Saturday, January 31, 2009

Music City

Today we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame for their annual musical petting zoo. It was so much fun. It began with a demonstration from some seriously good musicians. They were all super nice and helped the kids play the instruments. Max started right in on the drums.
Max got a quick mandolin lesson from one of the pros.

I think the washboard was definately Max's favorite. Mia was overwhelmed and stayed glued to my side the entire time. Afterward we went to Trader Joe's and discovered wasabi peas.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped semisweet chocolate
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the corn syrup, water, and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Fold in chocolate chunks. Drop by large tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 8to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are golden. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
These cookies are amazingly delicious!

Target Shopping Spree!

We just got back from Target. My friend Alexandra let us know that they toys at Target were 75% off, so we had to go and have a look. They were pretty picked over but we found some great buys! I got the Playskool Cherry Blossom Market for Mia. It was marked down to $14.98. I am saving it for her birthday. By the time that gets here it will feel like her present was free. We found one of those Smart Cycle game systems for $24.98. Max had wanted it for Christmas but it was $110.00 at the time. He is very excited for his "little motorcyle". I could have gone crazy and bought more but I was trying to be good and live within our means. To top off our bargain morning, we took our free donut coupons to Krispy Kreme for a snack.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Temple Marriage

Hurray! Josh and Stephanie are married! It all happened at the beautiful San Diego temple. Ty and I originally planned to get married there, but family complications led us to choose Salt Lake. I am so glad that we were able to start our lives together in the temple. It was a wonderful day.
My mom made these gorgeous dipped pretzels for Josh and Steph's reception. I think it is my favorite wedding picture.

All I need

All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!"
-Lucy Van Pelt (Peanuts)

Wintertime and Cute Hair


Oh what do you do in the wintertime when all the world is white?
Do you turn up the heat,
or hide under the sheets,
or bake a homeade apple pie?
Is that what you do? So do I!

All morning it snowed and snowed! It actually stuck to the ground this time. I am so grateful for our hard working heater. I spent some time doing Mia's hair. Every once in a while she lets me do it and I have to take advantage. I made a batch of play-doh. We made homeade granola. We played cars on the kitchen floor and we even got dressed all warm and went on a snowy day walk, which I decided quickly was kind of ridiculous. So maybe I didn't make a pie today, but I definately turned up the heat and tonight I will be under all of my sheets. Happy wintertime! (Here's hoping it warms up soon!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Early Morning Movie

The kids woke up early this morning. It was pouring rain and very cold so I knew it would be an inside, movie watching, type of day. Max was set on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We put the movie on in his room. There was popcorn and muddy buddies for snacks. Mia did most of the eating. They were so cute at they're little matinee.

Where would you go in a priority mail box?

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Goodbye Binkie


Little Mia lost her binkie the other day and we are not replacing it. She has had a few sad days but she is coping very well. I have been giving her larger than usual doses of hugs and chocolate. I am hoping she can find comfort in her dolls and teddy bears. We love you Mia!

Sunday Again

Yesterday we moved the couch so that it sat right in front of our tv. We had some friends over last night to watch the season premiere of "Lost". We ate nachos. It was very fun. Today is Sunday and the couch is back against the wall. It is the final week of January. I cannot wait for February. I love Valentines day. I am such a girly girl and I adore all things pink, especially when they are covered in hearts. It has been a great January. I discovered Starbucks herbal tea lattes, and we got a little taste of spring. I am looking forward to some warmer days and more American Idol.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thai Roast Beef Wraps


I found this recipe in the January Rachel Ray mag. I have been making these for lunch all week, and I think they are fabulous!

Stir a dash of soy sauce and a little water into smooth peanut butter. Toss store-bought coleslaw with rice vinegar and a pinch of sugar. Spread the peanut butter mixture on a large whole wheat wrap and top with sliced roast beef, a sprinkle of salt, some coleslaw and cilantro leaves. Wrap it up.

Date Night


Last night Ty and I went out for one of my favorite cheap date nights. We went to Barnes and Noble and ordered hot chocolate from Starbucks. I always get extra whipped cream on mine, but Ty prefers his without any cream. We get to sit and talk and read magazines. Ty likes to read electronic house and catch up on all of the latest gadgets. I like to read the fitness magazines and get all psyched up to be more fit, and then I read all of the cooking magazines and decide what delicious dessert to make after my workout. Afterward we took a stroll outside. It was a great evening.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Spring Fever!

