Sunday, December 13, 2009

Recipe Challenge Sunday!

So at about 2am a few nights ago, Instead of sleeping, I had the idea to begin a challenge where we are given an ingredient that we must cook around! Recipes and Pictures to follow, whether it be a failure or a success!

It might help to get those creative juices flowing! I'd love for you to get in on the action too!

So the mystery ingredient for this week is....

ROLO'S!!! Chocolately outside, caramel goodness inside! What will we come up with?!?

And what good is a challenge with out a deadline?? Look for my creations or disasters next Sunday!!

I'd love to include yours too so comment with a link to your blog or let me know what you made and how it went!! If you use someone else's recipe, please be kind and share the link love!


UPDATE: Things don't always go as planned, and unfortunately, this was one of those things! I did make my recipe, pretzels with melted rolo's and it was DELISH!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I dare say..

I think Christmas (If you don't celebrate, please substitute for holiday!) Spirit is actually sneaking up on me!! Despite me even being in 85 degree weather, and with no christmas decor to be seen--isn't it funny how it works sometimes?

If you haven't really got into the Christmas mood yet, I've compiled a little list to help you out. Try one or all of these to make yourself feel good and merry!

1. Remember why/what you loved about the holidays. Think back to your happiest Christmas/Holiday memory. What made this time of year special for you? Write it down. Also, notice what creates that little warm, stirring feeling inside you. Is it the neighbors lit up house? A cozy wintery throw you cuddle into when you read? Is it a nightly cup of cocoa with nutmeg and LOTS of marshmellows? Keep an ongoing account of what you love or enjoy most about this month and the festivities.

2. Create the scene. Decorate your home with fresh evergreen branches if you'd rather not deal with a whole tree, that way you still get the great smell with less mess. You can always add a few ornaments into martini glasses or glass bowls for a untraditional but just as beautiful setting. And don't forget the lighting! Candles are romantic and can create the smell of home baking, minus the smoke alarm. Or if you'd rather not chance the whole "fire" aspect at all, you can get the flameless ones, alot of them look amazingly real nowadays! Or go with Twinkly lights! These come in sooo many varieties. My husband loves the light ropes and i prefer the more traditional but eco friendly LED twinkle lights. Wrap them around the bottom of your glass dining table, hang them from the boring light fixture, tuck them in the bookshelf or put them around your bed!

3. Bake! Give it a try, even if you burn toast, you can buy the pillsbury cutout cookies, just place them on the baking sheet, set the timer and your all set. You can't beat the warmth and smell of fresh baking. If there is no way your going to bake, go into a local bakery and buy your very own piece of homemade heaven.

4. GIVE BACK. This is my absolute favorite holiday tradition. NOT one of my husbands but I'm hoping he'll learn with time. I like to give some of myself to a local non-profit, charity or I find people that I know I can help out either with my talents, my time or money. One year we arranged christmas dinner for 23 families and another year we provided presents for 15 families and their children. Helping others or RAK makes this world seem a little kinder to those that are feeling stomped upon, and makes our individualized society a more community minded.

5. 'Christmas up' your every day! Drink your coffee with some holiday flavored creamer or some egg nog in it (Did you know Silk makes soy milk egg nog??). Use christmas or red/green napkins. Write your office memo's with red/green pen. Add a holiday message to your email signature.

6. Enjoy those things you can ONLY do this time of year. Ok, granted this doesn't work for either of the two places I've lived lately, BUT you get the idea. Go snowboarding, skiing or ice skating. Make snowmen and snow angels. Wear sweaters, scarves and cute cozy caps. Pile into the car in PJ's with cocoa and cruise for christmas lights.

Alot of having JOY is appreciating what we have RIGHT NOW. Go out and 'Make Merry'!


Here's what I've been up to!!
I went to the Stampin Up regional here in Maui and spent a full day noshing, chatting and STAMPING! No kitty or baby to interfere! I spoke to a few women who all had children, and one of which that had FIVE!!! Ages from 4 to 17. The phone calls she recieved while we were stamping (for example, they LOST the 4yr old--apparently it happens all the time!!) I couldn't imagine five children, Jadyn himself drives me up a wall.At least i got some cards and little paper gifties done, plus many new ideas for tons of projects.. Yay!! I'm really thinking I might get into this as a home buisness for some extra $$. Not much mind you, but getting a little kick back to hang out, stamp and have fun! Heck yes!! Plus, I could use the money off of my ever growing supply.


