Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Strawberry Recipes

In honor of the strawberry picking our family did this last weekend, I thought I'd post some of my favorite strawberry recipes. I did a ton of "baking" this morning and managed to use up our whole supply, I guess we're headed back out this weekend!!

Strawberry Graham Dessert

2 c graham crackers, crushed
1/2 c margarine, melted
1 lg bag marshamallows
1 c milk
12 oz tub cool whip
3 c strawberries (can also use raspberries or blueberries)

Mix the graham crackers and margarine together and press on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Melt together marshamllows and the milk, cool. Fold in the cool whip and then berries; spread over crust and chill until ready to serve.

Sensational Strawberry Pie

1 qt sliced strawberries
1 c cold water
3 T cornstarch
1 c sugar
3 T red jello powder
1 graham cracker crust

Add cold water and cornstarch to saucepan. Turn heat up to high, stirring continuously, bring to a boil until it thickens. Take off heat, add sugar and jello powder. Mix all together adding strawberries. Pour mixture into pie crust. Chill for at least 4 hours. Garnish with whipped cream and serve.

Strawberry Trifle

1 pt fresh strawberries (sliced) or 2 bags frozen strawberries (thawed, drained, and sliced)
3 lg instant vanilla pudding
4 c cold milk
16 oz whipped topping
1 angel food cake (cubed)

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the milk and the udding. Beat until it starts to firm; refrigerate. In a large bowl or trifle bowl, line the bottom with half of the angel food cake; then layer half of the pudding, half the strawberries, and half the whipped topping. Repeat for second layer. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lemonade Cupcakes!

I snitched this recipe from Caroline's bakeshop, and they're fabulous!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Freebie Alert!!

Thanks again to Thrifty Minnesota Mama for this one- she has GREAT stuff, check her out!

Free DiGiorno Flatbread!

digiorno.jpg


Go HERE!

Kahlua Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thanks to Kimmy Lou for this FABULOUS recipe!!! Plain ole choc chips are my hubby's favorite cookies, but I make them so much, that I usually cop out and make the bars. This inspired me to actually suck it up and make the cookies. :) Plus, easier to count WW points that way!!

Kahlua Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup salted butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp Kahlua
2 large eggs
2 cups (1 large package) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine flour, soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat buttter, sugars, and kahlua in large mixer bowl until creamy, add eggs, beating well. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 2 minutes, then move to wire racks to cool completely. 

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Cookie Bars Variation: Grease large pan (I use my one that's a size up from 9x13, I can't remember the exact measurements). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars. 

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vote for Jay!

Click HERE!!
(he's the guy in the cockpit! :))

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Freebie Alert!!

Arby's is having a "Free Wednesday" promotion. Today (June 10) is a free chicken club with drink purchase.

arbys+chkn+club.png

Future Freebies:
June 17th
Free Regular Side Kicker with sandwich purchase
June 24th
Free Regular Roast Beef with soft drink purchase
July 1st
Free Regular Beef and Cheddar with soft drink purchase
July 8th
Free Orange Cream Shake with sandwich purchase
July 15th
Free Regular Roast Beef with soft drink purchase
July 22nd
Free RoastBurger with soft drink purchase
July 29th
Free FruiTea with sandwich purchase

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Freebie Alert!!

Get your free sample of Tampax Pearl HERE.


tampax.jpg

*Thanks to Thrifty Minnesota Mama for the tip!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

What an awesome Giveaway! (even though its not mine...)

Flying Giggles and Lollipops (yes, I"m STILL in love with their name) is having another great giveaway. I checked it out tonight, and I'm in love with the store thats being featured as well, so I thought I'd pass it along to you all. Even though I don't actually want you to enter, because I want to win.... Hmm..... how to do this??? hehe.... Her giveaway ends June 22, so get moving if you DO plan to compete against me....

Here's the store's link so you can check out her awesome stuff- 


I really really super want the Mommy Stamped Necklace... if anyone wants to pass that along to Hubby Dearest, that would be great. kaythanks

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Freebie Alert- Sonic!!!

Free Root Beer Floats at Sonic!! On Weds, June 3, Sonic is giving away free 10 oz Root Beer Floats at participating Drive-Ins from 8 pm to midnight.
Check here to make sure that your local Sonic is participating!!
Enjoy!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Freebie Alert!


Get your free Carefree liners and case 


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Freebie Alert!

This is for all you Scrappers out there.... Its a little belated Mother's Day Present!

Free Mother's Day Scrapbook Kit Download at Little Miss Crafty Pants!! 

Enjoy!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Family Fun Friday!!

Go see UP!!!

They even have it in 3D, I can't wait to take my kids this weekend!! :)

**Sorry I've been on hiatus, my computer crashed and my kids aren't really the "cooperate at the library while Mommy blogs" kind of kids! I'm BACK with a new MAC now though!! So, watch out!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Freebie Alert!!

Get your free PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps HERE!!!
(you must purchase an entree and be dining in, but how hard is that??)


Thanks to Linda for the heads up!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Freebie Alert!!

