Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Recipe Links

Yesterday I mentioned food in almost every other sentence. Steph requested recipes and I'm more than happy to share where I found these great meals.

First up is the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches. I had never made this before, but it sounded easy (especially since it's made in a slow cooker/crock pot). The recipe calls for boneless pork shoulder, but I couldn't remember that at the store and bought what was labeled "pork for carnitas" and assumed it would be just fine since carnitas is pulled or shredded pork for tacos... right? (That was all that was on the label so maybe it was pork shoulder?) I think I had roughly 3-4 pounds and it cost under $6. We loved it. Even my picky eaters were asking for thirds! I didn't make my own BBQ sauce, instead I chose two different store bought sauces because we like options around here. I did not follow the shredding-adding bbq sauce-reheating method that is in the directions. Instead I just took enough pork for a few sandwiches, added a tablespoon of the cooking liquid and a few tablespoons of bbq sauce and then made a sandwich like that. We definitely didn't use a whole two cups of sauce, either, but maybe you like more while we were happy with less. This recipe is a keeper and using the "pork for carnitas" ended up being a very inexpensive meal.

Next up I mentioned pizza. You can find my method for homemade pizza here.

I made nachos for lunch on Sunday. I just spread refried beans on chips (my favorite right now is On the Border brand), covered with some leftover taco meat I had, jalapenos and shredded cheese. Heated it in the microwave for 45 seconds to a minute. Easy.

Alright, biscuits and gravy. Or, The Best Breakfast Ever.
Sometimes making gravy is a trying task. Sometimes it's perfect and other times you want to throw your skillet out the window. I received The Homesick Texan Cookbook for Christmas and it's definitely a little treasure of mine. I made the biscuits (recipe here) and substituted shortening (half cup) for the butter and they turned out perfectly. (Also, the recipe says to "beat" the biscuits, but in the cookbook this is left out so I didn't do it, and I believe is why mine turned out so fluffy.)
Tips for making biscuits- don't over work the dough, when cutting biscuits never twist your cutter- simply push it through the dough and then pull straight up. This will help them rise and you'll be able to split them in half exactly like you're supposed to- with a fork.
For the gravy you can use this recipe. I first browned a half pound of breakfast sausage and then made the gravy and added the sausage to it. Or you could commit a sin of sorts and use a cream gravy mix.... I um, have certainly neeevvveeeer done that before.

And one more! Last night for supper I made Skillet Lasagne. It made more than enough for one meal so I froze half of it for another night. It's very simple, uses ONE skillet (or pot, that's what I used) and tastes delicious (unless you are a very stubborn four year old that won't even try it). I followed the directions, but added basil and oregano to the meat before adding the tomatoes which made it more like my usual lasagne. It was really good and will be added to my recipe rotation. It's also fairly quick to make, something like 30-45ish minutes from start to "on the table".

So, there you have it. Consider them all highly recommended and try them out soon!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

the short of a long weekend

This weekend was one that was spent mostly outdoors and with lots of popsicles. Saturday T worked on the house while I went through baby clothes and toys to give to my nephew. I made BBQ pulled pork for supper and it was amazing. Even the kids loved it and it's always close to miraculous when they willingly eat and ask for seconds when I make something other than pizza or spaghetti. It was a big hit.

Sunday we went to church, took naps after we ate lunch (nachos) and then headed outside to play in the water some more. I made pizza for supper, as usual, and then we watched a movie. To see what a lot of other bloggers were up to head over to Cari's blog to view Snapshots from a Sunday. (This months are possibly the best yet.)

Monday was a holiday and T didn't have to go to work so I made him his favorite breakfast of biscuits and (sausage) gravy. I don't know why I don't make this more often because it's soooo good!
not the best photo, but possibly best breakfast on Earth

That's all I have for now. See you tomorrow for more of the same.

Friday, May 25, 2012

ten happy things friday

T has a three day weekend!

Hoping to get a lot of housework done.

If you read yesterday's post you'll understand that I'm just SO HAPPY.

Bagels and cream cheese
(side effect of #3)

I love watching Rose take care of her "babies" (dolls) 
and I hope she is just as sweet to the new addition

Chocolate & caramel coffee creamer
(also side effect of #3)

I'm making bbq pulled pork this weekend
(I've never had this before, mainly because in Texas brisket is king of bbq)

a semi quiet nap time

Getting a burst of energy a few hours ago.
It was short lived.
 (see #3)

My workout pants. They are my best friend right now. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

do you like surprises?

