Saturday, February 26, 2011

Funny how one thing changes a meal

This past Christmas I asked M to buy me some new pans for gifts. I was specific in what I wanted, clipped out photo's gave him stores to go to etc.  I was overly thorough for these things. I did not want to be stuck returning them after the holidays.

One of the pans was this:
credit :
I really did not "have to have it" but really wanted it.  I loved seeing grill marks on the TV cooking shows I watch. I wanted THAT look!  And C loves the lines on his grilled cheese! (So my boy looking at the small details of food!)

I also asked for this

And I find myself using it DAILY! It cleans up beautifully, is a great weight and for health reasons I rarely have to use oil in the pan for cooking on it.  I love love love it!

The last one I asked for was this
I wanted it for when I make smaller batches of my award winning (yes, award winning---3 times thank you  very much.....from the neighborhood Chili Cook Off!) This just had a cute factor to it and was not as deep as the pot I had been using.  It is a great pot for smaller dishes as well.

M came through on all three!  He did exactly what I had asked (basically bought them online with the links I provided!  ha!).  I love them all.  

Now, I am dreaming of more cookware, but these have helped my addiction collection!  I am dying for one of these
But the price tag is a little steep for me (even though we have a LeCreuset outlet close by) and really it is because I love the colors it comes in.  Chili cooking would be turned into an art form with that baby!

It is amazing how in 10 years of married life that I never really looked at my cookware (that my mom bought me when I moved into my first apartment!).  I still use all of the pieces, the function well, and were not cheap.  She (like me) invested in good cookware.  But now, as I delve more into cooking meals, cooking healthy and spend more time in my kitchen I want better cookware.  Not because it will make my meals better (except for the amazing grill marks on grilled cheese) but because I think that when you like what you are doing, with what you are working with, you will try harder.  I try each night to make dinner just a little better. I try to make it different, and pretty on the plate.  I try to make it healthier, but filling.  I try to let my family know that this is just another way of me saying I LOVE YOU.  
Do you have any tools in your kitchen you can live without (and that I need?)???

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Last night I went to bed after M.  That does not happen often but I have been getting so much volunteer work done after the boys go to bed lately that I have been sacrificing my own sleep to work in the quiet. 

While I usually have no problems falling asleep, last night (and in the past few weeks) M has been keeping me up with his new habit.....SNORING.....I tossed and turned from 11pm to 1am listening to the various ranges he can now produce from his nose. I love this man, I really do, but tonight I MUST INSIST 
he wear one of these!

Breathe Right Nasal Strips, Large, Tan, 30-Count Box 

I am grateful my list can be post poned today due to the fact that I will be needing a little down time to rest.  I am also grateful that M got a good night sleep and was thinking early this morning, as the tooth fairy forgot to make her "visit" last night to J.  At 6am I heard M sneak into J's room to fix that. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Making Lists

I am a huge fan and believer of lists. I always have been.  Since I can remember my mom was buying me cute paper to make lists on.  I function better with lists.

My typical list!

When I sit down to make my list, I even put down the things I do daily (like laundry!) to remind me to do it. I am easily distracted so if it is on the list I am more prone to actually do it.  If I do not get it down, that is OK.  Life happens, kids get busy or need me or the phone rings too much. If it is not crossed off for that day, it goes on the next days list.  Poor Amy might never get her baby gift.  It seems like getting to the post office is too difficult for me these days!

While I make my daily lists I do have BIG lists too.  I have the "wish list" for the house, a list for projects to do, and the newest addition to the list pile is the packing list for our spring vacation west to see my parents for nine days!  Now, one might think it is easy to pack, but I am a detail girl and for a trip away, the list is long!  I include every little thing on the list (underwear even!) This year, thanks to the airlines, we are shipping most of what we need to avoid the expense of actually checking luggage.  That means I want to be thorough with my lists so I do not miss anything!  My goal is to have everything ready to ship by March 1 (really that means March 7!).  Then we will carry on 2 suitcases, carry on bags for the 2 boys and M & I for the 4.5 hour plane ride.  No checking bags, no more $$ going to American Airlines!  (they got enough from us when we bought our tickets thank you very much!)  