I got an email from Shutterfly today saying that they're giving away 25 free prints! They are charging for shipping and tax, but they'll give you free shipping if you spend over $50 along with your prints....
Anyways, codes are: PRINTS for the 25 freebies, and SHIP50 for the free shipping. The prints deal ends tomorrow, so hurry up! :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Book of the Week


I'm going to veer from my usual here since I read this on vacation this last weekend and it was a bit of light reading for me (is there any other type on vacation with two toddlers?? I mean, really....) 

Synopsis:

Wedding photographer Mackensie "Mac" Elliot is most at home behind the camera, but her focus is shattered moments before an important wedding rehearsal when she bumps into the bride-to-be's brother...an encounter that has them both seeing stars.

A stable, safe English teacher, Carter Maguire is definitely not Mac's type. But a casual fling might be just what she needs to take her mind off bridezillas. Of course, casual flings can turn into something more when you least expect it. And Mac will have to turn to her three best friends—and business partners—to see her way to her own happy ending.


Review:
I usually enjoy Nora Roberts' romance novels as some light reading, but this surprised me and read much more "chick lit" than trashy romance. There were, of course, the requisite trashy romance scenes, but they were well placed, tasteful (meaning non-raunchy), and not done in the usual (within 4 minutes of meeting the star-crossed lovers) way. The book is the first in a new series by Roberts and I think she's turning a "new page" in literature. Personally, now I can't wait for "Bed of Roses" due out in December....

Friday, May 8, 2009

Family Fun Friday!

Growing Up Wild 
(3 DVD Set!)

This week is going to be another movie post, my kids love our Family Movie Nights and I have a few saved up still to watch with them. This is a great set that I found at National Geographic's website. They have some great stuff, plus they're my outlet for the Toot and Puddle books that Harry LOVES (and I love too because it's great for cultural awareness and love of travel- two things I really hope to inspire in my kids!).
We record this series on our DVR as well (its listed as Growing Up...), Emma loves the baby animals especially!!
I also subscribed to their Little Kids magazine for Harry, I love that he's learning so much about the animal world. He's even started picking out books about animals at the library lately- this is a BIG change, normally we're a straight dumptruck-train-car book kind of a family. :) The magazine is shaped just right for little hands and has LOTS of gorgeous NG quality pictures. Both kids love it!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Freebie Alert!!

KFC- Free 2-piece Meal, must print today, good 5/6-5/19 (except Mother's Day)
Go HERE

Walgreens- Free 8x10 picture, Today ONLY!!

Go HERE and use the code MOTHER.

Thanks to Mandee and Brandee for the Freebies!!

Also, Free Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee on 5/15!! We don't have them in Spokane, but for all of you lucky enough to have one near you, ENJOY :)

Recipe of the Day

Since as you read this, I'm going to be winging over the skies and seas on a wonderful Southwest jet headed to LA for a long weekend, I figured I'd cheat on my recipe of the day as well. Plus, its super yummy and I'm dying to try it myself. Maybe someone could make me one and have it waiting in my freezer when I get home?? hint, hint, nudge, nudge....
This recipe is from Cathe Holden at Just Something I Made. I love her blog, she has great tips and tricks and funny little anecdotes. :) 
Anyways, check out her recipe this week:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Book of the Week



Synopsis:
As any reader of The Mosquito Coast knows, men who drag their families to far-off climes in pursuit of an Idea seldom come to any good, while those familiar with At Play in the Fields of the Lord or Kalimantaan understand that the minute a missionary sets foot on the fictional stage, all hell is about to break loose. So when Barbara Kingsolver sends missionary Nathan Price along with his wife and four daughters off to Africa in The Poisonwood Bible, you can be sure that salvation is the one thing they're not likely to find. The year is 1959 and the place is the Belgian Congo. Nathan, a Baptist preacher, has come to spread the Word in a remote village reachable only by airplane. To say that he and his family are woefully unprepared would be an understatement: "We came from Bethlehem, Georgia, bearing Betty Crocker cake mixes into the jungle," says Leah, one of Nathan's daughters. But of course it isn't long before they discover that the tremendous humidity has rendered the mixes unusable, their clothes are unsuitable, and they've arrived in the middle of political upheaval as the Congolese seek to wrest independence from Belgium. In addition to poisonous snakes, dangerous animals, and the hostility of the villagers to Nathan's fiery take-no-prisoners brand of Christianity, there are also rebels in the jungle and the threat of war in the air. Could things get any worse?

In fact they can and they do. The first part of The Poisonwood Bible revolves around Nathan's intransigent, bullying personality and his effect on both his family and the village they have come to. As political instability grows in the Congo, so does the local witch doctor's animus toward the Prices, and both seem to converge with tragic consequences about halfway through the novel. From that point on, the family is dispersed and the novel follows each member's fortune across a span of more than 30 years.

