Mar 31, 2012

SHE'S Here!

Yep, we have another girl in the house!

AG


Our sweet little, Ava Grace, was born Friday morning at 10:14. She is so laid back and just a dream. I can't believe how small 7 lbs. 14 oz. feels in my arms.

My girl


She has already planted her feet firmly in our hearts and her big sister's! What a joy it will be to watch my two girls grow together!

First glance


I'll post more pictures soon but wanted to share our exciting news with you all. This tired momma is going to try to get some sleep. Have a great weekend and thank you sister for the amazing pictures of my girls, I'll cherish them forever.

Mar 30, 2012

Iced Thumbprint Cookies - recipe

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It's no secret that my sister has a thing for iced thumbprint cookies - I don't blame her, they are delicious and extremely addictive. I think it's the sweet/salty combo of the cookie with the icing that makes them so addictive.

Anyway, when she presented me with the challenge of duplicating her favorite cookie I couldn't turn her down. I'm always up for a challenge, especially when I get to taste-test the efforts.

After a couple of attempts, a serious fail and many scribbles on my recipe card, I finally came up with a decent contender. While they may not be exactly right just yet, they are pretty darn close.

So, with that, here's a recipe for you to make your own!

thumbprint1

Ingredients for the cookie:
1. 1 cup salted butter - softened
2. 1/4 cup sugar
3. 2 cup flour
4. 1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the icing:
5. 2 tablespoons milk
6. 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

7. and 8. are optional but highly recommended: sprinkles and food coloring

 *UPDATED: yes, that is vanilla in the photo but I didn't end up using it in the final version. I tried it in earlier attempts but didn't use it in the end. Sorry for the confusion, I was too lazy to take a new picture!*

In a blender with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on med-high until pale and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the flour and salt until combined and pulls from sides. Form dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

Form little balls, about 1/2 tablespoon or so in size, make an indention with your thumb and roll the sides in sprinkles.

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I found it worked best to roll out a couple of balls at a time, then make a thumbprint and immediately roll in sprinkles while the dough was still a little warm from your hands. This helped the sprinkles stay on the best.

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Once you have a cookie sheet full, bake for 10 minutes at 325 degrees. You'll have to take the pan out and press the thumbprints back down and then return to the oven to bake another 10 minutes or so. You don't want these browning so watch them carefully.

Let them cool completely before filling them with icing.

To make the icing, just whisk the milk and powdered sugar together in a small bowl and add in some food coloring. If you want to make several colors, just pour a little icing into separate dishes and add the colors you want. I used a teaspoon to scoop up the icing and then poured it into the thumbprints.

Now, here's the hard part. You have to let the cookies sit for at least 6-8 hours so the icing sets and gets hard. It's tough, I know, but well worth the wait.

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Mar 29, 2012

Indulging

As my pregnancy nears an end, so does the indulging.

That meant I needed to take Sweet P for her first Krispy Kreme before I went into labor! We had a grand time.

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And how cute does she look in that hat!?

Not only and end to donut dates, but and end to fewer sweets all around.

indulge
(sadly, all those were eaten in the last month!)

So, it's that time where I get healthy again so send your best healthy recipes my way!

Oh, but before we go overboard, I still have a recipe for a super, tasty treat that I'm posting tomorrow. *Hint: it's pictured above!*

Mar 28, 2012

Getting Outdoors

psweep

And watching others do some yard work.

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And wondering when we should invest in a trampoline because those random seat drops on the are going to start hurting!

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And laughing until it hurts.

Mar 27, 2012

Bribery

First off, thank you for all the sweet comments yesterday! You guys can make a pregnant lady feel pretty good.

So, I'm sure I'm breaking all kinds of rules in parenting with what I'm about to share today, but I don't really care!

pmm3

It all started innocently enough. Sweet P's hair started getting longer and is at that awkward girl mullet stage. I just don't know what to do with it so we tried pigtails a while back. I have never put a little girl's hair in pigtails and I just wasn't very gentle. After some tears, I finally managed to get some hair in those little bands. I felt bad for Sweet P so I gave her two M&Ms.

Side note, we have a jar of M&Ms in the bathroom as an incentive for her to use the potty. A friend told us it helped his girls want to potty train.

Well, we aren't using the M&Ms for potty training yet but we are going through that jar in a hurry. See, we have this deal now, one M&M per "bow" as she calls it. Yes, I understand it's bribery. And yes, I am fully aware you're not supposed to bribe your children.

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But, she looks so darn cute with those little pigtails and really, what's the harm in two stinkin' M&Ms?

