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Friday, April 30, 2010

Coming Soon - Big Exciting News!

No, I'm not pregnant. I know that went through your mind, didn't it?

Next week is going to be a big, exciting week here at My Chihuahua Bites! Before I let you in on my little secret, first let me share with you how much I appreciate you, my readers. I can't even express in words how grateful I am that you care enough to stop by and see what is going on in my world. I know that I haven't been the greatest blogger in the past months. I haven't blogged consistently in almost a year, and my updates are random and sporadic. I know I've lost quite a few readers because of that, and for that I apologize. I also apologize that I haven't been regularly coming around to visit your blogs. There is absolutely nothing worse than leaving comments on someone's blog and them not taking the time to reciprocate. I am completely guilty of that and I promise, I will do better in the future!

With that said, I am ready to get back into regular blogging. To celebrate, I'm arranged for a....

wait for it....


I think I'm more excited that you are, aren't I?


wait for it....


WEEK OF GIVEAWAYS!

I've got some amazing sponsors lin
ed up for each day next week. This is some good stuff, y'all! Make sure you stop by EVERY DAY next week so you can enter!

Want to get a head start? Leave a comment on this post and you'll receive an extra entry for the $25 Amazon gift card!

PS - If any of my amazing readers have Etsy shops or products they would like to promote, please contact me ASAP about sponsoring a giveaway! This is a great way to get exposure for your shop or blog.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Disney in December

This post is way overdue, obviously. :) Way before Cooper was ever a thought in my head, my family and I planned a Disney trip for December 2009. We made the reservations and planned our leave from work months before we knew I was pregnant.

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When I told my family I was pregnant, the first thing out of my brother’s mouth was “How will this affect the Disney trip?” It wasn’t an unfair question as I was 31 weeks along when we went to Florida. Since our trip would have had to be cancelled had Jason and I decided not to go, I opted to suck it up and hope for the best. How bad could it be?

I’ve got to say – Disney and Universal appreciate the troops. Did you know there is a military resort on Disney property? It’s called Shades of Green, and it is strictly for military, DoD employees, and their families. The rates are based on rank and are extremely affordable, and the resort itself is gorgeous. Disney was doing an Armed Forces Salute – the service member received a 5 day park hopper free, and could buy up to 5 additional 5 day park hoppers for $125.00. Universal also offered the service member a 2 day, 2 park pass free and had discounts for family members. I am so very thankful for their generosity!

Disney 633 Chip (the chipmunk, which I always thought was a squirrel) walked past when when I was taking this picture and I swear he did a double take. He stopped and patted his belly and gave me a thumbs up. Dang straight, buddy.

The week before we left for Disney, I started having lower pelvic pains. It honestly felt like the bones of my pelvis were grinding together and it hurt like a mofo to walk. I was prescribed a support belt by my doctor and told to stay off my feet as much as possible. Fabulous. I talked it over with the family, and we decided I would do as much as possible, and we’d rent a wheelchair if/when it came to that point.

I did make Jason wear a pedometer during the trip and we logged over 86 miles of walking during the week.

We left on Friday and arrived in Orlando around 7:00 p.m. On Saturday, we headed to Hollywood Studios. There wasn’t a whole lot I was able to do there, but I love the Beauty and the Beast musical and the Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Jason had a blast riding the Tower of Terror and Aerosmith’s Rocking Rollercoaster.

Disney 085 My niece, Lauren, had her face painted at Hollywood Studios.

DSC02457The Christmas lights at Hollywood Studios

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I really wanted to see the Fantasmic show, but it rained that night and was cancelled. Boo. I’ve seen it before and it is amazing!

Here’s a tip: make your restaurant reservations well in advance! I kept telling my family we needed to do this, but they insisted I was wrong. They wanted to wait until we arrived, and everything was booked. We didn’t get to eat at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe (at Hollywood Studios) which is one of my favorite places to eat at the parks. I had been to Disney four times prior to this trip, and I never needed to make reservations in advance (with the exception of character dining). Now you do!

On Sunday and Monday, we headed to Universal. On Sunday, we went to Islands of Adventure. There was seriously not one single thing I could do there. All I did all day was walk from ride to ride and wait for my family. It was not fun. We did get some good pictures, though.

