Friday, December 31, 2010

A penny for your pictures

Snapfish Penny Prints are here! What a way to wrap up the year- print 99 of your favorite 4" x 6" prints for only 99 cents!
Upload your favorite pictures and use the promo code 2011PENNY before Jan 9th and you can get them mailed to your house super cheap! (shipping not included, but usually only runs a couple bucks)
Looks like I've got some uploading to do! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Step it UP

(guilty pleasure admittance in 3... 2... 1:) I am a sucker for a good dance movie and have been hooked on the Step Up series since the beautiful Channing Tatum made his dancing debut several years ago. Granted, these movies are not meant to have award winning acting, but DANG can those people dance!

In my opinion, each Step Up has gotten better than the one before, and Step Up 3 is no exception. I definitely saw it twice in the theater and the DVD was at the top of my Christmas wish list. No joke.

Not only is the dancing amazing in this edition, the soundtrack is also rockin. I can't even watch this trailer without dancing in my seat! This specific trailer is great because it highlights the dancing and the musicians from the film. Enjoy! (and do a little chair dance while you watch!)

If you haven't seen the movie, hit up your local redbox and check it out!

Feelin' Hot Hot HOT

It was cold yesterday and now today it was almost 70 degrees again!

So it put Spring on my mind... and I can't wait for it! I'm so excited because this year I am determined to grow some veggies. I want to grow tomatoes, jalepenos, and banana peppers!
Over the past year I've really come to enjoy jalepenos and put them on almost tons of stuff- nachos, pizza, burgers, stuffed and grilled, and on and on! Within the last month or so, my new pepper obsession has become banana peppers! When they are pickled, they are spicy/sweet and I love them on sandwiches. Yum!
So hopefully in a few months I'll be potting peppers for my porch! Can't wait!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Baby it's cold outside

Doesn't this make you feel warm already?

I want one.

From the etsy shop MegansMenagerie

How much are you wearing?

I have a friend who used to love to play the game "How much are you wearing?" It was a game to see who had the most expensive clothes and outfits. I always lost.

But now, I've turned that constant losing in to a game of it's own. I wonder how cheap I can get? How little can I spend and still pull together a decent outfit?

Well I am quite the thrift store shopper, so this becomes a fun challenge. (I'll dedicate a future post to some of my best thrift store finds!) Today's outfit is made up entirely of thrift store clothes, but several of them are name brand items.

Todays cost: $18, including shoes. Wow!
(pardon the awkward self-picture and curvy mirror!)

Here's the breakdown:
Button-down shirt: $2 at Goodwill
Gap Sweater: Free from old roommate (she gave it to me new with tags!)
Gap Long and Lean Jeans: $6 at Goodwill
Boots: $10 at Goodwill Boutique
Total: $18
New goal: wear less than $18. I think I can do it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Just Cool It

Merry Christmas! I hope you had a great holiday weekend! My Christmas was super low-key and lovely. I slept it, relaxed with the dogs, and then spent the afternoon with Shawn's family.

I was very blessed with some wonderful gifts this year. Many of them are slowly adding to my kitchen arsenal of gourmet gadgets. Soon I will have a kitchen to envy!

One of my biggest scores was a Wine Cooler from Shawn. It holds 36 bottles (wowza!) and is the stand alone black fridge-looking kind. I immediately plugged it in and put my 3 bottles of awaiting wine in there to chill. Man, 36 bottles is a LOT to fill!

Yesterday I finally found one of my favorite Texas wines and bought 2 bottles to add to my now growing collection: Fall Creek Chenin Blanc. I tried it this year at Grapefest in Grapevine, TX and it was delightful! I love fruity, light wines, and this one hit the spot! Plus, at under $8 per bottle- you can't go wrong!

(image credit)

I've searched stores for it since September and finally found it at World Market in the Arlington Highlands. Locals- go get you some!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve and it makes me miss my family. Since I moved to Texas I've had to choose going home for either Thanksgiving or Christmas but rarely both. (darn you expensive airfare!)

One of the traditions I miss most during Christmas is my family's annual Christmas Eve Dinner. No, we don't have a fancy homemade spread. No, we don't gather with extended relatives and dine on turkey or ham. No, we don't go to fancy restaurant.

Our family tradition every Christmas Eve is to go eat at Fort Wayne's Famous Coney Island. Yep, a hot dog stand. Well, it's more than a stand. It's a little restaurant full of small-town charm and home to the best Christmas Eve Coney Dog ever.

It's not much to look at, but it's delicious and it's tradition. We've taken many people there with us over the years and everyone enjoys it. We used to get a glass Coke bottle with the Holiday Santa on it every year too, but they stopped selling those (boo).

After dinner we drive around downtown and look at all the big light displays and holiday decorations before making our way home for the night.

It's a great tradition that I certianly miss. What are your Christmas Eve traditions?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Another recipe-- for the dogs!

Here's another recipe for you to try... only this one is for the dogs.

