Power Cooking

Power cooking may sound awful to some, but to me and some friends, it is a lifesaver! About once every 3 months we each select 2-3 recipes to prepare in mass quantity. We then get together to "power cook" and assemble meals that we freeze. It is so nice to be able to just grab something out of the freezer the night before a busy day and then come home from work, pop something in the oven and have a fully cooked meal 30 minutes later!!

My two recipes are sooooo yummy! They are out of Southern Living's Easy Week Night Favorites for Busy Moms!

Recipe One: Turkey Tetrazzini...

Assemble ingredients... check.

Cube 4 pounds honey smoked turkey.... check.

Saute mushrooms, onion and garlic... resist temptation to eat.... check (kind of).

Mix everything in one large bowl.... check.
Note... first time we've used this bowl since we got it for our wedding! I knew we registered for it for a reason!!

Assemble in 8x8 casserole pans. Each family got 3 casseroles from this recipe. Yum!

Recipe Two: Crunchy Ranch Chicken Tenders...

Assemble ingredients... check.
And yes, the "crunchy ranch" is cool ranch flavored chips.

Get much needed assistance from 3 su chefs... check.

Allow su chefs celebratory run through kitchen... check.

Assemble tenders and bake... check.
This delightful recipe gave each family 2 nights worth of tenders.
These suckers are yummy!!

Bag, label and separate meals... check.

After all was said and done, each family received 18 home-cooked, mostly nutritious meals. Total cost? $6.16/meal with 4 servings/meal... the perfect amount for each of us. Incredible, right??!? I'm sure it sounds crazy to some, but this is a fun way to save money and do something good not just for yourself, but for your family.

Tips on power cooking...
1. Do it with friends that have similar family sizes as you so recipes can be divided with ease
2. Pick a 3-4 hour time period to prepare and assemble meals
3. Recipes with a lot of canned goods can be time consuming simply because you have so many cans to open
4. Go generic!! Remember, this isn't just about making your life easier, but saving money. Green beans are green beans, so set aside that urge to buy green giant and get the store brand. (I do draw the line on dairy products and meats :))
5. Don't be afraid to try something new... if you don't like it then you don't have to make it again. AND... it's always good to have food in the freezer for a friend in need.
6. Let your kids join in... they get a kick out of cooking!
7. You can start prepping the night before if you need to chop vegetables, etc...
8. Meat with your cooking partners once before the "cook day" to go over recipes and ingredients. That way if everyone needs the same item, you can buy in bulk.
9. Frozen chopped onions are a girls best friend
10. Have fun!!!

This was a great way to start off a long weekend filled with tons of activities. We had a great Memorial Day Weekend... more to come on our adventures!


My loves...

So I mentioned that I am "blog stalker". It's really not my fault...my friend, Cindy , got me started and now I'm hooked. It's just interesting to read about people, get a view of their lives and maybe some fun ideas on cooking, decorating, child rearing, etc... (or in some cases ideas of what NOT to do). Our husbands just LOVE that we talk about people we have never/will never meet as if we've known them for years.

Anywho... one blog that I follow, Kelly's Korner , features a post every Friday called "Show Us Your Life". Sometimes the topics are fun and I kinda liked todays, so I wanted to take the opportunity to share what I love with all of you...


1. Raising a family with Ryan and

knowing that I get to spend the rest of my life with my best-friend

2. Watching Radley grow from this...

to this! And all the years that will follow!

3. My parents and brothers... no matter near or far they are always my family!

4. The fact that my parents have been married for 40 years! What an inspiration! (And yes, my dad carries her purse for her)

5. Having a group of girlfriends for a lifetime!
From left: Lyndee (friends since we were 2), Jenni (friends since 1st grade), Charis (friends since 8th grade), Me

6. The Tuley women! Jenni and I became "besties" in first grade which led our moms to become besties which allowed me to grow up with sisters! Kerri and Chrissy are more like me than Jenni sometimes! HA!

