Friday, December 30, 2011

Cabin Fever...

Oh my goodness.  The stomach flu hit our household this week full force.  It started with Emily on Tuesday, and one by one we all got it.  I couldn't get out of bed for one day, and that isn't like me at all.  It zapped all energy out of me.  It's been nasty.  The husband has it now, and I think we are finally seeing the light to be done with the illness....I have spent today trying to disinfect.  Dave got a Shark Steam Clean mop thingy for Christmas (yes he asked for this) and I put it together today and used it.  I have done 1,000,000 loads of laundry, inhaled a million fumes that are certain to kill brain cells in order to clean the bathrooms.  I am just over it, and ready to escape the freaking house.  I have not left since Tuesday, and I am over it.  I was supposed to work this week but of course I burnt up a good chunk of vacation hours dealing with this mess.  I did put away all the Christmas decor with the exception of our tree, I will probably get around to that this weekend.
I am hoping if everyone is better tomorrow we can try to see a movie with the girls.  They also have been invited to a friends house to spend the night tomorrow, and I am crossing my fingers they stay illness free so they can go.  The girls deserve to do something fun over Christmas break, and I would love to get out and do something with my husband for a little bit tomorrow if he's feeling better.   

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Making bread....

My parents gave me a beautiful new Kitchen Aide Mixer for Christmas, and today while home with my sick family I figured I would test it out.  I went with a receipe from the manual that came with it for an Herb Pull Apart Bread.  I figured if I survived Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon buns, then I could now try another bread.  My mixer did a fantastic job mixing the dough, and remarkably once again I had good luck with the dough doubling like it should.  The recipe called for cutting the dough into strips and then putting the strips in muffin tins, but I thought it would be easier to make three balls and put the balls in the muffin pan .  I was patient and let them rise again once I did that, and then into the oven they went.  They turned out really yummy, and baking bread is pretty amazing smell to fill the house. 
If you want to attempt this one as well you will need:
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup melted butter
3- 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4  tsp thyme
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 dill

Dissolve yeast in warm water in mixing bowl.  Add butter, 2 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and other spices. Using dough hook in mixer mix for one minute until blended.  Add remaining flour, and mix until the dough starts to clean sides of bowl, and until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with towel, and leave it alone for one hour.  After an hour it should have risen, punch it down.  I then rolled out the dough into a medium disk about 1/2 inch thick, and divided it into six pieces. I then took each piece and pulled from it 6 pieces of dough that I made into balls, and put three into the muffin pan.  I let that sit for 45 minutes or  so  to rise some again.  Then I baked the bread in the over on 400, for about 20 minutes.  So yummy!!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Christmas Post....

And just like that, Christmas is over....It felt so rushed and short this year for some reason.  I heard one of the ladies on The View refer to an "illness" called PHA, preholiday anxiety.  That's totally me with Christmas. All other holidays don't seem to stress me out, but Christmas can just twist me up in knots.  There's just so much to do, so many places to go, so many fun things I want to do with my kids, so much shopping and spending to do, and even though it is fun, trying to keep up can kill ya.  I calmed down quite a bit once I got my shopping and wrapping done and was able to enjoy the holidays a little, and now I am just plain worn out and tired.  I know the tiredness is a blessing though, because it means we had a lot to do and a lot of fun with family, I was reminded this today as I heard a sad story from a patient who had to spend it all alone without any family or friends.

Christmas Eve I let Dave sleep in until lunch time as he had to work overtime the night before, so I figured we would just let him sleep until he woke up.  He really needs the rest as night shift is a killer.  The girls and I made some cookies for Santa with my new cookie press that my mom got me earlier this month.  It's an electric one, and makes pretty cookies! We played Christmas music and watched a few movies until Dave woke up. Once he woke up, the girls went next door for a few minutes while Santa's "helpers" put together Emily's play grill that he was bringing her.  We took it easy the rest of the day and later that evening went to visit with Dave's brothers family.  We ended the night by letting the girls open their pj's and giving the girls baths.

The girls went to bed so excited!  About 4 am Laura, our oldest came crashing into our bedroom excited that Santa had came!  We made her get in bed with us, as though we like to get up early on Christmas, 4am was pushing it.  She fell back asleep with us,and  at 5am I went ahead and got up showered, and started on breakfast.  I cooked a breakfast casserole, sausage balls, and heated up some of the cinnamon rolls.  Rachel woke up crying as she had wet the bed lol, but she quicky perked up when she saw Santa had stopped by, and she ran to wake up everyone else. 

Not long after the girls were all up, my parents came over to see what Santa had brought, and we gave my parents their gifts from us, and then Dave's parents came by to see as well.  Before we got the girls dresses in their Christmas outfits Dave and I did our gifts.  The girls gave me some pants, and a new curling iron, and Dave told me that he had ordered me a pair of Uggs on Friday, but they hadn't come yet, and he was acting all shocked that they hadn't arrived in time (he waited until the last minute and just got me what his best friend got his wife, can you picture my eye balls rolling all around in my head?? , I am sure when they do come they will be pretty, but I have to send them back for the correct size.  Oh well,  as my kids said, maybe if I am a good girl next year Santa will bring me something lol. 