I made these dog treats for a few friends and all the pups went "Bananas" over them! :)

(From my cookbook: "The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook Kit" by the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company)

Banana B'Oats

1 1/2 cups Oat Flour
1 1/2 cups Brown Rice Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 cup Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Oat Bran
1 Egg
1/2 cup bananas (mashed and pureed)
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients together and mix thoroughly. Roll into small balls (about 1") and place on ungreased cookie sheet (they can be close because they don't spread). Press each one down with your hand to flatten cookies.

Bake 18-22 minuted or until edges are golden brown. Let cool completely on wire rack. Store at room temperature in a loosely covered container.


Some changes I made to my version ...

I didn't have oat bran, so I increased the amount of whole oats by 1/2 cup. That made them a little dry, so I also added a little more banana. The bananas I used were extra ripe ones that I had thrown into the freezer to use later. When I microwaved them to thaw them out, they were super easy to smash/puree. It worked out really well and was a great use for the over-ripe bananas I no longer want to eat myself.

These cookies turned out great and were almost mistaken for human cookies! (although it wouldn't hurt you to eat them!)

I hope your furry friends enjoy them as much as mine did!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oreo Truffles

The first time I had an oreo truffle, I thought it was a little bite of heaven! They were so moist and delicious and oh-so-sweet. I imagined that it took forever to hand roll and dip these little treats...

...boy was I wrong. After getting them for gifts from a few different people, I started to think- "Well they can't be THAT hard to make if everyone else is doing it!" So I finally looked up the recipe.

OH MY THEY ARE EASY!! So now I'm sharing the recipe with you so that you can wow your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers with some of the tastiest little morsels around:

1 package Oreos
1 package (13 oz) Cream Cheese, softened
melting chocolate (you can use white, milk, semi-sweet, dark- whatever you prefer. I use white)

Grind up your Oreos in a food processer until they become fine crumbs. (You can also put them in a ziplock bag and roll over them with a rolling pin). Reserve about 1/4 cup of crumbs and set aside for topping.

Combine crumbs with softened cream cheese in a medium bowl. Stir until mixed.

Roll into 1 inch balls. (I made rough looking balls first, then refrigerated them until they were stiff enough to roll and smooth out). Refrigerate until firm.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or carefully in the microwave. Dip refrigerated balls into melted chocolate and sprinkle extra crumbs on top. Refrigerate until chocolate is set.
Eat and Share!! YUM!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

First Day of Winter

(image credit)
Today is officially the First Day of Winter
...and it's 80 degrees in Dallas/Fort Worth!
I guess I'll take that over snow! Happy Winter Y'all!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jack!

My little boy turns 5 today.

He's a hairy little guy who loves to chase squirrels and look out the window. He is the protector of the yard and lap dog extraordinaire. I can't believe he's already five... they grow up so fast, don't they? ;-)

Today he went in for a birthday grooming and tonight I think I'll treat him to a little cheeseburger dinner!

Happy Birthday you silly pup!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Movie Review

Movie review: How Do You Know

(image credit)

I received two free passes to see a sneak preview of the new movie How Do You Know, featuring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson and Jack Nicholson.

My review? Let's just say I'm glad it was free.

Honestly, I like each of these actors separately. I think they are all so talented, funny, endearing, etc. But together? Blah. There didn't seem to be any chemistry between any of them, and the plot line never escalated enough for my liking. Plus the camera work was so distracting. So many extreme close-ups! I felt awkward watching, like I was interrupting or intruding on their conversations because we were so close!

Unless you get hit up with some free passes, I'd say put this on on your future redbox rental list. Spend $1 and eat your own snacks in the comfort of your home.

I know, Reese. All the critics will be harsh. But you'll get over it. (image credit)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snowy Days

I moved from Indiana to Texas four and a half years ago. I thought it was going to be a temporary move, but since then I have bought a house and have really settled in. While there are a lot of things I miss about Indiana and the Midwest, snow is definitely NOT one of them.

I just talked to my parents earlier this week and they were stuck in a hotel in northern Indiana after getting snowed in on their way home from Chicago. They were stuck there for 2 days because roads were closed and impassable. Yuck. No thanks (p.s. it was 70 here in Texas yesterday!)

The same day, my Grandma (who moved from Indiana to Florida a while back) sent me an email. She said "There's two feet of snow in Indiana. I sure don't miss it"

I agree, Grandma.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cuddl Duds

One of the most unique, and yet most useful gifts I have ever received from a friend was a pair of Cuddl Duds long underwear (thanks KPA). At first I thought it was odd- I would never think to buy my friends long underwear for Christmas. But then I wore them. And I've never questioned the decision since.

Cuddl Duds are quite possibly the warmest, most insulating things I have ever worn! They are so light weight that you would never imagine that they'd keep you warm, and yet I bet you could wear them by themselves, without a jacket, and be totally fine in the dead of winter. (ok, that might be a stretch, but you would be significantly warmer than you might imagine!)

