Saturday, April 30, 2011

Worthwhile Challenge week 17- Simple and Easy

Here's one that is sure to be a winner with the kids. Seriously easy but actually quite yummy.

Taco-Mac Bake.

Make a box of Macaroni and Cheese according to directions. Then stir in 3/4 cup of sour cream.

Make up a batch of taco seasoned ground beef. I just use the McCormick or Taco Bell seasoning packs.

Layer in a square pan: macaroni, taco meat, shredded cheese. Repeat.

A hit with the kiddos!!

I've got another little something I might share with you later this week that also falls into the seriously simple category, but the girls are playing in the backyard, so I better go keep at least one eye on them!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chirp Chirp Chirp

I'm still here.

My brain is in "get thru the last month of school" and "Let's go on vacation" mode.

So I don't have much to write about right now.

Unless you want me to tell you how my back is achy. Or that I ran two miles on the treadmill last week. (are those two related?). Or how I think PTO is ridiculous sometimes. Maybe I could tell you that my Denali is broke, and one of our blu-ray players broke. Which means my hubby is a little cranky (those three things are related).

Or I could tell you that my birthday is about a week and a half away. If I told you that, and gave you my address, would you send me a present?

No? Well then. I won't tell you that. Instead, I'll just give you a picture of the girls from Easter.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Worthwhile Challenge Week 16 - Breakfast casserole

If I had been thinking, I would have posted this recipe before Easter morning so you all could try it for your Easter brunch too. Now I guess you will have to try it some other morning!

I was on brunch duty today. My goal was to make it simple, and not have a ton of food or a ton of leftovers. I made a Baked French Toast (the kind you make up the night before....I thought it was a little too custardy though), a fruit salad, Pineapple Dole Whip Floats, and Good Morning Sunshine breakfast casserole.

I loved the breakfast casserole. You can find it here. (Susan Mallery, by the way, is an author of romance novels that I just love. And apparently she likes to cook, because she puts recipes on her blog). For my version of this casserole, I used a pound of crumbled sausage, but you can probably use whatever meat you want (bacon, sausage, ham). Give it a try the next time you have a hankering for brunch!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Baby Shower

You know, when I write my blog posts, I put several spaces between paragraphs. Then half the time, when I publish it, it all gets squished together. Why is that? Anyone know? there should be a space here. Just thought I'd post a little quickie on a baby shower we threw for Brooke's teacher in the classroom.

It was her 3rd boy so it was mostly a diaper shower, with some other cute things thrown in.

I did a chocolate cake filled with strawberry creme and iced with buttercream/fondant decorations. It was yummy.

Our school mascot is the spartans, so we thought this would be cute. I love my little fondant apple on the onesie.

Then I made these cute little lifesaver pacis. They are glued together with almondbark. Usually I would use the white/mint lifesavers so then you can't see the "glue" but I thought the kiddos would like the regular lifesavers better. I put them on ribbons to make them necklaces. They were the little "party favors" for the kids in the class.

We opened gifts, had our cake, and the kids enjoyed seeing Mrs. Miller. It all went pretty good! And the baby is a little sweetie!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rise Up - Dance your shoes off

Have you seen any of the videos of "flash mobs".... Where a group of people invade a public place and do some awesome dance/song? My zumba instructor this morning did our warm up to this song, inspired by this flashmob. Go check out the video, and listen to the words. With Easter coming.... well...isn't this the best week of them all to celebrate the fact that we have a saviour who BEAT DEATH and ROSE FROM THE GRAVE so that those of us who believe in him can have everlasting life in HEAVEN? Be inspired. Celebrate Jesus. Is your name inscribed in the book of Life? oxoxoxo RISE UP-Flash Mob video

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Worthwhile Challenge Week 15-Pretzel Crusted Key Lime bars

I've been in that vacation mood this week, if you can tell, so when I found this recipe for Pretzel Crusted Key Lime Bars, I knew this was the one I wanted to try this week. Plus I owe my in-laws a dessert and MIL likes Key Lime stuff.

