Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Happy Halloweenie

Saturday, October 30th Michael and I hosted a little Halloween Party for some of our family...

We had a taco/nacho/burrito bar and Michael made a special holiday punch that was amazing!

After lunch we played a few games including "The Great Cookie Face Race" (as seen on AFV). The object of the game is to be the fastest to use just your facial muscles to move a cookie from your forehead to your mouth - it is fun and super funny. Here are some pics of the action...

We bobbed for apples, one of the favorite games of all the kids, trying to be the fastest to pick up an apple. The slowest was also recognized with lots of giggling and cheering on :)

Braylon spent his day cheering on all the bobbers and his night defending Gotham City...

We wish a very happy Halloweenie to all our friends and family!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Go Giants!

World Series 2010
Giants vs. Rangers

Let's Go Giants!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Just Us and Our Jack-o-Lanterns

What a beautiful day to carve our Jack-0-Lanterns! It is rainy and cool in Modesto today and Michael and I took advantage of an hour of down-time before the Giants vs Phillies game got underway to have a little Halloween fun...
These babies came straight from our garden!

I love squishing my hands around inside the pumpkin - it feels so goopy!
For mine, I decided to go with a "G" (for the Giants?!)
Michael decided to etch out a cool design we found online...

Don't they look cool? I love Mike's etching!!

And when the carving was all over we roasted the pumpkin seeds. The perfect snack for the Giants game!
Let's Go Giants! Let's Go!!

Neat-o Knitting

Here is one of the beanies I knitted. I've knitted 4 so far but have given the others away. I'm so excited to knit - it is not only fun but in the end you get something you can wear (or share)!

Pao de Galinha

This is Michael's all-time favorite recipe. I wanted to share it with you because it is easy to prepare and super delicious! (Always a favorite with the Elders and a RS cook-off winner) :)

6 to 8 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
2 bricks of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
4 to 5 cans of refrigerated crescent rolls

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 small tub sour cream


Boil or cook chicken in crock pot until it is shreddable. Shred into bite-sized pieces. Mix chicken with cream cheese and butter until well combined. Fill 1 uncooked crescent roll with 1 to 2 tbs of chicken mixture and seal edges (we usually just wrap the roll dough around the meat to form it into a ball and smooth edges so they are sealed). Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Continue to fill all crescent rolls. Bake according to directions on crescent roll can (most of the time it is 375 for 13 minutes).

While rolls are baking combine sour cream and cream of chicken in sauce pan and heat through. When rolls come out of the oven serve with sauce. We like to accompany this dish with garlic parmessan mashed potatoes and a fruit salad. We hope you like it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When You Wish Upon A Star...

Dreams came true this weekend as Michael and I took a trip to Disneyland. We felt so blessed to experience that special Disney magic with some of our family. It is a whole different adventure when you go with children, they were so excited about everything - it was wonderful!

Day 1

Dad, Hannah, Novalee, Aunt Kathy, Braylon, Jacob, Travis, Michael and I just inside the main gate. None of the kids had ever been to Disneyland before and they didn't know what to expect. The older boys thought it might be like the rides at the fair - not even close boys!

Our first "ride" was the train that travels around the park, so the kids could get a look at everything they had to offer. All was well until we came to the Dinosaur portion of the train ride - it made Braylon cry. That mean old T-Rex! He pulled his hood over his face and wouldn't look at anything else until the train stopped.
Nothing made this girl cry - not Space Mountain, not the Tower of Terror - she enjoyed every last minute in the park. She was a joy to have along.

Loving "It's A Small World"

Aunt Kathy bought mouse ears for all the littler ones. She was so much fun to have along - just as excited as one of the kids!

Mike and I enjoying the pumpkin-y decor around the park.

On day 1 we enjoyed The Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, The Haunted Mansion, Captain E-O, Indiana Jones, Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, and we stood in line for the Matterhorn but when we got to the front the ride went down and we were out of luck, It's a Small Wold, we Soared Over California and we got to see the fireworks show and we had a midnight meal at IHOP.

Day 2:

After going to bed at almost 2 am everyone was up and ready to go by 8! I've never seen children get up and ready so fast :)
Say "Disneyland!!"

Day 2 - We rode Space Mountain, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Peter Pan and The Tower of Terror! We shopped on Main Street and ate at the Space Port. Everyone was so impressed with Disneyland. I was impressed with how well behaved the kiddos were, they are always good but they were on their best behavior for Mr. Disney!

On the ride home, Mike and I took all the younger kids in our car so they could play together. After two nights of not getting to bed until after 1am and being up at 7am can you believe they stayed awake all the way into Bakersfield? What a bunch of crazies :) They made everything more fun!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Great Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin

These muffins come out so moist (but not sticky) - they are bursting with fall flavors and delicious chocolate. The perfect late night snack to hold you over while you're waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive.

One of my favorites!

  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 C sugar
  • 1 can pumpkin (16 oz)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 & 1/4 C oil (vegetable or light olive oil)
  • 3 C flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice * optional *
  1. In large mixing bowl beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla and oil until smooth.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together and mix into pumpkin mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 16-20 minutes.
** We also substitute shredded carrot, raisins and chopped walnuts for chocolate chips**

Zuppa Toscana - A Family Favorite

The overcast skies, drizzling rain and cool breezes officially signaled the beginning of "Soup Weather" at our house. We kicked off the season by whipping up a pot of Zuppa Toscana, a delicious potato based soup with kale and sausage, perfect for those rainy days or any day when you want to warm up with a nice bowl of homemade soup.

The new meat grinder attachment to our Kitchenaid Mixer arrived a few weeks ago and so I made my own sausage for this soup. It allowed me to control the amount and quality of ingredients and I was able to use a lean cut of meat which meant less fat.

I hope you get a chance to try this one - it is excellent! Very close to the Olive Garden version.


  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage (we make our own by grinding lean pork loin chops with crushed red pepper flakes, course salt, pepper and fennel seed)
  • 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 large diced onion, white or yellow
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced finely
  • 10 cups water
  • 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
  • ¼ to 1/2 of a bunch of Kale
Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Remove sausage from pan & drain any excess dripping from the pan and set sausage aside.

In the same pan, sauté bacon pieces, garlic & onions for about 15 minsutes or until the onions are soft.

Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and bring to a boil.

Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about 1/2 hour.

Add the heavy cream and heat but don't boil, stir often.

Return the sausage to the pan and add the kale, let all heat through about 2 minutes. Top with shredded Parmesan Cheese.

Serve With This Homemade Rustic Bread

Happy Harvest!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

And The Winner Is...

Mike and I won a two hour photography session with our friend and amazing photographer Tami! We are so excited to get a nice picture taken. It will be our first family picture since our wedding day.

Please click on her logo above to see her work. Not only is she very talented, she is sweet as pie! We love you Tami and are so excited to work with you!!

Let The Countdown Begin!!!

Finished our family Halloween Countdown Calendar just in the nick of time. Now to fill the pockets with some yummy treats (and a few tricks)...

** >{OOO}< **