Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Dinner: Mac & Cheese

Do you cook a favorite meal on Halloween evening? My parent usually serve chili hot dogs to the neighbors. I don't have a "Halloween tradition" yet. However, I am leaning towards good ol' Macaroni and Cheese.

I went searching online and foudn Paula Deen's "Creamy Macaroni and Cheese" recipe, so I had to share that with you. It's not much different from mine except for the can of soup. Check it out here: http://recipes.pauladeen.com/index.php/recipes/view/creamy_macaroni_and_cheese/.

For dessert, we will have these Pumpkin Cookies. I made them on Wednesday, and wasn't expecting much, BUT OH MY!! Here's the cookie recipe:
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pumpkin-Cookies-III/Detail.aspx?src=etaf

Do you serve any special dish on Halloween?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I love this award!

Guess what? This is my 400th post, wow!
What perfect timing!Thank you Nomers for thinking of me! I am suppose to list 6 things that make me happy so here you go:
1. Warm Chocolate Chip cookies, yum!
2. When my hubby calls during the day "just because".
3. Princess Mimi sneaking in our bed at 6am to snuggle.
4. Tom-Tom giving me sweet kisses (he doesn't do it often).
5. Getting a surprise gift or card in the mail.
6. The Holidays (almost there!)

So now to pass the award along ... Mommy-Momo and Just the Girl.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Love Dare

I found a great new blog, Life In Our Three Ring Circus. Ashley, the blogger, has been reading "The Love Dare" without her hubby's knowledge. (This the book that accompanies the movie Fireproof, which I have not yet seen!!) Her posts have been so inspiring that I got the book myself. I plan to start it this week. Anyone else out there reading the book? If so, please check out Ashley's blog!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I have a secret, JCP!

Okay, I have a secret. It's JCPenney! Yes, JCP! I have been doing quite a bit of my family's shopping their the past year. The prices are great, especially when you get their coupons. Have you been in there lately!? Today, I found a few great things that I must share!

For me, longsleeve crewneck (the nice thicker ones!), sale price $5.59, originally $16. And cable knit one button sweater, sale & coupon price $17.59, originally $44.

Toddler Boy Shirts, $3.59 (sale with coupon)-originally $10

Men's long sleeve polo -Red with Gray stripe $10.80 (sale with coupon)-originally $30.

Fall Table Tops

I received my November 2008 issue of Southern Living and fell in love with some of the tabletops. (And perfect timing as I just learned that I will be hosting Thankgiving at my home again this year--yay!)
Oh, so pretty! You can check them out here: www.southernliving.com/falltabletops And not be to outdone, BHG has some pretty great ideas too, including this one:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Party Set up

So I also wish you all could have been here, too! Thanks for all the kind words on Friday.
Check out the table set ups and deocrations for the party...yum! yum!
(I cut back on food quite a bit due to low turnout...I served chips and salsa, goldfish crackers, meatballs, breadsticks shaped like skeleton bones, and pigs in a blanket--foods that both the kids and the adults could enjoy.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bye Bye Pinata

Princess Mimi took the first swing but she wasn't the one to "break it". Made dash for the goods. This is what was left!

Another Halloween Cake

If I would not have made the pumpkin cake, I probably would have tried to do this one...a Scarecrow Cake from Betty Crocker. Too cute! Happy baking this weekend...

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Party (That No one is coming too)

Well, tomorrow is the Children's Halloween Party at my home. I had six families coming (from the orginal ten invites)...and am down to two, possibly three families. I am so dissapointed especially since I seem to take things so personally. Regardless, I wanted to share these two photos with you.

Here's my version of the Kraft cake I posted a few days back. (I didn't want to buy an entire box of ice cream cones just to use ONE for the stem so tried to use a cup covered in frosting...next time I will get the ice cream cone--ha! I will also tint the frosting a deeper orange and not put the lines on the side of the pumpkin.)


And here is the pinata Mimi has been working on...not bad for a three year old...of course we helped some, but I am still impressed with her creativion! THANK YOU SO MUCH Jenna for the great response to my post! Love you back girl!

