Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I know I've taken a bit of a sabbatical from blogging, but I couldn't let this blessed holiday pass without wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas! May you experience all of the peace, joy and love that came to earth so many years ago in the birth of Christ our Lord!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Taking a Break

Okay, so I haven't posted in over a week. I got sad. See, I was very non-scheduled with my posting, and didn't have anything interesting or new to share. I thought about giving up on the blog. But instead, I tried to revive it with a ton of posts so there was something new to read daily for several days in a row. But alas, to my dismay, I really had no comments or feedback from the online blogging community. You guys, my readers. No one seemed to notice. No one seemed to care. So I guess I will take my own suggestion and give up on the blog--for now. Maybe someday I'll come back and return with a ton of incredibly interesting stories that people can't help but read and comment on. But maybe not. We'll see. I guess I'll just go back to being a blog reader/commenter instead of a blogger.

Thanks to those of you who read, commented, lurked, or whatever. It was a fun ride!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sew Exciting!

I got a wild hair the other day. It was so unlike me, but I decided to break out the sewing machine. It's actually my mom's sewing machine that she lent to me several months ago so she could teach me how to sew. Unfortunately we never were able to find the time to work together on a few sewing lessons, so the machine had been collecting dust in our spare bedroom.

So the other day I get the wild hair to--get this--sew a pillowcase for LO! I purchased a cute little pillow for her about a month ago but of course I wasn't able to find a pillowcase to fit it! So, we just so happened to have some extra fabric laying around from a previous project my wonderful mom completed for LO's bedroom. She had made a cute little tablecloth for her room that matched the theme I had selected. So I figured I could use the scraps from that project to create the new pillowcase.

It was the craziest thing! Have you ever threaded a sewing machine? Do you know what a bobbin is? If not, you would've been in the same boat as me! I've never done much more than look at a sewing machine! So I turned to our trusty friend--the Internet--and found the Singer website with a ton of resources on how to do all kinds of basic things with sewing machines.

About two hours later? Voila! A perfect little pillowcase for my perfect little one's room! It came out waaaaaay cute and I was impressed that I did all this with no pattern and no instructions beyond what I found online. Fun!

Now I'm thinking I might attempt to try to make a new diaper bag/purse. Although I purchased an actual pattern for that one, so we'll see how that goes!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Take That, Panera!!

You all remember the great bread bowl debacle of 2008, right? The one where two different Paneras were out of bread bowls on two different consecutive days? Well, let's just say those experiences have left a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended). It's very frustrating to plan a meal and set an expectation around a delicious bread bowl only to find there are none. At this point, I'm not quite ready to tackle making homemade sourdough bread bowls from the comfort of my kitchen (I'm not very well versed in working with live active yeast). But I did decide to give our favorite Panera soup--Broccoli Cheddar--a shot from home. I actually made it about 2 weeks ago and It. Was. Awesome. I made it again for hubs and I tonight and thought I'd share this delicious gem with my blog reader(s). It's really a very simple recipe and doesn't require much skill in the kitchen at all! But it comes out so delicious that people will think you picked it up from your local Panera on your way home from work!

Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup

1¼ hours | 30 min prep

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/2 medium chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream (I've used either whole milk or 1% milk instead--just as yummy!)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 lb fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup carrot, julienned
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I just use a dash or two)
  • 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper

  1. Sauté onion in butter. Set aside.

  2. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the half & half.

  3. Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.

  4. Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat 20-25 minutes.

  5. Add salt and pepper. Purée half of soup in a blender. Return to heat and add cheese. Stir in nutmeg. Continue to cook until cheese is nicely melted. Serve hot!


Friday, November 28, 2008

27 Days Until Christmas!!!

I am NOT one of those "Black Friday" shoppers. Never have been, and probably never will be. But for those of you who are braving the madness and sheer crazy that is Black Friday, good luck!!

Of course, now that I look at the time, I realize most of you Black Friday shoppers are probably taking a much-needed nap right about now... Good for you!

Only 27 days until Christmas! Hooray!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all enjoy this holiday and give thanks for the blessings in your lives!

Oh, and here's a pic of the cute place cards I made for our family's big dinner. I used LO's hand print, added some feathers and googly eyes, and...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

PLEASE Wash Hands Before Serving Food!

For those of you who have been around long enough to remember my first post, today's post is eerily similar to that experience.

On Saturday, hubs, LO and I joined our good friends, D and H and their son C for a trip to the zoo, about an hour and a half away. The plan was to do the zoo during the day, leave around 5pm to hit a local restaurant for dinner, then return to the zoo around 6:30 or so for their "Lights Before Christmas" spectacular! All in all it was a great day, the kiddos had fun, and we got to see a lot of animals, take pictures, etc. The downside? That tiny little hour and a half that we left the zoo for dinner.

