Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Day After Christmas Treats...

The frenzied unwrapping, running from house to house to visit family and friends and loading vehicles with piles and piles of presents is now over and if you are anything like me, all you want to do is sit and relax. The Tony Hawk shoes and rocawear boots are tucked in the closet with the new Abercrombie clothes and the sweater Aunt Edith made you, the toys are scattered throughout the house and the kids are, at least temporarily, entertained. But now it is dinner time and everyone is going to be hungry soon, and you don't know what to fix. Dinners for the last few nights have included hams and pies, gravy's and casseroles, rolls and butter... all the fixin's. You want something light, healthy and most importantly, easy! Here are some yummy ideas to get you out of the "Christmas Food Funk."

Quick & Easy Kid Munchies:

Turkey Quesadillas:

6 Large Flour Tortillas
1 1/2 Cup Leftover Turkey (shredded)
1 Cup Shredded Cheese (cheddar & mozzarella)
4 oz. Cream Cheese
4 oz. Sour cream
3 Tablespoons chunky Salsa
1 Tablespoon Butter

Melt 1/2 of the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add turkey, salsa and cream cheese. Mix until the cream cheese is melted. Remove from heat and add the sour cream and shredded cheese. Melt the rest of the butter in a frying pan and lay one tortilla in the skillet. Spoon 1/3 of the turkey mixture onto the tortilla and spread around to cover the whole tortilla. Top with another tortilla and flip over. Fry until the cheese is melted and remove from heat. Cut and serve immediately.

Warm Up and Relax:

Butternut Squash Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 medium potatoes, cubed
1 medium butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed
32 oz chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, and squash 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.
2. Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cooking for the Health of your Skin?

Believe it or not, chocolate is not the worst thing you can do for your complexion. There is far more to it than that. The foods you eat, the air you breathe and even the sleep you get are all major factors in the condition of your skin. Much more so than eating chocolate. Drinking plenty of water will help your body flush toxins that would otherwise be eliminated through your skin. Eliminating your exposure to inhaled chemicals such as gasoline vapors, paint fumes and even make-up removers will decrease your chances of a breakout since these kinds of chemicals put stress on your liver are are ultimately released through your skin.

Eating a diet low in sugars, msg's, artificial colors and flavors and preservatives will also help your skin. Our body can not process these unnatural additives and will therefore eliminate them through the skin, causing an acne breakout.

Treating acne is not an exact science, but more a way of life. There are hundreds of acne remedies out there from diet to exercise to chemical treatments and beyond. Personally however, I prefer to be more careful about what I put into my body because what goes in, has to come back out.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Baking up Your Holidays

I remember Christmas as a child. It always involved decorating the tree with beautifully hand crafted ornaments that my mother had created for each of us. Each one unique, each one special. I don't remember when the tree stopped being decorated with the salt dough ornaments that had come to mean so much to my brother and I, but a few years ago, one Christmas day, my mother brought out a box full of ornaments wrapped up in old newspaper. As my brother and I unwrapped each one, the memories flooded back. Each ornament signified a specific time in our lives, something we cherished at that moment in time.

That was one of the most magical Christmas' to date. But it reminded me that Christmas is not about expensive christmas decorations, lots of tinsel and more lights than your neighbor. It's about family and memories, celebrating life and the ones who make life so special, remembering our savior and the love he wants us to share. Christmas is a way of strengthening our families and building up the kingdom of Heaven.

With that in mind, I have started a new tradition of my own with my children. It still involves cookie cutters and salt dough, but with a twist. New decorations every year. Stars painted in neon pinks and greens or princess crowns and guitars with lots of bling, whatever suits my family best that year. Then I carefully pack them away with newspaper in a box and stick them under the stairs for that Christmas, not too far away, when my children have grown up and have children of their own and have long since forgotten about the days spent sitting around the kitchen table, cookie cutters in hand, flour on faces and the sun shining in through the kitchen window. Then a new tradition will begin.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Getting Rid of Acne

Acne is something that plagues teens and adults alike with little to no relief. However, I believe that the best acne treatment is not necessairly a treatment at all but rather a lifestyle. Washing your face too often and with highly abrasive and drying soaps trains your skin to produce more oil to compensate for what is being lost in the washing process. Wash with soap just once a day and rinse it only the rest of the day. Do not sleep or lean on your hands. This creates the dirt from your hands to transfer to your face. Change your pillow cases regularly. Use a mild, non pore clogging moisturizer regularly. Then your body will not need to produce so much oil to keep your skin moisturized. There are also natural treatments you can use like whipped egg masques that will help to kill the bacteria that causes acne. Hopefully these work as well for you as they have for me.

