8 Things about Mr. & Mrs. PSMom
1. We met at work, when I was a co-op student.
2. We knew each other as friends for a few years before we went on a date.
3. Our first date was to the movie City of Angels. Great movie. Terribly awkward on a first date.
4. We got engaged the day I moved seven hours away to take my first job after graduating.
5. We had our wedding reception at the same place as my parent's reception nearly thirty years before.
6. We both love to travel and have taken several fun frugal vacations together.
7. We are both adventurous eaters. We have tried ox tail soup, sushi, conch, poi, and dinner at Bomba Shack on various vacations.
8. We love a good date night to reconnect, but are happiest spending time with family.
Happy Anniversary, EmDee!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
8 Things about Mr. & Mrs. PSMom
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
*Sweet friends that share their photo editing secrets - thanks Octamom!*
*scoot scooting through the tunnel*
Thursday, September 25, 2008
So I had a notebook experiment planned, and when it went terribly wrong, I decided to change course for today's post! Let's just say we won't be trying any milkshakes without ice cream anytime soon at our house. If you want to know more detail, email me and I'll dish the details.
I have been wanting to link up to Sandra for awhile now. She has such an inviting blog and so many mouth watering recipes and pictures that can make me hungry any time of day! So I'm going to post about food, just not the food I had planned initially. Instead, let's talk about pork, people!
I have a fantastic and super easy pulled pork recipe I've been making for years now. You know the kind of recipe you've been making long enough that you don't need the recipe, you just kind of know the motions? I love making a big batch of this, either to freeze or when I'm having guests. I made this for Sweetpea's first birthday party, and my mother in law asked where I'd bought it - high praise from her. I apologize I don't have a picture for you.
Without further delay, here is the recipe!
Pork loin, cut into pieces to fit into your slow cooker
Beef broth, enough to cover the meat (for me usually 3C will do)
BBQ sauce, if desired
Place pork loin into slow cooker, cover with beef broth. Cook on low heat 6-8 hours, until meat shreds easily. I usually set this to cook overnight so I can finish it the following morning.
Once pork shreds easily, shred it using 2 forks in a crosswise motion. Place your shredded pork into a casserole dish. Add some broth if you are not adding bbq sauce. If you're adding the sauce, do it now. Place the casserole dish in a 350 degree oven and cook for 30 minutes uncovered.
As I said above, I usually make this in big batches. I tend to put bbq sauce on some of it and serve the rest of it "plain" with mashed potatoes. For more crockpot recipes, head over to Sandra's!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I have been putting together some frugal ideas for holiday entertaining, and one of the areas I've been focusing on is the table - both food and place settings. I am a big believer in buying neutrals and multitasking pieces for my table so that I'm spending less and also storing less throughout the year. For the most part, I do a good job sticking with this strategy, but we all have our weaknesses, right? Mine? I always find myself drooling over napkin holders. There are so many fun, cute, and elegant options, but lets face it - they are usually pretty expensive and generally don't store well. Our home is storage constrained, so that's a big issue for me.
A few years ago at Thanksgiving my Mom had some elegant napkin holders that matched her placemats perfectly. I had to know her secret! Would you believe she used wired ribbon, folded over a few times and hot glued on the ends, wound around the napkin like a cuff bracelet? Brilliant!
This great idea got me thinking about some other possible options for napkin holders. There is one more I would like to share with you. This is a bit more complicated than the ribbon, so I've included some pictures.
First, the supplies: You will want to purchase a bunch of silk flowers or the necessary individual stems. In addition, purchase a package of pipe cleaners in your preferred color. You will want to use 2 pipe cleaners per holder, so if you'd like, contrasting colors might add a nice touch. Here I have a bunch of sunflowers and green pipe cleaners for some fall/Thanksgiving napkin holders.
First, pull the flowers off the stem, as shown.
Replace the stem with 2 pipe cleaners. If you feel they are loose, you might want to add some glue to help them stay in place.
To help the pipe cleaners stay together, I twisted them around each other.
Now that your pipe cleaners are in place, roll them back toward the flower to form your napkin holder. Twist the end around the circle to secure it to the flower.
Isn't that cute?
Here it is on the napkin.
Over the weekend, we went to an amusement park. It was bring a friend for $10 day, so it was a (relatively) frugal day of family fun. Sweetpea is free at her age, and I bought a pass this year so that she and I could go as often as we liked. With EmDee's crazy schedule at work, we knew we'd have some free weekends. Including EmDee's admission, we spent $13.18 out of pocket. It was a special treat for us to get to go as a family, the weather was perfect, and we had a wonderful time! Here are some highlights.