One of my favorite BLOGS is IHeart organizing and I found this travel checklist.  Now while I love lists, I can re-make one just for me that will have spaces for all of our needs.   It might not be as cute or colorful, but I will be dammed if I forget something this year!  

Do you make lists everyday?  Or just for the grocery store?

New Idea Brewing....

Two's Company Botany Apothecary Jars with Antiqued Labels, Set of 9
I love these!  But do not love the price tag (or the labels!)
photo credit:

My new hunt is to find something similar for my mantle. I am itching to re-do it.  I want to paint the frame of the large mirror above my fireplace (perhaps the same brown that I painted the nightstand for M? ) and mantel and fill Apothecary jars with different colorful items to make it all pop and look lovely!  Right now the mantel has many candle sticks in varying height (glass and sterling) on it.  It is lovely when lit but kind of boring too....

Goodwill and Homegoods will be good hunting grounds, but my boys HATE both stores (and I hate taking them because of the little hands touching everything!) so I will have to hunt slowly when I can sneak away from them for pure mommy time (when is that exactly?)  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So excited

My favorite author of all times is Jodi Picoult!  I just read online that her new book Sing You Home: A Novel is coming out March 1, 2011...Just in time for my spring break vacation out west to visit my parents!

If you have not read any of her books, you MUST!  The first one I read, thanks to a dear friend hounding me for weeks to read it was Nineteen Minutes and I literally stopped caring for my family because I could NOT put it down!  From that day on, I went online, the library, where ever I could get the books and read every single one of them....Do not get me wrong, every author does have books that are less than fantastic at times, but honestly Jodi did not disappoint in almost ALL of her novels! 

So, if you need a book, look up Jodi's site and get the list...I promise you will NOT be disappointed! 

Off to pre-order Sing You Home: A Novel

Race to Nowhere

Tonight I am going to see Race To Nowhere with some girlfriends at a local high school.  I have heard about this documentary from many friends, and many teachers and has been the topic of many conversations in our circle of friends.  I am most eager to see it.

This is one comment that struck a cord with me "A call to mobilize families, educators and policymakers to help disprove the notion that the educational system is 'one-size-fits-all.'”  Jewish Weekly.  I am thrilled with the opportunity to see this film with some of my closest friends who believe in the same things as me when it comes to education.  

If you can, check out to see if they are screening this film in your area, I am told it is a MUST SEE for anyone that cares about children and education.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Day Off

No school for the kids today, and it is rainy and gray.  It has been a lazy morning around here with the boys watching a movie and playing games while mommy makes phone calls regarding the Harlem Wizards event in April. 

While I do love lazy days, it does not mean that chores can become a low priority.  Laundry is piling up, the the house is hardly tip top.  Tonights dinner is a favorite for all of us...After looking at the weeks calendar it is a busy week, so a yummy dinner tonight will make up for the quick meals for many nights this week!

Chicken Puffs
2 c cooked, diced (or shredded chicken)
3/4 pkg of cream cheese softened
2T bread crumbs
4T melted butter (divided)
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms (canned or cooked)
1 pkg of crescent rolls

Mix, chicken, cream cheese, bread crumbs, 2T of butter and the mushrooms.

Unroll the crescent rolls, and divide them according to the lines on them.
Take a crescent (triangle) and a heaping spoonful of the mixture and place it on the bottom of the triangle. Roll up the sides and then roll into a ball. Do with the remaining rolls and mixture.

Baste the tops of rolls with remaining butter.
Bake at 375 for 11 - 15 minutes until golden brown, and serve

I  use any other veggie have in the house too....Have used asparagus, broc, cauliflower, whatever we have on hand!  I often used leftover chicken in this recipe too. I start a container at the start of the week and dump cooked chicken leftovers in it. Then by the end of the week I have enough chicken for the recipe!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I was amazed to find out we have a Goodwill store close to our house.  C and I jumped in the car to head over to see what we could find~ he was less than thrilled, but the bribe of a thin mint made it all better!

