Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dyeing Easter Eggs

Just in time, the day before Easter, we got to work dyeing the eggs. We just did a few but we were all so excited about it!
Pretty white boiled eggs.

They were so careful with dyeing the eggs. It was so cute!

Look at all those pretty dyed eggs! Sammy loved the yellow and Emma loves her pink eggs!

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday is always so fun, but this year was extra fun because we all knew we were expecting the Easter Bunny and a basket filled with goodies to find! Not to mention ALL THE EGGS that would be hidden! But who knew that some of the eggs would even be in the house! How did that bunny get in here??? Well since it was wet and maybe going to rain, the bunny brought most of the eggs inside to be safe. That was really super fun!! And they REALLY liked that the bunny put one of those big glitter bouncy balls in their baskets!
Sammy found a ton of eggs and was really excited about what was inside them! YUM!

Emma was a super egg hunter too!

After the egg hunting morning, we headed over to the grandparents for a nice Easter dinner and fun with some of the extended fam. I brought the deviled eggs and used the recipe here. They were pretty yummy and I liked the different presentation.

The Best Deviled Eggs

One dozen hard-boiled eggs, peeled
3 heaping tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped (plus more for garnish)
4 slices of cooked bacon, finely chopped (or bacon bits)
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon saltFreshly ground pepper, to taste


Take each of your peeled hard-boiled eggs and slice off the bottom (wide) end to expose the yolk. Cut a small sliver off of the top (pointed) end to help it sit up straight. (I ended up cutting them in 1/2 so I could use both sides, but made the cut with the pointed end up.)

Scoop out the yolks into a medium-sized bowl and place the whites carefully into an empty egg carton with the hole-end up for filling purposes.

In your bowl, mash the yolks with a fork and add mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, bacon, tarragon and mustard, then stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Use a pastry bag with a piping tip or a zip top plastic bag with a corner snipped at an angle to fill your egg whites with the yolk mixture. Add more mayo if the mixture is too thick to pass through. Garnish with chopped fresh chives.Nikohle & Emma

Emma, Nikohle & Aunt Elizabeth.
Jeff, Uncle Anthony, Trey.

Me & Sammy.
Aunt Elizabeth & Uncle Anthony.
Granny & Johnny.
Uncle Anthony, Aunt Elizabeth, Paw Paw, Maw Maw, Johnny
& Granny in front. Not pictured: Uncle Frank.

Easter Hare Fair @ Sweetwater

On Saturday before Easter, we took the kids to the Sweetwater Country Club's annual Hare Fair. There were some big bouncy things to play on, carnival games, cookie decorating & a lunch. First they posed with the big bunny and then waited for the egg "hunt" to begin. It's not really a hunt because all the eggs are just laying out on the grass. Sammy went first with the 3 and under group. He got a little coaching from daddy to "focus! on the eggs", "don't look at other kids, just grab the eggs fast!". Well, he took it seriously and was a little egg grabbing MACHINE!
Just after starting, Sammy collected 10 eggs in about 15 seconds!
Pivot & grab, pivot & grab! Like a machine!
After about 2 minutes of steady grabbing, we started saying "that's enough" and got him to come out of the hunt. Needles to say, way more candy than a kid needs!
I think I counted 45 eggs before daddy pitched some back in the field. He was a happy boy!
The hunt is over, now time to sit down with Caroline & check out the prizes & the candy!

After that, the field was re-set with eggs for the 4-6 year olds. Emma & her friend Tyler discuss strategies and plan for how to tackle the field. It was a much faster hunt since the kids are bigger and faster!
Emma was sure fast and collected lots of eggs too!
Yummy frosting & sprinkles. Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Easter Playgroup @ Leigh Ann's

We have been meeting for years with a few young friends for a bi-monthly playgroup. This one was hosted by the mommy of Laraleigh and Lane on Good Friday. We had a little craft, a little lunch & cupcakes and lots of egg hunting and candy munching!

It was a little bit different egg hunt. Each child hunted for just one color of egg. It worked pretty well and there were plenty of eggs to find! We all had a great time!
Emma, Sammy & Preston checking the bushes.
Sammy found all the blue eggs!
Emma found all the green eggs & a little doodlebug!
Laraleigh loved finding the orange eggs!
Here's our super little egg hunters resting & checking out the loot!
Lane, Laraleigh, Emma, Sammy, Preston, Caroline.
Then it was time to decorate the cupcakes into little bird nests! Yum!
What a sweet little cutie giving mommy a good smile!
Too busy eating candy to smile!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Garden relocation #1

So our little seeds have taken off and started to show some least some of them!