It is a gorgeous day in Nashville! It is supposed to be 60 degrees today and we are loving it! We have already been on a walk and to the playground. It feels so good to be outside when we have been inside for so long! I have the doors open to send out all of the bad winter air. It is supposed to get cold again tomorrow so we are really trying to enjoy it while we can.

Breakfast of Champions

We went to Panera the other day to meet my friend, Trisha, for breakfast. We are both big fans of Panera hot chocolate. Max and Kelsie got comfy on this big chair in front of the fireplace. They were pretty cute!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Girl's Night / Scentsy Party!

I am hosting a scentsy party tomorrow (Thurs. 22nd) at 6:30 pm. Everyone is welcome. It should be lots of fun! If you need to be bribed I just finished making delicious cherry crunch bars for all of my guests to enjoy.

Cherry Crunch Bars

YOU WILL NEED:
*
1 Stick Butter
1 pkg. white or yellow cake mix (dry)
2 cans cherry or blueberry pie filling.
*you can use just one can if you would like these more like bars
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans or almonds
*
DIRECTIONS:
*
Cut 1/2 cup butter (room temperature) into 1 pkg. dry cake mix. Reserve 1/2 of this mixture. *I like to mix the chopped nuts into this mix, so that there is nuts on the top and the bottom crust. Pat the remaining mixture lightly into oblong 13x9 greased glass baking pan. Spread 1 or 2 cans of pie filling over the crumbs mixture. Squeeze remaining crumb mixture firmly in palm of hand, to form pea sized chunks, & Sprinkle over the top of the pie filling. Bake 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees, or until golden brown on the top & the bottom. (I added chocolate chips to mine, because cherries and chocolate should always go together.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Family Pictures?

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Max and Mia are big fans of the pictures we have hanging on the walls. Max is pretty sure he knows everyone in those pictures.

Snow day!

This morning we woke up to snow flurries! We have been out of the snow for a while now and it was fun to see the frosted ground. The "My Gym" in Hendersonville was having an open house and I thought it would be great for the kids to get their wiggles out. They had such a good time. They played the entire time! Near the end they were running extremely low on blood sugar, but overall it was a great way to spend the morning. After lunch we went to Target to buy socks for Ty, and of course browse the clearance racks. We came home with a great sweater for Max ($2!) and way cute silk pajamas for Mia ($3!). It was a great snow day.

Graham Cracker House

Max woke up yesterday and told me that he wanted to make a house with graham crackers and frosting. I decided that it did not have to be limited to Christmas and it would be a great use up for the rest of the candy. Max had a great time decorating his house, and then he ate all of the candy off of it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Ty!


Ty is 28 today! He is the coolest, best looking, most popular, and very smartest guy that I know. I never have more fun than when I am with him. I love you Ty!

Max in Mexico?


The primary hosted a wonderful activity today. It was all about family history and heritage. It was so well done. The muffins at the breakfast were delicious! The different stations were amazing. We had such a great time. Good job to everyone that participated!

Funny Faces and Kisses

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Max is very much enjoying making silly faces right now. He especially enjoys making faces at the camera. Mia is in love with kisses and hugs. She is such a cuddlebug.

Hail The Conquering Graduate!

Max graduated from nursery today. There was a primary activity that included a nursery graduation. It was so adorable! Here is Max with his new sunbeam teacher, just moments after receiving his diploma.
Here are the happy little grads throwing their caps into the air!
Max gets ready for the big moment.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Max the Photographer

I gave Max the camera today to let him test his skills. It is like the best picture of me so I have to post it. I think I will hire Max as my photographer from now on. Maybe he will work for cookies!

