Thursday, December 16, 2010

Melia Down

Last Friday night Paul and I headed out to Tempe Marketplace with the girls to see our brother-in-law take the stage. He’s the bass guitarist for Melia Down, a local band that always puts on a fun show.


Melia Down 1

The show got off to a hoppin’ start.


Melia Down 2

Plenty of good dancing tunes. And dancing partners!


Melia Down 3

There was also the added bonus of a little “snow”, courtesy of Tempe Marketplace.


Melia Down 4

“I like…that one!”


Melia Down 5

“No, that one!”


Melia Down 6

“That one?”

Veronica thought it was great, but Jacinta wasn’t sure what to make of it. Actually, I don’t know if she noticed at all.


Melia Down 7

I thought it was really fun until some got in my mouth. Yech! Fake snow tastes terrible.

And, for the record, it got in my mouth by accident.


Melia Down 9

Unfortunately my camera doesn’t do too well with the stage shots. I had this problem last time we saw them perform. So I didn’t really try too hard this time. Obviously. Clint isn’t even in this shot. I think he’s behind an umbrella.

I’m sure they’ll have pics up on their website soon.

Ahem. Moving on.


Melia Down 10

Jacinta got lots of attention, which is fine with her.


Melia Down 11

She was a trooper, it was getting pretty late.


Melia Down 13

Her eyes kept getting more and more glazed over.



Unfortunately (again) night videos don’t always turn out very well…but I wish you could see Veronica’s face more clearly. She was having a blast!

Probably the end-of-the-night energy burst that often comes before bed.

Oh, and the band. She liked the band, too.


Melia Down 12

Hat swap!

It was a fun night for everyone, and we’ll look forward to the next chance to see Uncle Clint and Melia Down in action!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Baking

One of my favorite things about the holidays is all the tasty food that goes along with them. From Thanksgiving until New Year’s there is no lack of edibles, no matter what your taste is. And a sure way to tell that Christmas is approaching is the heavenly smell of something in the oven, that staple of Christmas fare – Christmas cookies!


Cookies 2

This year I decided that Veronica was old enough to give me hand.


Cookies 1

No, the smiles on our faces aren’t because of the six pack of beer that I neglected to move off of the counter. You can see they’ve all still got their caps on. *Hic*


 Cookies 3

Operating the sprinkles was the job of choice.


Cookies 4

And she was good at it!


Cookies 5

A little too good. How do you dispose of excess sprinkles?


Cookies 6

Eat them of course!


Cookies 7



Cookies 10

Jacinta helped by sitting and being cute. She was good at her job, too.


Cookies 8

It’s always been a tradition in our family to bake butter cookies for Christmas, so it was fun to share with my daughter. Just like my mom did with me and my siblings, and her mom before that. And while it makes me miss my grandmother a lot, it’s nice to know that a part of her still lives on with us when we continue to share holiday traditions like this one.

Happy Baking, everyone!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

CSFF: The Charlatan’s Boy

When the offer came for a review copy of The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers, I decided not to take it. I knew December would be a busy month with the holidays approaching, and I didn’t want to commit to a review when I wasn’t sure I’d have time to do the book justice. I was certainly right about December being busy, but…but…after reading just a few of the other blog tour posts for this month I wish I had managed to squeeze it in. It sounds fantastic!

Charlatans BoyTo start, check out Rebecca Miller’s blog where she keeps track of everyone who has posted. She also points out some highlights in yesterday’s post. The author, Jonathan Rogers, has also participated in the tour, which is always fun. It’s definitely worth reading the entries of long-time fan Sally Apokedak (though I skipped out on reading the spoilers for now). And for fun, Matt Mikalatos (author of one of my favorite books we’ve done so far, Imaginary Jesus), writes about a real-life charlatan from American history.

I’ll definitely be reading this book when things slow down a little here. And I may in fact take advantage of the author’s offer of free shipping on signed books to fill in a few holes in my Christmas gift list.

Ok, I admit it. For myself, too.

