Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekly Faves

Happy Halloween! I hope you all have had a very unspooky day.  I am not a big fan of dressing up myself, but I am a huge fan of pets and other people in costume, especially my nieces and nephews. Hopefully I will get some good pics to share.  Finley is going as Olivia the Pig, Max will dress up as a transformer, Drew as a little German boy (wearing the lederhosen we brought Max back from Germany) and Olivia will be a little cowgirl.  So cute!

This week’s faves are a mixed bag. (Pun kind of intended.)

Loving the idea of this deconstructed Lasagna Soup featured on Iowa Girl Eats.  Also, I love her blog if you guys are not following, you must.  She has amazing recipes and a great weekly round-up post with such great ideas.

I have been following Mini Baker’s blog for some time and today she posted photos from her beautiful wedding.  She made all of her own desserts for her dessert buffet and it looks absolutely stunning (and delicious).  Click here to see all of her beautiful photos.

The next favorite doesn’t have a picture, but I loved the message.  It is from Kathy at Mish Mash Mom and she shares the secret of happiness.  I truly believe that if we followed this advice our lives would be much richer. Read here to get happy.

One of my blogging friends Nicole with the Wallace Word posted the most incredible dessert recipe this weekend – Oreo Pumpkin Cheesecake.  Can you imagine any ingredients that would be more delicious together? Click here for the recipe.

Another favorite this week is from my real life friend Sarah’s blog.  Her little boy has had quite a health journey over the past few months and her story shows the amazing healing power of prayer. It truly is a miracle story. Click here to read and be inspired.

Now that Halloween is almost over, I am on to the next holiday! These cookies from Our Best Bites would be so fun and easy (famous last words) to do with children.

I love the vintage milk and cookies parties.  Likely because this girl cannot say no to a cookie, but that is neither here nor there. Check out this cute one featured on Kara’s Party Ideas.

I love, love, love caramel apples. I actually have a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory less than 2 miles from me. It is dangerous, very dangerous.  My favorite is the caramel apple dipped in mini M&Ms because a caramel apple itself isn’t just good enough. 

This week on Glorious Treats she did a tutorial on how to make your own.  So for those of you without a RMCF within a couple of miles, this one is for you!

Enjoy eating your kids’ candy! When we were little my mom would “inspect” our candy.  I think that was her way of assessing the good stuff. I also found out a few years ago that she would go into our rooms at night and throw away a handful each day.  I always wondered how my neighbor’s candy lasted until Christmas and mine was gone the next week. Sigh.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

So Crafty

My mom is the crafting queen.  She finds something she wants to do and makes it happen. No surprise to anyone who knows my mom.  :) She is very creative and efficient.

A few weeks ago when we were shopping at Z Gallerie she came across these pumpkins for $10 – $18 a piece.

My mom wanted to see if we could do them ourselves for less, and today we did.

Please note – this project was a little messy. Okay, a lot messy. You will definitely want to do this outside.

Here are your supplies:


The pumpkins are from Walmart and the other items all came from Michael’s.  We actually didn’t end up using the glass pebbles, so just disregard those.  The glitter is kind of hard to see, but it is called tinsel glitter.

All you do is spray your pumpkin with the tacky spray, then dump tinsel glitter on it:

Cover the entire pumpkin with the glitter and tacky spray, then add a branch from the stem.  And voila:

Here is my pumpkin.  Mine was a little larger.

My mom is going to use these at every place setting for Thanksgiving.  They are going to look great!

I have to say it is a pretty darn good knock-off!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My go-to recipe

Probably a year or two ago my friend Megan had Tommy and I over for dinner and cooked the most amazing meal. I, at the time not really EVER cooking anything myself, asked her to share her recipe thinking I would likely never use it. However, it has become my go-to recipe when I want a good meal that I can do quickly and with enough to share or freeze.

The recipe is Giada De Laurentiis’ Italian Baked Chicken Pastina, and we all know she can do her Italian.

I promise it will look this delicious in person.


