Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Graduation Day

My babies have graduated from high school.

No, I didn’t give birth to them, but they’re my babies all the same.

Enter stinker #1. Joshua Blake. He went from crawling to running in a blink of an eye. Lover of sports, anything sports, history, UT, music, and Star Wars. The oldest grand-son of the Fender clan. He recently started working for UPS and while it’s a whippin of a job, he’s learning to appreciate the hard work that goes into making a dollar. Josh will be going to TCCC this fall to get his core courses out of the way and then transfer to UNT or UT. I vote for UT.

Enter stinker #2. Taylor Ashley. Born just 6 weeks after Josh (The joy having sisters who are twins). She went from crawling to Josh’s walker (with Josh in said walker) so she could go wherever he went. Lover of all things nature, reading, writing, frogs, the ocean, scientific guru, and Beauty and The Beast. The oldest Granddaughter of the Fender clan. Taylor is working this summer and will be attending Emory Oxford in the fall majoring in marine biology. She loves being the princess of this group and bossing her male cousins (and brother) around.

That was until this stinker showed up, and she was no longer the only granddaughter of our clan.

I’m so proud of Josh and Taylor. It’s hard to believe they both tower over me and I sit here and think of them still 2 years old screaming their heads off in excitement when they saw each other, and then having to pry them away from each other when it was time for Taylor to go to back to Georgia.

I was trying to come up with something to say to them both, something with some kind of meaning and then I remembered reading about an article in the Chicago Tribune that was published many moons ago. I really can't say it any better than Mary Schmich did. So Josh and Taylor-- as you look ahead to the next chapter in your lives.. wear sunscreen. Love, Babes.

Wear Sunscreen
By Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '98: Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blind side you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.

Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


This past Sunday, we gathered to celebrate Morgan’s baptism. I had been looking at various dates since January trying to figure out a good time for everyone and finally threw my hands in the air and said May 29th is the day!

My God-Mother became an Episcopal priest a few years ago, and came to see me while I was in the hospital a couple of days before Morgan was born to check in on me, and the day before Morgan was born, she gave me Communion and said a beautiful Celtic prayer in honor of Morgan’s pending birth. It seemed only natural to ask her to baptize Morgan.

The service was lovely. I couldn’t have asked for a more well behaved baby. She listened to the readings, she watched Jennifer as she gave her sermon, she did a little babbling here and there, and she didn’t even have a meltdown as the water was poured over her head. I couldn’t look at Jennifer as she was giving her sermon because I was afraid I was going to have the ugly cry, but she talked about how Morgan had chosen to be a part of this family—this crazy, melodramatic family of ours. And, I couldn’t help but chuckle, because despite all of our craziness, Morgan knew every single member of this family loved her unconditionally. I and her Dad prayed for her and she and God heard our prayer. I thank God every day that she chose to be a part of this family. She’s such a wonderful, precious gift.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I ♥ P Dub

Last Christmas, my dear friend Emily gave me a cookbook called The Pioneer Woman Cooks. It’s no secret that I love collecting cookbooks, and she knew I would fall in love instantly with this book and Ree Drummond. When I realized there was a blog where Ree talks about her life in Oklahoma and what’s she cooking, I started visiting her site every day. I tried a few of her recipes, and they were awesome. Then, I got pregnant, and my cooking went on a major hiatus. Robert had to pick himself up for dinner that had no smell to it, and my diet consisted of eating Cheerios and toast.

While I was pregnant, I read Ree’s memoir about meeting her husband. And if you follow her blog, you learned she turned those blog posts into a book that came out a couple of weeks ago. She posted a book tour and as I looked through the dates, I saw she was going to be at Borders in Dallas on Valentine’s Day. I decided right then and there I had to take Morgan and get my cookbook signed as well as her The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels--A Love Story book. Emily mentioned she never bought Pioneer Woman’s cookbook, (WHAT?!) that she only got the recipes off her website, so I decided she needed a cookbook signed too.

