Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bright and a sneak peak at a cake I am making.

 They both learned some sewing tips from Mama Cindy.  She helped Bright make a skirt for her doll and Krue made a little bag to keep his toys in.

The next day I make some amazing frosting (recipe to come in a few weeks).  
 And some pink cakes (strawberry)... I see that these are all the rage to announce to your family that you are having a girl... ha.  No, I am not pregnant. I didn't even think about the pink color until I posted these pictures.  I thought I should add a disclaimer before the world assumed I was expecting a baby.
Here is the cake all assembled.  I will post the recipe later (in a few weeks).  I almost have it typed up. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A few projects on my list...

This bag looks fun to make and maybe give away at a baby shower... Fill it with a few little baby things and it would make a cute presents. 

I like this quilt, but I have way too much hand sewing to do right now.  This is definitely on my list of things to make in the future with some of my fabric scraps that are getting out of control. 

I wish I had seen this pattern when my mother was still teaching English.  I would have made this pencil holder for her.  

And lastly this ADORABLE little wall hanging needs to be made and given out as gifts to some people that I know.  Next time I need a short little project I am going to whip this together. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

My sister is disgustingly talented.  :) 

Look at this cute little mailbox that she made up.  Go to the link below to download the PDF version of this mailbox and make your very own little tiny mailbox:


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

So, while I was visiting Stephanie, I learned something about myself.  I keep a grocery store stocked in my house.  Until I visited Stef's bare shelves and empty refrigerator, I had never noticed this about myself before.  I mentioned this new revelation to Jared and he said, "uh, yeah, you do".  

See, I like to have everything on hand to be able to make whatever might pop into my little head to make.  I love to be prepared.  I never thought this was weird until I noticed other people's lack of groceries in their pantry.  It started me thinking about why I have 4 containers of oatmeal (2 of which will turn into granola this weekend) or 4 large cans of kidney beans (2 of which will be in chili next week).  I realized that I hate starting to make something and realizing that I am missing an ingredient.  I also like to be able to run to the store most weeks and buy, milk, yogurt, lunch meat, carrots, and bread (for Jared's lunches). I don't like huge shopping trips.  I like one big splurge to stock up (about once a month) and then to coast through my supplies until then.  

Does anyone else do this?  

Sunday, February 19, 2012


SERVES 12 (I did not notice this the first time I made it) ha ha ha

2 TBS vegetable oil (or butter or olive oil)
2 c. smoked sausage
2 c. chicken
2 c. onions
2 c. green peppers
2 c. celery

4 -6 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1.5 tsp thyme leaves (I never have these, I never use it)
1.5 tsp oregano
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red pepper

8 large tomatoes diced (or canned or just throw in extra tomato sauce - that is what I normally do)
1 c. canned tomato sauce (see above)
4 c. chicken stock
salt to taste (didn't add any)

2 - 4 c. rice

Heat the oil in a large pot (I have a 12 quart pan I use). Either cook the sausage and chicken here or already have it cooked and add in later.  Stir in the onions, celery, and green peppers.  Cook until tender.   

Lower heat.  Add garlic and other seasonings. Stir for about 1 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and stock.  Bring to a boil.  Add salt to taste and more pepper if needed.

I cook the rice, in another pan, until it is almost finished (still a little crunchy) and drain the extra water and then add it to the jambalaya. The recipe calls for it to be added to the jambalaya uncooked, but I use brown rice and it doesn't seem to cook all the way...

That is it.  It is pretty spicy.  Thanks to Ms. Pat for the great Southern cookbook that she gave us on our 1st anniversary.  I have used it more than any other cookbook (even more than Betty Crocker).  It is getting some pretty beautiful stains on it.  :)  I should post some pictures.  I say, never trust a clean cookbook.  ha ha. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Thank you for:
* making me meals all the time
* encouraging me
* schooling me
* punishing me
* talking on the phone for hours to me when I was at school
* reading to me
* helping me be a better writer
* loving me
* taking me to soccer games and all sorts of other places
* baking me treats
* working out at the gym with me
* praying for me
* sending me cards (oh, so many cards and letters)
* planning food for camping trips for me

I love you so much. I hope your birthday is wonderful! Thank you!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Random thoughts

Jared and I heard this on, A Prairie Home Companion.  It make us laugh.
Barista: Would you like to try our Pumpkin Spice Latte?
Garrison Keillor: No, thank you. I don't drink vegetable-flavored coffee.

