Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I have been always admired those gorgeous layered desserts made in shot glasses.  But as a non-drinker, there seemed to be very little reason to buy shot glasses...except to make gorgeous layered desserts.  And I just couldn't justify the expense.  Well, last week Target stocked a bunch of different glasses in their $1 bins...including heavy glass shot glasses.  Hallelujah!!  I'll take 16!  I even had them in my cart before I realized that there was no way that a normal spoon would fit into the very bottom of those very cute glasses.  Demoralized, I put the shot glasses back.

But wait!  Today while I was in World Market looking for glass cloches, I came across a little box full of taster spoons.  That's right.  Cute little spoons that will without a doubt fit into the very bottom recesses of those very cute shot glasses.  And at about a $1 each, well, I bought 16.

Then went to Target and bought me some damn shot glasses!  So if I start pinning a million shot glass dessert recipes, you'll know why.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Hallow's Eve

I have about given up on our blog because it is so much easier to post pictures and "kidisms" on Facebook, but I'm gonna try a little harder for the sake of our family blog book.
Our Halloween season was awesome. The ward "Trunk or Treat" was last week, all 3 kids had their class parties yesterday (I managed to hit all three schools...whew!) and we ended the night with our neighborhood trick-or-treating. Both neighbors, the Kings and the the Mitchells, and the Amsden family all met at our house about 6:00 and Tony got the fire pit going and handed out candy while the rest of us herded our collective TWELVE kids through the neighborhood. We had so much fun...the kids stayed together and the adults got a chance to chat as we walked. About 7:15, we headed home and the kids counted their candy while the adults had brownies and Caramel Apple Bread Pudding...the first time I have cooked with my ramakins and I can't wait to use this recipe again. YUM! But I forgot the best jackets!! I love Halloween in Alabama!

 Caramel Apple Bread Pudding 

4 cups dried cinnamon bread cubes (8-10 pieces) 
2/3 cup finely chopped unpeeled tart apple 
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups whole milk 
1/4 cup butter, melted 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
1 tsp. apple pie spice 
1/4 tsp. salt 

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cups of cupcake tin or ramakins. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs and chopped apple. In a medium bowl combine eggs, milk, melted butter, sugar, vanilla, apple pie spice and salt. Stir into bread mixture and let stand for 10 minutes to allow bread to soak up liquid, stirring occassionaly. Spoon bread mixture into cups. Place cupcake tin or ramakins on baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes or until puffed. Transfer tins or ramakins to wire rack. 

 Caramel Sauce: In a heavy saucepan, combine 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup whipping cream, 1/2 cup butter, and 2 Tbsp. light color Karo syrup. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Boil gently for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp. vanilla. Let sauce cool. Add to top of bread puddings when ready to serve. Makes 12.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Angry Bird Happiness

How is it that an Angry Bird can make me so dang happy??

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering, Again

On the way to school this morning, Josh told me that he saw on a "mom and dad show" (Tony had the news on this morning) that some planes flew into some big buildings. He wanted to know why. So what has always been one of my favorite parts of the day turned into a simplified story of evil and hate. I thought it was important to be as honest as I could be with a 5-year-old, but I also didn't want to scare him. So when the story was done, we started to count flags. Flags on houses, buildings, lamp posts, cars, schools. And then I told him a simplified story of love, sacrifice, honor and duty. I hope it's the one he remembers.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sam's Challenge

Sam is a pretty serious kid. So when I asked him this morning if there was anything I could do to help him today, I was shocked when he said,

"Give to fundraisers, restore peace and balance to the universe, and bake a pie".

One out of three isn't bad is it? I don't think I'm gonna ask tomorrow.

No-Bake Nutter Butter Nutella Pie

24 nutter butter cookies
1/4 cup butter

2-8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup nutella
1/2 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup nutella
1/4 cup cream {or more if you like a thinner ganache}

Spray 9-inch pie plate with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Place nutter butter cookies into food processor and grind until they are fine crumbs. Stir together with melted butter. Press into prepared pie plate. Place into refrigerator to chill. For the filling, whip cream cheese and sugar together until well blended. Stir in vanilla and nutella. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Stir in cream and then increase speed and whip 3 minutes or until very thick. Pour into pie crust and smooth the top. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours. To serve, prepare nutella ganache by microwaving nutella and cream together until a thin sauce forms. Drizzle over pieces of pie.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Josh got in the car after school today and promptly asks,

Josh: "Mom, are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
Me: "I don't know. What are you thinking?"
Josh: "I'm thinking you want to take me to McDonalds for lunch."

