Friday, March 27

Diaper Dollars

It's official...Little Man is potty-trained (well before his third birthday)!

Woooooooooooooo hooooooooooooooo!

I'm jumping for joy...ouch, ouch, ouch, I'm too old for that...or should I say, I'm squealing for joy!

Before you give me a great big pat on the back...

You must know...

It has nothing to do with my Superstar Ninja Mom skills.

It does, however, have EVERYTHING to do with the fact that my two-year-old is the size of a husky four-year-old and was busting out of a size 6!

You heard me, we ran out of tunnel and were staring straight at the light!

The next step was adult Depends and, well, let's just say I'm failing as a Mom in lots of areas but I refuse to be blamed for that therapy session in thirty years.

So...back to the squealing.

Life is good. No more child wrestling, no more "what's that smell", and best of all, no more diaper dollars!

I feel so RICH! What to do with all this saved moola?

Since we are a budget family, I've decided to reallocate my diaper dollars to a FUN FUND. Each week, Little Man and I will set out on a new adventure.

He'll be in school before I know it so I'm determined to take advantage of every carefree day together. Since we live in Nowhereland, some planning (and driving) will be required. Where should we go? What should we do!

I can't wait to see where our dollars will take us (diapers are really expensive).

Stay tuned, I'll be sure to share.

(What fun things do you have planned for your kiddos this summer?)

Tuesday, March 24

Mushroom Avocado Burger Boats

Burger Boats are not something you'll see in Food Network Magazine or floating around on Pinterest (until I'm done with this post...ha). They're a crazy Courtney concoction, at the request of Super Hunk.

Here's (as Paul Harvey used to say) the rest of their story...

Last spring, we had a hankerin' for hamburgers (that should be a t-shirt..."I have a hamburger hankerin') but as I've stated previously, Super Hunk is not a huge fan of bread. I know, I love him anyway! I cut the buns in half (which ended up strangely resembling a boat) and piled on all of his favorite things.

I'm sure you were expecting a story much more romantic...

But nope, just a tale of a girl raiding the fridge to keep her man's tummy happy. Okay, maybe it is a little romantic.

I hope you'll give them a try, they're a treat at our house.

Mushroom Avocado Burger Boats
(Makes 4 Boats)
4 Wheat Bolillios (see photo below)
1 lb. ground beef (divided into 4 patties)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 ripe avocado
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons butter
Garlic salt
Pepper to taste
Chopped fresh spinach (optional)

In a skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add beef patties and cook evenly on each side.

There's just NO way to photograph meat patties and make them look "pretty".
While patties are cooking, melt another tablespoon of butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and Worcestershire, stirring to coat. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Cook until done to your liking (I prefer a little char on mine).

Preheat oven to broil. Slice buns in half, horizontally, and place bottoms on baking sheet. I usually keep the tops to make croutons...they're delicious. Generously butter your buns with your last tablespoon (feel free to add more...a little is good but gobbs is better). "Generously butter your buns"...that's catchy!

Side note: The buns are found in the bakery section at Wal-Mart. While any bun will work, these are delectable (and boat-shaped). I also included them in my Pepperoncini Pulled Pork Sandwich recipe.

Place in oven on broil for 30 seconds to one minute. DON'T WALK AWAY...DON'T FOCUS ON ANYTHING ELSE...DON'T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF OF THEM...OR YOU'LL HAVE CHARCOAL...BLACK, CRUMBLY CHARCOAL! Remove when slightly golden and the butter is beautifully bubbly.

Top buns with patties...pile on the mushrooms...add the sliced avocado...and tadaaaaaa...dinner is served! For a little extra yum, I sprinkle the avocado with a bit more garlic salt, pepper, and top with chopped spinach leaves. Super Hunk likes mayo...manly mayo...on his and I occasionally go crazy and add cheese.

That's it...easy peasy! Today, you can say you too have eaten a burger boat. What could be better?


Friday, March 20

The Day the Crayons Quit

The title of this book is enough to make any kid (or adult) curious. How could it be? The can't! They won't! Would they?

With each page, the crayons take back control...demanding more imaginative uses! This is why, it's our new Favorite Things (thanks, Aunt Rekah).

All Duncan wants to do is color. The problem is, his crayons are kaput. Red is overworked from all things fire engine, strawberries, and Santa Claus.

Beige is jealous of Brown’s role in bears, ponies, and puppies.

And poor Pink, who just for once would love to be used as a dinosaur, monster, or cowboy.

Can the crayons convince Duncan to color outside the lines of creativity?

This one’s for all of the Black crayons who just want to be a rainbow, and all of the Blues who’d like to see a different shade of sky.

