Friday, January 30, 2009

Picture Tag

I was tagged by Lori at The Downs Gang to post the 6th picture in my 6th file in my photo turned out to be an adorable one of Bigs, then two, at a bench at SeaWorld. We were watching ducks.

Happy Half Birthday!

Given the idea by a co-worker at the time. We gave our firstborn a cupcake when she turned 6 months old. She literally licked her high chair tray clean. It was priceless so we continued the tradition. Both Bigs and Mimi had a blast eating their cake. Scarlett, who isn't much into eating, just played around a little. I have learned to make whipped cream frosting instead of a butter cream for this as it gives you a very slippery baby!

Memories! These are from Bigs' Half Birthday (5 years ago!):

And here is Mimi at her Half Birthday (3 years ago!) :

Aloha Friday! Greetings!

Lest you think I am a grumpy old troll from last week's Aloha Friday rant about personal space, I will highlight one of my better qualities of engagement and ask another social situations question :)

When I am out for a walk I am that person that says hi to every person I see. Big toothy smile. Trying to make eye contact. You just never know if you'll come across that one person that really needs it that day. I am a Greeter. I know this comes from the Minnesota in me. Yes, I am now a Floridian by location, but by all weights and measures, I'm still a Minnesotan with a little better skin tone. We always act happy and cheerful and would never say anything but positives if a stranger asks how I am (my husband is reading this and thinking he has pulled up the wrong blog).

But there are always those that ignore my ever effort at stranger friendliness. The Leave Me Aloners. They walk by quickly. Avoid all eye contact. Pretend nobody is greeting them or sometimes even answer my greeting with a grunt (Which makes me giggle. Every time.) I'm OK with this response and will try harder if I ever see them again...which I'm petty sure would annoy them even further.

So which one are you? A Greeter or a Leave Me Aloner? If you are the Leave Me Aloner, how should I pick up on this before I commit to my enthusiastic greeting?

I had so much fun reading your responses last week (it's fun getting to know you - especially the quirky parts)but was scolded on my actions in that situation. SOOOO, I apologize. I do understand that we, Americans, like our personal space like no others. I will be aware of cultural differences. And if someone from India ever comes into my bubble, I will welcome them with open arms. Maybe we can even share some curry. I love that stuff!

Over at An Island Life it is time for Aloha Friday. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that they take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So on Fridays we take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, she asks a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response. Then everyone else asks a simple question of their own blog for others to answer. Fun stuff!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Things

I was tagged by Domestically Disabled Girl over at Domestically Challenged to write 25 random things about myself. So here I go!

1. I was born in Iowa, moved to CA, then to MN when I was in kindergarten, college in MI, and to FL in 1997.
2. I don't like clowns, stuffed animals, or clutter.
3. I have had dozens of jobs - I think I could fill up all 25 things this way, but I won't.
4. I worked for corporate Dairy Queen - and that's how I got to FL, a job transfer.
5. I "fake race" while on the treadmill with the person next to me.
6. I crave sweet then salty, sweet, salty,'s a vicious cycle.
7. I took 4 years of Russian in high school.
8. I never liked writing - until I started blogging.
9. I cry at church almost every week.
10. I don't like to be comforted when I cry.
11. I never thought I would have kids.
12. I would love to have another child but without the pregnancy or baby stage.
13. I once went an entire year with buying anything retail (except absolute needs). It was freeing.
14. I could spend all day reading.
15. I'm always hungry. Even when I am sick.
16. I can't go long without exercise or I get irritable.
17. It scares me to think that my parents would ever move from the house I grew up in.
18. I would love to live next door to my parents in the summer and fall and my in-laws in the winter and spring.
19. I was in the band in elementary and Jr. high but quit the trumpet because it was too heavy to carry to school.
20. I can't decide if I'm in favor of the death penalty or not.
21. I have elf ears (a little pointy).
22. I don't feel the need to answer the phone.
23. I can hang around my husband all the time and not get sick of him.
24. I swore I would never join a sorority, then did and loved it.
25. If I didn't spell check this post you would have laughed at my spelling abilities.

