Cookies for Santa

One of Tipp’s favorite activities at school the week before Christmas was cutting out dough ornaments with cookie cutters.  And his favorite place in kitchen to be is sitting on the counter watching Ben make pizza dough or me cooking dinner.  So I knew this year he would not only enjoy eating Christmas cookies, but baking them as well for Santa’s arrival.  After breakfast on Christmas Eve morning, I pulled out the mixer, rolling pin, flour and lots of sprinkles for decorating. Tipp watched intently as I mixed up a batch of sugar cookies then carefully rolled them out for cutting.

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We used all of our cookie shapes to cut cookies and he had the best time decorating them with sprinkles.  He certainly knows how the oven works as he is constantly peaking into the oven to see what is baking.

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We gave the cookies a taste test as soon as they came out of the oven –  just to make sure they were good enough for Santa!

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I have to say I was impressed with Tipp’s attention span to bake cookies, which makes me excited not only for this tradition in the years to come, but a little helper in the kitchen everyday!

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We’re all ready for Santa…

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2012 Goals

Now that 2011 is over (and what a great year it was), I’ve been thinking about the things I want to accomplish in 2012.  I wouldn’t say these are resolutions, but things I have set my eyes on and hope to cross off my ever growing “to-do” list.   These types of lists are usually stated with the New Year, which is now 20 days past, but with the holidays and a busy year-end at work, I haven’t had much of a chance to start thinking about 2012.  I’m sure as the weeks and months go by, my goals will be tweaked and may change – I’m flexible like that with life, but it will interesting to look back in early 2013 to see how far I made it and how it will shape my goals for 2013.  Did I just say 2013…that seems so far away, but it will be here before we know it!

2012 To-do’s (in no particular order):

  • Run the St. Patty’s 8k, Tarheel 10 Miler and the Diva Half Marathon under 2:10.
  • Read 10 books including the Girl With Dragon Tattoo series.
  • Improve my photography/editing skills with Project 366
  • Blog more…at least once a week
  • Plan a date night once a month
  • Plan a mini-vacation with my little family
  • Try yoga and stretching to help with my runs

So there you go – and I’ve got a start on my list already.   The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is in my Kindle, I signed up for the St. Patty’s 8k, just today Ben and I had a lunch date, and I’m 20 days into 366 days of photos.  Now, I should be off to bed so I can have the energy for a 4 mile run tomorrow!

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A Little Bragging

Usually my posts are about Tipp and the fun tricks he has mastered or the special milestones we have hit in his little life.  He is my pride and joy, however I just have to brag about myself for once…something I never do.  Being a stay at home mom was never an option for us for many reasons that include finances, benefits, socialization for Tipp and my well-being.  Of course I have many days where I wake up and wish I could stay at home with Tipp, but I know I’m doing the best for our family.  It makes our weekends and occasional days off even more special.

When I went back to work after a 5 month maternity leave, it was difficult juggling everything that included projects for work, monthly deadlines, getting home in time for Ben to go to work, putting dinner on the table, keeping up with the laundry and nursing Tipp full time.  Somehow I found time for all of it and even a few more hours to take on additional responsibilities at work.  Now, after 13 months it has all paid off and I received a promotion to Assistant Vice President.

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The finance industry is a bit crazy, where you have to do the work and do an exceptional job prior to getting promoted.  On top of that you have to write an essay on your accomplishments over the past year to convince the Executive Board who have no idea who are you that you are worthy of this promotion.  After a process that lasted months, I was so relieved to get the official word that I had officially been promoted.  I have to say that next to my college graduation, this is something I am extremely proud of.

I have learned that I can have it all – the family and a career.  I strive to be challenged and enjoy the sense of accomplishment.  Everyone is happy and thriving, I enjoy my work, Ben will graduate this Spring and Tipp is doing wonderful at school 3 days a week.   Toys may be strewn out across the living room floor each morning before the leaving the house, mail might be piled on the dining room table, laundry is lucky to be done once a week and Tipp may enjoy one too many meals of chicken nuggets & cheese toast….but it works for us!

