Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super Bowl Recipes!

Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday...which means some super food for watching the game. I'm passing on a few of our tried and true super recipes but I warn you...they are not healthy. They taste good though, so when the game kicks off, dig in and diet tomorrow:-) P.S. I didn't include the obvious...veggies and dip, fruit, cheese or cheese ball and crackers. You can handle that part:-) By the way...Go Cards! (Sorry Steeler fans. I can't bring myself to cheer against Kurt Warner.)It's time for the good guy to come out on top:-)

The first recipe is Nacho Chicken and that is what is on our menu tomorrow night...along with moist southwest cornbread.



Chicken Nacho Bake

4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1/2 cup Thick 'N Chunky Salsa
1/4 cup light Sour Cream
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
1/2 cup Mexican Style Finely Shredded Four Cheese

PREHEAT oven to 400ºF. Place chicken on foil-covered baking sheet. Slice three cuts on top of each chicken breast with sharp knife.
TOP each chicken breast evenly with salsa, sour cream and tortilla chips.
BAKE 20 min. Remove from oven; sprinkle with cheese. Bake an additional 10 min. or until chicken is cooked through.



Taco Pizza
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 pkg. (10.75 oz.) TACO BELL Taco Dinner
1 prepared pizza crust (12 inch)
1 cup Mexican Style Shredded Cheese
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 large tomato, chopped

PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Cook meat with Taco Seasoning Mix as directed on package; spread evenly onto pizza crust. Sprinkle with cheese.
BAKE 8 to 10 min. or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.
TOP with lettuce and tomatoes. Crush Taco Shells; sprinkle over pizza. Drizzle with Salsa. Cut into 12 slices.

Spicy Buffalo Chicken Dip


1 pkg. (8 oz.) lt.Cream Cheese, cubed
1-1/2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup Blue Cheese Dressing
1/2 cup hot pepper sauce for Buffalo wings
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
MIX all ingredients in medium microwaveable bowl.
MICROWAVE on HIGH 5 min. or until cream cheese is melted and mixture is heated through, stirring after 3 min.
SERVE hot with WHEAT THINS Crackers or celery sticks.


Spicy Cheeseburger Dip
1 lb. (16 oz.) velveeta. cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 can (10 oz.) RO*TEL Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked, drained
4 green onions, sliced
MIX all ingredients except onions in microwaveable bowl.
MICROWAVE on HIGH 5 min. or until VELVEETA is melted, stirring after 3 min. Stir in onions.
SERVE with RITZ Crackers and assorted cut-up fresh vegetables.



Fruit Salsa from Pampered Chef

chop small the following fruits: 3 apples, 2 qiwi, & 1 pint of strawberries.
add 1 T brown sugar, 2 T apple jelly, orange zest with a little squeeze of orange juice. Mix and serve
with cinnamon chips. Take flour tortillas that have been spritzed with water and sprinkled with
cinnamon and sugar and baked for about 12 minutes.



Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

I pkg refrigerated sugar cookie dough
I bag mini peanut butter cups

Place a small scoop of dough into a greased mini muffin pan, Bake for 6 to 8 minutes (which is not, I repeat NOT, what the cookie package instructs you to do), and then you press in some little candies while the cookies are still hot from the oven.




White Chocolate Blonde Brownies
1 pkg. (6 squares) BAKER'S White Chocolate
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
½ cup white chocolate chips


PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Line 8-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil; set aside. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs. Add flour, baking powder and salt; mix well. Stir in nuts.
SPREAD into prepared pan.
BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) (440-45 min. and a 9 x 13 pan if recipe is doubled) Cool in pan. Lift out of pan onto cutting board. Carefully remove brownie from foil. Cut into 16 squares to serve.




