Monday, April 26, 2010

He's 8 months old!

Morning fun in pajamas at 8 months old! Brother & sissy starting their own band.

At 8 months old he may not be interested in crawling, but he's very interested in standing! I'm amazed at his leg strength. Baby boy, as much as I know you want to run and play as you watch the other children, I hope you take your time! Mommy is not ready for a little walker anytime soon...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Eyebrow!

For the longest time I've been able to raise just my right eyebrow. I tend to do it if I'm trying to keep from crying, or even showing emotion. It's also one expression the husband does not like - I believe this is due to pure jealously! He's in the "other" population of people, you know.. the "uncool" crowd. At our wedding, during the ceremony, I remember doing this during the part when we listened to a song we picked. For that moment, it helped a little to cool the mood as I was about to cry - with happiness of course!  

Over the years it just sort of developed into a thing of mine. If I really want to annoy him, or sometimes get a smile out of him, I'll raise my eyebrow with a sweet smile. It works like a charm, I always get a response!

my right brow raised - the look that drives him crazy.


Cassandra must take after her Papa, because this girl can not raise one eyebrow! She tries quite often too.

This week the Mr. is working the dreaded night shift. I find it so difficult to be starting my day as he's ending his...it always reminds me of when I use to work the night shift as a CNA! Oh how our lives were so different then.... 
I try to keep the house as quiet as possible - considering there's a teether under 1 and a 5 year old, I need all the luck I can get! This morning as I was getting ready, I decided to use Cass' bathroom so I wouldn't disturb him as he slept. As I was almost done straightening my hair, in walks Miss. Cass. I'm trying to keep her voice down - as she's unhappy to see me using her bathroom. After a bit of whispered arguing, she agrees to share. She brushed her hair, and gets out the lip gloss. I can't even explain how adorable she is when putting on lip gloss. But I have photos to share!

the lip gloss!
checking out her smile with lip gloss.
Okay, now I'm finishing up my make up. We're all giggles at this point - quite giggles. She now transforms into the Cass I know and love, the silly side! Making faces, dancing around, and testing to see if she can finally raise just one eyebrow! Behold, I give you the video of Miss. Cass and her eyebrow raising!!

 
video


Notice how towards the end she covers one eyebrow. This is her newest trick - I freakin' love it!! Usually to achieve the one eyebrow raise, she'll use her hand and hold one eyebrow in place, then scream, "look, I can do it!". It makes me laugh every time.


Here are some added photos of my quiet, yet entertaining morning with Cassandra. -Note: You can click on these to enlarge them.

cheese!
sweet girl.
as I tell her don't move - she froze! 
ninja girl.
the fish.

I kept snapping photos as she made faces, and as she was silly...these are my favorite. After this last one she says, "I'm hungry now".

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cassandra's Chocolate Chip Muffins

My sweet girl loves helping in the kitchen, however...she's at that age where she thinks she can do everything by herself. So, these Betty Crocker Pouches are pretty awesome. I use them as a special treat since she's able to pretty much make them herself. She knows where to find the bowl, spatula, measuring cup - as well as measure out the liquid. Perhaps not the best muffin, but perfect for a 5 year old. It's just mix, plus water! How simple.

I bought these adorable Wilton Silicone Silly Feet from Joann's awhile back using my 50% off coupon. - what a steal! I just love how you can fill these up and stick them straight in the oven - so cool.

Her favorite muffin mixes are Tripple Berry and Chocolate Chip!


Cass - I think she enjoyed her muffin, what do you think? All snuggled up in her my blanket...it was pretty chilly today.

Behind the Scenes...

As some of you have asked, "What type of camera do you use? and "What type of lighting?" I figure a blog is in order. Then, at the end I'll explain why I use the "walking in my socks" text on my photos.

Christmas 2007, the husband bought me a really nice Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi SLR Camera. I previously had a really nice Canon SLR film camera - which I still own. I would use it more, but film is expensive to develop and I'm just too impatient! For my food photography, I use my Canon tripod as well - I can't imagine taking photos without one!

