Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekend Travels

After a hiatus due to my computer being older than the hills technical difficulties I've been able to return to my blog.  I tried several times to update this blog yesterday but my computer was very disgruntled and simply shut down.  After taking it to the Computer Whisperer (a.k.a. my little bro) it seems to be behaving itself.

Yesterday we headed about an hour south to visit my dad and stepmom at their "summer" house.  With my stepsisters living in Texas and me and my siblings living in Virginia they are dividing their time between the 2 states.  Anyone who has ever spent any time in Texas knows they have wonderful, balmy winters and hotter than hell summers.  Despite the fact that it is (supposedly) spring, they have been in Virginia for several weeks now and I am loving it (as is Babycakes).  As you can see, her Granddaddy is all about spending time with her.  Even if it means getting on the floor with her to color. :-)

 Mama came fully prepared with a bag of books and toys to keep Babycakes entertained during our visit.

 Since her Grandma is a retired professor and her Grandaddy is a book-lover himself, they had no problems reading some books.  (I seriously love this picture!)

Before leaving, the Hubs took a picture of me, my Dad, and Babycakes...

I really am blessed to have such a wonderful family!  Hope everyone had a weekend as great as ours!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Upcycling Project!

I had this old, white t-shirt I was going to throw away because (not to be totally gross) it had pit stains.

While reading one of my favorite blogs, Maybe Matilda,  I came across 2 projects I could use with this old shirt.  The first was a pair of lounge pants for Babycakes.  You can find her fabulous tutorial on her website here.  In about 30 minutes this funky old shirt turned into these fabulous pants for Babycakes!

With some of the t-shirt still salvageable, I was also able to make a short-sleeved tee into a long-sleeved tee.

My sister had given me this shirt and I really didn't need another short-sleeved shirt so this was perfect for my project!  I cut the sleeves off of the pit stained shirt and sewed them onto this shirt and voila! New shirt!  Again, I can't take credit for this brilliant idea.  The tutorial for this gem can be found here.

The remainder of the shirt went in the trash but I'm so excited that I was able to reduce my footprint AND create 2 cute projects! :-)

Thanks to Rachel at Maybe Matilda for the inspiration!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tasty Soup Recipe

I came across this soup recipe on Pinterest and thought I would give it a shot.  So yesterday, as the wind was howling and the snow was blowing I got myself together and tried this tasty soup recipe.  And let me tell you it did not disappoint!

Here is the picture as it appeared on Pinterest...

tomato basil parmesan soup - in the crockpot. SO good!  Use Cuisinart pulverizer so kids/husbands don't know they're eating veggies.  Bisque - like consistency.  Serve with plenty of bread. 

Because I was so hungry Babycakes was ready to eat, I didn't take a picture of the finished product but I can assure you the Pinterest picture is pretty accurate.

Because I'm such a visual person I thought I would walk you through this fairly easy recipe.  The most difficult time consuming part was chopping up all of the veggies for this soup.

Begin with 2 (14 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes (I used Hunt's fire roasted tomatoes with garlic)


Next you will need 1 cup of finely chopped celery.

One cup finely chopped carrots...

...and one cup finely chopped onion.

Next you will need 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of dried basil and 1 bay leaf (You can use fresh herbs but who has time to grow their own herbs these days?  Not this girl!)

(As a side note, don't you just LOVE the milk glass spice containers? They were my Mom's that she used in the kitchen when I was growing up)  Anywho, you will also need 4 cups of chicken broth.  I used 4 cups of water with bouillon cubes because that's what I had on hand.)

Dump everything into your Crock-Pot and stir.  This is so easy a child could do it.  Seriously!

Now, cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 7 hours.  I chose 6 since it was between 5 and 7.

After the time is up, about 45 minutes before you want to eat you'll need to start this next part.

Prepare a roux (Don't let this freak you out!  It's just French for butter and flour.  I promise!)  Melt 1/2 a cup of butter over low heat in a large skillet.  Then, whisk in 1/2 cup of flour a little at a time trying to keep lumps at a minimum. 

The recipe said to stir constantly with a whisk for 5 to 7 minutes.  I stirred constantly until it started to bubble.  Then you need to gradually stir in 1 cup of the soup from the crock pot.  Then add another 3 cups and stir until smooth.  Then dump it all back into the Crock Pot.  Add 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, 2 cups of warmed half and half, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Cook on low another 30 minutes.

I don't know that I would cook this as a "quick meal"  but it is some kind of yum!  I was going to serve it with bread that I whipped up in my bread machine but due to user error we improvised with sandwich rounds that were toasted in the oven with some cheddar cheese.

