Monday, September 30, 2013

Carnival Party....Another Year Gone

This would be the carnival party for Lily WITHOUT PICTURES.
I totally forgot to get photos AGAIN of all the booths and people pretending to enjoy themselves

This is nothing new for me...I really need to have a friend come early and take photos. 

I work on a party and then HAVE NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT

Saturday it had rain in the forecast ...I don't mean rain I mean THUNDERSTORMS FLOODING THE GREENBELT KIND OF RAIN. 
I was in a panic b/c the party was outdoors in our 'courtyard' area ...I had everything mapped out of where the placement of games were to go...Printed signs and Laminated them and everything....

Had everything set up a few hrs before party even.....and it rained...hard.  Party wasn't for another 3 hrs so we dragged everything back into the garage and I tried to figure how all the booths would fit in the house

Here were my signs (at least I took a photo of those)

45 mins before the party it stopped raining....we dragged everything back out again...

Mini Me's friends came over to help run the booths and hand out prizes.....I ordered  A HUGE AMOUNT OF JUNK from Oriental Trading Company for the kids to win....(party favors)

Mini Me worked the Photo Booth...I found this cute background and props at Walmart for 5 bucks

(think back to lily's 5yr old photo) 

and the prize at photo booth was a blow-up flower for girls and blow-up sword for boys. 
The child will get a copy of the photo booth pic they took as a thank you card...(a little photoshop with thanks for coming on it to complete)

Here were some from the party!

For food we had basic fair stuff...Hot Dogs, Corn Dogs, Cotton Candy, Popcorn, cookies, beans, chips, fish bowls, and drinks....

My favorite was hubs idea of the Elephant Treats.  (nutter butter cookies....hello brilliant!)

I made my favorite cupcakes again (under recipe tab) with cream cheese icing.  I just picked up a new icing tip and now my cupcakes can look all professional! 
The jello bowls didn't turn out quite like I hoped...Was going for the "win a fish" like at a fair for the jello wasn't really a hit (insert sad face)

I did get a few of Reid at the duck pond bucket...he was soaking wet!!!  I love the photo of him screaming CHEESEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

I even got child #2 in a photo ...bam!  

(I joined in too)

My favorite part was the dress I had Brandy over at Sunfire Creative make for Lily!
She also made the Monogram Chevron dress for Lily too!  I am a fan of her work...the prices are amazing!!!  She does Custom stuff stop by and get something quick for Pumpkin Season or Christmas pj's! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Oh To Be 5 Again...

I honestly can't remember turning 5.....But I do remember being 5...I remember seeing the library for the first time in the Elementary School....they had this kangaroo rocking chair to sit in ...and I NEEDED to sit in that chair one day and read.  I remember sitting on the floor in circle time with our ABC's books and they had glitter letters on the front...and I would trace my finger over the letters....

#4 turned 5 yesterday!!!  I can't even believe I can say those words...It truly doesn't seem possible!

She was our 1st Midwife/Birthing Center baby....I remember on a Thursday night about 8pm having mild 4am my water broke.  We got the big kids off to school......Headed to Midwife to get checked....about 9am...she said go home and pack a bag and come when things got intense....I made hubs stop at a bakery and get some Morning Glory muffins to eat the time we got home ...things were intense....we packed really fast ...I remember thinking...

This is it...I can't do it...I've changed my mind (I say this with each baby....6 kids later I'm still saying it)

We got to the birthing center about 11:45am and she was born 1:11pm...bam!  Done!

(just seconds old...probably shouting put me back!!!)

and now my girl looks like a little girl....not a baby anymore

I'm off to the store to buy all the party food for tomorrow and start prepping.  They say it's supposed to rain...please don't...It's a Carnival Party meant for outside!  

Yesterday she asked for something sweet and pink for her cake with dinner.....

So what's more sweet and pink than Cotton Candy Cupcakes?  Nothing
They were perfect!

For the party I will make white icing and do pink and blue cotton candy on top!  Bring on the clowns!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

This and That Going On....

got a little of everything going on here...come inside my life for a bit

***the 3 littles got fevers this past week and weekend...just when one had a fever for 2 days then the next got it....don't you love spreading things in your house?
i like spreading nutella on toast, or icing on a cake...but fevers....i can pass thank you

thank goodness for oils.....peppermint for little hot bodies...and rc for breathing....lemon and thieves to help with the yucks too....and a little peace and calming for mommy since it was a long week

***i'm making these today for the big kids (ok and hubs) i hate making things that say 'work quickly' though  what is really means is "THIS WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE AFTER 2 SECONDS OF SITTING.  NOT ONLY THAT, YOU WILL SCREAM UNDER YOUR BREATH AT US AND THIS RECIPE. GOOD LUCK"

i plan to have really slippery hands and work like the speed of light!

