Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Little Catching Up

As Boomama would say..."A list is really my only option".

1. I have been terribly lax in not only writing my own blog, but in reading all of my friends as well. (By the way, if you haven't been to Big Mama's Place in awhile, you really should. She's very funny when she's dealing with PMS, ya'll.) But, I
dear friend, Lisa, over at The Preacher's Wife bestowed upon me the
award just because I can make a cake that looks like a uterus.

So, thank you Lisa. I do not believe that the adjective "Rockin" has even been used to describe me before, but you can bet I'll let my kids know that you said I was!!!

2. There has been an on-going debate at our house as to whether or not we need a gate to place in the doorway of D's room at night to, you know, cage the little animal. You see, little D manages to get up sometimes in the middle of the night and wreak havoc around the house. I have awaken to find that was on, and there was little D with a pencil and a stack of mail, just writing to his heart's content. As I entered the brightly lit room, with my half-open eyes, I heard a much too cheerful voice greeting me with "MOM! I! WITE! I! WITE!" (D-speak for "Look at all my beautiful writing, don't you think I should have my own blog?) I have also awakened to find little toddler-sized bites missing from some of the cookie bouquets that were awaiting delivery the next morning....ergh!!! And just this week, the little booger got ahold of the birthday cake cookies that I had drying on top of the stove (the ones I posted pictures of yesterday) and ate some!! I had to make more cookies and deliver them a day later than planned because of that little monster!! (Have I mentioned that he really is a cute little kid? And that I love him more than chocolate? Cause he is, and I do!) So, can you guess which member of the family is "Pro-Gate"???? The Man is a strong believer in just "teaching the kids that some things are off-limits". Which I completely agree with when it comes to the TV remote, or the cordless phone, or pretty much anything else I can monitor...WHILE I'M AWAKE! I really can't monitor what happens while I'm asleep, so I'm opting for the gate. Now last night...while the Man was on duty and D was supposed to be sleeping, the Man left the room for a minute and came back to find D eating a large amount of candy...a "Nerd Rope" to be exact. I believe we may be getting that gate soon after all...heh, heh, heh!

3. Tonight is my last night of freedom. You see, yesterday was my 15 year anniversary. Yep, that's right. 15 years ago, and a little more than 15 pounds ago, I wore this dress and pledged my life to this man...

...and no, that's not why this is my last night of freedom. It is my last night of freedom because tomorrow night we are going out to celebrate said anniversary (we waited so we could see the movie "No Reservations" that doesn't open until tomorrow). Saturdays are just always jam-packed. Sunday night is the parent's meeting to kick off football season. And Monday is the FIRST DAY OF FOOTBALL PRACTICE!!! Now, don't get me wrong, I'm totally psyched about the start of football season...because, as you know, I HEART FOOTBALL. But, my evenings will be spent chasing a two-year old around the field while trying to watch both the football AND the cheer practice so that when my kids ask "Did you see that?" I can truthfully say, "Yes, I sure did!" Oh yeah, and trying to get pictures of all of it for posterity, coach's gifts, and blog fodder!

So, that said, I'm off to enjoy my last night of freedom by folding the laundry, loading the dishwasher, and watching "Dreamer" with my kids while we have this one last chance....sigh. Thanks for stopping by for the rambling drivel...again!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mi Vida Loca and a Chicken Recipe!

Yes, that's right. Life is crazy around here lately...not that it isn't always crazy, but for some reason I can't even seem to find a minute to blog lately! And we all KNOW that that is just NOT going to fly. Blogging is my outlet. Blogging is my link to the outside world. BLOGGING KEEPS ME SANE!!!! So, we're going to have to do something about the schedule to make sure that "Mama gets her blog time"!!

So, although I don't have time to actually, you know, write an interesting and witty post, I am going to steal a minute to post the promised chicken recipe and the cookie pictures from yesterday.

