Dec 24, 2011

bye, bye dillon

I'm actually sad to see Dillon, our Elf, go back in the box.

Each morning Cade has had so much fun finding the Elf.  It is pretty magical.

Today Cade found Dillon sitting on his gingerbread house with a note. 

Where do gingerbread men sleep?
Under cookie sheets!

PS.  I did a funny.

Love, Dillon

So Cade and Travis looked around and found that Dillon had taken all of Cade's underware and thrown them on our Christams tree.  He left a note on the doodle board that said, "ha! ha!  Underware Tree!"

Anyone with a little boy would know that the word "underware" holds special meaning.  You can say underware after the word sandwich and find yourself laughing so hard that you get a tummy ache.  Or you could chant "bazooka, zooka, zooka underware."  Which is what we hear almost on a daily basis.  

Today we're off to Memaw's house for a quick trip, then to Juila's and then to my parents house for dinner and Christmas Eve fun! We went to church last night so we could spend today doing holiday travels and have family time together!   Can't wait for tonight!!

Merry Christmas!

Dec 5, 2011

our Elf

We've been having some fun with our ELF On The Shelf, Dillon.

                                                                     Naughty Dillon.
                                                      Dillon brought new Christmas PJs.
                                                                       Dare Devil Dillon.
He has also been found on our Christmas tree, hanging from our chandelier in our kitchen and on top of our hutch, clinging on to a fennel. 

Tonight he's going to be either in the fridge, under a glass dome or to keep with our Dare Devil theme we might have him climb up a piece of furniture!

Nov 29, 2011

Elf On The Shelf

Today on my afternoon off I went to Toys R Us to return two Lego sets that I no longer needed since Julie scored me that ginormous 1600 piece Lego set on Black Friday! I'm still in shock with that number.  What are we going to do with that many Legos.  I guess the question really is- what aren't we going to do with that many Legos.

So once I got my money back on my return I took a quick stroll through the store and then made my way out and headed down to Target to check out the Elf On The Shelf.  I have seen and heard about it and last year the kids in my class were always telling me what their elf did and where they found him that morning.... so fun!

So once I had the package in my hands I debated for a while on actually getting this elf or just getting any ol' elf and calling it the elf on the shelf... I mean it's $30 for a doll that looks like it could be pulled apart just by looking at it.  But it comes with a book and you get a $5 gift card if you buy it and I have a $5 coupon for my purchase that's like $10 off in "coupon talk" so with out anymore hesitation I bought it.

This evening Cade and I sat by the tree and opened the box.  We read the book and he followed along- looking concerned at parts- trying to figure out if this was real or not.  It's REAL to him.  So real that he wanted to know if Dillon saw him throw his empty juice box at me today.  I said, he didn't because we didn't know about Dillon then. There was a sigh of relief on his face.

Tonight Dillon is sitting high on our shelf (the higher the better in this house) and we will wait to see where he ends up tomorrow morning.

By the way, google images and pinterest (if you're a member) has tons of pictures posted of elves in action!

Nov 28, 2011

black friday and turkey pics

 Here is what 4 hours of roasting perfection looks like.
Here is my wedding china freshly out of the box after 5 and a half years.
Our Thanksgiving "Tablescape"
                                                                    Mom and Daddy joined us! 


Just after lunch I noticed  Cade seemed to slowly be coming down with a cold.  By 3:30 he just looked like he didn't feel good.  I rocked him in the recliner and he was out in a matter of 5 minutes.  As I rocked him he started feeling pretty warm so I decided to take his temperature- 101.5 which is high for Cade who hardly ever runs a fever- he's usually below normal on any given day.   I gave him some Tylenol and let him sleep some more.  While he slept Mom and I did our usual Black Friday ad scramble at the kitchen table.  Julie and I had already prepped earlier that week but I needed to refresh myself on what it was that I really wanted to get.  I made my final list and then decided on my mode of attack.  I decided that Toys 'R Us really wasn't where the majority of my list was so I made that  my 3rd stop that night.  First being, Wal-Mart (never again) and then Target.   I finalized plans with Julie and touched base with Susan and decided I was ready to go!  I woke Cade up around 5 and loved on him for a bit but by 6 o'clock I was out the door and  heading to Wal- Mart. 

I made it to Wal Mart by 6:40 and was in line by 7.  I was no.22 for the x-box kinect. Julie arrived at 7:30 to join me in line.  Her husband Mark decided at the last minute he wanted one too! He also decided that he wanted to do Black Friday shopping with us! So while we were at Wal-Mart he was positioned at Target.  By 11:55 we had made it through check out.  I told Julie to leave without me (I stayed behind and loaded up the car with our purchases) and she took her car and went on to meet Mark.  She made it with 1 minute to spare- even hopping over the barricade.  The two of them got everything on our list.  I made it there at midnight but didn't make it to the line.  Once in Target it only took an hour and a half to shop and get through the line.  Wal- Mart needs to take note.

Next stop was Kolh's for one thing Julie was interested in and then we headed to Toys R Us which was surprisingly dead at 2:30.  I got a few things for Cade and a few birthday gifts for a few parties we are invited to this weekend.  I was checked out and headed home by 3:30.  I was asleep by 4:30. 