The Poisonwood Bible is arguably Barbara Kingsolver's most ambitious work, and it reveals both her great strengths and her weaknesses. As Nathan Price's wife and daughters tell their stories in alternating chapters, Kingsolver does a good job of differentiating the voices. But at times they can grate--teenage Rachel's tendency towards precious malapropisms is particularly annoying (students practice their "French congregations"; Nathan's refusal to take his family home is a "tapestry of justice"). More problematic is Kingsolver's tendency to wear her politics on her sleeve; this is particularly evident in the second half of the novel, in which she uses her characters as mouthpieces to explicate the complicated and tragic history of the Belgian Congo.

Despite these weaknesses, Kingsolver's fully realized, three-dimensional characters make The Poisonwood Bible compelling, especially in the first half, when Nathan Price is still at the center of the action. And in her treatment of Africa and the Africans she is at her best, exhibiting the acute perception, moral engagement, and lyrical prose that have made her previous novels so successful. --Alix Wilber, courtesy of amazon.com

My Review:

I loved this. I first read it in high school, and have re-read it every year or two just because it speaks to me. I switch off identifying with each of the girls depending on what phase of life I'm in at the moment, or what mood I'm in as I sit down to read. Kingsolver does an excellent job of describing the political situation of Africa at the time, plus the girls' third culture and how they deal with that, both as children visiting home and as adults and where they choose to make their final homes and lives. The way the girls relate to their parents, especially their mother, was eloquently narrated and I felt as though I was a part of each character at one point or another. 

This was featured as one of Oprah's Book Club Picks in June of 2000. I don't always agree with her picks, but this one I whole heartedly supported and enjoyed. Even my husband has read it and enjoyed it, but don't tell anybody!! :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Family Fun Friday!

I found this great recipe for on the same blog that's doing the hair clippies giveaway. I think they're my new obsession... Anyways, check this out! I'm just hoping that the weather warms up a little and decides to be sunny so that we can try it out. I can just see Emma coated in this stuff, but it'll be super cute and we'll have a pretty driveway. Take THAT, base housing!! :)

Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Paint!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recipe of the Day

This week is BBQ Beef

Ingredients:
4 lb roast (you can make this a little bigger/smaller depending on what you find at the store!)
2 T vinegar
1 bottle ketchup
4 c celery (chopped)
2 T Worcestershire sauce
3 sm onions (I usually use 1 large)
1 T salt
1 tsp chili powder
2 c water (sometimes I add a bit more!)

Trim the fat from the meat and cut into large pieces. Place all ingredients into a large roaster. Bake in slow oven 275-325 for about 5 hours. As the meat cooks, break apart with a fork. Water may be added if mixture becomes dry. Serve on buns.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flying Giggles and Lollipops Giveaway!

Isn't their name just the cutest??
Anyways, her clippies are also adorable... And I want to win some... and someone to convince Emma to keep them in her hair! Oh, yes, that's probably my job right?? 
Check them out!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekly Book Pick


Synopsis:
This clever and inventive tale works on three levels: as an intriguing science fiction concept, a realistic character study and a touching love story. Henry De Tamble is a Chicago librarian with "Chrono Displacement" disorder; at random times, he suddenly disappears without warning and finds himself in the past or future, usually at a time or place of importance in his life. This leads to some wonderful paradoxes. From his point of view, he first met his wife, Clare, when he was 28 and she was 20. She ran up to him exclaiming that she'd known him all her life. He, however, had never seen her before. But when he reaches his 40s, already married to Clare, he suddenly finds himself time travelling to Clare's childhood and meeting her as a 6-year-old. The book alternates between Henry and Clare's points of view, and so does the narration. Reed ably expresses the longing of the one always left behind, the frustrations of their unusual lifestyle, and above all, her overriding love for Henry. Likewise, Burns evokes the fear of a man who never knows where or when he'll turn up, and his gratitude at having Clare, whose love is his anchor. The expressive, evocative performances of both actors convey the protagonists' intense relationship, their personal quirks and their reminiscences, making this a fascinating audio.
*courtesy of Publisher's Weekly via Amazon.com

My Review:
I loved this, it was hard to get into in the beginning as the story takes place on different levels and on different time periods and narrated by different characters. However, once I got them figured out, I was enthralled. I found their love story to be drastically different than the norm, and inspiring at times. Other times, I found it completely unconventional, but I think that that was the beauty in the story. I've had friends who found it unethical and immoral, but again, I think that was the author's point of drawing out your emotions and making you reexamine what you thought a love story was supposed to be. I urge you to pick this up and struggle through the first few chapters: afterwards, you'll thank me for it!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Family Fun Friday

Space Buddies! 
(insert corny space-y music here...)


We bought this movie a few weeks ago in a Walmart Easter sale of some sort and threw it in Harry's Easter basket. We finally got the chance to sit down and watch it with him this week, and its definitely a new family favorite. My hubby loved the corny humour, Harry loved the rocket ships and all the "boy elements," and Emma just plain ol' LOVES puppies. So, it works well for us. 
I'm guessing since I'm going to be in Seattle for the weekend with my girls (insert joyous escape music here!), this will get played at least once when hubby needs some "down time." (Read: computer time!)

