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A Little Peek

Posted by casey on November 30, 2010 in Friends, Snapshots

I had the pleasure of shooting some pictures for the Pauls and their sweet little girl to-be two weeks ago, and I thought you deserved a little peek at our morning together.  Just a little one though. Enjoy!

 
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Cousin to the 6th Power

Posted by casey on November 24, 2010 in Family, Nieces and Nephews Oh My!

Today, Caden was lucky enough to gain his sixth cousin.  Count it, six!
Caroline (6), JP (3), Cate (2.5), Cathryn (2), Braiden (1.5)

And Now Introducing….

Cameron Michael Orr
5 lbs 10 oz

He was welcomed by his wonderful parents and a very proud big sister Cathryn.  My newest nephew is named after his two grandfathers, and although he arrived a few weeks early and is just a smidge smaller than his big sister was, he is a healthy and currently hairy little man! Congrats to Drew and Jess, we are thankful for our newest family member.

 

 

 
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Early Bird

Posted by casey on November 18, 2010 in Caden, Snapshots

Does the early bird still get the worm if their day started at 1 am? Somehow, I think the early bird would even think that is too early.  If I could read the early bird’s mind I would think 5 am would be prime “early bird” time.  1 am?  No way.  I’ll let you know when I see him and ask.

Until then, if you can’t find me, look lower.   I probably  feel asleep on the floor.
We are all starting to take after the dogs around here.

 
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Read With Me II – Week Six

Posted by casey on November 15, 2010 in On My Nightstand, Read With Me, Uncategorized

Can you believe it?  So much has happened in five little chapters that blew the lid right off of the book, and the family.  I’ll ask again, can you believe it????  What a turn of events that I certainly didn’t see coming and I don’t think Blomkvist did either when he took this assignment.  Now I know why everyone raves about this book as they get to the end and want everyone they know to read it too!

Discussion Questions – Chapters 20 through 25

1. Did you agree with the additional murders that Lisbeth found being added to Harriet’s list, or did you think she wsa stretching it?

2. What did you make of the murders in connection to Leviticus and the specific verses?  Do you think there was consistency in reasons for the murders or that they were strictly being matched up to those verses?

3. Why do you think Blomkvist doesn’t mind that Lisbeth hacks into his things and takes what she pleases?  How would you react?

4.Do you think that you would have been able to survive being shot at like Blomkvist, why or why not?

5. If you had a photographic memory would you be shy/upset when people found out like Lisbeth? Why or why not?

6. Your reaction to learning who the murderer(s) was/is?  Be honest, did you predict it?

7. Why do you think Lisbeth wouldn’t go to cops? What would you have done?

Next Reading Assignment-  26 – Epilogue

The Final Stretch!!!

Don’t Know What I am Talking About?  Grab your copy, catch up with Week One , Week Two , Week Three, Week Four,  Week Five and Read With Us!

 
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The Bald and the Beautiful

Posted by casey on November 12, 2010 in Snapshots

First…we have an Add the Caption contest winner…

Congratulations to Lindsay! You will be contacted by CSNstores through e-mail shortly to redeem your gift certificate.  Thanks to everyone who entered through the site and by email, keep your eyes open for another contest!

In other news, my sweet baby boy is still bald.
Okay, he has some very blonde fuzz.
I’m also realistic enough to not say that he technically has hair though.
Just fuzz.
Bald baby boy, but beautiful!
(say that five times fast)

 
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A Little Spice For Your Night! – Pumpkin Spice Cake

Posted by casey on November 11, 2010 in In The Kitchen, Most Important Meal of the Day, Sweet Treats

I’m not quite ready to let my pumpkin inspired treats go, just like I’m not quite ready to let fall go.  I just have to get my pumpkin fix through Thanksgiving!  I’ve given you pumpkin bread, and pumpkin cookies so of course, there had to be a pumpkin cake!  I swear, there are subtle differences in them all…I swear it isn’t the same thing over and over. Plus it is gloomy and rainy outside right now which means we all need a cozy treat.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

  • 1 cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 can pumpkin (15 oz)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1-2 White Chocolate Squares (baking chocolate)
  • Bag Powdered Sugar
  • Cream

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.
2. Whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
3. Beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
5. Beat in the pumpkin puree, milk, and molasses (don’t worry if the mixture appears curdled).
6. Reduce the mixer speed to low; gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes.
8. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

The original recipe called for a lemon-ish glaze that I didn’t particularly care for so I whipped up some of my own.

– Melt the white baking chocoalte squares in the microwave in 30- sec intervals.  Be very careful to not overheat and burn the chocolate.  Stir it well after each interval to see if it is smooth and melted enough to not heat again.
– Combine the melted chocolate with 1/4 cup scoops of powdered sugar and 1 Tablespoon of cream at a time until you get the consistency that you like.
– Drizzle over the cooled pumpkin cake

Adapted from RealSimple

 
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Read With Me II – Week Five

Posted by casey on November 9, 2010 in On My Nightstand, Read With Me

I officially can’t put the darn book down.  All day I look forward to the quiet moments when I will be able to pick it up again and find out what Blomkvist and Lisbeth are up to!  The build up throughout this book to get to this point, where they finally seem to be onto something or at least making discoveries is painstaking.  Now I find myself trying to come up with different theories as I read too, but there are just too many possibilities it seems.

