Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Southern Folks take on the Snow!

A few of my favorite pictures from our weekend playing in the snow!

Monday, December 21, 2009

We spent a few amazing days in a gorgeous winter wonderland surrounded by our wonderful family!!!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The most wonderful time of the year!

I love the holidays! From hanging with family over Turkey, to shopping for gifts and decorating the house, this whole season just fills me with joy. Alex has declared himself in charge of turning on all the lights each night and I just love seeing his face when everything lights up. His imagination abounds and I'm so looking forward to our first season where he "gets" all the Christmas traditions.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Fireman's Real Job

Alex was in fine form last night and was having a blast rough housing with Eric. At one point he got frustrated with Eric pinning him and told us he was going to call the police. Of course I grabbed the camcorder! :) (password to view it is alex)

Dad's Fired! from Traci Synatschk on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gluten Free Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Just saw a yummy GF chicken-broccoli-rice casserole and decided to try it out! Stay tuned for results :). Here's a link to the recipe!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

If you need it, build it! :)

We have "market days" coming up at Alex's school and we needed to create a "farmer's market" style stall for the kiddos. We have a table and are going all out on the table cloth but I wanted a neat attention getting sign, so I called my Dad, asked his advice and headed off to the nearest Lowes.

On Dad's recommendation I got PVC pipe, connectors and end caps, came home, measured, sawed and voila...$11 and 15 minutes later I had the frame for my sign for this and many future projects.

Here is a quick do it yourself, step-by-step tutorial!

Assemble your items. I had the saw, tape measure and sharpie already, but everything else here cost $10.24. That and a little time and we have a very multifunction piece that should work for the preschool for a while!

Measure your PVC pipe and mark the height and width you want your stand to be. I did 7 feet high and 7 feet wide, so I cut all three pieces of my PVC pipe to seven feet.

Use a hack saw and cut the PVC pipe at your measured marks. The PVC pipe cuts easily, just be sure your cut ends go into the connectors so you don't scratch yourself.

Get your connectors ready. From here on out it's like putting legos together!

Use your short brace pieces and connect them to the sides of your T connector. The top of the T will hold your tall stand pieces.

Add your elbow connectors to connect your side and top pieces:

Alex helped put the finishing touches on. Here he is adding end caps to our stand:

The finished product! We're going to wrap it in brown crepe paper to make trees and decorate it with fall leaves, and hang a Shoreline Market Days banner across it, pictures coming soon!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ready, Set, Go....

The Holidays are almost here which means it's time for PARTY PLANNING!!! Yeah! :) I volunteer at my son's school to help with parties and really enjoy seeing the kiddos get a kick out of everything we pull together. This year we're doing a Fall Fun Day for the preschool and it amazes me how much coordination goes into something like this. I've been working on volunteer rotations, donations needed, and just general planning for what will amount to one morning for 60 kids. I CAN"T WAIT! There will be awesome pilgrim pictures, hayrides, a farmer's market and more. I want to give a special thank you to the great folks at which is making organizing volunteers and donations so much easier! :)

Needless to say, between a few friends getting married in Oct, our own fall entertaining, travel for both myself and Eric and Race for the Cure on the horizon, this is shaping up to be a busy month!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wedding Weekend Numero Uno

Well this month has just kicked off and already it's jam-packed with things to do. This past weekend we hung out with friends in San Antonio and got to see some great friends tie the knot. I took way to many pictures, and am still sorting through them all, but here's a few of Alex from the weekend.

Thanks to Eric's frequent travel, Marriott upgraded us to a penthouse suite! Alex loved having the room and we didn't mind too much either. :) Thanks Marriott!

Before we left town Alex had to try on his tux...and then proceeded to ride his scooter around in it.

Before the wedding Alex hung out with the girls...he was in charge of Ring Security.

The only family shot I managed all weekend.

Alex had a blast at the reception playing with Marly.

We managed a little time on the riverwalk in between wedding events.

Alex was super excited that it was rainy and he got a chance to use his Humbrella! (nope not misspelled, that's what he calls it!)

More pictures to come next weekend...Another Weekend, Another Wedding!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Gluten Free Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

I love to bake, but have seriously tried to cut back lately. Sometimes though I just can't help myself! My Mother in Law's birthday was a few weeks ago and I took the opportunity to try out a few things that had caught my eye.

1. The Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cake Mixes (thank you, thank you, thank you Betty Crocker)
2. The Boston Cream Pie Cupcake recipes that are flooding the foodie blogs

The results...FABULOUS!

