Saturday, June 30, 2012

Recipe: White Cheese Sauce

This cheese sauce tastes very similar to the white cheese sauce that I used to get at Miguel's in San Diego while I was in college. We would go there and eat the chips and the cheese sauce and barely have room for dinner. That could be part of why my freshman 15 turned into a sophomore 30, but it was delicious!

1.5 cups Whipping Cream
1 cup Sour Cream
1 tsp Chicken Bullion Granulars
2 Tbsp Salted Butter
1 Tbsp Flour
1 jalapeno, minced
1 Tbsp juice from bottled jalapenos
6 oz (or more) Shredded Cheese (cheddar & jack)

whitecheese (1)
Heat whipping cream in saucepan over high heat, when the cream is about to boil, stir in the sour cream. Once the sour cream has melted (dissolved), reduce heat to medium. Stir in chicken bullion and jalapeno juice and simmer.

In a small skillet make a roux: melt butter over medium heat, add flour and mix with a whisk until the mixture turns a pale gold.

When the cream mixture is about to boil, add the roux whisking constantly until roux is incorporated. Turn heat to low and stir in minced jalapeno and shredded cheese until cheese is melted.

Serve with tortilla chips. Makes about 3.5 cups.

whitecheese (2)
The original directions called for 2 oz total of cheese, which I tried the first time I made this and it wasn't nearly cheesy enough. Since I upped the amount of cheese, I also decreased the amount of whipping cream (originally it was 2 cups). For the minced jalapeno, I usually just get about 6 slices out of my jar of sliced jalapenos and dice them up. Much easier than using a fresh jalapeno.

I love this sauce, I could probably eat about half of it by myself which is why I don't make it that often. But it is so freaking delicious. And much easier than flying to San Diego just for White Cheese Sauce. You definitely want to keep it warm, the last time I made this I put it in a mini crock-pot on the "warm" setting.

whitecheese (3)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Project Life: Week 24

Week 24: June 11 - 17

week 24 (3)
I ordered my pictures on Monday night, picked them up over lunch on Tuesday, ended up going to the Baseball game that night, sat down to work on Project Life Wednesday evening, decided that I wanted to do something a little different with a few pictures and make an insert which meant I had 6 empty 3x4 inch slots so I had to order MORE pictures which I picked, photoshopped and ordered on Wednesday night, picked up my new pictures on Thursday over lunch, work on my layout Thursday evening, took pictures of it during lunch on Friday and now I'm finally posting it. Makes me tired just thinking about it.

week 24 (4)
I've been taking more pictures of what we're eating for dinner recently. Mostly because I sometimes want to post recipes here, so I like to have a picture of my "plated" food. This week I took 3 dinner pictures and combined them into one 6x4 print, I also typed the name of the dish on each section - the first one is hard to read, it is the the BLT Chicken Pasta Salad.

week 24 (7)
I also took quite a few sprinkler/water pictures which is what was made into an insert. The previous week Justin had bought some water guns and we finally played with them outside. I love the picture of Claire being excited about the water gun. I had so many cute pictures of Claire, but I forced myself to only order one.

week 24 (6)
Sunday was Father's day, so on Friday night I had the girls all come outside and wash Justin's car (and mine while they were at it). Saturday morning, Claire & I went to The Berry Patch to pick berries. Definitely should have forced the Anaya & her friend to get up and go with us, we ended up only picking a pound because Claire wasn't cooperating with me. I made two Father's Day desserts so I included a picture of them. Then I made Justin and the girls pose in the backyard for a Father's Day picture.

The Mom Creative

Thanks for coming and seeing my Project Life!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Baseball Game

I was planning to work on my Project Life layout last night, then at 4pm, our company receptionist/office manager sent out an email about Royals tickets for that night. I called Justin to make sure he didn't mind and sent in a email to try and "win" the tickets. They do a drawing I think of all the people that say they want the tickets, I'm not sure if not very many people wanted them or if I was just lucky, but I won the tickets. So after a quick dinner, we headed out to Kaufman Stadium for our once a year baseball experience.

