Saturday, June 30, 2007

Heart of Gold

That's what my son has. He really does.

Today is my birthday, and as I said a couple posts ago, my hubby has to work today, so we celebrated yesterday.

But my son wanted today to still be special too.

I wanted to sleep in this morning as late as I could. That didn't exactly happen, but that's ok. Ruthi had come in and got in the bed with me around 8:00 this morning. Shortly after that, I heard CJ talking to her, and then they were gone. So I went back to sleep.

A little bit later, they were back, and I heard in the sweetest little voice, "Happy Birsh-day Mommy" and Ruthi was handing me a card.

CJ had taken her to his room to let her make a card for me. And he made one too. Talk about melting my heart! And then they sang Happy Birthday to me.

What a great start to the day! (I wish I could say the rest of the day has been that great! But, oh well!)

He did the same thing for Mother's Day too - he and Ruthi made a card together for me.

Is that not the sweetest thing? He really wants to make things special for me. He wanted to take me to Starbucks today and treat me. But, my stomach has not been very cooperative today At. All. So I told him maybe we should wait until tomorrow. Plus, that way Chip will be home we can leave Ruthi with him, so CJ and I can have a little one-on-one time.

He really thought it would be nice to take me on my actual birthday, but he agreed to wait until tomorrow.

As far as yesterday - it turned out wonderful. Hubby bought me quite a few new clothing items - it was a LOT of fun! Marshall's had some great picks. And then I ended up with a few more things from Goody's too.

And then we went out for an early dinner - we ate a late breakfast and skipped lunch, so we were hungry! And a bonus - no crowds!

We went to Johnny Carino's, which I had been craving for a while. We got the Italian Nachos - our absolute favorite appetizer.
And I ordered the Jalapeno Garlic Tilapia. I ordered this because Barb has a recipe for it on her blog, and it looked so yummy. So I thought I'd try it and see if I liked it before I tried making it.

Well, it was almost too spicy for me to eat. I just tried to avoid the actual chunks of Jalapeno. Yeah, it was hot. And lets just say I was paying for it today. 'Nuff said!

I won't be making this because Chip wasn't crazy about the fish/pasta combination. I thought it was ok, but won't miss it if I don't have it again.

However, Barb also has a recipe for the dipping stuff that you pour the olive oil over and dip your bread in. I tried it a while back and made a big batch of it and keep it on hand. We eat it probably once a week - it is fabulous.

And I totally intend to try her recipe for Italian Nachos, because, as I said - we love those.

Anyway, the day was fantastic. And today's not too bad either.

And I can't believe I'm now 35 - that's halfway to 70! LOL!

Dirty Little Secret

The things I'll do to have a chance to win something! What am I trying to get this time? A $25 Target gift card! How could I pass up the chance to win that? Sarah at Ordinary Days is daring us to "air our dirty laundry", so to speak. This challenge is to be honest and let the 'world' in on something we might not normally want the world to know about us.

Problem is, I could think of quite a few things. Most of which I couldn't actually take a picture - just things about me that I could tell you. But I'm too chicken for that.

So I opted to go the route she did - show a part of my house that needs some attention. Hmmm....a place I'd be embarassed if anyone saw. I typically have more than one place like this. But the organizing bug hit me recently and I've been quite busy tackling those spots!

But this one remains. My hall closet. This closet is an overflow of scrapbooking things, a place to store odds and ends and everything that I don't really have another place inside the house to store. Keep in mind, that I did actually clean this thing out not too terribly long ago. But it just keeps getting messy again. At times, it is very difficult to even close the door!

I really would hate for someone to open this door right now! Here it is, in all it's glory. 3 photos, from the top to the bottom.

OK, then I got really brave and decided to take pictures of the true dark hole. The one that is more "out of sight, out of mind" but not really so much out of mind. Because everytime I have to go out there, I cringe a litte. I've had really good intentions of cleaning it out and adding some organization, but well, you know how it goes with good intentions.

In my defense, it is really difficult, because I can't have Ruthi with me to do this - too hot and I'm afraid she'll get hurt. So I keep thinking, when she gets a little older I can do it. Or, I could do it at night while she sleeps! Obviously, I haven't made it a priority.

This is the storage building/office in our back yard. Hubby's office and workshop is downstairs. The mess is upstairs. We added this after Ruthi was born, because most of it was stored in what is now her room. She's 2 and a half now. And this has been lurking out there all this time! Scary!
(Sorry the pictures are a little dark.)

So there you have it. Some dark secrets. Now I really hope I win that gift card, because I really love me some Target! :o)

Changes have begun....

Can you tell? lol!

Please bear with me - I'm trying to figure all this stuff out. HTML can be quite confusing - especially for my brain!

I've gotten my template change, and I'm playing with the colors. This is the color scheme I'm going for, but I'm still trying to work some bugs out, and things may still shift some.

There are a couple things I cant' figure out how to get changed to the right colors, so I'm still boggling my mind here!

My new header is being worked on, and when it is ready, I will reveal the new name of my blog.

I thought I'd go ahead and at least get you used to the colors first, without the name change so you won't think you've arrived at the wrong place!

This is definitely an adventure for me...thanks for tagging along!

