Monday, September 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (with recipe links)

MONDAY---TNT Garlic Chicken, risotto, peas

TUESDAY---TNT Quick and Easy Chicken, rice, green beans, TNT The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake

WEDNESDAY---Girl's Night Out (hubby will take care of dinner for himself and the kiddos)

THURSDAY---TNT Famous Pork Chops, mashed potatoes, sautéed squash

SATURDAY---Out (Hayden has a skating birthday party to go to that is far away and just before dinner time)

***I will be adding reviews as I make each recipe, so be sure to look back to this post if you want an opinion. If the recipe has TNT before it then it is a proven tried-n-true recipe for us that we have had in the past.***

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gumpaste Daisy and Mum

I made these last night at my gumpaste & fondant class. They were a lot of fun to do and were very easy. The center of the daisy has yellow sprinkles to make it even prettier though it is hard to see in the photo.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gumpaste flowers

Please excuse the poor photo quality. I made these flowers for the first time in last week's fondant & gum paste class. They were a lot of fun to do. The Calla Lily flowers have yellow spinkles in the center but the photos don't depict it well.
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (with recipe links)

MONDAY---TNT cream cheese, garlic and chive stuffed chicken, buttered egg noodles, broccoli, TNT honey wheat rolls

TUESDAY---cola pork chops, rice, fruit salad, biscuits
These were just okay. They weren't good enough to make again though. I thought that they were blah.

WEDNESDAY---Mexican chicken casserole, fiesta rice, refried beans


Both of these recipes were fabulous! I ended up doubling the sauce for the meatloaf and it was magnificent. I can't believe that it cooked so well in my crockpot. The hash brown casserole was yummy. I haven't had it in years and this was close to the recipe that I used to make. It could stand to have more cheese added but is still great as written.

SATURDAY---sausage & pineapple pizza (using this new crust recipe)
Let me just say, blech.... The crust was horrible. I have made lots of good pizzas in the past so I will stick to my regular recipe for crust.

SUNDAY---TNT slow cooker chicken stroganoff, buttered egg noodles, green beans

***I will be adding reviews as I make each recipe, so be sure to look back to this post if you want an opinion. If the recipe has TNT before it then it is a proven tried-n-true recipe for us that we have had in the past.***

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Our Resident (Transformed)

Yesterday, I checked in on our caterpillar and noticed that he looked like he was up to something. Sure enough, he was! I found him today in the chrysalis phase of life. How cool is that? This guy happens to be a black swallowtail and it may be next spring (April-May) before he emerges.
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Our Newest Resident

Isn't this little guy pretty? I found him and 2 of his friends on my parsley plant. We looked him up and discovered that he is a black swallowtail. He is common in CO and likes to eat parsley (obviously). We originally had all 3 in a jar so that we could watch them change to butterflies but then I felt bad for them. I released them all back into my garden. Unfortunately, 2 of them disappeared and we think that the birds got them. I took this guy back in after the fiasco so that he wouldn't be bird food. Hopefully we will get to see him change. :)
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Cruise News-A Totally Unexpected Surprise!!

Well, it isn't set in stone yet but the Barnes' family may join us again on our Disney cruise coming in January. We are thrilled!! I got a message from Natascha over the weekend telling me that they were thinking about going (I am giddy, to say the least). We had so much fun together last time that I just don't think that it would be the same going without them. She messaged me today that they have a reservation on hold barring Jason's approval. Hopefully he will say yes! How can he say no? It's 6 against 1 so he is the odd man out. We may just have to kidnap Natascha and Jasmine if he refuses, lol.

Menu Plan Monday (with recipe links)

MONDAY---cream cheese chicken enchiladas, Mexican rice, refried beans
These turned out really good. I still prefer restaurant Mexican food but these were the best enchiladas that I have ever made. True enchiladas are made with corn tortillas rather than flour so next time I will make them with corn instead.

TUESDAY---TNT chili dogs, TNT baked oven fries (total repeat from last week because it was sooo good!)

The meatballs & gravy were blah in my opinion but the mashed potatoes were very good. I had to add a little bit of milk to them even though the recipe didn't call for it. The biscuit recipe is my go-to recipe so it was good as always.

These burgers were pretty good but they weren't good enough for me to make again. I can definitely see where other people would love them so if you are interested, you should definitely try them.

FRIDAY---hot dogs at the Back 2 School Bash


SUNDAY---grilled cheese paninis, grapes, chips

***I will be adding reviews as I make each recipe, so be sure to look back to this post if you want an opinion.***

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Party Ideas, Cake Decorating, Surrogacy, Etc.

This past week was spent freaking out over making my first wedding cake. I obsessed and was scared that it wouldn't turn out well. I prayed for God to guide me and to help me complete my task. I was happy with it when all was said and done, thank the Lord! Clayton and I delivered it a couple of hours before the ceremony. He drove like a snail while I sat in the very back of the 4-Runner holding it in a round sled, lol. Clayton put cushioning in the sled and then placed the cake (which was on a thick board) in it. I held the sled in my lap and gripped the sides of the sled so that I could control the cake when we hit bumps and made turns. The edges of the sled were easy to grip and made it so that I didn't have to touch the cake board. All I could think about was how the cake would slam into my face if he had to brake suddenly, lol. I now have some other people interested in wedding cakes but I don't know if I can handle all that stress. We'll see.

