4/28/14

Cooking Ladies #7

We had made it to everyone's homes, so April we were back to my house.  Yesterday was a MISERABLE day that gave us a taste of what it must have been like to like back in the Dirty 30's...no thanks!

Despite the wind, we got a lot of cooking done in a little over 2 hours and our kiddos got to play together!

Sara - Spicy Southwest Chicken
1 tomato, quartered
1/2 onion, cut into chunks
1/4 jalepeno, seeded
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
6 pieces chicken

Put all ingredients except chicken in food processor and pulse until smooth.  Put marinade and chicken in freezer safe ziploc bag.  When ready to use, thaw in fridge and then grill chicken

Hilary - Burritacos

Tara - Sassy Sloppy Joes
{Preston LOVES sloppy joes and he begged me to eat these last night so we did.  His comment was, "They are packed full of flavor!"}

Rachel - Hawaiian Ham & Cheese Sliders

Jody - Ranch Cheeseburgers
2 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1 packet ranch seasoning

Mix all together in large bowl and form into hamburger patties.  Grill.

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This is only part of our food...some of it had already been put away! I can't say enough how nice it is to have these meals in the freezer each month! I know Tara is really looking forward to using hers after our newest little cooking lady makes her appearance in the next month. I can't believe when we started in October at my house we were telling Tara we all though she was pregnant...and here we are SO very close to the arrival of her baby! Time surely does go fast. I'm hoping that next time we cook, she'll be here and we can take turns holding her while we cook :)

Cooking Ladies #6

March took us to Rachel's house for Cooking Ladies.

I didn't get any pictures of us while we were cooking...we had LOTS to talk about, lol!

I'll share the recipes and then our group photo shoot at the end.

Jody - Ham & Cheese Braid
{We have enjoyed this again! It's easy to put together and is very kid friendly....well, since I left the poppy seeds off!}
Jody also brought us the following Ranch Dressing:
Grandma DA's Ranch Dressing
1c Mayo 
3/4 c Buttermilk
1t garlic powder
1t lemon pepper
3/4 t Lawry's
1t dried chives

Rachel - Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
{If you like buffalo wings, you'll enjoy these!}

Tara - Slowcooker BBQ Spareribs
{We haven't eaten this yet because I need to get more ribs to feed our crew. It smelled really delicious when we were mixing it up!}

Hilary - Pioneer Woman's Drip Beef Sandwiches
{We really enjoyed these!}

Sara - BBQ Meatballs
3 lbs ground beef
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp chili powder
Sauce:
2 cups Ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine all meatball ingredients and shape into walnut-size balls {I make baseball size ones!}. Place meatballs in 9x13 baking dish. Mix all sauce ingredients and pour evenly over meatballs. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour {it will depend on the size of your meatballs.}

So, I forgot my camera and Rachel offered to take our pictures....this is what happened to us! That Rachel, she's a jokester, lol!

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{Again, sorry Tara...your face?!!! CRACKS ME UP! Hilary...looking at Rachel like, "What is going on?!"}






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That darn camera just kept GOING and GOING and GOING! We sure gave Rachel a hard time, but these pictures are so funny and I think they really show how much fun we have cooking and just being friends!

Love you girls!

Cooking Ladies #5

I thought I had posted our recipes from Cooking Ladies in February, but apparently I just got this post all ready and then didn't hit the publish button!

We cooked at Tara's house in February and since the little girl bun in her oven is getting closer and closer to arriving we thought it would be fun to have a Cooking Ladies Surprise Baby Shower for her. We fixed up a cute little basket full of PINK things and had PINK refreshments!!

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She was surprised and we had a lot of fun with it! Hopefully, she and Tyler are a little less anxious about all the girly things about to enter their lives!

Now on to the recipes...

