Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Still here

Still here....

Surviving, killing time, wasting time, keeping busy....all of the above.

Hang in there, I'll get my blog groove back on again soon :)


Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Has anyone else noticed that butterflies seem to be in abundance this Spring?
It's a wonder they didn't all blow away with the tornado. Where do they go when storms come?
I have one plant/bush in my {desperately needs some lovin} flowerbed that has been loaded with butterflies this year. It's the first time I've noticed it.
And I have to say, I got some darn great pics of them yesterday. Want to see?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Scary Night

Scary day / night in the midwest yesterday. I had family in Iowa with flooding yards, and family in Iowa in a town that got hit with a tornado.
And of course, Wichita got hit by a tornado too. I think that might have been the scariest night since I've lived in Wichita. Honestly can say that it is the first time we've 'taken cover' all the way into the bathroom in the basement. Usually we just go down to the family room. Hannah slept thru the whole thing (on the couch cushions. in the bathtub). Brooke was a little nervous when we first got her up but quickly settled in with her nook to wait it out.
The three of us quickly discovered that nerves make us have to pee. Not timely.
The storm passed about three or four miles to our west, and it cut a diagnol path, so about two miles north of us got hit too.
This is a picture of one of the plants where Matt works, borrowed from my friend Russell's facebook page. Not pretty.
But other than the 'trees uprooted, power lines down" and reports such as that, I thought I'd share what we drag into the basement with us when there is a tornado warning. It's not quite your usual list. We take what's important to us....
In no particular order!
Max the furball made it through his first tornado in the bathroom with us. He was kind of all over the place, until we brought in his beanbag and he got settled into it.
The travel docs for our upcoming vacation!
I always grab all the CD's and flash drives that have all of our pictures in them. Honestly the first non-living thing I think of.
The munchkins of course! They don't really want to go to OZ! We had put the girls to bed so they could get a little sleep, and then took them downstairs about 10p.m, in the bathroom about 10:15. Hannah slept thru the entire thing. This was this morning. Wasn't so bright and cheery last night!
Shoes, jackets, lantern, and leash. I'd always be one to not think about details like shoes and jackets. But yeah, if your house gets blown over, you're gonna want some shoes to wear!
A little sustenance. Dog food and people food. We had some granola bars and bottles of water down there too. I always joke that if I was going to be stranded on an island I'd take peanut butter. So of course it made sense to grab it for the tornado. All this non-living stuff we had taken down before the storms got here.
I gathered up the scrapbooks and took them downstairs to the cedar chest. Brooke was wondering why the baby mobile was laying on the floor (one I couldn't bear to part with so I kept), and I told her I had to make room in the cedar chest for the scrapbooks! Not that it is waterproof or tornado proof, but figured they had a better chance of surviving a hit if they were in the basement with us!
My Dooney with wallets, checkbooks, keys, and cash.
What do you/would you be dragging to the basement if you had tornados heading your way?! Hope everyone stayed safe last night, and stays safe all storm-season long!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pioneer Woman...and Cowboy Josh!

I have been reading the Pioneer Woman's website for....mmmm.... 4.5 years I think? LOVE HER. I really think we'd be the best of friends if she knew who I was!
Well, TODAY, she finally did a book signing here in Wichita. Her second cookbook just came out! (Her first one sits on my counter 24/7, I use it a lot!).
We packed into this random venue like sardines. She came out and did a presentation for about 45 minutes. She was adorable and funny and claiming to be totally nervous.
My favorite slide from her presentation:
Which she followed up by saying "other than that, it was a year of bliss!" ---hahahah {she got pregnant on their honeymoon. yikes}
After that, they called ticket numbers 25 at a time to line up to get your book(s) signed. I was number 106. It actually went pretty fast, which is good because I was so hungry I was looking in my purse for fruit snacks or purse candy or some kind of sustenance.
{We were at a cookbook signing...dude...where were the samples?!}
When we got to the table, I had a little gift for Ree. I wanted to do something fun and sweet.
I thought about baking her something. Then worried she might be one of those people that looks at food from strangers and thinks "what if they let their cat lick the spoon?"
I was going to make her some flower magnets from some pics I did recently (and complete my friend Kristen's at the same time).... but I didn't think of it in time to get it done.
I was going to find a cute subway art printable and print that for her.... ran out of colored ink.
So instead I made her this 5x7 black and white subway art. I can't post the actual file because apparently I saved it as a PDF instead of a jpg...but it's a subway art of all her book tour stops. Printed on cream cardstock as a 5x7.
Gave it to her with a little card. And because it was so quick and chaotic, I accidentally handed her this sign and she went to put it all in her purse. I said 'oops! Wait! Let me see that piece of paper!" and then had her take a pic of it for my Aunt Debbie.
I was kind of a spaz. Really I just wanted to sit and chat with her, ya know?
Before I knew it, she was on to the next group. Never fear though. Cowboy Josh was in the hallway.
I have to tell you, that is one adorably flirty cowboy.
Tonight was almost as exciting as the night this past July when I touched two Backstreet Boys. (which...I just discovered...I never blogged about?!? What?!?!)
Thanks for coming to Wichita, Ree!!! I'll just keep an eye out for my ranch invite next :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Oh So Pinteresting Wednesday