One of the things I learned this year is to have a back up battery for my phone and to have someone at home that can shop online while you are out shopping.  Several people have told me that they didn't even bother going out because stores opened there black Friday deals earlier online than in the stores. Normally I would have just had Travis just shop for me but he was taking care of Cade that night.

  Overall it was a successful night!

Julie even did a little shopping/returning on her way home and scored us the ever so hard to find 1600 piece Lego set for $30 at the Wal Mart in Spring. 
yay, Julie!
I know- 1600 pieces.  But once you start to price Legos you'll see that $30 is a steal for that many!

Once we were all feeling semi-better  (Yes, all of us were sick.  By the way, Travis was a really good caretaker.  He even made me homemade turkey noodle soup on Saturday! He's the best!) we finally finished decorating the tree on Sunday.  Travis and Cade are looking for the pickle in this picture.   Evidently I hid it pretty well.   They needed "hot and cold" hints!
Our Tree
                                      And here is sweet Lady Bird all snugly UNDER my tree.  

Nov 25, 2011

turkey dinner, turkey dinner

Me:  Hey Cade want to come look at the turkey in the oven?

Cade:  Sure!

Me:  Opening the door...... 

Cade:  (looking in) Is that like a turkey that says, "gobble, gobble?" 

Me:  well... it was.

Cade:  Did he like being cooked?

Me:   How about you go play until lunch is ready!

Needless to say he didn't eat any turkey.

We had a great lunch.  Mom and Daddy came and Lewis, Travis' dad joined us too.

Cade came down with a nasty respiratory infection with fever and all but he is feeling better today..... still a little scratchy voice but much more perky than yesterday.

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! 

A post about Black Friday 2011 will come later. 

Nov 22, 2011


Thanksgiving 2011 will be hosted at my house for the second time.

Of course no Thanksgiving is really complete with out my lovely Grandma but I think she'll be with my favorite Aunt Maxine this year in San Antonio.  I have a feeling we'll all be together for Christmas which is my favorite time of year!

The Thanksgiving menu this year will consist of:  Roasted Butter Herb Turkey, SkinnyCrockpot Girls Cranberry Sauce, Green bean bundles, Travis' Great Grandmother's homemade yeast rolls, mudslide pie, mashed potatoes and stuffing.  Quite the feast!

I just pulled out our 11.6lb turkey to defrost.  Over the weekend I made the cranberries (stove top way) and the bundles.  So easy and so good!  By the way, if you love green beans then fresh is the way to go- Costco sells a nice sized package of green beans and those are the ones I'll be serving.

I definitely think tradition is important at family mealtime.   I remember when Travis and I were dating and I was invited to spend Thanksgiving with his family.  Everything was great until the table was set and I excused myself to make a call to my mom to say that I couldn't believe they didn't have fresh cranberries.... I may or may not have been crying.  I was just so used to having fresh jelly cranberry sauce on the table and to not have that piece for some reason affected me.  Good thing the next year I spent with them we had fresh cranberries on the table. 

As a child growing up I remember breaking the wishbone apart with my family or later on in life with my Grandma.  Grandma and I would pull so hard I hands would almost slip off of it.

I also love to do something special for our table setting.  Last year I made little cards for each person and wrote down interesting (nonsense) facts about thanksgiving day on one side and then why I was thankful for them on the other side. 

This year we have some cute handprint turkeys that will have the bible verse: 1Thessalonians 5:16-18
(Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Gods will for you in Christ) written on it.

This year I'm busting out with our wedding china.  It has been sitting in the box unused, untouched for 5 1/2 years. It's time for it to see the light of day!

Happy early Thanksgiving!

Nov 20, 2011


Two Fridays ago we loaded up the car and headed to Lake Livingston for an overnight camping trip.  It was almost ridiculous how much stuff we "needed" to take to go away for one night.  Phones, dvd player, glow sticks, flashlights, lanterns, 2 quilts, 1 set of sheets, 3 pillows, a dog bed, crayons, a grill kit, fishing poles, our luggage, food, water, and first aid kit were some of the must haves this trip. 

Once we got there and noticed what other campers brought I made note of what we need to bring next time- Christmas lights (for outdoor lighting), a table cloth, and a broom with pan (we had to borrow from the campers next to us). 

Travis and I used to go camping when we dated and when he brought up this trip I wasn't really interested in going at first.  But I decided to tough it out and join in the fun! Besides, Cade wanted me to go! 

We borrowed Julie's 17x10ft tent (that is bigger than Cade's room)  for our first camping trip as a family of 3~  or 4 if you count Ladybird.  Yes, she went and she was really very good. I know. I'm shocked too.  The key was keeping her on a leash.

We arrived around 4 set up the tent rather quickly.  We made hot dogs for dinner and smores for dessert.  We played with glow sticks and told 3 not really scary - scary ghost stories.

Were in bed by in bed by 8.....and fell asleep watching Tangled.   We made it through the chilly night- I think the low was 44.  We were the first to rise the next morning.  We made breakfast tacos-- or at least Travis did while I got the dog to do her thing and entertained Cade with a walk through the woods!
After breakfast we tore down our campsite and loaded up.  We went up the road and tried to fish- but they just weren't biting.  So we headed out to geochache.  There are 14 caches on Lake Livingston.  Of those we set out to find 2, and we did. 

