Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November in Review

Can you believe it's almost the end of November? Lord help me, I am not ready for December! Along with the holidays, which I will never be ready for, I have to count another birthday in December, one that puts me even further down the late-30s road.....

My beautiful in-real-life friend Megan at Sorta Crunchy does a month in review post and it's something I've been enjoying doing as well.

On My Nightstand: individual vials of eye drops (my dry eye problem is really bothering me at night right now), ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas schedule (the Sashas are counting down the days until Prep and Landing is on) , and Susan Branch's Days from the Heart of the Home - I am going to start using it on December 1st as a prayer/gratitude journal

Want To Read: the next chapter in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (tonight we're on chapter 3), and Christmas cards from family and friends! Can't wait for them to start arriving.

TV Show Worth Watching: I am so very sad the new season of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team is coming to an end. Love that show!

Movie I've Seen (in or out of the theater): none in the theater, but I got to listen to The Sandlot a zillion times on our Thanksgiving trip to Branson since that's all the kids wanted to watch, over and over

In My Kitchen: the ingredients for Betty Crocker's Red Velvet Cookies - they look delightful and might just be my next dessert contest entry!

In My Ears: the Christmas music playlist on my ipod, consisting of Curious George's A Very Monkey Christmas, the Glee Christmas CD, the Lady Antebellum Christmas CD, a little Mariah (All I Want For Christmas is You of course!) - I LOVE Christmas music!

Three Favorite Blog Reads:

  • Kelly's Korner- Kelly is just darling and such a classy lady to boot. I love reading about her daughter Harper and she's pregnant with another daughter as well.
  • Katy Shops- Katy is a shopaholic like me and loves to share her finds. She posts lots of coupons and freebies as well. I know we'd be fast friends IRL!
  • Buford Betty- Amanda is going down the IVF road, sharing the details of her path. I say a little prayer for her every day because I know she'll make a fabulous mother and am anxious for her to begin that part of the journey.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month: spending time with friends and family, celebrating and keeping in mind the reason for the season

I love what Megan says at the end of her posts like that, and I'll ditto it: NOW then. Your turn! What are YOU into this month? Fill up the comment space or borrow this for inspiration on your own blog.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Our Non-Traditional Thanksgiving

We decided to do something a little different this Thanksgiving, so we drove to Branson with my parents and enjoyed the holiday break there. We actually ate Thanksgiving dinner at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, and wouldn't you know Mr. Sasha and I were chosen to go down and be in the show. The kids thought it was hilarious and loved that we were in a stick-horse race. Too funny! Shame that they don't allow photos during the show or I'd have proof for you!

We did Silver Dollar City on Friday and Saturday and had a blast. We always take a "jail" photo and I am loving that the kids got in the spirit and made faces. Of course, WC looks awfully happy to be in jail..... hope that's not a sign of things to come!

Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

I'll be stuck in continuing ed all day, but hopefully I can sneak away from time to time to search for some Cyber Monday deals to post..... it's going to kill me to be away from a computer today!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Pioneer Woman Live

Ree Drummond - The Pioneer Woman
(photo by ME!)

Last night I had a perma-smile going on, because after I got off work, I got to go hear The Pioneer Woman speak live!

Guys, she is just as she seems on her blog- down-to-earth, funny, smart, talented, and just an all-around amazing gal!

At the end of her talk, she opened the floor for a question and answer session, and although I couldn't really think of a great question to ask, I did stand up and say:

I wanted you to know that I have your cookbook on my nightstand and I read it all the time. My husband asked me, "Are you ever going to make anything out of it?" and I told him, well, I'm a busy working mom of two with little time to cook, so I'm actually just *reading* it!

$20 bucks that she thought I was a loon!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dear Coach,

Is the jewlery designer at Coach a Chi Omega?

Such a shame I can't wear anything but gold post earrings!

I think I may need that skull necklace!

Stila Lip Product Giveaway

I'm hosting a giveaway for a Stila Lip Glaze and coordinating Lip Liner at my giveaway blog. Stop by and enter!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dear Yopait,

I've had something on my mind for a while, but have hesitated to mention it because I don't want to seem uncaring on insensitive.

From your website: You can mail up to 12 Yoplait® yogurt cup lids with one First Class or regular-sized envelope with U.S. postage stamp.

Why would I want to spend 44 cents on a stamp and clog up the mail, for you to donate $1.20?

Why can't we just leave the postal system out of it?

Why can't you create some sort of a system where consumes enter code off our yogurt packages online to make donations????

