Friday, November 4, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

You've probably made something like this before...I think we made them every year in Girl Scouts when I was a kid.  They are totally just as yummy now as they were then.

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

I should note that I also used a bottle cap as a donut cutter, I think it's just genius!  I also used butter to dip the donuts and I liked them better with just the top dipped as I felt there was too much sugar if I dipped the whole donut (I followed the directions and dipped the whole donut the first batch I made *pictured* but made them the other way for a second batch and liked them MUCH better).  Bug LOVED these and, as is normal, Punk wouldn't touch them because he distrusts ALL new food I try to introduce him to (but will eat just about anything offered to him by the sample ladies at Costco).

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Brotherly "Tattoos"

Apparently coloring himself blue wasn't enough for Punk...a couple months later he colored Bug orange...

Side note...isn't he just too adorable?  Bobby and I both think he has the Mineer smile (the same one his Uncle Derrick and Bobby's cousin John-Mark have).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

When night sleep goes bad...

When no one gets a real good night's sleep this is what can happen around here:

The baby falls asleep at breakfast.

Punk climbs up onto the couch and passes out before lunch.
Now if only those things had happened in such a way that both boys were asleep at the same time so mommy could have caught a quick nap too, but that is NOT what happened.  About 10 minutes after I carried Punk in to his bed, Bug was up screaming (hungry because he passed out at breakfast).

They are pretty dang cute though (especially when they are sleeping), aren't they?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cinnamon Almonds

You know what they are, you smell them before you see them and you are fishing out your wallet before you know it paying a small fortune for a cone of them at a fair or festival someplace.  They are yummy almonds surrounded by a lovely sweet spicy cinnamon mixture.  They are awesome to eat on the go because they really aren't messy and they are nuts so they are good for you, right? ;-)

I would never have guessed they were so easy to make (although, maybe I should have since they are made in tents all over the country), but they are super simple, can be made with any nut, and are impressive as a gift, in a bowl to munch when you have unexpected guests, or as an addition to your cookie or treat trays (Christmas is sneaking up fast!).

I found the instructions (via Pinterest, who'da guessed) here.

You probably have the ingredients sitting in your house right now!

Cinnamon Almonds (or any nut you like!)

3 cups nuts (I used almonds and walnuts)
1 cup sugar (the regular granulated kind)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Place water, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a saute pan and mix together over medium heat.  When well combined (but not heated through or anything) add in nuts.  Stir, keep stirring, DON'T STOP STIRRING.  They should take you between 5-7 minutes and they are done when all the moisture is gone and the mixture crystallized and holding onto the nuts (not all of the mixture will hold on, that is okay, in fact I measured that I had 1/2 cup sugar/cinnamon mixture left over at the bottom of my nuts when all was done and the nuts were plenty coated).  Spread them on a sheet pan immediately to cool.  Store in a cool dry place for up to a month (these would be awesome for sending to military friends/family).

The picture IS actually of the nuts I made.  I, personally, liked the walnuts even more than the almonds, and I think I'll try it with pecans when the holidays are a little closer.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Boston Cream Cupcakes

My husband is a huge fan of the Boston Cream Donut.  So much so that there are some little jokes about it at work and he has on occasion been sent into the office with the promise of said donut only to be laughed at a little when he finds out there are no Boston Creams available.  I often send treats into work with Bobby (typically because I like to make treats, play with new things and try new things out and we can't eat them all for obvious reasons), so I thought it would be fun to send a "Boston Cream" something into work with him, I have been playing with cupcakes a little lately and I came up with these tonight.  It's my own recipe, but it is a mash-up of things I have gotten from cookbooks (the cupcake itself is a mix up of the Death By Chocolate recipe in 101 Things To Do With a Cake Mix) and around the internet (the frosting is a change up of the recipe I got here).

Interested in making them yourself?  Here you go:

Boston Cream Cupcakes:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
3/4 cup plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Ready 24 cupcake liners in cupcake pans.  Mix cake mix and dry pudding mix together in a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Fill cupcake liners 1/2 - 2/3 full (this should make exactly 24 cupcakes).  Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees or JUST until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean or with just a very few crumbs sticking to it.  Leave cupcakes to cool.

1 small box instant vanilla pudding
2 cups cold milk

Make pudding as directed on package with 2 cups milk.  Let pudding set up 5-10 minutes in the fridge.

Fill a pastry bag with a #10 tip (large round tip) attached with the set pudding.  Place tip into the top of cooled cupcake and pipe about 1 tablespoon of filling into each cupcake (you won't use all the pudding probably).  This part just takes a little practice and patience.  Make sure you get the tip well into the cupcake (about 3/4 of the way in for sure) and pipe slowly.  They won't all have exactly the same amount of filling, NO ONE WILL CARE, so don't stress it.