We decided to visit a nearby Applebee's that was only about a 5 minute drive from the zoo. I'm going to do a bullet-point play-by-play of this experience because, honestly, it's the easiest way I can think of to share this disastrous event.
  • We arrive and the restaurant is right close to EMPTY. The hostess--who couldn't be more than 12 years old--doesn't even look in our direction when she says, "Welcome to Applebee's. How many?" I respond by telling her we have 4 adults and will need 2 highchairs. She gets another 12-year-old to come over for assistance with this seemingly difficult task and the two of them pour over the seating chart (in an empty restaurant, mind you) for what could not have been less than 7 minutes. We all sat down at the entrance and waited. It was like an act of congress to find us a table. They asked if we wanted a table or booth... I'm sorry, did you not hear that we'd need 2 highchairs? Where would you put 2 highchairs at a booth?? So we opted for a table.
  • They took us to a tiny table, with one side of it against a wall, so we had 3 sides to fit 6 people. Genius. Oh, and the table was located at the intersection of A) the bathrooms, B) the computer/register thingy the wait staff uses, C) the kitchen and D) the carryout order entrance. Two people almost knocked me over while I was getting LO's highchair ready. Then hubs took LO and H took C to the bathrooms to change diapers. D and I were getting situated when literally 2 different waiters stopped by and tried to take one of our chairs. "We have FOUR MORE PEOPLE joining us!" I snapped both times. A waitress came by to take our drink orders and I said (pointing to the empty chair next to me), "We'll have 2 waters." She walked away!! I stared at D and said, "I guess you and H can share our waters with us!" Unbelievable. After about 3 more people tripped on one of the highchairs at the end of our table, D got up and went to tell the hostess to move us--this table wasn't gonna work. I picked up all of our menus, waters, silverware, highchairs, etc. and moved them to our new table (the same size as the current one, but in a slightly better location and pulled away from the wall so we had all 4 sides to work with).
  • Hubs, LO, H and C returned from the bathrooms and we all got situated. Hubs and D both mentioned that one of the waiters had gone into the men's room, was in there for awhile (gross!), and LEFT WITHOUT WASHING HIS HANDS!!!! I was disgusted.
  • The waitress came by to take our orders. H asked what comes on the salad (she's also a vegetarian) and when bacon wasn't listed, she ordered her salad, her husband D ordered his meal, then the waitress came to hubs and I. I asked how much a side item was, she said it depended on which one you order. I said I was going to order 3 different ones (since I don't eat meat entrees anymore) and she said she'd have to go find out. Rather than delay putting our order in, I just ordered my mashed potatoes and steamed veggies and some fries (for LO). Hubs wanted an appetizer sampler. He asked to substitute one of the items and she said he couldn't. I piped in and asked, "He can't change out the spinach dip for cheese queso??" To which she responded, "Oh, sure, you can do that." Alrighty then! So our order was finally in. Whew!
  • H's salad comes out--covered in bacon. She had to send it back. They brought another one out later but didn't bring the extra plate she had requested. She asked for it again. It never came.
  • Literally 45 minutes after we ordered (you know, back before the restaurant started to fill up with customers), they FINALLY brought D and H's food. Hubs and I just waited until they finally brought ours out several minutes later. As soon as the waiter left from dropping off my food, hubs said, "You are NOT eating any of those potatoes on the right side of your plate. The guy that was in the bathroom that didn't wash his hands brought those out and his thumb was IN YOUR POTATOES. Sure enough, there was a freakin' THUMB PRINT plain as day in my potatoes. My steamed veggies? COLD. Hubs' appetizer sampler? COLD. The cheese queso had a nasty film over the top and it was obvious that platter had been sitting out for at least 10 minutes before it was brought out. We were NOT having a good dining experience.
  • The waitress came over to ask if there was anything we needed... Hubs was obviously QUITE irritated but told her he wasn't going to deal with her about it; he'd talk to a manager before we leave. So what did she do? Send the manager over. He asked what the problem was. Again, hubs wasn't going to get into it with him at this point (we were still hoping to salvage our meal and NOT embarrass our friends D and H). I simply mentioned the cold veggies and the guy got incredibly defensive! He said, "I'm not trying to argue with you ma'am... blah, blah, blah." So he took the veggies and was going to bring me a new order.
  • A few minutes go by. I hand LO a celery stick I pulled from hubs' sampler. I glance at her a few seconds later and immediately pull that celery stick out of her hand. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!! There was a HAIR on the celery stick!!!!! Hubs looked as though he threw up in his mouth, then immediately grabbed the appetizer platter, my plate of potatoes (which I had already decided NOT to eat for obvious reasons) and went storming over to the bar where the manager was standing. Luckily I had my back to the bar so I couldn't see the "scene" hubs was making. I was actually quite proud of him though. Normally I want to hide under the table when he gets into that "mode" but this time he handled the situation VERY well, especially considering everything we'd just been through.
  • The manager of course comped our meals (really? seriously? we didn't even eat a single bite!!!!!), and while D and H finished their dinners (somehow theirs managed to come out just fine), hubs and I left and headed to the Wendy's drive-thru before heading back to the zoo to meet our friends for the lights show.
As you can imagine, it was NOT a good dining experience. I know for SURE we will NEVER be back at that particular restaurant; but now I'm afraid to ever eat in ANY Applebee's establishment. I mean, is not washing hands part of their wait staff training program? ((gag)) I don't know if hubs and I have a huge bullseye on each of our heads or what, but we seem to have experiences like this on an almost DAILY basis in one form or another. I seriously cannot believe how bad "customer service" has become these days. It's atrocious. I'd much rather stay in and cook food for my family that I know is safe and delicious!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Three Years

To my beloved ~

Three years ago today, we said, "I Do."

