Monday, February 28, 2011

Mmmmmm.... Monday

I'm no Ree Drummond.

Don't know Ree? She is The Pioneer Woman, blogger, author of two best selling books, mom, cook, photographer, home schooler and all around wicked awesome ranch wife. I started reading her blog in '09 after her cookbook was published. Just this month her second book, this time an autobiography, was published.

I whipped through that sucker in the first 48 hours I had it in my hands. For anyone with two small children, you know that is quite the feet.

Saturday night was her book signing in STL. Now I know she is popular, but I had NO IDEA how crazy it would be. The signing was to start at 6pm, so I wander up at 5:30p and there is a line around the building to get in and according to the woman counting at the door I was number 480-something into the building. The final count, somewhere around 700. Multiple people I met drove in from out of town, the farthest being 6 hours, to meet her.

I finally met Ree, who complimented me on my purse, at 9:45pm. I know that makes me a little crazy. (But hopefully not as crazy as the people who drove 6 hours, right? Right?)

She couldn't have been any nicer. Honestly.

I had her sign her cookbook as well as her biography (seen above). Did you notice the bonus autograph at the top there?

That's right, Marlboro Man (Ree's husband) was there as well holding his own impromptu book signing.

Please excuse the blurry cell phone photo. MM was equally as gracious.


In honor of The Pioneer Woman and her recent STL book signing I am posting my own tasty kitchen recipe today. If you are familiar with PW and her recipes, complete with photographs, you will be disappointed. However, I am giving you the oft requested....


1 med-large onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2-3 T Olive Oil
6 potatoes
1 t seasoned salt (like Lawry's)
1/4 t rosemary
1 t thyme
32 oz Chicken stock
2 c milk
1 c cheddar cheese, grated

Saute the onions, celery and carrots, (sometimes known as the trinity) in olive oil. Once they are tender, but not mushy, add in the potatoes, seasoned salt, rosemary, thyme and chicken stock. If the stock doesn't cover the potatoes you can add a little water until they are just covered. Boil until potatoes are cooked through. Remove from heat. Use a potato masher and smash the soup by hand in the pot it cooked in. Once smashed, add the milk and cheese mixing constantly until the cheese is melted and combined.

How simple is that?!?!

I've made this soup a million times and there are a couple things I've learned along the way that I thought you'd want to know.

1- I wrote the recipe with Olive Oil but you can also use 3-4 tablespoons of butter. I am trying to cut down on the amount of butter in my cooking and olive oil has the better for you omega-3 fatty acids. Go fatty acids!

2- I use fresh herbs from my garden when they are in season, and from what I can tell, the thyme is ALWAYS in season. I've dug it out of the snow three or four times this winter to use. If not, dried herbs work just fine.

3- I use a potato masher to hand mash the veggies after they are cooked. The first time I made it I blended it but it had too much of a bisque consistency, but if that kind of thing gets your juices flowing by all means, blend away!

4- Recently I substituted a butternut squash for the potatoes and it was delicious. I recommend. Look at that two for the price of one soups!

So I may not be The Pioneer Woman but I promise this soup will get you through until spring... how many more weeks again?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Tuesday Ten, vol. IIX

It's been a week. That's all I have to say about that.

For this week's Tuesday Ten I harassed my children by following them around with my cell phone camera all day. I hope you enjoy it more than they did.*

Today was hat day at school. Madeline borrowed Granny's crazy bat hat. It was the craziest hat by far.

I promise she smiled like .45 seconds after this photo... but doesn't she look pathetic?

While Madeline played at school Lydia and I played at home. Well, we tried to play. She is in the point and scream and throw a fit stage.

But she's cute so that makes up for a lot of it.

Then we went to target and we found out what freedom smells like. It's kinda like a crisp fall day in October.

Man am I funny or what? Don't answer that.

After naps Lydia gets ready for Mardi Gras.


I made potato soup for dinner. I am totally obsessed with this soup. I'll share the recipe soon.

It isn't really that yellow in person. Honest.

The squirrels occupied themselves while I cooked.

Be advised, this is rare.

Dinner was yummy.

And very colorful.

Lydia likes to smear food into her hair.

Her hair stuck like this until bath time.

You can't head to a bath without a little dessert...

Why yes that is Redi Whip in a can? No, you can't have any.

Bath time might just be Lydia's favorite part of the day.

Madeline tolerates it, at best.

