Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On Sundays, we usually eat lunch at Joey's moms house.  This Sunday, the kids wanted to play Twister while Mimi cooked spaghetti.

Shortly after this pic, Joey fell.  Score one for Taylor!

Mine and Ashton's game went on for record-breaking time.  Ashton fell, mommy won.  Score one for mom!

Ashton and Taylor laughed most of the time (as you can tell by Ashton's face) and touched the mat way too many times before either of them "lost".

Overall, I think I have to claim the Twister Champion Title.  And now I need a massage.

Stephanie Cooks: Chocolate Mousse Crunch Cake

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Saturday evening we were invited to a cookout with several of the officers that graduated with Joey.  I offered to bring dessert because there was a recipe I had been dying to try.

Chocolate Mousse Crunch Cake
(Found on Our Best Bites)


What you need:
  • 1 package Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake (prepared as directed)
  • 1 package crushed Heath bits

How you make it:
  1. Bake cake according to cake mix instructions in 2 8" round pans. Set aside and allow to cool. 
  2. When cake is cooled, use a serrated knife (or cake leveler) to carefully slice the dome-iest part of each cake layer off so the layers are level.


What you need:  
  • 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 1 Tbsp. cold water
  • 2 Tbsp. boiling water (heat it in a small bowl in your microwave)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

How you make it:

  1. In a small bowl, combine gelatin and cold water and allow to stand for about 1 minute. 
  2. While gelatin is softening, bring 2 Tbsp. water to a boil in the microwave. 
  3. Whisk the boiling water into the softened gelatin and allow to cool slightly.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, 1 cup heavy whipping cream, and vanilla. 
  5. Beat with an electric mixer until medium-stiff peaks form. 
  6. Mix in gelatin mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


What you need:  
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocoloate chips (by weight)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

How you make it:
  1. Combine chocolate and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. 
  2. Heat for 2 minutes and stir. 
  3. Heat for an additional 1-2 minutes or until chocolate is fully melted and can be whisked and incorporated into the cream. The ganache will thicken as it cools. 


  1. Place one layer on the serving plate and spread about 1/2 of the chocolate mousse over the cake.
  2. Sprinkle with Heath bits.
  3. Place second layer on top of Heath bits.
  4. Spoon ganache over the top layer (if it's too thick, warm it up a bit), allowing it to drip down the sides.
  5. Sprinkle with additional Heath bits and refrigerate until ready to serve.

I was a bit nervous taking a cake to a cookout that I had never tasted, but I figured presentation is half the battle, and it looks fabulous, right?

Well, turns out it tastes better than it looks.  It was so delicious!!

PS - Stay tuned early next week for a giveaway that will help you make this yummy cake!  And no, it's not that Kitchenaid mixer.  That's my MIL's.  SHHHHHHHH!  Don't tell her I still have it.

Friends are friends forever.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ha ha.  Have you all thrown up a little in your mouth?

Sorry, but I had to go there because one of really good friends has been in town.  We've known each other since the 4th grade, graduated high school together, kept in touch through college, and stood in each others weddings - wait, she didn't stand in mine (she was supposed to, but had her state teaching exam that day), but I stood in hers (4 months pregnant).  We've always kept in touch and we're the kind of friends that never skip a beat.

I haven't seen her in about 3 years, but when I found out she was coming to town, we immediately made plans to get together.  Last Monday she came to the house and we hung out and got caught up for several hours.  Friday was her birthday, so we hit the town (ok, we went shopping and then ate Mexican food) and had such a great time!

(I wasn't going to include this picture because I look ridiculous, but once I took a longer look at it, and showed it to Kristy, I knew I had to add it. Do you see someone sneaking into our picture through the glass door?  That's Kristy son.  Too cute!)

After we did some shopping, we met up with another of our life-long friends, Cathy (who we all just reconnected with, thanks to FB), for dinner.

We. had. so. much. fun.