Summary:
The third film in the Air Buddies series, itself a spin-off of the Air Bud seriesSpace Buddies features five golden retriever puppies who have a knack for getting into mischief. While the Buddies separated at the end of Air Buddies and currently live with different families, their kid owners all go to the same school and live in the same town. When the kids take a field trip to see the launch of a real space shuttle, excitement runs high and Buddha quickly gets his brothers and sister together to sneak onto the school bus and join in the fun. The dogs get the adventure of a lifetime when they tour the shuttle at the wrong time and inadvertently get launched into space on a trip to the moon. All is not as it should be in mission control, and saboteur Mr. Finkle (Kevin Weisman) may just get the whole mission scrapped--Buddies and all. Mission control's Slats (Lochlyn Monroe), remote pilot Astro (Ali Hillis), spaceship designer Pi (Bill Fagerbakke), and his pet ferret Gravity try their best to save the shuttle and the Buddies, but the success of their mission hinges on help from crazy Russian cosmonaut Yuri (Diedrich Bader) and his cosmodog Spudnick. Voice talent includes Jason Earles as Spudnick, a Russian bull terrier with a decidedly strange accent, and Josh Flitter, Liliana Mummy, Nico Ghisi, Skyler Gisondo, and Henry Hodges as the Buddies. Bonus features include a 13-minute making of featurette that includes some history about space travel and is narrated by the Buddies, bloopers, and Alyson Stoner's "Dancing in the Moonlight" music video. An adventure story with a nice message about family and teamwork, children ages 3 to 10 will enjoy Space Buddies with its cute talking puppies and not-too-scary space travel, but those seeking believability will not be impressed. --Tami Horiuchi
*Review from Amazon.com

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Recipe of the Day!

Nacho Chicken and Rice (Crockpot!)

1 cup white rice
2 cans cheddar cheese soup
1 16 oz jar of salsa (I like the chunky!)
1 lb cubed chicken
1 1/2 cups water

Mix all together and cook on low for 5 hrs. (I cook a little less time, but my crockpot tends to burn at the edges, so just keep an eye on it towards the end!)
I use this on tortillas, with chips, and on its own depending on how my family is feeling. Harry hates spicy stuff, so I use the mild salsa, but I've made it with the hot and its super good that way too, especially on the tortillas. Enjoy :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekly Book Pick

Synopsis:

Juggling the demands of her yarn shop and single-handedly raising a teenage daughter has made Georgia Walker grateful for her Friday Night Knitting Club. Her friends are happy to escape their lives too, even for just a few hours. But when Georgia's ex suddenly reappears, demanding a role in their daughter's life, her whole world is shattered. 


Luckily, Georgia's friends are there, sharing their own tales of intimacy, heartbreak, and miracle making. And when the unthinkable happens, these women will discover that what they've created isn't just a knitting club: it's a sisterhood.

*courtesty of bn.com


My Review:

I found this to be a bit slow going at first,  the story is there and the characters drew me in, but the author just didn't have me hooked with her writing. I did feel compelled to finish it, and was frustrated with her ending, but it plays out very well with the sequel (Knit Two) and I ended up being much less disappointed. I have to say that this is a book that you should definitely read while planning to read the next. They tie together very well and each complement the other perfectly, standing alone, I would not recommend. Its hard to give much more of a review as it would tend towards the spoiler section instead, after all, this is chick lit! :)





Friday, April 17, 2009

Fun Family Day Friday!

Play-Dough!!

This is the recipe that I use, simply because it makes the dough last longer than the simplest recipe. I found it at Amazing Moms.

Flour: 3cups
Salt: 1 1/2 cups
Water: 3 cups
Vegetable Oil: 2TB.
Cream of tartar: 1TB.
Food coloring: few drops or unsweetened "Kool-Aid" 1pkg.

Mix ALL of the ingredients in a large saucepan.
Cook over medium low heat, until the dough comes away 
from the edges of the pan and it becomes difficult to move the spoon. Remove from heat. Cool until it can be handled.
Place on counter or wax paper knead 3-4 times.
Store in an air tight container.

I usually try and make two colors, that way each kid gets there own, and it cuts down on the fighting. 

Enjoy and have fun!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Feel Good Moment for the Day

My hubby found this on YouTube today. It's sooooo adorable and surprising! Made me cry, although it doesn't take much these days!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Recipe of the Day!

WW Blueberry Streusel Muffins

2 1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour, divided 
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp table salt 
1 large egg(s) 
1 cup(s) sugar, divided 
3/4 cup(s) reduced-fat sour cream 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1/4 cup(s) fat-free skim milk, divided 
2 cup(s) blueberries, washed and picked over 
2 tbsp butter, melted 

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Place muffin liners in a 12-hole muffin tin. 

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg with 3/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and beat until thoroughly combined; blend in vanilla extract. 

Add half of flour mixture and half of milk to sugar mixture; beat until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and milk; beat until smooth.

Fold in blueberries and fill each muffin liner about 3/4 full; set aside.

To make streusel topping, in a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup each of sugar and flour. Pour in melted butter and combine with fingertips. Divide crumb mixture over muffins; gently press into top of muffin batter with fingertips. 

