Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving - Better Late Than Never!

I hope everyone had a marvelous holiday with family and friends.  Please leave a comment telling me how you celebrated. 

We have a tradition of going to my Aunt's house (about 40 minutes away) the day after Thanksgiving for our celebration.  Thanksgiving Friday we call it :) This allows everyone to go to their in-laws to celebrate on Thursday, BUT mine are in Michigan, boo!

Soooo.... Thursday we watch football and lounge around in our sweats.  Timmy went out for Black Friday that night (to a store that opened at midnight) but he won't tell me where he went as it was to get a gift for me I believe.  I went to sleep. haha.

Friday we drove down to my Aunt's for our celebration - 26 people total, our largest yet.  I was in charge of all of the appetizers.  I made sausage and cheese balls with BBQ dipping sauce, cream cheese truffles with crackers, and smoked salmon bites. 

Here is a pic of my spread (minus the sausage balls which were at the other end of the table and I forgot to take a photo of). 

Hope every one's day was great! Tell me about it and whether or not you braved "Black Friday"!

Sausage Cheese balls - double the meat, seriously. 
Cream Cheese Truffles - I would only make the green onion kind rolled in parsley when I do these again
Salmon Bites - these were amazing and gone in like 10 minutes - I JUST realized I forgot the cucumber haha, a tip, cut a hole in the corner of a ziploc bag to apply the sour cream, it just makes it prettier :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Caitlin's Bridal Shower

Myself and the other bridesmaids hosted my dear friend Caitlin's Bridal Shower at my house on December 12, 2011.  I wanted to share with you some photos of the event.

A side note - I think I will stick to diaper cakes as my "wedding cake" made from bath towels did not turn out how I had in mind.  Overall I think it was a hit.  I sure hope Caitlin enjoyed it :)

A shout out to the FABULOUS Laura for taking all of the photos.  You can check out her blog here.

As well as another fabulous shout out to Lauren from Delicious Dish Events in Riverside, CA for the magnificent food - quiches, sandwiches, and salads - all to die for!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I posted my first item for sale on my new Etsy store! Check it out here:

The lovely ladies at are also hosting a challenge for each member to recruit at least one new member.  So PLEASE check out  It is a free online forum for women that I am a co-owner of.  We do have a craft section for those of us who love to craft to chit chat about our hobbies (and for some business).  It's a great place to "meet" other women with similar interests and a great creative and social outlet. 

Hope everyone had a lovely 3-day weekend.  Thank you to my hubby and all other veterans this Veteran's Day Weekend!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

PaperCrafter's Makeover Monday Challenge # 1 - Wine Bottle Tag

I have completed Week 1's Makeover Monday Challenge hosted by Paper Crafter's Library.  Each Monday they plan to post a challenge which you can create using your supplies on hand.  I loved the idea of this wine bottle tag - a perfect way to dress up a wine bottle for a birthday or hostess gift, something I regularly give.

Here is my version of the wine tag - I used my scraps from September's Button Farm kit to create this tag - I'm very pleased with how it turned out.  The tag is 3x7 and is scored at the 2" mark with a hole punched in the top to easily slide over the wine bottle's neck.

Thanks for looking at my attempt, and thanks to Paper Crafter's Library for a FABULOUS challenge - I had fun and it's definitely an item I look forward to making again - fast, easy, and cute, what's not to like!?

here is the link to the original challenge

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday's What's Up With That!? - Halloween Edition

Oh Halloween.  Apparently I live in the "go to" neighborhood.  Parents are literally dropping their children off in our neighborhood - I'm not sure why - I live in an average neighborhood, nothing fancy.  Shrug. 

Last year we had two hundred and twenty-something trick or treaters - this year 177.  It take A LOT of candy to feed these people. 

With that said, here are a few things that really grind my gears.

1) Parents with infants with bags for candy - who is that candy really for?
2) Teens who are way to old to be trick or treating anyways.
3) Kids/teens/etc. who are trick or treating and don't even put the effort into dressing up - like NO costume at all.
4) kids who come to my house multiple times.
5) people who step into your house or start asking questions about your house while peering into your house. 

