Monday, May 31, 2010

What's Goin' On?

So, I didn't go to Silver Dollar City last Thursday, which was a downer but just as well since I had big plans for the long weekend and was feeling crummy already!

Instead, I prepared my house and watered my plants and packed the car, I was on time when I reached my destination! You can guess at how often that happens, since I'm mentioning it, huh?

My first stop was my step-son's house (that's him up above right after I married the hottie he's walking next to), he hopped into the car and we then headed off to a drive-in movie with my mom, sister-in-law, nieces and nephew. We then stayed with my brother and sister-in-law for two nights! The little girls always wish for a sleep-over that lasts for two nights. So the kids got cousin time, played inside and out-side, watched movie after movie, and ate and ate and ate. I kissed little girl cheeks and held the most handsome baby boy, ever (since my last two nephews were babies), and got in some much needed snuggling with my step-son. He's 10 years old now but he and I are the kind of people that like to sit CLOSE to the people that we love.

We came home on Saturday night after a little shopping at my favorite store for a birthday gift for my mother-in-law. I'd show ya what I got her but it's already wrapped! Wrapping is really my thing so I'm usually inspired to get it done.

She and my father-in-law recently bought a new bistro table and chairs set for their covered patio so this was purchased with that in mind. We'll take it by on our way through their town on Tuesday when I take my step-son home in time for Summer School. The long square package is a set of 4 unbreakable tumblers, and the long round one is sparkling pink lemon aid in a beautiful bottle. The cupcakes are something I felt the urge to try out. They're strawberry, banana cupcakes with a butter cream frosting (my fave after cream cheese). I'll tell you all about it tomorrow or the next day. You'll see below that I didn't make them from scratch, I just had an itch to do some baking.

After we came home Saturday night, we went to see a movie! We saw Alice in Wonderland, though I had seen it with my mom last week, my step-son had not. It was well worth the second viewing. Even better the second time, I think!

Today is Sunday and I slept later than I am willing to admit. Then I did the usual stuff that happens when one comes home from a little trip. After that, I made those fresh strawberry cupcakes (which didn't turn out very pink). But then... we had a little party in the backyard with some of the neighbor boys. Have I mentioned that we don't have any girls in this neighborhood? So we built a fire in the pit, the boys roasted some beef franks, then some marshmallows and we made s'mores.

It was such a good time that I'm willing to try it again tomorrow night! I think we'll have a little camp-out in our back-yard.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

So Much To Say!

Oh do I have a lot to tell you! I can't tell you today though because (as you can see) it's after 1am!
Tomorrow I am going to Silver Dollar City!

Then I'm going to pick up my step-son and visit my neices for a long weekend. They've been hounding me to produce him!

I made a triple chocolate, triple layer, cake tonight that I'll blog about here in a day or two. Here's a preview to hold you over. The pic is fuzzy but I already gave the cake away, so it's the only one I've got!

I'm going to make another dessert this weekend that I'll tell you all about as well! It has cream cheese in it, that's all I can say.

I took some photos at a conservation type park the other day that I'd love to show you. I don't know how you'd feel about a scenery post, what do you think?

Other than that... hmmm, well we'll just have to see what comes along!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Favorite Things

Marshall's has the best stuff! Each time I walk through their doors I am charmed by an array of beautiful items that I must possess! If I were to buy out the store of each object that pleases me, here's where I would begin:

I love this bird. I have a couple similar to him, which I was given by my good friend, but he calls to me and begs to come home with me. How can I explain to him that I mustn't take home each bird I meet?

How about this guy? Hmm? What shall I tell him? "My long and skinny friend, you may live on my front step. Where you may greet each visitor that passes you with your ducky lipped smile. Thank you. Oh, and bring your blue neighbor."
Would you like to come sit on my back patio with a cup of coffee? These are the seats we will sit in. If I could just get them into my car. All four of them please.
Pillows. The chocolate, the roses, and the cream colored bouquet beneath the roses will welcome you from atop my very high, king sized bed. They will match the window treatments and the chocolate coverlet on the bed. "Come home with me pillows, come home."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Convoy of Hope

Convoy of Hope had a local event that was held at five area schools on one Saturday morning last Fall.

A gal in our small group at church has been volunteering with her family for years. Her dad was heading up the groccery area and our group had the chance to volunteer with their family.

There had to be thousands of bags of groceries that had been packaged up into like groups and bagged into color coordinate bags. Each person who needed groceries was to be given at least one bag with red writing and one with green writing.

We unloaded many many bags of groceries that day, and needed a little help getting to the bottom of the boxes. Luckily, we had a little help on hand. My step-son Bailey was hard at work, hoppin into any box we needed him in.

And there were quite a few.

Convoy of Hope doesn't just provide groceries. At their community outreach events they offer free hair cuts, family portraits, medical and dental care, even a children's play area. We are a nation so blessed in so many way. It was a blessing to be a blessing.

For more information on who they are, what they do, where they go, or how to help, please visit their website.


