Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mississippi vacation

So, the first week of February, I took the kids down to Mississippi. It worked out nicely--Brett drove us to Memphis, and Spencer picked us up there since he'd already been in the Memphis area for a temple trip that morning. Poor guy--he had a very long day that started very early. I'm grateful he was willing to stick around for us.

Admittedly, it was a tough week as far as taking care of the kids. Sharon was a huge help all week, but it's just not quite the same has having that second parent there. I was happy when Brett arrived Saturday morning so he could help with the kids before taking us all home Sunday night. That, and I missed him. I do kind of like the guy.

Difficulties aside, I had such a great time! I loved getting to hang out with Sharon. I never really got to know her growing up, since I'm eight years younger. Neither of us was particularly interested in the other. :) But now that I'm an adult, I'm really trying to work to develop relationships with my older sisters. It's not always easy, since I really don't know them very well. But I am glad to say that I feel like I'm getting to know them better, and at the very least, I don't feel awkward having a conversation with any of them. That's quite an accomplishment for me!

Sharon and I pretty much spent the week in the kitchen. It was glorious. :) We baked and cooked and baked some more. We had a different dessert for every night I was there. It was amazing. I won't even say how many boxes of butter we went through. I feel my arteries clogging back up just thinking about it! Still--completely worth it. Here's our dessert menu for the week:

Saturday (I arrived late that evening)--Sharon had white chocolate blondies with maple sauce waiting for me. Oh my goodness. Now, I'm definitely a chocolate girl, but they were incredible. If I were making blondies, I would definitely make those.

Sunday--Coconut brownies. This was a concoction Sharon came up with that used coconut extract among other things. They had a great flavor. I really liked them.

Monday--Sweet & Salty Cake. This was our first 'Pinterest' recipe of the week. It was...pretty good. The cake layers were delicious and so moist. It was supposed to have a caramel sauce between each layer and a whipped chocolate caramel ganache frosting. But you couldn't really taste the caramel. Like, at all. So...I give this one a C+.
Photo from the Whisk Kid
Tuesday-- We made a trifle from the cake tops of the Sweet & Salty cake, the leftover ganache frosting, and some whipped cream. It was yummy.

Wednesday-- Banana pudding to go with our Southern meal of fried chicken and biscuits. This was really tasty, and looked so pretty in the trifle bowl. I love banana pudding.

Thursday--Sharon's birthday! Shellie made a Key Lime Cheesecake. It was SO good. Nice and creamy, with a good flavor but not overwhelmingly tart. Yum. I wish I had a picture of this one. I really was not good about taking pictures that week. Shame on me.

Friday--Dark chocolate cake with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream frosting. It was okay. I was kind of underwhelmed. The cake was good, but it wasn't great. The frosting was pretty much a disaster, as I had to add several cups of powdered sugar that weren't even supposed to be in it. It DID have a good strawberry flavor, though. I just...expected more.
Photo from
Saturday--Brett was here! Hooray! We made Pecan Pie bars. Oh, yum. These were quite possibly my favorite dessert all week, to be honest. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

Sunday--Ooey Gooey Butter Layer Cake from my new Paula Deen cookbook. This was good, but again, I'm a chocolate girl. The cake layers had a really good flavor. I would've liked some contrasting filling instead of the butter filling from her recipe. I think it would be great with a raspberry filling. It was tasty.
Gasp! My own photo!
We had a fun week. Elizabeth had New Beginnings (scary, since I remember when she was born...I'm getting old). Sarah had a Fairy Tale Ball at school that we got to go to. It was way cute.

Another really fun part of the trip for me was getting to know Rachel better. She's always so quiet and shy when they come up to visit. I think I'd maybe heard her talk a couple of times before. But she warmed up to me quickly, and was such a cute little chatterbox! She's such a sweet girl, and was always ready to be helpful. And she's in love with the movie Tangled. What can I say? Rachel's got good taste!

Matt was a lot of fun, too. Mainly because he and Amy were partners in crime all week, and you could pretty much count on him shouting "Mamie!" fairly regularly when Amy did something he didn't like. It was way cute. They did get along well, though. I could tell when we got home that Amy really missed being around her cousins. She loved all that extra attention.

And sweet Kate! Kate was so attentive to David all week. Really, the three older girls all were. But Kate had a special ability to just sit there and cuddle him and make him so happy. I loved watching her with him.

*sigh* I miss the Leighs. I guess I'll just have to plan another trip!

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