Friday Fun

There's not much that beats a warm, sunny day at the park with the people you love most.


Those Baby Blues

Click to enlarge


I made this yummy salad for supper. If Paul had been home I would probably of added garlic bread and maybe even a vegetable.

This was Judah's yummy supper consisting of toast and cream cheese, gold fish crackers, yogurt and mango.
Delicious, I'm sure.

My Loves

Judah adores balls. He hasn't yet discovered that this is a bouncy ball. I'm hoping that day never comes.

Paul was gone all of last week, and Judah saw him for the first time on Saturday. He missed his daddy, as he just wanted to snuggle up on his lap when he saw him. So unlike him. And so cute.

Before & After

Here are some pictures of our newly painted kitchen. I wish I'd done better "before" pics - and also some during pictures!! I am exhausted thinking back on the project, but Ashley and I (and our two boys!!) managed to get it done in three days.
Thank-you Ashley for all your help!!

We do still have a bit more work to do - a second coat of paint on the doors, and add the knobs, and freshed up the trim.
If you click on the picture you will be able to see it in more detail.


A Remix

I was inspired to create this dinner after seeing this Italian Cream Cheese Chicken Over Pasta recipe. Well, I'll admit. I had intended to make that recipe, but I didn't have all the ingredients on hand when I started, so I improvised. And we loved it! :)

I cook like my mum, which drives Paul nuts as it means I kind of just dump things together... I have no idea how much of each thing got put together. But really, this is pretty no-fail. Especially with the inspiration recipe to fall back on.

What I did:

Take 2 (already cooked) chicken breasts and heat up in butter, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. I did add apple juice too, as the original has that listed, and I had it on hand, so decided to use it.

Then I made a cream sauce with milk, cream cheese, more Italian seasoning and salt.

I made Broccoli, and had the Italian seasoning in the boiling water.

And then I made whole wheat and white pasta (because I didn't have enough of one kind, so I mixed!)

Then I layered it all on a serving dish and made some garlic bread and *voila* ! A delicious and easy supper.



I have been working on this for a little while, and it's going *so slowly.* I thought if I made it public I might be inspired to work more on it. Like how when you're going to have company over you suddenly become motivated to switch out the bathroom hand towels and clean the toilet.
I have started a recipe blog
Honey! Dinner's Ready
Oh, and while I am thinking of it, the secret project last week was repainting our kitchen! A friend came over to help ... ok, that's not fair. She came over and did 97% of the work. And now our kitchen looks fabulous! I will post before and after pictures shortly.

Useless piece of trivia that greatly disturbed me:
I was just checking out my site feed and apparently my blog is number one if you Google "Jessica Morris Nude Photo." Weird.


Love Thru a Chain Link Fence

Our Weekend

My Great Uncle and Aunt drove down here for the weekend and we had a great visit with them, even though Judah was still recovering and not quite himself.

Judah on Easter Sunday:

Hanging out in our new glider from UF & AP:


Across the Street

I love being pregnant. It's the funniest time of my life. I am so glad God gave me a sense of humor, because otherwise being pregnant would be extremely frustrating. :)

Today I took Judah out to eat. We needed to get out and doing something fun together, and what's more fun then watching your baby chow down pickles and lemons while you munch on a delicious panini and sip an Iced Chi?
So we're sitting at our table and I get a phone call from one of Paul's friends.
He needs his tool box, which just happens to be in the back of the car I'm driving.
I told him we were at Panera, and he said he was at Pier 1, right across the street! Cool, eh? It literally is right across the street.
He said he'd be over in a minute and a half, and I told him that we were just finishing up our delicious pickle and sandwich, and we'd meet him by our car in a minute and a half.
We finished up and I went out to the car. Minutes rolled by and I was super confused why he hadn't shown up yet. So I look across the street. And guess what I see across the street? Panera. And Paul's friend.
I look at the restaurant I had just walked out of. It was Atlanta Bread House. Oops. Atlanta Bread House is in the exact same parking lot as Pier 1.
So I called up the friend. I could see him answering his phone. I'm almost sure I saw him roll his eyes as I told him I wasn't actually at Panera, I was at Atlanta.

