Friday, February 27, 2009

Puppy Photo Contest...Please help!

Happy Friday!!!
I am entering photos of my puppies in a contest to benefit the Children's Miracle Network. For each vote they receive, a dollar is donated to CMN, so it could really add up. I can enter one of each, with a caption. If anyone has time, we are stuck on which photos and could use some help. (Or should I say, we can't agree!!!:-) The little dog is named Freddy and the bigger dog is named Maui. (Maui is in a car with a surfboard in both of his photos, if that helps) Please help me choose one pose of each and if you think of a good caption, that would be great too. You can email me or leave a comment...whichever is easiest. I will number each photo. Thanks!
P.S. Check back later today as I am posting my first ever give-away.
Hint...think Flip-Flops and Summer:-)


1. Freddy

2. Freddy in his Miami Dolphins Football Jersey

3. Maui with the Surfboard, in a convertible

4. Maui again

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thought for the day...

A possibility was born the day you were born and it will live as long as long as you live.

-Marcus Solero

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail???

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gumbo-Limbo Jambalaya...just in time for Mardi Gras

I have no idea what is behind Mardi-Gras. I only know I love the idea of "Fat Tuesday". Hey, I can pig out on "punchkies" (paczkis) or as I know them...jelly donuts...too:-) Anyway, one of our favorite meals is kind of a cajun dish. We call it "Gumbo-Limbo Jambalaya" but it is adapted from a recipe in the Cooking Light cookbook called "Hearty Chicken-Sausage Soup". It is a super good, super easy slow cooker meal. I will tell you, the veggie mix contains okra, which seems to be a really bad 4 letter word to most people. All I can say is that once it cooks all day, it is small and unrecognizable AND my daughters LOVE it...and that says something. Jordie just took a bite and was bummed she didn't get any okra in it so please, give it a try...for me:-)

Gumbo-Limbo Jambalaya
1 (16 ounce) pkg. frozen vegetable gumbo mixture
1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 ounces low-fat smoked sausage or kielbasa
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
2 Tbs cajun seasoning (2 tsp if you don't like it spicy)
2 cups long grained brown rice, cooked

Place 1st 6 ingredients in slow cooker on high 1 hour and then low 6-7 hours. Stir in cooked rice for the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
Makes 6~1 and 1/4 cup servings at 240 cals/serving
***We love this so by adding extra ingredients, you have enough for a few nights.
Also, we absolutely LOVE Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning. I add it to fish, chicken, pasta, soups...you name it.
Great served with a warm, 5 grain bread and tossed salad.

Dessert...of course! Caramel Banana Sundaes from Cooking Light
(Because if it were from me, I would add a few Tbs. of butter:-)
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar and 1 Tbs water
Combine in a large non-stick skillet. Cook over med. heat until sugar melts. Add 2 large bananas, peeled and sliced, to skillet. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes or until bananas are heated through. Spoon over 1/2 cup servings of vanilla fat-free ice cream and top with 1 tsp. fat-free caramel sauce. Yummy!!!:-)




More Thoughts on "I Love You More"...

While I was fighting the flu the past few days, I received some wonderful feedback on my "I Love You More" post. I had a few surprises to my simple message. First of all, there are others who love Kristen's jewelry. (No surprise there!) The real surprise came when Laura Dukstra left me a message saying she had written a children's book called "I Love You More". I thought I had read every sweet, inspirational, loving book ever written for children but apparently I missed a big one...and it would have been a favorite, no doubt.
We love the whole "I love you more" idea. I'm not sure how it started with us other than I remember feeling, as every Mother does, an incredible amount of love for my child. And when you hold that little child and they say "I love you Mommy", you can only think that there is no way they could ever love you as much as you love them, hence the "I love you more" sentiment. Then, when my girls were a bit older, we watched one of our favorite movies "What a Girl Wants". In that movie, the mother-daughter characters say "I love you more than 100 swedish fish"...things like that. (By the way, swedish fish are a candy:-)
Anyway, I am going to look for Laura's book. I have saved a few of my daughter's favorite childhood books and this one will deserve a place with them, I'm positive. How smart was Laura to take a sweet moment between mother and child and turn it into a book for parents to share with their own children. This morning, read some reviews by other parents and apparently the book is written so that you read it through and then flip it over and can read it back again, I think from the child's perspective and then the mother's perspective. This must be to show the love is never-ending and that is just so true. Laura, thank you for your beautiful note and I can't wait to read your book.
I love you all more than warm chocolate chip cookies and a glass of cold milk!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"I Love You More..."

