Thursday, December 31, 2009


     I am so hopeful for this year!  Not only am I feeling really good about 2010 and promising to stay optimistic, but my 2010 horoscope says amazing things (including that the last couple years were hard which is true!) and I already have lots of plans in the works.  I cannot wait to blog about all of them and see what other things come up.  I will be honest I was worried, at first, about 2010.  2009 was such a good year what does that mean for 2010? But quickly my mood changed and I am very excitied about everything to come in 2010.  A baby shower for someone I love dearly, other friends' babies should be arriving any day, amazing birthday parties already in the works for 3 special people, projects, baking, cakes, and competitions.  I am excited about it all!  I am also excited about decluttering my house (again) and making good financial choices for my family and myself.  The decluttering is already in the works.  I am selling 6 prom/formal dresses on ebay that have been taking up an entire closet, and my wedding dress. [Go buy one ;)] I love it dearly, but it will never be worn again, and it takes up a lot of room.  It was a hard decision to make, but I know it is the right one. It is so beautiful but I have all the photos and memories of wearing it and really that is all that matters.
     I hope that everyone has a happy and safe New Year.  Start the year off right by getting a DD to get you to and from your events safely and without jail time or a ticket.  I will say that a DWI in the first hours of the year probably is not the best sign of a good year to come.  Eat some black eyed peas tomorrow for luck.  Hug your babies a little extra tight and think happy thoughts. 

Happy New Year Everyone!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Goodbye 2009 I'll Remember You Always

     This has been the most amazing year and I am so sad that it came to an end so quickly.  On December 31, 2008 I made a New Year's resolution; to make myself happy in 2009.  I have always been a fairly happy person but 2006, 2007, and 2008 were fairly difficult years.  Not terrible but I can honestly say I was not as happy as I would like to have been.  So, I did not tell anyone my resolution.  I didn't even write it down.  I kept it in my head and told myself to keep this resolution. 

     I'll be honest I've never been a resolution setter, much less a resolution keeper.  But I will tell you this that in 2009 I kept my New Year's resolution 110%!  I did so many things, saw so many things, and learned so much!  I learned that it is ok to think about myself from time to time.  At the same time I learned that making other people happy or feel good makes me happy.  And above all I learned how truly blessed I really am.
     In 2009 I...

Spent lots of time with my wonderful family and extended family
My brother came home from the Marine Corps
I got to visit (one of) my cousins and my grandmother down in Austin...and more then once!
The only thing that could top it off is if my older sister and her kids could have come home for the holidays

I went to my very first cake competition in Austin, Texas.  My sister-in-law, A, went with me.  My cousin took us down to 6th Street and we had the time of our lives.  We were hurting the next morning, but it was well worth it.  The most memorable trip to Austin, I'd have to say!

My sister and I saw Rent the Broadway tour in Dallas, with two of the original cast members.  It was amazing!  I love the theater, but Rent takes the cake!

I went on an amazing cruise with 3 of my favorite people in the world.  My sister and her husband (above) and Tuck.  We had an amazing time!  Thanks to the swine flu our 5 day Mexican cruise was turned into an AMAZING 7 day cruise to Jamaica and Grand Cayman at no additional cost to us other then the two extra days tasty beverages.  Although I really missed the girls, I would be back on that ship in a heart beat.  I have never seen water so blue.  Jamaica was really pretty but Cayman was my favorite.  We ate lots, drank even more, made some new friends, and had the time of our lives.  The best memories ever! "Ugly Betty this is Dinah, over"

For the Fourth of July my cousin and his girlfriend came up from Austin.  We pretty much hung out at the house but we were accompanied by a pony keg and a nice bottle of Grey Goose.  My cousin's girlfriend beat Tuck at Risk, which made me love her even more then I already did!  Tuck never loses at Risk and she whooped him!  I love that girl!