Three years ago today, we made a commitment to love each other 'til death do us part.

Three years ago today, I chose to give you my life, my love, my faithfulness, my friendship, my everything.

Three years ago today, we knew we were beginning a new chapter... one that would involve an unbelievable love, a hope for the joys of raising a family together, of growing old together, of sharing life together.

Three years ago today, we put our faith in God and believed in the future He had in store for us.

Three years ago today, I didn't think it was possible to love another human being as much as I loved you.

Until today,

when I realized I love you much more than I did on this day three years ago.

You are my love, my best friend, my life.

I love you, my darling hubs.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sugar Cookies--Round 2!

As some of you may know, I've been looking for a new sugar cookie recipe to use for Christmas cookies this holiday season. I attempted the Martha Stewart recipe, but it just didn't work as well as I'd hoped. So now I'm on to round 2!

I came across this recipe--aptly titled The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies--and these came out MUCH better! I didn't bother to take a bunch of pictures 'cause I figure most of you probably don't care for the step-by-step details. But I will say this dough was MUCH easier to work with, and although the cookies spread a bit while baking, it wasn't nearly as bad as the Martha Stewart recipe.

So give this one a try if you're looking for a yummy sugar cookie recipe! I'm certain you won't be disappointed!

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
Feel free to frost these bad boys with your favorite icing and decorate with whatever candies you have on hand!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Such a Shame!

Last night, hubs and I went out for dinner at a local Italian restaurant to celebrate our 3rd anniversary a few days early. It was just the two of us, and I was really looking forward to a quiet, intimate, romantic dinner for two.

Unfortunately that wasn't what we were in for.

The restaurant wasn't very busy when we arrived. We obviously needed a table for two. Where'd they put us? In a huge 6-person booth. Nice, huh? The added bonus was that the booth was right under a speaker that was blaring music (and not the quiet, romantic kind) throughout our entire meal. We were sitting mere inches from each other, and yet we had to almost yell to hear each other above the noise. Lovely.

Our waitress was a scary lady. Hubs made the comment during dinner that he thought she could totally kick his butt. I agreed.

As you may recall, I've gone vegetarian. So dining out has become a slight challenge. It's really not too bad, though. I just have to ask a few more questions, find out if entrees can be ordered without chicken or beef, etc. And that's exactly what I did. I ordered a bow-tie pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms in a garlic cream sauce, minus the chicken, of course. Hubs had the lasagna. I also ordered a Caesar salad for us to share.

Now, one of my favorite things about Italian restaurants? The Bread! So I was anticipating its arrival as soon as we arrived. No bread. Then we ordered. It still didn't come. Our salad arrived. Still no bread. When the waitress dropped the salad off, she said she'd bring out bread with our entree.


I don't know about you, but when my entree arrives, I want to eat it. But the 20 minutes or so I'm sitting around waiting for said entree? I'd enjoy some bread! Is that so wrong?

Our entrees are delivered by someone other than our waitress. Several minutes later our waitress walks by and we ask her for some bread, which she finally brings after a few minutes.


Nice, romantic, quiet dinner with hubs with at least mediocre service? Not at all what we got!

The biggest problem I had was that when our check arrived, I immediately looked to see if we were charged the full amount for my pasta. And, of course, we were! Why is that? It clearly states on the menu that chicken can be added to any pasta dish for $6. So why is it I was charged the full amount for a chicken dish without the chicken?! I mean, why not give a $2 discount or something just to make an effort!?

I was irritated enough to at least want to kindly make my point to the restaurant manager as we were leaving. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a single soul anywhere near the exit door. No manager, no hostess, no waitress. No one to say, "Thank you for coming! Have a great night! Come back and see us!" It was really irritating that I couldn't share a simple comment with anyone. However, when I got home I promptly sent an email via the restaurant's website to share my feedback.

Overall it wasn't a bad night--it certainly was nice to spend some alone time with hubs. Maybe I'll give us an anniversary dinner "do-over" and cook dinner for us here at home one night. That way I can control the music, candlelight, and the quality of the food and service.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Okay, this post is all about the ladies. Tell me--how often have you bought a pair of pants that fit perfectly at the store only to find them to be a bit too loose when you try them on at home? I've got several. And it's great when I wash them because they fit nice and snug out of the dryer, but within a few minutes, they're back to being a bit oversized.