Here's how it's done. Crush 3 cups of don't want pretzel dust but you don't want chunks either. Mix with 6 T melted butter/margarine, 1 tsp kosher salt, and 3 T. sugar. Press into a greased 8" pan and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Let the crust cool a bit.

Then mix together 2 egg yolks, 1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk, and 1/2 cup of key lime juice. Pour into crust, and bake another 15 minutes until set. Cool completely. Drizzle with melted white chocolate, and refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

Before the review, let's discuss key limes for a minute. If you are not familiar with them, they are little limes. like.... the size of.... a tootsie pop. Let me tell you here that I bought 8 key limes (not remembering the exact measurement needed at the time), and those 8 little boogers yielded me maybe 1/4 cup of juice. Not to be deterred, I pulled my plastic lime out of the fridge and topped off the lime juice measurement with that.

So how did they turn out? Looks pretty good, right?

I really liked these (no one else has tried one yet)...they are a great combo of salty, tart, tangy, and a little sweet. I have to say that the white chocolate drizzle is VERY important to help counteract the tartness. I also absolutely will leave the kosher salt OUT of the recipe whenever i make it.... pretzels are salty enough as it is, and with the added kosher salt, it was a little more salty than I like. But yes, I will eat these.

And you know what else? When we were on our last cruise and stopped in Key West, we had Chocolate Dipped Key Lime Pie on a stick. I won't lie to you, I'm seriously thinking about dunking a few of these bars in chocolate too. With that pretzel crust, it'd be a fabulous combination...don't you think? Let me know if you try them!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Beach Bum

I am a beach bum.

I think my kids are too.

I do not feel like I've been on vacation if it does not include sand between my toes, or at least some palm trees by the pool. (Because, we all know I consider WDW a fab vaca too). When we talk about what we want to do for our 2012 vacation, we toss around a variety of ideas. But I always come back to the beach. I want to go to wherever there is a beach.

And I'm not talking one of those beaches by some big lake in the middle of the midwest that is covered with goose poop. A pretty beach, with sea shells, and a tide, and an ocean. or a gulf. I think this comes from having family in Sarasota, FL and going there several times when I was growing up. I LOVE Sarasota. And I think it's very strange/sad/so unlike what I would do/ that my Sarasota family rarely goes to the beach?! Helllooo! GO! And so today, I share with you some beach pictures. So we can all take a mental vaca. Thank you for going on this trip with me. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Random Story: Let's go to Perkins!!!!

My birthday is coming up soon, and I've been thinking about French Silk Pie. I love French Silk Pie. Since I make cakes, I'm thinking a French Silk Pie would be great for my Birthday.

Matt, are you reading this?

Thinking about this pie reminds me of a story from back when the hubster and I were dating. This story is called "Let's Go To Perkins!!!!"

When Matt and I were dating, I'd come to Wichita to visit for the weekend and he'd usually put me up at the Marriott. (Matt are you reading this? remember when you used to put me up at the Marriott?). It was very nice of him to spring for such a nice place for a poor, broke youth director.

Anyways. One night, we got back to the hotel late and I was tired. I discovered a chocolate on my pillow (why did I have turndown service? I do not remember). Anyways, I ate the chocolate and about 10 minutes later, I was bouncing off the walls! (this was when I was young 20s and seriously enthusiastic and energetic!). I looked at Matt, and said "I want French Silk Pie!! LETS GO TO PERKINS!!" this was squealed and with a bunch of exuberance.

Now I know where Brooke gets her exuberance. Hmm.

Anyways, Matt, my even-keeled-rarely-gets-psyched-up-excited-about much guy, looked at me like I was on crack, and said "We don't have a PERKINS."

I look at Matt like he is on crack and say, "This is Wichita, you have to HAVE A PERKINS! Let's GO TO PERKINS! I WANT PIE".

He looks at me and says "how many pieces of chocolate did they leave on your pillow? And No, we do not have a perkins!".

I was pretty sure he was lying. But nonetheless, the sugar high entertained him for about 15 minutes, then promptly wore off and I was ready to crash.

I did not go to perkins. I did not get any French Silk Pie.

I don't really want to go to Perkins anymore (moldy salad in KC a few years later), but I do still want some French Silk Pie.

