Well, it's yet another week but this one is short for me!  I'm heading to my 10 year high school reunion (gasp!!) so I won't be home to prepare meals the entire week.  Instead I will be dining at Cafe Mom.

I think Fall is finally here for the long haul in Georgia.  I do believe we'll still have some 90 degree days but the 70's and low 80's have crept in so I'm dusting off some fall recipes.

We went to the Miller Lite Chili Cook-off on Saturday and sampled from close to 300 competitors!  One day I WILL compete in this thing!  You can enter in 3 categories - Chili, Brunswick Stew, and Cornbread and I believe that I could compete in all 3.  So, in honor of that and fall we're having My Secret Chili this week.

Monday - Crock Pot Chops That'll Make You Eat Till You Pop
Tuesday - My Secret Chili - the recipe is state secret, sorry :)
Wednesday - Leftover Bonanza!

Head on over to Orgjunkie.com for hundreds of other MPM participants menus.
I went to church with a lady named Linda that has a photography business, Clear Creek Images.  She's amazing.  I love the bright colors and the candid shots she gets of babies.  Well, she has partnered with Doodlebug Boutique for a giveaway.  Doodlebug has some super cute bows and tutus.  Brace yourselves, they're way cuter than the one I made...

They are giving away a custom-made tut costume from Doodlebug Boutique valued at $40.  You get to choose from a fairy, bumblebee, ladybug, or princess.  How cute would my pudgy princess be as any one of those!  We already know she's stylin' in a tutu!  :)

Along with the costume you'll receive a Halloween Mini Session valued at $35 from Clear Creek Images.  It's 25 minutes and includes 3-5 edited digital images for 1 child.  The catch is that her studio is in Acworth, GA so you'll need to be close.  Lucky for me!

If you're interested in entering the giveaway go on over to Doodlebug Boutique's blog and read the entry information.  And if you win and I don't, I'll never be your friend ever again.  I kid, I kid!  Good luck!
I know, I know...  I've been away for a while.  I did plan my meals the past few weeks just didn't post about them.  So I'm trying to have meals with a more bland pallete this week since we have a bout of upset stomach in our house.  We'll see if we stick to it or if we crave spice before the week is over.

Monday - Chicken Ravioli Carbonara, salad
Tuesday - Salisbury Steaks, Mashed Potatoes, Cream Corn
Wednesday - Chicken Broccoli Casserole - Side TBD (new)
Thursday - Chicken Cordon Bleu, Green Beans, Carrots (new)
Friday - Meatball Pizza

Head on over to Orgjunkie.com for hundreds of other menu plans.
I'm sitting here today watching the coverage from 9 years ago and my heart is truely saddened.  I cannot get over the changes that have happend in our lives as a country since that tragic day in 2001. 

My daughter wanted to snuggle with me and I let her until she fell asleep and then left her in my arms even longer taking the time to reflect on those events and keep my most precious treasure close to my heart.

Today as we prayed we prayed for the leaders of our nation and for the military members at home and abroad and for those that lost their lives and their loved ones.  My heart aches for them all.

I will always remember.
Well, my daughter's first birthday has come and gone.  I've been kind of MIA while planning for that and a surprise baby shower I was throwing for a friend of mine.  My party planning days are done until Thanksgiving!

Everything went very, very well.  For the baby shower we didn't know the gender so we did a beachy theme.  I used sand buckets for the chips and shovels to scoop them out with.  I put a beach towel down as a runner and decorated with random sand toys.  The cake (not made by me) was simple but oh-so-yummy yellow cupcakes with white icing and crushed graham crackers sprinkled on top to look like sand.  She also used a sand castle mold and packed it full of vanilla ice cream and then turned it out onto the platter and sprinkled it with crushed graham crackers too.  Sorry I didn't manage to get any pictures with my own camera.  I'll have to hound my friend to send me the ones we took with hers.

On the menu was:
Seven Layer Dip
Lindsay's Dip (My friend Lindsay always makes it so I worked hard to come up with the name)
Pillsbury Savorings
Watermelon Baby Carriage (prepared by my hubby)

Now on to the birthday girl's party!

A girlfriend of mine convinced me that I COULD make her cake myself rather than buying one at the store so I did...  I stressed over that more than anything for the party and it really turned out cute!  I was very surprised with myself.
Smash Cake
Party Cake
 I had another good friend that loaned me some decorating bags, icing tint, and tips and I made the icing from scratch.  The cake was just a boxed yellow cake mix.  I printed out a butterfly in the size that I needed from clipart and cut it out.  Then laid it on the cake and traced the outline with a toothpick and then filled it in with a start tip - Wilton cake decorating 101 style.

For the food I wanted to go simple because I knew I was going to be so stressed about the cake because I tend to be a teeny bit of a perfectionist.  So we had a nacho bar and I just had all the fixin's laid out in the kitchen.  For the little kids I made cheese quesadillas.

For the guest of honor's attire I made a tutu to match the 'birthday girl' shirt that my girlfriend bought for her.  I was inspired by Busy Working Mama when she made a tutu for her daughter.  I used these instructions and it was a SUPER easy task that received lots of compliments.

Modeled by a left over baby shower bucket.

Modeled by the Birthday Girl!
We had a great time with our family and friends at the party and everything went over very well.  My daughter even played in the cake!!  I couldn't have asked for anything to be any better.