The friend came and got his tool box, and then Judah, his pickle and a super embarrassed me went into Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Paul had left me an envelope to open for each day he was gone, and one of the days had a gift card in it. I was going to have a little bit more fun and go shopping and spend the gift card. I was in the store for one hour. When you have $25 on a gift card it's hard to pick what to buy. I thought about a hair straightener. Then a sheet bath towel. Then a trash can (it looked cool! Seriously.) I finally decided on a candle, a table cloth and matching cloth napkins - they were all on major clearance and all three items would be right about $25.
So I took my well thought out purchases to the cashier. She rings up my items as I pull out my gift card. She tells me the total and asks me to swipe the gift card. I do, and nothing happens. She asks me to swipe it again. So I do. Again, nothing.
So she asks for the card and starts to swipe it herself, and then pauses.

"Umm... this is a gift card for Bath and Body Works. You are in Bed, Bath and Beyond."

All I could say at that moment was "Oh..."
I'm sure my face turned red.
She asked if I still wanted the items. I said no - they really weren't as cool anymore if I needed to actually spend real money on them.
So I left the store empty handed and red faced.
And as if that weren't bad enough - what do you think was right across the street?

Bath and Body Works.

Life is funny :)


I'm in!

Since two of my bloggy friends have mentioned it, I need to jump on the band wagon too!!

I am entering the writing contest by THIS ELECTIVE LIFE.

My entry is going to Paul's guest entry about his time in Korea. I am *sure* it was scary to him. Wouldn't you be scared to be standing naked in a bathroom smelling, um, unpleasant?

So HERE IT IS. My sweet husbands infamous moment in time.


Take A Seat

Remember this bench?

I finally completed repainting it, and here it is

I have a crystal knob I need to put on the drawer, which I will get around to doing sometime. Hopefully soon :)


The Good Life

Paul is the coolest person ever. I *heart* him.
I also share his secrets.

He left last night for the week, and when I got up this morning I discovered an envelope for me to open for each day he's gone. I love little presents and cards :)

I excitedly opened Monday's card and he shared a confession - and $5. He said that he's addicted to the Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches sold at the Circle K around the corner from us. I *never* knew that. But now I do, and he wanted to share the joy of them with me, hence the $5 bill.

Judah shares his daddies love for them. I enjoyed it, but I certainly didn't scream and throw a fit when it was all done *ahem, Judah.*

I'd planned on buying it, driving to the park and enjoying it there and playing... but the day slipped by, and it was almost Judah's bedtime when I drove over and picked it up. We sat in the backseat of the car and enjoyed it together.

Here we are sharing it together:

This morning I had a Doctors appointment - it was a long morning as I had my gluc test, an ultra sound and finally my appointment. Everything with the baby looked great, my fluid levels are high and my cervical length is a healthy length, so they are making my appointments every 4 weeks rather than every 2!! Hurray!

In Paul's absence I am working on a secret project. I am so excited about it, and wish I could share. But Paul reads this, and then he would know, and then it wouldn't be a secret!!


Seriously Free

I keep intending to write a post about CVS Extra Bucks, but have been rather lazy about it, but the deals keep getting better and better and I feel guilty for not telling everyone about it! So this is being posted with great hopes that you will jump on the CVS Extra Bucks band wagon!! I will do my best to explain everything to you.

First you need to apply for a CVS Extra Bucks card (it's free.) You can do it on their website HERE or go into the store and apply.
A helpful tip before moving on: call or ask in your local store when their stocking day(s) are and plan your trip for within an hour after stocking. Some of these deals go so fast!

Alright, so now down to what this is all about ... basically you are going to have to start with an initial "investment." If you look in the flier (which is available to be seen online, or you can see it in the store, or perhaps you get them in your paper!) you will see something that says "You pay with card $x.yz/ extra backs reward $x.yz/ It's like getting it FREE after extra bucks."
So for example our flier this week has Maybelline Superstay Lipcolor or Gloss "You pay with card $8.99/ Extra Bucks Reward $8.99/ It's like getting it for FREE after extra bucks." (This is on the front page.)

If you were to go in and buy the lipcolor you would pay an investment of $8.99 out of pocket, but then when they print out your receipt there will be a credit on the bottom for $8.99. You can put it towards anything in the store.

