Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Munchkin in DC!

Oh wow do we ever have a big trip ahead of us!! We are heading to DC tomorrow and staying with some friends of ours. It's a 9+ hour trip and with the Munchkin....who knows!! We are also taking Shelby, so it's gonna be a full car! We are going because my brother in law is getting married on Saturday! He should never forget their anniversary since it's New Year's Day! We will be doing some sightseeing in the much as Joseph will let us! :) Michael has never been to DC and I'm really excited that he's getting to go!

In other news, Munchkin has his first ear infection (double) and our nighttime is whack. He's up now as he has been since 10 (it's 11:20). Michael is taking his shift. He's on day 2 of antibiotics. He does pretty good except at night. The Dr. said he was fine to make the trek to DC and I'm glad that the weather isn't going to be too cold (upper 40s).

Anyway, I'm sure I will have lots to tell and plenty of pics when we get back! Have a very Happy New Year, everyone!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to All!

We went by and looked at the Christmas tree at the State Capitol tonight. Beautiful.
Joseph had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed goofing around with his cousin! Forgive the scuzzy shirt. He had a super cute sweater on over it, but it was too warm for it in the house.

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope it was wonderful and blessed!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A few tidbits

I went to the barn last night to ride. All I can say is BRRRR! As happy as I was to be Munchkin free and with my horse, it was still freakin cold! I took her some stocking stuffers (soft peppermints and horse treats). I haven't got her gift in yet....a full year's supply of dewormer. I know, I give the BEST gifts! Ha ha! I did get the premium pack though...only the best for my Spice. :)

Last Friday was my mom's Birthday. At the last minute, I decided to make her a cake. She never gets a cake for her birthday unless she bakes it herself. Here it is:
It's a donkey cake!! My mom hearts donkeys. I thought it turned out pretty cute. My grey icing was really more purple, but that's okay. Eeyore is purple, right? She loved it and it tasted as good as it looked!

We are staying in KY for Christmas this year, so we had Christmas with my parents this past Sunday. Joseph got a Lightning McQueen Ride-on Car. He LOVED IT! He can ALMOST push himself, but he loved for his Banana to make laps around the kitchen with him with his car stereo blasting!
So Cute!!

In other news, Michael is getting back from Vicksburg today!! YAY! We have Christmas with his mom's family tomorrow evening and with his Dad's family Christmas evening. I'm really glad that we will get to spend most of Christmas chilling at home! Anyway, the Munchkin is napping and there are clothes that need folding and I need to get a list made for our errand running today! Hopefully we won't have to run any errands tomorrow. We've had to go somewhere every day this week. Munchkin is getting tired of it and so am I!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Some Christmas Treats

It's hard to get a good picture of me and the Munchkin. Either he's looking away or I'm looking away. This was as close as we got the other day at my mom's house.

Anyway, Christmas is ALMOST here. I braved Toys R Us this morning. I'm crazy, I know. I had to exchange a gift and also had a gift card that I thought was expiring this week. Turns out it was next week. Oh well, at least I got it over with. It actually wasn't that bad at 11 AM. Then the Munchkin and I went and had lunch at Cane's. It was yummy as always and always a trip to eat out with Joseph.

I thought I would share a couple of Christmas goodies today. First of all, we have Cookie Dough Truffles:
This was the only candy I made that was a repeat from previous years. I think if I didn't make these, Michael would riot. I got them out of the Taste of Home Recipe Card Collection 2007. Here's how you make them:
1/2 c butter, softened
3/4 c packed brown sugar
2 c all purpose flour
1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c mini semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 lbs chocolate candy coating

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour, milk, and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in chips. Shape into 1 in balls. Place on waxed paper lined baking sheets and chill until firm.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt candy coating. Dip chilled balls in coating. Place on wax paper lined baking sheets and refrigerate. Store in refrigerator in a sealed container.

This year, I was swamped and made the cookie dough balls ahead of time and froze them. I then coated them later, just before putting them in goody bags. They were just as good.

One of my new things this year was Turtle Tassies.
They look like they took way more effort than they did. You can find how to make them here.

I hope you are all having a stress-free holiday season! I wouldn't call mine stress free, but I'm trying to savor every moment!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We're Back!

We survived our whirlwind Christmas trip to Tennessee. Two Christmases in 3 days. Joseph did really well. I love how excited he got over all the gifts! I think the one in the pic is a calendar, but he loved it. I could do a week's worth of posts just about this weekend. But for now, I just wanted to share a cute pic of the Munchkin. We are both exhausted from our travels and Michael is in Vicksburg, MS for work so it's just the two of us. So glad I'm done with Christmas shopping. I have a little bit of baking to do but that is it! More to come later!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Just a little something..