Yummy Chocolate Cookies
2 pkg. (8 squares each) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
optional: 2 cups chopped pecan chips
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Coarsely chop 8 of the chocolate squares; set aside. Microwave remaining 8 chocolate squares in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min., stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla; stir until well blended. Add flour and baking powder; mix well. Stir in chopped chocolate and walnuts. ***(Note: If omitting nuts, increase flour to 3/4 cup to prevent excessive spreading of cookies as they bake.)
DROP rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets.
BAKE 12 to 13 min. or until cookies are puffed and shiny. Cool 1 min.; remove from baking sheets to wire racks. Cool completely.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Photo Collage Posters...Fun & Easy Wall Art

Okay, this is what I have managed to waste time on for the past few nights...photo collage posters. I made mine on Snapfish because I could add more photos to each poster. It seems to take a little longer to add my photos here but maybe I am just used to Shutterfly. Anyway, I made 4 posters. They come in various sizes but the "typical" poster size is 20 x 30. You can save on shipping by picking up the prints at various stores, such as Staples and Walgreens
The first poster is just random shots from my backyard.
Next is a collage of my dogs, Freddy and Maui. (This is my husband's favorite...he loves his little guys, even if he doesn't always admit it:-)
Next, a collage of our trip to NYC last summer.
Finally, this one was taken on Christmas.
It's a photo of Taylor, Jordie and Grandma
walking on the beach:-)


Happy Poster making!

Monday, January 26, 2009

My thrift store dresser...refinished!

Well, I finally did it. Last summer I found this old dresser at a thrift store. It cost $40 but the poor girl had just opened her store and gave it to me for $30...without my asking. She had just opened and was offering things at a discount to everyone just for stopping by. Can't beat that. I knew it wasn't in great shape but I have a big guest room and thought it could look great, add to the room and give me a little storage for extra sheets and room for visitors to put a few things. It has been sitting in my garage for months. I have used it...for storing paint supplies, hiding Christmas gifts... But finally I got out my palm-sander, which I love, love, love...and started sanding away. I could have done even more I now realize but it isn't bad. I painted it a creamy white and I need to go down and distress it a bit. The thing about distressing something is then people aren't sure if you missed a spot or if that is the shabby style:-) I'm also looking for a few shabby chic type glass knobs for the 2 small drawers. And now, here is my masterpiece! hahaha



Sunday, January 25, 2009

16 Random Things About Me

This is something going around facebook. You write your 16 things and "tag" others to write theirs. (16 being a 'random" number:-) It actually was kind of fun to do so I thought I would post my list here.

16 Random Things About Me...

1. My favorite verse is "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Phil. 4: 13 I think that says it all, for me.

2. I want my girls to be happy and pursue their dreams. I agree with John Candy in "Uncle Buck"..."I don't want to know a six year old who isn't a dreamer." Or a 16 year old, or a 26 year old... I think you can follow your dreams and be a success in life...and we need to learn how to encourage and guide our children without pressuring them so much. Growing up is pressure enough...just my opinion:-) I am a dreamer...and happy. Fortunately for my girls, their father is very practical, so maybe it will all work out in the end. A bit of both.

3. I am a last minute, fly by the seat of my pants type of person. I know this drives people crazy...it drives me crazy...but I seem to be unable to plan ahead. It stresses me out. But I do appreciate it in the end when someone knows me and "convinces"me to make a plan...or should I say "begs" me. haha I have never found a planner or calendar that works for me but I live in hope. (I always was a "cram before an exam" type of person....what can I say?)

4. When I was in high school, I spent many Friday nights, when other kids were out at parties, games or whatever, hanging out with my Grandma in her little apartment. I would bring take-out for dinner and we would talk and watch her favorite shows like Judge Wapner, Wheel of Fortune, Candid Camera...and laugh our heads off. From time to time, I did ask myself what I was doing, but she was always one of my favorite people, so why not be with her. Now when I look back, I wouldn't trade those days for anything in the world. If I could spend one more day with someone who has passed, it would be her. She never met my girls and I know she would have loved some very long talks with Jordie and watching silly shows with Taylor. I miss her...but at least I have those memories and will see her again someday.