So here's where it gets tricky. Or smart.

You can take your $8.99 Extra Bucks and use it for something else that gives you Extra Bucks.

So on page 14 you find Oral B Toothbrushes for $4.99 each with $4.99 Extra Bucks back. And there is Listerine Smart Rinse for Kids for $2.99 with $2.99 Extra Bucks back.
Back on page 1 you have Jelly Beans for $.99 with $.99 Extra Bucks back.

Stay with me for a moment.

You will be within pennies of your $8.99 Extra Bucks that you have "invested" in.
So buy one of each of those items for a total of nothing or pennies. Literally, pennies. And you will then be given three barcodes on the bottom of your receipt, one for each of the totals you just spent.
So you'll have a
$2.99 and
$.99 credit.

THEN, if you look at the bottom of the items that say "It's like getting it FREE" it will tell you what your limit is on the amount you can purchase. I think all of these items have a limit of 2.

So turn around and buy another one of each of those items.
You will again be given
$2.99 and
$.99 credit.

And then there is STILL more stuff you can get. Without spending any more than your initial investment! Just check out your flier and see!
Of course you don't want to be wasteful and get things you'll never use just because they are free. All the candy I take to youth group because my hips don't need it :)

Oh, they also have an "EXTRA BUCKS" book that you can only pick up in the CVS store. Those have month long specials.
Some of those month long specials end up in the weekly ad, but some of them are unique, so make sure to check that too. Off the top of my head I know there are vitamins, toothbrushes (the ones that are in this weeks flier), toothpaste and lip chap.

All of the things you see in the picture above are items I got for free. I didn't spend a penny as I had $18 in Extra Bucks from before. And I walked out with $18 in credit for the next time I go in.

You do have to keep close tabs on your Extra Bucks. They are printed on the bottom of your receipt, and you need to hand it over to use it - so don't loose it!!
Also, they do expire, I believe they last one month. But check yours to be certain.

Let me know if this makes any sense, and if you try it out!
Happy shopping!



Today was a self-inflicted "lets practice patience" day. I got lots of practice in :) And we are both still alive.

I had this brilliant idea of taking Judah to the mall and letting him walk around until he was good and tired and ready to crash. I didn't take into account the fact that *I* would be cranky - I mean good - and tired way before his little legs needed a break.
Judah loved all the people he could talk to ("Heyyyyy") and all of the clothing racks that he could touch. I promise - his hands were clean.
I put him in the stroller a couple of times just because I needed to walk at a pace faster than a turtle with the weight of the world on his back (albeit a happy turtle!) and Judah was satisfied to sit and watch the world go by, but he was just overjoyed to be able to walk himself. I couldn't deny him that pleasure. And so we spend 4 hours toddling through the mall. (I did actually find some cool napkin rings for SEVENTEEN CENTS each, down from $10 each. I bought the remaining 5, but none of them match. Any ideas for napkin rings?!)

So that was lesson 1 in patience.

At supper time I decided to let him feed himself applesauce.
And then for dessert I let him feed himself a Popsicle. That wasn't so much a lesson in patience as it was in stupidity. Colored (which means it stains), frozen (which means it melts) sugar (which means it sticks) stuff is not my friend. And I here-by proclaim it to not be my son's friend either.


Happy Day

Today has been a marvelous day. Paul didn't have to be at work until 2:30, so the three of us went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. We never go out for breakfast, and I'm not sure why! It's tons of fun and such a great way to start the day :) And I ordered something I *loved* - usually when we go out to eat and I order something I end up looking enviously at Paul's plate wishing I could eat his food. But my Eggs in a Basket with bacon and hashbrowns were much better looking than Paul's eggs, French toast and bacon. I enjoyed enjoying my food more than his :)

We came home and hung out for a little bit. I took Judah out for a walk. I love taking him for walks - everything fascinates him. It's fun :) Especially when it is 77 F outside. How can anyone complain when it's that warm?!

