10.27.2010

What I Love Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Can you believe that October is almost over?! Time is FLYING! 

Here are some things that I'm loving this week:

1. This is my 20th post on my blog, which was my short-term goal that I set for myself to prove that I was actually going to be semi-serious about keeping this thing updated.  Yahoo! (Ahem... Maryanne? Get busy.)

2. Mike and I are going on a mini date night tomorrow! He won free tickets to a preview of a new movie that's coming out (or something like that. haha.) so we're going to have some QT together. :)

3. This is going to be one exciting and busy weekend! We have two Halloween parties on Saturday (one in the afternoon and one in the evening), church on Sunday, trick or treating Sunday night, plus my parents will be in town so we'll make time to see them as well.

4. I LOVE a good sale and I found out that our local grocery store (Pathmark) is having a HUGE yellow tag sale and things that normally aren't on sale at all are now close to 50% off!  I ran over on my lunch break and spent $9.27 and after the sale prices I ended up saving $9.49.  That's right... I saved more than I spent!  Abby and I are heading over to do some grocery shopping after work tonight.

5.  Which reminds me... I need to pick up some baking stuff because I volunteered to donate baked goods to the blood drive that our church is doing on Monday.  I'm also donating blood. :)

6.  Last but not least... I'm loooooving my cuddly baby!  I'm not sure where it came from, but all of a sudden Abby is loving sitting in my lap and cuddling.  She's constantly asking for hugs and kisses and "family hugs!" where Mike and I hug her at the same time. Loving it! I'm going to eat it up while I can because I know these phases are sometimes short-lived.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!




10.26.2010

Terrific Tuesday: Sam-a-jama!

I've been slacking on the blogging... eeck! To be fair, I've been really busy getting ready for Halloween and doing some church stuff.  I'm sure I'll have a lot to blog about when Halloween passes and we enter the holiday season!

On to today's Terrific Tuesday... my cousin, Samantha Maiorino!

Sam and Abby at my wedding this past August. :)

Samantha is the kind of kid that you can truly be proud of.  She makes good choices, plays just about every sport under the sun, gets good grades, is kind to others, loves her family... I could go on and on.  She's responsible and trustworthy, and I love her to pieces! 

When we got married we specifically did not invite kids to our wedding (we would have LOVED to have the kids there... but they numbered in the 30s and we just couldn't afford that) but Samantha got to come because she was taking care of Abby that day for me.  She came over early in the morning so I could go to my hair appointment and stuck with us throughout the day, even riding in the limo to the ceremony.  This afforded me the chance to have my daughter with me for every step of my wedding, but I didn't have to be the one chasing her down the hallway or keeping her away from the wine glasses. lol. Sam is also the only person (other than my parents and in-laws) that has ever babysat for us.  I trust Samantha with the most precious part of my life... so that says a lot.  

Sam was an adorable little kid... sassy and smart, never afraid to let you know exactly how she was feeling. It always made me feel soooo good when I would arrive at a family function and Sam and her sister, Sarah, would run at me with open arms yelling "NIKKI!!!".  

Now she has grown into a (still adorable) teenager, and she seems to be one of the lucky ones. Gorgeous, popular, smart, athletic... but still she stays responsible, kind and gracious.  I know her schedule is jam-packed with school, sports, friends and her boyfriend, but she still makes time for family.

Thanks for being so awesome, Samantha.  Keep on this same path and you'll go so very far in life.   

10.25.2010

Great Weekend! How about you?

We had a really nice weekend!  Friday night we relaxed... ordered dinner, read some books with Abby, and caught up on some of our favorite shows on the DVR.

Saturday morning we woke up nice and early (as usual).  Mike had work all morning, so it was up to me to entertain Abby and Roxie.  We had some breakfast and headed outside into the backyard.  I did some necessary cleaning of the yard (we do have a dog, afterall) while Abby and Roxie chased each other in circles around the shed a few hundred times.  After that we worked together to gather all of the summer toys from the yard and put them away, as sadly, they won't be used for another year.

Such a great helper!