Frosting (this is where it is at with this recipe, this frosting is ridiculous!):
8 oz dark chocolate (you can use semi-sweet chocolate chips here)
4 oz cream cheese (that's half a regular package)
1 cup heavy cream
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
1 8 oz tub of Cool Whip (just use the Cool Whip and don't ask questions, okay?)

Place 8 oz of chopped chocolate or chips into a glass or metal mixing bowl with 4 oz of cream cheese broken up with your hands (I use the mixing bowl for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer).  Put 1 cup of cream into a pan and set on the stove over medium low heat and place mixing bowl with chocolate and cream cheese over it (you are creating kind of a double boiler).  You want your chocolate and cream cheese to start to melt, BUT you don't want to scorch your cream so watch them both closely.  When the cream starts to boil pour it over your chocolate and cream cheese mixture (it won't be fully melted, but make sure you cover it) and let it set to cool for 20-30 minutes.  When that time has passed add in your pudding mix and mix for two minutes with either the whisk attachment on your stand mixer or a hand mixer.  Now mix in 1/2 of the tub of Cool Whip then fold the other 1/2 of the Cool Whip in until the frosting is uniform.  Using your favorite tip pipe the frosting onto the top of the cupcakes (I like a giant tip like the 4B star tip I used for these today) and ENJOY!

Bobby and I have both tried them and they are pretty excellent...hopefully they get good reviews at his work tomorrow!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Party Part Two: The Favors and Some Thank Yous

I don't know what possesed me...something over at Pinterest I think, but I decided to do not one, not two, but THREE handmade sewn party favors (well, two and a reversible cloth drawstring bag to put them in) along with a table full of handmade goodies at Sarge's for our party go-ers to take home with them.

I'm not sure I'll do it again, but I am sure that if I do the favors will have to be done and sitting in a box AT LEAST a month before the party happens...I just can't be finishing sewing at 03:00 on party morning ever again...

So here is what I made:

Crayon Rolls (I got the pattern from this blog here):

I changed her pattern just a smidge.  I found after I did the first few that I needed another .25" on my fabric, so I cut everything 16.75" long instead of 16.5".  I also did away with the button she applied in her final step and just used the elastic to wrap around the crayons.  Honestly, I didn't have time for buttons, but I also felt like it was just one more thing for the parents of our youngest party go-ers to worry about them detaching and eating.

I also made these:

My mother and I had seen these (well, something like this) a couple of years ago and I bought the stuff to make them and then never really did.  I decided now was the time.  I took the pattern my mom and I had used (we did make a couple but never used all the supplies or made them for what we intended them for), this pattern from the same blog I got the cupcake recipe from, and some ideas I had rolling around in my head and mixed them all together to come up with this idea.  The dimensions on my finished bag are 5"x7" the window is about 2.5" x 4.5".

They are traditionally called "I Spy Bags", but in going along with my theme, I made them "Mater's Fishin' Bags".  I even added a Lightning McQueen to the list of things to find (as Mater is always fishing Lightning McQueen out of the brush), for my Lightning, I just printed a bunch of Lightnings out on photo paper, cut them out, laminated them and cut them out again.  They aren't two sided though and I think if I do something like this in the future they will be.

If you are looking very closely at this list you will see it says "Golf Leaf"
what is actually in the bag is a GOLD leaf, but I didn't notice the typo
until all the bags were made, so they went out like that, and I'm okay with that.
 Because I did have quite a few young guests (Punk is only 3 you know) and I knew i would have non-readers (like my own kids), I decided to add a picture of the things inside the bag.  I just took a picture of all of the stuff in one of the bags and printed it out, I laminated it to the printed list of things to find so that the list is two sided, one side for readers and one side for non-readers.  (The picture is not completely accurate for every bag as the colors of some of the items varies and the style of the army man varies, but I decided that was just okay).
There were a few other things in the drawstring favor bags as well.  I picked up Cars pencils and erasers in a clearance section of Walmart and Cars notebooks in the $1 section at Joanns, I also picked up some super cute Cars stickers at Oriental Trading Company.