Our front room is STILL empty - you don't know how many people were like, "why don't you have any furniture?" We just ignored the questions, but I wanted to respond with one of the following:
a) Why are you looking in my house?
b) We had to sell it all to buy all of you candy!

I had heard some lovely suggestions for next year.
- you know those signs at Disneyland that say "you must be this tall to ride this ride" - how about reverse that? you cannot be taller than this sign to trick or treat here.
- have two buckets - 1 bucket for the appropriate trick or treaters filled with the good stuff.  the other bucket for the parents, teens, or people who do not even try to dress up filled with used gum and erasers. haha. 

Okay, I won't really do any of that, but c'mon! What's Up With That!?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Fun

I hope everyone had a delightful Halloween!! Here is a pic of me and the hubs - can you guess who we are? :)

My parents came over to share in some good food and to help give out candy.  This year we had 177 kids - that's down from two hundred and twenty-something that we had last year. 

I made some delicious chili, cornbread, and pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  My girlfriend Jessica also stopped by to get in on the food action. 

We had a lovely time - although I must say that I am disappointed with the lack of effort that some kids put into Halloween these days. 

A few irritations I have are:
a) parents who carry around a bucket for candy with their newborn/infant child - c'mon, we all know who that candy is really for
b) teens who don't even attempt to dress up - I asked one girl what she was (as she was clearly not dressed up) and she smiled and said "a student" then her mom, also not dressed up, came up with her bag for candy.  My dad only gave these people one of the smallest pieces of candy he could find in our gigantic bucket.  A lot of the teenage boys wear their regular clothing and then a scary mask - is that really the best you could do?
c) slutty teens - it makes everyone uncomfortable when you show up in an outfit that leaves NOTHING to the imagination and you're like 12-17.  It's awkward.  Where are your parents!? sigh.

Okay, enough of the irritations, we did see plenty of adorable children, so that made all of the slight irritations worthwhile. 

What did you all do for Halloween?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - Chinese Chicken Morsels

The hubs and I tried out a new recipe last night and it was too delicious not to share. 

History: the hubs and I are on a budget trying to pay down our debt to secure our future, soooo.... we are trying to figure out ways to save in areas such as groceries.  We found a book at a yard sale called "Once a Month Cooking" which basically is a plan for you to cook one day a month (and shop one day a month), make various foods out of one set of supplies/groceries, and then freeze the food to cook later that month.  I don't want to make large amounts of any recipe we have never tried, so we are trying out a few of the recipes to see if we like them first.

The first recipe we tried was this one, called Chinese Chicken Morsels.

Serves 4

- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (we use La Choy which is gluten free)
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 cup of regular uncooked rice

1) Combine all ingredients except chicken and rice, mix thoroughly. 
2) Cut chicken into one inch cubes
3) a: If you are eating this the same night or the following day, put chicken into marinade bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes.  b: if you are freezing, put chicken and marinade in a one gallon ziplock and freeze

Cooking/to Serve:
1) If frozen, thaw out marinade.
2) Remove chicken from marinade and place evenly on a broiler pan.  Broil for 7 minutes placed about 4-5 inches from the flame. Remove from oven, turn each piece over and brush with marinade.  Broil for additional 4 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, put marinade into small saucer and heat up (note - this is do at your own risk as it did contain uncooked chicken - I did this step at simply brought to a boil and then simmered for a bit to ensure that it would be safe to eat). 
4) Cook rice according to packaging.
5) Spoon rice onto plate, cover with chicken and pour marinade onto dish for extra flavor. 

This was easy and delicious.  The hubs made me promise that I will make it again.  Here is a pic (courtesy of my super spectacular image quality cell phone - ha!).  Enjoy!

If you try out this recipe, be sure to post a comment and let me know what you thought!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Planning my best friend's bridal shower - photo of invitations

As matron of honor (wow that makes me sound old), part of my task is to throw the bride, one of my best friends by the name of Caitlin, a bridal shower.  Together with the other 5 bridesmaids, we will be throwing a hopefully elegant event at my house next month. 