I've been spoiled by the company tickets, they are in the Diamond club. There are seriously FOUR actual rows in front of us and then a few rows of dugout seats and then the field. And in the Diamond Club, they have people that come down and take your order for food and drink. There's no way I would spend the amount of money required to buy these tickets - we enjoy going, but not THAT much. This picture - from my seat, no zooming.

royals 1
I wasn't originally planning to take Claire, but she would've been so sad to stay home while Anaya, H and I went. And I had four tickets. So she got to come too! And she did MUCH better than I thought she would do. I did take the iPad so that she could play with it when she started getting antsy. She and I also went on a walk around the entire stadium.

royals 2
We ended up staying until the beginning of the 9th inning. At that point, the Royals were ahead 8 to 2 and Claire was crying because everyone was screaming and yelling because someone hit a home-run that got 3 runs in. Then Claire looked at me and said "All Done" and did the sign she does when she's all done at dinner time (hands out facing up and kind of shrugs). So we packed up our stuff and went home, it was about 10pm at that point.

royals 3
By the time we got home and put Claire in bed and took H home, it was too late to work on PL. Maybe tonight?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Water Table

I almost got rid of Claire's water table last year. We don't usually take good care of it, I think we may have filled it up once last summer (if even that) and then flipped it upside down and then rain water filled the underside and leaves and bugs and crap and someone would've had to clean it and yeah. But last Thursday, Justin cleaned the water table. Ok, the underside is still kind of gross looking, but it's MUCH better than it was. Since the water table only came with three toys and I didn't want to bring out the real pool toys, I brought her LittlePeople Noah's Ark out for her, I need to find the rest of her animals and bring them out too.

waterTable 1
On Friday, Justin surprised us when we got home with one of those little plastic pools for Claire. We have a toddler-sized inflatable pool, but we just wanted something small she could wash her feet off in if nothing else. We've had a plastic pool before too, it got all gross and nasty and then I threw it away. I think that was 2 years ago? On Friday, Claire was happy to sit in it and play with her Little People animals. She hasn't gotten in her little pool since Friday, not sure why not, but I'll ask her if she wants to get in the little pool and she'll say "Nooo".

waterTable 2
I have discovered that I can read a book while Claire plays in the water table. I could probably do something a little more productive too - like weed a flowerbed in the back yard, or something. But I've mostly been reading ridiculous romance novels from the library. And I have to say, I LOVE that my house faces west, that means the backyard is in the shade in the evening. By 6pm, the patio is in the shade and even though it is warm outside, it is not terrible to sit in the shade while Claire's splashes around the water table.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Menu Monday

It seems like the price of groceries as suddenly gone up A LOT. I'm not sure why, but I go to the store with less than 10 things on my list and spend at least $50. Sure, I sometimes buy things that I don't intend to buy, but seriously, food is expensive. And I did stock up on a few things the past couple of times I was at the store (lots of crackers for snacks, and frozen pizza & mac and cheese for quick dinners).

So, here's what we ended up eating last week:

Monday - Breakfast - Bacon, Eggs, Toast
Tuesday - Palermo's Pizza
Wednesday - Beef & Cheese Stuffed Shells, Green Beans
Thursday - Marinated Pork Chops, Pasta Salad
Friday - Mac & Cheese, Cantaloupe
Saturday - Hot Dogs, Corn, Cantaloupe
Sunday - Leftovers

Ended up re-arranging and changing a few things. We didn't have enough leftovers for Tuesday, so we had a frozen Pizza. Justin doesn't like have "similar" dishes two nights in a row (or even in the same week), so Chicken Parmesan got bumped around and eventually off the menu all together since we'd have the Beef & Cheese shells and they both have marinara sauce on them. Friday we didn't feel like cooking and none of us we particularly hungry so we had a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese. Then Justin decided he wanted Hot Dogs for dinner on Saturday and since I had to pick up some stuff to make cookies I went ahead and got Hot Dogs and buns while I was there Saturday morning, luckily I hadn't bought the Deli Meat yet so that just go pushed to next weekend. And we did have enough leftovers to eat on Sunday, so we just did that instead of making Fried Eggs.