Are you ready for this?
Oh yeh Mom, I'm SO ready!
This just doesn't get old! When do I get to go on the big coasters again?
A rare Mom sighting!
I really need this giant pink gorilla, please, Mom, can I have it?
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
What are you thankful for this week?
Saturday, September 20, 2008
This is a great make ahead breakfast option we make on a regular basis. Everything I've included (with the exception of the eggs and milk) is optional, so choose what sounds good to you and omit the rest. I would encourage you to try the bread if you have any laying around, it might sound weird, but it is good! We usually make a double recipe in a large casserole dish on the weekend and continue to eat it throughout the following week. This is another recipe that is fun to make with your kids, depending on their age they can help measure, mix, and maybe even chop some of the ingredients. Enjoy!
¼ cup milk
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (or more if desired)
Croutons or stale bread pieces
Chopped ham, sausage or bacon
Diced bell pepper if desired
Spray a square casserole dish with nonstick spray. Mix eggs and milk and pour into casserole dish. Add bread or croutons and let soak for 5 minutes. Mix in remaining ingredients and cook @350 for 15-20 minutes, or until eggs are set. Let casserole cool and slice into squares when you're ready to serve. This is great for breakfast, but it also makes a tasty snack or even dinner!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Time spent cooking with your children can be fun and rewarding. Cooking is a life skill that will reap rewards for years to come. Involving your children in the kitchen can lure picky eaters to try things they might not have considered otherwise, and give them a feeling of control and sense of accomplishment!
Here are two recipes that are both healthy and easy enough to invite your kiddos to help prepare.
Granola based trail mix (invite kids to help measure, mix, and stir in the "extras")
8cups rolled oats (toasted in oven about 20 minutes @350)
¼ cup canola oil
¾ cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla
Mix oil, honey and vanilla together. Pour honey mixture over toasted oats and stir well to coat oats. Return to oven another 10 minutes. After the honey oat mixture has cooled, add whatever additional ingredients you enjoy. Suggestions include toasted wheat germ, nuts, raisins/Craisins, sesame sticks, soy nuts, dried chopped fruit, mini M&Ms, and cereal such as Cheerios, Chex, or Kix. I store my trail mix in a giant food storage bag, taking out single serving portions as needed.
Cheesecake fruit dip (older children can use the mixer, most can help measure and fold in the whipped topping)
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 cup of whipped topping
¼ cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Cream together cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Fold in whipped topping and chill. This dip tastes a lot like cheesecake, but has a dip-able consistency. It’s great for children who need a little something extra to eat their fruit at snack time.
As you have probably heard me mention a few times this week, we had a crazy unusual wind storm Sunday courtesy of hurricane Ike. After some initial repositioning of loose deck furniture, we hunkered down and marveled at the true “force of nature” that we were witnessing. Lucky for us, we didn’t lose power until later that night. After the winds had blown past us and things were settling down, we decided to take a drive and survey the extent of the damage. We knew the power outages were significant, because everyone in our family was without power, and EmDee’s family is an hour and a half away from us!
So off we went, on a little adventure to see what wreckage Ike had left behind. Right off the bat, there were several large trees down in neighboring yards, and one unlucky resident of our street had significant roof damage where a tree had fallen into their home. The golf course just north of us had limbs everywhere and a large section of tree now occupying one of the main water hazards. A church further down the road had a tree leaning into it, but did not seem to have structural damage. All of the traffic signals were out. All of the gas stations and businesses were without power. Two “drive thru” stores were operational on a cash and carry basis with significant lines – both were sold out of ice.
Finished with our little loop through town, we headed home. We took a detour through some neighborhoods and as we came back to the main drag in the middle of town, there he was – are you ready for this?
Are you sure you’re ready for this?
We were at a stop sign. Immediately, EmDee and I both looked at each other and cried, “Where’s the camera?” Sadly, dear readers, I had forgotten it at home, and I DO mean sadly. Down the street came an older man…on a UNICYCLE, cigarette in one hand, and a bag of supplies from the cash and carry down the street in the other hand. I can’t make this stuff up! Can you imagine him waiting in that crazy long line, trying to balance, on a UNICYCLE?
Tuesday on my way back home I saw the guy again. I’ve done my best to Photoshop the scene back together for you, but of course it isn't quite the same. I took the photo(s) with my cell phone, so they are a bit grainy.