I was not sure what I would be looking for since it was my first trip but I knew I could find something!  And I did!
Look at these cute jars!

I have always loved jars!  I think they are interesting to look at and a clever and cute way to display things. I had to have these!  After a good soak and washing they will be used in my soon to be (hint hint M!) craft desk and storage area.  I can see thread stored in them, decorative clips....I want more so Goodwill will now be my new "stop" to see if they have more!  At .99 and 1.99 for these babies they are a great find!  I would love to have a shelf of these jars above my imaginary craft desk!  Then I see some for my pantry for flour, sugar, pasta etc! 

I am off to ana-white to get some inspirations for this craft desk that I want M to build me this spring. I think she will have plenty of ideas and then we can draw something to make it just perfect for my ribbons, papers etc. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Creative juices

I have had the crafty itch since the raffle finished.  I just could not figure out what I wanted to do!  I scoured the internet and my favorite BLOGS and came across centsationalgirl's post on this tray. I knew right away I could do this, or at least my version of it!

I went down the basement where I store "stuff", you know the stuff we buy but do not really need. The stuff on sale that we swear we will do...someday...I happened to have a tray!  Now, M & I have a wedding song, but for the life of me, I cannot ever remember the name of it.  He was in charge of ALL music for our wedding.  (He was a piano major...I got through 5 weeks of the flute where the music teacher told my mom "She does not have to sign up again". I did not.)

Instead of sheet music, I decided to collage it with my favorite wrapping paper, and then one photo.  The paper was the easy part. I knew this tray would sit on my screen in porch. The only room in the house that I can truly make girly because of this house of boys.  It is pink and green and very LILLY.  I love it.  It makes me happy.  So I used my beloved LILLY paper and covered the front, back and sides of the tray.  (Here is where a good Blogger, would insert a photo, but I am not that so there is no photo!) 

I then had to let it dry....and dry, and dry some more. Mod Podge is awesome but I tend to put it on thick, making the impatient me not happy about long drying times!

Finding the perfect photo is the challenge.  Should I use a wedding photo?  An outdated family photo of all 4 of us or should I just keep the tray LILLY and call it a day.  I am still mulling that over, because, well, the darn tray is STILL drying!

I am assuming this will be dry by spring  (lol) meaning I have plenty of time to think about what I want to do.  Since this is my porch, and it is all girly, I am leaning towards leaving it alone.  I have time. Spring will not be here anytime soon and the porch is closed up for the season and storing a lot of winter stuff (you know, sleds, boots, boot trays, shovels etc). 

I promise to take a photo when it is dry....come spring!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We are Winners!

With J's school Raffle over, today is my day of rest and laziness.  16 hours at school, arranging, organizing and executing the second largest fundraiser for the school is a test of all of my patience and energy! It is over, many happy families have emailed me with words of thanks and encouragement and although it is wonderful to hear that so many families had fun, the best part was the winnings our family picked up along the way!
How about these awesome prizes for J & C???

I won a $75.00 Gift card to a local spa for some mommy treatments! I see a mani / pedi in my future!  Perhaps before spring break when we head west?

J won TWO, yes TWO, firetruck rides to school!  One from the town we live in and one from the town he goes to school in!  C will get to go with him as well as one other friend and a parent!  He is so excited!

And 4 new furry friends have entered our home too!  J & C have happily been playing with them all day, giving me a rest!

M & I also won a free butterfly garden to be planted in our yard come this spring!  I am so excited that I keep starring out the window, hoping the snow would melt faster so I could see my yard again!
The event was a huge success (although we do not know the final numbers!).  I am glad it is over so I can get back to being back with my family and not spending all my time on the Raffle!  The family is happy about that too!