Stay tuned!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Not EXACTLY the way I pictured the beginning of the day!

Tomorrow is my birthday. Unfortunately, my hubby has to work.

So he decided to make my day today a little special.

He had to go into town, so he brought home my FAVORITE item from Martins - a pork tenderloin biscuit with tomato and mayonnaise. And it was SO very yummy. Especially since I haven't had one in quite some time.

He asked me last night if I was going to be busy today - I said, not really. He wants to take me shopping - YAY! I'm not even sure what we'll be shopping for, but it doesn't really matter.
And, I suspect, that he may have plans to take me out for dinner as well. I mean, if he's calling this a special day for me, he wouldn't want me to cook, right?

Well, even if I do cook, that would be fine. Guess I'll find that out later.

But - here's the little monkey wrench in our day.

First, I need to back up.

On Tuesday of this week, we went to the chiropractor and out to lunch. We came home, parked the car and went about our business.

Wednesday morning rolls around, and I need to run to the post office. The car won't start - won't even turn over. I assume the battery is dead. Chip is at work, so I go back inside and we make no ventures out. (If I'd really needed to go out, I have fantastic neighbors that would have helped, or Chip would have even come home long enough to take care of matters - but it really was no big deal.)

Yesterday he's home, and tried to start the car, to no avail, but had a busy day, so didn't really do anything about it.

Well this morning - here is the scene:

Yep, the car is dead. And it is not the battery. So into the shop it goes.
Ruthi found it quite fun to watch the tow truck pull the car up. She's been saying our car is broken. When it was in place on the truck, she excitedly announced, "It's fixed!" And I had to explain to her, no, now it needed to go to the "doctor".

Which she seemed to understand...

Until the truck began to drive off.

Oh the tears!! I couldn't believe it. She was EXTREMELY upset that our car was being taken away. Poor thing.

So, we are still going to get to go shopping, we will go in hubby's truck instead.

Ironically, on Tuesday, hubby saw a couple of the guys from our mechanic shop at the gas station (next door to the shop) and made the comment - "I'm glad you're not having to work on this thing." (He was driving the Expedition)
And that was the last time it was driven!

Coincidence or Conspiracy? Yeah, we think they did something to it.

Not really.

But it is quite ironic!

Oh, and for the record, yes I'm aware that and SUV such as mine is typically referred to as a truck, not a car. But I am a girl, and to me it is a car. Hubby drives a truck, you know, with a bed - that's a truck to me. I don't care if it is sitting on a truck chassis or whatever, it's still a car to me!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tasty Thursday #12

Hosted by Trista at The Pumkin Patch.

Dessert Edition

As promised, I'm sharing my recipe for Chocolate Mousse. AND....with pictures!!! I always drool over the recipes that include pictures, so I thought I'd have some fun and do the same. Some pictures were impossible to capture since I only have 2 hands. The one picture where both of my hands are in it, was taken by my son as he was passing through. OK, so now on to the good stuff....

Chocolate Mousse

4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream (whipping)
1 package (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (whipping)

Beat egg yolks in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in sugar.

Heat 1 cup whipping cream in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until hot. *Gradually stir at least half of the hot whipping cream into the egg yolk mixture; stir back into hot cream in saucepan. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (do not boil).

Stir in chocolate chips until melted.

Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, just until chilled.

This is optional - you can simply serve the mousse in any serving dish. But I wanted to make mine extra special and made chocolate cups to serve it in. To do this, you will need 9 oz. semi-sweet chocolate. I used chocolate chips.

Melt chocolate in microwave or on stove over very low heat.

Spread chocolate over the inside of aluminum foil baking cups or double-layered paper baking cups, using a spoon or brush to completely coat all surfaces with a layer of chocolate.

Set cups in muffin pans. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Make sure you coated all areas well - if there are thin spots, they will break! (Don't ask me how I know!) If you notice some thin spots after they harden, just brush another layer of chocolate where needed.

Remove cups from refrigerator and carefully peel off paper or aluminum foil. Refrigerate until ready to use.

I was only making 6 cups, so I had some leftover. I decided to make some little shapes to use for decoration. I used a disposable pastry bag, but you could even use a ziplock bag. Just add the melted chocolate, close the bag and snip a small corner from the bag and squeeze. I lined my cookie sheet with wax paper and just started piping swirls and stuff. Stick the cookie sheet into the fridge until they harden, and peel off the wax paper.

Now - finish the mousse!

Beat 1 1/2 cups whipping cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold chocolate mixture into whipped cream. Pipe or spoon mixture into serving bowls. Immediately refrigerate any remaining dessert after serving.

I like to serve my mousse very cold, so I make as far in advance as possible. I served this on Saturday, so I made it on Friday. The little chocolate pieces wouldn't stand up in the mousse until I had chilled it for a bit.

Makes a very impressive dessert - and oh so yummy!!

*Stirring half of the whipping cream into the egg yolk mixture prevents the egg yolks from being cooked in the hot whipping cream.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Father's Day Pictures

So, I'm only a week and a half late posting these pictures. We went to visit Chip's parents on Father's Day. We had a wonderful time - lots of good homecooked southern style food - SO GOOD! One of Chip's aunts, Von, was there, who we'd not seen in a long time. She had seen Ruthi once when she was just a baby, so Von was amazed at how big she was now.