Just thought I'd share a pic of my cutie patootie. He paused for a pic while terrorizing the tree and presents. :)

We are going to my parents' house tomorrow for a big whirlwind Christmas trip. First of all, tomorrow is my mom's birthday...happy birthday, mom. Then Saturday morning, we are heading down to my Aunt's house in Savannah for the annual family chili supper. We will return to my parents' Sunday and then have Christmas with my family before heading back home on Monday morning. WHEW. I'm tired already. :) Hope the Munchkin is resting up!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza

Friday is pizza night at our house. I think I've said that before. So, last Friday when the Munchkin and I got back from shopping, I rushed in and made pizza dough...because that's what I do. Then, because it was 50 degrees that day, we went for a walk. While out walking, I realized that we had just had pizza the night before at the Santa Party. I was planning on making just normal pizza with red sauce and pepperoni. Well, there went that. So, I started thinking about non-traditional pizzas to make. I have always wanted to make a chicken cordon bleu pizza but could never figure out what sauce to make. I always leaned toward honey mustard, but Michael isn't a big mustard fan. I would hate to make a big ol pizza and then him not eat it. Well, I decided to bite the bullet and make...gasp...a sauceless pizza. Actually, when Michael got home, he really wanted to go eat Mexican, so we had a pizzaless night in the end, but I made the chicken cordon bleu pizza the next night and it was delightful...without sauce. But I made a honey mustard to drizzle on top and it sent it over the edge. Here's how to make your own:

1 pizza crust
1 cup swiss cheese, shredded
5-6 slices deli ham, cut up
2-3 chicken tenders, fried (can use left overs, make them fresh, or use store bought), sliced up.
honey mustard (1 part dijon mustard to 1 part honey, a dash of pepper, mix)

-Preheat oven to 450.
-Top crust with cheese, ham, and chicken
-Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is all melty.
-Drizzle with honey mustard.

On a side note....

I'm missing that 40 to 50 degree weather from last week....GOODNESS IT'S COLD! Today, everything outside is under a solid sheet of ice...if you know my track record with ice, you know I'm not setting foot outside! I've got the metal in my ankle to prove that ice and I do not get along!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Vanilla Muffins

It seems that the women on my mom's side of the family all have a certain culinary talent. My mom is the Pie Queen. You want a pie or go to mom. My Aunt Marty is awesome at appetizers and Hors d'oeuvres. My Aunt Janey is the Maven of Muffins. I don't know that I've found mine yet...I'd probably say that cookies are my thing, but what I DO know is that my talent is definitely NOT muffins!

Let's back up. If you didn't know, I live in the heart of Bourbon country. There are several distilleries a stone's throw from our house. I love the smell of sour mash. Anyway, a friend of mine who recently moved to DC asked me to buy her some Buffalo Trace Cream Liquor at the Buffalo Trace Distillery. It's the only place you can buy it and it's located in my town. Her mother loves it and she wanted to get some for her for Christmas. So, Friday afternoon, the Munchkin and I headed on over to Buffalo Trace. Well, when we got to the gift shop, I found not only the Cream Booze (as I now call it) but also LOTS of other bourbon goodies. I resisted buying much, but I did pick up a jar of Bourbon Cherry Preserves. On a side note...the people at Buffalo Trace..SO NICE! But people are generally nicer to you when you have a baby. They gave me a ride back to my car when I was done shopping. It wasn't that far, but I was thankful for it since I was carrying quite a bit and also the Munchkin. (You can see some Buffalo Trace pics here.)

So, back to muffins.... Saturday morning I wanted to eat some of my preserves. I did not have any shortening to make biscuits, so I opted to make some muffins. Where else did I look but my family cookbook where there are several of my Aunt Janey's muffin recipes. I chose the Vanilla Muffins (which also have my great Aunt Dot as a contributor). She pairs them with a lemon sauce which looks divine, but I didn't need that and just made the muffins. Well, they turned out to be a hot mess. I'll just tell you. Of course, I now know where I made one mistake and I already know my other mistake...I knew it as soon as I did it. What were my mistakes? For one, I mixed my batter too much...a big no no for muffins. I had a baby trying to climb my leg and I left the stand mixer going to long. That's right...I blame the baby! My other mistake which I didn't realize until I did a little google-ing...the recipe called for "sweet milk." I didn't know what sweet milk was unless it was sweetened condensed milk, but why wouldn't she just say that? And what would you do? Un-Condense it? There's nothing about that on the can. So, I stepped out on a limb and just used sweetened condensed milk...straight out of the can. Oh my goodness, does that ever make for a rich muffin? It turns out that sweet milk is milk with cultures or Acidophilus Milk. You can evidently use whole milk instead. Anyway, when I pulled them out of the oven, they were all sunken in the middle. Which was GREAT for putting cherry preserves in, but I knew they weren't supposed to be that way. Here's a pic:
And that was one of the prettier ones....