After we tired of playing in the yard we wanted something else to do outside, since the weather was gorgeous!  We called up my BFF Michelle and asked her if she wanted to come to Snipes with us and check out the Scarecrow Festival and fall activities.  While we waited for Michelle (she's always late... hehe) we sat out front and decorated our property with sidewalk chalk.  I taught Abby how to do hopscotch (she was surprisingly good!) and we had a nice chat about all of the cars that drove by and all of the animals in our yard.  Then Michelle got there and we headed over to the Scarecrow Festival.  This was our third time at Snipes this year... but it's something different to do on a nice fall day, so we take advantage of it.  We explored the animals and the old farm museum, played on the playground, checked out the scarecrows, and took a hayride to and from the pumpkin patch.  At this point we were pretty hungry... so we called the husbands up to see if they wanted to join us for lunch. (They declined) So us three gals headed over to Red Robin for a yummy lunch.  Abby was on her BEST behavior, which made me very proud of her.  She sat next to me in the booth and colored and ate her food (and some of mine) like an angel.  She snagged a balloon on the way out (super exciting to a toddler) and we headed home to enjoy the rest of our afternoon.

Saturday night my lovely cousin Samantha came over to babysit so that the husband and I could have a night out to watch the Phillies game.  Abby was super excited to have Sammie over and had no problem giving us kisses and saying "bye!", which always makes it much easier to feel comfortable leaving her.  I had a great time out with my husband (which is a VERY rare occasion... we never get to go out together) and some of my best friends.  Definitely reminded me that Mike and I need date nights more often!

Sunday morning we got up early (again... as usual. hehe) had some breakfast and did some shopping for odds and ends that we needed.  Abby and I found some super cute toddler pants on clearance at Target for 2 bucks a pair!  When we got home Roxie and Abby were feeling restless, so we back out into the yard we went for some fresh air. 

(Side note... our dog is a digger! Apparently she think we have buried treasure in our yard somewhere)

While we were outside getting some fresh air and using up that excess energy, Mike was inside doing some Sunday cleaning and chores.  We celebrated our great weekend by popping in Abby's new favorite movie, Finding Nemo, and relaxing while we watched the ocean adventure.  I cooked us up a yummy dinner of steak pinwheels stuffed w/ spinach and herb spread, baked potato and green beans... and we all settled in the night.  

Definitely one of my best weekends!  Good food, great friends and my amazing family... what more could I ask for? I'm really glad that we got to relax so much this weekend, since the next two weekends are going to be CRAZY with all of the Halloween festivites and then our SingStar Party! (More about that later...) 

Have a great week! 

10.19.2010

Terrific Tuesday!

Today I'll be honoring my grandmother, Doris Jolly.
This is a "Generations" picture from my wedding: My mother, my grandmother, me, my daughter.

It's one of my favorite pictures from the wedding, because seeing us all together reminds me of where I came from.  My grandmother is a strong, opinionated, loving, giving, independant, funny, intelligent woman... and I would like to say that she passed down a little of those traits to all of us.  One of my favorite memories from my childhood is having sleepovers at Grandmom and Grandpops house with my sister and my cousins.  The four of us had a BLAST watching movies and eating snacks and staying up late. Grandmom and Grandpop always used to have special bags full of goodies for us when we would visit or when they would come to see us. Holidays were always so special at their house, too... as us kids would sneak around and try to beat our parents into the kitchen for a piece of crispy skin from the Thanksgiving turkey or to sneak a piece of candy from the jars that Grandmom put on the table especially for us or in my case, indulge a piece of the yummy cheese pie that my Grandmom used to make especially for me! I remember one year she made a whole second pie just for me to take home.  

My grandmother and I also share a love for animals, especially dogs.  Grandmom has ALWAYS had a dog or two running around her house, and they are always spoiled and loved.  I can remember my grandmother cooking up special breakfasts of eggs for her dog Josie, every weekend.  I don't have a single memory of time spent at my Grandparents house that doesn't involve one of their loving and sweet dogs. (Especially Roxy! One of the main reasons we kept the name Roxie for our dog was because of my great memories of my Grandparents Roxy).

Another passion of my grandmothers is/was line dancing.  She used to teach a class of ladies and she absolutely LOVED it.  I remember seeing her special line dancing bag that she brought with her and seeing her practically glow while talking about her line dance ladies.

I mentioned that my Grandmother was strong in the begining of this post.  The word strong doesn't even begin to describe her strength! My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer many years ago and overcame it.  She had many years cancer free, until recently when they found a mass in her brain and lung cancer.  They treated the brain tumor with radiation right away and had great results... it dissapeared.  She is still fighting the lung cancer, but also having good results.  Unfortunately they recently found another mass in her brain, but are hopeful that another round of radiation will do the trick. 

