Sunday, January 23, 2011

Brown Sugar Bundt Cake

We had a birthday get together with Chris' family yesterday at our house and I was in charge of making the cake. No chocolate was all that was requested (boo) so Chris and I searched through cookbooks to find a cake that didn't require a big trip to the store and this one was the winner. I had never made it before but it looked easy and required few extra ingredients from the store. Everyone really enjoyed it!

Brown Sugar Bundt Cake

1 18 oz. box yellow cake mix
1 3 1/2 oz. box instant vanilla pudding and pie filling
4 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
1 c. water
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. finely chopped pecans (I left these out)

Grease a 10-inch bundt pan well (I just used PAM) and sprinkle pan with granulated sugar (even if using non-stick pan). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, oil, and water in large bowl and beat on medium speed until well mixed, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar and pecans and mix to combine well. Pour batter evenly into prepared bundt pan and bake for 1 hour or until cake tester comes out clean. Place bundt pan on wire rack and cool 15 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and slip pan off cake. Let cool on rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Can be stored covered at room temperature.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Nana's Chicken and Dumplings

My grandmother (Nana) makes the BEST chicken and dumplings (I'm probably biased, though). I asked her for the recipe years ago and she said she didn't have it written down, she just does it. I bought the stuff she told me to buy and she came over one day and showed me how to make it. Not that it was hard, but she couldn't even think about how to tell me to make it because she just *does* it without thinking. It was easier for her to show me. And now I have it down without a recipe, but I'm going to write it here just in case I ever lose my mind (or if any of you want it).

Nana's Chicken and Dumplings
Makes one large pot/dutch oven full

2 large chicken breasts
chicken broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cans cream of chicken soup (I use the Healthy Request/low sodium kind on both of the cream soups)
Salt & pepper

Boil the chicken breasts. When cooked, pour out about 1-2 cups of water and shred the chicken and put back in the pot. Add some chicken broth, probably about 2 cups (it is harder to write this down than I thought, I just do it without thinking now). Stir in the soups and add some salt and pepper. Let cook on medium for about 15 minutes (needs to be boiling). While that is cooking, make the Bisquick dumplings according to the box directions (I think it's 2 c. bisquick and 2/3 c. milk). Roll the dumplings into balls and place them on top of the boiling soup. Let cook uncovered for 10 minutes then cover and cook 10 more minutes (do not stir). Add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately, but the leftovers are awesome as well.

Crockpot Meatball Hoagies

I got a crockpot cookbook for Christmas and I have been trying to use the crockpot more so dinner can be ready a little earlier. I made these the other night and they were super easy and very good.

Meatball Hoagies

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 c. italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
1 jar chunky pasta sauce
Hoagies/sub bread
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Mix meat, breadcrumbs, and egg together and form into meatballs. It should make 12 good size meatballs, but you could make more if you made them smaller.

Place meatballs in bottom of crockpot and pour pasta sauce on top. I cooked mine for 6 hours on high but you could do 8 hours on low if needed.

Place meatballs in rolls and top with mozzarella cheese.

Savory Chicken Tacos

Savory Chicken Tacos

I got this recipe in the mail from Kroger along with some coupons. It looked easy and was very good!

1 rotisserie chicken, deboned and shredded (you could just use cooked chicken if you want, but this was easy)
1 pkg. (12 oz) frozen steamable white or brown rice
1 c. shredded mexican cheese
1 can diced salsa-style fire roasted tomatoes (Kroger brand had them--remember this was a "Kroger" recipe, so they used all their own brand)
1/2 t. salt
1 c. frozen sweet corn
1 jar (16 oz.) verde enchilada sauce (again Kroger brand, but I am sure there are others)
1 pkg. crunchy taco shells or tortillas (we used tortillas and made soft tacos)
sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 450. Spray 13x9 pan with cooking spray.

Mix all ingredients except taco shells (duh!) into a large bowl. Spread evenly into baking dish.

Bake at 450 for 20 minutes or until bubbling. Let stand 5 minutes.

Spoon into taco shells and serve with sour cream

Chris really liked this and I thought it was good as well. We decided it would also be good for nachos or on a quesadilla.

Easter Then and Now

I just realized I had 2 almost identical pictures of Logan from Easter 2009 and 2010 and I thought it was so amazing how much he had changed in a year. He looks so little and "baby-like" in 2009 and suddenly in 2010 he was a little boy! How does that happen?

Easter 2009

Easter 2010

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Year in Pictures--Logan 2010

I got this idea from another friend's blog and I loved seeing how they changed throughout the year, so here goes!

January 2010~A mini Hugh Hefner

February 2010~Helping shovel the snow

March 2010~Logan & T-Luv at Parr Park (and the never-ending walk...)