In this photo you'll see me photographing tonight's dish - Taco Pasta Toss. Before each meal I prepare the area so once my dish is complete, I take photos - then eat! I move the chair, clip on my lamp and place my camera and tripod. After a few shots, I usually have the photo I'm looking for.



Lighting is very important! I use a simple clamp light from Home Depot with a day light bulb, and covered it with 2 pieces of tissue paper. There are many ways to use multiple lamps for more lighting, but this method works best for me and the effect I'm looking for. The light needs to be covered with layers of tissue paper to diffuse the light. This is so important! The tissue paper is what softens the light to give you even light coverage. Here you will notice I've taken the tissue paper and wrapped it around the lamp. I used tape to bring in the edges for a clean look, then pulled in the bottom with a hair tie! Yes...that's correct. I pulled it right from my pony-tail that day, and used it. It works - why replace it?




I shoot all of my food photography photos in manual mode, with a tripod and no flash! I would love to use natural light, but in this house and living in Washington - that's near impossible! So, I will settle for my own make-shift lighting set up!


Why I add the "walking in my socks" text to my photos. One HUGE peeve I have is when people steal someone else's photo to use in their blog and do not give credit to the original photographer! When I'm reading your blog and you have these beautiful photos posted, I'm going to think they are yours unless you clarify and link where you found them. I personally work hard on my photos, whether just trying to be creative, or editing them. If your going to use my photo, that's all right...but at least my name will help you remember where you found it. Hopefully, you'll link back to my blog to give credit where credit is due.


Side Note: All photos are edited in some way. Perhaps just a small sharpen to enhance colors and depth, whereas others need quite a bit of work. I use Photoshop CS3 for all of my photo editing.

Taco Pasta Toss

Now doesn't that look good?? I'm all about tacos and all things taco related! I found this recipe over at KitchenMonki, and it's also a Rachel Ray recipe - cool! Since I'm all about turkey these days, I substituted ground beef for ground turkey. I don't know why the Mr. and I didn't start doing this years ago...it still taste fabulous! It's actually a pretty easy recipe to make, I love the simplicity of some meals. Also, as you notice two beers, I'm sure your thinking...one for him, one for her? Well, nope! Those were for me tonight...poor guy, he's working the night shift this week, so he missed out on this fabulous taco pasta. But, I'm sure he'll enjoy it for lunch tomorrow!





-Taco Pasta Toss recipe.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Annie's Rice Casserole

When someone talks about comfort food, this is one of the few dishes that come to mind - for me personally. I've been making this dish for about 10 years and it never gets old.


Once upon a time, I couldn't cook to save my life! But this, this I could make. It was the extent of my cooking for years... I had one masterpiece, and it was a casserole. I can remember the many years my poor husband would come home from work - we would sit on the couch, and I'd ask, "what do you want for dinner?" I would take out a meat of some sort, and he would make dinner. Yes...no joke, for years this went on. But, as long as he was cooking, we were eating something other than burnt food, or something out of a box! I'm so thankful I learned how to cook...because ever since, my wonderful husband knows what it's like to walk in the door and smell food cooking - good food at that! (I love you Mr. Jenkins) - He reads a blog every so often, so I'd like to sneak that in, since I'm talking about him and all...

This casserole came about when I was living with an ex in Texas...back in 1999 or so. His sister would throw casseroles together - maybe it's because we were poor and this was a simple, cheap meal? All I know is over the years it's a dish I've introduced to many people - referred to as "Annie's Casserole".

Over the years I've changed up the sausage. At first, I used the regular smoked sausage, then, when this recipe was written, we discovered the lite version, but now... we use the turkey version! Yumm...it's still has excellent flavor and it's much healthier! (Why do I sound like I'm selling something? Calling all Kathy Targets! - Sorry, inside joke for some of those reading.)


-Annie's Rice Casserole recipe.

Just me...