I called Borders to see what the protocol was as every book signing is different. I’ve been to two book signings prior to this one: Lemony Snicket and Paula Deen. Lemony Snicket is one strange bird, but I didn’t go for myself, I went for my niece and god-daughter. Nevertheless, you could only have one book signed and he wouldn’t pose for pictures. Paula Deen is exactly like she is on TV, but there were so many people at her book signing, you said hello while she signed your book and moved on. We didn’t get any pictures with her either. The people at Borders told me there was no limit to how many books Ree would sign per person, and she loved to talk to people and take pictures.

So we packed up Morgan and off we went. We found a spot in the café, talked to people around us, and waited.

Ree arrived at 6 PM and took a few questions, and then introduced her family. I have to say her kids are absolutely adorable, especially her “baby” and Marlboro Man is very handsome—he was in his usual attire, wranglers, a starched light blue-grey shirt and his cowboy hat.

My pictures didn't catch her second son, but he was standing there, the kids were walking around during the book signing, and they signed a few books if people asked them. I walked right past her oldest daughter at one point, and people were also asking MM to sign their books and take pictures. Poor thing looked like a fish out of water, and I took a picture of him with my phone, but my phone ate the picture.

We were in the second group of 100 so we quickly found our spot in line and the waiting begun. I entertained myself by looking at the titles in the psychology section of the store and started reading some book about dreams. When the staff told me Ree loves to talk to her fans, they weren’t kidding—not that this is a bad thing, in fact, it’s a rarity and I think it’s great that she takes such an interest in her fans and loves talking to us. We barely moved, but I didn’t care. I was having a good time talking to people, and spending time with Robert and Morgan.

Then Morgan decided to take a little snooze because she knew something was up and barely took a nap earlier in the afternoon.

When she woke up it was around 8 and I asked Robert to run out to the car to get her bottle. Here’s where I win Mother of The Year Award. I left her insulated bag that I bought for this outing with her bottle at home. I couldn’t believe I did such a thing since I’m always checking and rechecking her diaper bag to make sure I have everything. I had grown tired of throwing Morgan’s bottle in a Ziploc bag of ice and it sweating in her diaper bag, yet I didn’t attach the insulated bag to her diaper bag like I should of. Morgan started to fuss a little, because it was warm, and she was getting hungry, so I dug through her bag, and I did happen to have a 2 ounce bottle of Pedialyte and a dropper from her gas drops. I decided to give her that as fast as I could with a dropper to ward off any hunger pains she was starting to have. We were getting terribly close to the front, and I wasn’t about to throw in the towel just yet. I’m sure many people were staring at me wondering what I was doing to my poor child, and one of the girls behind me assured me she’d had done a lot worse than forget a bottle.

Finally it was time to meet Pioneer Woman!

She was such a delight, and it was a great experience to meet her. It was totally worth the 2 ½ hour wait in line and we were only about 110 people back! She asked me if Morgan was my only child, and when I told her yes, she said to watch out it was contagious. She signed all our books, and then she asked me if I wanted a picture and I just forked Morgan over to her like I was related to her or had known her for a lifetime.

We high tailed it home, and Morgan didn’t fuss once in the car. She took her bottle, and passed out for the night without putting up much of a fight. I will also add that she slept for 11 ½ hours straight (usually it’s 10) but it was a big day for her.

It was a wonderful first Valentine’s Day for Morgan and one I’ll never forget.

A special thanks to Stormy Piece who made Morgan's
'Love' shirt. She got so many compliments!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Arrival

