Monday, October 31, 2011

Door Decor.

I've been slightly obsessed with Pinterest these days. But I told myself I had to actually try/create/do things from there versus just drooling over other people's great ideas. I finally finished my first pinned DIY craft, a lovely monogram for our front door. It would have been loads easier if I would have kept my maiden name, the angles in the "K" were hard to keep straight. Eventually I said "oh bother" and let my perfectionism go and allowed it to be a bit off.

I have to go get a 3M hook for our door to hang it on... but I did put it up there to snap a quick photo for you to see:

To create this, I followed a blogger's tutorial here. I also varied from the original and added leaves versus a bow above my felt flowers. I heart felt. I heart felt so much that you just may get some sort of felted thing for a Christmas present. So fun, this felt.

And yes, I did burn my finger on that blasted glue gun tip. 

Now go, be inspired to do something crafty! 


UPDATE: It looks better with a good hook. And a really adorable kid below it:

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Eli Joseph is six months old today. A half of a year!  I'm so very grateful for each and every day we have with this growing, adorable boy.

He has changed much from that seven pounds, one ounce of delight we were graced with that overcast Wednesday afternoon in April. So much growth in six months time these babies do... if we adults grew and learned as much as they did in the same time frame, we'd all be geniuses. And giants.

He actually rolled over all by himself a few times yesterday. For his Daddy. He hates being on his belly so much he finally figured out how to remedy a solution. He has become much more verbal and active even in this last week. His little legs are moving and kicking during much of his alert times. This has been especially hilarious during bath time. You do not leave Eli's bath without getting a little shower.

I do need to post another video of his laughing. He lets out deep, gut chuckles quite often: he's ticklish, he likes when we are super animated and he loves to be tossed around. It really is hysterical. I hope this joyful humor is a part of his personality. Speaking of, I can't wait to see his personality develop. What fun that will be as a parent!

We had a little craft time today, in honor of hitting this six month mark alive and healthy... and because it's almost Halloween. I had to help him make the orange part of the pumpkin, of course, but his little handprints did the leaves!

That's going in the keepsake box! I already feel bad for his future wife that will inherit Eli's keepsake box(es).


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chin(s) Issue.

I post a lot of photos of Eli being adorable, handsome, snuggable-loveable... the adjectives could go on and on. Greg said Eli is inspiring others to have kids because Eli is so darn cute. I'm sure he will be happy to hear that when he's older. Right now, he's got some not-so-cute skin rash under his chin(s). It's very hard to keep this area dry with his spit up, drool and almost constant hands-in-mouth-ness. Thus, little patches of eczema or whatever are attacking his 'lil chin (plus redness in that crevice you can't even see in this photo):
It's not so cute, eh? Our pediatrician told us to put some cortisone cream on and that is making it better... hopefully soon it'll go away enough to where Eli won't scream bloody murder when we try dry that area after bath time. Poor guy. I guess this is one downfall to having a smooshy, chunky baby.

Of course, he's still cute, rashes and all. Here's some photos to prove that, in case you needed some proof.

The mohawk is still here, just thinner! 

Big belly boy!

These stackers are made from recycled milk jugs. Love them.

This one just makes me smile.
-Eli's Mom

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cash Back Sites.

This title really should be I Think You Should Know 5 or something like that. But I'm bucking that trend and going with the subject matter for title.

I like to shop. My days of lackadaisical shopping in the clearance isles of my favorite stores are long gone (I mean how do these mommas shop with their 2.5 kids?!). I have embraced online shopping even moreso now that Eli is here. We have free shipping with Amazon Prime right now and man is it dangerous...a few clicks and I can have something at my door in two days! YIKES! (Did you know that you can get a free year trial of Prime if you are a student? Think .edu email address. Now, be careful or you could end up with some fancy kitchen tool hand-delivered to you by some hard-working UPS guy).

I digress.

The real reason for this post is to encourage you, when you are not shopping at Amazon, to jump on the bandwagon of cash back sites. Seriously, folks, this is like free money. And since it's almost gift-giving official season, I am helping you here.

The basic concept?

