Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Have I Mentioned That I'm Having a Baby?



Would that excuse suffice for my lack of posts this month? In my opinion, it's a pretty darn good one and is just one of the many reasons why I have neglected my poor blog that I had really started to love.

Last I left you, we were wiping our chins from those less-than-gourmet Sloppy Joes (and perhaps regretting being so honest in my menu choices) but a lot has happened since that saucy night.

My blog vacation may or may not have been caused by the following:

1. I am pregnant with baby #3! The first trimester was a doozy. Some days I felt that I had been drugged. Smells and food were a BIG issue. Cleaning house was a BIG issue. Changing Annie's diapers...well, that's still making me sick. I am now 15 weeks along and I can say with much relief that I am finally over those unpleasant early pregnancy symptoms! I can confidently open the refrigerator without gagging and can make it through most days without a nap. I'm looking for an uneventful second trimester!

2. Libby had Strep. This was her first ever bout with it, but had a few puny days.



Praise God that the rest of us didn't get it! On the upside, it motivated me to do some major cleaning and sanitizing which sadly had not been done in a WHILE (see reason #1 above).

3. We went to the beach for a week! We spent last week with my parents and sister in Orange Beach and had a delightful time.



The weather was beautiful but I didn't open the laptop once.




Can you feel the love? These girls couldn't get enough of each other!





It was a great trip and we so enjoyed time with Grandmama, Grandaddy and Mimi!



4. The "school year" has started! Libby had her first day of 4 year preschool on Monday. So far she loves her new teacher - "Mom, Ms. Jill is super cool" - and most of the kids in her class were with her last year.








On preschool days, I'm looking forward to spending the mornings with this little face...



Soon, this baby will be the middle child, so I want to give her some special one on one attention so she doesn't turn into Jan Brady!

Ballet also started a couple of weeks ago.




Libby is happy to be dancing alongside her buddy Emma again this year!



5. Here's the best excuse of all...my computer is slowly dying. It is probably that I have choked it with thousands of JPEG files that are backed up and could probably be deleted but I've been too lazy (again, reason #1) to clean it up. Now the memory is so slow that it doesn't even want to boot up. Once it's back up and running, I should be able to post more frequently. Until then, I'll have to snag D's laptop in the evenings.

So I vow to be back with some more riveting snapshots of our days. No more excuses, just the usual shameless pictures of my kiddos and the food that we eat :)

Oh, and the details of the exotic animal that we found on our floor...

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Have a Confession to Make...

...we made tonight a Manwich night.



And while I'm at it, I'll go ahead and confess this as well -

They were awesome.

There is something so yummy about a sloppy joe. I've made homemade turkey "joes" before, but tonight it was a the good 'ole canned sauce version.

Would it redeem us at all to know that I did add a shredded carrot in an attempt to make it bit healthier? I guess that's kind of like putting perfume on a pig :)



With baked steak fries and chopped mango (they are 10 for $10 at Kroger this week!) it was actually a really fun dinner.



Even Mr. Garnett gave his approval.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sweet as Candy

Candy Molds!

I don't think most folks know how incredibly easy, inexpensive and deceivingly impressive these are. The chocolate shells from the birthday party were a hit and, I hate to admit, they were the simplest part of our cupcakes and mermaid cake. These fit into the category with that ever-popular pepper jelly over cream cheese appetizer and homemade pie crust. If people knew how simple they were to make, they wouldn't be so impressed with you.

Here is how we made our cake toppers:



I found this Wilton shell mold at Hobby Lobby for a $1.99.



As the seasons change, they will go on major sale. After Christmas last year I found a cute Santa Candy Cane mold and paid a whopping 33 cents! Do I smell next year's teacher gifts?!?!

I used "Make n' Mold" candy wafers also found at Hobby Lobby for 2 or 3 dollars for a one pound bag. They have many different colors and come in vanilla, chocolate and or dark chocolate.

Can you guess who's chubby little 19 month old hand that is?



You could get really fancy and flavor the candy with flavor oils (lemon, mint, etc.) but I've never tried it...yet.

Melt a cup of the candy wafers in the microwave on medium power, stirring every 20 seconds or so. My microwave has a "melt" setting and it ended up doing the job in under a minute.

At this point, taste testing is optional.



Then just spoon the melted candy into each cavity of the mold. It won't take as much as you think to fill each one up. You could also swirl two colors together which would look really neat, but I was not that brave!



Once you're done, carefully drop the tray a few times on the counter to get out all the air bubbles. This will also settle all the melted candy into the shapes and flatten the backs of them.



Put the mold into the fridge until they harden - about 15 to 20 minutes. Turn them out onto a kitchen towel (a hard surface may break them) and then store in an airtight container until you need them.





Ta-dah!



SO EASY! Libby enjoyed helping with this project. She adored the pink ones and was proud to get to help prepare for her big day.

These are the snowmen pretzel sticks that we made for Annie's first birthday last year.



They were much bigger than the shells, and made a good favor for our little party. Wilton sells these specific trays that have a space to lay a pretzel rod or candy cane at the end.

So, go ahead. Make everyone think you went out of your way making homemade candies! They are way too cute.