I won't spoil the rest for you, but let's just say...the last page makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.

The moral of this story, when the toys of our children are given a never know what they might say. You'll forever look at crayons in a whole new way!

For more of our favorite reads, see the Tickle Monster Laughter Kit or Press Here.

Monday, March 16

"Don't kiss the worm!"

Being the mother of a boy is say the least. I find myself driving down the road, exclaiming "Whoa, BIG truck"...only to realize, I'm alone!

Before Little Man, even as a country girl, I had no interest in bugs. Super Hunk maintains I have the same scream for if a bug bites me...or if it simply flies by me. Hey, that thing looked me right in the eye!

However, when your son approaches you with a proposition to dig for grab your shovel, without asking questions. His cuteness is intoxicating!

Yesterday, we did just that. It was a beautiful day and the ground was still moist from our recent rains (Praise the Lord). After a few creepy crawly discoveries...this was our conversation.

LM: "Mama, wook...BIG worm! Hold it."

(While wearing my gardening gloves, I placed the GINORMOUS worm in my giddy son's hand.)

LM: "Hi, worm. Awwwwww, worm (as he rubbed it on his cheek, as if to caress it). Mama, hug worm."

Me: "DON'T hug the worm!"

(As he squeezed the poor worm, with all his might.)

Me: "Don't squeeze the worm, you'll hurt him."

LM: "Sorry, worm. Mama, kiss the worm!"

Me: "DON'T kiss the worm!"

LM: "Mama, worm hungwy."

Me: "Worms eat dirt...(I see what he's I follow up with) but we don't!"

LM: "Mama, put worm in pocket."

Me: "DON'T put the worm in your pocket! (At this point, I'm starting to feel sorry for the poor worm.) In fact, let's put the (traumatized) worm back in the dirt and cover him up."

LM: (As he launches the nearly lifeless worm back in the flower bed...catapults two handfuls of dirt on top...and stomps it in place.) "Night night, worm!"

I take a moment to laugh at our ability to communicate...and can't help but think that poor worm is screaming "INCH FOR YOUR LIVES" to his fellow dirt mates!

Life with boys!

Wednesday, March 11

Lana's Perfect Pot Roast

There are very few times Super Hunk proclaims a "favorite" that doesn't come from my kitchen. However, this dish is near the top of his YUM list!

Guest Contributor, Lana Hamblin, shares her Perfect Pot Roast recipe that makes your busy day a little easier...and your husband "want to drink the juice" (quote from her husband).

I'm big enough to admit when I've been "out-reciped". Confession: I occasionally wake up thinking about it...and her Red Pepper Potatoes (stay tuned for that recipe). I need an intervention!

"My name is Courtney and I have a Lana's meat and potatoes problem."

I promise, this roast is everything that is wonderful in the world! Enjoy!

Lana's Perfect Pot Roast
By Guest Contributor, Lana Hamblin

1 chuck roast
1 pkg Lipton onion soup mix
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup white vinegar

Place roast in crock pot and sprinkle with dry ingredients. Next, pour water and vinegar around sides. Cook on low for about 8 hours and enjoy the scrumptious smell of your house!

Need an equally easy side dish? How about Simple Sugar Snap Peas? Roasted Vegetable Medley? No matter what you choose, they'll be very few leftovers!

Monday, March 9

Chorizo Burritos

For all my beginner cooks out there, here's a tip...chorizo should not be feared! In fact, it's nothing more than pork sausage and smoked red pepper spices.

When I married Super Hunk six years ago, he mentioned a fondness of said sausage. At the time probably, much like you), my face was blank. What is this "chorizo" he speaks of? Cue, Google. Where do I find it? Cue, Google. How do I cook it? You guessed it...cue, Google.

With a little research (and a short flashback to an unfortunate incident including a very tight dress that resembled more of a sausage casing than an apparel garment), it turns out...I'm a boob...a sausage scaredy cat boob!

It's not should not be feared...and you can find it at your local grocery store, by the breakfast sausage (in case you're wondering). Again, I'm a boob!

Our little Latin friend is a staple in our family breakfast burritos. No tortilla is completely satisfied without it! Go on, give it a try...and Google, if needed.

(Makes 4 burritos)
1/3 tube chorizo sausage
2 tablespoons butter
6 eggs
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 medium potato, diced
1 can green chiles
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
4 flour tortillas
Salt & pepper to taste
Salsa, optional (Here's my favorite recipe, if you need one.)

(This is the chorizo I prefer, I need pictures when trying new about you?)

In large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter and add diced potatoes. Let potatoes cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and slightly golden.
Add chorizo to skillet and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring to coat potatoes. Whisk eggs and milk together and add to skillet with green chiles. Cook until eggs are scrambled and ingredients are cooked thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste.