This is a picture of the bags (they were reversible so there is one showing each side) and what was in them:
I made the bags is the link to the tutorial online.
After I handed out the bags the children were encouraged to take their parents over to visit "Sarge's Surplus of Sweets":
There were Dum-Dum suckers, individually wrapped Twizzlers, Fruit Gems and an array of things I made for the table.
Dipsticks: (Pringles makes honey butter flavored cracker sticks, I dipped them in chocolate and packaged them three to a package in cellophane pretzel bags).
Hubcaps: (round pretzels (mine are Rold Gold Butter Flavored Pretzel Checkers) with Hershey's kisses centered on them, then placed in a 275 degree oven for 3 minutes, when they come out immediately press an M&M into the center of them), I found the idea on Pinterest, but it links back to foodgawker and I couldn't find the original blog they came from so if anyone finds it let me know and I'll link it here).
Traffic Lights:  Scotcheroos (with peanut butter chips substituted for the butterscotch chips, personal preference) with red, yellow and green M&M's pressed into the chocolate and cut into long rectangles.
Tires:  Chocolate glazed mini donuts (I didn't make them, Hostess did), I melted the chocolate on the donuts a little by just touching them to a warmed saute pan to make them stick together.  I didn't get a good picture of them, but there are four of them, three tires laying on top of each other and one standing on the stack of three, just like you see at Casa Della Tires in Radiator Springs.
Rocky Road Pops: I got the idea from this blog here, but I used two marshmallows and a combination of semi-sweet and milk chocolate to dip them in.

So, when all was said and done the guests left with a little bit of fun (the cars they "painted" at Ramone's), some of my handiwork (the Fishin' Bags, Crayon Rolls and Drawstring Bags), something useful and fun from the piñata, and a whole bunch of sugar (although there was a lot left at Sarge's when we were done and I sent it all to work with Bobby this morning).

I have to thank Bobby for being so patient with me through the planning and execution of this thing, my mom and April for sending crafty stuff from Phoenix so I didn't have to purchase it again, Pinterest (and my friends there) for so many awesome ideas, Casie who helped in the week before the party and was my kitchen helper at the party, Kristin who did an AWESOME job putting together the posters and banners I printed out but would never have gotten together otherwise, and Eric and Kristi for helping set up and clean up this mess.  I also want to thank everyone who brought their kids and had a good time.  That's really what it's about and I hope your kids remember us and the fun we've all had together for a long time to come.

The Party is OVER!!!

And I couldn't be happier about that fact!

I had a blast planning and getting ready for the party, but by the end I was just kind of stressed out.  I didn't get to do everything I thought I wanted and I didn't take the best pictures ever (in fact they are kind of awful).  I'll tell you what I learned.

First off.  If I am going to go all out on a party for my kids, I need to give myself a few months to get it together instead of a few weeks.  Second, I need to take help when it is offered.  If I would have taken a little sewing help on the favors I would have had them done a week before the party (instead of mere hours before) and I could have focused a little more on some of the other stuff.  Third, I need to make a list of everything I want to get pictures of prior to the party, then I need to use that list.  I only got about 5 pictures of Punk and none of Bug (going along with this, I need to have the party set up and ready to go at least an hour before so I can take before pictures of the party, then I need to take a minute or two to take after pics before clean up starts).

There were really four basic parts of this party: decorations, activities, food, and favors.  I am going to post decorations, activities, and food in this blog and give favors it's very own post (although, I may get that post up tonight as well, since both my kids are in bed already).

Decorations, Food and Activities:

When you arrived you saw this:

You got your food from "Flo's V8 Cafe":
The food was fun (and I didn't get any great pictures of it).  It consisted of "Wheelie PB&J" (PB&J cut and pressed with a Pampered Chef Cut N Seal), Chicken "Dipsticks" chicken sticks served in a cup so that BBQ sauce could just be added to the cup for easy carrying/dipping/eating, Veggie "Dipsticks" also served in a cup so that Ranch dipping sauce could be added the same way, "Rims and Cheese" wagon wheel shaped macaroni with Velveeta cheese sauce again, served in cups for easy portioning and eating and these:
I don't know if you can see them, but they are apple slices with grapes held in by toothpicks as wheels, I thought they were so stinkin' cute!  I also had green chili burros for the adults, no cutesy anything to call them, just food for the grown ups to enjoy.  I served the green chili with tortillas, chips, salsa, cheese and sour cream (nothing fancy, I didn't even make my own salsa).

You went over to this drink table to pick your drink:
You could pick from "Fillmore's Organic Fuel"
The favorite "Fillmore's Organic Coolant" (in your choice of Cherry or Tropical Punch flavor):
Or an array of other products all of them sponsors of Piston Cup Drivers.  Here are the two favorites Dinoco Dr. Pepper and Rusteze Pepsi:

We also had Vitoline (Root Beer) and N2OCola (Sierra Mist, it reminded of "no 2 cola").

We had an early party (we stared at 10:30), but everyone seemed to be ready to eat, so we started with the food.  When everyone was done eating we had a couple of activities for the kids.

They could head on over to Tractor Tipping:
Where they were encouraged to set up dominoes with tractor stickers on them and knock them down.  The kids were slow to try this but really had a lot of fun with it once they got into it.