***my mom is here for the week to help me get ready for lily's 5th birthday.  let the laughing like school girls begin!  we're like 2 peas n a pod.  love her!

***speaking of 5 yr olds.  my girl will be 5 on thursday.  we are having a carnival like birthday party for her this weekend.  i really need to get to making stuff.  i'm usually more on my game than this.  i've got it all planned out in my head.  hope it turns out like that.  (it never does)

making these for a treat....(one of many food stuff for the PAR-TAY)

*** happy happy happy....
i'm taking duck dynasty's motto and making my 12 yr old TWEEN daughter apply this to her everyday life.  what is up with tween's and the attitude when you ask them questions.  a simple 'hey good morning' gets a nasty response.  we had the talk about respect and how you treat and talk to ppl.  it's nice to get a txt with "HHH" ...i'm glad she listens  (that and the if you don't act right i will take away all privileges)

***menu for tonight?  quesadilla pie
sandra lee semi-homemade nov/dec 2010 issue


1 (10oz) can green enchilada sauce

¼ cp whipping cream

4 (8inch) flour tortillas

1 (16oz) can spicy refried beans

2 cps shredded monterey jack cheese with peppers

2 cps shredded cooked chicken

¼ cp chopped fresh cilantro

2 (8.8oz) puches ready to be served Spanish style rice

Garnish: lime wedges and chopped freshed cilantro


Preheat oven to 400. In a small bowl, stir together enchilada sauce and cream. Spoon 1/4 cp enchilada cream mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan or deep-dish pie plate. Top with 1 tortilla and 1/3 each of beans, cheese, chicken, and cilantro. Repeat procedure twice with tortillas, remaining beans, cheese, chicken, and cilantro, ending with remaining tortilla. Pour remaining enchilada cream mixture over the top. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover, and bake for 10 minutes longer. Let stand for 5 minutes. Heat rice according to package directed for 2 pouches. Slice pie into wedges, and serve with warm rice. Garnish with lime wedges and chopped fresh cilantro, if desired 

***hair i'm old....i mean no denying it.  i'm near 40.  ask any 5 yr old and 40 is old.  it really isn't though.  40 is like the new 20.  but with anything new gray hairs are bound to happen.  in the past i could use those wash out in 28 shampoos so anymore.  i need the big guns...those smelly permanent boxes in the store.  
so i grab L'Oreal in dark brown (one under black mind you) and get my dye on.  only when i'm blow drying my hair do i see my hair isn't dark brown but cinnamon color.  ummmmm then i panic thinking someone slipped the wrong bottles in my dark brown as a joke.  nope.  i guess not only am i old...but my hair doesn't like permanent colors...deep sigh

Monday, September 23, 2013

Menu Monday....Order Up

Menu for my week this week?

Monday: Shepard's Pie w/Carrot Mashed Potatoes
Tuesday: Quesadilla Pie
Wednesday: Roasted Chicken with Pesto Farfalle
Thursday: LILY'S 5TH BIRTHDAY requested Meatballs and Sketti and Cupcakes
Friday: Chiptole Burritos 

I have NEVER made Friday's so stay looks yummy

As for today.....It was fantastic...been years since I made it....the mashed potatoes on this are amazing

I do change this up a bit though....changes I did in Red

Shepard's Pie w/Carrot and Cheese Mashed Potatoes


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground round
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 (8-oz.) package fresh mushrooms, sliced (omit)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (omit)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 (14 1/2-oz.) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Cheese-and-Carrot Mashed Potatoes
 I also like to make fresh mashed potatoes instead of following the ingredients (no frozen ones)
I like to make my potatoes (I use lots of milk, butter and sour cream to mine)  cook your carrots until tender and mash....then add to potatoes with cheddar cheese and then spread over top of beef
  1. Brown beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove ground beef from skillet using a slotted spoon; reserve 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Reduce heat to medium.
  2.  Sauté onion, mushrooms, and garlic in hot drippings over medium heat 10 to 11 minutes or until tender. Stir in ground beef, peas, and next 4 ingredients. Sprinkle flour over meat mixture. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, and vinegar, breaking up large tomato pieces with a spoon. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove bay leaf. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased 3-qt. baking dish or pan. Spoon Cheese-and-Carrot Mashed Potatoes evenly over meat mixture, smoothing with back of spoon.
  3. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  4. Note: To make ahead, prepare recipe as directed through Step 2. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Freeze up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator 24 hours. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated, shielding with aluminum foil after 25 minutes to prevent excessive browning.
I promise you will not be disappointed with this recipe!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Maple...It's a Fall Thing Y'all

I know I have a few more days until Fall...but

And sadly I live in Texas where we go from green to yellow to dead in seconds flat, but I am still a lover of Fall.

I love Orange, Pumpkins, Wassail, Candy Corn, Leaves, Maple like things....Cinnamon something about this season I am in Love.  I can feel myself getting giddy just thinking about it!