Sara - Southwest Casserole
1 kg (7 oz) elbow macaroni
2 lbs ground beef
1 lg onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (16 0z) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies, drained
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

Cook macaroni according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in large saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.  Drain.  Stir in the tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, chilies, and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Drain macaroni; stir into beef mixture.  Transfer half to a greased 2 quart baking dish.  Top with half the cheese and half the jalapeno.  Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Cool the remaining half of the casserole and put into a freezer safe baking dish or into a freezer bag.  You can put the cheese and jalapeno into a smaller freezer bag and store in the freezer as well.  Thaw and cook according to directions above.

Hilary - Mexican Manicotti
{We enjoyed this!  I think next time I'll try it more in the form of a lasagna and see if it goes together quicker.}

Tara - Sweet Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken
2 lbs chicken tenders or breasts (cut into chunks)
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
Place all ingredients in freezer safe ziploc bag.
Cook on low in the crockpot for 6 to 8 hrs.
{We enjoyed this with rice!  A great meal for when you need to throw something in the crockpot before you head out the door.}

Jody - Stuffed French Bread
1lb hamburger
3/4t  oregano
salt & pepper
1/4t  dry mustard
1/3c  parsley
1  egg
1 1/2 c  shredded cheese
1/2  stick butter
Cut the bread in half & hollow it out.  Put bread crumbs in a bowl & mix with other ingredients except butter.  Stuff in both sides of French Bread & put back together.  Wrap in tinfoil & freeze or pour melted butter on top wrap in tinfoil & bake @ 400 for 20 minutes.
{We enjoyed this dipped in ranch and also think that next time we'll serve it with homemade marinara because it reminds us of pizza!}

Rachel - Doritos Taco Bake
Ingredients:
1 lb. hamburger
1 pkg. taco seasoning
8 oz. sour cream
1 pkg. crescent rolls (8)
1 can Rotel
1 small can tomato sauce
1 c. shredded cheese
Dorito chips


1. Brown hamburger and drain.
2. Add taco seasoning, tomato sauce, tiny bit of water, sour cream and Rotel. Mix and cook briefly.
3. Press crescent rolls out into the bottom of a 9x13 to form a crust {I use 2 cans for more crust}
4. Pour meat mixture on top of crust.  Spread cheese on top of meat.  Crush Doritos and place them on top of cheese.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
{To make this a freezer meal, you will only prepare the meat mixture....let it cool and then put it in a freezer bag.  Thaw and bring to room temp before layering it up in your pan and baking!  This is one of our family favs!!}

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{Rachel the party pooper! :) }

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{I caught her off guard...sorry Tara!}

4/17/14

Cambree's 8th Birthday Party ~ Just Dance

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We talked and talked about a party theme for weeks and FINALLY CJ decided that a dance party would be just the thing for her this year! I immediately agreed and we got right to work planning this EPIC birthday bash. We began with those cute disco ball invitations up there so all her family and friends wouldn't miss a bit of the action.

She decided to go with neon colors and animal prints for her decorations and that worked out perfectly because that stuff is easy to find right now. A disco ball was also on her wishlist, but man those things are kind of pricey and then there's the whole wiring it up thing to contend with. So I got crafty and made one out of a paper lantern and some silver glitter that I had just waiting for the perfect project. It was super fun....but I'm still finding silver glitter in my house!

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We had lots of dance props for everyone as well. Fun hats, disco ball necklaces, microphones and clip in neon hair braids!!

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We has also found some fun old records at the flea market to use as part of the party decor! Get a load of that Olivia Newton-John vinyl!!!

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For food she sweet talked me into making homemade pizza! After Preston's party I said I wouldn't do that again, but how do you do it for one child and say no to another? So once again I rolled up my sleeves and had flour and pizza sauce flying around the kitchen.

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I think it was a big hit! These empty trays are even after a HUGE salad I fixed was gobbled up and some veggies and dip as well! We have some big eaters in our family :)

Another request from the Birthday Girl was to use the chocolate fountain that I had used at Preston's class Valentine's party. I had borrowed it from my friend, Rachel and she so graciously said we could keep it until after the party.

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We had LOTS of goodies to dip in the chocolate...Oreos, Strawberries, Graham Crackers, Pretzels, Marshmallows....YUM!