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Disney 058Seus Landing @ Universal’s Islands of Adventure

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Universal is adding a The Wizarding World of Harry Potter world to the Islands of Adventure Park. This is the closest I was able to get to the construction. Looks exciting!

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On Monday, my family went to Universal Studios but I did not join them. I had looked at the brochure and knew there was not one thing there I could do, so I hung out in Starbucks all day. It was bliss. This is the only picture I have of their day.

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Honestly, I’m not crazy about Universal. I’ve done it three times now and I think once is more than enough. You might like it if you are a roller coaster person and/or you are not pregnant. The best part of Universal is getting to eat at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville!

On Tuesday, we spent the day at Animal Kingdom. I love Animal Kingdom. If I could only do one park at Disney, I would do AK. It’s part zoo, part amusement park, 100% fun. I love the safari ride! You’re driven around in a jeep, and the animals are roaming free. Love it.

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Disney 1893 The Tree of Life

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Disney 644 Picture 101

Tuesday night we had tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It started at 7:00 p.m. and ran until midnight. Y’all, it was packed! It was a bit claustrophobic, but I’m so glad we went. The castle was all lit up, and they had two parades. They brought out pretty much every Disney character, old and new, to dance and sing. The floats were lit up and were beautiful. They had free cookies and cocoa throughout the park and you could still ride the rides as well. The best part, for me, was the character dance parties. Each section of the park had different characters host a dance party. Seriously, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Goofy do the single ladies dance.

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On Wednesday we headed to Epcot. I’m not crazy about Epcot. I just don’t like to be educated while on vacation, you know? Ha. But Epcot does have my favorite Disney eatery, the German buffet. The boys had quite a good time drinking German beer.

I was really struggling at this point – I was exhausted and my pelvic pain had increased, so my lovely husband pushed me around Disney in a wheelchair for the rest of the week.

Disney 1140My dad looks plastered in this picture.

Disney 1139This is what Jason looks like when he’s drank his body weight in beer.

Disney 134_editedMeanwhile, the only responsible sober adult took care of the children. The preggo has to be good for something.

Disney 596My niece was obsessed with getting her picture with each Disney character. We spent hours trying to figure out who this was (Aristocats?).

On Thursday we started our day back at Epcot. We had reservations for brunch with the princesses. It was such a lovely experience for my niece, but if you are going to spend the money ($50 per person) please go to The Royal Table at Cinderella’s castle and do lunch or dinner. Brunch was simply pastries and fruit, with a little bit of eggs and potatoes.

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We spent the rest of the day at the Magic Kingdom. My niece had an appointment with her fairy godmother to get a princess makeover! It was such a great experience, and totally worth the money.

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On Friday we spent the whole day at the Magic Kingdom again. You really do need multiple days there, particularly if you are there during one of the park’s peak times. MK was the most fun for me because I was able to ride a lot of the rides.

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Disney 050 Final ride on Disney transportation – bye, Mickey!

On Saturday we packed up and headed home.

Disney 604 Cooper’s first trip (in utero) to Disney!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ABC’s

Jill of Peeptoe Pumps and Pearls and Danielle, The Design Girl, both did this fun MeMe on their blog, so I thought I’d play along. Want to participate? Let me know in the comments so I can come by and read your answers!

A. Are you a PC or a Mac? I am a PC girl right now, but I’m not opposed to Mac in the future. I do love my iPod!

B. Best current show on TV: Glee, hands down. The Madonna episode was phenomenal.

C. Chore you hate: I detest doing laundry. It isn’t the washing or drying part; it is the folding and putting away! I will literally start the dryer up 15 times before I fold up what is in it. There is currently about 6 loads sitting on the chair behind me, waiting to be folded.

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D. Dogs or Cats? Hello, have we met? Dogs all the way. I’m actually highly allergic to cats. I can’t even step foot into a house where cats are present. If I do, it usually ends in a trip to the ER.

E. Essential "start the day" item: These days the answer is a caffeinated beverage. I either swing by Sonic for a Route 44 Coke with cherry syrup on my way to work, or a brew a pot of coffee once I am there.

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F. Favorite color? This can have so many answers. In general, pink. My favorite color to wear is turquoise. My favorite color palette for my home is brown, gold, and red.

