Let's Get Cookin'

So, last week I posted about using my waffle iron to cook cinnamon rolls. Well, I busted it out again the other day except this time I used an Orange Cranberry Muffin mix...oh yummy, yummy! Aaron couldn't get enough of them! I love cranberries anyway, but having them this way was surely a treat!
Getting to know my waffle iron again. Cinnamon rolls last week & orange cranberry muffin mix this week!
Then yesterday for dinner I put my slow cooker to work - love that thing!! For this recipe I put in 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of sun dried tomato salad dressing, & one packet of onion soup mix. It was one of the best slow cooked chicken recipes I've done! Mmmm...
Chicken in the #CrockPot with onion soup mix & sun dried tomato dressing! Yum! Yum!
The slow cooker is great even when I'm off  work b/c I was running around doing stuff all day and was cooking dinner at the same time! Multitasking at its best!

Loving my week off - it's been fun, productive, & relaxing!! Wish I could do this about once a month! I wonder if my boss would go for it?? LOL

A Very Girlie Day

Today has been a day of pampering...first for me, then for my mini me!

I met up with a friend this morning to catch up over a couple of pedicures...my feet were very thankful! We haven't seen one another in way too long & it was awesome to catch up. I was sad to cut it short, but before I knew it VBS was over and it was time for me to pick up Emma. Then we were headed for more girl time - this time for the little girls! Emma and Addison were treated to their own spa day and it was so fun! Addison chose Princess style, while my little miss outside-the-box (love her) wanted rock style! They had a blast!!!
Girlie Afternoon Girlie Afternoon
The girls loved every bit of it & were sent home with their own bottle of spray glitter for their hair! I have  feeling it won't last the summer! Ha ha! I think when it's time for her next hair cut, this might be the place she wants to go. There was even a little boy there when we first arrived getting his hair cut, but I think daddy may choose to keep going to Camo Cuts with our little man. Ya think??? I can't wait to see his reaction to her "do" and all that glitter!

Adventures of a Pretend SAHM

This week I'm pretending to be a SAHM! I took off this week so that I could take Emma to VBS and b/c I needed to use up some PTO. I don't know that I would ever want to quit working, though to be honest. I mean, I do like time off and wouldn't mind working PT one day down the road...but I live very close to work and have a great schedule so I can really take off for any school functions as they come up...but I also really need the schedule of work. I have an organized person living inside me, but the ADHD outer person just keeps her beat down all the time! So, work schedules and deadlines force the organization on me and if I got away from that I don't think anything would ever get done - does that make any sense at all!?!?

Anyway...bottom line is I am off this week! Emma will be at VBS from 9-12 every day and I plan on taking Aaron to the sitter's for a few hours each day, too - hey, gotta have a little "me-time" this week, too. So, the plan for the week is to have no real plan! I am meeting up with an GF this week for mani/pedi's - one I haven't seen in a looong time. I am super excited!!! And later this week my neighbor and I are taking the girls for a treat - we're having a little girls' spa date! Let them get mani/pedi's, makeup, up-do's - all that girlie stuff at a place near the house just for little girls! I can't wait for that one. And I am sure we'll hit the pool for some cool down fun and I promised Emma a picnic in the park one day, too - b/c that's the field trip she is missing at school this week since she is out.

Yesterday we got to visit our friends' new baby, too! He is such a cutie...and such a good baby, too!
Got to meet Mr. Jagger today!!! Such a sweetie!!!
What do ya think - Michael looks good holding a little baby, doesn't he?!?! 

 It's hard to believe our babies were ever so small. Well, actually, I guess they weren't really b/c little Jagger was 7lbs and both mine were over 8lbs! He looks a lot like his big brother, too!! The parents had a lot of family coming and going while we were there - so you know this little boy is going to be well loved! A new addition to the family is such a blessing & we are so happy for them.

Have a great Monday!

Fruits of Our Labor

Well, mostly Michael's labor as he is the one with the green thumb in the family!! He got the first watermelon of the season & was so proud! The kids were ready to cut into it, but we put it in the fridge to get cold over night & we'll get into it tonight - can't wait! It weighed in at 26lbs! Nearly as much as Aaron!!
Watermelon Anyone???
He planted a sunflower this year, too & Emma has declared it hers - she told me yesterday when it gets gigantic she is going to pick it. I told her she couldn't pick, but she informed me that her daddy would just plant another one! LOL
#sunflower
I took this picture a few days ago - the flower is actually even bigger now.