Now hubs listens to my droning and complaining and, as most men do, offers to "fix" the problem for me by telling me to put on a belt. Sounds easy enough, right?


See, I hate the additional 20 lbs. that are added to my waist the second I put a belt on. I've already got an extra 15 lbs. I carry around without the added "bonus weight" of wearing a big ol' belt.

Well, my friends, I have found the solution! And I'm totally kicking myself for not coming up with this on my own and making millions! It's called the Invisibelt!This handy little gem holds those pants up and does NOT add on the extra pounds of traditional belts. It's available in both clear and black. This is a must-have I've added to my wish list this Christmas, and at only $19.95, it won't leave too big of a hole in Santa's wallet!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

So Lovely!

I found an album you just cannot live without. Okay, maybe YOU can live without it, but I certainly can't!

((Insert Fisher: The Lovely Years here!))

The song that caught my attention was Beautiful Life -- it's the song TLC used in a commercial for John & Kate Plus 8 (one of my daily indulgences). I loved that song so much I had to find it. Boy was I surprised when I found the album was chock full of songs about being a new parent! What a surprise! The lyrics to several of the songs are just so sweet and beautiful. This is a must-have on my Christmas list!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Where'd You Come From?

I've had stats for my blog since day 1 (for those of you keeping track, that would be June 3rd--a short 5 months ago!). I started out with Site Meter, which has been pretty cool--the few times I've looked at it. I guess I really don't pay much attention to who is visiting my blog, how often they stop by, how long they stay, etc. For me, my blog is just an outlet to share my thoughts/feelings/experiences with cyberspace. If people are keen to read such ramblings, more power to you! I'm glad you're here! But, as I said, I just don't pay attention to my stats. In addition to Site Meter, I also set up an account with Google Analytics a few months ago. Again, I can't say that I ever actually log in or review any of the ever-so-exciting data that Google is kindly accumulating for me (for free, of course!).

I guess I got a little curious today. Not really about how many hits I'm getting (as I said, that doesn't do anything for me), but more about how/why people are finding my blog. So I checked out Google Analytics and read through the list of search engine keywords that were used to find my blog. Granted most (if not all) of these Google searchers who landed on one of my posts only stayed for mere moments--certainly not long enough to learn anything at all about me or my musings. However, I did find some of the search terms to be quite interesting! Without further ado, here are a few of my favorites:
  1. "little+female+feet"
    1. Obviously you didn't read this post about the unbelievably HUGE footsies I've been "blessed" with and how completely impossible it is for me to find shoes that fit (until I found, of course!).

    1. Ugh. Hopefully you read this post detailing my experience with this company and how completely atrocious it was. Don't EVER purchase ANYTHING from

  3. carnivore gift gags
    1. Hmmm... I don't even know where in the world on my blog this guy ended up. I don't recall discussing gift gags at all... although I do recall mentioning "carnivore" in this post. But beware, there's a horrible video clip on that post (don't say I didn't warn ya)!

  4. cheddar bread bowl
    1. Ah, yes, the elusive broccoli-cheddar bread bowl from Panera. Good luck getting your hands on one!

  5. dynex dvi-to-video sux
    1. Oh, the drama of putting together a video of LO for her first birthday. Yes, even though this guy can't spell, he is absolutely right that Dynex sucks!! Always go with genuine Apple products! (Another warning: This is probably one of the longest blog posts of all time)!

  6. environmentally friendly bean bag
    1. Aww! You're definitely gonna want to purchase one of these bean bags. They're awesome!

  7. how to determine if pork has gone bad
    1. It is possible to make this determination. See this post for more info.

  8. ive bought a dress which squashes my boobs
    1. Just when I finally got that horrible experience out of my mind, I am reminded of it. Click this link and let the boob squashing commence.

  9. life span of pillows
    1. I only wish I had already discovered the true life span of pilllows before this happened.

  10. my pork smells funny
    1. I'm not going to comment on this particular search term. However, I will point you back to this post. Beware.

  11. portrait gallery wall
    1. The truest joy of my heart. Designing my wall gallery/tribute to LO was by far not the easiest thing I've ever done, but definitely one of the most cherished. Start here. Then go here. Then click here for the final result!

  12. what to eat to keep regulated
    1. All I can say to this is try this link. Totally unaffiliated with my blog, of course!
So... I guess that's that, huh? Now we all know a bit more about the folks that are landing on my ever-so-random blog! And just for the record, I really do love knowing that people out there are as strange/weird/whatever as I am and actually enjoy hearing about my crazy life! And comments? Love 'em. Would enjoy seeing more of 'em. I'm just sayin'.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I have a movie recommendation for all of my blog reader(s). It's an amazing movie called Fireproof. For those of us who grew up in the 80s, we'll be quick to recognize the main star of the movie as "Mike Seaver" a.k.a. Kirk Cameron from Growing Pains. Now I wasn't quite as smitten with him as one of my sisters was, but I've definitely seen him as a talented actor (have you seen the Left Behind movies?). Fireproof is no exception.

