Monday, October 29, 2007

Weekend Away

Tonight I have a date with this band.

Not sure who they are?

Does this help?

I'm really excited. The last time they were here... well, I was kind of giving birth. Slightly more important, I'd say.

Still, I'm REALLY excited.

Know what else I'm excited about?

THIS beautiful sweater I picked up over the weekend at Fossil.

Richie tipped us off to a big sale. Big sale indeed. We each picked up a number of things!

My brother came over last night which made me really happy. We munched on stuff and watched a movie, talked and hung out. It's been a REALLY long time since he's come over and hung out without having to leave and go do something else. I'm really glad he came over, I love being able to talk to him.

Such a busy week this week!

Dandy Warhols tonight
Make the cake for Marissa's shower
Make treats for Leila and Co.
Attend Shiny Toy Guns show, hang out with Leiler.
Attend Marissa's shower
Head to Austin! yay!

Aside from all of the normal stuff like making dinner, doing laundry and swim lessons, I've got a lot to do!

Friday, October 26, 2007

More Posts, Late Post, The Texas State Fair

I've slacked on posting lately (or so I'm told) and I completely forgot to post pictures of our trip to the state fair with The Shipmans, so here it is!

Warning! This post mostly a picture post!

The fountains at the entrance

Swan Rides before the parade

The Midway

Below the gondola

Trying to locate the Shipmans

View from inside of the Gondola

Rodney and Rylee on the Giant Slide (they are in the red lane on the right side!)

The girls

The boys

Big Tex, more Ferris Wheel

Playing in the cars

That was our trip to the fair! We only made it out once this year, which is odd because we usually go at least twice. I love the fair but I hate how much I allow myself to eat!

thinks about delicious funnel cake

More to update later. Swim lessons, the pumpkin patch, snowboarding trips - all to come.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

DIY - Rylee's Invitations

SO ... I'm starting to get things together for Rylee's birthday next month (yes I know, I'm a little early) and the first thing I decided to start with was the invitations.

I wanted to do something that coincided with the theme or her party, which is a bit on the whimsical side. Flowers, blossoms, branches, birds, all in bright colors.

I found these notecards at Target and decided they would be perfect for what I wanted to do! I spent less than $10 for 24 notecards with envelopes, which I thought was pretty good!

Front side with envelopes:

Back, blank side:

Then I was off to Michaels to find different colored sheets of scrapbook paper. I bought 6 different sheets, each in a different color (they were 5 for $1 that day!) with two of them being patterned.

I made a template for the invitations using the measurements of the sheets of scrapbooking paper in photoshop. I found the sparrows and branches on the web and pulled them into my design!


Once my template was set, I printed it out on each sheet of colored paper and cut them accordingly.

Then it was time to glue.

Using a big glue stick, I glued each cut invitation to the back of my pre-purchased notecards.

Making the envelopes:

For these, my darling husband made a template for me (in photoshop) so that I could just plug in the addresses and print. We measured the size of the envelope and made the proportions accordingly. I wanted to incorporate the sparrows on the envelope, so we added that element as well.

(I used Jess' envelope for the picture but for anonymity purposes, the addresses have been removed!)


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Amy's birthday dinner

Made this feast for our good friend, Amy. It's her very, very belated birthday dinner. We've been so busy that we didn't have time to celebrate her birthday when it was her birthday so we decided to do it now! She requested spinach enchilada's.

I made this recipe up so most of these measurements can be adjusted to your own tastes! (also, these pictures were taken with the leftoves I made for lunch today! I completely forgot to take pictures last night.)

Stephanie's Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas with Sour Cream Sauce:

Ingredients for Enchiladas

10 white corn tortillas
1 pgk frozen spinach, thawed with water squeezed out
4 ounces cream cheese (softened) ( I used neufchatel)
1 pgk grated mozzarella cheese
1 pgk sliced mushrooms (I use the already sliced and cleaned kind)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablesppon butter
1/2 red onion (finely chopped)
salt and pepper

In a medium skillet, warm olive oil and butter until melted over medium heat. add onion and mushrooms. cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms are tender. add the cream cheese and half of the mozzarella into skillet and toss until melted completely. Add spinach and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir until spinach is warmed through, remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sour Cream Sauce:

1 carton sour cream (12 oz)
Remaining half of mozzarella
1 tsp cumin
Salt and Pepper
2 tsp butter or margarine
1/2 vegetable stock
3 tsp flour

In a large saucepan wisk and warm sour cream, vegetable stock, cumin, 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper over medium heat until boiling. Add mozzarella cheese and stir until melted. Wisk in flour until completely mixed in. Let the sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes, wisking constantly. Remove from heat.

