Monday, December 21, 2009

Vacation Time for Me!!!

I'm like a kid waiting for Christmas! In two weeks I get to go to Disneyland. I haven't been there in at least 3 years and it's my favorite place to be! But I have a new job that will allow me to visit Disneyland and San Diego at least twice a year. Once with my family and once as a training!

Plus they give me great discounts on cruises, Sandles and Beaches Resorts and most hotels I can think of. They may not have any Toronto hotels but they have great pricing on beautiful places like Hawaii, Jamaica and the Bahamas. Seriously, I think this is the job I have been dreaming about!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Perfect Fireside Drink

Well, winter is definitely here. My patio cushions are covered with snow and look like little snow hills. The birds are crowded around the bird feeder fighting for the seeds and the bird bath is iced over. This is the time of year where we all want to curl up on the couch with the fire flickering in the fireplace and sip a cup of warm Cocoa. But the same hot cocoa gets old after awhile. So here are some twists on an old favorite that I'm sure will quickly become family favorites.

Warm Milk
4 Cups Milk
1/4 Sugar (to taste)
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Warm milk on medium heat just to steaming, stirring often. Add sugar and whip with with a wire whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Ladle and serve immediately. Serves 4-5

Peach Milk
4 Cups Milk
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Pureed Frozen Peaches*

Warm milk on medium heat just to steaming, stirring often. Add sugar and whip with with a wire whisk until dissolved. Add Peach Puree and simmer for 3 minutes. Do no boil. Remove from heat. Ladle and serve immediately. Serves 4-5

*Peaches can be substituted for any type of frozen fruit.

I hope you enjoy!!!

The Best Bread Recipe

Working for a Kitchen Store, I find myself making bread more now than ever before. And by using whole grains I don't need the weight loss pills and I am getting healthier! Having tried many, many recipes, I finally asked my Grandmother for my Great Grand Mother's Bread Recipe. Now, you might think that I am prejudice, as this is the bread I grew up on. However, most of the people I work with agree that this is the Best Bread Recipe. It is super soft and absolutely delicious!

1 3/4 Cups Warm Water*
2 Tbls. Butter, softened
3 Tsp. Vital Wheat Gluten**
3 Tsp. Dough Enhancer**
4 1/3 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
2 Tsp. Salt
3 1/2 Tsp SAF Yeast

Add ingredients, in order, in to your Bread Mixer. Allow to mix/knead for 8 minutes to allow the gluten to set. Break into 2 loaves and place in greased bread pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

*Adjust your water according to your location and the current barometric pressure. You want a good soft dough, but not too sticky.

**I have adapted it just a little from my Grandma's recipe by adding Wheat Gluten and Dough Enhancer. I'm not sure that those were around in Grandma's day, but they sure do help to make my bread perfect.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Panama City Coming soon...

Just to give you a little taste of what's to come... my next planned trip is to Panama City with my Mother and Aunt. It's a get her mind off things, getaway for her. She has had a very difficult year and I am sure that the world renowned nightlife, the snorkeling and the dolphin excursion will be sure to get her mind off things and help her relax. We are staying in beautiful panama city hotel, right on the beach. I can't wait! I'll be back in warm weather, toes in the sand, Margarita in my hand and not a care in the world!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Great Idea for Getting Rid of old Motorhomes!

In my last post I was complaining about having too many junk vehicle hanging around. One of which was an old motorhome that I would not use anymore. The gas mileage is horrid and the interior was done in the '70 (enough said?). But it was in decent condition and everything worked. I have been trying to sell it for months now, but with the economy he way it is, RV's are a luxury most people are forgoing.

So I received a phone call the other day about the motorhome. There was a family, husband, wife and their child that were headed to SLC for "medical travel" is what he called it, and they needed a place to stay. He had decided that the $2000 I was asking for the motorhome and lot rent for the time they were here, would be less expensive than a hotel or an apartment. But he asked that I meet him in SLC so he could look at the motorhome.

After meeting with him I found out that he and his wife were taking their son to the Cancer institute up there and needed a place to stay while they were here. Well, it made sense, but it didn't feel right to me. I just couldn't sell them my motorhome, although the wife seems really excited about it.

After we had agreed on the price ($1800) and we were headed to the bank to get a notorized copy of the bill of sale, I couldn't get the picture of the little guy out of my head and the thought of what his parents were giving up, being here with him for 6 months, off work, in a strange city. We got to the bank and I had them print me out a new bill of sale, this one said $1. I signed it, and handed it to him. He looked at it puzzled and finally looked at me and tried to talk me out of it. I simply explained that it was a benefit to me to get it out of my driveway, and when he was done with it he could recoup the money he spent on it and sell it to someone else that needed it for $1 and it would be well worth it to me.

His wife began to cry and tell me about how her parents and his parents had taken over their mortgage to help them while they were here and all about the stress that their little boys illness has cause and how much this would help them out.

Afterwards, I felt really good and I have two new friends. Just a side note, my bank was really great, they actually took care of all the IRS paper work for me once I had told them what I intended to do and they worked it out so it ended up being a tax deduction for me as well! So if you have a motorhome or trailer that you can't sell and you have the ability to give it up, consider giving it to someone in need. It's just a really good feeling!