  1. Your mother-in-law needs a crock pot. A fancy one.
  2. You comparison price-shop online and find one at for $100.
  3. You sign up for a free account at Ebates because they have 5% cash back at
  4.  You click on link from your Ebates page, find said crock pot, and buy that baby.
  5. Ebates in it's magical cyber wisdom knows that you bought a $100 crock pot from their link and therefore they owe you $5.
  6. You become smart and keep shopping online through Ebates.
  7. Ebates sends you a quarterly check.
  8. You deposit check at your bank and do a happy dance. Also, you do not tell your MIL you made $5 off her crock pot.

Okay, get it?

I am going to tell you about the two cash-back sites I use.

Ebates is my favorite. You don't have to do anything to get your money. You just go to Ebates (be signed in), find whatever store you want to shop at (literally thousands of stores), click that store and Ebates will open up a "tracking ticket" that looks like this for a few seconds:

Then it will just take you to the site (Target in this case). You shop and check out as normal (without closing the window, doh!). Ebates will post your money a few days later into your ebates account. Then you get a check like this (this is mine from August along with my freaky, beady eyes staring at you):

If you've earned less than $5.01 cash back in a three month period, they'll carry over your money to the next check. I've been doing this for a few years (made $50) and I've never had a problem. Money just shows up. Awesome.

If you click my referral link here and sign up, I get $5 if you ever actually purchase anything over $25. Or you can click on this logo to sign up:

PS - Does anyone use a different site and like it? Let me know if so. I'll jump on another bandwagon for sure.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I like pumpkin too, buddy, but not like this! First thing Eli does when something touches his hand: object goes direct for mouth.
  I bought two pumpkins. One for Eli and one for Maelee. Since I made her a pumpkin last year, we thought we'd keep this tradition. I bought these two and Greg said Maelee should get the bigger one 'cause she would be older.
 But then Eli dropped his little pumpkin and broke off the tip. Little brothers can be like that I guess.

Look at our big boy, holding on, reaching for the pumpkins! 

Eli loves to stand (when assisted, of course). Rolling over? Scooting? Crawling? Sitting all by himself? Not so much. But if he can be on his feet, he is quite happy. I think he'll be behind with the whole crawling thing. That's okay. As long as he's healthy, it's okay if he doesn't hit milestones right when he's supposed to.

Seeing Eli in overalls makes me want him to be a farmer. Maybe he'll be our rural, earth-loving boy. He's got farming in his genes... perhaps!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ida Hotdish.

My Aunt Ida was a good woman. She was really my great aunt, sister to my grandmother, but we still called her just "Aunt Ida." She was unique, too. Of course I was quite young when she died so I don't remember a lot about her. But she has a legacy in my life nonetheless.

Now there is a story about a generous cook who would give out her personal recipes but would always leave out an ingredient or two. The recipe recipient, then, could never make the goodness quite as tasty as the recipe giver. I believe that story was told about Aunt Ida a time or two.

In order to do this justice, I feel like you need to see a photo of Aunt Ida. I picked the first two in my photo box. And yes, she's sporting the same purple polyester number in each photo, but with different accessories. Classy! 

Aunt Ida, with myself, Grandma Olga, my sister and our cousin DeAnn (and my Aunt Sandy doing dishes). We are quite stylish, I might add.

I wish I could remember this, sweet Aunt Ida playing dolls with me, the fro my mom created my hair into. And yes, that is a My Little Pony and Pound Puppy cat. What can I say, I'm a child of the 80's.

She was a good Norwegian cook, my Aunt Idea, and this hotdish recipe is hers.

It's one of my favorites because you don't have to cook the meat beforehand. It has four, yes four, cans of Campbell's soup in it. And meat and potatoes. Remember, I am a true midwesterner. Don't judge.

If you ever make this deliciousness, you must promise me that you will always call it Ida Hotdish. Or Aunt Ida Hotdish. Or Heather's Aunt Ida Hotdish. Agreed?

Good. Then I will share it with you.

Here's what it looks like after you make it, eat some, then put the leftovers in Pyrex. It makes a lot. No step-by-step photos here because I didn't even think about blogging about this until after we ate, after Rebekah told me she wanted the recipe. This photo may not make your mouth salivate, but that's because you haven't tried Ida Hotdish yet. 