I think by all the smiles that these three get excited about surprises. 


And we are 




about this one....

expected December 14


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

but it's hot outside

I have some trouble getting outdoors in the summer time. It's blazing hot here in Texas already so here is a list of things I've come up with to keep us outside for a little bit longer than 2 minutes.

  • Play in the sprinkler or pool (sort of an obvious one)
  • Fill up a bucket with water and have the kids wash their toys (tried this morning and works wonderfully)
  • Give the kids paintbrushes and have them paint with water (on sidewalk, side of house or anywhere you can see a noticeable difference when it's wet/dry)
  • Coloring with sidewalk chalk (let them decorate terra cotta flower pots, too!)
  • Let them wash the car
  • Let them go "camping" by setting up some sort of a tent
  • Make popsicles and ice cream "outside only" treats
  • Have a picnic
This is all I can think of right now and it doesn't seem like much, but at least it's a start. If you have any suggestions please leave a comment!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Saturday (picture overload)

Saturday was a wonderful day. We drove into town and picked up donuts and sausage kolaches from the little donut shop for breakfast, indulged in Starbucks frappachinos (such a rare treat!) and took it all to the park for a picnic breakfast.

I told T to get me any kind of coffee with chocolate so he got a white chocolate mocha and chocolate cookie mocha (the latter was my favorite). We spent about an hour playing and then headed back home for a quick lunch and to get ready to head to the fair.

 The kids had the best time. We arrived just as the rides were starting so there were no crowds to wade through and practically no lines to wait in. Rose was just tall enough to ride almost all the rides and as you can see had a blast.
The kids loved the Ferris wheel (I feel quite the opposite since I am a fraidy-cat of heights) and the first time I just stayed on the ground and took their picture. T said the kids were standing up looking over the sides and thought it was great. They weren't scared at all. I was roped into riding it since we needed to use up the last of our tickets before we left and you'll see in the following pictures how big of a baby I am.
The first picture is what T called my "death grip" on Rose's leg. In all the pictures of me on the Ferris wheel I'm either looking straight down or straight at the camera. I did take in the view for a few minutes and it actually made me feel a little better.  At least to where I was able to smile. 

top: I finally crack a smile while holding tightly onto Rose's shorts because T is making fun of me.
middle: Laughing at myself and relieved that the toddler will sit down and stop trying to crawl over the sides of the bucket.
bottom: Rose has officially had it with the mother who won't let her have ANY fun.

The boys said it was the best day ever. It really was a wonderful day. I wouldn't change a thing about it. Well, I might apply some sunscreen to my face, but otherwise it was perfect. I can't wait to do this again next year!

Friday, May 18, 2012

ten happy things friday

I plan on buying Scrabble this weekend. Solely for the purpose of playing against T.

So happy that got to talk to T during his lunch break.

I put Rose's hair in pig tails for the first time ever today. She looked so cute! D took one look at her and said, "She looks like a bighorn sheep!"

I mentioned this yesterday, but my excitement hasn't faded. We are going to the fair and rodeo tomorrow!

D has a t-ball game tonight and I'm requesting ice cream afterwards.

Speaking of t-ball, we only have 5-ish games left!

Nap time was somewhat successful.

Rose has been very entertaining lately.

I made vegetable beef soup last night and it was really good.

One thing I like about my Kindle is that I never lose my page.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Random Thoughts on Thursday

I just ordered an umbrella for my Goddaughter (for her birthday). She lives in the desert. Apparently she really wants one so I rationalized this gift with the thought that it would act as a parasol. It's also one of the cutest umbrellas ever. She is also sort of into cars and trucks right now and of course I jumped on that and am sending her the coolest two race cars I could find. One for her and one for her sister. I really wanted to get one for Rose. Can you believe I almost didn't purchase them because the company was so "green" that there is a recycling logo on the hood of the cars? It felt a little over the top to me. (ha!)

I can't stop eating Cheez Its.

I made waffles for lunch. Because I can!

Rose doesn't have a swim suit for this summer and I have found some super cute ones on line. Here and here.  I think I  will probably end up purchasing it in store so I can be sure of the sizing.

This weekend we are going to try to go to the fair and rodeo in town. Kids under 10 are free! I am excited at the possibility of getting a funnel cake and some bar b q. Yes, I'd really go for some bar b q right now.

What am I going to make for supper?

That a good question considering T will be home in about an hour.

Wait, an hour? oh... way behind on my schedule. Adios!