April 2010~His 3rd birthday party

May 2010~Date night with Mommy at Chick-Fil-A

June 2010~Hanging with Chad in the pool

July 2010~July 4th with the Hoisington's at Lake Grapevine

August 2010

September 2010~1st day of Mother's Day Out @ Sprouts

October 2010~Scooby Doo

November 2010~Jacob's 4th Birthday @ the Pantego Fire Station

December 2010~Like Uncle, Like Nephew

I am in Trouble

Logan is too smart for his own good. It's scary, really. He's not even 4 yet and his logic and memory skills floor me almost daily. He negotiates like crazy and remembers EVERYTHING. My aunt has always told me that he would be difficult in school, not in a bad way, just in a way where he would get bored if he wasn't challenged enough. At first I didn't really know for sure if that was true or if she was just a bit biased about his intelligence but now I am really thinking I am in trouble. He is so aware of everything around him and is interested in learning about everything. He really wants to read now and is asking how to spell things and getting pretty good at writing his name--and he's only 3! I think that's pretty good. And scary. One example of his logic:

Tonight at dinner:

Me: If I see you put food in your cup it's going to get thrown away. Got it?
L: Yes ma'am.
*15 minutes later during dinner*
Me: *sees Logan taking his now blue quesadilla out of his drink and eating it* Logan, what did I say about you putting food in your drink?
L: But you didn't see me...

Seriously? Chris and I just stared at each other for a minute to digest the fact that he caught me on a technicality. Just when you think he really isn't listening to you, he goes and pulls this out of his little hat. I'm in for it. He's already outsmarting me and he's not even 4.

Logan 2010

Click here to view this photo book larger

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Desperate Times

As I am typing this I am waiting for my parsley tea to steep. Doesn't sound too appetizing, huh? We shall see. It doesn't really matter if it's appetizing or not. It's either that or prescription drugs to induce a cycle so we can start "trying" again. Supposedly, drinking parsley tea at least 3 times a day for up to 4 days can induce a cycle. If it works, then I can move on to my next crazy attempt--Maximum Strength Estroven. It is supposed to work like Clomid (you know, only without the multiple doctor visits and $200 sonograms) so you only have to take it for a few days early in your cycle. I also have lemon water made up and ready to drink (at room temp or warm) throughout the day. The vitamin C in the lemon and antioxidants are somehow helpful in fertility. It's crazy how much information is out there and I am willing to just about try anything. Everyone around me is pregnant with their 2nd or 3rd child and then there's me. I hate being so bitter and desperate, but it's really hard to want something so bad and nothing you do works. If I could be pregnant by Logan's 4th birthday I would be beside myself, but I am pretty sure I have said that at every one of his birthdays or major holidays, to no avail. I am trying to be patient and just let it happen, but when your body isn't 'regular' on it's own, it's hard because I could wait 80 days with nothing happening if I let it. I am taking charge this time. I hope. Now it's time for some parsley tea and warm lemon water. Yum.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


So, in a previous post I stated that I was fixing to start watching a little boy and mentioned that hopefully that would fill a void since we are having trouble getting pregnant. EPIC FAIL. Chris called it (and laughed when I even mentioned that it might possibly fill the void). Maybe if the child was difficult or fussy or anything but the sweet cuddler that he is, but he's not. He's adorable. And Logan interacting with him is adorable. And makes me want to have another one real bad.

Logan was so excited for Cash to start coming. He has been asking for days when he would be coming. He woke up at the buttcrack of dawn this morning (and took a nap at 9:30 due to that) out of excitement. He was all over this kid like white on rice, but in a cute way. He wanted to show Cash the ropes, from teaching him about the potty seat to explaining how to play with ALL his toys. He was so sweet with him though. He's at a great age for it. He didn't have any problem sharing his toys (or letting him use his old baby gear/toys) and he was a great helper. All day this is all I heard, "Follow me, Cashy" "Come on Buddy Boy" "Do you want to give me a high five?" and constant attempts at kisses and hugs. It was great. I am sure the excitement will wear off but as of right now, I am really wishing/hoping/praying for a sibling to be on the way soon.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Logan's 1st "Christ"mas

I know this was not Logan's 1st Christmas, but it was his 1st "Christ"mas, meaning it was the first year he *really* understood what Christmas is about. His MDO does a Christmas program and teaches all the stories leading up to it, so I loved that he was coming home talking about baby Jesus and getting excited to see all the "antivities" (nativities) decorating people's yards and at churches.

