Friday, October 29, 2010

It's getting spooky around here

Scary treats? Check.
Pumpkin for the eldest? Check.
Pumpkin for my youngest? Check.

Let's get our trick-or-treat on.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


This is the look I get every single day. Every. Day. This is her, "I am so annoyed at the fact that I have a little brother who bothers me and a Mom who makes me do things I don't want to do and a Dad who always has a camera in face" look.

Monday, October 25, 2010

At least I'm trying

Hat tip to my sister's friend Paula for my dinner tonight. No, she didn't cook it, but I went to her awesome blog recently and she inspired me to try out some new dishes for dinner tonight.

I made Chicken Picatta using Paula's recipe which you can find here. After tonight, we are huge fans of this dish. So yummy.

I paired it with some green beans, fruit, and I made garlic mashed potatoes using this recipe-

* 3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
* 2 tablespoons kosher salt
* 16 fluid ounces (2 cups) half-and-half
* 6 cloves garlic, crushed
* 6 ounces grated Parmesan


Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan, add the salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.

Heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture and Parmesan; stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve. I added some crumbled bacon pieces at the end for an extra bit of flavor.

Then I finished the evening off with apple fritters. I also got the recipe from Paula's blog but these are my lovely creations below.

So, why does the title of this blog post say that at the very least I am trying? I'll tell you why. Because I am INSANE trying to make this kind of a dinner with a 2 year old and a 15 month old all up in my space. All the time!! Why do I try elaborate dinners when by the end I am stressed, the kitchen is a mess, the kids are screaming, and you eat it all in 20 minutes? Seriously- I was in the kitchen way too long to have all the food consumed in the time it took to boil the potatoes. Sheesh!

Try the recipes for yourself, but we are having spaghetti tomorrow night. And the next. And the next.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Inquiring Moms want to know

I have questions. A lot of them. They are fairly simple things that I have been pondering lately. Since LOST ended I no longer worry about important things like quantum theory. But still, some question need to be asked. And here are mine.

1. Why do playgrounds that are built for small children have so many ways for the said children to fall and plunge to their demise? Okay, I should probably replace demise with breaking an arm, but still.... My 15 month old loves to climb up the stairs at our local playground, but it scares me to death. There are so many open areas where he could fall and there are always older children running past him. Mama no like.

2. Why are people in Kansas City opposed to dresses for little girls? I put Bennett in a dress for church a few weeks ago and the nursery workers told me she shouldn't be wearing a dress. Because she can't play in a dress. I get not letting her wear dresses to school because they do art projects, and not to the playground, but not even to church???!!!??? Not happening here, folks. I am a stranger in a strange land.

3. Why can't my husband ever put the right lid for the sippy cup with the matching cup? After 2 1/2 years? Why? I have no idea either.

4. Why do people already have their Christmas decorations out?

5. Who can help me patent my latest idea? Because I don't know why nobody has invented an electronic paci dispenser yet. I am so tired of getting up in the middle of the night because Will has lost his paci. And then I hear him cry out sometimes and I go in there in a sleepy stupor to find his paci for him. It's only after I have entered his room that I realize that he has his paci and he is just crying out in his sleep. But it's too late. He's awake and knows Mama is in the room. Game over. So, I want to invent a mechanism that attaches to the crib and has 10 pacis stored in it. When you hear your child cry in the night, you pick up the remote by your bed, push a button, and the paci falls in the crib. Voila!

6. Why are the Wiggles more frightening to me that most of the serial killers profiled on 48 Hours? They truly wig me out. No pun intended.

Monday, October 18, 2010

One More

This is in addition to the post below. Bennett saw a donkey at a pumpkin patch today and she told Rob about it. This was the conversation.

Bennett: Daddy! We saw a llama and a donkey!
Rob: Really? Did you know that Jesus rode a donkey?
Bennett: Yup. Jesus rode a donkey and God rode a horsie.

Hmmmmm....... I would like to see the size of that horsie.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Things my 2 year old has said this weekend

-Mom, do you really know the muffin man?

-Watch out! My feet are about to dance!

-Bennett: An Octagon has 8 sides, a diamond has 4 sides, a triangle has 3 sides,
and you have 5 sides, Mommy.
Me: Oh, that makes me a pentagon then.
Bennett: No, that just makes you a Mommy.