And as usual, Ruthi was quite the ham. She discovered Papaw had watermelon, and kept running back for another bite. And she thoroughly enjoyed the homemade ice cream, as did we all.

We hung out on the porch for a while, and Ruthi had to sit in every single chair, and climbed up and down on the swing. And she absolutely had to hug and kiss the big ceramic pig! She loves the animals!

Sure, it was Father's Day, but we all who know who was the center of attention! Don't worry, CJ got his share of attention too!

My Dad was out of the country on Father's Day, so we haven't gotten to celebrate with him yet. But we will be doing that next week, so I'll have even more belated FD pictures then!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Who doesn't love something free?

I know I do!

Making a House a Home is celebrating her one year blogiverssary by having a Fabulous Giveaway! Click on over and check it out!

The winner will be announced on June 30th, which just happens to be my birthday! What a great birthday gift that would make!

Potty Progress....and More

OK, so it's been 1 week since I decided to give this potty training thing a shot....just to see if Ruthi was interested.

I am TOTALLY AMAZED at this child!

Since we had the first successful tinkle in the potty last Tuesday, the ONLY time she's wet herself was when she was sleeping a couple times, and a couple times when we were away from home - and she was wearing a diaper.

I went out and bought her Dora panties on Thursday and she wanted to put them on right then. I had to explain to her that we needed to wait until we got home. And she does NOT want to tee-tee on Dora! She has made it to the potty every time.

Then there's the "other end"! The first two times, she didn't quite make it to the potty - but she was trying. I think it caught her off guard the first time. The second day, she sat on the potty for the longest time, and I began to smell something so I thought she was going. Turned out to be only air. Shortly after that, she went, but didn't quite get it to the potty. Thank heavens for hard wood floors!

So, her Daddy decided to encourage her and told her that if she could do it in the potty, he would get her some ice cream. She ended up not going for 2 days, but on the 3rd day, she made it to the potty - TWICE! Oh yeah, we are so proud of her!

Today, we "graduated" to the "big potty" and she has done both numbers on it already. What a big girl!

Now, we still haven't mastered going when we are away from home, which is why I decided to move her to the big potty so it wouldn't freak her out when we are out somewhere and she needs to go.

Today we were away from home for over 3 hours, and I kept asking her if she needed to go, and she said no. When we were about 10 minutes away from home she said she needed to, and I asked her if she could hold it. She said she could, but I was fully prepared for her to be wet when we got home....but she held it!

I just can't believe how easy this has been. CJ was terribly difficult to train, so I am just amazed. And thankful!

Now....for other BIG news!

I know that some who read this won't understand why this wasn't already happening, and others will think that we shouldn't bother with this change already. But, each family has to make their own decisions, not based on what others think.

Now your curiosity is really up, huh?

Well, Ruthi is now sleeping in her OWN BED!

Yes, up till now, she has slept with me/us. And to be quite honest, I haven't been in a big hurry to change that. I love holding her until she goes to sleep, and feeling her next to me (Ok, on me most of the time) - it's something she and I both have thoroughly enjoyed.

But, last Tuesday, (yes, the same day we started potty training) she showed interest in sleeping in her bed. So, I sat in a chair in the corner until she fell asleep. It took less than 10 minutes.

For several nights, this was the routine. She would say, "Mommy, you sit in chair and watch me." So I did. I would read as I sat there, thanks to the invention of a book light. And I've read more in a week than I had in a year!

Yesterday, she went to her bed at naptime and went to sleep all by herself - no mommy in the room. And last night, she went to sleep witout me in the room. Well, after a little incentive bribery. I told her (after she had gotten up to play several times, and running in to give us hugs and kisses), that if she'd stay in her bed and go to sleep, that she could have some ice cream today.

She slept all night. She did wake up around 5 and came to get in our bed - which is fine with me! And today, she got her ice cream.

Just a little while ago, she informed me she was sleepy - went to her room and got in her bed and went right to sleep. A big girl she is! Oh my!

Um, yeah, we are quite proud of her!

Next....the paci. But I'm in no hurry. I want these to things to be 100% mastered before we tackle that. And when she's ready, I think it will be just as easy.

And yes....I know all the "negatives" of her still having one. But she's fine, and I'm sure it will be gone soon. That will be the hardest on me, I'm sure, as to me, once that's gone, that's it for the "baby" stuff, and she truly will be a big girl. So bittersweet!

And my sweet girl will be 2 and a half on Saturday. How did that happen?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Menu Plan Monday #9

First things first - I have to talk about meatloaf.

I mentioned last week that my hubby doesn't like meatloaf. So I planned it for a night he wouldn't be home.

I have to be totally honest, and say I've never been a big fan of it myself either. But I remembered trying a recipe once that I was very happy with, so I was open to trying it again.
I made this recipe last Monday. IT WAS SOOOO GOOD! And I made it in the muffin pan, which turned out great!