On Thanksgiving we gave him the Little People nativity set and he LOVED it. We had a table in the entryway for it to sit on and he would play over there with it everyday. He loved moving all the animals and Mary, Joseph, and the 3 Wise Men around and on more than one occasion he had them all forming a circle surrounding baby Jesus. It was adorable. Of course, on more than one occasion he had the donkey or baby Jesus on top of the manger where the angel was supposed to be, but whatever.

Going to look at Christmas lights every other year has just been about all the lights and characters but this year he was most excited about seeking out nativity sets. It was pretty awesome, especially considering we are not active church-goers (trying to change that), that he is still so interested and curious about Jesus.

We went to a couple different live nativity scenes, one at Church at the Cross in Grapevine and one at a church in North Richland Hills (I can't remember the name). He enjoyed both of them but the one at Church at the Cross was unbelievable. You were led through the woods and everything was so realistic, from all the live animals to the Romans riding up on horseback to check for "papers" to the town of Bethlehem and the inn. When we got to the manger, Logan got right up front where Mary and Joseph were talking and everyone was singing and praying. He was entranced. And he wanted to touch baby Jesus. Real bad. But he didn't. It was awesome and we will definitely do it again next year.

Now, of course, on Christmas Day it is much harder to focus on the meaning of Christmas when he is basically the only child (at least on my side of the family) and he has countless presents to open. But before we went to bed that night we recapped what Christmas was all about and he said his cute little prayer thanking Jesus for all his presents (I don't lead his prayers...he can say whatever he wants) and blessing everyone in our family basically. While he doesn't have an interest in praying every night (and I don't push it), when he does say them they are pretty darn cute.

But we also do the fun Santa stuff. Chris and I were both raised with the knowledge of Jesus and the meaning of Christmas but also the magic of Santa, so we wanted to do the same for Logan. We got an Elf on the Shelf this year, named Buddy, and went to see Santa and Logan loved it all. It was perfect.

All in all, it was a wonderful Christmas and held much more meaning for all of us this year because teaching Logan about it was a great reminder for the rest of us.

Logan as the donkey in his Christmas program

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

I'm back...almost 4 months later. We just got busy and so many times I think that what I have to say isn't going to be that funny or important to anyone else so I talk myself out of blogging about it. I need to not worry about that and just post it for memories sake if for no other reason.

I've officially been a SAHM for 6 months now and I am loving it. I always knew I would love it but I was so worried about the financial aspect of it that I was letting that ruin my excitement. But it has worked out great, somehow the money has always appeared when we needed it. Chris has been working his butt off on every side job he can get and my part-time work at the MDO has helped a little, too. It's amazing that this time last year we were pulling in 2 decent incomes but had little to no savings to speak of and now we're down to 1 income AND we have savings. It just goes to show you how much Dave Ramsey and FPU has helped us. We now know exactly where our money goes and we are much more careful with how/where we are spending our money. I am glad we know this now and I am able to stay home because of it but I wish we had known all of this earlier.

Luckily, another blessing has come into our lives (no, I am not pregnant). I will begin watching a little boy who is almost a year old starting next week. To do this I had to quit my job at the MDO but it will bring in double what I was making there (although the hours are MUCH longer), which will take a load off of Chris since we won't have to rely on his side work so much. We will be able to breathe some and save more. Logan will still go to MDO 2 days a week, which I think will be good for him to not have me there. He has actually asked me before why I can't just drop him off and leave like the other mommies do. So now we just have to see how that goes when that actually happens.

On the pregnancy front, no news yet but I haven't been back to the fertility doctor since June. We just didn't want to spend the money when finances were already going to be tight. I've been trying to relax and not think about it as much but I'm getting antsy again. After we save some more money I may go back to the fertility doctor and see what the next step is, but in the meantime I will just continue to enjoy my time with Logan and maybe this new little boy I'll be watching will fill the void temporarily (Chris highly doubts that).

As for New Year's Resolutions, I am just going to list some things that I would *like* to happen rather than resolving to make them happen because some of those things are out of my control:

1) Build our savings
2) Lose some weight/actually use the treadmill sitting in our bedroom
3) Get pregnant/figure out what the problem is
4) Go on more dates with Chris
5) Spend more time with girl friends
6) Blog more/record more of Logan's funniness (his baby book is feeling quite abandoned) and try to add pictures to the blog (would REALLY like a new blog design *cough* *cough* Tarah Hoover) :)
7) Get all of Logan's pictures and videos on CD/DVD (no more scares about losing EVERYTHING)
8) Still looking for a church to go to regularly and get Logan involved with (we went to several this past year but none of them *felt* right)

So, that's my list and I'm sticking to it (or I am going to try). Happy New Year! Here's some pictures of how much Logan has grown since his 1st Christmas! I'm figuring it out slowly. :)

Christmas 2007

Christmas 2010