Kirk Cameron leads a cast essentially compiled of volunteers -- you won't find any other "big name" stars in this movie. But what you will find is a touching story about a firefighter who is struggling to keep his marriage in tact. Although he and his wife were in love when they first married, they gradually grew apart over the years. Their story could have very well been written about probably 70+% of married couples in our great country (Note: this isn't an actual statistic--I'm just making a guesstimate here). Anyway, this movie is all about a 40-day commitment Cameron's character makes to save his marriage.

Hubs and I will be celebrating our 3rd anniversary later this month. It's so exciting and yet it's unbelievable because it feels like we've been married much longer than 3 years! And I'll admit the "warm and fuzzy" feelings we had in the beginning as our love grew and began to flourish aren't as prevalent these days. We're busy, we're raising a family, we're living our lives. BUT the commitment we made to each other in November 2005 is just as strong (if not more so) today than it was then. Do we always, constantly, 110% of the time feel that love? I'll be honest and say "no"--simply because love is so much more than a feeling. With God as the center and stronghold of our marriage, we have no doubt that we will see our commitment through until eternity!

Sorry to get so "mushy" on you guys... I guess this movie just really hit a spot with me because I am so passionate about marriage and the commitment of one man and one woman to love each other for a lifetime. That being said, please go see this movie. Please support the makers of this film who are Christians and are making a movie available in the mainstream that doesn't involve the language, sexuality, violence or other bad stuff that our society seems to soak up. Support this movie and send the message that we are ready and waiting for more wholesome, family-oriented films from Hollywood!

((getting off my soap box now))

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Totally 80s!

Couldn't help but post these pics of my little one looking totally 80s the other day. Something about the black tights with big socks (that may as well have been leg warmers) with sneakers was just totally tubular!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sugar Cookies, Martha Style!

Blame it on my Evergreen and Cinnamon Yankee candles, but this blogger has caught the holiday spirit like you would not believe! There's something about my home smelling of Christmas trees and cinnamon that makes me want to rip out the holiday decorations from the attic, hang some lights outside and get some yummy sugar cookies baking in the oven! But then immediately I'm struck with the revelation that I have yet to find the perfect sugar cookie recipe to use for my Christmas cookies! So I turned to our trusty friend--the Internet--and found a recipe for Martha Stewart's sugar cookies. I figured what better time to give this recipe a try than as a lazy afternoon bake-fest with my daughter!

I've posted the recipe below, including pictures of my baking experience. I will admit that this dough wasn't super-easy to work with. The cookies ended up spreading a lot during baking, which left me with big ol' blobs instead of cute little leaves and turkeys.

Martha's Sugar Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons brandy, or milk (what the huh?? brandy?? really?! I went w/ the milk instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Royal Icing for Sugar Cookies, optional

  1. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar.

  3. Add dry ingredients, and mix until incorporated.

  4. With mixer running, add egg, brandy (or milk for us non-boozehounds), and vanilla; mix until incorporated.

  5. Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.

  7. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. At least, that's what Martha's recipe says. I choose to roll my sugar cookie dough on a surface dusted with confectioners sugar. It tends to make the cookies less hard/dry.

  8. Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. I have to admit here that I didn't have any parchment paper, and I wasn't sure waxed paper was the same... So I used a regular cookie sheet but didn't think to lightly grease it first. The lesson here is to use some Pam if you don't have any parchment paper!

  9. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool. (Note the excessive amount of spreading during baking. Not sure how to avoid this.)

  10. Decorate with Royal Icing, optional. To make this simple icing recipe, just mix 1 pound of confectioners sugar with 2 Tbsp. meringue powder (or 2 egg whites), then add about 1/2 cup of water.

Makes 2 dozen
Bottom line? These cookies were pretty tasty. Eating the dough was my favorite part! But ultimately working with the dough was not so easy. And the fact that the cookies puffed up so much during baking, quite frustrating! I think I'll continue to look for the perfect sugar cookie recipe. LO and I have a lot more baking to do during the holidays!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wal-Mart No More!

Who likes going to several different stores to get all of the items on their shopping list? Not me1 That's why I've pretty much been a Wal-Mart shopper. All my grocery and miscellaneous sundries can be found under the same roof.

Until recently, that is. Lately I've had issues when I'd go to Wal-Mart, look down the aisle full of body wash bottles until I find the one I'm looking for... only to find, it isn't there! I cannot tell you guys how many times I've gone to Wal-Mart with my list in hand only to realize at least one (but usually several) of the specific items on my list were out of stock! It got to be so incredibly frustrating, but I'd just deal with it. I'd make the longer drive to Target and pay a few pennies more to get the item I needed.

