Monday, January 31, 2011

Where Did You Find That?

A few people have asked where I found some of the things that I used for Stella's party. Here are some links you can check out for all sorts of fun stuff.

The cool party garland came all the way from England via Little Tea Wagon shop on Etsy.

I found the neat paper straws at Bake it Pretty. They have candles, cupcake picks, foils, sprinkles and lots more!

Her cool birthday hat came from the Baby Gardener. The website also has a collection of vintage themed birthday party and baby shower supplies.

I purchased these images from Vintage Bella on Etsy. I cut them out and hot glued toothpicks to make the cupcake picks.

You can order custom poms poms to hang from Party Poms. There are tons of colors to choose from!

Paper Follie can create an awesome name or Happy Birthday banner for you!

Looking for some inspiration? Here are some of my favorite blogs:

Design Dazzle
Save the Date for Cupcakes
Birthday Girl

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bright, Bright Sunshiny Day

It's a beautiful day in Tennessee! I can't believe that 9 days ago I posted a picture of Stella in the snow. Stella and I enjoyed strolling around the neighborhood this afternoon while Daddy washed my car. It just seemed like the thing to do once the temperature reached 60 degrees.

As you can see by the pictures, Stella is standing up so well. She has started taking 4 to 5 steps at a time this week. Before, you were lucky to see more than 1 or 2 steps. Her confidence is growing, we're sure to be calling it all out walking before you know it. I can't blame her for holding back. She is a speedy crawler and can cover much more distance in less time. That skill is very handy for chasing Layla around the house.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Today my Mamaw, Betty Barker, will celebrate a birthday in Missouri. She loves to keep up with Stella's blog since we don't get the opportunity to see each other as often as we would like. This is a picture we took at her house at Christmas. 4 Generations - Stella is very lucky to have such a big family including 8 great grandparents. Yes, EIGHT. What a blessing! Happy Birthday, Mamaw! We love you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One Year Checkup

We went to see Dr. Bates yesterday for our one year well baby check. Stella is so healthy and happy. We are thankful for that since the office was packed yesterday with many sick children. Flu and RSV are rampant in Obion County. We have been fortunate with several months with not so much as sniffle. Back in September when Stella had a rough week, I prayed that we could keep her very healthy and not have to deal with that again any time soon. Babies seems so miserable with a cold. I am hoping that our good fortune continues. I also credit lots of Clorox wipes. They are my favorite tool for cleaning!

This picture was taken at Photography by Katrina one day before Stella turned one.

Stella weighs 18.6 lbs and is 29 1/2 inches long. She's our tiny, little sweetie.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Vintage Celebration

It all started with a little vintage, fabric party banner that I found on Etsy a few months ago. I had a vision for what would be a sweet and perfect way to celebrate the first year of a special little girl. After making several more purchases on Etsy, baking with Mom for two days, and gathering our collection of crystal and vintage serving pieces, Stella's first party was a major hit. There were 50 people there to celebrate!

The main table.

Simply sweet.

Neopolitan cake!

Vintage cupcake picks.

Cookie favor boxes and labels to coordinate with her invitations.

We never throw a party without these. Nene's recipe is the best!

Every guest got to choose their favorites. Chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, and oatmeal craisin.

Just for the birthday girl.

Aunt Sis

Mommy and her sweet girl.

Family picture.

Opening gifts.

I think that she enjoyed her party!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Stella is enjoying a white 1st birthday! She didn't know what to think of it at first. Stephen helped me make her a snow "present."

Now she likes it! Happy Birthday sweet girl! Mommy and Daddy can't believe how fast you have grown. This year has flown by and was a blast. We love you so much and look forward to all of the wonderful years with you ahead! We'll celebrate this weekend in a big way at your birthday party.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


See my new teeth on top? They are so cute! I love the little gap between a baby's front teeth.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Chocolate Fix