I made lots of cakes, created my cake business website, and had a booth at my very first Bridal Show in Rockwall, Texas.  You can read all about those adventures on my cake blog.  Up until this year I was 100% self taught, but in February I decided to take a beginner class.  Although I knew all the things that were taught in the class I did learn some neat tips and tricks in the 4 night class I took.

Tuck and I were fortunate enough, not only to get to keep our jobs this year when so many people were out of work, but we were fortunate enough to get to give our daughters fun birthdays that they will enjoy looking back at the pictures and remembering how much fun they had with all the bubbles, tutus, presents, and cake.  Grumps and Gigi (my dad and step mom) blessed us with a nap mat for Teeter's birthday and a playhouse for the backyard for Bowbas's birthday.  The girls LOVE this stuff!  Teeters loves laying on her nap mat in the play room.  Since it has a blanket it attached it's really more like a sleeping bag but she love, love, loves it. "I wanna lay on my mabmat"  Bowbas can't wait to go outside and get in their house everyday.  Teeters loves it too, but Bowbas just loves to take the watering can in there, shut the door, come back out, ring the door bell.


We also got to take the girls to the Ringlig Bros Circus.  A perk of going to the circus is riding the train.  Tuck hates riding the train, but the kids love it and it costs $6 to ride all day versus paying $25 to park at American Airlines and sit in traffic to get in and out.  Going to the circus is always a really long day and the girls were pooped afterwards.  They had popcorn, cotton candy, they got stuffed pink ponies, programs, and  spinning light things.  All kinds of wonderful stuff.  Teeters loves elephants so the circus was a highlight of her year.  She talked about it for weeks afterwards, and would look through her program numerous times a day.


I got to see the great Paul McCartney in concert at the new Cowboy's stadium.  It was one of the most amazing nights of my life.  I saw Paul McCartney, live.  I can now justify that he is real and amazing! Hahaha!


Tuck got a promotion at work.  He had a 5 year goal which I must say he stuck to very well considering that he met his goal in only 4 years.  It has been an interesting transition for him, but he and everyone around him is adjusting.  It has been great for our family and he is now working on his goal for the next 5 years.  I am very pround of him.

Teeters took her very first and possibly last dance class this year.  We went for a month, but she was not a big fan once they moved the class into a room where the parents could not come in.  Either way she had fun at first and we did not force it on her.  Once she begged me to not take her then we were done.

This Halloween was so much fun!  We went to downtown McKinney for Scare on the Square.  There were a lot of people but the Bowbas and Teeter Bees had so much fun! Mimi and Pop (my mom and step dad) and K, J, and Little Cheeky B came with us, the girls got lots of candy in their buckets, and then we ate dinner at Fudruckers.  It was a great time even though I locked my keys in my car. Thank you A for coming to save the day!

I got a very early Christmas gift this year from Tuck.  A new camera that I have been wanting for a while now.  I love it!  There are no words and I can not wait to learn more about it so I can capture the best possible pictures of my daughter's memories.  This type of camera does take a little getting used to since you are responsible for focusing it.  I'm catching on and I love it!


The holidays.  I did so many fun things with my girls.  We went to a tree lighting in Allen, where Bowbas's "Wubbies" was lost.  It was really stressful but still a memory.  We had a beautiful Thanksgiving at home with a few family members.  I spend probably about 10 hours of preparing and cooking for 20 or so minutes of eating, but it was well working it. We went to McKinney's Dicken's Christmas.  It was not exactly what we thought it would be, but we still had fun.  Mrs. S and I took the kids to Crump's Garden in north McKinney to see all the poinsettas.  It was beautiful!  Then Mrs. S and her kids came over the make gingerbread houses (which I had a post about).  We watched all our favorite Christmas movies during the season, baked lots and lots of cookies and other treats, and had a fire in the fireplace more then once.  It snowed on Christmas Eve.  It was a white Christmas morning.  We spent lots of time with family.  And it was all so memorable.

And finally...