Honey, are you reading this?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Week in Pictures

I take a lot of pictures on my iphone. Usually of cakes or things I want to post to facebook (though, for some reason, I am having trouble doing that from the phone lately!). I take a lot of other quick shots of things too, like my kiddos.

Today, I bring you my week in pictures as seen thru the camera on my phone.

Sunday morning we went to Lowes. I think we had to get grass seed or something. We have started attending church on Saturdays now which is great because it makes for a relaxing, easy Sunday free to fill however we wish. When we go to Lowes, both girls usually feel that Matt needs help with the cart:

It was a gorgeous day on Sunday. Nearly 90 degrees! About the time we put the kids to bed, a cold front came in. It was like flipping the air conditioner on MaxCool in the car, the temp dropped so fast and there was quite a lightning show (and tons of wind!). I took some better pics on my regular camera, but when Matt said "come check out this lightning!!!!" I initially snapped some shots on the phone.

I have been in mega crafting mode lately, much to the neglect of my house! I've got several different projects going, which makes me have A.D.D. It's been a quiet two weeks on the cake and the travel front, so it's been a good time to get these projects started. I'll tell you all about them later when they get done, but here's a peek of the one I started on Monday. It was a good way to spend the afternoon of a day that was THIRTY FIVE degrees COLDER than the day before!

Monday we started swimming lessons. It is the first time Hannah has taken them, but Brooke has been doing them for a few years. So far, both girls are doing great! Hannah was pretty excited!

If you know Brooke you know that this is not her most enthusiastic smile. She was nervous because at the time this picture was taken, we had been told that her teacher was named Cody. Which to me, is a boy. She did not want a boy teacher. About five minutes later we found out that Cody was in fact a girl, which became irrelevant anyways because Brooke ended up in Victoria's class. Brooke is in the "big pool" this session which she's also nervous about. She is pooped out at the end of a 30 minute lesson!

Oh how things have changed for me the last four months. BBB....Before Big Bed. Before Big Bed, Brooke would get up in the morning and do her thing while she waited for me to get up. We'd have a quiet, easy breakfast, get ready for school. Sometimes Hannah would wake up, but since she was in her crib, I'd just leave her in there till I got Brooke on the bust at 840.

Then, three or four months ago, Hannah decided (pretty much overnight) that she was DONE with the crib and ready for her Big Bed. We didn't even have the Big Bed Room ready yet. Now, she wakes up about 715 a.m. And heads downstairs to watch TV with Brooke. And screams and fights with Brooke which wakes me up. And if that doesn't wake me up, she usually shows up shortly after my alarm goes off at 7:22. She comes into my room while I am trying to talk myself into getting out of bed. She is either a) ready for her grilled cheese, b) naked because she had to go potty and decided she was ready for me to get her dressed or c) tattling on Brooke.

BBB I did not have to get her dressed, with shoes, and jacket. BBB I did not have to take her to the bus stop with us. BBB I did not then have to walk over to the neighbors house after the bus came so she could say hi to the dogs. Not now. SBB (since big bed), Hannah usually goes to the bus stop with us. Some mornings are easier than others. This particular morning (weds), was alright. She really does love walking to the bus stop in the morning. This particular morning, she decided to wear her sunglasses. They are upside down.

Today Hannah was at Mom's Day Out. After I worked out with the neighbor, I came home to move some totes around and take a shower. By moving totes around, I mean taking 10 totes full of clothes that Brooke has outgrown, hauling them down one by one about 20 steps. Then dragging them one by one up a tall ladder to put them in the loft in the garage that Matt built recently.

Since I did not die while performing that task, I ran a few errands and bought some fabric for one of my other craft projects this week. I set myself up in the basement, put "Couples Retreat" in the bluray player, and started working on my thing. I'll show it to you later too. It's not done yet. Close, but not quite. I am not much of a seamstress.... not nearly as good as my Mom or my MIL, but my little project is coming along alright at least!

And I didn't get a picture of this, but after I made dinner, I moved a bunch of the stuff that has been displaced SBB (since big bed) and started getting the nursery-turned-craft/spare room put back together. I've got a ton of stuff to organize up there!!