7. My college roomies, The Munsons, and everyone that's part of the "3202 crew"!

8. Raising my children with friends that I admire and love!

9. Taking super close up pictures and acting like I'm a photographer! HA!

10. The great students that I get to work with each day and the fun experiences that they allow me to have! This is a group of us in Costa Rica in March 2009!

I would be missing a whole lot of things if I didn't mention...

** Having people in my home and hopefully making them feel as if they can stay as long as they like ** Cooking from a recipe and then making it my own ** Creating something special for people that I love ** Random acts of kindness ** Hot showers ** Texas summers ** Being passionate enough about something that you cry ** Being from a small town ** Blue Bell Cookies and Cream ** Sonic DPs ** Meeting new people ** New York City (I know its cliche, but I LOVE it) ** Watching movies over and over and over again ** My LIFE! :)

I think I could just go on and on... so I'll stop!

Happy Friday! Tomorrow I am "power cooking" with some friends... should be an interesting day!

Now off to live my happily ever after...

Tiny Tales Thursday

Here is my second installment... enjoy!

Monday morning we were getting ready for the day. Ryan brings Radley to school and they were a little behind so we were making cereal for the road. I asked Radley if he wanted milk in his "Buzz cup." His reply, "Yes, Mommy. That would be great."

On the ride home from school on Tuesday Radley said that he wanted to go to Chick Fil A. I told him not today but maybe some other time. His reason? "Because it makes you fat, Mommy?" I asked where in the world he heard that. "Uncle Pete."

You've never witnessed pride until you pick up your two-year old from school and watch him run up to you with a giant Kool-Aid smile on his face to exclaim, "MOMMY, I went poo-poo in the potty!! I get TWO m&ms today!"

This morning I was driving Radley to school and he was happily eating graham cracker goldfish and sipping on his chocolate milk (with a pink lid...Ryan just hates that) and he just started to cry. I asked him what was wrong to which he replied that "I want my puuuuma's". Yes the shoe. Our two year old is a snob and only wants pumas (Ryan LOVES that). I mean, where did that even come from??! One minute, happy with the orange flip flops... next minute needs his pumas. Today, the flip flops won.

Tonight Kayla gets to come home with us so our evening should be filled with some fun, laughs and a few "MINES!!" We are going to watch my alma mater in the baseball playoffs! They are playing at Bryan High School at 7pm... so if you are in the area come support the Rockets! And don't forget to wear your blue and white!

This just in... Emmy is doing great! Her heartbeat sounded like horses this morning and Dr. Dawson says she is right on schedule. If she's not here by June 11, then we will induce that morning! Thanks in advance for all the prayers for a healthy next two weeks! Can't wait to meet our baby girl!


Fit for a Queen...ummm.... a Princess!

I've been getting lots of requests to see pictures of Emmy's room and while I am no design guru, I think that it turned out absolutley lovely! It is so calming and relaxing. I go in there at least once a day and just sit and rock and try to picture what it will be like when she arrives.

Radley also has fun playing in there because it usually means that he is helping with some project. He also gets a kick out of his "baby furniture". We used his nursery furniture for her room and made him a "Big Boy Room"... maybe I'll show pictures of that next.

We have lots of special touches in her room that make it even more delightful and just really love the way it turned out. Emmy invites you in...

Come on in! This was made by one of my students (thanks, Meg!) It is the ONLY thing that Radley has been jealous of. He wanted to know where his "R" was. When I told Meg this little fact she quickly made one for him, too!

The view as you walk in the door. Our friends, the Fords put a chair rail in their kids' rooms and I just loved it! Ryan did all of it himself and insisted on no help from anyone. He wanted to make it special for Emmy (ummm, can you say Daddy's little girl?)

This was her giant wall and we were both so afraid of what to put here. One day I just thought that stained glass would look great. It's dainty and timeless... just like she will be! :) We made the trip down to Brenham with my MaMaw, Mom and Radley in tow and found the perfect pieces. These are even more special because MaMaw purchased them. She is Emersyn's namesake and wanted to do something for her first great grand-daughter.