Warm tortillas in microwave wrapped loosely in a paper towel so that they are pliable.

Spray the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan (preferably glass if you have it) with vegetable spray.

Fill each tortilla with spinach mixture and a little extra cheese, roll tightly and place seem down in pan. Continue until all tortillas have been filled and are in baking pan.

Spoon sour cream sauce over the entire pan and cover tightly with foil.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Let cool for 5 minutes and serve! I made black beans and rice to go with these enchiladas (from a bag) and it was the perfect blend of tastes.

Spicy Corn Salad

Romaine lettuce (bag of prewashed)
Can of corn and pepper mix
Prewashed mushrooms
Grated cheddar cheese
Half of cucumber, diced
Tortilla Chips (crushed on top)

I served this with Peppercorn Ranch!

I just kind of threw this salad together with the things I had in my pantry! Normally I would throw some black beans and diced tomato on there but I had neither! It was still pretty good!

Kind of Eclair's

I got this recipe here. It's quite delicious and tastes exactly like an ECLAIR!

15 HONEY MAID Honey Grahams, broken in half (30 squares), divided
1-1/2 cups milk
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
1 cup chocolate ready-to-spread frosting

ARRANGE 10 of the graham squares, overlapping slightly, in bottom of 8-inch square baking pan; set aside. Pour milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Let stand 5 min. until thickened. Gently stir in whipped topping with wire whisk until well blended.
SPREAD half of the pudding mixture over graham squares in pan. Top with 10 of the graham squares and remaining pudding mixture. Cover with remaining 10 graham squares.
REFRIGERATE at least 3 hours. Spread with chocolate frosting just before serving.


We went to the fair tonight with The Shipmans. Many pictures to come!

Also coming up, my current DIY project!

Monday, October 8, 2007

My head's like a kite

This weekend was pretty good.

Saturday Rodney had to go into work to get some stuff done for a session they had today, so he was gone pretty much all morning and afternoon.

That left Rylee and I home on a Saturday. We got bored and started playing dress up! Or what one might also call, "try on clothes that mommy bought to see what will look best for your 2 year pictures this week."

That was pretty fun.

Once Rodney got home and we watched Texas lose against one of their biggest rivalries of the of all time, we decided to go out to southlake and see if the parts for my laptop were in and also because there was a sidewalk festival going on, so we thought it might be fun to hang out there for a while.

I should probably back this up a bit.

I've been having problems with my laptop. The laptop I have had exactly one year, last week. This is not the first problem I have had either. When we purchased my Macbook from the Apple store and brought it home last year, we discovered we had a defective unit. We took it back and got another. Also defective. So I received my third laptop in 3 days. That one seemed to be fine. I noticed that the battery life was a little bit slow, only about 45 minutes and I called to ask if this was normal, I was told it was. About 5 months after I had the computer, two little pieces in the top case cracked and came off. I was also having problems with the computer kicking me off the server multiple times a day. Would this be an internet service provider problem? Probably not when your husband who also has an apple laptop (powerbook) has NEVER had this problem.

So we took it in and they replaced my top case but told me that the internet thing was probably fine and it just needed an update.

Forwarding to now - my top case is cracked AGAIN. I get kicked off of the internet every 5 minutes, randomly things I am typing will erase on their own and the battery life is now down to 30 (or less) minutes. We took it in again and they said they would replace the logic board, the airport card and the top case. I forgot to tell them about the battery - and that they would call me in two days when the parts were in and they could begin service. (this was wednesday of last week) I called AppleSupport on Thursday to talk to them about the battery. Two different people told me that my cycle count was too high and that there was nothing they could do to replace it. I needed to shell out $150 to get a new battery.

Needless to say, I was slightly upset. Rodney has had his computer for over 3 years and we have NEVER had any problems with it. Not one. He uses his at work all day long and it's in great condition - mine sits on the counter in the kitchen and it's falling to pieces. That and I've only had it for a year! I have a hard time believing that all of these things are supposed to stop functioning after a year.

Anyway, I took matters into my own hands and emailed Steve Jobs. Yes, the CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs. I'd read a few reports on The Consumerist and decided to give it a shot. That was Thursday afternoon.

Today I received a call from one of executive secretaries/hr representatives to Mr.Jobs.

They've looked into the matter and decided to replace my laptop! Currently they are transfering my data to the new computer and it will be ready for me to pick up this evening!

I'm impressed by the timeliness of the response I got. I'd heard and read that Steve does everything he can to keep the level of customer satifaction high and I guess I just proved that to be correct. I'm definitely the type of person who will write an email or call someone when I'm unhappy about things or products I have purchased but this incident makes me especially happy. I don't feel like my money was wasted.

