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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cards Game

This past weekend my parents came down for a quick visit! Saturday night we took Carson to his first Cardinals game! The weather looked a little iffy but it ended up being a perfect night! Carson LOVED seeing all of the people, and mostly just loved walking & running around the park! Right now Carson is REALLY into pointing. He points at everything, especially flags. The boy loves a good flag waving in the air! Needless to say there were plenty to point out at the stadium. The Cards are in a slump right now so the game was lacking on energy and excitement but the four of us were too busy playing, and watching Carson to really even notice!

We are looking forward to taking Carson to his next game in a couple weeks when Stacey, Holli, and Cooper come to visit! Yay :)

On a totally unrelated note I have some horrible news to share. Friday night, late, we received a phone call that James' grandfather, aka Big Daddy had a heart attack, and passed away. He was 76 years old and was in really great health, and incredibly active! He was actually out dancing when it happened so at least he was busy doing something he loved during his last moments. It was a rough weekend for the entire family but we are thankful that he went quickly, and without any pain. He was an amazing father, grandfather, and great grandfather. I feel so lucky and blessed that I have been in the family long enough to get to know him. I'm also so happy that he got to meet, and spend some time with Carson...

Here's a picture of the two of them together at Christmas. It's hard to believe he's gone. He will be incredibly missed! Please keep James' family in your thoughts over the next few weeks as they try to adjust to life him :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Father's Day

We had a pretty quiet father's day weekend this year :) Saturday night we met some friends for dinner at PF Chang's, which is ALWAYS yummy! We spent most of the day around here, playing with the little man! Of course I wanted to do something "special", and out of the ordinary so I decided we should go try out a local pool. They had a kids area, lazy river, and water slide so I thought for sure it would be fun! Well, we get up to the gate and the lady taking the $$ tells us that we can't use our float (that would be Carson's float). What a bummer! That pretty much put a damper on the whole trip! We had to just hold him in the water which wasn't near as fun. There were TONS of people there (most of them covered in tattoos, no seriously), and all Carson wanted to do was walk around the pools. So, needless to say the pool trip was a little of a flop and we stayed an hour or so and headed home.

Having a few goldfish :) I told you that nearly everyone at the pool had tattoos (And I don't just mean one little one...James has that...I mean like major works of art!) I took 6 pictures while we were there and there were only two that didn't have a tattooed body in the background...

Did you notice the tattooed arm on the right side?

And then there is the lovely lady with a tattoo covering her whole lower back... nice. Click the picture to enlarge, should you really want to check it out. haha

O well... I did mow the grass for James that afternoon so at least I was able to do that right :) haha For Father's Day Carson and I got James a swing for the backyard. We actually gave it to him a couple weeks ago because I was too excited about it, of course.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Grant's Farm

I just realized that I never told you about our trip to Grant's Farm last weekend! Grant's Farm is here in St. Louis, and is owned by the Busch's, that would be an in the beer. haha They keep the famous Clydesdales there, along with MANY other animals! It's like a mini zoo :) When we got there we rode over to the farm on a tram. On the way we saw all kinds of crazy animals: deer, longhorns, ostriches, yaks, bison, antelope, buffalo, geese, and koi. Our favorite was the longhorn! Of course because it always reminds us of the little man, and his finger sucking habit. haha The longhorns were funny too because at one point they were blocking the road, and our tram driver honked, and honked but they wouldn't move. Turns out two of them got their horns all twisted together! haha They finally managed to move as a "unit" out of our way!

A mini history lesson: The farm was originally owned by Ulysses S. Grant, and was later bought by his good friend Adolphus Busch, who later married into the Anheuser family, creating Anheuser Busch. The Busch family preserved the old cabin on the property and then built themselves a monster of a house in the center of the farm. It hides behind lots of trees but from our tram ride you can get a sneak peek...

Yeah, they are doing pretty well.

I wont bore you with picture, after picture of the animals but I must show you the biggest longhorn we've ever seen! This guy was HUGE, no wonder he got all tied up with his buddy.

I love these boys! (That would be James and Carson, not the cows)

When we got off the tram we walked right into the petting zoo area! There were several different types of animals to pet and feed. First was the baby goats. They were in a huge pin. You could actually pick up a bottle of milk, and go inside the pin and find one to feed. We didn't think Carson was quite big enough for all of that. He is done with the bottle and all but I wouldn't put it past him to tip up the bottle of goat milk and take a big swig. haha Oh gosh, that would be gross! So, needless to say we stayed outside the pin and let Carson pet the goats from there. He picked a sweet little goat, he was snoozing. Carson pet him so gently (very unlike how he pets Chloe...what the heck?), he didn't even wake him up!

Me and my little man :)

I'd have to say, my favorite animal was the elephant! I don't know that I've ever really seen one up close. Those things are HUGE, and really quite amazing.

