Sunday, July 27, 2008

I'm Going to Be a Guest Blogger!!

I'm so excited to be opening my kitchen to the readers of

Either they're desperate for guest bloggers or they liked what I had to say! I'll be doing a post a day for an entire week where I talk about the food we eat. Tune in the week of 8/24!!

I've been doing some reading about how I could possibly blog for a living. I've been obsessed with it for a few days and I've made some headway by joining Adsense and Feedburner. I know I need to get my hits up to get approved for product reviews. If any of you are blogging for moolah (or just happen to be making moolah while you're blogging), I would welcome your suggestions!!

How to Create a Favicon on Blogger (the little picture thingie in the address bar)

Ever wonder how people get the cute little square icons up in the address bar and on the tabs of Internet Explorer? Do you adore the little apple you see when you pull up my blog? Those cute little pics are called Favicons and it's easy to do your own!

I had to read about 15 different sets of instructions to finally get it to work on Blogger, so you can take advantage of my wasted time and save some of your own!

1. Go to . On the right-hand side, there is a spot labeled favicon generator and favicon.ico hosting. It works best if the picture you're using is square because it's going to convert it to 16 x 16 pixels.

2. Choose your picture, sharpen it if you want to (sharpening will help if you are using a photo or something with detail), and click Upload Now.

3. It will return with a Direct Download, but don't use this--it isn't Blogger compatible. Picasa will not host .ico files, so you'd have nowhere to put it (took me forever to figure this out). Underneath, it says Host it at IconJ. Copy this link.

4. Sign into Blogger, choose Layout, and then choose Edit HTML. About 5-6 lines down, you'll see the command < head > Paste the link directly under it. Then paste it again and go to the end of the link and delete the word shortcut. If you only paste the link in once, it will only change the icon up in the address bar and not the icon on the actual page.

5. Click Preview Template. You should see your favicon appear! If you do, you can click Save Template! Be cautious while you are editing in HTML and don't accidentally delete a bunch of stuff! But, you can always click Clear Edits if you haven't saved your template yet.

Here is a screen shot of what my template looked like with the edit. You can click it to enlarge.

Happy Favicon-ing!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Diapers Galore!

I'm having a friend over for lunch, so I ran to Kroger this morning to pick up some deli meat for southwest grilled ham & cheese sandwiches. I was thrilled when I found a table full of diapers marked 50% off! Now, I am not a diaper snob. I'll use pretty much anything--store brand, luvs, dishtowels... " ) But I LOOOOOVE Pampers! The absorbency is phenominal, the material is soft, I would probably marry them. Yep, I think they're the best thing since sliced bread, but they are EXPENSIVE! Even on sale, it's a bit high to pay $.17 per diaper.

We've been using the store brand from Babies R Us (which aren't bad once you get used to them feeling hard instead of squishy when they are wet) for the last five months (I stocked up when they were 2/$30 and I had a 15% off entire purchase coupon). I squealed loudly when I saw three HUGE boxes of cruisers!! By the way, I blamed the noise on the midget--"Honey, you shouldn't scream inside the store. tsk tsk."

With my coupons, I paid $13.50 per box of 116! That's less than TWELVE CENTS per diaper!! Yippeee!!

Funny the things that excite me these days...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Me vs. the Midget


The Midget--2008

The Tale of the $23 Lip Gloss

After making good money for eight or nine years, I am having just a wee bit of trouble adjusting to the whole "budget" thing. Case in point: The $23 lip gloss.

My sweet husband requested a picture of both the baby and me to put in his wallet for when he travels. I dressed the midget in a sweet strawberry outfit and got myself all gussied up. Things were going well (I was even going to be early for our appointment, which is extremely rare), but then tragedy struck... Where is my red lip gloss?? I MUST have my red lip gloss! I thought for sure it was in one of the 423 (slight exaggeration) purses in my closet that I never fully clean out when I switch to a new purse!! I dug through a million purses, looked through drawers, closets, and any nook or cranny I could think of, but no lip gloss.