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Merry Christmas from the Stafford’s!
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Away In A Manager

I love the holiday season and the spirit it brings, especially to a child.  Growing up, I loved having my own tree and decorations in my room and I want the same for Tipp.  I recently found my old table top tree that I had in college in my parents attic and it currently lights up Tipp’s room with the soft glow of colored lights and the few ornaments he has already collected.  I also wanted to Tipp to have some Christmas things of his own, and for the past few weeks, I have had my eye on the precious Little People Nativity set.  I originally saw it in the Fisher-Price catalog that has repeatedly shown up in my mailboxes preceding the holidays.  They must know I am sucker for all of the Little People that Tipp loves.

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On Saturday mornings when Tipp and I sneak off to Target to do the weekly grocery shopping, we often take a stroll through the toy aisle to see what might catch his attention.  I know I won’t be able to do this for long without trouble, but for now it’s our little tradition.  We always check out the books, Chuck trucks, Cars toys, and Little People….that’s when I saw the Nativity Set.  It seems cheesy, but those short, fat Little People are so precious!  Especially when I could imagine Tipp’s little hands carrying baby Jesus and Mary around.

I waited until the weekend before Thanksgiving before buying it and let Tipp open it right away.  I wanted him to enjoy playing with it this holiday season.  And while he is too young to understand the story of Jesus’ birth, I look forward to sharing it with him over the years to come and letting him have a little piece of Christmas for his room.

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Each night before I go up to bed, in what has become one of my favorite parts of the day, I find all the pieces that have been strewn all over the living room floor and one by one set everyone in their place.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas, especially when it comes to the toy aisle, but I hope this toy will act as double duty for Tipp and us by reminding us about the miracles that bless our life.

 

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Tea Does Make Everything Better

 

As I sit here on the couch with a the biggest mug I own, full of piping hot tea, under 2 blankets watching Glee…I suddenly realize how much better I feel with a warm cup of tea.  It soothes my aching throat, warms me up, stops the chills, and brings back many wonderful memories.

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In the first few hours after Tipp was born and the c-section drained me of all of my energy, a nurse suggested tea made with ginger ale.  There was something about the bubbles that settled my stomach and relaxed my aching body.  In the first few weeks when I was exhausted beyond words, I remember sitting down to a cup of tea to have a little “ME” time.

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I have not always been a fan of hot tea, but one of my dearest friends, Meg and her mom are tea fanatics.  Growing up in the south the only tea I ever knew was sweet iced tea, while very delicious there is something about chatting with girlfriends in a tea house over finger sandwiches and tiny desserts that I am so grateful they introduced to us.  Now every year for our girl’s weekend we find a new place to have tea and catch up.  I can’t wait for the next year when our conversations will have turned from chatter about who is getting married, the newest Real Simple magazine or even the latest on our husbands, to hours and hours of indulging in stories of our wee ones.

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Now, my cup is almost empty and not only and I craving more, but more memories made with tea that warm my heart!  Here’s to a cup of tea as I crawl into bed and hope it washes away these horrible germs to get me through the rest of the week…

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Gobble Up This Cuteness

For the past several weeks I have been admiring the adorable Turkey shirts on sites such as Etsy and Pinterest.  I had all intentions of ordering one for Tipp since I do not sew, nor do I have the time for another project!  But, time slipped away from me and of course I could not order one that would arrive before Thanksgiving.  Then, I got the crazy idea to find some crafiness and do it myself.

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After a little googling – I found a template and an idea for a no-sew version.  Last Friday, I left the office for the first time in months during lunch to scout out Walmart’s selection of fabrics.  I quickly found 4 coordinating patterns, brown flannel and Heat n Bond.  Later that evening I showed Ben my idea and I could almost see him rolling his eyes as I added yet another item to our weekend ‘to-do” list.

Saturday morning while Tipp ate his Carrot & Zucchini Yogurt muffins, I got to work on what could possibly be the easiest DIY project ever!

Materials:

  • 3-5 different fabrics for the feathers and body
  • Heat n Bond
  • buttons
  • t shirt
  • Iron
  • needle and thread
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First, I printed this template from The Cottage Home for the feathers and body and cut squares of fabric.

After my iron heated to the medium setting, I applied the Heat n Bond to the back of the fabric by ironing the adhesive side for approximately 4 seconds.