It can be done!

I just wanted to drop a quick note to let everyone know that it can be done. You can eat well, prime rib, steak, ginger shrimp, delectable salads and rich desserts and still lose weight and do it fast. So here is my solution on how to lose weight very fast. You get a job that requires you to visit the Southern California area once a year, eat like a king and walk your hiney off (over 60 miles in 10 days)! When all is said and done, if you have not lost weight, I don't think there is anything that can help you!

Plan ahead for Valentines Day

I know that Christmas and Thanksgiving are not even over yet, but it never hurts to plan ahead. Feburary brings Valentine's Day, and flowers and chocolate are typical ways of celebrating the love of your life. However, doesn't the love of your life deserve more. Specifically time, thought and creativity. When was the last time you arranged for a babysitter and took your sweetheart for a weekend getaway? How about spending the weekend in Sunny San Diego. The Dana on Mission Bay or the Pacific Terrace Hotel are two gorgeous options in the San Diego area. Sunset harbor cruises are offered on Mission Bay and the tropical feel of San Diego lends itself perfectly to any romantic get away. That's just one thought. Use your imagination and come up with something truly special for your sweetheart.

Exciting new gadgets for Christmas

Have you seen this new attachment for the Sony Xbox? I was so excited when the wii came out and offered an alternative to sitting down and playing video games all day. It made you move, react and interact with the game. However, I was pretty dissappointed when I finally got one and founf out that it really just involved moving your arm unless you had one of the wii fit boards. But it was still a step up from the typical sit down video game.

But now, Sony had taken that technology to the next level. With their new attachment to the xbox, you have to run, jump and kick with the game. Not just your arm, but your whole body. This sounds like a great way to work off some of those Christmas calories. I am excited to try it out and am hoping not to be dissappointed this time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

MP3 Players in the Kitchen?

My darling daughter just received an ipod touch for her birthday. I have never really been interested in one myself until I started playing with hers. I guess I just never realized what they could do. I always thought that MP3 players played music. Silly me! This one does so much more! Along with the super ability to play music, this one also offers great games like Angry Birds, which I am losing as we speak (darned birds!), and it offers books on demand! I can zip in, sign onto and buy any book I can find, including cookbooks! Playing with it last night, I downloaded a recipe book that contained the perfect recipe for carrot butter, something that I have been looking for for ages! But instead of paying $30 for the book, I downloaded it for $5.99. I am thinking that Momma needs one of these amazing little gizmo's!

For my new car - A Garage!

Has anyone seen these prefab garages that are being offered lately? Some are basically PVC pipe with a tarp for a canopy and others are all out, full metal building. I am wondering what people have to say about these. Unfortunately, even though my budget prefers the PVC version, my canyons winds dictate the need for the full metal type. They do seem sturdy and claim to be resistant to the elements. Who knows, maybe I will like it so much that I will decide to buy 5 more, one for each of my children to sleep in... haha.... dreams!

Purchasing a new car, what a headache!

I am in the process of purchasing a new, well actually a used car, but it's new to me. I have looked and looked and finally found the car I want. Now we are in the process of getting me the financing. Let me just tell you right now, I would hate to have a finance job, what a headache those poor people have to go through, just to get me a loan. Wow! But the good news is, I know what I qualify for and now just have to find the specific car I want, in amount I can afford. No problem!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Junior High... Really???

I have a son that started Junior High this year and all I have to say is.... REALLY?!? I did not sign up for this? What is it about Junior High that turns otherwise wonderful and sweet children into raving lunatics? I swear they force the little girls to watch Madonna and Lady Gaga all day and practice dressing and primping like them and just for an even better effect, they pump the little boys full of testosterone boosters just in case they might somehow miss the girls!

I highly doubt that the changes that I am seeing in my little boy, the ones that happen overnight, are really just "natural phases of growing up". This is unreal. He is suddenly a totally different creature. I don't even think he's human anymore! Help!

Kids Can Cruise!

