Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A long day...

Okay, today wasn't really long, just painful. I had a root canal done back in April. I am still having issues withe tooth so my dentist sent me to a specialist to have the root canal redone. Boy, I thought the first time around was painful but I was WRONG! I started to really hurt after the novocaine wore off. I am so thankful my Momma is here to help me with the kids & to make us dinner. I asked her before she came if she would make us scalloped potatoes with hot dogs. This is something my Mom made for us a lot growing up. I have made it a few times for my family but it always seems to taste better when Mom makes it! :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nanny Arrives!

My Mom arrived this afternoon! She is staying with us for the next week because my Dad is out of town for business. We haven't seen my Mom since our family beach trip a couple weeks ago, so I was very excited & happy to catch up with her! I decided I wanted to make something special for her. Pumpkin pie is her absolute favorite dessert! I found a recipe online for Pumpkin Crisp & decided, we had to try it & it would be a fun surprise for her when she arrives!

Pumpkin Crisp
**I found this recipe on It turned out so good! It tastes like pumpkin pie with a crumble topping! So Yummy!! It was really easy to make!**

1 package yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (29oz) can pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Set aside 1 cup cake mix for the topping. Combine remaining cake mix, 1 egg, and melted butter or margarine. Pat into a 9x13 inch baking pan.
3. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, 2 eggs, spices, 1/2 cup sugar, and milk. Pour pumpkin mixture over the cake mix crust.
4. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup cake mix and 3/4 cup sugar. Cut in 1/2 cup softened butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle mixture on top of pumpkin mixture.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

For dinner, I tried a new recipe called Taco Chicken Bowls. This is served over rice instead of on tortillas. This interested me. It turned out really good & everyone said they would like to have it again. :)

Taco Chicken Bowls
**I found this recipe on It turned out really yummy & everyone liked it. I left out the chili powder & cilantro. We are not big fans of cilantro & I bought medium salsa. We are not big fans of spicy food so the medium salsa made it plenty spicy for us.**

1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
1 (16oz) jar salsa
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained
1/2lb (8oz) frozen corn
1T chili powder
1/2T cumin
1/2T minced garlic
1/2tsp dried oregano
1/4tsp cayenne pepper
1/4tsp salt
cracked pepper, to taste
2 cups dry rice
8oz shredded cheese
1/2 bunch cilantro (optional)

1. Add everything except the rice, cheese & cilantro to the slow cooker along with 1/4 cup of water. Give everything a good stir and make sure the chicken is covered in the mixture.
2. Secure the lid of your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
3. Near the end of the cooking time, cook the 2 cups of rice according to the package directions.
4. After 8 hours of cooking, carefully remove the lid of the slow cooker. Stir with a fork to shred the chicken. Build the taco bowls by placing rice on the bottom, then the taco chicken mix, shredded cheese and fresh cilantro.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Crazy Hair Bath Time!

Homemade Pretzel Bites

I finished up the homemade pretzel bites while the kids took their naps. They turned out so good! I wasn't sure how well they would turn out (I have never made pretzel before) but they are awesome! I gave them to the kids when they got up from their naps as an afternoon snack & they ate them up! After Justin gets home from work & gives them a try, I am going to put them in a ziplock freezer bag & freeze them. I will pop them out as we want them.

Homemade Pretzel Bites
**I found this recipe at They were really easy to make & are a big hit. Perfect afternoon snack or for while we are out running around town. The recipe tells you to put them in the pretzel shape but I rolled them into bite size balls...much easier for the kids to handle.**

1 1/8 cup water (70-80 degrees)
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 T brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 qt water
1/2 cup baking soda
coarse salt
melted butter

1. In bread machine pan, place the first four ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1-2 tablespoons water or flour if needed).
2. When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into eight balls. Roll each into a 20-inch rope; form into pretzel shape. In a saucepan, bring water and baking soda to a boil. Drop pretzels into boiling water, two at a time; boil for 10-15 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.
3. Place pretzels on greased baking sheets. Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with salt.

Bread Machine Bread Sticks

You ever have one of those days where you just feel like cooking & making fun treats for your family? Well, I am having one of those days! I tried a new recipe this afternoon. I have never made bread sticks before but it was so easy! We will have these with our dinner tonight (grilled pork loin). Yummy! I am in the process now of trying to make pretzels in the bread machine. I will post about that later.

Bread Sticks
**I found this recipe at It was so easy to make & they are so yummy! I look forward to making these again!**

1 cup warm water
1/4 cup oil
3 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
3 T brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
4 T butter, melted
1/2 tsp garlic salt
Parmesan cheese

1. Put first 6 ingredients in bread machine in the order listed. Run dough cycle.
2. Roll dough onto a lightly buttered cookie sheet.
3. Use pizza cutter and cut the bread sticks into 24 pieces.
4. Let rise for 1 hour.
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
6. When bread sticks come out of the oven, drizzle with butter/garlic mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Serve with pizza sauce for dipping.

