Monday, November 30, 2009

So much to be thankful for...

We have so much to be thankful for this holiday season!! God has blessed our family beyond belief!! This past weekend, we had a lot of time to reflect upon these blessings! We had the wonderful opportunity to spend 3 full days with family!!

Thursday after Sophia's morning nap, we headed over to Nate's parents house! This was the first year we celebrated Thanksgiving with Nate's family on Thanksgiving Day! We all had a wonderful time and the food was ALL amazing! So healthy and so wonderful! Yum Yum!! I even tried a new dessert out on the family and it was a hit!! Two pieces made it back to the house with us on Thursday night, but were gone before I could even get Sophia to bed! (Thanks Nate and Tyler!)

Thursday night Lexi and Tyler spent the night! We played Ticket to Ride (European Version) after Sophia went to bed!! After lots of giggles and squeals, we hit the sack early so everyone (minus myself and Sophia) could get up early for Black Friday shopping! Don't they all look thrilled to be up at 4:30am? (I wasn't thrilled to be up taking the picture!!)

Nate and Tyler both scored a copy of "Elf" for $3.99 at Target!!

Friday morning we watched Elf and played with Sophia! I doubt many people were watching movies at 7am on Black Friday, huh? After Sophia's morning nap, we headed to Nate's parents house to meet the family, then proceeded to head to Garfield Park Conservatory for some family pictures. Here is a glimpse of a few of them ...

After pictures, we all (minus Sophia, Rhoda, and Delores) headed south to Perry Park Ice Skating Rink. It is a Long family tradition to "Skate off the Turkey" the day after Thanksgiving! Did you know that ice skating for 1 hour burns 700 calories? Also, 9 laps around the rink is equivalent to 1 mile? We sure burned lots of calories that afternoon and had tons of fun doing so! We had a nice meal at Nate's parents house that evening and some yummy peanut butter balls! (All the kids FAVORITE treat!)

Saturday we headed down to my parents house for some food, family, and fun!! Sophia really loved eating lots of turkey, bread, and veggies this year -- but no desserts!! (I know, such a mean mommy!) After a yummy meal, Sophia took a nap and the adults took part in a card game of "Hand and Foot!" We had a blast playing together with my parents, Sarah, and Brandon. Too bad Nate and I didn't win!!

Yesterday was Sophia's 11 month birthday! I can't even believe it!! Time sure flies -- although I sure love this stage!! Each month is more enjoyable than the last!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!! We Americans have so much to be thankful for each and everyday!! I am especially grateful for our men and women overseas fighting so that I can enjoy freedom!!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

11 months!

Happy 11 month birthday to my baby girl Sophia Grace!!

It has sure been a great 11 months!! I can't believe she will be 1 in just a short month!!

Love you baby girl!

Mama Al

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trying to save some dough....

As some of you saw on my FB page, I asked for recommendations for online printable coupons for organic foods. Many of you responded so I thought I would throw together some links of resources to save money while grocery shopping!! If you (my faithful reader) have any extra sites you like to use, please leave them in the comment section!! I think my favorite is the organicdeals blog!!

Check 'em out!!

In other news, Sophia has really picked up speed in her crawling!! She sure be-lines it for anything of mine I set on the floor (cup, plate, my food, bowl, etc). Also, she crawled to get her book in book babies today for the first time!! I was so happy and glad she could show off her new skills!!

We hope you all have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!! We are looking forward to spending lots of time with family that we love dearly!!


Saturday, November 21, 2009


Sophia has FINALLY started crawling!!! Check out the video!! We are thrilled!!!! It has only taken 10 months and 3 weeks!! I am also so thankful that Nate was here to witness it for the first time!! (PS. Don't mind the lack of pants, can't seem to keep the leaks away! At least you get to look at a cute diaper cover!)



Thursday, November 19, 2009

My new favorite thing to do ...

READ BOOKS all by myself and to myself!!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rainy days don't get us down ....

because we still have room for smiles! :)


Thursday, November 12, 2009

We sure gotta girly-girl on our hands...