I'm still figuring out what to do for everyone for christmas, I found this victorian addage which will definitely help for when Jadyn gets older to combat that unending materialism, "Something you want, Something you need, Something to wear, And something to read." I could see this being especially helpful for if you had more then one child. I really want to raise Jadyn to be more into the traditions then the gifts anyways! Me and Jade finished our christmas cards (such a good hubby! He glued together the snowmen!), so now just to send them out!

So you can see, we took Jadyn to see Santa while we were still in Hawaii. So funny! Santa and Jadyn in their aloha wear, shorts and tshirts! Jadyn was such a good sport. He wasn't exactly happy with being put on Santa's lap but he barely fussed and not a tear! A welcome sight from last years Santa fiasco!

Plus, this year he got a stuffed snow owl from Santa (as part of our picture package) and loves that little guy so! He carries him around saying, "Owl, owl" which sounds like he's in pain, OW! I'm so glad he's attached to it, we were trying to find a replacement for his DVD case obssession. I swear, he's addicted to them! He doesn't even get a 1/2 hour every day but let him see a case, its over. Hopefully his "OW" can fulfill him.
Are you planning on doing any cooking/baking for the holidays?? One of the ladies at the Regional had the cutest little set up with toothpick labels and signs for her dips and the cutest tiny spoons! Really made everything else look like leftovers in comparison!

Presentation really is EVERYTHING.

I adore this website and can't wait to order like mad for this holiday baking/giving season! They have the BEST ideas!! So cute.
What does your christmas planning look like?? Mine thus far, is a scribbled note with crosses, checks and question marks.. Here's a great little DIY to make yours a bit more manageable!

Also, this lovely print your own wrapping paper set.. Now i just need some recycled paper!

Did you make your advent calendar yet? If not here's some last minute cute ideas.. Here and Here

Thats all my lovelies!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Getting into the holiday spirit!

I don't know what it is about December and Christmas, but the mere thought and my heart gets all snuggly.

I ADORE traditions. Seeing how we are in the process of creating our "own" holidays for our newly formed little family, I love reading about other peoples take on the subject.

Ours are pretty simply still, and not even our own. Christmas Eve at Jade's Grandma's house where we do a gift exchange and play board games. Christmas morning at his parents house, where we cover the floor in crumpled paper from unwrapping the piles of gifts, stockings pillaged first of course. Then the rest of the day is spent lounging, or a movie sneaked in. Then we pile into the car shoved full with stuff and make the trek home to unpack.
Will this year be the same? I can't say. I'd like to make Christmas more about family and love and less about gifts and presents, but it seems an uphill battle. I will tell you, me and Mrs. Bea are doing a handmade holiday so maybe that will combat the materialism a bit.
One thing I'm looking forward to this year is an introduction to the big guy in red. Thats right, Santa. Jadyn is of the age to start believing in magic and I'm so excited to be able to journey with him! I loved Santa, we're still close.
I'm still not quite sure how we'll include some hawaii into our christmas yet, but since its part of our history and in my sons name, we'll do it somehow!

Why don't i give you an idea of how christmas is here in Hawaii?

Mele Kalikimaka is the way to say Merry Christmas. Santa is dressed in his 'aloha' best, with sandals and hawaiian print shirt! You can find him strumming a ukelele or having a cocktail, or dancing with the Mrs.. Carols are played on the ukelele and Santa arrives via canoe, not on a reindeer drawn sleigh. Instead of a fireplace, try a bonfire on the beach, substitute roasted chestnuts for roasted pig.

***I also am learning of other celebrations around Christmas, I even learned of one i hadn't heard of before!

I'm involved in a swap for a "Lucia" gift. Here's what the host told me about it,
"In Sweden Lucia is if not as big as Christmas then rather big :). We eat gingerbread cookies, saffronbread and often give our kids a small gift."

Here's a blog about the holiday. Saffron bread, or Lucia rolls, sound YUMMY.