I also wanted to share another yummy that I credit to Pinterest - I will never cook cabbage another way again!!! This was so delicious!
Oh yeah - this is how cabbage should be eaten! Delicious!!
I did alter the recipe slightly - it called for real bacon bits (like the salad toppings), but I cooked real bacon instead & left out the olive oil (I've recently made the move to coconut oil). I cut up my bacon into tiny pieces and put it in my iron skillet to cook done & crispy! I did add a tsp of coconut oil to the skillet & when it was nice & crunchy I turned off the fire - added the Worcestershire sauce & lemon - and then poured it over my cabbage wedges, which I had already S&P'd and arranged on the foil. I made sure the marinade got in all the little crevices and then spooned the bacon pieces evenly over each wedge. Closed up the foil packets tight & into the oven they went!

I actually didn't get to enjoy them fresh out of the oven - I got them all prepared & then headed out to boot camp, but told hubs to be sure & save me one - and that's what was left when I got home - ONE! I guess the kids ate their fair share, too! Love that my kiddos are good veggie eaters!! But when I made it home, that last wedge was my dinner & it was delicious!

I love oven roasted & grilled veggies! I have asparagus in the fridge now waiting to be grilled up over the weekend & roasted brussel sprouts are on the menu for next week!

Happy Friday - I hope it's a good one!

Keeping up with the Kubeczka's...an iPhone Update

I know it isn't Friday (Boo), but I thought I'd give an iPhoneography update anyway!!!

Aaron has ventured into the world of play-doh, don't know if that's a mistake or not! Up until this point I had only let Emma pull it out when he was napping! LOL - he did pretty good, though - didn't make too big of a mess and I think he thoroughly enjoyed himself with it. They were laughing hysterically the entire time they were playing. I never got let in on the joke, though, but I sure loved listening to the laughter!
PlayDoh
He also helped Emma out with her chores...sort of! Emma puts up all of her own clothes, except her dresses b/c they are on the top rod in her closet & of course, she can't reach those. So, in addition to putting up clothes, I have had her move the laundry from the washer to the dryer on a few occasions & told her it could be one of her chores. Hey, my mother had me doing all this stuff from a young age - didn't hurt me one bit!! Well, Sunday Aaron got in the laundry room & helped Emma - when he realized his blankie was part of the load thrown in the dryer, though it took a little convincing to walk away. He was watching it through the window for a while!! Ha ha!
My Little Helpers
Saturday was my niece's dance recital - she was a little star!!! I mean, just look at all the friends & family & flowers she was surrounded by!!! (See my little people peeking out!?!)
Little Star!! Katelynn did such a great job tonight!
And can I just say I love Pinterest, but then I guess, who doesn't!?!? We tried something new over the weekend I found on Pinterest & it was a big hit...doesn't this look yummy?? You can tell it went over well b/c Emma cleaned her plate - that is rare!
Absolutely did this for #breakfast & it was a big hit! Thanks @Pinterest - win!
We have had rain for days around here, but it's made for some pretty spectacular skies, too. I think the kiddos are getting a little cabin fever as a result, though - hopefully by the weekend things will dry up a bit, though we do surely welcome the rain when it comes!
Majestic! #clouds #sky #sub
Finally I'll leave you with a picture of my fabulous new bling! I love these earrings - daddy said they remind him of earrings from Egypt. I have to say I agree - maybe that's why I love them so much!
New bling!!!
Happy Hump Day - Have a Wonderful Week!!

Odds & Ends

Geddo built a fabulous swing for his grandbabies a few years ago...then recently he's added a rope swing, too! And then put a wooden disc on it last week - Emma loved it! She said she was going to swing on this all the time!!
Swing
We haven't got to be outside much since last weekend b/c it's been such nasty weather, but last night we spent some time playing outside with friends after I got home from boot camp. I started a boot camp with friends a couple weeks ago & so far it's going great. I have muscles sore that I didn't even know I had! LOL! We keep saying we need to get a picture of all of us together - the class is big, but there are 7 of us that joined together. So far, between the boot camp & diet I've lost 15lbs!! I have a looong way to go, of course, but it's a very good start and this progress is so motivating!

Also, I am beginning a herb garden - I've grown herbs before, but haven't had any in a while. I just want to stick to pots this time, too though b/c I don't want them to get too out of hand. Mint can invade everything if you aren't careful! I'm constantly buying herbs from the store, so it just makes sense. Basil, Rosemary, & Mint to start with this time. I'd love to add cilantro, too but I started these with cuttings from mother & she didn't have any cilantro at the time. The basil and mint have already rooted, so I could go ahead & put them in the ground. Still waiting on the rosemary, though. 
So, that's my Friday randomness for now...

I'm ready to get the workweek over! I hope you all have a fun & full weekend!

The Highs & the Lows

I used to host a link up here called Hi&Low - I like the idea to talk about the best and worst of your day. I don't know if I'll do it again, but it's a good way to remember to talk about the good as much as we talk about the bad. That's the essence of the title of my blog - Daily Venting & Exclamations...when you're venting about the bad stuff that happens, don't forget to say prayers of thanks & exclaim for all the good things, too!

