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Thursday, January 31, 2008

a kiss is just a kiss.

one of my favorite valentine's traditions is making rice krispie kisses. i've been doing it since i was a kid... they are a fun twist on the traditional valentine.

supplies needed:

1/4 cup butter
10 oz package of marshmallows, mini or regular size (4 c total)
5 cup rice krispie cereal (regular or chocolate flavor)
plastic wrap, aluminum foil, paper, funnel

microwave butter & marshmallows on high for 1 minutes in microwave-safe, very large mixing bowl. stir to combine. (it helps to spray the bowl with cooking spray or grease with oil beforehand so the marshmallows won't stick.) microwave at high 1 minute longer. stir until smooth. add cereal. stir until well coated.

spray or grease a funnel with oil, cooking spray or shortening. spray two baggies and place on your hands, oiled side out. (this keeps your hands from getting yucky.) press rice krispie mixture into the funnel (it helps to use wax paper instead of your hand to press), & then place molded rise krispie kiss on waxed paper. you may need to shape them a little more to make them look like kisses. repeat until you have used all of your rice krispie mixture. (any sized funnel works... just depends on how big or small you want your kisses.) i first wrap the kisses in plastic wrap (this helps them from sticking to the foil), & then with foil. add a strip of paper with a message & viola! you've got yourself some rice krispie kisses.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

spreading the love... one cookie at a time.

love is in the air... can you feel it? although i really should admit that i don't really love valentine's day. i won't bore you with my opinions here, i just think it's overly commercialized. there enough said. but, i'm not going to let my attitude get in the way of having some fun. especially after i ran across these cute felt fortune cookies in martha's magazine this month. you can check out her directions & how-to HERE. although, while making mine i made a couple of modifications. i started out doing it her way, but some of the steps just seemed unnecessary, so i made some changes. here's what i did:

supplies needed:
cup & pen (for tracing)
hot glue gun & glue (although any craft glue would do)

instructions: (click on the pictures to the right to get an idea of how it all looks)
1. using a cup, mug or bowl (just depending on how big want your fortune cookies. bigger = bigger cookies... i used a variety of sizes) trace a circle onto your felt. using scissors, cut your circle(s) out.
2. on the right side of the fabric, (the side you want to show on the outside of the cookie) place a dab of glue in the very center of the circle & then fold the circle in half (so that the glue & the right side of the fabric is inside) & hold, while the glue dries. (if you're using craft glue, this could take a while so you might want to put a book on it & let it sit.)
3. after the glue is dry, hold the circle with the right side facing you & with the dried glue line horizontal. (i think the crease the glue makes kind of looks like a mouth at this point.)
4. you'll notice that the fabric kind of puckers from the glue (i like to think of them as dimples). place your fingers in those puckers, at either end of the dried glue. using the fingers inside of the puckers, fold the circle in half, matching edge to edge. at this point, the right side of the fabric should be on the outside & your felt circle should be resembling a fortune cookie.
5. put another dab of glue at the top of the cookie, in order to hold the two sides together & hold it until it dries (or put a book on it, in the case of craft glue.) after it's dry you can insert a fortune or some valentine's candy & deliver them to your sweetie.

these really do come together quick & easy. you could even make them with the kiddos (just don't let them do any of the gluing, we wouldn't want them to get burned!) if you have any questions though, i'd love to help. happy crafting!