A Pinterest success perfect for a snowy evening!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

East Coast Beast

Kind of an odd name, I'll admit, but that's what the media has dubbed this snowstorm that is currently hammering our region.  When we got up this morning we already had about 6 inches of snow on the ground.  While it is still snowing it isn't really sticking to much because the temps are above freezing.  No matter, I love a good snow because I don't (typically) have to go anywhere.  I am especially thankful for this snow because it's giving me some extra time to recover from this miserable virus I have that will not exit my body.

Anyway, the Hubs went out to shovel the driveway and as soon as he put on his coat, Babycakes was hot on his heels.  She does not like to get left behind.  I thought we would let her go out for a few minutes (no more than 5) and she would be done - ready to come inside.  She has never been a big fan of snow.  Not this time.  She had a blast "helping" her Daddy shovel snow.  Since I'm still not 100% I decided I would stay inside and enjoy the warmth.  But when I saw how much fun she was having I snuck outside for a couple of minutes to take some pictures.

Initially, I tried to get away with staying close to the house so I wouldn't have to go out into the snow.  But I quickly realized I should suck it up and head out there to capture this sweet moment in her little life.

I LOVE this expressing on her face!  It's such a look of childlike wonder.

Babycakes had a blast "helping" daddy shovel the snow.

See her little mittens?  Not mittens at all.  They are her Cinderella socks.  The kid probably has 4 pairs of mittens and I could find 1.  Not one pair, 1 mitten.  Mama got creative.  I knew she would not have the patience to wait Mama was too worn out to look for mittens.

And just so folks don't think I'm a total sloth while sick, I wanted to update you on a couple of projects I've been working on.

My beautiful baby younger sister is expecting her first child in July.  I have been working on knitting a blanket for her baby and thought I would update you on what I've gotten accomplished so far.

While being sick has not been fun, at least I'm being productive while I rest.

I also finished the counted cross stitch sampler I have been working on for nine years.  It's washed and just needs to be pressed and framed.  Once that's been completed I'll post a pic of the finished product.  
I also picked up another counted cross stitch project I laid aside for far too long and started working on it again.  When I showed the Hubs the project he looked at me and said, "Why do you keep punishing yourself with this stuff?"  Hee! Hee!  I really do enjoy this stuff.  I'm just slow about getting things finished.  It probably doesn't help that I have crafter ADD. 

Anyway, soup is in the Crock-Pot and I am (hopefully) going to bake some bread to go with it.  It's a new soup recipe.  If it's tasty I'll share it with you next time.  Until then, enjoy the snow!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Mama's Turn

I've been under the weather since Thursday and I am done with it!  I went to the doctor on Thursday with the hopes of getting some medicine and heading back to work on Friday.  No such luck.  I was told to stay off work until Monday and was tested for the flu. ICK!  Fortunately the test game back negative for influenza A and B.  Unfortunately I have gotten worse instead of better.  So I called in for another sub for tomorrow and will head back to the doctor and hopefully get some antibiotics.  I'm pretty sure Babycakes has shared her most recent bout of bronchitis with her dear, sweet Mama.

Enough of my bellyaching!  Onto more fun things.  I was feeling well enough for a very brief foray into Wal-Mart yesterday to pick up some supplies.  While I was there I picked up some stuff to get some Easter decorating started.  I don't do St. Patrick's Day.  Never been one of my favorite holidays.  So I'm excited to start decorating for Easter because I really like the spring colors and the holiday itself.   In an earlier post I showed off these gems I made for around $6 for supplies I picked up at the Dollar Tree.

So I bought some Easter grass for $0.33 and some malt balls that look like speckled eggs for $2.88 and put together this...

I would show you the whole display but the table is a disaster since I have been sick and the Hubs has had to take care of Babycakes. And to be honest, all I did was stuff Easter grass in the vases and dropped in some eggs.   But hopefully I'll get the house decorated for Easter and will be able to post some pics at a later date.

Have I posted recently what an AMAZING husband I have?  He has totally picked up the ball while I work on getting better.  Right now he is at our last class for our Dave Ramsay Financial Peace University course while my Mom watches Babycakes.  Before he left, I snapped this picture of him and Babycakes watching bull-riding.

I really love that man!  In addition to being an awesome husband and dad, he also does laundry.  He knows how much I LOVE the smell of bedclothes that have hung on the line in the sunshine.  So he did that today.

While I love spring, I am hoping for one more snow day.  Today it really looks like spring is in the air but the forecast is calling for the, "potential for significant snowfall accumulation," on Wednesday.  They seem pretty sure about this - 80% at last check. Bring. It. On.

Anyway, one last picture of Babycakes.  I love that she lets me put pigtails in her hair!

I'm off to watch some Golden Girls, work on finishing a cross-stitch project, and resting.  Hope everyone is healthier than me! :-)