The next nine days were no picnic, and I met women on the antepartum floor who had been there for months. God Bless them. My days started around 6 AM with one of two awesome residents coming in to see how my night was, and if I was contracting, having headaches (hello I am the headache queen), bleeding or leaking fluid. I later joked with one of my nurses that if I was having any of those symptoms wouldn’t I call someone?! She told me I would be surprised how many don’t say anything. I would try to go back to sleep and next thing I’d know it would be 8 AM and here came breakfast. I quickly learned later not even to attempt to go back to sleep after 8 AM because soon after that I’d have my day nurse come in and do vitals and listen to the baby, then my doctor would come in and check on me, and then sometime between 9 and 11 AM I would be put on the monitor. The monitor likes to beep when it’s not plugged in and so when they move it from room to room, it beeps LOUDLY. And if the lady next door to me got put on the monitor before me then it would be a good hour before it would be my turn because her little one did not like to cooperate. The monitor is looking for contractions and if the baby is in distress, and the doctors wanted to see two accelerations of the baby’s heartbeat on the monitor in a 20 minute time period. In the mornings, Lil Bit would snooze and so I’d have to wake her up by eating or drinking something, but in the evenings when it was time to monitor again, she was wide awake. Depending on the day, I’d also have an ultrasound. After 12 PM vitals and lunch, the afternoons were pretty quiet and so I’d try to rest or cross stitch. The techs and nurses were great the whole time as they’d quietly sneak in and see if I needed anything as I wasn’t allowed to walk down to the family room to get ice or even walk around the floor. Late afternoon vitals would come and go, dinner, then shift change at 8 PM, as well as getting put on the monitor. One of my gripes the was my room was small, while the L&D and postpartum rooms were three times the size of where I was, and if someone is stuck on the antepartum floor for weeks on end why would they have such small rooms? The other gripe was the TV channels weren’t the greatest. I would of killed for Food Network as an option to watch. It didn’t help that I was in the hospital in September when no new episodes of TV shows were on. I did have my laptop, but the internet didn’t have the greatest speed, so if I tried to watch something on Netflix the picture was choppy.

Time in the hospital went about as fast as it could, and I asked each of my nurses what exactly was I going to expect when it was time to deliver. The whole process of getting induced, having the epidural, delivering, scared me to death. If I had a choice, I would of opted for a c-section because I wasn’t afraid of having surgery. Go figure. Anyway, I had one nurse who was a doula, and she was great in explaining to me exactly what to expect. That was the day before I delivered and she was also sweet to come in and tell me around 7 PM Thursday night that L&D was full and they may take me take me down later than 7 AM the next morning. She knew I was nervous, and didn’t want my nerves to go into overdrive when they didn’t come to get me when they said they would. Like I said, every nurse I had and the residents were great. The only bozo I encountered was a dietician who came to talk to me Thursday afternoon about how I lost weight in the week I had been there and wanted to talk to me about my lack of eating. She absolutely infuriated me and I asked her if she looked at my chart, and it was obvious she hadn’t. I also asked her if she would have an appetite if one day she had gone for a routine checkup, and was told she would be induced because her daughter had possible IUGR and could end up in the NICU. I don’t think she would of felt like eating much either. By the time I got done reading her the riot act, she couldn’t get out my room fast enough.

Finally Friday morning arrived, and shortly after 7 AM one of my nurses came in with a look on her face. I knew what she was going to say: L&D was still full and they had no idea when or if I would be taken down. I had made it this far what was a few more hours or a day?! About an hour later my nurse came back in clapping like a cheerleader and said they had a room ready for me. Hallelujah!

The induction started around 10:30 AM and I was already dilated to a 4. No wonder why they didn’t want me walking around! I was told I would experience cramping at first and they would up the pitocin every 30 minutes until my contractions became more regular. All I felt was some bad back pain that would tighten up and then subside every 5 minutes, and honestly I thought I was suppose to be feeling cramping in my stomach. I remember around 11:30 I was getting uncomfortable laying on my back so I moved to my side and watched Robert play some game on his iPad. I did have one pretty intense contraction that waved around to my stomach that got my attention, but I kept telling myself I can handle this, that I didn’t need the epidural yet. At Noon my doctor came in to check and see how far I had progressed and she looked at me and asked me if I wanted to have a natural childbirth (very sarcastically because I told her to write it in my chart in big black sharpie pen that I didn’t want to be in pain or throwing up my toenails) because I was at a 6. Well no wonder why I wasn’t having any fun. They paged the anesthesiologist, but unfortunately I had to wait 20 minutes for 2 bags of fluid to go in. That was the longest 20 minutes of my life. And then when Dr. Feel Good came in, he tells me I have to sit up on the edge of the bed. This was one of my fears of the labor and delivery process. I didn’t want to be sitting on the edge of the bed wailing in pain like you see on TV, and then passing out, dying and throwing up—yes in that order. Of course I was having a contraction when he came in, and I had to wait for it to pass, and of course I was contracting once I got to the edge of the bed. I told Robert to leave the room because not only am I afraid of passing out, dying and throwing up, I’m afraid he’s going to pass out. But he stayed and I remember thinking I was positive I was cutting off the circulation in his arm because I was holding his hand so tightly. Dr. Feel Good explained every little thing he was doing, and that man was fast! In no time at all I was all warm and fuzzy without a care in the world.