I'm tired of owning a Junkyard!

If you were to drive by my house right now, you may have to drive by again just to make sure you are at a house and not a wrecking yard! I currently have 3 trucks, a flatbed trailer frame, MY minivan on jacks, in the process of getting a new axle knuckle, two campers, a trailer and a motorhome!

Now in my Husbands defense, I love one of the campers, MY van and the three trucks. On the other hand, one camper HAS GOT TO GO! The flatbed trailer frame either needs to be a flatbed trailer or scrapmetal. The trailer needs to be adapted to fit on the truck or sold and I need a good motorhome towing to finish the clean up! It's not even worth keeping around!

I understand that my sweetheart loves to play around and tinker with cars, but this is just plain getting to be too much. It's clean-up time!

I Can't Believe This Law!!!

I am amazed! Nearly speechless!!! (Notice I said nearly...) On the news was a story about a car dealership, here in Utah, that collects rain water from their roof, funnels it into an underground cistern where they clean it and use it to wash the cars on their lot.

Now your thinking, "what's so unbelieviable about that?" You even thinking that that is a pretty good idea, use of funds, green initive, eco-friendly idea, right? EXACTALY! I was thinkning the same thing! Now for the unbelievable part....

He was on the news because the city had fined him for doing it! That's right! Obviously, here in Utah, where it's a desert, we don't have alot of water so we have to conserve it. And of course, we are all to stupid to do that ourselves, so our wonderful government has ridden in on its big black stallion to save us from ourselves and they have taken posession of all the water. Yep, that's really what I said... in the state of Utah, the government owns all the water, even the rain water!

So, since they own the water, they can tell us what to do with it. No, you cannot collect rain water to water your plants. Yes, rain barrelsare outlawed. And No, you absolutely MAY NOT use rain water to wash your cars! So next time it rains, everyone remember to quickly hide your vehicle, just in case the governments rain water hits it. You wouldn't want a ticket now, would you?!?

Laptop Problems

For my Daughter's 10th birthday I got her a little netbook. It was of course a major hit. She was thrilled. But now, it's a less than 2 months later and it is no longer working. I didn't buy the most expensive netbook I could find, I bought an Acer Aspire. I had never heard of the brand before, I am more of an HP gal myself, but it was a cute little thing and not terribly expensive, so I bought it. Now, I'm not so sure that was the right choice.

When she turns the computer on it will activly start booting up but then the screen goes black and it's done. It will do the same thing over and over again. I have had my tower do the same thing to me in the past and I solved the problem by pressing F8 and returning it to a state in the past, before it forgot what it was supposed to do. But her's wont give me that option. She could have a virus but I have no way of even running a scan to find out because I can't get as far as the desktop!

Does anyone have any idea what I can do to fix this for her?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Term Insurance vs. Cash Value Insurance

I am curious as to what everyone thinks about life insurance. With my step-father just passing away, I am learning more and more about it and I am finding very interesting thing about both types.

First of all, my step-father had Federal Government Employee sponsored life insurance. They suggested that he carry just over 1 years worth of life insurance. What that means is he left just over $54,000 to his widow. Now $10K of that will go directly to the funeral, leaving $44,000.

Now luckily, my mother is an independent and self-made woman. She has a very nice job and lives comfortably on her own, his income was a bonus that allowed them to travel and enjoy their time together. However, had she relied on his income as so many women do, myself included, that would have been a huge blow. She would have barely had enough money to sustain the family through her getting a job.

But, even if the newly widowed woman finds a job, how is she going to make ends meet. Suddenly she is alone, with all the expenses they had prior to her husbands death, but now she has the added stress of child care which can be devastatingly expensive, on average about $160 per week, per child.

So, to me, term insurance looks like the way to go. It's less expensive for the coverage you need now and later, when the kids are gone and the house is paid off, the widow/widower would not need as much money to survive.

What do you think? What do you have and why? I really need ideas and suggestions.

RV in this Economy? Take II

One thing to think about before you run out and buy that new RV, here are a few things to keep in mind...

You will need to plan for the care of your RV. Every year you will need to register, insure and repair your RV. This can be really expensive but if you do it right you can save yourself alot of money. I can give no advice on saving money on your registration costs with the sole exception of pay it on time and avoid any fines. Your State has that one nailed down.

But as for the rv insurance,make sure you shop around. There are some really great deals out there if you look hard enough.

And the repairs, look to some of the privately owned repair shops. The dealerships handle warranty issues as well as customer issues. So when they charge the manufacture upwards if $300 per hour, charging you a mere $150 per hour seems very reasonable. On the other hand, a struggling rv mechanic in his own garage looks at $60 to $75 per hour and is thrilled! Look around. Make sure your repair technician is licensed and trained, but try to avoid the spendy dealership service centers.

Have fun RV'ing!

Resturant Ambiance

What ambiance do you prefer in your restaurant of choice? Do you tend to venture into softly lit, relaxing atmospheres or do you prefer the bright and cheery type with lots of windows and sunshine spilling in? Do you prefer rustic or ultra modern decor?