Discussion Topics – Chapters 16 – 19

1.  Any predictions as to who or what Harriet saw at the Children’s Day parade?

2.Do you think Blomkvist got it right when he thinks he has determined that Cecilia was in Harriet’s window?  Why do you think she would have been there?

3. Reaction/Response to the Bible verse connection.

4. Why do you think Lisbeth responded differently towards Mikael (accepting/trusting) compared to most people (distant, no communication etc.)?

5.What do you think Lisbeth will bring to the “investigation” that Blomkvist needs, or might miss himself?

Next Reading Assignment: Chapters 20 – 25
I debated about this, but there is so much to cover that dividing the end into two last segments will be best!  You won’t want to put it down if you haven’t become like that already, so this will be a one week assignment and then the discussion questions will be posted!

Don’t Know What I am Talking About?  Grab your copy, catch up with Week One , Week Two , Week Three, Week Four and Read With Us!

 
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Fleeting Fall

Posted by casey on November 6, 2010 in Home

With just about three weeks to go until Thanksgiving  it appears that the world around us has already moved right on past the concept of Fall and is gearing up for Christmas…or excuse me, “Winter Holidays.”  Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday season almost as much as other crazies out there.  The smell of cinnamon, all my holiday baked treats, the lights and just the spirit of it all.  However, I grew up in a household where Christmas strictly began the day AFTER Thanksgiving.  Believe it or not, we were the crazies on the early side for getting our tree out then.

I fully accepted the idea that stores were “needing” to start bringing out the holiday items in mid November to help put people in the “money spending mindset” of gift giving and holiday cheer but when Target completely cleared out all and any fall related decor (tablecloths, napkins, candles, etc.) the week prior to Halloween to set up their full Christmas and Winter display I had a little hissy fit. (Internally of course.)  Sure they had one aisle designated to Christmas already starting at the beginning of October, but the entire store looked like Santa was coming tomorrow before the little kiddos had even put on their Halloween costumes.  Excuse me, what if I needed a new fall tablecloth for my Thanksgiving guests?  Apparently they are getting a red poinsettia one because that is all that is sold.  Poor fall.  It is getting jipped.  I can’t wait for all things Christmas, but I’m not quite ready to give up my pumpkin spices, a SLIGHT crisp chill to the air and the changing leaves.  I thought I was saving this for Thanksgiving week, but alas…it would be too late!

I think my love affair with fall has something to do with my birthday in October and my anniversary in November.  I do already have all of my Christmas shopping completed though but that has more to do with me being the teensiest bit OCD when it comes to getting the shopping done early so I can enjoy the gifts being under the tree before they are torn to shreds.

 
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Warm and Cozy Meal – Chicken & Dumplings

Posted by casey on November 5, 2010 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

Since Winter has come early in Texas for the first time ever, the fireplace has been getting us toasty today because of the start in the degree range of the 30s, I decided we all must be in need of a warm and cozy meal!  We have been feasting off of this all week, and it really does hit the spot with a wintery chill in the air!

Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients
1 – 2 ½  pound chicken
3 ribs celery chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 chicken bouillon cubes
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 can cream of chicken soup

Dumplings
 2 cups flour
 1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup ice water

Optional Vegetable Additions:
Carrots and peas (frozen or fresh)

COOKING DIRECTIONS:

– Place the chicken, celery, onion, bay leaves, bouillon and seasonings in a large pot.  Put enough water in the pot to cover the chicken by 1 inch.

– Simmer the chicken until it is tender and cooked through (40-50 min). Remove the chicken from the pot and chop the chicken.

– Discard the skin and bones.  Put the cut up chicken back in the pot. Add the cream of chicken soup and stir.(If you think the soup is not thick enough, mix 2 Tablespoons cornstarch with ¼ cup water and whisk into the soup)

– Keep the soup warm over medium heat and prepare dumplings. Mix the flour with the salt and mound together in a mixing bowl.
(If you are adding in the extra vegetables, this is when you would do it!)

– Beginning at the center of the mound, drizzle ice water over the flour.

– Work the flour with your fingers helping the dough to form.  Gradually add water until it is approximately ¾ cup water.

– Form the dough into a ball and place on a heavily floured surface. Roll out from the center to 1/8 inch thickness.

– Drop the dumplings in 1 inch pieces, into the soup.

– DO NOT STIR once you begin adding the dumplings. (If you must to make more room for the new dumplings to be covered just stir slowly)

– Continue dropping the dumplings in until all of the dough is gone.  Stop occasionally after adding the dough to move the pot in circles to make sure all of the dumplings are being covered by liquid.  The dumplings will be done 3-4 minutes after being dropped into the soup.  They will float when they are finished.

This is delicious served with a salad and some cornbread!  If you are a rice kind of person like my husband, you might like to add a scoop of fresh steamed rice to yoru soup like he does.  Now, cozy up with a blanket and your bowl of soup!

 
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Charlie?

Posted by casey on November 4, 2010 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles, Family

Last Halloween,Caden was bones…pretty much literally.  Remember?

He gave you a little “womb wave” though with his hand next to the scariest, Halloween face he could muster.  Pretty good right?  This year he started off the day in his PJs with another boney take on Halloween.  I don’t know what you think but I happen to think that the pink skin and squishy cheeks are a nice addition from a year ago!

No we didn’t do trick or treating.  No I didn’t spend a fortune on a costume. (Are you proud?)  In fact, I like to think of his costume more as a different take on his every-day appearance.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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