*Note: I've made this post sticky. Newer content is down below! Scroll down for today's post!
Well, it's that time of year again. Time to get the family together, and take your holiday portrait. Time to pick out holiday cards!
To make it easier, Tiny*Prints is giving one of my lucky readers a $50 gift certificate towards Holiday photo cards!
Tiny*Prints is asking you to show your holiday spirit, and share your favorite new card design for 2008 with them. My personal favorite? Why, the one pictured!
A leader in holiday photo cards, Tiny Prints is so excited about the upcoming 2008 holiday card line that they couldn’t wait to offer a sneak peek to showcase their new card designs. Enter their contest to help determine what cards will be most popular this coming holiday. During this early preview period, the new holiday cards are not yet available for purchase; however, for a very limited time you can receive amazing early-bird savings on their soon-to-be retired photo cards, Holiday cards and holiday invitations.
To help them celebrate the launch, they’re looking for contestants to review any of their very newest 2008 holiday photo cards and business holiday cards for those who work in or own companies.
Okay, to enter to win the $50 gift certificate to Tiny*Prints, simply:
1. Go to Tiny Prints (www.tinyprints.com), browse your favorite 2008 holiday card designs currently being previewed and save your favorite 2008 design in your account by clicking the “save in favorites” button.
2. Then come back to my blog and provide a link to the specific holiday card (see link for example) in the comments below, indicating what you liked best about it. Please note that some designs are so new that they cannot yet be customized, but will be soon (early October and hundreds more designs)!
The contest will run through Tuesday, September 30th 2008. Winners will then be drawn at random from people who have properly followed the above directions and placed comments in my blog post (you must do both step 1 *and* step 2 to be eligible). Please create your comment using the same e-mail address you used when creating an account on Tiny Prints so participation can be verified.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
*Note: I've made this post sticky. Newer content is down below! Scroll down for today's post!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Veggie Mom thinks I'm interesting and creative. I'm glad I have her fooled. ;) Thanks, Veggie Mom!
She bestowed this beautiful award on me! The award, deemed the Arte y Pico Award, literally translates to "Art Peak."
This is a great award. And, as we teach our children, it's time to share it. Here are the rules:
- Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based on creativity, design, interesting material & overall contribution to the blogger community.
- Post the name of the author & a link to his or her blog so everyone can view it.
- Each award winner has to show the award & put the name & link to the blog that has given him or her the award
- The award winner & presenter should post the link of the "Arte y pico" blog so everyone will know the origin of the award.
So, I choose:
- Toni @ It is Nap Time.
- The Q Family @ The Q Family Adventures.
- Kim @ What's That Smell?
- Tina @ Mummy Diaries.
- Petra @ The Wise (*Young*) Mommy.
Thanks for making the blogosphere creative AND interesting for me!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Today's Thursday Thirteen is places I'd like to visit that I haven't been to before.
- Hawaii - you'd think by marrying a Hawaiian, I'd have been before now, but nope.
- Alaska - I want to go on an Alaskan cruise; it looks so beautiful.
- New York - It'd be neat to be in the Big Apple at least once.
- Greece - I want to go to the Isles, sun myself, and of course, eat myself silly.
- Italy - I just watched "Under the Tuscan Sun", and "Roman Holiday" recently.
- Israel - this is someplace I'd especially like to take my son.
- China - I want to see the Great Wall.
- Seattle, Washington - Especially Pike Place Marketplace!
- Australia - heck, I'd love to move there! Especially for the Tim Tams!
- England - Wouldn't it be neat to go see London?
- Ireland - I think I've watched The Quiet Man once too often, or maybe I've read too many romance novels. I want to go to Ireland and just soak in all the green.
- Germany - Germany just looks gorgeous. And of course, they have wonderful chocolate!
- Canada - I want to go see Canada. It's the country right next door, and I've never been.
For more Thursday Thirteen, visit the Thursday Thirteen official site!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Cold Stone Creamery is awesome. And they're giving away free ice cream on September 25th! As I've stated before, if it's for a good cause, ice cream is not fattening.
