Sunday, February 22, 2009

Puppies! Puppies! Puppies! is out of print!

I can't believe this adorable book is out of print. Steve was at B&N yesterday and that's what they told him. Well, I found it on Amazon in an 'imperfect' lot at an overstock marketplace shop. And it was cheap! So my dog loving little boy won't have to go without this book.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Book Review: Puppies! Puppies! Puppies! by Susan Meyers

I am only going to review children's books that I truly love- this one- ADORABLE! You could insert the word 'babies' for puppies and it would still mostly make sense. I have to give a shout out to David Walker, the illustrator, for his simply too cute for words acrylic paintings. This little pooch in the left bottom corner is so sweet! Keeps even the most distracted kid focused if they like dogs. My guy loves dogs so we will be adding this book to our personal library. Again, AJ found this while pulling random books off the shelves at the library. Good pick, AJ!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

How I know I live with a toddler (part 3)...

* I have to lock the bathroom door now and open it with a chopstick to prevent him from throwing anything else in the toilet.
* My husband said that his Xbox is going to melt if it is on all day because the little one was playing with it. (Is this true??? I have no idea!!)
* The pan lids are being used as cymbals.
* I have a headache from the cymbals.
* My husband has a headache after talking on the phone with me for 2 minutes while there is cymbal playing in the background.
* I have to check the garbage cans to make sure he didn't throw away anything he shouldn't have.
* The garbage can in his room is on top of the dresser to make sure I don't have to pick through poop to find something that he shouldn't have thrown away.
* There are shreds of napkin, tissues and toilet paper all over the house (see picture above for evidentiary support).
* Every time he toots (especially during a diaper change) it is as if he heard the funniest thing on the planet and cracks up. Which in turn, makes me crack up, which continues the cycle. What? His laughter is contagious! :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Design #3

I'll do this one in many colors but this is one of my favorites!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

99 Things...

Saw this on melissahead yabberings and since you know how much I love these you can stop emailing them to me and just refer to this blog entry... :)

1. Started your own blog- 3!
2. Slept under the stars- on a boat named Equinitimas in the Caribbean
3. Played in a band- grade school band? I played (faked is probably a better word) French horn.
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland - I've been to Disneyworld
8. Climbed a mountain- hiked a mountain?
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo- in 7th grade- Almost Paradise from Footloose. Well, it was a duet but I sang some of it solo.
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea- on a boat named Equinitimas in the Caribbean
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch- Maybe. I'm not sure.
15. Adopted a child- best thing that has ever happened to me!!!
16. Had food poisoning- on vacation in San Diego! :(
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight- did a perverse guy come up with this? ;)
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise- it depends on how you define cruise...
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors- besides my mom and grandparents (Chippewa Falls, WI), no.
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - I'm satisfied with what I have now
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke- horribly
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant- it was easy at the restaurant we owned!
44. Visited Africa- would love to!
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted- caricatured?
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check- not intentionally!
68. Flown in a helicopter- see #4
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. Oh, Butterbear!
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial- it is truly AMAZING!
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book - not yet!
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House- I stood ouside when we were there in '05, it wasn't open yet for tours since 9/11
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating- this comment sounds gruesome but does a fish count?
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous- how about before they became famous? Otherwise I think I have met some sports stars...
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Spinach Lasagna- DELISH!

I made this spinach lasagna (click for recipe) tonight and it was fantastic! And it was light! After 5 not so great recipes I was getting discouraged. Don't let the odd ingredients fool you. I did add some garlic to the saute and added more mozzarella cheese. I have had it in my file for 11+ years and have never made it until tonight but I will definitely make it again!

Happy Valentine's Day!

We had lots of Valentine's Day cards to send! AJ got to work on it last Saturday night by fingerpainting the owls (but we didn't know that they would be owls yet!). I cut out the owl bodies from the finger painted creations, wings from a double-sided piece of patterned paper and beaks from orange ribbon. We used black buttons for the eyes and there is a glittered pink heart in the corner. I put some glue down and AJ put the wings, beaks and eyes in place (or off place, however you look at it). He lost interest after about 5 (not the five pictured above) so I made the rest. Inside it says, "Whooooo loves you? I do! I do! Owl love you owlways! Happy Valentine's Day!" The only thing I wish were different is that I used a different piece of his artwork for the wings. I thought they were cute anyway! :)

Valentine Yummies Recipe

Since I keep raving about these super simple yummies, ya wanna know how to make them? It's EASY!
All you need is:
*Pretzels (rings or tiny twists)
*Hershey Kisses (in any flavor- I used milk chocolate and cookies 'n' creme)
*A cookie sheet, parchment paper and a 200 degree oven, pre-heated
Place the pretzels on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Put a Kiss in the middle of the twist or ring. Put them in the oven for 5-10 minutes (until the chocolate looks melted and has a glossy sheen. The brown chocolate takes longer than white.). Take them out of the oven and press a M&M in the middle (M down). Let them cool on the parchment on the counter or if you are in a rush in the fridge. Enjoy!
This is a great project to do for any holiday with kids of any age.