If you haven't heard about geochaching you are missing out!  It's really fun! It's like treasure hunting.  A random person hides a container that has a piece of paper of in it and usually some tokens/treasures.  You use your GPS device to locate the hidden item. Once found, you open it, sign a piece of paper that has been folded inside (a film canister, jelly jar, small pill box) container and decide if you want to take the treasure and leave something of yours or do nothing but sign the paper.  We of course took their treasure and left something of ours.  I think we left confetti from the playground at school.  Yeah, it's kind of dorky but it was fun for us... which I guess means we are a family of dorks but oh well- so are a bunch of other families!

This week is Thanksgiving at our house and then Black Friday with Julie and Susan.

I'm a little mad that the stores are opening early.  We might be home by 3.  Lame.

Nov 8, 2011

A quick post

Wow,  feels like months since I posted!  Our computer bit the dust a few weeks ago....but here is what my life has consisted of the past few weeks:  JUNIOR LEAGUE- Holiday Market.

My friend Susan and I had the opportunity to plan an amazing event for the Junior League-  Cookies & Cocoa with The Clauses.

We both worked are tails off the last few weeks.  We made numerous trips to Wal-Mart, Sam's and Hobby Lobby- dragging our children around even when we ourselves didn't want to go there either!  We pulled it all together this weekend and heard amazing things from friends, family and the guests themselves!

Sure we ran out of cookies and cocoa- twice BUT the activities were fabulous and those two things went almost unnoticed!

We had an amazing Santa and Mrs. Clause.  These two are the real deal!  This was Mrs. Clause first "outing".  We had her read The Night Before Christmas at the end of the event.  The children we so quiet for this soft spoken soul.  We had handprint chargers, reindeer food, Christmas cards, snowmen on a stick, and a photo booth!  Talk about fun!!

I will post pictures soon!  Thanks Suz for all your hardwork!  We are done...for now!

Oct 4, 2011

party pics and a trip to the ranch

To get to the ranch you have to go down a long an winding road, over 2 cattle guards and open 3 gates.  If that doesn't tell you that you are out in the middle of the country, I don't know what will. 

This is Cade and Travis opening the 3rd gate. It's a special gate.

This one of the first times Cade has been out there. I'm hoping we'll make another trip out there this winter. He seemed to like the fresh air and looking at all the old stuff.

This weekend we also celebrated my Grandma's 85th Birthday!

My whole family hosted a wonderful celebration on Saturday honoring a very special person in all of our lives- Mrs. Josephine Schaeferkoeter turned 85!

Here are some pictures from the day!

My cousin, Alex who is slicing lemons for the lemonade.  It's so handy to carry a pocket knife, isn't it. haha

Daddy carrying in the BBQ~ yum!

Stephanie and Gigi
(in the background is my cousin, Mark and his girlfriend Tina whom he met in Germany).

The party was held on LBJ ranch- it's just down the road from the church we got married in. We were all surprised at the amount of water that was still in the river. Of course some areas were dry to the bone but this particular spot was full of clear blue water.

Gigi enjoying her cake

Mom and Uncle Harvey
Uncle Harvey is my grandma's only surviving brother.  They came from a huge family and have a really special bond. 

A sweet little speech from Gigi!

I love you Grandma!!
~tara leAnn

After the party ended Travis and I went to the Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg.  We met up with my cousin, Erica around 10 pm (can you believe FBG was still "open")  Talk about a fun night!  Tons of old people dancing, lots of great music, food and beer! 

(insert chicken dance music here)

Sep 16, 2011

Just an ordinary day

7 o'clock in the morning

My day starts with Cade in bed next to me, Lady Bird is at the foot of the bed and Lucy is somewhere under the covers.

8 o'clock
We have had our breakfast and now we're dressed and "combing" our hair with a plastic comb that goes with Daddy's shaving kit.  He even wet it.

9 o'clock
We dropped off some items to donate to our friend's garage sale/adoption fundraiser and then headed to Target.

While we were at Target looking for a birthday present we found these.  I'm kind of curious as to why the Abuelito is .20cents more.  hmmm?

10 o'clock
We're home and Cade is playing a game while I tackle the laundry.

In the last two weeks he has become quite computer savvy- both hands on deck. 

11 o'clock
Time for a snack.

12 o'clock noon

 We took a trip to Nana's house for lunch.  I went to Hobby Lobby.  Sadly I don't have pictures of this because upon entering Hobby Lobby all rational thought and control left me.  I was sucked in to the Holiday-mess.  Luckily I made it out alive and was able to pick up my little guy just before 2. 

My Hobby Lobby Purchase:  98 clear plastic Christmas Ornaments.  Sorry folks.  If you snooze you loose! Right Suz?!
(98 ornaments for the Junior League's Cookies and Cocoa with The Clauses)

2 o'clock
My happy camper! We're heading home to wrap our gift we bought earlier today.