I have always thought that if I wanted to take my kids on a cruise, we would have to do Disney Cruise Lines since they cater specifically to kids (and kids at heart). But I just found out that Mickey and Friends are not the only characters on the high seas! Royal Caribbean has recently announced the arrival of their own "special guests" aboard some of their ships. The Dreamworks cast, including Shrek and friends, the zany castaways from Madagascar and even a possible dragon trainer have stowed away among the many wonderful adventures that await kids of all ages aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships! And for a limited time, Royal Caribbean is offering an amazing KIDS SALE FREE!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Finding Jobs

In this tough economy, finding a job can be difficult, especially in the travel or restaurant industry. But don't despair, times are changing and being in the travel and tourism industry I can tell you that things are turning around. It's going to start getting easier to find jobs and work.

Just have faith, start reaching out to employers in that you have not thought of in awhile and looking for new ones. Now is a great time to make contact to make sure that you are fresh in their minds when their need for new employees arises. But most importantly, stay positive, times are changing and things are going to start getting better.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Making Beautiful Food

When I first began cooking I remember thinking that I was an awful cook because while the food I prepared always tasted wonderful, it never looked like the amazing, mouth watering dishes that I would see in magazines and cookbooks. My rather, tended to look washed out, lumpy or just plain blah.

I wondered if there was something I could do to make my food look more appealing. So I started looking into food presentation. I learned alot about food advertising, beginning with it's all about the kitchen lighting. If the lighting is not perfect, the food won't look perfect. I also learned that they use things like mashed potatoes, scooped to look like ice-cream, because they do not melt under the intense photography lighting. Also that they spray foods with oil to intensify the colors and make it shine. They use glue and nails and such to make sure that everything stays right in place.

After learning all of that, I realized that I am a great cook! My food tastes good, and that's what it is all about!

Friday, August 06, 2010

I Really Dislike Wal-Mart!

I am SO mad at Wal-Mart, but then again, what else is new. I hate that store!!! In my opinion, we can not get the new pharmacy in our town soon enough! When Big C went in for his physical, they gave him another prescription for his inhalers that he uses for “exercise induced asthma”. So I took the prescription to Wal-Mart to fill it.

After an hour and a half! They finally got it filled. I got out my credit card and was ready to pay when she told me the total was $30! For Albeutrol! I had to do a double take. Then I asked her if she got the insurance on that. She look ed and verified that they had indeed, processed the insurance first and the $30 was my portion. I was amazed, but figured that he should have enough to get him through the football season, so I paid the $30 and headed home.

But then came the biggest surprise of all! There was only one inhaler in the bag. ONE! I had just paid $30 for one inhaler and upon further inspection of the receipt, I had paid full price! Now, Big C has double coverage. His Dad carries him on his Blue Cross Blue Shield NC and I have him on our Altius, but not only did they not run both, they hadn't even run one of the insurances! The lady at the counter lied to me! I really, really dislike those people!!!

Big C is not going to survive to see 16! He is supposed to be doing online high school classes, but instead he spends his entire day playing on Facebook. So to solve that problem, I changed his password. Problem solved. NOT! Now he plays the PS3 all day. He will not get his cleaning done, he will not get his school work done and his room looks like a hurricane hit it.

I don't think that I am that strict when it comes to parenting. He is asked to spend 30 minutes per day cleaning his room, 30 minutes cleaning one area of the house and 30 minutes doing extra chores. Add his 30 minutes of schoolwork and I am taking a measly 2 hours out of his day and he can't even manage that! I just don't know what to do with him.

Lovin' my job

Have I mentioned lately that I love my job?!? I get to book people's vacations! Everything from Orlando vacation packages with Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando and their newest Harry Potter attraction to Cancun and the Riviera Maya where you can relax, snorkel or visit the ruins of Chichen itza or Tulum.

But as if that was not enough, we just found out that we get to start selling Disney's newest property on the beautiful white sand beaches of Ohau in Ko'olina. Aulani, with its breathtaking views, sandy beaches and amazing Disney amenities is going to be one of Disney's premiere resorts for years to come! I am just hoping to get a fam trip there soon. Hoping.... hoping..... hoping.....

How to switch?

I am debating switching car insurance companies. Since I got married, we have been with Farmer's because my sister-in-law is an agent. However, I am beginning to wonder if we could get a better price with another company. I guess the Gecko got to me.....

I am really worried about having to tell my sister-in-law that I am looking around, let alone that I am dropping her company for another one! She is very sweet and I can't stand the thought of hurting her feelings, but if it could save me money, Heaven knows I need that right now!