The current grocery ad does not have much that I actually want in it, so I think I'm going to hope that the ad that comes out on Wednesday is better and try to eat things that we have between now and Thursday. Since we didn't have the Parmesane Crusted Chicken we'll have that on Monday night. I stocked up on Smoked Brats the last time they were on sale and we have buns from last Saturday, so that's Tuesday. We don't actually have Tuna right now, but I need to run by Target on Monday or Tuesday to pick up Project Life pictures so I can get a can of Tuna while I'm there.

The plan for this week:

Monday - Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Peas, Bread
Tuesday - Smoked Brats, Pasta Salad
Wednesday - Tuna Salad Sandwiches
Thursday - Steak, Pasta/Rice side
Friday - Breakfast - Pancakes, Sausage, Fruit
Saturday - Deli Subs, Fruits & Veggies
Sunday - Palermo's Pizza / Leftovers?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Project Life: Week 23

Week 23: June 4 - 10

I was not feeling the motivation to work on Project Life this week. I had all my pictures selected by last Tuesday, but then I just ignored them until Monday night when I finally just ordered them from Target. I wanted to do some journaling on them before I ordered them, but I never got around to it. I mean, I could've waited to print them, but I had to go to Target on Tuesday anyways to buy a DVD for Claire (maybe 'had to' isn't the right phrase), and I didn't want to make anymore trips to Target than necessary.

So I got my pictures and I cut them apart, but I still wasn't really in the mood to do all my journal strips and cutting them apart and sticking them to each picture. So I took a picture of my work in progress and started writing this blog post, but it wasn't THIS blog post, it was about my lack of motivation. It as just going to be blog filler for the PL week that would get done eventually.

pl in progress
At one point I started brainstorming other approaches I could take to my journaling this week. Not counting my insert, I had already filled all but one of my 3x4 spots and the only 6x4 spot left was for my title card. Finally I decided maybe this week I wouldn't use a standard title card. Maybe this week I should type all my journaling for all my pictures on one 6x4 piece and use that as my title card. At which point I got motivated and got it all done. I ended up printing one more 3x4 picture to fill in the one spot I had left originally (it's the picture of Strawberry Cheesecake).

Full spread without insert:
wk 23 (2)
Left side:
wk 23 (5)
The only unfortunate thing is that I closed all of my photoshop files without saving them, and after looking at the title/journal card, I wish I had made my font larger. But I really don't want to re-type all of that, so we'll see if it looks okay tomorrow.

Right side:
wk 23 (7)
wk 23 (9)
My brother-in-law and new sister-in-law got married that weekend, so the insert is all about their wedding. The picture of just my family was taken with the timer while my camera was balanced on a bike rack (which I think annoyed Justin - he was worried it would fall). Unfortunately the focus ended up being on the plants behind us so we're a little blurry, but it's still a pretty good picture.

The Mom Creative

Thanks for coming and seeing my Project Life!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Menu Monday

It's that fun time of the week when I have to plan out our menu for the week. I hate menu planning, but at least this way I get it all done at once instead of attempting to figure something out every single day.

Monday - Breakfast - Bacon, Eggs, Toast
Tuesday - Leftovers?
Wednesday - Beef & Cheese Stuffed Shells, Green Beans
Thursday - Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Peas, Bread
Friday - Marinated Pork Chops, Pasta Salad
Saturday - Deli Subs, Fruits & Veggies
Sunday - Fried Egg Sandwiches

Sunday evenings are usually my lazy dinner evening. We have a big lunch with my parents so sometimes we aren't terribly hungry. Sometimes we end up getting fast food (like last Sunday we ended up getting Arby's) because I'm not always in the mood to cook. If we end up having fast food during the week it is because I haven't gone to the grocery store yet, but on Sundays it is because I am lazy.

I think I actually had one other meal planned for this week, I made the menu up during my lunch break at work and then I left my menu plan at work. Whoops. So I'm blogging about it from memory. Which is why tomorrow night is followed by a question mark, although since I didn't go grocery shopping since my grocery list is also at work with the menu plan, that means tomorrow night could be interesting.