We were disappointed that Tina (Cathy's twin sister) couldn't make it, but we still had fun.  We sat in the restaurant for three and a half hours and just talked.  It was so great!

I absolutely love these girls (and Tina too!) and I'm so thankful that we have the kind of friendship where it's never awkward.  We just pick up where we left off - however long it's been.

A stay-cation of sorts.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Earlier this week, my Aunt, cousins, and their kids came to town for a little getaway.  They do this every year around this time and I always try to take at least 1 day off of work and take the kids to visit.

They were staying at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort and let me tell you, this place is a dream come true for families!  The have a lazy river (with lots of shade), and "beach area" with sand and sand toys, movies on the outdoor lawn in the evening, daily events for families and kids... it is so much fun!

Just check out all the fun we had!

We ordered room service for lunch and ate in the air conditioning.  But we weren't in the room long before it was back out to the lazy river.  Later that evening, the kids had tons of fun running, racing, and rolling on the grass.

After dinner, we had to have s'mores at the fire pit.  The kids had been looking forward to this for weeks!

(Above, bottom right) All the 2nd cousins posing for a pic.  They have so much fun together!  Ashton used to not like being the oldest, but now I think she really enjoys playing babysitter.  She took all the older kids around the lazy river and was so good at watching out for all of them.  Of course, they could all swim, but she kept a good eye out!

(Below top left - My mom, Aunt Alene, and Gigi - my mom's mom)  Around mid-morning, my aunt went to go pick up my grandmother and bring her to the hotel so she could see all the little ones.  She really enjoys the little babies. (Top right - me, my cousin Lauren, my cousin Bethany)  My cousins and I always have so much fun when we get together.  They're like the sisters I never had. 

I had to squeeze in a few self-portraits with my kiddos.  I just love them to peices!  We were sad that daddy wasn't with us, but he's been so sick for almost a week now and still has to work.  If you think about it, please say a prayer for him.

(Yes, I got a bit red.  And please disregard the enormity of my head in the bottom left pic.)

We had so much fun and can't wait to see them all again in less than 2 weeks when we head to Houston for vacation.  (Any of my Houston peeps wanna meet for coffee?)

Just call me Martha Stewart. Wait, scratch that.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'm not sure what's come over me lately.  I'm cooking (with yeast!).  I'm decorating.  No one can believe it.  Especially me!

But, since I'm doing it, I might as well share it.

I told you all before about Ashton's room and how we bought a new bed for her.  Well, in case you don't know, it's impossible for me to do anything halfway.  So a new bed meant new bedding, meant new paint, meant decluttering, meant new curtains.

Are you with me?

Here's what we started with:

Before she had the comforter that's on the bed in this pic, she had a double bed with a really nice white comforter.  It had big flowers on it just like what we painted on the wall.  It looked great and I was so proud.  Then she wanted more room, so we downsized to a daybed (that we found on Craig's List) and had to get new bedding.  It was cute when we bought it, but it didn't last nearly as long as we had it.  (I was so ready to get rid of it!)

Here's what we have now:

We knew we wanted to upsize back to a double bed, so Ashton picked out the comforter set and we got to work.  We found the bed and painted it white to match the rest of her furniture.  Then we started painting her room.

I don't mind painting, but what I do mind is cleaning the brushes and rollers.  And when you paint over the course of 3 days, there's a lot of cleaning to be done. 

I am so thankful that Joey helped with the painting, though.  He painted the entire ceiling in about 45 minutes.  And he hates to paint!  (But he loves me.)

Once the room was painted, we put everything back in it's place.  I had ordered Ashton some curtains to match her new room and she was so excited!  She's been wanting curtains for a long time, but I was just too lazy to get any.  I also ordered a big purple shag rug (which you can see the corner of in the bottom left of the pic).

Overall, I'm so pleased with how everything turned out.  Ashton absolutely loves it, and that's really all that matters.