Me, I have found that while sometimes I enjoy the cheery ambiance of some of the more brightly lit, heavily flowered restaurants where everything is painted white and the windows go from floor to ceiling, sometimes I get the impression that I am eating in the beams of xenon lights, spotlight on me, everyone can see.

I guess I am more of a private person. I prefer the quiet, softly lit types where soft classical music is playing and I can relax and enjoy the company that I am currently keeping. I prefer a modern contemporary feel with linens and silver, glass and roses. But I also enjoy just a touch of antique. Give it just a hint of what once was, just enough to whet your palette for more, but not so much that the entire place seems dusty and worn. I like the heavily polished golden railings and cushy dining chairs and most of all, wait staff in crisp, clean suits.

So, what ambiance are you into?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

RV in This Economy?

With gas prices starting to sneak up again and the economy not yet rebounding from the media-induced recesson, would it really make sense to buy an RV? Who's going to travel right now?

The answer is YES! Would I go out and buy a brand new RV? Maybe, but it may be a better idea to find a used rv for sale. My Dad just sold a 30' motorhome, complete with a 5000 watt generator, in excellent condition for $1500! That was a steal! My friend got his for $2000 and it is a beautiful C class and in great working condition.

What I'm saying is, there are lots of great deals out there right now, air travel and hotels are expensive and eventually the economy will rebound and the prices of RV's will rise again so BUY now and you will have an instant vacation whenever you and your family needs it!

A Time for Tea

Today, while looking for a corner bakery, I found one of the greatest little gem's, litterally a "Diamond in the Rough". Situated between an abandoned building and a large parking lots in downtown Ogden, sits about 4 quaint little shops, one of which is A Spot of Tea. Opened in February 2009, a bright cheery little shop, offering a wide assortment of fine teas along with tea sandwiches, english scones and dilectable desserts.

The interior of the shop is bright and decorated like a tea party complete with white linins, ladies frilly hats, flowers and tea pots. The atmosphere lends itself to any variety of informal gatherings. It makes me want to throw out my wrinkle cream, put on a funny hat and enjoy the afternoon! I would love to take my 6 year old and a group of her friends in for a special occasion or a dear friend for an afternoon lunch. It's also a wonderfully nice, quiet place to sit and have lunch while catching up on a bit of writing or reading.

The food, while not out of this world, is still special. (Although, I have not had a chance to try their "Friday Special" English Fish and Chips. I promise an update when I do!) Each sandwich is handmade with a special touch and goes finely with their out of this world teas. And their dessert menu is nearly half the menu, excluding the teas and I highly suggest trying the Chocolate Cake. It is as mosit as any cake I have tried!

As for price, I have to give this quaint little shop bonus points for having prices that are affordable, even for struggling families. To give you an idea, their world class teas, served by the pot, are only $2.00. Their Deserts are $1.85 per serving and meals with tea, sandwich, baked apples and a cookie are only $6.50. They also serve "High Tea" and for only $24.50, 6 people get scones, tea and sandwiches. That's just over $4 per person.

So on a chilly winter afternoon, this is a great little place to warm up your hands and your heart and fill your tummy without breaking the bank!

Getting back to school!

Not the kids, ME! I have been a stay at home mom, part time homemaker and the like for the last 13 years and I decided that it was time for me to get back into working and I decided to start by going back to school. I looked at alot of different options and I decided that Business Technology was the best option for me.

But there are so many, many options out there. I had a very hard time choosing. I looked at Culinary Arts classes and Medical Technology classes. I even looked into masters information security classes.

I really liked the last two because there were so many options for online classes. However, my decision was based on the need to get OUT of the house so online study would defeat the purpose for me. However, for most Mom's, it's a great way to get your degree!

Looking just at the Masters of Science in Information Security classes, they offer someone the opportunity to train at home for a job that could eventually be a telecommuting position. You would be working towards one of two goals, the first would be how information security affects businesses and individuals and the second would be focusing on how to make information security stronger and better than ever.

Medical Technology classes can prepare you to do Medical coding from home and have very short completion times. The average Medical coding class is 10 months and the starting pay is $26K per year in my area.

I however chose Business Technology because I am ready to work in an office environment, have my own desk and not deal with sales any longer!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Eat Right, Feel Better

Life is busy, stressful and full of surprises. Too many of us get caught up in the rush of everyday life and we forget to eat, don't have time to eat right or just down right want a candy bar to get us though the day. Then we are surprised when we don't have the enery we need to accomplish the tasks of our day.

Why are we surprised? We, as Americans, eat at McDonalds at a rate of 75 greasy, fat filled hamburgers per second! How can anyone find energy to do anything with a greasy blob in the pit of their stomach?!? "Greasy cheese burger, deep fried salty fries and a Diet Coke, Please." Even the best weight loss products can't compete with a diet like that!

The fact of the matter is, if you want to lose weight... If you want to have the energy to get through the day... If you just plain want to feel good.... Eat Right!

Super Easy Butter Caramels

This is the easiest, yummiest treat I have made in quite awhile! Even dental discounts won't save you fom this one. It is a super soft, super rich caramel that imitates the popular Butter Caramels you see around Christmas time. They make a great treat to take to any Christmas function.

