Friday, September 24, 2010

Muffin Girl Reveals Her Secrets

I love pumpkins, i love crunchy leaves, i love cool weather, i love scarecrows, i love anything to do with autumn!! I needed to make a treat for a church event on the 1st day of fall and because fall hasn't quite made it to east Texas, I decided to make a fall treat as a request to the goddess of autumn to head our way.
I made Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and they were awesome. In fact, so many people have asked for the recipe, I have decided to post it here. I could be making millions off this, but instead I am sharing it with the people. I am generous!!
Here you have it:
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1tsp baking powder
1tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 c canned pumpkin
1/2 c applesauce
1 c fat free yogurt
4 egg whites
1 egg
3/4 c water
I know...a lot of ingredients, but the rest is pretty easy. Mix the dry ingredients together and the wet ingredients together (except the water). Then add the dry to the wet and slowly add water. Bake at 350 for 20-24 minutes (use toothpick test). Makes about 3 dozen muffins.
The icing needs to be tweeked a little I think, but I just combined 8 oz of cream cheese, 3/4 c shortening (I will try butter next time), 3 c powdered sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Adding a few tablespoons of water helps adjust the texture if needed. After I frosted the muffins I dusted them with cinnamon which I think made all the difference.
So there you have it. My top secret muffin recipe that I used as an attempt at making friends in our new neigborhood....and it seems to have at least gotten me noticed!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Losing Faith

Warning: Lots of ranting and raving to follow and no pictures. Proceed with caution!

Seven yrs ago when Jeff and I got married, I had to change dentists. The new dentist claimed to find 12 cavities where my old dentist had never found one in more than 20 yrs of being my dentist. I did not let him do all the work he wanted to. I didn't know it then, but this was the beginnings of my frustration with the medical profession.

Fast forward 3 years to the Spring of 2006. I was pregnant with Max. I slipped on the back porch and broke off part of my toenail. Long story short, I went to after hours care and for $300 they removed the rest of the nail and bandaged the toe. Lesson learned: Next time I'll just do it myself. Not a big deal.

Jump ahead to my pregnancy with Zach. OBGYN Dr. M turned out to not be my favorite person. He paid little attention to me as an actual person, didn't seem bothered that I was so sick for 9 months that I lost 40 lbs during my pregnancy, and scheduled me to be induced at his leisure b/c I guess "nature taking its course" is SO unpredictable and inconvenient. The icing on the cake with him was when I was ready to deliver he was complaining to the nurse that he was hungry and wanted to get lunch before the baby came and asked if she could hold me off a little longer--all where I could very easily hear him. He did miss lunch that day, but I could tell that it annoyed him. My apologies. Lesson learned: I should have been more assertive and demanded better care or found someone else.

November 13, 2008: Zach was born and all was well, or so I thought. A nurse checked his temp and it was a little low. They suspected an infection. Long story short: 7 days and $10,000 later I was finally able to take my baby home. The kicker: No infection was ever found. Lesson learned: Ask and demand real answers constantly and demand to see all lab report, dr report, etc if ever found in that situation again.

Let's jump ahead to Fall of 2009: Max developed a cough. Doc gave him some meds. Didn't help. Got more meds. Didn't change. Long story short: In 8 months my 30 lb 3 yr old was given 6 medications costing $500/month with no real answer. We were never referred to a specialist or given a clear explanation as to what was going on. Only diagnosis was chronic asthma. Strange, but 4 months ago, we moved and I took him off all meds and he's been totally symptom free. I think he was allergic to something at school and kept reacting to it. Again: I must be more proactive and realize I am my child's only true advocate.

Summer 2010: New city, new pediatrician. Max's 4 yrs old check up. In my opinion he is healthier than he's ever been. However, Dr finds a heart mumur that he may or may not have had all his life. As a precaution he gets a full cardiac work up. $700 to tell me my child is perfectly healthy. AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH

Also Summer 2010: I cut my finger on a can of chili. It's deep and my mom is there and would have worried herself to death if I didn't get it checked out. Go to Urgent Care Clinic. In 20 minutes, it is cleaned, dermabonded, and got a tetus shot. They billed my insurance copy $1400! I'm buying dermabond on ebay for next time.