Since the entire family is on a diet and birthdays demand cake, I went on the hunt to find a recipe to make yesterday for Nene's birthday dinner. I found this allergen free recipe in Martha Stewart's Cupcake book. No eggs, butter, or milk. I was doubtful. . . They were actually very good! The recipe was passed to Martha by the owner of Divvies Bake Shop, who specializes in everything allergen free. I always use Hershey's Special Dark cocoa and this recipe really lets you taste that great chocolate flavor since there is less than a cup of sugar. I entered the recipe into a calorie calculator and each one is 162 calories and 25 carbohydrates. Not too bad when you need a fix. You get 6 grams of fat from the oil, but it's much better than some alternatives. For instance, I entered my normal brownie brownie recipe in the calculator and they are 340 calories, 18 grams of fat, and 43 carbs each. (my vanilla cupcakes are over 400 each - YIKES) Now for all of you attending Stella's party on Saturday, rest assured that the real stuff will be there. Sometimes we have to splurge. My problem is that I've been splurging 99.9% of the time. It's a daily battle, but I'm trying to tackle it once more. Let's hope it's for good this time.

Divvies Chocolate Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder (remember to look for Hershey's Special Dark)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together oil, vinegar, vanilla, and water until well combined. Add flour mixture to the mixer and mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Batter should look and feel more watery than normal cake batters.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup 3/4 full. Transfer to oven and bake, rotating pan halfway through cooking, until a cake tester inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. (20 minutes was perfect in my oven)

Remove cupcakes from muffin tin and transfer to a wire rack.

Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nene!

I would like to wish my mom, the incredible Nene, a very happy birthday today! She is such a wonderful mom, Nene to Stella, and friend. I am so thankful for her. She takes such great care of Stella when I am at work and that means so much to me. She received a little rocking chair for her 1st birthday 55 years ago. It has been passed down through the years and she recently had it recovered for Stella. It is adorable! That chair is full of memories and I'm glad that Stella will get to enjoy it now. Thanks, Nene!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stella's New Kicks

There isn't much to talk about in this post other than the fact that I adore children's clothing. I decided this weekend that Stella could really use some casual tennis shoes that she could wear with most of her play clothes. We have the dress shoes, boots, and colorful ones covered. I went on the hunt. Since Stella is still wearing a 2, it was a little hard to find something. I finally spotted these in a size 3. Hopefully they will fit perfectly soon enough. This picture of her little foot just makes me smile. I love the tiny version of this classic shoe!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Warm Up Your Belly

It's been awhile since I have posted a recipe, so I thought this one would be perfect for my first one to share this year. I made this for our New Year's Eve gathering. I think of soup and chili during the cold winter months. It's my favorite thing to eat this time of year. I first saw this recipe in a Paula Deen magazine. It was a winning recipe submitted by a reader for a contest. The name is a mouthful, and beware because it does have a kick to it. I scale back on some of the ingredients if I don't want it so spicy. Enjoy!

Cheezy Black Eyed Pea Chicken Chili


3 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon Paula’s House Seasoning
2 cups chopped white onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 (15-ounce) can seasoned black-eyed peas (I use Sylvia's or Glory brand)
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1 (1.25-ounce) package white chicken chili seasoning
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (8-ounce) package Velveeta cheese, cubed


In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle chicken with House Seasoning. Add to Dutch oven, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until all sides are browned. Add onion and red bell pepper, and cook for 7 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Stir black-eyed peas in diced tomatoes, water, white chicken chili seasoning, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cubed Velveeta, and stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat. You can garnish with sour cream and chives.

In case you don't already have a container stashed away in a cabinet, this is the recipe for Paula's house seasoning. I use it on everything!

1 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Afternoon Snack

I got out a bag of Fritos and some sour cream for a little after work snack yesterday. After Stella hovered over me during my first few bites, I gathered that she needed a snack as well. I left my bag on the couch and went to the kitchen to get something for her. This is what I came back to find.

Either I was too slow, or she preferred the Fritos over her normal puffs.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Stella likes all of her new toys. We have so much fun playing each afternoon!

She dislikes the Tennessee Titans 2010 season. My sentiment exactly, Stella.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sunday with Stella

I love weekends in general, but spending lots of time with my sweet girl makes them even better. We napped in between cleaning the house on Friday and then went to Nene and E's house for good food and conversation to kick off the new year. Saturday we went shopping in Jackson with Nene and Aunt Sis. After church yesterday, we enjoyed some wonderful nap and playtime. What could be better?

Isn't my hair fantastic?!

No pictures please!

Pretty lady.

I'm not so sure about this car at first.

Is this a safe way to ride, Mommy?

OK, this is pretty cool.

Way to keep both eyes on the road Layla Sue!