5 lbs. Peter's Caramel (Do Not Skimp and get the cheap stuff, you will not get a good end result!)
1 5oz can evaporated milk

In a saucepan on low heat warm 4 Tbsp. evaporated milk. Cut Caramel into chunks and add to milk. Slowely melt down. Add another 2 to 4 Tbsp. evaporated milk to your desired texture. Pour out on to a greased or wax paper lined cookie sheet. Allow to cool. Cut into chunks and wrap in wax paper liners.

Spice it up:
Crushed Peppermint Candy Cane (Stir in just before pouring on to cookie sheet)
Chocolate (melt chocolate and dip caramels in chocolate and cool before wrapping them)
Nutmeg & Cinnamon (sprinkle a little in as the caramel is melting for a warm, holiday flavor)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Family Reunion

It's summertime again and with summer comes the inevitable Family Reunions. Now, I am a family oriented kinda gal and I love to cook for other people, the problem with so many of these reunions are these are people I don't know, see once a year and don't know what to talk about.

So what ends up happening is my family sits together at one table and we talk amongst ourselves and each individual family does the same. Why do we do this? Because it's comfortable of course! For one thing, you know these people! You have things to talk about. How are your kids? Did Nate see the Doctor yet? Have you taken care of your cat's hernia? You know these people and what is going on in their lives, even if it is dull and unappetizing. And for another thing, you know all of their names! I hate it when someone comes up to me and starts talking like we are long lost buddies and I haven't the slightest clue who they are. Which leads to the third reason we group, there is power in groups. Someone is bound to know the answer! So while you are politely nodding your head, smiling and searching your brain for some glimmer as to who this might be, if your family is worth anything at all, the one who does know who you are talking to will break in and say something like, "Aunt Madeline! It's been, what 25 years since we have seen you! It's good to see you again!" Then they would turn to you and say "Do you remember when you last saw Aunt Madeline, when you were 3! She gave you that beautiful orange and mauve sweater that she hand knitted." This gives you a conversation point and once she walks away you now have a much better conversation with your family about how horrid that sweater was!

And for most family reunions you at least try to look presentable. You put on a pair of jeans without holes in the knees and a nice blouse. You do your hair in something other than the "Kiss my ....... I really just don't care" ponytail and you put on makeup. All so you can go sit in 100 degree weather. Before long your mascara is running and your hair is frizzy. Your blouse is hanging on you and sticking to your back and of course, this is when cousin Caroline whips out her brand new Canon camera and announces that it is picture time.

Of course by this time you realize that you are not alone in the looks department. Uncle Jay decided to wear his shorts which show off his glaring white chicken legs, Aunt Jackie is in a strappy white sundress with beautiful red splotches from the punch little Duncan has spilled on her numerous times and Grandma's eye's are red and blood shot from playing in the sand box with little Maddie who is learning that throwing sand is a no-no.

So into the picture we all go. Smushed up against people you know less than the checker at Albertson's, all sweaty and hot and forced to smile. And of course, when asked if you would like the pictures e-mailed to you...... you promptly provide your e-mail address.

Cooking with the PS3

I have to admit, I am a sucker for a video game. Granted they only hold my very short attention spam for an hour or so, but once hooked, I am back for more every couple of hours!

But now they have just gone too far! They have combined my love of cooking and my love of gaming into two gotta have games for my PS3! First, one of my favorite shows is Hell's Kitchen. (Even though I would be thrown out before the show ever started!) But I live to see what they come up with. But now I can play Hell's Kitchen on PS3..... Yeah... I have plenty of time for that!

And as if that wasn't bad enough, my husband brought home Cooking Mama Cook Off! It's a two player game, so now my husband AND I are both wasting time. You face off in cook off challenges to see who is the best chef. It's great! The food even changes the way it looks according to your actions. No... my house is totally not getting cleaned now. Laundry? Forget about it!

Know before you go!

Before you head out and buy the next new craze in diet pills, make sure you know what you are looking for. Know what you want your diet pill to do. Do you want it to suppress your appetite? Do you want sustained weight loss? How about increased energy? Or even acne fighting? There are so many pills on the market today that do so many different things, you really do need to know before you go!

Take the time to do your research. Read up on weight loss pill reviews written by people who have used them, loved them as well as those that have hated them. It give you good perspective to get the good, the bad AND the ugly! Remember to keep an open mind while you are searching, but not open enough that all your brains fall out. If it sounds to good to be true..... It most likely is. Fads come and go, but the really good ones stick around for the long haul.

And don't forget that weight loss pills alone are not enough. Make sure you are eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of rest and exercise.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blueberry creme muffins

I stumbled across this recipe at while trying to find good uses for Bruce's cereal and I fell in love. I made a few adaptations and you will have to too in order to make it your own.

It would definitely not pass a slimming pills review, they would kick it to the curb. This is by no means lowfat. But it is Oh So Good!!! Give it a try, tweak it a little and I think you will find that you have a new favorite muffin recipe!

Cooking Fun

I never thought I'd say this but I am SO glad that my kids are finally old enough to help me out in the kitchen! For the better part of their lives I have scuttled them out of the kitchen as soon as they set foot through the door. Visions of sugar covered fingers and flour covered floors filled my head. And as they scurried away, little disposable diapers butts disappearing around the corner I would emit a sigh of relief. I was again free to continue my creation in the kitchen.