Don't miss the 7th Annual World’s Largest Ice Cream Social at participating Cold Stone Creamery locations nationwide, a special night to join together and share the simple pleasures of life with a FREE ice cream and family fun. On September 25th from 5:00 - 8:00PM, guests will be treated to a 3 oz. serving of Jack or Emily's Creation. All donations will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
- Jack's Creation - Marshmallow ice cream with OREO® Cookies, Chocolate Chips and Fudge
- Emily's Creation - Nutter Butter® ice cream with White Chocolate Chips, Kit Kat® and Yellow Cake
I'm not sure why I thought it was a bright idea to spend Friday at the county fair, Saturday helping a friend move, and then Sunday at the zoo, but there you go. As you can guess, Kicker and I spent most of Monday napping.
For more Wordless Wednesday posts, check out 5 Minutes for Mom, or the Wordless Wednesday Hub.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I love rice pudding. Which is good, since last week, I doubled this recipe. Which makes a friggin' lot of pudding. This is really important - if you double the recipe, make sure you use an incredibly large pot, not just the pot you normally use. *sigh*
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup long-grain rice (I use long-grain, because it's starchier, so it makes a creamier pudding)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 cups milk
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
- 2 tsp grated orange zest (optional)
- Bring the water to boil in a large saucepan. Note the word large. Don't make the same mistake I did last week, and forget that you're going to have to pour the milk in this pan, too, later on. So bring the water to boil in a LARGE saucepan. Stir in the rice and the salt. Cover, and turn the heat down to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the water is almost fully absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes later. In a LARGE saucepan (man, that sucked having to pour it all into a new bigger pot - learn from my mistakes!).
- Microwave the milk until steaming, about 5 minutes - you want to microwave it until it's steaming, but not until it has that weird milk-skin. If it does, pull that off. Stir the hot milk and sugar into the rice and bring to a slow simmer. Cook, uncovered and stirring often, until the mixture is thick and a spoon is just able to stand up in the pudding, about 45 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, and remove the pudding from the stove. Stir in the vanilla, and the optional dried fruit and zest. Let the mixture cool slightly before serving, or refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
One of the things I really respect about Hubby is that he is still close with his childhood friends. Heck, he's known his best friend since they were 6. That's pretty remarkable, in my book.
Anyway, one of his oldest friends is moving today (this is one he's known since he was 14). He, his wife, and his 7 1/2 month old son (yep, they have a baby boy the same age as Kicker!) have purchased a new home, and are moving. Unfortunately, they're moving about 4 hours away (they already live 2 hours away from us).
So, Hubby will be driving up in his truck, and Kicker and I up in my little CRV. I'm going to watch their little one and mine, while the men do all the moving, and his wife coordinates. Afterwards, there will be pizza, beer, laughter, and old stories.
I wish that they lived closer. I'd love it if our sons became as close as their fathers are. But who knows what's in store?
Friday, September 19, 2008
It's my 31st birthday! I made it! So, today, my mother is taking Kicker and I to the Los Angeles County fair. My parents used to take me every year, when I was little. I loved all the sights and smells. It was a lot of fun, and I remember it fondly. I haven't been since I was 12 - the year my parents separated.
Anyways, Aloha Friday is the day to take things easy, and kick back. So, today, I'm going to ask you, my readers - what is your favorite childhood birthday memory?
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Please note - it's still morning, so there's plenty of time left for Kicker to stick more things in his mouth. Oh, and these are things that he's put in his mouth besides the stuff for feeding, of course.
1. His fingers.
2. His foot.
3. My big toe. That's a heck of a way to realize you drifted off for a moment.
4. My ankle! Ouch! I didn't know ankle-biter was a term based in reality.
5. His rattle.
6. His book.
7. My cell phone.
8. The remote control for the TV.
9. His rubber ducky.
10. The dog's tail. It's a good thing my dog has a big fluffy tail. I don't even think she noticed.
11. His toy phone.
12. His toy duck.
13. My nose.
For more Thursday Thirteen, check out the Thursday Thirteen Hub.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
For more Wordless Wednesday posts, check out 5 Minutes for Mom, or the Wordless Wednesday Hub.