Well, on Tuesday morning, when the hubster came home, he said to me, "You told the whole world I don't like meatloaf." To which, of course, I replied, "You don't!" Then he proceeded to tell me that he had eaten some at the station, and he liked it!
(This is how he started really liking Italian food too - the Italian at the station "does it right". So 3 of his recipes are on our rotation now.)
Anyway - I said that since he had some he liked, that he needed to try mine (I had leftover.) He took a bite, nodded his head and said it tasted just like what he'd had at the station! Wow! So now, this makes it to our tried and true list as well.

Thanks Lori!

And I made the Chicken, Spinach & Tomato Pizza again, and it was even more fabulous this time! I had a lot going on, so I cooked the spinach and chicken and made the Alfredo sauce earlier in the day. I even chopped up the tomatoes at that time. So when it came time to put the pizza in, it only took me about 5 minutes to throw it together - AWESOME! The great thing was since I had refrigerated the sauce, it thickened up and I was able to put on a nice thick layer instead of running all over the place. (A few hours in the fridge make it perfect for spreading - longer than that, it gets super thick, but is great reheated!)

The Ranch Chicken 'N' Rice was pretty good, but even with 3 packets of the dressing, I still didn't think it had quite enough flavor. Although I liked it, my family wasn't all that crazy about it. :(

Also, on Saturday, we had some family over and ended up grilling steaks, along with loaded baked potatoes and salad. I made a pasta-crab salad for an appetizer that turned out great. And I made a fabulous chocolate mousse for dessert. And since the Tasty Thursday edition this week happens to be desserts, I'll be sharing it then.

Now on to this week:

We ended having Arby's one night last week, so tonight is a carry over meal.

Monday: Bubble Up Pizza ~ Skillet-Fried Mozzarella Sticks

Tuesday: BLT's

Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner

Thursday: Tacos

Friday: Quesadillas

Saturday is my birthday, so IF hubby ends up not having to work (it's still up in the air) then we will probably go out. If he has to work, the kids and I will eat something easy and we'll probably go out on Sunday.

Have a fabulous week!

For more menu ideas, be sure to visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Somebody Likes Me! 2 Somebodies, actually!

Ok, seems like there are all sorts of "awards" that go around the blogoshpere. I see them all the time.

But let me tell you, I NEVER imagined any one of these awards would ever end up on my blog.

BUT, in the past few days, I received an award from not one, but TWO fellow bloggers! Talk about shock! And a little giddy-ness that, someone um, actually likes my lil' ol' blog!

This is the award:

Never, would I have imagined that anyone thought I rock!

I was reading a post by Trista at The Pumkin Patch. She said she had received this award now needed to give it to some other bloggers. I was reading her list - BooMama, Big Mama, Musings of a Housewife - all blogs that I read and totally deserve a rocking award. And then I saw me listed!

After I picked myself off the floor and got back in my chair - I read it again to be sure. Honestly, I was completely shocked, I mean - I knew Trista reads my blog, but to be listed among the likes of these amazingly witty and funny ladies? Who'da thunk it? (As Trista would say!)

But I am honored to receive the award and that Trista likes to read my ramblings that much!

Then, today, I was reading over at Debi's blog and SHE likes me too! Enough to give me the same award! So, I guess this means I have a couple of "fans"! How cool is that?

I am honored ladies!

So, now I'm supposed to bestow this grand award on some bloggers who I think rock.

Naturally, I'd give the award to both Trista and Debi, since I think they rock (and not only because they think I do!), but I don't think that's exactly how you are supposed to do this!
I also think BooMama, Big Mama and Musings of a Housewife rock, but I'll try to go with bloggers who haven't already received the award!

So, in no particular order:

Barb, at A Chelsea Morning - oh my, where do I begin? I felt an instant connection with Barb. She lives in one of the most beautiful states in the country (Colorado), and is well, simply amazing! She's a wonderful christian lady who shares her life with all of us, and she shares the most amazing recipes - complete with step-by-step pictures. She is so down-to-earth, talented, funny, inspirational, and I could go on and on. I can't help but smile and cry (often at the same time) when I read her blog. If you've never been to her place - go now! You won't regret it! She totally Rocks!

Karen, at Growing in Grace - such an inspirational woman! Another fantastic Christian lady, who, by the way is expecting another little blessing soon! I love to read the day-to-day stuff, but oh my can she write some stuff that makes me think! I so wish I had that gift, but as I've been told, I'm just not that deep. So I have to read what people like Karen write to get me to think beyond the surface. Yeah, she totally rocks!

Jan, at Making Scrapbooks - Jan is a fellow Georgian, Homeschooler and Scrapbooker - so we have just a bit in common! She does what I hope to eventually be doing - actually making money doing what I love! She has been quite successful. She is a TLC consultant (A director, actually - I think that's the correct title!) and is "way up there" in the company. I actually signed under her ages ago, but we won't talk about how I'm doing! She is super-talented and super-nice! I know we'd get along great IRL - we have lots in common, and she loves to have fun - and I loved talking to here on the phone! She seems to manage everything beautifully - at least from where I'm sitting! I'd love to be as organized and fun as she is. I think she totally rocks!

