Monday, March 29, 2010

OUTRAGEOUSLY Deeeelicioius Sugar Cookies

These are the cookies I used for the Valentine's Day cookies I made.  They were insanely delicious and buttery.  And again.... note to self.... THESE ARE NOT GOOD COOKIE CUTTER COOKIES!  They spread out too much for cutters.  Holy Hannah these are soooo good!  You can find them at All Recipes

Chewy Sugar Cookies


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups margarine
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup white sugar for decoration


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and roll the balls in remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets and flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned at the edges. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Half Hour Chicken Gumbo

This is a little late, but I really got into the Mardi Gras spirit this year and made some REALLLLY yummy gumbo this year.  I found a "Half Hour Chicken Gumbo" recipe on Martha Stewart's website.  It used a roaster chicken from the grocery store, and it was quite simple and easy.  After it cooked it looked really gross and "grey" so I added a large can of crushed tomatoes to it.  I don't remember any gumbo I've ever eaten being the color it was before the extra tomatoes, and I was sooo glad I added them.  It was delicious!!  Here are my pictures from my meal:

  Here's the recipe and the picture from her website!

Half-Hour Chicken Gumbo

Serves 4
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen cut okra
  • 8 ounces smoked (precooked) andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1 rotisserie chicken (about 2 1/2 pounds), skin and bones removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)
  • Store-bought or homemade cornbread, for serving (optional)


  1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in bell peppers, onion, garlic, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Add 4 cups water; stir in okra and sausage. Bring to a boil. Stir in shredded chicken, and warm through, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; if desired, serve with cornbread.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Last ditch effort!

I'm such a bad mommy!  I haven't done anything for spring yet!  I haven't decorated one single thing, bought anything for Carter's Easter basket, or even gotten him his Easter outfit!  I'm horrrrrrible!  This weekend will be my "Spring Cleaning Weekend" (hahah!!  ...right!~) and hopefully getting SOMETHING decorated for Easter.  Wish me luck!  I'll post pics soon!

And a special something for my friend Jaime......

I loooooove you!!  I loooove that little Chase, and I love that little Mason already!  I'll be thinking of you Monday as you go in for your c-section!!

"Before I was a Mom"
Author Unknown

Before I was a Mom
I slept as late as I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed
I brushed my hair and my teeth everyday
I ate meals while they were still hot
I wore clothes that had no stains

Before I was a Mom
I never looked into teary eyes and cried
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put it down

Before I was a Mom
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much
I never knew that I could love someone so much
I never knew I would love being a Mom
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body

Before I was a Mom
I didn't know how special it could feel to nurse a hungry baby
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bathtub paints

Carter is loving bath time and I'm all about it too.  I'm trying to get him comfortable enough to lay on his belly and he's doing quite well!  We're signing up for swim classes in our town for April and I'm crazy excited for it.  They are pretty cheap and good timing with my work schedule. ..... back to my point.... I've been trying to extend Carter's time in the water as much as possible so he will love swimming this summer at our place at the lake or the beach.  I made some really cool bath paints for him from a recipe that I found at "Children's Learning Activities" blog.  It was free b/c we had all the supplies on hand.  It's pretty easy to clean up as long as you don't let it sit and dry.  It hasn't stained anything yet, but we move our white bathroom rug, and white shower curtain out of the way just in case :)  Sorry for the poor picture quality.  Phillip's BB phone doesn't have the best camera. 
(I do have to mention that I have to make sure little man is rinsed REALLLLLY well after using this or his eczema acts up.... just a "note to self"...)

Here is the recipe, courtesy of the above mentioned blog:

1 T cornstarch
2 T liquid soap (shampoo, body wash, etc)
food coloring
Mix cornstarch and soap together. I usually double or triple the recipe. Then add a few drops of food coloring to get the desired color. Last time I did it I did 2 T cornstarch and 3 of soap and it turned out fine.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Green boots

My parents have been joking with me about putting Carter in his green boots and saying that I'm a crazy woman for doing it, but I have to share with you how cute he is in his boots!  Obviously, the outfit he came home from daycare in on St. Patty's Day did not accentuate his cuteness at all!!  So, here ya go!  Here's my sweet boy!