5. One of my favorite quotes is by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much."

6. I have always wanted to write a children's book. I would really love to do it with my girls, so I better get started. (See #8) HaHaHa.

7. Random favorite things: My favorite scents are vanilla, coconut, orange blossoms and gardenias. I love cute flip-flops. My favorite color is pink. I am crazy about charm bracelets...new and vintage. Love Disney. Love people who know who they are and do not pretend. I am so blessed to have my parents. Hate attitudes...unless they are good:-) I never like how my hair is cut and come home to chop at it myself. (I know, it looks like it:-)

8. I actually think I have way too many interests/hobbies/ideas and often don't get started or don't finish a project because I am already moving on to the next idea. Maybe this shouldn't bother me...but it does.

9. I know almost all of the lines in Napolean Dynamite...I know this is scary, but it's true:-)

10. I love antiques and flea-markets, but not the cheesy kind. Someday, I would LOVE to visit the Paris Flea Market and if I could, I would open a little boutique of things I find there. P.S. Yes, I love shabby chic. Rachel Ashwell is my decorating hero:-)

11. I like cookie dough better than cookies. I think it is best to eat ice cream that is slightly melted...especially Haagen Dazs Deep Chocolate Peanut Butter.

12. I shoplifted once...and got busted. I was 5 years old and stole a pack of popsicle sticks because I wanted my Mom to make caramel apples and she said no. They fell out of my pants in the check out line, right in front of the cashier. It was a baaaaaad afternoon:-)

13. I make a lot of mistakes...every day, it seems. But I know how to apologize and think that is so important in life.

14. I was a serious tomboy growing up. I especially loved football...playing and watching. I was sure that I would be the first female player in the NFL...and then the first female broadcaster. What was I thinking??????? Guess I should have tried harder at my piano lessons:-)

15. I love throwing children's parties and almost started a business after being asked to help plan so many for preschools and children of friends. I was going to name it "Polka Dot Parties" because I love polka dots...to me they spell "happy". I gave up on the idea after realizing that I was a control freak and very Martha Stewart-like. The mom had to agree that every tiny detail had to be coordinated and go with the theme. I knew that would be a tough one. Also, I had a hard time keeping to a budget. Go figure:-)

16. I love being a Mom to my 2 incredible girls. Sometimes I think I should be "doing" more but then I look at them and realize that they are my greatest joy and accomplishment...and I want to appreciate every moment I have with them.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday Favorite Things...On Saturday. Sorry:-)

Okay, so my favorite things list is a day late. I'd like to say it will be worth the wait...but I would probably be wrong. Anyway, here goes...Enjoy!

The first thing is a book by Jorge Cruise...8 Minutes in the Morning. It doesn't matter if you follow the diet or not, his exercises with weights are super easy and really work. Each day, you have 2 exercises, usually using hand weights or maybe your own body weight as resistance. You do the exercises in the amount he suggests for 8 minutes. You still watch what you eat and get in some form of cardio, like walking. Weight training is especially important for women and this is a very easy and painless way to fit that in.

I know I suggested a lotion last week but here is one more...my night time favorite. And best of all, it's Cheap, Cheap, Cheap. I'm talking .99cents! It's by Johnson & Johnson and is called "Melt Away Stress" body lotion. It is so silky, smooth and has a truly relaxing scent to it. I swear, my whole family loves it. You can find it in the dollar section of your drugstores or target/walmart type stores. The photo is not clear but it's in a lavender colored tube.

Okay, for those of you who are not into thrift or vintage-type stores, you are missing out! I found this vintage purse awhile back that is so much more beautiful than the picture. Recently I found these Chanel sunglasses at a higher-end shop that was liquidating their inventory. Next time you drive by that cute thrift store, check it out.

Hot Cocoa on a cold night. (And yes, we did have some cold nights here in Florida recently.) Taylor made this hot chocolate and brought it to me and I was shocked by it. She decided to put it in a pretty glass and it not only tasted good, it looked awesome.

