Book Exchange

Friday night I hosted a Book Exchange Party for my girlfriends.  Everyone brought their favorite book wrapped with a book plate that I sent with the invitation.  We played the white elephant game to exchange the books which was a lot of fun.  
I had a chili bar with chicken taco chili and toppings which included Fritos, shredded cheese, and sour cream.  Corn bread was served on the side and pumpkin crunch cake and candy corn cookie crunch finished everything off.  Everything turned out great and was delicious.  It was very much calorie free (NOT!).

Invitation and Book Plate

(You have to cut right on the black line going around since it's only on three sides.)

Food Table

I made these food labels to go with the theme using a catalog card generator.

Each catalog card had a quote from a book I've read in my book club.  I tried tying the quote with the food.

Recipe for Chicken Taco Chili
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn kernels
16 oz tomato sauce
28 oz diced tomatoes
1 packet taco seasoning
1 tbsp chili powder
4 boneless chicken breasts


Line crockpot with crockpot liner.  This is the next best thing since sliced bread!  It makes clean up a breeze.  Place black beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, taco seasoning, chili powder in crock pot.  Mix well.  Lay chicken breasts on top (mine were frozen), cover, and cook on low for 4 hours.  About one hour before serving remove chicken breasts and place them in a KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment.  Mix for 30-60 seconds and like magic you have shredded chicken.  Spoon shredded chicken back into crockpot and stir.  
Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and Fritos.

Recipe for Pumpkin Crunch Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1.5 cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, melted


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of 9 x 13" pan.  Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and sat.  Pour mixture into greased pan.  Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture.  Drizzle melted butter on top.  Bake 50-55 minutes or until middle appears to be set.

Recipe for Candy Corn Cookie Crunch
1 lb. vanilla almond bark or white chocolate candies for melting
14 Double Stuffed Oreos, broken into pieces (who uses regular?!?!)
1.5 cups straight broken pretzels.
1 cup candy corn, divided
1/4 cup Reeses chips
1/2 Peanut M&M's


Cover cookie sheet with wax paper.  Spread the broken pretzels, broken Oreo's, and 3/4 cup of candy corn on the wax paper.  Melt the white chocolate according to package directions and drizzle over entire cookie sheet with the use of a spatula if needed.  Before it sets top with remaining candy corn, Reese's chips, and M& M's.  Place in refrigerator to set.  Once set break into small pieces.  Beware I could finish this all by myself in one sitting.

All our wrapped books, ready to exchange

Bookmark Favors- 2012 Reading List- You write the titles of books you've read this year

Thanks a Latte

For Boss' Day this week I made a little thank you for my manager.  I made the card using PowerPoint and when I bought the gift card I asked for a coffee cup sleeve.  I pasted that onto the card and inserted the gift card.  Totally simple, totally cute.

Boss' Day Gift

To download template, click here

Pumpkin Patch

This week we made our first trip to the Pumpkin Patch as a family.  We went out to Single Palm Pumpkin patch west of 99.  It was well worth the drive.  Emily got to enjoy story time and ride on a hayride around the patch.  We even got to walk out in the field and cut our own pumpkins off the vine. We had so much fun.  Thank you Voa Voa for Emily's first pumpkin!

Emily's First Pumpkin

Staking her claim!

11 Months

Last week Emily celebrated her 11 month birthday!!  That one year mark is just around the corner.  Her personality is so vibrant and she is just too funny.  She is crawling, couch surfing, standing, and pushing her car all around the house.  She's taken a few steps, a few times but not walking quite yet.  
She climbs anything she can; she is our little monkey!  Scaling the couch and banging on the window is her favorite thing to do.

She waves and smiles to everyone; she is very social. She says dada, mama, Izzie, baba, and hi.
When you ask Emily, "Are you mama's girl or dada's girl?" She's always responded, "dada." 
She also loves to play peek-a-boo.  She'll give you a kiss if you ask for kisses.  It's so sweet; it's one of my favorite things.