Still, if anyone out at apple wants to send me a new ipod or iphone for my troubles, I'd take it! (haha)

Anyway - after Southlake, we had dinner at Chili's and headed back to the house. Josh and Jessica came over shortly after that and we had a great time hanging out with them. Happy Anniversary guys! Jess and I did what we do best, which is gab about family, friends, upcoming parties, food, and home improvement shows. We also played two rounds of scattergories in which, I WON BOTH! I'm not one to gloat, but she's the notorious game winner 'round these parts!

Yesterday we got up and got ready to head out to none other than our most favorite place in the world, Ikea. We had to make some returns. We stopped at Home Depot Expo to return a few things there and then to Ikea. We returned things, had lunch upstairs and did a little light shopping. Somehow I convinced my husband we needed the giant mirror I've been covetting for a while now and I also picked up a few ornaments for a centerpiece and a rug for the kitchen.

After Ikea, we went to Northpark Mall where I found Rylee's costume on sale at babystyle (yay!) and went in search for the coat I want. Not luck on the coat but we're going to try again next weekend hopefully.

Did anyone catch the special take home handyman on TLC with Angela Kinsey??? I love her so much and being that she's from Texas makes me love her even more!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


She did this on her own. Yeah, we know she'll be trouble.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Support The Rabid

It's been a few days.

We've been busy, as usual.

Thursday evening I hosted a season premiere watching party. Jess, Holly, Sara and Amy came over to watch The Office (JAM is so back!) and Grey's. For this event, we had cold spinach dip in a bread bowl (yum), wheat crackers, corn tortilla chips and salsa, ranch dip, m&m's and I made these delicious little numbers:

Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies

These are some of my favorite cookies. They are very close to being brownies, thick and gooey with tons of chocolate and finely ground espresso - delicious!

Here's the recipe, you should make them now!


1 cup unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1½ cups bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
4 eggs
2 Tablespoons ground espresso, Arabica beans
1¾ cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup pastry flour, sifted
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1½ cups Semi-sweet chocolate, chunks or chips

Measure out all ingredients. Grind espresso beans in a coffee grinder and set aside. Sift flour and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add salt to flour and set aside. Preheat oven to 350F.
Melt butter in a small saucepan and set aside. (Butter may also be melted in a microwave safe container for about 30 seconds on a standard high setting.) Put 1 cup unsweetened baking chocolate and 1 ½ cups bittersweet chocolate in the bowl of a double boiler or in a bowl set over a simmering hot water bath on the stove. Melt until chocolate is smooth and liquid without any lumps. Add butter and mix. Set aside.
In the bowl of a 5 quart mixer with the paddle attachment, beat eggs, sugar and espresso until light in color, about 2 minutes on high speed. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Pour melted chocolate/butter mixture into the bowl and mix until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix until all the chocolate is incorporated, another 5 to 10 seconds.
Add dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and mix on low speed until all flour is incorporated, about 20 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix until all is well incorporated, about 5 to 10 seconds.
Add the last amount of chocolate chips to the mixer and mix well to combine.
Pour cookie dough into a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the top of the mix. Allow to stand at room temperature for ½ hour.
Scoop onto parchment paper and bake in the preheated 350F oven for 5 minutes of the center rack. After 5 minutes, rotate the pan and continue baking for another 8 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

I know, a lot of steps but definitely worth it!

I started baking cakes for Hannah's birthday party Friday morning. I had some cracking/uneven issues but we managed to salvage all of the cakes none the less.

Saturday we worked on the cookies for the party and I got the cakes iced. We had dinner that evening with Rodney's family for Ana's birthday at TGIFriday's. A little while later we dropped Rylee off at the grandparents house and headed towards downtown Dallas for our friend Megan's birthday celebration. We managed to take an hour long detour (thanks Texas State fair and Grambling game!) but finally ended up at the Monkey Bar. We really had a good time there. We sat on the patio and talked, there was a cool breeze and it was a nice change of pace for us. We needed the break badly. We've been so focused on the house we haven't spent any quality time together or with our friends.

Sunday morning we got up and I finished up the cakes for Hannah. We headed toward Jamie and Lisa's new house (they live so close to my parents now!) and tried to help get everything ready for the party.

I was pretty happy with the cake and I had a great time making it. I wish I was always making children's cakes! You can check it out here

The party was great! And Hannah must have had a good time eating cake and opening presents because she was in bed by 6! Rylee was pretty tired too. We left their house around 8 and she fell asleep on the way home. Those kids were pooped!

This week I'm on a mission to find Rylee a dress for, A: Her two year old pictures and B: Our Christmas Photo. Wish me luck!