Monday, January 28, 2008

call me sometime.

i remember my very first "real" job after college. i was working for the southern california tennis association. having just graduated college & now an official member of the working class, many things excited me... my first pay check, medical insurance, my lunch break. you know, all the perks of working a real 9-5er. but the most thrilling experience was my first set of business cards. i don't know why, but seeing my name imprinted on a tiny piece of cardstock made me feel like i had finally made it.

these days i don't work in an office, i don't meet with important clients who need to know all the possible means of contacting me & i don't have a fancy schmanchy title that looks impressive on cardstock. yet, i still have a business card (of sorts). i guess you could call it a "mommy card". now before you laugh or scoff at the silliness of the idea, just take a moment & think about it. think of all the times you have scrabbled in your purse looking for a scrap piece of paper so you can scribble down your number to give to someone - maybe it's that mom you've been chatting with weekly at the park, or a gal you hit it off with while waiting in the doctor's office. i have seriously been surprised at often my little cards have come in handy... printed with my name & all the relevant contact information, they are the perfect little card to have on hand. my current cards look similar to the ones i have pictured, which i ordered from kacey at doodle bugs stationary, & i absolutely love them. but, you could always make yourself some mini-cards over at moo, or do-it-yourself using your own computer & printer.

flower power.

this cute little number has been packaged, stamped & is waiting in my mail box this very minute. soon the nice mail carrier is going to come & take it away. it will then be hustled & bustled about until it finally makes it's way to kerry's doorstep. hopefully it will make you smile each & every time you put it on. enjoy!

pure genius.

i really should market this idea, because it truly is AMAZING. and don't try to tell me that it's not totally & completely original... my mom & jeff, have already tried to convince me that it's been done before, but i KNOW i'm definitely the first person to every think of it... dr. pepper ice. i used the heart molds that andrea sent me. (by the way, i'm totally loving the good mail! to be honest this was my very first "package" sent to me by someone i don't actually know in real life, outside of swaps. i've received cards & letters before, but never an actual package, specially bundled just for me. yeah! thank you! thank you! thank you! and if anyone else wants to send a package my way... be my guest.) anyway, back to my genius idea. i filled the molds with dr. pepper & put them in the freezer. now i can enjoy an ice-cold dr. pepper, with none of that yucky, watered-down ice effect. i'm telling you, this is going to be my golden ticket. & you can all say you knew me before i became a millionaire.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

i'll always remember...

his life & the lessons he taught...

be grateful.

be smart.

be clean.

be true.

be humble.

be prayerful.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

sometimes this just sounds good!

i don't know why, but this morning i woke up in the mood for macaroni & cheese. maybe it's because it's raining outside. maybe it's because it's thursday, & i've barely scratched the surface of this week's "to do" list. maybe it's because i miss my mom & i miss having someone taking care of me. whatever the reason, i'm sure the mac & cheese will cure my blues.

home-made macaroni & cheese
(it's definitely the cheesiest)

1 1/2 cups macaroni(this is one measurement i never pay attention to, i usually just dump the whole bag in)
1 1/2 cups of grated cheese (i just use whatever i've got on hand & i keep adding cheese until i think it's cheesy enough)
1 egg
1/2 qt. of mild
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp onion salt
salt & pepper to taste

cook macaroni in boiling water. once it's cooked run cold water over it. butter the sides of your bowl or casserole dish. place 1/2 the macaroni in bowl & sprinkle with 1/2 the cheese. add rest of macaroni & top with remaining cheese. (actually, i prefer to layer the macaroni & cheese, spreading the yummy goodness all over!) in a separate bowl beat the egg, milk, salt, onion salt and salt & pepper, and pour over macaroni. bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees.

let the swapping begin.

emails have been sent, partners assigned, now it's time for the real fun to begin. if you haven't already, take a moment, email your partner, try to get to know one another... that makes it all the more fun. if you signed up & haven't heard from me, not to worry! simply email me ( or leave a comment on this post & i'll get you taken care of, i promise!

happy swapping!

image via flickr

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

keeping warm.

