Friday, February 27, 2009

Sweet Deal

If DQ would give me a free "Sweet Deal" meal, I would clean out their ice cream machines (...with my tongue...) for a week. They would be spotless, I promise!

If you would like to participate in this fun little venture on your own blog, check out the details here .

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Paula's Chicken Cacciatore

When I didn't think my life could get any nuttier, we go and throw a puppy in the mix! Don't get me wrong, it is a VERY good thing. It has been almost 13 years since Muffin died, and I forgot how nice it is to have a furry, adoring little buddy to cuddle with. Brianna's school, Bella's potty-training, home renovations, and puppy care have me so far behind at home. It is going to take me hours to get this laundry caught up! I wish there were more hours in the day because I have so many pics, etc. to share with you.

On my friend Paula's blog , she posted a really easy and delicious recipe that I would like to share with you all. It is something I had never made before but always intended to. All the ingredients were in my pantry, and it took no time to throw together.
Chicken Cacciatore
3lb chicken pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
28oz stewed tomatoes
28 oz tomato sauce
1/4 cup red wine (I substituted beef stock)
1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
I happened to have 1.5 lbs of chicken thighs in my freezer that needed to be used up, so I only made half a recipe. I seasoned them up with s&p and browned them in a bit of olive oil in my enameled cast iron dutch oven. While the 2nd side was browning, I did go ahead and throw the onion and garlic in so they could carmelize a little bit.
From that point on, you just throw in the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer away! Paula was so right... it smells AMAZING as it cooks.
I served it up they way she suggested, with some roasted potatoes and toasted French bread. I think it would be good on top of rice or noodles, also. There was leftover sauce after we ate all of the chicken, which I saved and tossed with some cooked shell pasta. The girls really loved that for their lunch (and so did I ☺).

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Extending our family

It started with the idea of a single goldfish in a bowl. A $5 investment, really. Then it became a $30 aquarium. I can live with that, too, I suppose. How was I supposed to know that goldfish are really the "gateway pet"?

When we were shopping a week ago on V-Day, we decided to stop in this pet-store to look for that elusive oranda (which, despite my efforts, has already met with that golden toilet bowl in the sky). The next thing I know, we are looking at puppies. They had a tiny little brown yorkie-poo, which brought back memories of my bestest buddy from childhood. I had Muffin from age 2 to 16, and I couldn't imagine life without her. Unfortunately (or maybe FORTUNATELY, in light of the price tag), this puppy was already sold. But the seed was planted.

Matt has been talking about a dog for awhile now. I have to hand it to him, he really did do his research. A yorkie-poo seemed like a good fit for us, so I started searching for a breeder nearby. But, no one seemed to have any puppies.

Matt finally went back to work Tuesday, and called me to tell me about this dog at the home in which he was fixing a furnace. It was a morkie, which is a maltese/yorkie mix, and he thought it was cute/smart/perfect. I remembered seeing a morkie in my searches, and I ended up finding the website again. He was right outside of town! I called the number to ask about him, and they said they had to leave home by 5 pm to bring their daughter in to play basketball. THEN he asked if we would like to puppy-sit while they were at the game. Imagine...we got to test drive the puppy! To make a long story short(er), Mr. Puppy didn't leave our house that night.

(Sorry about the long here's some pictures!)

Years ago on our way to Williamsburg to shop, I first noticed the exit sign for a town called "Tiffin." I thought it was a cute sounding name, better suited to a puppy than a town, really. Since this puppy looks so much like my dog Muffin, I decided to go with it. (Besides, the alternative, Carlisle ala "Twilight," seemed much too formal for such a cute creature!)
Every day that goes by and he gets more comfortable with us, his ornery nature starts to shine through. Even with my new lens, it is tough getting a good photo of him... he never stops moving!

The girls love him so much. Brianna will carry him around for hours (or until he finally pees on her ☺). For only weighing 2 lbs (9 weeks old), he sure can hold his own with two rowdy girls. This pic cracks me up because it looks just like me with Muffin, 25 years ago!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lucky 13

(Matt's Senior Prom '96... the day before my 16th birthday! God, to be that skinny again...)