Monday, April 26, 2010


My youngest son has never been the "sit still" kind of child. He is very active and full of life. So lately I have been looking for new hair loss prevention ideas.

We are currently trying meditation. My husband and I are trying it ourselves first to find out if it is better for us in the early morning or late evening. Then we will try it on my son to see if we can help him with his focus.

Has anyone else ever tried anything like this before? Do you have any suggestions for helping a young child learn meditation? I will take any information I can get.

I found Smoothie King... Yum!

I'm addicted! I have to admit, it's hard for me to find something that I can eat over and over again without getting sick of it. I seldom get full because I get tired of eating, bored with the flavor long before I am actually full. However, a few months ago I found Smoothie King. They are on my way to work and I LOVE THEM!

I'm not the super health freak type of person. I normally buy anything other than low fat, low sugar varieties. No adipex diet pills for me. But this is something new and of course, they have their "indulgences" which I normally take advantage of. I have found that after having a smoothie for breakfast, I feel better, am more awake and have more energy throughout the day! I am seeing this becoming my newest addiction!

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Big Job Hunt

People amaze me, even my friends. They talk about how badly they need a job, they apply for jobs and then they complain that they can't get a job. Then further into the conversation they tell me all the requirements they have for their perspective employer. They can't work from this hour to this hour, they need a lunch break at such and such a time for an hour and a half for whatever reason and they have a mile long list of dates they need off in the next six months.

Really, do you really think that an employer is going to look at that and still hire you? NO! They are going to look at your list of requirements and deduct that they can not count on you to be available to do your job, even when you are there.

For those of you, out there in the job hunting market, whether you are looking for admin jobs or managerial positions, you have to be flexible, willing to make yourself available for the employer. The job market is tough right now and there are alot of highly qualified candidates applying for the same position you are. You have to do the things that will set you apart from the other applicants. Make your perspective employer think that their company and the job you are applying for will be the most important thing in your life. Then, once you have the job and have shown them how invaluable you are, then start your request. But don't let your family starve and your checks bounce because Aunt Bertha is having a birthday party for your 2nd Cousin once removed 5 months from now.

Buying Forclosure Property

I have been looking recently at properties that are under foreclosure and I like what I am seeing. For instance, I found .34 acre of 4x4 recreational land for $47,500 in North Carolina on Outer banks foreclosures, and a beautiful private island in the pacific for $60,000. There was also a beautiful 2 bedroom condo in Nicaragua for just $125,000.

For those prices, I could scoop me up a couple vacation spots and be set for life. Of course, then I guess I would need to get a pilot's license and buy a small plane just to get myself there. But even at that, it may be cheaper than regular vacations!

Outta the Kitchen, into the game

I spend so much time in my kitchen that once in awhile it is nice to get out of the kitchen and play a game or two on my kids Nintendo. However, I have found a game called cooking mama that seems to occupy as much of my time as my kitchen crafts! I am finding myself spending time running between the kitchen and the living room, pausing the game as the oven beeps or running in to play just a bit more while the mixer is running.

This is not good for my kitchen crafts. I am starting to burn projects and over mixing others. It's turning into quite a disaster! If only they could make it into a ps3 game. I have a ps3 that I could just hook up directly in my kitchen! Then I'd never leave the kitchen!

Changing my moisturizer

I have used Oil of Olay for many years as an anti-wrinkle lotion and moisturizer, but lately I have found Aveno. It is an oatmeal based, more natural way to moisturize. It does state that it will not clog pores and it moisturizes beautifully. But I am still on my quest for the most natural moisturizer I can get. I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions for "make at home" moisturizers?

Friday, March 05, 2010

Suffer From Allergies No More!

I heard an interesting fact the other day and I pretty well ignored it until recently. For about four days we had beautiful weather. 45 to 55 degree weather. Beautiful sunshine. Blue skies. And although the weather here has taken a turn for the worse, muddy, wet snowy mess, for the few beautiful days we did have, I was brutally reminded that I suffer from seasonal allergies. The tickle in my throat, the itchy watery eyes and the runny nose all came rushing back like a fast moving freight train and with the beautiful grace of a charging Rhino.

But the wonderful little trick I had learned actually seemed to work! I heard that eating fresh Broccoli Sprouts, a wonderful source of Sulphoraphane, will help to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal allergies. It's not a medically proven fact, but it worked really well for me, and better than any over the counter, allergy relief full of strange man made ingredients, this is completely natural. And I like anything that is natural!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Family!