We were working on the actual in-ground garden, but it is proving to be a difficult project! The ground here is thick, dense and heavy clay like stuff that doesn't seem at all friendly to plants and even less friendly to amateur gardeners! We are still digging and pulling and trying to make it work, but mean- while, I went to Home Depot and bought several bags of dirt to put our little sprouts into a temporary garden home in the sandbox! Here are Emma & Sammy showing off their little garden while on their way to purple day at school.

The plants seemed to like their new home and perked up overnight. But then we got hit with a big weekend of lots of rain and storms. I forgot to put the sandbox cover on until early afternoon, so there was tons of water in there. (I didn't want to punch drainage holes in the bottom of the sandbox b/c we are likely to want it for sand this summer!) Hopefully we can save some of these little guys before they drown!!

Yikes! That's TOO much water!
Cute picture of our purple day sweeties!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

New Garden Sprouting! Beans & Cucumbers come up first!

How fast does a garden grow? We found out it grows FAST! Just a few days later, we are doing our daily check and WOW! There are already some little green sprouts coming up! We are very excited to see this and we like to check it out all the time! I think they actually came up at 2-3 days, but I didn't take a picture until the 5th day.

Sprouting on March 27.
That's the lettuce in the little white cups, the cucumber in the left cup, corn in the back left, and the beans in the big stadium cups...all coming up...impressive!

New Garden

This year, I really thought it would be a great idea to have a garden. There are so many great reasons for a garden (in my mind)...the amazing process of growth, showing the beauty of God's creations and of course, FRESH veggies! There's nothing like a fresh home grown tomato, right?!! So, I bought a bunch of seeds and began the quest of growing our own garden.

Emma really wanted to help pour the seeds and get the dirt on top of them. She's an official gardener with her own little gloves!

This is helper #2, unofficial, mostly interested in digging up things and dumping dirt everywhere. :-)
Here's the beginner garden. Planted on March 22.

We planted corn, beans, peas, basil, cilantro, lettuce, squash, cucumbers and onions. After getting it all planted and watered, I kinda realized that I was probably a little over-zealous on the number of items....but that happens to me when I get excited about something. I thought well, if we're going to do tomatoes (which I bought in the little pots), we might as well have some cucumbers and lettuce to go with them. And then we might as well try some beans and maybe some peas and so on, and so on... So well, we'll just see what comes up and what works and learn some valuable lessons this year!

King & Queen of the Hill of mulch!

A fun family day - Charlotte's Web production

Last year at a silent auction, I won a set of 4 tickets to the AD Players Children's Theater. So I finally called and scheduled our family of 4 to attend the production of Charlotte's Web a couple of Saturday's ago. Since I had to collect some gift certificates from the Black Labrador Restaurant, we went ahead and planned to have lunch there before the 1:00 show. It was a beautiful day and they have a beautiful little courtyard to dine outside. The food was very good too! There were also tons of pigeons and other birds and squirrels to entertain the kids while we waited on our lunch.

After lunch, we headed over to St. Luke's UMC for the play.
Sammy the big poser here!

Emma & Mommy waiting for the show to start. Sammy was done posing and couldn't be still for even one little picture!

The theater "stage" was in the center of a room and there were about 3 rows of seats all the way around the room. It was a great set up and allowed for many different entrance/exits and there wasn't a bad seat in the room!

Anyway, during the show, you can't take any pictures, of course. I loved the way all of the characters were played by just 6 people! Each person had 2 to 5 characters to play, except for Wilbur. I almost couldn't tell that they were the same people! There were many seriously funny, laugh out loud moments and they told the story very well! They had a little question and answer session after the show where the characters all answered the kids questions. Emma wanted to ask what Charlotte's egg sac was made out of but someone else beat her to the question. It was made out of a big piece of foamy stuff like goes in pillows, by the way. We also found out that the "slop" food used to feed Wilbur is actually real 1/2 eaten food that they glazed and hardened. Interesting!

After the show, the cast members had a meet & greet and signed the programs and posed for photos. I couldn't get either Emma or Sammy to "pose", so I just took some candid shots. Here's Wilbur the Pig shaking hands with Sammy. Next to him is the duck, the sheep, the rat, then the spider and the narrator guy at the end.