Speaking of Arby's, have you had their Triple Cheese and Bacon Angus sub thingy - something like that. Oh my goodness, it is so delicious. Justin got one on Sunday and I ended up eating half of it. Also, do you remember the Little Miss and Mr Men books? In their happy meals they have little plastic Little Miss and Mr Men characters. We have 5 of the 6 characters (you can buy the toys without the kids meal, we haven't had Arby's that much). Claire loves them. I need to pull the books out that we have the match the characters that she has and read them to her.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Cakes

I made two cakes for Father's Day. My dad specifically asked for a Pineapple Upside-down Cake and I knew that wasn't what Justin would prefer. So on Saturday evening as an "early father's day", I made a Peanut Butter Cake for Justin.

The Peanut Butter Cake was delicious, although the icing was ALMOST too rich. Justin prefers thicker cakes so even though the recipe said to make it in a 10x15 Jelly Roll pan, I used a 9x13 Cake pan. But I made the same amount of icing/glaze so it was pretty thick on my cake. It almost tasted like Peanut Butter Caramel - soooo good, but so rich. I'm thinking about making it again and making the peanut butter sheet cake but with the chocolate icing you put on a Texas Sheet Cake, or maybe make the chocolate sheet cake with the peanut butter icing.

Peanut Butter Cake
Then on Sunday after we got home from church, I threw the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake together. I don't have a link to the recipe because it is out of Pioneer Woman's first cookbook - the Pineapple Upside Down Cake in a Cast Iron Skillet. I was a little worried about the batter because it was REALLY thin, but it turned out amazing. So delicious. I probably should've squished my pineapple together a little bit more than I did, but live and learn!

Pineapple UpsideDown Cake

Then this evening I made everyone go outside and I took a picture of them. Justin & his girls...on Father's Day 2012:

Justin And Girls

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tell Your Story - A Photography Challenge 2

It's time for another photography link-up with Jenny Meyerson!

After her last link-up, I went ahead and created this post with just the list of things to take pictures of so that I wouldn't forget about it. Well, I didn't forget but I kept thinking that I had lots of time before the link up...and then I didn't.

1. Something you can’t live without.  There are lots of things I wouldn't want to live without, but I had a hard time coming up with an appropriate picture for this category - do I go all serious and take a picture of running water? Or my family?  A little more humorous and take a picture of coffee?  Or my phone?  Finally ended up with my camera, now while I could probably live without this particular camera (even though I love it a whole lot), I would be hard to live without ANY camera.  (Picture is from last Christmas when I got my new camera).

5 Things June (1)
2. A favorite snack.  My favorite snack changes...a lot.  And since I'd like to lose some weight, I don't currently buy one of my most favorite snacks (frito chips).  We'll call this my favorite snack when I'm attempting to lose weight - Red Grapes.  I usually wash them all when I get home from the grocery store and put them in a plasticware container to make it easier to grab some when I need a little to eat.

5 Things June (2)
3. Your ride.  My car is a Mazda6; I call it "Silver".  I have such a love-hate relationship with this car.  This is supposed to be Justin's car.  The one that is supposed to be my car is also a Mazda6, but it's a 2004 with a v6 and a sunroof and it's green - Sepang Green to be exact.  As opposed to this Mazda6 that is a 2006 with a 4-cyclinder engine and no sunroof.  The reasons why we switched cars are fairly ridiculous, mostly because Silver had an issue with it's rotors that we just resolved after 5 years of dealing with vibration when breaking.  I'm more tolerant of it, so I drive it.  It's resolved now and hopefully doesn't come back.  So we could switch back, but the one that is supposed to be my car now smells like smoke since Justin gets in the car right after smoking.  So I get to drive Silver and Justin gets to drive my car - that I bought before I even MET him.  Not that I'm bitter.

5 Things June (3)
4. Weekend routine.  Claire and I are always the first two people to get up in the morning.  In an effort to no disturb everyone else and to keep Claire distracted from Anaya's room on the weekends when she is here, we usually come upstairs and crawl in my bed and watch tv for an hour or so.  It gives me a chance to "rest" in (since sleeping in hasn't happened since January 2009).

5 Things June (4)
5. A place you get your food.  I do most of my grocery shopping at either HyVee or Price Chopper.  Price Chopper is closer, but the bakery, produce & meat at HyVee is better.  So it mostly depends on what's in the ad at each place and what other errands I have to run.