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So now most mornings she wakes up, asks for milk and then requests bows and nem-nems - and I happily grant her these.

pmm1

Mar 26, 2012

A Watched Pot

Errr, belly.

You know that old saying, "a watched pot never boils?"

Well, same can be true with a pregnant belly, especially when the Dr. tells you that you probably won't make it through the weekend.

bigbelly

That, my friends, is the kiss of death. Don't tell me that. Tell me you'll see me at the next appointment. That way I don't sit around all weekend analyzing every single movement in hopes it's the start of something meaningful!

Dramatic a bit? No, not me. Just a very pregnant lady ready to meet her boy or girl - who also happened to defy the Dr. and made it through another weekend.

Sheesh.

Mar 22, 2012

20 Months and Talking Up a Storm

Next week Sweet P will be 20 months and it's evident how much she's grown in less than a year.

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She has some mad jumping skills. She's really funny and LOVES making people laugh. She has a super-tender little heart and oozes personality. She picks up something new every single day and repeats almost everything I say.

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Her vocabulary is growing so fast and I wanted to document all the words she knows right now, or at least how she says them so I made a little list. Once I got started I couldn't believe how long it became. I'm sure I missed a ton but I ended it with the ones that were on the top of my head.

plist20month

It amazes me how fast she learns things and I'm sure she'll be teaching her brother/sister all kinds of tricks. Until then, it's still just the three of us, anxiously awaiting baby #2's arrival!

sweetshades

Mar 20, 2012

Still Pregnant

Yep. Still carrying around this baby. For those of you that want to see an updated belly shot, this is for you.

9monthpreg

Any because I was still pregnant on Friday, we enjoyed some donuts.

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I can't believe how big she looks sitting in a chair at the table.

That's all for today. Happy Tuesday. Hopefully one day I'll be posting a photo of our new baby!!

Mar 19, 2012

New Recipe Gallery

I worked on a little blog update over the weekend and I hope you'll check it out.

I added a photo gallery for my recipe page.

recipepage

Just click here or click the "recipes" button on the menu above to see the updated page.

Mar 16, 2012

Restaurant-style White Queso - Recipe

quesor1

It's probably one of my favorite things to eat, especially when paired with hot salsa. When we eat out, it's usually a Mexican restaurant just so I can satisfy my queso-craving.

I have searched all over the internet trying to find a recipe for my favorite food but haven't had much luck. I've made countless versions with all kinds of different cheeses. I've tried everything from asadero to pepper jack and pretty much everything in between. I've even tried the new queso blanco version of velveeta cheese. Call me obsessed, crazy, whatever, I just like my cheese and want to be able to make it at home.

I was recently given some insight on some basic ingredients at one of my favorite restaurants and after several failed attempts at ratios and combos, I have perfected my white queso!

I'm usually not overly dramatic about food *snickers to self* but this has been life-changing. The ease and simplicity of this recipe may be the end of me. Oh, and I got the cheese at the deli counter of the grocery store.

I won't keep you on the edge of your seat any longer, here's the recipe:

quesor2

1. 1/2 cup water
2. 1/2 pound white american cheese
3. 1 tablespoon finely diced, white onions
4. 1/2 tablespoon finely diced, pickled jalapenos

***UPDATED: I tried pickled serrano peppers instead of jalapenos and liked it much better. It gave it a little more heat too. ***

Put everything in a double-boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally until everything is melted. Heat a few minutes longer and give it a few more good stirs.

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Pour it into a bowl, grab a bag of chips, plop yourself down on the couch and don't be ashamed if you eat it all in one sitting.

quesor4

Mar 15, 2012

New Prints in the Shop

Good morning!

I have added a couple of new prints to my etsy shop and wanted to tell you a little about one of them (actually two variations of one).

twinklesea

1117twinkle-cropped

A good, non-pregnant friend of mine was ooing over baby clothes, names, etc. things most expectant moms do. I asked her if there was something she needed to tell me and she told me how she was just preparing for the "twinkle in my eye." She wasn't pregnant but giddy about the day she would become pregnant so right now, that baby was a twinkle in her eye.

That stuck with me ever since.

heartbeat

Sweet P has also started enjoying the song, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. She'll wave her arms around and dance and say, "tar" (star). She asks me to sing it to her several times a day.

2.26.12 - night

The song has totally changed for me because when I sing her the line, how I wonder what you are, I think of baby #2 and all the newness and surprises that little one will bring. Not only do I wonder if it's a boy or girl, I wonder what it will look like, what will it's little voice sound like, what will it's personality be like, etc. So many things to wonder and soon I'll know!