Recipe: Italian Herb Chicken

So I LOVE my slow cooker, and LOVE the Slow Cookers Italian Herb Chicken Seasoning by McCormicks. So today's recipe, is more of a shopping tip...you must try this!

http://www.mccormick.com/productdetail.cfm?id=11719

Here's my added tip: A half hour before serving, turn slow cooker up to HIGH. Throw in a handful or two of elbow noodles, and the pasta will just cook right in the dish. (NO need to boil noodles separately!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pinata - In the Making

Remember a couple of weeks back I told you how to make a pinata. Well we are in the midst of it now!
Princess Mimi and hubby started decorating the pinata tonight. To my surprise, she listened carefully to instruction and never got frustrated. (I was worried that she may be too young for this project but she has proven me wrong!)

My Great Finds...

So I was cruising the isles of Target today, and saw a Sonicare toothbrush system on sale. Now we already have one but it's about five years old.

I replace hubby and I's heads about every 18 months (and they cost $30 for two)...so imagine my surprise to see the entire system (elite 9500) with two new heads on a clearance rack for $35.64!!! The original price was $139.84.

I grabbed it quickly and showed a lady next to me and she grabbed the second one. NOW THAT IS A DEAL!

Oh, I also picked up this cute chocolate sweater dress for Mimi, and a cute tee and jeans for Tom-Tom...all on sale of course!

Recipe: Peanut Butter Pie

I love peanut butter pie, yum. I have found several recipes over the years and have adapted to this one. Note this recipe makes two pies, so there is one for you and one for a friend!

INGREDIENTS
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup milk (I like 2% milk)
1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crusts
Optional: Chocolate syrup

DIRECTIONS
Beat together cream cheese and confectioners' sugar. Mix in peanut butter and milk. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping (I use the light version). Spoon into two 9 inch graham cracker pie shells; cover, and freeze until firm.

TIP
Prior to serving drizzle top of pie with Chocolate Syrup, Reese cups, or chocolate chips. YUM!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Recipe: Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This is one of my hubby's favorite recipes and only takes a few minutes to assemble with items you can pick up easily at the grocery store. I found this recipe on AllRecipes.com.


INGREDIENTS:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper to taste
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 clove garlic, minced
2 eggs, beaten
1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce


DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste. Slit open on the side for stuffing; set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, garlic, eggs and 3/4 of the cheese. Mix well and stuff each breast with 1/4 of the mixture; secure with toothpicks and place stuffed breasts in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour sauce over all and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 60 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Old Albums to CD

This is way cool. (Listen up mom & dad--and any other boomer who may be lurking!) You can copy your old vinyls directly to CD through your computer via a USB Turntable Click on the image below to learn more:


USBTurntable



Recipe: Baked Brie

A simple and quick appetizer that I am sure you have had before--Baked Brie!

INGREDIENTS
1/2 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 (8 ounce) wheel Brie cheese
1/4 cup sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan.
3. Slice the wheel of Brie in half, horizontally, so that the halves are two, flatter wheels of Brie.
4. Lay the puff pastry in the pie pan. Place half of the Brie (rind-side down) onto the pastry dough. Sprinkle almonds evenly over the top.
5.Place the other half of the Brie (rind-side up) over the almonds. Bundle the pastry dough around the Brie.
6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

TIPS
You may want dust the puff pastry with butter and egg white.
Make sure that you seal the seams of the puff pastry or you will have a huge mess!
Serve along side fruit jam or granny smith apples and crackers.
Instead of almonds, try brown sugar and walnuts.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Recipe: Potato Casserole

So this week I am going to share some of my favorite recipes with you all! Now I am not a fancy cook--I like "comfort food" and I like to stay within a budget.

My first recipe is a simple and yummy POTATO CASSEROLE! I love making this one for large gatherings (like summer time picnics or even for Christmas brunch!)

INGREDIENTS:
1 (30 ounce) package frozen hash brown potatoes
2-1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup
1 onion, finelychopped
1 cup butter

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Pour the hash browns into a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of cheese (put the remaing 1/2 cup off to side for topping), sour cream and soup.
3. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the onion with 1 stick butter and saute for 5 minutes. Add this to the soup mixture and spread this over the potatoes in the dish.
4. Next, arrange the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese over the dish.
5. Bake at 400 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 1 hour.