Ice Age

We are trying to stay warm as the temperatures drop lower and lower. I had no desire to head out today, so I decided we would clean up the kid's rooms. Max and Mia were more than willing to help out with Max's closet. They quickly went to work organizing all of their stuffed animals. It made another job for me, but it kept them busy and happy so :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Butter Chickpea Curry


I made this dish for lunch today. It was really easy. I had all of the ingredients on hand in my pantry, and it was delicious. Max and Mia loved it. I love making meals that expose them to different flavors. I served the curry over brown rice.
Ingredients:
  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed (I used a mixture of regular Idaho potatoes and sweet potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup cream or milk (I used plain yogurt)
  • 1 (12 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  1. Place potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat; simmer until the potatoes are tender. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Warm oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Stir in curry powder, ginger, cumin, and salt. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring. Pour in soup, cream, and chickpeas. Stir in potatoes. Simmer 5 minutes.

Apron Love

Ty's mom made these adorable aprons for the kids at Christmas. Max wears his when he helps me in the kitchen. He really is getting good. Yesterday he helped me make oreos. He rolled out his own dough, cut out the circles, and put them on the cookie sheet all on his own. I have visions of a little Bobby Flay, but I am sure he has his own ideas!

Captain Underpants!

Mia is totally in love with playing dress up right now. Sadly her favorite dress ups are Max's underpants on the outside of her clothes! We have got to get her some pink frilly panties of her own!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pajama Party!

Amy Rose hosted a fabulous pajama/movie party for playgroup today. She has a fabulous theater room in the basement. The little people all arrived in pajamas. There was popcorn and apple slices to eat while we all watched Horton Hears a Who! It was so much fun. Thank you Amy!

Homeade Oreo Cookies


For the Dough
1 cups Dutch-process cocoa powder
11/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Filling:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Prepare the dough: Sift together the cocoa powder, flour and salt in a large bowl.

Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, incorporating each ingredient before adding the next. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut the dough into 64 circles. (You can reroll the scraps once.) Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets and chill for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325.

Bake the cookies until they are set and slightly darker around the edges, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Using a mixer, cream the butter and shortening until fluffy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla.

Flip half of the cookies upside down and top each with 1 level tablespoon of filling. Press the remaining cookies on top to make sandwiches.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Max and Mia Enrobed

After his bubble bath Max was freezing so he wanted to be wrapped in his cozy robe. Mia wants to be just like Max so she had to put hers on too. I love to wrap the ties over her little round belly!

Mia's Roadster

Mia has so enjoyed the little Dora ride-on that she got for Christmas. You never know what presents will be a hit, but she loves this one. She scoots around the apartment and uses it as a step to get to things that are just out of reach.

Holidays!

I love holidays! I love doing little things that make them fun and special! I found these cute Valentine's Day plates this morning at Kroger for $1 a piece! I thought it was a super deal. I can't wait to make heart shaped pancakes on valentine's!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Yummy Breakfast Bars

This is a Sara Snow recipe that I have modified. I have been making these for a few weeks now and freezing them in snack bags. I pull them out in the evening and they are thawed and ready to eat in the morning. Max and Mia love them for breakfast and snacks. They are great when there is a ton going on and you are starving!

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 individual container of applesauce (or about that much from a large jar)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup dried fruit (I like cherries)
1/2 - 1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts (I use walnuts)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream the butter with the sugar, add the honey and the applesauce. Blend in the vanilla and the egg. Stir together the flax seed, flour, baking soda, and oats. Add to the wet ingredients. Mix in the dried fruit, chocolate, and nuts.
3. Pour into an 8x8 inch pan. (Batter will be very thick)
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

Ty and Jess hit the town!

Ty and I got to go back to the Cheesecake Factory without the kids for a real date night! We had the mahi-mahi, which was amazing! We made sure to save room for dessert because we were so planning on cheesecake. We ordered 2 slices, the original with fresh strawberries, and the chocolate raspberry truffle. It was the best cheesecake ever! It was fun to be out with just Ty. He is my very favorite person!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Ultimate Chicken Salad Sandwiches

I saw these on an episode of Tyler's Ultimate on the Food Network. I made them for dinner tonight and I think they were the best chicken salad sandwiches I have had!

For the Chicken Salad:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • About 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 celery stalks, small diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded chicken meat, roughly chopped
  • 8 slices sourdough bread, cut 1/2-inch thick
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 pound brie
  • 1 green apple, thinly sliced

For the Chicken Salad:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Roughly chop the walnuts and then gently toast in a dry skillet over medium heat until they brown and are slightly fragrant. Season walnuts with salt once they are finished toasting. Add the walnuts, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, celery, olive oil, and salt and pepper, to taste, in a large mixing bowl and combine. Fold in the shredded chicken and set aside while you prepare the bread.