3 o'clock 
We're heading to the party at Safari Stop in The Woodlands 

4 o'clock

Cade is chasing Angie through the tube You can see see Angie's tutu and Cade's head just on the outside of the rope passage way.

5 o'clock
Happy Birthday Michaela. 
Nice Smile you guys.  haha.

6 o'clock

Dinner at WhichWich.

No picture here.

BUT I do have this one taken during the 6 o'clock hour when we got home.

This was taken after I cleaned up the bulk of it. Hmmm. Which dog do you think did this to my pillow?

At least Cade helped in his own special way by offering to dust bust the back patio.... so helpful isn't he?

                                                     Then he decided he'd rather try his Fun Dip party favor.
7 o'clock
After bath time and PJs I asked him if he was ready for "book time" and he said "how about play time"

So we played.  We used our packaging from (can't remember ) and have used it as a castle, a burning building, and a parking lot.  See boxes are WAY more fun then the thing that came in it....

Barbie from Toy Story 3 was the rooftop firefighter- she even went "in" the burning building. 

8 o'clock
We read two books, said our prayers and talked for a minute about Papa (Cade is really curious about him- Today when were driving home from my parent's house he said, "I can't see Papa's feet in Heaven. I just see clouds."

8:12 p.m. It's bedtime for him and Mama Time for me.

9:45 p.m.  "Our Ordinary Day" has come to an end.

thanks for the inspiration

Sep 15, 2011

The Gift of an Ordinary Day

I'm going to do this tomorrow!

My "ordinary day" isn't anything spectacular but I can guarantee that the moments I create, I want Cade to remember...I want to remember. So I'm going to do this.  I got the idea from

This is what I love about blogging.  There are so many great memories here... I look back to the first post where I included "Travis" or that during the "GAP" of no posts is when we were married, pregnant and became parents.  Or Cade's first day of school or trip to the zoo... it's all here.  I've never done a sun up to sun down post... so I'm going to do my best to capture the moments of our ordinary day.


I've been meaning to post this for a few weeks now....

The day before my Papa's birthday I told Cade, "tomorrow is a special day.  It's Papa's birthday." He said, "can we go?"  I said, that we couldn't.  Heaven is just too far away to go.  So I said we'd send  him some balloons and he'd know they were for him.

So on August 28th, Cade and I released two balloons to heaven.  We wrote a message to Papa and sent them up.  If you look real close you'll see two blue dots on your screen.  Those are them.

Sep 12, 2011

School time

School has started.  This year Cade is in the Cardinal Class!  Here are few pictures from the first day of school!        


He loves his new Cardinal Red backpack! 

Go Cardinals!

Aug 17, 2011

Blue Bell

Today Amanda picked Cade and I up to go on day trip out to the Blue Bell Ice Cream Creamery.   We made it there just in time for the last tour-- nice planning Amanda! We put on our very trendy Blue Bell paper hats and went on the tour.  It starts with a 5 minute movie about the history of Blue Bell.  For the most part the movie held the kids attention...any longer and we'd all been asleep for sure.  Afterwards was the actual tour where we got to see how the ice cream was made.  I always liked to see how things are made.  I think there is something about watching an assembly line and then carton after carton fill up with yummy, delicious ice cream. 

Today they were making:  Mint Chocolate Chip, Pineapple something or another, and The Great Divide. 
Here is what I learned from the tour:

  • Blue Bell stops making ice cream at 4 pm everyday. 
  • 54 gallons of ice cream are made each minute/per machine/batch.
  • The ice cream containers spin while being filled ensuring even distribution of ingredients (ie:  cookie dough).
  •  Blue Bell collects milk from 60,000 cows a day to make one days worth of ice cream.  That's a lot of cows and a lot of milk.  The milk is hauled in from a 200 mile radius.
  • The number one flavor is......Homemade Vanilla.  
  • The number three flavor is ......chocolate......
  • I can't remember number two. 

The cutest thing about today was just after we sat down to enjoy our "free" scoop of ice cream Abbey says, "how do they make ice cream anyway?"  Too funny!

Thanks Amanda for driving and inviting us!  Pictures to come...

Aug 15, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey

Many of my readers (3 at least) follow Bakerella.  My Aunt Maxine sent me an email about a peanut butter pie recipe that Bakerella posted about. Along with the recipe came a really sad story.   Well to make a long post short, I decided to make the pie after reading it.

The story is about a woman who had all the intentions of baking her husband a peanut butter pie....tomorrow.  Life just seemed to be coming at her but she wanted to do something special for him.....tomorrow.  Well, there wasn't a tomorrow for them.   Her husband of over a decade and a half died- just like that, from a heart attack. One of the things she is wanting the blogging world to do to help her in the healing process is to bake a peanut butter pie in her husband's honor. 

The recipe I used came from the Pioneer Woman.

25 finely crumbled Oreos
4 tbs of melted butter
1 cup of peanut butter
1 1/4cup powered sugar
1 container of Cool Whip

I used my blender because I couldn't find my food processor to crumble my Oreos. I poured the melted butter on the crumbs and pressed into a pie pan. I baked it at 350 for 5 minutes and then cooled it completely.