We then spent the rest of the morning and lunch at my parents house. We had a good time with my side of the family, and they spoiled us all silly.  I am excited to use my new Kitchen Aide mixer!  We then headed to Dave's family's house to do Christmas and again got spoiled to death and ate some goodies.  It was a long busy day, but were glad to spend it with family.  My grandparents were not able to make it, as my grandfather was sick and later went to the hospital.  Luckily he is better now and just had a nasty virus.  Unfortunately it seems we caught it from visiting him as Emily has been sick since this morning, and I am just waiting now for everyone else to get it.  Hopefully, we can all rest up and get better in time to welcome in 2012!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

So good you want to smack your momma

I love Pioneer Woman.  She's my idol.  She's always so darn pretty, makes great food for her large family, and has a great sense of humor.  Everything I have made of hers I have always loved, (with the exception of her mac and cheese, ok it was good, but I like my stand by recipe  better).  Anyways, since I disovered her blog and purchased her cookbook, I have salivated over her Cinnamon Buns.  I freaking love Cinnamon Buns, and I have been sad since Cinnabun has disappeared from Hampton Roads.  Side story, once Dave and I drove from Ferrum College to Greensboro, NC to eat at a Cinnabun. No joke. 

Anyways, I had never tried them before because the whole letting the dough rise scares me.  However, this year Pioneer Woman had a Christmas Special on the Food Network, in which she made them, and Dave begged me to attempt them.  I was still scared, but then I saw a college friend of mine, and bridesmaid in our wedding, had seen the same show, made them, and had success, so I braved up.

It wasn't that bad, you don't even need a mixer. I threw everything in my large le cresut dutch oven (channeling my inner Pioneer Woman), added the yeast and then prayed.  It has to sit for an hour, and I was stressed the dough wouldn't rise.  I about did cartwheels when I went to check on it and it was huge!  After that, it gets really add a few more things to the dough, and then its time to roll them out and start baking.  I had to add more flour to my dough so I could get it to roll and not be so sticky (this happened to my bridesmaid too, and I find I have to do the same thing with her pizza dough recipe)  If you attempt this, just add more flour until you can get the dough manageable.  My kitchen was a freaking mess, and you have to flour the surface of your counters really well.  Dave was upstairs cleaning the playroom and freaking out on the kids for making it a mess, and then came downstairs to see me creating a snowstorm with flour in the kitchen.  Poor guy.

Anyways, into the oven they went, and oh my goodness....they are yummy!  I froze a pan for Christmas morning.  I will make these again, but I really want to know how she managed to make these on TV and not look a mess.  Maybe I just need a huge kitchen like her =).

Check out the receipe from her: Yummy
I am also super excited to see she has a new cookbook coming out in March! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ho Ho Ho

Today I am finally calm.  Yesterday I snapped out.  Everything is done now, but I could not get my anxiety level to go down.  The kids were crazy, and let's face it, when I am stressed out, they seem a million times more crazy then they actually are. 

I woke up though in a much better mood today, determined to chill out and realize everything is done, and I can now enjoy Christmas.  After all, I don't want my mood bringing down joy with the Holiday for my kids and husband.  I spent the morning relaxing some, cleaning, and flipping through my cookbooks, and attempting to redeem my good mom status.  I ended up making Black Bottom Cupcakes, from the cookbook, My Mama Made that (see picture above, so easy and yummy!), whipped up some Pioneer Woman's pizza dough, which we will do in the shape of a snowman tonight.  We also have plans to go look at Christmas Lights and  let the kiddos get a Krispy Cream treat. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Red Velvet Cake

Every year at Christmas my mom makes an amazing 6 layer red velvet cake with the best cream cheese icing.  For my kiddos ornament party I wanted to make it.  I am a nervous nelly in the kitchen whenever I make something I have never done before.  I wish I could be one of those relaxed types, that's just not me.  I was like a warrior in the kitchen begging, praying, and freaking out.  All in all it wasn't hard, just time consuming.  I was nervous when I had to ice it, as my mom told me she sometimes puts raw spagetti noodle down in the layers to keep it from slipping, and then pulls them out.  I just knew though if I tried this I would have spagetti noodles stuck in the cake, so I skipped this part and just took my time.    I was so busy with party prepping and during the party I didn't get a change to take a picture of the finished product, but here is a picture of a slice that I had at work the next day.
It's a rich cake, but it's wonderful!  My husband high fived me, and my oldest who is already planning her next bday party, has asked that I make the cake for her birthday lol. 
My mom got the receipe from a Southern Living magazing many years ago, but from time to time they reprint it again in the newer issues, and has been in some of their cookbooks.
So here it is if you want to make it!
Red Velvet

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas stress out time...