Wait Wait Wait, Don't tell me, is my favorite show on NPR. I download the podcasts to an ipod touch and listen to them often.  LOVE!  I wish I could download A Prairie Home Companion because that is my second favorite.  I also love Fresh Air, depending on the guest.  Last week I read the four of the first five books in the Little House on the Prairie Series.  I skipped Farmer Boy... I know, I know... I am going to go back and read it.  I was just so interested in what happened to Laura and her family. 
After 25 years, I have finally learned how to spell the work Prairie.  I think it finally sunk in when I stayed in Grand Prairie in Texas for my training this Winter.
While flying out of Denver, I came to realize several things:
1. Flying at night >> (is much greater than) flying during the day.  I love looking at all the lights below.  Ideally, taking off at sunset is the best and then flying into the sunset.  :)
2. Flying in cold weather >> flying in the summer.  I get sick on airplanes.  I become much less sick if cold air is blowing on me.
3. Dramamine and earplanes make flying so much happier for me.
4. Southwest >> American Airlines.  There is no contest.  Bags fly Free vs. $50/bag round trip. No change fees.  All the snacks you could want vs. NOTHING for free.  Friendly people everywhere vs. not friendly people. 
5. Enterprise >> Hertz  (this and the Southwest post are going to be a seperate post, however, I just thought I would mention here, how much I LOVE Enterprise and their service.  I feel so taken care of when I use them.  I wish their personal rental rates were as cheap as their price cuts for corperations.  I would love to rent from them during vacations AND business trips.    
6. Flying when there is snow on the ground or Christmas lights on houses is super neat!!
7. The Denver Airport is one of the neatest airports that I have been in, but BWI is still my favorite airport to fly into (maybe because it is that much closer to home, also, it is one of the most efficient airports -- my baggage is always waiting for me and I am not waiting for it). 
8. Oh and having a whole row to yourself to sleep on is AMAZING! But having the woman in front of you talk the whole time is NOT (or the drunk businessmen who reminded me of Brian Regan's bit on the ME monster... google that, it is hilarious!!!).

Happy lunchtime!
This should be the last of airport posts for a while.  I hope to stay safely on the ground for a good while now.  So, this is your last chance to share an airport story or two in the comments. What have you realized about flying or airports or luggage? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

These pictures make my heart happy!!

These are some of my favorite little people!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cream Puffs

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Break eggs into bowl and mix well.  Heat water and butter to boiling. Stir in flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until it forms a ball (about 1 - 2 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Mix in eggs.  Beat until smooth. Drop onto a cookie sheet. Recipe says it will make 12 cream puffs, I made them smaller and made 23.  Bake 30 - 45 minutes. Cool.

Once cool you can either cut the tops off and fill with the cream filling or you can fill a pastry bag with the cream and stick the tip into the puff and fill.

1 cup cream
1 package vanilla pudding
some milk to thin

Whip the cream (I do not recommend mixing by hand - it will make you really tired).  Once you have whipped cream, mix in the pudding.  It will make it really really thick.  You will need to add some milk to thin it out. 

Chocolate topping:
Either 3 T unsweetened cocoa powder (+ 1 TBS of butter) or 1 square unsweetened chocolate
1 TBS butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 TBS water
1/2 tsp vanilla

Melt the chocolate. Mix in the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla.  You may need to mix in the water.

Cream puffs:
Assemble the puffs.  Fill the puffs.  Drizzle or spoon chocolate on the top.  Chill.  Enjoy.

Recipe credits to Betty Crocker (who does not exist - sad sad sad) and my Mother (happy almost birthday, Mom!). 

Friday, February 10, 2012

1. There is no place like home.

2. Last week on Tuesday, I had already worked 22 hours (which would normally be 2 hours away from going home on a Wednesday... boo).

3. I have not been quilting, reading, or baking these last two weeks.  I have started doing word puzzles and crossword puzzles again.  I really need to quilt Jared's quilt for him.

4. Taste of Home is the best magazine other than the Economist. 

5. Our first houseplant to have a baby houseplant was named Rufus (by Jared).  Every other new baby plant after it has also been named Rufus.  Jared killed Rufus 2 last summer when he dropped the window shade on it.  Rufus 1 and 3 are in their own pots (4 & 5 are still attached to the mother plant and 5 is bigger than 1, 3, or 4). 

6. I bought two new pairs of Clarks (both from their Privo line) this past week at the outlets.  They are both black slip on shoes.  One pair is really cute, the other pair is sort of ugly, but they were so comfortable (and $19.99, normally retail at $79.99) and no one can really see them when they are under dress pants.  At the moment that I tried them on and chose comfort over cuteness, I realized that I was officially old.  I also scored them both for cheaper than the first pair of Clarks that I wear at least 2 or 3 times a week at work and have done wonders for my feet.  I have almost worn out the marking on the soles and they squeak as I walk across the plant or in the parking lot.

7. I really wish it would snow.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

God is so good and gives us blessings that we don't deserve.  Here is something that I am extremely thankful for.

When I was in Dallas, we went the Mavericks game, and we had to walk a lot around outside to the game and to the restaurant.  Guess what?  It didn't rain. The next day we had to walk to a tour of another plant.  Guess what? It started raining when we reached the door on the way back from the tour. 

Starting on Tuesday afternoon it POURED until Thursday afternoon.  We had flash floods, tornado warnings, and hail. It rained and rained and rained.