Why, why, why?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meet Bella

Meet Bella, the 9 month old Havanese we got this weekend. She's full-grown at 10 pounds.

She's quite a sweetie, and really loving. And bonus- already potty trained!

I spent the weekend making sure The Wild Child didn't smother her with too much lovin'.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tonight at Rue La La

Rue La La has a Saucony boutique tonight, and I just picked these up, not for running, just for wearing around. I love the style of Saucony, although I cannot run in them. They are just $35, and I had a $10 credit, so it was a nice price for cute shoes.

They are also having a Villeroy & Boch boutique, and even have my china pattern (French Garden) but I don't think I really need anything since we never get around to using the fancy stuff anyways.....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday Shortcut

"I'm always running late on work mornings, so I shave one leg one day -- and the other the next." Lindsay Aprilante, 28, Hoboken, NJ

from Redbook Magazine

And I thought I was the only one who did that!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fancy Nancy Fantastic Fan Photo Contest

Just a quick reminder to vote for Reese (The Wild Child) in the Fancy Nancy Fantastic Fan Photo Contest. Right now she is #142 out of almost 400 with just 18 votes- imagine how far she can move up with a few more!

Could you take a second to vote for her?

I absolutely love that she dressed herself for the pool, and also love that she wore a football jersey to school the next day- she's a bit prissy, a bit of a tomboy, and I love her just the way she is!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Attn Chocoholics

A few weeks ago, I made Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes for a celebration at work, modifying a recipe I saw at the blog Kevin and Amanda. They were beyond fabulous and I was instantly famous at work with everyone stopping by my office to ask about them. I loudly professed my love for Betty Crocker Whipped Butter Cream frosting. I immediately created a blog post for them to spread the word. I was going to be The Blogger Who Made Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes Easily (a la Becky Brandon).

Not long after that, Amanda posted about making Brownie Batter Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes, so I knew I had to give them a whirl. That I wouldn't be able to sleep until I did. But I also knew that I'd be buying Betty Crocker Whipped frosting rather than tackle Amanda's complicated frosting recipe, which looked like it might be my nemesis.

The fact that it has been a week and a half since I made these and I am just now getting around to posting about them is telling.

They were good, just not as good.

The Cookie Dough cupcakes are so good, I'm afraid I'll be measuring all dessert hence forward against them. And that's really not fair to the rest of the desserts in the world.....

But anyway, if you happen to be a chocoholic, you will love these- they *are* mighty tasty.

To make the brownie batter:

1/4 cup Parkay, melted
1/3 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup milk (left out of the picture! I used skim)
1 (18.25 oz) box Pillsbury Moist Supreme Devil’s Food cake mix

Combine all in a bowl and mix.

I used my Pampered Chef scoop and made balls of dough that I froze overnight on parchment paper.

The next day I made my cupcake batter.

1 (18.25 oz) box Pillsbury Moist Supreme Devil’s Food cake mix
1 (3.9 oz) pkg Jello instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil (how much do you love the new Crisco container? No mess!)
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips into a large bowl and mix. Stir in chocolate chips.

I again used my Pampered Chef scoop to drop batter into the cupcake liners, filling about 2/3rds full.

Next, take frozen brownie batter balls and press into the cupcake batter. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Once cooled, I used this Betty Crocker Whipped Chocolate Frosting to frost the cupcakes, and sprinkled with mini chocolate chips. This whipped frosting is genius- so creamy and good!

Here what they looked like frosted.

And here's what they looked like right before I polished off my first one. The brownie batter does not sink to the bottom like in the cookie dough cupcakes, but stays at the top.

They were delightful- and very very chocolate-y!

An informal poll at my office resulted as such: These were good, but I have a better chance of winning the Thanksgiving Dessert Contest with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

GDA: Womens New Balance Running Shoes $26.99, free shipping

Joe's New Balance Outlet (love them, have used them for years) has these women's running shoes for $26.99 with free shipping.

Edited to add: Looks like this shoe sold out!

And don't forget to go thru ebates for 4% back!

Febreze Set and Refresh- My New Love!

I have often professed my love for Febreze products, especially the candles, and I swear to you this is a totally un-biased rave because Febreze doesn't know me and I purchased these products with my own hard-earned cash.

Last week I purchased one of their newest products, Set & Refresh, in the Apple Spice & Delight fragrance and it's devine! Described as "The warm scent of fresh baked Red Delicious apples with fragrant notes of cinnamon and sugar", it's perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

The 2 pack I purchased at Walmart was $4.99, and I had a coupon for $1 off from the P&G coupon insert from the Sunday paper.