I am going into 2010 with the hope that it will be equally as good as or better then 2009.  I am honestly sad to see 2009 come to an end so quickly.  I will always look back on this year with such a fond heart.  Tears come to my eyes when I think of how incredibly blessed I truly am.  Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 28, 2009

How Was Your Christmas?

     Christmas came and went with a blink of an eye.  I have to admit that this year I am glad that it is over.  It was magical though.  We had a white Christmas.  A white Christmas in Texas!  Can you believe it!?  The only negative was that we had to drive all over the world in the ice.  It was way too much driving and I am putting it out there now that next Christmas at our house.
     The girls loved everything though. All the presents, the fire, the music, the candy, the magic.  It was amazing and I am so glad that Santa left our house looking like a Christmas Wonderland.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Make Your Christmas Magical

     I want to start this post by saying thank you, Mom.  You always made sure that Christmas was magical.  Not just "we got what we wanted" magical but real Christmas magic that only kids can appreciate. We would come down stairs or out of our room into a Christmas Wonderland.  We had gone to bed the night before with sponge rollers in our hair, Christmas pjs on, and the excitement uncontainable.  The four of us would lay in one room, all together (I guess so no one would peek or so that the excitement would be even more uncontrolable), and just could not possibly go to sleep knowing that any minute Santa will be coming down the chimney with what?  What will he be leaving me?  Will I be getting everything I asked for? Was I good enough this year? What will my siblings be getting?  We would look out the window and woosh Santa and his reindeer flew across the sky. 
     As kids, our bodies knew that it was Christmas morning and we would be up long before the sun.  If we were not up before the crack of dawn we would be awoke by a loud "Feliz Navidad!" (even though we have no Hispanic heritage anywhere in our family, hahaha) coming from the loud voice of our dad.  He would bust the bedroom door open and yell it again "Fleiz Navidad! Santi Claus came"  We would be up in a flash and run as fast as our tired legs could carry us into the living room where Santa had not only piled presents under the tree for four little shining faces, but he had turned our living room into a Christmas Heaven.  With candles lit all over the place, beautiful candies in wonderful dishes and jars on the coffee table and fireplace, and all the Christmas lights twinkling.  Every year was a Christmas dream that any kid would give their right arm to have.
     I will never forget how wonderful Christmas was and the feelings building up in my little body every year, when I first saw the master piece that was Christmas in the living room.  When I became a parent my only wish was that I would be able to make Christmas as magical as my mom did.  I wanted my kids to enter the living room and remember all those little details just like I do.  The candies, the presents, the candles and lights.  The excitement all around.  In my childhood mind it was Santa that lit all the candles before he left, he filled our stockings, and placed all the candies just where they needed to be.  It was always candies that came from a candy store, candies that we did not often see throughout the year, so I thought the elves had made the candies for Santa to leave in everyone's living room with their presents and such.  My favorite Christmas candy memory is the raspberry and blackberry candies.
     As we get older Christmas gets a little less magical every year, but I want there to be something that even as teenagers and adults my kids won't be able to wait to come home and see what Santa has left in the living room. Maybe Mom made Christmas so magical because she was inspired by a family that lived down the street from her growing up in Austin.  She told me how excited they always were. Even as adults all the "kids" came home every year, and would talk about how excited they were that Santa was coming that night. I think she said they would all camp out in the living room, waiting for Santa to leave presents under the tree. Their parents had kept the magic in Christmas all those years.
     So tonight run to your Walgreens and grab some extra bags of candies, some candles, and whatever else moves you to make your living room as magical as possible for your kids.  Set your alarm to get up before your kids light all the candles, turn on the music, plug in the lights, light a fire if it isn't 80 degrees outside (we do live in never know). Have a happy, safe, wonderfully magical Christmas.  God Bless.

It's Snowing Marshmallows

Here is a fun recipe that you can wrap up and put in stockings, give as gifts, or put in a dish for anyone to enjoy.

Start by making these homemade marshamallows.  You will need...