The first step of course is sending out invitations.  I saw this adorable idea from my dear friend Heather.  As soon as I saw it - back in July when she originally posted it - I instantly knew that this was going to be the bridal shower invitation.  I wanted to add my own flair by creating the bouquet with rosettes rather than punched flowers. 

The rosettes are created by punching a circle (I used a 1" circle punch), then cutting the circle in a spiral from the outside.  You then start on the outside and roll the paper all the way, and voila, a rosette!

Here is the final product (again I apologize for my horrific photography skills). 

I had the pleasure of personally giving this to the bride on Wednesday night and I was pleased that she seemed to like it.  I look forward to posting more about the shower as we continue to plan and create. 

On a fun note - you should have seen the bridesmaids responses (most of whom are not crafters) when I sent them a photo of Heather's card and said "this is what we're making".  haha.  Priceless.  A big thank you to Kim, Kamila, my mother and the mother of the bride for coming over on a Saturday night and helping put together 30 of these bad boys. 

TGIF everyone - we're off to Vegas!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday's What's Up With That!? - I'm too sexy for this chicken....?

Okay... I get why people are vegetarian - I have seen those horrific films about food and meat, etc etc.  However, it's just not something I could do - I love my meat.

I also understand PETA - animals should be treated ethically.  HOWEVER, sometimes, okay a lot of the times, PETA comes off as just batshit crazy!

This article for example. They're mad because they think the chicken is too sexy? Seriously? And they are accusing the new york times of necrophilia? WHAT!?

I'm sure not everyone shares the same viewpoint as me on this issue, but I just thought this article was absurd.  I'm not trying to pick a fight because everyone is entitled to their own opinions - one of my favorite phrases, although crude, is opinions are like a**holes, everyone has got one.  And frankly, you're allowed to have your own opinions, etc. etc.  That doesn't mean that sometimes I question the sanity of a persons' opinion (lol).

I saw this article last week and just HAD to share.  What do you think - valid complaint by PETA or not? Is this chicken too sexy?

P.S.: PETA may "take offense" to a sexily posed chicken - but if it's a human woman - that's a-okay. In fact, that's part of their campaign! Check it out here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Threw together some bathroom decor

So I'm having a group of ladies over tonight and my guest bathroom was empty except for a hand-me-down yellow hand towel from my mother and some bamboo bathroom accessories we got for the wedding - there was absolutely no element of decor.

Resources are limited right now as we are working the Dave Ramsey plan of paying down our debt - but I was able to throw together a little bit of an upgrade (last night) for tonight's party by only purchasing new towels and yard sale hunting the past few months for all of the decor.

Here is the best full shot I could get - small spaces are hard to photograph.

Close up of the vanity - the hurricane, small glass jar, shells in hurricane, shells in small jar and white shell came from five (5) different yard sales over the past few months - I did buy the hand napkins.

Close up of the art - my dear friend Stacey found a blue starfish graphic online which I blue up, turned brown, and added 3 different complimentary backgrounds to to create my new bathroom art - I printed each one on cardstock I had in my inventory and framed them in 3 white washed frames I had found at yet another yard sale. 

Thanks for looking - I know its nothing special - but it shows that you too can do a whole new look for your bathroom on the cheap - someday we want to redo the sink, vanity, mirrors, toilet and shower of this guest bathroom.  But that will be a few years from now, or when we hit the lotto! :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - super simple pennant centerpiece

Well I am doing a tutorial today (I know I actually crafted something OMG!) - but I forgot to take photos of the steps - so it will be a written tutorial.  My bad!

Well the top of my hutch looked like this (see below) - I didn't love the flowers as I didn't think they went, so I wanted to create something to go in its place, but still utilize the vase - something other than a floral arrangement as fake flowers are not my fave.


I saw a photo online which led me to the idea of pennants on sticks, so here is the after photo below (I did this quickstyle last night).  What do you think, do you like the before or after better?


