G.W. Exotic Animal Park

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During Spring Break we decided to take a quick trip to Oklahoma to go the G.W. Exotic Animal Park. Of all of the choices we gave the girls, Taylor said this was the only thing she HAD to do. Great choice! She is already asking when we can go again.

It only took us 2 hours from Frisco. The park is located in Wynnewood, Ok. The staff was great. Very knowledgeable and friendly. They are currently working on a reality show. I was worried when we got there and saw the sign that said you could possibly be on tv. Megan was ecstatic, I was thinking why in the heck did I wear my yoga pants.

We chose to do one of the behind the scene tours. It was 2 hours long and gave you all day admission to the park as well.

First stop was the miniature donkey and ponies. We had our picture with the donkey.

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Next stop was Chester the kissing camel. I can scratch that off my bucket list now. :/ (if you are wondering they taste kind of salty) He was actually one of my favorites. He has a goat that lives with him. I couldn’t focus on the donkey and ponies because I was watching Chester play with the goat. They were so cute together! Turns out they raised them together and now if they separate them, Chester cries the whole time. :)

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We saw a leopard! :)

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A black leopard! :)

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Held a baby alligator. (Don’t ask me about Megan’s “glasses” because I have no idea)

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Played with a pack of hybrid wolves.

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Held a python. Taylor wasn’t thrilled with this one but I told her she couldn’t play with the tigers if she chickened out. She survived. (and even managed to smile!) – Speaking of chickens, there was a tiger that is terrified of chickens. That cracked me up.

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Played with Irwin the Kangaroo. He likes to watch Sponge Bob and he posts on Facebook in his spare time.

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We held an albino skunk. He likes to be held like a baby.

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A baby bear!!! He was precious.

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For $10 you got to take your pictures with the mascots. The $10 goes towards saving the rhinos.

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The white tiger cub.

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He was so cute.

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The other tiger. Look at that little tiger butt!! So cute!

The photographer followed us around the entire time and took all the pictures since you can’t take your camera. All of the pictures were on a cd for just $24.99. My only complaint is that the pictures weren’t the best. Bad lighting, bad angles, lots of shadows. But for $24.99 it was worth it. We will definitely be back many times I’m sure.

Today’s leopard print find: Yellow Box Women’s Leopard Parker Flip Flop

Easter Bunny Cinnamon Rolls

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Not sure how to describe the feelings I’m having today. Happy to say that the Dallas Police Department arrested the 2 suspects in connection to my aunt’s death. One of the arresting officers happened to be my friend. (he’s now my favorite friend) Words can’t describe the relief that news brought me today. But I never knew I could have so many feelings and emotions all at the same time. The best news is that they are being charged with Capital Murder and since we live in Texas, means the death penalty and some closure for us. R.I.P Aunt Ava you will be truly missed.

Happy stuff….

The girls love cinnamon rolls. They love bunny cinnamon rolls even more. We made these last Easter so this will have to become a new tradition. You can let the kids design their own bunny.

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1 can (12.4 oz) Pillsbury Refrigerated Cinnamon Rolls
12 Raisins
8 Sliced Almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Separate dough into 8 rolls. Press down 1 roll to flatten slightly (for bunny’s head). Cut down the middle of next roll to create 2 ears. Press and firmly pinch ears to the top of the head. Shape cut halves into straight or floppy bunny ears. Place bunny on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining 6 rolls to make 3 more bunnies.

On each bunny, firmly place 2 raisins for eyes, 1 raisin for nose and 2 almonds for teeth.

Bake 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Spread icing on bunnies. Serve warm.

From Pillsbury

Servings: 4

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Grazie Women’s Leonora Leopard Animal Print Sandal

Easter Bunny Bread

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I’m going to attempt to get my life back to normal again. For those of you wondering…no, they still haven’t caught the murderers. In case you need a reminder of what they look like…here is the story. Someone has to recognize them soon though so I still have high hopes. Thank you to everyone that shared and passed along to others. My family and I really appreciate it.

Now on to happier things….

Somehow between last Easter and now, I lost all my step-by-step pictures. :( This little guy was so much fun to make. Last Easter the girls made me a list of everything they wanted to make for Easter. Their list would have taken me a year to get through. So we had to narrowed it down quite a bit. This was one of their priorities.

2 Loaves Frozen Bread Dough, thawed (1 lb each)
2 Raisins
2 Sliced Almonds
Black Olives
1 Egg, lightly beaten
Several Lettuce Leafs
Ranch Dip
Assorted Fresh Vegetables

Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Cut off 1/4 of the dough from 1 loaf and form into a pear-shaped ball for the bunny head.

Form the remaining 3/4 loaf into a fat oval shape for the body.

Place the body onto the baking sheet and attach the head by pinching the 2 pieces together.