I have been way to stressed out this year with Christmas.  I blame it on just not being as together as usual.  I have always been good with buying a little throughout the year, but this year I didn't do that as I was stupid and had in my head I would just take a few big shopping trips closer to Christmas and get it done then. NEVER AGAIN.  Those who do that every year are crazy.  I was stupid this year and learned my lesson the hard way.

Today I had to take off as my youngest daughter had another speech therapy consult, and I figured I would take the day to finish my shopping. So am I done? Yes I am, but I wanted to slap myself for having to shop with all the crazies, and it was just a week day. Does anyone work anymore???  I spent my morning bribing my daughter to talk at her session by promising her a milkshake.  She did good, (we don't find out what the issues are if any though until January), but she talked to the lady, and she is talking more in school.  Anyways, before getting her a milkshake I figured I would take her with me to Costco so I could get my husbands present (no worries he doesn't read my blog).  He wants the new Samsung Nexus Galaxy cell phone, and Costco has a better deal on it then the outside Verizon stores.  Low and behold, this phone just came out like last Thursday, and the stupid thing is sold out...and not just as Costco, EVERY WHERE. Great just great. The helpful lady at Costco though did say they would have a shipment coming 12/26, and she could sell me one of equal price so he would have something to unwrap, and he can exchange the next day.  I went for it, and though I am ticked it's not the phone he wanted, I am sure he will survive waiting until the next day to exchange. While I am taking care of all this, my daughter is not amused she hasn't gotten her milkshake yet.  I really needed to get some grocery shopping done while I was there, but she was freaking out,and when I scolded her she bit herself.   I guess I should be happy she didn't bite me. 

She still got her milkshake because a bribe is a bribe, and by the time I got home Dave was finally home from work.  He took one look at my face and told me to go out and finish my shopping because he's awesome like that. I am now done with shopping, just have to wrap a few things, and now I can finally relax...I know there is more to Christmas then shopping, but I doubt anyone would smile back at me in my family if I didn't have a present to give them come Christmas morning.

Here's to hoping Santa brings me a lot of Plaza Azteca gift cards for margaritas. Feliz Navidad or whatever.

Monday, December 19, 2011

December weekend wrap up....

So it's less then a week from Christmas now, and am I ready. Nope.  Have I ever been this far behind.  Never.  Ugg.  I have my cards done, but I still have to mail them out.  I am usually on the ball with the cards and have them sent out right after Thanksgiving.  I still need to get gifts for family members, mainly just gift cards, so it's not that bad I guess, but I am a person who just can't relax until everything is done even if it's nothing that stressful I can turn it into stress. 

I started wrapping gifts this weekend and have a bunch under the tree now. I need to hit up the dollar store and get some bags and tissue paper though.

I was at least productive this week with getting ready for a kiddo ornament party for a few close friends.  I made a 6 layer red velvet cake that turned out gorgeous, and tasty, I also made chocolate peanut butter balls, chocolate butter cream filled whoopie pies, almond cookies with a fancy cookie press that my mom just got me, and I set up a hot chocolate bar with freaking chocolate dipped marshmellows then dipped in crushed peppermint.  Yepp, it's official I lost my mind with doing all of that, but it was pretty, and hopefully everyone liked it.  It honestly wasn't that bad as I just did a few things a night and put them in the freezer.

I had the kids do three ornaments a piece.  Nothing that exciting or hard.  They put stickers on two things, and then I had them paint and glitter a snow flake ornament.  It was messy but fun.  We had an extra glass ball ornament, so we copied a pinterest idea and took my friends 4 month old and put glue on her feet, stuck them on the ball, and then glittered her foot prints.  It turned out really cute, and only took 2 tries =)

Also this weekend I finished the grandparent scrapbooks that I do every year.  I almost didn't do one this year as I slacked off and didn't work on them little by little through the year, so basically I did  two  this weekend.  I do them digital now with the Creative Memories software, but it's still time consuming. 
So that's all I have for you now, I just can't relax or blog about munch until I get through with my shopping and wrapping....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Self induced Christmas Stress....

Oh goodness, looks how close we are to Christmas, and I am no where near ready.  I am all decorated at least since the day after Thanksgiving, but that's about where the motivation died at.   I thought I was about done Christmas shopping for the girls, and then my oldest announced she and Rachel were getting American Girl dolls... ummmm I thought I had another year or more before we got into them at all.  Those jokers are expensive!  Now this may sound awful, and if it is don't tell me, but I saw that Target has their own brand just like American Girl, that is much cheaper, same size though and everything... I am thinking about going with that and see how they do and maybe for birthday start getting into the real deal...I just don't think I could stomach spending over a hundred and some dollars on a doll just to see it beat up and beheaded by them, especially as a last minute Christmas gift when I already have their gifts done.  Honestly, I doubt they would notice the brand name either, as I would have those jokers out of the box, so unless there is some special marking on them that I don't know about what the big deal?

