with it, a fresh appreciation for all things culinary! There are only a few things I really cannot stand but mostly, there are so many things I liked before that I can't get enough of now! Luckily, they are (mostly) all healthy things. :)
*My time with Lucy though I know I will still have this to some degree, we have been just inseparable the last little bit, as I have been soaking up the time with her. We have made some great memories and I though I greatly look forward to time with TWO little girls, I will miss the "just she and I" time.
*Having clothes that fit like they're supposed to. This may seem like it's in the wrong category but I have really enjoyed Maternity clothes this time around-- much more than last time. And I was reminded of the awkward stage that comes immediately after when your clothes don't fit right yet but the maternity clothes look a little strange without the cute belly sticking out. BUT, we have a double stroller, and this mama will be hitting the pavement as soon as the Dr. gives me the ok. :)
*My predictable time with Lance as much as this is no where what it was before we had kids, every night we know bedtime for the little one is coming and as soon as it does, we can sit and be uninterrupted for as long as we like, usually until we both fall asleep these days. :) I will enjoy getting into a new normal and establishing our new routine of "us" time.
*My rockstar parking spot at the Grocery Store. Really. Once I got big enough to really show, I have completely used the "stork" parking every time we go--especially when I have little Lu with me. Lifesaver!

NOT to Miss:
* My lack of gracefulness. Seriously, I have never dropped so much, knocked so much over, and spilled things in my life.
* The many embarrassing, uncomfortable, and very often painful symptoms that remind you, "By the way-- you are growing another life and you probably won't feel normal until you are finished doing so." These are the things that you forget about from one pregnancy to the next. That's the selective memory that allows us all to keep having children. :)
*Sleeping propped up. Honestly, I've never had Heartburn or anything else that always seems like something your grandpa gets, but this pregnancy, whoa buddy.
*My energy level decline.  Though I know this will only sink further over the next 6-9 weeks-- I look forward to being able to do things all day long without having to take multiple breaks.
*Not being able to pass a bathroom without a visit. The funniest thing about this is, Lucy recently became potty trained and so every time she goes, I go just in case. So between my having to go every 15 minutes, her going every 30 and all the time in between, we don't get very much done when we leave the house. HA! Too much information? sorry.
*Expecting some weight gain on a regular basis. I mean really, who WANTS to keep gaining weight? Thankfully, I have gained WAY less this time than last. Chasing a toddler vs. sitting at a desk will do that to you. :)

All in all, this has been a great pregnancy and I'm just so happy to be having another Healthy baby that I think I should be rejoicing no matter the discomforts. Praise God for sustaining us and for my wonderful Husband. He has been a true knight in shining armor through the whole experience and I am SO very thankful to be able to walk WADDLE this road with him at my side.

And just for fun, let's take a brief look at where the PREVIOUS 9 months of pregnancy took us:

 From Here... 05/26/09

 To here... 

 To here: 11/2009

To here--  05/2010

 To here 04/2011 (Sassy Pants)

To here! 01/2012


Catch up and Recap

So aside from the occasional recipe, I've not been the best at posting lately-- other things keep calling for us, namely doing the life that we want to post about, but I would hate to forget some of these things so here is a quick recap in pictures and little funnies!

32 Weeks Pregnant with Girl #2 on Christmas Day!

Our little girl became a big girl when she celebrated Christmas by becoming potty-trained (yay!) and getting a new pink tricycle! What a Christmas it was and we enjoyed every minute of it!

 Lucy and I have celebrated many girl's days out over the last couple months, one of the most memorable was her first movie: Beauty and the Beast. She wore the Belle costume and enjoyed a Coke Icee-- it was a perfect day!

My little princess

 I spent some time "nesting" after being inspired by Pinterest a long time ago to actually do these things. The ones up top are for a couple of sweet baby boys I know, and below are a few for Abby!

Today we are 38 weeks along and are set to see our little girl next week-- I'm so excited and yet a little anxious for sure. I have enjoyed SO much my one on one time with Lucy lately just doing fun things like painting nails, baking, PLAYING, reading books for way longer than usual and just simply enjoying my growing girl. I cannot believe in 4 months she will be THREE years old. The time has really flown by but I'm so excited for this next stage as our family grows!


Black Bean & Corn Salad

After yesterday's scone post, I'm redeeming myself a bit with something healthier.
This is a super quick, yummy side dish to anything Southwestern-- tacos, enchiladas, etc.

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad 
One can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
Half of a 17 oz. bag of frozen corn, slightly thawed. (I used a mix of yellow and white corn--yum!)
Half an Onion, diced (red onion would be great but we only had white.)
2 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
Juice of one lime
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
One ripe Avocado, diced
Pinch of Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Pinch of sugar

Mix all ingredients together. Allow to sit for 10 minutes for flavors to meld. If you are making far in advance, add the avocado right before serving. Serve as as salad or with tortilla chips.


Warm up with Cranberry Orange Scones

I know it's January and we are all supposed to be behaving ourselves, nutritionally speaking-- but it's also COLD outside and in the midst of all the yogurt and salads we are enjoying with a new love lately, here is a scone recipe I came up with over Christmas-- it would be great for any chilly morning or afternoon with a steaming cup of coffee or tea. If they seem a bit complicated, know that they come together very quickly.

Cranberry-Orange Scones
Makes 8 large or 16 small scones

2 cups of Flour
1/4 cup of sugar (I used raw, but regular is fine too)
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt 
Grated Zest of one Medium Orange

Pulse the above ingredients in your Food Processor several times to sift and combine.

Add 5-6 Tbs. of Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces and pulse again.
Add 2/3 cup of sweetened, dried cranberries and pulse again 2-3 times to incorporate.

In a small glass measuring cup, add one egg to 1/2 cup of Heavy Cream and whisk with a fork. (Now here's where I feel the need to explain-- I have ALWAYS made these with Half and Half instead of Heavy Cream even though the original recipe calls for cream. Always. Then, over Christmas, I found myself with cream and without half & half. So I bit the bullet, and can I just say--- WOW. It made a HUGE difference in the texture, and the fact that these scones lasted for days without drying out. However, I will say that the half & half is fine and makes a nice (though not quite as flaky) scone. So do whatever you wish. :)

Add liquid/ egg mixture all at once and pulse a few times to ensure it comes together. Your scone dough will be kind of crumbly but moist.

Dump out the dough directly onto a lightly floured surface or wax paper and pat it into a circle (divide into 2 circles if you wish to make small scones.) Form into a circle as best you can and then use a sharp knife to cut into 8 wedges. Move wedges to a Parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 425' for 12-15 minutes until just beginning to lightly brown.

Before Baking-- they are a bit flat

 They plump up nicely in the oven

Remove scones to a wire rack to cool for about 7 minutes and prepare glaze. These are perfectly yummy before the orange glaze, but it does add a whole other level of deliciousness! 

Orange Glaze
1 cup of Powdered sugar
1-2 tbs. of fresh orange juice (from the orange you zested. If your child ate the orange while you were making your scones, plain ole' OJ is fine too.) 

Mix the two together in a bowl until you get a nice thick-ish consistency. 
 Glaze consistency

Set your wire rack of scones right back on the pan you baked them on (so the parchment catches your excess glaze) and drizzle glaze over them. They will set up a bit in just a few minutes and be ready to eat! 

The finished product