I'm just glad Carson wasn't old enough to say, "Mommy, what is that big grey thing hanging down from his belly?" haha Lucky for me, those questions will be redirected to Daddy :)

Yes, the cuteness is killing me too!

My favorite part of the day was riding the carousel with Carson! It was his first time and he LOVED it. He loved the lights, and going up and down! I can't wait to take him again :)

The only bummer of the day was that we didn't get to see the Clydesdales! Well, we did see one but we didn't get to go visit the stables. Carson was getting close to being "done", if your a Mommy you know what I mean. And, to be honest, Daddy was "done" too! haha Next time we'll be sure to visit the stables first, instead of last :) Here's the only picture I got of a horse but, o well :) This place was so cool, there will be a next time!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Empanadas a'la Pujols

A couple weeks ago, while at a local grocery I picked up a copy of their magazine, which usually has lots of recipes! I've never actually made any of them until I saw these little Empanadas, recipe courtesy of Deidre Pujols (Albert's wife of course). So in keeping up my theme of being a little home-maker I thought I'd whip them up tonight...Homemade dough and all! They were OUTSTANDING! The best thing about them is that once you make them you can freeze them, and then just pop them in the oven as you want them. James picked up rice and beans from our fav. Mexican place to go with them :) It was a little time consuming but they were worth it! And, it made it a bunch of them so they'll be great for a snack, or even an appetizer! Carson loved them too :) I thought I'd share the recipe in case your wanting a change from your normal dinner combos...


1lb lean ground beef
1tsp garlic salt
2tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely diced green pepper
1 cup finely diced yellow pepper (I had red, so I used that)
1 cup finely diced onion
1 cup finely diced tomato (I used canned)
5 cloves garlic (I used 4)
1tsp ground chili powder
1tsp ground cumin
1 beef bouillon cube
Empanada dough (recipe follows)
Veg. oil for frying
Hot pepper sauce (we didn't use this, instead we used salsa and sour cream)

Cook ground beef with garlic salt until brown, drain, and set aside. In same skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add peppers, onion, tomatoes, garlic, spices, and bouillon; cook stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender. Add cooked ground beef, cook another 10 min or so. Cool to room temp.

Roll and cut dough as directed. Place about 1 tbsp of meat filling in each round. Fold in half to enclose filling, press edges together with tines of fork to seal. In deep fryer, or deep skillet, heat oil to 375*. Add empanadas one at a time to oil, don't overcrowd. Cook, turning once, until evenly brown. Drain on paper towels, and serve warm with hot pepper sauce (salsa/sour cream).

Empanada Dough

3 cups flour
1tsp baking powder
2tsp sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, cubed and chilled
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 large egg

In bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. Add shortening, cut with knives (I used two and just doing cutting motions with both, at the same time) until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk egg and broth together. Slowly pour into flour mixture. Mix until soft dough forms (it will be hard to stir and mix, I used my knife and a fork). Shape dough into two discs, wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.

On lightly floured surface, roll one disc 1/8 inch thick. Using 4 inch cookie cutter, cut out circles. Fill as directed. Repeat with remaining disc.

Now, if you want to freeze them....Follow same directions, put in air-tight container and freeze. Reheat from Empanadas in a single layer, on a baking sheet, 425* for 10 minutes!

Enjoy!!!! I know we did :)

A little home-maker

I feel like it's quite the cliche to be a stay at home Mom, sew during the afternoon, and then cook dinner at night. I don't care what it is... I love it! I got my sewing machine the Christmas before Carson was born. I never really had any lessons or anything so I don't really know a whole lot about it. I read the owners manual cover to cover and that pretty much taught me the basics. I've decided the best way to learn is by doing, so every once in a while I drag it out and try something new! Last Thursday I decided to tackle a project I found online a while back...A kid sized floor pillow. It looked fairly easy but it had piping on it so I was intimidated immediately. Once I got started though, and realized it was pre-made, it was no biggie! I LOOOOOOVE going to the fabric store. When I get there I always want to buy all of the pretty fabrics, and decide what to do with them later. If you ever need motivation to drag your sewing machine out of the closet, just visit the fabric store, works every time. So, now I'm on a sewing kick. I want to make stuff. Just not sure what! haha Last week I made the floor pillow and it turned out super cute....

I got some coordinating fabric so I could have a pair of them, and I haven't made the second one yet. If case you sew, and you'd like to try making the pillow here is the tutorial I used. While I'm all about trying to make new things I'm not quite sure I have the ability, or supplies to make what I've got my eyes on, this ric rac quilt I found on Etsy. You can't buy the actual quilt on there, you just buy the pattern ($5). I have NO idea what it takes to make a quilt. If you've made one, or someone that makes them plllllllease let me know. I'd love to know more about it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"What's up doc?"