I could go on, as there are so many blogs I enjoy, but I'll leave some for everyone else! And of course, the two that 'awarded' me totally rock too!!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Another Day at the Park

Going to the park after a visit to the chiropractor seems to work wonderfully! This time we all went in for a visit. Then we stopped and picked up some lunch from Krystal's and took it to "the park with the ducks."

We sat at a picnic table and watched the squirrels while we ate. Then we walked down to the pond to feed the ducks.

Or at least try.

I have never seen ducks more disinterested in eating! There were a lot of people there, so I imagine these ducks were already quite stuffed!

There was a big bird hanging out. I think it was a crane? But I'm not sure. I'm not great at identifying birds. Maybe someone who looks at these pictures can confirm or correct me.

Anyway, he was very interesting to watch. And apparently he prefers meat to bread, as he was catching his lunch as we sat there. We were fascinated. He would stalk his pray, dive in, and catch it! Chip had the camera and did a great job capturing the event.

As we walked down to one of the pond, we noticed several turtles swimming around, and Ruthi really liked watching them.

We were going to let Ruthi play on the playground, and she really wanted to...But...There had to be about 100 kids running around. There were 2 or 3 large groups. And they were all at least a couple years older. We just didn't imagine that would end up being a pleasant experience. Of course, she didn't quite understand why were walking away from "all the fun!" But when I asked her if she'd like to go home and swim in her pool, she was more than happy to walk away!

We will have to try again another day....or maybe a different park.

We did quite enjoy the time we spent at the park on this day though!

Friday, June 22, 2007

An afternoon at the Park

I have more pictures I haven't posted and am still trying to get caught up! These were taken at the end of May.

It was a beautiful day, and I needed to go to the chiropractor. I don't usually attempt going unless Chip goes with me or he's at home with Ruthi. But I really needed to go, so I had a good talk with the kids about how they were to behave while we were there. And, they were great and there were no problems. Now, I'm not afraid to try to go without Chip!

Anyway, I promised them that if they were good, we'd go to the park afterward. My chiropractor is right on the square. So instead of parking behind his building like normal, I parked where I could find a spot on the square and we walked to his office from there.

I had packed a picnic lunch, so when we were finished, we went back to the car to get our food and sat in the park and ate. It's a historical park and hosts many events, so it's not really a park with swings or anything. But the kids had fun anyway. There's a little train to play on and Ruthi had a blast. And they love the fountain too.

We used to take CJ to this park all the time, because Chip's parents lived very close to it at the time, so we were close to it often. This was Ruthi's first time. As she was playing, I was remembering CJ being that small and playing. It's really not fair how time flies and they grow up so fast!

So, here are some pictures from the day.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tasty Thursday #11

Hosted by Trista at The Pumkin Patch.

Today's edition is side dishes.

This is sometimes my hardest part of a meal. I tend to get in a rut and fix the same sides over and over. My hubby recently asked if I knew there were other veggies besides green beans!!! That seems to be a side that goes with most meals, and the kids love them, so we have them frequently.

But I've been trying to step out and make some things differently. Like the other night, I made roasted asparagus - YUM! I loved it. Hubby, well, he ate it, but it's not his favorite!

OK, so on to a side recipe for today.
When my parent's were here a couple weeks ago, the brought us some vidalia onions. So, I decided to make a vidalia onion pie. I searched the net for a recipe. I found several versions and went with one.

I didn't have time to make a pie crust, and I didn't have one on hand. Some of the recipes instructed to use crushed crackers, such as Ritz, for the crust. I didn't have any on hand, but I had some sesame crackers and used those. They worked fine. But I would like to try this with a real pie crust some time.

This was SO INCREDIBLY GOOD! It will definitely be making another appearance on our menu soon!

I am going to list the recipe for the pie crust at the end, but I haven't actually tried that part, so it's not really a tried-and-true. But the rest of the recipe is! I will include the recipe for the way I made the crust.

Vidalia Onion Pie

For Crust:
1 cup buttery cracker crumbs
1/2 stick butter, melted

Combine and press into a greased 9-inch pie plate.

For Filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 pounds Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of paprika
Freshly grated Parmesan - (I used about a cup), divided

Over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and saute until translucent. So not brown. Combine eggs, sour cream, flour and half the cheese. Add onions. Season with salt, pepper and paprika and pour into crust. Top with remaining Parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees for the last 20 minutes or until center is set.

{I forgot to lower the oven, as I had something else cooking at the same time, and it was fine. Also, I saw some recipes that used different cheeses, such as cheddar - you could try it with your favorite and it would probably be yummy too!}

The onions become quite sweet and this is just absolutely wonderful!!

Now for the pie crust recipe that I haven't actually tried:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup all-vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
cold water

1/4 egg yolk and 1 tsp. water for egg wash

All ingredients should be cold. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add shortening and butter. Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening and butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Drop by drop, add cold water. Mix in with the fingertips, not with the hands as the palms will warm the dough. Continue mixing water in until the dough begins to hold together without being sticky but not crumbly. Place dough in plastic wrap. Fold over plastic wrap and press down to form a disk. This will make rolling out easier after chilling. Finish wrapping in plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Lightly spray a deep 9-inch pie pan or an 8 1/2 inch fluted flan pan. Roll out dough and place in pie plate Return to the refrigerator until filling is ready.

