Monday, April 25, 2011

My New Toys

Isn't it beautiful? It's the brand new color, raspberry, KitchenAid mixer. I've been drooling over a KitchenAid for years and Hubby knows it. But since we've been married, I've had to settle with my $15 rinky-dink hand mixer. For what it's worth, it's done the job well. I've been able to whip up multiple batches of cookies, muffins, cupcakes, frostings, mashed taters, etc. But this, my friends. This is the do-it-all of kitchen appliances. I've been snooping around and I also can not wait to purchase to pasta and ice cream maker. Yummy! How awesome would that be? I'm sure you're all dying to know the very first thing I made with this bad boy. Well, it was mashed potatoes. Simple, but it was awesome!

I'm especially excited to make my own breads. This is the next thing on my list. I have a few recipes from out of the book it came with, but do any of you make your own bread? And if so, mind to share the recipe? I already have about eighteen packets of yeast ready to go. I came prepared! I still have about a week and half half to start trying things because Hubby left to go to the field all week and then this weekend is Memphis in May. And I'm not eating up all the yummy fresh bread and cookies by myself. I need my partner in crime.

Another new thing I just bought is this Hard Candy Last Stain. I didn't read any reviews about it before I bought this on a whim, but it claims "Mascara that won’t quit until you do. Flatter your flutter for 4 days straight! Hard Candy four day lash stain defies the elements. Paint Lash Ink on and don’t reapply for up to 4 days. Shower, go in the pool, cry, rub your eyes, or get rained on – your lashes will stay flawless no matter the circumstances! Perfect for a weekend away or partying all night long." Well this sounds perfect for me. I've tried many waterproof mascara's and every time it either gets way too clumpy or it makes my eyes severely itchy. I have extreme allergies and well, I rub my eyes even when I shouldn't. I also don't always take my makeup off every night (tsk tsk I know). So today is day one of this four day trial and I love it so far. Not too clumpy like a mascara but just enough tint that you can tell my eyelashes are still there, eliminating that creepy, I-just-rolled-out-of-bed look I sometimes get. Ew!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Great Cloth Diaper Change Part II

What an eventful day. Not only did I change my first cloth diaper butt; I also bought my first two cloth diapers! Hubby and I headed over to Butzie Covers at around 10 am. Now first, I want to brag about my Hubby for a second. He’s always so supportive of me and my decisions. When I first brought up wanting to cloth diaper our future children, he agreed right away, even though the only thing he knew about cloth was that they were made of cloth and cheaper. I was taken aback that I didn’t even have to explain myself, he just agreed! And when I told him about The Great Cloth Diaper Change, he even sounded excited to go! But on the way there he made the comment, “But I don’t even know how to change a cloth diaper! What am I going to do?” This made me smile, but I reassured him I didn’t sign him up. I told him that this event would probably only take about an hour. Well, amazing Hubby stood around for more than two hours and didn’t complain a peep. In fact, he even smiled the whole time. Did I mention how incredibly lucky I am?

The main event was exciting.  Since I don’t have my own little baby booty, I got to change a baby booty that belonged to someone else. I was introduced to Carolyn & her son Tyler, my cloth booty! Which might I add; he was the sweetest and cutest little boy. Everyone scrambled around before the actual change, and I made my first cloth diaper purchases. I bought the Charlie Banana Earth Day diaper and a super cute white and green star Kawaii. Then came to actual time to set the world record. Everybody had to leave the room and we entered back inside in number order and instructed to sit in our assigned box on the floor. Tyler saved a good diaper for me too. Yup, you guess it….POOP! But that’s okay because I did it! We had to hold up our cloth butts before the change for pictures and then after the change. Did you know taking picture of naked baby butts is considered child pornography? Me either, but it makes sense! Which is why no pictures were taken during the event.

After the Great Change I spoke with some of the ladies around me about which diapers they liked the best. They were so great and helpful. I also got to chat after when we got to each some yummy cupcakes from The Cupcake Collection about home births. Hubby is very nervous about this subject, but he says it’s just nerves about me giving birth in general. One woman I spoke with had an unassisted home birth. Women who do this are warriors! I would be way too nervous, but it gives me a good feeling knowing that I could do it. I’m hoping once I find a midwife it will calm Hubby and our families nerves.
This was one of the highlights of this year for me. I was nervous I would going to be the odd man out with no baby, but after things started flowing, I don’t think anyone noticed. I loved being able to walk around a bunch of baby wearing mama’s and mama’s nursed their babies right there! It was inspiring. I also meant to take a picture of the sign that said “Please feel free to feed your babies when and how you want!” So comforting to see nursing in public welcome, accepted, and encouraged! I also got one of the sweetest goody bags I’ve even received!