On top of the whole "out of stock" issue, I've also started experiencing an extremely frustrating trend at the check-out. Now, I've never really been a coupon person, but for the past 2 or 3 months I've started looking online for coupons for the items I needed to purchase, print them, and take them with me to Wal-Mart. Sometimes I'd even build my shopping list around the items I was able to find coupons for. Almost every single time I tried to check out at Wal-Mart, the cashier would refuse to accept one or more of my coupons because they "wouldn't scan." I'm sorry, doesn't it say "75 cents off Bounty paper towels" right there above the little bar code thingy? Couldn't they just--heaven forbid--manually type in the coupon amount? (Shameful side note: I know for a fact this as possible as I used to work as a Wal-Mart cashier during high school). When I inquired about this they of course told me they weren't able to accept the coupon. Period. Needless to say, there were several times I dug through the several bags of purchases to locate the one or more items these unaccepted coupons were for, and have the cashier remove them simply out of principle. SO frustrating!

Last Sunday, it happened again--for the last time!!! I couldn't believe this cashier as she made an incredibly poor attempt to scan my little coupon and quickly refuse to accept it. I was with hubs and LO at the time (normally it's just me and LO) and I complained to hubs the entire way out to the car. There's just NO REASON for that. What ever happened to "customer service" I ask!?

No surprise here, but I jumped on my customer service soap box and sent a scathing email to Wal-Mart about my horrible experiences in their store. That was Sunday night. Today is Thursday, and I've still received no response from them. Am I surprised? Of course not. BUT... I have been inspired by Wal-Mart's complete lack of service to their customers to...

((wait for it))

(wait for it))


That's right! I've officially decided to never, ever, ever, ever, ever walk through the doors of Wal-Mart stores again. How possible is this, you might ask? I believe it's quite possible! It's already day 4 of my boycott and it's going strong! There's nothing I purchase at Wal-Mart that I can't also find at Bi-Lo, Target, AC Moore, or any other retail establishment.

Should be interesting to see how long I can go without shopping at Wal-Mart. Although I've found that when I commit to something and really put my mind to it, I can do anything. We shall see!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


This is a totally random post, but recently I've been trying to motivate myself to back up the data on my MacBook. It's really a quite simple process, but it requires me getting off my lazy butt to take my laptop 15 feet away from the couch and set it on the desk, connect it to the external hard drive, and run the Backup program (or TimeMachine, depending on my mood). Anywho, I went ahead and backed up my precious pictures, videos, iTunes library, etc. and got to thinking: What would happen if our house (heaven forbid) were to be destroyed by a fire or hurricane? What would happen to the treasured memories we've accumulated over the past 16 months of our beautiful little one? I immediately decided I needed a back-up back-up plan.

I thought burning my data to a DVD and placing it in our fireproof safe would be the best option... until I realized it would take a good 5 or 6 DVDs just to store my 23 GB iPhoto library (pics of LO). Wow! That didn't even include all the other data I wanted to back up. I quickly realized I needed another option. I called my friendly Mac genius/guru and he suggested I purchase another external hard drive, which I could then store in my safe. Fabulous!

I shopped around and found 250 GB external hard drives for about $80 bucks. Not bad, but I wasn't willing to jump on it. Boy am I glad I didn't! My Mac friend/guru emailed me this link, which is a lovely little article announcing that is selling 1 TERABYTE (i.e. 1,000 GB!) external hard drives for $99.99! Absolutely unbelievable! The regular price is $150! Check it out for yourself!
Needless to say, I purchased one for myself, and convinced my mom to buy one, too! It's too good a deal to pass up. So, if you've been data-minded lately and are in need of a solution for backing up your precious memories, photos, video, music, etc., consider this offer. I'm not sure how long it will be on sale (i.e. $25 instant savings plus $20 mail-in rebate to equal $99.99), so snatch it up soon if you need to!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why Can't Everyone Be Like Me?

Great title for a post, huh? Ya, like the world would actually be better off if there were more than one of me... I don't think so! :)

Seriously, I'm just writing today to figure out why other people can't be as organized or forward-thinking as I am. Seriously. I'm a Type A, OCD freak that likes to Plan! Plan! Plan! Apparently, there aren't as many people out there in the world with these same traits. Take, for example, that I've already got thoughts swirling through my head on what I'll do for hubs' milestone birthday--in October 2009! That's right! I've got approximately 11 months to come up with the game plan for his party, and I've already started on it! On a much less crazy scale, let's talk about the holidays. Christmas is 44 days away. I for one have already finished shopping for half of my family. Shopping for LO? DONE. Shopping for hubs? DONE. All that remains at this point is some gifts for my 9 nieces and nephews. I want ALL of my shopping DONE. Like, now. I don't want to be out there with all of the crazies trying to run the little old lady over so I get a good parking spot, or curse under my breath at the woman with 3 kids who just jumped in line in front of me at the check-out. For me, Christmas is about Christ first and foremost. Then, it's about the joy of gift-giving. And I'd like to enjoy the process of gift-shopping, too! I'd like to hum holiday songs to myself as I push LO around the aisles looking for that must-have gift at the top of my nephew's wish list. I'd like to politely offer to the lady with 3 kids to please take my place in line so she can get her little ones home. I want to have the joy of the holiday season. And I just can't do that until I have a shopping list in hand and a hard-core plan of action detailing which shops I need to hit, what time of day would be best for me to do so, etc. That's just how I roll. Is that so wrong?!

