Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Waiting Game...

39 weeks and 1 day into this pregnancy I am beginning to wonder if this kid is ever going to make his grand entrance. After little one #1 arrived a month early it was sort of the consensus that little one #2 would somewhat follow suit. Apparently not so much, he seems content to stay put! 
When I asked if she knew when the baby was going to come she shrugged her shoulders and said, "Next week maybe?" 
So off we went to the park to get our daily walk in and see if we couldn't possibly inspire the baby to come out and say hello.
Maybe climbing the ladder will help?

I strongly considered a trip down the bumpy slide.

I also considered a trip on the swirly slide.

Little one felt that sliding on the belly would be a lot more effective.
 In the end though, even with all of little one's help I decided it would be best to sit back and relax
and enjoy a nice sunny afternoon outside.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

1st Haircut

Today was a momentous occasion for the little one and me, I finally broke down and took her to have her FIRST haircut! I have never had the heart to even have her pretty hair trimmed. After a little (okay so a LOT) of  nagging from hubby about how it was looking somewhat scraggly I finally gave in.
 Preparing for the first cut! Yikes!

 She sat so still, it was impressive!

 She did have a little bit of a worried expression the whole time, but never spoke a word.

 Her eyes on the prize she was relieved when it was over and happy she got a yummy lollipop!

 She was proud to show off the pretty braid that the hairdresser did.

A perfect little curl came home with us for the baby book also proof that I actually allowed someone to cut off more than an 1/16 of an inch.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you all have wonderful Valentine's Day plans. We are going very low key this year. The novelty of Valentine's kind of wore off for us several years ago. I did step up the search for the perfect card this year if only because somehow I managed to pick out the exact same card for hubby several years in a row. I must have really liked what it said. :)
This year, after 16 years of Valentines,  I really think I found the most appropriate card out there for him...

Yep! I think it says it all in the most perfect way! Short, simple and to the point with just a hint of humor. Just my style.
In addition to the perfect card little one and I decided to gift hubby with a little something...
Hubby may consider this more of a gift to myself only because I really love the way it smells but oh well!
For our super "romantic" dinner I am going all out. In continuation of the low key theme this year I decided to forgo the traditional surf and turf and am going to make white chicken enchiladas. They are super yummy even if they aren't that romantic.
Click link for recipe, you really should try them.

Happy Valentines!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

I caved!

Because I need one more thing to waste time on, I asked a friend for an invite to Pinterest. I am in love already. I am hoping to use it to find ideas for the new old house. We are a little over a month away from the closing date and I am itching to start projects already! Hopefully browsing all these ideas will help to pass the time. Feel free to follow me, I think I correctly added a link in the corner of the blog.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recipe Roulette ~ Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

One of my favorite cakes to bake is pineapple upside cake, it is a classic sweet and simple dessert. When I was flipping through the recipe roulette notebook today browsing for a recipe to try, everything seemed to fancy or to much effort for me to feel like making until I ran across the recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes. The recipe is almost identical to my regular cake recipe except you use crushed or pineapple tidbits and cupcake pans instead of  a sheet cake pan.

Ingredients ~1 Duncan Hines Pineapple Supreme Cake Mix
Oil and Eggs amount called for on box
Pineapple Juice in place of water, use amount on box
Can of Pineapple Tidbits or Crushed Pineapple
1 1/2 Cups of light Brown Sugar
1 Stick Melted Butter
Maraschino Cherries

Mix the cake as directed on the box. Substitute the pineapple juice from the canned pineapple in place of water. I needed to add some water to make up the difference in the amount called for. Melt butter. Spray cupcake pan with cooking spray. Do not use paper liners.
Place one teaspoon of melted butter in the bottom of each cup of the pan. Add one tablespoon of brown sugar on top of the melted butter. Place one cherry half in the center.

Scatter pineapple around the cherry to form a circle.
Add cake mix on top of the pineapple. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cupcakes are cooked.

Have your kitchen helper put on an impromptu dance recital to help pass the time.
Let pan cool on wire rack for 5 minutes or until tops are cool to touch. Run a knife along the inside edge.

Invert cupcake pan on cooling rack. If any of the brown sugar and pineapple stay behind in pan, just scrape it out and lay on top of cupcake.

Wait as long as you can, then offer to split one with your kitchen helper to taste test.

Be prepared to get the evil eye from said helper when you have to tell her no more until after dinner when she asks for another one.

This recipe will now have a  permanent spot in the notebook.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Recipe Roulette ~ Shortcut Chicken Manicotti

This recipe came from a 2008 Kraft food and family magazine which really made me realize that I am a recipe hoarder. Four years and I am just now getting around to trying this recipe. I have gotten a lot of recipes from the Kraft magazines and also their website. They are usually fairly simple and easy to follow recipes and generally contain ingredients that are fairly easy to come by. I will say that this recipe almost didn't happen when I had to go to two grocery stores to find manicotti noodles. Harris Teeter is my store of choice but they totally failed me when I went and was informed that they stopped selling them a little over a month ago. Argh! Fortunately the Food Lion around the corner had what I needed.  