Right before we left for the weekend I had to take Carson back to the doctor for his one year check-up, and to make sure his ear infection had cleared up. Well, the ear infection was just barely still in his left ear so the doctor gave us another script for amoxil. Because of the ear infection the little guy didn't have to get his shots...I'm pretty sure he's thankful. Our appointment was at 10:30, and we had a play date scheduled for noon at the park. I thought that SURELY we'd be done in time to grab some lunch and head to the park...Boy was I wrong! The doctor took FOREVER! We waited 30 minutes in the (well) waiting room, which didn't bother us at all because Carson was busy playing with some new friends :) When we got back to the exam room we waited another 30 minutes. What does one do with a one year, in a really small exam room, where they aren't supposed to touch anything for 30 whole minutes?


Once the doctor finally came in Carson was sooooo ready to show off his stuff! Everything looked great (except that wee little ear infection)! He weighed 20 lbs, yes he weighed more last month...Apparently it's normal to loose a little when they start walking. After all, he's burning more calories. Only problem is that Carson doesn't have much weight to loose. The poor guy is skinny enough :) haha His weight landed him in the 11th%tile. He was 30 inches tall, and in the 56th%tile. We go back next Wednesday for shots, a little blood work, and to make sure the infection is gone!

Monday, June 6, 2011

To Benton...

This past weekend our whole party of three traveled to Benton, Ky for a weekend on the lake, and to celebrate Carson's birthday! He celebrated...True Harper style with a full day on the lake! While we were there I had several people tell me how much they enjoy reading this blog...And I immediately felt quite guilty, I've been slacking. Well, slacking really isn't the word for it...I've been so busy with Carson, the house, and all of our recent travels that I haven't hardly had a minute to even sit down and reflect! So, this post is a promise to everyone who reads, especially those of you in Benton, that I will do better!

They were having boat races at the lake this weekend so there were lots of VERY loud fast boats zooming by us... Carson did not like the noise at first, but once he got used to it he almost seemed to enjoy it! haha Luckily Gary and Pam's friends have a big cabin cruiser boat and Carson was even able to take a much needed siesta. He only slept for about 30-45 min but it made ALL of the difference! Once he got up he was ready to play! He splashed around and was in the water for a long time, heck...He had to be, it was SO hot!!

Playing with Mimi's chapstick, of course! Oh, that reminds me... The other day Carson figured out how to get the lid off, and then proceeded to put it in his mouth. No more playing with the chapstick.
Our little babe had a so much fun celebrating his first birthday with Mimi and Poppy! They got him the cutest little t-ball game :) He'll be hitting homers in no time! After several hours on the lake Carson was sporting quite the little tan (no worries...I used sunscreen). I love that in his creases (I know you're thinking, "What creases? The boy's too skinny!" but he does have a couple!) there is a little white line. So adorable :) After our full day we headed back to Mimi and Poppy's to grill, eat homemade ice cream and cookie cake, and hang out with friends! What a great weekend!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

It's my party, I can cry if I want to...

Memorial weekend we celebrated Carson's 1st Birthday in Owensboro! James and I had a party for him at my parents house on Sunday and it sure was a blast :) We had lots of family and friends there to help us make sure Carson's 1st Birthday was super special! We decorated the back porch with TONS of balloons, just perfect for a little boy's party! My grandmother, "Ree", who can make/bake anything, made Carson a special birthday cake! On the outside it looked quite simple...But on the inside, a rainbow of colors!

Of course it was yummy too :) Granny and I made cupcake sprinkle cookies, homemade strawberry golden oreo ice cream, and had lots of little snacks for everyone!

I put together a little year recap in photos on this board so everyone could see how much Carson has grown over the past year :) It turned out cute, and it's just so hard to believe he was ever that small!
I also made Carson a sweet little shirt with a big number one on it! I looked at several on Etsy but I just couldn't make myself pay $30 for one! I bought a yellow t-shirt at Target ($5) and used some fabric I had here, traced and cut out the "1" and then ironed, and sewed it on. For $5 it was pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself!

(Post cake...)

I just knew Carson would dive into his cake... Maybe I started it off on a bad note by trying to make him wear this cute hat.... He wasn't feeling it.

Once he finally calmed down from the hat episode he started playing in the cake a little! He got icing ALL over his hands and he really didn't like it. He wanted it off...He tried rubbing it on me, James, his shorts, his shirt, and oh yeah...HIS HAIR! Yuck... he had icing and sprinkles everywhere!

He really didn't actually eat ANY of the cake until he was all clean! I actually had to do a quick bath to get the sprinkles and icing off of him. We even left lots of sprinkles in Granny & Pops' tub....Whoops!

After cake, ice cream, and a bath he was ready for presents! This boy sure is loved...He had gifts EVERYWHERE! It took us forever to open them all :) Carson's favorite thing was all of the cards he received. He couldn't get enough of them! haha

It sure was hot outside (90*+) but we didn't let that stop us from having a good time :)

A special thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate Carson's birthday...Whether at the party, through a card in the mail, or a weekend on the lake in Benton! He truly had an amazing birthday :) I took lots of pictures and documented it quite well...So I know we'll never forget it :) We love you all!