See when the rain is going to stop?  My training class was over at 2:00.  That is when I was planning on heading back to Dallas to walk around. How perfect this is?!?  It was a huge blessing that the rain came when it didn't bother my plans (not on Monday or Thursday afternoon.  Thank you, God for making my trip pleasant.  Also, I am SUPER SUPER SUPER grateful that both times my flights have had clear weather.  It rained the entire first trip I had to Dallas, except the day that I flew in and flew out.  One of the worst things is taking off in bad weather.  Praise God; the lots have fallen for me in pleasant places! I really didn't need to explore Dallas on Thursday afternoon, but it was a nice surprise.

Monday, February 06, 2012

One of the benefits of rarely drinking coffee or anything caffeinated, is that when you drink caffeine, it REALLY wakes you up.  While in Dallas, I had less sleep than I am used to. The day after my flight, which was delayed (and I only had 5.5 hours of sleep), and the day after that, when I went to the Mavericks game (and only had 6 hours of sleep) I was super tired.  I know, it is partly my fault because I wake up early to go to the gym, I could have slept in for another hours, but I really enjoy working out at the hotel gym.  On Monday I did not drink coffee, but on Tuesday I ventured out to find a Starbucks (I don't like their regular coffee - I think it tastes burnt) and buy a frap. 

Lunch Tuesday:
Rudy's Barbque (2/5 stars - I just don't enjoy it)
* I think their food tastes WAY too smoky!  I am not a big fan. I have had it twice now. 
* This is the interesting thing about them.  They don't serve you with plates.  They throw your entire order into a big black basket and slap a pile of white bread on top.  I am not sure how I feel about this. Of all the restaurants so far in Texas, I would rank this near the bottom, just because the flavors are so overpowered by the flavor of smoke and spicy barbque sauce (optional, but better than the smoky taste).

Dinner: Jimmy's Catfish (5/5 stars)
Okay imagine this place at dark, in the rain on a long dark creepy road (full of little businesses that look like drug fronts and family dollars)...Also, your group has left you and gone shopping (shopping... really? and you don't want to eat dinner until 8:30 (9:30 EST)... really? I am hopefully in bed by then).   
Again, imagine it was a dark and stormy night...

It was a dark and stormy night and this food came back to my hotel room with me... Left to right: stuffed jalapenos, red beans and rice, catfish fillets the size of twice my hands, fries, and hush puppies.  Stuffed jalapenos: perfection.  They melted in my mouth.  Just the perfect amount of spiciness.  Red beans and rice was delicious, nothing special... it was red beans and rice (I am not sure if it could ever be special...).  Catfish: perfectly fried in cornmeal, curling up on the edges and falling apart when you bit into it.  This food makes my mouth very happy.  It is really a good thing that I don't live down south.  I think I would be twice the size I am today.  I gave this place 5/5 stars because it was everything I expected it to be.  It isn't grand dining, but that is not what it advertises to be.  I thoroughly enjoyed my meal here.  

Thanks to my dear company for paying me to eat good food. 
P.S. I think you guys should pay me for all the money I am saving you on my meals.  All this food for $12?!? Everyone else is spending $30-$40 on food. :) I am just saying... you should think about it.

 YAY, for caffeine and good food!!

Question: Do you have a favorite way to wake up when you don't get enough sleep?  When was the last time you didn't have enough sleep? 

I would have to say that it has been several years, probably since college that I have had little sleep and had to concentrate.  All you mothers out there are probably thinking, "just you wait until you have kids".  Sleep has always been very important to me.  I never pulled an all-nighter at school; it just wasn't worth it to me.  I stayed up until 2am once to finish a project, but only because it was a team project and everyone else had not done their parts and I needed to make sure they finished them in time.  I usually went to bed around 10 when I was in school.  I guess I have always been pretty boring.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

goals report (this week):
* cooked 3 + nights
* woke up earlier than normal once
* went to the gym only 1 time (I blame working 54.3 hours).

February goals:
* keep lifting at the gym
* work fewer hours
* eat less sugar
* keep cooking meals
* read two books
* use up fabric
* watch a Russian new years movie
* spend more time with friends
* invite at least one family over for dinner
* lose 4 pounds

Friday, February 03, 2012

While in Dallas, I went here:
American Airlines Center

To watch last year's national champions play basketball: 

I saw two old UNC players (Haywood and Wright) and Emmett Smith (in the crowd). Basketball games, to me, are the most interesting sport to watch live.  I really enjoyed the game (even though it was way too late and I was super tired).  The arena is one of the prettiest that I have seen.  It was extremely attractive and awe inspiring at night (with all the huge tv screens mounted on the side, that lit up the entire night sky and made it seem like it was day outside). Downtown Dallas is also one of the prettiest big cities that I have travelled to (it does not beat DC), but it beats the pants of Chicago. 

Tuesday lunch:
Sandwiches from Jason's deli
Peanut butter cookies from me

Tuesday night travelling dinner:
Twisted Root Burger - Bison burger, cheddar, and onions with sweet potato chips (4/5 starts - good, but not jaw dropping amazing).  The decor was interesting, tendy, and fun.   The best part was that they gave you a fake name for each order:
* I was Jackie Kennady
* my trainer was Lebron James
* James Stewart
* Fairy Godmother