have you ever been given a gift that didn't just tug at your heart strings, but pulled & pulled them hard? several years ago i got married... i remember we were at a bridal shower for me. surrounded by many of our nearest & dearest. the next gift in the pile read "love, mom", & i was excited to see what she had chosen for me. a waffle iron? that kitchen-aid i'd been eyeing? bed linens? towels perhaps? you never know what you're going to get from my mom, she's always liked surprising us kids. so, when the present finally arrived in my lap, i tore into it, as eager as a child on christmas morning. totally expecting some BIG item off my registry, you can imagine my surprise when i found a blanket beneath all that beautiful wrapping paper. that surprise quickly changed to joy, love & a plethora of other feelings as i realized what i was holding. i had known she had been working on a special project, but i had had no idea it would be this. (click on picture to enlarge)

now, to the untrained eye, this appears to be simply a blanket, you might even go so far as to call it a quilt. but if you were to really study it, you would realize that it is made of clothes. you might even notice a clothing label or two, perhaps a shirt pocket, a couple of buttons, even a logo or two. and to you, the untrained eye, this might seem a bit odd. but for me, a soon-to-be-bride, it meant the world. for each & every square, each piece of clothing portrayed a memory. there were the pjs my dad wore nearly every day, his work shirts & golf shirts, bits of the shirts he wore to church on sundays... pieces of his life. (click on picture to enlarge)

and once you realize & understand that i knew my dad wouldn't be there with me, celebrating my big day, having this quilt, meant that i would always have a piece of him with me, & that meant more than anything, i'll ever be able to put into words.

just recently, actually for christmas, gavin & owen each received their own special blankets from my mom. once again, the gifts were a total surprise. this time around instead of using clothes, her medium was photos. using pictures of everyone in our family (that she had printed on fabric), she made the boys (& my niece kate too) their own patchwork blankets. the kids spend a little time, every day, just looking, pointing & naming everyone in each of the pictures. now, even though we don't live as close as we like, we always have family with us. (click on picture to enlarge)

it's been said that "our lives are like quilts - bit & pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love." i for one definitely agree, & have at least three quilts to prove it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

don't miss the boat!

TODAY, monday, january 21st, is the LAST day for swap sign-ups. if you're still unsure about it, just sign up. you know you want to. it'll be fun! plus you get to dream about far off places, meet a new friend (or two), give a gift & get one in return! oh the possibilities! if you want to find out more, read about it HERE & HERE! but don't forget the most important part... EMAIL ME to let me know you want to join the fun: if you've already sent me your rsvp, but haven't heard back from me confirming i got your info, email me again, or leave a comment - sometimes gmail gets a little hungry & eats one or two unsuspecting emails. anyway... it's almost time for this boat to sail, hope you're on board!

image via flickr.

hip hip hooray!

gavin turns
three today!

Friday, January 18, 2008

tick tock, time's almost up!

can i tell you how excited i am?! i love the swapping business! it's almost as fun as actually going on a trip to somewhere exotic! & i absolutely LOVE playing host. i love getting the emails, it makes me feel so popular! plus, it is so much fun learning bits & pieces about every one's lives & I love checking out every one's blogs.

many many thanks to everyone who have already signed up. if you haven't yet, all I can ask is: WHY NOT? this is going to be tons of fun! & it's the perfect cure for the january blues! who doesn't like getting surprises in their mailbox? in case your sitting on the fence about joining the fun, or you're worried because you've never done a swap before... i say take the plunge! remember, you have until monday, january 21st to sign up. then, i'll email you your swap partners information, and you have until friday, february 8th to mail your package!

so if you haven't joined yet, email me soon at not sure what the swap is all about? read about it HERE. i can't wait, the real fun is about to begin! & be sure to tell your friends... you know how it goes, the more, the merrier!

image via flicker.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

i love conversation hearts.

they are seriously the best thing about valentine's day. i remember my first year in college, my roommate & bought this huge tub of conversation hearts. unfortunately, as we were walking back to our dorm, one of us (probably me, because i'm good at this type of thing) slipped on the ice, spilling them in the parking lot. of course, we got right back in the car to go buy another tub... they were a necessity to life, or so we thought. anyway... when i spotted martha's cute valentine soaps, i thought they were right up my alley. i may just have to put them on my things to do.

a new favorite.