Happy Friday, everyone!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Fall is my favorite time of year - I love the cool nights, crisp mornings, the turning of the leaves, pumpkin picking, cider sipping...I could go on, but I will try and spare you any additional rambling.
I have been so excited to see the first leaves start to change color and the first few cool mornings, reaching for Sweetpea's jacket and jeans. (don't you just love a baby in jeans?) The other hint of fall that I noticed last week was slightly less "natural", but no less exciting - pumpkin spice creamer! Didn't see that coming? I normally drink my coffee "straight up". It has to be either totally plain or heavy on the sugar and creamer, I can't take any in between for some reason. My daycare provider introduced me to her seasonal favorite creamer last year, and I hate to admit I've been a pumpkin spice addict ever since. Luckily the stuff is only available through end of the year!
I guess that's why I was so excited to see TWO pumpkin spiced latte recipes on Amy's notebook in the past few weeks. I decided to go for the "more decadent" of the two versions that you can find here. I brewed my coffee as I normally would (apparently I drink it "strong") and while the coffee maker was doing it's thing, I started on the pumpkin concoction. I skipped the blender step, using my pampered chef whisk instead. I assembled the ingredients and heated it over medium/low heat, whisking regularly to dissolve the sugar into the milk.
(look at that, I liked it so much I wrote down the recipe! And no, that part of the burner isn't on, so it isn't going to catch fire)
After the pumpkin creaminess appeared to be sufficiently warm and frothy, I poured about half of it into my mug followed by coffee and a heavy shot of creamer -pumpkin spice flavor for good measure! I skipped the additional sugar since I was using extra sweet creamer.
(Isn't this a cute mug? I think anything would look good in this mug, it's my favorite! It was my Dad's, so it holds a special place in my heart.)
Back to the Latte - it was fantastic! Doesn't it look fantastic? It was a great treat and mid-week morning pick me up. It was delicious hot, but next time I'll make this as an iced version...if there is one thing I like better than fancied up hot coffee, it's fancy iced coffee!
For more fun experiments like this one, head over and check out Momadvice!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
For more WFMW posts, head over to Rocks in my Dryer!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I haven’t talked much about my tweightloss progress, because frankly I hadn’t been making any. I feel like I’ve made as many changes in my eating habits as I’m comfortable with at the moment, so the latest goal has been trying to fit in more cardio. Then my favorite aerobics instructor started back to teaching after her maternity leave – hello motivation!! It's amazing how much of a difference really enjoying your workouts can make! Since taking her class now on Saturdays for the past two weeks I’ve felt better, stronger, and more motivated. I’ve actually switched on the kickboxing boot camp DVD a few times and I’m determined to keep moving forward. I love the slight ache in my muscles that tells me I’m slowly but surely finding my way, and I lost 2 pounds last week!
Are you working to get rid of the baby weight? What’s working for you? Share your successes and tips, I’d love to hear them!
The project I was hoping to tackle this week was our dining room table. Thanks to the many friends who gave me great suggestions during the reverse WFMW a few weeks ago, I’ve managed to beat back the laundry that was taking over my dining room table!! After it was all gone, I realized we have a paper problem that was hiding underneath…so my project for this week was going to be organizing my files and such that should either be thrown away or filed somewhere. Then came that nasty Ike and his 65mph winds, and now I have a new project – pick up sticks! Somehow this game was a lot more fun when I was a kid. Nonetheless, EmDee and I were out all yesterday afternoon picking up any sizeable sticks that had blown down in the wind. There is now a looming brush pile in our back yard! We still have a little bit of work to do, but for the most part everything is back in good shape. We lost half of a small cherry tree and a large limb from a huge tree in our backyard. We have our power restored, and I’m so thankful the beautiful trees that dwarf our home were able to survive.
I’m amazed at the power of the storm here in the Midwest, humbled once again by the power of nature, and praying for those on the coast dealing with much bigger problems than we are here. I have a very funny story about our trip to survey the damage Sunday night that I’ll share on Friday, and if you’re interested to see how I (plan to) conquer the paper stop back next Tuesday!
For more Tackle it Tuesday projects, stop over at 5 minutes for mom!
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
A friend of mine was bemoaning the cost of her frequent trips to the salon. She has long, side swept bangs that need trimmed almost as soon as she steps out of her stylist's chair. I have the same hairstyle, so I let her in on a little secret of mine - I trim my bangs several times in order to extend the life of my haircut. I enjoy going to the salon, but it's difficult to find the time and the expense adds up quickly.
I walked my friend through the basics of trimming bangs, and thought I'd share my technique with you too.
First, make sure you have some good scissors.