I recommend this show for young kids and would guess that the AD Players Children's Theater puts on other good shows as well. Sammy, nearly 4, didn't quite make it through the whole 1 1/4 hour show but Emma, 5 1/2, enjoyed the entire show and is looking forward to seeing another one soon. I think this one might be the last of their season, but we will check into what's up for next year's season!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dinner w/ Relatives

We recently had Johnny's niece, Felicia and her husband, Aaron & their adorable kids over for a fun time & dinner. We usually see them about once a year, so we don't really get to know each other very well. But recently, it's started to feel like a smaller world...mostly because of her having a blog about her family that I get to read and find out about what they are doing and see their photos! In fact, I must say, she inspired me to start this blog and helped me get going on it a little. I obviously have a long way to go before it becomes interesting, but it's a start.

OK, anyway, on to the dinner evening! My kids really enjoy having other kids over to play with and basically show all their stuff to and tell them what to do. So they really like the younger ones! Caleb is about 2 or so and Hannah is 9-10 months. Check out her blog It's quite amazing how she has transformed into a wonderful at-home teaching mommy!

I got one photo of Hannah & Emma=ADORABLE! Caleb is upstairs playing with trains and Sammy is there on the right side of the photo playing scarily close with a rubber band!

I served a yummy new appetizer that I found in a recent issue of Good Housekeeping. It's actually Trisha Yearwood's Warm Feta Dip with Artichokes. It was a great variation on the party favorite: artichoke dip. So here's the recipe:

1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained & finely chopped
5 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
3/4 cup mayonnaise (I used light)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I didn't have any so used the sprinkle kind)
1 jar (2 oz.) pimientos, drained & diced
2 tsp. minced garlic (2 cloves)
Melba toast or pita chips

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, stir together everything (except the crackers) until combined. Transfer mixture into a small casserole or glass pie plate and bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. To serve, place your casserole dish on a larger platter and surround the Melba toast or pita chips (or any favorite cracker or toasted bread). Makes about 1 2/3 cups of dip or about 8 servings.

Note: We ate almost all of it and there were only 4 adults eating it. It is yummy so if you make it to take to a party or serve more guests, you might want to double it! Enjoy!!

Then we had a chicken fettuccine that I had bought at Super Suppers and some sides. Then for dessert, we pulled out the Skookie maker and made giant chocolate chip cookies in little cast iron skillets...just like the pizookies they have at BJ's. Topped with vanilla bean ice cream and several spoons...I think we were all happy after that!! We had a great night and the kids had fun too!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

PressProof Printing in Print Ad!

I recently started working as a part time Marketing Director for my husband Johnny's PressProof Printing. He has been in business for nearly 20 years but has never really had time to market or position himself in the community as a recognized name. So when we were looking at ways to increase sales and visibility, we decided to become a member of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce and put an ad in the Fort Bend Business Journal. So there it is (on page 38 of the April edition), my first publication ad for his business and my Simply Sassy Paper too! We are hoping to get those phones ringing for quotes and orders!

Click on photo for larger view.
It is also available on-line through their website here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Amazing Meatloaf

I was very excited to see my meatloaf recipe in the March issue of Fort Bend Lifestyles magazine! It has been a favorite of mine for probably 10 years or so and I have made it to welcome many new babies and for my family many times! So when the Fort Bend Jr. Service League began making announcements about submitting recipes for the 2nd League cookbook (due out this Fall!), I decided it should go in for testing. The committee chair, Julie Wilson, told me she & her husband tried it and his comment was "it's a party in my mouth". I love that! So try it and let me know what you think. Here's the recipe in case the link above doesn't work.

Amazing Meatloaf
2 T butter
3/4 cup onion, chopped
3 green onions, choppen
2 t. garlic, about 2 cloves minced
2 large eggs
1 cup ketchup (divided)
1/2 cup milk
1 T + 1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t salt
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound pork sausage
3/4 cup dried Italian bread crumbs

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a skillet and saute onions, peppers & garlic 8-10 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, beat eggs in a large bowl with a fork. Stir in 1/2 cup ketchup, milk, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Add onion mixture & meats. Add bread crumbs. Mix with a wooden spoon or smush with your hands until well blended. Pat into a greased 12x5x2" loaf pan. Brush with the remaining ketchup. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 155 degrees. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Mixture can be made ahead into a loaf, wrapped tightly and frozen as well.