let's face it, with two little ones at home i don't get out much to the movies terribly often. i'm just a bit lazy, & baby sitters are so dang expensive. i do however, try to keep track of the ones that look interesting & try to rent them on netflix. although my new current fav totally escaped my radar. luckily, i've got my own personal movie reviewer showing me the way. stardust is one of the best movies i've seen in a long time, simply because it entertained me. it follows in the footsteps of some of my other favorite shows... the princess bride, & the chronicles of narnia: the lion, the witch & the wardrobe. with claires danes, rupert everett, michelle pfeiffer & robert de niro in the cast, how can you go wrong?

have you met frosty?

now before you totally make fun of our (gavin's) attempt at a snowman, you gotta remember that we are california kids... not a whole lot of experience in the snowman making department!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

making me happy...

i'm loving all the pretty, new accessories i spied over at banana. the thought of stacking all those bangles on my arm just makes me smile.

while we're on the subject of traveling...

i love all things travel related... mini suitcases, vintage luggage labels, old travel postcards & posters. (i think you get the idea.) but most of all, i love maps. big or small, flat or round, i love them all. so it's no surprise to me, that while watching one of my favorite guilty pleasures, the wall map totally caught my eye. (click on the picture to enlarge it.) i've always loved the idea of having a huge wall map... either in the kid's room or perhaps in a game room or office. i've toyed with the idea of "sticking pins" in the places we've visited, but this idea is so much better. instead of your basic push pin, they've used postcards & pictures to signify special locations. i loved it when the little boy was asked "do you remember where england is?" & he replied "it's the one with the big clock". i seriously LOVE this idea, it goes way behind your basic geography lesson. i found a similar map HERE, unfortunately they are all sold out, although i did spy a few on ebay. obviously there are probably hundreds of map options out there, but i kinda like THIS one, THIS one, or THIS one. oh, & THIS one too.

Monday, January 14, 2008

wish i was there...

it's mid-january, the holiday festivities are over & summer seems really far off. & yet, on a daily basis i find myself dreaming of white sandy beaches & sparkling blue waters. or perhaps, strolling along the river seine, gazing up at the eiffel tower. sometimes i dream i'm walking the streets of florence. other times i imagine i'm eating fondoe in the mountaintop town of gimmelwald, or canyoning in nearby interlaken. & although i could rattle off a dozen places i would love to visit tomorrow, "traveling the globe" is definitely on hold, at least for the time being. so, in an effort to scratch my "travel itch", i think it's high time for a swap.

so, shout it from the roof tops, tell your friends, invite your neighbors, send an email, post it on your blog. anything & everything that will get the word out. i want EVERYONE in the world knows about the...
i hope you are as excited as i am! here are all the particulars...
it's really quite simple: as a participant, you will be asked to send at least three objects (i don't think anyone would mind if you decide to send more) that are some of YOUR favorite travel related things. think vacation, exotic countries, travel guides, maps... you get the idea. maybe it's a favorite travel journal, perhaps something that reminds you of a favorite city or place , a package stocked with all your favorite travel goodies & must haves, or a collage of your favorite destinations. be creative & most importantly have fun with it! objects can be new or vintage, bought or handmade... just remember, it is best to send something the you'd be pleased & excited to receive yourself.

ready to join the fun? please e-mail your particulars to sign-ups will be open until monday, january 21st... so get your friends involved! here's what i need:

your name.
mailing address.
email address.
website / blog / flickr

(must be involved with at least one of these - not because i'm mean & like to exclude people, simply because i want everyone to have the opportunity to really get to know their partners. although, i might be persuaded to let a few people in who don't have a website / blog / flickr account.)
a little something about yourself.
(just a little bit about you to send to your partner... who you are & what you like. it would be fun to find out about some your favorite places to visit as well as those you can't wait to travel to.)
please indicate if you are willing to ship internationally.

swap partners will be emailed to you shortly after the sign-up deadline. the delivery date for this swap is Friday, February 8th... please have it postmarked by then.

once you receive your package, be sure to post photos here, for everyone to enjoy! if you don't have a flickr account, email me your photos & i will post them for you. if you have any questions/ comments, just drop me a line at:

i'm so excited! i can't wait. i hope you are too!