Today marks the 13th anniversary of when Matt and I "officially" began dating. We met in January, and when I came home from school on Valentine's Day, there was a rose and a huge Tazmanian Devil balloon waiting for me. I took him to my Valentine's Dance the following Saturday (we lived in two different towns), and we have been inseparable since!
(Here we are today, older and plumper, but still pretty happy ☺)
After 3 weeks off of work with a hurt back, he finally went back today. I plan on making his favorite supper, sweet & sour chicken. Hopefully I can also get the house in decent order, which isn't easy with the minor construction going on in my living/dining rooms. I wonder if he will like his gift...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Something fishy

A few weeks ago, I told Brianna she could get a goldfish in a bowl. I thought it would be a good first-pet for her. Like always with my husband, things got blown out of proportion, and we ended up with a full-fledged aquarium. Granted, it is only 5 gallons, but it is currently sitting in the middle of my bar.

As a result, "Goldilocks Sunshine" and "Barack Obama" became part of the family. They are actually quite entertaining to watch.

Do any of you parents remember the sometimes snide comments disguised as advice you might have received from strangers when you were a new parent? Well, that is NOTHING compared to when you off-handedly mention to a pet-store employee that you plan to put 3 goldfish in one 5 gal. tank. You would have thought I was planning a diabolical crime! Regardless, I wanted a red-capped oranda as the final member of our aquarium family. So after 2 weeks of tracking, I finally found a healthy-looking one today:

The technical term for the large, bumpy growth on their heads is a "wen", and since it is an oranda, I combined the two and named him "Wren". He is quite a bit smaller than his roommates, but he will grow. The cool thing is, the wen will also continue to grow and look like a big bumpy grapefruit coming out of his head! Am I the only one who thinks this is cool??

Taking photos of fish is hard! For some reason, I found this one amusing...split personality? ☺

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A day late!

(Vintage Valentine card I found at the antique mall last week...her arm is jointed so you can "knead" the dough!)

Happy (late) Valentine's Day, to all of my fantastic blog-reading friends! Darn Blogger...I made this post up and thought I had it set up to automatically post yesterday while I was gone , but it didn't. Actually, it has disappeared altogether. Weird.

Anyway, from the looks of some of your blogs, a happy day was had by many. We left early (minus kids) and retured home late, spending the entire day driving and shopping. I bought $310 worth of clothes/shoes at The Children's Place for $79 and got to eat my favorite blue cheese chop salad at Outback Steakhouse.
It was a good day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sweet Nothings

Today was the Valentine party at Brianna's preschool. Since Matt is still home with his back (Yes! Another week!), he and Bella went with us. You get 17 four-year-olds, their teachers, parents, and younger siblings in one room full of cupcakes/cookies/candy, and it turns into a madhouse! She had fun, and came home with a big bag of Valentines and goodies.

(In this photo, she is showing me that she chomped the head off of her cute teddy bear ring-pop!)

Yesterday, I received a large box via UPS from That has become my husband's favorite place to order my flowers from. They really do send nice, fresh flowers. I am glad he steered away from roses, and instead gave me a huge bouquet of tulips and iris. The buds were closed tight, but by this morning, they were looking really nice!

Being a sock-monkey enthusiast, I HAD to get this card for him when I saw it at Target the other night. It plays music when you open... somewhat seductive music, I might add. ☺

Tonight, I went and bought a fresh salmon fillet, cut it into steaks, and marinated it in my *special* sauce. I just wing it, mixing together honey, orange juice, fresh grated ginger, minced garlic, and any array of Asian sauces I might have on hand. While the fish is out grilling, I strain the marinade, and bring it to a boil; then, I thicken it with a little cornstarch. It makes a really good sauce for the fish! I have to say, tonight's version was the best one to date. Not a flake was left ☺

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Heart in my hand

Does anyone want a quick Valentines Day handmade project? I saw the link to this free pattern on the Plush You blog last night and I decided to give it a go while watching tv, and I finished it up this morning. You've still got time yet!

As I rifled through my yarn stash, I decided to use this super-vintage, salmony-red yarn. It has almost a white frosty sheen to it, which I had to use the flash to try to pick up in the photo. I found it entertaining to be using yarn as old as me! This is part of the stash from my husband's crafty 90-year old aunt.