{EDITED TO ADD}I forgot to mention that a little girl ran her finger through the front of the cake before anyone even saw it. Ugh. I was luckily able to repair the gashes before it was put on display. But guess what? She managed to do it again before the bride and groom saw it. I can't believe that everyone thought that it was funny as I went to repair the cake again in front of the wedding party. She managed to mess the front of the cake up twice before pictures were taken. I was able to smooth it out both times but that was ridiculous.

Emerson has a birthday coming up in November. I want to throw him a big party but I can't quite figure out what I want to do. We originally were going to hire a magician that Clayton personally knows but he doesn't want to do it. I don't know if I should look for another one or just scrap that idea all together. Any cool ideas that aren't hokey? I really want a cool party but not a cheesy theme like we have done in the past (Transformers, Thomas, Cars, etc.). Basically, I want his stuff to be homemade and not pre-printed character stuff. He kind of wants Spongebob and though that makes me cringe, I could work with it if I have to.

I finally broke down and signed up for the Wilton fondant/gum paste class a couple of weeks ago. I have been putting it off because of how expensive it is. The class kit plus the class fee isn't even the half of it. It's all the other crap I had to buy to go along with it. I got most of my tools 50% or 40% off so it wasn't too bad. Poor Clayton had to be dragged into Michael's and Hobby Lobby several times so that I could get him to buy an item for me with a coupon. If he went, I was able to buy 2 items with coupons rather than one since we each did our own transactions. I wish that they would let you use more than one coupon at a time so that I wouldn't have to drag him with me. Anyway, I have all my stuff ready to go and my first class is on Thursday night. I can't wait!

I had someone recently say to me that they couldn't give a baby up. I have heard that same statement many times before and I cringe whenever I hear it. I have never "gave a baby up". I would never give my own baby up. The babies that I have carried via surrogacy were never mine to begin with. They weren't genetic to me AT ALL. In fact, they were very different from me. #1 was a cute blonde boy with blue eyes and Jewish heritage. #2 was a beautiful girl with dark eyes, skin and hair because her parents are from India. I never felt connected to those kids after their births. They weren't my babies and I knew that from the start. I get how some people think that carrying the babies would make them feel close maternally but I barely felt maternal with my own kids when they were in the womb, lol. I guess that is why I am a good surrogate carrier. I just don't get attached. It's funny, after the births of my surrobabies, I felt completely detached. I can't even wrap my mind around the idea that I carried them in my womb once I see them. It's like I forget the whole gestation period because I immediately see them as their parent's children after the births. I don't know if what I am saying makes sense but I get it and that's what really matters.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (with recipe links)

MONDAY---grilled bratwurst, corn-on-the-cob, fresh fruit

Do yourself a favor and make both of these recipes...tonight!! I have now found the best chili for hot dogs ever. Even my kids loved it. The fries were awesome too. :)

The shrimp was okay, nothing special. The zucchini cakes rock! It's an old recipe for us as I discovered it a long time ago.

I made these into large individual rolls and served them with marinara to dip them in (E chose Ranch). The consensus was that these are really good. I about burned my motor out of my KitchenAid though so beware of that. The dough is *really* heavy. Next time I will make them with Italian sausage and add a lot of cheese in them.

FRIDAY---Italian sausage, red pepper and mushroom risotto, onion rolls (made from the other half of yesterday's bread recipe)
This dish was heavenly! It was a pain in the butt because I had to stand at the stove for 30 straight minutes but it was sooo worth it. Beware-the rice is ridiculously expensive (arborio rice). A small container of it was priced at $7.99 at our local King Soopers.



***I will be adding reviews as I make each recipe, so be sure to look back to this post if you want an opinion.***

The Boys' Camping Trip-August 7, 2010

Emerson (5) & Hayden (7)

Hubby and his Dad took the kiddos up to the mountains for a fun night of camping in the woods. Sandy and I didn't go so that the boys could spend some time male bonding together. While they were out enjoying the wilderness, we got manicures, pedicures and massages. Needless to say, it was a great time had by all that weekend. I just didn't take any photos of our girly fun.

Clayton forgot to take a camera last time they went so I made sure he had one this time around. He got some good pics but they sat on my camera card forever. Sorry I am just now getting around to posting these!

Grandpa Steve (Clayton's Dad) and Hayden

Hayden was trying to use a stick as a gun to shoot his Dad, lol.
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More Camping Pics

Ack! I can't believe my boys climbed trees so high. My husband didn't mention this activity until I saw it on the camera card. There's no way I could have allowed that if I had been there. My kiddos are klutzy (like their mama) and I would have had a heart attack watching them. Oh well, I guess boys will be boys. :P

2 Silly Goons
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Friday, September 03, 2010

My First Wedding Cake

A sweet gal from my church is getting married tomorrow and I had the honor of making the cake. I sure hope she likes it!

Please excuse the poor photo. I didn't have good lighting since it is after 9pm here so I will try to take a better pic tomorrow. :)
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