The Cuddl Duds I have include the long-sleeve crew neck and the leggings. I love them! I'm thinking of buying more of them in black so that I can wear them as regular shirts, layered with vests or cardigans. It's great because now you can be super warm without having to wear huge, bulky jackets! I love this V-Neck version:

Yay for warmth! And Yay for KPA for buying me such a great gift so many years ago!
Get your own by visiting Cuddl Duds online! (options for Men coming soon)
(all images from Cuddl Duds)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Year in Review: YouTube

YouTube has announced the Top 10 videos of the year, as well as the most popular trends, popular search terms, and most viewed music videos.

Check it out at

Look at their timeline of 2010:

One of my favorite video moments of 2010 was the return of Eminem. He had 2 of the top 10 most watched music videos, including this one: Not Afraid:

What was your favorite video of 2010? The Bed Intruder Song? Annoying Orange? Glitter Puke? Justin Beiber?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Flash Mob

I think it's great that the idea of flash mobs have caught on. I remember seeing my first one online (although I've yet to see one happen in person) and I loved it!

Well you know things have caught on when they are used in a popular sitcom:
Modern Family Flash Mob:

(I love Modern Family. Thanks to KPA for introducing me to a wonderfully funny show!)

Have you seen the series of flash mobs happening in Seattle? They use Glee remix songs, and everyone participating looks so happy! While these look a lot more planned and the whole crowd seems to be participating, I love the variety of participants! (Check out the little girl in this first video):

(I also love Glee. Such a guilty pleasure!)

I wonder how you become part of a flash mob.... ? Wouldn't that be fun?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Voice of Christmas

In my opinion, Bing Crosby should be the Official Voice of Christmas. His songs are so warm and welcoming and just filled to the brim with Christmas Spirit.

I've been listening to Christmas songs all month and whenever one of his songs come on, I just swoon....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Slow Cooker Favorite

It's finally winter time and that means two things in the kitchen... warm drinks and comfort food!! Check out this tutorial for homemade heart-shaped marshmallows to put in your favorite hot chocolate, or give as gifts (pictured above, from That Wife Blog).

I love this season because I get to pull out my slow cooker and make tasty, warm, hearty meals every week. Gotta love a good slow cooker.

I recently participated in a recipe exchange and shared my new go-to easy slow cooker meal.

This Cheesy Chicken is so incredibly easy, I could make it once a week!

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (approx 2 large breasts)
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

You simply season the chicken breast with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place the raw chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker. Top with all three cans of soup. Cook on low all day (up to 8 hours) or about 3-4 hours on high. When it's done, you'll end up with delicious shredded, cheesy goodness. Perfect to serve over rice!

Yum! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Helpful Hints

I got this as an email forward, and while I'm not usually one to pass things along, some of these tips are really helpful! I decided to post it here for everyone to reference whenever they face a pesky problem... Enjoy!


Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream; then beat them.

Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste o f garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.

Reheat leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove; set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the food channel and it really works.

Easy Deviled Eggs- Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal; mash till they are all broken up; Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the bag; squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done - easy clean up.

Reheating refrigerated bread- To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in the microwave next to a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

Put layers of wet newspaper around your plants, overlapping as you go; cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic; they will not get through wet newspapers.

Easy clean up for broken glass- Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.

To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge, add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

Reducing Static Cling- Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and ... Ta DA! ... Static is gone.

Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient (peanut butter, honey, etc.) and watch how easily it comes right out.

Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!

If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, Just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.

Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.

To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2 with Apple Cider Vinegar And 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

To Get Rid of Ants- Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed.

Wish List

It's that time of year again (already?!?) when people start creating Wish Lists for the Holidays. Some people simply jot down a few things they'd really like to have, while others create full blown online wishlists to share with family and friends.

Usually when it comes down to the wire, it's hard for me to come up with things I want. I've been very lucky in life and I try not to "want" too often. So, I personally use to create my Wish List througout the year. I started one last year and I add to it all year long with random/assorted things I would like to have.

Usually it's nothing major, but when I see something and think "well that might be nice to have..." I simply add it to my list. Then, whenever family or friends need to get me a gift any time of year, they can browse my list for inspiration. The best part about Amazon's Wish List is that you can add items from ANY website to your list, not just from Amazon. In fact, right now they are running a contest with prizes every week for those that add items from other websites. It's a really nice way to keep all of your "future purchases" and "wants" all in one place.

(image credit)

On another note, however, I've been thinking of a different kind of Wish List. This is more of a personal list of wishes for life. Things like:

*I wish I had more time to blog
*I wish I did more crafting
*I wish I baked and cooked more often
*I wish my house was cleaner and more organized
*I wish I kept in touch with my friends more often
*I wish I had a better workout routine
*I wish I could plan more events
*I wish I took more pictures (and actually put them in frames!)

So... I'm turning this Wish List into a Resolution List of sorts. My boss was recently speaking to a group of young students and told them "If you want something, go out and get it. No one is going to give anything to you. It's up to you to get it for yourself. If you want a helping hand, it's at the end of your arm."

Well, I'm taking his advice, starting now. I'm going to make it happen. I'm tired of wishing for more. These are all things I can achieve, so why just wish and wait for them?

'Tis is the season for wishes and dreams to come true... so let's get to work.