Brush egg wash on the inside of pie crust. Return to refrigerator until filling is ready.

Now be sure to head over to Trista's to see other great side dish recipes, or better yet, add your own!!!

It's Time for Change.....

...I've got to rearrange!!!

Are you singing in your best squeaky Peter Brady voice now? lol.

I am ready for a blog change. I want something that's not so boring! I also want a new name. And I've picked a new name. That was actually the easy part - and it wasn't that easy!

Now I need a new look - a makeover! However, at the moment, I really don't have the extra money to shell out for someone to design it for me. Which means, I need to figure out how to do it myself. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Scary!

I've found a couple places that offer some free designs, but if you know of any, please send them my way!

This will probably take me a little bit of time, as I've never done this before. And it took me a while just to learn the ins and outs of doing this blog, and I still don't have it all figured out.

So, there may be a few changes here and there until I get it done. And I don't know how long it will take. Hopefully I won't mess things up - at least not too bad. So if you do stop by and things are a bit wonky, bear with me. I'm hoping that before long I'll have a much prettier blog!

Let the games makeover begin!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Check in....Week SIX?

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Week Six? For Real?

OK, I've been VERY BAD. I haven't posted since week TWO! (Hangs head in shame!) Lets see, first it was just a bad week, then embarrassed that I had not been doing that well, and then, was easy to just forget about it!

But, I CAN'T forget! I really need to do better! I was SO motivated at first - I don't know what happened. Maybe because I wasn't posting, I lost the accountability factor, and could just write it off.

Well, I'm back, and I really want to work harder! So, back to all my original goals and plan. I pledge to myself to get back on track this week.

I haven't gained any weight, which is good, and I haven't been stuffing my face or anything. But I have gotten a little less careful with my portions and my snack choices. So, back to being conscious about that, drinking my water consistently and getting off my duff and exercising!

I'm looking forward to posting next week that I did good!

Hosted by Tales From The Scales.

Tackle it Tuesday #10

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Shame on me - I missed 3 weeks of posting tackles! It would be for many different reasons. The one I'm most ashamed of - I never finish the last tackle I posted! It was to get my business binder done, and I didn't get very far at all. Other things keep jumping in the way! So it's going back on the list. Not posting has really thrown me off, but I'm back and did a pretty good tackle for this week!

It started off with one cabinet. That was the plan. Just clean out and organize this one. Here is the before:

Not TOO horrible, but needing some attention for sure.

And here is the after:

Much better!

So, since I was in the kitchen and that didn't take very long, I decided to work on this cabinet too. Now, it is VERY bad, but before you judge me, take into consideration that this is the cabinet Ruthi is allowed to play in, and she pulls all these out and puts them back quite frequently. So the plastic stuff usually just gets tossed back in, so it is a mess!

I went through all the mish-mash of containers and threw away any lonely containers or lids and then reorganized. The after:

That didn't take too long either, so I moved onto the cabinet above my stove:

And after:

So now I'm on a roll, why not do the pantry? Before:

And after:

Due to the limited space, I try to only keep certain things on hand besides what's on our menu for the week, but in organizing this, I realized some things I need to add to my list! Organizing is a very good thing!

Now the momentum is very high, the organization bug has bitten me hard, and so I keep going! Next was the shelves above my washer and dryer. Before:

And after:

After that, I did clean the part that is right below the bottom shelf too, but I didn't take another picture.

Since that was done, I went on to completely clean out the laundry "room" - every nook and cranny, and scrubbed the floor. I didn't take another picture, but it looks great and feels even better!

At this point, I was exhausted, and it was VERY late, so I went to bed. But then I got up and worked on another biggie - one I had been putting off - Ruthi's room.
And I'm not talking about the weekly picking up of the toys, I'm talking major cleaning, including the dreaded closet!

I started by cleaning her room, clean sheets on the bed, everything dusted....all that stuff. I didn't take pictures, because I've posted pics of her room before.

But then I tackled the closet. This was SCARY! Shame on me for letting it get this bad, and I'm thankful nothing ever fell on her head! Here are the before pics, from several views:

Head on:




And the after pics:

Head on:




What a difference! Now she can get in there safely and play with her toys! Plus I cleaned out clothes she can no longer wear and toys she no longer plays with.

And I still have the bug! I plan to get LOTS done before next Tuesday! It feels so good! But that's all for now.

For more tackles, be sure to visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Doin' the Potty Dance

Woo Hoo!! Ruthi has been showing signs of being ready to be potty trained for a while now. However, no matter how long she'd sit there, nothing would happen. So honestly, I haven't been trying all that hard.

Today I was reading this post over at Rocks in My Dryer and although Shannon is feeling discouraged at the moment, it for some reason, encouraged me to give this thing a shot.

I began talking to Ruthi about 'big girl panties' and that once she started trying to use the potty, I'd get her some Dora panties. Well, she wanted to try right away.

But of course, nothing happened.

I decided to let her run around diaperless for a bit. We have hardwood floors, so I figured clean up would be no biggie. I did instruct her to stay off the living room furniture.

Within a few minutes, she was "leaking" and wasn't quite sure what to do about it. I ran her to the bathroom, and apparently, she was done.