I also have not sent out my Christmas cards, or even know what we are doing for them.... I did have plans with a girlfriend to  take each other's families pictures one weekend, but it's been hard getting our schedules together to do it.  I probably will just force everyone to get dressed this Saturday,and do them myself of the kids and not worry about doing a family one with Dave and I in it.

I also have invited a few people over for a kiddo ornament crafting party, which I have no idea what I will be cooking/baking for it, or what ornament we will make.  Yepp that's not exactly like me to plan something like that and not have a plan of action all set out. What the heck was I thinking.  At least we are keeping the guest list small.  Guess I better make a board on Pinterest and get some ideas and a plan of action going!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tis the Season....

Thanksgiving was busy as usual this year!  The morning of Dave and I ran in a 5k.  I was really excited to run one with him, as it was his first, and he had been working out hard.  He did great, and I was really proud of him.  We finished it together and our official time was 33 minutes.  I thought our times were pretty good, as there was a lot of people, so it was super crowded until about the 1 mile mark, and there were a lot more hills.  The last one I did was completely flat and all on regular road so it was easier.  My only goal was to do this one without stopping and I met it.  Dave had to walk a little, but luckily I have a slow pace, so he was able to catch up quickly. 

We later had lunch at my moms house, and then a few hours later went over to the inlaws for round two.   After a bunch of eating all day I took a quick nap to rest up for black Friday!  My girlfriend and I had planned to head to Target for their sale.  They opened at midnight.  It was crazy crowded, but we did good and got everything we were after.  She took me home at about 3am, and I got in my car and went back out to the local mall to see if there was anything worth having. Apparently an incident occurred  when they opened at midnight, but all was well when I got there.  I hardly ever go to the mall anymore, so I was shocked to see they had opened a Crazy 8's store.  I actually like it better then Gymboree.  It's owned by the same people, and it's really similar but a little cheaper.  They had some good deals! I came home, and then did a little more shopping online.  I got a few things on the Toys R Us website, and some things on Gymboree.  I should have then gone to bed, but I figured I could clean up the house, and then treat the family to a pancake breakfast.  They were excited to wake up to that!

After breakfast, I was happy to have Dave's help with the Christmas decorations.  Usually every year I get everything out and just do it myself, but Dave scored major brownie points by eagerly helping me.  The girls also enjoyed helping. We ended up going out to the local tree lot and buying our tree, and getting that all decorated too.  Laura was our biggest helper and she helped decorate the tree from start to finish!  Emily and Rachel just wanted to see the finished product! 

It's hard to believe that Christmas season is upon us...I love this time of year though.  The girls are at such fun ages, Emily finally really "gets it". 


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

50% off Cookbooks!!!

Are you still trying to figure out what to get your loved one's for Christmas?  If they like to cook, and enjoy cookbooks, consider purchasing one from The Cookbook Market Place.  They have an amazing selection of cookbooks published for various junior leagues, and other community organizations.  Also, readers of my blog will save  50% off the price, when you use the code NAP-HOLIDAY.

I plan on buying the cook book Virginia Hospitality for my boss, (this is a classic cookbook from my local JL, that I pretty much grew up on), and giving her a list of my favorite recipes from the book.  I have been using this book ALOT in our household, from pancakes, to appetizers, to main courses, and desserts!  In fact I am making a cheese ball to bring to Thanksgiving at my in-laws that can be found in this book.
         Islander Cheese Ball
16 ounces cream cheese softend
8 ounces crushed pineapple drained
2 tablespoons green onions, including the tops chopped
1/4 cup green pepper chopped
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
2 cups pecans chopped

Mix cheese and pineapple with a mixer, stir in the onion, green pepper, salt, and 1/2 cup pecans.  Roll into one large ball, then roll in remaining pecans.  Serve with crackers, or pretzels.

*I made this for a birthday party a few weeks ago, and it was scarfed down!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Get in my belly....

I have made 5 million whoopie pies.  Not really but it feels like it... My oldest daughters school is having a bake sale, and I volunteered to make items for it.  I wanted to make something different, and I went with whoopie pies.  This receipe is something I saw on GRITS blog a while back, and I thought it sounded easy enough.  I wanted to give it a test run though, before I made them to be sold, so I whipped up a batch Thursday night.  Honestly it was really easy.  I actually made half of them when I got home from work, and then finished them up when I got back from a dinner with a girlfriend, and got in bed before too late.  My husband gave me two thumbs up, and I had some happy coworkers, and dinner guests Friday.  Hey, we had to get rid of them.  I made a double batch Sunday morning as I needed 2 dozen for the sale, and then I had plenty of leftovers to give to some family members.  If you want the recipe click here: HERE, I did make one change of using nutmeg instead of cloves, as I didn't have cloves on hand.  I also didn't pipe my icing on with a pastry bag.  I just slapped it on, and it still looked fine.   I found these really easy to make, which is kinda scary, as my thighs may not be as excited to allow me to consume them!