-Will-men, you go to time out. I am so tired of you disobeying me.

-I need to sing. I just really really need to sing.

Friday, October 15, 2010


You guys are awesome. I didn't really think you would want the recipes when I posted about my baking OCD, but you did and here they are.

Blueberry Poundcake-
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup white sugar
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup all-purpose flour


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 10 inch tube pan with 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle pan with 1/4 cup sugar. Mix together 2 3/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Dredge blueberries with remaining 1/4 cup flour, then fold into batter Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 70 to 80 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

- Sausage Balls- Brown one pound of sausage and drain. Mix sausage in large bowl with 2 cups of Bisquick and 1 jar of cheese whiz. Mix well and form into small balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Cheese Straws
12 oz. sharp cheddar
1/2 tsp. red pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter
2-1/2 c. flour

Mix cheese, butter, salt and pepper together. Add flour. Pinch off a large ball of dough and roll into balls or long finger like shapes. Bake in 350°F oven for 15 minutes.

Cream Cheese Danish
2 cans crescent rolls
2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg (separated)
1 cup powdered sugar

Spray 9x13 pyrex dish. Unroll 1 can crescent rolls and place in bottom of dish. Bake in 350-degree preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes. Soften cream cheese and mix with sugar, vanilla, and egg yolk. Spread over the baked rolls. Unroll the other can of crescent rolls and place over cream cheese mixture. Brush with the egg white and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Mix powdered sugar and milk for icing. Spread over baked Danish. Good hot or cold!

Pumpkin Muffins
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-3/4 c. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add pumpkin and oil. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened and mixture is smooth. Add eggs until all is blended. Grease muffin pans and fill 3/4 full. Sprinkle brown sugar and a few more pecans on top of each muffin. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until done. Makes 2 1/2 dozen. These freeze well.

Chocolate Pie-
1-1/2 cup sugar
2-1/2 Tbsp. cocoa
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1-1/2 c. Pet milk
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
cooked pie shell
whipped topping

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa together. Add milk and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Add vanilla and pour into pie shell. Let the pie sit out and cool down before refrigerating. I learned this the hard way! :-) Top with whipped topping or Cool Whip.

Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Brunch Tarts

(Note- this recipe calls for sausage. Sometimes I swap out the sausage for bacon. Either one works. Also, this recipe tells you how to make dough for the cups. I use cans of Pillsbury dough so you don't have to make your own. You save time and it is SO much simpler that way. One final change is that the recipe calls for swiss cheese and I use cheddar. But I am putting the original recipe down and you can try it whichever way you want.)

1/2 lb. sausage
1-1/4 c. Bisquick
1/4 c. margarine
2 Tbsp. boiling water
1/2 c. half and half
1 egg
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups. Cook and stir sausage until brown. Drain. Mix Bisquick and melted margarine. Add boiling water and stir vigorously until soft dough forms. Press 1 level tablespoon of dough on bottom and up sides of each muffin cup. Divide sausage evenly among cups. Beat half and half and egg. Stir in onion and salt. Spoon evenly into muffin cups. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake until brown and centers are set, about 25 minutes.

Happy eating y'all!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Anyone wanna come over?

Maybe it's the cool fall weather. Maybe it's the fact that my parents have been in town and I love having people to bake for. I don't know what's been motivating me, but I have been baking a lot lately. Not cooking, but baking. There's a difference. I did cook yummy Italian seasoned pork chops for dinner tonight, but I am talking about the flour in your hair and oil stains on your shirt kind of baking.

This is what I have made just in the past 5 days alone. Read this and then pray I can get over my back issues soon so I can get to a gym. 'Cause the season just started and I bake constantly from October until Christmas. Not good, my friends.

Pumpkin muffins, Cream cheese filled danishes, 2 chocolate pies, cheese straws, sausage balls, blueberry pound cake, and egg casserole breakfast cups.

5 days!! All of this in 5 days. And my parents are gone, my husband is sufficiently stuffed, and I still want to bake some more. So my question remains. Anyone wanna come over? Or should I head to therapy right now?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Elizabeth Bennett's inbox

What if Pride and Prejudice were set in the 21st century?