Aunt Ida Hotdish

4 or 5 potatoes, peeled and cut in about 1 inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups of carrots, sliced or the little ones cut in half
2 pounds ground beef (make sure it's very lean)
2 cans vegetarian vegetable alphabet soup (don't get the wrong kind!)
2 cans tomato soup
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a larger covered casserole/roaster (a big pot that can go in the oven). Layer the following items; potatoes, onion, carrots. Crumble the burger, uncooked on top. Spread the soups on top and then poke holes through it all (I use the handle of a wooden spoon). Add enough water until you can just see it on the edges. Cover. Bake for one hour and then stir it up and continue baking for another hour. Stir again and eat!

That's it! Unless of course, I left out an ingredient...


PS - I won't get into "hotdish" versus "casserole" right now, but certain recipes are one or the other (with my personal preference/experience with "hotdish" winning over "casserole").

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This Guy.

Wanna know who rules the roost? This guy.
Also, check out the quilt! Made just for Eli (thanks Burnetta). This reminds me I should post photos of the little man's room, it's so fun!

Here are some photos from Sunday when I made Greg take photos... I am usually always behind the camera. I want Eli to have tangible proof that I was indeed a big part of his life these early months.Or maybe I just want him to remember me wearing actual clothes, showered and ready versus the all-too-often pajamas and/or sweat pants look.

Adorable pumpkin shots are coming too. Gosh this is FUN.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 15th.

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. In honor of babies that have died, people light a candle at 7pm in their respective time zones. Last night we lit Maelee's candle:

Because we don't have Maelee here to celebrate life and milestones with, we will do what we can to honor her and keep her memory alive. So this is the first of many photos Eli will have with her candle on October 15th:

This morning at church we sang Blessed Be Your Name. Now if you have read this blog, you know that song is special for a whole lot of reasons... sung at our wedding, after our ectopic, at Maelee's funeral, and at Eli's dedication. I love the lyrics. Of course when we had it sung at our wedding it was all plentiful land, sun's shining and the world was as it should be, with us doing happy dance... and then years later we walked through the wilderness and suffering and desert places full of pain. But the lyrics that get me each time...

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name



Friday, October 14, 2011

A Great Grandma Indeed!

 Happy Birthday to the Matriarch of the Kasowski Clan!

So sweet! And her cooking? Amazing.

She knows how to put a baby to sleep!

Eli loved his snuggles from Great Grandma!

We are so proud (and blessed) to be related to this lady! We love you and miss you Grandma K!

the SC Kasowski's

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


If you have a super awesome schedule for a 5 1/2 month old, a typical order of the day/night that, say, you used with your kid who is now a well-balanced, loving child, please let me know.

I wish these sweet things came with a kid-specific user manual.



And yes, it looks about the same coming out the other end.



Sunday, October 9, 2011

So Long Sleeveless.

Since cooler weather is approaching (it is, right?!?!), I decided to try wear out some of Eli's summer gear before it gets packed away to the attic. His bare arms are so stinkin' adorable. I had him in this sweet brown and blue monkey number on Friday so we went out on the front porch for a photo shoot. The problem is I have too many photos to choose from! This may get a little excessive... but don't judge me. It's hard to narrow down the cuteness of my blue-eyed boy.

 Don't mess with my bib.

 The event that brings us much, much enjoyment each weekday: Daddy's home!
 So glad you are home, Dad!

Ironically, as I am going through the 50+ photos I took of him being one happy baby on Friday, I can actually hear him screaming loudly protesting his nap. We've had a rough go of it the past day... I got a nasty migraine last night and Eli was having sympathy pains and up much of the night as well. We have one overly-tired boy and a few exhausted parents today! Very grateful for a day of rest!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

18 Months of Longing.


It's been 18 months since we held our baby girl in our arms and had to say good-bye before we got to say hello. This grief journey has been hard living, harder than I ever imagined life to be. You hear of suffering, but you don't anticipate how it will hit you or how you will experience it. I am grateful for Maelee, for the good that we can see from her life and death. But I am still hurting, still longing for her. That's just how it's going to be.