Not what I was thinking. I let him play Angry Birds on my phone as a compromise.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

We Did It!!

This morning, we celebrated completing the 31 days of caring for an amphibian for Sam's merit badge. We didn't kill the toad. In fact, I think he enjoyed living with our family.

Now, I'm gonna miss him a little bit.

And his name was Fowler.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Josh is watching beach volleyball, surrounded by his loyal groupies, who are all watching him.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


I am in LOVE with anything ombre. So when I saw this pin on Pinterest, I knew I could duplicate it with my Epic embossing folders and some cardstock. So this is my take...a little simpler but I love the way it turned out.

The Toad

This is Sam's pet toad he has to take care of for 30 days...a merit badge require-ment. I swore I would have nothing to do with him. I don't even know his name. Because I get attached and then am destroyed when they die. But yesterday, he looked hungry so I went to PetSmart and bought him some crickets. And gave him my apple cutter cover to put his water in.

If this damn toad dies, they'll have to sedate me. Seriously.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Telling Time

I just overheard this conversation.

Tony: Josh, go tell me what the numbers on the clock are.
Josh: 6-2-2
Tony: Good! So what time is it?
Josh: Dinnertime?

Well played, Josh. Well played.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th!

We had a nice, quiet 4th of July at our house! First thing in the morning, Sam and I took our lawn chairs and headed to downtown Prattville to get some good seats in the shade so we could watch the parade (Tony and the little ones met up with us just before the parade started). I love a good parade, and although it was small, the kids made quite the candy haul and we got to enjoy a little patriotic fervor.

In the afternoon, Tony took the kids bowling while I used the quiet time get get a little rest. When they got home it was showers, dinner and off to bed. Just as the kids were getting into bed, the neighbors in the cul-de-sac starting setting of fireworks and the kids could hear them popping and got all excited. So we went and sat in the front yard and watched for a bit. After a minute or two, I told the kids to get in the car and we drove downtown and found a parking spot to watch the actual Prattville fireworks display. The kids LOVED it...

Not too exciting, but just the kind of day our family needed!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pumping Iron

Well, blogging just happens to be one of the many things I've been behind on lately.

Since our return from Brazil, I haven't felt very well. Not like myself. Not much energy. KInda blue. But when I started to bruise every time I bumped into something and my hair started falling out, I worried. I got an appointment at the clinic and they ran some blood work. My numbers all came back very wonky. So my PCM sent me the next morning to a hematologist who ran some more tests and diagnosed me as being extremely anemic. I've been borderline forever, but for some unknown reason, my iron levels had tanked. He wanted to run some more tests and set me up with a 2 week follow-up appointment and I started taking oral iron. When they got my labs back, I got a call from the clinic and they were very concerned. Concerned enough not to wait the 2 weeks and start me on weekly iv iron treatments for 8 weeks.

I don't feel much better yet, but no worse. I am so grateful that this is a problem that can be fixed. I am grateful that there is a reason that I have felt crummy.

And I'm looking forward to getting caught back up on life.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


It's finally happened. While we were bowling today, Josh turned to me and said,

Josh: "My name is NOT Bubba. You know my name is Josh."

Time to pass the Bubba legacy on to another baby. Break my heart.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Go Dough!

Last night was Military Appreciation Night at Riverwalk Stadium! Tony had to attend a church broadcast, but I decided to take the kids anyway. The stadium (although a lot smaller than Turner Field) is new and clean and so much FUN! Right as we walked in, they have a booth with stickers for the kids who are attending a Biscuits game for the first time. Such a fun idea. We got to the game a little early to find our seats and grab some ballpark dinner...pretzels, corn dogs, hot dogs and fries.

