The Blakley's

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I’m a stay at home mother of two beautiful children, Zoey and Zane. I spend most of my days wiping butts and cleaning up…but what can I say I love every minute of it. I love the time I get to spend each day with my children thanks to God and my wonderful husband. This blog is about our daily happenings at the Blakley Ranch. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Cooking...

If you read my previous post you know I’m trying out new recipes this week. Luckily, my family is not too picky. I don’t include Zane’s opinion…he’s only two and his taste buds are set to love only things sweet! However, luckily he will gag a few times and continue eating...I’m one lucky mom! However, I can honestly say all my family members LOVED the last two recipes I made and ate EVERY SINGLE BITE on their plates.

Crunchy Garlic Chicken

2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, melted
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or parsley
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed (1 cup)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon paprika
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, melted

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease rectangular pan, 13 X 9 X 2 inches.

2. Mix 2 tablespoons butter, the milk, chives, salt and garlic powder. Mix cornflakes, parsley and paprika. Dip chicken into milk mixture, then coat lightly and evenly with cornflakes mixture. Place in pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons butter.

3. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

This recipe is from my Betty Crocker Complete Cookbook. I served it with Rice A Roni Long Grain Wild Rice, steamed carrots, and green onions. It was a big hit!

The next recipe and picture are from my Taste of Home Church Supper Cookbook.

This recipe is not me…I’m not a big meat eater but I knew my family would enjoy it. Geeze…the sacrifices a mom will make. Boy, was I shocked when I really enjoyed this meal. It was really something I would not normally eat and I think I needed that…it hit the spot! When I originally picked out this recipe, I did not realize the meal was completely made in the microwave. My husband will die if he reads this. He loved the meal but HATES a microwave. He will only use it as a last resort…like when I’m not home to feed him and he has to fend for himself. I’m not lying when I say this meal took me 15 minutes start to finish to make. If you made the meatballs beforehand you could have dinner ready in 10 minutes max! This meal serves 12 so I cut it in half. The sandwiches are VERY FILLING. Joey could only eat one.

Meatball Sub Sandwiches

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 pounds ground beef (I used lean ground beef)
1 jar (28 ounces) spaghetti sauce
Additional Parmesan cheese, sliced onion, and green bell peppers, optional
12 sandwich rolls, split

1. In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Crumble beef over the mixture and mix well. Shape into 1 inch balls. Place in a single layer in a 2 quart microwave-safe dish.

2. Cover and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes. Turn meatballs; cook 3-4 minutes longer or until no longer pink. Drain. Add spaghetti sauce.

3. Cover and microwave on high for 2-4 minutes or until heated through. Serve on rolls.

I used wheat sandwich rolls. I split them and toasted them with butter and garlic powder. For Joey and me, I added the meatballs and topped with purple onions, green bell peppers, jalapenos, and Parmesan cheese…YUMMY! I served these sandwiches with potato chips and fruit for the kiddos. Happy Cooking!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What's For Dinner???

Do you ever feel like you’re in a food rut? Nothing sounds good to eat; you cook the same meals week after week. Well, I have felt like this lately and decided to do something about it. I pulled out all my dusty cookbooks and vowed to cook something new each night for the next seven days. I sat down and made a menu and grocery list. I tried to find recipes that had ingredients that I already had at home or that were on sale at the grocery store. Last night on facebook I posted that I was making stuffed cornbread and bacon pork chops and creamy corn and avocado salad. I had several people ask for the recipe…hence this blog post. Both of these recipes were easy and can be made in advance for an easy late night supper. When I saw the stuffed pork chop recipe it sounded so good; however, I was a little reluctant to try it because it was not a cooking technique I’m familiar with. I was presently pleased to find out how easy it was to make. This picture and recipe are from the Betty Crocker Complete Cookbook.