Being the cool cucumber I am, I didn't fret--I had time to stop at CVS and grab a new tube of lip gloss. I grab the baby and head inside thinking how I didn't budget any money this month for personal items--especially since I have a hard time not going completely broke when I take the baby in for pictures. What?? Seven bucks for a new tube of lip gloss?? That is scandalous!! Well, what have we here??? $1.99 red lip gloss?? I'LL TAKE IT!

I strap the baby back in the car and head towards town. About halfway there, I take out the lip gloss and put some on. What the FRICK?? This isn't red and it barely even has a gloss!! I remember that there's a new Sephora right next to where we're getting our pictures taken, so no big dealio, right?

I walk into Sephora (we have five minutes until our appointment) and a lady asks if she can help. I normally don't accept help because I like to browse (and I have a bit of a "Superwoman" complex--I can do everything myself), but I don't really have time to kill. I tell the woman I need red lip gloss, I'm in a bit of a hurry, and I don't want to spend a fortune. She takes me over and grabs a tube of red goo, hands me a wand, and watches me slop on the gloss. It's perfect!! In fact, it couldn't be any more perfect, so I head up to the register. The midget is smiling, giggling, and flirting with everyone as we stand in line and we move fast.

We get up to the register. "Hi, how are you? Cute baby! blah blah" *beep* OH MY HOLY COW!! TWENTY-THREE DOLLARS FOR A TUBE OF LIP GLOSS?? How much is the lip gloss that does cost a fortune? I certainly wasn't going to put it back at this point, so I walked out of there feeling violated and dumb!

My lesson learned: spend a little bit more money to start with or you'll end up costing yourself a fortune later!

p.s. Everytime I put this lip gloss on I think, "Well, that was fifty cents worth of lip gloss right there." At least the picture turned out nice, but can you even tell I have red lip gloss on??

I Think...

it says something about your level of commitment to housecleaning when your midget screams because she's scared of the vaccuum. I guess I should pull it out more. hehe

Monday, July 21, 2008


I don't normally do a gazillion posts in a day, but the hubby left for work for a week today. Since I ABHOR cleaning of all kinds, I am busying myself writing new posts! heh heh heh *evil snicker*

The first day he's gone is always the toughest for me to get through. I find myself doing random things to get out of the house. "Oh darn, we're out of (insert anything...doggie breath freshener--whatever I can think of). I better go get some." I'll also make random visits to people I used to work with.

Today, I had to get out of the house and instead of taking a walk or doing something good for myself, I decided I needed to bake. So, baby girl and I headed to the grocery store to rustle up some inspiration. I know--BAD idea! I walked out of there spending $40! Granted, it was all on sale and stuff we will eat, but I did not need to spend that money today! I decided what I wanted to "bake" were Scotcheroo bars, so I got the ingredients I thought I needed. When I got home, I realized I forgot the dang butterscotch chips, so I couldn't make them anyway. Remind me again why they are called "Scotch"eroo bars? DUUUUUH!!


I knew I'd score much lower than Sonshine, but I didn't think I'd do quite this bad...


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

Thank goodness the hubbster is not quite this old-fashioned!


I have a confession to make: I started this Creative Memories PicFolio Album when I was on Maternity Leave--seven months ago--and I finally finished it this week. I can't believe I just told you that!! I feel a bit ridiculous, especially considering I haven't been working for nearly five months! It's the easiest scrapbook in the entire world and it took me SEVEN months to complete it!

In my defense, I did one of these for my Mom while I was on ML, so it isn't like I haven't done any scrapbooking. If you have the tiniest bit of discipline, you could complete this album in a few hours, not seven months!

Did I mention that I haven't even started on my baby's Baby Book?? Oooops! I'll get it done one of these years! Probably by the time she's driving.

p.s. I have no affiliation to Creative Memories, except the drain they put on my wallet...

This Must Be My Kid

Daddy was feeding her blueberry pie and apparently she liked it.