And here's a few extra to show you his new favorite activity.  I have a stack of books in my car for him to read whenever he's riding with us and he looooooves it!!  I got a few cute pics of him the other day when we were stopped a stop sign.  I could just eat this boy up!!  OOOOH!!!  You can also see how crazy his hair was before we cut it!
This is his FAVORITE book too.  It's a Sesame Street book called "Bubbles Bubbles" and Carter is in love with it.  He calls Elmo "MoMo" and says "bubbles" and "pop" over and over again!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Patty's Day & a haircut

Little man is 17 months this month.  He had not had a hair cut yet, and he was growing quite the gnarly rat tail, crazy triangle bangs, and long shabbys over his ears.  But, on the bright side, he was getting the cuuuutest curls!  That boy is genetically allllllll my husband's side of the family, so I smile that he got my blond hair, and was really loving that he has my curls.  But, at last, it was time for a hair cut.  I really wanted to go to "Peak-A-Doo" in Durham to get it cut, but just could not bring myself to spend that much money when we have a pair of clippers here.  It actually turned out fantastic.  Phillip was so proud of himself for doing such a good job, and the fact that he got to do Carters "1st haircut" made him crazy excited too.  All he could talk about the rest of the night was that haircut.  It was quite cute!  Here are the before pictures.  It's the most recent ones I have of him and they aren't meant to be "hair shots" but it's the best I have.  I was really just trying to capture how cute he was just running around in his diaper and long socks :)

Tell me these boys don't have matching head shapes!!!... I dare ya! ;)

The finished product and a happy daddy!

Now, he's soooo over being strapped to a chair!

Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, and I was planning on actually being a good wife and putting my previous experiences with Phillip's favorite meal, corned beef and cabbage, and trying it again.  But, thank the Lord, his mother decided to make it for him!  Wheeeew!~  So, instead, we did sort of an Italian take on an Irish day.  Wednesdays are "Sketti-Wednesday" nights, and I can't break that tradition because it throws my ENTIRE week off.  So, I present to you Irish-Italian Dinner:

"AKA- Green Spaghetti and Sauce"

 I'll admit, it looked kinda creepy, especially once the sauce got mixed in, but it was very fun and something I will keep in mind for the future when we're really digging into teaching colors.  All I did was throw in a little food dye with the noodles while they were boiling!  Easy Peasy!
Little Man certainly didn't seem to mind it!

I'm always up for doing a theme for anything for any type of holiday, so the dinner was fun, and so was dressing Carter in all green yesterday.  He was adorable with his green shirt, jeans, and green patent-leather boots I found him at Walmart.  I know, they sound absolutely hideous, but they are sooooo fun, and ADDOOOOORABLE!!  He looked so cute when I dropped him off!  My little Irish-man!  (*insert gushing momma here!**)  So, I went to pick him up and noticed that some kid was running around in the hallway with a teacher with the most crackhead outfit on.  I kept moving on my merry way thinking "Geez, poor kid!" until that kid turned around, yelled "momma!" at me and then came running towards me.  That poor kid was mine!  Oh Mercy!  I usually end up sending sets of clothes to the daycare for backups when Carter has an accident.  They obviously did not see that they were matching sets, b/c my kid was wearing his brown Christmas shirt that says "Not an Elf", some baby-blue and white striped pants, and his crazy green boots.  It was quite the site to behold.  I had grand plans on taking him to the park to play after daycare as a surprise, but I just couldn't bring myself to take him in public.  I just knew I would get "looks" from all the momma's.... "what was she thinking!!...... That poor baby!" So, instead, we went home, and we played on the back deck.  We can prop it open and close the gate to the stairs down to the yard, and I can watch him while I'm cooking.  This works out pretty well for us, and it gives Carter a chance to be a wild-man.  Here are some pics of him outside in his outfit:

Absolutely Crazzzzy!