It's Wednesday? I had a hard time remembering that all day today.
guess it's time for a little pinterest fun. What have you been pinning this week?
Raise your hand if you don't do Pinterest yet?
So here are my favorites for the week.
I'm totally doing this sometime this summer. Pretty much 1000% sure it'll be plenty hot enough in Kansas for the s'mores to be ready in about five minutes.
I love this. Really hope to do it. Anyone have any terracotta pots they are not using?
I pinned my own recipe. I rock. It was the post or two prior to this one.
This is a cute gift. My birthday is May 9th. Please collaborate so you don't all get me the same magazine. And you can change the sunscreen for Diet Dr Pepper. Just sayin'. lol.
I am SOOOO going to do this in my beach-themed 1/2 bath. I love my 1/2 bath, it is a happy place. I know, totally weird that the poop-room is a happy place, but heck it is!
Linking up at The Vintage Apple! Pop over there and see what other peeps are pinning!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Snickerdoodle Coffeecake Muffin

Behold.... perhaps the best muffin to come out of my kitchen.
I saw a recipe, decided to tweak it and try it, and this is the result. It's the flavor of a snickerdoodle with the texture of a coffeecake in the form of a muffin. It is yummmmy.
And I am here to share it with you, my lovelies.
{Snickerdoodle Coffecake Muffins}
Cream together:
1 stick softened margarine
1 stick softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
2 eggs
In a separate bowl combine:
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
Have ready:
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk (which can be nearly a 1/4 cup of regular milk with a Tablespoon or so of lemon juice or vinegar
After you have done the creamed mixture, add in 1/2 the dry mixture and blend well.
Blend in the sour cream and buttermilk.
Then blend in the rest of the flour mixture.
In a shallow, wide dish (like a square gladware), mix 3/4 cup sugar and 2 T cinnamon.
Using a 1/4 cup scoop (such as the Pampered Chef Large Scoop), scoop a ball of batter/dough and roll it around in the cinnamon sugar mixture. I found the plop, shake shake shake, roll-over method to work well.
Place coated batter/dough ball into a lined muffin cup. You must use cupcake liners for this. 'Tis a delicate muffin, and it will be happiest in a cupcake liner.
After you've coated all your dough and placed in liners, sprinkle leftover cinnamon/sugar mixture over the top.
Bake at 350 for about 18 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
This is one fabulous muffin. See...it not only tastes like a Snickerdoodle...it looks like one on top too! But it really has the texture of a coffee cake, or so I think.
You really need to try this. And if you're trying to eat sensibly...the recipe makes about 20...so take some to a neighbor :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Disney Fever Thursday

People, I need one of the following, in this order of preference:

1) A winning lottery ticket. Winning as in like...$5000 or more.

2) A great big blessing of an influx of Travel and Cake customers so I can make more money

3) Someone extremely wealthy to pseudo-adopt me as someone that they want to spend money on.

4) An intervention (which really is so far down on my list of what I WANT that I shouldn't even put it here as a choice).

Now, #1 and #2 is not because I'm just a greedy crazy woman. Really I'm not. I'm happy with my lot in life. Contentment is not something I usually struggle with.

But I have GOT to tell you.