Or they could head on over to "Ramone's House of Art":
Where they could use the provided crayons to color their choice of Cars themed coloring pages (found online here) or where they could use markers to color their very own wooden cars (I had small ones purchased from Oriental Trading Company here and larger ones that I just lucked into at our local Goodwill for a steal).  Even the grown ups really got into coloring and creating designs on their wooden cars (and I didn't get any pictures of the fun at mother-in-law thinks she has a few and I'll share them when I get a hold of her camera).

We were going to break that piñata that I made a month or two back and I filled it full of these goodies:
Goldfish, Cars fruit snacks, and
YES that is Kleenex, who doesn't need Kleenex?
And we hung it up:
But when we went to move it so the kids could take a whack at broke all on it's own.  The kids still had fun picking the stuff out of it and they liked my sort of strange choices for piñata fillings.

Then we sang Happy Birthday and we ate cupcakes:
I used the cupcake and frosting recipe found here.  They were fabulous, but I did have a hard time piping the frosting.  Apparently my white chocolate did not melt all the way and I had very small chunks of white chocolate running through the frosting, not a problem for taste at all, but it made piping VERY frustrating.  When I make these cupcakes next time (and I will they are fabulous) I will make some changes to the frosting recipe.  I will melt the white chocolate over a double boiler then I will add the cream cheese and melt them together.  I will then add the warmed cream and proceed from that point.  I think this will keep any chunks of white chocolate or cream cheese from getting in the way of piping.

I actually took two not so great pics of the cupcakes so here they are again:
I made the cupcake toppers myself too.  I just printed out pictures of a bunch of the Cars characters and punched them out with a 1.5" circle punch.  Then I punched red and black 2" circles with another punch and glued the characters to a circle, I then attached the circle to a toothpick with double sided tape and added a second blank 2" circle to the other side (to hide the toothpick) they turned out really cute.  I had some help putting them together and they aren't perfect, but we were slapping them together right before the party started (next time cupcake toppers is something I will have done WEEKS if not months in advance).

After we had cupcakes (and ice cream that I also served in those same clear cups we talked about earlier) then Punk opened his gifts.  I do actually have a few (really bad) shots of him opening his presents, I am only showing you them in hopes that you can see the super cute shirt I bought him.  It is navy blue and has a "3" appliqued onto it in Cars fabric, I picked it up from this Etsy shop here.

Then I passed out favor bags and the kids all went to visit Sarge's Surplus of Sweets....but that's another post.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Women - Tougher Than Ever

A friend of mine on Facebook posted the following article today...and it made me think and it made me ANGRY.

Tough Gals Do They Still Exist?

Are women more "girly" than they have been in the last 30 years?  Maybe.  There does seem to be a resurgence of femininity in a lot of circles lately.  Women who are proud to cook, bake, craft, sew, knit, be good homemakers, mothers, and/or wives.  Women who wear makeup, pearls, high heels, and gasp PINK.

Another supermom I know, links to her blog.
My question is this: does being feminine or taking pride in doing typically "domestic" things make us less tough?  Um, hell no.

I would submit to you that it is even harder today in the face of "feminists", who want all things feminine eradicated from our world, to be strong, feminine and even domestic.

I carried two children inside my body.  Almost ten months of my body not being my own with each one, followed by c-sections, the first after 18.5 hours of labor (including 7+ hours of a pitocin drip).  Twenty-five hours after I had my second child (also via c-section) I was showered and dressed in my own clothes sitting cross legged on my hospital bed nursing my baby.  The nurse who came in to check on me that morning said she didn't know how I did it, there were women all around me who were to be discharged in just a few hours who she couldn't even get out of bed to shower (I had very forcefully requested that my night nurse come in and take out my catheter the moment it had been in 24 hours so I could move around and shower on my own, my request was granted, because I didn't give them "no" as an option).  I was home 56 hours after that second c-section taking care of my newborn and my not quite two year old (although I had help the first week).  In five days I was at church (in nylons and a dress) with both kids and the next day I was taking care of the house and kids on my own.  And my story is NOTHING.  I have friends who have given birth without their husbands (who were deployed when the babies came) some of them after months of bed rest and complicated pregnancies while they took care of their toddlers and homes on their own.  Not to mention friends of mine who have been unable to bear children and the heartache they have endured and come through to be wonderful mothers to children they did not give birth to but love no different than if they had.

I am not the world's best fact, I have never been a great fan of cleaning, but I'm getting better.  I can get an amazing amount done in just a few short stolen minutes while my kids are napping or distracted by a game or movie.  I can get just about any stain out of just about any fabric.  I can unload and load a whole dishwasher in 10 minutes flat (including hand-washing anything too big or delicate to go into said dishwasher).

I can make dinner out of pantry staples in less than 30 minutes, or I can put together a totally elaborate spread for 15 when necessary.  I can throw an amazing party for a three year old or for a military commissioning ceremony.

