Wednesday, February 29, 2012

(Lady)Buggin’ Out: Olivia’s First Birthday Party

The McHusband and I went to Statesville last Saturday for Olivia’s first birthday party.  I was in charge of the cupcakes, and I also made some Biscoff Blondies.

All the treats packed up the night before.


When we got to the house, it was decked out for the ladybug-themed party.  Check out the super cute birthday banner my mom made.


Photo-rific flower arrangement.



Mom and Shannon put a picture of Olivia at the center of each flower.


Time for treats!


I originally planned to make little fondant ladybugs to decorate the cupcakes, but a party store came to the rescue with 15-cent ladybug toppers.



Because I’d been looking for an excuse to make them and because it’s always nice to have a little variety in the sweets selection, I made these Biscoff Blondies.


Have you guys heard of or tried Biscoff yet?  It is uh-mazing.  Seriously, I could eat the whole jar one spoonful at a time.  And I just saw that there’s also a crunchy version with little bits of the cookies in it.  Seriously?!

Okay, enough drooling over the Biscoff, back to the party and the birthday girl.


Calvin’s mom got Owen this guitar – or gee-tar as Owen called it – and he was having a blast putting on a one-man-show for all of us.


Bri, Lyla, and Maxie came for the party, of course.  We spent some time playing before opening presents and having cupcakes.

Maxie was just saying a very hands-on hey.



Time for presents!


I was writing down who gave Olivia what. 


We gave Olivia a baby doll and stroller and some clothes.  Olivia immediately hugged the baby to her chest – it was so cute.




With the presents done, we moved on to my favorite part of any birthday party – cake!  Well, cupcakes in this case.


I should’ve just piped some frosting into a cupcake liner.


And not just for Olivia.  These are Owen’s and Lyla’s cupcakes.


Speaking of those two…  They were playing with Gena in the cardboard house.


While everyone else who was still hanging around was gathered in the – where else? – kitchen.


It was a very nice afternoon spent celebrating Olivia’s birthday.


But the McHusband and I weren’t done with the celebrations just yet.  From Shannon’s house, we headed to Concord to meet up with the McInlaws for dinner at Texas Land and Cattle for the McMom’s birthday, which was on the 24th.  We had a leisurely dinner and enjoyed the complimentary birthday brownie sundae with Blue Bell ice cream.  (Speaking of Blue Bell, our area is finally getting it in stores in March, yay!)

So it was a busy Saturday the 18th for us but for the best reasons.  Hopefully our next visits with everyone’ll be a little longer (but still involve good food).

(Oh, the strawberry cupcakes were a new recipe and they were quite good, contrary to how Owen, Lyla, and Olivia made it look by leaving their naked cupcakes behind.)

Enjoy your 29th day of February!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesdays with Tucker

Tucker isn’t normally one to seek out the sun.  In typical male fashion, he trends toward the warmer end of the spectrum.  Outside, you’ll find Morgan in the sun while Tucker makes it a point to stay well within the shade.


I was surprised then, on Saturday, when Tucker sought out the sun that was shining near his normal naptime spot between the couch and the kitchen.  I guess Morgan’s not the only one who likes to feel the sun’s rays while snoozing.



The McHusband had just taken Tucker on a walk so I guess he was worn out and looking for a warm place to lay his head for a little pre-dinner siesta.





Is that one cute face or what?

Monday, February 27, 2012


Hey, hello, and howdy!  Happy Monday to you guys.  I hope everyone had a good weekend.  Mine was pretty darn good. 

I made three desserts.


Did the P90X Plyometric video.


I must not have worked quite hard enough; there are still a couple dry spots on my shirt.


Got the house cleaned up, made BBQ chicken in the crockpot, then hosted dinner and game night on Saturday.


I was up early Sunday morning.  I got the kitchen mostly cleaned up first thing then I settled into my spot on the couch to make a dent in my list of recorded shows and do some blogging.  Thanks to all my cleaning on Saturday, I really only had my laundry and vacuuming upstairs on my to-do list.

