Monday, August 27, 2012

Kevin's Big 3-0

 It's been a big summer here in the Stidham house. Blakely turned one, Mommy said good-bye to her 20's, and now it's Daddy's turn!

Kevin's 30th birthday is today and I first of all want to wish him a very happy birthday!!
Yesterday, we celebrated with his family. Kevin likes things pretty low key so we had steaks and baked potatoes at his parent's house. We were also able to have some time for family pictures.

After dinner, we took Blakely and Lexie Kate (her cousin) outside for pictures. It's been a while since we've had pictures of them together.
Nee Nee and Eli (Lexie's baby brother)
Then we did presents and Kevin was quite excited to get his parent's gift! He looked like a kid on Christmas morning.
Lastly, we celebrated with cake. Kevin really wanted Betty Crocker Funfetti so I swallowed my pride (I like to make cakes from scratch) and made a Funfetti cake with Rainbow Chip icing. The cake was a lot harder to make than I thought it would be. I definitely have a whole new appreciation for cake artists.
 We had a great day celebrating and helping Kevin kick-off his 30's.

Happy Birthday sweetheart! I love you very much!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Blakely 14 Months

I've said it before and I'm going to say it again..and again...and again...

Blakely is growing WAY too fast and getting so big. She has learned so many new things this month I just don't know where to begin. Oh wait, yes I do...

SHE'S WALKING! (I think that milestone deserves all caps)
About two weeks ago, Kevin came home from work and said, "Blakely, walk to daddy." And so she did! Then over the next few days, she started taking more and more steps. Now, she pretty much walks everywhere (with a few tumbles still of course). She's still a little unsteady on her feet but she's trying so hard. However, when she decides she needs to get somewhere quickly, she'll immediately get down and just take off crawling.

  • Her vocabulary is still mostly comprised of her own invented words but she's gotten some new ones down.  Nana and Papa, milk, juice, play and cheese have been added this month.

  • When you ask her what a bear says, she goes, "Raaaar." Actually, she does that with any animal but the bear is the cutest because it actually makes sense.

  • She is learning to play by herself which is great! She can entertain herself with the remote, uh I mean her toys, for a while and it frees me up to get things done.
She's ready to go walking with Mommy!
  • She spent her first...and second and third nights away from Kevin and me this week. Actually, she's been away from Kevin before but never me. It was hard but also great to get away. Our second anniversary was this week and so we decided to take our first vacation since our honeymoon together for a few days. Blakely had a great time with Nana and Papa while Mommy and Daddy went to Atlantic City. We missed her so much and were racing each other to the front door when we got back to see who could get to her first. 

  • She has learned what "inside voice" means. We'll be riding down the road and she'll start screaming. I'll say, "Blakely, inside voice," and then she starts whisper screaming. 
  • She has learned to click her tongue and loves doing it. She knows it gets a laugh from others so she does it quite frequently.

It has been so wonderful being with her everyday during my summer break. I go back to work next week and will miss her like crazy during the day. But I know she will have a great time with her Nana and cousins while Mommy is at work.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Chevy's Sweet Corn Tomalito Recipe

I LOVE Chevy's Restaurant! I mean really love it! Their food is so fresh and their flautas.....(excuse me while I drool a bit) are absolutely divine.

Unfortunately, the closest one to me is 2 hours away. Not exactly somewhere I can go for dinner when I'm in the mood for Mexican.

But, my parents have one in Sioux Falls so anytime I go and visit and my dad asks, "What do you want to do while you're here?" The first thing I say is "Eat at Chevy's!"

Ok, so you're probably wondering why I love it so much and I'll tell you. Aside from their flautas (more drool) the best thing they have on their menu is this....

Sweet Corn Tomalito (which is a corn pudding of sorts)

It is wonderful and the perfect side dish for a Mexican entree.

But alas, since I only eat it once a year when I go to South Dakota, I decided to try my hand and making it myself.

It's a simple recipe but I found that there is a certain art to getting it just right. I'll tell you about that at the end.

  • 5 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup masa (corn flour)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups corn kernals
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. milk
Let's Get Started
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, masa, and sugar for about one minute.
3. In a blender, blend one cup of the corn with the water.
4. Combine the corn mixture with the butter mixture in the mixing bowl. Mix well.
5. Add the other cup of corn kernels, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and milk. Mix well.
6. Once all your ingredients are mixed well, pour them into a greased baking dish and cover tightly with foil.
7. Place your baking dish into a larger dish and fill the larger dish a little more than halfway with water. In this step you basically want your dish to be soaking in a bath as it bakes.
8. Bake for 60-70 minutes.
Baking Variations
Although my Sweet Corn Tomalito was delicious, it was a little grainier than it was supposed to be. Here are two options I may try in the future to get the consistency just right.
 Option 1:
  • Pour the corn mixture into an 8 inch square baking pan. tightly cover with foil. Steam by setting atop a medium sauce pan of water on top of the stove.  Bring water to a boil and steam corn mixture for 50 minutes to one hour. Keep an eye on the water, you may need to add more.
  • It is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Tomalito should be smooth and moist.
  • Note: the pan must be tightly wrapped at all times.
Option 2:
  • Preheat oven 250 degree F. Place covered dish in a larger roasting pan filled with so water is 3/4 of inch up side of baking dish. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Monday, August 06, 2012

Homemade Banana Pudding

 My mother-in-law gave me some bananas the other day because she knows how much our family loves bananas. I had just bought some for Blakely at the store so I started thinking about what I could do with these extra bananas. Immediately, I thought of banana pudding since it's been so long since I've had some. Also, I've never made it before and I'm always looking to try new recipes.