Here is how she turned out! Super-cute and chubby. That frosty, glittery-ness really suits this heart. This pattern reminds me strongly of a sweet friend's recent projects.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Lime Melt-Aways

There are tons of nice, ripe avacados at the store right now, just begging to be made into guacamole. I caved and made some (YUM!), and had a couple of limes leftover. I decided to make Martha's lime melt-away cookies , and they were a huge hit among the family.

You can make these with lemons or oranges, if you prefer. They are super-simple. The dough has to be rolled into parchment "logs", refrigerated, then sliced. (I suggest you watch the video, because it is always easier for me to see something being done). I make mine a little bit bigger around than they suggest in the recipe, otherwise they are way tiny!

After they cool a little bit, you roll them around in powdered sugar. Mmmm...they are really flaky and really do "melt" on your tongue. If you are a citrus kind of person, give them a try!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

If I had $2800...

...and an agreeable husband, this is what I would buy:

(FYI: It is a pygmy marmoset, the tiniest monkey in the world!)

Isn't she precious? I know she would rather be sitting on my shoulder!

I hope everyone is finishing up a fantastic weekend. As for me, I have a date with David Sedaris right now...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The party's over, kids!

Thanks to everyone for your well-wishes regarding my recent bout of "under the weather"-ness! Today I am feeling much better ☺

After a week of cleaning, shopping, and then cooking, my party almost came to a grinding halt. I received a call at 1:30 on Super Bowl Sunday telling me that my nephews had to play in a basketball tournament. I couldn't believe they were having grade school basketball games DURING the SuperBowl! That is just crazy-talk.

Happily, they were all able to stop by before having to leave town for the games. In total, there were 14 adults and 9 kids here. For food, I made cream cheese pinwheels, meat/cheese tray, veggies, cheese dip, cheese soup, lots of chips, and sandwich fixings. Plus, I made a big batch of homemade carmel corn, and my mom brought cupcakes. I was really glad that we didn't have a ton of leftovers...I HATE eating leftovers.

Since this was a "Velveeta Game Day"House Party, I decided to make a big pot of cheese soup. I got this recipe from a co-worker a long time ago, and it tastes much like the famous secret-recipe soup from Quincy's "Kelly's Pub."

Cheese Soup with California Veggies and Penne Pasta

6 cups water
6 chicken bouillion cubes
2 1/2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced celery
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 bag California blend veggies
1 can sliced mushrooms
4 oz. penne pasta, cooked
2 lb. block of Velveeta

In a large soup pot, combine water, bouillion cubes, potatoes, celery, and onion. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the California blend veggies and cook until tender. Then, add the cream of chicken soup, mushrooms, cooked pasta, and cubed Velveeta. Cook and stir until Velveeta is completely melted. Season to taste, and serve!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bob is famous!

My sinuses are still bothering me, and I have tried to sleep most of the day away. Hubby goes back to work tomorrow, and I wanted to try to get feeling a bit better before I am home-alone again! Ugh. Dance class tonight, and a friend is having a Mary Kay party. Neither sound very good to me, right now.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Ugh. I am sick. After trying to deny the swollen throat I began to feel yesterday evening, I relent. Luckily, I think it is just a sinus thing and not the dreaded strep that is supposed to be making it's rounds. I am still in my pj's at 6:30 pm...I suppose I should put on some clean ones, huh?
Last night I was able to make a quick trip into Joann Fabric, and this lovely magazine jumped out at me from the shelf. I just want to go sip my tea, watch "The Biggest Loser", and rifled through it.

It seems that quite a few of the featured softie artists are fellow Etsians, which is super-awesome. I was happy to see a favorite, Annie Oakleaves, was included. This is the first issue of "Stuffed," and cheap-skate me wasn't sure about the $14.99 price tag for a magazine. BUT, I was intrigued and also was able to use my 40% off coupon towards it ☺ A quarterly mag, it is very well put together, like a soft cover craft book. There aren't many patterns in it, which is fine with me. I am enjoying the interviews and photos. After all of this CPSIA junk, I need a little positive inspiration to get me back on the sewing machine. I would highly encourage you to check this unique periodical out!
Okay, off to the couch.

I promise more later (Super Bowl party, Etsy purchases, mysterious eBay purchase, and all the other loose ends).