You insert a little plastic packet of fragrance oil into the container and pull up on the base unit to snap it into place. Absolutely no mess!

And it's pretty cute too!
Hopefully they will come out with more fragrance options for the Set & Refresh. I'd love to get Cinnamon Sugar & Home, Winds & Springtime, Pumpkin Harvest & Fall, and my newest find, Sweet Citrus & Zest.

Monday, November 8, 2010

She's Crafty

On Friday, P and Mr. Sasha were at a birthday party, so I decide that WC and I would venture out to the mall and see if we could find some cool-weather clothes, since it's FINALLY getting cooler here.

As I was getting her in her carseat, she said, "I want to get a face mask. You know, the kind you wear when you sleep."

I thought that was a strange thing to be shopping for, but we've been reading a lot of Fancy Nancy: Ooh La La! It's Beauty Day so I assume that's where the request came from.

We go to the mall, went in thru Dillard's, worked our way around to Gymboree, GAP, and finally Old Navy. I had some GAP Card reward certificates to use, so I picked out some Hello Kitty tshirts for her (they are darling!) and we made our way to the checkout.

Lo and behold, look what we found by the register.

Yup, a sleeping mask. I swear, she has ESP.
And the next day, she traced the mask on paper and made her own version, although she wanted eye holes in this one! Too funny!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Stila Friday Happy Hour

Stila is offering FREE SHIPPING- no minimum- this weekend.

Use code CHRCV3PFFH and don't forget to go thru ebates for 6% back.

Fabulous Build a Bear Groupon!

This Groupon is good at any location- it's $10 for a $20 coupon to Build-A-Bear.

If you've never done Groupon before, sign up and refer your friends using your unique referral code to get $10 per referral. I've purchased quite a few Groupons and it's been a great experience.

1. Click here to sign up

2. Then click here to get the Build-A-Bear deal.

Artwork by P: Quite Telling

A few weeks ago at play therapy, our therapist had P and WC do some artwork, and she said to me under her breath, "You can get a lot of info out of what they draw."

So I sat back and chatted with her about various discipline methods while they worked on their pictures.

Once they were done and handed them to the therapist, she looked at me and said, "See?"

P had drawn our family WITHOUT NOSES.

Remember his over-sensitivity to smells? And how he used to throw up when he smelled fruit like apples, oranges and bananas?????????????????????????? Although listening therapy helped tremendously, he simply prefers not to smell things like that- so no noses. Isn't that interesting?

By the way, the grey hair on drawings of Mr. Sasha never gets old.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's a Halloween Miracle

Both kids, in costumes (sans mask for P, but oh well), looking pleasantly at the camera!

One pic and we're done.

Monday, November 1, 2010

October in Review

Can you believe it's November 1st? I cannot!

My beautiful in-real-life friend Megan at Sorta Crunchy sometimes does a month in review post and I'd thought I'd join in.

On My Nightstand: my crochet hook- I've taken back up this wonderful hobby and am finding it a wonderful way to unwind before sleep

Want To Read: the subscription to US Magazine I just ordered from DiscountMags.com - 3 years for $60- almost makes my celeb gossip habit seem not-so-bad (I think that deal is dead BTW)

TV Show Worth Watching: We are so happy that DirecTV is showing the new season of Friday Night Lights early again- this is the last season and we will be sorry to see them go- such a great show!

Movie I've Seen (in or out of the theater): Sadly, none! How to Train Your Dragon has been on repeat so I guess I'll have to count that one.

In My Kitchen: The first step (frozen balls of brownie dough) for the Brownie Batter Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes I will be making tonight.

In My Ears: I'm almost done with Mini Shopaholic Audiobook and it totally got me through that 9 mile run on Saturday. Audiobooks are the only way to go for long runs if you ask me.

Three Newest Blog Reads:

  • Felt So Cute- A life of crafting, decorating, party planning and some cute little girlies!
  • I Am Momma - Hear Me Roar- My name is Cheri and I am a mother of two boys. When I am not wiping butts and noses I love to take pictures, sew and refashion, write music, decorate, craft, paint, and eat.
  • Nicole Marie Portraits- photographer specializing in natural light portraits

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month: Still cooler weather! I am so ready for fall, and it's finally here!

I love what Megan says at the end of her posts like that, and I'll ditto it: NOW then. Your turn! What are YOU into this month? Fill up the comment space or borrow this for inspiration on your own blog.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon referral links.