I realized that the trek to the bathroom was going to prove difficult until she gets a better handle on this. So, I brought the little potty into the kitchen area.

There were 4 or 5 more incidents within a span of 20 minutes. Each time, we'd rush to sit on the potty, but then she would just stop. I realized she was probably stopping during the excitement and then wasn't able to finish.

So the next time I got her to the potty, I sat down in front of her, rubbed her legs and spoke quietly and calmly to her to try to get her to relax.

I then decided to give her an incentive. I told her that if she could get her tee tee into the potty instead of on the floor, she could have a marshmallow. (She loves these!) She was very excited about that.

And I'm not joking, within 5 minutes - she did it - and not just a trickle - a very good amount! I was so proud of her! And she was quite proud of herself too!

And she got her marshmallow. Actually, a few, since they were the mini-ones.

OK, so as I was sitting here typing this, she was sitting in her chair at the table. All of a sudden, she jumped down and sat on her potty.

But nothing happened.

For about 3-5 minutes, she ran back and forth to her potty.

And she went again! She actually felt it coming this time, and got on the potty before she went! I can hardly believe it! Maybe this isn't going to be so difficult after all!

I promised her that if she'd potty every day for this week - a few times, I'd get her some Dora panties at the end of the week. I'll be doing grocery shopping Thursday or Friday, so I'll let her pick some out then.

Yes, I'm quite a happy mommy right now. Now I'm just hoping it continues to go this well.

And you wanna hear something else? CJ, who is 13 by the way, is being VERY jealous over the marsmallows right now! He proclaimed he had tee-tee'd and pooped in the potty, and could he have some marshmallows? I reminded him that he got M&M's when he was potty training. But he can't remember, so he doesn't think it counts.
He also doesn't want Ruthi to be doing this yet, because if she is a quick learner, then she will be trained a lot earlier than he was - and he's not liking that very much. Is he silly or what?

Anyway, she's well on her way....and I'm finally ready for the journey!

Menu Plan Monday #8

I'm back to MPM! I've missed posting the past two weeks - had a bad week the first one and was out of town last Monday. There was a plan, just didn't get it posted.

First I wanted to share my results of a couple recipes from my last MPM. There were two new ones and they were wonderful!

First was Blazy's Pepperoni Studded Lasagna
This tasted wonderful. However, if I were to do it again, I would run the tomato sauce through the food processor so it would be less chunky and more juicy, and I would probably increase the amount, because we thought the lasagna needed a little more juiciness. And, I would probably double the ricotta cheese, because I just didn't think there was enough. But other than that - YUM!!!

Then I made the Chicken Cream Cheese Enchiladas from Annie's blog. These were FABULOUS!!! The only change I made was, I used a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, and just chopped that up. They had the best flavor - I could have easily stuffed myself! These are definitely going into our family favorites file.

I couldn't find the large enchilada sauce the recipe called for, so I just used two small cans, and it was perfect. If you like Mexican food - TRY THESE! My parent's were here that weekend, and we cooked out for lunch, but I reheated the leftover enchiladas for dinner and they really liked them too. I really can't wait to have these again!

Thank you Annie for the recipe!

Now for this week. I'm not completely sure how this week will go, so the days may get changed around, but this is the tentative plan.

Monday: Mini Cheddar Meat Loaves ~ Mashed potatoes ~ Green beans
(I saw this on Lori's Tasty Thursday post this week - hubby does not like meat loaf at all, so I thought I'd make it on a night he's working.)

Tuesday: Chicken, Spinach & Tomato Pizza (This is SO good!) ~ Salad

Wednesday: Ranch Chicken 'N' Rice ~ Sauteed squash and onions ~ Roasted Asparagus (Snagged the chicken recipe from another TT post from last week.)

Thursday: Sandwiches

Friday: Bubble Up Pizza (I will share this recipe later.) ~ Skillet-Fried Mozzarella Sticks (Yet another TT recipe I snagged from last week!)

Saturday: Some family coming over, menu TBD, but probably something on the grill.

Sunday: Leftover Feast

For more menu ideas, be sure to visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

To my fabulous husband and father of my children:

Thank you for being the incredible father you are. You love our children with every ounce of your being - and it shows. You work so hard to provide for them (and me). Even when you are working hours on end, you take the time to take a break and spend time with them. When you are completely worn out, you will still wrestle with CJ and cuddle with Ruthi.

I love you for that.

You are such an incredible example for them. You are teaching CJ, through your actions, how to be a wonderful man of God, and a loving, devoted husband and father. You are teaching him how to treat his wife as an equal partner while remaining the head of the household. You are teaching him that next to God, she should be the most important thing in your life. You are teaching him to love his children unconditionally, and to always take time for them. You are teaching him how to be kind, loving, generous, compassionate and more. You are teaching him good work ethics, and about the important things in life, and how to balance it all.

I love you for that.