This is something my girls and I have always said... When one of us says "I love you", the other then says "I love you more..." Or maybe we say "I love you more than hot fudge sundaes or I love you more than Disney World..." You get the picture. I met another mom bogger this morning who makes the coolest jewelry and sells it on etsy. She has so many great pieces but this is the necklace I want to order for me and my girls. As you can see, it's perfect for us! You can see all of Kristen's work at her etsy store, klacustomcreations.etsy.com
You can also see some of the pieces and get to know her at her blog, www.kristenandrewsonline.blogspot.com

Friday, February 20, 2009

Things I Love...Friday Favorites

Hi again! I promised and here it is...a few more of my favorite things. I know...seriously, who really cares? But it's my blog so... LOL
Since I rambled on the last post, let's get started...

1. Junior League Cookbooks.
I guess I kind of collect these
as I have at least 10, from cities like Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale,
Dallas, Pittsburgh, Charleston and Birmingham Alabama. To me, these are a sure thing. Everyone puts their favorite recipe in because who would want to submit a bad recipe...and have your name by it and then have every
one think you were a horrible cook!!! haha Plus, you get a few regional recipes in each book. I have found a few at used book sales, too...Jackpot!

2. Pier 1 Glass Chalkboard Jars
Aren't these cute? I found them awhile back and they
quickly sold out. I was in Pier 1 recently and guess what they just
got back in for spring...my favorite jars.
You can use them for anything and they are really sturdy. The price is $10.00 & $14.00,
...not bad. I wish I could have uploaded my own jars but I'm having trouble doing so. I have one that says "Sweet treats" for our munchies and one that says "Puppy Chow" for my dog's munchies.

3. Rimmel Long Lasting Foundation
****Bargain Alert****
I love this foundation! I have used it for about 3 weeks now and it really is long lasting. It says it gives 16 hr. fresh, oil-free coverage and I think it really
does. The texture is so smooth and creamy...very
easy to apply with a sponge or fingertips. Personally, I can't use that mineral powder...I
need to cover more than that allows:-) And cream to powder foundations are starting to get too drying for my aging (quickly) skin. Anyway, this can be bought at your local Walgreens, CVS...for only a few dollars. Give it a try.

4. Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer Self-Tanner
Yes, I live in Florida and yes, I love the beach. But for the past 5 years, at least, I would say the majority of my tanning comes from
a bottle. I've done
enough to my skin and will pay for it so for now, it's
sunscreen and fake tans. I actually believe I have tried every self-tanner ever made, starting waaaay back with QT. Remember that??? Yuck...I was bright orange for days! Anyway, this is inexpensive and lets the color develop over a few days. I use it on my legs mostly but sometimes arms and upper body, too. Never on the face as I think there are enough bronzers out there for that and it would be too much for my skin to handle the lotion.
Fake it, don't Bake it!:-)

5. Crystal Light Metabolism+
Peach mango Green Tea water flavor

This is so delicious! It is only 5 calories per serving and you get 2 servings per pack. (1/2 pack flavors 1 water bottle) Anyway, this has a light taste and
sometimes I can squeek out 3 bottles for one pack. I know we need to drink water but let's face it, sometimes it gets boring so this helps. Plus, it has a bit of green tea and that is
awesome, or so they say!

6. Maria Shriver's books~
"Ten Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Into the Real World"
and "Just Who Will You
Be?"
Okay, first let me say that Maria Shriver wrote the book,
"Ten Things..." that I planned on writing for my girls but I will forgive her:-) She is a fabulous writer...very easy to read and so full of common sense. You can tell she is writing from the heart and giving important lessons to her children and everyone else. I read these books and wish we were friends because I love what she has to say. "Just Who Will You Be" is so awesome
...and if you know me at all, you know my pet peeve is the constant pressure we put on kids to "be something" when they should be kids and learn, experience, explore...and decide who THEY want to be. I so highly recommend these books to everyone of all ages.