(It is during these next few steps that nearly sliced my thumb off)
WARNING:  Do not use a serrated pie server to open your cool whip container.  Next time I'll be smarter and use my teeth.  hahaha. 

In a mixing bowl beat the peanut butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the powered sugar and then finally the cool whip.  Pour into the cooled Oreo pie crust and chill for an hour or longer.

Here is a link to the story my Aunt told me to read.

Now go hug someone you love and if you get around to it, bake a pie for Mikey.  I did!

our weekend

Friday night was "date night".  It started off with a trip to Home Deopt to check out prices on a new fridge.  Our beloved Frigidaire refrigerator was going out on us.  It all started with the ice maker not making ice.  Then things started to defrost and refreeze.  Then the juice boxes didn't feel very cold but the spinach was frozen on the fridge side.   Things were not looking good for our approximately 7 year old, side by side, too small to put anything in, refrigerator.

Yep. The end was near and we needed to find a replacement FAST. 

Home Depot had nothing.  So it was on to Best Buy where they had mostly a higher end selection- including a fridge with a touch screen monitor. You could update your twitter, upload pictures and get the weather report all while pouring yourself a nice tall glass of juice.  Is any of that really necessary on an appliance?  Afterward we went on to Lowes.  We kind of sort of found one we liked but it was in the scratch and dent pile... and it was well, pretty dented up.  So we called it a night and went home. 

The next day Travis left with Cade to go to the farm for the weekend.  I met up with my parents and we went out to the Lowes in Spring, where the very knowledgeable Phillip helped us find an awesome refrigerator.  He was really great.  He knew every answer to every question we (my dad) came up with.  He was so much help. We spent awhile determining what I didn't want (side by side, stainless, small).  And then we determined what we did want (french door, well lit, auto pull drawer, ice maker, room for a pizza box). We found a few that would work but nothing was quite as impressive as the Samsung 25.8 cf white, french door refrigerator- sorry there isn't a "cool" name for it.  Here's what it looks like.

It's even more impressive with the doors open. 

It's perfect.  You might have noticed that there isn't a water dispenser. Travis and I both agreed that feature is really just something else that could leak.  And WE know ALL about leaks thanks to our beloved Frigidaire.

We went to 2 other stores to check prices but Lowes couldn't be beat (and even if there was a competitor with a better price, Lowes will price match them).

It was delivered today....all shiny and white.  We couldn't be happier!

By the way, Samsung has been rated #1 for the past 5 years and this particular model has a 5 star rating!

So long Frigidaire.

Aug 7, 2011

meal no.4

Pioneer Woman's bbq pizza....  so yummy!

1 bag of pre-shredded chicken warmed up with bbq sauce (see recipe for shredded chicken in an earlier post).
bbq sauce
dash of kosher salt
Pioneer's Woman's pizza dough
1/4 lb of sliced mozzarella

Roll out dough. Eyeball the following:  Drizzle EVOO on top. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Spread BBQ sauce on top.   Place mozzarella slices on top.  Spoon 1 cup chicken over the cheese and bake. For 8-10 minutes.  This is a thin crust.. and it bakes quick. 

Once baked. Top with fresh cilantro and enjoy with a glass of vino.

Travis said this was the BEST pizza he's EVER had.  I finally figured out the crust.... I usually make her crust a bit thicker but this pizza recipe is supposed to be rolled thin.... With every bite there is a crunch to it.  It's the best sound ever.

Aug 3, 2011

meal no.3

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I used one package of pulled pork- thawed slightly. To the pork I added Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce and warmed over a low heat until heated through.  I spooned the warm pork on 2 Hawaiian rolls and.... viola!  A delicious pulled pork sandwich!

One bag (1  1/2 cups)  makes 4 sandwiches.

Aug 2, 2011

meal no.2

So yesterday I pulled two bags of my shredded chicken out of the freezer and made chicken tortilla soup in the crockpot.

3 cups shredded chicken
1/2tsp cumin
1 box chicken stock
1 can rotel
1 can whole tomatoes
1 can corn (drained)
Add to crock pot and set on high for 4 hours.  The chicken went in frozen and warmed up nicely. 

fresh avocado
shredded mixed cheese
4 crushed tostados (or you can use chips- I just didn't have any chips)

serves 4

You can add whatever you have on hand to your soup.  Beans, sour cream, taco seasoning.... I just used what I had on hand.  It turned out great!

I'm loving this new system!  We had left overs from Saturday for yesterday's lunch.... salsa verde shredded chicken sandwiches.  We used a Hawaiian roll instead of a whole wheat roll and it held up a lot better. 

Tomorrow I'm going to pull the pork out and see what I can come up with.  I'm thinking pulled pork tacos with a honey glaze.  yum!

Jul 30, 2011

food for the month

Usually every week I create a menu for us to follow for dinner but this week I'm trying something different.  I subscribe to the Rachael Ray magazine...sometimes I'm inspired other times I'm a little annoyed with the issues because they are SO wordy.  This month, however I actually spent two days looking at it from front to back- even making mental notes on what sounded good.  I shared my ideas with Travis and he said go for it.

So today I went to HEB, grabbed the necessary ingredients and got to cooking.  I even had help from my favorite little red head...he is great at squeezing lemons! 