So why am I ranting and raving about this today?? I am going to a new doctor this week and I have been debating my approach with him. Maybe I should just give up, buy anitbiotics from Mexico, birth the rest of my babies in the bathtub at home and embrace the true hollistic movement. Maybe I should lay it all for this poor new guy and let him know that I am on to him and all of his collegues and I will become one of those pain in the a$$ patients who demands proof, explanation, and documentation for ever single thing I am treated for, billed for, and diagnosised with. Or maybe I've actually stumbled across a professional who does his job, cares for his patients, and doesn't intend to screw me over from the start.
I'll let you know.

PS: I know that some of my relatives are/will be doctors and I'm sure they are/will be great. Just try to remember not to screw over the little guy! :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Playschool--Here we come!!

A few new friends in the area decided to start up a rotating Playschool group for their 2 yr olds and asked Zakky and I if we'd like to join up. We thought it was a great idea and joined in on the fun. It will be 2 hours once a week and each week a different mom is in charge. This frees up the rest of us to do as we please with our well deserved break. Since Max doesn't have school on these days I don't get alone time but I do get some one-on-one time with Max so it works out well.
Today was our first day and Zach thought it was great. The group is nothing but cute, blonde, curly headed girls and Zach!! Jeff thinks it's great that he has all the women now. Zach didn't cry when I dropped him off and when I picked him up he said, "Had fun momma! Had fun!' Then he told me he "paint a elmo (rainbow) and played wif girlfriends!" Tooo cute!
Max starts preschool next week and I am hoping for just as positive an experience. Wish us luck!!

After school he was so tired he fell asleep on the floor in Jeff's office. School is great!!

Momma "Nose"

This is why Mom says "Don't play 1-2-3-CRASH. Someone's gonna get hurt!"
(Notice the smashed in pig nose that lasted a week)
Sorry Momma! We won't do it again (for at least 5 more minutes)!

Another trip to Home Depot

I love our house. Really I do. However, I am not enjoying the time and money I am spending at the Home Depot in order to make our house a home. This past week I moved the couch to sweep under it and found all the hardwood floors were warped from some sort of water damage. Futher investigation showed that the wax seal on our toliet failed and was sending water under the floor and under the wall into our den. Fun time!
So here are some pictures of when a $3 thing breaks and causes $300 in damages!
Our toliet drain---EEEWWW!
Our toliet --in the hallway now

The flooring we have to pull up and replace once we find the matching wood.

Just another day in paradise!


For the last 4 years we have lived in the desert. That means plenty of sand, but no water. And if you know my husband, that makes for a sad little fellow! Now that we live closer to the ocean (the gulf actually) we have been trying to take full advantage. All my boys would be beach bums given the opportunity. Enjoy!!
I love this pic b/c Zakky looks like he's up to something!! (He usually has that look!)

My beach boys

Waiting to catch a wave!

Max has become obsessed with surfing. He's actually getting to be a pretty good little boogie boarder considering he's terrified of water deeper than his waist!

What's a vacation without some spa treatments?? My boys are pros at the mud baths if anyone is interested!

Moody Gardens Staycation

Jeff had a week of vacation this summer--I know! Amazing isn't it!!--but since we were still settling in from the move and all we decided to have a Staycation and just explore our new area. We spent a few days working on the house b/c there is always work to be done, but then went and had some fun.
We took the boys to Galveston for a few days. It's only about an hour from our house and had a lot of fun stuff we wanted to check out. It was nice to get away for a bit (even though we had to go back home for a bit in the middle of it b/c our house alarm was set off by a storm). Long story.
Anyway, here are some pics of our trip to Moody Gardens.
My boys don't look alike but somehow they often seem to look alike. I love it!

The one token picture to prove that they have a mother and she goes on vacation with them!

This was suppose to look like Jeff is feeding them to the shark but the shark was hanging to high and Jeff wasn't being tall enough and well it didn't really work out!

But we did get pictures of them in jail!!

Max has really grown up a lot this summer. He was even brave enough to try out the kiddie zipline and really enjoyed it! I was shocked!!