3 1/2 (.25 oz) envelopes unflavored gelatin (2 Tbsp. plus 2.5 tsp)
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp powdered egg whties
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powered sugar, divided

Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water in a medium mixing bowl.  Stir to blend gelatin, and let stand 5 minutes.
Whisk together granulated sugar and next 3 ingredients in a medium heavy saucepan.  Cook over medium-low heat, stiring constantly, 3 minutes or until sugar dissolve.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook, without stirring, 12 minutes or until candy thermometer registers 240 degrees.  remove from heat; add to the gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin dissolves.  Beat at high speed with an electric mixer 8 minutes or until thick and tripled in size.
Combine powerded egg whites and 1/4 cup of water in a small mixing bowl.  Beat at high speed with an electric mixer 6 minutes or until stiff peaks form.  Fold egg whites and vanilla into sugar mixture.
Pour mixture into a lightly greased 13x9 inch pan coated with powdered sugar.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.  Cover and chill overnight.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosed.  Invert marshmallows onto a cutting board.  Using cookie cutters (I used snowflake cutters) push down hard all the way through the marshmallow then pull away.  Dredge the cutouts into the remaining powdered sugar.  Push a lollipop stick into the bottom of the shape.  Sprinkle colored sugars or white chocolate on the cut outs.  Wrap in treat bags and ribbon.  Enjoy!

Recipe Review

    I love recipes that come on the back of packages.  I collect them in a binder.  I will say that I have had excellent luck finding amazing recipes on the backs of various items.  For example we regularly eat recipes from the back of the Biquick box.  Their Ultimate Chicken Fingers are really good.  I have got my entire family addicted to those chicken fingers.  And on the back of evaporated milk there is a great recipe for this mac and cheese made with cheddar and pepper jack.  It was a huge hit at Thanksgiving. 
   When I came across the recipe for Ginger Cheesecake Dessert on the back of Betty Crocker's Gingerbread Cookie Mix.  It could not wait to try it.

Now I know I could have waited...

There is a reason they call it a "cheesecake dessert"  it is much softer then actual cheesecake.  To me the thought of cheesecake with a gingerbread crust was very exciting.  They call to crumble 5 ginger cookies over the top.  It's overwhelming.  The lemon juice threw off the flavor of the "cheesecake."  And it just wasn't right. 

It did not taste right to me at all, and the texture was all wrong.   So I give this recipe 2 out of 5 forks...they had right idea but the execution was not there.

Toddler Foods

So I came across this book yesterday in Walgreens.  It was only $4 and well worth it.  Let me tell you it is hard to come up with ideas of foods like toddlers will enjoy and the parents can enjoy too.  This book has some amazing recipes in it that not only toddlers will like, but Mom and Dad will definitely be a fan of too!

I plan to buy a couple to put away for baby shower gifts and possibly a future giveaway.

Thank You Julia

     So I am going to put it out there right now...I LOVE the movie Julie & Julia.  Meryl Strep was amazing, as always, and she really made me love Julia Child.  Also, I really related to Julie Powell.  I would like to know what woman has seen this movie and did not run out and buy Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I did not see this movie in the theater.  Tuck went out the day the movie came out on DVD and rented it for me.  I went and bought it on DVD the next day.  I really loved it. A couple days later I came home with Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  When I got home with the book, I was so intimidated by the contents that I almost took it back to Barns and Noble to return it.
     I decided to keep the book after reading a little more into it.  I became more comfortable with the book.  I will say this cook book is not for the impatient or those who can not follow directions.  To complete one recipe you will have to read 3-5 different pages, it will take you quite a while to complete, and if you do not follow the instructions carefully the recipe will not turn out. I suggest putting post its on the pages you will need for the recipe you are working on.
     Sometimes I can get impatient, but not with cooking.  So I decided to make Boeuf Bourguignon and a Souffle A La Vanille for dessert.  It took me about 5 hours of non-stop cooking on Friday evening.  I will tell you that Julia Child's cooking is for weekend purposes, and not for after a long day at work and shopping.  Also, it is expensive but well worth every minute and cent that you put into it.