Homemade Egg McMuffins

This morning I made a little surprise for the hubby. I found a recipe for making your own Egg McMuffins. The recipe also talked about putting them in the freezer & taking them out when you are ready to eat one. That is my kind of cooking!

Egg McMuffins
**I found this recipe at The recipe called for grated cheese but I had a bunch of sliced cheese in the house so I used American cheese singles. I also had some sausage links in my freezer from a sale a few weeks back. I cooked some of them up & put 1 sausage link on each of the 6 muffins. This is a perfect breakfast for the husband. Before he runs out the door to work, he or I can heat one up & go!**

12 English Muffins
12 Large Eggs
10oz Cheese, grated
Butter or olive oil (optional)

1. Grease muffin tin lightly with oil spray or butter.
2. Crack an egg into each muffin tin. Bake in oven set at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
3. Toast English muffins.
4. Add cheese and an egg to half of a muffin. Apply the top half of the muffin. Add a tiny smear of butter onto the top half of the muffin if you would like.
5. Stick back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until they are warmed through and the cheese is melted.
To Freeze: Don't stick back in oven. Place all on baking sheet and put them all in the freezer, uncovered and unwrapped. Leave for 1 hour. Pull them out and wrap individually in plastic wrap or foil and store in a freezer safe plastic bag.
To Reheat: Heat frozen in oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

How my eggs looked after coming out of the oven. I tried to scramble three of the eggs to see how they would turn out. I prefer my eggs scrambled.

12 Egg McMuffins ready to freeze. The 6 on the left are egg and cheese. The 6 on the right are egg, cheese & sausage.

I wrapped all the sandwiches up individually with plastic wrap. I then (to save space in my small freezer) divided the sandwiches up & put the 6 egg and cheese muffins in one of the English muffin packages. I put the 6 egg, cheese & sausage muffins in the other English muffin package. I put a label on them & stacked them on top of each other in the freezer. Easy & doesn't take up much room in my freezer! :)

Homemade Dishwasher Soap

Today, I made my own dishwasher detergent!

I found the recipe online. From what I have read online, it lasts for a really long time & is much cheaper than buying name brand detergents. Of course, if I find a deal using my coupons & I can get dish detergent for free or really cheap, I won't pass up the deal! ;)

Here is how I made my own dish detergent...

3 cups of Epsom Salt
1 Box of Borax (20 mule team borax, found in any supermarket with the laundry detergent)
1 Box of Super Washing Soda (found in any supermarket with the laundry detergent & soaps)
24 packages of unsweetened lemonade mix
Large container to store

In a very large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients listed above. Once you have finished mixing it well, you can pour it into your container.

I bought my container at Super Walmart for $3. Make sure it is an air tight container to help keep the detergent from hardening.

You will use 1 TBSP per wash cycle.

If you need a rinsing agent then you can add 1 TBSP vinegar or Lemi Shine to the bottom of the dishwasher before starting it.

Here is a breakdown of the cost:
$2.98 1 Box of Borax
$3.24 1 Box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
$2.88 24 Packages of Unsweetened Lemonade
$3.49 1 Carton (4lbs) of Epsom Salt (I only used 3 cups so there is enough left to make more soap)
Total = $12.59

This is much more than I would spend on dishwasher detergent but only using 1 TBSP per washing cycle, this should last for a very long time!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A 3 year old explains a rodeo...

We got home from the rodeo pretty late last night. This morning, on the way to church, I asked David what he thought about the rodeo. He said he loved it! Daddy asked David what he liked best.

David said he loved how "the horses come out of the gate & dance all over the place! The cowboys fall off because the horses are dancing so much. Then, the clown comes over & helps the cowboys when they fall off the dancing horses."

Love him!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

And they call this thing a rodeo!

We took the kids to a local rodeo tonight with some friends. The four of us have never been to a rodeo before so we were excited to see what it was like. We had a blast! Luckily, our friends are familar with rodeos so they were able to explain a couple things. David is really into Toy Story & the whole concept of cowboys. We had a real cowboy sitting in front of us & he was so nice. He talked to David & explained what was going on through the rodeo. The rodeo didn't start until 8pm so Grace was tired & wasn't real into it. We would definately like to go again!

My cowgirl!

Checking out her cowgirl boots!

David & his best buddy, Carter, walking up to the rodeo :)

Amber, Kennadi, Justin & Grace

Nate, Carter & David checking out a pretty horse (notice, David won't get too close!) haha

Just a couple of cowboys!

Practicing his country dancing!

Cowgirl Kennadi!