Chicken Stewed in Pineapple

1 1/2 cups juice-packed unsweetened pineapple chunks
1 cup red onions, chopped (I only used 1/4-1/2 cup as I'm feeding little kids too.)
1/2 cup tomatoes chopped, peeled (I didn't peel mine...who has time?!?)
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 ounces chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into 2-inch pieces

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat, bring pineapple with juice, onions, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper to a boil. Boil uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in chicken and return mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves.

Yield 6 servings

Nutritional Values

Fat: 1 g.
Carbs: 19 g.
Protein: 14 g.
Calories: 136 kcal.

Now, just for your information, my chicken breasts were frozen, and my day was busy (as usual), so I just stuck everything in the crockpot around noon and cooked it on high for 1 hour then turned it to low and cooked it until we were ready to eat (about 6:00pm). I removed the chicken and pineapple from the crockpot and then poured the liquid into a pot on the stove. I put 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into 1/2 cup of cold water and mixed it together. Then I added that to the pot and cooked it on medium-high heat until I had a good thick sauce. I made brown rice for the kids and whole wheat couscous for myself. I made a bed of rice, added some chicken and pineapple, then poured some of the sauce over it...YUM! We also had green beans and salad...just in case you were interested!

Now for the picture of the cookies...

(There's actually a good story to go with this picture, but I'm out of time, so it will have to wait for another day!)

And I'm afraid that's all for now. Did you read this as fast as I typed it??? It seems like when I read it through for editing purposes, I was reading at light speed! Anyway, thanks for stopping by...sorry to rush you out the door, but I gotta git!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend Wind-Up...the Early Edition

Okay, so it's not really that early, but my weekend's work isn't finished yet, so the Wind-Up is a little early! LOL! However, I know that you are all on pins and needles to see this weekend's cakes, so I thought I'd take a second to go ahead and post those pictures for you!

Okay, the first cake was for my niece who is expecting a baby next month. In order to completely appreciate this cake, you must first see the baby blanket that goes with her baby bedding...

And now...the cake!

And a close up of the detail...look familiar??? Hee-hee!

Now, the reason the cake looks a little "melty" is because my niece's favorite cake is my "Margarita Cake" and that particular cake doesn't go well with buttercream icing. Instead, it has a whipped cream cheese icing that although tasty, can't be smoothed and decorated like buttercream. Therefore, the decorations were made out of fondant and placed on top of the whipped icing. Just in case you were wondering...

And now, the cake that kept me up at night wondering "How in the world am I going to make this cake????" The cake that even after it was finished caused me to have not 1, but 2 nightmares about it completely falling apart when I tried to deliver it!

Now, I must first give blame credit where credit is due. Someone, who had attended a party that served one of my cakes, called me and asked me to make a "Nintendo DS" cake for her son's 9th birthday. She had found this picture online. Okay, it's on now! I can't turn down a challenge like that!!! So, I research a little and discover that the cake in the picture took 15 hours spread out over a week to make, it was made with a really heavy fruit cake which made it able to support the "lid" of the DS, and it was made with a lot of Marzipan. Okay...well, I only have one day available in my schedule to work on this cake, the cake is going to be my "chocolate covered strawberry cake" which is NOT a thick, heavy cake, and I will use fondant, not marzipan, because #1 - I've never used marzipan and don't want to experiment now, and #2 - I've heard it doesn't taste very good! So, I had to figure out a way to make this cake look like the other cake, but I'm on my own on the "how-to" part of the deal! So I got some ideas in my head and I just jumped in and 5 hours later....

I was pretty happy with it. Now, the "lid" part was not edible because there was no time to make a lid and let it set up and harden, but everything else was completely edible including the stylus... and I must say that for the first time since I started the cake business, I agreed with my husband that I don't charge enough! LOL!! Fortunately, I enjoy the process, so I just think of it as a hobby rather than a business, and then it's okay. I mean really, if I were scrapbooking, I'd be making nothing at all, right?

Well that was really about it for this weekend. I made two cakes, I attended a baby shower, went to church, had a nap (yes, I had an actual "Sunday afternoon nap"!) and now I have to start some laundry, do the supper dishes, and bake and decorate a dozen cookies to deliver tomorrow. Not too bad, but I best get to it!