Then we drove Paul to work and Jubster and I went grocery shopping. He was in a charming mood and we made many friends :) He was also dubbed "my best friend" by a little boy named Noah that wouldn't stop kissing his toes. His mother was embarrassed, but really she should've been more concerned about where Judah's feet had been. *Ick*

Grocery shopping is always more cheerful when I find sales. I have halfheartedly started using coupons, and even with my pathetic attempt at it I generally save $3-$6 on items I normally buy, so that's cool.
But today I got butter for $1/pound and Gatorade for .50 cents each (down from $1.23!)

Then there was something that puzzled me... I totally do.not.get.it. I stood in the aisle reading the signs over and over and over again because it just didn't make sense. And it still doesn't make sense!
A 10lb bag of flour cost $4.66 a bag.
A 5lb bag of flour costs .99 cents a bag.
Why would anyone ever buy a 10lb bag? It just made no sense. And I let it puzzle me for longer than I should have!

The conclusion of the grocery shopping trip was nice too. See, at commissaries they have baggers and the baggers put the groceries in another cart and then take it out to the car for you, and then they expect a tip. Which is fine, except at ours most of the baggers are seriously stupid people who mix all the groceries up - canned stuff with veggies, raw meat with fruit, etc. I know you shouldn't judge by appearances, but generally, if they can't speak English well they can't bag groceries well either, so I always tell those ones (way ahead of time!) that I'll take my groceries out myself. And then I don't tip, because they didn't DO anything to deserve a tip. But when I don't tip they give me a death glare until I am out of site. It is *unbelievable* how rude they can be.
So anyways, I normally dread the checkout part of shopping at the commissary just because of the baggers, but today I had the sweetest, English speaking, older lady who was bagging. It made me happy.

So there you have it. A rather boring post about my rather marvelous day. :)


If You Need a Smile

I have always known I'm not a *good* dancer, but when I started dancing in the kitchen while Judah was eating his lunch he was laughing so hard he almost choked on his cheese. I didn't know I was *that bad.* His laughing was so funny I grabbed the camera and tried to dance and get his laugh at the same time - he did still laugh, but not the same belly laugh it was without the camera present.
It's still contagious though:

Best Brownies!

Mmm! Doesn't that brownie dough make your mouth water?! These brownies were *so easy* to make and they tasted amazing! I know I linked to them yesterday, but I thought I would post the recipe here, because they are just so good!!

For brownies:

1 c butter (2 sticks), melted
2 c sugar
2 t vanilla
4 eggs
3/4 c cocoa
1 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 c chopped nuts, optional

For cream cheese topping:

1/3 c sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened or slightly warmed
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla

1. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla, eggs, and cocoa, beating after each addition.

2. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Add nuts if using. Pour batter into greased 9 x 13 pan.

3. In separate bowl, mix sugar and cream cheese until no lumps remain. Stir in egg and vanilla. Pour over brownie batter. Cut through batter with knife several times for a marbled effect.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until cream cheese topping is slightly browned.

5. Cool and store in refrigerator.

This morning I realized I hadn't photographed them, so I went to do that and this was all that was left!! (And now it's gone too!)

I am on a Middle Eastern food kick right now. When we moved we lost the blade for our food processor, so making Hummus is impossible right now, but hopefully soon! I imagine it will be amazing with the pita bread.
Does anyone have any other recipes to share?!


Greasy Subject

I have a whole bunch of baking I wanted to tackle today - I have desserts I need to take to events today, Friday and Sunday and I thought I'd knock them all out of the way today.

But we are out of butter.

I'm not sure how that happens. I buy 2lbs of butter almost weekly, and I can't keep it in our fridge!! It truly is a mystery - neither of us eats a lot of butter, and Judah eats none. We don't do massive amounts of baking either. I am confused.

Our butter just doesn't like us.

Oh well. Paul is getting off early today, and he said he'll buy me some more butter :) Such a sweet man!