***Another tradition I love and am getting itchy to make myself, is an advent calendar.
Craft Apple blog has a good little pdf for the numbers to make your own!
Also, she has a link to an advent calendar sew along! I may be joining them soon!

If you aren't so crafty, Elsie has a diy kit you can purchase as well! All pieces included!

****I'm wondering if Jadyn is too little to try one of these?

Blonde Designs blog has it all worked out and a cute PDF to cover your frosting cans. So thoughtful!

Here's a great idea at Family Fun, AND a use for one of those cardboard six pack boxes i have in my recycling! SCORE!

What traditions do you have that you might be willing to share? Will you try something new this year?
I'll pick a comment at random to recieve their very own hawaiian ornament! :o)

Friday, November 27, 2009

I can be grateful for the hard times...

How do we determine success in life? Is it health? happiness? money in the bank? a full fridge? a furnished apartment?
Sometimes life is like a glass jar of marbles. One slip and the jar is broken, pieces and marbles scattered everywhere. It seems like once you grab for one marble, another one rolls away.
Thats how our life has been these 3 months. Everything right out of grasp.. one piece of glass in the foot after another.
Its funny because this is a place people save up to come to. This is someones idea of paradise and yet it is my corner of hell.
I think sometimes we have to rethink things, and this is the time.
Sometimes we have to have gratitude for the tiny shards of glass we were able to pick up, unscathed.
Sometimes the tough times are able to make us see more clearly, so we must show gratitude.
Sometimes the tough times make us come closer, so we must show gratitude.
I think we must be just as grateful for hell as we are for heaven, for pain as we are for bliss.
Because one day, it will be better, easier, happier and then we can look back and realise how blessed we are and always have been.
That if we made it through this, then somehow, we can make it through anything.
I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with family and love as mine was.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Have your cake and eat it too..

As I sit here at home, thousands of miles and a different time zone from my husband I'm forced to self contemplate (gasp) which sometimes can be a scary thing!

As I watched one of my favorite movies, Marie Antoinette, I was reminded of how delicious life could be.

If you hadn't already grasped it, I'm a romantic soul.. I think as Women and especially as Mothers, we over look ourselves, with the excuse that its for the benefit of others.But think, is a tired, haggard, cranky or even dare I say it--bitchy you, a beneficial one?
Sometimes and often we need to create for ourselves an occasion for some "me time". Release your guilt, and allow your self love to wash over you. You work hard and you deserve it. I hate to break it to you, but no one else is going to do it for you (Sorry, better to realise that now!). Hubby is not going to sweep in with flowers, take the kids to the zoo, bring in a maid and send you to the spa, no matter HOW MANY tips you drop (trust me, I've tried!).So, that in mind...
What are some ways to indulge yourself?Sure you can spend a small fortune at a spa or resort, but if you get to know yourself you can treat yourself even daily (imagine!) without a lot of cost or concern.
Get out those journals, My Darlings!

Consider what gives you bliss---

*What is the most scrumptious thing you can think of?
Is it chocolate that melts on your tongue? A delicate fruit pastry? Warm apple pie? Smooth vanilla ice cream? Maybe its a good salad or shrimp cocktail?

*What scents smell the sweetest you?
Is it fresh flowers? Sweet Perfume? The smell of new babies or puppy kisses?

*What delights your sense of touch?
Soft furs? Silk? Satin? A bed of green grass? Or a warm bubble bath?

*What makes you feel the most beautiful?
Being drenched in lace? Pearls? Or Better yet being nude? What about a workout class? A long, peaceful nap? A swim?

Consider for a moment how these small indulgences make you a more peaceful, happy and loving person, then figure out how to work more into your life.

Do what needs to be done to treat yourself: pencil it in, take time off and enjoy.

We have one life, we can make it whatever we choose. I choose to make mine beautiful, and decadent. How about you?

Comment below some ways that YOU take care of YOU. I'll randomly pick a comment to win a self-indulgent little treat!

Wishes of happiness and self love!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Summer Lovin'!

Ah, July...

When you think about July, what first comes to mind?

Is it Magic? Fireworks? Vacation? How about Romance?