So stay with me through all my blogs on cakes and cookies this Fall.

Today I made the Pecan Maple Snack Cake...from the the 2008 Cooking Light.  I only break these Fall recipes out with maple once a to keep things bam good you know!

This says to make in a 9x9...I make this in a 11x7...(trying to feed a crowd)
I also double the frosting...we like it thick you know!

1 cup maple syrup (use the good stuff)
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream  (I used the full stuff)
1/4 cup butter, melted 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 11 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted


1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare cake, combine first 5 ingredients, stirring well with a whisk.
3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, 1/4 cup pecans, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add syrup mixture to flour mixture; stir until well blended. Pour batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. (again I used an 11x7)
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.
4. To prepare frosting, combine sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons syrup, cream, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Spread frosting evenly over cooled cake; sprinkle with 1/4 cup pecans
 That's it...sit back and enjoy this sweetheart with a cup of cocoa or can thank me later!

*side hubs hates those plates in the picture.  He only likes to buy things in complete sets.  I was at this adorable shop 10 years ago and she was having a sell...she had 4 of these blue like color plates marked down to $2 a piece.....I just had to have them.  He said since there was only 4 I shouldn't have gotten them.  Why  not?  If 3 friends come over and we have a coffeecake and coffee...BAM.  4 ppl 4 adorable plates.

I will eat my breakfast sometimes on them with my favorite coffee mug...funny how a plate and mug can make a day start off great.  He has tried to get me to sell the plates.  NO

It's the little things in life huh?!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Caramel-Pecan Bread Pudding w/ Rum Sauce

I'm a sucker for Bread Pudding

If you live in the Dallas Fort Worth area you may have heard of a place called i Fratelli's...

They used to have a Sunday Brunch...I would shove the kids out the doors after church to be first in line before they opened.  (no judging)

i Fratelli's has the best Bread Pudding....along with great pizza

The other day I ran across this recipe in Paula Deen's Sept/Oct issue...

I didn't even have to look at the ingredients or how long it took to make...


Tonight in fact

You had me a Gooey Center

(sorry for poor quality...couldn't find a picture or recipe anywhere on the web to share.. I am making tonight and don't have an original photo to share....YET)

(I plan on doubling the Rum Sauce...I've learned from experience...always double sauces and icing to have too much than not enough)
What's your sinful treat of choice?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Move Over La Madeleine

Last night I made a Soup and Sandwiches for dinner.....It was pretty dern good....I made it even better....

*I want to warn you...This makes a HUGE amount.  My family of 8 ate this and we had enough to freeze and have for lunch today.

Roasted Creamy Tomato Soup
with Grilled Cheese Croutons

      2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded                            2 (28oz) cans crushed tomatoes
      1 tb olive oil                                                                   1 (32oz) carton chicken broth
       2 tbs butter                                                                      1 (28oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
      2 shallots, thinly sliced                                                   1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
      2 tsp minced garlic                                                          1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
        3 tbs flour                                                                         1/4 tsp sugar
                                                                                             * 1/2- 1 1/2 cups cream
1. Preheat over to 450.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil
2. Place peppers cut side down and drizzle with olive oil
Bake 20 mins or until slightly charred.  Cover with foil and let stand 10 mins
Peel peppers, discarding skin and coarsely chop
3. In large Dutch oven, melt butter over med-high heat.  Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring about 4 mins.  Stir in flour and cook stirring constantly 2 mins.  Add roasted peppers and crushed tomatoes and next 6 ingredients.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer stirring occasionally for 20 mins.  Puree soup

Now the recipe ended here...
I added heavy cream to it....I added enough to make it look like a pale red...or heck until it looked just like the La Madeleine's Tomato Basil that is soooo drop dead delicious 

Sourdough Grilled Cheese Croutons

Sourdough Bread
Monterey Cheese....(or whatever flavor you like)

I'll leave amounts up to you.

Preheat oven to 400.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil
Place 3 slices of bread on with cheese slices...cover with remaining bread to make a sandwich.  Butter slices with melted butter 
Bake 15-20 mins or until golden brown
Let stand 10 mins and then cut into cubes

Friday, September 6, 2013

Tex Mex Mac n Cheese Pie

I love quick easy yummy recipes....

Notice quick and easy

Last night I tried another new recipe for us that will make the meal rotation.

Tex Mex Mac n Cheese Pie 
(Hubs said call it what it is...Mexican Spaghetti)

Recipe called for a springform pan....or a 13x9...I went for the 13x9 to make it go farther with a family this size
No need to double it...this was perfect for my #1 had a friend over too

I didn't do anything different to the was pretty great as it was.  If it was for adults who like spice I would have loved to have added Hot Rotel instead!