- 5 complimentary patterned papers 6x6 or larger will work for this project - keep in mind that if you are using this as a centerpiece rather than against a wall, the papers will need to be double sided
- 5 twigs/sticks - i liked the natural look of the twigs - i purchased a bundle of twigs at michaels, cut off the wire holding the bundle together and trimmed them to the size i wanted them to be
- wire cutters or similar - basically something heavy duty to trim your twigs so they will be the height you desire
- vase
- something to fill the bottom of your face with - i used clear marbles, other ideas are stones, nuts, seeds, moss, etc. 
- cropodile or hole punch
- twine or ribbon
- paper cutter

STEP ONE: cut your paper too be 4.5" by 5.5".  Then mark with a pencil on the 4.5" side a dot at the 2.25" mark - angle your paper cutter to cut from one corner to the 2.25" mark you just made on both sides to create a pennant - I chose this size due to the size of my vase - you may make smaller or larger depending on your vase size - i recommend the width being 1" bigger than the height as I feel that made the proportions look correct.

STEP TWO: use your cropodile or hole punch to punch a hole in both corners of your straight edge

STEP THREE: use your twine to tie both corners to your twig/stick

STEP FOUR: have 3 of your flags point one direction and 2 point the other - trim your twigs to desired varying heights and display in your vase as desired.

VOILA! Easy cheesy :) Hope you enjoyed the super simple tutorial.
** I will attempt to get a close-up photo tonight and add to this post as requested.

Let me know what you think of my hutch - do you like the flowers or pennants best?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dining Room Table

I am hosting a prospective members Bunco party at my house for my local Junior League on Wednesday.  I will be setting up card tables in my currently empty living room for the event - I guess there are pros to having a completely empty room - ha!

I wanted to showcase some of my china and dinnerware as I never get to, so I decided to set up my dining room table with my china and crystal just to show it off a little at my party. 

It's not in any way perfect, but I am pleased with how it turned out.  We still need to stain and update the hardware on the hutch in the background that we got from Craigslist, and I still am looking for some items to hang on my gate looking thing on the left wall.  I also still need the crystal iced beverage glasses to complete the place setting, but hey, it's a start!  This is our dining room table with all of our leaves in - our $30 garage sale find dining room table :) We also need to stain the table - but that is masked by the tablecloth.

Again, I apologize for the poor photo quality - perhaps I should take some photography classes? 

Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Past Projects - 4th Edition

I made these birthday cards with some spring designer series paper from Stampin' Up.  These cards might possibly be my favorite cards that I have ever made.  I think they are.  Anywho, thought I would share them as I am sharing some of my favorite past projects with you all.  Enjoy!

** I am sorry the photo is such poor quality!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Past Projects - 3rd Edition

More! haha. At least I have an archive of photos to choose from so I have SOMETHING to share. I am hoping to start crafting soon - I swear!

This is a project that I made in 2010 for a Valentine's Day gift exchange - the catch was the gift had to be home-made.  I made this accordion style mini album/display.  It was just a very simple mini album with not a lot of bling as I didn't want to over-embellish it without knowing the recipients style.  I still was pleased with how it turned out :)

Front Cover

Front side

Back side (the white squares were for the recipient to replace with 3x3 photos of her choosing)

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Past Projects - 2nd Edition

Yet another post highlighting some of my favorite past projects while I continue to be lazy and not have anything current to post. 

Here are some pinwheel cards I made a while back - they were the easiest things I've ever made - and I thought a great card for a male.  Men's cards are hard to make sometimes, so I was thrilled that I could whip these out quickstyle. 

As always, thanks for looking!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Past Projects

Since I have been a major slacker in the crafting department lately, I thought I would share photos of some of my past projects so that you could have some eye candy despite my slacker status.

This is a set of 10 cards I made all using the same distressed flower idea - all 10 are different and could be given or sold as a card set.  The idea is SUPER simple.  I had fun making them and think they turned out too cute.  I made these back in early 2010 and have since given all 10 of the cards out.  I do obviously need to work on my photo-taking skills still (oops). 

