September 30, 2010

Summer of Celebrations (Part IV): Ashley's Wedding Shower

My sweet sister-in-law, Ashley, got married this summer. So, at the end of June, we threw a wedding shower for her at Chelsea's house. (Ash, do you have the pics of all us from your shower? If so, bring them next week!) Chelsea and I only took pics before the guests arrived, after that, we were too busy visiting with, all I have for now are these of the details:

Her wedding colors were black and white and she'd have damask on most of her wedding decor, so we continued on with that theme for the "black and white" dessert bar and damask details.

I made this wreath using this tutorial with her soon-to-be new last initial! (I could not find the plates anywhere, but then found out they were from a craft store in Utah.) I used this damask one instead from Hobby Lobby. And, instead of using vinyl, I just printed out the "H" on white paper and modge-podged it to the plate.

I wish we had a closer shot of the fabric flowers because they turned out super cute. This tutorial was our inspiration. The smaller flowers were from the "twisted flowers". We used this tutorial for the large flower.

On to the food.

I appointed Chelsea to make the Oreo balls and Chocolate Covered Strawberries. I said that frosting anything was a gift,remember? And I don't have that gift.

Oreo balls

1 pkg. of Oreo cookies, crushed
8 oz. cream cheese
1 pkg. white chocolate/chocolate

Mix crushed oreos and cream cheese. Roll into balls. Chill for 1 hour. Melt chocolate, dip ball in chocolate. Let cool on wax paper. (It takes about 15 minutes for chocolate to harden.) I put some chocolate (opposite of what I dipped them in) in a plastic bag and cut off the corner to drizzle over the top when they were all done. (optional)

Dirt Cake
8oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup margarine, softened
2 small pkg. of vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups of milk
12 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
20 oz. package of Oreo cookies

Mix cream cheese, margarine, and powdered sugar. Set aside. In another bowl mix pudding and milk, set aside 5 minutes, add cool whip and cream cheese mixture.

Put Oreo cookies in the food processor and mix until crumbs are fine. (save a few sprinkles for the top)

Layer in bowl: oreo, pudding, oreo, pudding (I usually just look and see how much instead of measuring). If you want you can save some cool whip for the top. Either way sprinkle some Oreo crumbs on top.

Cool before serving.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies (here)

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies
2 cups flour
3/4 cup baking Cocoa
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 sticks of softened butter
2/3 cup of brown sugar
2/3 cups of sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chunks. Drop onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until centers are set but still soft at 350°.

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 small pkg. vanilla pudding
1 small pkg. chocolate pudding
1 1/4 c. water
1/2 c. oil
(plus the next 3 ingredients.)

Mix together the above ingredients. Add 4 eggs, then 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips, and 8 oz. sour cream.

Heat oven to 350°. Pour all into a greased bunt pan. Cook 50-60 minutes.

(Not pictured but so yummy. SO. YUMMY. that I made two and debated about whether to eat one whole pie by myself before the shower. I seriously thought of excuses about how I could have showed up with just one pie. I was totally ready to blame it on the pregnancy "cravings" since they were real this time, then I remembered that I didn't want to gain 50 lbs like I did with Asher, so I resisted and brought the second pie...uneaten.)

Aunt Susan's Famous French Silk Chocolate Pie

Ingredients for a 10-inch pan:
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

9-inch pan:
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

1 (9- or 10-inch) pie crust, baked and cooled
whipped cream

Cream butters and sugar until light and fluffy. Add cooled chocolate and vanilla. Mix well. Add eggs one at a time. Beat 5 minutes after each egg. Put in any crust you like. Chill well. Store in refrigerator.

Gig 'Em, Ags!

  Pop came in town a few weekends ago for an A&M game and took us with him!

McKlayne's favorite part was getting to go to the "pre-game party". If you've been in this town on gameday weekend, then you're familiar with the tent sales. (At one time...way back when I went to school...they used to sell $5 t-shirts. Somehow each year the prices have slowly increased.  Still good prices for A&M memorabilia but not quite $5.)  The weekend of the first game of the season, we drove by one of the tent sales and Asher said, "Look, Momma, it's a party!"  I asked him what they were doing at that party.  And he said, "They're giving people clothes!"  McKlayne immediately responded, "I want to go. I want to go to the party and get clothes."  Each time we have passed it since...they both talk about wanting to go to the party that gives you clothes.  So, Pop, who is a frequent "party go-er", took them and let them each pick out their own gameday attire.  Asher picked his jersey and McKlayne picked a pink t-shirt?  Who's surprised?  She walked right up to it and said, "I want that one."