 I have to throw this out there – If you live in the Clarksville area, please go visit Butzie Covers. That place is heaven. Goldie the owner was so sweet and helpful, even when things were getting a little intense! I can’t wait to go back and stock up on some more diapers among other things. I’ve been learning towards to prefold with cover option with a little influence from a close friend, but I also wanted to get a few of the different ones out there, just to see what I like! Bring on the babies, now!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Isn't this gorgeous? I wish I had my camera on my but my iPhone will have to do. I've never witnessed a double rainbow so beautiful and bright it looked like the sky was painted. It was driving in the car with Hubby laughing at me because I was just amazed at this sight! It even went all the way across the sky and made a complete arc. I wish I could have just sat in the grass underneath it and watched it. Just as soon as this lovely sight appeared, it was gone. Just reminds me to sit back and enjoy the little things in life.

I'm a winner??

If you know me, you'll know I have never won anything at all. However I've had a slight obsession with melting waxes lately and bought some from around here locally. I know of Scentsy and had heard a lot of great things about it. The only thing it's really expensive and I'm slightly frugal. But I've been drooling and figured I could just TRY it. So when I found out a friend of mine knows a Scentsy consultant, I wanted in! She held a contest on Facebook....and I won!! And then a mysterious box arrived from UPS! A BIG box! I was not expecting that! I tore it open and BAM. This beautiful plug in Scentsy burner was mine! Along with a box of Flutter.

Ironically, since we had a huge storm that produced over 85 MPH winds, we were without power for over 16 hours. I couldn't even try my knew gift!! But tonight I plugged that sucker in and yummy. Let's just say I'll be indulging myself soon in some products of my own.

Thanks Kati! You made a fan of me!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Busy Beads & Moore Review

I've recently been inspired to start wearing jewelry and I've been on the lookout for those perfect pieces. I've already been drooling over tons of cute mod pieces on Etsy and I'm just waiting for the perfect moment to pounce on them. I already have a charm bracelet that's not too well endowed with two lonely charms on them. Then I started to look at different stones and their meanings. A lot of people say that certain stones have certain aspects that can be "absorbed" or their qualities will merge into yours. I thought about this a while and it makes sense to me. I know a few people who swear by Amber necklaces for their little ones when it comes to teething and I've seen it in action. It really does work! So why can't other stones be the same way?

After I decided on a rough collection of stones I started to browse Etsy and see what I could find. I found a lot that I feel in love with but then the big decisions came. What's my wrist size? Will I like it when it's on? Do I want elastic? Do I want a clasp? Will it look like the picture? So many questions! Then I remember...we have a bead store about five minutes from my work. I could run in on my lunch break and see what they have and maybe I could attempt to make my own bracelet!

So that's what I did. I get a hour and a half for my lunch break and zipped over to Busy Beads & Moore. I went in knowing only the names of the stones I was supposed to look for. I came out with a beautiful, one-of-a-kind bracelet that I made! Everyone there was really helpful. As soon as I walked in the ladies who were busy crafting at the table in the center of the store can and asked me if I needed any help. I must of had that hopeless look on my face because I shouted, "Yes! I've never done this before!" And before I knew it I was being whisked away, picking out the beads I wanted, and sat at a table to create my bracelet. "But I don't know what I'm doing!" They reassured me and sure enough. I did it.

This is the beautiful bracelet I made! During my research of stones, I learned to not only choose stones that you admire because of their qualities, but picking stones that call to you can also be helpful. They two stones I choose for their qualities were Rose Quartz(the light pink/white ones) and Aventurine(the green ones). Rose quartz, also known as the “stone of love”,  believed to promote positive energy and confidence, while easing fears and promoting health. Green aventurine is associated with the the birth cycle of life. It is said to have a stabilizing and calming effect that promotes emotional tranquility.I chose the hot pink stones, that I have no clue what they are, and the orange spaces because I love, love, love some hot pink and bright orange. 