5 Things June (5)
Go to Jenny's Link Up to see other people's 5 Things for June.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Recipe: Chicken BLT Pasta Salad

This recipe is a bit of a mixture of a couple of different recipes that I found online. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.

BLTChicken (2)
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked pasta (I went with bow-tie)
  • 3 cups torn lettuce/greens (I went with romaine)
  • 1 lb of chicken, cooked and in bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 lb of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp BBQ sauce
  • 3/4 tsp white vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste
1. Cook pasta according to package directions and rinse with cold water. I cooked my pasta, chicken and bacon last night and then just put them all in the fridge for easy assembly tonight.

BLTChicken (1)
2. Salad: Combine pasta, lettuce, chicken, bacon and tomatoes in a large bowl.

3. Sauce: Combine mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, vinegar, salt & pepper in a small bowl. Whisk together well. Depending on the BBQ sauce, it may be a bit thick, if it is too thick to pour, add up to 1/2 tsp of water.

4. Pour sauce over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately. This made about 4-5 large servings. (the picture above is a sm-med serving, the picture below is what was leftover)

BLTChicken (3)
The recipes that I modified all had this as a side-dish. I decided to make it my main dish so I increased the amount of chicken and bacon. I think it would also be good with some additional veggies - cucumbers, shredded carrots, peppers, corn, etc. I meant to add cheese to it, but then I forgot until we were already at the table eating and no one wanted cheese enough to go get it.

It definitely needed more of the sauce, double or even triple it. I ended up making some more before I put the leftovers in the fridge. I cooked the chicken with Penzey's Arizona Dreaming seasoning mix - I love that mix. The sauce was delicious, just needed a lot more of it.

I'm not sure how well this will keep in the fridge since the lettuce is already mixed it. I guess I'll find out tomorrow. Next time I will probably just serve it with a bowl of lettuce so that I don't have to worry about the lettuce wilting and ruining the rest of it.

For easy printing, I also posted this on TastyKitchen.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Toddler Books

Tonight I attempted to take Claire to the library. Okay, so we made it to the library, we even returned my books and picked up a few other things I wanted and a dvd for Justin. Then we went to the kid's section. Specifically, the kids' dvds and picture books. At that point, Claire went into crazy toddler mode.

There are no pictures of crazy toddler because I think it is bad form to whip out your cell phone and start taking pictures when your child is blatantly misbehaving...seems to send the wrong message to both the child and the people around you.

But a few examples:
  • Someone had brought over one of the step stools and Claire had to stand on...and attempt to fall off of it, even after being told to stop.
  • When picked up, instead of realizing it was time to stop it, she started swinging her arms around and smacking me in the head.
  • When told to stop doing something she giggled.
  • When I would attempt to pick her up and she was not done doing whatever she was doing that she shouldn't have been doing in the first place, she would twist around and whine.

Now I'm not going to entirely blame Claire for all of this. She's three. It was late-ish (7:30pm) and she was tired since she doesn't nap anymore. And really, I should know better than attempt to browse when I have her with me. And I also know she could've been a lot worse, I've seen worse from her and from other kids.

I could go with the solution of just not taking her with me, for example going during my lunch break. But she's got to learn and I want her to like the library.

My new plan involves every other week trips to the library with a list (on my phone most likely) of books & authors for her that I want to look for. Tonight I was thinking about getting an Olivia or Angelina book, but I had no clue as to the author of either of them. I could have asked the librarian or looked it up on one of their computers, but crazy toddler showed up first.

Also, having a better idea of where to find things she would like. I was looking at the DVDs but could not find any DVDs of tv shows that she would like. Now, maybe they were all checked out, or maybe I was looking in the wrong place. This will most likely means a library trip during my lunch break in order to find things without having to deal with crazy toddler.

Alright, so any ideas of other books (authors or series) that I should look at for Claire? She likes Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type and Llama Llama books.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Project Life: Week 22

Week 22: May 28 - June 3

I so love this project. I love that I am almost halfway through the year and all of these memories aren't just stored on my computer. I love that I'm almost halfway through the year and my book is more than half full.