  • 1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta) – Megan used Cavatappi and it the best!
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Let me know what you guys think. I love it and it is great with sautéed mushrooms or a salad! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Magazine Roundup

I have great intentions at this blog to provide you with great content.  That includes subscribing to at least 5 different magazines (this down from a high of about 12).  However, you know what I never do – share with you the great things I find in said magazines.  Today I dug a few out to share the love.

First, my two favorite magazines that I subscribe to are:

The Food Network Magazine

Everyday with Rachael Ray

As an aside, I am adding this to my Christmas list – The HGTV Magazine. I can’t imagine anything better!

In the August edition of Rachael Ray’s magazine they had a feature on her faves.  One of her favorites was this ticket invitation.  I love it because it seriously looks like the real deal.  THe are available at and start at $1.70.

Same issue of Rachael Ray had this cute party backdrop.  It is just streamers and ribbons and would look great for a photo backdrop OR a dessert backdrop.  Love it!

Another cute one was the chalkboard wall backdrop. In the magazine the photo is much, much larger and has cute little sayings that people wrote before they took their pics.  Obviously the real deal would be much cuter, but this is all I could find:

And I am totally running late the party I am hosting, I must go!  Let me know your favorite magazines. I am always looking for new ones!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Weekly Faves

I just got back from a 6-day trip and couldn’t leave you guys hanging.  So I am going to take the easy way out and leave you with my weekly faves.

Does anyone else go on a trip and immediately come home, unpack their bags, then clean the whole house and make dinner.  Just me, no? 

These past two weeks have been crazy busy and tomorrow night is my bunko hosting night.  I was supposed to host here and had such grand ideas like adorable Halloween décor, themed food and making fall flower arrangements. Instead I scheduled it at a pizza place.  I am sad I didn’t have it together enough to do it here, but glad I decided to not kill myself to get it all done. Sigh.

But you didn’t come here for what has been going on in my life, you clicked the link to look at what I was loving last week!

So speaking of themed food, I loved these clever ideas shared on Maddycakes Muse via Lisa Storms.

I come across weddings quite a bit on the blogs, but for some reason this wedding spoke to me. I love the color theme and the flowers were so simple, yet beautiful. Click here to see all of the photos on cake events blog.

I come across a lot of gender reveal parties and thought the “What will it Bee?” themed event on Hostess with the Mostess was sooo clever.  See the full party at Libby Lane Press.

And I guess that is all I was impressed with this week because that’s all I starred.

Also, thanks for your help on my fat calves dilemma. I am especially thankful for Iris and Amanda Rose for pointing out that in actuality it isn’t that my calves are “thick” as it is that I am so much shorter, so the tall part hits me so much lower.  Um, duh.  And I am sticking to that theory. I am going to go to DSW first thing this weekend to try on boots in person and if all else fails, I will order the first pair I posted online.  I will keep you posted.

Now, whether to read all 551 items in my Google Reader or just start fresh. Tough choices.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The fattened calves

For those of you who have never seen me in person, I am a bit on the short side. 5’0” to be exact. I have never bought the tall boots that all the trendy people wear.  One, because I am not that trendy and didn’t know how they would look on me. Two, because I have the HUGEST calves known to man.

Case in point, this weekend my sister talked me into buying my first pair of skinny jeans (I told you I am not trendy) and I wanted to get a pair of the tall boots to tuck them into.  I go to Nordstrom and pick out boots with the biggest calf area thinking that I have just had bad luck in the past.  Yeah, it’s not so much bad luck as it is having the biggest calves known to man. (There might have been blushing and humiliation when I had to tell the poor guy helping me that there was no way I could get those puppies to zip. But I am over it now. Kind of.)

So anyway, I need your help – are any of these “wide calf” boots from Zappos cute?  (You really minimize your selection when you search for wide calf. Couldn’t they call it something more flattering?  Like not so petite opening?)




Okay and that is pretty much it.  I am not kidding.  Unless I want to spend several hundred dollars. I am thinking $150 or less.  Is that asking too much? (That is not a rhetorical question.)

I am already thinking of what tall boots would mean – leggings, more skinny jeans, the ability to actually wear skirts and dresses in the winter. Sigh. Any help would be appreciated!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A better understanding

Sometimes over here on the ole blog I have NOTHING to share.  So today I wrote down some thoughts (and when I say today, I really mean the last hour when I decided that I had nothing to blog about, but figured surely something would pop into my mind.)