My overall experience at Busy Beads & Moore was fantastic. I loved my bracelet I made and especially loved the customer service. They are military friendly & I received a discount. Yay! I also have enough beads to make one or two more bracelets or even a set of earrings! I would recommend stopping by if you're in the area or checking out their facebook or website to show support.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Great Cloth Diaper Change 2011

Yes you read right. I've decided. Baby or no baby -- I'm going to be a part of this. A lot of my friends and family don't know is that we've made the choice to cloth diaper our baby whenever that little bean wants to decide to be more than just a thought! Not only is it going to save us loads of money, it's also much more "greener." I started my cloth diaper journey by just being envious of my friends who cloth diaper. I mean, how could you not? They're brightly colored, fun patterned pieces of cloth! Way better than yucky plastic that stinks up landfills for years to come. And when I started looking into cloth diapering more, I had an epiphany. I could make those. Why yes, I could make those. I've already started my journey into making my own cloth diapers and covers - But that is for another blog, another time. This blog is for me to share with you this wonderful event and how YOU could even take part in it. There's still time!

What is happening and why is this so important?  Cloth diapers have come a long way in past 10 years, and it’s time to stand up and be noticed. Celebrate Earth Day, by joining the North American and International cloth diaper community on April 23rd, 2011 at 9AM PDT to set the world record for the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously. This world record attempt is a great way to show the world how many people are already choosing and using reusable cloth diapers successfully.

Okay, so what? You crazy cloth diaper people want to do it, just do it! Yes, but why aren't you? Here's some info you might not have known about cloth diapers. Reusable cloth diapers have many benefits, including:
  • Environmental: Cloth diapers reduce waste for families with children in diapers by more than 50%.
  • Financial: Cloth diapers allow families to save more than $2000 per child.
  • Health: Cloth diapers help parents reduce exposure of their babies’ skin and lungs to the chemicals in disposable diapers.
  • Cute and comfortable: Parents love putting soft cloth diapers, available in a variety of styles and patterns, on their babies.
  • Convenient: Once you’ve purchased your stash, no more weekly trips to the store to purchase more – simply put a load in the laundry!
I'm going to be a part of this wonderful event at Butzie Covers in Clarksville, TN. If you want to find a location close to you visit the location finder. If you want to learn more about how cloth diapers could benefit you, please visit  Real Diaper Association's Fact Sheet.

I'd like to thank for provided this information to put towards the blog!

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken & Herb Crusted Potato Wedges Recipe

This recipe is a two-part recipe. And both parts I love. If you don't love balsamic vinegar, please don't begin to fret just yet. Hubby doesn't like it all too much, but he loves this chicken. He just doesn't like the sauce oozing all over the chicken like I do mine. Oops. I also save some and dip my wedges in it. Yummy! This chicken dish is easily classified as homemade gourmet. I always feel like I'm a "real cook" when I make this simply because it feels like a classic dish. And well, not something I threw together to eat real fast!

I try to stay away from corn...but something took over my green beans in my freezer!
Balsamic Vinegar Chicken Breasts
This recipe was found at; slightly revised
Serves four.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
(We omit these since Hubby is not a fan)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
(If not a fan, I recommend using 1/8 cup)
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon butter

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Rinse the mushrooms and pat dry. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and saute the chicken until it is nicely browned on one side (about 3 minutes).
2.Add the garlic. Turn the chicken breasts and scatter the mushrooms over them. Continue frying, shaking the skillet and stirring the mushrooms. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the vinegar, broth, bay leaf and thyme. 
3. Cover tightly and simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

4. Transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter and cover with foil. Set aside. Continue simmering the sauce, uncovered, over medium high heat for about 7 minutes. Swirl in the butter or margarine and discard the bay leaf. Pour this mushroom sauce mixture over the chicken and serve.
Note: When I make this for us, I only use two chicken breasts but leave everything else the same. I like the extra sauce. Also, I have added some things of mine own that aren't in this recipe. If I feel like the vinegar is a little too much, I throw in a few splashes of cream, which cuts the bite of the vinegar down. If the sauce isn't reducing to as thick as I like it, I throw in a little flour.
Herb Crusted Potato Wedges
This recipe was found in Eat Well, Loose Weight
Serves two.