So I am back to list making and giving our home and family the much needed TLC they deserve!  Stay tuned for that I have on the list! :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Raffle Mania

Happily J's school Raffle is almost upon us! (36 hours and counting...literally!) Between the baskets, the packaging, the descriptions, the volunteers, and the little "things" that need to be done, me and my faithful friend / co-chair are seeing a light at the end of the Raffle tunnel.  Our biggest goal for this event is to make sure everyone has fun and we raise a lot of $$ for school!

With that said, the family has been warned of the chaotic week I have, and have been patient and supportive (thank goodness!).  They get to enjoy the event while I work it so there is fun involved for them at the end of all of this chaos!  J is armed with a list of things he wants to win, C wants to run around in the indoor obstacle course and M, well he gets to be the chaperon for the kids since I will be busy.

These are just some of the things that have been residing in my living room for weeks!

 The DSi XL
Ipod Touch
I can happily announce that dinners and household chores have not been neglected.  Dinners have been on the easy side, and no new ones have been tried this week, but that is OK.  It's our week of favorites or the ones that I know are fast and easy with little prep time!  No one has gone hungry! Even laundry (which I would easily forget if I could) has been done and put away (the worst chore EVER). 

As much work and griping I give this event (and this is the 2nd year I am co-chairing it) at the end of it, it is fun. I enjoy the creative side of making the baskets and the signs. I love to see the students at school get amped up when they see me deliver another load of prizes. I like the fact that I am helping out at J's school getting to know all of the staff and teachers.  I never did this to become "that over involved mom", I did it to be a part of something that could help the school my kids will attend.  I believe helping the school is important for my kids and the kids that will attend there one day.  This is my last year chairing this event, but not my goodbye to helping out.  Between the Wizards event and being the VP of fundraising for the PTO for one more year, my active role in the school will still be there.  But it is time to let something go for me and my family.  I cannot imagine not doing something, but scaling back is a must for us.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Daily Calendar

We have tried a million different kinds of calendar's.  We have!  I wanted a system so both M & I would know what each day would look like. I used to enter events etc onto Microsoft Outlook and then sync our phones to it.  I found that too time consuming.  I used to make calendars for the fridge, but hated when that when I ran out of ink.  Post its never worked because M would miss them and look stunned when I would say "I have ___ tonight!"
Then I found Cozi!  It is a free online calendar!  It is amazing. Each family member has a color.  I enter the events onto the calendar weekly (or as they come up!) including school for each boy.  I even made a "color" for meals so everything is in one place. Weekly (on Sundays) Cozi sends M & I an email for the events for the week.  We have been using it for 9 months and we love it.  There is no more "I forgot I have ____."  Mark is never in the dark since he gets the emails too. I print a monthly calendar and it hangs on our fridge as well.  (since I have not found the perfect message / command center in this house!)  I even have Cozi as my  homepage so the calendar of the next few days pops up!
Cozi is still working on a Blackberry app for our cell phones, but they do have apps for many other phones.  Carole is customer support and she is fast to respond to issues.  She is amazing.  When the system crashes (and it does!) info has not been lost and she quickly directs me to some some technical guy to assist me.  It is amazing!
So, if you need a better way to organize your life and your families life, I suggest you look into COZI. It has been a real lifesaver for our family!

Dinners to try

We love Mexican around here.  It does not have to be Cinco De Mayo for me to make a fiesta out of dinner...So here is what I am whipping out tonight for dinner! 