I can diagnose and fix simple computer issues.  I can check my own oil and water in my car.  I can recharge my ac, tighten an ac belt, diagnose simple car problems and I can change a tire (I don't always do those things, but I am perfectly capable of them all).  I can take apart a vacuum cleaner and put it back together (and it will still work).  I take out my own garbage (and since we live in the sticks and it's required right now I can and do my own burning).  I can mow my own lawn.  I can iron a dress, a child's shirt, a man's shirt, my shirt, slacks, or a military uniform to perfection.  I can balance a budget.  I can change two diapers in two minutes on a changing table in a dirty public bathroom without ever letting a child's bum touch the changer.  I can change a diaper on my lap in a car or on a park bench.  I can nurse in public without you or anyone else in the room even noticing.  I can fix boo-boos with a kiss.

I craft and I sew and I'm even pretty good at some of it.  I enjoy making things and I enjoy the joy those things can bring to others.  It's FUN to make other people happy with something I have put time and effort into, and it makes people feel special to know that someone would put more effort than running to the store into a gift.

I keep a marriage alive and growing.  My husband is away a lot, it's not always easy, but we do it together.  We communicate via email about things most couples get to have face to face and heartfelt discussions about (like having a first baby, a second baby or how to know if your family is complete).  I manage to make my husband feel as loved and appreciated as he is, even when I can't throw my arms around him every day to show him.  I work hard to make sure that both my children know their daddy loves them and is thinking of them when he is gone often (not an easy task with toddlers).  I teach them that their daddy's job is important, that he helps us and all of their friends be free and safe.  And when my husband is home, I do all I can to show him just exactly how much he was missed and is loved everyday.

I teach my children to count, to color, to recognize shapes, letters, numbers and colors.  As they grow I will teach them to read, to use a computer, to use a phone and to take care of themselves.  I read to them, I play with them, I make sure they know they are loved, I discipline them.  I teach them where they came from, why they are here and where they are going.  I teach them to pray, I pray with them.  I get them ready for church every Sunday and even when they are monsters at church they know that is where we belong and I will have it no other way.

I don't want to burn my bra (I need it, have you seen my boobs? we need all the help fighting gravity we can get), no corporate job could ever be as challenging or as rewarding for me as my 24/7/365 job as a wife, mother, and homemaker, I am a supermom and I am lucky to know a lot of other supermoms, I want exactly what I have...and I make a mean cupcake.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Punk Says

So, the other day Punk was asking to go see his "Nana" (my Grandma Bessie).  I was explaining the next year's moves to him, "We can't go see Nana right now, she lives far away in Phoenix.  Right now we live close to Gramma Di and that is our grandma we see.  In a few months we will move to Nana and Grandma Deb and we will live close to them, but we won't have Daddy, he'll be at "long work".  Then in a few months we will move again and we will be with Daddy but you won't have any Grandmas or Nanas close."  Punk considered this for a few moments and said to me, "No grannas or nanas or patas?" (pata is papa, or grandpa), I said "No, they won't be close by, but they will come visit and you can call them on the phone and they always love you"  Punk thought another couple of seconds and said "AND no Bugs!" (after I stopped laughing) I said, "No, we will be taking Bug with us, we will always take Bug with us".

Fast forward to today...

Bug is napping (has been for about an hour), I am straightening my hair when I see Punk go past me towards his bedroom.
Me: "Punk, come here."
He sulks into the bathroom
Me: "Don't go in your room, Bug is napping in there"
Punk: "I need to wake him up"
Punk: "I NEED him"
Me: "I'll get him out when he wakes up"
Punk: "Mom, I need you to get him NOW, I need brother to PLAY!"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Green Smoothies

Spinach in your morning smoothie?  Yuck, right?  I have always thought so.

Since my "after I put the kids to bed congratulatory (everyone lived through the day) snack" has been just about daily since Bobby is gone, I've been on a quest for easy snacks.  Easy I found, this Nutella Mug Cake (that is enough for two-four people and I actually made in a bowl) is SCARY easy and delicious (and I make it with half the sugar it asks for), but seriously, if I eat that cake every night I'm gonna be 400lbs next month and I'm trying to drop a few not pack on a few.

Since I have a new addiction, Pinterest (you should have this addiction too, if you need an invite, let me know), I have seen a lot of pretty (read: gross) green smoothies popping up and today I thought...well, whatever, I'll give it a whirl.  Besides, I own a Blendtec blender, and while it is one of my favorite things in my kitchen, it is woefully under utilized.

So I threw in:

1 Frozen Banana (my kid only eats half per day, I throw the other half in the freezer, I have two bags full of frozen half bananas)
1/3 cup of Sunday's fruit salad (kiwi, pineapple, plums, nectarines, and cherries-it's gonna go bad like tomorrow if I don't use it)
Water to the 2 cup line on my blender

BLEND away.

