09 December 2011

The Brownie Bake Off

A few weeks back Daughter had one of her buddies sleep over.  Since it was brrr cold outside they decided to make brownies.  And since we had two boxes they each wanted to make a batch and do a brownie bake off.  "Umm ya, sure, why not? Sounds fun!"


Two different brands of brownie mix, two 11 year olds, all the ingredients + some sweets, and they were off!

The two of them gathered everything they needed and wanted to whip up the best brownies ever.  Rachel wanted to top hers with m&ms and Kylee wanted m&ms and crushed candy cane.

After they mixed their mixes and got them in their pans they each licked their bowls clean. Almost spotless, I am not kidding.

While the brownies baked they worked on some duct tape creations (post to come on this).  Are you suprised? Naaahhh

38 to 41 minutes later ... ta da! 

I was lucky enough to be the judge. Guess what? They both were so delicious, I couldn't decide who's was better. So, I called it a tie. 

Good job ladies!

02 December 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...

ev'ry where you go;
take a look in the five-and-ten, glistening once again
with candy canes and silver lanes aglow.

It is that time of year already. Boy, this sure did come up fast this time around. I am not complaining because I love this holiday so much. It's time for yummy smelling candles, Christmas trees, lights - lots of lights, poinsettias and candy canes, garland, snowmen, ornaments and my favorite, stockings.  I really LOVE stockings!

[via]

This weekend we have one free day so we will be finishing our decorating ~ YAY!  Our tree is up but not decorated, we have lots to do!  Welp, at least we have the lights on the house. I like coming home and seeing the house lit up.  This makes me smile. 

Also, I am hoping to squeeze in a family photo for our Christmas cards.  We didn't do cards last year so I really, really, really want to do them this year.  Wish us luck!

Oh! And I want to finish the DIY garland idea I came up with {post to come}. This garland is so cute, you'll love it!

Enjoy your weekend. Tootles.

01 December 2011

a quick pupdate

Most of you know already but if you don't, we have welcomed Willie [Mays] to our family.  He is so very adorable. See ...

Sweet little Willie was born in early October and is Jeter's brother, literally. They have the same mom and dad.

We had planned on gettng Jeter a playmate but hadn't decided on when.  Since we heard their mom was set to deliver the last litter she would ever have we decided to swipe up this little bundle of cuteness. 

Jeter is so happy to have a playmate now.  So happy in fact he licks Willie's ears until they are sopping wet.  We asked the vet about this and she said it's Jeter showing Willie that he loves him.  Like when they lick us, they are saying I love you.  Cute huh. 

These two pups have so much fun together.  The puppy's bark is hilarious. It's hardly a peep but he thinks he is pretty intimidating. I'm giggling just thinking about it.


Potty training is going very well and he is eating like a champ.  He also demands you take him out of his crate the instant you get home. 

Stay tuned for future pupdates!

Tootles.

28 November 2011

A Birthday Party {on a budget}

This year daughter wanted to have her birthday party at the house. I tried to talk her out of it to be honest with you. This would be only the 2nd time in her 11 years of life that we had the party at the house. The first time was last year - her costume party on Halloween. We didn't have enough stuff planned for the kids in the time frame I chose for the party.  So naturally, Hubber and I were kind of nervous about it this year.  Hubber was calling it the 11 minute party. "What time is the 11 minute party starting?", "What games do you have planned for the 11 minute party?", etc.  Funny guy.

Anyhoo, Daughter wanted a Mystery themed party. Her and I sat down and brainstormed different ideas, what would work, what wouldn't work, prizes, food, etc.  With Daughter behind most of the creative ideas, we ended up with this:

Fun Stuff (in order):
Guess how much candy is in the jar.
What is in the bowls?
Clue hunt with puzzle to solve (main event)
Hunt for the goody boxes

Food:
Pizza
Cupcakes

Prizes:
Candy jars
$5 Jamba Juice gift cards

[containers for the gift cards and one of eight clues]

The prep:
Daughter and I came up with 8 hiding places in the house and 8 different clues to lead the guests to those hiding places.  The clues were numbered 1-8 on the back of each card.  We also came up with 1 clue for the goody boxes which were all hiding in 1 location.  I went to Staples and got business cards to print the puzzle clues on and cream colored paper for the goody box clues and the water bottle labels.  The bottle labels were just to have something extra and since we were already buying the paper it was perfect.