Here's a pic of the 2 I ate with the lovely cherry bourbon-y goodness.
If you must know...they were....DIVINE! Michael even loved them. They were perfect with the preserves as well. They were rich and sweet and decadent....and a hot mess. Here's the recipe:

Vanilla Muffins
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c butter
2 eggs, separated
1/4 c sweet milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder

Cream butter and sugar well. Add egg yolks, beat well; add flour, milk and vanilla. Beat the egg whites. Add to other mixture. Fill muffin tins with mixture and bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes (mine were pretty well done between 15 and 20 so check on them periodically).

Of course, if you want sunken Hot Mess Muffins like mine...go with the sweetened condensed milk and you let that stand mixer run....let it run like the wind! If you would like a distraction...I have an ankle biting Munchkin you may borrow. I'm just kidding about the ankle biting...he bites toes. True Story.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More Christmas Decorating

I've got a few recipe blogs in the works for this week, so y'all will definitely want to stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I thought I would share the rest of my Christmas decorations. We'll start in the kitchen. Last year, I did a tabletop arrangement that looked like this. I loved that arrangement, but wanted to try something new this year. I have some blue Christmas placemats that don't really go with any of my other kitchen Christmas decor. Why I bought them, who knows. I have really good intentions when it comes to Christmas decorating, but my decorations don't tend to mesh really well. My wreath had blue and silver balls with a blue and silver bow. Very pretty, but just didn't quite look right with our house. So, I updated it this year and arranged the balls in a white dish with some of the ribbon from the wreath. Check it out:

I have lots of M&M's tins from the 90's. I collected them for a few years and then I think they stopped making them. I put them up on my hutch.
Sticking with the blue & white, I put some poinsettias in a cute blue and silver basket.
In the living room, I put our new Little People Nativity on my end table:
SO CUTE! Next year, I'll let Joseph play with it and he can learn about the Christmas story.
Michael said that he thought it was sad that the only Nativity we have is Fisher Price, but I informed him that we DO have another Nativity scene...a snowman one. :)

Michael's end table:
The shelves:

See...a snowman Nativity.

I had to get another stocking holder this year as we have exceeded the number of letters in "Peace." Yes, our animals have stockings.

I thought this turned out really nice considering our shelves are only partly finished.

In other news...WOW has it ever been a day!!! Joseph has been crazy clingy for a few days now and I've tried to take it in stride and do as much as I can while holding him. I've had to devote a lot more time than usual to him as he was a pretty independent baby prior to this week. He's breaking through another tooth and he's due for a growth spurt. I had only been getting him to take one nap a day, but it was still for a couple hours, so I was able to get stuff done and recharge. However, it got worse. I guess it started last night. Joseph woke up at 1, which is not unusual. I was actually still up (because I'm stupid) and just went and fed him. No biggie, right...I mean he always just goes back to sleep no problem. Wrong. I put him down and he started screaming. I comforted him and then left the room...more crying. I tried again...more crying. I about lost it and sent Michael in and went to bed. The next thing I knew it was 5:30 so I guess Michael got him to go back down. I got up and fed Joseph, but again, he wouldn't go back to sleep although he was obviously still sleepy. He would go to sleep fine on me, but as soon as I put him down....he was crying again. So, exhausted, I brought him to bed with us, where he slept until Daysie woke him up at 8:30. Not too bad. Well, he took MAYBE 2-30 minute naps today and cried way more and only wanted me to hold him and it drove me to the brink. So, I did some google-ing and found out that this is perfectly normal at this age and that it WILL pass. I know I should try to enjoy it because it won't be long until he won't want me to hold him at all, but it's still hard when I really want to be productive and toting him around all day is exhausting. I can handle it when he takes his naps, but this non-napping day has about done me in. To make matters worse, Michael is going out of town this week. I just ask that the good Lord gives me strength and patience.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Our Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree is up, the presents are wrapped and have been subsequently de-bowed by Joseph. Memo to bows until we are packing them up to go to wherever we are going to give them out. You can see last year's tree and some of my favorite ornaments here.

Some new additions this year:
My mom made this one for me last Christmas.

Michael and I both love Chicago (the city..not the musical..I love the musical, but Michael, not so much).
We actually got this one as a gift a couple Christmases ago, but I put it in a tin so that it wouldn't get broken during storage and forgot to put it out last Christmas.

My friend Ellen got this one for me from the Rural King back home (like a country Wal-Mart, except WAY BETTER...Wal-Mart sucks and I never shop there, but Rural King..Rural King is awesome).
So true....

My mom made the rest of the ornaments pictured last year. I love them.
This one is Joseph's favorite. It doesn't stay on the tree very long before he pulls it off and plays with it.