Now this is where I’m told I should not brag about my labor and delivery experience. When anyone would come into my room, I would ask about labor and delivery. One of those questions would be how long would it take, and they all would say I would definitely have the baby by Friday night. That was not the answer I was hoping for because they were basically telling me I would be in labor for 8-12 hours. This is all I’ll say. The induction started at 10:30 AM and Morgan was born at 2:03 PM. I really don’t remember much after I got the epidural in because I did become very shaky, which I was prepared for. My blood pressure dropped and they made me lay on my side until it was time to push. All the anxiety and fear went away except for when a hand full of people came in and my nurse asked someone to “get a table open.” I thought I was about to have an emergency c-section, and Robert actually thought the same thing. Turns out all that meant was it was time for another nurse to open up the tray for all the instruments. Before I knew it, they were placing the baby on my stomach and everyone was rejoicing. She let out one small cry and opened her eyes. She was pink. Beautiful. Perfect. I was holding a part of my soul.

Morgan Rebecca Estes Bonner was born on September 17th, 2010 at 2:03 PM weighing in at 4 pounds 8 ounces and 16 ½ inches long. It was important for me for her to have a family name. I was named after my grandfather, Harry Estes. His middle name was his grandmother’s maiden name, Rebecca Estes. While Morgan favors her father, I will sometimes see a look in her that makes me think of her great-grandfather. I suspect it is a similar look I gave my Mom which made her ask Papa if she could name me after him. And now whenever she makes a certain look, like when she’s sleeping seriously and looking exactly like Robert, or biting her bottom lip and looking like me, I try to imprint those images onto my brain.

I am so incredibly grateful that she’s a part of my life.


My Rock Star of a Doctor who cut her hair off the week before I delivered and streaked her hair blue:


And here we are 7 weeks later:


Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Waiting Game

I have writing this post in my head for the last month at least, but when you have a baby everything changes. But, she is down for a nap, sleeping peacefully thankfully, and while I could watch her sleep, I should write about my experience before I forget about it. The mind truly does let you forget about the hardships of being pregnant and giving birth.

I won’t say my pregnancy was the easiest thing I have ever endured. I think it was harder on me mentally than it was physically-- thanks Dr. Google! I was pretty sick the first trimester and lost 15 pounds. The second trimester I was feeling more human, but around 20 weeks I started weekly iron infusions because I was battling some pretty serious anemia issues. During my entire pregnancy I was having monthly growth scans of the baby, and everything was right on track. I got to the third trimester and I finished my iron infusions, my iron levels improved, however, looking back, things started to go down hill once I finished those infusions.

In early August I got a letter from my OB telling me she had been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. Breast Cancer. I was so angry, I wanted to scream, in fact, I think I did. Not at her, but at the disease, that once again someone I knew personally had been diagnosed with this awful disease. And my selfish thought was, great. This doctor who I have given my trust to is going to be yanked away from me and I will have to see a new doctor. I should back up a bit. The doctor I wanted to deliver this baby had retired a couple of years ago. He delivered my sisters, his first set of twins, me, and my nephews. He was ready to go fishing full time. He recommended my current doctor and I knew he wouldn’t bring anyone into his practice he didn’t have complete confidence in, someone he would send his mother, wife or daughter to. Up until last year we had only met for one appointment, and while I liked her, I didn’t know her, not like my old doctor. I got to know her very fast though and what I learned was her work ethic was unbelievable, that she gives 150% to every patient and I knew she would fight the cancer with everything she has.

