Sunday, October 30, 2011

EDS Dalmatian Parade

Every year the toddler class at James’ school has a Dalmatian Parade in which the kids dress up like Dalmatians and parade around the school.  And guess who’s a toddler this year?


That’s right.  The only kid not wearing his Dalmatian Ears.  That’s who.

It’s a cute idea.  The teachers dress up as firemen and they sing a fireman song.  And all the parents stand around like the paparazzi.  Then the kids go back to their classrooms for Halloween parties and special treats.


The easy going kids wear their ears and wave to their parents.  And the not so easy going kids cry and don’t know why they can’t hug their mommies.

And the James of the bunch.  Well, he screams at the top of his lungs the minute he sees his Mommy behind her camera.

I felt pretty bad for him.  So we walked away, but happened to see them as we were walking back to the car.

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James had stopped crying.


And did fine until he spotted me (I was trying to hide this time).


Poor little guy.  He just didn’t understand.  But I love his teachers so much that I can guarantee 5 minutes later he was better than fine, munching on a cupcake, and drinking some juice with his friends.

I will however,  put one of these pictures on his high school graduation cake in about 17 years.

Here’s the video that Justin took.  {I was proud that Justin was one of the few Daddy’s that was able and wanted to be there.}

Supper Club Recipes

Friday night was our turn to host Supper Club!  I spent most of the day in the kitchen cooking.  It was great.  I borrowed the chili recipes and idea from a friend.  And my favorite part was that I was completely done cooking by the time everyone got here so, I could enjoy our company!  This is what my kitchen looked like two hours before party time…


I was able to get the house presentable, although I left myself a mere 15 minutes to get ready.   Oh well.  It seemed like everyone wanted a different recipe so, here are a few of the recipes that my fellow supper clubbers asked for…



This was the first time I made this, but I feel like I could eat it all day, every day.  I just got a baguette (this one was wheat), sliced it and toasted it in the oven at 350 for about 5 minutes on each side.  And topped it with slices of a block of mozzarella, tomato, fresh basil and balsamic glaze.  Yum.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Layered Taco Dip


Salsa (a picture from my phone while making it)


Pretzel Hugs


The Turkey and Bean Chili is a Cooking Light Recipe.  It was a little mild so, I added cayenne pepper and some Chili Ancho to spice it up.

The Spicy Black Bean and Chicken Chili is also very healthy.  I also added some cayenne pepper to this.

Classic Chili

  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 3 cups yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 1 cup picante sauce (I used medium)
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 16 oz cans chopped tomatoes
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp salt

Brown beef, onions, peppers, and garlic in a large dutch oven.  Drain mixture.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil for three minutes.  Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring often.

I omitted the mushrooms and doubled up on the meat.  I cooked all three chilis in crockpots.  (Oh and Caroline – if you’re reading this – the cornbread was the sweet you were tasting.)

The cornbread was another “recipe” I got from Amy.  I’ve always made cornbread from scratch until I tasted hers.  It’s to die for.  I’ve always said some things are just better store bought, and I suppose this is one of them.  It’s the box of Krusteaz from the grocery store.  Wonderfully delicious and sweet.


We had a great time as usual.  It’s nice to know that with all of our busy lives, we at least see everyone once a month.

And if you know Adam, you will laugh out loud when you see the picture below.  Because it is clearly a joke.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sunday morning bubbles

After what felt like 1,000 requests, blowing “bubbews” before church this Sunday was a must.  It was quite windy.  A beautiful day.  And a wonderful excuse to play outside for a few minutes.

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Boo at the Zoo

*Do I warn you of picture-overload, or do you just expect it?

I hesitated on going to Boo at the Zoo.  Is it worth the drive, the crowd, getting off schedule, is James old enough to enjoy it?  The answer is “YES!”  James had a blast.  In fact, as we entered through the gate, The Monster Mash was playing.  And this Bob the Builder danced his tool belt off within the first five minutes.  All by himself.


I was so proud of his costume… at first.  I bought a blue longall, because he’ll get wear out of that rather than overalls.  We practiced wearing the tool belt and construction hat at home.  I guess you get what you pay for, because the construction hat that I found in the dollar section at target won’t even stay on his head.  And then, I hated to pay for a hideous red plaid shirt that he would never wear again.  So, we grabbed a red Polo out of his closet.  Anyways, I was all excited to have James look like this:


But in reality, I’m slightly disappointed to have created a preppy Bob the Builder.


Preppy, but cute.  Preppy was not my plan… maybe I can get a new hat before Halloween.  I digress.

But the reason we had such a great time at Boo at the Zoo, is because our friends went with us!!!

Callie the beautiful Peacock {and the love of James’ life}


Chloe the Bumble Bee that just started walking!


And the entire Team of Dupree Superheroes!

Super Girl Emory


Super Boy Watson


And Super Baby Boland!