Bonus -11-!!!
Then I got to deal with the three foot pile of laundry in my bedroom.

I am happy to say it is now all folded.

Happy Tuesday!

*Of course I am kidding. They didn't really hate it. Ok, maybe Madeline hated it a little (see #1), yikes!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Tuesday Ten, vol. VII

Keepin' it real edition.

Just in case you might be laboring under the impression that I am super mom after I admitted to cooking not one, not two but five different homemade items for Valentines day yesterday I thought I'd give you ten true to life snip its of the world as I know it, today.

My back hurts crazy bad and nothing I have taken seems to help. Laying flat seems to work, but there are two crazy (sugared up) squirrels running loose in my house so laying flat all day isn't really an option.

I ran the dishwasher twice yesterday but have yet to unload it for the second time which means my sink and counters are full of dirty dishes including the dinner dishes from last night, breakfast from this morning and lunch today.

I mooched dinner off my parents. See #1 and #2.

I have two baskets of clean but needing to be folded clothes on my bed room floor.

Yet, all of Kevin's work shirts were dirty this evening when we discovered there was no clean shirt to iron for tomorrow.

Doing laundry at 10:45pm is fun. (or at least that is what we are telling ourselves...)

Madeline's bookshelf has three shelves. There are approximately 15 books on all three shelves. The rest are scattered to the four walls of her room. It isn't pretty.

There are three laundry baskets in Lydia's room. I am pretty sure all of the contents are clean. I mean, pretty sure.

I don't think I brushed my teeth today.

I did shower though, so that is at least one win for me.

Monday, February 14, 2011

How Valentines Day Beat Me Into Submission (by the numbers)

Number Valentine's day related crafts done in the last five days: 4
1- foam valentine hearts with heart stickers
2- marble painting
3- Madeline's school valentines
4- roses for Madeline's hair (assembled at 6:15 AM because I woke up thinking about crafting and couldn't go back to sleep until those damn roses were made and OUT OF MY EVER LOVING CRAZY MIND!!!!)

Number of photos taken to get valentines for the girlies: 78

Number of photos used: 2

Number of items cooked, from scratch, in the last five days for Valentine's Day: 6
1- Cupid crunch
2- banana nutella crepes
3- heart shaped quesadillas
4- soft pretzel bites with sharp cheddar dipping sauce
5- bacon wrapped meatloaf and
6- creamy mashed potatoes

Number of those items cooked JUST TODAY: 5 (numbers 2-6)

Number of hugs and kisses and I love yous and Happy Valentines days exchanged by our family of four: too many to count :)

Although the crazy of Valentines Day totally sucked me in and spit me out I think I still win.

Proof that I reign supreme:

After lunch Madeline gave me a conversation heart that said 'real love'. And said "Mom, this is for you because I love you sooooo much!" Followed by a HUGE hug. Totally worth it.

Now I'm off to ice my back and have my valentine rub my feet.

Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gearing up

We are gearing up for Valentines day around here. Monday we had a Valentines themed photo shoot. I'll share more from the "shoot" next week.

We made valentines for Madeline's classmates and celebrated the holiday at school yesterday.

Today we made Cupid Crunch, aka. puppy chow with valentine m&ms. Yum.

Tomorrow who knows what we will do! I'm sure there will be lots of hearts and red and pink and sweets and lovey!

Here's to a weekend full of sweet love!

and just because I love you too!

Cupid Crunch

8-9 cups rice Chex cereal
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/4 t. vanilla
1-1 1/2 c. m&ms

Melt chocolate and peanut butter in a sauce pan over low heat stirring frequently. Once completely melted remove from heat and mix in vanilla extract. Pour over cereal in a large bowl and mix well. Pour your powdered sugar in a large paper bag and add the chocolate coated cereal and shake, shake, shake. Finally spread the cereal on a baking sheet to finish drying. Once dry, mix in the m&ms.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Oh come let us adore him

December 2010

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Tuesday Ten, vol. VI

Whilst doing laundry tonight I bent down to get the reds out of the dryer and came face to face with a cricket the size of my thumb. I freaking hate crickets.

Madeline's valentines day party is this Thursday. I am stoked. I have her valentines all ready for her to 'sign.' Madeline seems completely unaffected. Just my luck.

I went to Target to get one thing today. I came home with 5. Within an hour of returning home I added two more things to my Target list. Life is cruel some times.