7. Starbucks Cupcakes~
Chocolate, French Vanilla & Red VelvetOkay, Starbucks now sells cupcakes...like I needed that!:-) They are unbelievable.
Enough said!

Random Thoughts Over Coffee

TGIF!!! I haven't posted in so long that I'm now overwhelmed by the thoughts flying through my head. I need to post my "Friday Favorites" but will do that later. (lucky you, haha) I thought I would just comment on many of the things (most of them soooo simple) that I've been thinking about lately. Okay, here goes...

Having company is great but sometimes it's really good to get your house back. I've learned something about myself...I am not a morning person. Not that I can't wake up because I usually get up with my husband at 6 a.m. What I mean is when I wake up, I turn on the coffee maker, take my dogs out, get the paper, have my coffee, read the paper or get on the computer, sometimes turn on the tv...all in the early morning quiet of my home. I DO NOT feel the need to chat at this time. If my girls wake up early, they know this is *my* time. The one time my husband stayed home until 8:30 for a dr.'s appt. before going to work, he drove me CRAZY!!!!! Asking me questions, planning for the weekend...whatever. I do that AFTER 8 a.m, okay? (I told you this was random:-)

Speaking of coffee, my all-time favorite is manufactured right here in Naples, Fl. It's called Manatee Gourmet Coffee and it is so smooth tasting. My Favorite is the tropical blend which has just the tiniest hint of coconut, caramel and hazelnut flavor added to it. http://www.manateecoffee.com/The company is partially owned by Mina Hemingway who lives here and has a quaint bookstore, appropriate for the grand-daughter of Ernest Hemingway:-) Anyway, this coffee is by mail-order or you can buy it at Costco. Everyone I have ever told about this loves it...including my husband who doesn't care for flavored coffee. Top it off with my favorite Coconut Cream and voila...your very own Starbucks:-) Best of all, a portion of the proceeds goes toward helping those gentle giants, the manatee.

What else...I had part 2 of my root canal yesterday and my tooth hurts to put pressure on it. How can this be if the nerve is now dead? By the way, other than this little glitch and the cost, of course, I would rather a root canal than get my teeth cleaned. I went to an endodontist and both parts of the root canal took about 20 minutes. Then again, it hurts, so... But I am crazy about this guy and wish he could do all of my dental work...I think:-) I hate getting my teeth cleaned. I always get the hygienist who picks mercilessly and gets something caught on a filling that they practically try to pull out...it's not food in there, you know. It's a filling already! And then that yucky tasting stuff they grind onto your teeth in the name of cleaning. Gross! Please, give me a root canal. At least I am so numb I can't feel a thing:-) P.S. Check out these adorable tooth fairy pillows by www.modecokids.com (hint,hint Kathy:-)

My Taylor got selected to dance the lead in Peter and the Wolf for her Spring recital. She is one of those shy ones who comes to life onstage and then look out! She is playing Peter for one night and the other night is his friend, the cat. She spent last night watching the broadway show "CATS" trying to "prepare" for the role. (By the way, CATS is awesome if you have never seen it!) Anyway, I am so excited for her.

I met a new "online" buddy who has an awesome blog and is a gifted writer. She has the funniest take on everyday things, like sitting in the carpool lane. I borrowed these cute pics from her site (she said I could:-) Anyway, check it out at http://www.obnoxioussahm.blogspot.com