The bird is my new obsession. Aren't birds just soooo cute?!? We found this at a cute store in CS and thought that it would complete the room. It's metal so we added magnets and posted some pics of our favorite Big Brother on them!

Close up... complete with Target coupon!

Aren't they beautiful!?!

I made her these bow holders. They may be a little empty now, but something tells me that they'll fill up fast!(Sorry I forgot to take down the bumblebee on the changing table, but if she is anything like Radley then we will need the distraction to keep her still!)

We found these in Brenham, too. Not antiques, but the perfect addition and something that will grow with her. The top one says: Imagination creates dreams, builds dreams and gives us hope. The bottom one says: Beauty grows from within the heart and reveals itself as a sparkle in the eyes.

Radley likes to point out that is HIS rocking chair, but he never wants to rock anymore. Such a big boy! We'll see if that lasts once she arrives.

I ordered her bedding from Etsy as well as the sign above her bed. I can't decide if I need to add anything to that part of the wall.

Sign -- http://www.etsy.com/shop/defineyourspacevinyl
Bedding -- http://www.etsy.com/shop/fingersandtoes

Great score from Hobby Lobby ... only $15.00!! I made the "ragamuffin" garland to give it some character! Isn't it just so cute!!

Little baskets for the changing table

I love labeling...

It just makes everything so much more fun! Don't ya think!?!?

Her closet! It's ridiculous how much more storage space we needed for a girl than a boy. She already has more shoes than Radley has had in his whole life!! And thanks to Tia, Caro, and Anna we don't need to buy an article of clothing for the next six months. We will of course, because girl clothes really are cuter... but I will be sensible! There are also some very special outfits in there that my mom had saved from when I was baby. They really don't make stuff like that anymore and I can't wait to see her in them!

I think my favorite part of the closet is all those diapers! Thanks, everyone, for stocking us up!

The top of her dresser complete with picture of our little one girl. Radley had to buy that birdhouse for Emersyn one day at HL... and I love it! Then he painted that bird for her at U Paint-It Pottery. Letters were crafted by my sweet friend, Amber.

Full view (sorry, I kind of went out of order on some of these, huh?) The items on the top of the cabinet were all mine when I was a little girl. Thanks, Mom!
Words of inspiration from friends! Thanks, again, Amber!

And last, but not least...everything that needs to be put into our "hospital" bag!!

Hope you like her room as much as we do! She will be here before we know it! I have told her that she has to wait until at least June 6 to arrive. In my head that just seems like a date that we'll be "ready"! HA! When are you ever ready!?!? Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time...


Big Brother

Today we celebrated Radley becoming a Big Brother. I'm sure tons of y'all will think I'm crazy, but Ryan and I think that it's just as important to celebrate him as it is to celebrate Emersyn. A big brother is an important role especially in a little girls life. I am lucky to have both of my big brothers; they protected me, supported me, stood up for me, and made me tough (I have the scars to prove it!)

I can't wait to watch Radley and Emersyn grow up together! If she has half the personality and spunk as him then we are in BIG trouble!

Ryan and I woke up early to set up for the brunch. You would think it would be easy to put a meal together for just 10 people (I may be crazy, but we didn't have huge bash... just friends in town and our relatives...I mean I have my limits). We thought we could get most of it done before the guest of honor woke up, especially since he had an exciting day yesterday and stayed up late to play with GiGi and Pops. HA! He woke up at 6:50AM!!

Ryan was in the middle of assembling his BBQ pit and Radley just walked in. I think he was excited about his "big brother day"... but GiGi came to the rescue and with the help of Cars kept him occupied for at least 45 more minutes. ;)

Our big brother! Note...he picked out his clothes

I get a little teary eyed thinking of him being the "big" one. He was so small just a short time ago and now he is just growing up before our eyes. I can't believe just how big he is! He is going to be such a wonderful big brother and I'm just already so proud of him.