I think this picture is a good visual of that - the evolution of a fit in a two year old...
Evolution of a fit! Always comes back to Mommy making it better!! #son #kisses
I don't remember why he was upset now (b/c it isn't important) - but I think I wouldn't let him have chips while I was cooking dinner - he went through his fit, though and when I sat on the floor with him he crawled up in my lap, cried on my shoulder, and then in a bit I got kisses from him and all was forgotten. 

The bad stuff makes all the good stuff that much better. I think if God didn't throw in a little bad now and then we would get too comfortable and forget to give Him thanks for all the good - b/c the good is so good. That kiss made the fit fade away like it never happened!! I would give anything if my babies were all smiles all the time, but that isn't how life is...I'm just thankful that I am able to kiss their tears away and I hope they always turn to me for that. 

Have a good evening...

We've had a good weekend...it's been full and fun! Friday was low key - dinner at home, then running a few errands, but Saturday we were on the go all-day-long! We started at 9am with a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. My parents came over and we headed out early - we wanted to see the Paleontology Exhibit...since you know my son has a thing for two things - Trains & Dinosaurs. (Hopefully next we'll get to see the Houston Steamers - he'll love that, too!)

We ended up buying a family pack so that we can go back - the kids loved it and when it's super duper (yeah, I said that) hot in H-town and indoor fun day is fabulous!
HMNS5
The exhibit was amazing, too and Aaron and Emma were pointing out all the Dinosaurs! I was proud of my girl - she did know a lot of them! To Aaron, though they were all either T-Rex or Alonosaurus! No, I didn't spell that right and I didn't look it up, either!
HMNS2
Aaron's mouth was wide open at the turn of every corner!! I don't know if it was the size or the number of them, but he loved the dinosaurs...and he wanted to get up on the platforms to get a closer look at each one, too! He was ready to be up close and personal! I was a little worried if he would like them or be a little scared...safe to say not one of them scared him. HMNS1
HMNS3
After the Paleontology Exhibit we went through the gemstones - I was thankful for the new light up shoes I bought the kids b/c it was so dark in there I wouldn't have been able to see them otherwise! LOL! We saw a lot of beautiful things in there, too!
Wouldn't have minded trying a few on!
HMNS4
We also made it through the Butterfly Exhibit. We've been before, but it's always fun - though, it paled after the dinosaurs this trip! Aaron was still in dino mode and kept running up to the butterflies and ROARRRING!!!!
Butterfly
We had a fun day...then that evening it was nice to relax a little. We went to my SIL's to grill and watch the game. The kids got to play in the water a little before the rain started - that was short lived, though, but by then they were on to new fun! It was late getting back to the house, but made for a very full and fun day!

Today has been relaxing...after church we spent the day at my parents' house and got a few things cleaned up around here - now we're ready for another week. The kiddos are already bathed and down for the night, so hubby and I are gonna snuggle up and enjoy the rest of the evening together!

Enjoy your week to come!

I {heart} Tattoos!

I always have. When I was young I loved temporary tattoos...though, the ones they make today are tons better! My daughter loves them and sometimes they take weeks to come off!

(I actually wrote up this post a while back to share on a link up, but never did, so I thought I would share it now.)

I currently have four tattoos...one is a work in progress, though actually b/c I have ideas to add to it. Three of the four tattoos show my Egyptian heritage. The other is my "trendy" tattoo...while I do like the tattoo (it's a cat's face flower)...it's trendy b/c it's a tramp stamp. Yep - I got a low back tattoo when they were all the rave! A friend and I went to get them together on a crazy night out! I don't regret it and it will always remind me of my friend, whom I never get to see anymore. I was 26 when I got this tattoo - this was my 2nd tattoo.
I used to say that I'd wait until I was 21 to get my first tattoo b/c by that age I would be certain what I wanted to get. Well, I was a couple years early b/c I got my first tattoo when I was nineteen. I went to visit my niece when we were in college and we decided to go get tattoos together. I knew I wanted an ankh, but I wanted something unique. I got this tattoo on my hip. It's a 3D tattoo, but it's drawn so that it looks like the front of the ankh is invisible and all you see is the 3D part of the tattoo.

This tattoo is 16 years old (WOW) and has faded some. It's also only about 3 inches tall...and I didn't get a very clear picture - sorry about that.
My third tattoo I got in 2010 after I'd had both my babies. I had both their names written in Arabic and I had played with them in photoshop to give them a circular pattern and emboss the letters a little. When I was designing it I actually was doing it for a medallion design. I'd wanted to have it made the next time we went to Egypt into a pendant that I could wear for a necklace. After having it hanging up in my office and looking at it every day I decided I'd also like to have it as a new tattoo. At first my idea was to put it on the inside of my wrist, but then later decided I'd rather have it on my foot. Arabic is read right to left and the name on the top is Emma and Aaron is on the bottom. This is on the top of my right foot.
I love this tattoo. 

