Monday, January 31, 2011

Mother Nature has officially checked out

Dear Mother Nature,

What's up?  Long time no talk.  Um, could you please explain how it can go from 60 degrees to -15 degrees in the matter of 24 hrs?  I know I know, global warming blah blah blah, but geez did you give up and head South to Cabo for the winter?  Now I am ok with it being cold and all, seeing as I do make a living when it snows, but I don't live in the high country, and I don't live in Wisconsin, so why oh why are you forcing me to take Sudafed tablets like candy to deal with the pressure from the temperature drop pounding in my head? At the rate I am going they are going to cut me off at the Target Pharmacy because of the possibility I could be making a meth lab in the barn due to my high volume of sales.  Anyway if we could land somewhere in the middle with the temperatures then I can stop smearing Vaseline on the chicken's combs so they don't get frostbite.  Because Lord knows I love doing that. 

Peace Out,

In honor of it being a crappy cold day pretty much everywhere in the US right now, I am adding the recipe for the ultimate comfort food, Ultra Creamy Mac and Cheese Casserole from the Deen Bros.  Now the Deen Bros. are the sons of the Queen of Butter herself Paula Deen.  (Note: they have no idea who I am and are sure as hell not paying me to post this)  I love me a good creamy Mac and Cheese and this one is quite possibly the creamiest I have ever tried.  So much so I added extra pasta the first time I made it, because I was a bit freaked out.  By the way don't bother trying to make it healthy or low fat, because seriously people what's the point.  Just eat the damn mac and cheese and then be good tomorrow.  I also add either bread crumbs or panko to the top, just because I like the texture.  Enjoy!

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter cut into pieces and softened, plus additional for coating dish
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded approx. 2 cups
8 oz american cheese, shredded (yeah right, shredding a Velveeta block is a freakin mess, just chop it) approx 1/2 small block
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
1 cup half and half
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt (I add seasoned salt sometimes instead)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder (optional) (um, don't do this if you have small kids they will hate you)
Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 13x9 inch baking dish; set aside

2. In a large pot of water, cook the macaroni according to the package directions; drain.  Return the macaroni to the pot.  Add the cheeses to the hot macaroni and stir well;  spread in the prepared dish

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup butter, the half and half, eggs, sour cream, salt, cayenne pepper if using, and black pepper.  Pour over the macaroni.  Bake, uncovered, for 40 to 50 min or until golden brown and bubbling.  Let stand for 10 min before serving. 

Note:  I think after I poured the butter goop over the cheesy macaroni in the dish I stirred it all up, because it seemed weird not to do that.  But hey when have I ever followed the rules.  :) 

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Ok, I am officially ready to chuck the stupid computer, after we get the pictures off.  Ya'll are just going to have to use your imagination about India's b-day pics.  She sat on my lap, and picked at a cupcake.  No diving in, no money shot.  Sorry to break the news.  Anyway, now that that is out of the way, we can move on and I can not feel guilty about not posting the pictures. 

Last week I experienced some serious hormones combined with some S.A.D.   Call it me being sick of the wind, and feeling like all I ever do is pay bills, wipe butts, take care of a teething baby, and pick up the damn Yo Gabba Gabba dolls 60 times a day.  I was just exhausted and feeling more like "Spanky the $12,000 Grand Champion hog" from the Stock Show.  My lack of energy and motivation to do anything combined with a serious Panera bagel binge and Bachelor reruns left me feeling literally like a hog.  It was obvious I needed to do something.  So I put the bagel down and ordered some new exercise clothes and videos.  I also figured it would be a good idea to make some cookies to tide me over until the stuff came.  Shopping always helps to motivate me and so do cookies.  Besides the "I just had a baby" excuse at the gym wasn't working anymore since India is now 1 and everyone knows I lost the 14lbs I gained with her 1 week after she was born. 