Corn Bread and Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops

6 pork rib or loin chops, 1 to 1 ¼ inches thick (about 4 pounds)
4 slices bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped (½ cup)
1 small green bell pepper, chopped (½ cup)
1 cup corn bread stuffing crumbs
½ cup water
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
½ teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
¼ teaspoon pepper

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Make a pocket in each pork chop by cutting into side of chop toward the bone.

3. Cook bacon in 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Stir in onion and bell pepper. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender; remove from heat. Drain. Stir in stuffing crumbs and water until well mixed. Stir in cheese.

4. Sprinkle both sides of pork with seasoned salt, marjoram and pepper. Fill pockets with about 1/3 cup corn bread mixture. Cook pork in same skillet over medium heat, turning once, until brown. Place pork in ungreased rectangular pan, 13 x 9 x 2 inches. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

5. Bake 45 minutes. Uncover and bake about 15 minutes longer or until pork is slightly pink when cut near bone.

The corn salad recipe and picture are from the Taste of Home Church Supper Cookbook.


This recipe serves 12. So, I halved it and we ate the leftovers today as a dip with tortilla chips. It was even better the next day and the avocados did not discolor.

Creamy Corn and Avocado Salad

6 cups frozen corn, thawed
3 cups chopped seeded tomatoes
1 cup cubed avocado
2/3 cup sweet red bell pepper
2/3 cup green bell pepper
Dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. In large bowl, combine the corn, tomatoes, avocado, peppers and onion.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients.

3. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat.

4. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chilled.

Overall the new dishes were a big hit. If you don’t count the gagging sounds that came from Zane every time he got a piece of onion in his mouth. I hope this motivates you to pull out your cookbooks and try something new for dinner tonight!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School...

Name: Zoey Blakley
Age: 4
Height: 42 ¾ inches
Weight: 46 pounds

School is back in session for the 2010 school year!!! Along with the first day of pre-school came new supplies, clothes, and shoes.

Zoey was not excited about waking up early this morning. She kept going on and on about an incident last year when she and a friend argued over who had a toy first. What can I say; my daughter has a hard time letting things go and does not forget ANYTHING! However, once she shook the sleep out of her eyes and made it out the door she was looking forward to her day.

She was excited to give her teacher a hug and catch up with all her old friends.

She found her name tag and headed straight for the play dough…one of her favorite craft items.

We made apple cupcakes for her classmates to welcome them back to school!

When I asked Zoey what she was most excited about learning this year she told me being a “betinarian”. For those of you who don’t speak Zoey dialect…she wants to be the veterinarian in the school play! Zoey reported that she had a great day and learned about the letter A. She also sang the song “Apple Annie” for the remainder of the day…Zane was even able to pick up a few of the lines (we sang it that much)! She also said she met many new friends.

She especially liked “the girl with the red hair”. I’m glad she had such a good day today and we both look forward to a great year!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pre-School Photo Shoot...

Zoey will be starting her second round of pre-school at Mrs. Connie’s on Monday. Last year, I decided to start a tradition and take Zoey out on a little pre-school photo shoot. I think this is a great way to document the changes in a child each year and I’m determined to keep this little tradition up.

However, I can honestly say that Miss. Zoey gave me a run for my money today.

She had me really second guessing the need for traditions. She has been a little testy this week. Okay, I’m minimizing this…she has been a TERROR this week. She has been pushing my every button. If I tell her not to do something...she does it! If I tell her one time to do something...I have to tell her five times. Combine her honoree mood with hot temperatures, wind, and what has now become her “underwear issue” and you get lots of deep breaths and counting to ten.

Her underwear issues you ask? Yes, I have bought over fifty pairs of underwear for her this summer in an attempt to find some that she is not constantly pulling at. If they move an inch in the wrong direction she has a complete melt down. Why has this become such an issue this summer? I don’t know. If you happen to find out...please inform me so I can resolve this issue. I’m sure no one really cares about her ongoing need to readjust her underwear a hundred times a day, but I just have to get that off my chest. So, when you see my child around town pulling at her pants and crying while I attempt to drag her into some remote corner so she can fix her “underwear issue” you know what is going on...I’m not dragging her off to beat her as she cries and holds her backside! I also failed to mention I had less than four house of sleep prior to this lovely photo shoot.