Monday, November 14, 2011

A November Weekend...

Goodness gracious!  The weekends just go by too fast...My husband was off which was wonderful, and doesn't happen enough.  We had a fun date night Friday night enjoying some yummy mexican food and drinks with another couple that I went to high school and played softball with.

Saturday we hung out, went to the gym, and then spent the afternoon and evening at a friends house for their 4 year old's birthday party.  The mom went with a Pirate theme.  She made an amazing cake that had a layer of strawberry filling so it looked like blood when the cake was cut.  She went all out decorating the house and yard, and the kids wore pirate hats and got their face painted.  The birthday boys great grandmother even showed up dressed like a pirate!  What a cool granny!
That cake is simply amazing!  She's the chick who lent me the Elmo pan for Emily's party, and gave me some cake making advice =) 

Sunday we went to the church at the preschool that our girls go/have gone to, as their friend was singing in the preschool choir yesterday.  Once we got home from that, I went into crazy 50's house wife mode.  I have cooked a lot of food in my life, (ok since getting married, let's be honest, my mom spoiled me rotten with home made meals).But I had never made mashed potatoes from scratch.  I don't really know why, I own a potato masher and all, heck I have done mashed sweet potatoes, but never just normal ones.  We just don't eat a lot of potatoes I guess.  I also did a apple pork roast I saw on Pioneer Woman's blog, and made a pumpkin cheese cake with a home made crust.  It took a super long time to make all of this mess, but I was so stinking proud that everything turned out yummy!  I just don't know how my mom and grandmothers did this every Sunday, and heck my mom and grandma would make home made rolls too!  We had rolls, but I went with frozen ones, and I did canned green beans.  My husband was pretty excited about the meal, and I made sure to let him know this wont be happening every Sunday, but I will try to do it again from time to time.  I even broke out our wedding China and crystal, and let the girls drink apple juice out of the wine glasses.  They were so confused why we were eating in the dining room, and using the nice stuff, but they loved it!

I have made a slight dent in my Christmas shopping.  Nothing exciting, but hey anything gets me closer to being done...I am itching to get my Christmas decor out, but I try to wait until we buy our tree, and the tree lot doesn't sell them until the day after.  I am just so excited though!  The kids are at such fun ages!  I did purchase the Elf on the Shelf, so that will be a new tradition for the girls. I am also thinking about having an ornament making party for the kids.  Nothing as big as the Halloween party, since we will be doing this all inside, and I don't think I can mentally handle that many people in my house, but just a few of their friends.  I want to use cookie cutter with salt dough, and have the kids paint them.  Salt dough is so easy and cheap to make, and I think the kids would love it!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Christmas is coming...

I have slowly started my Christmas shopping. Don't get excited I have one present for each child and that's about it so far.  I have a crazy amount to do, but I will get there....I hate how rushed the holidays seem, we just celebrated Halloween, and Thanksgiving is a couple of weeks away... But in an attempt to be organized  I recently purchased the girls Christmas dresses during a big sale at Gymboree.  I looked all over Etsy, and Zulily for something cute for the girls, but everything I likes cost about one million dollars or so, and so when I found these dresses for a bargain I nixed all other ideas. 

I am hoping that Barnes and Noble has the Elf of the Shelf in stock already, as I plan on hitting that store up on my lunch break to make that purchase so we can get going on the Elf tradition in our house this year.  I have seen all kinds of cute ideas on Pinterest do to with the Elf. 

So that's what mode I am in now.... I am focused on the holidays... 


Sunday, November 6, 2011

The garage sale of all garage sales....

I went to the garage sale of all garage sales yesterday...One of the elite communities in Williamsburg, Kings Mill has two garage sales a year, and yesterday was the fall one.  I had never been before, but a girlfriend of mine who grew up in Williamsburg talked me into going.  I am so glad I did!  They hold it at the Busch Gardens overflow parking lot.  It was freezing cold when we go there, but totally worth freezing for.  I bought a cool tunnel/tent combo toy for the kids that's brand new and that I might have Santa pick up and deliver on Christmas Eve.  I scored a Junior League Cookbook from Florida for a dollar, a ton of childrens clothes, brand new pair of stride rite shoes, clothing for me, etc.  I got a cute dress that I can wear to work that was brand new with tags still on it for $2!   They had a brand new electric smoker for $30 that I went back to get but was gone... The husband could have killed me for not getting it, but I mean we have two smokers, why the heck would we need another?  Apparently though it's nicer then what we have, and he said he would have sold our old one. Oh well now I know better.  Someone that my friend knows scored a flat screen tv for $30 that the owners had just upgraded to a bigger TV and just wanted to sell the old one cheap to get rid of.   I was truly overwhelming, and I saw so many other things I wanted.  We also went to a few other sales nerby, and I got a bag of about 40 hair bows that someone had made for $3, and they are gorgeous!   I also picked up a few more books to read.  I think I am hooked on garage sales, after getting so many good deals yesterday!  I am totally going to go to the Spring one, and this time I will be sure to have more cash on me, and to take the husbands truck =) 