Moving on to this week of actually doing the damn videos.  Calla and I started out with some Zumba and then moved on to Jackie Warner's Crunch Free Xtreme Abs.  I figured if you spell the word extreme without the E it must be harder.   Calla was as eager as a Miss America contestent to get started.  She ran around the house before hand with a tutu on and a Denver Nuggets sweatband on her head shaking the Zumba sticks yelling "lets move it people, we have some exercising to do!"   Seeing as she has like no body fat, it is obvious she will be sporting her 6 pack abs in 2 weeks doing the videos, and will be ready for her Toddlers and Tiaras debut.   Me, I am still walking like I have a stick up you know where thanks to video # 3 Tracy Anderson's Method.  Now being a dancer, plies are not hard things for me to do.  However Tracy's method is to do, and I am not kidding you, 100+  plies in a row.  Effective yes, but walking through Target like I just pooped my pants is just asking for people to stare at me.  

So this week I don't feel like poor Spanky anymore who is probably now bacon and ribs for a high end restaurant in LoDo.  And as much as I don't like exercising, it does get me 2 hrs of alone me time to watch Ellen and Oprah at the gym 3 days a week.  I am trying to commit to doing ballet on Saturdays and on Tues and Thurs when Miss Pre School Colorado is home, we'll do a video.  

Because I know some of you will ask, here is the cookie recipe.  It is somewhat healthly because it is made with all of the cereal that is leftover when you come home with a new box from the grocery store and your kids and husband have to open the new one to get the toy out and never finish the old one. 

Rough and Ready Cookies

In a HUGE bowl, Cream together 1 cup Crisco, or butter  with 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup brown sugar.  (I said somewhat healthy) Beat in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 2 eggs.  Once combined, add in 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2 cups of oatmeal, 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of coconut, 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, and 2 cups of cereal. 
Stir together until all incorporated.  (Aren't you glad I suggested a huge bowl now)

Mold into small balls and press down on an ungreased cookie sheet, or if you are lazy like me, spray a large 13x 9 pan and make like a rice krispy treat or brownie bar instead.   Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 min, or until it looks done.  Note: pan takes longer to cook then balls. 

Now you can make this healthy by adding dried cranberries, kashi, wheat germ and other things that make you poop easier if you like. Using smart balance butter sticks helps too. But you know me I used real butter.  I also had on hand chocolate chips, cheerios, rice krispys, grape nuts, and some mystery cereal, so that is what I used.  Everyone including India will eat them for breakfast. 


XOXO, Cara

Monday, January 17, 2011

Technology is becoming a royal pain in my hiney butt

I know some of you are just dying with anticipation waiting for the pictures of India's birthday last weekend. :) I promise you I am not being lazy for once in my life.  It appears I have somehow managed to piss off the technology Gods. 

While our computer didn't technically crash, our accounting software and photo software files have somehow become corrupt, and will not open.  Dave swears he was not buying weapons from the Mexican drug cartel, or opening emails from someone named Svetlana in Russia promising a good time if you watch her video on You Tube.  Oh sure, you can still surf the internet and design multimillion dollar landscapes no problem.  But seeing as I am not supposed to be shopping for things like the latest Spring fashions or even clearance sweatpants from Victoria's Secret, because no one is calling us in the middle of a recession in January to design multimillion dollar landscapes for their property; those programs are useless to me.  No I need to finish the accounting for the last quarter of 2010, and get all of my photos dumped and updated.   I am not exactly sure what is wrong, but I am sure it will require a complete hard reset of the entire mothership / motherboard thingy, a roll of Tums, a bag of Cheetoes and a large Slurpee to fix. 