Let’s not forget the SCREAMING two year old, who was more than willing to tell the world about his dislike with being constrained in the car seat while I begged his sister to at least look in the camera’s direction.

When all else fails you go for the bribe...

So, when you look at these pictures...I want you to see the sweat and tears this mama put into getting just a few shots of her beautiful, loving, kind, UNCOOPERATIVE daughter!!! Precious, I hope you have a GREAT first day back to school and I hope Ms. Connie nips that bad mood in the butt!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Photo Challenge...

When one of the blogs I read, Willette Designs, posted a photography challenge to its readers it peaked my interest. When I saw the subject, photograph your loved ones eyes, this picture instantly came to mind.

I took this picture of my son, Zane, and I love everything about it...including the baby drool in the corner of his mouth. Seeing all his sweet baby features in this picture always evokes an emotional response from me. I think photo challenges are fun for everyone...it's a great way to think outside of the box. I'll be taking more eye photos this week and look forward to next weeks challenge. I hope you join in on the fun and photograph your loved ones eyes! Leave a comment with a link to your blog if you join in on the challenge...I would love to see all your photos and I could use a little blog love!

Monday, June 28, 2010

July 4th Crafts...

Zoey came to me today and said “let’s decorate”. July 4th is just around the corner so we decided to find some fun red, white, and blue crafts to whip up. Best of all, they are all…FREE!!! Tweedle Dee Designs has the cutest printable party pack. We made this banner today.

I also plan on using her cupcake toppers too.

I think this craft from eighteen25 is something fun for the kids to do. These buttons will make any outfit patriotic.

I’m making these fireworks treat bags for my nieces and nephews.

You can also find the download for it over at eighteen25. Last but not least, these patriotic ice cream cone wrappers from Martha Stewart make your July 4th treats look extra special.

Break out your craft boxes and have some fun!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Heavy Heart…

I’m up late tonight because my heart is very heavy. Some things in life are just hard to understand. My two children lay sleeping in their bed peacefully. All I can think is how grateful I am to have healthy children to love. My day to day life is not overwhelmed by thoughts of losing my child to a horrible illness. I feel selfish for feeling so lucky; as our family friends found out today that their four year old daughter’s body is again filled with cancer. They have been fighting for over a year and are now preparing for a death that is just unimaginable to me. I want them to know that we love them and are praying for them. Praying for peace, understanding, and hope.

I hope that this post will spread their story and more prayers will be made for Katelyn and her family. Miracles can happen! Follow the Connor's at http://ourturkey.blogspot.com/.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Justin and Faith...

I love taking pictures. However, I am NOT a professional photographer and I have never claimed to be. I occasionally have a friend or family member who asks me to take pictures for some type of event. In all honesty, my first response is to cringe…I always get so nervous when I’m doing something for someone else. I feel this enormous amount of pressure to be perfect…which is never possible. The one thing that always evokes the most amount of stress for me is the word….WEDDING!!! It might have a little to do with the amount of stress I underwent during my own wedding. Yes, it is suppose to be the most wonderful time of your life. However, add it in with finals…a college graduation…moving…finding a new job and last but not least…trying to stay a size 8 so you can fit into the stupid sample size wedding dress you bought to save a few bucks… you tend to get a little bit cranky. If fact, I think I might have suffered a little post traumatic stress from that wonderful time in my life. Yes, I can still walk by the wedding aisle at Hobby Lobby and my heart rate increases and I break out in a cold sweat. In all honesty, I run the other direction. Well, now that I have spilled the beans about my wedding phobia…I‘m moving back to the topic at hand. My friend, Erin, called me recently and asked me to take some engagement pictures of her baby sister and her soon to be brother-in-law. You know my initial response, but I soon gave into Erin…I just have a hard time turning a friend down and I’m so glad I didn't. I met Erin’s baby sister, Faith, and boy is she a sweetie.