As the teams were warming up, some of the pitchers that wouldn't be playing in the game came and sat along the edge of the arena and were signing autographs. Anna went down and although we didn't have anything for them to autograph, Merril Kelly kindly agreed to a picture.

Because it was Military Appreciation Night, the local recruiters and guys from the base played a big part in the pre-game. The OTS candidates came onto the field followed by 145 new recruits that took the Oath of Enlistment from Lt. General Fadok, the President and Commander of Air University. An Air Force major sang the National Anthem and then there was a 21 gun salute, and a flyover by two F-15's.

Such a fun night cheering for our Biscuits and celebrating our military heritage. Go Dough!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Road Trip-Atlanta

We took advantage of the long Memorial Day weekend to road trip it to Atlanta! We got up on Friday morning, packed our bags, and headed out. We didn't tell the kids anything except that we would be sleeping at a hotel and that the hotel had a pool.
Our hotel was in downtown Atlanta. Looking out our window, we had a gorgeous view of Centennial Olympic Park.
After we got checked in at the hotel, we walked 2 short blocks to the Georgia Aquarium. We saw amazing fish and water mammals, watched a 4D movie, saw an amazing dolphin show, and got to pet bonnet head sharks!!

On Saturday morning, the kids and I went to World of Coca-Cola...just across the square from the Georgia Aquarium. We saw all sorts of Coke memorabilia, watched another 4D movie, saw the Coke polar bear and did some serious taste-testing of Coke products from around the world! We ended the tour at the Coke Freestyle machine where we customized our own drink, collected our souvenir glass bottle of Coke and headed back to the hotel to meet up with Tony.

Saturday afternoon, we drove to Turner Field to watch the Braves play the Washington Nationals! We lucked out with very shady seats and a great view of the field. The kids had a pretty good time and we stayed up until the 7th inning and then headed back to the hotel. We were exhausted after such a fun day! We ordered pizza, and off to bed.

The next morning, we hit the hotel pool, enjoyed a huge breakfast in the hotel lobby, packed up and headed home. We got home late afternoon on Sunday, and took ALL Monday to recover!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gift Card Monster

My niece is graduating from high school this Spring and for a graduation gift, my sister-in-law suggested a Subway gift card. Perfect!! The only thing is, sending a gift card is boring. Seriously boring. But I remember seeing these adorable gift card monsters by Basic Grey and decided to try to recreate one with supplies I had on hand. And this is how my version of the gift card monster turned out. Tony said he thought it was the ugliest thing he'd ever seen.

I think he's kinda cute.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

National Jr. Beta Induction

This past week, Sam was officially inducted into the National Junior Beta Club at school. He had actually been participating since Christmas, but this was the official induction ceremony with candle lighting, certificates, oaths and pins. In order to be eligible, you have to carry a perfect 4.0 GPA. They meet once a month, but also work on activities and perform service for the local community. We're so proud of him!

And this is a little boy who thought Sam was getting way too many pictures taken of only him...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Teacher Appreciation 2012, Part 2

And capping off Teacher Appreciation Week, another Pinterest winner! Toffee chip caramel dip and an apple.

Original post and recipe here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dad's Famous Caramel Popcorn

As requested, here is my dad's caramel popcorn recipe that I made and took to the Castle season finale at the Lee's house last night. Not disappointed, my friends. In the popcorn OR Castle.

My dad used to make this recipe every couple of Sundays when I was growing up...we tried to watch a movie as a family as often as we could on Sunday nights. The recipe calls for about 3 quarts of popped popcorn. If I'm in a hurry, that is two bags of microwave popcorn. In I'm not in a hurry, it is about 3 batches of hand-popped popcorn from my dad's special popcorn pan.

Dad's Easy Caramel Popcorn

3 quarts popped popcorn
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar

Put the water, butter and brown sugar in a microwaveable bowl and cook on high for 6-7 minutes. Make sure it reaches and holds a rolling boil for a least one full minute. Give it a good stir. Let it cool for about 5 minutes and then pour over popcorn. Stir to coat every couple of minutes until popcorn is coated and caramel is cool.