Bake until slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans for about 10 to 15 minutes and then transfer muffins onto racks to cool completely. Yields 1 muffin per serving.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Weekly Book Pick

This week's book pick is Marley and me by John Grogan. As you all probably know, this is also a recent movie that has come out on DVD. I finally just got around to seeing the movie this weekend (it was in my Easter basket!), but I'd read the book a few weeks ago. 

Synopsis:
John and Jenny were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy—and their life would never be the same. Marley quickly grew into a barreling, ninety-seven-pound steamroller of a Labrador retriever who crashed through screen doors, flung drool on guests, stole women's undergarments, devoured couches and fine jewelry, and was expelled from obedience school. Yet Marley's heart was pure, and he remained a steadfast model of love and devotion for a growing family through pregnancy, birth, heartbreak, and joy, right to the inevitable goodbye.

Review:
I figured that this would be a pretty predictable story: puppy comes home, puppy chews things, family grows to love puppy, puppy dies. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how hilarious the writing was and how much family background the author contained in the narrative. It is a true story and I fell in love with both the irresistible puppy (Marley) and the family. I laughed when Marley ate through the drywall, cried when Jenny had her miscarriage, laughed harder at Marley at the dog beach, cried when Marley got sick, and was so emotionally invested in the story of this beautiful family that I couldn't bring myself to see the movie until now, knowing that I would bawl through the whole thing. And bawl I did, but in a good, happy, loving way. 

Bonus Features:

I found this "I Can Read" book for Harry at Target, so he got this in his Easter basket yesterday as well. He was super excited, as it has pictures from the movie, so he got to follow along in his book while we watched it.


This book is hilarious, and another spinoff. We've actually had this book for a few years, Harry was first learning to talk when we got it, and would follow along as we read it saying, "no, NO, puppy!" It was sooo cute and lovable. 


And of course, the movie. We bought it, but I'm sure you could rent/blockbuster/netflix your way to seeing it as well. Enjoy and stay close to the tissues. :)



Saturday, April 11, 2009

Freebie Alert!!


Fisher Price is starting a new line called "Precious Places" and for a limited time, they're giving away free DVD's! I ordered one for my little princess, its super easy and totally free (no shipping, no nada!). But hurry up, they won't last long!! They also have a video of the first episode you can watch on their website to get a sneak peek. :)

Go HERE to get yours!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Family Fun Friday!

This week's Family Fun day is Easter Eggs!! Of course, you can do these any which way that you please. There are countless kits and patterns and projects that you can do depending on your kids' ages and abilities. As for mine, we stuck with the plain ole 99 cent Paas kit from Walmart and even that was a challenge not to ruin! I of course, started off the ruinage by putting vinegar in my pink. Hence, I have a few speckled eggs, which I thought were kinda cool, but apparently are LAME. SO, we have a nice stack of brightly colored and some multi-hued (okay, brown) eggs. Emma shattered her share (that's why they're hard-boiled, people!) and Harry lost patience and created some "pale" eggs, but whatever. They'll all be egg salad on Sunday night anyways....


I dream of making eggs like this someday. I do remember blowing eggs and painting them at some adventurous mom's playdate as a kid, but haven't done that in years and years... And it'll probably be years and years more before I get the chance again. Jay thinks next year we'll try the Glitter Eggs kit. Ooooh.... stepping it up a notch!! LOL

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Recipe of the Day

Mar-a-Lago Turkey Burger 

(*I 'borrrowed' this from Oprah.com!!*)

Ingredients:
Serves 6

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 1/8 cup canola oil
  • 4 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. Tabasco® chipotle pepper sauce
  • 1 lemon , juiced and grated zest
  • 1/2 bunch parsley , finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Major Grey's Chutney , pureed
Sauté the scallions, celery and apples in the canola oil until tender. Let cool.

Place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add sautéed items and the remaining ingredients. Shape into eight 8-ounce burgers. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Season the turkey burgers with salt and pepper. Place on a preheated, lightly oiled grill. Grill each side for 7 minutes until meat is thoroughly cooked. Let sit for 5 minutes.




We LOVE these at my house, even the kids!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Race for the Cure!!

For the second year in a row, Jay and I are hauling the kids out for Race for the Cure! Its a 5K walk/run/race put on in Eastern Washington to raise funds for Breast Cancer. Last year, it snowed while we walked, but we had the kids bundled up sufficiently and had a blast. This year, we're obviously hoping for beautiful weather!!

We're not so good at the fundraising part, so here's where you all get to help:

Click HERE to donate, get more information, or sign up to walk with us!!

Thanks in advance for your help!! Yay Butterfields!

This was us last year- see the SNOW!!!
Check out the post for more pictures... and how little Emma was!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Juanita's Monday Book Pick



Synopsis: 

First comes love. Then comes marriage. And then things start to get really interesting . . .