Thanksgiving is 16 days away. I've offered to host the family festivities at my house, but have yet to know whether or not that is the plan. People. I should be prepping the house, making sure all of my baking, serving and dining supplies are in check. There should be menu planning. Things should be happening. We've got just over 2 weeks! Again, this is where my Type A OCD self takes over and stresses out. I can only hope things come together soon rather than a bunch of scurrying at the last minute. I mean, really, how hard is it to take 60 seconds to come up with and/or agree on a holiday game plan/menu/location/etc. and then go back to your daily lives?! Is it such a huge inconvenience that I try to plan things? I realize people are busy. And I agree most people are much busier than me since I have the luxury of staying at home with LO and not working a full-time job, too. Ugh. I shouldn't vent out here. My family has the link to my blog. Granted, I'm pretty sure none of them read it. But wouldn't it be my luck they read this crazy post about how I wish they could be more like me and jump on the bandwagon when it comes to planning our holiday festivities?

I guess the moral of the story is that I will go about my life, make plans for myself, hubs and LO, and enjoy all that the holiday season has in store for us. If and/or when extended family jumps on board and decides to take part in the PLANNING of our gatherings, I guess I'll just be thankful and move on.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Biscuit, Anyone?

Okay, yes, it's been over a week since my last post... again. I'm so sorry! I swear this isn't supposed to be a "weekly" blog! I'm going to try to do better.

In the meantime, I saw this on the Today show this morning and got a good chuckle out of it. For those of you who know us personally, LO absolutely LOVES dogs! It's insane! But since we don't have a fenced backyard for a little pet, we don't have any plans to get her a dog anytime soon. But perhaps something like this will tide her over...

Ha! Ha! It's Hasbro's Fur Real Friends Biscuit My Lovin Pup! This dog is nothing but scary to me! I'd much rather hold out for the real thing. Besides, LO has a "lifelike" Elmo Live coming this Christmas, so we should have plenty of interactivity in our household.

Too fun!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chocolate Chip Goodness

Hellloooooo out there!!!!

I'm SO sorry it's been over a week since I've posted out here! I just don't know what my problem is! Of course I haven't been busy or anything... (wink, wink)

Ya, I've been a bit busy lately, but I'M BACK!! I know all three of my blog readers are jumping with excitement at the very thought of reading all about my fun and obstreperous life! :)

So I figured what way to get back into blogging could be any better than posting one of my newest, favoritest recipes!? Chocolate Chip Pie! Several of you know I've been baking these pies like a crazy-person lately--so many in fact that they are concerned I need a "pie intervention!" It just so happens my husband is completely hooked on them. And a few friends think they are simply amazing! And I can definitely eat them, too!

I originally got a recipe from a friend of mine whose family makes these pies for just about every holiday (which, I believe might be a new tradition in my house as well!). Although that recipe was good, I found one that was a bit better because it came out a bit more "firm" and ultimately didn't use quite as much butter. That ought to make it healthier, too, right? Right?? ;)

Anywho, I made yet another pie last night to celebrate my mom selling her house, and I took a few pics of the process so you all could see how yummy and EASY this pie is! So without further ado...

NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Pie

Estimated Times:
Preparation - 15 min | Cooking - 55 min | Cooling Time - 15 min cooling | Yields - 8

  • 1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (6 oz.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional -- I leave them out!)
  1. PREHEAT oven to 325° F.

  2. PREPARE pie shell. If using a frozen pie shell, use deep-dish style, thawed completely. Bake on baking sheet; increase baking time slightly. If using refrigerated pie dough, let it thaw for 15 minutes then unroll into pie pan.

  3. BEAT eggs in large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy.

  4. Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Stir in morsels and nuts.

  5. Spoon into pie shell.

  6. BAKE for 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean.

  7. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm! Feel free to serve a la mode!

This is a super-yummy, very rich and chocolatey pie. I serve with a chilled glass of milk and It. Is. Heaven.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

S'mores Fun!

Hubs and I broke out the fire pit hubs got for his birthday last week and had us some s'mores! LO was all about the marshmallows and chocolate (just like Mommy -- skips the graham crackers!). Unfortunately we didn't get too many good pics since it was dark (duh), but here's a few that show a little bit about our fun evening:

As you can imagine, after the fun of s'mores came the necessity of bath time! I couldn't help but share these cutsie pics of the little one enjoying her bath time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I ordered EIGHT pairs of shoes the other day. EIGHT. And of those EIGHT pairs of shoes? NONE of them fit. Ya. Zip! Zero! Zilch! But, I was able to decide on the styles I really liked (you never can tell when you see something online how much you'll like it in person). So, I returned 5 pairs and exchanged 3 pairs. I got them yesterday and I LOVE them!