However, now that we are free of diapers, my children are venturing back into the kitchen, little by little. And to my surprise, I am welcoming them! I find it wonderfully fulfilling to watch my 9 year old make dinner with nearly no help from me at all. And helping my 5 year old make a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and red sprinkles for her big sister, with no particular occasion in mind, makes me shine with pride! My 13 year old is another story! I can leave him alone in the kitchen and find wonderful, inventive and imaginative masterpieces when I return. Simple foods made into delicious meals and presented in such fun! One day he made dinner into a whole pirate scene, complete with ships and water, islands and dessert treasure! He really is amazing.

Like I said, I never thought I would hear the words issuing from my own lips but, I am so glad my kids love to cook with me!

Staying Fit

Staying healthy and fit is more than just your diet. You need to have a complete and healthy diet along with lots of exercise, plenty of sleep and low levels of stress. All of these things factor into why people have trouble losing weight. If you don't know how to lose fat, try some of these simple ideas. Try getting up early, having an apple and some yogurt for breakfast and going on a bike ride while it's still cool enough to do so. Eat a light lunch, turkey sandwich with lots of lettuce and tomato's and very little mayo.... no cheese and a water. Snack on carrots and ranch and eat a decent dinner. Spend 20 minutes before bed reading a book, crafting or just relaxing in a bubble bath. Get yourself into bed early. You will feel better all day long!

Music in the Kitchen

Is it just me or are their others out there that have to have music playing while they are cooking? My husband commented to me the other day that he finds it strange and distracting to have music playing while he is cooking. (Of course, I commented that it would be rather difficult for him to ruin those Banquet Pot Pies or the Ramen Noodles he makes.) But now I am self conscious. Am I really the only one that has to have Mp3 players or stereo's in the kitchen? My iPod actually docks on my kitchen counter!

I listen to music while I cook. It calms me, keeps me focused and my food turns out much better. I play music while I clean. The cleaning seems to get done much faster when the radio stations are playing the upbeat, dance to them, songs. I just love it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Do Mom's Need Life Insurance?

I haven't thought much about life insurance, after all, I am only 30, a stay at home (sometimes) mom and make nearly no money. Why would I need life insurance?

When a friend and I were talking one day, she made the comment to me that if I were to pass away, my husband would be left to take care of the children all by himself. He would be left to care for children that are used to having Mom home all the time. Mom dressing them. Mom feeding them. Mom reading to them and Mom cuddling them.

There will be a time that he will have to stay home and help them make that transition, without pay. If I had life insurance, he would be able to take that time without worrying about how to make ends meet. My children and husband would have the healing time they needed without the stress of how they are going to make the bills.

So I started looking at life insurance quotes and found out that it is pretty easy to find cheap term life insurance rates. I can protect my family, even when I am not around to protect them. That gives me some peace of mind, which in today's economy, is pretty hard to come by!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Natural Fat Burners

I know Coconut Oil is supposed to be a wonderful fat burner or metabolism burner and apples are great appetite suppressants, but does anyone else know of any great fat burners? I get alot of questions concerning weight loss drugs, fat burners and natural remedies and I am just about burnt out of ideas, so I am welcoming any comments on what has helped you? What have you tried? What didn't work for you and why do you think it didn't? Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Wedding Special Touches - Desserts and Treats

An elegant, unique Wedding Cake is an essential part of any woman's wedding. It is the focal point of the room and the culmination of the evening and take alot of though and planning.

However, don't forget the other treats. Whether you do a formal wedding dinner or a buffet, your guests will love some of these ideas to make your affair the talk of the town.

Tuxedo Strawberries: These are absolutely darling for any wedding dinner. They are elegant, yet fun and oh so simple to make!

Start by melting and tempering one bowl of white chocolate. Wash and dry your large strawberries. Dip each one in white chocolate and lay on 13x9" cookie sheets and cool at room temperature. Then melt a bowl of milk or dark chocolate. Dip each side of the strawberries again in the chocolate. This will cover some of the white, but not all. Fill a decorating bag with a #8 round tip with the remainder of the chocolate and add buttons and a little bow tie to the exposed white chocolate. Allow to cool at room temperature and serve within 24 hours. The strawberries end up looking like they have little tuxedos on.

Wedding Cupcakes: Wedding cupcakes can be a simple addition to the rehearsal dinner. They give the bride the opportunity to add her own special touch, her wedding colors and theme to the rehearsal dinner and they add an elegant, but not too over done flair. Cupcakes can have a simple flower on top or can be airbrushed with a fleur de lis. Both are very elegant, both are very simple. There are so many ways to easily decorate cupcakes that they are almost a must have. Few things in a wedding are simple, grab those that are and run with it!

Chocolate Fountains: Chocolate is one of life's richest and most indulgent treats. It was used in Mayan cultures as an aphrodisiac, in Spain as the treat for royalty and in modern times Chocolate is used in celebration. The chocolate fountain is a beautiful cascade of liquid chocolate falling over what ever delectable little treat is placed under it. A chocolate fountain not only makes
an elegant showing but a fun dessert for all of your guests. More than one chocolate fountain can provide you the opportunity to try white and dark chocolate, caramel and/or flavored chocolates such as mint or amaretto. Your guests can dip strawberries, cinnamon lips, marshmallows, pretzels or Biscotti. The sky's the limit and everyone will be talking about your wedding dinner for years to come!