This afternoon Sophia and I headed over to Charlie's house for a playdate! It was so great to see Kathy and Charlie, as our last "date" was back in the summer! Both kids have grown and developed so much since they last played!! Charlie is your typical boy and Sophia is definately a typical girl. It is amazing at such an early age they display characteristics of their sex!

When we arrived, Charlie was so intrigued by Sophia. He loved grabbing her hair, wanted to get so close to give her a hug, and thought they should be best buds! Sophia on the other hand wasn't so sure about a "boy up in her face!" I know in 15 years I can only pray she doesn't want "boys in her face!" Ha! Nevertheless, our two kiddos quickly warmed up to each other! It was fun to see them interact. Sophia needs a good "toughing-up" session anyways!!

I told Charlie that before we left for the afternoon, Sophia needed to follow his example and crawl! Somehow I think the language barrier (baby talk to English) jumbled my message!! She thought it was hilarious to watch him walk behind his shopping cart and crawl like a race horse!! He thought it was hilarious to listen to her say "Dadadadadada" over and over and over again!!

We had a wonderful lunch! (Thanks Kathy!) The kids looked at each other during the meal and started talking baby! It was so cute! Sophia would say something and Charlie would just laugh at her!! It is almost as though they understood each other!!

"Here mommy, wanna puff?"

We look forward to our next playdate!! Too bad we don't live closer, or we could see each other more often!!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hats off to ....

Sophia and I went into the Avon Texas Roadhouse today (Veteran's Day) to purchase a gift card at 1:30pm. As you well know, TR opens at 4pm during the week, however today they are open all day! From 11am - 3pm, the Avon TR is honoring our vets with a FREE meal! How awesome is that? As we waited on our gift card, I looked around and saw so many men and women proudly displaying their shirts, hats, and jackets! You couldn't help but smile and be internally grateful for their sacrifice!! Even the workers that were vets were wearing their military outfits and garb! I was EXTRA proud to be an American this afternoon!!


Monday, November 9, 2009

Hat's, Guitar's, and Stars!

Wow, what a whirl-wind of a weekend!!

Friday, Sophia and I went down to spend the day in Greenwood! My dear friend Leslie and her 3 month old baby girl Adelynn were in town from Chicago! We were able to spend lots of time at my parents earlier in the day! I found this precious hat at Buy Buy Baby for Sophia! (Now she is twins with Maeve!) She was totally cheesing it up when I was taking her picture!! As she grows up, we should probably work on her "modeling pose!" (Can you see her two top teeth? She likes to grind her bottom teeth with her top two! It makes the WORST sound ever!)

A few weeks ago, our dinosaur big screen TV bit the dust. So sad to see it go!! :( It was about 20 years old!) It was really perfect timing b/c my dad has been itching to get a new flat screen plasma TV! He offered to sell his old TV to us and so Saturday morning Nate and Brandon headed down to Greenwood to pick it up! It took 4 guys to get the TV loaded on the truck! Heck, the thing weighs 275 lbs!! They finally arrived with it and hauled off the broken dinosaur!
We spent lots of time to get everything arranged! Here is the final picture! Now we just need a nice big family picture to hang above the TV!!

Saturday afternoon we headed out to Beasley's Orchard to get their new apple, "THE GOLD RUSH." I believe it was created at Purdue (but I could be wrong!)! It is a great apple -- you should check your local orchard to see if they have some!! It is a fairly young apple type so check soon before they are all gone!!

Saturday evening we celebrated my dad's 58th birthday! It is so crazy b/c I always think my parents are in their 40's. Maybe that is when their birthday's started meaning more? Or maybe it was those surprise 40th birthday parties for both of them that stick out in my head always?

Below is dad showing off his new "pick" from Sarah and Brandon! He was so excited about this piece of art! He can't wait to hang it up in his "music studio." As you can see Sophia was interested in the wrapping paper!! HEHE

Sophia also found joy in the plastic container that held his Best Buy gift card! She figured out she could see through it if she held it up to her face! She thought it was funny to smash it against her nose too! It provided lots of laughs for the family!