For me, July is a complex month. My first marriage wedding date was in July, and so was my last. This year I celebrate two years with my best friend and love of my life. As I prepare him (and myself) to leave us to find work out of the state, it's bitter sweet with the fine lines of love and duty in between.
Now to some two years might not seem to be a big deal, but take a glance at the role models we have for marriage and you'll see what I mean!
As I mentioned before, this is my second marriage. My first could have been the book on "what not to do" but being the optimist I am I want to share what works!
"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. " Mignon McLaughlin
That is the truth! Marriage and being in love is a conscious decision. Every day you have to decide to be in that marriage, with all you are. Some days it will be easy to decide to stay married and some days won't be.
Arguing is the sign of a GOOD, HEALTHY relationship!
Problems really get big if you don't deal with issues immediately. Think about how angry you can get over something little if you "stew" about it! If your really angry take a minute for yourself, get calm, and then talk to him about it. Try to think about how you'd react to what your saying to him if it was the other way around.
Take your ego out of the picture! It's not ALWAYS about you and thats a good thing!
Sometimes, ok MOST of the time, when someone gets angry or says something rude it has NOTHING to do with you! Try to hold back your immediate reaction, take a breath and look at what could REALLY be going on. Then later go back and talk about it after its blown over. The last time I had this happen my husband was upset about nothing to do with me, but it still made me mad that I was being yelled at for nothing. So later in the day, maybe an hour or two later I told him he had hurt my feelings and I wanted an apology. Well what do you think he did? Apologised right there! I was like darn, I still wanted to be mad! :)
Accept your partner for EXACTLY who they are. NO FIXING!! :)
I had read this a million times in all kinds of books and articles and totally thought I had it down. That was until we went to counselling and I realised I had ALL KINDS of stuff I didn't accept him for. This doesn't mean you have to put up with him leaving his clothes all over the house or dishes in the sink, it just means that more then likely how your hubby was before, is how he will still be! What you can do also is look at what bothers you and try to see if its a behavior or who he is. For instance, My husband is a compulsive neat freak, nothing is EVER clean enough. Unfortunately, no changing that! And me? I don't mind a little clutter or toys on the floor like he does. I do try to tidy for his sake, but I'm just not him! In the Mastery of Love by Ruiz he talks about how we treat our dogs as a metaphor. We don't expect them to be anything but dogs, no expectations or fixing. Is that how you are with your dog, er.. husband?
Sometimes you have to make your OWN romance!
For some of us, our husbands are just not that romantic. We have to accept that as much as we have to accept we are! Make yourself happy! The way I do this is I have an "imaginary Jade" (My husband, what I'd like him to be!). This sounds silly but this way I can remember that he does contribute to my daily happiness, even if its not how I'd like him to. Buy yourself flowers every week then thank him and see how suprised he is! After all, his money is yours right? If you want your anniversary to be perfect, plan it yourself! Expecting him to do this stuff just adds more pressure to your relationship and sets you up to be disappointed.
Find romance in EVERY day!
I'm sure you've had moments that just melted your heart and made you realise why your with this other person, despite his ever growing sock collection in the bedroom. Does your husband kiss you good morning or goodbye? Does he help you with dishes? Take out the garbage so you don't have to smell it or get yucky stuff on your clothes? Make a list of all the ways he shows you he loves you. In the five love languages it talks about different ways we show love. Get a copy from the library or bookstore and try to figure out yours and his love language. Chances are he shows you love how he likes to be loved, and so do you!
And lastly, be grateful!
Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to realise how good you really have it. Also, when I was REALLY having problems, I'd read about other peoples marriage problems. Reading about other couples problems let me know I wasn't alone, and that other people had it way worse then me and still made it work!

Freebies (yay!) and giveaways!

There is just something about getting something with little or no effort or expense that is just so satisfying. I always pat myself on the back for some good karma I must have had stored up! Well karma does best in movement, so here you are my lovely's...

Jamie Sue, How cute is that name? A fellow crafter, and mother to a boy with autism, has a wonderful little site that screams freebies. Ok, it doesn't scream but it says, literally, free! Also she has some GREAT resources for homeschooling or schooling for children with disabilities.
Enjoy with her blessings!

Also I found this on her website, has LOTS of cool ideas to do with kids!

