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!