Halloween 2011

Oh my goodness.... It's several days past halloween, and I think I have what one would call a Halloween hangover...Last week I was completely consumed with getting ready for our Halloween pumpkin party.  It was a lot of fun, but a lot of work.  I was crazy busy making for for the party, and attempting to clean the house.  Sometimes I wonder why I clean up before  party, because 10 minutes into them the house becomes a mess all over again... We had a good turn out, a ton of kids, and some of our friends.   I made one of those pumpkin bundt cakes that have been floating around Pinterest, and a million other things...

The kids had a blast though and we had glitter, paint, and pumpkin inards all over the back patio.  So worth it though.  I totally deserved that bottle of wine I consumed at the end of the night....

Dave and I were off the next day, but we were busy running to school parties/parades, and then we came home  to get prepared for Trick or Treating!  We had a few friends bring their kids over so we could trick or treat as a group which was fun too.  I am so glad to have friends with children about the same age as ours.  It just makes everything special.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

What's been going in the Gile's house!

It's a yucky rainy Saturday.  I don't have anything exciting to blog about, just a bunch of randoms...I am having another pumpkin carving/painting party for the kiddos and some of their friends.  I spent yesterday and this morning making some sweets for it.  I made oreo truffles, chocolate dipped oreos, chocolate covered pretzel rods, cupcakes, and one of those pumpkin cakes made out of two bundt cakes.  I just iced the cake a few minutes ago, and man do I need to practice my iceing skills. Oh well it's orange now and looks kinda like a pumpkin... For the stem I think I will put a snickers bar or something in the middle...If I felt like doing anymore crap in the kitchen I would attempt to make the stem and some leaves out of fondant.  Truth be told I have not even bought all the actual pumpkin carving/painting supplies we need, so I doubt I have time to get all crazy with fondant considering I wont know what I am freaking doing since I have never done it before...

My husband is making bbq, and I will probably make a thing of mac and cheese.  I have a feeling we will have a good turn out for the party, so hopefully I have enough of everything.  I still have to clean the house, and I am getting overwhelmed thinking about everything else I need to do.  I know it will be worth it though to let the kids have some fun.

I ran some of the treadmill at the gym today.  The husband and I are getting ready for the Thanksgiving Day 5k in our area.  This will be his first 5k, and I am excited to do it with him! This course will be tougher then the one I did last month at my daughters school as it has more hills, so I am not aiming to beat my time, I just want to try to do it without stopping again.

The kids are excited for Halloween!  I am helping with  Laura's class party Monday, and then running over to the preschool to watch my other two in their school parade, and then later they shall trick or treat their little hearts out =).

Rachel has asked to try Karate out, and there is a place near out house we found, and she has her first lesson Wednesday.  This cracks me up.  They do three one on one lessons to let kids try it out first, and then you can sign up for weekly lessons with a class.  She's really excited!

Tonight Dave and I are going with a friend of mine from work and her husband to do some haunted ghost tour on a famous haunted boat in Norfolk tonight.  I can't remember the details, but apparently it's a famous boat and there have been documentaries on it!   I will try to take some pictures and get the details and blog about it later!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Weight Losst Adventures...

So... weight loss.  Geeze louise, what a fun topic.  I have been debating about even writing about this as it such a touchy topic with myself, and many other people, but what the hell.  I went on a weight loss journey several months ago, and was really successful.  I talked about it some on here while I was doing it,  but I figure I would do a blog post about it.  In March I had a 31 party, and the girl who did it was telling me that some people that we both knew had lost a lot of weight, they did it with a little help... I got the info and set out to do the same thing...

April 1st I began a diet.  The first  few days maybe 3 or 4, I did an atkins type diet, which I messed up on and had a few carbs.  It was to jump start the weight loss.  Like I said though I cheated by eating bread a couple of times.  Then on day 5 or so I started a 1200 calorie diet.  To help stay within my calorie range, I was prescribed an appetite suppressant (phentermine).  I also got vitamin b12 shots that studies are showing help with weight loss, by mainly giving you energy.  The suppressant made me feel jittery for a day or so, and I cut out caffeine until I could tell I was adjusted.  This suppressant really was a miracle worker.  I love food.  When the doctor said appetite suppressant I laughed, as I figured it wouldn't work.  I literally found myself forcing myself to get in my 1200 calories a day because I just wasn't interested in eating.  1200 calories doesn't sound like much, but it was hard to get in!  I cut out high fat foods, (I still have not had a french fry since March),  ate high protein meals, and made it a point to get more fruits and veggies in.  I became a huge fanatic of Zone bars, and protein shakes.  As far as working out, I started out slowly with old lady style walking videos.  Go a head laugh away.  My husband and kids did.  Within the first week I lost about 7lbs I think, the end of the month I was down 15 lbs.  By the end of the 2nd month I was down 25.  Now not every week did I lose weight, but I was losing inches, and as the weight came off I became motivated to start working out more intensely, and rejoined a local gym.  Some weeks I lost 1 1lb, sometimes 5lbs, and sometimes none, but the scale kept moving on down....

