Cheney: 18 months old

Our Cheney girl is 18 months old! I want to freeze time and remember her exactly like this. I was so good about doing monthly updates on the boys each month until they turned two. I haven't been so good with Cheney. But, 18 months is a pretty big milestone. Halfway to TWO. Can't even believe it!
Cheney is almost 21 pounds and 39in tall. She just moved into a size 5.5 shoe and wears all 18 month clothes. She's our tall, leggy girl! Her hair is starting to grow pretty fast & she's developing the awkward baby mullet. She has the prettiest blonde hair and even some curls in the back!
I am LOVING watching Cheney's big personality develop. She knows what she wants, when she wants it. She can Hulk smash with her brothers but also loves to wear her shiny red shoes and pick out bows. Right now Cheney loves babies. Real babies; not her dolls. She will play with her dolls & actually likes being "Dr. Cheney" and checking on them. But a real baby?? SHE IS OBSESSED. Hearing her say the word "bay-bee" is the cutest!
 Our girl LOVES being outside. She loves playing in the cul-de-sac, going down her slide, exploring the backyard, & jumping on the trampoline. She loves her rocking giraffe, coloring, looking at books, & her pretend makeup. She is fast, mischievous, funny, & a really good climber! Cheney is also obsessed with animals! Dogs are her favorite but she loves reading books with animals in them. We've been practicing lots of animal sounds! She loves going to church and school & I think praise and music are her favorites. I love watching her dance & clap to all the music!
 Cheney's vocabulary has exploded recently! She is saying: Daddy, Mama, Bubba (Grayson), Gugga (Griffin), Huddy, Ellie, Jack, pink, bowl, shoes, bow, Nana, Mimi, ball, dog, choo choo, baby, thank you, night night, & yummy. I'm sure there are more, but those are the frequent words. I feel like she is learning new words every day!

I can't imagine our family without this sweet little girl. It's been 18 month and her brothers are still just as smitten by her. Cheney has the best little personality & I love watching her learn new things every day. I am so blessed that I get to be her mama! Happy HALF BIRTHDAY, Cheney girl. We love you SO much! 


State of Affairs

I feel like we live at the pediatrician these days. We sure do spend a lot of time there. This has definitely seemed like the sickest winter we have ever had.  Grayson has an ear infection & missed school yesterday.
Cheney has had a cold for like 12 weeks now but this week her cough has gotten so bad. It's messing with her sleep and it is making her choke and throw up. fun times, right? Her first year of preschool has been a doozy on her immune system. Look at those two sickies. They both passed out this morning on their own in the bonus room. That never happens. We are SO ready for spring!
Well, we have entered into a stage that I originally dreaded. The NO NAP stage. Grayson has always been our amazing sleeper & he actually just stopped napping in the last several months. I know; pretty amazing since he is almost 5 1/2! Griffin just decided over the last week that he is "too big" for naps. It was taking longer and longer for him to fall asleep & if he slept too long, night time was not fun. So, he has stopped napping. And guess what? We are surviving! It's actually not bad! The boys entertain each other and we can do fun big kid stuff while Cheney sleeps. The best part? They go to bed early and they fall asleep fast! My boys are growing up. It makes me laugh that they both stopped napping at the same time & they are 2 years apart.
We sponsor a little boy through Compassion named Charles. He is 6 years old and lives in Togo, Africa. We got new pictures of him last month but it had been awhile since we had gotten a letter. We specifically prayed on Monday night that we would hear from him soon. I went to the mailbox yesterday & his letter was sitting on top. How cool is that?! God is in the details, my friends! Grayson was so excited. When I reminded him that we had just prayed the night before about getting a letter soon his eyes got so big. He said "God gave us this today!" It was so sweet. Grayson drew a picture of Charles and himself playing soccer & we will send it to him this week. I would LOVE for Grayson and Charles to actually meet one day. 


Menu Monday

We had a pretty successful week of sticking to our menu. The time we went out, we actually ate for free because of vouchers we had. Wish that happened all the time! The crowd favorite was definitely the Buffalo Ranch Ritz Cracker Chicken. I posted the recipe on Friday if you are interested! Here is what we are having this week:

Taco Bell Mexican Pizzas
Monday: Copycat Taco Bell Mexican Pizzas. I am embarrassingly excited about these!!!!

Tuesday: Baked chicken, green beans, baked sweet potatoes. (the boys actually ate sweet potatoes last week. WHAT IN THE WORLD.)

Thursday: Spaghetti and Garlic Bread

Friday: French Bread Pizzas...the boys love making their own pizzas!

Saturday: out

Sunday: Super Bowl food! This is the first year Grayson has been excited about the game. He requested football food. Ben is making his Jalapeno Bacon Chicken bites & we are having pigs in a blanket and rotel dip. Fancy, right?!