Week22 (1)

This week, I didn't write any of my journaling by hand. I typed it all on the pictures before I ordered them. (yes, ordered them, my target's re-model is FINALLY done and I can order online once again) I love journaling on the pictures. After I finished putting my page all together last night, I was looking at the June PL Inspiration on Becky's Blog and saw how Cathy Zielske makes ghosted journal spots on photos. Which is exactly what I had been thinking I should have done on some of these. I just didn't think about it until after I ordered them and saw how hard is was to read some of the text - particularly when I typed over grass. So I might be reprinting a few so that it is easier to read - except I didn't save them as photoshop files, so I'd have to retype all the journaling. We'll see.

Week22 (7)

The pink card with the green heart is from the Cobalt core kit. I ran it through my printer to print the "this life" on it - using Ali's Hand font.

Week22 (5)

I used the scrap from a different insert to make this week's insert. Since it was open down the left side, I used some of the 12x12 Cobalt Cardstock and then sewed it to the page protector. I ended up making a few of the pictures weird sizes, but I like that it isn't quite a 6x12 like most of my inserts are. I picked out the piece of cardstock that matches my title card for the week.

Week22 (11)

Since I didn't do any hand journaling, it is mostly just pictures this week. Since we're about halfway through the year, I'm thinking about starting a new Project Life album - I haven't done THAT many inserts, so it's not really full yet. But I think I will end up needing two books and January-June & July-December seems little a good division.

The Mom Creative

Thanks for coming and seeing my Project Life!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Menu Monday

Wow...we were so off out menu last week, that I feel the need to post what we actually ended up doing. The main problem...I never made time to go to the grocery store. I'm not entirely sure why, I just had other things to be doing I guess? But not sure what since I wasn't doing anything important. We only ended up with spaghetti because I had to run to Target and grabbed a jar of marinara while I was there.

Monday - Fried Egg Sandwiches
Tuesday - Smoked Brats, Veggie Mix
Wednesday - Pork Chops, Veggie Mix
Thursday - Arby's
Friday - Pizza Hut
Saturday - Wedding Reception Food
Sunday - Spaghetti, Corn

And actually, I did go to the grocery store. On Saturday buy coffee & donuts. But since I had Claire with me, and we hadn't eaten breakfast yet and it was almost 10am, I didn't buy stuff to have for dinner on Sunday. Plus, it was already Saturday, the meal plan was already ruined at that point.

But this week...we're going to do better! I hope. Because our eating out budget was SHOT last week. I just need to go to the grocery store. Soon. I probably should've gone last night. Oh well.

Monday - Deli Sandwiches, grapes
Tuesday - Chicken-BLT Bow Tie Pasta Salad, Bread
Wednesday - Taco Pizza (homemade dough - make it Tuesday night)
Thursday - Chicken Stir-fry, rice, egg rolls
Friday - Marinated Turkey Tenderloin, pasta side, veggies
Saturday - Steak, buttered potatoes, green beans
Sunday - Fried Egg Sandwiches

I'm also planning to make a Peanut Butter sheet cake on Saturday for Justin. And on Sunday, I am making Pioneer Woman's Pineapple Upside Down Cake {in a cast iron skillet} to take to lunch because that is specifically want my dad wants for Father's Day. I can't link up to a recipe for that one because it is out of her cookbook. I'll probably end up posting pictures of both of them on Sunday night...I can't wait.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

S'mores (over the stove top)

Maybe everyone else had already thought of this, but I hadn't. It was actually Anaya's idea.

One of the things on our summer to-do list is make S'mores. I had planned on roasting the marshmallows over the grill. I went ahead and bought the stuff for S'mores on Saturday while we were at Target, but wasn't planning to make them this weekend.

When we were coming in from playing outside on Sunday evening, Anaya asked if we could make S'mores. I kind of hemmed and hawed because I didn't feel like dealing with the grill and it was supposed to start storming at some point. So Anaya asked why not just make them over the stove top. I just kind of hemmed and hawed because roasting marshmallows over a burner just seemed WEIRD. But I talked to Justin and decided to give it a try...what's the worst that would happen? We have a flat-top stove so a fire was unlikely and if the marshmallow fell on the burner it make a mess, but could be clean up.