The Betty Crocker cake mix got mixed reviews on several of the blogs I checked out so I used some easy suggestions like adding pudding mix and orange juice to dress it up. I added some custard cream I found of google and drizzled some chocolate ganache on top. So easy and delicious...hubby at 3 before I got them put away for the night.

Betty Crocker Cake Mix
Boston Cream Pie Custard filling recipe from Annie's Eats

Chocolate Ganache Recipe

and a close up of the goodness...

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Twitterholics, Facebook Fiends and Social Media Mavens

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.Image via Wikipedia
Ok I admit it, I'm a social media fiend. I love twitter, facebook, linkedin, and blogging, and all together these types of applications are known as Web 2.0.  There are so many great applications out right now that can make keeping in touch, or promoting your business so much easier. I've mentioned this guide to several of my friends and wanted to share it here for anyone looking for a great getting started guide for Twitter and business.

How to use Twitter for Business Guide by HubSpot

I'm working on several presentations for work and Web 2.0 and how to use social media for business is playing an integral part in each one. The age group with the biggest number of uses on facebook is 25-45.  Financial gurus who know are forcasting that Twitter's stock is fixing to go through the roof and the number of uses to quadruple. 

So if you are looking to dive into this new era of marketing and advertising I highly recommend checking out the guide above, trainings on Hubspot, and other free trainings like Googles Marketing Professional designation. These are resources that take nothing but your time and will drastically broaden your horizons on communicating with a wider audience.

Enjoy and Happy Friday!
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Time Flies

My birthday is coming up soon and it's causing me to ponder... :)

I've never been to upset about getting older. Let's face it we all want to rush to those first big milestones, 16 so we can drive, 21 so we can drink, and then reality hits. Work, responsibility, getting dinner on the table, you know what I'm talking about. Nope getting older isn't bothering me, it's that weird sensation that time has gone so fast I've missed something. Cliche as it sounds, it feels like yesterday that I got married, and only a short while ago that we had Alex.  Today I looked at him while we were waiting at the doctor's office, really looked at him (he was quietly pretending to read a book so I grabbed the 30 precious quiet seconds :)) and saw a little boy. Not a baby, not a toddler, but a little boy like the ones you look at in the store and think "they're old enough to know better."  There have been so many warning signs lately that I should have seen this coming. He's refused to hold my hand recently on the way into school, "It's not the parking lot Mom...," He can full dress himself head to toe (who cares if his underwear are on inside out, he's darn proud), and most telling of all he asked us to cut the strings off Puppy. 

A little background on puppy :).

Here's what Puppy looked like when DeeDee and Dad gave him to us at our baby shower.

And here is a "before and after" 3 years as a constant companion to Alex shot :).

From the time Alex became attached to puppy, the strings that should have been used to tie him to the crib were held in or near his ear as he went to sleep, any time he was scared and finally just out of habit. I caught him putting them near his mouth one to many times and threatened to cut them off which resulted in a major tantrum.  So imagine my surprise last Thursday when he calmly came and repeatedly asked us to cut the strings off Puppy.

Fair warning for later in life I guess...if I don't cut the apron strings my son will do it for me!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Changing the Way You Think--Suzy Welch's 10-10-10

Reading is far more than a hobby for me. It’s a passion, a method of escape and relaxation. Unless it is a super busy time, I almot always have a book I’m reading, and one on deck. I just finished Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10. Her PR company contacted me by email and asked if I would like a review copy of the book. We’ve already covered that I love reading so it should come as no surprise that I quickly agreed to review a book that I’d never heard of…I mean come on books aren’t always cheap and my library can’t keep pace with my addiction so I quickly jumped on a free book deal. The book arrived and I did what I always do, I scanned the book jacket to see how intriguing this might be…are we talking a lock myself away and ignore life for three days, Twilight-esque read,or a flashback from college, plodding away to garner slivers of insight through pages of words.

Obviously since you are reading this it was a GREAT read. Suzy writes in a down to earth, easy to read way, letting you see yourself in the stories she shares. 10-10-10 looks at logical ways to make decisions. Large or small we typically either know instinctively what decision we want or need to make, or we spend far to much time agonizing over a decision. Suzy touts looking at how the consequences of any decision (from work to parenting) will affect your life in ten minutes, ten months or ten years. By looking at the short term, mid-term and long term consequences of your decision you can make a rational choice on what the best over all outcome will be for you. We’ve all made decision on the fly that we would have changed later, or agonized over what the right choice is, but this helps you put a rational, defensible approach to decision making, taking the guesswork and the guilt out of the equation. I highly recommend this book for anyone and everyone. It was a great read and I’m passing my copy on!

