Sunday, April 6, 2014

Planning a One Year Birthday Party

In less than one month, we'll be having a 1st Birthday at our house (weird).

I've been asked since before he was born what the theme of the party will be…when my sister had her 1st Birthday, I don't remember us having a theme…but that was the days before Pinterest. ;)

I've thought of several themes….from Lego Fireman to Sesame Street to SuperWhy (my kid loves the music in the show and will stop what he's doing to listen and dance to every time they start singing!).  BUT I decided I wanted to carry over the theme from his baby shower and baby tea…both matched his blue and green nursery with a tree on the wall.

We have a gorgeous Magnolia tree in our front yard, so we've decided to set up most of the party in the shade of that tree.  Planning for a party at your house right at Spring Cleaning time is apparently a great way to motivate you to clean out your entire house and yard….just so you know….(if you stop by my house right now, don't judge!)

One of my cousins had an oversized cupcake for her little girl's first birthday, and I loved the idea (especially since I already have the pan for that! ;)).  I remembered last time I made a cake in that pan, that icing the bottom half of the cupcake was the hardest part…but I found a great tutorial for how to make a candy "cupcake liner" for the big cupcake!  Also, I love the rosette look on top of the cupcake…and I might do some sort of variating shades of blue and green like here.

Granted, whatever he wears when he digs into a cake is going to get messy…but a shirt like this from Lil Threadz Clothing would be adorable before he's covered in cake and icing!!

Sadly, I haven't changed the garden flag in my front yard (today maybe?)….my cute spring flag is packed in the closet, and our flag currently says something about fall being in the air….oops.  Maybe I'll make something like one of these flags at Modern Rustic Girl for the party.

While shopping at Hobby Lobby one day, I came across some great cupcake liners for dirt cheap.  They have the number 1 on them, and are surrounded in blue, green, and red polka dots! I'll make cupcakes and display them similarly to how these folks did at this blue and green party.

I put pennant flags on his invitation, and I'm thinking of hanging some in front of the house somewhere (like these at Vintage Green Limited)…and maybe hanging some around the cupcakes (like these at Hartranftdesign)…we'll see what happens! I'll post some pictures after the party!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Time for Changes!

I started this blog a few months after Adam and I got engaged.  At the time, I didn't know if this blog would become a journal for just me and my family to read, a place to show what I was working on for my wedding (I wound up creating a separate place for that here), or a place for recording married life.  Considering all of that, I appropriately named it after us… not overly creative, no, but it left wiggle room for whatever would come of this blog!

A lot has changed since 2008 - we got married, lived on campus, lived off campus, I started new jobs, we got two pets, we moved, we both started new jobs, had a baby, he started a new job, and now I'm going to be a stay at home mom to a one year old at the end of this month!

I think it's safe to say that it's time for a blog name change!  We're more than just A&W now…so, I guess I'll be brainstorming that…any suggestions?

In the meantime, we're planning his first birthday party! Soon, I'll post some of the pictures that I've used for inspiration.  It's going to be blue and green (to match his nursery) and we're going to snack on cupcakes and…I haven't decided what else!

Until then…here's a sneak peek at his invitation that I designed!  I've been making a few invitations/announcements lately for family and friends, and I'll be adding them to my etsy shop soon!

etsy - wendyamarie

Friday, January 24, 2014

Stuffed Bell Pepper Stew

Stuffed bell peppers are delicious. Honestly, I always buy bell peppers with the intention of stuffing them.....but they're a bit more work than I'm willing to put into dinner on a weekday, so they wind up getting used in some other dish.

Well, that happened again! This actually started out as "What's-in-the-fridge-that-needs-cooked-and-would-taste-good-in-a-stew?" Stew. After I started throwing things into my dutch oven, Adam came into the kitchen and asked me what I was making. I spouted off some combination of words that resembled: "Jambalaya rice stew with green bell peppers and corn" .... He looked at me and said, "Well it smells good...smells like stuffed bell peppers....looks like stuffed bell peppers!"

Stuffed Bell Pepper Stew was born.

Obviously, you can adjust the ingredients to match what you like in your bell peppers, but here's what was in my stew tonight!