Make narrow cuts, about 3/4 in deep, on each side of head for whiskers.

Cut second loaf of dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll 2 of the pieces into 16-inch ropes. Fold each rope in half, and pinch the ends to the head to form ears. Cut the third piece of dough in half and shape into 2 ovals about 3 1/2 inches long for back paws. Attach the paws to the bottom sides of the body. Make two 1 inch cuts on the paws for toes.

Cut the remaining dough into 3 pieces. Form 2 pieces into balls and pinch on sides for front paws. Divide the remaining piece of dough into 3 equal pieces and roll into 1-inch balls. Press the dough balls onto the face to form two cheeks and a nose.

Press raisins onto the face to make eyes.

Press almond slices close together onto face to make bunny teeth.

Fill ears with black olives.

Cover and let dough rise in a warm place for 45 minutes until doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brush the loaf lightly with beaten egg.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Lay bunny on serving platter. Hollow out tummy and line with lettuce leaves. Fill tummy with dip and place vegetables around bunny.

Adapted from Rhodes Bread

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Scarfand’s Leopard Infinity Scarf

Help Needed in Dallas Murder

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I haven’t quite felt like blogging this last week because of a tragedy in our family. I know this isn’t the kind of stuff I normally blog about, but I’m hoping that one of you might possibly recognize one of these horrible people. And maybe this was the reason I was meant to start this blog in the first place.

My wonderful Aunt Ava was murdered in her Dallas home last week. The police have released these pictures of two people using her credit cards.

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One man (or woman as some have pointed out as a possibility because of the small hands, narrow feet and possible Keds), has been spotted wearing different clothes in two stores, stands 6-feet tall and weighs about 250 pounds. The second man is about 5-foot-8 and weighs around 160 pounds, (wearing a horrible shirt that should be easily recognized). Police say they were driving an older model silver four-door compact car with a back right hubcap missing.

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The video shows the first man, wearing a blue baseball cap and a tan hooded sweatshirt, walking through a Walmart. Police also released two photos of the second man wearing a black, yellow and red striped shirt.

Anyone with information on the persons-of-interest is asked to call the Dallas Police Homicide Unit at 214-671-3674. A $15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest in the case.

Thank you,

Beth

Breakfast Casserole

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I saw this on my friend’s blog at Back in Dallas and since it was breakfast, it sounded good. If Mexican food weren’t available, I could eat breakfast for every meal. The best thing about this dish was that it made enough to have leftovers the next day and I used it to make some great breakfast tacos. I just put it in a tortilla with some salsa and a little extra cheese.

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1 Pound Sausage
4 Eggs
1 Cup Bisquick
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 Cups Milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9″x13″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Brown the sausage.  Spread sausage evenly in bottom of baking dish.

Whisk eggs.  Add cheese, Bisquick, milk, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Pour evenly over sausage.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Servings: 10
Calories 298
Total Fat 21.1g
Total Carbohydrates 9.8g
Protein 16.4g
Nutrition Grade C+

Today’s Leopard Print Find: eForCity 360-degree Swivel Leather Case Compatible with Apple® iPad® 2 / iPad® 3rd Gen / The new iPad® / iPad® with Retina display / iPad® 4, Brown Leopard

Chicken Noodle Soup

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I’ve been slacking in the blogging department lately, mainly because I’ve been trying to finish getting my house totally organized. I’m almost done. The only thing left is the girl’s playroom. So that should only take me about 3 and 1/2 months. I’ve still been cooking though and have about 15 recipes that I need to get on here now. First up, chicken noodle soup. Taylor refused to eat it because of “the green things” floating in it, but other than that it was a success. It worked out perfectly because my sister was home sick today. So I got to take her some while she still lives 4 doors down the street (for the next few days). It took everything in me to not cry when I saw her house all packed up.

2 lbs Chicken Breasts
4 quarts Water
1 Onion, sliced
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper Seasoning
3 cloves Garlic, minced
4 Bay Leaves
3 Chicken Bouillon
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
2 cups Carrots, sliced
2 cups Celery, sliced
12 oz Egg Noodles
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

In a large pot, cook chicken, water, onion, Italian seasoning, lemon pepper, garlic, bay leaves, bouillon, salt and pepper for 45 minutes on medium-high heat. Remove chicken from pot and set aside. Remove and discard bay leaves and onions. Shred chicken when it has cooled down.

Bring chicken stock back to a boil. Add carrots and cook for 3 minutes. Add celery and cook for another 10 minutes. Add egg noodles and cook for 8 minutes. (or for the length of time indicated on the package) When noodles are done, add chicken and parmesan. Cook for another 2 minutes.