I browsed the Internet for some delicious recipes and couldn't find any that I really loved. So, I decided to take bits and pieces from a lot of recipes and combine them together.

Now, I should tell you that Kevin HATES when I do this. He thinks I am messing up recipes that have already been tested and approved. But my philosophy as a baker is how are you going to know if you can come up with something better if you don't try it.

This banana pudding is with homemade whipped cream and not a meringue since I do not care for meringue at all. However, I will eat bowls full of homemade whipped cream!

  • 1/2 Cup Sugar 
  • 1/3 Cup Flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Cups milk 
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 box Nilla Wafers
  • 5 bananas
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • dash salt

Whipped Cream
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanillla
1. Combine the sugar and flour into a bowl.

2. Slowly add the milk.

3. Now add the egg yolks. 

4. Put all those ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat and stir continuously.

5. Keep stirring....keep stirring....and, keep stirring. You need to stir it for about 15-20 minutes until it begins to thicken.
6. Once it starts to thicken, add your butter, vanilla, and salt.

7. Continue stirring for a few more minutes.

8. Take it off the stove to cool.

9. While it's cooling, you can make your homemade whipped cream.

And yes...I said homemade. Don't you destroy this dessert with Cool Whip crap!! Just kidding, do whatever is easiest but seriously...homemade whipped cream is the bomb!

1. Put heavy whipping cream in a mixing bowl and mix on high until is starts to puff up.
2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Continue mixing until it is thick.

Now's the fun part!!
 Put a layer of Nilla Wafers at the bottom of a bowl.

Add one sliced banana on top.

Cover the bananas with 1/3 of the pudding mixture and then some whipped cream.

Repeat those steps with more wafers, vanilla, pudding, and cream. Continue layering until you reach the top of the bowl.
Add crushed wafers on top.

Then refrigerate until you're ready to serve it! Yum, yum!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Into Everything

Oh my, my sweet girl is definitely getting to be a toddler!!

She is into EVERYTHING all the time! It is hilarious to watch but messy Blakely= tired Mommy.

Case in point....
 The other night, I was cleaning the house and Blakely was playing in the kitchen. I was in the next room and all of a sudden I heard all this banging around. I peeked my head into the laundry room (which is right next to the kitchen) and Blakely had pulled all this food out of our pantry.

Of course, I very quietly grabbed my camera and as I was shooting I realized what she had been trying to do.
Her favorite snack is Nutra Grain bars (or whatever knock-off cheap brand I have bought) and she had found the box and pulled out the last bar. Now I want to point out here that I don't keep this box on the bottom shelf. It is kept on the shelf above the bottom for this very reason.

Not only did she manage to find the box and get into it, but she also managed to pull apart the package on her own so she could eat it! She is just such a sweet mess!!

Then this morning while I was washing dishes, she got into the Solo cups that I keep hidden in one of our cabinets. She had pulled them out and was playing when I noticed her drinking from one.
I was a little confused because I knew nothing was in the cup. But when I got closer, I saw what she had done.

Genius!! The perfect way to look like a big girl and still enjoy a bottle! 

By the way, I see a trend developing. The jelly bean, Nutra Grain bar, and Solo cup incidents all have one thing in common... house cleaning!! I think that's my cue to cease and assist all tasks involving cleaning. :)

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Make Your Own Wine Bottle Labels

For the past 3 years, this empty wine bottle has been taking up space on my counter. Why you ask? Because it is the wine bottle from my first date with Kevin. (Awww!!)

I know it looks disgusting but it is a sweet and sentimental reminder of the night we met. 

Truthfully, I almost didn't keep it. After our date was over, Kevin told me to take the rest of the wine home. I did and once I had finished off the bottle, I didn't even think about it and threw the bottle away. Luckily, Kevin is very sentimental. A few days after our date, we were on the phone and he asked me if I kept it. He reminded me that if things worked out between us, it might be a sweet reminder of our first date. ( I love my sentimental husband!!) So I quickly ran to the garbage and fished it out.

Anyways, on to the purpose of this post. It was in desperate need of some TLC and I wanted to jazz it up a bit! So I decided to make my own wine bottle label using Picasa.

If you're not familiar with Picasa, it's a great (and free) picture program that you can use to make all kinds of cool projects as well as touch up photos. Here's how to use it to make collages, wine bottle labels, or other picture products.

1. Download Picasa for free!

2. You must first choose a picture to use even if you don't want to keep it. I have not found a way to start a collage without first choosing a picture. You can always take the photo away later.

3. Click on the picture you want to use and then click the "Create" tab at the top and choose "Picture Collage."

4. You will get a colored background and either one or many photos will appear on your background. Any photos you don't want in your collage can be pulled off to the side and out of the collage.

5. Once you have chosen the photo you want (or none at all), click on the settings tab to the side. Here you can change your background color and the size of your background.

6. Click "Create Collage" when you are ready.

7. Now you get to add your text! Over on the left side, click "Text." Start typing and then you can change your font, size and color of your text over to the left.

8. If you want your text to be very large or you want to rotate your text, put your mouse in the middle of your text and then click on the circle to expand or rotate your text.

9. To apply your changes, click "Apply" over to the left. Then keep adding text and playing around with it until you get it just the way you want it. To export your picture, click the "Export" button at the bottom of your screen and choose where you want to export the picture.

10. Then print your label onto label paper.

And have your new and improved wine bottle.



Just for's another project I created using Picasa. I think it's going to go in the bathroom...eventually!