1- I just discovered delicate on my washer within the past few months.  Um, why did no one tell me about this wonderful setting and how it would save all of my clothes from ruin? Or at least from looking too worn, too shrunk, or too faded?  Why?

2- This is a confession. Sometimes when I got a pop-up that the sender has requested a read receipt on my email, I hit the button that says “do not send a read receipt.”  I am clearly not as nice as I look.

3- Remember how I told you my first Audible book was going to be Madeline Wickham’s 40 Love?

I have always loved her books.  This one, notsomuch.  I am not finished yet, but I am on Chapter 12 of 14 and am still waiting for the book to have a plot. 

4- Another confession. I am completely immature. Last weekend I was out of town (4 hours away) and saw someone I knew in high school at Crate & Barrel. She was on the phone and didn’t see me, but instead of going up to her and saying “hi” I had my sister watch out for her in the store so that we didn’t cross paths and I wouldn’t have to pretend to be surprised if I did in fact run into her.

5- Please tell me I am not the only one who does this.

6- I always think it is so weird to run into someone you know out of town. What are the odds that you would be out of town and at the exact same place at the exact same time?

7- Actually, I think this is the first time this has ever happened to me.

8- On the same trip I ran into someone else I knew at the bathroom at the convenience store on the way home. This time I did say hi :).

9- To prove how exciting our life is, the past two evenings have been spent trying to figure out how to get our shower unclogged.  After purchasing at least 8 different unclogging products over the course of the past two weeks, last night we decided on the “big guns” – sulfuric acid. After looking online and reading about it, I figured this might not end well, so we had to hire a plumber to come out and unclog it. I am now looking forward to a shower without standing water. (Just keeping it real.)

10 – And now you probably have a better understanding of why I don’t blog when I don’t have anything going on. BORING!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekly Faves

My favorites have no theme this week (imagine that) except that they were my favorites.  I am soooo creative and original.

I thought this pumpkin display featured on Attention 2 Detail via Country Living was so creative. And I think it would be decently easy to do with vinyl.

This one probably wouldn’t be nearly as easy, but it looks awesome. 

This post has no photo, but Megan with Tales of the Trees linked to a great post that Lindsey from Sweet Simplicity shared with me about a year ago that has helped me tremendously – how to set up your comments to be replied to.  Read it here.  I would highly recommend this to all of your bloggers. I have made so many blogging friends from making this one little change! Also, while you are at it,  you might change your comment form to a pop-up because so many people (including me) cannot comment on forms embedded in your post.

The design of this shower on Hostess with the Mostess really spoke to me. I absolutely loved the look of it. And she offers free printables! Get them here.

Check out this before and after how-to created by Beckie at Infarrantly Creative.

Kara’s Party Ideas featured the most adorable monkey party this week that was thrown by Paula Duarte of Hola Mama.

Have you ever seen a cuter cake?

More soon!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is it safe to drink balsamic?

If balsamic vinegar had a fan club, I might be the number one fan. I love it.  I wish there was some health benefit to it.  Maybe there is? I guess as balsamic’s number one fan I should know. So I guess I am really the number 2 fan.

In addition to a good balsamic (I swear I can taste those that are aged longer), I love me a balsamic glaze.  You know, the thick balsamic that sometimes is used as a garnish on a plate at a nice restaurant?

My friend Catherine that has Sage and the Sage Melt Bar has an amazing glaze that they put on my favorite sandwich (the Caprese - Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, Red Onion, and Basil Pesto on Sourdough with Balsamic Glaze) I swear she needs to sell it by the bottle.

However, until she does that I found an amazing substitute tonight at Target:

It retails for $5.99.  Tommy and I drizzled it over warm focaccia bread and it was a total winner. 

They had a little idea book included and it suggested making risotto (seriously, my favorite), adding a little mascarpone cheese and one tablespoon of this.  Wouldn’t that be amazingly delicious?  I will let you know as soon I make it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book Club

I love to read. And when I say “read” I really mean listen to books on my iPod. It is a multi-tasker’s dream.  However, it is what I was doing when my weight went through my sink. But I digress.