Last, I just had to tell you about these magazines. Really, they are more like books. You can find them at Craft stores like Michael's or Joann's. (Be sure to use your coupon because they are around $12.00:-) They're from Somerset Studios and they are filled with so many beautiful, creative and clever things that I find something new each time I look through mine. They cover topics like blogging, scrapbook/card making, quilting, jewelry making...you name it. Pick one up, make some tea...or cocoa...and take a look.
That's it for now. I had a parenting book that I was going to suggest but I have so many wonderful things to say about it, I think it will make a great blog topic.
Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fashion!

Okay, later I'll post my Friday Favorite Things but for now, I give you my favorite fashionista site:-) I don't know if you've ever had the chance to watch Isaac Mizrahi on TV but he is hilarious...and just happens to be right on with his fashion sense for the everyday woman. I follow his blog, which is so down to earth and funny, and also his website to watch his video blog that is like watching his tv show.
Here is the link http://www.isaacmizrahiny.com/watch_isaac/ The last one I watched was "Ask Isaac", a question from Christina. So good...and classic Isaac. Basically, you should wear what you love, mix styles and not worry about it. Great advice, if you ask me. Check it out sometime if you have a minute.
Happy Friday!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Cutest Photo Box Ever, Made by Tammy

Look what my niece Tammy made yesterday in just a few hours. Is this cute or what? She says it was super easy but then again she is really good at this:-) Still, I'm going to give it a try. She bought a white metal lunchpail at Michaels (using a 1/2 off coupon it was only $3.50...yay Tammy) and spent about $7.00 on scrapbook papers to add to it. If you look closely at the front, You'll see the letters "Pent" and then H2O. This stands for one of our favorite family vacation spots in Pentwater, Michigan. The back shows a sandcastle cut-out. This box is going to be for extra Pentwater photos Tam has. Very cool, huh? Tie a bunch of ribbon pieces to the handle and 3 hours later...VOILA...the perfect little place to keep photos. I imagine you could use these for so many other things too...gift packaging, recipe box, receipts, crayons or other kids stuff like scissors, glue... My daughter Taylor is forever collecting things so I think I'll make one for her to use...or better yet, have her make one. Thanks for the awesome idea Tam!

Friday, January 16, 2009

My Favorite Things

...or "Stuff I Love". I decided two things...Friday is going to be my favorite things day and if Oprah can do it, I can too!:-) The list will be very random...new things, cool finds, special treats...whatever I am liking at the time. So here goes...

My iphone~~
and the blinged case I made for it. I really wasn't that crazy about this phone...until I broke mine and had to live without it. I bought a like new red blackberry on ebay and thought it would be good enough. NO WAY. I turned around and sold it on ebay the same day I got it...for more than I paid:-) Anyway, having the ipod built in and the touch screen is awesome. To all of those people I talked out of this phone...I am so sorry! There is no comparison:-)

Victoria Secret Body Souffle
These are the best!!! I've used these for 2 years now. They are so smooth and fluffy. They come in about 8 scents and they are also very light so they aren't overpowering. There is just the very slightest hint of shimmer. Best of all is the price...they are $10 each and last a long time, but right now they are 4 for $20. These make AWESOME gifts. (And for what it's worth, they always seem to be on sale:-) Anything Lilly Pulitzer...
and I mean anything!
Clothes, accessories, bedding...you name it and she has it. Lilly means fun, bright, tropical, summer, Palm Beach (couldn't resist:-) Every day is a vacation with Lilly!
Visit Lilly's blog at http://www.blog.lillypulitzer.com


Jewelry with inspirational sayings...I love this stuff!This is sold on etsy at jeanskipper store.

And last but definitely not least...Shabby Chic, by Rachel Ashwell. First of all, I love everything! I also found out she has a blog that is cool so check that out at www.rachelashwellshabbychic.blogspot.com
Just look at this dining room...

Look at her sign..."Keep calm and Carry on"...love it!
On that note...See ya!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Calendars, Planners and Organizers...Oh my!