I went to spinning in the afternoon, and we had my Panko and Parmesan Tilapia with steamed cauliflower and peas for dinner.  After eating more than my fair share of  munchies like sausage dip and going back for seconds of my homemade peanut butter ice cream Saturday night, going to spinning and eating a healthy dinner on Sunday were not negotiable.

So what’s on tap on McMania this week?  I’ve got Olivia’s birthday.


Cheesecake Brownies (a.k.a. Trainer Treats) and probably another treat or two.  Or three.


And maybe a Tucker post because those never get old.


Don’t work too hard today!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Recipe Recap: Lasagna/Lasagne with Turkey, Pesto and Peppers

Either way you spell it, this lasagna (I like it with an “a”) was very good.  I’m a big fan of basil pesto and I never met a bell pepper I didn’t like.  Green, roasted, food-processed into hummus – I like ‘em any which way I can get ‘em.

I don’t know that I’ve ever made a traditional lasagna.  I’ve made some lasagna roll-ups with spinach and Alfredo sauce that were very good, but a traditional lasagna with layers of noodles and marinara sauce?  That was uncharted territory.

One complaint I’ve tended to have about homemade lasagna is that it can be watery.  I don’t know if that’s because people don’t drain their noodles enough or what, but I don’t like it.  Dara, a.k.a. the Cookin’ Canuck, spelled out the secret in her recipe: boil the noodles, drain them, then lay them out to dry.  It’s not rocket science, but sometimes you just need someone to point out the obvious, you know?


Anyone else ever wonder if lasagna noodles HAVE to have those ruffly edges?


This lasagna took about an hour for me to put together then it was in the oven for an hour so it’s something you need to plan to make as oppose to deciding at the last minute that you want to have this for dinner.  The process wasn’t difficult, there were just a number of steps prior to assembling everything and getting it in the oven.

My lasagna straight out of the oven.  Mmm, I could really go for a piece – slab? – of this right now.


See Dara’s post with the recipe for all her wonderful pictures.  Any photos I would’ve taken without daylight just wouldn’t have done this justice.  Who am I kidding, I’m sure my pictures couldn’t compare to hers even with sunshine.

I entered this recipe into My Fitness Pal and if I divided it into 12 servings, each one was about 335 calories.  I think the McHusband and I each had a serving and a half for dinner, but we didn’t have any of the usual Italian-food sides like bread or a salad.

All in all, I give this lasagna two enthusiastic thumbs up.  When I recover from making it the first time, I’m definitely going to make it again.  If you like lasagna and bell peppers and you want to eat a pasta casserole without guilt, give this a try.

TGIF!  My office was closed on Monday for President’s Day, but I swear this has felt as long as a six-day work week.  I’m not sure why except that each day has been pretty long.  But the weekend’s right around the corner, and I’m ready to enjoy some downtime.

And a couple or three Captain and (diet) Cokes. Rolling on the floor laughing

Hope you guys enjoy your two days’ freedom from the grind!

{Recipe Here}

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What a way to celebrate

Guess who spent her first birthday the same way she spent her birth day last year?


Little Miss Olivia had a severe allergic reaction to her scrambled eggs.  She immediately broke out into hives and her lips, arms, and legs were turning gray/blue.  Needless to say, 911 was called and emergency personnel responded to the house.  By that time, the reaction subsided enough that Shannon felt she could take Olivia to the doctor’s office that she works in.  Once there, the doctor sent them to the hospital where Olivia was treated with steroids and kept under observation.


What a way to spend your first birthday.  Luckily, Olivia will have no memory of it, but you know Calvin and Shannon will never forget being in the hospital with her for her birthday.


Luckily, she was okay by the end of the day, but now she has to go through a full battery of allergy tests.  Keep your fingers crossed that the eggs don’t have a bunch of friends who prove to be Olivia’s enemies.

Olivia, let’s try to have  a less exciting second birthday, okay?