Toast the bread in a hot oven until golden. Smear each piece with a little butter and then a tablespoon of cranberry sauce over 4 of the pieces. Lay the 4 cranberry-smeared pieces out on a sheet tray and top each piece with 2 to 3 slices of thick-cut brie. Pop this back in the oven for a minute or 2 so the cheese is slightly melted and creamy. Remove from the oven and top with a few slices of green apple. Top with a scoop of the chicken salad and cover with the other half of the bread to complete the sandwich. Serve.

Treat of the day

The treat of the day: Little Debbie Valentine's Snack Cakes. Adored by all. I let the kids eat them at the playground. I thought I was very smart for making them eat outside. When we came home I put them right into the tub and I didn't have to clean the floors at all!

Test Drive!

You wouldn' buy a car that you hadn't had a chance to drive so why should a bike or wagon be any different? Mia loved this wagon we found at Wal-Mart. Ty was her chuaffer. I think she would really enjoy being a princess. Max drove his bike through all of the aisles. He is ready for a big boy bike!

What would you do with a bag of quarters?

Spend it at Chuck E Cheese, of course! This morning we went to Max's happiest place on earth. This trip was fun because it was the first time that Mia got into the rides and games. She was so cute! Max is getting really into all of the shooting games and losing interest in the rides. The morning ended with prizes and smiley faces.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Josh is getting married!


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Max has recently become a big fan of ninja turtles. He adores this shirt. He wants to wear it every day. I let him wear it for a day and a night and then I insist he take it off so I can wash it. My kids are in a constant state of stickiness, no matter the number of baths. Max can hardly wait to wear his favorite shirt again. When I try to dress him in other shirts he always asks if they are ninja turtle shirts as well. He is always so sad when they are not.
Oh well, I love my little ninja!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Honey Lime Dipping Sauce

I found this recipe on a great blog called "Our Best Bites". I made these for lunch today and they were delicious. After Mia finished her fries she ate the dipping sauce with a spoon. So Yummy!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes*
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t coriander
1 t kosher salt
1 t parsley
fresh ground pepper (about 10 turns of a pepper mill)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Put the sweet potatoes in a bowl and drizzle the olive oil over them. Toss to coat. Sprinkle on all of the herbs and spices and continue to toss until well coated.

Place the fries on the baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes. Flip fries over and continue to bake another 15 minutes.
Serve immediately with dipping sauce!

Honey-Lime Dip for Sweet Potato Fries

6oz container plain, low-fat yogurt
1 T mayo (low cal is fine)
1/2 T honey
1/2 lime
1/4 t cumin
1/8 t oregano
1 t parsley
1/2 t granulated onion
3/4 t kosher salt

Mix honey and yogurt until combined and give it a big squeeze from the lime half. Add in spices and herbs and you have a dip.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups oats
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup nuts (almonds or pecans work well)
1 cup chocolate chip

1. Melt butter, peanut butter, and honey together. Stir in vanilla.
2. Combine the oats with the coconut and pour peanut butter mixture over oats and toss until well combined.
3. Bake on a baking sheet for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
4. While oats are still hot pour over chocolate chips. The warmth of the oats should melt the chocolate. Stir to incorporate melted chocolate.
5. Allow to cool and store in a sealed container.
Yum-O!

This is a family favorite that we make often and always makes me think of my mom and our time in California!

Sugar Rush!

Today Mia had an eye appointment at Vanderbilt. Before heading into Nashville we stopped by Krispy Kreme to get Max a doughnut, he loves them and we had a free coupon. After Mia's appointment and because we were in the neighborhood I thought we should stop by Gigi's Cupcakes. We got one of their amazing strawberry shortcake cupcakes. After our cupcakes we went to Trader Joe's and drove home with juice boxes and honey wheat pretzels. Ty brought home a bunch of lollipops. Max and Mia were bouncing off the walls. (fyi...the gun in Max's hand is a toy) It was a very fun, very sugary afternoon.