For those of you keeping up and reading previous posts, show and tell last week required something from Mom and Dad's work.  Of course the Mommy in Calla's class who has her you know what together actually took a picture of the trucks that the Daddy drove.  Me, I forgot entirely.  It wasn't until we walked into school and I saw the board outside the classroom with the giant "Don't Forget" reminder that I knew I was hosed.  So back out to the car we went to find something, because I knew if we didn't find anything it would be a huge mermaid meltdown.  Looking around I had my choices......a bag of Dum Dum suckers (ok mommy eats these while she is trying not to scream at Barbara from a foreign country in tech support while she asks for the fiftieth time if I have restarted the computer)  some expired license plates (yup time for a trip to the County Clerks office)  an empty box from Norton Antivirus 2011 for the stupid computer (are you sensing the trend yet)  and the camera.  Nothing cool like the ice melt spreader or various power tools like Dave rolls around with in his truck.  So in order to make it somewhat fun, I gave her the camera and showed her how to use it, and explained that there were pictures on there of the latest landscaping project her Daddy was working on.  Now before you have a heart attack like the teacher did when I explained I sent our work camera to school with our 4 yr old, it is a very hardy "Tough" version Olympus.  I have learned over the years when you send something light and slim with employees to a dusty, dirty, and muddy environment, they will break it.  This camera like our phones is waterproof and shock proof, and hasn't been run over by the skid steer yet.  Show and Tell went off well, and the camera made it home in better condition than normal. 

So now I am faced with getting pictures off the computer and onto our hard drive the hard way.  Once I do, rest assured pics of the party will be posted.  In the mean time, let me leave you with yet another reason why technology is not my friend. 

One of the things they teach 4 yr olds in preschool is how to recognize numbers on things like a digital clock and the telephone.  Sweet, she can now tell me what time it is when we are running late and how to punch in Dave's phone number when my hands are full.  However, she can now also read the numbers on the digital scale and tell everyone how much she weighs and how much more I weigh.........Lovely.  


Friday, January 7, 2011

10 things I learned this week just because I know you are sick of looking at vacation photos already.

1.  Children will throw everything out of a shopping cart just for fun over and over and over and over again if you put them in the cart part in an attempt to make it harder for them to climb out. 

Exhibit A. Sitting nicely before entering store.
(Who Us....... We don't do bad things in the grocery store, we are innocent and perfect children.) 

(Ha!  Don't let the ears fool ya.  I am Super Bad the Toothless Wonder!  Able to chuck things from the cart faster then you can say Hamburger Helper.)   

2.  One can not truly appreciate having a mudroom until it is actually covered in mud from living on a farm with or without animals.

3.  I am considering the 40 lb mudflap of a dog and her owner Mr. Doyle farm animals since they are the largest contributors of the mud in the mudroom.

4.  Teething sucks, but evidently Fritos and Double Stuff 1/2 and 1/2 Oreos help.

5.  However..... the Fritos mixed with Mexican food, purple carrots and blueberries make for quite possibly the nastiest and smelliest combo of baby poop the following day. 

6.  My chickens are terrified to leave their coop since the mysterious Chupacabra came and ate into one of them last week.  On a side note, the incidents of Chupacabra happenings must be on the rise because when I logged onto Yahoo today it was the # 2 most searched item between Raven Symone loosing weight and Mike Tyson.  Wait....Mike Tyson is not the Chupacabra?  :)  

7.  I am floored at how the 4 yr old can teach the 1 yr old how to shop and download apps onto my phone, but can't figure out how to use the tv remote to change channels between Nick Jr. and PBS Kids every half hour.

8.  I can make some pretty fabulous food for my family, but I can not get Jello or any Jello product like tapioca to harden to save my life. 

9.  I still can't figure out why if I make a dedicated shopping list to go with my meal plan for the week and take a day to shop for everything, I still have to make daily trips to Target, Wal Mart or King Stupids. 

10.  I just found out that next weeks theme for Show and Tell at Calla's preschool is to bring in something your Mom and Dad use all the time at work.  Um.....Houston would you like to take your pick from the skid steer, weedwacker, truck snow plow, or paper shredder?   Perhaps Mr. Doyle will be taking her to school next Fri in a work truck.  It will be like a mini field trip. 

Have a great weekend.  The toothless wonder turns 1.  My God where has the time gone.  Check back for photos of the mess next Fri.