Does he not look like one of those crazy strong man lifting dumb-bells!!??  Hammer-pants and all!!

.... And no, that is no nasty used trash can he is playing in!!  He's COMPLETELY obsessed with putting stuff in our trash, so we got him one of his own so he will stop throwing our stuff away!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Holy Cannelini beans... that is good!

I've had this recipe marked under my "favorites" bar for a long time, but I've been waiting for ground turkey to go on sale  the right day to make it.  I finally got around to making it last night and oh my goodness it is sooooo good!  It was actually pretty easy and fast to make, and not too expensive b/c I had most of the stuff in stock besides the ground turkey.  I was surprised how brothy this soup was b/c the pictures doesn't show very much broth.  But, please, try this recipe!!  IT'S SOOO GOOD and not very fatty!  It didn't make very much, so after dinner I found myself making an extra pot so I could have it for lunches this week, and to freeze some.  Check out Martha Stewart's website for the original post.  I left the jalapenos out of mine because Carter was eating the soup too.  The soup was still very good.  Phillip had sour cream and jalapenos to add to his and he said it was amazing.  The prep time, and cooking time listed on the site are definitely correct, but it's not something you have to stand over and worry about while it's cooking.  It took about 40 minutes start to finish.  I'm a big fan of cutting corners to make things go faster so I used a bag of frozen chopped onions the second time I made it and it was perfection! (Oh, and let's not forget that they also sell the jalapenos canned already chopped and seeded!  Score!)  The Cannelini beans were hard to find, but I eventually found them at Food Lion.  If you can't find any I'm sure you can substitute with Northern Beans, even though they have a bit different taste.

Turkey and White Bean Chili
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, diced and seeded for milder taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cans (19 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • Sour cream, cilantro, and radishes, for garnish


  1. In a large, deep, skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey; season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up turkey with spoon, until browned, 9 minutes.
  2. Add onion and jalapenos; cook until soft, 3 minutes. Stir in cumin and tomato paste; cook 2 minutes.
  3. Add cannellini beans, chicken broth, and water; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until thick, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Garnish with sour cream, cilantro, and radishes, if desired.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Skinny au' gratin potatoes

Phillip and I are really trying to do well for ourselves and loose some weight.  It's been very nice to have the shift in temperature and be able to walk outside at the end of the day.  I found this recipe on the Weight Watchers website and it actually turned out pretty well.  This recipe calls for Yukon Golds, but I really hate those, so I ended up using our regular baking potatoes and it still turned out pretty well.  I bought a 10 pound bag of potatoes trying to save a buck (what was I thinking!!!) and we've been eating off this bag for 3 weeks now!!  Wont do that again!  Anywhooo!  Next time I will peel the potatoes because it seems like it added a tang to it that wasn't right.  I definitely encourage this recipe though!  So yummy!

au gratin potatoes

POINTS® Value:    3
Servings:  8
Preparation Time:  20 min
Cooking Time:  90 min
Level of Difficulty:  Moderate
Our cheesy potato dish is the perfect crowd pleaser—rich enough for your spouse and kids, yet light enough to keep your waistline slim.

1 spray(s) cooking spray   
1 Tbsp butter   

1 medium onion(s), thinly sliced   
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour   

2 cup(s) fat-free skim milk   

2 pound(s) Yukon Gold potato(es), thinly sliced   
1 cup(s) low-fat shredded cheddar cheese   
1 tsp table salt   
1/4 tsp black pepper   


  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 2-quart covered baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour; add milk slowly, stirring. Add potatoes and stir to mix. Bring to a boil. Stir in 3/4 cup of cheese, salt and pepper.
  • Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and level out surface. Bake for 1 hour, uncovered. Cover and bake until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes more.
  • Change oven temperature to broil. Sprinkle remaining cheese over potatoes. Broil 6 inches from the heating element until the cheese is golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing into 8 pieces.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March Madness