It made about 3 cups of smoothie, I was sad I didn't have a straw because I was afraid to touch it with my lips.  It was a PRETTY green, but it was still SPINACH in my drink.  I took a deep breath and a big swig.
Note: Picture used is not my smoothie, just one I found
online that looks very similar to what I ended up with.
DELICIOUS...wait, delicious?  Yep, delicious!

I am still a little bit in shock about it.  The banana did what banana's do and took over a lot of the flavor.  Bananas are also awesomely creamy when blended from frozen so it had an almost milkshake like consistency.  The fruit I used was all just enough to add an awesome sweet/tart to the smoothie. AND, I'm not blowing smoke up your bum, I could not taste the spinach at all.

I will be making more green smoothies (in fact, I'll be using the end of my frozen spinach in the morning and getting more tomorrow).  People brag on how good they can make you look (skin glow) and feel (energy), and there are lots of people who swear by them for weight loss.  I'm not telling you that I believe they are the miracle cure that they are touted as being on some websites, but I am telling you that I'll be making more and I'll let you know if I see any changes (positive or negative) from this new staple in my diet.

Not a Good Blogger

That's me, not a good blogger.  Truth is that my life is pretty uninteresting and I don't really have that much to say, however, I'm working on it.  I think I'm going to start trying to blog more recipes (even if they aren't that interesting or new to me), and I've decided I'm going to start reviewing things I use or try and places we go/things we do or see.  No one cares, probably, but it is, at the very least, a way for me to write more and, even if no one is reading, it is good practice...I feel a little bit like I'm getting older and dumber everyday and I need to practice some skill that doesn't involve cleaning solutions or balancing children (although, I think I'll write more about those things too).  Might take me a few weeks to get into it, but it's a goal, and I'm going to work towards it can't hurt.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Party Prep

Sorry for the lack of posts, we have been wicked busy since Bobby left a couple weeks ago, Cori was here to visit (that was awesome) and I've been preparing for Punk's first birthday party (not his first birthday, he'll be three, but his first party none-the-less).  I've got lots of fun things up my sleeve and I'm working like crazy to get it all figured out.  There will be lots of party posts after, but I don't want to give too much away...stay tuned.

Friday, July 22, 2011

No Recipe - Pork Wanton Tostadas

Remember the Root Beer Pulled Pork?  Well, I used the leftovers to make these:

It's a flat take on Applebee's Pork Wanton Tacos (which are our absolute favorite thing on the menu at Applebee's).

I fried up the wanton wrappers flat (because I didn't want to deal with the whole folding them while frying thing) so they are tostadas instead of tacos.

I made the coleslaw using about half a bagged coleslaw mix that I added about 1/2 a chopped red onion to and I made the dressing with mayo, rice wine vinegar, stir fry sauce, an Asian sesame salad dressing/marinade and a little sugar (honey would have been a better choice, but I didn't have any), I just played with the dressing until it tasted good and used it to moisten the slaw/onion mix.

I put a heaping tablespoon of the pulled pork on the fried wanton, added a some slaw on top, garnished the whole thing with cilantro and squeezed some lemon over the top.

They were pretty awesome (if I do say so myself), Bobby liked them so well that he found something else to order when we went to Applebees a few days later because "You can make those at home"...

Next time I make them I'll try to take some measurements and I'll write down the brands of the sauces I used AND I picked up some honey so that the sweetening will be more on.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day Thirty - Your Favorite Song This Time of Year

This is the birth month of both of my's a song for them:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day Twenty-Eight - A Song From a Musical You Have Never Seen

I've never seen it, but I'd like to:

Day Twenty-Seven - A Song You Wish You Could Play

Since I can't play anything past a CD player...I'm gonna go with all of them...

It's a cop out, I know, but I can't narrow what I'd like to be able to play down to one song...and I don't want to.

Friday, July 15, 2011

More Punk

At dinner at Famous Dave's, I already ordered Punk's food:
Me, Bobby and Cori place our orders.
Server walks to next table.
Punk: "Excuse me, excuse me, I need macaroni, excuse me."
I explained I already ordered I tried to control my laughter.  We maybe eat out too often since my son not only knows how to order, but how to get the server's attention politely as well.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The World According to Punk...

So, he's almost three with all the things that come with that...

We were driving into the parking lot at a Costco Punk had never been to the other day:
Cori: Where are we Punk?
Punk looks out one window: That's gas.
Cori: No, the store, look on the other side.
Punk: Oh, that's a Costco!
My baby can READ!