So here's what I bought:

4 lb chicken thighs
4 lb chicken breast (bone in)
10 lb pork shoulder/butt
8 lemons
1 bottle Kitchen Sink white wine (to cook with and drink)
fresh paprika (heb health/organic aisle)
fresh thyme (heb health/organic aisle)
1 jar salsa verde
whole wheat buns
Hawaiian buns
pepper jack cheese
taco shells

So.....when I got home I prepped my pans by placing parchment paper on them (easier clean up). I placed the thighs on one sheet and breasts on the other.  Set your oven to 400 and move your racks to the highest and lowest settings.  Squeeze the juice from two lemons on all of the chicken. Dirzzle 2 tbs of EVOO. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of paprika and 1 tsp of thyme. Season with Salt and Pepper.  Bake for 50 minutes.  Check for doneness.  Cool for 15 minutes and then pull the meat from the bones.  Shredding and chopping as you go- or when you are done pulling the meat from the bone.  Then pull out 5 baggies.  Fill each baggie with 1 1/2 cups of chicken. Squeeze out the air and seal.  Place all baggies in a larger freezer bag and seal.  Now you should have 12 cups of chicken to pull and use through out the month/week. 

So for the first meal I used 2 cups of shredded chicken and 1 jar of salsa verde (I bought the cheap kind and it was awesome).  Put that over a low flame until heated through.  Then using a hearty wheat bun (get a good brand - HEB brand ended up a little soggy by the end of the meal) spoon a good sized amount of chicken on to the bun.  Place a slice of pepper jack cheese on top and put in the oven for a few minutes until cheese is melted.   On the top bun spread mayo and a smashed avocado and sprinkle a few leaves of cilantro and a slice of tomato.  Then put the two together and enjoy.....

This makes enough for 4 sandwiches.

Now with the other 10 cups of chicken I'm planning on making: chicken tortilla soup, shredded chicken tacos, and chicken spaghetti...and I'm sure I'll have enough to make a few more things....

The pork is cooking now... at 325.  I have 1/2 cup white wine, 6 cloves of garlic and the zest of 2 lemons with it in a roasting pan. It smells awesome! I'm squirting the juice over the meat every hour.  Once it's done
I'll do the same process with pulling the meat and then bagging it up.  I'll make pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, fried rice and several other things....

My house smells amazing right now!

Suggestions:  make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to cook.  Extra hands are a bonus.  Clean as you go.  Make sure you have baggies- all sizes. Pour a glass of wine when you start the whole process.

Have fun!

Jul 28, 2011

Gotta joke for ya

So, yesterday Cade out of the blue asks, "what does a snowman eat for breakfast?" Me, thinking this was a normal everyday question, looked at him with a blank stare.  He follows up with, "frosted flakes!" 

That was his first official joke. 

I was so impressed I had him tell Nana, Granddad and his Juty.

They were all equally impressed.

Today started off with a trip to Target.  I swear they have the whole toy department on clearance. Definitely going to make another run through tomorrow before the weekend crowd hits it.  We picked up a birthday gift, Christmas present and a rubber frog for under $10. nice, huh?

We ran to Gymnastics and then came home to spend about an hour with Travis before he had to leave for work this afternoon. Once he left  I had the W   H   O   L  E afternoon to play, play and play.

We played, Hi Ho Cherry Oh, twice.  Candyland.  Retold 3 Billy Goat Gruff (with Calypso Joe the Caribbean Troll) about 6 really is a cute book though.  We built 2 towers out of mega blocks.  Read a Library book. Downloaded a new game on ipod. Watched an epidsode of Barney.  Took a bath. Ate dinner. Played in the tent and then finally it was time for the gym.

I'm hooked on a new class- yoga-lates.  20%yoga 80%pilates put to awesome music... no waterfall, butterfly music here.  Tonight we heard: ice, ice baby, willie nelson, coldplay, sugarland, journey.... the instructor is fabulous.  She is inspirational.... one class is all it takes and you'll be hooked!

Crap.  I better go be a good daughter in law and wish my mother in law a very happy birthday!    We're seeing her tomorrow after my gym class......

Jul 18, 2011

road trip

Cade and I made it back from our little hill country road trip.   He seemed to have had a lot of fun with his cousin, Maxie and his grandparents.  So much fun that every time we called to check on him he wouldn't talk to me... or Travis.  Finally, on Sunday I got a little update from him, which I was really happy to get.

Kristine and Brandi picked me up just after noon on Friday and we made it up to Fredericksburg around 5:30. I was dropped off at Grandma's house and they headed to their hotel to freshen up for dinner.  I got settled in at Grandma's and decided to pull out my quilt I have been working on for Cade.  I told her awhile back that I needed help hand sewing the binding (the edge of the quilt). She was so much help that we nearly finished it by the end of the weekend.  I got "flagged" on some of my sewing (on the top), so I'll have to rip the seams, try sewing it again and then sew the binding.  I'm so happy she helped with it though.  She seemed to enjoy doing it, too.  I made sure to tell her not to do too much or feel like she has to do it.... I'm so glad that she did.  Now it's has Gigi's love quilted into it too.

