Thursday, August 29, 2013

pinterest reviews

I love being home during the day so much!
One of the bonuses of not being at school all day is that I get to actually make things that I pin on Pinterest.  So here are some of the things I've made lately:

Oatmeal Cream Pies:
I seriously love those cheap little cookies that you can buy in the store.  But then again, I have a weakness for oatmeal cookies, especially if I don't have to pick out any raisins or chocolate chips.  So I made these:
 The cookie dough was phenomenal!  Too bad I don't photgraph them as well as the original pinner does.  But they were good.  It was nice to get to use my double boiler to make the filling (since I feel guilty having kitchen products take up space if they don't get used often), and the filling was very similar to the Little Debbie cookies, but I think I'd prefer something with butter and/or cream cheese in the middle if I'm going to be making them.  I'll try that next time.

Oatmeal Cream Pies

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. honey
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
In a double boiler, add egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar and heat over simmering water. Whisking frequently, heat until egg whites become very frothy and sugar is dissolved (approx. 160 degrees). Carefully add egg mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed for several minutes until egg mixture will hold stiff peaks and is light in texture. Carefully fold in vanilla until incorporated. Add frosting to cookie and then top with another cookie. Enjoy!

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, honey and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
In a separate medium sized bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix just until incorporated. Stir in oats until evenly distributed. Transfer dough to a large mixing bowl (this is so you can use stand mixer bowl for the frosting) and chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Remove dough from refrigerator and drop by tablespoons onto baking sheet (or even a bit smaller for smaller cookies). Bake for 8 to 10 minutes just until the edges start to brown. Cookies will seem moist in the middle but they will set up. Cool on baking sheet until set and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, on the underside of one cookie spread the marshmallow frosting and top with another cookie. Store in an airtight container.
Marshmallow Frosting
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
In a double boiler, add egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar and heat over simmering water. Whisking frequently, heat until egg whites become very frothy and sugar is dissolved (approx. 160 degrees). Carefully add egg mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed for several minutes until egg mixture will hold stiff peaks and is light in texture. Carefully fold in vanilla until incorporated. Add frosting to cookie and then top with another cookie. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles:
Anyone else craving fall?  It may be pregnant Kristin talking, but I'm anxious for cooler weather and all things pumpkin.  Oh, and having this baby.  That'll be nice too.  But I was craving that today.  So I busted out the pumpkin, even if it is still August, it's only supposed to be 95ยบ today, so I'm going with fall.
 These cookies weren't my favorite.  Probably because they are very cake-like in texture.  The recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp. of baking powder.  I think next time I'd try doing just 1 tsp. baking soda to help the cookies be more chewy rather than cakey.  But there were still pumpkin, cinnamon cookies, which is always a winning combination.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles:

3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the coating:

1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Dash of allspice

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together to blend. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars on medium speed until well combined. Next, still on medium speed, beat in pumpkin. Then, add the egg and vanilla extract. Lastly, add in the dry ingredients. Beat until combined, but do not over mix. Cover the dough, and refrigerate for one hour, until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and spices for the sugar coating. Scoop dough (approximately 2 1/2 tablespoons) and roll into a ball. Roll the dough ball in the sugar mixture, and place on the lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Take a drinking glass with a flat bottom and moisten with water. Dip the glass in the sugar mixture, and use it to flatten the dough balls. Re-sugar the glass as needed.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. Remove when the centers of the cookies have set. Let cool on the baking pan for approximately 5 minutes, and then transfer to wire cooling racks to cool completely.

This should just be called sweet and sour chicken.  That's basically what it is... without any added vegetables.  This I didn't get a picture, so I'm using the one from Pinterest.  
Some thoughts on the recipe.  The 1/4 c Sierra Mist is point less.  I panicked when I got to that part of the recipe until I remembered we were at Costco just before, and Drake got a Sierra Mist there, so I made him give me the rest of his cup so I could add the 1/4 cup.  It added nothing.  Next time, I'll just skip it, because I'm sure I won't have any pop on hand.
Also, this needs some serious veggies!  I should have steamed some broccoli, zucchini, cabbage, bell peppers, and carrots to put with the chicken and rice, but I choose to make balsamic glazed carrots to go with dinner.  But the sauce is so strong, and the chicken is so saucy, that I could have easily incorporated some non-flavored vegetables in with the chicken.  
Oh, and we ate it over brown rice, and the kids usually don't love brown rice, but the chicken sauce was so tangy, they didn't even notice.  

Shredded Sweet and Sour Chicken:
  • 5 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Sierra Mist lemon lime soda  (like I said, feel free to leave this out as I think it was pointless - there's plenty of sugar and acid in this already!)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce  (I used Liquid Aminos)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  1. Combine all the ingredients in crock pot (except chicken) and whisk together until mixed thoroughly and all corn starch lumps are gone.
  2. Add chicken breasts to sauce in crock pot
  3. Cook on Medium for 4-6 hours or high for 4 hours.
  4. Shred Chicken
  5. Let shredded chicken sit in sauce over "warm" setting or low for about 20 minutes
  6. Serve with rice

Sunday, August 25, 2013


McPhie celebration season has come to an end.
Gwen, Drake, and I all have birthdays in July, and then in the first couple of weeks of August is our anniversary, then Ryan's birthday.