At dinner at Famous Daves:
Punk (pointing to my cornbread muffin): That's a pancake!
Me: No, Punk, it's not a pancake it's a muffin.
Punk: A muh-tin?
Me: Yes, a muFF-in.
Punk: Look at my mouth.  A MUH-TIN.
He has trouble with consonants in the middle of words, they often come out like "t"s so I tell him to "look at my mouth" so he can see how to say the words...

Walked out of the bedroom yesterday after getting dressed:
Punk: Mommy!  That's a red are a RACECAR!

In the front room the other day:
Punk: Mommy, you are a princess.  I need to slay the dragon and give the princess true love's first kiss!
Me: Who is the dragon?
Punk: DADDY is the dragon.
Epic battle ensues, Punk wins, the dragon is slain.
Punk: I have to give you true love's first kiss!
Jumps in my lap and kisses me.
He's been watching a lot of Shrek...

Day Twenty-Six - A Song From Your Favorite Movie Musical

Okay, well, I have two favorite movie musicals.

Not animated:

Side note: this live action version of After Today is the brainchild of a good friend of my brother and sister-in-law's by the name of Ted Sowards...he's a genius, I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day Twenty-Five - A Song That Makes You Laugh

Ludacris on country stations is riotous to me...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day Twenty-Two - A Song You Listen To When You Are Sad

I'm usually sad because Bobby is gone, so I often listen to songs that remind me of him, or of our relationship...lately I like this one quite a bit:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day Twenty-One - A Song You Listen To When You Are Happy

This song always makes me smile, as does pretty much everything from Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day Twenty - A Song You Listen To When You Are Angry

Mad music?  I don't have a lot of that right now (maybe I need more), there was a time when it was all Alanis all the time though...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day Nineteen - A Song From Your Favorite Album

I have several "favorite" albums...but here is a song from one of them...

Day Eighteen - A Song You Wish You Heard on the Radio

As a Dyhard it would have to be either Spin or Collide from the, now defunct, Living Daylytes.

No Youtube on this one, they were never that big, but you can play a few of their songs on their MySpace page.

If you ever get your hands on a copy of their CD "Spin" check out the thank you's in the liner notes, I'm in there...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day Seventeen - A Song You Hear Often on the Radio

Lately I've been hearing this song A LOT, and I'm okay with that, because I kind of love this song (and so does Bobby, so when I hear it it makes me think of him, and that makes me happy):

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Root Beer Pulled Pork

Made delicious Root Beer Pulled Pork tonight thanks to Gina.

We ate this with a side of steamed asparagus with a little butter, salt and pepper and some yummy seedless watermelon.  Both me and Bobby really liked the flavor of the meat, because of the root beer I added to the sauce you do get a little root beer flavor, but if you didn't know what it was you would just interpret it as a different kind of sweetness coming from the sauce.  I will make this again for sure although it could have used a little more heat for me, so I think next time I'll add some cracked black pepper to the sauce.

3lbs pork roast (I used two small tenderloin roasts)
20 oz root beer (I used Mug because that is what the little grocery store here carries, any brand will do)
18 oz prepared BBQ sauce (use your favorite, I used Sweet Baby Rays Original)
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
2-3 T Water

Place the roast in your slow cooker (if there is any fat on the meat make sure it is facing you so the fat can run down the meat and help keep it moist while it cooks) pour 2/3-3/4 of the root beer over the roast, cook until it shreds easily (probably about 6-8 hours on low).  Remove meat from the juices/root beer in the slow cooker and discard juices from cooking.  Just prior to serving pour remaining root beer in a large pan (I use this one in the "butter"color, because after all, it is Paula Deen cookware), cook over med-high heat 5-7 minutes or until reduced by half.  Add the bottle of BBQ sauce to the pan.  Put the water and Worcestershire Sauce into your BBQ sauce bottle and shake it up, add mix to the pan.  Remove any residual fat from the meat and chop/shred meat to your preferred consistency, then add to the pan.  Fold all together until the meat is covered in sauce.  Serve on your favorite roll (Bobby picked our rolls, so they were, of course, potato bread).

There is a TON of this leftover, I'm thinking I might try my hand at a take on Applebee's wanton tacos with what we have left (and if I do, I'll post all about it).

Day Sixteen - A Song From Your Favorite Broadway Musical

That musical would be Wicked, if you haven't seen it you are missing out in a BIG, BIG, BIG way, and you should run out and by tickets to it immediately.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day Fifteen - A Song The Describes You

Thought this was today appropriate...

Happy Independence Day...remember how we got that way and how we stay that way.

Day Fourteen - A Song No One Would Expect You to Love

Here it is...Eminem, you didn't know did you?  I don't listen to his music regularly and we disagree on a lot of things, but I think the guy is kind of a genius.