Then last year I got my fourth tattoo. It wasn't planned at first and now it's become my "work-in-progress" tattoo! My niece was in town visiting my other niece (her sis) and wanted to go get a new tattoo...my neighbor had said she wanted a new tattoo so I asked her if she wanted to join us. That led to another phone call and it ended up being a girls' night out at the ink shop! LOL! We had such a blast! Four of the five of us that went out got new ink that night.

This time I wanted a Lotus flower. Lotus flowers are seen on many Egyptian paintings on papyrus...the Lotus is representative of the sun, it rises up out of the water in the morning and closes back up at night. It's also been known to represent creation. Egyptian art is all one dimensional. When I told the tattoo artist I wanted a lotus flower he immediately thought of the three dimensional lotus flowers that you typically see in some Asian styled ink - I had to google some images to show him what I had in mind instead and he drew it up free hand from looking at the pictures I picked out!

The tattoo I got that night was only a portion of what I wanted. Here's a quick view of what I had done that first night - right after I'd had it done, so it's all still red. I had also wanted an infinity sign, so the loop of the stems is meant to incorporate that as well.
(like I said - RIGHT after I got it!)

A few months later I went back and had more flowers added to it.
Before I looked at this picture I didn't realize that I had so many freckles on my shoulders! Teenage years spent out at the lake in the sun all the time I guess!

 I don't know if I am done or not...I have ideas to add to this last one, hence why I call it my work-in-progress tattoo. But I only have ideas in my head - I need a to see it drawn out to see if it really looks as good as I think it does in my head! :)

Jessica's Bridal Shower

I helped hostess my niece's Bridal Shower today...it turned out very nice! We did a Tiffany & Co. theme well it was actually Jessica & Co. today!! Loved it! I ordered the cake from a coworker that does cakes on the side. He did such a GREAT job and I was so pleased with how it turned out! After church this morning I had to drive to his house to pick it up - which wasn't that close - and made it back in time to help decorate and set up for the shower. The theme was right up my niece's alley!

I'm upset I didn't get a better picture of the little Tiffany boxes - they said Jessica & Co. on them and I thought I had a few pics of them, but when I got home & went back through my pictures I realized I just had the one & you can't really see the label too great! But I think everything looked so great!
Jessica's Shower
She got some great goodies, too! I love the personalized door mat she got - I think I might have to look into one for our house, too! ;)
Jessica's Shower
Three of her sisters were there so they all got together for pics with their mom (my SIL) and their grandmother (my mom). This is my brother's family that consists of 10 kids!! 
Jessica's Shower
The kids went with their daddy for the afternoon - they ate and played at Itz's and then hit up DQ for dessert. Fun day for them, too! Mom & I came back to the house to relax for a little while after the shower - it was actually pretty nice in the back yard under the shade - we had just enough breeze to be comfortable!

Now it's time for baths and to get ready for another week! I hope you had a great weekend!

C'mon Weekend...We're Ready! And an iPhoneography Update!

First - I wanted to share my big girl's graduation picture...these were the pics they took at school for them. Doesn't she look so grown!?!?! BooHoo!
Emma Graduation 2012
Every time I look at pictures of her she looks older...
Aaron still gives me my baby fix, though - so I'm all good for now! LOL! He had fever last week so we went to the doctor & found out he had a mild ear infection. She put him on antibiotics & said to start his breathing treatments again. Aaron, of course, wants to do it himself, so sometimes it takes a little longer to get the treatments done; however, I have learned that if I turn on Dinosaur Train and put him in my lap he'll hold still and keep the mask in place better! Mommy Tricks!!
The boy just loves Dinosaur Train - Derek & the Conductor go everywhere with us...and his blankie, too! That thing may go to college Ha Ha! The dinosaurs even go to dinner with us...and get to share our meals sometimes! LOL
Last week I enjoyed a couple extra days off & did some shopping for myself...and for Emma. I have us all ready for pretty nails for the summer!

Emma & I are all set for pretty #nails this summer! Yay for #manicures & girl time!
I can't wait to try out the new pink zebra print - I have to wait until after this weekend b/c we have a wedding and a bridal shower & I don't think they exactly go with the events! :) I also bought some pretty nail stickers for Emma that she loves - lots of bright flowers and stars and designs!

So I mentioned we have plans all weekend...Saturday we have a wedding & Sunday I'm hosting a Bridal Shower. We had a b'day party Sunday, too but the invite was last minute & right in the middle of when I'll be at the Bridal Shower - you just can't make every thing all the time, right?

Have a Happy Weekend!

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