Oh, I almost forgot...March is National Craft Month...yay!!! That means I am going to feature all kinds of different crafts and other projects on my blog. I have some ideas and am looking for many more. I wrote in my mom crafters blog asking for friends to submit ideas, photos... and I would love anyone who reads this to send me their projects. It doesn't matter what...simple, challenging, old or new (remember, what is old to you may be new to a new crafty diva) so send ideas. Kids crafts too...I have a few teacher friends who read this and I know they would love ideas as well as everyone else. I will be happy to promote your work on my blog.
Okey-dokey...I could go on and on but I'm sure I've lost everyone about 3 paragraphs ago so I guess that's it for now. Check back later for some Friday favorites!!!
Ciao!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today I am spending Valentine's Day with my two favorite girls in the world. They surprised me with a gift this morning that I love!!!!!!! A few weeks ago, they ordered something for me online and waited...impatiently:-)...for it to arrive. The top secret was revealed today and the surprise gift was a package of m & m's with custom messages on them, just for me. Of course, they were in various shades of my favorite colors...PINK!!! So yummy and very sweet of them. You can order these treats at www.mymms.com. Hope your day is just as special.
HUGS!!!!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

In search of home-made valentines...

When my girls were growing up, Valentine's Day was one of our favorite Holidays. I would say it came in right behind Christmas and Easter. My husband and I never actually went out on Valentine's Day because we had a family celebration. All of the food for dinner had to be red, pink or white. I've had more pink mashed potatoes, red jello hearts, chicken fingers with ketchup hearts or messages on them and strawberry milk than I can remember:-) We decorated the house with red and pink hearts everywhere and we always made special, homemade valentines for their classmates. I know, I know...who has time, Spongebob and Barbie are calling, they make such cute ones these days...I've heard it all. But I tell you, this was one of my girls favorite memories and they both say they will make valentines with their kids someday. (Of course, I had girls. Maybe it's easier to convince them to pass up the spiderman valentines:-) We still bought a box of fun valentines and they gave them to neighbors, each other... But for school, homemade all the way. (I know, Martha, Martha, Martha...and yes, of course there are some ideas from Martha in here:-)
Yep, these are her crayon hearts. We made this mobile one year using crayon shavings, wax paper and an iron.

Anyway, I didn't save pictures of our old valentine's so I'm going to post a few ideas I found online. I am not the most creative person but the idea is, it doesn't take much. It's popular to attach candy to a valentine and we always did that, too. But first, one of our favorites, which I don't have a photo of, was a candy kiss valentine. We used poster board and cut out a shape of a candy kiss...about the size of your palm. We covered it all over with tin foil and smoothed it down. On the computer, I typed "A kiss for you on Valentine's Day" and cut them into strips. My daughter wrote her name on it and we attached a candy kiss. It was adorable...and super easy. Another one we did was to cut out circles on cardstock and embellish them with scrapbbok hearts, doilies and other stuff. We taped a lollipop to the back and wrapped them in clear cellophane and attached a tag on each stick. If you're lucky enough to be able to bring in home baked goodies, a cookie pop is the way to go! Paper Creations Magazine has some great ideas. Whenever I get one of these mags, I keep them forever!


Here are a few other ideas I found online. They look pretty self-explanatory by the photo alone.
This one is a Valentine Mouse, using 2 candy kisses.

Flower Valentines...I know that my girls used to have to decorate a "mailbox" using a shoebox for the valentine exchange. Be creative...Maybe use a theme your child really loves...a box to look like spongebob or something. One year, Jordie's class had a contest. She wanted a tiki hut/surf shack theme. (She is very artistic and made cut-out surfboards as her valentines and decorated them sooo cute. ) She painted the box turquoise and made cute little surfer signs for it. I bought corn tamale things from the grocery store and she fringed them for the grass roof. A few flowers here and there and...you guessed it. 1st place. (That's my girl! hahaha) Here is a photo of a puppy mailbox that would be so cute and easy, too. By the way, if you don't like this kind of thing, just buy some cute valentines. This is for the crafty mom who likes this kind of thing. No stress:-)

Okay, on to Valentine's with Martha Stewart. First of all, this month's cover is so tempting. Check out all of the cupcake recipes. Next she has a cute idea for a valentine that includes a lollipop. Adorable! And for decorating or maybe as a cute teacher gift, look at this flower arrangement using candy hearts. So cute! "It's a GOOD thing." haha

Happy Old-fashioned Valentine's Day!



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