Advisory: This is pretty clean for Em, but's still Eminem.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day Thirteen - A Song That is a Guilty Pleasure

I have a guilty pleasure decade (the 80's) but I'd have to say that my all time fave's from that time come from the Bangles:


Friday, July 1, 2011

Day Twelve - A Song From a Band You Hate

A band I hate?  Wracked my brain on this one and really couldn't come up with how about the afore mentioned "Gold Digger" from Kanye West?  This is the clean AND Glee version...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day Eleven - A Song From Your Favorite Band

Right NOW, I'm a huge fan of the Zac Brown Band...

Every time I hear this song I think of Lance Cpl. David Raymond Baker who was killed in October 2009 in Afghanistan and this tribute to him.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day Ten - A Song to Relax You

I have a 182 item, 12.6 hour long "mellow" playlist...ONE song...ridiculous.  I guess we'll go with the first one on that playlist...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day Nine - A Song You Can Dance To

It's a song I can dance to...

In fact, I once called my dad at 10:00p.m. from the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe, AZ to come down and dance with me to this song.  Roger Clyne commented afterwards how nice it was to see someone really waltz to the song.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day Eight - A Song You Know All of the Words To

So many to choose from...

This is one I've probably known the words to for the longest period of time.  No, I don't know those kids (but they are cute aren't they?).

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day Seven - A Song The Reminds You of a Certain Event

Where were you?

As I was living in the west, I was sleeping...until the second tower was hit, then my phone started ringing.  I watched the towers fall on live TV.  I have never been to New York, I didn't know anyone personally living there, but I cried anyway.  My country was under attack, innocent people were dying, my safety had been threatened for the first time in my life.  There were bad people in the world before that, but they were "out there" somewhere, not on my airplanes, in my country, attacking civilians.  I realized shortly after (like within hours of the attacks) that any change for the negative would be letting the bad guys win, so I made a decision that I would not be scared, I would just be strong, patriotic, and proud of my freedoms, I am that person today and I will be that person forever, consciously, because of that day.

Friday, June 24, 2011

What I did this week (okay, for the last two days)...

So we are having a "Mexican Fiesta" at church tonight and one of the activities is a piñata contest.  Last week when I found out about it I did some internet searching to find info on making a piñata in the shape of a car (because, after all, with two little boys in our house Cars is next to God) and I found this information.  It wasn't a lot to go on, but I decided to go for it anyway.

So this is how it started...

You can see the bowl of paper maché gunk in the background of these pics.  You want a 2 parts flour to 3 parts water mix.  I did 4 cups flour, 6 cups water and 2 tablespoons of salt.  Then you start dipping newspaper strips into the gunk and layering them onto the balloons.  You want the newspaper to be wet, but not sloppy.


We covered the top (Bobby helped cause he's the best husband ever), then I had to wait till morning for it to dry before I could tackle the bottom.  I made sure there were at least two layers all over, if you are making a piñata for an older child's/adult's party you will want it stronger than that so you will need to add additional layers (this is for the contest and possibly Punkin's birthday party in August).

Once all your layers are on and it is dry you are ready to start decorating.

I started with the wheels.  I used approximately 4" strips of black crepe paper and (many) gluesticks to glue the paper to the wheels.
Then I covered the bottom of the piñata with silver tissue paper.  You can still see the newsprint through the tissue paper in some places, but I.DON'T.CARE.

Next I glued red crepe paper into the crevices that were going to be hard to get into so that those places would be covered and I ran one strip of red crepe paper around the bottom part of the top of the car (like just above the bumper so that part of the newspaper would be covered.  Then I glued on the eyes which I drew on a piece of white paper and cut to size for a "windshield".  Bobby then helped glue the crepe paper strips all over the car, again, we used 4" crepe paper strips.  When that was done I added tin foil "hubcaps" and "fenders" attaching them with a glue gun.  I also added the smile (which I just drew on a piece of white paper and glued to the front of the car.

As you can see, he still needs a back window and side windows.  I will probably add them before I take him to the contest (and I'll add a picture when I do), but when I finished him last night I was so tired of looking at him I just couldn't do any more.

ETA: Pics with windows (cut out of black paper and glued on with good old Elmer's.

Tips for making a piñata:

1.  Seriously consider why you are making it.  It takes a long time and can be wicked frustrating, so, if it isn't for a contest or self satisfaction you really need...think about just buying one.

2.  Have A.LOT of gluesticks handy (it took us eight).

3.  Have a plan and be willing to change it.

4.  Give yourself a week to do it.  I only gave myself two days and it was not really enough time.

5.  Keep your sense of humor about you so when it looks silly (as mine does) you can still say you enjoyed yourself.

6.  Blog about your experience, because it can be hard to find information on making piñatas and I didn't do a great job of taking pictures of the process so someone I know should do a better tutorial for the world!