Softspots Misa:

Softspots Monarch:

David Tate Spree:

There's one pair I am still waiting on. They are Dansko's and look SO cute and comfy! I can't wait to give them a try!

Bread Bowl Update!!!

Okay, people. Hubs, LO and I made plans today to have lunch at--you guessed it!--Panera! That bread bowl craving just won't go away (No, I'm not pregnant! I feel I have to clarify that every time I use the word "craving.")! Anywho, what did anal-retentive me do before we met there? I called ahead. And asked if they had bread bowls.
"Panera, this is So-and-So."

"Hi, I was calling to see if you guys have any bread bowls?"


"Um, I was wanting to know if you guys have bread bowls." (At this point I feel like she's thinking I'm calling to ask her if her refrigerator is running...)

"Oh, ya, we've got... uh, four, I think. How many do you need?" (I think she thought I was wanting to purchase just the bread bowls. Like they were bagels or something.)

"I'm sorry, I was just calling because I've tried twice in two days at two different locations to get a bread bowl and they were out. I'm wondering if I come up there for lunch if you'll have bread bowls."

"Oh, ya, I think we've got plenty.... (trails off a bit)."

"Um, okay. Uh, thanks."

"When are you coming for lunch?"

"Huh? Oh, my husband and I will probably meet there around 12:30."


"No, 12:30."


"No, 12:30."

"Oh, 12:30. Okay. I'll go ahead and set two aside for you just in case."

"Great. Thanks."
I proceeded to tell hubs this story when I called him from the car on our way to Panera. His response? Ya, we're not eating those two bread bowls she set aside. Really, I'm sure there's no spit in them! I laughed. They'd never do that.

Would they?

Oh, well. It didn't matter. We got there, hubs ordered 2 broccoli-cheddar bread bowls and we were SET! I was so excited I devoured the crap out of that bread bowl. YUM!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What the HUH???!

Sunday... The church service is over. Hubs, LO and I are heading home. It strikes. The thought of a broccoli-cheddar bread bowl from Panera. Yum. We head to our local Panera. Hubs takes LO to get her situated in a high chair while I order.

"Two broccoli-cheddar bread bowls for here, please."

"We're out of bread bowls."

"Seriously? Out of bread bowls?? It's barely noon!"

I tell hubs, we load up LO and head next door to Brixx Pizza instead. In and out of this casual family dining joint in no time. And the pineapple pizza more than made up for the missing bread bowls.

Monday... Hubs takes the day off for his birthday. We decide to hit one of his favorite spots for lunch: Panera. Only this time we go to a different Panera. We walk in, get LO situated in her high chair, wipe down the table, get out her Gerber raviolis and juice, then hubs went to order our 2 broccoli-cheddar bread bowls. He kinda yelled at me from across the restaurant (it was around 2PM--there weren't many people there) that they were OUT OF BREAD BOWLS!


Ya. That's right. Two days. Two Panera's. Zero bread bowls. I was flabbergasted to say the least. What was even more retarded? The Panera guy actually tried to say that because the weather has been getting colder, more people are ordering bread bowls.

So, tell me, is it not common where you're from that the weather starts to--I dunno--get colder in the Fall?? Wasn't this something they could've seen coming rather than be blindsided by the increased and unexpected bread bowl demand? Seriously people.

We finished feeding LO her lunch, then hit the road. That's right! I mean, really, we could've had broccoli-cheddar soup in a real, porcelain-type bowl, but really it was the principle of it all. No bread bowls? We're out.

As you might imagine, I sent a nasty-gram to Panera today via their website. Should be interesting to see what they come back with--if they respond at all.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pumpkin Time!

It's been a busy few days around here! Saturday we spent the day at a local pumpkin farm and LO just loved it! She picked out her very own pumpkin, went on a hay ride and got to ride a little cow train! It was so much fun!

Saturday night we joined the billion other residents in our county at a downtown event. It was C-R-A-Z-Y!! There were people everywhere!!! We barreled through the crowds, enjoyed some food and spent time with a few friends, then headed HOME! LO enjoyed some mini Oreo cookies, hence her chocolate-y face.

Sunday evening we capped off our busy weekend with a surprise party I helped plan for our beloved music minister at the church. It was incredible! We had a great turnout, a ton of "potluck" food, and the best part--we actually seemed to pull of an actual surprise! Woot! Since our music pastor is a H-U-G-E Apple fanatic, we had an iPhone cake made for him. It came out really cute! And we asked all of the guests to wear black shirts, which we put a white Apple logo sticker on. It was a room full of "mock" Apple geniuses! Too awesome!

Of course today is hubs' birthday, and he decided to take the day off! Sweet! We pretty much hung out all day like it was the weekend. I cooked some cheesy stuffed shells for dinner, we bought a patio firepit for hubs so we can have some s'mores fun once the weather gets a bit cooler and we will be enjoying some chocolate chip pie a la mode in just a few minutes! Over all I think it's been a good day for big ol' daddy!