G. Gold or Silver: I like silver jewelry but I think I look better in gold. My e-ring and wedding band are gold.

DSC01723Jason refuses to stand up straight in pictures because of the difference in our height. He always bends down and tries to do the sorority girl pose (cheek to cheek) which I hate. I was trying to get away from him when my mom snapped this picture.

H. Height: 5’3. I actually don’t mind my height. Some people hate being short but I like that my 6 foot husband towers over me. It makes me feel safe and protected.

I. Instruments you play: Trumpet! I played in the marching band for six years. I quit my senior year and haven’t picked it up since.

J. Job: I’m a social worker. I work for the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs as a caseworker for the mentally retarded.

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K. Kids: One, Mr. Cooper Brayden House. We will have more kids in the future… hopefully a girl next time around!

DSC00032 How awful is it that the only picture I have of the outside of my house is from when it was on the market?

L. Living Arrangements: We live in Charleston, South Carolina. We’ve lived here for 2.5 years now and will be here at least another 1.5 years.

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M. Mom's Name: Diane.

N. Nickname: I don’t have any! “Andrea” doesn’t lend itself well to nicknames. What should my nickname be?

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O. Overnight Hospital Stay: I had a few when I was little. I had plastic surgery when I was about 5 years old. There was a spot on top of my head where hair did not grow – they pulled the skin together and now I no longer have a bald spot. I also was born with an extra bone in my foot. If it had not been removed, I wouldn’t be able to walk today. I had that surgery when I was in 5th grade. Most recently, I was in the hospital for three days when I had my first child.

P. Pet Peeve: Oh, I have so many. Recently, it is people showing up early for visitation (before funerals). That time is for the family, and when you show up early, you are interrupting the family’s last chance to say goodbye to their loved one.

Q. Quote from a movie: My favorite movie quotes come from Steel Magnolias:

Truvy: Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin' across your face.

Ouiser: I do not see plays, because I can nap at home for free. And I don't see movies 'cause they're trash, and they got nothin' but naked people in 'em! And I don't read books, 'cause if they're any good, they're gonna make 'em into a miniseries.

Clairee: Well, you know what they say: if you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!

Ouiser: I'm not crazy, I've just been in a very bad mood 40 years!

Clairee: You know, you would be a much more contented, pleasant person if you would find ways to occupy your time.
Ousier: I'm pleasant. Damn it! I saw Drum Eatenton this morning at the Piggly Wiggly, and I smiled at the son of a bitch 'fore I couldn't help myself.

Clairee: Hit this! Go ahead M'Lynn, slap her!
Clairee: We'll sell t-shirts sayin' "I SLAPPED OUISER BOUDREAUX!" Hit her!
Clairee: Ouiser, this is your chance to do something for your fellow man! Knock her lights out, M'Lynn!
Clairee: M'Lynn, you just missed the chance of a lifetime! Half o' Chiquapin Parish'd give their eye teeth to take a whack at Ouiser!

R. Righty or Lefty? I’m left-handed.

Disney 1140Chad, my dad, and Jason drinking it up at Epcot this Christmas

S. Siblings? One, Chad. He’s five years older than me.

T. TV Shows: Dude, I watch a lot of television. It isn’t as much as it sounds as I fast-forward through almost everything. Example: it takes me 30 minutes to watch 2 hours of Dancing with the Stars. I fast-forward through everything but the dancing and scores. Thank goodness for TIVO!

  • Sunday: Amazing Race, Desperate Housewives, Kendra, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Khloe and Kourtney Take Miami, The Next Food Network Star
  • Monday: DWTS, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl
  • Tuesday: American Idol (I hate this season), Glee, 16 & Pregnant, Teen Mom, Flipping Out
  • Wednesday: Modern Family, Cougar Town, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, The Real World/Road Rules Challenge, Shear Genius, Top Chef
  • Thursday: Fringe, Greys Anatomy, The Real Housewives of the OC, The Real Housewives of NJ, The Real Housewives of ATL, Project Runway
  • Friday: Wife Swap, The Soup

U. Underwear: Granny panties, duh. You know you own some. You know they are comfortable. Don’t lie!

V. Veggie you dislike: I don’t care for cabbage, but other than that I like pretty much any vegetable. I absolutely love roasted veggies: my favorites are green beans and asparagus. I love zucchini grilled.