For my birthday my in-laws gave me some money that I am going to be using towards a subscription to  Audible is a division of Amazon that offers a wide selection of audiobooks. I typically use the library and will continue to as I read about 3-4 audiobooks a month and my subscription only will cover one book a month.  I am using this as a supplement to the library since they don’t carry everything in audio format.

My first download is Madeleine Wickham’s 40 Love. I love a feel-good, no-brainer, girly book and Madeleine Wickham is a perfect author for that.  (She also writes under the pseudonym of Sophie Kinsella, the author of the Shopaholic series.) 

Also on my list are:

Beth Harbison is another girly author.  She wrote Shoe Addicts Anonymous and it was a cute book about women’s friendships.  I always love the easy to “read” ones.

I saw the trailer for this movie and it looked cute, so I thought the book would be even better.  We’ll see.

I also just finished Heaven is For Real. I was waiting for it for about 6 months at the library and just thought it was the best book. It was one of those that has stuck with me even weeks after I read it.  Whether you have ever lost someone (or not), it is just such a great story about what to expect after this life.  

For the record, I am always hesitant to read books that might be sad, and this book wasn’t sad at all. Just wanted to let you guys know that in case that was holding you back, too. Or am I just weird like that?

Brief synopsis for those who haven’t read it:

  • Young boy gets very ill and close to death from appendicitis
  • A few month’s later starts talking about his experience in heaven
  • He tells of people he met in heaven including Jesus and family members he has never met, heard of or even seen pictures of

One of the things that I thought was really interesting in the book is how the family would ask Colton (the young boy) every time they saw a picture of Jesus if that was who he met.  They finally got to the point where instead of asking if it was Jesus they would ask him what was wrong with the picture they were viewing.

When the family came out with their story they received an email that night and were asked if they had heard of the child prodigy Akiane Kramarik.  She is a child prodigy with a gift for painting who has had visions of heaven since she was four.  She has painted amazing pictures including many of Jesus.

There was a CNN video about Akiane and the dad watched the video and paused it on the image of Jesus she painted.  The dad called Colton in and asked him what was wrong with this picture of Jesus.  Colton stopped in his tracks and was speechless. A few minutes later he told his dad that nothing was wrong with the painting.

I would embed the video, but for some reason that is not happening. You can view it here.  Also on my reading list is the hard copy book of Akiane.  (My sister-in-law let me borrow it.)

Anyway, fill me in on what you guys thought about these books and let me know if you have any recommendations for others!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekly Faves

One of my favorite menu blogs is Elefantitas Alegres.  This week she had a great menu this week including another delicious quiche.  Check it out here.

My friend Anne from A. Party Style posted pics of her daughter’s 3rd birthday party and it was beyond amazing. You must go check it out here.  Here’s a sneak peek!

No picture here, but Tip Junkie featured a tip on how to get your Facebook back to where you can see all the posts from your friends.  Read here.

Another food blog I love is Iowa Girl Eats. She recently started doing her own Friday Favorites.  She posted so many good ones this week like:

How to update mirrors without a frame. Read the whole tutorial on The Secret to Success is Support.  You can do this for only $18!  What a steal and a high-end look!

And the recipe for this roasted garlic pilaf from Annie’s Eats:

Another Iowa Girl Eats favorite this week was the post she did on her lighter baked potato soup from Skinny Taste.  It includes one of my favorite veggies – cauliflower!

The TomKat Studio featured an adorable camping party this week.  There are soooo many cute details.  Check them out here.

And while we are on the subject of camping. This girly themed camping party featured on Kara’s Party Ideas is beyond cute!  Makes me wish I liked camping.  Sort of. Okay, indoor camping. At my house.

More next week!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Peeping Tom

So this morning as I was showering I saw something on the tile.  I swear it was a man looking at me.

See. I can’t see anything but this “person” now in my shower stall. Creepy!!!

profile pic1

If you need some help here is another visual.

profile pic2

And if you still need help, here you go:

profile pic3

Anyone know how to remove just one tile? ;) I am only kind of kidding.  Please tell me you see it, too.

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