Thanks for looking. I promise I will be crafting soon - I'm almost done organizing my craft supplies that have been packed in boxes in my garage for over a year (when we bought the house).  After I organize I will finally be able to access my tools and junk so I can get started :)

Happy Monday all!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday - FOOTBALL!!!!

So for those of you who do not know me, I am a HUGE football fan - particularly the Denver Broncos (stop laughing), but a football fan in general as well.  I have played fantasy football for the past 5 years and won 1st place in all years except last year (mumble).  This year, I plan to bring it back!

I am ever-so-thankful that the players and owners were able to work out their ridiculous disagreements so that us fans could enjoy another football season which starts TONIGHT!

Tonight I am rooting for Green Bay - not just because Aaron Rodgers is my starting QB in fantasy, but also because I've liked Rodgers since he took over that position - or maybe I just hated Farve so much that it seems like I like Rodgers.  Shrug.  Either way, GO GREEN BAY!!!!!

Here is my starting line-up for my fantasy team in Week One.  Wish me luck!

QB: Aaron Rodgers - GB
WR: Andre Johnson - HOU
WR: DeSean Jackson - PHI (I had him last year and was pleased)
RB: Peyton Hillis - CLE
RB: Matt Forte - CHI (I had him last year and was pleased)
TE: Rob Gronkowski - NE
TE: Dallas Clark - IND
W/R/T: Brandon Lloyd - DEN (WR)
K: Sebastian Janikowski - OAK (it pains me to have a Raider on my roster, but he's good, so I have to suck it up)
DEF (team): New England
D (individual): DeAngelo Hall (I had him last year and was pleased)
D (individual): Ray Lewis (it also pains me to have him on my team as I despise him, but again, he's good, so I have to suck it up)

Do you play Fantasy Football or watch Football? Who's on your fantasy team or who is your favorite NFL team?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Five - TV Series

My husband and I enjoy watching various TV series on Netflix or the like - we have watched quite a few and have a lengthy list of more that we are looking forward to watching.  Generally we take turns selecting the show.  Here are five of my favorite shows we have watched so far from start to finish (or from start to the current status if the show is still on-air!). 

1) The Office - this show makes me literally LOL. It definitely reminds me of my office's dynamics and I think anyone who works in an office environment would appreciate the humor in this show - and even persons not working in such an environment will appreciate this awkward humor - my favorite kind!

2) The Wire - this is about a police task force in Baltimore focusing on a major drug ring. It's so great! I do suggest turning the sub titles on so you can catch everything.  After watching this show, sometimes just for fun my husband and I listen to the local police scanner - haha.

3) Six Feet Under - as with all HBO shows - this show was a little graphic, so be warned.  I enjoyed the complex relationships and characters created.  I always had trouble picking a favorite character as with real life each character is portrayed with both their good and bad qualities. 

4) Glee - In case you live under a rock, this show rocks! I didn't watch it for a long time as I thought it was going to be some cheesy teenager show but it's not. In fact I don't think I would want my teenagers watching it (if I had any).  I love the singing, and I REALLY love the dancing.  Both mine and Tim's favorite character is Brittney because she's so funny. 

5) Boardwalk Empire - This show is set in the 20's in Atlantic City (during prohibition) and features corrupt politicians and their schemes.  It's terrific.  I had to get past my image of Nucky from when he was in Billy Madison putting lipstick on and creating his hit list, but I've gotten past it and really am enjoying his character.  We love this show and can't wait for season 2 to start soon, EEK!

We are greatly looking forward to the upcoming seasons of The Office, Glee and Boardwalk Empire.  The Wire and Six Feet Under were fabulous.  Actually all 5 of these shows have been awesome and I highly recommend them!

What are some of your favorite TV series? Or have you watched any of the above - what do you think?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The problem with crafting.....

To craft or not to craft (this weekend), that is the question. The problem (for me) with crafting is that it takes like 3.4 hours for me to get all of my gear out of the storage room guest room.  Then, after I get it all out, I need a nap of course.  After my nap, its usually time to put it all away.  Sigh.  It would be so much easier if I just had a place (other than the dining room table) that I could craft and just leave off of my junk out. 