It's been about a month since I last blogged. I'm kinda loosing my "umph" for my blog. I made it mostly for my friends and family when I was pregnant, hoping they could keep up with mine and Carter's progress during that time, and it eventually just became a place where I could share my ideas and crafts that I found online and tried myself.  I feel swamped lately with work and keeping Carter entertained because he is learning so much. I really don't have time to do all the baking and sewing and crafting that I originally had grand dreams of. I'm really not sure if anyone reads this dang thing anymore.
Anyway, if you do, here's a little catch up (only a month late!) I wanted to do a little more than paper valentine's for Carter's class so I tried my hand at cookie cutters and royal icing. First of all, when looking for recipes to use for cookies that will be shaped, look specifically for cookie-cutter recipes. The one I used was FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC, but it certainly was not meant for being cut and shaped. So, the beautiful hearts that Carter and I cut out ended up looking like huge blobs..... tasty huge blobs of course. This was the first time that I got Carter involved in cooking. Usually I give him a bowl, spoon, pan, or what ever else I'm using to mimic me in the kitchen. This time, I let him stir the batter and cut out the shapes of the cookies. HE LOOOOVED IT!! My little man is definitely a fan of mommy's when she's cooking! I covered my work area in powdered sugar so my cookies wouldn't stick and he would not stop putting his face in it and licking it up! At one point his whole face was covered and he just smiled, and smiled! I wish I had more pictures of it, but I had to force Phillip to take pictures of us when we were almost done so I didn't get many. That poor kid isn't going to have any pictures of him and his momma when he grows up! Only his daddy! (**insert Bitter Betty here**)

My royal icing looks like a vat of Pepto Bismol!

yes, I'm aware of the ridiculous pile of dirty dishes behind me in my PUTRID/UGLY kitchen. I'll take a pass on this one because it was Valentines' Day and I was busy making these cookies, and a ridiculously messy and intense recipe for this:

Chicken Tetrazzini (I'll post the recipe and back story later... it's actually quite funny)

As I said before, the cookies were soooo yummy, but they turned out as blobs, so I had to get the cookie cutter out again and just cut out the shapes from the middle of the blobs. After they cooled I attempted royal icing. Some of it was pretty, others not so much. I put the initials of each child on their cookie and attached their Valentine to the back.

My friend Kristen and I hosted a baby shower for my long time friend from high school, Jaime. She is due in 2 weeks. She looks absolutely stunning and I wish I looked that great during my pregnancy! We had it at the Cheesecake Factory and boy that is always fantastic! I couldn't go all out on the decorations like I wanted to, but I still got a little bit in. I decorated the tables with tea lights, white flowers, a teddy bear, and a pair of blue gingham baby-booties that I made for Mr. Mason. I didn't get a picture of them before I gave them to her, but these will have to do.

Some of our guests. The guest of honor is Jaime, she's in the black. Also adorable and pregnant is Kristen, in the green sweater. We are all good friends from high school, and I'm so lucky we all keep in touch.

See that cutie in the red t-shirt? That is Mr. Mason's sweet older brother, Chase. He's adorable and will make such a good big brother! Oh!! Also, in front of him are the blue baby booties I made.

Everyone full on lunch, cheesecake, done with presents, and cleaning off the table

Good friends! (Left to right: Kelly, Jaime, Kristen, and me)

We make cute kids!


The girls

Oh, this picture is a little random, but it made me laugh. Carter has a new habit of playing in his ball pit  the "Let's Give Mommy a Heart Attack Way"  THE WROOOONG WAY. He'll put his hands on the top, and then throw his body foward, while standing in the pit. So, he goes down face first, still holding on, and the pit comes down too, throwing the balls everywhere! He pushes it back up, then does it all over again. Crazy baby! I had enough of the panic attacks, so I put the pit away for a couple of weeks hoping he would forget his new habit (yeah right, what was I thinking??). I brought it back out, with the balls in a trash bag. I was folding laundry one day and heard the sound of balls hitting the front hall, and then I found this.

He still sat down in the middle of them and threw them everywhere like he was in his pit!

We also had some crazy weather this month and I'll post pictures of that another time. Hope you are all doing well, and I appreciate you checking in on us if you are. See you soon.