PS> Does anyone know how hard it is to make a picture post of a wedding, when you don't want to show anyone's faces? Yeah. Hard.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I turn 31 in a week.
Yep, that means I can no longer select the 21-30 bubble when answering questions. I'm now in the 31-40 bubble. Since when did 31 get so close to 40? Luckily, Hubby will always be 7 years older than me, so I can always feel like his young trophy wife. And Hubby, if you know what's good for you, you'll back me up on that - I'm your hot, young trophy wife, right Sweetie?
Anyways, while EC-dropping, I stumbled upon this site called Free Birthday Treats. It lists a bunch of websites that will give you something for free if it's your birthday! So I signed up for a few, and now I have a free steak dinner, a couple of free burgers, a free fish taco plate, and some free ice cream coming my way! Wow, so much for losing the baby weight.
We're going out to dinner this weekend for my birthday - I have no idea where we're going to eat, but Hubby's being all cute and secretive about it. We would be going out next weekend, but we're helping friends move into a new house they bought. I'm going to think of the beer and pizza as my birthday party. ;) After all, weren't all of the best birthday parties of your youth pizza parties?
So, this is my first time participating in An Island Life's Aloha Friday. Let's give it a shot.
In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy, and look forward to the weekends. So, to take it easy here, I'm going to ask you, my readers, a question:
What have you done lately, that is just for you?
No really, just for you.
I look forward to hearing those answers!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I love ordering Risotto at restaurants. It always seems so fancy.
So when I learned to make Risotto, I realized how easy it was to make! I could have it any time, and feel like a fancy, confident chef!
I don't remember where I got this recipe originally, but it's really basic, so it could have been anywhere. So, in time for another Tasty Tuesday, here's the recipe:
- 4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable are what I recommend)
- 1 Tbs unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, minced (okay, you can use some onion, but the shallot tastes better)
- 1 cup arborio rice (it's a short grain rice with a high-starch content, which also absorbs a lot of the moisture. You can use a different rice, but it won't be as creamy as risotto is supposed to be)
- 2 Tbs white wine
- Pinch powdered saffron, dissolved in 1 Tbs hot water (okay, I'll admit, I've skipped this before, because I don't always have saffron on hand - it's expensive!)
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbs heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- (Optional: sometimes I throw some garlic in there with the shallots/onions)
- In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a gentle simmer over low heat.
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Saute the shallot until soft, about 7 minutes.
- Add the rice to the butter/shallot pan, and saute until it's glistening and well-coated, about 3 minutes.
- Raise the heat to medium, and add the wine. Stir until it evaporates, about 2-3 minutes.
- Using a ladle, add about 1 cup of hot broth to your rice. Stir constantly until the broth has been absorbed.
- Add another ladleful of broth, and keep stirring until it's been absorbed. Continue the process, adding broth a ladleful (about a 1/2 cup) at a time and stirring in this way, until the rice kernels are plump and no longer chalk-white in the center. This will take about 25 to 30 minutes. The rice is almost done when the kernels are still separate but starting to bind, and there are pools of broth on the surface. It's done when the liquid has been absorbed, and the kernles are bound in what looks like very ricey, yet somewhat creamy, rice pudding.
- Add the saffron and the parmesan cheese. Stir well to combine, making sure almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat.
- Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. Serve right away.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Okay, this is all anyone is going to hear me say about this election, so listen well.
We are all in this together, folks.
I can't believe I am writing this. I consider myself an "Independent," though, truth be told, I've almost always voted Democrat (damn you, Gray Davis, for ruining my perfect record).
So, why am I the one defending Sarah Palin? Because she's just like all of us.
Generations of women before us worked hard to give us the choices we have today. We've got options, people - options that allow me to stay home with Kicker, or go to work. Neither choice makes me a bad parent; neither choice makes me a bad woman; neither choice makes me a bad feminist.