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W. Ways/reasons you are late: It used to be because I would hit the snooze button 20 times. These days it is because of Cooper. It takes forever to get out of the house with a child. I’m forever having to stop to feed him, change his diaper, change his clothes, etc.

X. Expiration dates – do you keep or toss? I toss immediately once it is past its sell by or expiration date. My husband, on the other hand, will eat/drink things until they smell or grow mold.

Y. Yummy food you make: I like to think I’m a pretty good cook. I go to the beach with my family every summer and they beg me to make my grits and greens casserole. It’s collard greens, grits, parmesan cheese, and bacon. It is to die for.

Z. Zoo animals you like: I love dolphins, but so few zoos or aquariums have them. I also love the lions or tigers.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesdays at the Table

Today I’m participating in Tuesdays at the Table, hosted by Cole of All The Small Stuff. If you’d like to participate, head over to her blog to link up!

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I’ve got two recipes to share today – one is a “how-to” tutorial on how to make the most amazing, delicious chicken broth you’ve ever tasted. The other is how to use up that chicken by making some super yummy chicken salad. Let’s get started!

How many of you buy chicken broth from the store? I’m raising my hand right now. Let’s face it, it’s easy, less mess, and fuss free. I’ve tried to make my own chicken broth on the stove top before but the broth always turns out bland and the chicken has no flavor at all. One day I decided to try to make broth in the crock pot… y’all, I will never buy chicken broth again. Trust me, this is delicious, easy, has a minimum of effort and mess, and is cheaper than store brought broth.

Here’s what you need:

  • Crock pot
  • Water
  • Chicken base
  • Assorted spices: I use Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt, Celery Salt, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, Multi-Spice Blend
  • One whole chicken or cut up chicken parts (legs, breast, whatever – just make sure it has the skin)
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onion

IMG_0589Cast of characters – I think I forgot a few ingredients, huh?

I start by adding a little water (about 2 cups or so) and the chicken base. Chicken base can be found on your spice aisle. It’s basically a goopy chicken bullion cube. Add 2 tablespoons chicken base (if you don’t have it, use 2 cubes of bullion). Stir it up really well.

Dump your chicken in the crock pot. I just put mine in frozen. It cooks up the same, frozen or not. Add some carrots (I use the precut and prewashed carrots because I’m lazy like that) and celery. I include the leafy parts of the celery because that’s how I roll. Cut a large onion in half. Peel off the outer layer and chunk it in the pot.

Add your spices. I don’t really measure, but if you’re one of those people (I love those people!) you could add 2 teaspoons each of Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt, celery salt, Lawry’s seasoned salt, and multi-spice blend. Add enough water to cover the chicken, cover, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

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This picture shows the chicken/broth after it had cooked for about 6 hours. Get out a large stock pot and colander. Remove the chicken and place on a plate to cool. Carefully pour what remains in the crock pot into the colander. The liquid will strain through, and you can toss what remains in the colander.

Here’s where I really get lazy. Most “good” cooks would tell you to strip the meat off the chicken bones, toss them back into the broth, and cook for a few more hours. I’m way too busy for that (hey, Dancing with the Stars was on!). I think the broth tastes just fine at this point so I skip this step. If you want to be thorough, though, pour the broth back into the crock pot, toss the bones in, and cook for a few more hours. I’ve done it both ways and the broth never tastes any different.

If you’ve chosen the lazy route, pour the broth back into the crock pot or another container. Put it in the fridge overnight. Once it has cooled, the fat will rise to the top and you can skim it off and toss it.

I pour it into zip lock baggies and keep it in the freezer for when I need it later. I just make sure to pre-measure and mark it on the baggies. That way I can just grab exactly how much I need!

Don’t forget your chicken! Shred it and freeze it for later if you don’t have a recipe to use it in that day. I did…. hence I give you a super yummy recipe for chicken salad.

Super Yummy Chicken Salad

  • One whole chicken, shredded or cubed
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons chicken broth

Add all ingredients and mix. Serve on toast or lettuce, yum!

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You can get super fancy and add nuts, grapes, dried cranberries, etc. but that is just too much for me. I like my chicken salad plain, and this recipe is absolutely delicious. Enjoy!