I rolled out of bed this morning about 6am due to my cranky teether! Usually I get to sleep in till 7-7:30am and we begin our day from there, but no...not today! Not only did I have to wake up early, I had to get up in the middle of the night - which I do not like! I've been very lucky enough to have two amazingly wonderful babies who enjoy sleeping through the night! I hope this is just a fluke from teething, and we'll return back to our arranged schedule asap. I really shouldn't complain about the middle of the night wake up - it's not like he's hungry, all I did was roll him to his back and give him his blanket. He was sound asleep after that. Wish it was that simple for me!
When I looked at my hair today, I thought...today is the day I should be out and about for the world to see! It's one of those fabulous hair days which seem to be far and few these days - I'm well over-due for a hair cut!! But, with a birthday coming up...I would hate to have my hair cut and something go wrong. I'll never get over turning 29 (in 9 days) with a hair cut I'm unhappy about. Plus...it's not really like I'm getting a "hair cut", it's more of just a trim and clean up. I know my day is coming soon...ya know, the day in which I give away 10 inches of hair. I'm partly in awe of this day, I'll feel so light - it will be amazing, but really... I'm completely nervous. This is the longest my hair has ever been, and I'll be so sad to see it go away.
So, with that said...I knew today was the day for a new photo! I decided to wear a long necklace, ha! Bad idea. Did it somehow slip my mind I have a baby?? Let's just say after about 5 minutes of playing with him, he about ripped my head off! Back to short necklaces - if any at all. I hope he out-grows the "tugging on necklaces" phase very soon. There's something about a long necklace that makes me feel pretty...


I'm not very girly, and I don't really care to dress up. I don't keep up with fashion, and I wear what I like - what's comfortable. Once I find something I like, I purchase as many colors as I can - or even just multiples of the same thing. Looking for a new style just isn't me. I'm very much a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl. I can't stand wearing ANYTHING but jeans! I own one skirt, ONE! I currently own Zero dresses. I prefer heals as I'm a shorty at 5'1, however, I'm currently hooked on a pair of flats. Who knew that was possible! I love black, gray, brown, and navy blue! This zebra print cardigan? thingy was a gift. I would never purchase such a print! It's from my Grandmother-in-law who has fabulous taste - I don't think there's an article of clothing I didn't like...okay, I'm slightly fibbing here. When I opened this shirt I silently gasped, oh hell! I'll never wear that (I'm famous for using the "never" word). It took me months to finally wear this. Now, it's one of my favorite things - I wear this often because it's so cute and comfortable!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

This dish seems too simple to be true, but really...it's freakin' fabulous! Thanks to my friend Janet for joining me on KitchenMonki, I got this recipe from her. When I first saw this recipe I thought the name alone sounded really good, but once I read the ingredients it threw me for a loop. I was thinking....it's going to be so bland, it's too simple! This was a last minute dinner idea since tonight's dinner was going to be Cashew Chicken - but...something drew me to this, plus I had the ingredients on hand. I didn't have a can of Diced Tomatoes with Basil and Onion, so I substituted that with a regular can of diced tomatoes, and added dried onions and basil.
    
This is one recipe I will keep on hand for those night I need dinner together quickly! So thanks Janet, we really enjoyed this dish!


-Bruschetta Chicken Bake recipe here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dark Cherry Mocha Frappuccino


I love..love..love Starbucks Frappuccino's! This morning I had the sitter over to watch the kids while I headed out for my doctor appointment. As always, I never have cash on me! So I knew I needed a quick stop at the bank. It drives me crazy how the ATM makes you get money out in $20's! What if I'm in a hurry and need a $10 or $5??! Well, the only thing that made sense to break my twenty is a stop at Starbucks! *insert evil laugh* I was interested in trying out the Dark Cherry Mocha - it was awesome! It's now time to learn how to use that Espresso machine the Mr. INSISTED we buy a couple years ago - which by the way, we never use!! I'm now going to find a way to make my own - close to Starbucks Frapp! I'm sure it's possible, I hope.