And of course....a UK one for Michael.
And an Mississippi State on for me.
Stay tuned for pics of the rest of my decorating.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Santa Party

The company Michael works for threw a Santa Party tonight for the children of employees. This is a yearly thing, but this was our first year to go. When I reread the invite this morning, I realized that it said to bring a dessert. Yikes! However, I had made up some cookie dough for Hot Chocolate Cookies yesterday that I was going to bake later to make goody bags for Christmas gifts. So, I baked it for the party instead. They turned out great!

I recommend using less chips than it calls for. It calls for a cup each of milk chocolate, semi sweet, and white chips. I could have done with maybe half that much or to leave out the white chips altogether. But they are VERY yummy. I used a 1/4 c measure filled half full of dough for each cookie and I baked mine for 11 minutes then put on the marshmallows and left in the oven for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes more.

I was very proud of Joseph. He sat on Santa's lap for almost a minute before he started crying. I REALLY wanted him to pull his beard and I thought he was going to, but he didn't. They had a photographer there to take pictures with Santa. I can't wait to see ours! I was a little nervous about snapping pictures since I really hadn't seen anyone else take their own so I took this one from toward the back of the room and then high tailed it up there bc I knew he would end of crying.
All the kids got a present from Santa. Joseph got this cute little ball with a monkey on it that rolls around and plays music. He loves it.

I have to say that Michael's work always impresses me with how much they do for their employees and their families. They really know how to throw a shin-dig!

In other news, I finished decorating the house today. I will be posting pictures probably tomorrow. The Munchkin is going through a growth spurt and popping another tooth through (this will make 7). This makes him really clingy, so I'm pretty limited to things that I can do while holding him and computing ain't one of them. Earlier he searched for "asasasssasss" in my email. I also attempted to shoot some Christmas pics of Joseph today before we left to go to the party, but it turned into mostly picture of him with an ornament in his mouth and he was so could see it in his eyes. Poor guy, sleep is hard to come by when teething and growing.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Channeling Martha Stewart...

OK, so I've been a bit AWOL on the whole blogging thing lately. As usual, it's been insane around here. I seem to fall farther and farther behind. I've been lacking muchness lately. I don't know what it is. It just seems like everything has been so hard lately. For example: something I love as much as decorating for Christmas. As you know from previous posts, we are in the process of redoing the living room. When we decided to tear out the floor to ceiling shelves and replace them, we thought we would be done easily by Thanksgiving. Not so much. I just didn't feel like decorating when my main decorating room looked like crap and it's not like I really had any where to put my decorations. So, Michael finished the shelving and we put it up unstained just so we could have some semblance of normalcy for the holidays. However, all my decorations aren't even in the house yet. And the boxes my other Christmas stuff was in are still sitting in the corner of my living room. I feel like by the time we get everything in that needs to be in and everything that needs to go out out, Christmas will already be over and it'll be time to reverse the process. *Sigh*

I promise I'm going to get to a point here....

On a good note, I am all but done Christmas shopping. This is a record for me. I did most of it online as I found it's easier to shop online while Joseph is asleep than to haul him around from store to store in the cold (hat on, pulls hat off, hat on, go in store, hat off, coat off, shop, check out, coat on, hat on, pulls hat off, hat on, leave store, strap in car, cry, tell him it'll only be for a minute, pulls hat off, repeat). Today we went to Kmart. It was 20 degrees outside. Before we got out of the house, he had pulled off his gloves, before we got out of the driveway, his hat was off (and it was the kind that straps under his chin), and when we got to the store he was wearing neither shoes, nor socks. *Sigh* :) But now, I just sit and watch the boxes roll in....UPS and Fedex love me.

So, I told you I was getting to a point....I recently got a free subscription to Martha Stewart Magazine. I get TONS of magazines...I can't resist when a free/cheap one comes along. However, I thought I would really like Martha. I haven't always liked Martha Stewart. I used to think she was a little Too...something. Then I quit being so hard on ol' Martha. Now I LOVE her. I was reading my latest issue the other day and I told Michael that I wish I could be more like put together. He asked what was stopping me. Me, I guess. I've said it before...I want to be put together...I want to be able to do it all. I want to remember birthdays and send cards and happys (for those of you who don't know what that is, it's a small gift to make someone smile, usually given randomly). I want my house to be clean and my food to be delicious (I've usually got that). I want to eat fairly healthy (let's face it, with my love of butter, totally healthy is out of the question) and find time to run and work out. I want to ride my horse a few times a week. I want to always remember to brush my hair in the morning. I want to find time to blog almost every day and email my mom daily and catch up with my friends at least weekly. I want to be more like Martha. More than that, I want my muchness back. I'll let you know how that goes. We'll start with that hair brushing thing! :)