Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm a Lucky Girl

It's humbling and refreshing to check back to see where I've come from, to see how I've evolved into the woman that I am. To see how my passions and personality have changed in more ways than one...for the better. Particularly, in the relationships I share with my family. I've experienced handfuls of the typical bouts that these relationships do, with no doubt, produce. I've felt the intense disappointment and sadness when I've had misunderstandings with those I love and have realized afterward that I failed to be my best self or that my intentions may have been misunderstood. 
Today, I see these photos of my entire family together and I know I'm a lucky girl, daughter, sister, and wife for more reasons than I can fit into this blog post. I feel a deep and honest happiness in my heart and that's what family is all about. Without happiness, life couldn't possibly be as rewarding, fulfilling, and fun as the version I'm living right now.
I included lots of photos of the incredibly fun times Aaron and I had with my family in Dallas to celebrate Papa Moon's 50th birthday. 

A shameless amount of trips to our favorite Mexi fast food place, Tacobueno, with my sistahs.
Rich and creamy. Scoops of sweet, satisfyingly chilled chunks of heaven in a carton... It's a beloved Texas staple.
Meet AMC.... 
The ever glorious pre-packaged fudge brownie's can always put an instant smile on my sweetheart's lips. Sweet-treat hunting is always done within a few moments of arriving at the Moon's. Thank you Dad. That's right. Mom, I hate to leave you out of the fun, but we all know who's the junk-food junkie in the home.

 He's simply darling, isn't he? Yes. I let him get away with eating cookies (or whatever dessert is leftover from the night before) for nearly every breakfast. And yes. I poke fun at him for it. But, I still let him. Simply put, he looks that good.
Fro-yo. Basically free of fat and calories and everything else wrong in this world.
And the main event! Dad's surprise birthday party that we had been scheming! On the way to the Dallas temple, my parents traditionally head to the nearest Tacobueno (this is one of those Texas things you non-resident bloggettes are missing out on.) We were feeling quite festive and brought with us a ton of black 50th b-day balloons. Close friends and family showed up shortly before the parentals arrived. The picture below captures my dad's confused expression before a huge grin covered his face.
Rather than add commentary along the way, I thought I would just run the series of pics from the event. I hope you enjoy!
After Tacobueno, the party headed over to the Moon home where we mingled, played the best games of pictionary I  have ever played (thank you mom for this re-introduction. I have been missing out!), and enjoyed the favorite dessert of the the birthday boy!
You, naughty Marlys you. This is so not kosher.
My sister Stephanie made a delicious Strawberry-Coconut Cheesecake accompanied by a Turtle Pecan Cheesecake that I baked. It's possible I may not be returning to the Cheesecake Factory for my luxury slice of cheesecake when my pride self is convinced I can make a pretty darn good knock-off. 
Recipe post to come : )
I have to blog this. So, I remember walking home from grade school and I was chatting with girlfriend about who knows what. In the conversation I told my little friend that I thought my dad was handsome (I am convinced thats every little girl must think their dad is handsome.) Without hesitation the girl responded with, "But he's bald." Hahaha. This was news to me!  I didn't believe her and had no idea that he was! I felt really proud of myself for seeing past flaws. I knew I'd be okay if my guy went bald.
Ihop for a yummy breakfast. Prior to the embarrassing amount of cheesecake I ingested the night before I was regularly a 4-stack kind of gal.
I really love them all...but like they say "You can choose your friends but you can't choose your relatives!" {wink, wink}
Yours truly, Me

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Sistah's Baby Shower!!