I am DYING to get on another Disney Cruise. Like...on the new Fantasy ship that had it's inaugural sailing last week.

Currently, we have a WDW coming up this Spring. Totally psyched about that. Then plans for 2013 currently look like Hawaii. Which will be my first trip there, which I am sure will be awesome (except for the exceptionally long flight with a then-5 and 9 year old).

Which is fine. Who would complain about going to Hawaii, right? Well...it's all fine and dandy except that it means that I probably won't get my booty on another Disney cruise until...


And, ya'll might sign me up for that intervention when you hear me say, that makes my HEART hurt. Seriously!!

If #1 or #2 happened, I {might } be able to figure out a way to squeeze in a Disney cruise between now and 2014.

Alright, I know, I'm totally deluding myself. But, I cannot put into words how much I want to get back on a Disney Cruise. Any ship will do. I really really really really really wish we could afford this scenario:

Spring 2012 WDW
Christmas 2012 Disney Cruise
Summer 2013 Hawaii
Summer 2014 Another Disney cruise.

Now, I know I am BLESSED beyond words to likely be doing three of those four things. I know that some people may never do ANY of these things.

I know. I know. I know. I'm just telling you.

I listen to my kids whine, so ya'll can listen to me whine for just a minute, right? :)

But ohhhhhh.... If I had won that mega millions..... even if I had to split it with 500 other people.... I could be booking a Christmas 2012 cruise right now.

Instead, I need about 10 families to book about a $6000 vacation with me or I need to bake a boatload of cakes (ha, boatload. cruise. heehee) to get on a Disney ship this year. Even then, I suppose there is still real life to help pay for.

{But if you happen to fit the profile for #3, I'm here. Totally open to you gifting me with a cruise. My Birthday is in May you know!}

I'm just sayin'.

So. Who wants to go somewhere? :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Meatball Calzones-easy!

I decided to make Meatball Calzones last night, and kind of winged it as far as recipes go. I wanted easy-to-use, convenient items and I wanted it to be yummy.
Here's how I did it. I mixed up a batch of Pioneer Woman's pizza crust, which you can find here. I did this about 3:30 in the afternoon before the After-School-Witching-Hour began, and to give it a good hour to rise. If you don't want to make crust from scratch, I'm sure a tube of the refrigerated stuff would be fine.
Once the dough is ready, roll it out into a big rectangle on a floured surface and cut into smaller rectangles of your choice. I got about six good-sized Calzone/Pizza Pockets out of this recipe of dough.
I said I was all about convenience, so I used frozen meatballs. I buy the big bag of walmart brand Italian style meatballs to have on hand. Heat however many you need in the microwave, I did about six per Calzone. This is basically to thaw them out.
Place meatballs on one side of each rectangle. Sprinkle with garlic powder and onion powder. Sprinkle a liberal amount of cheese...mozzarella...colby jack....either is fine. Fold the naked half over onto the topping half and pinch closed all the way around. Place on sprayed cookie sheet.
Once all your calzones are on the cookie sheet, whisk an egg white with some italian seasoning, and brush the tops. This will make them a pretty golden brown. Bake in preheated 450 degree oven until nice and golden brown on top.
Serve with a side of spaghetti sauce (from a jar is fine! That's what I did). Gobble them up.
The easier-to-read version (I don't know how to make a 'printable' on here?! Hmmm).
Pizza dough
Frozen meatballs
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Shredded Cheese
Italian Seasoning
Egg White
Roll dough. Cut into rectangles. Place meatballs, powders, and shredded cheese on half of each rectangle, and then fold over and pinch shut. Brush tops with the egg white/italian seasoning mix. Bake at 450 till golden brown. Serve with marinara.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ice Cream Social Birthday Party