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (I use Old Bay!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 medium baking potatoes
Nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 425*. In a small bowl combine oil and balsamic vinegar. In a shallow dish, combine Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, seasonings, salt, and pepper.
2. Lightly coat a foil-lined baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, then half again to get four wedges. Brush potato wedges with oil mixture. Dip in Parmesan cheese mixture to coat. Arrange potato wedges, skin sides down, on baking sheet so they don't touch. 

3. Bake about 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and wedges are crisp.

Easy, fast, and yummy. Not to unhealthy either and the wedges are a great alternative to the old mashed potatoes.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

I made it. I turned twenty-three. What a celebration! Just kidding. As much as I love other peoples birthdays I have never really been a big fan of my own. I like to celebrate with family and friends, but since being married, I'm partial to a couples dinner at the restaurant of my choice. Last year I chose Hooters. What can I say I love their chicken? Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't mess around when it comes to spicy chicken wings/strips. Yummy. This year I didn't even decide until I got off of work!

But I made the decision. Outback Steakhouse it was. I spoiled myself and even ordered an alcoholic beverage! I know, right? I asked for the fruitiest thing one their menu ended up with some rum, mango, strawberry concoction which wasn't half bad. For dinner it was 9 ounce of steak, a loaded sweet potato and loaded backed potato(no chive, ew). It was fantastic! We got there with perfect timing and got seated right away. Although our waitress forgot our bread(bummer!) we still had a good time.

Another thing to know about me, I hate when large groups of people sing happy birthday to me. It's so awkward. I always feel like, "What am I supposed to be doing right now?" I don't know where to put my hands, if I should smile, if I should laugh, or if I should just stand there. What do I do? Yet, Hubby decided to tell our lovely waitress it was indeed my birthday we were celebrating. I immediately piped up with "No, please don't sing!" The Hooters waitress last year was nice enough just for her to sing to me. This year, I thought I could win the sympathy of our waitress again and thought I actually did when we were finishing dinner.

And then the clapping began. And it continued to get closer and closer. And then I had about 6 not-so-happy-faces looking at me like, "Really lady? You want us to sing this again?" Now what do I do? These aren't even people I know, but I know they're tired of singing this stupid birthday song. And as quickly as it began it was oven and the huge plate of ice cream sundae they left me sure made up for my awkward birthday moment.

I would say I was spoiled again this year. Hubby got me some beautiful flowers with candy and a giant mylar balloon. Last year we kept the balloon tied to one of our kitchen chairs and it stayed floating well into the Summer. I feel a tradition coming on. I also got some other giftys but I'm waiting for them to arrive in the mail. I can't wait.

All joking aside -- I'm happy to make it to another birthday with the man I love, friends who I appreciate, and family who is happy and healthy. Life is good.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's raining, it's pouring.

Tennessee weather is one of a kind I think. As hubby says, "If you don't like the weather - wait five minutes." I used to laugh at this when I first moved here. Today, I'm not laughing. It was so rainy and nasty today when two days ago it was a record breaking 92*! Last Monday we had tornado warnings all day long. Which means spending a lot of time in the closets at work.

Now, growing up in California, we don't have tornado warnings. Earthquakes - yes. I can do a duck and cover drill in five seconds flat. Now, I guess I should mention I have a slight irrational fear of natural disasters/end-of-the-world type events. Some would say I'm a little neurotic. I say I'm prepared. My first tornado warning I had only been living in Tennessee for about 3 months. After experiencing the crazy fluke snow(but that's a whole different story), one night it was thundering and lightening and in the midst of that the rumbling and tumbling(which I may or may not have cried the first time I heard real thunder), I hear the most obnoxious wailing of sirens in our backyard.

I know the look on my face must have been one of horror by the laughs I heard coming from hubby. I ran outside to listen to what these sirens were wailing about when I realized I should run into a closet, hallway, bathtub, basement....something! I can tell you I was expected to open my door and see the funnel right there with the Wicked Witch flying by. I just knew we were going to be swept up and land in Oz. Hubby calmed me down, told me to grab the dogs, a flashlight, and some water. And he told me some of the best advice in case of a natural disaster, "You should change out of your pajama pants and into jeans....You know, just in case something really does happen." All I could think was Really?? We're about to be swept away in tornado and you're worried about my pants?