She came with a suitcase full of cute clothes, jewelry, and fun hair pieces. We loaded up and headed out in the heat, ants, and humidity, but we had a good time. This couple is so cute.

You can feel the love between them.

I wish Justin and Faith the best of luck!

By the way, I hope I didn't scare you two with all my wedding phobia talk…I’m still with my wonderful husband and going into my tenth year of marriage. Stress must be a good sign for marital bliss (LOL)!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Post Q&A...

Zoey finished her first year of preschool! I’m so proud of her. She has grown not only physically but socially. She has gained three and a half pounds and grown one inch. Best of all, she met new friends, learned to write her full name, and can recognize EVERY letter of the alphabet. You can see my question and answer session from the beginning of the school year under my post Q&A. I took photos of Zoey at the start of the school year. We went back to the same place to take a few post-preschool photos.

I can only see small changes in her appearance.

However, I know as she grows older and her looks begin to change more drastically; I’ll be grateful I took the time to document this time in her life.


Name: Zoey Blakley
Height: 42 inches
Weight: 46.5 lbs


Mom: School is out. Are you excited about summer vacation?
Zoey: Yes, but I will miss my friends at school.

Mom: What do you want to do this summer?
Zoey: Go to the beach!

Mom: What was your favorite thing about school this past year?
Zoey: Learning my letters…the "applebet". I learned "lots of good stuff". I can write my "whole name".

Mom: What was your favorite letter of the alphabet?
Zoey: Z, because I like my name.

Mom: Who were your friends at school this year?
Zoey: Everyone was my friend.

Mom: Is there anything you did not like about school?
Zoey: The color purple…"it does not smell good".

Mom: Who was your favorite visitor that came to your school?
Zoey: The fireman.

Mom: Why the fireman?
Zoey: Because I got to see his water hose and try on the fireman’s boots.

Mom: What did you like most about Mrs. Connie?
Zoey: She taught us lots of songs.

Mom: What was your favorite song?
Zoey: The "vet song…when my pets are feeling sick my vet can make them better…"

Mom: Did you have a boyfriend this year?
Zoey: No…"boys have germs". (Music to a Mama’s ears)

Thanks Mrs. Connie for all your hard work and a GREAT school year!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Dog Named Squirrel...

Joey and I dated all through high school. However, when I went off to college we lived in separate towns. Therefore, I would often visit him where he was employed on a working cattle ranch. During one of those visits, I met a friend of his who's dog just had a litter of puppies. I’m a sucker for anything newborn and tiny…I’m weak! At that time, I could talk Joey into anything. So, we came home with a runt puppy that would fit in the palm of my hand. She was covered in fleas. So, the first stop was a bath. While soaking wet and covered in soap we decided our new addition looked just like a Squirrel and we have been calling her that ever since. I graduated college, Joey and I got married, and we have had two babies…Squirrel was along for the entire journey.

I have always claimed Squirrel as MY DOG! My husband has several work dogs but Squirrel has always been our only pet. However, when my daughter Zoey was born things changed. Squirrel became very protective of our baby girl. Ever since Zoey’s been walking she has been dragging Squirrel around by the collar. She quickly claimed Squirrel as her own. Today was our last day with our family pet. She will be missed dearly but I’m thankful for the time we had with her and the memories we will cherish.

Monday, May 31, 2010

First Year Down...

Its official, Zoey has finished her first year of pre-school and they ended it with a BANG! The end of the year party was so much fun for all the kiddos. A clown came to the school and she had a few tricks up her sleeve…including a REAL rabbit! You should have heard the excitement that came from all the kids when that black and white bunny poked his head out. Matilda the clown was even able to pull my husband, Joey, into one of her tricks.

You could literally see the fear in his eyes when she started pouring water into a bucket on his head! Lucky for him, she was good at her craft and he stayed dry! Ms. Connie had an array of games set up for the kids including a cookie walk, duck pond, bean-bag toss, bubbles, and many other fun booths. Each child even received a special balloon…Zoey’s was a princess wand.

