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Thursday, May 29, 2008

you can always count on martha & etsy.

want your own pair of sandals that are both cute & comfy? bummed because your size, in the pair you want, isn't in stock? leave to martha & etsy to solve our quandary. for all you do-it-youselfers out there, martha's got some great instructions HERE (& even a video demonstration) on how to "embellish dr. scholl's sandals & turn them into fashionable - & functional - works of art." not up to embellishing your own pair? not a problem! etsy shop love your soles has got you covered. check out her fabulous listings HERE... she's got everything from strips to polka dots, and yes, even leopard spots. don't see your size? or, maybe you want a different color, etc? just contact her, she does custom orders.

image via love your soles

your feet will thank you.

i spent yesterday at disneyland. it was a perfect day... the crowds were light, the weather was perfect & my kids actually behaved pretty well. but the entire time i had total shoe envy. one of the gals i was with had the cutest shoes on, & she swears they are the most comfortable shoes ever. she even let me try them on, & for the brief moment they were on my feet, i was in heaven. now, i just have to find a pair in my size. get your own pair HERE (that is, if they have YOUR size). i may just have to settle for these or these.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

you're invited, don't forget to rsvp!

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 second annual favorite things swap. 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 choose at least three objects (i don't think anyone would mind if you decide to send more) that are some of YOUR favorite things to send to your partner... maybe it's an apron you made, your new favorite book, or that favorite flavor of lip gloss. 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 friday, june 6th... so get your friends involved! upon receiving your "rsvp" i will send out a confirmation email, if you don't hear from me, email me again, sometime emails can get lost & i don't want anyone left out in the cold! so here's what i need from you:

• your name.
• mailing address.
• email address.
• website / blog / flickr
(must be involved with at least one of these).
• a little something about yourself.
• 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 Monday, June 30th... please have it postmarked by then.

once you receive your package, be sure to post photos here, for everyone to enjoy! 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!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

get that sun-kissed look.

i, like most people, think i look sooo much better when i've got just a bit of a tan. sure, i'd love to layout on the beach everyday - but with kids, work, a house to clean, & laundry to do, who has to the time? not to mention, my fair skin & a family history of skin cancer - probably not the smartest idea. that's why mystic tan is the greatest invention, ever. you can get a "natural glow" in under two minutes. sweet! but to be honest, i hardly ever have time for that either. that's why i rely heavily on the second greatest invention... benefit's hoola. with just a few swipes, you have an instant "sun-kissed" look.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

breaking out the bbq.

planning a bbq this weekend? have i got a recipe for you. although you could definitely cook this in the oven as well... whatever floats your boat.

grilled chicken salsa verde

2 tb. olive oil
5 large cloves garlic, halved
1 small white onion, quartered, separated
1 & 1/2 lbs. tomatillos (about 13)
3 medium to large jalapeno chiles, seeded
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro (10-15 sprigs)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cumin
12 boneless skinless chicken

1. in a nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until hot. add garlic & onion; cook about 5 minutes stirring constantly until evenly roasted.
2. remove husks & rinse tomatillos into quarters. in large food processor (or blender), place roasted garlic and onion, tomatillos, jalapeno, chiles, cilantro, 1 tsp. of the salt, and the sugar. cover; process about 15 seconds or until almost smooth.
3. pour 2 cups of mixture in to small serving bowl; cover & refrigerate to use as salsa. to make marinade, add remaining 1 tsp. salt and the cumin to remaining mixture in food processor. cover; process 10 seconds.
4. place chicken breasts in 2 resealable ziplock bags. divide marinade between bags. seal bags; shake to evenly distribute marinade and coat chicken. refrigerate at least hours but no more than 24 hours. (i'm lazy & only marinated the chicken for about 2 hours); turn bags over at least once while marinating.
5. take extra salsa out of the fridge... you want it room temperature when you serve it with the chicken.
6. heat bbq. carefully brush oil on grill rack. place chicken on grill over medium heat; discard marinade. cover grill; cook 12-15 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear, turning once. if you decide to cook the chicken in the oven, cook in a aluminum foil covered glass pan at 400 degrees, for about 20-25 minutes, or until the juices run clear & the center is cooked.
7. serve each chicken breast with about 2 tb. of salsa.