Fresh Fruit Tartlets: Fresh fruit tartlets are not only simple to make they are also very pretty and can easily be decorated to incorporate your wedding colors. When you are looking to make fruit tartlets, you have a world of endless possibilities and choices. Here are a few of my favorites. Easy Cream Cheese filling: 1 8oz. pkg cream cheese (softened), 1 8oz. tub cool whip (thawed), 1/2 cup sugar. Whip until fluffy. Color with food coloring if desired. Jam Filling: Puree your desired fruit, removing skins or seeds when possible. Mix 4 cups fruit puree, 1 cup sugar and 4 tablespoons Ultraset (proportions will vary with altitude and barometric pressure. Ultraset is very forgiving. Add less than you need and then add more, little bits at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. It should be thick but not clumping.) Fruits: Strawberries, Blueberries, Dragonfruit, Mango, Kiwi, Peaches, Raspberries, Blackberries and Mandrain Orange Slices are all beautiful toppers for Fruit Tartlets.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Diet Pills Can Be Tricky Business

I just want to throw out a warning to everyone out there on diet pills. Please know what you are taking! I am begging you. Finding safe and effective diet pills can be a tricky business. You need to check out the company, the pills history and check with the FDA to make sure that they have been registered and are deemed safe. And, as with any pill, that is still never a guarantee. Make sure you are working with a reputable company, someone who has been in the pharmaceutical industry for a long time, is an industry leader and has a track record for producing safe and effective drugs. That is the best way to really and truly find the best diet pills out there.

Don't take chances with your health, make sure you do your homework and get the right thing for you and your body. And always remember that even with diet pills, good, healthy diet and exercise is still very important. Get losing and stay safe! Good Luck!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Emergency Essentials #1

I am beginning a new segment on Emergency Essentials. So in this very first one, I want to talk about being prepared. To make sure that your family is protected, no matter what happens, you need to start by having a 72 hour kit for each member of the family. You can purchase these ready made or you can customize one to fit the needs of each family member.

To create your own 72 Hour Emergency Kit follow the list below:

Immediately Available

  • Battery powered radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries

Emergency Needs

  • Instruction manuals on emergency preparedness
  • Water storage (There are custom water bottles you can buy that are like sports bottles, but they filter the water for you as you need it.)
  • Sleeping bags & blankets

Sanitation Kit

  • Plastic bucket with tightly fitted lid
  • Plastic bags and ties
  • Toilet paper
  • Disinfectant
  • Improvised toilet seat
  • Feminine hygiene needs
  • Paper towels
  • Soap
  • Paper cups
  • Paper plates
  • Plastic utensils
  • Can opener
  • Utility knife
  • Stress Factors
  • Children
    • Coloring book
    • Crayons
  • Adults
    • Books
    • Needlework

A Class ABC fire extinguisher is recommended for each home.

Some families may need a large container (32 gallon garbage can) to hold all the items. Other families may be able to use the plastic bucket from the sanitation kit for this storage. You may choose to use backpacks. They make it easier to take the items with you.

This 72 hour kit should meet the needs of your family. Pack hobby and entertainment items that appeal to your family. Use foods that your family will eat. Include any special medications that is required by family members.


  • Meats: tuna, sardines, spam, vienna sausages
  • Fruit cocktail
  • Peanut butter
  • Powdered milk
  • Infant care: canned milk & bottles
  • Canned juices
  • Dried fruit (caution: drink plenty of water): raisins, prunes, fruit leather
  • Crackers (drink plenty of water)

Stress Foods

  • Sugar cookies
  • Sweetened cereals
  • Hard candy

Standard First Aid Kit

  • First aid manual
  • Aromatic spirits of ammonia
  • Water purification tablets
  • Table salt
  • Baking soda
  • Eye drops
  • Safety pins
  • Matches
  • Adhesive or paper tape
  • Bandages
    • Telfa pads 4" x 4"
    • Triangle bandage
    • Telfa pads 37" x 37" x 52"
    • Roll of gauze
    • Coban elastic bandage
  • Splints
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Shingles or thin board
  • 40 page newspaper
  • Heavy string
  • Individual's medication


  • Standard First Aid Kit
  • Blanket
  • Flashlight and Batteries
  • Reflectors
  • Change of clothes
  • Extra shoes
  • Food
  • Water (There are custom water bottles you can buy that are like sports bottles, but they filter the water for you as you need it.)
This information is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Natural Acne Treatment

I've always heard that a simple egg white mask can do wonders for your face, skin and complexion however, I had never heard that it could work as an acne treatment until just recently when I went in search of natural alternatives to beauty products. Simply wash and dry your face. Separate one egg white from the yolk (save the yolk and add it to 1/2 avocado, 1 tsp olive oil and beat in a blender. Then add 1 tbls. sugar and massage into your scalp. Pin up your hair and allow it to rest while your egg white face mask dries. Wash it off in the shower with Shampoo and Conditioner when you are ready to wash off your face mask.) Add 2 tsp honey and mix. Apply to your face and allow to dry. Wash off with warm water.