So 4 hours into cooking the boeuf was ready!  Tuck and I were so excited and really hungry because it was close to 9 pm.  We normally eat around 6 pm.  It was amazing!! The meat was tender, so full of flavor, and you could eat an entire meal of just those sauteed mushrooms and brown braised pearl onions.  Tuck and I love food, but I have never seen Tuck eat like he did on Friday night.  It was so amazing.  This recipe makes a lot of food.  It called for 3 pounds of stewing beef.  There is not one drop left of this, we ate it all.  If you ever want to make an impressive meal, this is the one to make.  In Julie & Julia, Julie makes this meal for Judith Jones who ends up cancelling at the last minute due to rain.  When Julie's husband sits down with the big plate he takes a bite and then adds salt.  Julie says "is it bland?"  All I have to say is that you would have to do something really really wrong to make this meal bland.  It was so full of flavor I just do not see how this could ever be bland.

We served it with fresh French bread.  I think I already said it was amazing, but it was amazing!  While we were feasting on my (actually Julia's) masterpiece, the Vanilla Souffle was baking away.

I was so nervous about the souffle. Did I beat the egg whites long enough?  Where those stiff peaks I saw, or soft peaks? What if it cooks over? My mold was a little taller then what Julia says to use, but it still puffed up and was delicous.  I do not know how we were able to eat it, but we found the room in our bellies and ate almost the entire thing.

So thank you Julia Child for such amazing recipes.  It was the best dinner I ever had.

The Princess and The Frog

So we went to see The Princess and The Frog last night.  I will tell you up front that most of the movie is based around voo-doo.  The movie did have some good messages like always believe in your dreams, work hard to get there, and never lose sight of who you really are.  Also, that hard work is important but happiness, family, and love are important too.

On the other hand the movie has a lot of dark voo-doo.  The "Shadow Man" has "friends on the other side."  I thought after the prince became the frog that would be the end of the dark shadows and voodoo, but I was mistaken because this is an on going theme throughout the movie.  I think the radio critic gave this a fair family friendliness rating, however, since my kids have seen it I would let them watch it again. I think it is important to explain to children that are a little older how you feel about the voodoo before and after seeing it, so they will know how to feel about it. This was not one of the girls' favorites but they enjoyed it. 

To See or Not to See?

So here is the verdict.  We have decided that tomorrow evening, Teeter Bees, Bowbas, M, Mrs. S, and I will be going to see the Princess and The Frog.  We watch loves of Disney Movies and I ca not imagine that this particular Disney movie will have any negative effect on my girls.  I will be happy to post an update on how the movie was, but we love Disney Princesses so I am sure it will be a hit.  This will be Bowbas' first movie at a movie theater.

On the other hand we have decided that Alvin and the Chipmunks needs to be put on hold for our family. It looks so adorable, so I am a little bummed to report this.  However, I do not enjoy watching my 3 year old walking around shaking her tiny booty and saying "shake watch your mama gave ya!"  Although it sounds funny, to people at the grocery store that do not know is not.  They are wondering what I am teaching my daughter.  So Alvin and the Chimpunks...I am sorry to say my babies will not be able to watch you at this young age.  Is it totally bad if I rent it when it comes out on DVD, hide in my room, and do not let the girls see it?  Hehehe.

Friday, December 18, 2009


I have posts coming this weekend...I'm so pooped that I just won't be able to get them finished tonight.  Check back and Saturday and Sunday for new posts about yummy food, Christmas, and New Years party ideas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

To See or Not to See?

So the other day Tuck and I started discussing whether or not we should take the kids to see The Princess and the Frog.  The radio film critic gave it 2 out of 5 stars for family friendliness because of the "dark voo-doo magic" present in the film. 

A witch doctor uses voo-doo magic to turn the prince into a frog. The critic said there were some positive messages in the movie, but the dark voo-doo magic brought up more then once in the movie caused him to give it 2 out of 5 stars for family friendliness. Tell us...will you be taking your kids to see this movie?