**From the Swap-bot blog I came across Jinjerup. Lynn is super talented and so whimsical and fun! She has some adorable printables for free and offers a new one each week! Talk about dedication! Hope you have as much as I did!

**The very lovely Ruthie from Menu in a box has offered her e-book as a giveaway. All her stuff is super stylish and so easy to understand, its definitely a cooking must have! To win send over a friend to join my blog and have them Comment below!

**Also, I have a few Playdate cards from Tiny Prints to gift out! They are super cute, please comment and mention if you'd like girl or boy or more neutral cards(the kites)!
Comment here and I'll get in touch with you!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Some Summertime Inspiration!

It's finally officially summer here in Phoenix. After a very mild, barely hot few months we are now back on schedule with our 100+ weather. Ugh.

We always have some sort of water play, either a little pool, the water table or the mister that you see my son, Jadyn, playing with here!
I think we might try to do some homemade playdough, I really like these recipes..

I also save all kinds of containers and stash them in a box in the closet instead of throwing them away. Then I pull it out, some glue, a little paint and let the kids create whatever they are inspired to make. Last time, Javon (the little boy I watch) made a spyglass and had a great time running around playing pirate. ARgh! I always feel great about these projects. They keep waste out of the landfill and let the kids explore their own creativity.

We also buy puzzles, books and little toys that end up on clearance for those "extra hot days" which might be equal to your "rainy days". When the kids are being good I let them pick one out!

Where I'm lucky enough to have a one year old who is amused by an empty soda bottle, many of you have kids you must endlessly entertain. So I thought I'd offer up some other suggestions...

For the little ones, here's so "signing" projects you can do together! Hand print crafts are so cute!

DTK has always been a GREAT resource for me for coloring pages and worksheets for the five year old I watch. Here's their listing for summer activites..
Did you see the ADORABLE elmo tp roll pattern? Save the day and the environment!!

Got kids a little harder to entertain? Go over to Joe's toy a day and make a paper masterpiece.

You can make this features all kinds of sewing projects for different ages and projects.

And of course, who can forget the ultra hip (Yes, I said it- HIP!) Threadbanger for those teens and twenty somethings, or hey, for yourself!

Specifically for us moms, head over to the "sassy" brassy apple blog!

For you extra crafty mommas needing a new decor item, pop over to pickles and make this GOREGOUS diy lampshade!

Happy Crafting and Wishes for mild Summers!

Whats for Dinner?

As I've mentioned I'm fairly new to culinary arts. Ok, I'm fresh off the boat. My memories of cooking from childhood were mostly of the microwave exploding, something on fire or someone screaming. My moms idea of cuisine? Mac N Cheese, straight from the box! Needless to say, I was on my own.

I looked at seeing about taking cooking classes but for the moment I found most to be out of budget for me right now. I watch Food Network pretty constantly and dream of making delicious, mouth-watering meals. What do I usually make you might ask? Dinner Ala Box.

Some great sites that have helped me on the, "Whats for Dinner?" front are:

Saving Dinner, Leanne is a charm, and her staff are great. You can get some free recipes and then order more! She has it set up in menus with different needs/categories and has a grocery list for you as well.

Also, I love FamilyFun because they have a little recipe box online for you to store ideas you like, or you can print it in recipe card format and glue it to a index card. Plus almost all are based around kids!

Then my newest inspiration, Menu in a Box. The very talented Ruthie, and SUPER ORGANIZED--You go Mom! has great suggestions and bright colorful pictures to match! Yay!

I was fortunate enough to come up with a recipe my family (and everyone who tries it!) ADORES. It's become sort of my signature dish, and I want to share it with you. You can borrow mine until you find your own! Also, some lovely ladies from Bot-swap have shared some recipes with me as well that I'll include here too! It's a Casserole Bonanza!

My recipe is:

Mama’s Mexican Casserole

A yummy, kid friendly Mexican enchilada inspired casserole dish! Ole’!