Zoey came home with rainbow hair, glitter fingernails, and a beautiful painted face.

Its days like this that I feel so lucky to be able to stay home with my children. I enjoyed being with Zoey as she played the games and saw her first magic show! This year has flown by and I’ll be posting more soon about the end of Zoey’s first school year! In the meantime, I want to thank Ms. Connie for all her hard work and commitment. It takes a very special person to do what she does. Zoey had a remarkable year and Ms. Connie is who I have to thank for that!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Party in the USA...

It’s Memorial Weekend and I can’t think of a better way to spend it then by watching my baby girl shake her thing at her dance recital. The theme this year…Party in the USA! Thanks to my friend, Amanda, Zoey had the cutest red, white, and blue outfit to wear for the opening act. Boy, does that girl have some talent in the sewing department. Thank God, because this Mama can’t even sew on a button! Zoey had the best time; however, I think she spent more time singing then dancing! Zoey performed in four dances and had several costume changes.

Plus, I think she donned about four pounds of glitter on that little body of hers. It was so fun watching Zoey and her friends having such a good time.

I think Zoey’s favorite part of the show was receiving her award.

We even caught a picture of her kissing her trophy when she thought no one was looking. I just want to say thank you to Mrs. Lori for all her hard work and dedication. She put on a great show and has an amazing group of kids! I also want to say thank you to all our friends and family who came to watch Zoey’s performance…it meant a lot to her!

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Giveaway…

I love, love, love these necklaces. When I found out that The Vintage Pearl is giving away five $50 gift certificates to their store for Mother’s Day, I jumped on every opportunity for a chance to win.


Go check out The Vintage Pearl and see what you think. Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pure Sweetness...

My cousin, Candice, and her husband, Cody, came down recently for a visit. We love seeing them. However, we REALLY love seeing what comes along with them…their sweet baby girl, Kiley.

I LOVE babies!!!

I know what some of you are thinking…baby fever??? Think again! After a vomiting incident with Zoey in Target parking lot yesterday, I remember why I only have TWO very precious children. Following a healthy dose of red Kool-Aid and pink icing cookies from a classmate's birthday celebration, Zoey decides her stomach can't handle all the sweetness. Of course, she waits until we are thirty miles from home. Did I mention she drank red Kool-Aid before the incident? It looked like I punched her in the nose as I attempted to clean her in the parking lot with a handful of Zane's baby wipes. Oh, let's not forget Zane. Yes, he was throwing himself one tantrum because we were both out of the car and he was still confined to his car seat. Boy, you would not believe the stares. You’ve got to love Motherhood. Well, now that I’ve totally grossed you all out and convinced everyone why I don’t have baby fever, I’ll get back to this sweet baby girl. I'll get my sugar high from her every chance I get…this baby girl oozes pure sweetness.

Welcome to motherhood Aunt Candice (LOL)!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Busy Easter...

I'm a little late in posting some pictures from our busy holiday weekend. Easter came and went so fast this year. It started with Zoey's pre-school Easter party. We made treats for Zoey's classmates, she hunted Easter eggs with all her friends, and she even bumped into the Easter bunny.

Zoey and I decorated these eggs for her pre-school egg decorating contest.

Zoey was so excited when she won third place. It's a good thing Zoey had such a great time at her pre-school Easter party...she spent the rest of the holiday weekend with a 103 degree temperature and a head to toe rash. After a trip to the doctor and a thirty dollar co-pay, I was sent home with an over the counter allergy medicine and a diagnosis of an allergic reaction of some sort! Despite being sick, Zoey really wanted to join in on all our family Easter events. We participated in our local Easter parade and won best overall float. We had three generations on the float and everyone had a great time.

We also had our annual family egg decorating contest.

. Overall we had a great Easter and Zoey is back to her normal non-itchy self!