Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's been pretty busy!

Well, it's been a LONG time since I've blogged about anything. So, I'll give a brief run-down of life lately. First, here's my big 2 year old Ezra! Can you say heartbreaker??

Alright, where to begin. The last post was in January, so I have a lot to catch up on!

-Valentine's Day was spent with my littlest Valentine, because Steven was in Indianapolis for the week for job training.
-I helped direct "Willy Wonka Jr." at Evansville Christian School. It was a LOT of work, with rehearsals twice a week with the 7th and 8th grade students involved.
-I've been on a team working with the junior high and high school choirs at church.
-On March 3 Ezra turned 2!!!! It was a crazy day, so we celebrated with the three of us on the Friday after his party.
-The Saturday after his birthday, we had a party for him at our house with our local friends.
-The performance of Willy Wonka was just last night!! It was amazing! The kids did such a wonderful job, and I am so proud of them. It is strange to have my afternoons back and to be able to think of things other than chocolate candy and Oompa Loompas....
-It's Teacher Appreciation Week at ECS, and I am getting so spoiled. I'm pretty sure my kids are trying to get me to weigh 4,528lbs with all the candy they've brought me! But I'll take it!!
-Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, and I love that day because green is my favorite color. We even got Ezra a new shirt for it!
-Spring Break is NEXT WEEK. And I need it.
-We'll head to Nashville for the weekend and celebrate Ezra's birthday with our family and friends there.
-And next week we'll fly out to New Mexico to spend some time with my dad! We're very excited about this, but nervous about how Ezra will do on an airplane.

So, that's life til now. After next week, hopefully I'll be able to return to my regular blogging (ha...what's regular??). And I'll try to get some pictures up of Ezra's birthday.

Until then, have a lovely evening.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

S'mores Cookies!!

First, let me preface this. I am not a healthy eater. Nor am I a "cook." I can bake, but I don't make a lot of time to. And I typically do easy fast meals since I get home around 5, and we need to be eating by 6. Easy and fast are key.

So, S'mores Cookies. I found this recipe in a book called "Busy Woman's Cookbook." All of the recipes have 3-5 ingredients! And you know what that means? Less chance of me messing it up! Yay!! I made these for my Bible study group tonight. These were very easy to make, and most of them got eaten!

So here we go!
**I have posted the recipe step-by-step with pictures. But if that's just a tad too crazy, the regular old recipe is at the end of the blog. :)

First, your ingredients:

-1 can of sweetened condensed milk
-2(ish) cups of crushed graham crackers
-6oz(ish) of chocolate chips
-16(ish) large marshmallows.

I like adding ish to the ingredients. Because, really. You know as well as I do that it all depends on the mood you're in!
When I made these, I was in a more chocolate mood!

First, you want to get water boiling in the bottom half of your double broiler. If you have stove like mine, that might take awhile.

While that's getting started, crush your graham crackers:

These are mine. I did this by hand for two reasons.
One: I liked having some bigger chunks of the crackers.
Two: I really didn't feel like finding my food processor.

OK. So, your crackers are crushed and waiting to be used.
Your water is boiling.
You're ready to move on!

In the top half of your double broiler, put all the other ingredients!
(Sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, marshmallows)

Yummy. I love marshmallows.

Place this onto the stove, over the boiling water.

I love my double broiler! Fine, so maybe I've only used it two other times. But I still love it.

I mixed it the whole time! This does lead to a tired arm.

This looks gross now, but just wait.....

Yummmmmmm. Chocolate is good.

Once it's all melted and evenly mixed, remove it from the heat and mix in your graham cracker crumbs. You can do more or less than the two cups depending on how much texture you want.


Now, drop spoonfuls onto some waxed paper, and let them set overnight!

(Please note: This picture wasn't take like this. It was taken normally. I don't know how to rotate pictures on my blog. Help?!)


These look just like traditional no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. But the texture is much different because of the marshmallows, so be prepared! They melt in your mouth!

And because it's the cutest thing ever, here's my husband and son during Bible time before bedtime:

Ezra reading his Bible.

Ezra saying his prayers.

I love it!

OK, for all you people who just want the facts, here ya go:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups crushed graham crackers
6oz chocolate chips
16 large marshmallows

In a double broiler, combine the milk, chocolate, and marshmallows.
Mix over the heat until melted.
Once melted, remove from heat and mix in graham crackers.
Drop spoonfuls onto wax-lined cookie sheets.
Let set overnight.

Happy Baking and Happy Day, everybody!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Birthday time...

Birthday. Ezra's 2nd birthday. Seriously? I can't believe it.

Ezra will be 2 on March 3. I really am so excited, but I just can't believe it's time to start thinking about it! You might be thinking, "That's March, and this is January. Calm down." But last year, we started a pretty effective saving strategy for Ezra's birthday. We had been setting aside money for Christmas for several months. After Christmas, we decided that we would continue setting money aside, but for his birthday. So that's what we're doing now.

Last year was SO much fun. We did the big 1st birthday party thing, with lots of people, all the people who love Ezra. I wouldn't change ANY of it. But, we don't want to do something big and huge for his 2nd birthday. We want to have it in our house (which is small) so we've got to plan accordingly.