While going through treatment she still managed to attend our wedding in August, and it was so awesome to see her out on the dance floor leading a line dance! She danced the night away, and I'm sure she was exhausted and hurting the next day, but it looked like it was worth it. 

As the years have gone by and I've gotten older and started a family of my own, I don't see my Grandmother as often as I would like (or should) but she's with me every day in the traits that she has passed down to my mother, to myself and to my daughter.  I'm blessed to have her in my life and am so grateful for the inspiration she has given me to become the woman that I am today. 

10.17.2010

Our Weekend :)

We had a great weekend here in the Hofmann house! Friday night I made some REALLY yummy Creamy Chicken Enchiladas (recipe: http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dinner/creamy-chicken-enchiladas.html)
I highly recommend that you give this recipe a shot if you like cheesy goodness. They are a huge hit in this house... though they definitely aren't the healthiest option, so must stay as an occasional treat. :)

Saturday we relaxed and did some cleaning... took a trip to Target for a few last minute odds and ends.  Then Abby and I got busy with carving our pumpkin!  Abby had a blast scooping out the guts...
Here is the finished product... Abby calls him "Bert".
After our carving and scooping adventure we roasted up the seeds for a yummy treat. :)

We had a movie night, extra long (extra splashy) bath time, and a good nights rest.  Today we woke up and went to church.  Since my mom was in town visiting she came with us!  After church we went and walked around the Scarecrow Festival at Snipes, where we "milked a cow" and enjoyed some other Autumn festivities. We came home with a homemade pumpkin roll and apple cider. Yum!


 After our fun morning Abby went home to spend some time with daddy so Grandmom and I could go out and enjoy a delicious lunch.  We went to Red Lobster, one of our favorites! My mom is the BEST and because she lives about 3 hours away from me, I don't get to see her as often as I would like, so days like this are extra special. :)

Have a fantastic week, everyone! 

10.14.2010

Message Boards

I have been (and currently am) a member of a number of message boards including the topics: Kids born in December 2008, Parents of Only Children, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain, Dog Training, etc.  I find it sooo helpful to speak to others who are in the same situations that I am.  Some of them share my thoughts and feelings and some of them totally disagree, but give me a new point of view to consider.  As those of you who read my blog know, I'm working on improving my family and myself by growing in my relationship with God.  I started a message board for anyone interested in discussing Christianity and supporting each other while as we grow in our faith together... the address is:

livingwithgrace.boardhost.com

Please come over and check it out... a few wonderful women have already joined and we're off to a great start.  EVERYONE is welcome!

10.13.2010

What I Love Wednesday

Here are some of the things I'm loving this week...
1. Tea! Although the weather isn't as cool as it was, I've been sick with an intestinal infection (NOT loving that!) and one of the things I've been allowed to have on my clear liquid diet is caffiene-free tea.  I've been indulging in pure peppermint tea, chamomile, and Tazo Calm.  So warm and comforting. :)
2. Another little indulgence of mine lately has been these AMAZING pretzels that I've become obsessed with.  My Aunt Cyndi used to make them for family parties and I haven't had them in years.  I started craving them out of the blue and asked my mom for the recipe.  So simple to make and my entire household (myself, the husband, the daughter AND the dog) adore them.

Aunt Cyndi's Pretzels
1 box Snyder's Sourdough Pretzels, broken into bite sized pieces
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dip mix
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. dill
1 cup veg. or canola oil

Pour everything into a Ziplock bag and shake until pretzels are evenly coated, spread them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Stir and cook for a couple more minutes, until done to your preference. 



Like I said... simple and DELICIOUS.  I'll be making our THIRD batch of these tonight. They don't last long at all in our house.

3. I went to my first Growth Group last week at church and absolutely loved it! It's a small group of women that get together weekly to do a bible study and socialize.  Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, I felt at home right away.  I'm really looking forward to going again tonight. I'm furthering my faith, making new friends, AND getting a night out of the house. Wins all around!

4. Although we didn't accomplish much this weekend due to sickness, my daughter and I did make some Halloween cupcakes together before we were laid up. I love that she's finally old enough to really start "helping" in the kitchen rather than just throwing thing all over the place.  She did a fantastic job of stirring and mixing and adding ingredients...
 ...and of course she did a fantastic job of chowing down on the finished product. :)

10.12.2010

Terrific Tuesday!