So I designed two versions of print for baby #2, my own little twinkling star! Both are gender-neutral and both have a bold, graphic star with the words, "twinkle little star" and one will be hanging in the nursery for the little twinkle in my eye that I can't wait to meet! 

They are also available in my etsy shop for you too! 

Mar 14, 2012

Sunrise Smoothie at Beautifully Rooted

Remember that orange julius recipe a while back?

Well, I made a healthier version (still tasty) with fresh fruit, no added sugar and some ground oatmeal. Check it out a Beautifully Rooted and let me know what you think!

brsmoothie3

Mar 13, 2012

The Nursery

I'm still here and still pregnant and still have about 2 weeks to go until I get to meet my new son or daughter!!

38weeks

I've been cleaning up a storm and trying to get as much prepared as possible - without knowing the sex of this little baby. There are two big things on my mind right now: what will he/she wear home from the hospital and what will we do with the nursery.

I know, the big things! Ha. But seriously, I think we're covered boy/girl for the most part, especially if it's a girl.

girlclothes

I have diapers, swaddling blankets, a bassinet ready in our room and all the other stuff you need for a baby. I just can't commit to buying an outfit for it to come home in. I mean, boy/girl, I want it to be obvious when we leave. No yellow here. I guess I should probably get two outfits to be safe.

My second concern is the nursery because no matter the sex, the two kiddos will be sharing a room.

pdiva

Well, eventually, because the first weeks (or months) baby #2 will be in a bassinet in our room.

bassinet

So, if it's a girl, we're set and I won't have to do much to the nursery. I'll change some things up a bit to make room but the colors and most everything else will remain the same. After all, it is my favorite room in the house.

Oh, and speaking of the nursery, I found out it was recently featured on a couple blogs! You can see my tour by clicking here. You can also see what others thought by visiting Chic and Cheap Nursery or Small Spaces. I thought it was pretty awesome!

What was I saying? Oh yes, now the real problem with the nursery will come if it's a boy. What to do? Do I split the room in half? Go neutral? I don't know. I'm welcome to any ideas. The major plus is that when we planned the nursery we picked a paint color for the walls that could go either way, boy or girl. So at least there won't be any painting.

Anyway, that's what's on my mind right now.

heartbeat

That and wondering this little person will be!

Mar 12, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes

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(she's chasing a butterfly in the photo on the right)

Mar 9, 2012

These are some Good Times

***WARNING***

If drinking water out of a hose grosses you out, don't scroll down.

***END WARNING***


Now that we have that out of the way, here are some refreshing photos from a recent afternoon of gardening.

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water2

water3

water4

water5

It's moments like these, and so many others, that make me so appreciative of my life.

The ability to drink clean water out of a hose in our backyard. Something we often take for granted when so many people don't even have access to sanitary water in their homes.

Time enjoyed with each other outside as a family, planting seeds of what we will soon be eating. I'm so glad my husband knows how to garden and love watching him teach our Sweet P!

Times like this almost make me forget about the gazillion times I get told "No." throughout the day, the major drama when a certain little miss doesn't get her way and the lack of long, glorious naps she used to take.

muddyfeet

But I guess it's the hard, messy times that make the fun times so much more enjoyable.

Mar 8, 2012

Cowboy Chili Recipe

chilifinal

Our winter has been very odd here in Oklahoma. It didn't really get cold here for a while and we haven't had a major snow yet. And that's all fine by me because I don't like being cold or getting out in the cold, which has gotten worse with a little one. It takes forever to get our booties dressed and out the door.

Anyway, it's cold again so that makes me want to stay inside with a blanket and eat comfort food like chili. My husband likes meaty chili so we created this recipe just for him. We combined your standard ground beef with chunks of steak and as the steak cooks all day in the crock pot, it gets super tender.


Here's what you'll need, aka, ingredients:
1 lb. ground hamburger
1 lb. chopped steak
1 small onion - diced
1 can chili beans
1 can kidney beans
1 - 8 oz. can stewed whole tomatoes
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt

chiliingr

chilimeat

Put the meat in a crock pot and stir to break up the ground beef. Then put everything else in the pot and mix well.

chilimixed

Let cook on low for 8-10 hours and serve with your favorite toppings.

chilitoppers

We like fresh onions, fresh jalapenos, cheese, sour cream, avocados and a little cilantro.

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That's it.

This is the kind of chili we make to eat by itself or with crackers. It's definitely not a hot dog kind of chili but could be if you changed out the steak chunks for more ground beef.