This is how Asher spent most of the game telling me, "I can see big football players in here," as if those were the only way you could spot 'em.

He also liked swinging his towel around.  He was especially proud of himself, when he learned to tuck the towel in is pocket like "the college guys".

Asher & Reid.

The kids' favorite part of the game was seeing the cannon that is fired each time the Aggies score.  It was fired a lot that night.  Asher is still talking about how "it was so funny when the 'soldier' told them to run away fast" when they were down looking at the cannon when the Aggie's scored another touchdown.

Thanks for taking us to the game, Dad! We really enjoyed our day with you!

September 28, 2010

Pregnancy #3: Week 19

How will I be halfway through this pregnancy in just a few days? I don't even know.

I must clear something up right now.  I have had several people tell me that I am, "not big enough to be this far along..."  Let me just say that, after my third pregnancy, I have come to grips with this...I am not begging for compliments or debates of any sort but...THE LAST PLACE THAT I LOOK PREGNANT IS MY BELLY.

I look pregnant in my butt, my arms apparently, my muffin top (this video makes me think of my brother, Jordan every time...if you haven't seen it, you MUST stop reading and watch it now), my face, (and some might even say my legs ;) but the last place to grow is my tummy.  (Though, I think it's grown quite a bit this week!)  I am content with all of this.  It is well with my soul. For the most part, things seem to return to the size that they belong after pregnancy (except that muffin top...thank you, McKlayne!) but EVEN that is worth the precious life that comes out at the end of 40 weeks of expansion.  I am even learning to become thankful for all of this.  Victory! I was pondering this over the last week, I was reminded of my dear, beautiful, and oh-so-talented "ditty" author, friend, Melissa's post from almost a year ago when she was pregnant.  Go look at her.  Isn't she just gorgeous?  (She's even prettier on the inside and I love this girl's sense of humor and appreciate how easily she can laugh at herself.)  I remember reading this post  last year and nodding my head, totally relating to her.  And...I think it's about time that she and I both have this same conversation with my back side.  This song goes out to all the pregnant ladies who's "buttocks" seem to grow, 

I don't think she'll mind me posting this here, so in Melissa's words:

A few months ago, I shared with you from the deep recesses of my heart the little ditty that I had sung to my back side to get in line with my desires. 

Oh my buttocks, how do you do?
Oh my buttocks, how about you?
Though I feed you carbs galore
Please don't keep them in your store

Please remember my dear friend
We are nowhere near the end
As you see my baby showing
There's no need for you to keep growing

I know you keep things balanced out
But that kind of thing freaks me out
Just remember my amigo
You are not the one that is prego!

And, incase you've never been pregnant or just don't know remember what it feels like to get those pregnancy "compliments" Melissa can school you in these as well.  This girl is hilarious, and so right.

Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along: 19 weeks 

My baby is the size of a: Large Heirloom Tomato; About 6 in., 8.5 oz.

Baby changes: His brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. He weighs about 8 1/2 ounces and measures 6 inches, head to bottom. His arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of his body now. His kidneys continue to make urine and the hair on his scalp is sprouting. A waxy protective coating called the vernix caseosa is forming on his skin to prevent it from pickling in the amniotic fluid.

Best Moment this week: I'm starting to feel like we're getting into the swing of things around here and I am getting caught up and completing my long list of unfinished projects. WHEW!

Gender: We won't know until the baby is here!

Movement: At night, lying on my back, I can feel this baby moving up towards the top of my belly...underneath my belly button.

Food Craving: Honey Crisp Apples (they're at Kroger for $1.77/lb...that's a steal for these apples so go get them before the sale ends...last day is Tuesday), Jason's Deli's Nutty Mixed Up Salad (my recipe below)

What I miss: losing any ab muscles that I had before...Crossfit is getting harder and harder without abs.  You don't realize how much you use them until they're gone...bodyrows and pushups are killer without them.

Sleep: Sound as a baby.

What I am looking forward to: seeing Asher and McKlayne with this new baby.

Symptoms: I'm feeling great.

(Our salad looks way better than the one pictured above, by the way.)

Nutty Mixed Up Salad-Apel Version
Mixed Greens
Feta Cheese
Pumpkin Sees
Sunflower Seeds
Dried Cranberries
Golden Raisins
Chicken Breast*
Balsamic Vinaigrette**

Mix it all together and you shake it all about!

Marinated Chicken Breast
Salt & Pepper
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Italian Seasonings
Olive Oil

Coat chicken with olive oil and add COVER in seasonings.  Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes-ish (?) Just watch it.