We have a dream of having an office/craft room someday.  In fact, my amazing husband has made great progress.  After having lived in our current home for just over one year, he finally tore out the nasty carpet in the would be craft/office room and we stripped the three (yes THREE) layers of wallpaper a few months ago.  Now we need to purchase primer and paint, do a little drywall repair, paint, and then purchase new flooring.  We are thinking the laminate that we have in our master bedroom which we have grown to love and it appears to hold up really well. 

The problem with all of this... it costs money. Currently hubby and I are working the Dave Ramsey plan and are on baby step 2 - snowballing our debt.  This means that ALL extra money is going towards paying off our debt and that we are not spending ANY money on things that we want - only necessities that we need like food, gas, and our other bills (mortgage, utilities, phone, etc.).  The goal is to have all debt including vehicles (excluding the house) paid off within two years.  Ramsey says that if you can't pay it off in two years you can't afford it.  So, two years from last month we must have paid off all of our debt.  THEN we will have the money to splurge a little before we commence baby step three, saving 3-6 months of expenses in an emergency fund. 

So... what I'm getting at is, I expect to have my craft room complete and be up and crafting approx. Jan. 2014.  Stay tuned! HA!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wednesday's What's Up With That - Season 13 of Dancing With the [Quasi] Stars Announced

Yes, I know it's Tuesday, but I couldn't wait. HA!

I feel like a broken record as I believe I posted a WWUWT last season about this same issue.... Oh wait I did, you can check it out here.

Monday night the "stars" were announced for this upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars (DWTS). 

Yet again, the show has used the term "stars" very loosely.  Remember when they broke the story about how DWTS was trying to recruit A-list actors? Ya, apparently they failed.  Rather miserably.

So without further ado, I bring to you the recently announced cast list for DWTS Season 13 and my amazing thoughts on same.

Chaz Bono - So apparently this is the child of Sonny and Cher - and he used to be a woman, and is now a man. I've never even heard of this person. This isn't even a B list celeb - not even a D list - more like a Z list.  This is lame. Ridiculously lame. LAME!

Nancy Grace - Okay, I can't stand her, but secretly love her. Does that even make sense? Anywho, she's not A-list, but perhaps B-list.  At least she's not a local TV personality (like the local radio personality last season) - she does actually appear on national television.  She might be interesting.

David Arquette - quasi A-list although he's been out of the limelight for some time.  I'll give them some credit for getting him. 

Ron Artest - basketball player for the Lakers - nice. Athletes always do pretty well. 

Ricki Lake - is she A-list? I'd go with B-list. Doesn't she have dance experience? I think she will probably be pretty good.  My prediction is she will be in the top 3.

Chynna Phillips - Who on Earth is this? I don't recognize her photo or her name. NO idea who this is.

Kristin Cavallari - I thought that article (see above) specifically made fun of the fact that reality stars are NOT A-list stars and that they were LAME. I've never watched The Hills (that is the show she is from right?) and I don't like her because of the mere point that she dated Cutler, who I can't stand.  Cutler looks like an escaped insane asylum patient.  Anyone who would date him has to be desperate.  Did I hear rumors they were getting back together? If he shows up in the audience I might throw up.

Carson Kressley - No idea who this is either?

Rob Kardashian - So I didn't even realize they had a brother. This is lame. Almost as lame as Chaz Bono.  At least one of the 3 sisters are more well known. C'mon. Sigh.

JR Martinez - A soap star and Iraq vet - it does pull at my heart strings with him being a veteran and all, but I had no idea who this was.  I believe they picked him because of his disabled vet status to hopefully get more sympathy viewers.  He is definitely not an A-list celebrity. Not even close.

Hope Solo - So she was in the limelight for like 2.5 seconds when the ladies soccer went to the championships - had anyone even heard of her before that? I get that they like to have athletes on the show, but at least get well known athletes for crying out loud!