I never cheated with the eating.  Now drinking would be another ball game.  Now don't get me wrong, the first month I didn't even cheat there, but eventually I would have a few drinks on the weekends, and then I discovered Skinny Girl Margaritas... sigh.... these are deadly.  I still would save them for the weekends, and when I knew I would be drinking them, I would just have protein bars for my meals. 

The end of June I stopped the appetite suppressants, but continued the vitamin b12 shots.  I was scared at first I would go crazy eatting and the weight would come back on...But I remained focused, continued to work out at least 5 days a week.....The middle of July I stopped the shots, and the doctor told me I was good to go.  I could come back for shots once a month, if I wanted to, but I had met my ultimate goal. Before my ultimate goal I had set two other goals.  The number I would happy with getting to, a number I would love to be, and then the ultimate goal...I couldn't believe I had hit the ultimate goal.... So how much did I lose? 50 lbs... I still can't believe it... The size I am at now is pretty much highschool early years of college. 

I have been able to maintain my weight so far. I try to do 1400-1600 a day, but usually do more on the weekends.  I still eat healthy for the most part, man do I miss french fries....but I eat what I want within reason and with portion control.  I also continue to work out, but now with girls in school, and busy schedules I mainly workout 3 times a week at the gym.  So far it's working for me, and I have not gained.  I bake and cook a lot at home, so if I eat anything sweet, it something I have made.  I would never buy a candy bar anymore, if I am going to enjoy a sweet treat then it better be good and worth it.  Also, the dietician where I work preaches about how everyone needs to lower their phosphorous intake.  Seriously, the studies out there that she has shown me are very scary!  Now being the diet coke addict that I am, I am not ready to say goodbye to diet coke, but I will try to make fresh desserts and meals for my family =)

It hasn't been all rainbows and unicorns though... the weight loss brought a lot of insecurities out for me.  The feedback I was getting from others was also extremely hard.  I had a lot of people say mean things to me about it, some people thought I was too skinny and told me I looked unhealthy, and I looked better with the weight.  Really?  Let's be honest....I was considered over weight on the far side with my starting BMI, and now that my BMI was appropriate people said  I looked unhealthy.  I hate to be snarky, but all of those people who said that crap to me were obese, but I wont lie, they got under my skin.    Seeing myself thin also was like seeing a whole new person.  This really shocked me as I was thin my entire life until later, so you wouldn't think going back to how I used to look would be that big of a deal, but it was....Maybe it was because it came off so fast, but I pretty much lost my mind for little while.  My insecurities got the best of me, and that's all I have to say about that.

What I like: the energy that I have, buying new clothes and feeling confident in them.  Buying size 2's and 4's for myself, and knowing they will fit. It's still weird getting those sizes, but it still makes me happy. I also like that being at my ideal body weight will help me health wise and lower my chances of a million different ailments and diseases.  It seems like every crazy disease is linked to being overweight. 

What's still hard, hoping I don't fall off the wagon and gain all the weight back.  I mean seriously, I am scared to death that I will go to bed skinny and wake up fat, and how bad would that suck since I got rid of all the bigger clothes.  I would have to cut a hole in my sheets and go a la mumu.  It really is a life style change.  You can't stuff your face every meal , every day.  I still need a crazy amount of new clothes, but buying a wardrobe isn't cheap, but hopefully little by little my closet will look full again. I seriously own just two pairs of jeans lol, but  that's ok, maybe I will just ask for clothes for Christmas.

I guess what I learned overall about this adventure is, you still have to find a way to love yourself no matter what you weigh.  Losing 50 or 100 lbs isn't going to make your life perfect either.  If anyone has any other questions feel free to comment or email me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekly Menu recap

So it's Sunday, I did ok with sticking to the menu.  Didn't follow it exactly, but I did my best so this is how the weekly menu went
Monday- Chicken Enchiladas.  This is always a family favorite, we enjoyed this, and I had enough leftovers to enjoy it at work for lunch two days this week.

Tuesday- Sweet Apple Meat Loaf-This is a recipe from My Mama Made that- Junior League cookbook. It was awesome! The kids scarfed it down, and my husband made sandwiches out of the leftovers.  Will totally make again.

Wednesday- Spaghetti- I had to volunteer this night, so Dave made this for the kids and himself. 