That first night we met up at 7 for dinner at Bejas and then a glass of wine/beer at Lincoln St. wine bar.  It was such a nice evening we sat on the patio and listened to a one man band.  He mostly sang classic country songs... don williams, ray price, hank williams, johnny cash... etc.  Turns out he lives a few doors down from my Grandma. 

The next morning I took Grandma to Wal Mart to get a few things and then we worked a bit more on the quilt. Her at one end and me at the other.  I asked her if she used to watch her mom sew and she said yes, and that she just kind of had to learn to do it. 

That afternoon I met the girls for lunch at Pasta Bellas and then we headed out to the wineries.   We rode out to Pedernales Cellars where we got to see the fermentation of the grapes they had just picked the day before- kind of smelly but really neat!  The wine was pretty good.  I enjoyed the whites.  The next stop was to Torre Di Pietra where we had another tasting.  Afterwards we went outside to listen to the live music and walk around the vineyard.  While we were taking pictures a man came up and offered to give us a tour.  He lets us sample the grapes that they are about to harvest this coming week. These grapes are bursting with flavor... the whites were my favorite.  I was sneaky and saved my seeds.... I know 2 people who love to grow things (travis and my dad). 
After being in the hot sun we went back to town and freshened up and then had dinner at Hondo's.  I had the guilt free (only because it's girls weekend) Hondo's cheeseburger.  It was so good!  They had live music as well which we enjoyed for a few minutes on our way out the door.  I was back home by 9.  Grandma had sliced up some Texas sheetcake for us to have for dessert and then we both headed to bed after that yummy treat!

Sunday I managed to sleep in until 8, Grandma made pancakes for me- what a treat! After breakfast we got dressed and went down Main Street together.  I took her to James Avery to get her jewelry cleaned and then we went to Journey Lane scrapbooking and then a few other stores.... we had lunch and then headed home for a bit before it was time to go. 

Kris and Brandi picked me up around 1. We stopped for gas and made our way to Austin.  We stopped at The Salt Lick and surprisingly the guy from Hondo's was singing at Salt Lick.... it was like we were groupies!  K & B loved Salt Lick.  I had already eaten so I had a little bowl of peach cobbler.  yummmmm!  We were back on the road by 3:30 and then home around 6. 

We had a great weekend. I know next time we'll do more stuff together but I am so glad I had that time to spend with Grandma.  I am already thinking about making a mid-week trip in the next week or two.  She just needs some company right now.....  I know Cade would love to back too!

Jul 13, 2011

2 sleeps until....

Cade spends the weekend with Maxie! 

He is super excited about it.  Has already said he's packing Lucy and going to have a talk with her about the rules at Noni's house..... I'm pretty sure Lucy already knows the rules and I'm also pretty sure she's staying home with Travis. 

The plan is for Cade and Maxie to spend the weekend in Austin with Nana, Granddad and Travis P.
Stephanie is going to the lake for a girl's weekend and I'm going to meet up with Kristine and a few other friends for a girls weekend in Fredericksburg.  I am really looking forward to it.  Sad to leave Cade behind, but it'll be fun to do touristy things and spend some time with my friends and with my Grandma.

My Travis is working. boo.  BUT he'll get some good sleep and be able to tackle all the fun project he's been wanting to do..... right, honey?

Next week we're going to Blue Bell for the day and then maybe spend an afternoon at the Children's Museum downtown and then a cool down at Discovery Green.  It's going to be a fun weekend/week ahead of us.  I hope my back can hold up.

Jul 11, 2011


Remember way back in May I surprised Travis with a Groupon to Texas World Speedway on his birthday? No, you don't? Well, I did.  It was a pretty good deal and I shared it with two friends and they each bought one for their significant other. 

We met up at Charlie's house on Saturday morning and loaded into the *party bus and headed out to College Station to the race track. 

*the party bus was once a short yellow school bus that Charlie bought and decked it out with leopard print carpet, leather wrap around seats, a/c, sound system and a jet black paint job with blacked out windows.  It definitely turned some heads down the back roads of Montgomery.  It is currently for sale or rent if you are in need of vehicle of this kind.

We pulled in right on time, got the guys checked in and fitted for helmets.  They had to go through a short introduction class covering such things as the history of the speedway, what to do when your instructor says (yells), "brrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeaaaaaakkkkk" and various other bits of information.  After that was all said and done the class headed out to the track.  Since we arrived on time and said we wanted to go first, we got to go first.  Charlie was in car no. 1 and Travis was in car no. 2.  Both guys were first passengers for a few laps and then were able to change places with the instructor and drive the car them self.   Jeff went after the two of them.  Fun was had by all.  Even, Sam and I enjoyed it. 
I'll post pictures as soon as Travis locates the camera cord...but by the time he finds it I'm sure he'll not know where the camera is.  

Sunday after church we drove up and spent the day in Huntsville with Travis', Dad, Grandma and  Uncle.  We grilled burgers and visited. 

This week Cade finishes swim lessons, goes to gymnastics and then the two of us are heading to the hill country for some fun!  He'll be staying with Maxie and I'm heading up to Grandma's for a little girls trip.  I'm hoping it all works out! I'm definitely looking forward to seeing my Grandma.....and spending time with friends!