And voila. Easy-peasy.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Teacher Appreciation 2012

I am turning into a HUGE Pinterest fan. It has (not to be dramatic or anything), changed my life. But I also think that Pinterest is only as good as the pins you actually USE. And here are two separate Pinterest ideas I used for Teacher Appreciation Week this week.

I am also in love with Hershey Kiss stickers! I found the stickers and the matching tags here (you just send her your email and she immediately sends the files to your inbox). I bought four $1 store canisters and filled them with Hershey Kisses with the school-themed stickers on the bottom. Added a tag and some ribbon and done!

Then after dinner tonight, I had the kids help me make these darling owl gift bags to put our Kiss jars in. The kids did all the cutting, punched out all the circles, and wrote "Thank you for making me wiser" at the bottom of the paper bags.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy Supermoon!

We just came in from observing the moon almost at perigee with the kids in the front yard. Before tonight, I actually had no idea what that meant!! Now we know that when the moon reaches perigee (and it will a little after 11:35 tonight), it will be at its closest point to the earth this year. A minute after reaching perigee, the moon becomes full and will be called a "supermoon."

I'm so glad that my husband and kids are fascinated by science so that they can make me look smart.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Brazil-Last Day

Life has gotten in the way of finishing my Brazil blog posts!! But here it is...the final day in pictures.

The last morning in Salvador, we slept in and headed down to breakfast. They had a large group of iguanas that live on the hotel grounds and they seem to have learned that breakfast=fresh fruit and gullible tourists. I swear this one was ready to bite my ankles and steal my breakfast!

After we finished eating, we hit the hammocks in the courtyard and literally "hung out" for a while. I love that we are both in this photo!

I talked Tony into staying downstairs (didn't take much convincing) so I could pack in peace. We checked out and stowed our bags at the porter station and checked email, played Angry Birds and a couple games of pool in the lobby. The whole reason we hung around the hotel is that on Saturday, they have a huge traditional feijoada lunch at the outdoor restaurant. It was the only time we had it while in delish!!

We also had breaded and fried bananas and glorious desserts! For these special lunches, they have a local band play traditional Bahian music. They must have been having a birthday party of some sort, because the whole time we were eating lunch, we were entertained by singing and dancing older ladies. It was so fun to see them enjoying the day in beautiful Salvador.

This last picture is the wait staff at the restaurant. We loved that they were dressed in Traditional Bahia dress. They loved to chat in Portuguese with Tony!!

After lunch, we met out driver and headed to the airport. We had a short 2 hour flight back to Rio and them the long trek home. We landed in Charlotte at about 7:00 in the morning and headed up to the USO to relax until we could get out flight to Montgomery. We got home about noon...and Brazil already seemed like a dream. It was the trip of a lifetime.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Salvador--Old Town

On Friday, our last full day in Brazil, we hired a tour guide to take us into Old Town Salvador.  We drove all through the city and parked very close to the Old Town Center of Salvador.  We walked all around and learned some of the local history.  At the edge of the Upper City at a bluff that overlooks the harbor (and right next to the square with government administrative buildings) is the Elevador Lacerda, which is a huge elevator that connects the Upper Town to the Lower Town, and was the first elevator installed in Brazil.  In the Lower Town, we hit the local handicraft market to pick up a few small gifts for the kids and Grammy Joan.  Just outside the market, there was a fruit stand selling mangoes, grapes, cherries and guava.  The smell was A.Mazing!  Our tour guide bought some mangoes to take home to his family and for he rest of the day, we got to smell fresh mango.

One of the best parts about Old Town was the colorful buildings.  Each individual building section had its own color scheme and it made for a delightful view down the city side streets.  I took this picture at an intersection looking down towards the edge of the Upper Town.

The last stop of the day was the highlight...a visit to Sao Francisco Church and Convent.  (This picture was taken inside the courtyard looking at the backside of the facade of the cathedral.)  Despite the rather austere exterior, the inside was extremely Baroque.  The walls were covered in blue tile images depicting says of the Roman poet Horace and the interior was entirely decorated in gold leaf.  Beautiful!

The day was so much fun...I loved Salvador!