Congratulations Jeremy and Michelle!

We spent the weekend out in West Texas celebrating the wedding of Jeremy, my husband's cousin, and Michelle, Jeremy's new bride. I LOVE weddings. This one was beautiful and touching in a way that not all weddings are anymore. This wedding reminded me days gone by when a wedding was a promise, a celebration of life-long vows and joining of two families. Today many weddings are productions (I should know mine was one! :)) that can drive any sane female not obsessed with planning into depression before the big event. For one day of perfection, many of us spend a year or more planning, preparing, negotiating, and working towards finding the right caterer, DJ, baker, florist, decorations, you name it. Sometimes it's just wonderful to see something different. Like I said I LOVE weddings and big or small they all celebrate that special moment for two people joining together, but after this weekend I have to admit there was something incredibly sweet and touching about a wedding that obviously centered around family and friends. They were surrounded by family in church, celebrated the traditional milestones in the church reception hall, and were the guests of honor at a beautiful backyard BBQ...sounds great doesn't it! To Jeremy and Michelle, I wish you guys all the best that life can offer for health, wealth and happiness. Keep yesterday's joy with you forever, we are so very happy for you!

Oh and I had a little fun playing with the camera! :) Here are some shots of my favorite little tyrant from that weekend too! :)

My little rule abider...raising his hand for cake! LOL

Helping to unwrap the bride and groom's cars.

Having fun at the reception.

I think he went through 10 bubble tubes before anyone left! :)

Couldn't keep his hands off the decorations!

Opening presents with the bride and groom.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Random thoughts

We hung out with some friends tonight and seeing my kiddo running around with their kids brought me an amazing amount of joy. I grew up in a great neighborhood with a good bunch of friends, and together we spent every afternoon riding bikes, racing around, and generally just having a great time. Maybe it's just my quiet neighborhood but I haven't seen any kids running around playing like we used to. I hope as Alex continues to grow that he'll see the fun in turning off the TV and heading outside to play!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Now What?

We spend so much of our time running around from activity to activity, that the random day like today (one that's not packed full of things to do) throws us! Alex threw a fit this morning when he heard that there was no school, no church and no errands to run LOL. I explained that it was a day for us to hang out as a family and his answer...ok but where are we going?

Hmmm maybe I need to work harder to build some downtime into our days.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gluten Free Crockpotting

Ever since Eric went gluten free I've tried to balance my love of cooking against an ongoing effort to eat healthy within the bounds of what Eric can actually eat. At times I find it MOST unfair that going gluten free helped him lose 30 pounds while not helping me at all...but that's the way the cookie crumbles I guess.

One great resource I wanted to share with any fellow crockpotters like me is Stephanie's A Year of Slow Cooking Blog. Tonight we're cooking yet another of her recipes!

Crockpots can make any meal planning momma's afternoon easier! And when you're trying to avoid dairy, wheat and corn like us, it sure helps to not be staring into the pantry at 5 pm hoping inspiration is going to jump out at you!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

End of Year Party and an Incredibly Moist Cake Recipe

Alex and I had a lot of fun whipping up some super yummy snacks for his end of year bash. I'm just getting around to posting this since the start of Preschool has kept me so busy, but this recipe deserves its five minutes of fame and then some!

I always love a new recipe but a new healthy recipe is just great! Recently there was a lot of discussion in one of my Mom's groups about the "Sprite Cake." This cake was a huge hit with my weight watchers crowd back in the day since it cuts all the oil and eggs out of the recipe helping to keep down the calories and fat content.

The added bonus is the INCREDIBLE moistness of these cakes. won't believe it until you try it.

Are you ready...

Take one box of cake mix (any kind) and mix it with 10 ounces of regular soft drink (I used Coke with a chocolate cake, and Sprite with a yellow cake). Add two TBSPs of sour cream, mix it up and bake as a cake or cupcakes. That's it! :)

For the frosting I like to buy regular frosting, whatever happens to be on sale for the week, and make my own lighter whipped frosting. Just put a can of frosting into your kitchen aid (or a bowl and use a hand mixer), add any flavorings you might like, and whip the frosting on medium to high for 4 or 5 minutes. Voila, yummy, light, whipped frosting.

Since this recipe didn't involve any eggs, or oil, Alex got to do the honors of pouring in the coke and turning on the mixer. I handled the sprinkles, only because of a previous Easter cookie incident that involved having to re-sweep and mop all the floors! :)

Hope you Enjoy, the kiddos in Alex's class sure did!