Chicken Breasts
1 1/2 cup
Enchilada sauce (we use Macayo’s)
Flour Tortilla’s cut in half
1 cup
Sour cream
1 ½ cups
Shredded Cheese (we use Mexican mix variety)
1 cup
Yellow Corn
1 cup
Stewed tomatoes chopped

The Chicken can be substituted for a lb of beef, you also could use a different type of tortillas if you liked. Green chilis or hot sauce could also be added if you like yours more spicy.
1. Cook the chicken in ½ a cup of the enchilada sauce and season to taste until done, then shred with fork or fingers. Mix with corn and tomatoes in the remainder of enchilada sauce.
2. Spray casserole dish with non-stick, preheat oven to 375
3. Start with a bottom layer of chicken/corn mix, then place enough tortillas to cover the top (this depends on the size of the dish your using!) and cover torillas with sour cream and then top with cheese. Repeat this once more: Using all the Chicken/Corn/Tomatoes mix, then the Tortilla’s, Remaining Sour Cream and Cheese.
4. Cook at 375 for 30 minutes or until Cheese is toasted on top and bubbly.
5. If you want it to be more decorative, remove it about 5 minutes early and place some sliced tomatoes on the top. Top with sour cream and cilantro if desired.

Tip: This is one of those dishes that is WAY yummier the next day! So freeze some for later, that is if you can stop everyone from eating it all!

Here's the recipes from my lovely lady friends over at Swap-bot!

From Shellycarebear we have:

Baked Tilapia

This one is always a hit with my family. You can also substitute the tilapia for other filets.
· 4 to 6 tilapia filets
· cooking spray
· 8 to 12 ounces baby spinach, cleaned
· 1/4 cup chicken broth
· 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
· salt and pepper
· Creole seasoning blend
· 1 small tomato, chopped
· 4 green onions, thinly sliced
Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and add the spinach. If necessary to make the spinach fit it into the baking dish, steam or saute the spinach for a minute or two to wilt slightly.
Sprinkle spinach with salt and pepper and onion powder; add the chicken broth. Sprinkle tilapia filets lightly with salt, pepper, and Creole seasonings. Arrange the filets over the spinach and sprinkle with chopped tomato and sliced green onion. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Can be served over rice.
Serves 4.

From Christine we have:

My whole family loves this. Sometimes I'll make it with mushrooms, red peppers, etc. Whatever I get out of the garden. You can also find the Turkey pepperoni which is a bit healthier and make it lower fat.

Pizza Casserole

2 cups uncooked egg noodles
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup sliced pepperoni sausage (like Hormel)
16 ounces pizza sauce
4 tablespoons milk
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or more depending on how much you love cheese - you can layer this however you want)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Cook noodles according to package directions.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef with the onion, garlic and green bell pepper. Drain excess fat. Stir in the noodles, pepperoni, pizza sauce and milk, and mix well. Pour this mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes, top with the cheese, then bake for 5 to 10 more minutes.

Hope you all try it! :)

This one is so good too - a little different but another pasta casserole...

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
3 cups cooked, cubed or shredded chicken
8 ounces spaghetti, broken into pieces
1/4 cup chopped pimento peppers
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp garlic powder (& whatever other kind of seasoning you like)
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of
mushroom soup (or cream of chicken)
1/4 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
*Optional (drained can of Rotel tomatoes)
1.Put uncooked spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Drain.
2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3.In a large bowl combine the chicken, cooked spaghetti, pimento, bell pepper, onion, soup, wine and 1 cup of the cheese. Season with garlic, salt and pepper to taste and mix all together. Spread mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cup of cheese on top and bake for another 15 minutes.

From Pam we have:

Veggie casserole
1 large bag of mixed frozen veggies or 2 small bags of veggies (basic mixed or like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots what-ever your family likes. *Cook and drain.1/2 to 3/4 cup ranch dressing1 - 2 cups cheddar cheese1 roll ritz crackers - crushed1/4 to 1/2 cup melted butter1 can sliced waterchestunts
Mix *cooked veggies and waterchestunts mix with ranch dressing in a 9x13 inch pan. Top with cheese, in small bowl mix ritz's and butter pour over cheese and spread out evenly. Bake @ 350 for 20-30 minutes.
This is always a favorite at pot-lucks and BBQ's!

Thanks all!

Love, Wishes and Delicious Dinner Dreams,


Monday, June 29, 2009

Good Beginnings!