Today we celebrated my April Fools Day baby. She turned eight. I can't believe it!
April 1st is always an iffy-guess on what the weather in Kansas is going to be like. We've booked moonwalks and planned backyard parties that ended up cool and drizzly. We planned a day at the park and had to change it because it was the same day as the Easter Egg hunt. It's always something.
Today, though, everything cooperated. The weather was almost 90 and breezy (okay, a little too windy actually but it was nice considering the temp!). The park was empty except for us. I did not have to clean my house.
Since Brooke doesn't like cake (WHAT?!?!), we decided to have an ice cream social.
I packed up all the goodies and decorations and we took them to Beech Lake.
Now, I do have to say, that these pictures and this 'spread' would look A LOT better if it hadn't been so windy. I was having a few issues with that. But I was still happy with everything!
Here's the spread:
I had all the toppings in these cute bowls I got at Hobby Lobby several months ago. (More on those in a bit). I bought the cute chalk-board labels at The Cottage Collective from Paper Goods Creative.
I loved how all the colors looked! We had a bunch of good toppings too...chocolate syrup, homemade strawberry sauce, sprinkles, itty-bitty peanut butter cups, chocolate stars, chopped MMs, chopped peanuts, crushed oreos, marashino cherries, and of course, whipped cream. YUM.
I made this balloon topiary inspired by something I saw somewhere on the internet. Instead of trying to deal with balloons in the Kansas wind, this was a great alternative and gave me the centerpiece I mostly wanted. Now, if I had my head on straight, I would have remembered to get colored tissue paper for the bottom. And if I felt like spending more money, I would have bought balloons in the exact colors as my little bowls. But this mama is on a budget. I used the tissue paper my Aunt Debbie wrapped Brooke's gift in. And I used balloons and ribbon I had in the house. :)
Fill an empty 2-liter bottle half way with sand or pea-gravel (from your landscaping...send the kids out to do it). Wrap a dowel rod (1/2" diameter is good) with some ribbon. Blow up balloons in quantity and color of choice. I used six here. Tie two together on centered on a long piece or ribbon, then wrap that ribbon and tie it tightly around the top of the dowel rod. Repeat with other pairs of balloons. Stick dowel rod down in the sand/rocks. Cover 2-liter bottle as you choose. I would have chosent hot pink, bright green, and bright blue tissue paper but as I said, I was on a budget. So I used the white that I had and wrapped more of the ribbon around it. Then I added some of the happy birthday banner to it.
Overall, room for improvement but loved the concept, and it held up great for the party.

Birthday girl was first through the line!
I don't know why they all felt compelled to sit on the same side of the table!
I hired our babysitter to help me with some of the decorations and game facilitating. The kids love her (She is our teacher's daughter), and she was such a great help to have there!
This game was like a hot potato game. I had a sack-within-a-sack-within a sack for five sacks total. The outside of each one had a task for them to complete. So we passed the bag around like a hot potato and when the music stopped, they read the task and completed it. They included running down to the slide and back, all the boys singing "Happy Birthday" to Brooke, everyone jumping up and down while saying their ABC's, etc. It was fun. The last sack had tootsie rolls in it for everyone and the person who ended up with the last sack got a prize.
This game....it was crazy chaos...and the kids had fun....but it was nuts. We tied one balloon to each kids' ankle. At first we were going to play this in the grass but the balloons kept popping. So we moved it to the shelter area. I didn't even think about the kids RUNNING around and doing this. They were supposed to pop each other's balloons and the last one standing won. There were kids and balloons everywhere. I was just waiting for people to end up on their faces from getting tangled in the ribbons. But no injuries, lots of giggles and cheering and craziness.
After these games we just had the kids play on the equipment for awhile, etc. Before they went home, they got their party favors....which have a story all their own.
I got the bowls for the party at Hobby Lobby for about 42 cents apiece on sale several months ago. I thought it'd be fun to fill them with cotton candy to make them look like ice cream. I spent an hour last night making cotton candy on my little machine. I even caught my machine on fire at one point. They were so cute...looked like this:
Then this morning, I got up, and they looked like this:
Yeah, it's APRIL FIRST in Kansas and it's humid enough to ruin cotton candy that is SEALED UP in a bag. UGH. So I tore them all apart and made this stuff instead (minus the chex mix, and with peanuts added). It was yummy, and didn't get destroyed by the weather.
So in my 42 cent bowls went the popcorn mix, tied in a cellophane bag, with a candy-stick (thirty cents each) and a tag that I made that said "Thanks for coming to my party. Peace, Love and Ice Cream, Brooke"
It was an Ice Cream Social success. Everyone had fun, we had a great turnout, and my girl was happy! So thankful for all the friends that came, for the friends and family that helped out, etc.
Happy Birthday, Stinkerbelle!