The rules for the main event:
Daughter paired everyone up in teams of 2.  Each team started with a clue which would lead them to the next clue and so on.  Once the teams had clues 1-8 they had to bring them to me. After I verified they had all of the clues, no duplicates, I handed them a stack of letters and a puzzle sheet.  The first team to solve the puzzle won a $5 Jamba gift card for each of them.  

The puzzle was: WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER! All they had on the sheet was the '!'.  This game was so fun!

The time line (2 1/2 hours):
As the guests arrived (17 friends total) the girls started playing a game of hot potatoe with a wiffle ball. Can you believe we have wiffle balls? ha ha This worked out really well since we were waiting on a friend who was rushing over from a soccer game and we couldn't start until everyone arrived.

We started with the Guess how many pieces of candy are in the jars game.  We had them guess the total between the 2 jars.  The 2 closest guesses would win the jars.

Next we did the What is in the bowls game.  We had a towel over the 3 small bowls. Each guest had to stick their hand in each bowl then write down what they thought was in each bowl and in the correct order. The bowls were: #1 apple sauce, #2 smashed peas, #3 smashed cherries.  The winner received a $5 Jamba gift card.

After that we did the main event, the clue hunt with puzzle to solve.  It was so fun to watch the guests work in their teams to figure out the clues and what they meant. 

Then, we had them hunt for their goody boxes. This only took about 5 minutes since the clue was pretty easy and all of the boxes were in the same spot.  Once one guest found a box, the rest found them almost immediately.


Finally we fed everyone and Daughter opened her gifts.  The party ended with about 15 minutes to spare which worked out nicely. That left enough time for everyone to gather all of their stuff.

"That was the best party I have ever had!"  -Daughter

Well ok then. I am glad all worked out the way she wanted it to and I am extrememly happy that she loved the party so much!

Odds and ends:
We ordered the boxes and magnifying glasses from Oriental Trading company and got the candy for the jars from the Dollar Store.  The cupcakes were made by my super talented co-worker, Kristi. Let me know if you want her #. :o)  The pizzas were take-n-bake from Winco.

The best party ever with 17 of Daughter's closest friends for less then $200.  You can't have a party at a place for 17 guests for under $200 anymore.

The final $:
Dollar Store - $10
20 Cupcakes - $30
Candy and nail polish - $36
Oriental Trading - $26 (shipping included)
Gift Cards - $15
Pizza - $25
Plates, napkins, water bottles - $15
Staples - $17

Total: $174!!!
Daughter's excitement - PRICELESS!

Tootles.




22 November 2011

Being Thankful

Hiya! Can you believe it's Thanksgiving time already? Wholey moley! I haven't even began to start thinking about Black Friday. Actually, I think I am skipping it this year.  I have been working so many hours that I may want to chillax all day on Friday. Plus I am having some girl time with one of my dearest friends on Sunday. Lunch and a little shopping - yup!

I am always counting my blessings and I am Thankful for everything in my life, even the hard stuff.  Remember, the hard stuff brings lessons and lessons help make us better people. Right? Right.

I spent some time recently reflecting on all of the things I am thankful for and I jotted down the first 100 {yes 100} things that came to mind.  You should try this, it's easy and rewarding.