TIP: Although the above recipes says to top with shredded cheese, others have topped with potato chips, corn flakes or even canned french fried onions.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

BHG's 100 days of Holidays

Last week, Mom brought me tons of her magazines. One of them was Better Homes & Gardens, which I haven't read in years (and was pleasantly surprised!). There was an ad for a "100 days of Holidays" e-newsletter. (it will take your through Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas!) I signed up since this is my favorite time of year. You can too at: http://www.bhg.com/100days.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Haircut - Pictures

Here is the before shots (most days I ended up in a ponytail):Here is the after shot! (Self portrait--sorry about the flash!)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Haircut today

Well, your comments encouraged me...and my haircut appointment is in one hour! I didn't tell my hubby; I plan to surprise him! (And yes, I am going with my picture of Reese!) I have to run to a fundraiser for the remainder of the day, but promise to post photos tomorrow.

(Also, I am sorry that I haven't been to your blogs much this week but I plan to catch up tomorrow! Have a great weekend!)

Tag Time

I've been tagged by Lindsey at My Little Munchkin.

1. I am not the best swimmer and sometimes water scares me. (Kind of crazy since I live in Florida!)

2. I don't like to eat "green things" (peas, beans, etc)

3. Heck, I don't even really eat fruit for that matter.

4. But I do love pizza!!!

5. I love beer, mostly domestic beers. (Yes, I really like the taste)

6. I already have my Christmas cards done for this year!

7. And about half of my Christmas shopping too!

So I need to tag seven people to go next. Let's see...I will pick Loving Our Simple Life, are you kidding me?!?! , Up Hill at 40 -, Monograms and Manicures , The Heckathorn Family , tollesons4him , and More Wine Please . Of course anyone who wants to play along may do so!

Cupcakes!

Pink Cashmere Cardigan reminded me that tomorrow (October 18th) is National Chocolate Cupcake Day! YUM! I love love love cupcakes; probably my favorite dessert. If you are also a big fan of cupcakes, you need to check out this blog: http://cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com/, which gives great recipes and design tips as well as reviews on cupcake shops around the US.

(Photo: For Tom-Tom's 1st birthday, I stacked cupcakes on top of a one layer cake. I let the guests have the cupcakes, and then gave Tommy the bottom layer to "dig in".)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wedensday Weigh-In

Hello OSBs. Well I haven't been on a scale, or the treadmill, in three weeks (due to dental work, horrible cold, mom in town, etc!). Last time I did weigh, however, I was around 128 lbs, so I have 3 lbs to go until I reach my "goal".

So I have basically lost 8.5 pounds, and am surprised how BIG my pants are. I didn't expect these few pounds to make such a big difference and they have! So I need to get to a seamstress soon or buy some new stuff. I am really pleased that I have made it this far, and honestly, if I don't lose those last 3 pounds, I am okay with it. I look and feel great...and I am just enjoying my progress thus far!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I want this haircut!

Reese Whiterspoon has the best haircuts (hairstyles), don't you think!?

Thank you Mickey Mouse!

So on Friday, we got to Magic Kingdom at 9am. Princess Mimi wanted to see Mickey right away. Our plan was to get on the choo-choo train and head over to Toon Town, but once we got off the train, we realized that Toon Town didn't open until 10am. Fortunately, there were was a little play area for the kids which kept them busy for a few minutes.


As it got close to 9:45am, a few Disney Cast Members (employees) and a photographer came over to the closed off rope (leading into Toon Town). I walked over and asked if Mickey would come out or if a cast member was going to just open the area. (I was trying to figure out if I should pull out my camera or not).

She told me that Mickey and Minnie would greet the crowd prior to opening, so I got my two kids up to the front to see the excitment. (There were several families starting to gather at this point).

Well, Mickey and Minnie came out the front door of Mickey's house, and a cast member screamed "Mickey, please pick one lucky family," and he pointed to my Mimi!!

I wasn't really sure what was happening but new it had to be good! Someone then asked "Who is the family with this young girl?" and we were the only ones let under the rope!

We ended up getting a "private tour" of Mickey's house by Mickey and Minnie. (Characters aren't allowed to speak, but two cast members described the rooms to my kids.) A Disney photorapher followed us around and took tons of photos, too. We toured the house and the garden area, and were then taken into an area for private photos! My children loved the one-on-one attention with M & M (probably a good 5 minutes!). What a wonderful memory!!(I never knew about this little secret--I'm guessing it's part of the "Million Dreams" campaign.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Autumn At Disney's Magic Kingdom

So the positive of visiting Disney in October...