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Matter of fact, it was a big a hit with the grown-ups as it was with the kids. So much so, that Dad got chocolate on his shirt and had to put on my Apron! The kids all thought this was pretty funny :)

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For her cake, Cambree just wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting that said, "Happy Birthday Rock Star!" Easy enough. She's quite the talented young lady too because she did all the piping of the words on her own cake. That gave me some mixed emotions, but it's so much fun to help her learn new things....things I know she will carry on with her kids one day!

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It turned out PERFECT!! And it was delicious too!!

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So after we ate...and the kids had been in the chocolate fountain, they didn't want cake yet, so we let Cambree open her gifts.

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This was her gift from mom and dad....a PARTY ROCKER sound and lights machine. Uncle Russ saved the day and the party by picking this up last minute for us before he came up for the party. The party definitely wouldn't have been as epic had we not had this little gem. It has lights that go with the beat of the music and a microphone! Every 8 year old girls dream! Plus it's Bluetooth and I could DJ the party from across the room!

The party guests just couldn't hardly contain themselves as they waited for CJ to finish opening the rest of her loot!

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FINALLY she finished and we headed downstairs to the dance hall!

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P & C had worked on some sort of choreography to Katie Perry's ROAR...it was pretty good!

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Westynn took a little coaxing to get out there, but he eventually warmed up and then he was a dancing machine!!

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It wasn't long before all the girls were hot, sweaty and red-faced! But they were having so much fun they couldn't stop!

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Cambree even got her dad to dance and sing to a Luke Bryan song...there are no words to describe how hilarious this was to a basement full of 8 year old girls!

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{Oh, he'll die when he finds out I put these on my blog! So don't go telling him, lol!}

And being the awesome mom that I am....I let them all eat cake the next morning before I took them home! You're Welcome parents!!

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My Dearest Cambree Jane,
I have never met an 8 year old as vibrant and special as you are. I know I write this every year, but I'm blown away by your heart....it's as big and wide as an ocean!!! I think God gave you the biggest one possible. It's the thing I love most about you and it's what other people always notice right away. I pray that you heart remains to gently forever.

You are also really funny and lots of fun to spend time with. Now that you are older we can do more things together, like shopping and walking and harder craft projects. I love all the time we spend together and I hope that we will continue to do fun things together, always! My favorite thing we've done recently was when we talked to Grandma and Papa's house and back one nice afternoon. We had some good talk time and we got some good exercise in as well!

You are still patiently waiting on your Dad to get you a horse. You write a lot about it in your school work and you have been such a good girl about it. I hope he gets that horse for you this year and that you live it as much as you think you will. You've said before that you want to be a horse trainer when you grow up, so we'll get you headed down the right track! You're starting to read chapter books and that makes me extremely happy. I hope you'll develop a love of reading and one day we can share books with each other.

You chose a great theme for your birthday party and it was the most fun! You're such a creative girl and you had lots of great ideas for decorating. My prayers for you are that you will grow healthy and strong, you will continue to have a servant's heart, that you will always remain friends with your brothers, and most importantly that your heart will be open to Jesus and the Redeeming blood that He shed for you.

I LOVE YOU, PEANUT!
Mama




Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day meant I was a party mom once again! {Well, technically the day before, but whatever!}

This time for Preston's class and since the kids are a little older this year, I had the fantastic idea to do a chocolate fountain for them.  Only one problem...I don't own one!  But after texting some friends, Rachel came to the rescue!!


4th grade party collage

One of my favorite things about being a Party mom is seeing how my kids interact with their teachers and classmates. That, and the excitement Westynn always has about getting to go to school and see "the kids."

That Thursday after school we brought home two friends with us, Keith and Carlie. After a quick taco supper at the house, Jeremy and I took all 5 kids to Dodge to see the Lego movie. The boys were NOT impressed that I made them stand outside the theater and take a picture.

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Cambree and Westynn had some fun on the 14th with their red gatorade mustaches!

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I sure do LOVE these crazy kids a BUNCH!!