In Good In Bed, Cannie Shapiro conquered public heartbreak and shaky self-esteem. In In Her Shoes, Rose and Maggie Feller learned about family secrets and the ties that bind. Now, in Jennifer Weiner's richest, wittiest, most true-to-life novel yet, this highly acclaimed storyteller brings readers a tale of romance, friendship, forgiveness, and extreme sleep deprivation, as three very different women navigate one of life's most wonderful and perilous transitions: the journey of new motherhood.

Rebecca Rothstein-Rabinowitz is a plump, sexy chef who has a wonderful husband, supportive friends, a restaurant that's received citywide acclaim, a beautiful baby girl . . . and the mother-in-law from hell.

Kelly Day's life looks picture-perfect. But behind the doors of her largely empty apartment, she's struggling to balance work and motherhood and marriage, while entering Oliver's every move (and movement) on a spreadsheet, and dealing with an unemployed husband who seems content to channel-surf for eight hours a day.

And Ayinde Towne is already on shaky ground, trying to live her life to the letter of a how-to guide called Baby Success, when her basketball superstar husband breaks her trust at the most vulnerable moment in her life, putting their marriage in peril -- and their new family even more in the public eye.

Then there's Lia Frederick, a Philadelphia native who has just come home, leaving Los Angeles behind, along with her glamorous Hollywood career, her husband, and a tragic secret, to start her life all over again.

With her trademark warmth and humor, Weiner tells the story of what happens after happily ever after . . . and how an eight-pound bundle of joy can shake up every woman's sense of herself in the world around her.

From prenatal yoga to postbirth sex, from sisters and husbands to mothers and mothers-in-law, Little Earthquakes is a frank, funny, fiercely perceptive Diaper Genie-eye view of the comedies and tragedies of love and marriage.

*courtesy of borders.com


My Review:

I love Jennifer Weiner. I picked up her first book, Good in Bed, a few years ago (invoking a raised eyebrow from the hubby, until I explained further!). Since then, I've cajoled her newest books into my collection by means of Mother's Day, birthday, or, my favorite, "Mommy-just-wants-a-new-book" Day. This one hit home especially, I read it while I was pregnant with my #2 (Emma) and loved how true-to-life her characters are and how easy it was to identify with them. I recently lost my #3 (Tree) and re-read the book, identifying myself with another character. I can't say enough good things about her writing or any of her books (I have yet to find one that I can't re-read over and over!), so just read this and you'll thank me later. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Family Day

This weekend, we're doing a game night! :) This is Harry's mostest favoritest game, so he gets to pick. He got it for Christmas and makes me play with him at least once a week (more often if he can find where I hide it!). However, this weekend, I'm making Jay sit down and play some games with us.

 
We also like to play Trouble, and even Ems can help with that one by popping the bubble! After the kids head to bed, I'm hoping I can con him into some Trivial Pursuit or even some Wheel of Fortune. I know, I'm dorky and I love board games. I usually have to bribe the ole hubby with beer or cake, but I have some BTS Cake leftover from a MNI that was cancelled, so I think that will suffice!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Recipe of The Day

Auntie Katie's Crab Dip

1 pkg. imitation crab meat
1 to 1.5 cup mayonnaise
1 T vinegar
dash of salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Chop up the crab meat and mix in the mayonnaise. Stir in the vinegar, mixing well. Add salt, pepper, and cheese.  Serve with crackers of your choice (I like club crackers or Triscuits!)

*My sister saved my butt last weekend with this recipe! Thanks again Kates!!*


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lollipops and Polka Dots Giveaway!!

Lollipops and Polka Dots!

This website has the CUTEST stuff!!! Plus their name just screams for "little girl adorable-ness!"
Check it out HERE.

Then checkout the giveaway HERE

Both sites rock and the stuff is adorable. Seriously, don't you just NEED this stuff???



*photo from the Lollipops and Polkadots website!!*
Their link is also on my "Need to know List" on my sidebar!

Super Cute Easter Craft!


I saw this and just LOVED it!!
Check out the how-to

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Weekly Book Pick



Synopsis:
Lily is haunted by memories–of who she once was, and of a person, long gone, who defined her existence. She has nothing but time now, as she recounts the tale of Snow Flower, and asks the gods for forgiveness.

In nineteenth-century China, when wives and daughters were foot-bound and lived in almost total seclusion, the women in one remote Hunan county developed their own secret code for communication: nu shu (“women’s writing”). Some girls were paired with laotongs, “old sames,” in emotional matches that lasted throughout their lives. They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments.

With the arrival of a silk fan on which Snow Flower has composed for Lily a poem of introduction in nu shu, their friendship is sealed and they become “old sames” at the tender age of seven. As the years pass, through famine and rebellion, they reflect upon their arranged marriages, loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their lifelong friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a brilliantly realistic journey back to an era of Chinese history that is as deeply moving as it is sorrowful. With the period detail and deep resonance of Memoirs of a Geisha, this lyrical and emotionally charged novel delves into one of the most mysterious of human relationships: female friendship.