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stephanie cooks: Cinnamon Rolls

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Last week I decided to put together a spreadsheet containing listings of main dishes, side dishes, appetizers, and desserts.  Then I used those items to put together menus for 4 weeks.  While I was making the spreadsheet, I was searching various sites for new recipes and compiling the recipes for dishes that I already had.

My life was changed when I found this recipe on Our Best Bites for cinnamon rolls.  No, they're not PW's cinnamon rolls.  Her recipe scares me.  Actually, any recipe that calls for yeast scares me, but I decided I would give it a try with this one.

Cinnamon Rolls
(Don't be intimidated by the length of the recipe.  It's really very simple!  I mean, if I can do it, ANYONE can do it!)

What you need:


  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 Tbs butter, cut into chunks
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (2 cups, 1 1/4 cup)
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 Tbs milk

How you make it:

  1. Place milk and 4 Tbs butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. Butter should be at least partially melted. Stir and set aside. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, yeast, white sugar, and salt. 
  3. When milk mixture has cooled to warm (not hot) add it to the flour mixture along with the egg while the beater (paddle attachment for those using a stand mixer) is running. Beat until well combined, about 1 minute.
  4. (Switch to the dough hook now) Add remaining flour only until dough barely leaves the sides of the bowl. It should be very soft and slightly sticky. Continue to let the dough knead for 5 minutes. (If you are not using a stand mixer, turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 5 minutes by hand.) 
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and let rest for about 10 minutes while you make the filling.

  1. Soften butter well. 
  2. Mix with brown sugar and cinnamon.

  1. Roll dough into a rectangle about 12 x 14 inches. 
  2. Spread brown sugar mixture (it will be slightly thick, you might have to "crumble" it) over the surface and use your fingers or the back of a spoon to gently spread around. 
  3. Roll up from the longer side of the rectangle and pinch edges closed. 
  4. Cut the roll into desired number of pieces.
  5. Place in a 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. 
  6. Cover pan with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. (OBB suggests that you heat a small glass of water in the microwave until boiling.  Open the microwave, move the glass to the side [still in the oven], and place covered rolls in the microwave with the glass (oven OFF).  The heat will help the rolls to rise.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. When rolls have finished rising, bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. 
  3. Spread with icing while still warm. 
  4. Makes approx. 12 rolls.

Two words: YUM.MO.

Give it a try.  You won't be sorry.

Weekend recap: Father's Day

Monday, June 21, 2010

This weekend started off a bit slow, with Joey being sick.  Joey is never sick, but when he does get sick, he gets really sick!  I felt so bad for him because on top of being sick, he was having a ton of trouble adjusting his sleep schedule to his new shift.

Saturday night we had plans to go on a date, and Joey was trying his hardest to make it happen, but he was sicker than sick and ended up heading to the Med Clinic instead.  He didn't sleep hardly at all Saturday night, so Sunday morning, the kids and I just let him sleep until the absolute last minute, then woke him up with homemade cinnamon rolls (yes, I made cinnamon rolls!) and Father's Day cards.

(He's going to kill me for putting this pic on the internet, but it's the only picture I have of him on Father's Day!)

Once he was up and around, we headed to his mom's house to celebrate with his grandma and grandpa.  Joey was planning on grilling the steaks, but he was so sick, he put the steaks on the grill then disappeared to his mom's room and passed out on the bed.  Luckily Pepaw finished the grilling.

After lunch, Joey headed to work and the kids and I headed to my parents to celebrate with my dad.

Since I was on a baking kick this weekend, and cinnamon rolls are my dads favorite, I made a batch for him, too!  He said they were the best he's ever had.  Granted, he's my dad, but he did eat at least two, if not 3, while I was there.

My dad and my brother had big plans to sit in front of the TV and watch golf.  So they did.

My mom and I didn't want to interrupt them, so we went to the pool with the kids.  Then we came home and cooked dinner.

Overall, it was a great celebration with my dad.  Even the kids thought so!