What’s cooking, ladies? I’m looking for super easy and quick dessert recipes. Do you have any recommendations?

Monday, April 26, 2010

3 Months Old!

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Dear Cooper,

You are three months old! I can’t believe that three months have passed since the wonderful day that you came into our lives. You have changed so much! One of my favorite things to do is look at pictures from your first weeks. Where has my teeny tiny 6 pound baby boy gone?

Cooper 140 3 days old

IMG_0499 3 months old

Today you weigh 13 pounds and are 23.5 inches long. You are eating 4-5 ounces of formula at each feeding, and you eat every 3-4 hours. You go to bed around 8:00 p.m. and if Mommy is lucky, you sleep until 7:00 a.m. Thank you so much, sweet son, for learning to sleep through the night! Your Mommy appreciates it more than you know.

You are still wearing size 1 diapers and 0-3 month clothes, but I have a feeling you will be moving up sizes soon. You could probably move on up to the next size but I went overboard buying you clothes and there is still so much 0-3 clothes you haven’t worn. Oops!

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Your personality has changed as well. You are generally a happy and content baby. You love to smile and talk! You no longer cry unless you are hungry, tired, or you don’t feel well. You love to play on your play mat, and you get excited when I start your Baby Einstein DVD. You like to ride in the car – it almost always puts you to sleep.

IMG_0548Enthralled by Baby Einstein

We had a lot of exciting events this month! You visited the Easter Bunny on base. You didn’t really know what to think of him, but in the end you decided it would be ok if he held you so Daddy could take a picture.

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We visited your Ana & Papa the first weekend in April. We had a great time! On Good Friday, Mommy and Ana took you for a marathon shopping session. On Saturday, you had a photo shoot with Andrea Moore, a friend of mine from high school. She saw pictures of you and asked me if I would be willing to let you pose for her portfolio – how could I say no? The pictures are amazing and they perfectly capture your sweet spirit and beauty. We also had some Easter pictures made. You weren’t quite sure what to think of that bunny!

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27036_414282445820_102715045820_5646780_6710587_n Pictures by Charisma Photography

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Picture 005March of Dimes charity photo shoot

We spent Easter with your Ana, Papa, Uncle Chad, Aunt Tonya, Lauren, Justin, Heather, Chris, Cannon, Mari Claire, Aunt Deb, Terry, Mama Betty, and Papa. You went to church for the first time with your grandparents, and everyone oohed and ahhed over you. You looked adorable in your Easter finery! I wonder how long I will get away with making you and your dad dress alike?

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This month was our last little bit of time together before I returned to work and you started daycare. I am so incredibly grateful for each day that I got to be home with you. I love our lazy mornings, spent lying around in our pajamas watching cartoons and The View. I love our afternoons, spent running errands and driving to Sonic for happy hour. I love laying down with you for your afternoon nap – which almost always turned into Mommy’s afternoon nap as well. When Daddy gets home from work, we go for walks around the neighborhood and hang out in the kitchen together while Mommy cooks dinner. My favorite part of the day is your bedtime routine. I give you a bath, which you love. You splash and kick until your skin gets wrinkly. Daddy dries you off, lotions you up, and puts on your pajamas. I rock you and give you a bottle, and we end the night by singing songs from your Veggie Tales and Praise Baby CDs. I whisper words of love and pray for you, and by then you are sound asleep.

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I went back to work on April 6th. I have been dreading this day since the day you were born, and it wasn’t easy to say goodbye to you! You had a rough first week but now you love your daycare workers and you have made lots of little friends. I am just five minutes away so I come to see you almost every day on my lunch break. I am so grateful for those little moments together!

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Baby boy, I am so thankful that God blessed me with such a wonderful son. I wish I could put how I feel into words, but there are no words that can really express how much I love you. I tell you every day that “I love you to the moon and back” but really… I love you even more. You are the light of my life. My heart bursts when you smile at me, and my mood can change in an instant when you lay your head on my shoulder and want to snuggle. My life has changed so much since you entered it, but those changes are amazing and beautiful. This is the happiest and most fulfilled I have ever been in my life. Being a mother, your mother, was God’s plan for my life, and I thank Him every day for his gift.

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I love you more than you know.

Mommy



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