I think I have had just about all I can take of 30 degree weather, cold mornings, wet days and snow! So rather than starting my yearly search for Sacramento homes, I have decided to dig out some of my favorite wintertime, rainy day recipe favorites.

My first featured Recipe is:

Homemade Chicken Soup

1 - 2 Chicken carcaus' from last nights chicken dinner
1 1/2 Cup Baby carrots chopped into 1/4" to 1/2" slices
1 Cup Celery sliced into 1/4" to 1/2" pieces
3 Potatoes, cut in half and sliced into 1/4" slices
2 Tbls. Chicken Base
1 Tbls. Parsley Flakes
1 Tsp. Garlic Salt
1/2 Tsp. Celery Salt
1/2 Tsp. Pepper

Add Chicken, Base and Spices to a large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 20 -30 minutes. Strain the broth and add the sliced carrots and celery. Boil for 10 - 15 minutes or until soft. Add potato and boil for another 10 minutes.

* Great with homemade noodles
Add all

Prenatal Vitamins

I took Prenatal Vitamins religiously throughout all of my pregnancies but I never really noticed the effects, probably because my body was so constantly and drastically changing anyway, little things like healthy hair and strong nails slipped my notice.

However, a friend a work is now pregnant with a baby girl and she is religiously taking her prenatal vitamins and I am floored by how quickly her hair is growing! Her hair was all of two inches long in the back in January and now it's nearly down to her shoulders! I can't believe it!

I wonder if I could get away with taking Prenatal Vitamins while I'm not pregnant? I'll bet there are all sorts of reasons why I shouldn't, but there are also lots of really good reasons for me not to eat Chocolate and I have yet to take heed on that matter!

Easy Monday Night Family Home Dinners

Bringing the family to dinner this week is one of my families favorites,

2 lbs Chicken Tenders, cut into strips
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Medium Onion
1/2 Cup Pico De Gallo
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 Package Fajita Seasoning
2 Tablespoons Cooking Oil
10 Flour Tortillas

Warm oil in a skillet. Add Chicken and 1/2 pkg Fajita Seasoning and cook until chicken is fully cooked. Chop Bell Peppers and Onion into strips. Remove chicken from skillet and add Peppers and Onion and cook until soft. Serve buffet style with Pico De Gallo and Sour Cream in a dip station and the flour tortillas in a warming basket.

Let everyone fix their own and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vitamin E, just a thought.....

On the same subject as my last post, the many uses of Vitamin E oil, before long we are going to see it used as a testosterone booster or maybe even a lawn fertilizer! Ha! But in all actuality, Vitamin E oil has many, many excellent uses and in researching it I found this very interesting use for it.

"Vitamin E is a fat soluble antioxidant vitamin that helps to neutralize potentially damaging free radicals in our body."

I knew it was great for your skin, but I never knew that it was also an antioxidant as well! Very cool!

Vitamin E, the vitamin of 1000 uses...

I had my first MRI yesterday. My sadistic doctor decided that physical therapy was no longer causing me enough pain so he would have a couple of nurses immobilize it with a plastic cuff stuffed full of strangely shaped pillows and then require me to hold still for 30 minutes while my youngest children sat out in the waiting room driving the reception staff out of their minds. All I can say is, it was interesting. But the thing I found to be the funniest was the way they "marked" where the injury was. They taped a Vitamin E capsule to my ankle.

Now there's a new use for Vitamin E that I had never thought of! It's been used in lotion, to combat stretch marks, as a dietary supplement and even in acne scar creams. But now here is yet another brilliant use for the oily little substance!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Adventures by Disney

I am so excited! I just heard about Adventures by Disney. They are all inclusive, family friendly, adventures that take you to places you would never find yourself otherwise! Imagine taking your little princess to the sites the Brothers Grimm stood when they concocted their unforgettable fairytales such as Little Red Ridinghood and Rapunzel. Imagine sharing the stories with your princess and then imagine her surprise when she finds out that you will be spending 3 days and 2 nights IN the Rapunzel castle. That is an Adventure by Disney.

They also have many other amazing adventures such as Costa Rica, great caribbean vacation deals, authentic Italian culture adventures and rain forest getaways.

And from what I hear, my favorite travel agency, Get Away Today Vacations, the premier Disney vacation and getaway specialists, will very soon be selling these adventures.