Today is a bit of a milestone. I have outfits stored in the attic, I can even visualize a few, that are size 18 months. Though she probably would have been chunky like her brother so perhaps she'd already moved on from this size... oh but I wish her little fat legs were in those tights right now. I wish I was figuring out the cutest coordinating costumes for our two kids to wear for Halloween.

I know many people assume that we should be fulfilled parents because we have Eli. That's partially true. There are many hopes and dreams that our adorable guy is fulfilling for us. Hearing his first cry, knowing he was alive, will forever be one of the most deeply satisfying, redeeming moments for me. Enjoying our baby, getting to be responsible for this being, watching him hit all his "firsts" is just pure grace for us. Yesterday I actually held Eli during his nap because I just couldn't stop smelling him and holding him close. God has used Eli Joseph to heal much of our broken hearts and fill us with much, much joy.

Even so, our family is still not complete. It's missing her. We still have hard days. There are still triggers, good and bad, even after all this time. Last week I was shopping and saw these little shorts with cherries on them. At church one Sunday we saw someone we hadn't seen for a few years and she asked "Don't you have another child?" Greg is taking a "Crisis Counseling" class and they've been continually talking about grief and loss. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Eli will be wearing the "little pumpkin" pajamas that I had bought for Maelee...

The fact is, she's never far from my mind. Greg's either.

And we still love her.

This is the last ultrasound photo we have of Maelee alive. It was taken April 1, 2010, days before she died. She's sucking her thumb.

We miss you beautiful daughter, big sister. Someday. Some glorious day... we will get to hold you again.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mom's Wild Rice Soup.

Fall weather is here and that means soup! This is my go-to soup recipe because it's unique, easy, and it's from my mom so you know it's good. It's also forgiving and easily manipulated. When I made it yesterday I used way more rice and veggies than the recipe called for and tweaked it to how I'm feeling (read: I had two cans of cheddar cheese soup that had passed their "best by" date).

Wild rice is very hard to come by down south so I have it "imported" from family members coming to visit! If you are somewhere that doesn't have it, try a natural/organic food store that has bulk beans. Beware - it's spendy.

Here's the official recipe:

1 cup wild rice
3 cups boiling water
1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 stick butter or margarine
2 cans chicken broth
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 4oz can sliced mushrooms
1 teasp salt
1/4 teasp pepper
1/4 teasp rosemary (VII: very important ingredient)
1 cup whipping cream

1. Add rice to boiling water, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes (until the rice is close to done).
2. Saute onion, celery, carrots and green pepper in butter/margarine. Add to wild rice.
3. Add other ingredients except for the cream. Simmer 20 minutes.
4. Stir in cream, heat thoroughly and serve. Or put in the crock pot if you are serving at a party.

Random Thoughts / Variations 
I usually end up doubling this recipe, adding more rice and veggies. Therefore I use the 32 oz carton of chicken broth and maybe three cans of soup instead of  two (this time I used two cheddar cheese and one cream of celery). And I also used one pint whipping cream plus some half & half... I make this often enough that I know how creamy I want it to be. If you solely use half & half it won't taste as good. I use big pieces of mushrooms so I can pick them out easily. And I like pure wild rice but you could use a wild/brown mix if that's all you have. And if you need there to be meat, you could add chicken. If you are going to add a lot, make sure you use a big pot!

For all you visual folks, here's my somewhat step-by-step photo instructions. The lighting in our kitchen is bleh and I was watching Eli while cooking, so apologies for the lack of inspiration in my photos. They do the job.

Boil the wild rice:

Meanwhile, chop up your carrots, onion, celery and green pepper... into very, very small pieces. You will need a chopper so it looks like this:

Saute it all in butter or margarine:

When the rice is done, drain it mostly (leave a little water). Then add the sauteed mixture (like photo below) plus all the canned items and spices (forgot to take a photo of that pre-stirred):

Stir it all up and let it simmer for awhile, at least 20 minutes:

Then add the cream! 

Stir it up and you are done!

It's creamy, wild goodness and best served with a delicious fresh baguette! Now who wants to come over and enjoy it as leftovers with me today?