So what about your 25 things?? I'm tagging TeachingTwo - THE DOWNS GANG - Eighty MPH Mom - TuTu's Bliss and The Dunham Diaries

If the timing was right....

I don't often look through the classified ads but while trying to eat, feed Scarlett, and watch the clock yesterday I flipped through and found this beauty.... Seriously people, I would apply if I could. When I taught biology I ordered duck eggs, incubator, and all that jazz and we hatched ducks. That might be something to highlight on my resume. I love animals and already understand the constant care of ducks (they poop A LOT). I like to talk and would LOVE to handle the media (wonder if they would care about my view on the education budget or everglades restoration). I'm a team player (are the ducks that hard to get along with). I am very attracted to the "snappy uniform" and "complimentary hot meals." What more could you want? No laundry and no packing a lunch! How many people really get to say they are the Peabody Duck Master? Now you say it....Peabody Duck Master. Say it ALOUD. It's really quite funny. I think I'm talking myself into it!

Today is the baby's half birthday! Check back later today or tomorrow for some pictures of our cupcake fun! Enjoy your day~

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Free Panera!

Panera is giving away free coffee all day today. Seriously, who couldn't use the pick me up of their hazelnut coffee?? Now the Asiago cheese bagel could have been passed up, but what is the fun in that??

Works For Me Wednesday Baby Prints

I am bringout out an older post for Amy's Round Robin carnival. Go check out other ideas!

I love baby keepsakes. In Martha Stewart or maybe in a Red Envelope Magazine I saw a cute frame for baby feet prints. I figured I could do that...if only I could remember after 6 and 12 months to actually make the foot print. With each girl I found a little something different. It started out as three separate frames. This was probably most like the original product I saw. I'm sure they were selling 3 little black frames and a stamp pad for an obscene dollar amount. Not sure why the last print turned green....must have used a kid ink pad.

Then came Lexi and less wall space. I saw this frame and had those fabulous rub on letters for scrap booking.

Then came Scarlett and all of the above frames were I figured this frame would do. I like that I could include a picture. And I got crazy with the ink color :)

And I am remembering this now because tomorrow is Scarlett's half birthday! I wrote it on the calendar so I would remember to do the print. Be aware that when taking baby's foot print you will have to do a dozen to be able to get a nice print. It will also look that baby just got back from the lock up with her ink stained foot. I can usually get it off with a baby wipe standing by...but when you have the wiggly kid and it takes a half and hour of attempts to get one that works, you are not going to get the ink out of their tiny little crevices.
And a half birthday also brings our traditional half-birthday cupcake! Keep watch for that post. The pictures are always priceless!

I have used this idea for baby shower and wedding gifts. A personalized frame is a welcomed gift. Check out Rocks In My Dryer for more Works For Me ideas!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tempt My Tummy Italian

I few months ago I ate at Carabba's and ordered this as my side (to Chicken Marsala, of course). When I was eating it with the meal I didn't notice how good it was because it was unfairly competing with the Marsala. When I had it's leftovers I realized this is good, good, good. So I found a copy cat recipe. It's pretty easy to make and very tasty. AND it's I don't have to share with anyone else in the house :) but I would if they asked! It's kind of like me getting a veggie pizza, I would share but I don't think I'll have to!

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 ounces pancetta-sliced 1/4-inch thick, then cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (35-ounce) can whole peeled Italian tomatoes with their juices, crushed by hand - I used 2 15 ounce cans of already diced
Pinch of sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup Romano cheese**

In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Sauté the diced pancetta with the garlic and crushed red pepper over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices. Stir in the sugar and, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and is reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes. Add the cheese right before serving.

Serve on some kind of funky past so that it holds the sauce....not angel hair, spaghetti, linguine.

Check out more Tempt My Tummy recipes at Blessed With Grace. You'll be glad you did!

I'm holding my first giveaways HERE and HERE, if you are interested!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Menu plan for this week!

Monday: Grilled Chicken, sate rice, and green beans. I saute the sate seasoning at Penzey's with a little evoo, chicken broth, mushrooms, and soy sauce mixed with rice for a yummy side dish!

Tuesday: Mark gone = no big meal (probably taco "boats" with the girls)

Wednesday: Spaghetti (or stuffed shells) and salads

Thursday: a copy cat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup and homemade bread.

Friday: pizza

I'm holding my first giveaways HERE and HERE, if you are interested!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Layout!

I am learning all sorts about blog design :) Over at Domestically Challenged this morning she mentioned looking for a new layout and it got me motivated. I watched a YouTube tutorial about making your own header and it all spiralled out of control from there! I made the header with a picture I found on Stock.exchng from biewoef. Then found this great FREE layout over at Leelou Blogs. I made a button from my header.....and it took MANY attempts to get it right. It's good enough for now!

How do you like my new look? I bet you want my totally cool button on your sidebar - LOL. Can I now add "Blog Design" to my resume?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Aloha This, Friday! Get out of my bubble!

Please tell me you have heard of your "3 foot bubble" or some other personal space rule. I distinctly remember in high school health class we were taught that everyone has a personal buffer of 3 feet on all sides of them, into which, you are not to enter, hence, the "3 foot bubble" rule. I like my personal space. I need my personal space. I understand that kids are not privy to this information and are therefore not expected to abide. I didn't learn it until high school so I will grant those younger than 14 a pass on this one. I also understand that going to major public events makes this rule null and void. Nobody can expect their bubble stay intact at concerts, parades, Christmas shopping, etc. But in most other situations I expect to be allowed my space. Which brings me to my little rant.....

I was doing my grocery shopping on a slow Wednesday morning with baby attached to me, as always, in the Baby Bjorn. Publix was almost deserted - just how I like it. Two lanes were open. No waiting. I unloaded the quickest I could with the screeching bundle attached to my chest. I am waiting for the cashier to beep my stuff when I feel a breath on my neck. There is someone close enough to me that their jacket is brushing against the back of my legs. Seriously it must have looked like I was the line leader in a preschool classroom. Those preschoolers can fit at least 6 other preschoolers into their bubble with room to entertain.

What is a girl to do? I took a very hard step back and nailed my target, the culprits toes. Go ahead and gasp. It couldn't have been too hard. There was no way to gain momentum in the entire 6 inches I had until I hit her. I immediately apologized, and she moved back *a little* but I wanted to shout out "Hey lady, you are in my bubble!!!" I looked at her like she was crazy. She looked at me like I was a crazy. She doesn't know the half of it.

So please, if you see a lady with baby attached, trying to run errands at the least busy time of day, just back off a little. Let her enjoy her 3 feet of guarded bliss. She promises that no bodily harm will come to you.

It's Friday, which means that over at An Island Life it is time for Aloha Friday. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that they take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So on Fridays we take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, she asks a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response. Then everyone else asks a simple question of their own blog for others to answer.

Which brings me to my question (I know, FINALLY):

What little thing that strangers do annoy you immensely?

Rant away :) Get it off your chest so you can enjoy your weekend! Remember to visit HERE for more Aloha Friday questions!

Don't forget to visit me next week when I will be doing my first GIVEAWAYS!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Orchid Love

I am not one to dote over any plant (unless it is a tomato plant) so when an aunt gave me an orchid a few years back I pretty much knew what it's fate would be. All I hear about orchids is how much work they are. Special food, special light, special amount of water. No way. If I wanted just something pretty I would rather buy a bouquet of something that would last a week (which I wouldn't really do)...with none of the doting. It had been sitting outside for all of these years looking healthy but without flowering. Then, without warning, it bloomed. I haven't done a thing to it, save for a bit of water whenever I think about it. Thought I'd share my pretty flower with you. AND it's blooms have lasted for about 2 months!! No bouquet would ever do that. So I showed it some love. I brought it inside the last two days, out of the freezing weather. But it better know the special treatment won't last!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Two Cents....Mr. President

I just watched the swearing in of our president. How exciting! No, I did not vote for him, but I am pulling for him. I pray he can deliver on some of his promises. If you are not a supporter, it is probably time to become one. I am not talking about hopping on the bandwagon, but instead realizing that this person can unify a country, and instead of being petulant because your guy didn't win, embrace this unity. See what it can create. Obama has brought out the masses like nobody I've seen (what an amazing communicator - awesome speech, well delivered) He has gotten people excited about their country and about a change that they can bring. If everyone who has supported him will actually put their ideals into action, I do believe there can be change for the better. But if they do nothing and expect Obama to do it for them, I fear it will much of the same. That's my two cents.

Sorry for the heavy topic when the original topic was EYE CANDY....I just thought I'd share my two cents on something that was on my mind. Check out Tutu's Bliss' site for more Two Cents just might find some real eye candy :)

Boxed Cake Magic

Most often I do not have the patience to make a cake from scratch but have found ways to dress up a cake box cake to make it spectacular. I don't like cake much and I really don't like traditional frosting so I'm sure that is why I normally won't go through all the "from scratch" trouble (you can gasp). I like this cake enough to eat it for breakfast the morning after.

The easy way to do a Tuxedo Cake....
Prepare a devil's food cake according to the directions on the box. Fold in about half of a bag of Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate baking chips (need to reserve 4 ounces for the ganach) and bake in 2 round pans. Cool completely.
Whipped Cream Frosting

Mix 4 cups of whipping cream (the real stuff, not the already prepared whipped cream) and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar until it's fluffy. About 4 minutes. Frost your cake - be sure to add a generous amount of frosting in between the layers. Don't worry about cake crumbs ruining your perfectly white frosting....most of it will be covered up. Refrigerate for at least an hour before adding ganach.


Using your food chopper (what is it that you call the thing that is commonly used to chop nuts that you put on top of the food and smash the spring loaded handle down over and over until your food is chopped, the baby wakes up and your hand hurts??) chop the 4 ounces of chocolate into little pieces - some of it should be finely ground. Put it in a glass measuring cup so you don't have to dirty a ton of dishes. Heat 1/2 whipping cream (not whipped) until it is steaming, not boiling. Pour the cream over top of the chocolate and stir until smooth. Add 1/4 cup light corn syrup and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Let it set for 10 minutes before you pour it over the cake. Even though it seams like a lot of work, it doesn't take long to do this step but it is completely worth it!!

Join everyone over at Blessed with Grace and Temp My Tummy Tuesday for more great recipes! AND I'm using this for Works For Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer....because this certainly works for me!!

Here is a picture of it from

Here is my picture.....LOL. Photography is NOT one of my talents! Don't let my picture put you off. Even if you don't like cake you will be pleasantly surprised~

Monday, January 19, 2009

NOT ME Monday!

I did NOT finish off the cookies and cream ice cream last night breaking my "no sweets in January" policy. And it was NOT more than the 1/2 cup serving size. Who would ever think of eating more than suggested??

My baby has NOT perfected the technique of sliding the computer keyboard in with her foot while nursing (then looks at me and smiles).....because we are NOT in front of the computer every time she nurses.

I did NOT rent Stepbrothers for a good laugh but ended up not finishing it because it was so crude. I have NOT turned into that much of a prude. The bunk bed scene does NOT make me giggle every time I see it. (Seriously, I think this is the only funny part.) I did NOT feel like I had to shower after watching it.

I did NOT make 8 quarts of spaghetti sauce last week to open the freezer door to two of the quarts busted open. It did NOT ooze into every part of the freezer filling up door shelves and soaking just about everything. I did not spill another quart all over the floor while cleaning it up. My husband did NOT say that he saw a spark of crazy in my eyes during this fiasco.

Then the bag of coffee did NOT explode all over the kitchen while I was trying to squeeze every last bit of air out of it. So my kitchen floor is NOT the cleanest place in the house right now :)

Go over to My Charming Kids and Not Me Monday to see what others have definitely NOT done this week!

Happy MLKJr. Day!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Aloha Friday!

Aloha everyone!

It's Friday, which means that over at An Island Life it is time for Aloha Friday. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that they take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So on Fridays we take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, she asks a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response. Then everyone else asks a simple question of their own blog for others to answer. Here is my question:

What is a good movie for me to rent tonight?

My husband is not going to be home this weekend and I only have the baby with me. I can never find movies when I go looking. And Scarlett doesn't let me take a lot of time to look. I am completely out of it and probably couldn't name more than two movies that are in the theaters right now (I do want to see Marley and Me). I don't like horror films, mostly drama or comedy. Can you help me??
If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link HERE. Go visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!
Don't forget to visit An Island Life for more Aloha Friday fun!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Target Clearance Alert!

I have no idea if your Target is doing this but my Target just put out a TON (about 7 isles) of clearance toys. Must have been their Christmas overflow. Things are 75% off! I like to stock up on gifts when I see a good sale. This is it! I got LeapPad Clickstart Systems for $11. American Girl, Cranium, Hannah games for $3.98. The cute backpack/tent/water bottle combos for $2.98. They had the SmartCycle (the kids stationary bike that hooks up to your tv) for less than $20 - way too big for my gift closet. Great deals. Also had huge clearance items all around the store (my store has end cap of each department full of clearance stuff). I was giddy after leaving....I am done gift shopping for the year :) WooHoo!

It's worth calling your Target to see if they are doing the same!

Crock Pot Chicken with black beans

I made this crock pot meal last night and it was a little bland but could easily be spiced up with hotter salsa (we used mild) or some taco seasoning. I served it with cheese quesadillas, white rice, and refried beans. I plan on using the leftovers with rice and beans for burritos. The kids said it looked yucky but they ate it. I loved it. My husband was sick but the little he ate he liked. This is, perhaps, as easy as you can get for meal preparation.

Crock Pot Mexican Chicken

4 or 5 chicken breasts (mine were frozen in a big ball)
1 can corn (drained)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 jar 15 or so ounces of salsa
8 ounces cream cheese

Put the chicken in the crock pot and top with corn, beans, and salsa (make sure the stuff completely covers the chicken so it does not dry out). Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Check to make sure the chicken is done. It should easily shred with a fork. Turn the crock pot off and put the block of cream cheese on top (not on top of the crock pot but on top of the chicken mixture), cover and let set for 30 minutes. It will then be melty and easy to stir into the chicken.

Serve on rice or in a burrito!

Check out Slow Cooking Thursday over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom!

Almost Friday :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cloth Napkins

During Advent we did a "fancy dinner" with china, crystal, and cloth napkins (they were white, now they are white with pizza stains....I'm not so good in the stain department). The girls loved the napkins and a green light clicked on in my head. My mom made cloth napkins before green was in. I loved setting the table because I would give myself the prettiest napkin. Bright colors just make me happy.
I had a store credit for a home store so went looking for some kid-friendly (dark) cloth napkins. They were all HUGE. So....I bought a table cloth. I lucked out because the pattern has squares in it which made it super easy to cut up. I made them twice the size of a paper napkin so they are workable for kids, fit on their laps, but are plenty big for messy adults. The in-store cloth napkins are way to big to manage. Most of the pieces had a side or two already hemmed so the hemming went quickly. Hemming does not require real sewing skills (just folding and sewing in a straight line) only a sewing machine. I got 21 cloth napkins out of a $7 clearance table cloth! It took me about 2 hours to hem them all. Emma bragged to her friend that was eating over that day "My mom made these just today all by herself!" That made it worth it right there! They are bright and colorful, match my fiesta ware and hide food stains well. AND there is one less thing I have to put in my grocery cart..and in the landfill :)
Go over to Rocks In My Dryer for more Works For Me Wednesday ideas!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Whole Wheat Carrot Cranberry (or other variations)

I love this recipe and have been tweaking it for months. It started out as a Cream Cheese filled Carrot muffin. I wanted it more healthy and realize it is very versatile. It is super moist and dense and freezes well (just pop a frozen one into the microwave for 30 seconds for a mostly healthy treat).

Whole Wheat Carrot Cranberry Muffin

1 (14 1/2 ounce) can sliced carrots drained (or steam a bag of fresh baby carrots)
1 egg
3 tablespoons apple sauce

2 tablespoons veggie oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ white flour
¾ cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (I don’t use salt when using canned carrots)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
½ bag fresh cranberries (blackberries work well too. Use whatever is in season!)