BRILLIANT!! Here's the website that has other hysterical inboxes.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Highs and Lows

My parents are in town and we have had a great weekend hanging out with them. Yesterday was a day of really high highs and really low lows.

We started the day in fabulous moods. Here we are on my front porch getting ready to go to a local Fall Festival. I LOVE Fall Festivals as I said in a previous blog post. If there is one remotely close to me, I will find it.
Another obligatory family shot. This time with the parental units.
We got there and what was the very first thing we saw? HORSES! Yes, Bennett got to ride Beauty. Every single horse is Beauty. Or Henry. And Bennett was in heaven.
Poor little Will wasn't old enough to ride the horse yet. This was his reaction.
Okay, not to be too cheesy, but this is about as close to perfection as it gets for me. I love quaint little festivals. Not the lame ones with inflatables and gross games. But authentic ones with local crafts and booths. And if I can find one of these on a crisp Fall day? Heaven.

Bennett just looks like she belongs in a catalog advertising Fall. Not like one of those even exists, but if it did, she would be in it. And I also love this shot because it looks like it could have been taken at my college in East Tennessee. This looks so much like my campus.
And here's my little man observing the changing of the seasons.

I love these men! I wanted to hang out with them all day. Have you guys seen the documentary, "Young at Heart?" They just made me happy.

Bennett learned how to play the banjo. She sat there and played Old MacDonald with these folks. I was kind of proud.
And then Rob played. I wanted to tell that sweet man that they invented styrofoam cups, but I think he preferred the taste of tin.

And that was the end of our day of highs. What you are about to read may break your heart. If you want to stop now, I completely understand. It's rather heartbreaking.

We came home and got dressed and got ready for the big Alabama game. 3rd week against a ranked opponent. On the road. Against the 'Ole ball coach. But we were ready. At least I was. Our quarterback was not.
We fell behind in the game fairly quickly. Will was very worried.

We started to come back though. Bennett had faith. We were so close to regaining the lead....

....But it was not to be. We lost. Tragically. I told you it was heartbreaking. I understand if you need a hug.

But we're fans to the end. We may not be the #1 team in America anymore, but we are still crimson to the core. ROLL TIDE!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Social Experiment

No media. For one day. Electronic blackout. Is it possible?

That was the question we posed this past Saturday. Rob and I wanted to try one whole day without computers, DVD players, televisions, blackberries, etc.... nothing.

Could we survive?

Let me back up. Rob and I have been very convicted lately about the amount of time we spend on the computer and/or watching TV. And honestly, we don't watch that much TV. It's never on just as background noise. We only have it on to watch certain shows. And we really don't get on our computers much except in the mornings and then late at night after the kids go to bed.

But still.... how much more could we do without all that stuff? How much more would we notice? Would our quality time with the kids seem more meaningful? So we tried. And here's my observations on the day.

I woke up with the kids and that was the hardest part of the day. THE hardest. Normally we would go downstairs and they would watch one cartoon while I had coffee and checked e-mail and the news on my computer. We couldn't do any of that. So we took out Bennett's dollhouse and just played together. First thing in the morning. Whew. That was hard for this girl who is not a morning person.

Then I made pancakes. And the kids helped. Usually I would let them finish their cartoon so I could work in the kitchen alone, but they helped me instead. Bennett measured things and Will stirred.

I won't lie and say that I wasn't just itching to get on my computer. I realized that I have an addiction. A serious addiction. I was dying just to check e-mail, hop on a news site, see what I had missed overnight. It was HARD. Isn't that sad?

I won't bore you with a play by play of our day, but the result was that we got SO much more done around our house, played with our kids a lot more, and just engaged in our family. We spent most of the day away from our house, but when we were home we worked on projects and just got down on the floor and played with the kids. We have decided to do it once a month and I can't wait for the next one. It's so nice to know that turning on the TV, the blackberry, and the computer just isn't an option. It changes everything.

And a disclaimer- the experiment ended precisely at 7:00. I'm not a fool. Do you really think I would have missed watching Alabama beat the crap out of Florida? I think not.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Church of the Resurrection

A video my amazingly creative husband put together to celebrate our church's 20th anniversary. You really need to check this out. And yes, that's my baby boy at the end. :-)