Part your bangs as you would normally.
When in doubt, always err on the long side.
Hold your hair between your pointer and middle finger on your non-dominant hand.
If your bangs are angled, follow the arch of your eyebrow as a guide.
Cut below your fingers, slowly so the hair doesn't move out of the way too much.
When you've cut both sides to the desired length, there is one more finishing step.
Angle your scissors up and slightly out toward the side you are parting toward.
Make little snips from the inside toward the outside just taking a bit off here and there on the way across.
This helps add a bit of texture and covers up any mistakes you might have made.
If you don't have angled bangs, cut all the way across from one side to the other just below the eyebrow. Then make the little snips all in the same direction the same way you would if your bangs were angled.
You're all set, and now you can wait until the rest of your hair needs trimmed to visit your stylist!
I've always loved those "today we salute you" commercials, you know the ones I'm talking about? If not, check them out here. Go ahead, I'll wait.
Okay, now that you've gotten a good laugh from some people way funnier than me, it's confession time. I have a longish commute to work, through some crazy traffic. To entertain myself and keep from getting overly annoyed with people, I often make up names for the more obnoxious drivers I'm forced to share the road with. I thought I'd share, in case this kind of "therapy" would be beneficial to you!
Maybe they aren't super funny and they don't rhyme, but they help lighten up my mood. Here are two from this week.
Here's to you, Mr. Daredevil Motorcycle Driver! You don't need no stinkin' helmet, even though you're going 70mph weaving in and out of traffic. (don't need no stinkin' helmet!) Come right on up to my bumper, why don't you clean it off for me while you're up there? (can I get a wet rag) Just make sure when this construction traffic comes to a screeching halt that you don't get your wheel stuck in my open sunroof! Here's to you Mr. Daredevil Motorcycle Driver!
Here's to you, Miss Crazy-Reckless Lexus Driver! Those lines on the road are just suggestions to someone as important as you. (can't you see that I'm important) Drop your crackberry? No problem, lean over and pick that puppy up, we'll move. (no need to pay attention!) With that fine piece of machinery you're driving, I'm sure you'll be safe even if you do take out everyone in your general vicinity. (check out my fine set of wheels, don't you wish you had one?) Here's to you Miss Crazy-Reckless Lexus Driver!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Amy's last notebook featured a link from Tip Junkie on Baby Shower Ideas. I have a few friends who might be in the market for a shower soon, so I clicked on through. Nikki was featured for her favors, games, and decorating ideas. If you want to check out the fab shower she threw for Holly, I've included a link here. I'm lovin the adorable baby clothing line that looks like garland all around the room? The girl is genius!
What I wanted to share, though, is a diaper cake (similar to those shown in Nikki's post) that doubled as both gift and decoration at a baby shower. This cake was a bit bigger than the ones I usually make, because this cake was for my friend who is having twins! (you can see her in the bottom photo - Hi Jayme!) I had a bunch of newborn diapers left over that had been gifted to me, so I went a little overboard, but I think it turned out very well. Since this was for a boy/girl twin pair, I used both "princess" and "all star" ribbon that I found at Wal Mart for $1 a spool. The trick is getting good at rolling diapers, and after that, it's pretty much a snap! And make sure you have enough rubber bands, that is key too. Since there really weren't directions on either TipJunkie or Nikki's sites for making a diaper cake, you can go here to find the tutorial I've used for my cakes. There are some other cool tips on that site too.
For more notebook experiments, head on over to Momadvice!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Ok, not completely wordless this week. Here is my proof that at least some famous people are just like you and me...and that a lot of that hotness you see in movies or in the gossip mags is due to all the prep work and lighting. I will say, he was SO nice, and I'm glad hubs didn't mind waiting an extra hour or so for me to go watch his Q&A session. And that sweater - made me fall in love with cashmere for life. I just wanted to pet it...it was so fabulous. But you'll be glad to know I was able to refrain! Oh, and he leaned in, I'm not one of those overly familiar fans - but could my grin get any cheesier? I'm thinking not!!
For more wordless wednesday posts, head over to 5 minutes for mom!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I meant to do this on Sunday, and the day got away from me. I thought I would mix things up a bit this week and use pictures in my gratitude post. The weather is turning fall-like here in the midwest, my favorite time of year! What are you grateful for this week?
Our asparagus patch gone to seed, promising another bountiful crop next year (rather than the weeds they look like at first glance?)
The first crisp morning, hinting with the turning of the leaves that fall is on its way
Monday, September 8, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Where did my tiny little baby go?