Well, it's January 15th and there's still time for some of us to get organized for the New Year, right? (Well, maybe not me but there's still time for you:-)
The other day I got a message from my sister, Kathy. It was a quick message asking me "what kind of planner" I was planning to use this year. I was on my cell phone at the zoo when I got the message and the monkeys were screeching in my other ear, so I had my daughter listen to make sure I heard right because I couldn't believe she asked ME about a planner. Sure enough, that's what she said. I cracked up then and there, enough to embarrass my girls for at least the 3rd time in an hour. I love my sister and besides her husband and children, I am probably the only one who can laugh at her over this. The reason...if she thinks SHE has organization/calendar problems, she should come to my house!!! At least she remembers Dr. appointments and birthdays. I wait until I get the reminder call the day before and work like crazy re-arranging my schedule to make the appointment. I have Taylor write birthdays on her calendar since she is the only one in the house to look at it daily. (Not only does she look at it often, every night she "rates" the day and writes fun little notes about what happened. She might say "good day, today was awesome, tired today, sad, dance was fun, dance was hard...) Her calendars are like journals.
But back to my sis...bless her heart, she tries every year to find a planner that will work for her. We laugh about this at least 3 or 4 times during the year, usually when she finds a new way to keep track of things because the old one is out the window. (Don't get me wrong, I buy new planners all the time too hoping this is "the one" that will turn me into Miss Organized, but no luck yet.) Anyway, I asked her to take a picture of all of the organizers she could find in her house, so here goes.Here is how she described her planners:
Left to right, 2008 brown/pink Target Franklin planner, bought the second this year as it is cheaper than a refill, second row is three types of good black leather planners from Franklin/Covey, My Apple Ical, small free Hallmark purse-size date book, slim Target one, Golden Retriever wall calendar...am I ready or what!
Yep...I'd say you're ready!!! Looks like 9 calendars to me. Hahaha.
Okay, what my sister doesn't realize is that she doesn't need to worry about this because she is waaaaay more organized than most of us and besides, that is not what is she is all about. She is the best wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend you will ever hope to find...THAT is what my sister is all about. (But it is kind of fun talking to her about planners and trying to discover the newest way to keep...or should I say "GET" our act together!)
Love you Sis!!!





Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Today is National Dress-Up Your Pet Day

So here are my two little buddies all dressed up for the big day.
Freddy the Football Player
Freddy the Ballerina (no wonder he gets so mad at us:-)
And Maui going out dressed in his bunny pajamas.

Happy Wednesday...and Happy Dress-Up Your Pet Day!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Life at the Zoo...

You probably thought I meant my life but I am really talking about the zoo. HaHa!!!
Friday, we took the afternoon off and went on a field trip to the Naples Zoo. It's a small zoo and while we are not really zoo people...it was a great day! They had a small but good selection of animals and most important (to my animal lover Taylor) they all lived in large areas so they could at least "pretend" to be free.
When we went near the Lions, we were the only ones there and the male lion started roaring like crazy. People came running from all over to see and hear this ferocious animal, asking how we got him to do that. I don't know...maybe he likes blondes:-)
We saw 2 monkeys who were hysterical. Their names are Jeffrey and Taylor and they are "married". They live on their little island, swinging through trees and walking around holding hands. At sunset, they climb their favorite tree and once the sun has set, they walk hand in hand to their little hut. It was the funniest thing.










The alligators were massive...and scary. This is what we share our state with? (There are over 1 million alligators in Florida) I have to say, our favorites were the zebras. I mean, they are really beautiful. And check out the perfection of their stripes:-) You should have heard my girls as I climbed on a bench to get this shot without the fence in the way..."Mom, you're the only one taking a picture of the Zebra's butt." Or "This is so embarrasing!!!" I told them it would be the photo of the day...and I believe I was right:-) It was a fun day and it reminded me that you are never too old to enjoy the zoo."Do these stripes make my butt look big???"

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