* chicken is great on it's own, or cut it up to use in tacos, a salad or fajitas. extra salsa is perfect for dipping chips.

recipe courtesy of pillsbury.
image via flickr.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

today, i needed this.

lately i've been in a bit of a funk. most days i try my darndest... i try to appreciate the good & wonderful things in my life, & really concentrate on all the things i'm grateful for (of which they are so many). & most days this is enough. but then there are the days when i just can't seem to break through the fog. unfortunately, today is one of those days. so when i read the following forwarded email, it hit me like a ton of bricks. i don't know who the original author is, but i'm so grateful to them. today, i really needed to hear this. maybe you do too...

this should probably be taped to your bathroom mirror where one could read it every day. you may not realize it, but it's 100% true.

1. there are at least two people in this world that you would die for.
2. at least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
3. the only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.
4. a smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
5. every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
6. you mean the world to someone.
7. you are special and unique.
8. someone that you don't even know exists loves you.
9. when you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.
10. when you think the world has turned its back on you take another look.
11. always remember the compliments you received. forget about the rude remarks.

and always remember....

when life hands you lemons, ask for sugar and call me over!

good friends are like stars. you don't always see them, but you know they are always there.

'whenever God closes one door he always opens another. even though sometimes, it's hell in the hallway'

i would rather have one rose and a kind word from a friend while i'm here than a whole truckload when I'm gone.

happiness keeps you sweet, trials keep you strong, sorrows keep you human, life keeps you humble, success keeps you glowing, but only God keeps you going.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

i spy with my own eye...

i've been collecting little doo-dads forever (paper clips, foam stickers, confetti), wanting to make "i spy" bags for the boys. (click on pictures to enlarge.) finally, this weekend, i actually got around to making them. they came together easily & were super quick to make. the best part... the boys love them. here are the directions, they might be wordy, but it's just because i'm trying to explain everything the best i can. really they truly are easy. looking for an even easier way to get your little kiddos there own little "i spy" bag? you can buy them HERE, HERE & HERE.

2 fleece squares that are 7" square
a 4" square of clear vinyl (at least 4 mm or thicker)
1 inkjet fabric sheet (can be found at most craft stores, or you can make your own HERE)
poly-pellets (can also be found at craft sores... it's usually used for doll stuffing)
aprox. 30+ small doo-dads to fill bag (peruse craft stores, etc. for "little" stuff. buttons, scrapbook stuff, household odds & ends. for ex: paper clip, button, penny.)

assembly (click on the pictures, to enlarge them for a pictorial how-to):
1. on the wrong side of one piece of fleece, using a ruler, find the exact center of the square. using your ruler, measure out from the center & draw a line 1.5" from the center on all sides of the square (make each line about 3" inches long). then using scissors or a rotary cutter, carefully cut along the lines to make your "window". the vinyl over the window, on the wrong side of the fleece. you might find it helpful to use a bit of tape to hold it in place. very carefully sew the vinyl to the fleece. *vinyl can sometimes stick to the sewing machine, so you might want to test it first. if you find it sticking, you can use a piece of tissue paper between the vinyl & whatever it's sticking to & just tear it away when you are done.) i personally like to sew with the fabric side against the pressure foot, but do whatever works for you. be sure to double stitch to prevent anything from falling out! i do a straight stitch around the window, and then go over the straight stitch with a decorative zig zag stitch.
3. if you haven't already, now would be a good time to gather all your little doo-dads, type up your "i spy" list in a word processing program like word. i like to type it in a 3x3" square text box. then, print the list out onto the fabric paper. cut out your list, make sure to leave enough room around the list, so you can sew around the edges (i figured this one out the hard way.) place your "list" on the solid (back) fleece square, with the right side facing up. zig zag around the edges to prevent it from fraying (you can also dab a little "no fray" on it as well).
4. now that your front "window" square, and back "list" square are done, pin them together, wrong sides together, & carefully sew around the bag, making a sem of about 1/4" - 1/2". again, i like to double stitch - the first time around i did a straight stitch, & then i did a decorative zig zag stitch the second time around. *be sure to leave a small opening on one side of the bag that you can use to pour the contents in.
5. fill your bag with your doo-dads, then start pouring in the poly-pellets, a funnel is really useful here. i start with about a cup of poly-pellets & slowly add. personally i like the pellets to fill the bag, to the top edge of the window, but it's all personal preference. you just don't want to add so many pellets that it's hard to manipulate the bag & objects.
6. when you are down filling, carefully shake everything to the bottom of the bag & carefully sew up your opening. & then, ta da! you are finished.