Let's chat: Moms VS. Dads

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I was driving to work this morning, listening to K-LOVE (a nationally syndicated Christian radio station), when I heard a discussion about Father's Day.

The DJ was speaking to dads and said (something like), "Maybe you're feeling down about Father's Day.  If you're discouraged, maybe because you feel like you haven't always done what you should as a dad, or any reason that you may be discouraged, listen to what our special guest has to say."

The guest went on to talk about how some dads are absentee, abusive, etc. and how they can change their ways and be a more Godly father.

Now, I don't have any problem with people improving themselves, correcting mistakes, and trying to be a better person, but why is it that this is what they talk about in reference to Father's Day?  Isn't Father's Day supposed to be a day where we celebrate our dads and not a day where we remind them of their failures?

We don't seem to ever talk about dead-beat moms on Mother's Day, do we?  No.  It's all about how wonderful our moms are, how much they do for us, and showering them with affection and gifts, right?

So why the double standard with Father's Day? 

I, for one, have a wonderful dad.  He's always gone above and beyond to provide for our family.  He's a wonderful example of God's love and I love him dearly.  I'm blessed to have such a great, close relationship with my dad and for me, Father's Day will be about celebrating this.

I love you daddy!

Covered in paint

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The good thing is that Ashton's room is none of these colors.  However, the drop cloth looked almost exactly like this, just with tan paint. 

It's been officially determined that I can NOT use a PaintStick.

I'd like to...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

... post pics from Ashton's time at camp, but it's taking me longer than expected to search through the 2500 (!) pictures online to find any that include her.

... have someone paint Ashton's room so I don't have to do it.  Not gonna happen, I don't guess, since I refused to pay for it.

... post pics of Ashton's new bed - all painted, put together, and made up - but I didn't take any last night.

... be inside Taylor's head for about an hour.  He says the craziest things and cracks me up ALL.THE.TIME.  Last night, while helping Joey put Ashton's bed together, he had the hammer and was waiting patiently for Joey to give him the go-ahead.  While waiting, he said, "I can't wait to get hammered!"  See?  Where does he get this stuff?

... say "thanks" to Jenn over at The LaJeunesse Family.  I won her giveaway!  Yay!!  Can't wait to get my super cute "Laundry" sign.

... show up at home tonight to find that the laundry fairies have folded all of the clean laundry piled in my laundry room.  (A girl can dream, right?)

What would you like to do?  You know, in a world where fairies fold your laundry?

Weekend recap

Monday, June 14, 2010

One of my Twitter friends (@QuarterLifeGirl) posted this earlier this morning: "I need a vacation from my weekend."

I could not agree more.  I finally got out of bed this morning after snoozing for 30 minutes and

Joey worked Friday night and I can't even remember what I did - which most likely means I watched DVR'd TV until I feel asleep.

Saturday, we slept in and then I had to be church at 2pm for rehearsal and Saturday night service.  After church, we headed out in search of a new bed for Ashton.  The bed she currently has is very old (it's a metal day bed) and it squeaks if you just look at it wrong.  So we spent several hours Saturday evening searching all of the furniture stores we could find, but never saw what we were looking for.

I guess God was looking out for us because Sunday, when I got home from church, I searched Craigs List and found this beauty of a bed.

It's solid wood, handmade, and perfect for Ashton's room!!  I love it!

Do you want to hear how much we paid for it?  $130!!  Yes, $130 and that was for the bed (headboard, footboard, rails), mattress, and boxspring!  Woohoo!!  Thank's Craigs List!

Now, the only issue is that all of Ashton's furniture is white, so it had to be painted.

So we sanded.


And painted some more. Into the wee hours of the morning.

Ok, so it was only 10:30 at night, but since I usually go to bed around 9 or 9:30, I'd say it was the wee hours of the morning.

And then it was finished.

Joey is planning on putting it up in Ashton's room today.  We took her old bed apart, so she's ready!  I have before pics of her room that I'll show once the entire room is finished.  We need to paint, she has new bedding, and we will be doing a MAJOR cleaning out of all the crap unused toys and lots of decluttering.  I'm so excited to get this done, so hopefully it won't take too long. 