Culinary Adventures

Well, my mission of making a new recipe once a week is going fine, except for the fact that every dinner I have made I wouldn't make again! So far I have made 5 dinners and 1 dessert (the Valentine yummies which you won't be able to stop me from making again- delish!). I am making my 6th dinner tonight (I missed a week when we were in FL).

1.) Lasagne Soup from Cuisine's Splendid Soups. Steve is a vegetarian so I eliminated the Italian sausage from the recipe. That must have been where all the flavor was. It still had some great ingredients in it- spinach, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, mozzarella cheese... but it lacked seasoning and flavor.
2.) Chicken Pasta Mexicana from I renamed it. It was called chicken macaroni casserole. I tweaked it A LOT. Added salsa, sauteed onions, etc. Steve wanted a Mexican pasta casserole and I couldn't find one in any of my books or on the internet. So I used a base recipe and made it Mexican. I probably would make this again with futher tweaking.
3.) Baked Potato Soup from The Big Book of Soups and Stews. Blach. It was gross. I didn't even finish my bowl. Forget about the leftovers- they went down the drain.
4.) Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole from the little book called Casseroles that I got in the checkout lane at the grocery store. The chicken was good. The potatoes never cooked! I had it in there 45 minutes past the original time to try to cook the potatoes. Grrrr. The chicken had a butter and cornflake topping that was good though. The potatoes went in the garbage and the chicken went on a salad.
5.) Macaroni and Cheese from Art Smith's Back to the Table. The cheese never got 'saucy' and it lacked the cheesy flavor that you get from a box of the processed stuff. It said for kids to make it with American and cheddar and for adults you could make it with just cheddar. I will try it again and use American and maybe a different recipe. He is (was? I don't know anymore. He was when I bought the book an eon ago.) the chef for Oprah so I honestly thought it would rock. Very disappointed.

Tonight I am making Spinach Lasagne that I cut out from Cooking Light. We'll see how this turns out. I do have a lasagne recipe that I made up that is fabulous! I always want to make that one instead of trying out a new one. It is definitely one of my signature dishes.

So when a recipe goes awry what do you do with the food? Doesn't it feel like such a waste to just pitch it? One thing I do know- it is getting expensive!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine yummies

I made these little pretzel heart buttons last Friday night (and a couple days later with my niece and nephew and again this afternoon...). One of my favorite combinations is pretzels and M&Ms. I picked up the idea from The Crafty Crow (who got it from Enamor) which has a collection of great crafts to make with kids! And she posts almost everyday! Anyway, those little tasty morsels reminded me so much of the vintage button ring that I bought from Miss Nikki over at WhiMSy love. So I just had to snap a picture (which actually proved to be quite difficult as I had my hand in the picture and was trying to take it with my massive camera with just my left (not dominate) hand)!


I'm reading the book Inkheart right now and while we were in Florida last week we wanted to go see a movie. Steve wanted to see Valkyrie and I didn't. Is Tom Cruise right for that role? No way. If you ask me, he just got weird after Jerry Maguire. So Steve and I went to see different movies at the same time. I couldn't decide on anything at that theater so I went to see Inkheart. I was only 65 pages into the book but went to see it anyway. I don't like when I do that but it was a pretty good movie. The beginning of the movie was nothing like the beginning of the book. There is a lot more humor and comic relief in the movie which made the movie better. The book is dark. And it is a 'children's book'. Harry Potter-esque. I read something else by Cornelia Funke and enjoyed it enough. This book has a lot more depth and adventure than The Thief Lord. Everyone in the movie had a British accent and I couldn't quite figure out how Brendan Fraser was cast. He was fine in it but he didn't talk with a fake accent yet his daughter had one... All in all it was an entertaining movie and I would recommend it to anyone that liked Harry Potter.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Buddha hand