Smores - Roast Marshmallow

I was definitely right about feeling like an idiot roasting a marshmallow on a kabob skewer over a burner. But it worked!


If we do this again we'll cook them over the back burner, Claire got a little closer to the stove than I liked which resulted in Anaya and I simultaneously telling her loudly to back-up and get away from the stove. She wasn't trying to touch the stove, she was trying to steal a graham cracker, they were just on the counter near the very hot burner.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Photoshop Fun

We went to my brother-in-law's wedding tonight and I took 320 pictures...and I almost wish I had taken more!

I am most definitely NOT a professional photographer nor a professional photoshopper, but I did have some fun with photoshop with a couple of their pictures. I really wanted to take pictures in RAW mode and see what I could do differently with them than with regular jpg files, but my camera's RAW pictures are not supported by the version of photoshop that I have. That's the problem with have a version of photoshop that is 7 years old and a camera that is 1-2 yrs old.

Here's the original, straight-out-of-camera picture that I had the most fun with...


The first thing I did was apply a boost action & a warmer action. And then I cropped it a little since the original has just a teensy tiny bit of a kids head in the bottom of the picture.

Color Boost

Then I wanted to see how it would look in black & white, so I went back to the original picture and applied PW's Black & White action. I think it looks pretty good.

BlackWhite Edit

Then I decided to try and be all spiffy and leave all of the picture in black and white except for her bouquet and his boutineer. Wedding photographers always seem to have a shot like this.

BlackWhite w Flowers

All actions from Pioneer Woman's Action Sets

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pop Ba-looons

As I mentioned in my Project Life post yesterday. Claire LOVES water balloons. I went to Target...a couple of weeks ago...and bought Anaya some water balloons because we threw hers away last summer because she left them all over the house and we had a 2 yr old and three cats. So I bought some more and explained to her that they do not come in the house. And after playing with them, everyone is required to walk around the yard picking up pieces of balloon. I know, I'm the mean and evil step-mother. It cooled off again and she was at her mom's house, so we never ended up doing anything with them until Memorial Day Weekend. At which point I think I tied at least 75 water balloons and therefore and no longer evil, even if I do make them pick up the pieces of the balloons.

balloons (2)

So, on the Friday (May 25) we pulled out the water balloons. And Claire was enthralled. She was popping them as faster than I could fill them. Eventually I found a box to put them in and we kept it out of Claire's reach, so for every one that she got, we put two or three in the box. I also had Anaya start helping me fill balloons, I filled them, she tied them. Unless she was still tying one when I got done filling the next one.

That night we drew a bulls-eye on the driveway and Anaya & Claire "competed" to see who could get the most points. Unfortunately, unless you throw them really really hard, the balloons only pop when they hit grass. They bounce right off of the driveway...and people...but if they so much as brush against a piece of grass, they pop.

Now Claire is obsessed with the balloons. She calls them "Pop Ba-looons". I have a Summer To-Do list with pictures of things we can do on it, and Claire will go and point to the one of water balloons and look at me and say "Pop Ba-looons?". We'll be in the garage and she'll see them on the shelf and say, "Pop Ba-looons?". Which means almost every evening, I end up sitting in the backyard with a hose, filling and tying water balloons as quickly as she can pop them. Mostly she likes to sit in a chair next to me and just throw them from there so that she doesn't get grass on her feet.

balloons (1)

In an effort to not tie so many balloons waste fewer balloons, I started making "fountain" balloons for her. Basically, you fill the balloon with water and don't tie it then hold the top of it closed and hand it to her. She holds it while all the water squirts out the top. Then you can reuse the same balloon until it is too stretched out and then it will explode all over the balloon filler while they are filling it. Which Claire will also find humorous. And of course, since I made the rule that Anaya & her friends had to pick up all of the pieces of balloons...guess what else I get to do every night...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Project Life: Week 21

Week 21: May 21 - 27

I feel like I'm way behind even though there is only one full week between the week I post and the current week. My plan for PL this year included picking pictures/ordering them on Sunday night, getting them Monday & putting it all together Monday night or Tuesday night and posting the completed layout on Tuesday. Now I'm giving myself an entire week to pick, print and put together a week before posting it. Not that it matters that much. At least I'm sticking with it.