Some stats on our big brother:
Height: 34 - 35 inches tall
Weight: 29 pounds
What's he doing?: Radley is pretty much a boy genius! (biased?) He can count to 32, recite his ABCs, recognize all his letters, write the letter H (weird, huh?), has an amazing vocabulary including the words: dangerous, quickly, correctly, and annoying (all used in the correct context). He LOVES to read and can recite books including: Oh the wonderful things Mr. Brown can do, The Little Engine that Could, and some smaller board books. He is just marvelous and we are so thankful for all the joy that he brings to our lives!

We had such a fun day celebrating and Radley got to play with his best-friends (all girls, so Emmy should be a breeze for him) and enjoyed being a kid. We had tons of yummy food, water games, water balloons, bubbles, dirt and sunshine... it really was a perfect day and the perfect way to end a great weekend!

We had a dino-mite time!

Radley, Dad and Mom (aka, small eyed woman with puffy face)

  • Annaliese, Caroline
  • Radley and Kayla

    He may be growing up and becoming a big brother soon, but he will ALWAYS be my baby! I love you, Radley!!


    A girl's best-friends...

    This is me... 36 weeks pregnant. Yep. Me and Emmy and all of our glory! (The glasses and small eyes are because my son decided to share pink eye with Mommy and Daddy... isn't he sweet). Over the last 36 weeks I have developed new and close friendships that I didn't have before and I wanted to share them with you all now.

    While this pregnancy has not been difficult, it has been different. I mean, the first time around I got to come home from work, prop my feet up and admittedly watch 3 hours of TBS... it was grand. This time around I have a buddy. He is active and funny and very into getting up and down and going to parks and playing with trains (on the FLOOR)!! The first 20 - 25 weeks this wasn't such a big deal. I mean, I'm a former cheerleader/RHS athlete how hard could that be? Until it is.

    At this point once I'm down we are there for a while. There is no bending. There is no reaching. There is no flexibility. Zip. Zilch. There is a very cute little man wanting my attention and there is one torn mommy wanting to give it to him since she knows that people's attention is going to be diverted by another "yitter" very soon. So I do what I can.

    Now back to my new best-friends... let me introduce you.
    The notepad. I'm sure you are ALL thinking, "whatever, Katy, you've been organized since YOU were in the womb." And yes, I have been. But this is beyond my need to organize. This is to survive. Things just pop in and out of my brain like something that pops in and out of something. (see, I can't even come up with a good simile). SO... this dear friend goes with me everywhere! I love her. We shall call her, Brownie.
    This, now this will most likely NEVER leave my bed again! (Sorry, Ryan!). My sweet, husband purchased this for me early on in my pregnancy knowing that I am a stomach sleeper. DEVOUT stomach sleeper. Well, when you have about 20 extra inches of stomach (give or take) you no longer get to sleep tummy down. This baby, let's call her Poppy the Pillow, allows me to sleep as soundly as possible all curled up comfy and cozy. The little things.

    I actually went on a business trip in February and Ryan was so concerned that I wasn't going to be able to sleep that he had a similar version of Poppy delivered to my room. He now sleeps with her. We may never touch again. :)

    And then, there are these lovely ladies. Yes, I know we all have them... I mean but at 36 weeks pregnant you depend on them. I am a sweller. I retain water like the Hoover Dam (ha! I'm back) and have done so a lot more with Emersyn than Radley. I think it's because I have Radley to chase after... that... and I just don't know how to sit down and relax. Every morning these dear friends are waiting for me to slip them on to accompany me on my daily routine. Radley usually does the honor of selecting my shoes (which are usually the silver ones) so I don't even have to bend down to get them! Bonus!

    And last, but certainly not least. Is this guy. The man I love and who loves me, too. Thank you, babe, for comforting me, for getting me pillows, for making me water when I'm standing at the sink. For rubbing my feet (with lotion) anytime I ask. For taking deep breaths when I'm just too much and for finding the energy and strength and enthusiasm to put up with all that I throw at you.

    I am blessed and lucky to have you! Love you so much!

    Now, about that icecream...