Each political candidate that has sought the White House in the past few years has had children. So why hasn't the fact that they're parents been such an issue on the blogosphere? I don't recall anyone writing that any of these *male* candidates were bad parents to be seeking such a high-profile position. And I'm disgusted that in the year 2008, we are judging her for not being at home with her children, instead of lauding her for breaking down yet more barriers for us, and our for our children. Regardless of who we're voting for - we should at least respect her for doing that.
Which brings me to my next rant about this - why are we laughing at her for entering a beauty contest? Again people, she's not one of the priveledged few. She's like you and I. She pulled herself up, and entered those pageants to win a scholarship for college. She didn't go off to Yale or Harvard - she graduated from the University of Idaho. Now, admit it - if you had the thighs, wits, and self-confidence it took to win a college scholarship via a beauty pageant, you might have done it, too. So knock it off with the cheesy photoshopped Sarah Palin in a bikini pictures, okay?
Now, will I be voting for McCain / Palin? Probably not. But I will not be tearing Sarah Palin down - not for the reasons above. All those issues are just reasons for me to respect her. Again, ladies- all we women are in this together.
I got another award!
Angela, over at Memoirs of a Chaotic Mommy, has presented me with an award for being one of her top droppers!
Thanks so much, Angela!
In the spirit of things, I would like to pass this beautiful award made by Memoirs of a Chaotic Mommy on to my top droppers for August:
Sage and Savvy
Simply Shiny Artisan Handmade Jewelry
My Absent Mind
The Wise (*Young*) Mommy
Memoirs of a Chaotic Mommy
Confessions of a Diet Coke Addict
Havoc & Mayhem
The Homesteading Housewife
Tara's View of the World
And yes, I do realize the irony of passing the award back to the person from whom it came, but there ya go! Thanks folks, for visiting my blog and dropping your cards!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
1. The handle on Hubby's truck tailgate broke.
2. The dogs broke my screen door (it's fixable).
3. I found a flea.
4. I broke my washing machine.
5. I accidentally shredded my dog's bedding (that's how I broke my washing machine).
6. The vacuum cleaner broke.
7. I bought diatomaceous earth, because it's supposed to kill fleas. Unfortunately, after Hubby spread it everywhere, we discovered that the pool grade stuff (which I bought) is chemically treated, and will not only NOT kill fleas, but is harmful to humans and pets.
8. I signed up for a seminar that I really, really, really wanted to go to, over a month ago. It was last night. Unfortunately, it was at the same time as Kicker's swim lesson, and Hubby's class.
9. The flea medicine, which apparently sucks, that I was using on the dogs? Yeah. I have a year's supply of it.
10. One of the dogs chewed through my favorite outfit of Kicker's.
11. With my washing machine broken, I am running out of clean clothes.
12. Kicker's pediatrician just left private practice, and I have to find him a new doctor (okay, this is minor, since he's not sick, but I want one I have references for!).
13. The week isn't over, yet...
Don't worry, next week I'll post 13 things that have gone right. I'm sure next week will be better than this one!
For more Thursday Thirteen lists, visit the Thursday Thirteen hub!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I have discovered the joy that is homemade chocolate cake in the microwave, much to the dismay of my waistband. Not only is this ridiculously easy to make, it's also individual-sized (okay, I split this into two pieces, since it's pretty large, but it could be individual)!
Cup (Mug) Cake!
You will need the following kitchen utensils:
1 magic mixing fork (okay, a fork, but doesn't it sound more fun calling it that?)
1 mug/cup (not some dinky cup - you want the one that holds enough coffee to get you going)
1 Tablespoon (for measuring everything out)
1 Microwave (because how else will you cook it?)
4 Tbs flour
4 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs cocoa powder
3 Tbs oil
3 Tbs milk
1. Measure out dry ingredients into cup.
2. Pour egg into cup.
3. Pour oil and milk into cup.
4. Mix well with your magic mixing fork!
5. Microwave for 3 minutes.
Careful, it's going to be hot!
I've experimented with adding cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves - all with good success. However, I tried adding chocolate chips, and, while delicious, the cake stuck to the mug a bit, so I have to play around with the recipe some more - maybe spraying it with cooking spray?