1 (or 1.5) lb ground beef
1 box Jambalaya rice mix (mine is from Aldi, see picture below)
2.5 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.5 cups frozen corn (could substitute 1 can of corn)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 green bell peppers, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 additional cup water
1 cup chicken broth (I dissolved a bouillon cube to make mine).
Shredded cheese

Cook the ground beef in a large saucepan, drain and set aside. Combine 2 1/2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of veggie oil to a boil. Add rice, Jabalaya mix seasoning, and cooked meat. Return to a boil. Reduce heat, add other ingredients, cover and stir periodically until rice is tender (about 25 minutes).

Serve in a bowl and cover it in shredded cheese.....yummmmmm. :)

This is the jambalaya rice mix I all of the ingredients here (except the frozen was leftover in my freezer from pre-Aldi-near-my-house days), it is from favorite grocery store!


Friday, November 29, 2013

Friendship Bread

It's been almost a year since I've updated my blog, but here's a good reason for that:

As you can tell, he's cute, and he's a handful. :)

Anywho, to start posting on my blog more frequently, I'm starting out by posting this recipe so I never have to dig through my email to look for it!! :D

A friend of mine gave me this recipe with a bag of starter about 5 years ago, and I've shared it with many friends.  I've had a bag of starter in my freezer, and I've decided it's time to make it again! :D

If you don't have a bag of starter around, just put 1/3 cup milk, 1/3 cup flour, and 1/3 cup sugar in a gallon-sized freezer bag (like these on Amazon).

Here are the instructions! I don't have a picture of the bread yet (I'm on Day 4 of my starter), but I'll upload a picture when I do!



Do NOT use any type of metal spoon or bowl for mixing.
Do NOT refrigerate
If air gets in the bag, let it out!
It is normal for batter to rise, bubble, and ferment

Day 1: Do nothiing (This is the day that the bag is dated)
Day 2: Mush the bag
Day 3: Mush the bag
Day 4: Mush the bag
Day 5: Mush the bag
Day 6: Add to the bag: 1cup self0rising sifted flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, then mush the bag
Day 7: Mush the bag
Day 8: Mush the bag
Day 9: Mush the bag
Day 10: Bake the bread following directions below

1. Pour entire contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl
2. Add 1.5 cups sugar, 1.5 cups sifted flour, and 1.5 cups milk and mix with non-metal utensil
3. Measure out 4 separate betters of 1 cup each into 4 1-gallon Zipoc bags, marking the bags with the day you bake. Keep 1 bag of starter for yourself and give the other 3 to friends along with a copy of the instructions.
4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
5. To the remaining batter in the bowl add:
 - 3 eggs
 - 1 cup of oil
 - 1 cup of sugar
 - 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
 - 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
 - 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using self-rising flour for the next instruction)
 - 2 cups of flour sifted (plain-meaning not self-rising)
 - 1 large box of vanilla instant pudding
 - You may also add chocolate chips or nuts if desired
6. Grease 2 large loaf pans and mix additional 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and dust the pans with the mixture
7. Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture over the top (you may also use nuts or chocolate chips)
8. Bake for 1 hour (watch the bread, if browns too quickly, cover with foil and continue cooking). Cool until breadloosens from the pan evenly (about 10 minutes). Turn out onto serving dish. Serve warm or cold.

word art created with

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Leftover Ham Recipe - Layered Ham and Cheese Bake

Happy New Year!

I was looking for a recipe to use leftover ham (we had a good bit....) and I found this in my stack of recipes to try.  It's originally from a Southern Living Casseroles mini-booklet.  The only things I changed when I made it today was that I didn't have Italian bread slices to layer in the pan, so I cubed sandwich bread and sprinkled it in the pan....and I used a little more ham because I wanted to use up what we had leftover! I probably used 1 1/2 cups instead of 1 cup.  If you try it with Italian Bread slices, let me know how it is!

Layered Ham and Cheese Bake

12 (3/4-inch-thick) Italian bread slices (I used 8 slices of cubed sandwich bread)
1 cup chopped cooked ham
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
3 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • Place 6 bread slices in a lightly greased 11x7 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with ham and 1 cup cheese. Top with remaining bread slices.
  • Stir together eggs and next 4 ingredients; pour over bread.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350* for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese; bake 5 more minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 6 servings.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Life Update

So it's been a while since I've posted on here....
figure it's time for an update, because quite a bit has changed!! :)

Source: Redefining C

My last post was July 22. Since then, we have...