Wish me luck...we'll see how it goes! For now, a photo of my frapp to get you drooling so you'll go have one yourself! 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Healthified" Pumpkin Bread

If there's one bread I love more than anything....it's pumpkin bread! Growing up, my Grandma Joan always made the best pumpkin bread around the holidays. It's something you would look forward too! It didn't ever last long though...between Grandma, Grandpa, Dad and I - it seemed to disappear quickly.
Now, I'm not one to eat the normal portion size either! So when I realized just how much fat and calories I was putting in as I devoured half a loaf....it kind of made me sick! So when I stumbled on this amazing healthified recipe, I fell in love... The only thing that bothered me was, is it really going to taste good?? Well, I assure you - it's freakin' awesome! A must try if your a pumpkin bread fan, heck - a must try for everyone!! So go check out the recipe at KitchenMonki, and be sure to let me know how it goes.



Nutritional Information - 1 Slice: Calories 190 (Calories from Fat 45); Total Fat 5g (Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 240mg; Total Carbohydrate 32g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 18g); Protein 3g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 60%; Vitamin C 0%; Calcium 4%; Iron 6% Exchanges: 1 Starch; 1 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 1 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 2 *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Amanda's Cheesy Eggplant Lasagna

My first experience with eggplant! I've always seen them in the stores, but never imagined buying one and cooking it myself! Usually whenever Cass is with me grocery shopping - if she sees the eggplants she'll always ask to buy one. I figured it was high time to give and and find a recipe using eggplant. I had fun with these, they are so beautiful I couldn't resist a photo before I peeled this babies!  


While I was searching the Jennie-O turkey recipe site, I found this Lasagna recipe. Which you can find over at KitchenMonki. It started off as a pretty gloomy day, then somewhere in the middle of the afternoon the sun peeked out and hung around all evening! Notice the sun glaring in my photo... 


Now I'm fairly impressed with this eggplant lasagna. I was a bit concerned when I noticed they took place of the pasta, but heck...those are just added carbs you don't need anyway! I'm now in search of a new eggplant recipe for next time I buy them! If you have any, your welcome to send them my way.

It's A Tooth! It's A Tooth!

Mom!!!!! It's a tooth!  I hear as I'm sitting at the computer checking out the new site updates at KitchenMonki.  I was a bit confused because none of her teeth are loose.  When she approached me with her hand wide open, "It's a tooth!", I finally understood she was only confused.  I began laughing when I realized what it was - a white nerd found on the floor nearby where she and brother were playing.



Can you believe she was upset when I told her it wasn't a tooth??  She was bummed because she wanted to put brother's tooth under HER pillow for the tooth-fairy!

*Update! Brother doesn't even have teeth yet...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stuffed Bell Peppers

This is one of my favorite dinners!  I just love stuffed peppers.....I'm drooling just thinking about how good they were.  In the past, I've always made this recipe with ground beef, and used tomato sauce instead of diced tomatoes.  After looking around at different stuffed pepper recipes, I found making just a couple changes made my recipe much better.  I've made them so many times, I know not to make them unless I have the Worcestershire Sauce. For me, it's what makes the recipe!

So here are my stuffed peppers, and you can find the recipe at Kitchen Monki.  Another recent love of mine!!  If I could just get more hours in a day, I could sit down in log in all of my recipes.  One day...one day I'll find the time.  For now, just one at a time.  What I love so much about this site is there's a meal planner as well as an awesome queue where you can place meals your planning to make and make shopping lists! 

The MS Walk

When I went to bed Friday night, I hoped for sunshine - sunshine is what we got! ...only I forgot to hope for warmth and no wind too!  Saturday I joined a friend in the MS walk for her dad.  Our Team consisted of 7 adults and 7 kids in 6 strollers. Whew, what a team - might I just add one of the best looking ones there. 


After the walk - trying to warm up.


My sweet children who where amazing all morning - despite the weather. 


There's still time to donate - deadline is May 14th! Papa Phil's TeaMStrength


What is MS? Multiple Sclerosis - National MS Society.

Morning Color!

Here's my attempt to brighten my morning with kids cereal - Fruit Loops!

It was such a beautiful sunshine weekend, filled with the MS walk, an attempt for a family photo (fail!), popsicles, washed cars, and dinner on the grill.  Then comes Monday, a duty day - as well as our traditional gloomy Washington kind of weather...