Balsamic Vinaigrette 
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. spicy mustard
½ tsp. garlic
Salt & pepper to taste

(This may need to be doubled/tripled depending on the number of/size of the salads.) Mix dressing ingredients well and toss over salad &  toppings!

September 23, 2010

Mud Fight in Pictures

Since we did this two weeks ago...I thought it was high time to get my videos and photos uploaded to post this.

What happens when it has been raining for three days straight and it FINALLY stops...and Momma is fresh out of inside-rainy day activities, anyway, AND Daddy has to go to a meeting for the entire evening?

She tells you, "Strip down to your panties/undies and get your crocs/rain boots on.  We're going to have a mud fight before I pull out all of my hair."  (Big Momma did not have to strip down, to your relief, she was in charge of documenting the evening.  And she didn't say that last part...but she sure was thinking it.)
The before shot.

We didn't even plan the matching red undergarments but it sure made for cute pics.

My babes started out cautious, unsure if they were REALLY allowed to get dirty...

wandering, wondering what EXACTLY I meant by "mud fight".

At first, McKlayne contently followed Asher around...mimicking his every move...

until he started madly running around, screaming...

and jumping...

and splashing mud everywhere.

She was still unsure about how good an idea all of this was.

Slowly but surely, she came around.

Off came the crocs...

she carefully picked her spot...

and peacefully played in the mud...minding her own business...

and sweetly singing to herself...

until out of nowhere she was ambushed by muddy mudballs fired by BIG BROTHER.

And because that big brother is so smitten with her...

he sacrificially sat down and let her cover him in mud.

Mud baths have become their new favorite type of bath.

I am so thankful for these little munchkins that bring such joy.  
I can be way too uptight sometimes.

And the after.

September 20, 2010

Our Sleeping Beauty...

This is how McKlayne has been letting us know that she is awake lately. She will sing this over and over until someone comes to get her.

Maybe she's waiting for her Prince Charming.

I caught this sweet thing on camera this morning:

September 19, 2010

Pregnancy #3: Week 18

I will turn 19 weeks later this week.  Almost halfway through this pregnancy and this poor third child has not had much mention on this blog.

This has been a whirlwind of a pregnancy.  When I was pregnant with Asher the days couldn't go by fast enough.  I think I counted down to my due date by the hour.  Every single thought was consumed with the little life I was carrying and how my life would soon be affected by that little life.  With McKlayne, it seemed to go by much faster as I was chasing around my one year old.  Other than feeling so sick (in relation to my other two pregnancies) in the beginning, and having crazy cravings, and praying for this baby, it seems like I haven't had much time to even think about #3 or how they will fit into this crazy family.

With Asher, pregnancy was really just a license to eat.  I gained 50 lbs.  I know, people, it was ridiculous. (AND...because my husband loves me so much, he gained a sympathatic 40 lbs with I never weighed more than him...that was good news...even though I was way closer to 200 lbs than I ever want to be, Charlie still had a good 20-30 lbs on me.) Thankfully, we did lose it all.  With McKlayne I gained right at 30 lbs and still probably had about 5 lbs I could have lost.  How does that work? How did I easily lose 50 lbs and only 25 lbs the next?  Maybe I didn't work as hard because I knew I didn't have as much to lose? Who knows.

Anyway...cravings...with my first two pregnancies I thought that they were kind of a myth and a good excuse to eat (guilt free) whatever sounded good at the moment.  This pregnancy, has made me a believer of pregnancy cravings...I have experienced them something fierce--especially during my first trimester.  There were days when I would call Charlie and tell him if he didn't bring me home a certain food, then the safety of our family would be at risk.  I needed it or someone was going to get hurt.  One day I emailed him right before my lunch break telling him that I needed some cereal.  I probably hadn't bought a box of cereal in 7 months and all of a sudden, I was willing to take some drastic measures to get some.  Shortly after the email, he called me from the cereal aisle at Albertson's and asked me what I wanted.  Raisin Nut Bran. He came home with a couple boxes and a gallon of milk.  See...this pregnancy has made him a believer of pregnancy cravings, too.

And if you aren't yet sick of hearing about Chelsea on this blog (from the last couple posts) I am going to totally copy what she did with the remainder of my pregnancy.  (I think she is super cool...okay?) I thought it was such a cute way to document and truly treasure this sweet time in my life.  So, here goes...I will try to be consistent with this every Sunday/Monday but if you've been reading this blog long enough than you know that life just happens around here and sometimes we have to let without further ado:

Pregnancy Highlights:
How Far Along: 18 weeks 

My baby is the size of a: Sweet Potato

Size: About 5.6 in., 6.7 oz.