I'm feeling more "do-it-yourself" this year (which I'm sure I'll later regret). Instead of a big fancy bakery cake, we'll be making cupcakes a decorating them ourselves. We're going with a sports theme, so all the cupcakes will be different (baseball, basketball, etc.) We're going to print our own invitations, do some simple decorations, so on and so forth.

We had to make a tough decision about this party....we're not having our family there. Yikes! That sounds really mean! But there is a logical reason: Our house is small. We don't have room for friends and family. And we'll be in Nashville two weeks later, so we'll do party stuff down there with them at that time. I think it's the best decision all around.

I can't wait for his big party day, but I'm getting a little freaked trying to figure it all out right now! And that's my problem...I don't have to figure it all out right now. So, Stephanie, take a deep breath. And calm down. Enjoy this time. It's priceless.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Toney Christmas, Part 2

It took me forever to get Blogger to cooperate and upload my pictures. I finally had to upload one at a time. Oh well! They're up now!

So to continue with Christmas...the first picture above is Ezra loving on the Christmas tree. He would touch his favorite ornaments with one finger, and tell them "night night" every night before bed. So sweet!

This is just too, too precious.

We made Santa's cookies on Christmas Eve morning. I wasn't brave enough to roll out the dough, cut it out, and go decorating crazy. So, we did the break-and-bake dough, homemade icing, and M&Ms. Ezra helped me put the dough on the pan and said "bye-bye" to the cookies as they went into the oven. Then, I iced them, and he was in charge of M&Ms.

I thought he did great! He was so proud of himself! After he was done, he looked at me and said, "Don't touch." Ha!

Before Christmas Eve services, there was no precipitation. After Christmas Eve services, we had THIS! WHITE CHRISTMAS!!
Ezra was in awe.

Opening his Christmas Eve present...Christmas PJs!

Ezra in his PJs guarding Santa's milk and cookies.

Christmas love from friends and family. We never got around to sending anything out this year ...oops.

Ready for Christmas morning!

First thing he said..."Buzz. Buzz."

Working at the tool bench.

Checking out the stocking.

At the work bench, with his microphone, and his new boots on.

New lion towel! LOVE it! He roars like a lion every time he wears it.

New snow pants from Pops. PERFECT for our day!

Headed out to the front yard!

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He loved being out there!

We both fit!

Ezra and cousin Grady

Ezra did this all by himself on the way home from Nashville. He thought he was hilarious. (We did too.)

Playing his "tee-tar" from Uncle Andy and his drums from "Ganny" and "Bad-Daddy."
LOUD house!

We really had a wonderful holiday. We had Christmas morning to ourselves, which was nice because it took Ezra FOREVER to open presents. He didn't want to! We would ask, and he would say no. Strange kid. We did have a photographer come out and do some family pictures, which turned out AMAZING. Can't wait to get those (which means we need to order them first...). That night, we had friends over just to hang out, which was nice. Our schedules are all so different and crazy that we rarely get time to just hang out without some agenda.
We went to early service at church the next day, and then left for Nashville. That afternoon was Christmas with Steven's family, which is always a blast. That night, we went to dinner with my mom, but we had to leave early. Ezra wouldn't stop coughing, and a breathing treatment was the only thing that would help. (Breathing treatment worked, our kid was perfectly fine.)
The rest of the week, we were blessed enough to spend time with old friends who were in town. Normally, we're only in Nashville for a weekend, which means we never have time to see everyone we would like to along with family. This week was different! We were able to see Adam and Denise; Sean, Jennifer, and Kael; Brent and Lynda; Greg and Haley; and Tim, Jessica, and Camille. It was a lot of fun!
We headed home mid-week and got ready for our wild New Year's plans....staying at home! Ezra went to bed, and we stayed up watching TV. We're crazy, I know.
School started back after that, and Steven's vacation was over. So I guess that means we're back in the swing of things. Ezra was so excited to go back to daycare to see his friends. I was ready for a routine again. Which leads us to now!
Sorry this post took so long to get up. I promise I won't always be this late in posting things! Have a happy day!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The sweetest moment.

Last night, we had our Bible study at our house. By the time everyone left, we were able to clean up, and then Steven had to leave for work. I was getting ready for bed, picking out clothes (a battle I loathe each night), ironing, and the like. In the monitor, I heard Ezra start to cry, move around, whimper in bed...he doesn't normally make a peep all night long. So I went in to check on him.

He was still laying down in his crib, but he was obviously not really sleeping. I reached down to rub his back and smelled something, so I did a diaper check. After he was all clean, I went to put him back to bed. By this time, he's about halfway awake. He knows I'm there, but he's still unbelievably sleepy. When I went to put him down, he grabbed my neck and whimpered, "No!" He melted my heart, and I couldn't resist.

So I turned the living room lights down, and we rocked. This simple pleasure and amazing privilege doesn't happen often at all anymore. He's a "lay me down, I'll roll over and find my thumb" kind of kid, which I am totally ok with! But when he will let me rock him on rare occasions, I treasure it.

While rocking, I start singing over him. The house was empty, so why not? I enjoyed singing old church of Christ devo songs that I never sing anymore. After I stopped singing the first song, Ezra pulled his thumb out of his mouth and said, "More again." Oh my. Sweetest thing he's ever said to me. Straight from his sleepy little heart. So, of course, I sang more...again. After that song, he said, "More again," but this time with his thumb in his mouth, so it came out, "Muh ahuhn." I love it. So we rocked and sang a little bit longer. Finally, he was completely asleep.

So I pick up my sleeping little boy. He clings to my neck and lays his head on my shoulder. I lay him down and he slept soundly the rest of the night. There are so many joys of being a mommy. But that has been my top moment so far.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Toney Christmas, Part 1

We had such a great Christmas this year! Last year was great (Ezra's first Christmas), but this year was so much better because he knew what was going on! Our Christmas season was pretty hectic, but I'll catch you up as best as I can.

In mid-December, we were a part of Christmas at Crossroads, our church choir and orchestra's Christmas musical. Here are some photos that I stole from a friends facebook :)

This is the full stage. This was our rehearsal night, but it gives the full effect. The band was up on scaffolding behind us.

The worship center from way in the back. Awesome.

Steven, doing his singing thing.

I got "asked" to do a drama during a song. It was powerful, but it felt weird doing it. I haven't done that stuff in forever!

That weekend, we got our first snow of the season!! It was beautiful, but bitterly cold. We braved the weather to go to a friends 2nd birthday party. Totally worth it! And school was cancelled the next day! Later that week, we had freezing rain, so no school again! Good week.

My class had a Christmas party, and I got SPOILED. But I think EZRA was more spoiled than me!! Here are a couple of his gifts from my students:

Ezra's new shirt! When I showed it to him, he immediately started taking off his own shirt so he could get THIS ONE on!

This is an Elmo doll that does......drum roll, please.......THE CHICKEN DANCE!!!
It is pretty funny. But we've heard the chicken dance song a LOT of times. Elmo might need to "go night-night" on a very high shelf!

The first weekend of my Christmas break was the Student Weekend in Worship Services. I was privileged to work with these students and to help with the planning process. It was hard, stressful, and I thought I might hurt some people sometimes. But in the end, God had woven everything together so perfectly and it was an amazing weekend! Led COMPLETELY by students (OK, except for the worship leader and preaching pastor. But everyone else? Students).

Then Christmas break began! Steven was still working, so I took Ezra to daycare each day and found things to work on outside of our house. If we were all in our house, there's no way Steven would get any sleep. I did get to help with Ezra's Christmas party at daycare! Ezra acted so weird, though. As soon as he saw me, he started crying. And he wouldn't do anything unless I forced him to! Not my normal strong-willed, independent guy. But it was still fun!

This is Ezra sitting next to me after he's finished crying, but refusing to go play ANYTHING.

He finally went to play with the drums (go figure), and he wore a Santa hat for about 2 seconds.

Playing with one of his best buddies.

The rice table. The kids were fascinated by this!

We ended at the coloring table. He colored with about 10 crayons in his hands.

Well, this post is already pretty long, and I really must feed my family tonight. I'll finish up our Christmas fun in another blog sometime soon. It will include: Christmas Eve, opening presents, fun in the snow, and traveling to Nashville!

Until then....Happy Sunday. And Go Colts.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Let's get this thing started.

I have tried starting and maintaining blogs many, many times. But this time, I got the whole family involved. Maybe they'll help keep me accountable to this! (Mainly Steven, because Ezra is just now forming sentences, mainly about Buzz and choo-choos.)

Allow me to catch you up on the Toney family. First, here we are:

This is outside of Steven's grandfather's church for his 80th birthday party back in October. It's the best, most-recent family picture we have.

Now for family information:

I (Stephanie) have been teaching 3rd grade at Evansville Christian School for 6 years.

Steven, after a job loss and more than a year of multiple part-time jobs, has been working for 7 months as a corrections officer at Warrick County Jail. He loves it!

Ezra was born on March 3, 2009. So he'll be 2 in just a couple of months! This kid is the joy in our lives. He is SO funny. He is incredibly busy, always running around our house and getting into trouble. He says the funniest things! For example...yesterday we took down our Christmas tree while Ezra napped. When he woke up, he noticed the tree was missing. We asked him where it went. His response? "Christmas tree go potty." Not quite, little guy, but REALLY funny!

We go to church at Crossroads, which we love. It's huge. But we've managed to find a family within the thousands that attend there. We've been singing in the choir and with vocal team since we've been there. Most recently, Steven and I got to sing a song at the Christmas Eve service together. However, I'll be stepping down from those roles in 2011. Our church will be adding a 4th service this month. Ezra wouldn't last for five hours in a nursery!! So Steven will continue on with the worship ministry, and I'll start doing more with the middle school and high school choirs.

I think that's all that you need to know as background information. I'll have more posts soon about our Christmas and our New Year's "goals." Until then....