Library Tote Bag

For my niece's First Birthday, I made her a tote bag for schlepping her books back and forth from the library. This was my first foray into serious sewing since middle school home economics!

I looked up directions online for a tote bag, just to get a general idea of how to craft the bag. This tutorial about making a tote from a Martha Stewart Dishtowel proved to be the most valuable to me, even though I was using fabric.

First, I made a test bag with no liner, since I wasn't using a pattern. Urf--it was not pretty! In fact, it was so NOT pretty, I didn't even take a picture of it! I decided I would go ahead and make the bag and just be more careful. I made the bag, but ended up making three big mistakes: I sewed the lining on the wrong way, I reversed the thread on one of the handles (aqua thread on the brown background and brown thread on the aqua background--der), and I folded over the top of the bag so many times that I couldn't sew through it. With this bag, I learned a LOT and was able to make the final bag without a SINGLE mistake! I was even so confident that I sewed an interior pocket into the bag. I know, I'm a complete MANIAC!! haha

Miss E sure seemed to love her tote bag! Now if I could just get my a** moving and sew one for my daughter. I thought about that the other day when I was trying to hold my daughter, my purse, my coffee, AND three library books. Hey, I have fifteen other projects on my list, so give me a break, okay? I probably should make it before I forget how to do it! " )

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Eclair Bars

All I have to say is mmmmmmmmmmm........You MUST make this!!

Eclair Bars

2 small boxes Vanilla Instant Pudding
3 c milk
1 box graham crackers
1 8 oz Cool Whip
1 can prepared chocolate frosting

Line bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan with whole graham crackers.

Mix pudding with 3 cups milk, as per package show on pudding box; but use only 3 cups of milk instead then add the Cool Whip.

Spread half of the pudding and Cool Whip over the bottom layer of graham crackers. Place another layer of graham crackers, then spread the remainder of the pudding mix over the crackers.

Add a final layer of crackers. Frost the top thinly with the frosting. Refrigerate overnight, cut into bars, and try not to scarf down the entire pan!

Cheesecake Sopapillas

The name of this is a little bit strange, considering that it is not a cheesecake, nor is it remotely like sopapillas (which I ADORE), but it is DELICIOUS!! It is especially good drizzled with a little honey (like traditional sopapillas are) and a dab of whipped cream!

Cheesecake Sopapillas

2 8 oz tubes crescent roll dough
2 8 oz bricks cream cheese, softened
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c sugar, divided
1 T cinnamon
1/4 c butter, melted

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Unroll one tube of crescent roll dough on the bottom of the pan.

Mix cream cheese with 1 cup sugar and vanilla. Spread on top of dough. Unroll remaining tube of dough on top of the cream cheese mixture.

Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle mixture over the dough. Pour melted butter over the entire top of the dish.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool for 15-20 minutes, cut into wedges and serve!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bowl of Berries Cookies

I found this recipe in a cookie bake-off cookbook from the 70's or 80's a million years ago. They are basically a flavored shortbread cookie. They even taste like strawberry and I promise they aren't very hard to make (if a three and five year old can do it, so can you)! These are a show-stopper at bake sales or cookie exchanges.

Bowl of Berries Cookies

1/4 c water
3-5 drops green food coloring
1/2 of a 2-oz package slivered blanched almonds

1 c butter or margarine (everything's better with butter though!)
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 of a 3-oz package strawberry-flavored gelatin
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
2 c all-pupose flour
Red-colored sugar
Green-colored sugar

1. To make stems, mix water and green food color in a shallow bowl. Add almonds. Allow to soak and absorb color, stirring several times.

2. To make cookies, beat butter, powdered sugar, gelatin, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl with electric mixer until fluffy. On low speed, gradually beat in flour. Chill 30 minutes.

3. Drain almonds on several layers of paper towels. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

4. Form dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Taper one end of each to make a strawberry shape. Dip the wider end into the green sugar and then roll tapered end in red sugar. Insert an almond stem in wide end of each berry. Place one inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 11-12 minutes until set, but not browned. Cool on wire racks. Makes approximately 36 cookies

Aren't they cute?