Ingredients used ~ 1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cup water
8oz Velveeta
2 cups frozen broccoli florets
12 manicotti shells
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper

One thing that is good about the Kraft website is there is always lots of reviews of their recipes. They post all of the reviews, good and bad. Before I started cooking this I looked online and read some of the reviews and I'm glad I did. The original recipe did not call for any seasoning of the chicken, which after reading several reviews it seemed like something was needed to spice it up a little. I took the suggestion of one of the reviews and seasoned the chicken with some Italian seasoning, garlic powder and a dash of black pepper. After cutting up the chicken I just threw it in a bowl and threw spices in and mixed until they were pretty evenly coated.

After prepping the chicken, mix the soup, Velveeta, and water in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 3-4 minutes stirring halfway through until cheese is melted. Pour 1/3 of sauce in 9x13 inch baking dish. Set aside. Add broccoli to remaining soup mixture.

Stuff pasta with chicken strips; place in baking dish

Cover completely with remaining soup mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese. Cover tightly with foil. Bake 45-50 minutes or until pasta is tender and chicken is cooked through.

Makes 4 servings, 3 stuffed manicotti each.

Hubby and I both enjoyed this meal. It was fairly simple to make, but I must admit that I had a total brain fart while making it. If you'll notice the written recipe says to add the broccoli to remaining sauce before cooking. I totally forgot that step and remembered with about 8 minutes left on the clock. I decided the easiest way correct that was to quick steam in the microwave and serve on top. I actually think that may have worked out in my favor I'm not sure there would have been enough sauce to cook it adequately.
Since this recipe is now a keeper I will however make a notation that next time beside remembering to add the broccoli before cooking I think it really does need just a tad bit more sauce, which could easily be done by adding another can of soup and a tad bit more water. ( I had already doubled the amount of Velveeta that the original recipe called for ;) )  Hopefully the leftovers will be tasty. Hubby and I will both be testing that out for lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Airlie Gardens

Even though it was a yucky dreary Sunday there is nothing I love more than getting something for free. Today was local resident free day at Airlie Gardens. Airlie is a 67 acre collection of gardens along Bradley Creek near the Intercoastal Waterway here in town. So I decided that it would be a good way to get my walking in and interesting enough that I could convince hubby and little one to join me. There is only so many laps around the neighborhood park that they are willing to go on before they get bored and start thinking of excuses not to join me.

Because of the weather we pretty much had the entire place to ourselves. It was just us and the geese.

It was all I could do to get her to hold still for a picture she really was way more interested in the geese but I had to get a picture of all the daffodils. It is so unusual for them to be blooming at this time of year. They are blooming about a month early this year. Love them!

One of the more interesting things at the garden is The Bottle Chapel, it is made with over 4,000 bottles.

A few of the bottles had water trapped in them. This one looked like it was intentionally filled and them cemented into place, although my mother who on occasion works at the garden told me that when it was built all the bottles were indeed completely empty.

Mrs Butterworth, LOL!

Little one is just big enough to hide my HUGE pregnant belly, so I agreed to let hubby take one quick photo.

There was a trellis made out of these beautiful butterflies, I told hubby that I would like one of these in the garden of the next house.

I also really loved this fountain.


Watching flower petals float in the water as she threw them in one by one.

Another flower that normally doesn't bloom here this early that we were surprised to see was this pretty azalea. Airlie has a collection of 100,000 azalea and lots of them looked like they were covered in buds and almost ready to bloom. It will be interesting to see if this mild winter continues, it would be sad if a long cold snap ruins the blooms.

By the time we made it around the garden it had really turned gross out. The temperature had dropped and it was really starting to get misty. Little one asked if we could go back when it was warm and sunny, so I guess she was interested enough to see more.  If this spring like weather continues I wouldn't mind going back myself just to see the azaleas in full bloom which I'm sure is spectacular. Maybe even worth paying to get in! :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

This old house

Hubby and I have been house hunting since we moved here in August. It has been both an exciting and extremely frustrating process. We have made several offers on different houses only to be beat out by someone else by an hours time or just having our offer turned down by the bank. We have been mainly shopping short sales and foreclosures so needless to say some of the properties we have been looking at weren't even livable. My mother refers to one of her favorites as the "poop house" if that gives you any indication of what we have seen.
Not to jinx ourselves but I am excited to say that we have come to an agreement with a bank and have an actual closing date set for a house that hubby and I will here after refer to as "this old house"... 

It was built in 1961. Holy sh*t it's 50 years old!

It has a Brady bunch feel to it! Here is a sneak peak of the den, gotta love some wood paneling!

The selling point for little one was the flowers in the yard and that it has stairs. For some reason she thinks having stairs makes a house super cool! 
I joke about the house but am really super excited about it. It is on over half an acre of land, in a convenient location, walking distance to a really cool park and aside from the 1961 bathrooms that are quite hideous it is totally livable.  This house is definitely a project house but I think it will be a fun adventure. I can't wait to start busting the peach bathroom tile up! Our April closing date can't come fast enough, so stay tuned for more on "this old house".

In other news, little one was super excited to show off her super star student sticker she earned at school today. She really seems to be enjoying her new school. I'm enjoying the fact that now when you ask her what she did at school she says she played and learned! Awesome!

Happy Friday!