I just have to find time to paint her room.

Baby Cohen

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My heart is so heavy today.  I keep checking Twitter for updates on baby Cohen and just continue to pray.

I'm sure that a lot of you know Megan and baby Cohen through the blog world, but if you don't, please click on the button below to read Cohen's story.  Our God is mighty and more than capable of healing little Cohen.

Please pray for Cohen, his mommy Megan, and his daddy Brent.

"Savior, He can move the mountains.  My God is mighty to save.  He is mighty to save.  Forever, author of salvation.  He rose and conquered the grave.  Jesus conquered the grave."

MHR Friday

Friday, June 11, 2010

Just over a year ago, I posted this.  This morning was de ja vu, all over again.

Here is an email I sent to my husband after it happened:

(cont'd from another topic...)

BTW, I was nearly in a horrible accident this morning on my way to work.  Driving down 410, minding my own business, and someone moved into the lane nearly on top of the car next to me, who then began to move into my lane.  I swerved like crazy (like, it would have been possible for my Jeep to roll) and PRAISE THE LORD there was no car in the lane on the other side of me.  Everyone was ok, thankfully.  Just as before (you know, when this happened a year or so ago), it was glaringly obvious to me that God was there protecting me and in complete control.

I know this will freak you out, but that's not my intent.  The rest of my drive to work, I just kept thinking how fragile life is. I want you to know how very much I love you.  When I tell you "I love you more than life", I mean it.  I'm just so in love with you it hurts!  I'm so thankful for you and for everything you do for me.  I feel so protected, so cared for, and so incredibly loved.

You are my life.  I love you!

I know this is sort of an odd MHR post, but all can think about now is how blessed I am to be married to my best friend. So I thought it was fitting.

Baby talk

Thursday, June 10, 2010

No.  I'm not having a baby. Bite your tongue!

I listen to the Kidd Kraddick In The Morning show on the radio every morning.  (It's syndicated... anyone else listen?)  I absolutely love this morning show.  They crack me up!!

HOWEVER, this morning, they're doing this competition for Lady Gaga tickets where they have couples on air talking their "normal" baby talk.

I've almost thrown up my mouth no less than 5 times.  I literally had to change the station I was so embarrassed for these people (who obviously felt no shame at all).

Listening to these people talk baby talk to each other, about anything and everything, makes me cringe!  What's with the baby talk??

Don't get me wrong, I have a limited few words that I say "childishly" to Joey, but you would NEVER hear Joey (or me, for that matter) carrying on an entire conversation in baby talk.  Maybe I'm weird, but I don't even like baby talk with babies.  LOL

Am I the only one who cringes at baby talk?

Wordful Wednesday

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I thought I'd link up with WW today because this picture is too funny to not post, but obviously, it requires explanation.

Explanation such as, who is under that blanket?  Why are they under there?  What in the world are they doing?

Well, that would be Taylor, under a blanket, playing his DS on the way to his Mimi's this morning.  He said he was cold, so instead of just covering himself up, he opted for the ghost-look.  And he said he could still see his DS, so he was one happy boy.

Goodness I love that boy!!

let's get acquainted

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THE Stephanie
I’m Stephanie - wife to one extremely handsome cop; mother to two extremely silly kids. The hubs and I have been married since February ’99. I love him more each day and simply can’t get enough of him. My daughter, Ashton, is 12 going on 17. She’s beautiful, creative, smart, and oh, so sassy. Taylor, our son, is 8 and is so much like his daddy it’s scary. He makes me laugh all the time with the silly things he says and does. He won’t remember what you told him 5 minutes from now, just like his daddy. I love to laugh and spend time with friends and family. I’ve also recently discovered a love for cooking and enjoy sharing recipes. I love finding new blog friends, so be sure to leave a comment so I can do the same!
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