Agh... I just can't stop thinking about that stupid cricket. It was gigantic. Huge. Colossal. Gargantuan. Mammoth. Humongous. Immense. Jumbo. Monstrous. Whopping. Ample. Mutant.

Lydia cut another tooth this week which makes a total of 8.

If there were such a thing as the magic laundry fairy wouldn't ask her to do my laundry so much as locate my laundry on the main floor so I didn't have to deal with mutant crickets.

I read a (real, grown up) book in less than 48 hours this week. That hasn't happened since my undergraduate days. It was awesome.

I'm pretty sure that beast is going to haunt my dreams. They are just so jumpy and springy and you never know where they are going to land. (This may have something to do with the fact that most crickets in our basement are missing one of their back legs- Thank you Olive the ferocious beast- so they leap in circles)

Thanks to my 6 year old cousin Mia, Madeline has discovered the joy of Pop Rocks. Her world is a brighter, happier place.

Did I mention I freaking hate crickets.

Monday, February 07, 2011


One of the first books my parents read to Madeline at there house was the original Olivia by Ian Falconer. There is something magical about that book for Madeline and my mom in particular.

When Madeline had just turned two she knew many of the pages by heart and hearing a 2 year old 'read' Falconer's words is precious. To continue the theme, Madeline got this for Christmas from my parents.

For the first time she will play alone without trying to engage me. Because of the very small pieces (much too small for Lydia) Madeline plays with this house/pirate ship at the dining room table and she will play, alone, for 20 or 30 minutes at a time.

Although she has a lot of fun playing with it I really think I have more fun listening to her imagination at work.

On this particular day, Olivia was having chicken for dinner in her bedroom because her mother had sent her out of the kitchen for being a wild animal.

I just don't have the heart to tell her that serving a whole parrot isn't really that appetizing.

Friday, February 04, 2011

tap tap tap.... is this thing on?

I had one guess. One. (and thank you Michelle for that one guess)

I give up.

Are you even out there people. Jeez.

I'm done pouting because I am over joyed to tell you that this:

Became this:

Is it not beautiful?

And guess what else?!?!

My husband MADE IT. I know I am crafty, but the sheer amount of math that it took to determine what wood to purchase had my head reeling. (Math and I, are. not. friends.)

We recently bought a new mattress and up graded from a double (yeah, yeah, yeah, I heard you gasp and ask out loud 'what were they thinking'?!?) to a king (and we will never look back). Our previous head board was only as big as a queen, so we had to come up with another solution.

And what a stunning solution it is.

If you are looking for me I think you know where you'll find me. Curled up in our giant bed with the sheets pulled up over my head (so the girlies can't find me) and probably thanking my lucky stars that I found a man who is so much better at math than I am.


and good night.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Ya know?

So Kevin has been busy in the last three or so weeks.

I'll give you a hint:

That is a bunch of 2x4s, a couple of 2x12s, some 2x10s and a smathering of other pieces of solid pine (and please, ignore the mess that is the rest of our basement).

Any guesses as to what this is in its rawest form? (and if you know you don't get to guess...)

Any guesses on how many band aids Kev's gone through in three weeks? (I kid, he is super safe and wouldn't need band aids, ever... no really.)

I'll give you a hint. It is wicked heavy. Wicked I tell you.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Tuesday Ten, vol. V

Today was SUPPOSE to be snowpocolypse 2011. Instead of the 1/2 inch of ice and then 16-20 inches we got a minimal amount of ice, a couple of inches of sleet and we MIGHT get some snow, but only a little bit. Kinda a let down really.

I did a redonkulous amount of laundry today. I still have a redonkulous amount I could still do. (Sheets and towels and the like...) but I think I'm done at least for today.

None of us left the house today. We probably won't leave the house tomorrow.

We are a little bored.

We are catching up on our DVR tonight.

But I spent the last 30 minutes on the IKEA website after a reference to the Grunka spoons on the TV show Chuck.

Why isn't there an IKEA in the greater STL area? WHY????

Why is it that TV newborns are always the size of three month olds? Not that I suggest newbies should be acting, but I mean, really?

Madeline announced today that she was going to have 5 children all at the same time and there names are going to be Acra, Bacra, Ama, Rama and Crama. I could not contain my giggles on this one. I hope someday I get those 5 grandchildren named Acra, Bacra, Ama, Rama, and Crama. I just hope I have enough arms. :)

And just cuz...