The other movie that just came up today is the Alvin & The Chipmunk Squeakwal.  I couldn't wait to take the girls to see this movie until today, and now Tuck and I are not sure if it is appropriate for younger kids.  Teeter and Bowbas were watching TV with me.  A preview for this movie came on.  It was the preview when Alvin is playing football, lands in the end zone, pops up with the ball and says "Boo-ya!  Shake what your mama gave ya!" and starts shaking his booty. 

I still did not think anything of this until Teeter was yelling "Shake what your mama gave ya!"  and Bowbas was yelling "Boo-ya!"  It was really hard to not laugh since the girls' voices sound like little chipmunks.  But Tuck walked into the room and was caught off by the sound of our 3 year old saying "shake what your mama gave ya!"  He did not think it was appropriate at all.  Keep in mind we have not seen the first one, so I am not aware of the family friendliness of the original movie.  Will you be taking your kids to see this movie?

Easy Chicken Empanadas

I apologize for there only being one photo for this one.  I had so much going on while cooking I did not take photos of the process.   Then Tuck was so hungry that before I could get my camera put together to take photos of the final product, he had plated them and had already begun you get a photo of my plate. :)

I came up with the recipe for these with a little inspiration from Pillsbury.  Pillsbury has a recipe for taco melts.  We LOVE taco melts, but I am a little burnt out on ground beef.  It seems like 90% of our meals, for a while, had ground beef.  I am ready for a change.  I went into the kitchen and threw two chicken breasts into a pot of boiling water.  I told myself I would figure out what to do with it once it was done cooking.

Suburban Mama's Easy Chicken Empanadas

2 Chicken breasts
1 package Mccormick's Enchilada Sauce Mix
1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups of water
Mexican blend shredded cheese
1 can of Pillsbury's Grands Biscuits

Boil the chicken until cooked through.  While the chicken is boiling, make the enchilada sauce using the water and tomato sause.  Follow the directions on the back of the enchilada mix.  When the chicken is cooked through place on a cutting board to cool.  You will want the chicken to cool just enough that you can handle it.  Shred the chicken and place in a bowl or the pot you boiled the chicken in if you would like to use the least number of dishes possible.  Pour the enchilada sauce over the chicken.  Put as much or as little as you like.  I like mine to be just coated, but Tuck likes extra sauce on his.  Open your can of biscuits and roll each out into a flattened disk about 6 inches, give or take a little.  Place the biscuit onto a cookie sheet.  Add the chicken mixture on top of the biscuit, top with cheese, and fold over.  After you have folded the biscuit over, use a fork and press the edges all the way around to seal the empanada. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.
Serve with your choice of  sour cream, hot sauce, queso, or left over enchilada sauce.  Tuck likes all of the above poured over his.

These are super simple and you'll have a fun, child friendly, husband friendly, meal on the table in about 30 minutes.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Breezie's Cookies

So I came up with a new recipe tonight.  I'm calling them Breezie's Cookies because they're all the flavors I love in cookies.  They are super simple. Enjoy them plain, dipped in chocolate or covered in your favorite topping. You could really personalize them for various holidays like using red chocolate melts for Christmas, or pastels for Easter.

Breezie's Cookies
1/2 cup of butter, softening
1/2 cup of shortening
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

Cream the butter and shortening

Mix in sugar and almond extract until combined.
Add baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Beat in eggs 1 at a time.
Mix in flour 1/2 cup at a time.

Scoop balls of dough onto a non-stick cookie sheet.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-12 minute, until edges are golden brown.
Then should you so desire, melt chocolate in a deep bowl.

I dusted some coconut on a few of mine since I love coconut.  Tuck already ate about 1/2 of them, and Teeter Bees had a lot of fun helping Mama deep them cookies in chocolate.  Bowbas was busy watching "Aiwal" (The Little Mermaid)