Next time I'll post that chicken recipe I promised.

Thanks again for stopping by.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Quick Praise Report

Okay, I'm way behind on the cake decorating for today, so this is gonna be short, ya'll, but seriously you have to go read the last 2 or 3 updates on Little Ethan Powell. (Just click on his sweet little picture above and follow the "Updates" link. If you have been following him at all, you will know that they have just attempted their last resort at a cure for his leukemia and although this procedure has been tried 8 times has never worked. They tweak the procedure a little each time, and I won't go into all the details, but basically, they killed all the leukemia (again) with chemo and then they transplanted his father's stem cells into baby Ethan and were needing them to "take over" in Ethan's body. When they ran the blood tests, they needed the cells in his body to be 0% leukemia and 100% daddy. Well, the first tests are in and GUESS WHAT?!?!? 100% DADDY CELLS!!!!! This is just the first step, but it's a HUGE one.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Still a Loser?

Yep, another pound gone this week! It was a tough week diet and exercise-wise, but I still managed to drop one more pound. I was really hoping to at least not gain any after the week I've had, so I'm quite happy with another pound gone.

Unfortunately, football season is starting, and although I L.O.V.E. football, it means that my evening runs are over. We won't even get home until after dark and then I'll still have to feed everyone and get them all to bed, so I've started running in the mornings....

Have I mentioned the fact that I am not exactly a "morning person"? Well, I'm not. I'm more of an afternoon person really. Anything I'm going to get done, (that requires any type of energy)will most likely get done between the hours of noon and 6:00pm. Unfortunately, during football season, all activity around the house has to stop by 4:00pm in order to get everyone ready for football/cheer practice. Then we don't get home until sometime between 8:30 and 9:00pm. So, running in the morning it is! Did I mention that today is also trash day? I had to run past everyone's stinky trash out by the curb this morning, not to mention that stretch where I was behind the garbage truck for half a block or so.... Eeeewwww!! Well, if that doesn't make you pick up speed, I don't know what will!!!

So...on to more pleasant things! I believe in my last post I promised you the recipe for my favorite breakfast drink. If you've ever had an "Orange Julius" and liked it, you are gonna LOVE this one! And since I have to have a certain amount of orange juice and a certain amount of milk each day on my kidney diet, this is a great one for me! It technically makes 2 servings, but I drink the whole thing, and I have it twice a day in order to get in the amount of O.J. and milk I have to have each day! I just use it as my allowed snacks or my dessert rather than food.

Orange Glorious


3/4 c. Orange Juice
1/2 c. Skim Milk ( I use 1% instead, it only adds 1 1/2 calories per serving)
2 tsp. dried egg whites
1 tsp. honey
splash of vanilla
4 ice cubes


Place all the ingredients in a blender. Process on high speed until smooth and foamy. Serve immediately.

Yield: 2 servings

Nutritional Values

Fat: 0g
Carbs: 15g
Protein: 4g
Calories: 81 cal.

Next time, I'm going to share the recipe for Chicken Stewed in Pineapple. I made it last night and it was some kind of tasty! It was a little spicy for the younger kids, but Benji liked it a lot...but then again, Benji likes pineapple and the others don't, so that might have been part of it too. :) I liked it so much, I had to resist the urge to have it for breakfast this morning!

Okay, well I'm off to put my face on and go to the cake supply store and the grocery, I never made it yesterday. Then I'll be teaching school, doing laundry and dishes, and baking some wild cakes that I will post pictures of in my "Weekend Wind-Up" for your viewing pleasure! T.G.I.F!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Trying Desperately to Catch Up...

I've been trying to think of all the things I've promised you all in the past month or so that I haven't been able to follow-through it has become quite the list! So, this morning, I'm stealing a few minutes to at least deliver on a couple of them...

First of all, the results of my most recent kidney function test and doctor visit.