Baby changes: Busy flexing its arms and legs. Blood vessels are visible through the thin skin, and ears are now in their final position, but they are still standing out from its head a bit. A protective covering of myelin is beginning to form around the nerves. 

Best Moment this week: McKlayne and I had an all girl day together this week.  We had plenty of time to cuddle, take each other in, giggle, read, play with baby dolls, and dress-up.  She is quickly growing up and becoming so prissy and proper...and sassy...maybe we've been hanging out too much?

Gender: Not finding out!  And so excited about it!

Movement: I have felt slight flutterings.

Food Craving: water with limes, chips and salsa, raw milk...yum!

What I miss: Easily finding something to wear.  I am still in the awkward stage of...I am too large to wear MOST of my regular pants/shorts (unless they're really stretchy denim like the ones in the picture...I will definitely being wearing those jeans a LOT post-baby, so get used to them)  but too small to wear exclusively maternity.  I wear a TON of (stretchy waisted) or cotton skirts right now.  And I've been living in the denim maternity shorts my sis gave me that have an adjustable waistband inside, just like my toddlers' clothes do! Ha! Most of my regular shirts are getting too short to wear and I just look more chubby in the middle than pregnant.  But...I am starting to look MORE preggo. Hallelujah! I do have  some tighter fitting Maternity shirts that are longer that are working for me right now.  Just an awkward stage to find a good variety of outfits.

Sleep: No trouble yet. The only trouble is I can't seem to get enough of it!  Char and I just completed Season 1 of House and have been staying up way too late watching it!

What I am looking forward to: Feeling this sweet babe move more and more.

Symptoms: Nothing really.  All the nausea is gone and I have that second trimester energy, so I've been feeling great!


So...I want to know...what did you crave during pregnancy?  Did you really experience cravings or were they just a good excuse to eat?

September 17, 2010

Summer of Celebrations (Part III): Milk & Cookies Shower

Back to what we actually did this summer

Incase you missed Chelsea and Heather's posts about this baby shower, (who actually blog about events shortly after they occur) I introduce to you a Milk & Cookies shower...

(Isn't Chelsea beautiful at 8 months pregnant?)

I had seen several Milk & Cookies showers/parties on...what else but blogs? (here and here)...and thought it would be so easy (and unique) to pull off. And it was!

Each of the sweet hostesses baked several dozen cookies.

We had Chocolate Mint Cookies, Sugar Cookies, Ranger Cookies, Shortbread, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chunk, Molasses, Snickerdoodle, and White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies.

Charlie made our cute labels, of course.  And we used fabric (VERY, starched fabric...nothing else would work) to line the inside of the cookies jars. Some of cookies had to be stacked on bowls to make the cookies seem higher so they weren't too low in the jar.  Presentation is everything.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ cups chopped macadamia nuts
2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

Beat together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the egg, then beat in the egg yolk, then beat in the vanilla.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture until just moistened. Stir in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips by hand with a rubber spatula.

Roll into balls or drop by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets, and press down on the cookies with your palm a bit to flatten (not too much!).

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges look golden brown and the middles don’t look quite set. Allow to finish cooling on the baking sheet. 

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, plus 4 tablespoons for coating
1 1/2 cups Sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Cinnamon
Preaheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar for 3-4 minutes, until light. Add eggs one at a time, mixing completely after each.

Stir together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Beat the dry ingredients into the butter-and-sugar mixture until well-blended. Refrigerate dough for about 20 minutes, or until firm enough to roll into balls.

Combine the cinammon and remaining sugar (you may need more of either of these if you're running out--I just kind of eyeball it)

For each cookie, pinch off enough dough to roll into a wallnut-size ball; roll into c&s mixture and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

(Makes about 4 dozen cookies.)

Sandi's Shortbread Cookies
2 cups butter
1 cup sugar
4 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla
(This recipe does NOT contain eggs...I always wonder if it was left out by accident on the directions...but, nope, the buttery goodness does not allow for them! ;) Mix butter sugar. Add vanilla. Add one cup of flour at a time. Roll into balls and drop on cookie sheet. Sprinkle top with sugar. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes.  (Thanks for this divine recipe, Mrs. Sandi!) 


I got this cute mason jar spigot from a garage sale but I've seen them at Hobby Lobby.

Of course, we needed several different varieties of milk in cute glass pitchers that used to hold HEB brand organic Apple Juice.

And mason jars...milk always tastes better in mason jars...these were from garage sales, too.

We always elect Kendra to create her precious prayer cards for our prayer showers and she was generous enough to share them here!

Extra cookies were sent home in a brown bag with the baby's initials...Chandler Owen Groves.  Don't you love that name?

And here is the precious little guy: