Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Trying this out again

If this is easy enough to do from my phone, I may take it up again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Double Mallow Krispies with Reece's Pieces

I grew up eating these every October. It was a special treat my mom came up with. I added the double mallow part. They keep really well & can be made a day in advance. In fact, they are better next day.

Happy Halloween!

4 T salted butter
2 bags of marshmallows(mini melt better)
10 cups of Rice Krispies(brown rice works great too!)
1 1/2 c Rice Krispies

Melt 3T butter in pot over medium heat. Add marshmallows. Add 4th tablespoon of butter halfway through melting. Remove from heat & add cereal. Add 1 1/2 cups Reece's Pieces. Lay out on buttered pan to cool. Cool completely before cutting. Enjoy! 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Breakfast.

I love Valentine's Day. I love spoiling the kids with heart shaped, pink & red everything & telling them how much I love them. B. & I kind of reserve the whole day for the kids & then have our time together after they are in bed. Dinner & everything.

So the kids breakfast consists of heart shaped pancakes with strawberry milk! I dip the rims of the cups in the Nestle Quik crystals to make them pretty, hence the red faces. This year I plan to get some of those heart shaped straws to stick in them. The pancake recipe is from adapted from Martha. Using butter in the pan really does make them extra yummy.

Heart Shaped Strawberry Pancakes
{adapted from Martha Stewart recipe}
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups milk(we like a thinner pancake)
2 tablespoons melted butter, slightly cooled
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup thinly sliced strawberries (optional)

Mix together ingredients & place batter in gallon sized ziplock bag. Heat griddle then add 1 tablespoon of butter to griddle. Snip corner of bag & draw a heart shape on griddle with batter drawing the outer edges first, then filling in middle. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Yellow Book.

My husband learned to read when he was two years old. Lucky for him, his mother kept good journals, so if you don't believe him, he has proof. The way his mother taught him to read was from a book called Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It works by teaching letter sounds & putting them together & a series of other activities that get them used to sounding out words until they are eventually reading. My son is now four & is finally getting into it. I purchased it when he was two of course, but he was never interested & would protest by standing on his head any time I tried to do it with him. F also has speech articulation problems, which I think is one reason he was hesitant at first, but now it is a great tool in helping with that as well.

We learn on average one letter sound per week doing 1 lesson Monday, Wednesday & Friday. The sound introduction lesson is always followed by a sound review lesson, & we usually try to make it fun on Fridays by playing some sort of game with the letter. If he is having a particularly hard time remembering a sound, I have him try to find as many of that letter he can for the entire day & tell me what sound it makes. How ever many he finds & can say without me reminding him earns him that many M&Ms. Works like a charm. Letter E is the 3rd sound they learn & was the hardest to conquer thus far. A friend of mine who is a student in Elementary Education told me that she learned that E is the hardest sound for children to learn & that they spend more time on that than any other letter. She didn't say why but I thought that was interesting. So don't be discouraged when you reach it! Get creative & it will happen.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

the girls room.

I am in the middle of planning a redesign of our bedroom since we finally have a bed! While looking for a new light fixture for our ceiling, I came across this light fixture. I cant' stop daydreaming about "the girls' " room ever since I found it.I have the girls room half-way painted already for when the time comes. It's a Dwell inspired paint job with a darker green on the main walls & bottom half walls & a lighter green on the upper slanted walls. The darker green will come up into the lighter green as grass & dandelions. I also just spent an hour searching for the yellow "side tables" I have dreamt of for the past year & was unfortunately making it difficult by referring to them as nightstands. Heaven forbid. These are quite a bit overpriced if you ask me, so I will probably try the thrift store route if I can get lucky. But you get the idea...

On another note, I found this site which saved me when searching for an old Ikea catalog. Pretty great.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

i love templates...

i don't have time to make these, but you should!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Do you Dukkah?

Have you ever heard of dukkah? Dukkah is, by definition, an Egyptian dry mixture of chopped nuts, seeds and Middle Eastern spices and flavors.

It most commonly uses Hazelnuts or Chickpeas as a base & then a mixture of sesame seeds, cumin seeds, corriander seeds, black peppercorns, & salt. It is traditionally eaten with bread & olive oil. I found my recipe through Closet Cooking, who also used almonds, which I really liked. I dressed some pork tenderloin with olive oil, salt, & ancho chili powder. Then I coated it with the dukkah. Next, I seared it in some olive oil on the stove & then transfered it to a 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes. I then served it with brussel sprouts & some left over sauces from my husband. Next time I think I will serve it with some sweet potatoes!

The fun part about Dukkah is you can tailor it to your personal preference. I think next time I will reduce the amount of cumin. I can't wait to see how my dukkah evolves for each dish.

You will have enough left over to keep for future uses. I plan to try it later this week on chicken. Here is the recipe:


1/2 c hazelnuts
1/2 c almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 tbs corriander seeds
1 tbs cumin seeds
1 tbs black peppercorns
1 tsp kosher salt

*roast nuts in oven on 350 for 15 minutes
*toast seeds & spices, excluding salt, on stovetop for about 3 minutes
*once cooled, transfer all to food processor & chop.
*add salt

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Our MSG Story.

As many of you have probably read, my motivation for our homemade revolution was the onset of my son's severe allergy to MSG. The discovery of this allergy was long & painful, so I hope by sharing our story, it may help some of you in diagnosing a problem you or someone you know may be having.

My son began having problems with eczema around one year of age. It affected his entire body, even around his eyes, which were always red & scaly. Following advice from our pediatrician, we took him off of dairy & soy, which did not help. We had to bathe him every night in a salt water bath, apply special lotions & steroid cremes, & occasionally bath him in bleach. Even after all of this, he still suffered. One night a short time later, he broke out all over his body in a rash & was completely swollen. We rushed him to the ER where they immediately asked what he had "gotten into". We then informed them that we had no new chemicals or pets in our home & that the only new item that was given to him was a cool ranch dorito. They informed us that this type of reaction was from a chemical or antibiotics, none of which applied to our situation. The rash was big red circles with white targets in the middle called Erythema Multiforme. They gave him Benedryl & Progesterone which worked to eventually relieve his rash. Still we left the hospital with no answers as to what had caused this reaction.

We went to his pediatrician the next day who had no answers for us either. After that incident, there were two more occasions that he had the same reaction. One after eating ranch dressing & another after cheetos. We began to look into what ingredients these items had in common. Through a suggestion of a close friend, we realized that the common ingredient was MSG.

We got rid of every item in our home with the ingredient Monosodium Glutamate. It is in more than you think. We can't figure out why Chinese food gets such a bad rap when it is in nearly every snack food or canned soup that you eat! The reactions stopped occurring but yet the eczema still plagued him. After much research online, we discovered there were many other names for MSG. We again raided our cabinet only to find these labels throughout our food items. So we took it all to the dumpster & tried again.

Almost immediately after cleansing our diet of these substances, my son's skin cleared up completely & his eyes were not red & scaly. We no longer had to bathe him in salt & dairy was added back to his diet without a problem.

Since then, we have been to an allergist who tested him for all sorts of things, all turning up negative. We asked her about MSG & she said that there is no test for that since it is a chemical. She & our pediatrician are baffled by our experience & have no other answer for us than, "If it's working, then keep doing it." They also inform us that there are no cases of MSG causing a reaction of this kind, but was this case reported?

It was hell having my son go through this with no clue as to what would help him, but I am so grateful we were able to by some miracle, come across the solution. If you ask us now though we consider his allergy a blessing because it truly has opened our eyes to the harmful things they throw into our food & that we don't even question. Sometimes when people find out about this they feel sorry for us because it must be so hard, but I could never feel bad about being enlightened & we will never turn back. We are so lucky.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

peanut butter cups.

Sometimes when I make something from scratch, it causes me to yell, "Why not!" over & over again in my head. Yesterday as I was making these homemade peanut butter cups I could not stop saying this. I kept waiting for something to change my mind as I went through the process, but it never happend. This recipe is ridiculously easy & over the top delicious. My husband was on the phone with his mother when he first saw & tasted them & told her, "She looks like some kind of chocolatier!" So yes, why go out & buy overly salty junky Reese's cups when you can get that kind of reaction for such little work.

I delivered these to friends in paper bags I cropped with my scalloped scissors. Couldn't have been easier.

Peanut Butter Cups.

1 bag of really good milk chocolate chips
1 cup really good nothing added peanut butter
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

1. melt half of the bag of chocolate in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.

2. grease mini muffin tins lighlty with canola oil.

3. spoon chocolate into layer on bottom of tin, then bring up to coat sides.
( i used baby spoons with a silicon tip which worked perfectly!)

4. put in freezer to set, 15-30 minutes.

5. hand mix peanut butter & sugar together.

6. form peanut butter into balls & place into chocolate covered muffin tins.

7. heat remaining chocolate, & cover top of peanut butter allowing the chocolate to run down the sides & spreading to edges of in.

8. freeze for 30 minutes, turn pan upside down to pop them out, & enjoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

BPA Free Update.

So. Tonight I spent a lot of time researching which sippy I wanted to get for Sobe & ended up deciding on the Thermos Foogy thanks to the folks at SafeMama. I was hoping that I could find it at my local Target store so I wouldn't have to wait for it to be shipped, & sure enough, their website said that they did indeed have it "Available" at my local store. So I loaded up the kids & headed out only to find that they did indeed NOT have it in their store. The employee acted completely weirded out that I was asking for that brand & informed me that they had Gerber & Nuby sippy cups. Duh. So I picked out two others hoping they might be o k. I just checked online & of course they both contain BPA. Do you know how angry this makes me!

So, next time I go shopping I will have in my wallet this handy BPA Wallet Card along with texting instructions for immediate answers on products not listed. How could you not love a site that would do that for you. I just wish I would have used my better judgement & printed it before I left tonight!

*update- so i went to target tonight again, this time to the sporting goods section & happend to notice that they had the thermos product there! it is a really great cup & can be tipped upside down without a drop. it is really easy to get water from & best of all, the material prevents bacteria! i am very pleased...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Angel Food Cake with Yogurt & Three Berries.

There must be something in the name Angel Food Cake. Tonight I decided to try out making it from scratch for the first time, & after my experience, I think the name must come from the fact that only an absolute angel would make this from scratch. I might not have ventured had I known what I was getting into, but now that it is all said & done, I am glad I did.

What makes this so painstaking is the fact that it takes 30 minutes, literally, of beating the egg mixture with a hand mixer to achieve the "medium foamy peaks". Once you get past that step it is all smooth sailing, & if I had a KitchenAid Mixer, you probably wouldn't hear me complaining. But, I didn't, so I am. I am including pictures of the peaks so that you know what to look for. I was unsure the whole time if I would ever reach that stage or if I had botched it up some how, but waited it out anyhow. If you mix it they will come. So don't give up!

The results were delicious & quite rewarding after all the time & effort. I topped mine with raspberry yogurt & a mixture of three berries-plain & simple. I have seen recipes that add sugar & cream to yogurt but this would have overdone it for me since the cake is so sweet. Here is the recipe adapted from Alton Brown's.

Angel Food Cake with Yogurt & Three Berries
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cake flour
12 egg whites
1/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor spin sugar about 2 minutes until it is superfine. Sift half of the sugar with the salt the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.
In a large bowl, whisk thoroughly to combine egg whites, water, extracts, and cream of tartar. After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer. Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks(30 min), sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.
Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).
Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.

Monday, April 7, 2008

music to love.

i don't know why i don't run into more fans of the innocence mission. to me, there is nothing better. i will always & forever name this as my number one favorite band. if you don't listen to them, you should. i am going to make it easy for you, so click on the link above. they are a christian band from Pennsylvania. i wish i could be karen peris. when i first met my husband & we swapped favorites, i told him about the innocence mission & described them as magical. he then told me about the rachels.

the only two songs that make me cry without fail every time: lakes of canada, t.i.m. & outside these walls, brett stubbs.

such sweet music. please listen.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

compact kitchen.

i am so excited about the new toy i found for my son. i have been wanting to buy him a little kitchen for a long time, but had several drawbacks. 1) my husband didn't feel like spending the money. 2)we are always "about to move" so i am never excited about purchasing big items. 3) i mostly wanted it to keep in the kitchen because my son loves cooking with us, & i feel like it would get the most use there.

while browsing my local classifieds i found my solution: a tabletop stovetop by alex toys. it is a stovetop with nobs that i sit on my countertop adjacent to my stove. the best part about this model is that it also turns into a storage box for his pots & pans(not included)! i was able to get mine for only $4 through the classifieds but was ready & willing to buy it for a full price of $18.99. had i not found this stovetop used i might have been tempted to go for the melissa & doug stovetop which comes with the dishes. i would have missed the storage feature though. so pleased with this find...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

recommended eating (well, reading)

so. while i am not in the market currently to increase my cupcake intake due to the ever approaching shedding of winter skin, i am totally enjoying taking notes on cupcake week on here kitschy, kitschy. please go check out my friend veeda's new blog this week as she reviews different cupcake recipes. it's even better than doing the work yourself if you ask me...

p.s.- i highly recommend adding this blog to your daily read. a definite trust me.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Children's Book Blog-Hop..

Welcome to blog-hop number 1! I am forever in search of extraordinary children's books for my little ones. While on a trip to Texas I made a trip to Half-Price Books & found two new favorites for our collection.

The first is one in series of three by Leslie Patricelli called Quiet Loud. We were happy to add to Big Little & hope to soon buy Yummy Yucky. The books are incredibly simple & Flynn loves "reading" them to us. The book is illustrated with pictures taken of paintings which gives it a very warm touch. You can preview the books on her site.

The second is a remake of a Golden Book classic called The Telephone Book. I originally bought it to have for Sobe but Flynn saw it & fell in love. On page one it asks the child to answer a little black telephone & then proceeds to give them instruction on how to look after their friends little brother. You then go through the pages & move parts on the pages to do so. So simple, sweet & just the right amount of interactive. I suggest buying several of this book to give for gifts. I use it as a book to pull out at bedtime as a special treat.

I am really interested in knowing about your favorite children's books. Please leave a post about it on your own blog & the link to it in the comment section here. You may want to title your link the title of the book(s) you are reviewing.

For more help on blog-hopping, click here.

announcing blog-hopping!

This week I am starting a new feature on this blog called blog-hopping. The idea is to make friends & share favorites & such. What will happen is I will write a post about something & then encourage readers to write similar posts on their own blogs, then leave a comment on my post including a link to your blog post. So, say I write an article about a sugar cookie recipe. You then can write about your favorite cookie recipe on your blog & then post a comment about it including the link to your post. Get it!? I am really excited about it.

For the first little bit, since most of my readership on this blog is imaginary, please leave a link to my original post so that more people are drawn in to participate. The more the merrier!

How to put a link in a comment

It's really that simple.
Feel free to do some testing on this post if you like!
See you soon...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Deconstucted Sugar Cookie Bags.

I made these to give out to family for Valentine's Day. I attached the homemade valentines Flynn made to the front of them with a rubberband. Flynn loved delivering these & would carry them with the little rubberband around his wrist. This idea came from not wanting to frost dozens of sugar cookies & wanting to be able to package them in a brown paper sack without ruining them. I simply bagged the cookies & then bagged some frosting in the corner of a baggy with instuctions to simply cut the corner & use as a sort of pastry bag to frost their own cookies. I also included a baggy of sprinkles. Convenient for me & fun for those who like decorating cookies!

*i turned the baggy inside out & placed frosting directly in corner so the icing was not messy inside the bag.

The Sugar Cookie Recipe.

I title these The Sugar Cookie Recipe because there really is no need for any other. These are honestly the best sugar cookies I have ever had. The recipe comes from my sister-in-law Tara who really is the cookie queen. They are not too sweet, are perfectly moist & perfectly flaky. I also love how easy to handle the dough is. Really, the best.

Sugar Cookies.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teasponn pure vanilla
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

* cream butter & sugar
* add eggs, milk & vanilla
* sift in dry ingredients, mix
* chill at least 1/2 hour up to 8
* roll out to 1/4 inch, cut & bake at 350 degrees F
for 8-10 minutes
makes 3 dozen!

Simple (Tangerine Tinted) Frosting.
1/2 cup butter
2-3 tablespoons milk
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoons pure vanilla
Splash of tangerine oil

P.S.- I am also in search of alternate frosting recipes. If you know a good one post it on your blog then let me know in the comment section & I'll check it out! I've been curious about starting this sort of "blog-hopping" thing, so let's see how it works out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Homemade Banana Cinnamon Ice Cream.

All I have to say after making homemade ice cream for the first time last night is, "Why have I not done this before?" Probably the main reason I am asking myself this question is because I used the CuisineArt Ice Cream Maker that I bought from a thrift store years ago & that has been sitting in my garage ever since. If you have never had homemade ice cream before I suggest you try it soon. It is oh so much yummier than any other ice cream, you can make up your own flavors, & it only takes 20 minutes of inactive work! Not to mention the fact that you get to watch it form before your eyes. So fun. We decided to make Banana Cinnamon flavor because that is what Brett always wishes they had at the store. We used, you guessed it, banana & cinnamon. So easy & so good! Here is the recipe so you can convince yourself even more that it is one of the best & easiest things to make homemade!

Homemade Banana Cinnamon Ice Cream:
1 cup whole milk, well chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1 – 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, to taste
1 mooshed banana+1 teaspoon cinnamon

You simply mix ingredients then dump in the machine.
You add you mixins in the final 5 minutes.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

oatmeal pancakes.

I have been having so much fun adding new ingredients to my kitchen. The latest I have been experimenting with is oat flour. I make it by putting my whole oats into the food processor. Simple as that. Such a great way to rotate the bags of oats I have been storing for years.

The first thing I tried oat flour in was Jessica Seinfeld's brownies. I have to say I wasn't quite pleased with the results. I feel as though I might be able to tweak the recipe & come up with a good brownie, but still it's not something I plan to include as a regular part of our diet.

I then did some research online as I was planning for this Sunday's pancake breakfast(new family tradition), & came across several recipes. I chose the healthiest out of the bunch & was quite pleased with the results! Flynn & Brett loved them too. We topped them with maple syrup only, no butter. While I don't think they will satisfy the typical person's craving for pancakes, they are a great way to add oatmeal to our breakfast menu. Neither me nor Flynn are crazy about the texture of regular prepared oatmeal, so this is a great alternative. Plus, I'm all about variety these days at the kitchen table!

Oatmeal Pancakes.

1 cup milk
3/4 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup oat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 large whites
1 tsp cinnamon

*Heat milk until hot, stir in oats and set aside.
*Beat egg whites into a stiff foam with hand mixer or blender and reserve.
*Mix remaining dry ingredients together and stir in oatmeal/milk mixture.
*Fold in egg whites until mixture is well blended.
*Spray pan with nonstick spray and cook pancakes until browned on both sides.

courtesy of stella juarez

Saturday, February 9, 2008

homemade headbands.

So my little Sobe still doesn't have much hair. I have had a hard time with the usual hair things for little girls at this stage so I came up with my own that I think suit her perfectly. It is just a piece of ribbon that I attached a little piece of elastic to in the back. I simply hand sewed it on & it fits perfectly. I'm not sure the picture quite does it justice but she wouldn't stay still!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Don't girls argue?

So there is a debate on ConvinceMe that I am curious to here opinions about. I have to say that the site lacks a strong female voice & I am curious how people feel on the issue. Check it out & do be scared to tell these people how you feel or how it is!

I have to admit I have strong opinions when it comes to politics or rather strong emotions, but sometimes feel a bit to naive to voice them. I guess this debate is kind of right up my alley when it comes to politics...

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

72 hour kits?

I am a big fan of all things Costco. I guess if there is anything that's going to get me to get my 72 hour kit, it's an email about a sale on
Check this out.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Peanut Butter + Banana = Yummy Muffins.

O k. So we are already back to my new cookbook again. The review was a little premature but my assumptions were correct! It's a really great book. Not only does she add the purees to recipes but she uses altogether good ingredients like whole wheat & oat flour. The only thing I don't like is the use of margarine. I'm pro butter.

By far my favorite recipe is these little muffins. The whole family loves them & I have to admit that I sometimes have pregnancy strength cravings for the things. Without further adu, the recipe:

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
by Jessica Seinfeld

Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease 12 cup muffin pan or line.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup carrot puree
1/2 cup banana puree
1 large egg white

Sift together:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine wet & dry ingredients, but do not over mix, it will be lumpy.
Add another 1/2 cup of brown sugar & barely stir in. (Trust me on this, it makes for the yummiest caramelized globules in the end.)

Bake 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

(they are really good hot but even better cooled, be patient)

P.s.- I also had a great time making the green eggs with a whole pound of spinach! Flynn got a h u g e kick out of trying them along with the grumpy guy at the end of the book. He actually looked tickled. Oh, & they're really good too. I don't know if I will eat eggs otherwise.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

My husband, Brett Stubbs, has just put up a new site featuring him as the music artist. He is offering all of his songs downloadable for free. Some of you will be really excited about this & the rest of you should be.

Please make sure to listen to Outside of These Walls on the From Me or I From Her album. There are two songs that make me cry each & every time I hear them. One is Lakes of Canada by The Innocence Mission, the other is this one. I love it.
Also, that is his best album in my opinion, so if you are looking for a place to start, start there.

I love you Brett...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cancelling your mail.

I have this obsession with clutter. More of a hatred really. My days of thrift store rummaging & the fact that I married a thrift store junkie have given me quite a run for my money as I try to become a normal adult with an orderly home. I feel like I have taken control of that aspect, but there is still one greater enemy in my quest to be clutter free: the mailman. I have talked about my different solutions in the past but it is still a constant battle I have to wage none the less. I have been discussing with Brett lately if there is some better way. Is there any way to hide from the mailman?

Turns out there is. Sort of. Brett came across a new website that actually accepts & opens your mail, then scans it for you to view in on online postal box. The site is called EarthClassMail.
There are an array of plans to choose from starting at $12.99. You are then able to trash, forward, print or save the documents. They then recycle or shred & recycle the paper document. If I understand correctly you change your address to certain parties to this new P.O. box.

Lovely idea, but I don't know that I'm quite ready for that. About a week later I received my Martha Newsletter in my email with a link to this article. It is a must read! It gives you the lowdown on resources to stop & prevent unwanted mail. I have included links below. So, I may not be able to hide from the mailman, but I can at least tell him to stop bullying me with junk mail!

Get rid of:
Pre-approved credit card & insurance offers
All for free or almost free.
If your willing to spend the cash, you can pay a subscription fee to have someone do all of this for you:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mario Kart Wii!

It just keeps getting better. Check out the Wii Wheel!
p.s.-ignore the cheesy speaker.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

whole wheat love.

Last year I wrote an article for a website about whole wheat. Unlike my husband, I didn't grow up with a barrel in my cupboard & the thought of having one now completely baffled me. I didn't know what to do with it but I really wanted to. I refused to keep the stuff around if I wasn't going to use it. So for the article, I got to know whole wheat. I mean the real stuff. I learned how to grind it myself & in conclusion, decided I needed a better wheat grinder which I plan on getting sometime this year. I also learned how to bake with it. For the most part. I made pizza dough, waffles, cracked wheat, everything but bread. I have always been scared of bread. Considering I have a hard time making a cake from a box turn out correctly, I think this is a reasonable fear. Well, as I made this years resolution, I knew I would need to conquer this fear eventually. Brett started by making fabulous artisan breads, but I still wanted to be able to have sliced bread for grilled cheese, etc. I decided I would begin by researching a recipe. I didn't want anything fancy & I wanted it to be 100% whole wheat if it was going to replace my local bread I already buy. Well, I found it.

The recipe requires no special ingredients & gives exact instructions so I wasn't left guessing. The best part is it makes 3, 9 x 5 loaves so if I double the batch, I can have 2 loaves per week for three weeks! All the reviews are very positive & have great tips & suggestions. It says it freezes well, which I haven't done yet, but it definitely slices well & is very moist. My bread may look a little small because I didn't notice the pans Brett got me were the wrong size, so it made two loaves but still turned out great!

The recipe calls for part bread flour, but I replaced it with all ww flour as suggested in reviews & it was great. In the final instruction it says you can use from 2-4 cups extra flour, but I only needed an extra 1/2 cup. I suggest you try this recipe if you are scared of making bread. If I can do it, anyone can!

The recipe:
Simple Whole Wheat Bread

Friday, January 11, 2008

New collaborative blog!

I was recently invited to become a contributor to a blog started by my friend Megan called Backyard Farming, the Urban Homesteader. It involves our journey to reach our goal, sharing what we learn as we go. The highlight will be the "chicken journals" as Megan & Marisa share there experiences raising chickens in their own backyards! I wrote my first contribution on the new show Jamie at Home on the food network.

Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Book Review: Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

I finally picked up this cookbook yesterday at Costco after browsing through it each time I was there. I'm sure you have heard about it on Oprah. The purpose of the book is to "sneak" vegetables into everyday food items for kids using fruit or vegetable purees. Before trying any of the recipes, I am actually really impressed with the book. While I don't have the need to trick Flynn into eating vegetables at this point, it still gives great alternatives to common staples in most children's diets.
There are a few recipes I am really excited about & that I think will really support my resolution. The homemade ketchup recipe omits corn syrup & adds carrots! She also has a recipe for ranch dressing I am excited to try because ALL ranch dressing contains MSG- except one I found but it was really gross. She even adds broccoli to homemade chicken nuggets. She provides recipes for breakfast, mealtime & desserts. A lot of the recipes are good to begin with but get an added kick of vitamins or whole grains. Besides the purees she also adds flax seed meal to a lot of the recipes. The most entertaining chapter is the desserts, of course, where she adds spinach to brownies & broccoli & carrot to a Gingerbread Spice Cake. The one I am most excited to try is hot cocoa with a sweet potato puree! She also has a recipe for baked doughnuts that are surprisingly low in sugar & fat & offer the use of whole-wheat pastry flour.
The only drawback for me is the use of margarine spread instead of butter & the silly quotes from Jerry & the kids at the bottom.
All in all I think it is an excellent book. While I do feel it would have done me much more good when Flynn was about 18 months, I am definitely excited to add a few of the recipes into the mix & think it is a great tool for adding more "color" to your diet!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Item no. 01

As many of you know, a major part of 2007 for us was discovering & rediscovering Flynn's MSG allergy. I will share the details at some point but the discovery completely revolutionized the way we ate. It is amazing the things that food companies put into our food that we simply ignore & the ways that they try to hide it. Even things claiming to be "All Natural". It has been a long process for our family & because of it we have become the ultimate label readers. Our diet has improved substancially even though we didn't consider it to be all that bad in the first place.
This year however, we have decided to take it a step further. Our goal is to one by one take our grocery list & disect it to the point that we are producing as much as possible ourselves along with going to closer & more pure food sources. We really enjoyed shopping at some of the local markets our city has to offer & Brett is going to miss his little lady at Mitchell's this winter.
Once again, being married to a self-made chef has paid off. We decided that the first & easiest item to mark off the grocery list was bread. We already buy a great local bread that has super good for you ingredients, but this item will also give us some points towards our "better budget" resolution. Brett put his skills to work & made these fabulous breads. Cinnamon raisen & rosemary bread were the flavors of choice this time around. We plan to make rolls for sandwich lunches every week & can't wait to improve the recipes as we perfect our wheat grinding skills.

(recipe to be edited in later.)

& so it begins...again.

This year's resolutions for me are full of things that I feel will help me to become the someone I really want to be. I look forward to sharing some of those things with you as I try to make them work & see how I can grow. I have decided my first item of business is to make sure to take it step by step. I was all set to be 100% starting 01 January but luckily Brett brought me back to reality. The thought being that it is better to make gradual increases & always being moving up rather than shooting straight to the top & then crashing to the bottom, which is what I always seem to do.
Sounds like words to live by to me.

I am really excited though & hope to learn a lot & share with all of you!
That said..

H a p p y N e w Y e a r !


Monday, December 31, 2007

An end to scrapbooking!

Thanks to Megan I now have a new obsession.

Check out Blurb to turn your blog into a book! It really is as simple as they make it sound. You simply sign up then download their free bookmaking software. This makes you an official Blurbarian! You then just sign in to your blog (it supports blogger, typepad, wordpress, ect.)& it then pulls your blog entries & places them (along with the pictures) into templates for your book. The best part is I can add pages to it for the things I never got around to blogging about this past year!

I plan to use this for making the family year books I have always dreamed about having & needless to say I will be making a lot more blog entries this coming year. What a great tool to revolutionize your journal writing or scrapbooking resolutions!
For a book up to 440 pages, hardcover, & 8 x 10 in size, it is just $80!

Another great feature is it allows you to invite contributors to your book. I plan on using this feature to invite Brett's siblings to add to a book for Brett's parents. Talk about a great Christmas gift!

If you ask me, this is one of the best things to happen to the internet!
Thanks Blurb!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Thanks for everyone's suggestions. After a lot of research I finally made my decisions. I purchased the Bebe Pod Plus which features a detachable tray with removable toy & 2 removable place mats. The toy is great & is flexible so Sobe is able to bend it towards her mouth to chew on it. She also enjoys having the pummel in place of the tray which I was surprised about. I think it gives her a sense of freedom. So far she absolutely loves it & so do I! While she doesn't like to spend forever in it because she love rolling around on the floor, it is a really nice change for a bit. I love it because I can have my hands free to play with Flynn while Sobe looks on. So great! I would definetely say this is a must have especially for your second child. I ended up choosing the Bebe pod over the Bumbo because (1)the tray looked sturdier & included the fun toy - I really wanted a tray. (2)the Bebe Pod was not recalled like the Bumbo because it has a higher back. Sobe actually has bucke backwards several times & the seat has not budged.
One negative review I read mentioned that the seat had a really strong chemical smell. This was true. Someone said it went away after 2 days by an open window but mine took about a week & a half sitting in an open space. It did go away though.
All in all the seat is going to the top of my "baby must haves" list.

Now about the stroller. I drug Brett to USA Baby to test them out. Baby USA (recommended by Veeda, of course) is a great place to go to try out baby gear. They had everything out to be tested which is fantastic! I was able to try out the BIG Cabboose & it was just that, BIG. I seriously felt like a was driving a bus around the store. So dissapointing but I guess to be expected. I then tried out the Ultralight & I think I will make that purchase due to Flynn's personality. I still have the complaint that Flynn is not able to sit up totally straight on the back bench seat but I don't think he really cares. All in all I think he will get the most use out of that option because I think he will spend too much time trying to get out of a stadium seat. He really got a kick out of jumping on the back to hitch a ride. & it really is lightweight. I actually tried the stroller mentioned by Jamie & it was by far the best stadium stroller I have tried. I am still holding off for a little bit but plan to purchase it in the near future.
If anyone else has any must baby haves, let me know! It really pays to listen to people's opinions. Thanks again!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

homemade ornaments.

Christmas means a lot to me & it is a celebration i look forward to sharing with my children as we form our own traditions. one tradition that i feel very strongly about began last year. i am in love with the whole handmade revolution & this is my beginning. while i can not completely claim handmade on these i can claim homemade. here are my creations..


i found the containers in the wedding aisle at a craft store. i also used favor tins as you will see below. others things included plastic pearls, ric-rac, ribbon, curly hooks, silver bells, berries & twigs from outside, cotton balls, & glitter glue.

the instructions are pretty self explanitory if you look at the pics so i won't explain unless someone has a question. enjoy!

p.s.- i didn't sign up in time for the ornament swap mentioned below-long story. check out these cute ornaments veeda made for the swap! it made me sad again i didn't make the cut...