Anyway, I had seen her for a routine check up a couple of days before I got the letter and she told me she was just having a “little surgery.” Her words. That “little surgery” was a mastectomy. She also told me she would be gone only for a couple of weeks, so here I am thinking she’s having her gallbladder removed or some other pointless organ. Her colleague told me a couple of weeks later of the biopsy, the surgery, and the chemo she would be having as a precaution. Right on schedule she was back in the office seeing patients. That same day she told me my blood pressure was a bit elevated, and I blamed it on talking to my Mom was the nurse was taking my blood pressure, but there was also some protein in my urine, but not enough for her to be overly concerned. They re-checked my blood pressure before I left and it was still high. At that point I got to go over to labor and delivery to be monitored and get labs done. My blood pressure went down, the labs were normal, and the baby wasn’t in distress. I got sent home on modified bed rest and would return next week for an ultrasound and check up.

The next week, my blood pressure was OK, not great, and I headed to the high risk OB, who did many of the growth scans, for another ultrasound. She told me the baby was still measuring small for her gestational age, and wanted to call my OB and talk to her. I looked at my Mom and told her I had a feeling I was going to be induced because something is not measuring right. My Mom said I was worrying too much, but my hunch was right. She came back and told me it was time to have a baby. I was 36 weeks, 6 days, and about 8 hours away from being considered “full term.” I wasn’t ready to have the baby, and I didn’t feel like the baby was ready. My Mom had to call Robert, Robert thought she was joking, I was crying because I was freaking out, but I took a deep breath and headed to the hospital to be checked in.

I got put on the monitor, Robert gets to the hospital, and I’m told we’re in a holding pattern until my OB can get over to L&D. What I later would find out was she was calling America to get various doctor’s opinions on my and the baby’s condition. One scan said the baby had IUGR (intra-uterine growth restriction), the other didn’t. The blood flow, the placenta, which plays a factor into if IUGR is present, was normal. The only problem they saw was she was measuring small. She spoke to the high risk OB and while she wanted the baby delivered that day, she couldn’t argue with my OB that just because a baby looks small on an ultrasound and not in any distress didn’t mean she should be delivered. It was also a good possibility that if I had delivered that day that the baby would have to spend some time in the NICU and may or may not go home with me on the day I would be discharged. I should also mention that while this was all going on, we were having really bad storms, and the hospital was put on a Code Black because the tornado sirens were going off outside and we could of all been blown away to Kansas. Anyway, after listening to everyone’s opinion, I, along with Robert decided that we should wait on delivery. I immediately assumed I could go home, and my doctor said I wasn’t going anywhere. The baby would have to be put on a monitor twice a day, and I was to have several more ultrasounds. I finally got moved upstairs around Midnight, and tried to sleep. I didn’t sleep at all that night.

The next day my OB came to check in on me after her first chemo treatment. See what I mean about giving 150% to her patients? She said it wasn’t so bad, and I decided I needed to suck it up because I realized while I wanted to be anywhere but in the hospital, I was where I needed to be. I needed to get focused and find my inner strength for this baby I was about to meet. If something happened to the baby, because I would of rather been at home, I would of never been able to live with myself. It was truly no longer about my comfort anymore. It was also confirmed that day I had developed mild preeclampsia, but thankfully I didn’t have to be put on any medication. I was due to have another ultrasound the next day and we talked about having the baby early that next week. I was officially full term now, but if I and the baby could hold out a few days, the studies showed babies do so much better when they’re delivered 38 weeks. The goal was to wait nine days as long as we were both stable.

Monday, August 30, 2010

BFFs In The Making

When I was little, we had a Siamese cat named Peanuts. He was named Peanuts because my Mom loves the Peanuts comic strip.

That's me, the wee lil one, on some Saturday morning. I’m taking a wild guess it was a Saturday morning. I believe that is Melinda sitting with me and we’re having some sort of conversation. I'm sure if I'm wrong as to which sister that is, Michelle will call me to tell me. Oh and there's Peanuts behind me.

I loved that cat. I don’t have many memories of him. I do remember carrying him around like a baby though, and he let me do what I wanted to do. He never hissed, or swatted at me, and he wasn’t declawed. According to my Mom, I use to dress him in my doll clothes. I also use to love playing with her pots and pans, and one afternoon Peanuts was in the kitchen, and I put a pot over him, banged the pot with a spoon and said, “Nighty night!” He never flinched.