My kidney function is holding steady. :) However, my citrate levels (which are controlled by medication) are still too low, so I have to add another one of those horse pills to my morning regimen...sigh. (That makes 5 I take on a daily basis.) I believe I can hear a slight rattling noise when I walk! Also, my blood pressure was high which is not only a sign of kidney function problems, but is quite unusual for me. My blood pressure has been low my entire life, and the only other time it was high was when I had a very large stone preventing proper function of my kidney. And the fact that my blood pressure went up after I started jogging and exercising again is also odd. One would think that it would be the, we'll just keep and eye and a prayer on that for awhile.

Secondly, I believe I promised a recipe or two! This promise is much more fun to follow-through on!

Let's start with breakfast shall we?

French Toast with Cardamom-Apple Syrup


8 thin slices of apple
1 cup apple juice
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 T. cold water
2 eggs beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 slices whole wheat bread*


In a small saucepan, simmer the apple slices and apple juice until the slices are tender but retain their shape, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the apples and set aside. Reserve the juice.

In a cup, combine the cornstarch, cardamom, cinnamon, and water; stir into the reserved apple juice. Heat mixture to boiling, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened and clear. Set aside. In a shallow bowl, combine the egg and vanilla. Dip the bread slices in the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides.

In a nonstick skillet, lightly brown the bread on both sides. Remove to serving plates. Arrange the apple slices on the toast. Spoon the apple syrup on top.

Yield 8 servings**

Nutritional Values

Fat: 2 g
Carbs: 11 g
Protein: 3 g
Calories: 73 kcal

*Nutritional values are based on whole wheat bread that is 80 cal. a slice. You have to check your bread to see how many calories are in a slice.

**The servings are based on "The Biggest Loser" diet plan and it doesn't mean you only get to eat a half a piece of bread. It goes by calories, so depending on what you eat with it, you are allowed 2-4 "servings". For example, if you are eating eggs and bacon or some such with your french toast, you would eat less, if you are just having a half of a grapefruit with it, you can eat more. So, just make as much or as little as you want for your family. The above is the amount that I made for myself and the kids (2 slices each for myself and the older boys, and one slice each for the two younger ones, with fruit and bacon for the kids, and fruit only for me.) kid did ask for seconds, so I guess I should have made more! LOL!

Okay, that's it for now. School and chores are waiting, not to mention the dreaded trip to the grocery store! Next most favorite breakfast drink, EVER!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Is it a diaper bag...or is it a CAKE????

I know you have all been having "cake picture" withdrawals, so I thought I'd take a quick minute to post a couple of pictures for you.

This cake was for a diaper shower at my church yesterday. I had a totally different cake in mind when I was first asked to make a cake for the shower, but when I found out that it was a "Diaper Shower" the idea of a diaper bag cake just popped into my head and I decided to save the other idea for another time! Anyway, I think it turned out really cute, and I was so pleased with it that I plan to recreate it for the "Capital Confectioner's Cake Decorating Convention" cake decorating contest.

Here it is from the front...

And from the back...

Of course for the contest, I'll have to make the bottle, pacifier, and toys out of gumpaste or something rather than just buying them, but time was short on this project, and I wanted the mother to get some fun stuff other than just diapers!

Now, I probably should have started with this one, because it'll be a huge letdown after the whole diaper bag extravaganza...but I also made a little carrot cake a couple of weeks ago that I didn't get to post because of my computer's sudden illness. So, I thought I'd just post that one real quick for you today too.

And that's it for now. I hope to be back to my regular blogging schedule this week, but for now I must tackle some laundry because I have to go to Dallas tomorrow to get the results of my most recent kidney function tests and to make sure my medication levels are correct, so....the kids are going to spend the night at GRANDMA'S HOUSE!!!! So, today is laundry and packing up the kids! Once that is all done, I will resume my regularly scheduled blogging life!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Whew!! That was nerve-wracking!

Okay, so after I last "spoke" to all of you, the computer completely pulled a Linda Blair/Excorcist thingy and nothing worked right at all. So, I spent another $129 to buy flash drives to back up all of my files and pictures that I needed to keep, and my wonderful friend and neighbor wiped the hard drive for me and completely reinstalled my OS and drivers for me. So, I am now starting fresh with a basically new computer. There are still a couple of glitches that I'm dealing with, but they are more "software or website" related than computer problems, so I'll just keep working on them until I get it all figured out.