Although our main event was trick or treating, it doesn’t take much to entertain young minds.  {And if you read my blogs, you know I LOVE that about children.}

A lot of animals were “sleeping”, but we were still able to see a few.  This was probably James’ favorite part.  The bears especially.


There was a truck on display.  Which never seems to lose its appeal.  “Hi, truck. Hi, truck.”


There was more music and more dancing.


There were flowers.


And spooky smoke.  Which all of a sudden turned James’ smiles into looks of ‘Is this okay?  Smoke equals hot.  Hot equals danger?  Why isn’t anybody taking this seriously?’


And then it was time to trick or treat!


We had such a great time!  As long as we live in Columbia, Boo at the Zoo will be on our October Calendar.  No questions asked.  As long as our friends can come, it’s a guaranteed great time!


Friday, October 21, 2011


A couple of weeks shy of six years ago, my life changed with a last-minute trip to Charleston, a football game, and an introduction. In case you haven't figured it out yet, his name was Justin Helfer.

Two days after we met, I was sitting in my office telling one of my best friends that "I think I met the guy I'm going to marry.... I just don't know if he'll ever call me." We proceeded to analyze the situation: My brothers taught me never to call boys. He lives in South Carolina. I live in Florida. I'm not a hopeless romantic so, what's going on? When you know, you know... but does he know? Yada yada yada. When a coworker runs back to my office and yells "Chollet! You got flowers!" So, I walk my red face up to the front (with a trail of ladies behind me) and I see a bouquet of long stem sunflowers. With a note that reads "Wish you were here... Hope you have a good week. Justin"

Emotion flooded the office. My boss knew I'd be quitting soon. The ladies went crazy. And I just stood there. They said I looked like a deer in the headlights. All I could think was "Holy Shit, what if he wants to marry me, too?"

Every Monday after, Justin sent flowers to my office. Sunflowers, tulips, yellow roses, daisies, red roses, I can't even remember them all. But I saved all the notes. Until our location changed and we were far enough in our relationship for me to say "save the money for the marriage." :)

Fast forward almost six years later, a marriage, a dog and a kid. My doorbell rings. Lynyrd goes crazy barking. James is ecstatic to see a truck. And I see a familiar purple box being carried to our doorstep.

Justin sent me just-because flowers. Which in my opinion, is the best kind. A dozen sunflowers. I love that they were sent for no reason on actually a pretty long and tiring week. I love that sunflowers are so - as a coworker said six years ago - unassuming. I love that I am the opposite of a pack-rat, but have never been able to throw away the (not so pretty) blue vase the first sunflowers came in. And that today's sunflowers settled in that blue vase. And I love that I got to open the package with our son. As he studied the flowers, felt the different textures, and giggled.

I love you, Justin. Thank you for being so thoughtful on such a busy and ordinary week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Humbled {from my phone}

Yesterday morning, James and I were reading this month’s favorite book , Dr. Seuss’ ABC. I decided to ask what each letter was before I read it, and I was SHOCKED when he knew  every letter of the alphabet, but two.  {He thinks E is an F, and he didn’t know what X was, but he does now.}  I was so proud that I even teared up when he said J.  Guess that means I’ll start balling the first time he spells his name.


So, I’m all thinking child genius and skipping grades and IQ tests.  Then I drop him off in his classroom this morning… I see that his class made owls, and I’m not sure what the black and silver things are on his stomach.  I then realize James was one of only two students to put the eyes and beak on the stomach, rather than the face.


If parenting is not the most humbling experience out there, then I don’t know what is.  And with that being said, I will keep this owl forever.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunny Fall Days

Sunny fall days.  What could be better than that?  Yesterday was perfect.  After church, we walked over to the pumpkin patch and had a picnic {see below}.  After James’ nap, he hugged




and counted his pumpkins.


Then, we all went outside where Justin carved the bigger pumpkin, and I roasted the seeds.  YUM!


James walked around the backyard eating an apple.  He’s had apple slices before, but he felt so big boy carrying it around like Daddy does.  If you haven’t had an apple lately, apple season is here!  They’re so good in the fall.  James’ favorite is Macintosh, which is what I ate growing up.


He played a little t-ball.


And ate a little apple.


While I was roasting the seeds, we found James dancing in the living room.  His dancing turned into self-inflicted dizzy spells.

I was making a salad for dinner and decided to wash, dry and jar all the lettuce.  I got the idea from this Salad in a Jar website.  Our lettuce always goes bad, and I hate washing it off each time.  Plus, if it’s all ready to go, then hopefully we’ll eat more salad.  Either way, James loves to get his hands on my salad spinner so, we decided to let him “help”.

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Sometimes pictures just don’t tell the story well enough.  Here’s the video.  {I love how he watches himself in the dishwasher.}

And now every time, I open my refrigerator, I’m refreshed to see this:


A simple day.  A family day.  Activities that did not cost any extra money.  It doesn’t get much better than this.