Have you ever seen one of these?? It's called a Buddha Hand. I saw it at the grocery store and wondered what it was. I asked a couple of other shoppers and then they were curious as well. The produce guys told me it was like a lemon so I bought with the intention of coming home and googling it and making something with it. That was last Friday. I googled it and found that basically you can either make candied peels, flavored liquor or use the zest in many creations as you would a lemon. It doesn't have the bitter pith that a lemon does and it basically has no flesh so you can use the whole thing. My mom (she's into the culinary thing) came on Sunday and I didn't want to make anything with it until she got a look at the weird beast. We cut off some of it and chewed on it. By Sunday night it was starting to look pretty sorry. The skin just got all tough looking and it dwindled fast after that. I don't think I'll make anything with it since it looks so pathetic now! It is a bummer too because I was going to make the candied peels and bring them back to the grocery store and let the produce employees try it. None of them had the guts to do it because it looked like a corpse's hand. Oh well. It provided a nice eye sore to our kitchen while it lasted! :)
(A side note I started this post on Sunday, Feb 8th but didn't really write it until Thursday the 12th)

Friday, February 6, 2009

26 Random Things About Me

Chicago Girl Gone Mild had a cute post on her blog called '25 Random Things About Me' and I thought I would follow suit... except I am doing 26. So here goes:

1. Steve is a great husband even when I nag him. We are a perfect fit and I couldn't have asked for a better guy. I love him like crazy. That's not really random is it? That I love my husband like crazy? How about I knew after 2 months (essentially 3 dates since we were long distance) that I was going to be with him forever.

2. I loved my major (Health Promotion/Wellness) in college and I think it made me a more well rounded person, but as far as 'career prep' I think it was a waste of time. Although, I've never really wanted a career anyway.

3. I find working out to be a chore and don't like doing it at all. I do, however, admit that I like the way it makes me feel. I only do it because I am terrified of getting really fat.

4. I make handmade cards, yes, but sometimes I just want to buy them instead. I feel guilty sending a bought card to someone and think that they are disappointed when they receive it.

5. I really love that I am creative and artistic. Thanks mom and dad for those genes! :)

6. I think I may be a bit (ok, a little more than a bit) of a compulsive (and impulsive) shopper. I have a lot of crap that I don't need nor really want.

7. I am an organized messy person. Translation: I know where everything is in my gigantic mess.

8. I hate when the house isn't clean and someone stops by. I clean pretty much for everybody (with the exception of my studio) even if they are going to be here in 10 mins, just for a minute. I pick up most rooms. Even if it does all just get shoved in drawers, closets, etc.

9. I really like planning the party but I don't like the actual party as much.

10. I suck at interior design and picking out and arranging furniture.

11. People think that I know a lot about wine but I really don't. I know what I like and don't like and can pick out some key taste notes but that's about it. I'll tell you one thing though- I really like a medium rare filet and a good cabernet. When the two tastes melt together... mmmmmm.

12. I am truly addicted to paper. It doesn't matter that I don't scrapbook, I have to have it if I really like it. I have TONS of scrapbooking papers. My studio is like a store.

13. I like cheesy teen movies. I don't know why- they are really dumb.

14. England, Italy and Africa are on top of my list of places to go. Steve will definitely go to England & Italy with me but says no way to Africa.

15. I'm not a very good driver but I am much better than I used to be and I think I am better than the other people on the road.

16. I like really dark beer. If it has notes of chocolate- even better!

17. I don't like frosting or whipped cream or white chocolate.

18. I look forward to getting the mail everyday.

19. I have been to (spent the entire day in or spent the night) 24 states plus DC, lived in 3 states, been to more than a dozen islands and will add my 25th state (Massachusettes) to my list in May.

20. The feel of paper bags and construction paper give me goosebumps. Even just thinking about it. I have goosebumps right now!

21. My favorite place is Lutsen, Minnesota. I love Lake Superior. Even though I have only been to Lake Tahoe once, it is probably my second favorite place.

22. I like cold weather better than hot weather because you can always put more clothes on- there are only so many you can take off and you are still hot!

23. When people use double negatives and incorrect spelling it drives me nuts. Sorry, but it's true.

24. I remember a lot of things (like people's phone numbers, names, faces, addresses, memories, etc.) but I can't remember history, religion or geography. I think Steve is sometimes disappointed when I don't know major historical moments. He is incredibly smart when it comes to history. On the other hand, he has a hard time remembering the things I do. One more reason why we are a perfect fit!

25. I have always wanted to develop my own font. Artistic typefaces fascinate me. I have over 5000 fonts on my computer.

26. I didn't light a match until I was 18 and I only have lit a lighter (except for the long wand kind) once if ever. Fire too close to me freaks me out!