Jul 3, 2011

summer time 2011

Wow.  I haven't updated in a quite awhile.

For the month of June we kicked off our summer by signing Cade up for swim lessons taught by my good friend, Susan.  After his first lesson I was pretty sure he hated me.  He loves splashing in the water and playing with pool toys but take off the floaty and make him go under water seemed like the worst thing I could have asked him to do.  I even played with the idea of taking him out of class because I could tell he hated it.  I talked with Susan and decided to take her advice to stick with it and purchase Speedo goggles.  You would think that this wouldn't make a bit of difference but they worked like magic.  In fact, after his second lesson we went swimming at my friend Mary's house and I couldn't stop him from going under and swimming all around.  It was incredible.

We also signed Cade up for Gymnastics at Flips.  He goes for 45 minutes once a week and loves it.

I'm going to try to get a video of him doing both and post it here later this week.

Today we are off to Livingston to visit one of Travis' old friends and then look at some property that Travis wants to hunt on this winter. 

Later in July we're looking to take a trip to the hill country for a little r&r.  Hopefully we spend one day in Austin and then a few days out in Fredericksburg.  Having 2 dogs makes it a little tricky with getting out of town.... hmmm... any takers on Lucy? She's the well trained one.  Ladybird is more like a loose moose in the house.... she is getting better...kind of!

May 30, 2011

the other recipe, 24 hours later

When we registered for our wedding one of the stores, Der Kutchen Ladel in Fredericksburg, had the Betty Crocker's Bridal Edition Cookbook.  I remember scanning away and hoping that I'd get this book.  It had to be good....look how pretty it is.

It's basically a  "how to" cookbook.  With illustrations on what your dish should and should not look like.   I've only made one recipe from this cookbook.  I can't seem to go any further than this one particular recipe.

It's amazing. 
 I've made slight alterations and guess what?  It's still good.
You just can't go wrong with it.

And, now, I'll reveal my second "go-to" recipe... drumroll. 
My all time favorite recipe is: the chocolate chip cookie recipe found on pg. 146 of Betty Crocker's Bridal Edition Cookbook.

These are to die for.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 sticks butter (although 1 cup kind of sounds like less- I've even used soy butter- still good).
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 salt
1 cup nuts
1 bag semi sweet chips (I use about 3/4 of the bag)

Heat oven to 375.
Mix first 5 ingredients using a mixer.
In a separate bowl combined the next 3 ingredients and then add to the other bowl. Combine and then stir in nuts and chips... or just chips (that's how I like them).

Bake 8-10 minutes.  Cool.  Eat.


May 28, 2011

my new favorite go-to recipes

I love cooking and baking.

Here are 2 of my favorite things to make and take to different events and I've even made for the occasional family dinner.

Paula Deen is a favorite of mine. I borrowed my mom's Paula Deen magazine awhile back and came across a trifle's amazing!

nilla wafers
2 containers Philly cheesecake filling
1/3 cup lemon curd (I've made it with and and with out both are good - and like my grandma told me once- you can't miss what you don't have and the first time I made it I didn't have any).
fresh and/or frozen mixed berries (i do a combo of both)

Take a box of nilla wafers and pour into a plastic bag, seal it and smash the wafers until nice and crumbly. Once done, place a nice layer of smushed wafers in the trifle bowl.
Then open up 2 containers of Philly cheesecake filling and pour into a large bowl.  Add the lemon curd and stir until combined.  Then place a nice layer of cheesecake filling on top of the wafers.  Then add your mixed berries to the top of that.  Make sure your layers are to the edge of the triffel bowl so you can see each layer from the outside of the triffel bowl.  Repeat all 3 steps ending with cheesecake filling.  Garnish with any remaining fruit.

It's delicious.  It's refreshing and it's not your typical trifle.  I get so  many compliments on this dessert and I know you will too!


The other recipe will follow later tonight...I have a 4 year who needs some love and attention!

May 19, 2011

it's summer time

Yay for Summer Time!
I can't believe this time next year I'll be one of those mom's crying because their baby is going to kindergarten.  How can it be?  Here recently Cade has been asking me if I remember when he was, "this little" or "this little".... How can I? Time goes by so fast you really do forget how small they once were... but somehow I manage to say, "of course I do" .... boo-hoo.

Day one of my vacation started off with me dropping my iPhone and having the screen shatter.  yay. 
My day got much better after that.  I watched Luke and Hudson for the first time!  I had my little helper with me to ensure that we wouldn't "lose one."  We had so much fun!  We played, and played, and played. Afterwards we headed to lunch to meet Mary.  Travis stopped by and joined us for a few minutes before heading to overtime. After lunch we went to HEB and then home for some rest (twins can really wear you out) and then we topped off the night with an evening session of Yoga. 

Day two is in the planning stages.  We will most likely have breakfast here and then venture out.  I'm thinking Gym, lunch and movies with the possibility of a little pool time.  Can't wait for swim lessons this summer. Cade says, he'll only do it with goggles.  I guess I'll put that on my shopping list.