Ryan's birthday came on a Friday.
Fridays are trial days.

So we sent him off to trial with a yummy waffle breakfast.

I got Ryan this watch for his birthday.
 But in typical Ryan fashion, he wants to exchange it.
Maybe for this one...
or this one.
Which one do you like better?  I thought about the light wood one, but thought it might get dirty.??  So here's some advice if any of you, for any reason, give Ryan a gift for any occasion, give him a gift card.  I still try and give him gifts, but they are just about always getting exchanged.  
It's okay.

Well he had a good trial (won on one count, lost on another; but he knew that one would be tough).  We celebrated with dinner and The Wolverine.  

It's a good one.  Even though Hugh Jackman was not in very good shape for it.

Yes, I just said "not".

Then we had family birthday party on Sunday.
 And I was too lazy to put 36 candles on the cake, so we had 3 candles + 6 candles.  It equals 36 in candle math.

Oh yah, and here are the kids with their As You Wish paintings from our family anniversary date.
Drake's hair is awesome
 Oh, and here's Drake's self portrait on the wall in school.
Notice the robot/lego arm, and the gun arm.
But no legs.
I love his creativity!

Happy birthday Ryan.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lego Boy

Buster Brown is obsessed with Legos.  He watches videos about them all the time, and recently he has gotten into making his own.  Here's a sample of what he's been working on.

He is constantly asking how to earn money so he can buy more Legos.  I love it.
But I have a feeling I won't love it when we have a baby crawling around here putting everything it finds in his/her mouth.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

eight eight thirteen

10 years ago, my car of college girls ran into a car of boys in the dollar movie theater parking lot in Provo.  The boys came over to our apartment, and upon coming in the door, Ryan noticed that he and I had the same studded belt on so he plopped down by me on the couch and we started talking music and bands.  He found out I hadn't seen Braveheart which meant he had to show it to me.  We talked all night.

He showed me Braveheart a few days later.
I tried to not like him.
I was graduating in a month and moving home, and last thing I wanted was a long distance relationship.
But Ryan was persistent.
And I gave in.
I fell hard and fast.

We were married in Oakland, on a gorgeous day.
 We were an hour and a half late to our luncheon because we were taking pictures and then in bad traffic from Oakland to Sacramento.
 We had a gorgeous reception in the backyard of Ryan's house.
 We had a little cake fight.
 We were so excited to be starting eternity together.
 And we became Mr. and Mrs. McPhie.

I won't lie and say that everything has been peachy keen since.
Marriage is hard.
We've had happiness, and sorrow.  Fights and laughter.  But most of all, we've had each other.  We have leaned on each other and do truly love each other more now than we did then.  

10 years later, I woke up to this.
 My side of the bathroom mirror covered in things from 2003.
Justin Timberlake, Cry Me a River?  Check.
Black Eyed Peas?  Check.
Santa Cruz trip?  Check.
Cancun trip?  Check.
Moving to AZ?  Check.

And around the house, pictures like this.
Braveheart - first date.
 This little gem was on the fridge.  I said, I thought Kendra Wilkinson had her baby uno way after 2003.  Ryan said that picture wasn't hung up because it happened in 2003, but this picture reminded him of us.  
The resemblance is uncanny.  
Oh, and this picture was still on our fridge when we had a babysitter in our house for seven hours.  She must think we're awesome.  Or super creeps.

Ryan was in court all day on our anniversary, and was prepping for a trial the following day, so we had a low key Italian lunch date, just like on our wedding day.

Then he planned a Saturday day-date.
We were going to hike Camelback, which he really was doing for me, because I always want to go hike, but he doesn't want to wake up.

10 years!  It's all down hill from here.  The mountain that is.

 We made it to the top!

Oh ya, and this baby came with us.
Going up was the easy part, it was coming down that I felt it.
I wore my belly band, but still needed an arm to support my belly.
I realized that you naturally lean back a little when going down hill, and with all this mass in front of me, I needed to lean extra far back to compensate.  Core. Work. Out.

We spent the rest of the day together, hanging out, having fun, bringing up memories from the last 10 years.  
It was a great anniversary.
Even if we weren't on a cruise.
(apparently they don't like preggo people on cruises)

I love you so much Ryan McPhie!
Thank you for putting up with me for the last ten years.
I'm excited for what's in store.

Monday, August 12, 2013

First Day Of School

The kids have been wanting to go back to school for the last month.
They're starting a new school this year, and don't know many kids there, but were still beyond excited to do it.