The rest of the tour:

Sally Apokedak - Amy Bissell - Red Bissell - Jennifer Bogart - Thomas Clayton Booher - Keanan Brand - Beckie Burnham - Jeff Chapman - Christian Fiction Book Reviews - Valerie Comer - CSFF Blog Tour - D. G. D. Davidson - April Erwin - Andrea Graham - Tori Greene - Katie Hart - Bruce Hennigan - Christopher Hopper - Becky Jesse - Cris Jesse - Jason Joyner - Julie - Carol Keen - Shannon McDermott - Allen McGraw - Matt Mikalatos - Rebecca LuElla Miller - Nissa - Donita K. Paul - SarahFlan - Sarah Sawyer - Chawna Schroeder - Tammy Shelnut - Kathleen Smith - James Somers - Donna Swanson - Robert Treskillard - Fred Warren - Phyllis Wheeler - Nicole White - Elizabeth Williams - Dave Wilson

Monday, December 6, 2010

St. Nicholas Day

We never celebrated St. Nicholas Day when I was kid, but my husband’s family did.  He would pick out the biggest pair of shoes he owned to ensure maximum space for treats, then set them outside his bedroom door before going to sleep.  In the morning there would be popcorn balls and other goodies stuffed into whatever footwear had been deemed sufficient for the task.

Now that Veronica is getting old enough to appreciate those sorts of things, Paul was excited to continue the tradition, popcorn balls and all. Which is funny because he admits that as a child he felt the popcorn balls took up an awful lot of shoe space. Space that could have been occupied by…other treats. But the popcorn balls are remembered fondly now.


St. Nicholas 1

Paul helped Veronica choose the appropriate footwear.


St. Nicholas 2

Generously sized and  fashionable.


St. Nicholas brought treats!

Sometimes we forget that videos can’t be rotated. Sorry.


St. Nicholas 3



St. Nicholas 4



St. Nicholas 5

Om nom nom.


St. Nicholas 6

What, Veronica? You just ate an orange, a popcorn ball, two packets of fruit snacks and two Hershey kisses? For breakfast?

Thank you, St. Nicholas.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Photos

I got my camera back from my parents’ house, which is where I left it on Thanksgiving. So now I can share my favorite Thanksgiving photos.


Thanksgiving 2

A burp cloth can be a bib in a pinch. And a fashionable head covering!


Thanksgiving 1

“Bring it on!”


Thanksgiving 3

Crazy boys.


Thanksgiving 4

Omi and Opa.


Thanksgiving 5

Is Veronica eyeing Daddy’s drink? Or his cranberry sauce?


Thanksgiving 6

Me and my Ty-guy.


Thanksgiving 8

How did I birth these blue-eyed children?


Thanksgiving 9

Veronica had a little of all her favorites.


Thanksgiving 10

And a fork for each different one.


Monday, November 29, 2010


I’m thankful for… family, friends and lots of good food. Lots.

I’m thankful for… my camera, even if it’s left at my parents’ house instead of with me.

I’m thankful for… pecan pie with whiskey maple cream sauce.

I’m thankful for… some time to recharge my batteries.

I’m thankful for… leftovers.

I’m thankful for… pecan cheesecake pie (with whiskey maple cream sauce).

I’m thankful for… my decision to skip Black Friday this year.

I’m thankful for… cool air and warm sun.

I’m thankful for… socks.

I’m thankful for… my two-year-old.

I’m thankful for… my baby.

I’m thankful for… nap time.

I’m thankful for… my wonderful husband.

I’m thankful for… whiskey maple cream sauce.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yum Yum Pumpkin

Sunday afternoon I was browsing through some of the blogs I frequent, and came across this recipe for Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls on MADE. I knew I had to make them right then. Lucky for me, I had some extra cream cheese frosting waiting to be used. AND pumpkin puree in my freezer for just such an occasion.


Photo courtesy of Good Life eats

The recipe is originally from Good Life eats, you can find it here. They take a little bit of work and rising time, but are totally worth it.


Photo courtesy of MADE

I followed Dana’s tip and used some thread to cut my rolls. Much easier than using a knife!


Photo courtesy of MADE

Yum! Go make some. Or if you don’t have pumpkin…make PW’s!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Olive Cheese…Potatoes?

The very first Pioneer Woman recipe that I made was her incredible Olive Cheese Bread. Although I make a couple adjustments when we have it now, I knew from the moment I tasted that heavenly bread that I had found a gold mine of tasty recipes. I was right. There is a lot of PW fare in our meal rotation now.


Olive cheese bread

Photo courtesy of Ree Drummond.