I've been laid up with an intestinal infection, so I'm going to take a shortcut this week and post something I've already written for some pretty terrific people.  My best friend, Michelle; my sister, Erica; and my sister-in-law, Kristy made up my bridal party in our wedding.  I gave them all journey pendants (and shoes) as their wedding gifts and wrote a speech thanking them for being a part of MY journey:




My Journey

Michelle, Erica, and Kristy: I am giving you these Journey Pendants as a thank you for not only being my bridesmaids, but for being a part of MY journey.

Kristy: You became a part of my journey when I started dating your brother.  You were immediately so friendly and welcoming, and made me so comfortable.  Watching you with your boys, the love that you have for them is inspiring.  I remember when you were pregnant with Adam and watching you go through the experience of having a preemie in the NICU really made me see what a strong and devoted mother you are.  Through the years we’ve become friends and had a lot of great times together, BBQs with your family, playing Rockband and Scene It, playdates with the kids, getting ice cream at Friendly’s.  You are a great listener, an intelligent woman,  and I’m so grateful to have met you and to now have you as a sister.

Michelle: You became a part of my journey 9 years ago.  You are so easygoing and real that I felt comfortable around you right away and since we were pretty much the only two girls in our group of friends, I gravitated towards you immediately and our friendship felt so natural.  You’ve been there for me through all of the good and bad things that life has thrown my way, and while a lot of people have come in and out of my life, you have stayed through it all.  We always have a good time together whether it’s going on vacation, having dinner and drinks, or having a game night.   We met as immature young college kids and have grown into the women that we are today, and we’ve done it together.  You keep me sane when everyone else is driving me crazy… and I am a better person for having you in my life.

Erica Lynn: You joined me on my journey many many years ago.  To say our relationship is like a rollercoaster, would be an understatement. You are the one person on this earth that can get under my skin like nobody else… but you’re also the one person that can make me laugh during my darkest moments. We’ve always been there for each other, no matter what. From the days when we used to crawl into each others beds and hide under the covers, I’ve always had your back, and I know you’ve always had mine. I’m so glad to have you in this wedding and as a part of my life.

Thank you all so much for all that you have brought to my journey. I couldn’t have done  it without you.

10.07.2010

The Great Shoe Adventure

Soooo.... I came home from bible study last night to find my darling husband and daughter fast asleep.  This would be great, as it was 10pm, except for the fact that my husband forgot to lock up the dog.  Uh oh! 
My lovely little (ok, big) puppy feasted on Halloween decorations and ABBY'S FAVORITE SHOES!!! I was in such a good mood after the growth group meeting... but when I saw that chewed up shoe, my heart dropped.  Abby wants to wear these shoes pretty much every day.  She thinks they are AWESOME.

We woke up this morning and I purposely dressed her in a silver skirt so that I could convince her to wear her silver shoes.  Success! The plan was to head out on my lunch break and try to find a new pair of the apparently delicious shoes. 

Lunchtime: Jenn and I head over to Payless... and they aren't there.  Panic starts to set in, but then I remember that I actually bought them at Target! I pick up another cute pair of shoes (brown and pink maryjanes that light up) that I think will impress Abby, just in case we can't find the beloved pink ones.  She's right between a 6 and 7, so I grabbed a 6.5.  We head over to Target... and there they are... the glorious sparkly pink shoes... but alas, they are a 6 and I'm positive that Abby's were a 7.  CRAP!  We head back to work and Jenn says she'll check her local Target that night.  I also send an email to my mom asking her to check up north where she lives.

Fast forward to after work... I get home with Abby and show her the new shoes.  She loves them!  Unfortunately... they are too small.  AAAGH! So we are about to jump in the car and head back to Payless to exchange them when I happen to see the dog-chewed pink shoe and pick it up.  It was a SIZE 6 ALL ALONG!

We head over to Payless and exchange the 6.5 light ups for the size 7.  Fantastic.  We drive over to Target and walk down the show aisle towards the pink wonders... I pick up the box of size 6 and open it up to make sure they are the right shoes... THERE WERE SIZE 7 SHOES INSIDE OF THE SIZE 6 BOX ALL ALONG!!!!!    I slip them on her feet and they fit just right.

Phew! I never thought I would have to go through such an ordeal for a pair of toddler shoes... check them out though, they are pretty darn awesome.

10.06.2010

What I Love Wednesday

It's Wednesday again... yahoo! Here is what I'm loving this week.
I'm loving that it's actually FEELING like Fall now! Cool and crisp weather... and I'm LOVING it.

