My sweet littles

My sweet littles

Cy and Lila

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Cooking Bacon in the Oven...

Here's another fabulous find thanks to to cook bacon perfectly in the oven! This is so easy and works beautifully, especially when cooking large quantities of bacon.

1) Cut package of bacon in half. (You can fit more bacon on a baking sheet when they're cut in half.)
2) Place bacon on baking sheet & put in cold oven.
3) Turn on oven & set for 400 degrees.
4) Set timer for 14 minutes. That's right, bacon cooks while oven pre-heats!
5) Remove bacon (bacon will be slightly browed) & drain on paper towels.

Viola! Perfectly cooked bacon with no mess!!!

Antipasto Pasta Salad...

I've made a couple of salad dishes lately that are oh, so tasty...thought I would share. Both recipes are courtesy of and are highly rated. Each dish serves a crowd, would be great for a picnic, & I guarantee, not a soul will be disappointed!

Antipasto Pasta Salad

1 pound seashell pasta
1/4 pound Genoa salami, chopped
1/4 pound pepperoni sausage, chopped
1/2 pound Asiago cheese, diced
1 (6 ounce) can black olives, drained and chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, and cool under cold water.
2. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, salami, pepperoni, Asiago cheese, black olives, red bell pepper, green bell pepper and tomatoes. Stir in the envelope of dressing mix. Cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
3. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, parsley, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Just before serving, pour dressing over the salad, and mix well.

Red Broccoli Salad...

My mom has been making a similar recipe to this Red Broccoli Salad for several years & I've always loved it! It is a beautiful salad sure to satisfy a crunchy, sweet, salty craving.

Red Broccoli Salad

2 pounds bacon
1 large head fresh broccoli, chopped
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup minced green onions
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 1/2 cups seedless grapes, halved
3/4 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise

1. Place bacon in a large skillet. Cook, turning frequently, over medium high heat until evenly browned. Cool, and then crumble. **I actually cooked the bacon in the oven, as seen in the above post...worked great!**
2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Spread slivered almonds on a cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once during toasting. Cool.
3. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, crumbled bacon, celery, green onions, red onions, grapes, and toasted almonds. Toss with mayonnaise dressing. Chill for several hours in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Oh, the Cuteness...

Travis shot a red deer last year and just received his mount. It is beautiful & HUGE, and the kids absolutely LOVE it! Lila will go to the office door & say "deer, deer!", and Cy asks to go "check on the deer" frequently throughout the day. Both kiddos just hug and love on it. I think they both may be broken hearted when Papa hangs it on the wall. Here are a few pictures of their first encounter and just some cute shots of our little princess. Please excuse our make-shift office in the background. Hopefully, we'll get started on the new built-ins soon.

Spaghetti Squash...

I'm always looking for great side dish recipes, and my friend turned me on to this one from It is delicious and very, win!

Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons sliced black olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
2.Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
3.Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm.
4.Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the sauteed vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Our sweet boy says so many cute, witty, & absolutely hilarious things these days, and we have precious conversations together; so I thought that I would post a few of my favorites.

Cy: "Lila is a pretty girl! Momma is a pretty girl, Joey is a pretty girl, Mimi is a pretty girl...Gramps is a pretty girl" (with a grin).
Me: "Gramps is not a girl. What is Gramps?"
Cy: "Gramps is a great man!"
So sweet...& he is right!!!

Recently, I made Cy and Lila bean & cheese burritos for dinner. Cy said, "Mmmm, I like the dirt in these's delicious!"

As soon as Travis gets home from work each day, Cy immediately says, "Papa, come jump on the bed with me." He loves to throw all the pillows into a pile on the floor next to the bed and jump into them. He also is a big fan of hide & seek. He loves to "hide" under the covers with Papa, then says "Momma, come find us".

One of his favorite books is "Going on a Bear Hunt" & Cy has a wonderful time acting out the chase scene at the end of the book. "Stumble trip, stumble trip, stumble trip... Hurry get under the covers, the bear is coming!!!"