This will provide a wonderful "toning feel" which will last only a few hours, but it will clear your skin of bacteria that cause acne as well as make your skin soft and smooth. This has to be the top acne treatment of the homemade remedies.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Why am I in the Kitchen?

I am a mother of five children. I love to cook. And I love to eat. It really is as simple as that. When I was growing up I allowed a school counselor to persuade me that I did not in fact want to grow up to be a Mommy and that I needed a "real career". So I started working towards jobs in health care. I tried Sports Medicine, but soon lost interest. I tried Nursing, I was within 3 months of getting my LPN, I already had my CNA and my HHA and was doing my clinicals at the local nursing home. Let me tell you, I hate nursing!

Then I became a Mommy and reality set back in. This is what I had always wanted to do and nothing had changed. So I set about being a Mommy. But when the need arose for me to find some time outside of the house, find a new skill and earn some extra money, I found myself in the loving presence of two friends that I will forever consider family. They owned a kitchen supply store and asked if I would come work for them. I immediately accepted, we worked out a schedule around my kids and There it was. I was happier than I had ever been and I learned that I LOVE to cook.

So here I am, LOVING my job, loving my family and loving my life. Does it really get any better than this?

Beauty in the Kitchen

I have been trying out some new ideas around the kitchen lately just to see what I can come up with. Through lots of late night research and some tips from friends, I have started creating natural beauty products from stuff in my kitchen. I started with a simple Sugar Scrub and found out that I loved it SO much that I immediately tossed out my store bought brand and have used this exclusively. It is so simple, less expensive and works better than anything I have ever used!

Try this out:

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Melted Coconut Oil (Found at
4-5 drops Essential Oil (Optional)

Mix and allow to cool. Keep in a Tupperware container in or near your shower or sink. After soaping apply approximately 2 teaspoons to your legs or arms or hands and rub to exfoliate. Rinse and dry.

I use this in the shower on my legs and after washing dishes, on my hands. The sugar exfoliates and the coconut oil softens and moisturizes. It really is amazing!

So I have moved on to things like lipbalm, which I am having trouble getting it soft enough to my liking. And more skin care products since the sugar scrub was such a success. Also I am trying Hair Care Products. I found that I can make 16oz of hair gel for about $0.03 and it works very well! Hair spray is my next venture. If you have any ideas, tips, hints or suggestions, please drop me a comment!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Eat More to Eat Less

The biggest and fastest cure for any diet is hunger. I don't care what kind of diet you are on, whether it be diabetic, weight loss or gluten free, as soon as you start to feel like you are starving your natural instincts to feed yourself kick in and your self control goes out the window!

So how in the world are you supposed to lose weight if you are hungry all the time? The truth is, you can't. So what do you do? You can stuff yourself full of prescription, over the counter or herbal appetite suppressant drugs to help curb the cravings. Or you can try some of these natural appetite suppressants.

Let start with yummy!
Small amounts of Dark Chocolate has been shown to curb cravings, suppress appetite and increase happiness! Dark chocolate has been thought of as a healthy snack for 1000's of years. It's also high in antioxidants to help keep you healthy. But beware the high calorie, high sugar varieties! That won't help anyone!

And moving on to probably the #1 best appetite suppressant, Apples. Do you ever find yourself craving a Twinkie, a cupcake, doughnut or a candy bar? Usually that is your bodys way of telling you that it needs sugar. So replace the candy bar with an apple and you are going to kill two birds with one stone. The natural sugar in apples will suppress your bodys need for sweets while the high fiber content will trick your body into thinking that it has just eaten a whole lot more than it really has. It does this by making you chew and chew, giving your body time to register that you are full before you over eat, as well as by spending some extra time digesting which will make you feel fuller longer.

And obviously second only to the apple is Celery. Celery has long been known to burn more calories eating it than it actually has. Add all that chewing to the high water content and celery will fill your belly and suppress your appetite for a long time.

Breakfast time is a great time to take a bite out of hunger with a bowl of low calorie, high fiber, stick to your ribs Oatmeal. High in carbohydrates, which are burned slowly as energy, you will feel fuller longer and the fiber helps it to last even longer. Throw in a handful of dates, rasins or dried cranberries and you have a wonderful, tasty breakfast that will stick with you well past lunch time.

Add a little Omega-3 Fatty acids to your diet and suppress your appeteite too with tiny little Flax Seeds. While your body can not digest them whole, if you crush or roll them to expose the inside of the seed, you will release a whole new world of nutrition and health to your body as well as suppressing your appetite as you do it. Flax seeds are high in omega-3's and fiber and you wont even notice them in your breads, oatmeal, yogurt and trail mix.

So take the drugs out of your diet and add some of these healthy and delicious alternatives to your weight loss routine.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Good Night, Sleep Tight

It is widely accepted that the amino acid tryptophan, found in foods such as dairy products, tuna and shell fish, turkey, bananas and soy, can not only help to lighten your mood but also help you sleep better. Who doesn't feel sleepy after a big thanksgiving dinner?