Woop woop! My sister Stephanie skipped out on her hubby for the week and caught a flight home to Dallas for my dad's 50th birthday celebration AND we were thrilled to throw a baby shower for her! This is her first pregnancy and I'm not gonna lie...I'm pretty darn excited to meet this little nephew of mine, Parker James Anderson. A stud in the making. Understandably. He'll have a part of my genes.
The baby shower theme was reflected in the cherry red and aqua blue color that made her heart skip a few beats. She's still unsure about a specific theme. By the looks of her belly, she has time to change her mind. The shower was a great joint effort between my mom, Jessica Peterson (Steph's best friend) and myself.  Also, a special thanks also to Sister Moline (family friend since forever) for being so gracious to host the shower in her home and also to the no-fail-Bakerella, Julianne, for making the yummiest dessert pizza on the fly.
Mmm. And a yummy cupcake tower that I was super anxious about making. I had never been a fabulous capcake baker. They were always either exploding from their wrappers or the extreme opposite in looking like mini brownie bites nestled in a cupcake liner. Much to my pleasure (and ego!) they looked super cute with a beautifully bright frosting and nicely contrasting sprinkles. I placed a monogram-stamped fondant piece on top for the little guy ('PJ'). I doubt he'll go by the name PJ. More on these colorful delectables later on ;-)
As the girls arrived, they were given an itty-bitty onesie and they used fabric markers to decorate them into something creative for the Steph's new arrival. Most of us keeled over at the thought of our creativity being recorded.... After they were finished, they were each told to judge the onesie's for a winner in 3 separate categories. 1.)Sweetest  2.)Most Clever  3.) Best All Around
I'm so impressed with Julianne's creativity! She won the category for Best All Around. (I wish we snapped a photo of the ''Beach Bum"!)
Ooh, lookey here!! I won "Sweetest"! hehehe....
Aunt Marlys: "iPood" 
Too cute!
I just love her and her cute baby belly! I'm sure all of you will agree that her petite-shaped body pulls it off so well. I wish she lived much closer... (I'll get her back in 4 years!)
Remember those cute cupcakes I made?
WELL, not so cute on the face! It was downhill soon after we decided to grab a cute family photo. Steph smooshed it into Britt. Good thing Britt believes in an 'eye for an eye' and had no reservations with continuing this domino effect.
Mom had to join the fun and included me in this smurfing festivity (and yes, that's totally not a word.)
Toxic amounts of laughing. What would I do without these lovely ladies in my life?
Yours truly, Me

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Super Yummy Homemade Oreos

Although I don't allow myself to eat them very often nowadays... (alright, I just realized we're going on our Hawaii trip next week, and let's just say that my food choices haven't been as 'figure-friendly' as my tummy would like!) ...left to my own devices, I do believe I could polish off an entire package. My current fave would be the mint Oreos. Lookey here, I'm salivating as I type the word. Honestly, it's a problem. And that's why after I baked these bad boys I promptly gave them away; because I knew it wouldn't be long before I started stacking them in piles and eating away the whole batch one pile at a time. Ok, ok, so maybe I enjoyed one or two before giving them away.
If you're an Oreo fan, you've got to try these cookies. I was amazed at how much they tasted like the originals, albeit in a freshly baked, more sophisticated sort of way. The chocolate really shines through in the cookie portion, and even though I'm a huge fan of the filling in store-bought Oreos, I am a new-found fan of the homemade stuff.
Homemade Oreos
2 pkgs Devil's cake mix
4 eggs
2/3 C. canola oil
8 oz. pkg cream cheese
1/2 C. butter
5 C. powder sugar
2 T vanilla
8 oz. cool whip
Combine the cake mixes, eggs, and oil together. Mix thoroughly. I rolled out my cookie dough onto a floured surface. You can go the simple route by scooping the dough into spoonfuled chunks and place them directly onto the cookie sheet. I didn't like how messy the oreos were because of the 'imperfect dome-y' cookies. Trust me, roll them out. They'll be so much prettier.
I used the rim of a glass to cut out proportional sized cookies. Use your noggin'. Get creative!
Place these beauties onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 7 minutes on 350 degrees.
While the cookies are baking, mix up the frosting. Cream together the cream cheese and butter. No chunks and no light substitutions over here! Add vanilla. Slowly stir in powdered sugar. Mix with the cool whip. Place a few tablespoons of frosting onto the ugliest cookies. Top with a cookie and lightly press down to seal it in place. Voila! Now enjoy your super yummy homemade oreos!
Sincerely, Little Bakin' Blonde