You are completely smitten with your daughter, and have been from the moment she was born. I love watching you with her. I've always loved watching you with CJ, but it is quite different with this little girl. It takes about 1 second for her to melt your heart, and you are such a big teddy bear with her. You let her climb all over you, even when you have no strength left in your body.
You are teaching her that she can always count on you and that she can always come to you. You let her know that she is safe in your arms. The qualities she sees in you will be the same ones she will one day look for in a husband - someone who will love her and put her, after God, above all else, and will treat her with kindness, respect and compassion, and a bit of patience too (if she ends up with a whole lot of me in her!) You are teaching her, through your actions, how she should be treated as a wife.

I love you for that.

I couldn't be more blessed - married to the man God had picked out for me, who loves me unconditionally and loves our children more than life itself. You are an incredible husband and father. And you are not just their father - you are their DAD.

I love you for that.

And to my Dad - Happy Father's Day! Thank you for your unconditional love. And my husband has many of the same qualities you have - ones I looked for because of your example. Thank you for that! I pray He and Ruthi will always have the special bond that I have cherished having with you. There's something special about the bond of a Father and a Daughter. I love you Daddy!

I don't know the time difference between here and China - but I will be calling you at some point - hopefully it won't be while you are sleeping! I love you and will see you when you get home.

(And Mom - I love you with all my heart too!!! Thank you for being my friend!)

And although I know he doesn't read my blog (no computer!), I want to say Happy Father's Day to my father-in-law. Thank you for being a wonderful example to your son - you did it right! You helped form him into the fabulous man that he is, and for that, I am very thankful. To one of the kindest and compassionate man of God I've ever known - Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 15, 2007

CJ's Birthday (More catching up!)

CJ's birthday was May 30. I actually wrote a very long post about/to him that day. Then on June 2, my parent's came and we celebrated with a cookout and ice cream cake. We had lots to eat and had a really good time.

CJ decided he wanted ice cream cake, but I personally think it is ridiculous what those things cost, so I made one myself. I didn't do any fancy decorating this year, it was very plain - but it tasted oh so good! I'm including the recipe following the photos.

It's really not an easy feat getting this now 13 year old boy to cooperate for the camera, but I did manage to get a couple good shots. That doggone hat covers his face in half the pictures I take of him though! But I get tired of sounding like a broken record with him, constantly telling him to look at me, so I'm learning to let it go - MOST of the time. When he looks back one day, hopefully he will realize I really did try to take more pictures of him!

I don't know where my head was - I didn't manage to get any pictures of Nana and Poppy with the birthday boy - I can't believe that! Maybe I need to start making a checklist of pictures that need to be taken at events!

And I forgot the buy candles! I was going to get a number 13 and totally forgot! I scrounged around and found some, but not enough. So we did 1 and 3 for 13 - whatever works! Chip was willing to run out and get some, but I thought that was unneccessary - but how sweet of him! (He'll do just about anything to make me happy!)

And here's the recipe for the Ice Cream Cake - it is very much like Dairy Queen's ice cream cake! (I found it online)

Butter the cake pan of your choice, then press wax paper over the bottom of the pan.

Spread 1/2 gallon icecream (softened enough to work with) in the bottom of the pan. (I used chocolate on the bottom.) Sprinkle with crushed Oreo cookies. (I used about 1 sleeve, and it was more than enough.) Then spoon hot fudge sauce (at room temperature) over the top of this. Set in the freezer until frozen.

Remove from freezer and add second layer of ice cream. (I used vanilla for the top layer.) Smooth it evenly with the top of the cake pan. Return to the freezer and freeze until very hard.

Remove from freezer and frost with a mixture of equal parts ice cream and thawed Cool Whip beaten together. Return to freezer until serving time.

I used an 8-inch round, 3-inch tall cake pan. You want a deep pan, or you will have a very short cake.

If I were to do this again, I would either use a spring-form pan or cover the entire inside of the pan with plastic wrap to make it easier to remove the cake, as that was a bit tricky.

When I went to spoon on the hot fudge sauce and tried to spread it around, it became quite messy. I think next time I would slightly warm the sauce and add it after the first layer had been put back into the freezer for a while.

You have to ice it very quickly, as it will try to melt! For the decoration part of the cake (border and writing), I didn't feel the frosting was stiff enough. I added a large can of Betty Crocker whipped white frosting. I think I would frost the entire cake in this next time. It tasted very similar to the frosting Dairy Queen uses.

I also found that when putting the ice cream into the pan, my hands worked best to smooth it out - maybe because I didn't let it get soft enough, I'm not sure, but it worked!

And you do need to let it sit out for a few minutes before trying to cut it - and I dipped my knife in hot water to make cutting easier. But it was VERY good!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

First Dip (Catching up)

OK, I'm trying to get pictures posted that I've taken recently - better late than never, right?

These were actually taken on June 1st - 2 weeks ago! We dug out and set up Ruthi's little pool and filled it up for her first dip of the summer. (Yes, I'm aware summer is not technically here yet!)

The water was FREEZING - but she didn't care one bit. She loved it! And I took at least 3 times more pictures than I have here - these were my favorites. She's just so cooperative and loves for me to take her picture - unlike her 13 year old brother (who I have to battle half the time to get a good pic - can't imagine why!);o)

Chip had been working in the heat and decided to cool off just a bit - but he had no idea how cold that water really was! And Ruthi attempted to dump some on him - if it had been anyone but her, he may not have thought it was very funny!

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