So here they are.  Drake a second grader, and Gwen a fourth grader.
Drake insists on socks with his Toms

I die at their cuteness!
Also new and exciting for the kids is that they get to ride their bikes to school!

 In all their excitement, we got to school way early and had to wait for the gates to open.  Then once inside, we had to wait for teachers to come out and get their students.  They didn't want parents going inside the first day, so I didn't get pictures of them in their classrooms.

And then I worried all day that they'd get lost, or not make any friends, but they both were all smiles once school got out.  

It's going to be a good year!

the saddest summer

This summer has been a downer.  I tried to make it fun for the kids.  I tried to have a schedule and order.  But really, how much fun can it be when you're stuck at home because mom is studying?
We did have swim teams,

 and birthdays,

and a little get away,

 and maybe I'm speaking for myself, but this summer was pretty sad.  

I was in a really dark place just before the bar.  I was full of self-doubt, because I knew my studying wasn't what I wanted it to be.  After all, I couldn't go to the library all day like my class-mates, I had to be home with the kids.  And I still had to make meals for them, do the laundry, clean the house, go to the grocery store, plan birthdays, makes cakes, etc.  And even then, I'm sure I would have been fine, but throw pregnancy hormones, tiredness, and not being able to run/ride my bike because of the pregnancy into the mix, and I was a wreck.

I had this dream a couple of times that I was at school doing a bar study course, and the instructor congratulated me for having my baby the day before.  It was then that realized I had my baby, and I didn't even know where it was!  I went to the hospital and my mom was there with my baby, and she was saying "where have you been?!  You haven't even fed her yet!"  Then I'd feed my starving baby, wonder where Gwen and Drake were, and think about how I needed to get back to studying.
Ugh!!  That's been my feeling all summer.

But finally the bar came and went and all I can do is cross my fingers and hope I did well enough.

The second day following the bar, Ryan and I picked up the kids from the McPhie's and headed straight down to Tucson.  He had a conference there, and the kids and I were more than happy to tag along and hang out at the resort.  I needed to unwind.

It was strange how I didn't have immediate relief.  I still didn't sleep the first night (I hadn't had a full nights sleep for who knows how long!).  But the second night, I finally slept for at least 7 hours, and it was awesome.

The kids and I went to the movies, swam, went back to school shopping, and generally just relaxed.

The first night there, we saw this tarantula, and the kids were terrified.  But we looked them up, and learned about them and how they're generally friendly to humans, so after that the kids were on the hunt.  Unfortunately, we only found two more...that were dead.
 But Gwen did find and catch a toad with daddy's help.
 Ryan also put his cheerleading - I mean stunt team - skills to use, and the kids loved it.

 Gwen also finally caught a lizard on our last day.
Unfortunately it was hurt, and only lived a few hours.
Sorry lizard.  Drake cried about it for a good half hour, and couldn't get over how bad he felt for the little guy.

Then we came home, did laundry and met the kids teachers, and like that summer was over.  It's a summer that I'm glad is behind us now.

Thursday, August 08, 2013


My baby is SEVEN!

Family party the night before the big day.
Drake requested a pinata, and picked this one out.
 Mason trying to hit it was so cute!
 I didn't get a very good shot, so you may not be able to tell, but that would be a Lone Ranger cake.  I felt so bad.  It was crunch time for bar study, and I was planning on just buying a cake from a store.  But then when it came down to actually doing it, I couldn't.  I had to bake a cake, but took a short cut with a Lone Ranger Lego set on top.  He was stoked.  Phew.

 That night I kissed my sweet little SIX year old boy good bye forever.
I cuddled that sweet baby boy so hard!

And in the morning, he magically was my sweet SEVEN year old baby.
He slept with his new Lone Ranger set.
This may be his favorite present of the day.
The Lone Ranger silver mine. 
If you haven't noticed, Drake loves the Lone Ranger.
And he LOVES Legos. 
 It turned out to be one of the best days of bar study I had.
These two sat quietly at their table working on that silver mine for hours!
If only I could have purchased a huge expensive Lego set everyday to occupy them.

When you don't get a b-day party, you get to go to Perter Piper Pizza

Drake's birthday was up in the air.  He chose going to Jack's house in California and going to Legoland with him over having a birthday party.
The problem with that was we were planning on Ryan taking Thursday and Friday off for our trip, but then last minute Ryan had a trial that looked like it was going to go for Friday, so he wasn't able to get Friday off.  But then Thursday he found out it wouldn't go.  Ugh!
So we packed up fast and hit the road.   

These boys were so happy to be together again!
 So were these boys.
 Unfortunately, I had to close myself off and study the whole trip, including while the dads took the kids to Legoland.
It better be worth it.
I better pass the bar for missing out on this.
 At least I got to see my sister.  Tara and I are due only days apart!
This happened before, and our boys were born on the same day... maybe it could happen again?
Curleyhair girls 7 months pregnant.
Happy birthday buddy.
We love you!