...moved back to our hometown...
Source: love-the-day

...started teaching a fitness class at our new church (which we love)...

...both started new jobs (against our cat's better wishes)...

Source: 25 media Tumbler

...and found out that our family is growing!...

The little guy or girl is due May 9, and we'll find out what it is in December!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ice-cream craving fix :)

Are you like me, and you're craving something cold and sweet (aka ice cream) this summer? want to eat healthy? (and maybe you've had too much Ben&Jerry's lately because it was on sale at Publix recently....)

Well...throw this in the blender...

*Handful of frozen fruit (I had a mix of strawberries, mangoes, pineapples, and peaches from Wal-Mart plus some frozen raspberries from Publix on hand).
*1 teaspoon of flax seed (to help fill you up with just a little extra protein and fiber in the mix)
*Milk (a little at a time) ((or yogurt))

Blend, and gradually add milk so that the consistency is just like a you can eat it with a spoon! If you make extra, you can put some in a freezer-safe container for next time you're craving a healthy ice cream alternative! :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Protein-Packed Banana Cookies

I found the inspiration for this recipe on Pinterest (of course!) and made a few changes based on what we have in our cabinets. ((Since we're moving next week, we're trying not to buy lots of new we don't have to pack it haha!)) Also, I decided to give my new toaster oven a shot at cooking a batch of these.

The original recipe was posted at... Her recipe included butter extract, vanilla extract, and applesauce. I omitted those three ingredients, and the cookies still came out great! My oven cooks pretty quickly so the cookies had crispy edges right at 23 minutes....but 25 minutes in the toaster oven made them perfect!

Here's my revised recipe (simply called Protein-Packed Banana Cookies since that's pretty much all that's in these...protein and bananas and oatmeal!)


3 ripe bananas
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 Tbs vanilla protein powder
1 1/2 cups quick oats
1/4 c chopped walnuts
1/4 c dark chocolate chips (mini)

Mash bananas in a bowl. Add peanut butter and vanilla protein powder. Mix well. Crush walnuts in a ziplock bag if not pre-chopped. Add walnuts and mini dark chocolate chips. Mix and let set while oven preheats to 350*. Drop batter by the spoonful onto cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake (20-30 min in oven depend ding on your ovens normal cook time, or 25 minutes in a toaster oven). Let cool 5 minutes and enjoy!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Country Cabbage Soup

We got a basket of veggies from a garden shop near us that operates a program similar to a CSA. There was a LOT of cabbage in there (among other veggies) we had to find a recipe to use it in! Adam came across this recipe for Country Cabbage Soup, which was DELICIOUS (and a lot meatier than we expected...but that could be due to the fact that we think we inadvertently doubled the amount of meat in the recipe)! We used some of the ground venison we have...and we're pretty sure it's packaged in two-pound packs instead of one-pound packs.  We agree with several of the reviews that it is a good base soup that needed some seasoning to liven it up.  Adam added just a little onion powder, peppercorn garlic seasoning, sage, and cumin (just to give you an idea).

If you give it a try, let me know what seasoning you use, so we can change it up from time to time!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Seasoned Snack Crackers

These are good. So good! I got the recipe from my great aunt several years ago after I tried some she made for a tailgate. They're also QUITE inexpensive! I like to buy the ranch seasoning in the big jar at Sam's (we sprinkle it over chicken before having it packets isn't always convenient) anywho, that cuts the price down some too because it's cheaper in bulk!

Here's the recipe!! Thanks Blanche!!!

1 cup Canola Oil
1 package dry Ranch Dressing (3Tbsp)
2-3 Tablespoons Red Pepper Flakes

Mix ingredients together. Place 3 Sleeves of Saltine Crackers in a Ziploc bag and pour mixture over the crackers. Zip lock the bag and rotate several times over a ten minute time period. I usually place in a clean bag or two or three smaller bags. Enjoy!!!