Elisabetta Canalis - so her claim to fame is that she USED to date Clooney? Oh and she allegedly was some kind of model? Not A-list. Not at all.  For some unknown reason I haven't found any of the past models to be very good - its like they have no coordination whatsoever - or maybe they look like bobble heads because their bodies are ridiculously skinny. Shrug.

So there it is.  The Season 13 cast of Dancing With the [Quasi] Stars.  Anyone else have any early top picks? Mine is Ricki Lake.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Kudos to BJ's Brewery

I am so lucky and thankful to live in California where BJ's Breweries are abundant. 

I LOVE BJ's and was so thrilled when they added the GF pizza last year and even more thrilled when they recently added the GF pazooki.  I love them both - the pizza is more like a thin crust pizza rather than their usual deep dish style.  I prefer deep dish style, but this is still delicious and the best GF pizza I have tried to date (much better than the new California Pizza Kitchen gluten free pizza in my humble opinion).  The pazooki is also fabulous.  However, my 2 non-GF friends did not care for it - perhaps its because they have the regular one to compare it to, which I do not.  Whatever, more for me and I scraped my pan clean :)

I also love that they have made the gluten free pizza and pazooki available for their Party for Two promotion (which my friend Jenny and I took advantage of on Tuesday night), however I was bummed at my birthday celebration (back in June) that they do not offer the GF pazooki in the free birthday size so we had to pay for it in order for me to have my birthday treat.  It was still worth it.

Kudos to BJ's for keeping up with the need for gluten free alternatives! They are definitely on my short list of restaurants which have REAL gluten free menus - PF Changs and Melting Pot round up that list.  Outback and Lonestar I enjoy too, however when you order its more like you are ordering from their regular meal without all the good stuff like seasonings and marinades - I like the PF Changs, Melting Pot, and now BJ's have SPECIAL items just for Gluten Free folks like me where you don't feel like you're missing out on anything. Although the Outback flourless brownie is bomb-diggity (ya I said that). 

Happy Thursday everyone, and thanks for reading.  If you're gluten free - where is your favorite place to dine out and your favorite menu item to order there?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday's What's Up With That?

Have you ever noticed how dentists/dental hygienists/assistants/etc. LOVE to talk to you? Particularly they love asking you questions while they are working on your teeth.

I had a dental appointment (joy) this past Monday.  The dental hygienist was very sweet and friendly.  She begins the cleaning with her tools all up in my grill (literally) and immediately asks, "Are you married?"  Luckily my response of "uh huh" didn't require her pulling the tools out of my mouth, but her next question of "for how long?" did. 

I'm not sure why she didn't know that "or un eer" was "for one year", but she pulled the tools out of my mouth and looked at me all irritated like "why are you talking when I'm working on your teeth?"

YOU ASKED ME A QUESTION.  If you don't want me to talk, don't ask questions.  Or at least don't look irritated when you have to stop working on my mouth so that I can respond to YOUR question! What's up with that? Sigh. 

I made the next mistake of asking if she was married - to which her reply was "well, kind of" and then I was forced to listen to her marital problems for an hour while she cleaned my teeth and checked my gums and took x-rays.  She was very sweet, but I feel uncomfortable listening to people's marital problems when I'm not at work (since I work in a divorce firm and all).  Keep in mind she does NOT know what I do for a living - but nevertheless elicited my commentary on whether or not I think her "husband" is controlling, or how she should respond to her friends when they call him controlling, etc.  I told her to listen to Dr. Laura's book, "The Proper Care & Feeding of Marriage", and that only she could determine if her husband was just being a man, or if was actually overstepping his role and attempting to control her. 

My husband and I are currently listening to this book on audio.  Each night at dinner we listen to about a half hour of it together.  It's interesting - talking about the male and female roles in a marriage/relationship.  Although I may not agree with everything that is said, I have learned a lot and she makes a lot of good points.  Anyways, totally got off on a tangent - maybe I'll post about this book in another post when I'm all done.