I think it's safe to say that it has been a busy week!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Worthwhile Challenge Week 14 - Dieters Beware Two-fer

Warning: This post may have a negative impact on your calorie counting for the day. You should probably NOT eat these both on the same day.

This week you are getting a double. A double dose of AWESOMENESS!

Brace yourself.

First let me show you Herbed Monkey Bread. I think it should be called Parmesan Bubble Bread. Whatever you want to call it, I think it's yummy. But I kind of like carbs. (and therefore, I also must like Zumba).

Easy peesey. Take 9 or 10 frozen Texas Rolls (rhodes). Thaw and cut into 1/4's. (we've all made monkey bread before, I'm sure you know what you are doing here). Mix 2/3 cup shredded parmesan (not the sprinkle cheese), and 2 tsp of Italian seasoning. Melt 1/2 stick butter. Toss your dough nubbins into the butter a few at a time, and then toss them in the cheese mixture. Layer into a bundt pan. Actually the original recipe called for "24 ounces" of rolls. So I did the 9 or 10 and put them in a 10" cake pan instead of the bundt pan. Bake about 35 minutes. If they start to look too brown , cover with foil the last few minutes so they finish cooking but don't keep browning. I flipped mine out onto a plate like you would monkey bread.

It was so good. I loved it.

Brooke gave it two thumbs up.

Matt thought it needed more flavor.

Hannah gave her peanut butter and jelly two thumbs up. (though, on a side note, she's been giving BROCCOLI two thumbs up lately!).

Now for your mega decadence. Let me introduce you to a dish that I have indulged in both at the Grand Floridian resort at Disney World as well as on Disney Cruise Line. Soooo yummy.

And I got the recipe from this cookbook my cousin-in-law got me for my birthday last year:

Chilled Strawberry Soup. Are your tastebuds singing the Hallelujiah chorus in anticipation? OMG.

Thaw 2.5 lbs of frozen strawberries with juice.

Put into a blender along with (brace yourself) 2 cups of heavy cream, 1/4 cup sour cream, and 1/3 cup plain yogurt. Blend at low speed until smooth. (Can add a little extra sugar if you need to). Chill. Stir well before serving. Garnish with fresh strawberries, and if you're cool like me and Disney, take a little of that extra whipping cream, whip it, and pipe a little design on top of your bowl of soup.


go get on a treadmill.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Celebrating Brooke

We celebrated Brooke's birthday this weekend. Twice! Here is her picture on her birthday before she got on the bus. She was born at 709a.m. and this was taken about 839a.m. So not too far off schedule. lol

I took her requested birthday treats to school: chips, rice krispie treats, and Capri Suns.

Then after school, we had our friends the Houser's over for dinners. They have been good friends of ours for years and Brooke just ADORES them, however, the boys are getting a little too big to really enjoy coming to a little girls' birthday party.

Brooke and Greg

Brooke with all three Houser kids. Laura is a first year teacher getting ready to go to law school next year. If my kids turn out half as awesome as she is, we will have done well!

Grandma and Hannah, waiting for some chocolate chip cookie dough filled birthday brownies.

(Brooke does not like cake!)

Saturday, I took Brooke and three of her friends out for pedicures, lunch, and Orange Leaf (frozen yogurt).


All finished!!!

for lunch we went to Taco Bueno. They decided sitting on this big ol rock afterwards would be a good photo op.

The four girls finishing up the fun day at Orange Leaf, our favorite frozen yogurt place. (actually, our favorite any-frozen-treat place. We'll pick this over DQ, Braums, Sonic...anyday!)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Brooke

Our little Stinkerbell is SEVEN today!



Brooke is....happy, silly, exuberant, sensitive, gorgeous, tall, joyful, loving, cuddly, playful, wonderful.

Brooke loves....her family, Jesus, stuffed animals, watching movies, dogs, Disney, reading, school, friends, cuddling, being barefoot, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, Subway, Olive Garden, and dancing around the house.

She's a handful, and we wouldn't want her any other way. She's all we could have hoped for, imagined, and more.

Happy Birthday to our little Stinkerbell!