Monday, May 19, 2008

cool & refreshing.

as soon as summer rolls around i find myself less enthused to heat up the oven & cook. which is fine by me because i love a tasty salad... add some chicken (which i'll cook in the crock pot, or totally cheat & pick up a rotissere at the store), maybe some rolls & bam! you got yourself a meal. some of my all time favorite salad recipes are: grandma's chicken salad, a yummy bbq ranch chicken salad, taco salad, cafe rio pork salad, & a shepard's (otherwise known as greek) salad.

two more of my favorites involve spinach, popeye would be proud...

spinach salad
1 package spinach
3/4 lb. swiss cheese, grated
1 cup cottage cheese, small curd, washed & strained
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked & crumbled
1 purple onions, thinly sliced
1o mushrooms, sliced

mix & add the following dressing just before serving:

1 & 1/2 tb. poppy seeds
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 & 1/2 cups light salad oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 & 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. dry mustard

combine into jar; shake well & let sit.

sweet spinach salad
1/2 cup canola/olive oil blend
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
2 tb. orange juice
sea salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped

4 cups spinach leaves, washed & dried
1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled & quartered
1/2 cups sliced almonds, toasted or candided
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles

combine oil, vinegar, orange juice, salt, pepper and chives, blending well with a whisk.

toss spinach, strawberries, almonds and feta in a bowl & toss with vinaigrette.

* making the salad your meal? simply add cooked chicken.

now that i've shared my favorite salads, it's your turn. what salad recipe do you love?

via flickr.

feeling the burn.

almost every morning... i pump up the tunes, sweat like a pig & go! go! go! on my bike. all from the comforts of my own home. with all the heat we've been experiencing, it's much more pleasant to ride my bike indoors on my trainer, then battling the hot hot sun outside. seeing as i'm kinda lazy, lately i've figured out how to get more bang for my buck, in regards to my workout, that is. lately i've been incorporating interval training into my work outs. i work harder but for a less amount of time. don't believe it's beneficial? then check out THIS newspaper article.

have i piqued your interest yet? ready to add a little variety to your workout? for starters you're going to need a heart rate monitor, then you need to print out THIS handy little heart rate chart, get some water, pump up your tunes & get ready to work... (for the sake of brevity, i will refer to the heart rates zones, on your chart, as follows: recovery - zone 1, endurance - zone 2, strength - zone 3, interval - zone 4, race day - zone 5. every "*" represents a "recovery" period. & finally, don't start timing until your heart has raised, or dropped to the desired heart rate. in the beginning it will take longer, but the more you train, the faster it will happen. make sense?)

so here's the plan:

2-4 minute warm up in zone 1, progressing to high end of zone 2

moderate intervals:
2 minute zone 3
*1 minute zone 1 or 2
3 minute zone 3
*1 minute zone 1 or 2
4 minute zone 3
* 1 minute zone 1 or 2
5 minute zone 3
*1 minute zone 1 or 2

gear down - more challenging intervals
2 minute zone HIGH zone 4
*2 minute zone 1 or 2
2 minute HIGH zone 4
*90 second zone 1 or 2
30 second HIGH zone 5
*60 second zone 1 or 2
30 second HIGH zone 5
*60 second zone 1 or 2
60 second HIGH zone 5
*2 minute zone 1 or 2
60 second HIGH zone 5
*90 second zone 1 or 2
2 minute HIGH zone 4
*2 minute zone 1

approximate acceleration time for zone 1,2 & 4: 15-45 seconds
approximate deceleration time for zone 4 & 5: 30-60 seconds

the great thing about this workout? it's really flexible... some days, when i feel really ambitious, i'll do the whole thing. other days, i'll just do the moderate intervals, some days i'll do just the more challenging intervals, & then there are days where i do bits and pieces from both. plus you can do it using any type of machine - bike, treadmill, etc. (i'm sure you could do it without a machine, too, it'll just be harder, and take longer, to change your heart rate.)

don't forget your towel... you'll be sweating like a pig.