Mmmmmm. Does it get any better than this?

So I was trying to decide what to make for dinner Sunday night and had a hankering for this bread. The only problem was, we didn’t have any bread. Sad face.

BUT. But…we did have a ton of potatoes. So I decided to give the recipe a shot on top of potatoes instead of bread. Of course, halfway through preparing it I realized I didn’t have any black olives either. That never happens in my house. Shocking. So I had to send Paul to the store. And since the potatoes were all baked and ready to go, I went ahead with Olive Cheese Potatoes anyway, even though he could have gotten a loaf of bread, too.

They actually came out pretty tasty. Very satisfying, and definitely more filling. I just put the cheese topping on…top…like the original recipe calls for. But I think next time – oh yes, there will be a next time – I might try it more like twice baked potatoes and mix the goodness together.

Here is the original recipe, with my own adjustments:

Olive Cheese Bread

* 1 loaf French Bread 
* 6 ounces, weight Pimiento-stuffed Green Olives (maybe 3-4 oz, otherwise it’s too salty for me)
* 6 ounces, weight Black Olives
* 2 stalks Green Onions (scallions)
* 1 stick Butter, Room Temperature (1/2 stick butter)
* ½ cups Mayonnaise (1/4 cup mayonnaise)
* ¾ pounds Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated

Roughly chop both black olives and pimiento-stuffed green olives. Slice green onions into thin pieces.
Combine butter, mayonnaise, cheese, olives and green onions in a mixing bowl. Stir together until thoroughly combined. Spread mixture onto French bread that has been sliced lengthwise. (I used 8 baked potatoes, sliced lengthwise. I also sprinkled some bacon bits on top. I don’t think they made much of a difference though.) Bake at 325ºF for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and browning.
Mixture can also be refrigerated (up to two days) and used as a dip. Great with crackers.

Try this recipe! Either way you prepare it, you won’t be sorry. Unless you hate olives. In which case, I recommend you try something…else.

Check out the other Tasty Tuesday recipes!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Finding Zero

We have a goldfish. His name is Zero.


fish net 3

He swims peacefully in his tank most of the time, unnoticed by our exuberant girl. The closest she usually comes to the tank is running by on her way…somewhere. Because this little girl always has somewhere she needs to get to, fast.

Enter Disney and the adorable Finding Nemo. It is on Veronica’s current rotation of movies.

Veronica came into the room the other night with her fish net, an item purloined from among my youngest brothers’ old toys. She said something to me, but I was attending to Jacinta and gave one of the “Yes, yes dear” kind of responses. The sound of a shifting chair didn’t really grab my attention, either.


Fish net 2

Paul came around the corner at that moment to see Veronica standing on a chair next to the fish tank, net poised above the hapless Zero, ready to strike.

“Veronica, you cannot put anything in the fish tank! You know you are not supposed to touch the fish tank.”

“But he needs to go back to the ocean!”


fish net 4

Now Zero is clearly not a clownfish (though he is orange and white), but in Veronica’s mind he was obviously a captive fish in need of rescue.

Never mind that there is nothing remotely resembling an ocean around here.


Fish net 1

I seriously hope she wasn’t thinking of flushing him down the toilet.

Veronica, my dear…all drains do NOT lead to the ocean. Trust me on this.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

“Cost-uhm” Fun

Ever since her birthday, when he was given to her as a gift by her cousins, Lion has been Veronica’s best friend.


Costume 10

They are inseparable. He goes where she goes. And while she sleeps with most of her stuffed animals, Lion gets the place of honor at her side.

So, naturally, we figured a lion would be a great costume choice for Halloween.


Costume 9

Veronica wasn’t too sure at first. It took some coaxing to get her into the “cost-uhm”.


Costume 8

Then we couldn’t get her back out of it.

She wore it often in the couple of weeks leading up to Halloween.


Costume 1

Finally the night arrived.

Sporting Veronica’s old ladybug costume, even Jacinta was impressed.


Costume 2

Or not.


Costume 4

Trick-or-treating was a big success. Veronica brought Lion with her, of course. They were a hit at every door.


Costume 7

And she did enjoy her treats. Before Mom and Dad swooped in and put them away out of reach. We believe in treat regulation.

Now the only question is…how can we top this next year?