My Review:

I was intrigued by this as soon as I picked it up, I loved "Memoirs of a Geisha," by Arthur Golden, so I was hoping this would read similarly. Well, it did and it didn't. It was again focused on the story of one girl, but bringing out cultural nuances at the same time. I found this one struck home with me more than "Memoirs" did, and read slightly more story-like. The girls show what true friendship really is and form such a powerful and awe-inspiring bond despite their families financial differences and their distance from each other. It brought back powerful memories of my pen-pals from elementary school, and pleasant memories of girlhood friends. I thought it was a great book and well-written. Enjoy!

*Synopsis courtesy of BN.com

Friday, March 27, 2009

Family Day Friday

This weekend, we're having a family movie night. We try and do this about once a week as its fun for just about all of us! :)
This week's pick is:


Harry and I saw this in the theatre and loved it. He talked about it at least once a week until it came out, so it was an easy choice to purchase it this week when it was released! It has humour both for the kids and adults, but without being raunchy (like Shrek!)
We dim our lights, put our jammies on, curl up on the floor with blankets, pillows, and of course, popcorn! 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekly Book Pick

This week's book pick is "Remember the Sweet Things," by Ellen Greene. 



Synopsis:

For twenty years, Ellen Greene kept a running list of the thoughtful, funny, touching things that her husband, Marsh, said and did. She wrote them down secretly, then shared those thoughts with him every Valentine's Day when he would find pages from her "Sweet Things List" tucked inside a card.

Married and divorced at a young age, Greene raised two small children alone. After another failed relationship in her late thirties, she swore she'd never again subject herself or her kids to men who treated them poorly. Then she met Marsh Greene.

In this beautiful tribute to a man and a marriage, Greene intersperses selections from her "Sweet Things List" with recollections from their years together. Written with grace and candor, Remember the Sweet Things captures the kindness, sharing, humor, and affection that defined the Greenes' marriage, and encourages us to acknowledge the goodness in our own lives and relationships.


My Review:

Although this book is non-fiction, it reads like a fictitious love story. Its easy and enthralling. Each page has countless real-life experiences that make me relate to the author and her subject. The love they share for each other and their family is inspiring and awe-worthy. It makes me want to run out and start a "Sweet Things" list for my hsuband!!

Giveaway Winners!

I'm so excited to announce the winners of my very first giveaway. They'll each be receiving a coupon for a free full-size Nature's Source cleaning product! 





If you didn't win this time, stay tuned as I'll be doing a drawing for a basket full of all FOUR Nature's Source products in a week or so!


*Winners were drawn by Random.org

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Last Day for the Giveaway!

Don't forget, today is the last day for the giveaway! I'll do my drawing late late late tonight and announce the winners tomorrow morning. Remember, these are FULL-SIZE products, not just itsy-bitsy little samples!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Must-See Movie Saturday


I met up with a girlfriend this weekend to see this. I'd read a little about it and knew that Kate Winslet had won the Oscar for her performance, and was intrigued. So, we decided to go.
I have to say that it was one of the best movies I've seen in years: it was moving, poignant, and beautifully done. The actors did a wonderful job, I haven't been that captivated in a long time. The cinematography was incredible as well, there was some footage of Auschwitz that was used that brought back memories of my trip to Germany in high school when I had the opportunity to visit Dachau. 
I'd like to tell you more about the plotline, but it's hard without giving away the story: it's a must-see movie and I highly recommend that you all head out immediately and go see it!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Family Day Friday

At least once every weekend, we make time to have a "Family Night." The kids love it, Jay and I get to spend quality time with them and each other, and we're all having fun. :)

This weekend, we're baking cookies. 

Sweetheart Face Cookies


Start with some roll-out sugar cookie dough. Either bake your own or use the pre-made stuff. I like the Pillsbury stuff the best when I don't have time to do my own. Their website has lots of great recipes and projects to do with the kids, plus they have coupons!! (You do have to register on their site to print the coupons, but they send you recipes and whatnot by email, so why wouldn't you??!) Cut out your cookies with cutters or punches if you like; we'll be doing plane old round ones as they get eaten before anybody realizes that they once had a shape!

You'll also need a can of frosting, or again, you can make your own. I like to separate mine out and use food coloring to make several colors. 

Knowing my kids, they're going to be quite creative (another word for messy!), and the cookies probably won't all look like faces, but its a good starter idea for my 3 year old. I have a ton of candy left over from Valentine's Day plus some that I've bought early for Easter (okay, that was more of an excuse for me to have it around the house!), so we'll use that to decorate. I like chocolate chips, skittles, m&m's, sprees, and licorice twines. They're easy to use and nice and bright colored. Another fun way would be to use frosting tubes to decorate with, mine are a too little to do this well, so we'll stick with the candy. 

Enjoy your family and remember, this is supposed to be fun!!!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Very First Giveaway!!

So, I want to do a giveaway. This is my VERY FIRST ONE. Feel excited people. :) Its even going to have TWO parts to it! WHOOP!
I belong to a fabulous WOM (Word of Mouth) group called BzzAgent. They send me product samples and I Bzz about them to my friends IF I like them. The key word is IF. However, this time, I'm SO excited to share with you! I received the 4 products in the Nature's Source Natural Cleaners line by the makers of Scrubbing Bubbles and Windex. I've used the toilet bowl cleanser before (as a home with 2 males, I'm up for trying anything!) and loved it and now am thrilled to be able to use all of their products! 