And then one day, Peanuts went to Heaven.

I was so mad my BFF left me that I stormed to my room and slammed the door. I was two when he died.

Fast forward 35 years later, and I believe I've been witnessing a couple of BFFs in the making. Neither Emma or Elliot like to be by themselves. They are always with one of us when we’re home. As we have been working on the nursery, Elliot is never far away and is in the room with me if I’m in there.

A couple of weeks ago, I was hanging up some clothes, and I had my back to the crib. When I turned around, this is what I found:

Now I could of screamed and yelled and had a fit that the cat finally found his way into the baby’s crib. It was only a matter of time. But with Elliot, he’s a Maine Coon, and they tend to be sensitive. If I had screamed “NO!” and/or popped him on the nose, I wouldn’t of seen him for days. So I picked him up, and told him gently that that was the baby’s bed, and he couldn’t jump in there. He could, however, go under the crib, or lay on the floor, or sit on the bottom shelf of the book case we have as that's where he goes when I'm in there now. I’d like to think he understood what I was saying. He hasn’t attempted to jump into the crib since.

I think he and the baby are destined to be BFFs. When I go into the room, Elliot still follows me, ready to help out, but mostly just curious about what I'm doing. When I ask him if he’s ready to meet the baby, he meows and does his rolley poley moves. I don’t think it’ll matter how much she terrorizes him, and I’m sure she will, he will love her all the same. After all, they’ll be BFFs.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Recipe: Orange Rolls

I love heading over to the The Tasty Kitchen via P Dub's Website from time to time. I stumbled across this recipe for Orange Rolls a couple of months ago, and have been meaning to make them. But with just Robert and I at home, for the time being, I decided to wait until I headed home to the 'Ville to bake these up.

I will never buy another frozen sweet roll again.

If you have the patience to make any of kind of bread (if you don't go out and get some!) these are so worth it. I actually started the process Thursday night. I followed the directions up until it said put the rolls in the refrigerator overnight. I decided to wait until Saturday morning to bake them. That didn't seem to be a problem at all. I also think if you want to follow the recipe up until the second rise, you could put how ever many rolls away to freeze, let them thaw overnight and they'd be ready to bake when you get up in the morning. Any way you try it, try this recipe!

Thanks to barefootbelle for posting a great recipe!

Orange Rolls

•½ cups Water
•½ cups Milk
•⅓ cups Sugar
•2-¼ teaspoons Active Dry Yeast (.25 Oz Package)
•1 whole Egg
•⅓ cups Butter, Softened
•1 teaspoon Salt
•3-¾ cups Bread Flour

•1 cup Brown Sugar
•⅓ cups Butter, Softened
•2 whole Oranges (just The Zest; Reserve The Juice)

•3 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, softened
•¼ cups Butter, Softened
•1-½ cup Powdered Sugar
•½ teaspoons Almond Extract
•⅛ teaspoons Salt
•½ whole Orange, Just The Juice

Preparation Instructions
*Prep time includes the first rise, but does not include the second overnight rise.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk and water until the mixture reaches 120 degrees. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the sugar and yeast, stir once, and let sit until the mixture bubbles (around 10 minutes).

With the mixer on medium low speed, add the egg, butter, salt and flour. Increase the speed to medium for 8 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky.

Grease a medium-sized metal bowl. Add the dough, and turn to coat the top and bottom of the dough. Cover with a towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for one hour. After the first rise, punch to deflate the dough, and cover again with the towel while you mix together the brown sugar, butter, and orange zest for the filling.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 25 x 6 inch rectangle (you may want to split this into two 13 x 6 inch rectangles). Spread the dough with the filling mixture. Roll up the dough and pinch together the seam. Slice into 24 one inch slices and place on a baking sheet. Cover with Saran Wrap and refrigerate overnight. Alternately, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

Let the refrigerated rolls sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to baking.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Uncover and bake the rolls in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the tops of the rolls begin to brown. While the rolls bake, whisk together the icing ingredients until smooth. Remove the rolls from the oven and top with the icing.