1.      a good life – we aren’t rich but we are happy & that is what matters to us.
2.      good health
3.      mucho happiness
4.      my amazing family who I love dearly
5.      my family’s good health
6.      our wonderful friends
7.      the gift of giggles
8.      our puppies
9.      boots – I just love boots
10.  good food
11.  mashed potatoes – it’s a weakness
12.  our home
13.  my job
14.  my work ethic
15.  my awesome time management skills
16.  my co-workers who make me go hmmm every day. Love these people!
17.  hubber’s job
18.  our daughter and her creativity
19.  my creativity
20.  hot water
21.  coffee – it’s getting me through these 12 hour days
22.  cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados, basalmic vinegar – the snack of champions
23.  google
24.  Verizon – a must have
25.  denim
26.  my ability to knit – I enjoy this
27.  yarn and knitting needles
28.  the sewing machine – I will have one some day {hopefully sooner rather then later}
29.  the liking I have taken to cooking
30.  the crock pot
31.  our break from softball – even though it’s short. It’s something.
32.  my vehicle
33.  our kitties – I think they are happy we got pup #2. He keeps #1 out of their hair.
34.  my hair lady – she keeps me purdy
35.  pampered chef cooking stones – I swear they make food taste better
36.  the flat iron
37.  the hair dryer
38.  the iron – yes I even iron my jeans
39.  t.v.
40.  dvr – I can’t even imagine how many VHS tapes we would have
41.  hairspray
42.  makeup
43.  duct tape – it’s daughter’s new love so I love it too. She is making some pretty cool things.
44.  blogs – I read some really good ones
45.  my ability to not be so quick to judge others
46.  people who don’t talk about others especially when they don’t know their situation
47.  facebook – I love staying connected with the people I care about
48.  my confidence
49.  people who pay it forward –  selfless people make the world a better place.
50.  the holidays – all of the food - yumma!
51.  the Christmas holiday – it’s my favorite.
52.  Christmas stockings – my favorite part of Christmas morning.
53.  the elliptical
54.  the treadmill
55.  our 7lb weights
56.  the dishwasher
57.  daughter’s love for veggies
58.  talented people
59.  people magazine
60.  coffee places – I don’t have a favorite
61.  New York – we’ll go back some day
62.  street lights – I am kind of a scaredy cat
63.  the microwave – without this I would be eating cold lunch every day
64.  blankets
65.  pillows
66.  the fire place
67.  swimming pool – summer fun!
68.  the hot tub – year around fun!
69.  our house not catching fire when the bbq did the other night – phew!
70.  my ability to read and write
71.  my patience – I have a lot of it
72.  the power prayer – I find myself praying more and more. It’s nice.
73.  snow – I love the snow
74.  airplanes – such a time saver. How long would it take to row to Hawaii?
75.  grocery stores
76.  farmer’s markets – I have tried different things but my thumb isn’t green enough
77.  cleaning supplies – every household should have these ;o)
78.  friends and family gathering
79.  truths
80.  crafts
81.  scented candles
82.  slippers
83.  wool socks
84.  the laptop
85.  my camera
86.  sweaters and hoodies
87.  uggs – wish I had a pair on right now
88.  toilet paper – can you imagine having to use a leaf or something? Eeek
89.  the washer and dryer
90.  matching socks – although daughter would say this is not cool these days
91.  the dollar store – they have goodies – seek and you shall find
92.  wrapping paper and fancy bows – I like cute packages
93.  our garage – I am not a windshield ice scraper
94.  fall leaves – they are so pretty to look at and fun to jump in
95.  green grass
96.  fresh flowers
97.  pumpkin seeds – so yumma and so good for you
98.  my SF 49ers and their good season, so far
99.  dryer sheets – they smell good
100. green tea – my 3 – 4 cups a day have kept me healthy [knock on wood]

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Have safe travels and get lots of r&r.


  

02 November 2011

Halloween Bash - Softball Style

This past weekend our mighty, mighty Mizuno girls participated in the Halloween Bash/Breast Cancer Awareness tournament.  Each team was given the option to dress up on Saturday. 

There were some cute costumes but I think we looked the best.  We incorporated both Halloween and Breast Cancer Awareness.  Our coach's shirts even had pink on them.

We asked them to look tuff for this picture. hee tee hee

How did they do you ask?  They did great! Another weekend of improvement and about a notch higher on the skill level chart.  This team rocks!  It's not every tournament that 3 different players on your team each hit a home run. Yep, it's true.  And, once again we had quick thinking, quick plays, hard hits, awesome outfielders, good pitching and catching and the best thing-everyone hit the ball.  I don't think one player was in a slump last weekend. Not one.

Tootles.

27 October 2011

What's on your plate? {on Thursday}

Sooo … let’s talk Meatloaf.  I have been craving this lately so we have had it twice in 2 weeks. YES!

A couple of things to mention are: 1) I started the make my loaf of good-ness then realized we had no egg and no milk-two items the recipe calls for; and 2), I cut my thumb while chopping the onion.  It was just a little cut. No band-aid required.

All you’ll need:
2lbs Ground Turkey -> I use 1.25lbs because that’s the size of the package and it’s enough for 3 with leftovers.
1 Cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 Onion, Chopped -> I use about ¾ of an onion
1 Egg -> oopsies
1Cup of Milk -> oopsies again (when I have it, I use a little less then a cup)
1 Clove of Garlic, sliced and diced
Back pepper, enough for taste
Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce, enough to cover the top of meatloaf

[insert panic mode] I added a little ranch dressing and a little water since I didn’t have milk or egg.  Guess what? It came out good.  I couldn’t tell a difference and the family loved it the same as last week’s. Woot!

All you’ll do:
Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix all of the above, except the bbq sauce, in a bowl.  Form into a loaf pan, I used mine from Tupperware. 

Cover the top of the loaf with bbq sauce.

Bake for 1 hour.