Place carrots in a food processor; cover and process until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking soda, salt and spices. In a small bowl, whisk the pureed carrots, eggs , apple sauce and oil; stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in cranberries. Fill muffin cups almost full. Makes 12 muffins. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.

If you want the cream cheese filling try this:

8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar

Cream these together. When making the muffins put a scoop of muffin batter in the muffin cup. Add a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. Fill the remainder of the cup with muffin batter - no need to only fill 2/3 of the way...fill the whole thing up. It's a dense muffin :).

Go over to Blessed With Grace, the host of Tempt My Tummy Tuesday for more delish recipes!!

Do you Walgreens?

There is a Walgreens on every corner around these parts (and a CVS always right across the street). If you don't take advantage of their deals, you should. I rarely have to pay full price for anything I buy (even regular groceries). I am a coupon clipper. I do go to Publix, Albertsons, and Walgreens most every week. I don't buy anything just because it's on sale. They rotate their sales so I buy enough to get me through until the next sale. I have it down to a science :) I call this one of my contributions to our income. Today I got all of this for $11.25 (one lip gloss usually costs $9)....and used my rebate gift card so didn't have to pay anything out of pocket! This doesn't even include any of the things I got this month FREE from their rebate catalog (I got those things lat week).

Scrubbing bubbles bathroom wipes $1.40 each
Oatmeal $1.10 each
Aquafresh Complete Care .24
Colgate - each with a free toothbrush - .52 each
Revlon Colorstay Mineral Lipgloss - $2.50 each

If you don't use coupons, you should. At Publix they will let you use two coupons for the buy one, get one sales. It makes for a great deal. For example, their Special K bars ($3.19) were BOGO and I had two coupons (each $1) so I got two boxes for $1.19. That's less than 10 cents a bar.

I get all excited to see my before and after totals....I know, I'm a nerd :) If I don't save as much as I spend, it's not a good trip.

Meal Plan Monday

Mark starts softball today. He is the head softball coach at the high school where he teaches. It keeps him busy and it makes me more organized (I have to juggle karate class and meals at dinner time). It also makes meal planning a little easier because on game nights it's just us girls and we have easy dinners (usually pasta and veggies - no recipes....whatever i can throw together). Here is my plan for this week - They are ALL new recipes...I'm feeling lucky!

Monday: Crock Pot Brown Sugar Chicken , rice, and stir fry veggies. I love crock pot recipes and this is a new one for me. It's from A Year of Crockpotting...which I already miss dearly, but wow, what a commitment!

Tuesday: Pizza Bites and salad. The recipe is from Chaos in the Kitchen (she's has beautiful food photos). I'm making my own wheat pizza crust with the bread machine. I saw one on the family favorite's list on Organization Junkie so i might try that. This is one I will make extras for a freezer meal.

Wednesday: Crock Pot Chicken with Black beans and cream cheese. From the list I mentioned before on Recipezaar. Gotta love the lists!

Thursday and Friday: No Mark = No planned meal

This is my first submission to Menu Plan Monday over at I'm an Organization Junkie. Go check out other plans for some inspiration!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Fragments - just a few to wrap up the week

Picture this.....our two black labs running full speed at Lexi and Lexi screaming "Red light! Red light!" Sure, we taught them to sit, stay, roll over, and Red light! Poor girl had no idea why they didn't stop.

Our dogs are very particular. They have run away a few times (they did not like it that I was pregnant this last time) but when the gate is completely open they won't go near it. I think the lack of boundaries scares them. Every time someone went by on the golf course this morning the one dog moved behind the fence to bark at them.

I love lists....and I love I was excited to get Recipezaar's top 100 recipes of 2008 email yesterday. Check it out HERE. I also received the email announcing the 2010 Pillsbury Bake-Off.....Oh, to dream :)

I love the interpretations little ones make of song lyrics. I always thought it was "Hold me closer Tony Danza" by Elton John (maybe fitting?) and "Little Two Scoop" by the Beach Boys. I'll let you think about the real lyrics.....
Anyway. Lexi's version of Jingle Bells includes " Oh what fun, Mr. Ron (our neighbor), in a *mumble ~ mumble* sleigh" instead of "O what fun it is to ride In a one-horse open sleigh". I don't want to ask what the mumbling is because I'm afraid she'll learn the real lyrics.