A few key points:
1. Made with 99+% natural and naturally derived ingredients
2. Free of ammonia, bleach, and phosphorous
3. Not tested on animals
4. Packaged in recyclable bottles
5. Safe for plumbing and septic systems
6. Totally affordable (under $4!) and can be found at your local everyday stores (Target, Walmart, etc)

So, now to the giveaway part. I have coupons for a FREE product and a gorgeous gift basket containing all of the 4 Nature's Source items. We'll do the coupons this week through Sunday (3/22/09) and all you have to do to enter is:

1. leave me a comment telling me which of the products is your favorite (check out their website!) and

2. Follow me. (Let me know you do this in the comment line as well!) Since I'm new, my number of followers is directly wrapped up in how cool I make my giveaways... See the thought train everybody?? Love me and I shall love you back! 

So, you have the chance for TWO entries to my contest for one of the 4 coupons I have to give away. Next week will come the bigger part of this giveaway, so stay tuned!!

Recipe of the Day

Is it just me or is this spring weather starting to get pretty stinkin' dreary? Today on PBS, the Good Morning Show featured several kids who had SUNNY weather. And I'm thinking, "okay, here I am in Washington. Where EXACTLY is that sun??" I know, I know, we just got back from Hawaii, but that was a whole month ago. ARGH.
Anyways, I'm in the mood to bake today, and I'm thinking my mood is leaning towards the decadent. Hence, the Better Than Sex Cake. Yup, that's actually what its called, and its FABULOUS. (I've also heard it referred to as the "Better than Brad Pitt Cake" but that's a whole 'nother story now....) It's also extremely easy to make, so bear with me and I promise you shall be rewarded. 

Better Than Sex Cake 

Ingredients:

  • 1 German chocolate or other chocolate cake, baked, 13x9x2-inch
  • 3/4 cup fudge topping
  • 3/4 cup caramel or butterscotch topping
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 chocolate covered toffee bars
  • 1 tub of whipped topping or 1 envelope Dream Whip, prepared with milk

Preparation:

Do not remove cake from pan. After the cake has cooled, make holes in the entire top of the cake using a large fork or the handle of a wooden spoon. Pour (one at a time) fudge, butterscotch, and condensed milk over the top of the cake and let each flavor soak in before adding the next. Crush 3 of the candy bars and sprinkle on the top. Frost the cake with the whipped topping and crush the 3 remaining toffee bars to decorate the top. Try to keep your hands off of this great cake before serving!
Serves 12


I sometimes skip the fudge and use a little extra caramel, but that's my partiality to caramel speaking of course. Also, its great refrigerated, gives that Cool-Whip a little extra zing. :) Sometimes I like to pretend its a healthy version by using low-fat Cool-Whip, but again, that's just me and is complete BS. I also sometimes pretend its a kids baking project and let Harry do the toffee on the top and maybe add a few chocolate chips. Whatever your excuse needs to be, just MAKE THIS. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tutu Giveaway! AND more!!

Okay, I know I already did one of these today, but you HAVE to check these out- I'm SO ordering one for DoodleBug! :) I can just see her prancing around the house in one...


This is the one being given away at Some of This and Some of That.



I think I'm ordering the Roses are Red at Ballerina Bells cuz its just too darn adorable! They're also doing some other amazing giveaways, so check 'em out!!


Life of Wifey!

This nice lady posted a comment on my personal blog, which spurred me to check out HER blog. (I LOVE the nice ladies of the blogging community, don't you??!!) Anyways, turns out she does some work for the Travel Channel (one of my all-time favorite channels, plus a dream job!) and just finished a "girlfriend's cruise." How amazing does that sound? I'm soooo utterly jealous...
Anyways, I wanted to pass on her link plus say that she's doing a giveaway, which is super enticing. Also, make sure that this Saturday, March 21 at 8pm (check your local listings to confirm) you're watching her show on the Travel Channel!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Weekly Book Pick

I'd like to do this every week or so. I try and read at least a book a week, if not more. Some weeks its more, and some weeks, I get about 4 pages read. :) We all know how that goes!
Anyways, this was recommended to me by a friend and its FABULOUS. 


Synopsis:

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all---beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest,Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.

From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness. 

Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, butall she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend. . . .

For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship---jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you---and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.

My Review:
I loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I was enthralled by the way that she describes the characters and how they were feeling, both towards each other and their environments. I kept trying to identify myself and decide whether I was a "Kate" or a "Tully" throughout the book, and it just kept changing! I did find parts to be a little "Lifetime Movie"-ish, but it was compelling and very hard to put down. 
On a personal note, the prom dress shopping scene was extremely emotional for me, having done the exact same thing with my mom while she was undergoing treatment for leukemia. Having gone through several of the characters' experiences, I can say that Hannah did an outstanding job capturing the emotions of her cast.