Friday, May 16, 2008

it's a familiar story i'm sure.

i think just about everyone has a similar one to tell.... but not matter what the version is, it always involves a young child, a pair of scissors, & someone getting a hair cut. as a kid, my version involved me & my kid brother. in my mind the story goes something like this (although, i'm sure my mom & brother might have a differing opinion)... it was a hot summer morning. the skies were blue & the birds were singing. my brother & i had been awake for a little while, busy watching early morning cartoons & eating graham crackers in my mom's bed, while she tried to get a few extra minutes of some much needed sleep. growing tired of watching yet another episode of he-man, we decided to find something else to do. mom's bedroom was right off the patio, so we pushed open the sliding door & ran outside. our bikes & big wheels entertained us momentarily, but it was just so dang hot. as i looked at my brother i could see the sweat rolling down his forehead. "he must be so hot," i thought to myself. "all that hair!" i don't really remember what happened next, we must had a pow wow & discussed the possibility of me giving him a slight trim. the next thing i remember is my brother sitting in a wagon, with a towel tied around him to catch the hair, & me playing hair dresser with a pair of scissors & a comb. i also don't remember what mom said when she found us, although secretly, i'm sure she was impressed by my skills, luckily for us she had the presence of mind to capture the scene with a photo.

last night, gavin decided to write his own version of the story. i was sitting in a meeting when i got a photo message sent to my phone: a picture of gavin, with two very large chunks missing from his very full head of hair. somehow, gavin had managed to find a pair of scissors (a feat in & of itself, considering they have all been hidden after our last incident) & gave himself his own summer trim. jeffy had no choice but to buzz off what was left of his hair. the new "summer buzz" does a pretty good job of covering up gavin's botched haircut, but you can still see where he took the chunks out. i guess we will have to hold off a couple weeks on those family portraits.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

chelsey said everyone would love this...

with that kind of recommendation, i had to try her recipe for bbq beef sandwiches. & just as she promised they were good... jeffy couldn't get enough of them. in fact, just last night he told me i really needed to make them again, soon. so here it is, without further ado, chelsey's famous recipe:

bbq beef sandwiches

1 chuck roast
a couple of spoonfuls of brown sugar

bbq sauce ingredients:
1/2 c. ketchup
4 tb. chili sauce
2 tb. brown sugar
2 tb. butter
2 tb. chopped onion
4 tb. mustard
2 tsp. worcestershire sauce

put roast in crock pot & pour enough rootbeer on top to cover the entire roast. then spoon a couple of spoonfuls of brown sugar on top. cook on low heat all day, for at least 10 hours. (when i made it i cooked it on high for about 3 hours, and low for about 7 hours.) when finished drain & shred with a fork. boil all the sauce ingredients together & pour over meat. serve with french rolls for a sandwich or all by itself for a yummy meal!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

teaching an old dog new tricks.

years ago i came to grips with the fact that i am not musically talented, in any way. which was definitely a sad, hard thing for me to admit, seeing how i come from an incredibly musically talented family. my great aunt sang in a world famous choir for years, my grandpa (& at least one cousin) can play any song by ear on the piano, each & every one of my aunts, & most of my cousins have beautiful voices, as well as the ability to play numerous instruments. and then there's me... i definitely got the short end of the stick. & it's not for a lack of trying. i took piano for years, performed in numerous school musicals & participated in the school choir through out my elementary school years. only later did i realize, that singing was not something i could really "learn" to do, & short of my fairy god mother granting my wish, i knew that my dreams of becoming a broadway star would probably never come true.

fast forward a few dozen years to today... and although i still haven't developed my musical talents, some one must have thought it would be a funny joke to ask me to be the chorister for the children, at the church i attend. you can imagine how overwhelmed & under qualified i feel. i can't sing, i don't know how to lead music & i have no idea how i'm going to teach & help a group of children ages 4-11 learn & memorize a large number of songs that they will be performing been busying myself - crash courses in reading & leading music ( in front of our congregation later this year. other than the fear, & worry that i will be terrible, i'm actually quite excited. i think this could be a really fun & exciting opportunity. i just hope i can relate to the kids, that we can have a lot of fun, & that both the kids & i learn a thing or two along the way. so i've been busying myslef - crash courses in reading & leading music (i'm getting better, however, if i miss a beat... then i'm in trouble), i've been scouring the internet for games to play, & i've talked to lots of lots of musically inclined people. but i'd love any & all advice that you feel like sharing. any help you could offer, in regards to music or teaching children, would be greatly appreciated.

so maybe i won't ever play the lead in a broadway play, but hopefully, i'll be able to make each child i work with feel like a star in their own right. wish me luck!

for all you water babies.

for those of you who prefer a waterproof mascara, i have something for you to try. my mil recently introduced me to the too faced lash injection. they claim "it's lash extensions in a tube", & i think i'd have to agree. one swipe of my new mascara & i'm feeling glamorous. now i don't have to envy the girls with lash extensions... i've got my own, in a bottle.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

ever considered going plastic?

recently everyone buzzing about the new book "my beautiful mommy". and although i've never actually read it, i understand it's a cartooned explanation for your little ones about the plastic surgery process. & while i can't really imagine ever sitting down wih my boys to read this book, several questions do spring to mind:

have you ever thought about having plastic surgery? if so, what "part" would you like to go under the knife?

have you already had plastic surgery? were you pleased with the results? would you do it again?