For dinner, I made honey-garlic pork ribs. I found this recipe in my Taste of Home cookbook. It turned out really yummy!
Honey-Garlic Pork Ribs
**The recipe comes from The Taste of Home cookbook.**

4 lbs pork spareribs or pork loin back ribs
1 cup honey
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground mustard

1. Cut ribs into serving-size piecees; place in a large resealable plastic bag. Combine the remaining ingredients; pour half the marinade over ribs.
2. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for several hours or overnight, turning bag occasionally. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade. Drain and discard marinade from ribs.
3. Place ribs on a rack in a greased shallow baking pan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Drain. Pour the reserved marinade over ribs. Bake, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes or until meat is tender, brushing occasionally with pan juices.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mcwane Center Play Date

Today, we took Mimi & Pop Pop to the Mcwane Science Center. Pop Pop & Mimi have never been to Mcwane so we were excited to show them all about it!
My pretty girl!

Let's get wet!

Checking out the sharks & sting rays!

We love the giant light brite!

Let's play with blocks!

I love how her hair looks like a peacock! haha

Grace pretending to be a fairy...Tinker Bell is her favorite movie right now.

Slide Time!

Funny Kids!

David playing the drums.

David showing Mimi that he can stand the winds of a tornado!

Mimi's turn!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fun Day With Pop Pop & Mimi!

This morning the kids & I hosted a play date at The Play Place in Trussville, AL. The kids & I are part of a really fun group called The Mom's League of Birmingham. The kids & I have been to The Play Place once so we were excited to get to go again. We were also really excited to have Pop Pop & Mimi come with us!
David & Maggie Racing!

Grace's turn to race!

Playing Ski Ball with Mimi!

Lookout drivers! Grace is on the road!


I caught Pop Pop & Mimi playing some air hockey! :)

After dinner, Grace & Mimi read books in her room.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pop Pop & Mimi Arrive!

Pop Pop & Mimi arrived today! We are so excited to have them here visiting for the next couple of days! We spent the evening hanging out at home & catching up. We look forward to a fun couple of days!

For dinner, I made a pot roast in the slow cooker, mashed potatoes & steamed carrots.

Pot Roast with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
**This recipe comes from the Fix It and Forget It cookbook. I love this recipe because I always have all the ingredients in the house & it is so yummy! I use the leftover mushroom sauce for gravy.**

2-2 1/2 lb boneless beef chuck roast
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1. Place roast in slow cooker. Sprinkle with dry soup mix. Top with mushroom soup.
2. Cover. Cook on High 1 hour, and then on Low 8 hours, or until meat is tender.
3. Slice. Serve with mashed potatoes or cooked noodles.
Variation: Add cubed potatoes and sliced carrots to beef. Proceed with directions above.

I also made the Bread Machine Buttery Rolls I made earlier this week. For dessert, I made a pineapple upside down cake.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
**This recipe came from my Taste of Home Cake Mix Creations cookbook**

6 canned pineapple slices
6 maraschino cherries
1 cup chopped walnuts, divided
1 package (18 1/4 oz) white cake mix

1. Place pineapple slices in a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Place a cherry in the centr of each slice. Sprinkle half of the walnuts around the pineapple.
2. Prepare cake mix batter according to package directions; spoon batter over pineapple layer. Sprinkle with remaining nuts.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 10 servings

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Take me out to the ball game!

After my 5k race this morning, we took David to the Moody City Hall & signed him up for Fall t-ball! Yay! There is Fall t-ball & soccer sign up right now. We talked with David & let him decide if he wanted to play t-ball again or if he wanted to try soccer. He was all about play t-ball again. We are all looking forward to another fun season watching David play t-ball!

Justin spent the afternoon mowing our backyard. He hasn't had a chance to mow since before our beach trip. It was a field back there! I did some chores inside & tried a new recipe. :)

Honey Cornbread
**I got this recipe from It turned out really yummy. David is obsessed with honey right now & you can really taste the honey in this cornbread! I split the recipe in half since I was trying it for the first time & I got 12 muffins (see Corn Dog Muffin recipe below).**

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 1/3 cup milk
2 1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 T baking powder
1/2 cup corn meal
1 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream sugar and butter. Add in eggs, honey and milk and mix well.
2. Mix together flour, baking powder, corn meal and salt. Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients carefully. Do not over mix. Batter will be lumpy.
3. Pour batter in greased 11x14-inch baking pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Corn Dog Muffins
**I found this recipe on I split the Honey Cornbread recipe in half (since I was trying it for the first time). These turned out so yummy & taste just like a corn dog! I love this recipe because it is a great recipe to freeze. Just take however many you want & let them thaw & doesn't get any easier!**

Honey Cornbread Recipe
Hot dogs, cut in thirds

1. Mix together Honey Cornbread recipe.
2. Pour batter in muffin tins.
3. Put one hot dog (third) in each muffin tin on top of the batter.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.

We went with some friends to the Birmingham Barron's baseball game tonight. We had a lot of fun & all four kids got to eat LOTS of junk food (it was wild)! haha

David & his best buddy, Carter!

Isn't this how everyone eats popcorn?!