What the heck??

Where did they all go? hmmmmmmmmm....


This Ain't Yo Mama's Meatloaf

I may not be good at sewing, gardening, cleaning, or most things domestic, but I CAN cook!

I had a hankerin' (that's right, I said hankerin') for meatloaf yesterday. But I didn't feel like the plain old tasteless hamburger slices that come to mind when I think of meatloaf. I went online and started looking up recipes. I found one that sounded interesting, so I changed it up a bit to make it even better (actually just so I didn't have to go to the grocery store--teehee). This is what I ended up with and MAN oh MAN! I had to unzip and lay down afterwards from the sheer exhaustion of saying "mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm............." and "ooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh" so many times!

Italian Meatloaf

1 T Olive Oil
1 med onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 t italian seasoning
3 T fresh italian parsley, chopped
1 c grated parmesan (the kind in the canister is fine for this--seriously, save your good stuff for something that doesn't cook an hour)
3/4 c breadcrumbs
1/4 c pinenuts
2 eggs
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T worchestershire sauce
1 lb ground chuck (do NOT use 90% lean--use 80% or you will have DRY meatloaf)
1 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1 c marinara sauce (jarred or canned is fine--remember this cooks for an hour)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Over medium heat, saute onion and red pepper in olive oil until just softened. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat, add italian seasoning, mix, and place in a large mixing bowl to cool.

When pepper and onion mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 15 minutes, add the remaining ingredients, except marinara sauce, and mix until well blended (it's okay to get your hands dirty and squish around in there). Pack down into a greased loaf pan. Spread the marinara sauce evenly over the top.

Bake for 55-65 minutes until a thermometer inserted in the middle of the meatloaf reads 160. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Put on your fat pants and chow down! I served this with pesto smashed red-skin potatoes and char-grilled summer squash medley. Mmmmmmm...

I made Jdub the hub a meatloaf sandwich for lunch today. Do you think he'd notice if I took a bite?

Italian Potato Soup

I worked at Olive Garden one summer during college as a hostess. It was a crummy job, but I did get half off meals before or after my shifts. I'm not a big fan of pasta, but mercy me--I love their soup, salad, and breadsticks! My favorite soup is their Zuppa Toscana! This is my copycat recipe (Janelle, you obviously have the same OG soup obsession as I do).

I frequently fry up hot breakfast sausage (the very sophisticated and chic kind from a tube heehee) in the morning for breakfast pizza (sausage crumbles, eggs, cheese, and country gravy instead of pizza sauce) or breakfast burritos (the same ingredients in a tortilla), so I just planned to make them for breakfast and we had the soup for lunch! For Alana, I drained the liquid out of her portion and gave her all the solid items in the soup and she gobbled it up--including the kale (she LOVES anything green).

Italian Potato Soup


6 slices bacon
3/4 cup onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c cooked hot breakfast sausage
2 cups kale leaves, cut in half, then sliced
4 cups chicken stock (you can also use 4 cups of water and 6 chicken bullion cubes, but be sure to omit the salt)
1/4 t salt
3 medium red potatoes, sliced into thin half-moons with the skin left on
1/3 cup half and half

Place bacon in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until the bacon is crisp. Remove bacon and crumble. Add onions to the same pan and cook until translucent. Add garlic to the onions and cook an additional minute--do NOT burn the garlic, so watch it carefully! Add chicken stock and potatoes and simmer for 15 minutes. Add crumbled bacon, sausage, kale and cream. Simmer 5 minutes and serve.

I served this soup with a crisp salad with tomato wedges and a homemade pesto vinaigrette. For you people who can eat anything you want and still have the body of a supermodel, feel free to add garlic breadsticks. Alas, my body takes the second helping of carbohydrates (the first being the potatoes in the soup) and places them directly on my already rotund stomach! " )