Friday, March 8, 2013

Some Tried And True Favorites....

Hi friends!

Happy Friday!

I hope you all are out enjoying this beautiful Friday.

If not, tomorrow is looking equally fantastic here in Memphis.

However, I will be be heading out of town tomorrow to celebrate my niece's 7th birthday!


Pretty excited!

Here lately, the hubs and I have been cooking at home 4-5 nights per week.

And today, I thought I'd share some of our favorite, tried and true recipes!

First off:

Meatloaf.

Check out the recipe HERE!

This recipe is so easy, and has never let us down.

I substitute the regular brown sugar with Splenda, and use Laura's Lean Ground Beef instead of regular ground beef or ground chuck. But you use whatever you want!


See those mashed potatoes?

Well, check out their recipe HERE!

They are delish.

Growing up, my mom ALWAYS made mashed potatoes homemade.

No boxed mashed potatoes were allowed!

(Okay, maybe we had them once...but she seriously made them from scratch.)

In the recipe, I substitute low fat heavy cream instead of the regular, and low fat butter instead of regular. 

They are yum-o.

If the consistency isn't what you like, just keep adding a little cream and a pat of butter until you get what you want.

Yummmm.

Speaking of yummm...

Besides mac and cheese, nothing screams comfort food like....

HASHBROWN CASSEROLE!



Check out the recipe HERE!

So ridiculously good.

Here are a few other tried and true recipe we enjoy around this house on a regular basis:


Anddddd... 

(There are several versions out there of this one, but I follow recipe that I've linked to a tee!)

What are some recipes you all are loving right now friends?

Much love, :)


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Somehow......We Pulled Off A Surprise.......

Two posts in one day?

Some kind of record I think!!

Well, the next post is also pretty late...but if no other posts get written this year...as long as this one does...life is good.

My brother turned the big 4-0 a few weeks ago.

A couple of months ago, my sister in law, the hubs, and I decided that there was NO WAY he was going to go under the radar with that.

So, she and I plotted and planned for months. 

She even set up a fake email account so we could go MIA.

Well, we decided to throw it the night of the my niece's 3rd birthday party so my sister in law didn't have to take off another night of work.

Everything was going off without a hitch...until the day of.

AYE AYE AYE!

When we told him that she (my sister in law) had taken the night off so that we could all go out to dinner and that was the "surprise," my brother went a little...well...."happy" with his own plans. 

He decided to call all of their friends and invite them to head to the country club to have a celebratory birthday cocktail for both he and my sister in law. (They actually were born on the same day...few years apart...but still the same day. How cool!)

Well, mind you they were already invited to his surprise party...so they were a little taken aback.

But they all played it cool...and, thus, we were able to escape any slips.

In the meantime, the hubs and I made an excuse to get away for a few hours after our niece's birthday party so that we could go pick up the cake and decorate the country club, where the party was being held.

Well, lo and behold who pulls in the parking lot of the bakery?

YEP. My brother. 

So the hubs and I push ourselves up against the wall and out of the way of the window. We were sure he'd seen us and/or my car, which he had parked almost directly behind.

Well, come to find out, he was in a store down from the bakery picking out a gift for my sister in law so he could give it to her at "dinner."

And somehow...he NEVER saw us. Or my car. 

Whew.

While we were at the bakery, I got a call from my sis in law sort of...freaking out. She told me that my brother had called a good friend of his (who had called her and warned her) to come watch the UK game at the country club...at precisely the time the hubs and I were suppose to be decorating the country club. 

Good grief.

So after the hubs and I circled the club's parking lot a few times, we bit the bullet, pulled up, quickly (and when I say quickly I mean we were running...running) unloaded the car, and put all the decorations into the ballroom.

Without him seeing. 

Luckily, he was in the lounge area...and the door was closed.

For the next two hours we decorated an entire ballroom...whispering...as we delicately moved tables, chairs, and blew up balloons.

His friend came and warned us that he was about to leave to go home..as we were finishing up.

We ran (literally) out of the ballroom, to the car, and drove frantically back to his house.

He arrived about 20 minutes later, and said "Well, I think I've rounded up a few folks to have a drink at the club before we go to dinner."

We all remained very low key..."Cool." "Sounds good."

He still had NO IDEA.

So an hour and a half later...off we went.

And as we came in the door..he walked by the ballroom...stopped...did a double take...

And for the first time in my adult life, I saw my brother genuinely surprised.

"SURPRISE!!"

His response to my sister in law? 

"So, I guess this means we're not going out to dinner?"

"Nope."

We had bbq ready to go!

He couldn't believe it.

And we couldn't believe after all the hard work and the almost slips from the day...we had pulled it off.

Surprising the most un-surprisable person in the world.

Here are some highlights of the night:

The star of the evening was this amazing cake done by L & T Cakery in Milan, TN


 When I first talked to them, I sent them this picture. I told them I wanted it done exactly like this (minus the stars)..and they didn't disappoint!


 I would most definitely recommend them!


The treats were bags of candy...not whiskey or bourbon...haha.


A HOT mess for sure.


More memories...


By the end of the night, we had about 35 people there! So glad so many folks came out!


The other star of the show was this 9th grade big head of my brother. Most everyone had a pic with it, and signed the back of it for him....my sis in law showing some love....


I wasn't going to show so much love.


My brother...about to hit the dance floor...watch out now...


The hubs didn't show as much love, either...


My aunt and uncle...fantastic.


I had to get a little dance time with the face...


The birthday boy...with himself...


Wow.


The birthday kids about to cut the cake that was, honestly, almost too pretty to cut!


Getting some dance time in for themselves...aw.


Hanging with some of their dear friends :)


My brother...dancing with his mother in law. Boom.


With my beautiful partner in crime:


Sometimes, we can be sweet to one another.


The head moved to the lounge...where it continued to get a lot of dance time in...


Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen my brother cut as loose as he did at his party. He danced (btw the djs rocked the house!) and danced...and danced some more. 

I think everyone had a great time...I'm so happy we pulled it off!

I am so lucky to have such an amazing big brother. And I'm glad we could give him a great 40th birthday surprise....

He's happy. I promise...haha

 He's already plotting my 30th.

I'm scared.

Very very scared.

But it's ok.

Because I was able to get my jab in...

Hooray for fun family times!

Much love, ;)

The "Little Princess" Turned 3....

Hiya friends.

How's your weekend been?

I hope lovely.

It snowed here the past two days, & that was pretty darn lovely!

This post is WAY over due, but my niece turned three a few weeks ago and that most definitely warrants a post.

My sweet niece Heather turned 3 and well...she wanted a Cinderella princess themed party.

And by golly...

She got one!

Here are some of the highlights of the day!



I tried on the crown for size...looks pretty good, I think.


She was pretty excited about the cake part. Obviously. Haha!


Sweet girl.


Present time!!!



Checking out the goods!


Releasing her balloons....the kids really got a kick out of it. :)


At the end of the day, this princess was one happy camper!


My beautiful sister in law, brother, and nieces. Love my family to pieces. (Totally didn't mean for that to rhyme.) :)


With the lights of my life!

Can we just talk about how cool Hannah is in this picture?


With my beautiful sister in law...and best mom I know. :)

I love this picture....being with my nieces is my favorite thing in the world. And when we're together...we like to play Ring Around the Rosy. Because we rock. And together we can take on the world!



Reminds me one of one of my favorite memories I have with them...

photo by: amydale photography

Being an aunt is such a wonderful thing. 

Best job.

Ever.

Much love, :)