Thursday- Chickfila Kids night- I had volunteer stuff going on again, so Dave and the kids went out on the town and had a yummy dinner at Chickfila.  I was sad to miss out, BUT they got me a spicy chicken sandwich and brought it to me =)  When I got home I whipped up a batch of pumpkin spice muffins with a cream cheese center for everyone to enjoy the next morning.  They were a-freaking-mazing.... oh my goodness.  I got the receipe and how to from this blog :Pumpkin Spice Muffins  I will totally make these again for us to enjoy. 

Friday- I was supposed to do a London Broil, but I didn't have time to do the marinade in the morning, so this didn't happen.... I ended up baking some boneless pork chops.  It may sound weird but I just put them in a dish, take a tablespoon or 2 of apple butter with a shake of cinnamon on each one and bake them for 30-45 minutes.  It smells and tastes really good!

Saturday and Sunday- the pork shoulder the husband was going to smoke is still sitting in our freezer lol. But hear me out.  Our weekends are just crazy, so the prep work for smoking wasn't happening.  BUT I did the london broil in the marinade that we were supposed to have friday.  The marinade  smelled really good, but I didn't taste it at all once it was cooked... Honestly I don't think it had long enough to soak in it.  It probably was just in it for 5 hours.  I like to do it for 12 or more.  We ate it though.  To make something sweet for the kids, without feeling like being all creative and making a mess, I took refrigerated crescent rolls, unrolled the triangles, put a few chocolate chips in it, and rolled them back up and topped them with sugar.  This was actually a big hit with my family.  So easy to do.

Sunday- We are heading out to see a concert tonight in Virginia Beach and we have plans to go to Plaza Azteca for some yummy Mexican and margaritas.  Looking forward to this =)  I did make a batch of pumpkin, chocolate chip bars from this blog:  pumpkin choc chip bars

Monday, October 10, 2011

Menu planning for this week....

I still have been attempting to menu plan, and I am getting better at it.  It sure does make grocery shopping a lot easier I will say that, and ends me staring into the fridge with a dumb look on my face or dwelling about it all day while I am at work.

This week here's the game plan for dinners:

Monday- Chicken Enchiladas.  This is a recipe that I got from my sister many years ago, and I like it because its easy, and most of it is done in the crock pot. 

Tuesday- Sweet Apple Meat Loaf-This is a recipe from My Mama Made that- Junior League cookbook. To be honest I have never attempted meat loaf before. The idea of it seemed kinda gross to me, BUT, at a JL meeting someone had made this, and I braved up and tried it, and LOVED it. It was really good.  My husband also is a meatloaf fan, so I am hoping he will pleased with this one.  We have back to school night at the preschool, so I am hoping I have enough time to get this one done...

Wednesday- Spaghetti- quick, easy, and the husband can make it.  I am volunteering this night so he's on duty so I figured to put him in charge.

Thursday- Chickfila Kids night- I have volunteer stuff again this evening, so I will be missing out on a yummy Chickfila dinner (I'm obsessed with the spicy chicken on wheat sandwich).  I plan on scarfing down some leftovers.

Friday- I have a new marinade I want to try out with a london broil.

Saturday and Sunday- this depends on how the day pans out, it's going to be a busy weekend for us... I have stuff for tacos, and I also have  pork shoulder for Dave to BBQ, so it just depends on how things pan out for us how we will end up doing it...


Another weekend in the books....

Wow, we had another busy fun filled weekend, and I can't believe the weekend is already gone. 
Friday Dave and his friend and brother took the kids camping at a local park.  It's such a small world really.  I grew up on a baseball field pretty much as a child, and Steve and Bobby played up there too.  We later went to highschool together, and I kinda sorta dated Bobby (it's complicated) at one point in the teen years.  Years later it turns out Steven was on the same police force as my husband, and they hit it off and have a sort of bro romance I guess you could call it.  His wife is awesome, and their oldest daughter and ours love to play together, and I know their new baby will be running along with them all soon.

So friday night was the big camping trip.  I joined them for dinner and to hang out until late that night, and I have to say, the idea of camping is not appealing to me, but it was fun.  The girls had a blast playing together and having some fun in the woods.  No one was scared to sleep in the tent at night ( I was betting on Dave calling me to pick them up), and they all came home tired, but wanting to do it again soon.

Saturday morning we had a tball game and then ventured out to the Surry Pumpkin Patch.  This pumpkin patch is on the simple side, but they have the prettiest pumpkins, and all types too.  They don't charge an admission fee like a lot do around here, it's just a great big pumpkin patch, with a small shop with cute crafts, and their own homemade icecream (the pumpkin flavor is the best).  We have been going since Laura was a baby, and it's a tradition I know we will always continue.

We were pretty lazy the rest of the weekend, I have been battling either a cold or some allergies which hasn't been fun.  I don't feel like doing much other then laying around coughing, but I am going to have to force myself to get productive for a couple of hours to figure out our meals for the next week... I am hoping I will find something fun to make that is also blog worthy too =)