He will pick up the paddle that I use to spank him & say, "Momma uses this to teach Cy to obey."

If Lila gets upset/cries, Cy will say, "Lila be happy! What's the problem?"

If he asks for something without saying "Please", I will remind him that he needs to work very hard to remember to say "Please" whenever he asks for something. He will quickly respond, "Momma, I always say please!".

Cy and I both are big fans of popcorn covered in almond bark. It doesn't last long at our house, but one afternoon, he asked for some for a snack. When he asked for more, I told him that I would give him a few more pieces & that would be it for the popcorn. Cy's response, "No big ones, momma. GIANT popcorn!"

"Momma, tell me what that is" is a constant phrase I hear at the grocery store, when we are anywhere he's never been before, while reading new books, & probably just for fun!

Bed time is my very favorite time with Cy because he loves to snuggle, wants me to lay down with him for a bit & he tells me the most wonderful things. If I try to get up before he's ready for me to, he will say, "Momma, Come on (sounds like "own"), Come on...lay down with Cy."

He has a turtle nightlight that shines images of stars on his ceiling & I guess that the batteries were running low so the light had faded. I replaced the batteries & Cy's reaction to the stars being so much brighter was, "Mom, the stars & moon are so wonderful!" :) Now every night when I turn on the stars he repeats that phrase & I always in return say, "You are so wonderful!"

I often tell him that Cy makes momma so happy! So one night was being silly & said, "Cy makes Momma so sad." I said, "No, Cy makes momma so happy!" So the next time he said, "Cy makes Momma so....", I would quickly interrupt him and say, "HAPPY"!!! He thought this was great fun. Another conversation we have almost every night.

Our bedtime ritual is 2 books, then we lay down and sing a few songs & pray. Some of his favorite songs are "Old McDonald", "The Wise Man" (which he affectionately refers to as "Jesus Christ" due to the third verse..."so build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ"), "I've Got Joy Down in my Heart", "Oh, Be Careful Little Eyes", & "Jesus Loves Me". When singing Old McDonald, via Cy's request, the farmer often acquires a "Cy", a "Momma" (who gives him lots of kisses), & many, MANY objects that actually make no sound at all, so mom has to rack her brain to think of sounds or phrases that could fit in the song. During "The Wise Man" song, our little man loves to sing the "Ooooohhhhh..." with Momma and see how long we can hold it. Is favorite song, at present is "I've Got the Joy Down in my Heart", but the only part of the song he really wants to sing is the chorus and "If the devil doesn't like it he can sit on a tack...OUCH!"- he waits expectantly for me to tickle his leg and gently pinch his bottom. We giggle & smile and have so much fun! Such special moments with my boy!

Cy will often "direct" me while I sing bedtime songs to him. He'll signal and say "Sllloowww", then "FAST"!

I'll often say, "I love you, my son!", and Cy will reply, "I love you, my momma!"

If he ever wakes during the night, he always calls for me & says, "Momma, Cy's crying. Cy needs his Momma." So sweet...who could ignore a request like that?

A few more of my favorites are:
"Momma, I'm laxin'" (relaxin'), with his hands tucked behind his head.
"No, not yet...I just want to play a little bit longer."
If we're waiting in traffic, he'll say, "Come on, people! Momma, the people can't hear me."
"Oh, dear...oh, dear!"
"Momma, don't bother me while I'm working."
"Momma look at all the words in this book!"
"Lila, come into my room and play with Cy."
"Lila, don't touch that it might's dangerous!"
"Momma, scratch my back."
"Momma, Cy's so upset."
"Momma, I've got a tear. Cy's crying." :(
"Cy needs some milk to make him feel better."
"Gramps, I want to ride the tractor and the stripper."
"I can't find my dump truck. It's lost forever!"

And of course, the 6 words that melt my heart...the unsolicited "Momma, I love you so much!!!"

He is such a sweet spirited, kind, thoughtful, & loving little boy and in our very unbiased opinion, smart as a whip! We are so proud of you, Cy Wesley!!!