From Wikipedia "Tryptophan is a routine constituent of most protein-based foods or dietary proteins. It is particularly plentiful in Chocolate, Oats, Bananas, Durians, Mangoes, Dried Dates, Milk, Yogurt, Cottage cheese, Red meat, Eggs, Fish, Poultry, Sesame, Chickpeas, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Spirulina and Peanuts."

Wikipedia also notes that the amino acid tryptophan has been found to show promise in effectively in treating premenstrual dysphoric disorder and even depression. has a wonderful breakdown of the healthiest foods with tryptophan and the percent of daily value in each. They also list that tryptophan can help sleep disorders as well as Depression, Anxiety, Irritability, Impatience, Impulsiveness, Inability to concentrate, Weight gain or unexplained weight loss, Slow growth in children, Overeating and/or carbohydrate cravings and Poor dream recall.

So next time you find yourself having trouble sleeping, before you change your number on your sleep number bed, reach for a banana and some chocolate milk and drift off to a restful sleep the natural way and improve your mood in the process!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kitchen Gadgets Galore

Yogurt Maker: Didn't know you needed one, now you do! You can save a bundle of money making your own yogurt. And starting at $21 at, you can save even more!

Scooba: Tired of wasting time mopping the kitchen floor? Save time and let Scooba do the work for you. Only $239 at, I doubt you'll find a better Sale anywhere!

Rival Icecream Maker: At $21.95, summer's coming fast, with prices like this, don't pass up your opportunity to have fresh, homemade icecream anytime you want it!

Grill it: Along with your icecream maker, make your BBQ complete with a contemporary Weber Q 300 outdoor grill at $339.99 or make it an indoor festival with the Geroge Foreman Grill at $20.69. But however you serve it up, it's always better cooked fresh on the grill! has a huge selection of small kitchen appliances and kitchen gadgets at amazing prices, most of the time, beating out Walmart, Kmart and Target to name a few! Check them out for yourself and start "Saving in the Kitchen".

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gollywog's Cake Shop

I know a lady that does fantastic cakes for weddings, birthdays or any occasion, big or small. She is very talented and does a wonderful job on everything. I will have to post some pictures of the cakes she has done so far. So when you have gotten your dress and printed the wedding invitations then give Dawn a call and let her take away the stress of the having the perfect cake.

Gollywog's Cake Shop

I'm Working on a Cook Book!

Dawn and I have been experimenting with making whole grain, multi-grain recipes and we have had SO much success that we are now working on a multi-grain cookbook! We have such a surplus of different grains at the store that we just didn't know what to do with the we decided that we needed to start experimenting. We have been using our regular recipes and tweaking them to work with the multi-grain flour. So far we have had luck with chocolate cupcakes, blueberry muffins and apple cinnamon pancakes. We are giving out samples of the pancakes tomorrow to see how they go over. We are having so much fun! I can't wait to get it finished!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Are You A Great Cook?

Being a great cook is something that comes naturally to some and slowly to others. But it is not something that you can learn in textbooks, it's something that you have to work at. You have to practice. You have to succeed. And most importantly, you have to FAIL. Through failure, true greatness is born. Failure is the crossroads. Do you throw in the whisk and give up or do you take hold of the moment, figure out what you did wrong and make it right?

Just because you burned the casserole or the bread came out heavy. Don't give up! Learn from it! There is a Great Cook inside us all. Find your's and yank her out kicking and screaming!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Stale Bread?

Does your bread ever go stale, sitting on your counter too long? I would not think that with a family of 7 it would ever be possible for my bread to go stale. Boy was I wrong!

Luckily for me, I found a recipe for SOP SOUP in a stack of brochures that one of the companies sent me as promotional products. It was great! I was so impressed that I just could not wait to share it with everyone!

Sop Soup

2 Cups Stale Bread, cubed
2 T. Olive oil, divided
1/4 t. Sea Salt
1/8 t. Ground Pepper
1/4 t. Paprika
1 t. Garlic Granules
2 t. Basil
2 t. Oregano
1 Lg. Onion, sliced
5 Cups Water
5 T. Chicken flavored Broth Powder
1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese

Combine bread cubes and 1 T. olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, basil and oregano. Saute until lightly browned. Set aside.

Heat 1 T. olive oil in a saucepan. Saute onion slices until lightly browned. Combine chicken flavored broth powder and water in a bowl and add to onions. Warm over medium heat, stirring until powder is dissolved and soup is hot. Add the bread cubes and gently heat for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese just before serving.

Serves 4.

You can also crisp the bread in the oven as opposed to sauteing it.
Try different types of cheeses, I really enjoyed it with Cheddar.
Saute Celery and Carrots with the Onions.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Car Problems

Sorry I have been MIA lately. My best friends car has broken down and so it is now parked in my front yard so my husband can fix it. This requires things like repairing car lifts, buying extension cords for his air compressor and at least 3 broken tools so far! So I have had the job of running to have the lift repaired, replacing tools and picking up the extension cords. Not to mention that she is driving my van at the moment, which leaves me driving the truck. Not my idea of fun. But it all has taken up so much of my time that I have not had much of a chance to play in the kitchen. However, I do have some new and VERY exciting recipes coming up this next week! Just you wait and see!