This is the Abster and I on a hayride from this past weekend... it was fun! Notice the sweater and jeans I'm wearing? Yay for Fall Clothes!

I'm loving this fresh baked Caramel Apple pie that Abby and I made...

I'm loving the decorating that we did for Halloween...


Last but not least... I'm loving that I get to go to my first Growth Group meeting tonight.  It's a women's bible study group from my church that meets weekly.  Have a wonderful day, everyone!

10.05.2010

Terrific Tuesday

Today's Terrific Tuesday is going to be about a group of terrific women!  These people have inspired me and encouraged me in my faith and as a wife and mother. They are all strong and confident and I am better for knowing them.  A HUGE thank you goes to Claire, Melissa, Hilary, Rachel and Sara.  Listening to you talk about your beliefs and raising Godly children has changed my life.  While we all differ slightly in some of our beliefs, we all share a common goal of bettering ourselves and our families through God.  I have been so inspired by seeing you pick up your whole life and move to a new state to do mission work, struggle with the right way to discipline your toddler, encourage others when they are down, freely give advice from your heart, take time out of your day to support and lift up other friends (and myself!), share your lives and your own journey of faith without EVER seeming judgemental or preachy.  I love that! You are all so accepting of everyone and you seem so at peace and happy with your lives... and even when things don't go your way, you know how to make the best of it and keep a happy heart.  You are all role models and wonderful examples of mothers, wives and Godly women.  I love you guys so much and am so glad and blessed to have you in my life!

10.04.2010

Weekend of Fall Festivities!

We had an amazing weekend celebrating Fall. It was non-stop busy... but so fun!
Friday night Abby and I dumped out every toy that she owns into the middle of the living room floor and got busy organizing. We grouped toys together into categories and put them into seperate bins.

The big bins ended up being:
1. dolls
2. stuffed animals
3. farm set/tractor

The medium sized bins ended up being:
1. balls
2. cars
3. art supplies 

The smallest bins ended up being:
1. purse and doctor kit w/ supplies
2. small animals and people
3. microwave, play food, tea set. 

So far she has done a good job of only taking out one bin at a time... but we're still working on organizing the books. She loves to take out ALL of her books (she has at least a hundred) and spread them out on the floor around her while she goes to town reading. Oh well... at least she loves to read!

Saturday was such a fun day... we started off by going to Sesame Place for their fall festival!
The first thing Abby wanted to do was climb on the HUGE nets... so her daddy went with her.  She was so brave and climbed all the way to the top pretty much by herself.  Getting back down was a little more difficult though, so daddy helped, even though he was getting his shoes stuck in the net. Haha.
After that we went through a few mazes...

and rode the teacups! (which made me sick and dizzy, but Abby and Mike loved them!)

After our awesome day at Sesame Place, Abby and I met up with our friends Jamie and Dionna for some fun at the park around the corner from our house! Jamie, Tony and Dionna will be moving into the house next door to us very soon and we're SO EXCITED to have them so close!



They girls were HILARIOUS together and had a blast.  Here is a link to a video of them playing:

Sunday  morning we got up and dressed for church as usual... but it was extra exciting because Mike was coming with us for the first time! 



After church Abby and I met up with my SIL, MIL and two nephews for some Fall Fun at Snipes Farm! We went on a hayride to the pumpkin patch, played on the playground, explored the scarecrows and had a blast.

Jack leading Abby through a maze:
 Adam ringing the bell on the pirate ship:
 Sharing some pretzels with Jack on the hayride:
 Getting to know some birds... so cute! We swear Abby is the "bird whisperer" as they seem to always walk right up to her when she calls them.  Even at home! She got out of the car the other day, squatted down (to the birds eye level, I guess. Haha) and said "here birdy!" and the little thing hopped right on over to her! It was a little freaky.
 Playing in the enormous sand box
 Playing this huge instrument with Adam... while playing it some live music started elsewhere on the farm and for a few minutes Adam thought that he was playing it. So cute!
On our way out we bought some pumpkins and gourds and called it a day.  Abby asked to hold them in the car, so I let her... only to hear a loud "crunch" and look back to see Abby with yellow flecks on her face and a mischevious grin.  Apparently gourds look like apples and are delicious. LOL! I had to take it away from her because she kept trying to eat it... and when we got home? Roxie ended up eating it anyway. Goofballs!

So as you can see... our weekend was jam-packed full of Fall goodness... how was yours?