So, I have a couple of questions for all of you out there. I need some input on the best Virus protection software. I had Norton, but the new 2007 version has had some issues and may have been part of the problem in the first place, so I'm considering changing to a different one. Anybody out there have recommendations?

Also, I've set up my Outlook to receive my email, but for some reason it can send, but not receive. It keeps saying that the pop-server isn't recognizing my user name or password, but when I logon directly to the webmail with that same user name and password, it brings up my mail just yes, I can get my mail, but I have to do it on the web, and it is difficult to reply that way. For some reason, when I hit the "reply" button, it starts loading the page, and 5 minutes later, it's still loading the page. I just don't have that kind of time here, people! If anyone else has ever had that problem with Outlook and knows what to do, PLEASE share!!!

Finally, (for now anyway) I had my second weigh-in this morning on "The Biggest Loser Club" and I lost another pound. I was hoping for at least 2, but my schedule this week was all mixed up, and although I stuck to the proper caloric intake, I didn't always eat the best food, and because we were out and about quite a bit this week I missed one day of strength training, and because B had to work late last night, I only got in a 30 minute run rather than my usual hour. Not to mention the fact that I have been running with 3 lb. ankle weights (1.5 lbs. on each leg) and 2 pound hand weights, but hubby was worried about my joints, so he made me stop using them when I run. I will still use them if I'm just walking, or for some of my strength training, but they are out for running...sigh.

So, to date, my total weight-loss has been 5 lbs. in two weeks, and technically, I only have 7 lbs. to go, however it looks like in order to get my BMI (body mass index) to the appropriate 22, I'm going to have to lose at least another 5 lbs. When I set up my weight-loss goals, I chose a number that was right in the middle of the zone that they recommend for someone my height and age. And I chose the middle number because I know that muscle weighs more than fat, and I wanted to build muscle, not just lose fat, so I opted for a little more weight to account for all that muscle I plan on having. LOL! However, I know that in the past, I have felt my best at 5-10 pounds less than that, and apparently my BMI likes me at 5-10 lbs. less as well, so I'm shooting for the 5 lbs. less. (Which incidentally was the weight I was on my wedding day when I wore the most beautiful size 4 dress!)

Okay, I'd best get to it if I'm going to do better with my goals today! Woo-Hoo!!! I'll keep you all updated on my progess as I go. And I have the most wonderful recipe to share later as well!

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What a Loser!

Okay, I know I've been gone for crashed again (errrr!), but I do have some big news to share. I mentioned in a previous post that I've been watching reruns of "The Biggest Loser" and have been so very impressed by their successes and by their fitness level after just a few months on the program. In fact, they had an episode where two people who had been previously kicked off the show were able to return after losing weight on their own at home. The thing that struck me was that these two returned to the ranch having actually lost more weight than those who had stayed on the ranch, however when it came time to start working out with the group, they were struggling to keep up. They had concentrated only on weight loss and had not been doing the strength training that the others had done. THEN I watched as all of these very large people competed in a triathalon and they all completed it! I was so impressed that I decided that this was the way I wanted to lose my extra 12 pounds.

So....I joined the "Biggest Loser Club" online and got started with the new diet and the workouts. I am pleased to report that at my first weigh in, I had lost 4 pounds!!! I don't expect to drop that much every week as my metabolism adjusts to the new diet etc., but I am very pleased so far with how it is working and how I feel! My next weigh-in is Friday morning. I'll let you all know then how I did.

In the meantime, I have been making cakes and cookies, and will update when I can, but I'm still trying to restore some things to the computer here, and I'll be spending quite a bit of time on that for awhile. I've also still been cooking breakfast and dinner each day for the family and have found some great new recipes with this new diet that I'll be sharing soon as well.

Now I must get back to the laundry so I can get that finished and then start dinner. Hopefully, this thing will stay up and running and I'll be back again soon!

Thanks for stopping by!