& most importantly, would read THIS book to your kids, prior to the surgery?

as for me, as you may or may not recall (because i've complained about it before), having two kids has left with me with little more than an A cup... so that is definitely something i'd remedy. i'd probably also have a little work done in the tummy area. no matter what i do, i think i will always have a bit of a pooch. on occasion, i've even been asked if i was pregnant. although, i'm proud to admit, this isn't a normal, everyday question, i still think i'll always have a bit of a muffin top. so i think i'd love having my tummy area sucked, pulled & prodded until it was a touch "flatter."

so what about you? any interest in being nipped & tucked? please share, inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, May 12, 2008

my newest favorite shirt.

gotta love target. picked up THIS puppy for just $12.99. green not your color? don't worry, it also comes in purple, black & gray. it's cute & comfortable & perfect for every occasion. love it!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

happy mother's day.

in the words of abraham lincoln:

all that i am, or hope to be,
i owe to my angel mother.

Friday, May 9, 2008

say no! to raccoon eyes.

my latest sephora find. diorshow mascara... in sephora's own words it: creates the longest, thickest, curviest lashes ever, resulting in an ultra-glam "just-off-the-catwalk" look. and the best part? thus far, no raccoon eyes.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

get your craft on.

i'm eagerly awaiting tonight's not your mama's craft night (nymcn). what projects are we tackling you ask? tonight we will be entering the world of felting. yep, although "felting" isn't necessarily "new", it's definitely a craft craze. on tonight's agenda? several projects from betz white's book. want to craft along from the comfort of your own home? check out these projects HERE, HERE & HERE. and for some hints, trick & how-to's, go HERE.

happy crafting.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

be YOU.

today you are you,
that is truer than true.
there is no one alive
who is youer than you.
- dr. seuss

i think i'm in love.

3 musketeers mint... i could eat them all day & night.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

sometimes i'm a bit of a drama queen.

but if you read my blog, i'm sure that statement doesn't really surprise you. although, now i'm a bit embarrassed that i made such a big deal about my bad hair day. seriously, if i had any brains at all, i would have just googled "hot to trim bangs" & up would have popped THIS handy little bang trimming tutorial. although, in all honesty, it might be a while before i give it a go again, i'm starting to think it's something best left to the professionals. i really & truly think i've had enough bad haircuts over the years (most seem to lean towards a really awkward looking bowl cut & one involved a "this color-is-so-not-me" dye job), that i would have already learned this lesson.... but sometimes you just need a little kick in the butt. so, as a note of reminder to my future self, & any of your future selves, check out a few of my "better" haircuts, maybe it'll the aha! moment i need, to prevent myself from picking up the scissors again.


Monday, May 5, 2008

mexican tissue flowers

colorful tissue paper flowers will light up any room. perfect year-round, or as a centerpiece for a special party. they are inexpensive & easy enough for kids to make. create some today to celebrate cinco de mayo, or use them to celebrate any day... (who says the seis de mayo isn't a holiday?) find easy to follow instructions HERE.

it's fiesta time!

celebrate cinco de mayo with one of our favorite recipes. they may not be authentic, but there sure are good!

chicken enchiladas

12 6-inch flour tortillas
6 chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded. (i like to cook them in the crock pot, but you can also boil them)
2-3+ cups shredded cheddar, mozzarella or jack cheese (i usually use whatever i have on hand, most times it's a mixture of a bunch of different cheeses)
1 small can of diced green chiles
1/2 onion, diced (or i usually used dry onion)

for the sauce mix:
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
dash of green mild taco sauce

pour a little of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. on a flour tortilla, layer chicken, shredded cheese, diced green chiles & a small amount of onion. roll tortilla & place in the pan. repeat until the pan is full of tortillas. then, pour the rest of the sauce over the top of the enchiladas & top with cheese. bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. allow the enchiladas to sit for a few minutes before serving.

image via flickr