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Use the template to trace the turkey body and feathers onto the back of the fabric pieces.  You will want approximately 11 feathers.  I also cut out a triangle for the beak in the orange fabric I had.

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Peel the back off the fabric and arrange the feathers.  I started with the outside and working my way in.  This was the hardest and most time consuming part to get them centered and symmetrical.  Once you have the turkey positioned iron the design on a medium setting for about 8 seconds or until the fabric has adhered to the shirt.

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I found 2 extra buttons for eyes and sewed them on (the only kind of sewing I do), however it would be extra cute to do some stitching to outline the feathers.

I had way more fabric than I needed, so I plan to make Tipp another shirt for next year.  I wish I had found more coordinating orange and maroon fabrics so this would have been a football season shirt for cheering on the Hokies!

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In honor of Tipp’s Upcoming Half Birthday…

I am finally documenting his First Birthday! I am no Martha Stewart, but I have to say I was quite proud of how his Jungle themed party turned out. You know how you get these ideas in your head and usually they never turn out the way you envision them….well every aspect of the party I had envisioned turned out to be better than I expected!

When I first started thinking about his party I knew we could not have it at our house and so we took a chance and decided on a local park in Apex. I went back and forth with how much or little to do…I researched for months themes, cakes, party favors and decorations. Sometimes my ideas seemed more challenging than realistic and I had flashbacks of the days where I planned my wedding. But somehow the party came together thanks to lots of family and friends for chipping in – Meg for helping with the decorations and entertaining Tipp while I got everything loaded, my parents for helping set up and clean up, Sara for her wonderful ideas and her neat handwriting on the candy jars, Zack & Amanda for picking up the balloons, my wonderful husband who not only put up with my big and crazy ideas, but supported them and humored me for a one-year old’s party (when, really it was my party!) and of course a big thank you to all of our friends and family for coming to celebrate Tipp’s First Birthday!

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Tipp’s Halloween Party

When an invitation came home from Tipp’s teachers inviting us to his Halloween party, I knew we would not miss this. After our decision to put Tipp in daycare, I knew I would look forward to the fun things such as artwork, class parties and having a play date almost every day in exchange for me working and missing so many little moments. I immediately volunteered to help and signed up to bring cheese cubes as they are one of Tipp’s favorite foods.

Two days before the party, we headed to the local Pumpkin Patch to pick out a little pumpkin for Tipp to paint at his party. On the night before the party I carefully cut the biggest block of cheese I could find at the grocery store into toddler-sized cube bites, put them all in a gallon sized bag and in my neatest handwriting labeled it appropriately with his name and his class name. I set out his pumpkin also with his name printed ever so neatly on a piece of masking tape – after all it was Tipp’s perfect pumpkin! Lastly before I went to bed, I made sure I had my camera in my work tote since there was no way I was missing a single photo-opt. The morning of the party, I dropped him off and gave him kiss saying I’d see him soon and set off to work in anticipation of 3pm when I would head back to enjoy my little boy having his first of many holiday parties with his friends.

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At promptly 3pm I left the office and raced over to Tipp’s school to find 6 sweet toddlers sitting at a miniature table enjoying a feast of mini-cupcakes, pretzels, yogurt, juice and of course Tipp’s favorite cheese cubes. In less than 5 minutes every single one of them had started to devour the yogurt, which is also one of Tipp’s favorite foods. What can I say? The boy loves dairy despite being sensitive to dairy as a newborn…I guess he’s making up for those few months with out it.

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As special thank you to Tipp’s teachers as I think this party thrilled Ben and I more than anything. We are so grateful that we have found a place that we are so comfortable with and 3 teachers who love him dearly! We are looking forward to many many more holidays and celebrations with our new friends at Tipp’s school.

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Mr. Roboto

Happy Halloween from our Little Robot!  We spent the rainy evening in Sanford at the neighborhood party.  Although it was a little stressful rushing home, throwing on Tipp’s Halloween costume and getting to Sanford in time…watching Tipp waddle around in his Robot costume while picking through the candy bowls made it all worth while.

Prior to the actual day, Ben, Tipp and I spent a day together and went to the pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin for Tipp to take to his Halloween Party at school. 

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