And then it happened - Hail. I've watched the movies. I've seen the TV shows. Hail means you're at the center of the storm and to take shelter immediately! I looked at hubby and dragged him down the stairs to our garage/basement and we just sat on our backyard swing with the dogs in their big kennel. It kept hailing and the wind picked up and Hubby looks at me and starts to cover me with himself and say, "Are you ready? This is the big one. This is it." And I cried. I knew it! And then he sits up and starts laughing. "Just kidding!" Thank goodness I love him to pieces and I could eventually laugh at myself.

This the ways of Springtime here. But so it's awful rain drivers(yes, worse than California) and allergies. Yuck.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Homemade Chicken Tenders Recipe

I'm always eager to try new recipes. Have you seen the new Philly's cream cheese mix-in commercial where they explain all the way to make Chicken....and that you know two. Well, sometimes that's how it feels in our house. We love our chicken, however sometimes it's so hard to be creative...and healthy -- The clincher! Since the new year started, I've been try to cook and eat in a healthier way. It's hard now that we've moved to the South. Paula Deen (ya'll) influences me with her butter, oil, deep frying, etc. I can't resist. It's just too scrumptious.

Yet, I'm trying to learn healthier ways and so far it's going okay. This recipe is for homemade chicken tenders. Now before I tell you where the recipe comes from, just try and keep an open mind. Ready? It's from Eating for Pregnancy by Catherine Jones and Rose Ann Hudson. Okay, so trust me on this one. They're really good.

These can't be eaten without my homemade mashed potatoes and broccoli!

Homemade Chicken Tenders
These are packed with protein, iron, B vitamins, and folic acid. They can be baked and enjoyed right away or frozen for a quick meal.
Makes about 10-15 strips

2 Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use whole wheat flour on mine)
1 cup plain or seasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
A pinch of Old Bay Seasoning, Italian herbs, or dried oregeno (I use more than a pinch of Old Bay)
2 large eggs
Canola oil cooking spray 

1. Preheat oven to 450*. NOTE: I normally set up everything first, then pop my cookie sheet in the oven while I cut the chicken breasts. Then I take out the cookie sheet right before I coat the chicken and then immediatly but the coated chicken on the cookie sheet.

2. Place the flour in a bowl and set aside. Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and seasonings into another bowl and mix well; set aside. Place the eggs in a bowl and beat; set aside.

3. Cut boneless chicken breasts diagonally into strips. Don't worry too much about shape and size. I always just wing it to "tender" size. Set tenders aside.

4. Set up your workstation: chicken tenders, flour, eggs, bread crumb mixture. Using your dry hand, place about 3-4 of the tenders in the flour, gently tossing to coat all sides. Transfer the tenders to the eggs and coat them with egg using your other (wet) hand, then transfer them to the bread crumbs. Using your dry hand, cover the tenders with bread crumbs, pressing gently so they adhere, then place the breaded tenders onto the cookie sheet (Don't forget to spray with the Canola oil!). Repeat until all tenders are coated.

5. Before putting tenders in the oven, spray the tenders with the Canola spray and pop in oven. Bake for 20 minutes (or until cooked through), turning once halfway through.

And that's it! They're so easy, healthier than deep frying or ordering out some chicken strips and you can make up any sauce you want. BBQ sauce is a staple in our house but I've been known the throw mine in a bag with some hot wing sauce for an extra kick. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hey Good Looking

Well, this is just going to have to be the awkward first post! Most of you will already know me and if you don't then "Hey!" My husband and I both grew up in California and our crazy adventures has brought us to Tennessee. We have three beautiful dogs - Cupcake, Peanut Butter Cup, and Two-Bit, a brand new kitten - Frankenstein (Frankie), and a Ball Python. Our house is already a zoo and we're ready to welcome some crazy rugrats into it! 

I've always wanted to share things that I make, things that we do, and ideas that I have in a blog and I'm just going to buckle down an do it! I have a lot of recipes I can't wait to add and a few more I can't wait to experiment with.

Here's to a brand new blog and a brand new adventure! Oh, and here's a picture of us on our wedding day, just for kicks!