We loved Moody Gardens. It's affordable and very age appropriate for my boys. I am sure we will make it back there for another visit. (We'd better--I bought season passes!!)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Before and After--My new work station

As soon as we moved into the house I decided this little nook in the kitchen would be perfect for a workstation. Jeff and I decided this would be the weekend to make it happen. We were suppose to be working in the yard, but 100+ degree temps, brought us back in rather quickly. We divided up the tasks to complete everything, and I have to say I LOVE the results. I did my part by having the idea, making the plans, shopping (everything for the project was either on sale or bought with a coupon or both!), and staining the cabinets. My wonderful, fabulous, oh so talented husband did the rest. I sat back and watched my vision come to life, while trying to keep the kids out of the way!! I am so excited about how great it looks--and that it's FINISHED! We have a lot of projects in this house and we are finally starting to see some of them come together. So we know I love it, what do you think?? BEFORE


Busy, Busy, Busy

We've been busy working and playing around here quite a bit. While our good friend Onnie was here for a few days, she helped me figure out my sewing machine and I was able to put together this cute little apron. I think it turned out pretty darn fabulous considering I'd never touched the machine before. Onnie was a great teacher and said I was a better student than I give myself credit for. I think she's just incredibly patient. Jeff asked if I was going to wear it while making dinner that night and I just laughed. This baby is going in a museum!!! (Besides, I don't cook dinner, we go out!) Whatever the case...I think its cute!!
While we were working on our sewing projects, Max and Liah were playing dress up. Max came out as a "secret private detective"...a very inconspicuous one!!! And Liah was going for the western cowgirl look. Having girls around makes for a whole different kind of play!!

Just thought I'd throw this in as a handsome picture of my boys. My little heartbreakers!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Max is 4 !!!!

Monkey Boy Max is 4 years old!!! His birthday was the 12th of July but his celebrating started July 3rd and I think ended yesterday. Way to stretch it out. He partied at Grandma Mouse and Paw Paw's when they took him and all the cousins to Chuck E Cheese and had a Buzz Lightyear Cake. He got spoiled with lots of presents and fun. Thank you to everyone that came. I wish I had pics but maybe I can get some from my mom.
He also thinks that Aunt Jan's 4th of July swim party was for his birthday too. Well there was cake and lots of friends and fun, so maybe it was a little for him.
Then this week Grandma Nana came for a visit and took him shopping for his birthday and got more cool presents and then we made a green race car cake and had another mini party. So I'm all partied out now and don't want to do it again until October when it's MY TURN!!
I was going to spend some time and make a cool race car cake, but he wanted to help and it was for him anyway, so this is what we came up with.
He wanted to eat it all but was gracious enough to share a little. Red velvet cake, green cream cheese frosting, and rocky road ice cream--what a combination!!

We didn't have candles so we thought sparklers would work just as well--and they did!!

Happy Birthday Buddy!! We love you!

More House Pictures

Here are a few more pictures from my house. Enjoy!!
This is our sunroom. It's 300 sq feet and airconditioned so it's a great place for the boys to play "outside" when it's rainy or way too hot (both happen quite regularly here). We love this room!

This is our den. Not a great pic of it though. We have since added a 55 gallon fish tank in the right corner and are looking for the right piece of art to hang over the mantle.

This is the gameroom upstairs. I keep most of the boys toys up here, but they do a great job of spreading them around the house b/c it would be too simple to just clean up one room!

This is Max's room. In the corner is his new train table and dresser and the far wall has two closets for him as well. The walls are painted Buzz Blaster Blue in honor of his hero Buzz Lightyear.

Zach's room is the same size as Max;s and just across the hall. We painted it a nice soothing Sand color which I want to use in a lot of the other rooms, but we will see in time what gets done.

I don't have pics of the master, the outside, or the apartment, but I will try to get some and put them up soon. Hope you enjoyed!!

New House

I am finally posting some pictures of our new house in Houston!!! Here are a few pics of the downstairs. If I get a chance tonight I will put some pics of the upstairs too. I need to get pics of the outside and the guest apartment so those won't be added till later.
Let me just say the I LOVE our house. It truly feels like our home and I hope and pray we can stay here for a LONG, LONG time. Sorry I haven't blogged so much lately. Things have been incredibly and ridiculously insane the last few months. Maybe I will blog about it one day or maybe I will just start from here and try not to look back. We shall see!This is our entry way and foyer. To the right is Jeff's office (too messy to take a pic) and to the left is the formal living room.

This is our formal living room and dining room. I bought some chairs for the living room and Jeff and I are debating over paint colors. So if we ever do anything with it, I'll let you know!!