Here's what I am making today:

Molasses Spice Cookies


Cream Cheese Brownies

The cookies I have made before and they are *so* yummy. I left out the raisins, and added a tad more spice. They were delicious! I made a double batch of them and formed the dough and then froze it. It worked just as well as the chocolate chips cookies do. Or should I say Paul's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies :)

Oh - I bet that is where most of our butter goes to! His cookies. Ok, I feel somewhat dumb. Mystery solved!!
Anyways, he made more cookie dough on Sunday. We were all out of brown sugar, so I told him he could substitute white sugar with molasses for brown sugar. I think he thought I made it up, because he wouldn't believe me until I showed it to him in a cookbook. But it was there!! 1 cup of white sugar and 2 Tablespoons of molasses = 1 cup of brown sugar. So he tried that.
Then he had another hurdle with his precious cookies. In my thriftyness I bought bags of (Valentine) Hershey Kisses, because on clearance they were half the price of a bag of chocolate chips. I happily chopped them up for him, but I don't think he was too impressed.

Until they came out of the oven. The extra white sugar made the cookies go flat and chewy. *Amazing.* The chocolate, well, it was just chocolate. But Paul was quite amazed at the taste of the cookies. In his words:

"They aren't better, but they are just as good."


Problem Solved!

What do you do with a baby who wants to 'help' in the kitchen?

This worked for us :) He was perfectly content with his naked little self.

We just stuck the plate and soap in to see if he'd pose for us... he didn't care a hoot about them.


Party On

Ultimate Blog Party 2008

It is that time of year again - the week long Ultimate Blog Party, hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom!
There are nearly 800 bloggers participating already! So head on over to check out the fun and meet new bloggers - and enter to win some of the fabulous prizes!

I want to extend a warm welcome to any visitors - I am glad you made the stop over here!

My name is Jessica and I am married to my handsome husband Paul. We have a one year old son, Judah, and I am 23 weeks pregnant with our second baby.

These guys are pretty much the coolest people ever and I love them so much :)

Paul & Judah Feb. '08

Judah excels at saying "Heyyyy" with a southern drawl, hiding Gold Fish in the oddest of places and making me laugh. Everything roars and he loves to be chased.

Paul is serving in the US Army. I love having a man in uniform coming home to me every day =)
We just moved into a house the beginning of February and Paul has been helping me with making it into a home. We have had fun working on different projects together. And we both *love* living in a house rather than an apartment! We actually have a back yard!

One of the coolest things about Paul is he loves being in the kitchen. He bakes *amazing* bread, and even more amazing Chocolate Chip cookies. I recently blogged about how he makes a large batch of the dough and then shapes and freezes them so we can pull out just a few at a time and have freshly baked cookies whenever we want.
Because he loves me so much he gave me the recipe and said I can post it on my blog. :)

So in honor of the party here is the recipe for the most amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (make sure it is melted!)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
*semisweet chocolate chips
*Heath bits

*He doesn't measure these - he just dumps them in. He's very generous with the chocolate :)

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line baking sheet with tin foil (that way you don't have to wash anything!!)
2. Combine first three ingredients. Set aside
3. In another bowl combine remaining ingredients until creamy. Add dry ingredients until just blended.
4. Stir in chocolate chips and Heath bits.
5. Use a 1/4 cup measuring scoop to shape the dough into balls.
6. Bake for 15 - 17 minutes, and then let cool on the baking sheet.

These taste best when eaten the day they're baked.
If you plan on freezing them place the shaped cookie dough on a plate and place in freezer for a few hours so they can individually freeze. Once they have, you can throw them all in a zip lock bag. Then pull out however many you want and place in a pre-heated oven. I don't think we've ever timed how long they take from frozen, but it's not much longer than from a non-frozen state!


And happy Ultimate Blog Party-ing :)

Oh - and there really are TONS OF COOL PRIZES to be won!! I would be thrilled to win anything, but my top picks are:
# 1 - Rocking Horse
#14 - 12x12 wall canvas
#70 - Chocolate!
#87 - Orange and Blue Beaded Necklace
#91 - Burt's Bees Skin Care Products
#114- $20 GC for LUSH


Drool Worthy

Green Something

I went to Lowe's today to buy some flowers and supplies for the bench. I decided at this point to leave the terra cotta pots as they are - I think Paul would shoot me if I added another project to our to-do list :)
I did a little bit of garden work - this one still needs more work done to it, but here's the gist of how it's going to look. The only real thing in there is the grassy stuff... I am hoping it doesn't die. That would be embarrassing.

I am using the pots to hold flowers. I only got flowers in one of the pots, but the other two will eventually have flowers in them as well :)
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