Adapted from Paula Deen

Servings: 10
Calories 259
Total Fat 8.9g
Total Carbohydrates 13.4g
Dietary Fiber 1.7g
Protein 29.8g
Nutrition Grade B+

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Drymate 12-Inch by 20-Inch Pet Bowl Place Mat with Leopard Imprint Design, Small/Medium

Crock Pot Tex-Mex Chicken and Beans

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Last night my nephew Jackson made the Fox 4 news. It was so fitting that it was a story about the freezing cold weather that had blown in and he was out playing soccer in shorts.    He was a pro!

His Story….http://www.myfoxdfw.com/video?clipId=8489394&topVideoCatNo=237008&autoStart=true

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Super quick and easy weeknight meal. Serve this alone or with chips or tortillas.

1 cup Dried Pinto Beans, rinsed
1-1/2 cups Salsa
2 tablespoons Canned Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce, chopped
2 tablespoons Flour
1-1/2 pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 medium Red Onion, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
1 cup Water
1/2 teaspoon Coarse Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Pepper

In crock pot, stir together beans, salsa, chiles, flour and water. Season chicken with salt and pepper; arrange on top of bean mixture. Place onion and bell pepper on top of chicken.
Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
Remove chicken from stew; shred into large pieces and return to crock pot.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Servings: 6
Calories 300
Total Fat 6.4g
Total Carbohydrates 29.7g
Dietary Fiber 7.2g
Protein 30.4g
Nutrition Grade A

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Kitty A GoGo Cat Litter Box – Leopard Print

Grilled Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich

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You know how you sometimes meet someone who just really leaves a lasting impression on you? Many, many years ago when I was working at the Clinique counter, I met a lady who was one of those people. Turned out she was one of Revlon’s Most Unforgettable Women. I can’t even tell you what it was about her that made her unforgettable, she just was. Today it was a little girl who was about 2. Her name was Bellamia. She was wearing leopard pants. :) She approached me when I was in line at the grocery store and said “Hi, what’s your name?” I said “Beth” and she stuck out her hand to shake my hand and said “Nice to meet you, Beth. My name is Bellamia.” We had a nice little conversation and then she moved on to the next person. I’m guessing it must take her mom at least 30 minutes longer for each errand. She is destined for something big. I figure she has a future in acting, if not then definitely in politics.

2 slices Whole Grain Bread
1/2 Banana
2 Tbs Peanut Butter
2 Tbs Honey

Preheat panini grill.

Spread peanut butter evenly over 1 slice of bread. Cut banana lengthwise into 4 slices. Lay banana slices on top of peanut butter. Top with bread.

Coat outsides of sandwich with cooking spray. Cut in half and place on panini grill; cook 1 minute or until golden. Serve with honey.

Servings: 1
Calories 435
Total Fat 18.3g
Total Carbohydrates 62.0g
Dietary Fiber 7.5g
Protein 14.7g
Nutrition Grade B+

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Nomad Women’s Sunline Cowboy Boot

Fairy Brownies

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Taylor wanted to make brownies today and Megan wanted to watch The Oscars. Taylor was a lot happier than Megan. Once they got to the “We Saw Your Boobs” song, Megan looked at me and said “I’m not impressed.” I have to say I wasn’t either.

Taylor found a recipe in her fairy cookbook for brownies. We changed them up a little bit, but she was happy. They aren’t really rich without the frosting, so it would make the perfect brownie sundae brownie.

Brownies:
1 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Powdered Cocoa

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and cocoa just until blended. Add to butter mixture and combine until free of lumps.

Spread batter into prepared baking dish.

Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

Frosting:
2-1/2 Tablespoons Flour
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Sugar

In a small saucepan over medium low heat, whisk flour and milk. Stir constantly, until it thickens. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (and not grainy).

Add the milk mixture and beat until it resembles whipped cream.

Add to cooled brownies.

Servings: 12
Calories 316
Total Fat 18.6g
Total Carbohydrates 34.6g
Dietary Fiber 0.9g
Protein 3.4g
Nutrition Grade D-

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Leopard Bathtub Art Print Poster by Todd Williams, 12×12

Triple Chocolate Smoothies

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I’ve been wrapped up in a Chicago Fire marathon all day. We had been DVR’ing them all season and just started watching it. Awesome show! But I got nothing done today. It was nice! Hardly cooked either. Juicer for breakfast, nachos for lunch, frozen pizza for dinner. :/

Perfect post-frozen pizza snack….

1 Banana
3-1/2 cups Low Fat Chocolate Sorbet
1 cup Chocolate Soy Milk
3 tablespoons Chocolate Syrup

Place banana on a plate in a single layer and freeze for 20 minutes.

Combine banana and remaining ingredients in blender until smooth.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Servings: 4
Calories 239
Total Fat 3.1g
Total Carbohydrates 51.2g
Dietary Fiber 3.3g
Protein 4.4g
Nutrition Grade B-

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Keep Calm and Carry On Leopard Print Poster