I'm not usually a cereal for breakfast kind of person.  I much prefer it as an afternoon snack, or desert after dinner - odd, I know!  I very rarely even eat anything other than Cheerios too!  I enjoy the simple stuff - most are just too sweet!  I grew up in a house with a Mom who always used the LARGE bowls for cereal, ya know...what you might use for mixing a batch of cookies?  No, I'm kidding...not that big, but close.  Along with a brother who could do the same.  Perhaps watching them eat it was enough for me!  I think as a kid, if you allowed my brother to live off of Cinnamon Toast Crunch - he would have!  I should call him, I miss my brother...I wonder if he lets his son eats this stuff yet.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Bully in the Red Shirt



Last week Cass and I went into Safeway to get a couple last minutes for dinner.  It goes along with my Facebook post - "almost slapped a kid for being rude to mine! Instead I just sorta yelled at him on his manners."


While shopping, just as I'm turning around waiting for her to catch up, I spot her looking at a couple of older boys kicking there shoes at the ground and talking.  She wasn't staring rudely, but just curious as to what they were doing - standing in the middle of the isle kicking at the floor.  Just as she's passing them, one of the kids in a red shirt steps forward, comes down towards her level and said, "what are you looking at? keep moving!"  I don't think she fully understood him at first, she just asked why he was so mean.  This was not about to fly with me, I was angry as all hell!  These kids must have been about 12, so why on earth pick on a small 5 year old girl walking by?  Bullies!  I was angry, I don't remember what all I said...I gave him a piece of my mind though!

Now a week later this picture appears on the fridge.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Conversations with Cass

While sitting at the computer reading a blog and on my phone Blackberry messaging with a friend, out of the corner of my eye I see Cass walk in the room grabbing her phone - which is really my old phone (not in service.)

She has this habit of finding her phone whenever she sees me on mine.  She'll say something like, I have calls to make, or I need to listen to music on my phone (music ring tones I once downloaded).


"Mom, I need a NEW phone cuz mines so old! I want a cool phone like yours." *Insert sad face here*

"Cass, I was 28 years old when I got the cool phone.  You have a ways to go my dear!"

"Well, I'm 5 years old and I only have an OLD phone."

"I didn't even have a phone at your age."

"You DIDN'T??"

"Nope. We didn't have cell phones back then."

"You DIDN'T?? That's cuz your old Mommy!"

ahem! Thanks Cass!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Stumbling into Colorful Pancakes

                                                           -Cassandra's Easter morning pancakes!

I've become quite the blog addict these days!  I can't believe some of the creative things people come up with -  such as these cute and oh so fun rainbow colored pancakes!  I just happen to stumble on an awesome blog last month using StumbleUpon - my new favorite computer time find.  Sometimes I get sucked into the great unknown traveling all over learning odd and interesting things!  But on to where I was going... they have this fabulous toolbar which allows me to stumble at the click of a button!   How cool is that, right?
Here it is...the moment where I fell in love with food photography!  Right before my eyes were these beautifully photographed, amazingly vibrant colored rainbow pancakes!  I not only knew I had to try my hand at this, I just knew how excited Cass would be to eat so much color!

So here they are, not just any fun colored pancake either!  A new recipe at that, Healthified Whole Grain Brown Sugar Pancakes!
 
 

First Blog!

Let me introduce you... I'm a 28 (very soon to be 29)-year old stay at home mom with 2 gorgeous kids (well, at least I think so!)  My loves are my life… Cassandra my lovebug is five, very much my little mini-me, and amazing helper who adores her brother!  Kaleb, my little monkey is now 7 months!  He’s teething…nough said!  No, he really is just the sweetest, most perfect baby!  The Mr. in my life is a Submariner who spends about 4 months under the water for deployments.  He depends on me to jump into full on double parental duties while holding down the fort in once piece with two little one’s tearing up the place!
I grew up in Texas and moved to Washington a little over 8 years ago.  I met my husband Charlie, Chuck to me then… when I was visiting a friend stationed in Washington.  We’ve been lucky enough to spend the last 8 years living here, in such a beautiful state.  Washington is my home now, and while at times I do miss bits of life in Texas… I am officially home now!  I’ve found a place where I fit in perfectly.
So here’s to a new blog to document my life with my loves, while walking in my socks!