Friday, January 11, 2008

sometimes i just need a little reminder about what's really important in my life.

today has been definitely one of those days, i'd even go far as saying one of those weeks. luckily i came across this sweet story. you've probably read it before, but it's definitely one that should be re-read often, if not daily. so, here's something to think about over the weekend & every other day after that...

the mayonnaise jar

when things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

a professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. when the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. he then asked the students if the jar was full. they agreed that it was.

the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. he shook the jar lightly. the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. he then asked the students again if the jar was full. they agreed it was.

the professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. of course, the sand filled up everything else. he asked once more if the jar was full. the students responded with a unanimous "yes."

the professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. the students laughed. "now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "i want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. the golf balls are the important things - god, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions. things that if everything else was lost, and only they remained, your life would still be full.

the pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car.

the sand is everything else --the small stuff. "if you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. the same goes for life. if you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. play with your children. take time to get medical checkups. take your partner out to dinner. play another 18. there will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter. wet your priorities. the rest is just sand."

one of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. the professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked".

it just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

this is me.

a friend of mine is in the midst of starting a new venture... and although she is still dotting her i's & crossing the t's, i was too excited & just couldn't wait to post about it. so shhh! i'm offering you a sneak peak. i am tickled pink to introduce the this is me journal. her story is definitely one i (& probably you) can relate too. my friend spent forever searching high & low for the perfect "first journal." she really wanted something similar to what she had as a kid... something for her "little ones" to record their thoughts & drawings. having no success in locating said journal, she created one & then decided to self-publish (wow!). resulting in the this is me journal... the perfect combination of "drawing, writing, creativity & simple scarpbooking to capture the years memories through your child's eyes." i'm already having visions of sitting around with my "boys" filling out their copies together. seriously... go check them out HERE. for only 20 bucks, they are a total steal! & don't worry if you don't have any little kiddos of your own, they would make the perfect gift!

Monday, January 7, 2008

it's all about the baby steps.

& when i say baby, i really mean baby. no, no, i'm not announcing... well that's not completely true. i am announcing, but not that kind of announcement. but i am pleased to tell the world that i'm taking the first step to checking of one of my goals. yep, thanks to prodding of a certain friend i have recently signed up for THIS. for most tri-athletes, THIS baby tri would be a walk in the park. but, let's not forget, i'm not too fond of swimming, & that's saying it nicely. but seriously, it's only a 250 yard swim (& it's in a pool), how hard can it be? nevertheless, i guess i better "suit" up & hit the pool. wish me luck! & i'm totally open to any & all advice, so give away!

i'm dreaming of...

lion house rolls. (they are so tasty!) lucky for me i'm currently vacationing in the beehive state which makes it possible for me to run out tomorrow & pick some up. but, for some of us, it's not always that easy. so, here's the recipe... (i don't think the good folk over at the lion house will mind my sharing.) you really should try them, served with honey butter, they will definitely became an instant favorite.

2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk (instant or non-instant)
2 tablespoons dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup butter, shortening, or margarine
1 egg
5 to 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour, or bread flour

in large bowl or electric mixer, combine water and milk powder; stir until milk dissolves. add yeast, then sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups flour. mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then for 2 minutes at medium speed. add 2 cups flour; mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then for 2 minutes at medium speed. (dough will be getting stiff and remaining flour may need to be mixed in by hand). Add about ½ cup flour and mix again, by hand or mixer. dough should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff. (it is not necessary to use the entire amount of flour). scrape dough off sides of bowl and pour about one tablespoon of vegetable oil all around sides of bowl. turn dough over in bowl so it is covered with oil. (this helps prevent dough from drying out). cover with plastic and allow to rise in warm place until double in size, about 45 minutes.