Friday, May 14, 2010

My first trip inside Krispy Kreme

I was introduced to the restaurant side of my favorite drive-thru doughnut shop by my good friend, Lorrie. You can always tell a good friend by how they feed you, don't you think? Let me tell you how this happened.
This is a rack that the doughnuts are transported on, up and down, row after row, until they have been in the warming oven long enough to rise. Can you see anything there?

After they rise, they are dumped (or turned) off the rack into a river of hot oil. The oil will fry them on one side as they're guided to the next station.

Once the first side has been fried for the propper amount of time, the doughnuts arrive at the next check point: the flipper! Yes, I'm sure that's the official name for it. There, just behind the window glare, the doughnuts are being turned golden side up.

They'll be guided through this frying river in the same manner that they were the last. Then onto the dripping rack.

That's what happens just before the most important step of the whole process. Can you guess? Did you say GLAZE? I thought so.

Dripping, flowing, oozing, sweetness, coats the entire surface of the beautiful fried ring. The end result? Perfection!

We happened to be watching the process unfold and found out that lucky ducks like us, who stop by when the HOT sign is lit up, get a free sample of a hot, fresh, melt in your mouth, doughnut! By "sample" I don't mean a bite, I mean the whole hot thing!

She is such a good friend, indeed! I can smell the doughnuts even now.

Happy Noshing,

PS, Krispy Kreme didn't put me up to this and isn't paying me to endorse their fried bits of yum.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Melting Pot

While on our honeymoon a few years back, my Captain America and I splurged for one special dinner. I had heard of The Melting Pot from my brother and his wife, and so I made special plans to treat my new husband and his new wife to the experience.

We read the menu outside the door. My love had a difficult time with the prices next to the menu choices, but I had come preparred for that. I calmly and soothingly assured him that I had been calmly and soothingly assured that this would be well worth the price. A honeymoon memory that we'd rave about for years to come. Then we took a deep breath and marched inside. It isn't that we were totally broke, it's just that we'd spent most of our wedding savings on, well, the wedding. So, we were totally broke. That was the last doubt we had. We found we had the option of choosing dinner with dessert, or with out dessert. Though we weren't sure how filling our meal would be, we were sure we might want to find another dessert spot later. So we opted for a three course meal of appetizer, salads, and entree.

Once we chose our menu we became absorbed in the atmosphere of the restaurant and the amazing heat source built right into our table. We marveled that they had huge tables that could accommodate large parties and vowed to bring our families back with us. Our first course arrived and was the cheese fondue. We chose something of a beer and cheese combination which was spiced to perfection and came with all sorts of delish dippers. We had bread cubes, tortilla chips, and even some apple chunks.

For our salad course we chose according to our preferences and my salad was a spring mix with strawberries, mandarine oranges, and feta cheese. Captain America opted for the mushroom salad. Look closely, I could have counted the lettuce leaves but not the paper thin mushroom slices. He was in fungus heaven.

By the time the third course arrived we were thanking God that we hadn't ordered the chocolate dessert fondue! We were served up a variety of meats and veggies that we really tried to finish. It wasn't meant to be.

There was a mound of chicken, some tasty shrimps, duck, beef, pork, and pot stickers. That was just the meat tray.

For vegetables, we were brought a big bowl of potatos, mushrooms, and broccoli. The cooking stock for the meat and veg course was a wine and beef stock with many delicious herbs and spices thrown in for just the right flavor.

All of this took place nearly four years ago. We haven't had a chance to get back to the nearest Melting Pot, but we haven't missed a chance to send friends, family, or strangers to their door. This isn't meant to be a plug for the eatery, I haven't been paid to tell you about this, but I will tell you anyway that you won't regret having your dinner at this fantastic restaurant!

Oh yeah, and we were so full we could barely walk through Forrest Park after dinner.


A New Family

We have recently met a family with a set a triplets. Would you like to meet them?

They were born just a couple of short weeks ago.

Look at those sweet bulging eyeballs. See how they're snuggled up together?

We have loved getting to know them and watching them grow. These babies live just outside my back door.

Can you see their skeletal systems there? Outlined by their baby fuzz? I am amazed by such miracles. Aren't they sweet?

This little squawker seems pretty hungry doesn't he?

They've grown quickly though. Their momma has fed them well.

Just a few days later and it's a little difficult to see them with all their feathers! I got near enough to pick one brave little guy up the other day during a flying lesson, but I resisted.

Now they've stretched their wings and flown away. I didn't even get a chance to name them. Sniff sniff.

Cheers, Amy

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chocolate and Buttercream

Last week I made some practice cupcakes. They were chocolate cakes with butter cream frosting. The best I've ever made.

No, I didn't make it outside, I just ate it outside. In reverence for a dieter inside. Please don't analyze the crooked bite. Now, I cannot remember how I made the butter cream, I've tried three times since then and I need it for this weekend. I have five pregnant cousins and a sister-in-law for whom I am hosting a belly party. A belly party because many of them have had previous children and I don't want them to feel awkward for having what some might see as "another" baby shower... Did I mention it was this weekend?

I need that frosting. Now.
Love, Amy