Sunday, we decided to get out Olivia's Colts Cheerleading outfit for church! Sophia was a "star" cheerleader all day for the Colts!! Good thing she cheered with some extra loud "squeals" b/c we were all worried they weren't going to pull off a big VICTORY!!

Go Colts!!! (Go Butler Bulldogs too! For once their football team is undefeated!! Who knew?)


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sophia's Super Porridge

This morning I made up a batch of Sophia's Super Porridge!! I took a picture of the key ingredients and thought I would post the recipe. I know lots of my faithful readers make their own baby food as well!! If you click on the picture, you can enlarge it on your computer screen to read the black text I added! The great this with this recipe, is you can add, subtract, or substitute pretty much anything ingredient to your babies liking!! I used a few ingredients I needed to get out of the freezer!

Sophia's Super Porridge

(You can make this recipe gluten free by leaving out the oats, everything else is GF)

1/2 cup steel cut oats, ground into a powder
1/2 cup millet, ground into a powder
1/2 cup buckwheat, ground into a powder
1/4 cup brown rice, ground into a powder
Cinnamon to taste (probably used 2-3 tbsp or more) -- we LOVE cinnamon!
3 brown bananas (mash as put into the pot)
1 cup bean puree
1 cup organic pear juice
7 cups water

Grind all grains into a powder (can grind together). Bring 7 cups of water to boil. Once the water is at a boil, add the powder and start whisking! Whisk, whisk, whisk to prevent clumping!! After whisking for a few minutes, I turn the burner to low-medium and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. I added the pear juice, bean puree, cinnamon, and bananas. Whisk, whisk, whisk!! I let it simmer about 5 more minutes and then poured the porridge into my trays for the freezer!

From start to finish, it only took me about 30 minutes!! See, it is so easy and you can make the recipe with ingredients you have around the house. You don't really even need the juice, but I wanted to use it up, plus it adds a little sweetness to the porridge!!

The finished product!! These trays should last us awhile!!

Interesting facts about the ingredients (from

1) Millet is rich in B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and is even considered a good protein source.
2) Buckwheat is not related to wheat nor is it a grain. Buckwheat is actually a seed however it is tossed into the whole grain category. Buckwheat is gluten free and makes a wonderful food for those who are gluten intolerant (celiac disease) or who have an allergy to the wheat protein. Buckwheat is high in fiber and contains Iron, Niacin, Folate and even Vitamin K.
3) Oats are high in fiber, calcium, protein and even some B vitamins. Whenever possible, you should purchase steel cut oats as opposed to rolled or quick cook or instant oat(meal)s. Steel cut oats are minimally processed (they are simply cut into small bits.) so they retain their natural levels of fiber, protein, calcium and more.

Anyone have any favorite baby food recipes they would like to share? I would LOVE to have more nutritious recipes for Sophia!!


Monday, November 2, 2009

The Cutest Halloween Outfit EVER

For those of you that don't follow the other blogs on my "favorite" list -- you MUST check out Jen's blog with their Halloween Costumes!! It is the most creative idea I have EVER seen!! Hats off to Jen and Brad for their creativity and to the boys for being "little monkeys!" Way to go Murray's!!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Quack Quack!!

Sophia had a wonderful time Trick-or-Treating with her daddy, grammie, and grampie Kiesel! I had volunteered to work on Saturday, so this mama didn't get to go!! No worries, I will take Sophia around next year!! :) The word on the street was Sophia was pretty somber and wouldn't crack a smile until the very end! She loved holding the candy -- double-fisted (of course)!! Who knew shaking a bag of M&M's could be so fun for so long!!!

"Who let the duck out? Who-who? Who let the duck out? Who-who?" (Gotta love that little tail too!)

Grampie, "Somber-Ducky," and Grammie Kiesel

"What on earth am I doing in this costume?? Could someone please answer me that?"

Daddy and his little "Quack-Quack"

"Sophia, make your best duck face!!"

Maybe next year we will get some smiles!! :)