Mexican Chicken Casserole

  • 6 cups pulled white chicken meat
  • 24 ounces Mexican blend shredded cheese, divided in half
  • 2 bunches green onions, tops only, chopped, divided in half
  • 2 – 10 3/4 ounce cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 – 4 ounce can green chilies, chopped
  • 3 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup pitted black olives, sliced
  • 12 – 6 inch flour tortillas
 Preheat oven to 350°F.  Combine half the cheese, half the green onions, cream of chicken soup, chilies, sour cream, and olive.  Set aside 2 cups of this mixture for the topping. Add the chicken to the remainder for filling and mix well.Put 2 heaping tablespoons on each tortilla and roll up tightly. Arrange seam-side down in a single layer in a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish.Spread reserved topping, sprinkle over second half of cheese and green onions. Refrigerate overnight or freeze.Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until hot, golden, and bubbling. Serve.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

More snow

Superbowl Sunday, which is really a non-event at our house, greeted us with 3 more inches of the fluffy stuff.  BUT, the temps are warmer so the boys are happily burning off energy on the sledding hill with M.  I am catching up...

The Raffle for J's school is this week.  There is little else going on in my world until this is over.  Posters to make, baskets to design, descriptions to be typed.  I am glad to be a part of this event, but happily I am glad this is my last one.  In my efforts to say NO more, this will be my final Raffle as the chairperson. 

After the Raffle, I will be starting with Wizards event, which I am super excited about. Happily I have many parents stepping up to assist so this will no longer be just me planning this.  I love it when people get as excited as me for events! 

The end of the Raffle will also mean getting back to some of the things I started, like the master bedroom project, the painting of furniture and the better organization system in our home.  I was thrilled to get an email from Jen at iheartorganizing this past week. Even though this is perfect stranger to me, she was able to give me some good advice about saying no and doing it more for my family than for others. I am taking that to heart.  Sure I enjoy the challenges of planning events and fundraisers but it is a non-paying job.  It takes A LOT of time away from my family and that is not fair or good for us.  I will also start a part time job as a merchandiser for our family business. I am excited for that challenge but it will also let me get back to something I love, merchandising.  Part time is all I can muster up with two young boys who need me around, but it will be a nice creative outlet for me. 

Off to stir some chili for the Superbowl  game commericials I will watch!  The boys are amped for the for Black Eyed Peas performance at half time.  I see a majorly loud dance party in our future!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


We are on Day 2 of snow days around here...The 2011 Blizzard hit us and while the kids enjoyed the snow, M and I are feeling the burn (and aches) of shoveling 20+ inches of snow and grateful to neighbors with larger snow blowers than ours!
 This is out our side window...the fence is 6ft tall and this is a MAJOR drift!

This is the kids playhouse....
And the soccer goal! 

Our dear neighbor with a MONSTER of a snowblower finally made it here (after doing 3 other houses) to assist us in at least finding our driveway!

The other side of our house and the garage....The side of the house has yet to be touched, and although we like having the path clear, we could care less right about now!

This kids had a BLAST all day long!

 Needless to say, we are snowed in, and enjoying ourselves in the house.  It will be a long time until we see the green grass and flowers.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Comfort Food

credit : wikipedia

I love artichokes!   They are so delicious!  And interesting to look at.  

Tonight's dinner is a huge hit at our house!  And since we obviously need some comfort food while weathering "snowmegaddon" is going on, I thought it would be perfect!

Artichoke Chicken
2 cans water packed artichoke hearts, drained, and quartered
2 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 to 3 cups of cooked chicken (I used shredded)
2 cans of cream of chicken soup (do not dilute)
1 c mayo (the real thing, not low fat, fat free etc)
1 t lemon juice
1/8 t cumin
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar
1 c bread crumbs
1/4 c grated Parmesan
2 T butter, melted

In a bowl, combine artichokes, oil and garlic, place in a well greased 2 1/2 qt baking dish. top with chicken. combine soup, mayo, lemon juice, and curry in a bowl well. pour over chicken. sprinkle with cheddar.
combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and butter. sprinkle over top. bake, uncovered at 350 for 30 - 35 minutes or until bubbly.....
This is great leftover the next day.  M loves to take it to work with his lunch, he says it sticks to his ribs until he comes home for dinner!
Enjoy & stay warm!


photo credit: between you & me

I love this!  It inspired me to start thinking about a large creation for our home as well......
What would your family rules be?