I love the Fall, and I especially love the decorations at Magic Kingdom (at the main entrance and Main Street) during September and October. There are pumpkins everywhere. I took several photos today to share with you!
Now for the DOWN side of visiting in October. First, the weather. It is still hot, very hot, in Florida. It was freaking 87 degrees on Thursday and we were MISERABLE!!!

Also, the park was CROWDED. It used to be that October was a good time (meaning low crowds) to visit Disney; however, since so many schools have started "Fall Break" the parks are busier in October compared to years past. (In fact, the new Toy Story ride at Hollywood Studios had a 130 minute wait time--um no thanks!)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Resorts at WDW

You all know that I live in Central Florida --And you have probably figured out that I have annual passes to Disney World. We usually make "day trips" to the park, but with mom in town, we decided it would be fun to spend the night. So, we made a one night reservation at Disney's All Star Music Resort. We were put into the "Jazz Inn 2".

In the past, I have stayed over at the Caribbean Resort, All Star Sports, Boardwalk, and the Grand Floridian, so I thought I would take today's post to share my thoughts on lodging at Disney World.

The All Star Resorts are the "value resorts" so are basically the "motel style" hotels on the property. The price is great (um, cheap!), but you also have much more noise (due to more kids) on property (you may hear your neighbors through the walls or hear kids running the corridors at night) and only one dining choice (counter service). Also, the All Star Resorts are furtherest from MK and Epcot so you will have a longer bus ride to the parks.

The Grand is my favorite but many can't afford to stay there. I would suggest the Grand for a honeymoon or anniversary trip, especially a trip without the kids. The location is AWESOME and the service is excellent--plus, the view to Magic Kingdom is great (you can see the firewords at night). But even better, in my mind, is the Boardwalk.

I love that the Boardwalk has easy access (walking path or boats) to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, and I love the atmosphere at night. Also, there are great dining options...and let me add, the Boardwalk as a killer swimming pool area!

Of course, let's get real, most families are on a budget, so I suggest the moderate resorts like Caribbean or Port Orleans. These hotels are a little closer to the parks yet and offer more dining options than the value resorts.

So there you have it, my two-cents! BTW, for great pictures and hints about where to stay at Disney, visit http://www.allearsnet.com/!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My past Halloween costumes...

Enough of the kids, well for a second...My friend Allyson, posted some old Halloween photos of her and her hubby. And I was with them for all those Halloweens so I want to post some of my favorite costumes photos too!...

2002 She Devil

(Allyson is second from left; I am a fourth in line)

2003 German Beer Girl

2004 Trailer Park Trash--(Hubby, fiance at the time, had an all-in-one overall that read "Bob's Trailer Park" on the back, with a cut off white tee, and a mullet wig. I had blue eye shadow and a blue bra hanging out of this really tight crazy outfit--very Peg Bundy.

Listen Up Single Gals...

Okay single gals! Let's talk for a minute. Have you ever tried an online dating service, like Match.com or E-Harmony? I did many years ago. In fact, that is how I met my hubby. Back then, I had to pay something like $20 a month to search profiles, but now there is a web site, True.com, that allows you to search for free!

Now, I will be honest. When I started on these web sites five or six years ago, I didn’t tell anyone. It was almost embarrassing to tell others. But then I told one girl friend, and found out she was doing it too!

It’s no different than meeting someone in a bar or club. You have to be safe. My hubby and I exchanged emails for a good three weeks before we ever met in person. In the beginning, I didn’t giveaway too much personal information. When we did meet for the first time, I made sure someone new where I was going and who I was meeting.

True.com is a great way find the love of your life, thousands have already begun their happily ever after!

Let me know if you decide to sign up, afterall signup is free! I’d love to hear about it.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

LSU Shirt at Disney

So I have so much to blog about regarding our two days at Disney, but just had to start with this one. I wore my LSU Tigers Tee shirt yesterday to Magic Kingdom. And wow, did I get some great comments. The best was this cute little lady with a heavy southern accent who said, "I sure hope you beat 'dem Gators, but aren't you a little afraid to wear that shirt in Florida!? I have seen so many LSU shirts here today!" GEAUX TIGERS!!