Imagine your perfect day from start to finish. How does it start? What do you do? Who are you with? What makes it perfect? What are some words that can describe your day? What are some words to explain how you feel?
Now think of little ways to incorporate that perfect day and those feelings into your daily life. Is it extra time with your loved ones? More time for yourself?

For me, my perfect day started with a much needed, very rare commodity-- PERSONAL TIME! I would do some yoga and stretching, writing in my journal and planning my day with calm, positive intentions. Then I would make breakfast before anyone was up so they'd wake to delicious smells wafting from the kitchen.
This is my perfect morning, maybe yours includes a sunrise walk or a cup of coffee and a newspaper, the idea is that it is YOURS. Without even meaning so, this will even become a memory for those we love. For instance, my mom wakes up before the sun and brews a pot of coffee while she watches the news, that's her morning ritual, but even more, its part of who she is.

For a good start, so I've attached some links of video's courtesy of the lovely Barbara Biziou on Rituals..

I've realised how much I like having a regular pattern to how our day goes, and with routine and ritual its easier to schedule time for myself and for chores that have to be done.

And if there was one thing I've learned by being a mom, it is how important rituals are to our little ones. I was one of those "NEW MOMS" under the impression my baby will fit into my lifestyle and obviously suprised I don't even have time for a lifestyle. I can tell you, RITUALS AND ROUTINES HAVE SAVED MY SANITY!

My son is at the cusp of Two. Well my friends, "terrible" came early, as with everything else my son does. He is a temper-tantrum KING! The littlest things set him off to an all-out-full-face-turning-red-tiny-feet-stomping-scream fest with me asking politely, (ok, more like begging) "Whats wrong Jadyn? Honey?" to no avail.

However, I discovered this gem by accident one night and instead of the hour long wail-fest, he went to bed without a peep! By implimenting a night-time ritual where my son goes through the house turning out the lights and saying "Night-Night" to each room and walking himself to bed, he will go to sleep with out a fuss. I mean honestly laying himself down, rolling over and GOING TO SLEEP! No rocking, or rubbing his back or listening to wailing with the good ole' cry it out method, just blissful sleep--for him and us! Since then, we make sure he knows what's going on, what's coming next and it cuts WAY back on his tempertantrums--HURRAY!

Here's our schedule.. We keep some things firm-ish. Bedtimes are before 9pm, usually 8pm and he doesn't sleep in past 9am. Other then that things go sort of according to him and whats going on. Take that NO LIFESTYLE! Ha!

Jadyn’s Day Routine
7:30-8:30 a.m. Wake up, play in the crib
9:00 a.m. Breakfast
9:30 a.m. Get dressed, brush teeth
10:00 a.m. Read books, Cartoons and play
10:30 a.m. Lunch
11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Nap
2:30 p.m. Arts and Crafts
3:00 p.m. Snack and cleanup
3:30 p.m. Playtime
4:30 p.m. Afternoon snack
5:00 p.m. Outdoor play/walk
5:30 p.m. Dinner
6:00 p.m. Playtime and cleanup
7:00 p.m. Have a bath/brush teeth
7:30 p.m. Pajamas, story time, lullabies
8:15 p.m. Bedtime

So my goal is to wake up around 6:00am-7:00am so I have enough time to do my morning ritual.

My ritual is:

6:00:: wake up, smile, thank the day!
6:15:: get dressed, wash face, brush teeth, makeup, make bed!
6:45:: stretches, yoga
7:15:: journal, daily inspiration
7:30:: go over PODA, home notebook, think about dinner
8:00:: feed Dolce, get Jadyn's breakfast ready
8:15- until Jadyn wakes up:: Check email, Swaps, Blogs, News

To help me plan my day I use a number of EXCELLENT resources, one is momagenda which you can purchase or print out some awesome organizers!

Another resource I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE is 'creativemom' see her "tools for the WAHM"!!

Also, the nest brought to you by the knot, has a whole arsenal of tools for you whether your a mom or not!

If you are a SAHM, and like planning out your whole day, you could check out Fly Lady. She is great! I use alot of her stuff for inspiration, thus far I haven't been able to make everything work with toddler in tow, but I have high hopes!

Here's a link to get you started!

Hope that gets you started!

Love and Wishes,