For easy transport and keeping the burritos warm, place flour tortilla on sheet of foil

Spoon egg mixture on tortilla.

Sprinkle with grated cheese...a little is good but a lot is better! (Note to self: Schedule manicure ASAP!)

Tuck ends and roll (sounds like a fire survival maneuver), followed by foil.

Tada, look how happy they are. Don't forget the homemade salsa

All packed up and ready to run. For this busy Mom-on-the-go, my Initials, Inc. Cool Tote Bag is a lifesaver! Perfect for anything you need to transport...and it's!

Super Hunk could care less about my stylish bag, his eyes were on the contents prize! Breakfast burritos make any day of fixing fence better! And it makes my heart happy to see them devoured...the burritos, not the fence.

So there you have it. Chorizo is a not-so-scary-breakfast-accessory. To know it is to love it!

Thursday, March 5

His Poor Wife

Little Man is an only child...need I say more?

While I strive daily to raise a man who is humble, respectful, and grateful...I'm guilty of providing a bit more "fluff" than I probably should.

Fresh-squeezed orange juice (I now regret this decision...I must've been half looney that day).

A cookie jar, constantly filled with homemade goodies (I'm fortunate he now likes to help).

On days that his allergies are unbearable, I carry a DAMP "boogie rag" in my purse. Super Hunk started the damp part, I've thanked him multiple times.

Warm towels, fresh from the dryer.

There's nothing like it...on a cold day...when you're not wearing pants!

Making his world bigger, brighter, and warmer is my pleasure...even though I occasionally want to rock back and forth in the corner for a Mommy time out.

These moments will pass and he'll grow up to need me in a multitude of different ways.

I can only hope he has fond memories...

I'm apologizing now to his poor wife! :-) 

Tuesday, March 3

Sausage Biscuit Balls

Here's another great "Back to Basics" recipe!

The iconic sausage ball is a culinary mainstay. Its place on every holiday party table is expected...then it quickly vanishes...only to be seen again for another holiday soirée.

Not in our house! We embrace the "all-year-sausage-ball" and enjoy every bite. To make it more versatile, I bake them in the mornings with scrambled eggs...I whip up a batch for dinner guests as an appetizer with cheese and veggies. Not to mention, it's the perfect "dunk" for any bowl of soup. (We had them last night with Potato Broccoli Soup...YUM!) The key ingredient is the bisquick, which makes it more like a biscuit...and I've never met a biscuit I didn't like!


1 lb ground pork sausage
3 cups bisquick mix
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup whole milk

Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl and stir. When thoroughly mixed, scoop one tablespoon of dough in palm of hand and roll into ball. Place on greased baking sheet. Continue until all dough has been used.

Bake for 20-23 minutes until golden brown. If your balls are smaller, you may want to check on them a few minutes early as they won't take as long to bake.

Cook on wire rack and hide a few for yourself...if your household is anything like mine, there's rarely any left!

Sunday, March 1

Potato Broccoli Soup

After six years of marriage, I'm still learning new things about my dear Super Hunk. Case in point, potato is his favorite soup! What?!?!

After all the White Chili I've made, assuming it was at the top of his list, I feel a bit silly...he reassures me it's a close second. What a relief, because I could eat it three times a day...365 days a year.

Motivated by my new information, and Little Man's current aversion to green veggies, I threw on a pot of this little gem.

It was a "thumbs up" from the masses, I was satisfied knowing Little Man woofed down a full serving of broccoli, and I've officially redeemed myself as "the maker of all their FAVORITE things"!

Disclaimer: I was inspired by a similar recipe on Pinterest so I ran with it and made a few "Courtney modifications". Doing my best to give credit, where credit is due...I too need inspiration occasionally!  

1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup celery, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups diced potatoes, rinsed and peeled
2 cups chopped broccoli, slightly steamed
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Salt & pepper to taste

Melt butter in pot, over medium heat. Saute onions and celery until tender. 

Add flour and spices to pot, stir until combined.

Next, the broth and milk go in for a swim.

Add potatoes and bring to a boil, keep stirring until it thickens.

Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for another 10-15 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Use potato masher to break down SOME, NOT ALL, of the potatoes (I mash approximately 11 times...or 12...or...). This will make the soup even creamier. Feel free to skip this step if you want larger pieces.

After broccoli is steamed, add to pot...reverse veggie dip.

Next, add the cheese. Stir and continue cooking over low heat until cheese is melted.

Serve warm with crackers and sprinkle a little extra cheese on top...just because you can!

Even the kids will thank you!

Hope this makes your home a happy one on this chilly, wintery day! Stay warm, friends.