scrape dough out onto floured board. turn dough over so it is floured on both sides; gently flatten to about 1 inch thick. with rolling pin, roll out to a rectangle about 18 inches long, 8 inches wide, and ¼ inch thick. brush with melted butter. with pizza cutter or very sharp knife, cut dough in half to make two strips about 4 inches wide. make cuts through strips of dough every 2 inches, making about 18 pieces of dough.

starting with short end, roll up one piece of dough, with butter on the inside. place roll on parchment-lined pan with other short end down on the paper. repeat with remaining pieces of dough. be sure all rolls face the same direction on baking pan. cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until double in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes, or until light to medium golden brown. brush tops of rolls with melted butter. serve with honey butter. makes 1 to 1 ½ dozen rolls.

honey butter ingredients:
½ cup butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup honey

whip softened butter until light and fluffy. add vanilla and honey gradually. beat for 20 minutes. makes 1 cup.

Friday, January 4, 2008

can't wait!

have you heard the news? the captivating & lovely miss leslie has been asked to be a guest mom over at world renowned design mom. congratulations & well wishes are most definitely well deserved! she will begin dispensing her wisdom come january 14th, so if you have any suggestions for her, i'm sure she'd love to hear from you here. can i have three cheers for leslie? hip hip hooray!

over the river & through the woods, to grandmother's house we go.

that's right, it's road trip time. we packed up the kids & all the gear, and left warm & sunny california, for the snow. (i don't know how i ever managed to live here, i freeze so easily!) as we drove & i watched the temperature continue to drop, i found myself wishing i had bought these cute mittens when i first saw them. "what appears to be an ordinary mitten is actually a mitten-within-a-mitten (for keeping mini fingers warm while holding hands). " how perfect is that?

anyway... we will be busy playing in the snow, playing games, eating, visiting with family, shopping & snowboarding, so posting might be a bit "spotty." in the meantime i hope you're keeping yourself busy... setting & keeping those new years resolutions. we're nearing the end of the first week of 2008, how's it coming along so far? don't worry if you've already had some setbacks, you know i have. (i ran 3 days this week, but i can already tell that this cold weather is going to do me in. & although i started out with a bang, cooking not only on sunday, but tuesday as well! but i left poor jeffy to fend for himself on wednesday while i frolicked around disneyland.) when you have a little snag, or hit the wall, you just have to remember:

the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (lao tzu)

so gone on... take that first one, then keep on stepping!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

one step forward.

goal, [gohl], noun
1. the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.
2.the terminal point in a race.
3. a pole, line, or other marker by which such a point is indicated.
4. an area, basket, cage, or other object or structure toward or into which players of various games attempt to throw, carry, kick, hit, or drive a ball, puck, etc., to score a point or points.
5. the act of throwing, carrying, kicking, driving, etc., a ball or puck into such an area or object.
6. the score made by this act.

it's easy to make a resolution, to say "in 2008 i will..." it's even easier to let those same resolutions slide. personally, i need to do more than just make a list. i've found that i accomplish more when i plan out the baby steps. afterall...

a goal without a plan is just a wish. (larry elder)
click picture to enlarge.

you are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. (c.s. lewis)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

starting fresh.

res·o·lu·tion, (rěz'ə-lōō'shən), noun
1. the state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
2. a resolving to do something.
3. a course of action determined or decided on.

as oprah says...
cheers to a new year & another chance for us to get it right.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

every day.

whatever you are,
be a good one.

(abe lincoln)

this year...

be the
you wish
to see in
the world...


in 2008.

more than others think is safe.
more than others think is wise.
more than others think is practical.
more than others think is possible.

(cadet maxim)

i challenge you...


(eleanor roosevelt)


it is never
too late
to be what
you might
have been.

(george eliot)

my wish for you.

may you
have warmth
in your igloo,
oil in your lamp,
and peace in
your heart!

(eskimo proverb)