This was the week with the weekend of Memorial Day. We really didn't do anything special for the holiday, so I just went with my normal Project Life schedule of Monday to Sunday which means next week will start with the Monday that is Memorial Day.

Week 21 (1)

This was also the last week of school for both kiddos. The first two 3x4 are pictures of them on the last day. I ended up adding a strip from my labeler that says "LAST DAY OF SCHOOL" but took pictures before I decided to do that. On the right you see the front of a 6x12 insert. The insert is entirely pictures of playing with water balloons. I originally bought them for Anaya, but Claire LOVES them so much. She asks us almost every night to "Pop Ba-loooons?". I'll probably write a story about that during week 22 of Project Life.

Week 21 (4)

The back side of the insert is on the left of this picture - more water balloon pictures. The top picture is of the game Settlers of Catan. My brother is really into strategy games, so since none of us had to work Saturday, Sunday or Monday, we played games Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night. I wrote a little bit on the card about what games we played and who won - mostly my brother. Then my mom & sister-in-law and I went to get pedicures on Saturday. It was opening weekend for the pool so we went every single day. And I re-started the tradition of going to McD's for $1 ice cream on our way home - we did it last summer too. And I made a peach pie and it was delicious.

Week 21 (5)

I love the bright red felt letters over the mostly blue/green pictures. They are from Making Memories, I was cleaning my old scraproom in the basement and I found them. I have a light blue set too, but wanted the pop of the red. I put them on the outside of the page protector...we'll see how they hold up. And I won't be able to let Claire look at this page un-supervised or she'll pull the letters off.

The Mom Creative

Thanks for coming and seeing my Project Life!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Menu Monday

This week, I have a cold. And thinking about what to eat for the week just isn't appetizing. We never did have the pork chops we were supposed to have last week so they got thrown in the freezer. Since my cold was killing me on Sunday night, we ended up eating mac & cheese for dinner because it was even less work than frying a couple of eggs. Hopefully this cold goes away soon.

Monday - Fried Egg Sandwiches
Tuesday - Pork Chops, Veggie Mix
Wednesday - Ravioli w/ Marinara, Veggie Mix
Thursday - Smoked Brats, Veggie Mix
Friday - Chicken Stir-fry, Rice, Egg-rolls
Saturday - Wedding Reception Food
Sunday - Pizza (Homemade or Frozen or Take Out)

That's it, that's what we're eating. Unless this cold continues to make me not want to stand in front of the stove...then we'll be eating Mac & Cheese all week. Or something else equally easy, like sending Justin to pick up fast food.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Recipe: Cookie in a Cast Iron Skillet

Doesn't this just look delicious...

Skillet Cookie (2)

I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen and had to make it. This thing was seriously rich. It says to serve it with ice cream and it means it - you need something to balance this thing out. I was all out of ice cream, so I went with a glass of milk.

Skillet Cookie (3)

I didn't have any chocolate chunks or any candy bars to make chunks out of, so I ended up using Nestle Mini Chocolate Chips. I will definitely try it again with dark chocolate...preferably high quality dark chocolate. I got a little worried that I did something wrong when I was stirring the dry ingredients in, it seemed like I had too much flour and the dough wasn't coming together at all. But it did eventually come together and look like dough. Then I started folding my chocolate chips in, and they started MELTING because even though it had cooled some since I melted the butter, the skillet was still hot enough to melt the chocolate. So I quickly go them as mixed in as I thought was necessary, and put it in the oven.

Skillet Cookie (1)

It kind of reminded me of a dessert that I used to have with friends out in San Diego. The Pizookie at BJ Restaurant & Brewhouse. This is thicker than theirs, I think it might be good to cut this recipe in half particularly if you don't have a LOT of help eating it. Justin's allergies were bothering him so he had taken some allergy meds and passed out on the couch so it was just me and Claire. Which means we only at about a 1/4 of it. Definitely needed more help eating it. And because it is so gooey, you can't really get all of it out of the cast iron skillet and not have it turn into a mess.

The original recipe: Dark Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie
Step-by-step picture directions: Tasty Kitchen Blog