One of my favorite rooms in the house--my walk in pantry. There is so much room in here I can't believe it. Plenty of room for storage so we never have to worry about running out of the necessities--like Diet Coke!!

This is the kitchen (well half of it). All new appliances! To the right is a space where we are putting in a little office nook for me so I don't have to share Jeff's office. There is also a laundry room to the right so I don't have to wash clothes in the garage anymore!!

This is the breakfast nook with a huge window behind it. The door opens to the deck in the backyard. There are a million windows in this house but this one is one of the biggest!
Well that's the start of the tour of our home. After I get the kiddos to bed I might get a chance to put up a few more pics. Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

1st Real Haircut



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Last Night with the Diablos

We went to our last Diablos baseball game last week. We will be moving soon and there are no more home games before we are gone. We have quite enjoyed going to the games over the last 4 years. It's a minor league team in a smaller stadium so it's very afforable and kid friendly. It's one of the highlights of our summers here. We went to this game with some friends who go to church with us and live down the street. There kids are the same age as our kids and play great together. We have enjoyed getting to know them and wish they had moved here longer ago so we could have done more things together. That's ok b/c we will meet again when Max marries their sweet little Lily. I just know it will happen!! Zach is just chillin out and waiting for mom to break out the cracker jacks and churros. He only comes to the games to eat!
Max had to wear a baseball hat to the game so everyone would tell him how handsome he was!!

Max and Lily posing with the mascot chicken. I still don't know why the Diablos mascot is a chicken, but whatever works!!

Florida 2010

We took a trip to the Florida coast at the beginning of May. The real reason behind the trip no longer matters, so we'll just call it a mini family vacation. We stayed at a beachfront hotel (which is the only way to do it with kids!) and my kids LOVE the beach. Me, not so much, but I guess I'm odd girl out. I love the sounds and smells, but hate sand and not crazy about saltwater. But anyway...
Since Jeff wasn't around much the first day we were there (long, unimportant story) I was a good, brave Mommy and took the boys to the beach myself. Kids require a whole lot of crap to go to the beach...buckets, shovels, towels, sunscreen...just to name a few things. So I got them ready and hauled all there junk out the the beach. It was worth it though b/c they had a blast.
Max was brave enough to run out into the water a little ways to get his feet wet. The water was still too cold to really swim though.
Zach tangled with the waves a little too boldly and decided he'd better stick to the sand. One of his smarter decisions I think.

Max became a sandcastle building expert by the end of the trip. He must get that from his dad.

We went to the pool a little later (again more changing of clothes and hauling of crap) but Zach decided he'd trying sunbathing over swimming.

Max stayed in the pool until I had to drag him out. He was freezing and turning blue, but kept insisting that the water was nice and warm and fine to play in. He brought his giant squirt guns and spent the afternoon trying "not" to squirt the other people around the pool. It was great b/c they were having a wedding just over the wall in the beachside pavillion and I was sure that Max was going to aim jsut right and hit the bride. That would have been perfect!
We will have to make it back to the beach this summer b/c my boys love it so much. I don't know that it will be in Florida, but I'm sure we'll figure something out.


On our mini vacation to Florida, we decided to go to the Kennedy Space Center and see the space rockets. Max LOVES spaceships, space rockets, rocket ships, whatever you want to call them and was SO excited to go. Unfortunately the trip turned out to be one of the most disappointing days of his life. He literally ran across the Rocket Garden toward the space rockets and shouted "So which one do I get to fly today?" Poor kid, I guess we forgot to mention that they were all for show. After he realized that he #1 could not fly them, #2 could not ride in them, and #3 could not even watch them blast off and "blow fire" he sighed heavily and then asked if this place had a playground or something else he could do. Even a $10 ice cream cone didn't make him feel any better about the day.
Gas for the Rental Car $3 a gallon
Price of Admission $80
IMAX Movie tickets Included
Ice Cream Cones $10
Crushing a Little Boy's Lifelong Dream Priceless
Way to go NASA!!

All these rockets and none of them fly???

I'm just here to be cute and follow my big brother around!

This is as close as the boys got to flying to the moon. Not a bad pic of their daddy though!

Yeah I was there. This was at the beginning when Max was gearing up to be an astronaunt.

The closest thing we have had to a family photo in quite some time. Help Aunt Erika!!