Mmm mmm GOOD. {in my opinion}

Tootles.



19 October 2011

What's on your plate? Asparagus!

I made a yumma oven roasted asparagus last night.  No joke, it really was yumma!  Yumma enough that I couldn't wait to share it with you. 


I am going to share the recipe I found on one of my favorite sites and then tell you what I did. So here ya go ...

All you'll need:
1 bunch thin asparagus spears, trimmed ->Mine were medium thickness
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced (optional) -> What? optional? Extra please!
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional) -> I did not use

All you'll do: (per the recipe)
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Place the asparagus into a mixing bowl, and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the spears, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Arrange the asparagus onto a baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness. Sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.

All I did: (I did not measure anything)
Preheat oven [check!]

I lined the asparagus in a row on one of my favorite Pampered Chef stones (shop here for the amazing stones). I poured some olive oil in a small dish then brushed it on the asparagus.  I then sprinkled the asparagus with grated parmesan cheese, sea salt, black pepper and chopped garlic. (I chopped the garlic very fine to practice for when I am on a cooking/kitchen show. HA!)

Bake for 15 minutes minus the lemon juice. Next time I will bake for 10-12 minutes since I like my asparagus a bit more crispy.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Tootles!

18 October 2011

This craft is {sew} cute ...

... and sew easy!  Check it out.

[via]

I am so glad mason jars have so many uses.  Why? Because they are cheap. This one is definitely on my to do list.  I want them made and ready by the time I get my sewing machine.  I already have an adorable vintage table to put it on and the perfect spot too.  Yes, I am still expecting a sewing machine for Christmas.  To my Peeps; I will be putting the bug in Hubber's ear again very soon so be prepared incase he calls for shopping tips. ;o)

Tootles.

14 October 2011

Flashback Friday {decor}

Hiya! As you know I have a love for most things vintage. Yep! If I had the time I would definitely be a frequent visitor to antique stores, thrift shops, garage sales, etc.  I'm sure you catch my drift.  

While I was browsing one of my favorite sights, Pinterest, I came across this adorable wreath.  It's retro and looks like something I can make. YAY!

[via]

Cute, fluffy, festive and retro, Do you agree?

I will let you know if I take a stab at it and if I do, I'll show how it turns out.

Tootles.

13 October 2011

What's on your plate? {Just for the Pups}

Hey Peoples, this is a special What's on your plate? just for the pups in our lives.  This sweet little recipe is not only healthy for our four-legged children, it's super easy and fun to do. Check it out!

DOG BISCUITS BAKED WITH LOVE

All you'll need:
2 Cups unbleached wheat flour
1 Cup Cornmeal
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons Vegetable oil
2 Teaspoons chopped fresh Parsley
3/4 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
 

[Daughter and Gma Janet]

All you'll do:


1) Preheat the Oven to 400F


2) Mix the flour and cornmeal in one bowl.


3) In a separate and larger bowl, whip the egg with the oil, parsley, and chicken broth.
Add the flour mixture and mix until a soft dough ball forms.


4) Knead the dough and roll it out to 1/2 inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cuth the dough into canine-pleasing shapes such as cats, cars, fire hydrants and bones.


5) Bake for 15 minutes. Cool the biscuits before serving.


[Ready to bake]

Important: Remember there are no preservatives so keep them in the freezer and pull out as needed.  They thaw quickly and some dogs even like them cold.  -Yes they do!

[All done and ready to freeze]

This recipe makes a lot. We only have one pup and Grandma has two and there was still enough for Daughter to deliver a baggy full to each neighbor.

I hope your pups like these as much as Jeter does.

Tootles.

11 October 2011

These Two + 1

... are my Lovies.

Aren't they just so cute? Jeter snuggled up to Daughter on the way
home from our softball tournament on Sunday.
Then he crawled in her lap to check out what she was reading.

It's official, I have a super-d-duper adorable family.

Speaking of softball, we have put tournament #4 in the books.  It was another exciting weekend full of wins, a tie, losses and lots and lots of learning and developing. We also welcomed a new player to our team - YAY!  It can only get better from here and we are pretty stoked about that!

Tootles.
  

07 October 2011

a Fall love {it's a fashion thing}

One of my favorite things about Fall is the fact I get to bust out all of my cozy clothes that have been tucked away for months while sweating out the Summer. I [heart] Summer, I do.  It’s just by the end of it I am ready for the cool down. Ready for the cozy clothes. Ready for my boots.  I am a boot lover.  I might be addicted to them actually.