Back to the subject - is it just my dental hygienist that does this, or is this a universal problem?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Our photo shoot with Cean One in Laguna Beach, CA

Tim and I had the privilege to do a photo shoot with the amazing Cean One down in Laguna Beach a few weeks ago.  I thought I would post a few of my favorite images from the shoot. 

This one is my favorite - I'm thinking Christmas card?

 This one is the one we are going to have blown up as a canvas for our bedroom - Tim doesn't want one of us looking at the camera in our bedroom - he's crazy - LOL.  I think the colors will go nicely with our bedroom and its theme as well.

Thanks for looking and if you are in the SoCal area and need an amazing photographer, check them out!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tutorial Tuesdays - a diaper cake

I know that I have posted diaper cake ideas in the past - but as I was making my dear friend, Christy's, diaper cake back in June, I decided to take a few photos along the way and do a mini tutorial for all of you faithful readers :)


1 large bottle of johnson and johnson baby powder - or any brand, I just use this as its a preferred brand among most moms

A small round medium sized object such as a medium sized bottle, or bath wash, etc. for your top layer

2 large glue dots, foam adhesive, etc. to adhere the layers

1 box (80 count) of Pampers Swaddlers Size 2 - I use these because they have the least color on them so that your cake appears white, and most people get size 1 as gifts, so this way you know yours will be used for sure - both ladies I have made cakes for have thanked me for giving size 2 instead of 1.

Cake plate - cardboard or plastic, 10" or 12"

Rubberbands - lots of them, the normal size, not super large or small, brown so it doesn't draw attention just in case your cover doesn't cover them all the way

6 extra large rubber bands to hold each layer together

pearl head pins (this is what I use to pin the items on)

topper - something to top your "cake" with to tie in your theme

1 bag of raffia (any color) - I use this to add a little more texture to my cake by putting it between each layer.

Ribbon/receiving blankets/designer paper, etc. to cover your rubberbands - I use a combo of ribbon and receiving blankets, but may try paper in the future

goodies - goodies to adhere to your cake, they should be small, socks, pacifiers, gift cards, small toys, washclothes, etc. Anything too large will distract from your cake and cover your masterpiece!


1) Adhere your powder to the cake plate using a glue dot or foam adhesive. Adhere your smaller object such as a bottle on top of the powder bottle using the same thing.

2) Roll your diapers.  Diapers should be laid out flat on their back sides (like you were going to place it on a baby) and rolled tightly from one end to the other.  Then secure the roll by wrapping a rubberband around the middle of each diaper - do not wrap too snuggly so that it distorts the shape of your diaper. 

3) Start with your base layer by placing diapers one by one in a circle around the powder bottle - diapers should all face the same way, seam in (towards the powder).  Your bottom layer should have 3 layers of diapers (so 3 rings around the bottle).  Secure each ring should be rubberbanded using one of the extra large rubberbands.

This photo is an example of one ring around the powder bottle for my base layer.

4) Once your base layer is completed, begin your second layer, which will have 2 rings. (Note, It also helps to drink a margarita while you assemble these assuming you are not expecting yourself, as you may notice in the back left of my photo, HA!).

Base and second layer assembled.

5) Assemble the third layer as described above with only one ring of diapers.

6) Here is where I add the raffia between by base and second layers and second and top layer. I find it easier to add at this point so that you can tuck it in and it easily stays in place without any additional adhesive or supplies.

7) You know will cover the rubberbands by wrapping either ribbon, decorative paper, receiving blankets, etc., or a combination thereof around each layer.  Generally by bottom layer is too large for the average receiving blanket, so I use ribbon on the bottom layer.

8) Decorate your "cake" with the goodies by adhering them with pearl head pins or ribbons. Make sure they are small and do not detract from your cake. 

9) Add your cake topper and voila! DONE!

I hope you all enjoyed my mini tutorial, and feel free to check out my girls version of my diaper cake here.

And a bonus photo of the shower invitation I made for the same shower, which was rubber ducky themed - simple but fun (IMO):

Oh and more photos from the shower taken by other people who attended:

My friend Jen made the cookies, aren't they adorable!? 

I also made the little silverware holder. Geez I love my Cricut.