Monday, May 14, 2012


T's cousin got married on Saturday. T was the best man and D was the ring bearer. (Well, D was one of two ring bearers... he was accompanied by a younger little boy who supplied a hearty chuckle for everyone while he sprinted past D down the aisle.) While I have zero pictures from the wedding actually with me (all the pictures we took are on T's phone... obviously with him and not me today) I did manage to get some of our down time.

Friday night was rainy, but luckily we were inside eating fajitas at the rehearsal dinner during the worst of it. This was the view from our hotel room.

Saturday after the wedding and reception T's dad and brother took D swimming in the hotel pool while we stayed behind at the reception where I finally learned to two step, watched people dance, danced with T and ate more than my share of cake. When we got back to the hotel D had just finished "swimming" and was exhausted!
Sunday we got up and started making arrangements to pick up the groom's tux to return it and tried to decide where to eat breakfast. It was quite a morning. While we waited for things to be sorted out between everyone we went up to the terrace on the top floor of our hotel and took some pictures.

We finally got things figured out and checked out of the hotel. We drove over to meet T's cousin and collect the rest of the tuxes when I realized I had left my Kindle somewhere in our hotel room. Thankfully we were still only blocks away and I was able to call and security went and found it. It was 11:45 by that time and breakfast had not been eaten. D and I were snacking on granola bars and chex mix in the car.

Eventually we found the Men's Warehouse but we were missing a garment bag so we waited some more for one of the groomsmen to bring it over. While we waited we found a place to eat.
 Five Guys! Their burgers are awesome and so are the Cajun fries! We all left with bellies full and feeling good.  Then we dropped off the tuxes and finally left Houston!

And one more picture of me and D.

I still have to finish unpacking our things and figure out something for supper so I better sign off and get a movin'.

Monday, May 7, 2012

our weekend

 Saturday afternoon we decided we had been cooped up in the house too long and we were going somewhere. Anywhere. T was not feeling his best after fighting a stomach bug all Friday and into the early hours of Saturday morning, but insisted on going out. So... we lounged around for hours trying to figure out what to do. Due to a wedding this coming weekend, several birthdays and Mother's Day I had us quite a strict budget and taking a family of five out to eat only happens once a month so we were kind of stuck. The park would've been nice if it wasn't a million degrees already. We headed out right at dinner time (this always happens on spur of the moment outings). I decided we would have to eat somewhere that was cheap and definitely not Taco Bell or McDonald's. Eventually we ended up driving through a parking lot with a Denny's. My super eyesight plucked out the words "kids eat free Tuesday and Saturday". It was Saturday. I hadn't eaten at Denny's since I was in California during Spring Break approximately TEN years ago. T and got burgers. I thought the first bite was surprisingly good, but unfortunately each consecutive bite was worse than the previous one. I left feeling empty and full at the same time. I regretted not sticking with breakfast options. The kids enjoyed their meals though and had a good time which is always what really matters in the end.

Sunday we had a birthday party for me, Ry, my sis and brother in law. Our birthdays are all in a ten day time frame. It was fun! I insisted we have homemade pizza for supper and spent a good deal of time making the perfect supreme pizzas. I also made a chocolate cake with boiled icing. We ate until we could eat no more, opened presents (I got an awesome herb garden from my sister which I will have to get a picture of later) and then took our sugar high kids home to crash in their beds.

Many thanks to my family, T's family and our awesome friends (Holly and CLB) for making our birthday's so great.

P.S. It looks like Ry's fingers are on fire, but fear not, it's just a fancy photography trick.

Friday, May 4, 2012

ten happy things friday

It's Friday!

looking forward to cake and ice cream on Sunday
(my family is celebrating 4 birthdays)

having good friends

two of my kids are napping while the oldest watches Cars

I married the best guy ever.

I started playing Words With Friends even though I don't have time to. It's fun.

steak and potatoes 

cranberry-grape juice mixed with ginger ale

listening to birds chirp and sing

kids painting

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Rose (age 2)
Favorite drink- Orange juice
Favorite snack- Three way tie between yogurt, cheese and fruit snacks
Favorite thing to do- Go outside

Ry-Guy (age 4)
Favorite color- Green
Favorite movie- (currently) Land Before Time
Favorite meals- Pizza, sausage and bean & cheese tacos

Big D (age 5)
Favorite animal- Cheetah
Favorite days of the week- Saturday & Sunday (because Daddy is home all day)
Favorite color- (currently) Red