 A little added bonus...the Refried Black Beans
Loved them too!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Toasted Goodness...

I'm not a fan of Roast Beef  (hush)

But I know my family is....and I know I am looking for different and fun things that are quick and easy to make for my family each week

Enter in this 

Toasted Roast Beef on Rye

I'm a sucker for all things this recipe sold me there

I'm a sucker for anything again sold me there

One bite of this sandwich....I'm now a fan of Roast Beef
(photos Paula Deen Magazine)

I think what took this sandwich to the "mmmm hmmmm" level were the Pickled Onions....Now if you are not a fan of onions ...that's one of the great things about soaking them in vinegar (which I used just plain vinegar)
The vinegar takes the oniony onion taste from them....the quick pickle flavor gives this a super sour flavor to the sandwich.  I will prob double the onions next time and double them up on the sandwiches

I had never heard of white BBQ sauce and had to google that one...basically it's mayo, apple cider vinegar, s/p, lemon juice and a spice if you like..I left out b/c had small young'ns eating

What we would do differently next time besides more pickled onions?  Add white bbq on one side of the bread and a 1000 island type dressing on the other slice ...also a little cooked cabbage (not sauerkraut...just cook it a bit to soften)

My husband is hard to please....I like to pretend I'm not watching him take his first bite of new recipes...
I glanced his way on his first bite....he raised his eyes brows in surprise...gave me a thumbs up and smiled!  Even Mini Me who is a picky eater ate it....and even #4

Believe it or not...Got it on the Menu for next Wednesday with dinner with the Inlaws!  Yes, it was that yummy

Not to mention super quick to make.  I like things in an assembly line....and mass produce in bunches.  
My mouth is watering just thinking about these for next week.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dumpster Diving

OK I didn't really dumpster dive...but I did get trash

This weekend the kids were having sleepovers  (hello long weekend)  and I went to pick them up

On my way to the kid's house I saw 2 pieces of furniture at the curb.  The closer I got the slower I drove....
"Oh My", I thought....
"Those are really that trash?  Are they throwing those out?  Should I stop?  No better keep driving"  
Those were  thoughts in my head....Because we all talk to ourselves right?

As I was sitting there waiting for the kids to come to the car I kept talking to myself 

"I really need to go back...I really need to get those...but should I knock?  I mean if they are by the curb I should take them right?  No I can't take them ...that's weird.  But they were really cool looking...I mean it's free...Why should I pass up free."

And so this conversation lasted about 4 mins while waiting...and my heart was racing...
I'm gonna get them...

The kids got in the car and I'm all like....  "Hop in quick...I need to get some trash"

We drive back to the house and I was going to just shove them in the back of the suburban...but felt all guilty like I was stealing...

Not only that, but the front door was open and their storm door was all glass and they could see straight out.

I knocked on the door and waited...I tried not to stare inside because that is just weird and rude...
Also they had a huge "NO SOLICITING" sign on their door

So I stepped back a ways and starred at my car (You can tell I never do this...)

The man answered in a gruff way (hello solicitor) and asked what I wanted.

In a sweet southern voice and all smiles I said...

"Are those really trash?"(pointing to my new find)

He grinned "Yep"

"May I have them?"  smile smile smile...



Off I ran and yelled for the kids to get out and help...

Here are my pretty little gems

No Idea where I am going to put them....they were truly in terrific shape and solid wood.  All they need to be is cleaned up and polished.  I'm thinking the boys might have new bed side tables when I get their big boy bedroom ready!


Ok Now I am addicted to finding trash to make mine

Speaking of sweet finds.....

Dinner last night was yummmmmmmmy!

Pork Pad Thai
(picture Paula Deen's)

Pork Pad Thai

  1. 1 (8-ounce) box pad thai or flat rice noodles
  2. 1 pound ground pork
  3. 1 head bok choy, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  4. 2 cups matchstick carrots
  5. 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  6. 1 tablespoon bottled minced ginger
  7. 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
  8. 1/2 cup chicken broth
  9. 1/4 cup soy sauce
  10. 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  11. 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  12. 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic-chile sauce*
  13. 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. In a large bowl, combine noodles and hot water to cover; let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, cook pork and bok choy, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat until pork is browned and crumbly; drain. Add carrot, and next 3 ingredients; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together broth and next 5 ingredients. Add to pork mixture, and cook 1 minute. Add noodles, and cook 2 minutes, stirring to combine. Serve immediately.

Serve this along side some Egg Rolls (I used store bought) and a Spicy Peanut Sauce
(hubs didn't like the sauce..we all did)

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tb sesame oil
2 tb Sriracha sauce
2 tb creamy peanut butter

You will need to double the peanut sauce for eggrolls and then you can even use some to pour over the pork pad thai. This was a hit...tasted fantastic (prob even better if we could have added some more spice for adults)

So stick her on your menu for the week.

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