Do you think it really could be??

More Friday Fragments at Half-Past Kissin'Time. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

GET FIT Challenge - good idea - BUT

Earlier this week I received this email from a friend for the GET FIT Challenge. I signed up to do it but I am quickly rethinking before the Sunday deadline. I am very competitive. If someone on the treadmill next to me (obviously oblivious to my craziness - hopefully!) is running faster, I try to "catch up." In classes, the instructors that yell to push you through the hard stuff have a special place in my heart. Years ago my friend fell when we were racing and I still get grief about the possible push down (I did NOT - and this is Thursday, NOT not me Monday. I really didn't).

I already spend a good amount of time at our YMCA (they have free child care and I love the caregivers). This is often the only other place I go during the day. I think they already see me enough. If I enter the challenge I might resolve to be there a little longer. I'll probably have to get everyone at home to "get fit" with me on the weekends as well. My kids will love the extra mom time outside but my husband might make resolutions of his own. I love it that you get points for playing with your kids.

What do I do? I really am OK with long as I did every thing I could. But with me, this may be a little overboard.

I wanted to post this because I do think it's a good motivator (friendly competition and $) and well organized. It has specifics for our area but you can probably find a 5K/10K near you to fit. Maybe you have a group of friends that would be fun to challenge....

Calling all Sport and Fitness Fans!

You are receiving this email as an invitation to track your fitness activities for the next 8 weeks. Please feel free to pass this along to family and friends. The more participants the better!

We’ve got an official name and guidelines to the First Annual Fitness Challenge – GET FIT 2009!

If you are interested in joining the GET FIT 2009 fitness challenge, reply to this email and get your $20 to Brian by January 12th. (see address at end if you want to mail a check)

GET FIT 2009:

The goal for this group is to become a healthier, more fit you! We all want to stay around longer for our children and one day grandchildren, so make an investment in yourself and let’s GET FIT together! Below you will find a very easy point system for you to log your progress. This will be based on the honor system, so work hard and have fun!!

Begins: January 12th
Ends: March 14th (1st phase)

Point Guidelines:
Your goal is to earn as many points as possible using this scoring system:
§ 5 points for every 15 minutes of exercise or ANY activity that causes you to break a sweat and elevate your heart rate and keep it within a safe range.
§ Examples include: running, walking, biking, swimming, aerobic classes, flag football, pilates, strength training. Challenge yourself during this time, but be cognizant of how your body is feeling. Stop or slow down if you don’t feel well.
§ 10 points for every 15 minutes of exercise in a competitive format. This would be a 5K, 10K, etc…, triathlon, bike race... This is a racing atmosphere where you will be working a lot harder than during training. View the Track Shack website for great races!!
§ 2 points for every 15 minutes of exercise you do with your children. This would be anything active you do with the kids and would be at a much lesser intensity. Maybe playing tag or kickball or just throwing the ball around.

Points Chart:
Log your points on the attached spreadsheet. Every Sunday evening, email your points earned from that week (Mon-Sun) to _. On Monday we will email a winner of the week and that person will earn an extra 10 bonus points for that week!!!

Culminating Event:
We will start on January 12th and culminate on March 14th at the Winter Park CNL Road Race 10K or 2 mile run. I hope you all will sign up for one of the races and train for it throughout the next 2 months. We will have a celebratory luncheon later that day as well, so mark your calendars now!! (The GET FIT group will continue beyond this first phase, but we feel that short time periods yield successful results)

Grand Prizes:
Each person in the group will contribute $20 and Brian will hold the money for later distribution. Each person will win a certificate of completion and recognition. The first prize winner will receive 50% of the money collected, 2nd will get 30% and 3rd will get 20%. Additional encouraging activities may be planned along the way. We encourage all to keep track of BMI, Vital Signs, and weight redistribution during the 8 week period.