Five on Friday

1. Last night Griffin decided that he was an artist. I walked to their room & saw green crayon ALL over the place. He had decided to draw and practice his "G" on the bedroom door, the wall, AND the carpet. He claims Cheney helped and that she drew a dog. He is so mischievous! As crazy as it made me, I was pretty impressed with his "G."
2. I made play dough for my preschool this week. I feel like a legit preschool teacher since this was my first time to ever make it! It was SO easy & the texture wasn't sticky at all. I don't think I will ever buy it again! Here is the recipe I used:
1 cup of water
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 cup of salt
1 tablespoon of cream of tarter
1 cup flour
food coloring/tempera paint
Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tarter, and food coloring or paint in a saucepan. Heat until warm. Don't boil, just get it warm and blended.
Remove from heat and add flour.
Stir & then then knead until smooth. I even added some Wild Orange from my doTerra stash to make it smell good!
3. I found a new show that I really like! I am pretty random with what I watch. My favorites are Law & Order SVU and the Chicago trilogy. I love Tuesday and Wednesday night tv! We finished Making a Murderer a few weeks ago and were obsessed. Now I am loving Mercy Street on PBS. You heard that right. PBS. It's about a Civil War hospital in Virginia & I am liking it so far!
4. I don't have a picture for this one & I apologize for that. However, I wanted to share the recipe for the Buffalo Ranch Ritz Cracker chicken we had this week! We ate it too fast to snap a picture...that means it was a winner! Here is the recipe:
Mix 1/4 cup of your favorite buffalo sauce and 1/4 cup of your favorite ranch. Coat chicken strips in that mixture & then coat them in crushed Ritz crackers. Bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes.
Ben LOVED these & he doesn't say that about many things. I did just ranch for the kids and they gobbled them up, too! They both said I make really good chicken. Getting food compliments from super picky preschoolers is tough, so I will definitely make these again!
5. Speaking of recipes, I found a new place to hunt for them: SkinnyMom.com
My co-teacher just started using this meal plan but they have tons of healthy recipes on their website too! I'm excited I found a new resource for dinner ideas! 


The New House Tour: Dining Room and Kitchen

The biggest difference in our current house & our old house is that we went from a new build to an older home.  The house we live in now was built in 1998. Thankfully, the kitchen has been pretty much renovated and although some parts of the house need updating, it was move in ready. By the way, these house tour posts are really hard because it means my house has to actually be clean enough for pictures. I'll start with the dining room!
We haven't done any painting downstairs yet. I think I may keep the dining room colors...I can't decide!

Real life. There is a framed picture and candle sticks in the corner on the floor.

My assistant!

This dining room is a little bit bigger than our old one. I would love to eventually add a corner china cabinet to display some of my pretty dishes!

This is also the home of our beloved Roomba, Roberta. She's kind of like my housekeeper.
And here is the heart of the home...our kitchen!!
 Our old kitchen had dark cabinets and dark granite. I wanted a light & bright kitchen so badly after a few years of living there. I was so happy when we looked at this house and it had white cabinets, lighter granite, and HUGE windows.

This is the only room downstairs that needs to be painted.  I really don't like the dark burnt orange color that it is. One huge (and I mean almost deal breaker for me) downfall of this kitchen is that it doesn't have a pantry. We looked at it the first time and it didn't occur to me until later that night that it didn't have one. We went back a few days later so I could inspect their cabinets & see how they organized food. It definitely is not easy but it is doable.

I love the layout of the kitchen and how much more open it feels to our family room.
I kinda miss the days of magnetic refrigerators...this is one of my favorite spots in the kitchen! We have preschool pictures of our kids and our little Compassion child, Charles!

Our newest addition to the kitchen area is Cheney's new kitchen. She LOVES it!

I really love these huge floor to ceiling windows. We took the blinds down recently and it just brightens the whole room. I still look at our huge backyard and can't believe we live here! Our kitchen table is new (to us). Our lovely movers broke our old one and it was not fixable. Thankfully my friend, Mary, gave us her old table & we decided to refinish it! It was a lot of sanding and staining, but I love how it looks now. It fits our family of 5 better, too.
Our house is definitely a work in progress but it feels so much like home!


Menu Monday

Monday: Cashew Chicken with fried rice (using this recipe for the chicken minus the lettuce wraps)
Chicken and Potato Chowder - Just like mom's comforting chicken noodle soup, but it's even creamier and loaded with cheesy goodness!
Tuesday: Chicken and Potato Chowder with cornbread (we had enough leftover last week to freeze!)
Wednesday: Buffalo Ranch Ritz Cracker Chicken with baked sweet potatoes (this is a recipe I saw on Instagram...if we like it I will share it next week)
Thursday: Ranch Chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans (I didn't love the Bacon Chicken Ranch casserole from last week..too dry for me. BUT, I did love the chicken in it so I will be prepping it the same way!)
Friday: Salsa Chicken tacos (these were a big FAIL last week. I left them in the crockpot while I was working and came home to burned salsa chicken. Note to self: 3-4 hours only in crockpot!)
Saturday: out
Sunday: Pancakes and bacon


snow fun

We have had quite the wintery week here in middle Tennessee! We had snow on Wednesday & all weekend! I was sitting at dinner with friends on Thursday night when we got the call that school was cancelled on Friday due to the winter storm heading our way. Well, we woke up on Friday and there was nothing but a little sleet. The kids were disappointed. Ben called me after he got to work and said the roads were slick & around 8:30 the snow started to really fall. It fell really hard, really fast. Luckily Ben left work after a couple hours and although he got stuck a few times, he made it home for a long snowed-in weekend.
By Saturday morning we had about 6 inches! I have never seen that much snow in Nashville. It was beautiful and looked like a winter wonderland. It has melted some today, but we still have plenty to play in!
Cheney was not a big fan of the cold wind in her face but she loved the snow! She looked SO cute in her fluffy snowsuit. She has never looked so chubby!
Grayson was definitely our biggest fan of the snow! He loved it! We tried going sledding but the hill behind our house isn't steep enough. He did make a snowman and helped Ben shovel all the snow off our trampoline!
Griffin prefers a warm house over the cold snow. He doesn't like his hands getting cold but he did love eating our snow cream we made!
We had a fun weekend of playing outside, lounging in pajamas inside, & looking at the beautiful snow. It is so cold & messy, but it really is so pretty.  Now that we have had our big snow fun, I think spring weather can come!