How cute is this outfit?
[via]

I put this cute little outfit together on Pinterest.  Gosh I [heart] that site. It's fun. You should check it out if you haven't already. Just beware: It's addicting.

As I am typing this post I am wondering if my mother-in-law or Grandma Flossie can make a sweater like this. I absolutely love it! I'm going to check on this.

Have a great weekend y'all! I am required to check on this sweater now.

Tootles. 

06 October 2011

A Whole Chicken In The Oven {Yep!}

I was at it again. Oh yes I was. Back in the kitchen cooking up some goodness. And that it was - pure goodness. Just ask my family. :o)

A while ago I discovered a crockpot chicken. Simple and tasty. I had every intention of cooking our chickens in the crockpot or on the bbq because it tasted so yum yum done either way.  Well, one day a few weeks ago I got the chicken out of the freezer to thaw and forgot to prepare it for the crockpot. I didn't realize this until I was already at work. What does a girl who struggles in the kitchen do? Oh yes, she remembers she has a Pampered Chef deep dish baker that has never been used so she goes online searching for recipes for the chicken. And wa la!  A couple of recipes for baking a whole chicken in the oven.  Momma like!

The recipes were easy but I didn't necessarily like all the ingredients in all of them so I took a little of this and a little of that to make, um, the best chicken ever! So moist. So good. So much better then the crockpot chicken.

What I used was: The chicken, lemon juice, butter, crushed garlic with black pepper seasoning, New Mex seasoning, Garlic salt, Cayenne Pepper.

What I did was: One recipe called for lemons cut in quarters and stuck inside the chicken. I didn't have lemons so I squirted lemon juice all over inside.  I put the mixture of seasonings on the inside and rubbed them all over the outside.  One recipe called for butter inside and out. Well, that's a lot of butter so I put 5 little spoonfulls over the top of the chicken and squished them down a little (I was hoping they wouldn't slide off right away).  Then I placed the chicken in my deep dish baker, put the lid on and baked it for one and a half hours at 350 degrees.  Then I removed the lid and baked for an additional 10 minutes.  I checked to make sure the internal temp was at 180 before calling it done.

That was a delish chicken I tell ya!

Tootles.

05 October 2011

Another Season Has Begun

Hiya! Two seasons actually; Fall [the actual season] and our Softball Fall Ball season.  Anyhoo, I love them both.  By this time of year I am pretty much done with Summer so I welcome the blusterey cold days, with some sprinkles, with open arms. {big hug}

Speaking of softball; Our mighty, mighty Mizuno girls moved up to 12U for the Fall season. Fall is considered a developmental season which is why you should move up the Fall before you are required to do so in Spring. This means we are a young team playing girls that are 1-2 years older in a lot of cases.


We have played in three 12U tournaments so far and the girls are doing so good.  They are learning so much.  Playing the older, bigger, kids has really brought out the drive in these girls. And when I say big I mean we are wondering what these kids are eating and if they are driving already.  Wholey heck!  :o)

Our team looks so tiny compared to some of these older girls.  One of our parents said in the beginning of the season, "we do more with less".  Meaning less meat on their bones.  I guess that's what you get when you have amazing coaches - they have the team really rockin'! Like I've said before, I'm amazed with these girls and their talent.  They are fun to watch.

We have another tournament this weekend. Stay tuned ...

PS: What's on your plate will return next week. It's a special one just for the pups.   

25 August 2011

Phew!

Its been a while, I know. I have been MIA, or as I like to say, busy offline lately. Busy thinking of ideas and changes for this here blog and busy with my job and life in general. I am not sure we would know how to act if we weren't running around all of the time. We kind of like it.  

Our Fall season of softball has started so Daughter and Hubber are running multiple days a week which means I have increased the amount of times I cook.  Yes, people I am in the kitchen about 4 times a week now. I know ... I know, I was a little shocked too. HA!  While they are at softball I have been working out; working towards my goal (you will learn more soon) and, well, preparing a few meals here and there.

The things you will [enjoy] reading about are:
  • My personal 30 day challenge (a workout thing)
  • Financial/spending tips from a normal person just like you
  • More recipes because, well, I am starting to experiment {waa ha ha ha}
  • Softball and Jeter - of course
  • and mucho more yeeeeeeeeee
Oh my geeshness, Daughter's birthday is in a few months and I have a super cute idea for her invitations.  Stay tuned ... 

PS, how cute is this centerpiece? Perfect for some sort of party don't you think?
[via]

See you back soon! I'm looking forward to it.