We look forward to celebrating success with you on March 14th!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Recipe Organization (for those waiting to be tried)

I am a recipe junkie. I read cookbooks like novels and would choose a good food magazine over People any day. What do you do with the hundreds of recipes you've cut out, printed off, saved on your hard drive, or have been given but have not yet tried? I first stuffed them in my recipe box until one night when it was an overflowing mess I purged everything that I had not yet made. I threw away hundreds (really) of recipes I'm pretty sure would never make it to the table. My recipe box is now designated for only those tried and true dishes. My recipe box thanked me and I am forever grateful that I don't have to sort through hundreds of recipes to find my favorites.

For all those screaming "Pick me! Try me!".....This is what I've come up with. Each category gets a file folder (appetizers, sides, main dishes, etc.). When I put a recipe in that file I write in on the front (broken down into further categories). If it's a recipe in a magazine I don't want to tear apart (Taste of Home or Penzey's ONE - never heard of Penzey's? You MUST check them out!) I write the recipe name, which magazine, edition, and page I can find it. I cross off the recipe once it has been made and it either makes it to the big leagues (recipe box) or is sent packing (trash). I use one big accordion file to keep them all together. Sound a little OCD? Whatever. It works for me!

My Favorite Cookbook - for now

I'm linking this post to 12 Days of Bloggie-mas over at A Moderate Life!

Over at Blessed with Grace the Tempt My Tummy Theme for today is favorite cookbooks. There are still plenty of links to recipes as well. Go check them out!

At this stage in life my favorite cookbook is Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. This is my go-to baby food book. Not only does it have baby food instructions, recipes, index with each food listed individually, and extremely helpful charts, it has a zillion easy and healthy toddler recipes and tons more. There is an arts and crafts section that gives you recipes to make your own bubbles, dough, paint, etc, With so many ideas. It truly is a wealth of information.

The listings of individual foods tells about each food, when your baby can first eat it, the equivalents (i.e. 1 medium avocado will yield about 1 cup), when it it in season, how to choose it, when it's ripe, how to store it, cook it, freeze it, and more! I could go on and on.

Every new mother should have this book. I'll have more posts about making your own baby food as Scarlett is just starting to eat. This book makes it really easy. I don't follow it anywhere near the point she does (grinding you own grains and crazy stuff like that :) but it still has everything I need. With it I have fed my older two without having to buy more than a handful of store bought food (for trips). I can imagine I save lots of money but I'm not motivated enough to do the math.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Not-Me Monday

It's time for Not Me Monday over at My Charming Kids. Check it out. I guarantee a good laugh (or at least a little chuckle). Time to get a few things off my chest....

I do NOT often think of how much better I would be as a stay at home mother WITHOUT kids...They do NOT get in the way of my to-do lists. I do NOT need therapy in this regard :)

I did NOT tell my husband several times during the holidays that he would have to quit eating the goodies because they were to give away....and then I did NOT sneak a few myself. This would be really selfish.

I did NOT eat my daughter's left over mashed banana, avocado and breast milk concoction. It was NOT surprisingly good and I will NOT do it again. Who would consume their own milk? (Do cows drink milk??)

I did NOT resolve to cut out sweets for the month of January and then did NOT dream about cupcakes the last two nights. Yikes. Who would miss them that much?

I am NOT excited for the return of 90210 this week. I am 34, why would I watch a show for teens?

So there. I'm sure glad I did not do all of those things. I feel better! Happy Monday Everyone~

Friday, January 2, 2009

I got my girls to eat spinach!!

This is a big deal :)

I used the leftover Parmesan fondue and they loved it. Super easy too.....

Cut up a bunch of spinach (use a lot - it "shrinks") and place on a microwavable plate or bowl. Place a few scoops of leftover dip on top and microwave for one minute. Sprinkle with garlic powder and salt and stir it all together. That's it. They kept asking me to make more. WooHoo! This fondue is a keeper...they even ate a whole lot of raw cauliflower when we used it for dip. I added noodles to mine for a complete meal.

I may make this every few weeks just to keep in the's got to be better for you than ranch dip, right??