Wednesday, February 22, 2012


PLEASE excuse the poor photography/cropping.  As evidenced by the time stamp, these were taken/made years ago.

Once upon a time, I used to make cards.  Often.  I really should get back into it.  I have all the supplies (and then some), just not the greatest work space; though, I suppose, I've always had to "make due" when it comes to crafting space.

Anyway, I rediscovered these this evening and thought, I could make those better now.

Perhaps I should.  They always were some of my favorites to make.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Still Blah

I still feel like crap.

Stuffed up, feverish, and lethargic.

In other news, this little girl turns 8 next month:

How did that happen?

Monday, February 20, 2012


I'm sick with some nasty head cold.

So, in lieu of an actual post with a recent photo, here is yet another example of the cheese.

Obviously, nothing impedes the cheese, not even a football helmet.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Star Wars

These are Mr. Einstein's, but every once in awhile he brings them out and lets the kids play with them.

Afterwards, they talk about it for weeks.  It's Star Wars-this, and Darf Vadar-that.

Yes, I wrote "Darf" on purpose.

Apparently, it's pretty special.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Party Time

C went to a birthday party this morning.

She's been to several, but I'm pretty sure this was the first party she's ever been to where her sister wasn't also invited.

(She's been to a party by herself (with mom in attendance, of course), but her sister was also invited, though I wouldn't let sister go.)

She's growing up so fast!

Friday, February 17, 2012


This is Melody, the one member of the family I don't think I've ever mentioned before.

Since we lost her brother, she's been the only animal in the house (besides the kids; heh).

She is sweet and fuzzy and obnoxious.

She has funny eyes for a cat and fur that can be brushed both ways.

If I sit down, she is meowing to sit in my lap, which is kind of funny since she didn't used to be a lap cat.

She is a picky eater and knows the instant I open a can of tuna.  Actually, she can distinguish a tuna can from other canned food just from the sound of the can on the counter.

She is a wishful thinker.

And obnoxious.

(Did I already mention obnoxious?)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Adoptive Mom

If would please take a moment, click this link.

It was written by my lovely friend Sara.  She, like me, is a mom, but her story to motherhood is completely different than mine, than most of ours.

She is an adoptive mom.

Her (and her husband's) story is a beautiful, touching one; a story that many of us prayed for years would happen.  And though the journey wasn't what any of us expected, the outcome was always meant to be:

Sara became a mom.

Breakfast of Champions

This is by far my favorite breakfast:  homemade yogurt, honey, and granola.  Preferably homemade granola, but it doesn't have to be.  I just like granola.

Here's the granola recipe I made Monday morning.  It's my favorite granola recipe, but I do like to change things up now and then.

Power Granola
(original recipe via link; modified recipe below)


2 cups regular oats
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc., or a combination)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
cooking spray
1/3 cup dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, golden raisins, etc.)


1.  Preheat oven to 300°.

2.  Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.

3.  Combine orange juice, honey, and brown sugar in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat just until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat; stir in oil and vanilla.

4.  Pour honey mixture over oat mixture, stirring to coat.  Spread mixture in a thin layer onto a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 300° for 27 minutes total, stirring at 9 minute intervals, or until golden brown.  Spoon granola into bowl; stir in dried fruit.  Cool completely.

Store completely cooled granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

What I absolutely love about this recipe is how many variations there are.  I've done walnuts and cranberries, almonds and blueberries, walnuts and almonds and golden raisins (my favorite), and many others, just depending on what I have on hand.

Your cooking time may vary, just so you know.  The reviews on the original recipe suggested the cooking method I use, and it works best for me.  My oven tends to cook hot, though.

Let me know if you make this granola and what combos you try.  I'm always looking for new, yummy variations.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Late-Start Monday

In our school district, we have what's commonly known as late-start Mondays.  Schools start 1 hour and 15 minutes late on Mondays so teachers have time to collaborate.  The teachers love it, the parents not so much.

I do, though; I love it.  I find myself so productive on Mondays!  Oftentimes, I'm so consumed with what I'm doing that I end up forgetting to eat breakfast.

But, there's usually something sweet baking, so I just eat that instead.

I'm health-conscious like that.

This week the productivity was fabulous.  Chili in the crockpot, yogurt in the yogurt maker, red velvet crinkle cookies (via Pinterest),

granola (different than this one),

and two loads of laundry, one dried and one washed.

  All of this done by 11:30 Monday morning.

Not to brag or anything...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine, Pick Your Plum Style

If you haven't heard of Pick Your Plum before, you're completely missing out.

They sell discounted craft (mostly, but not always) items, but in very limited amounts, and only for 24 hours once posted.  Hence why their tag line is "Get it before your neighbor does."

These cute little packaging printables were free this last weekend:

No compensation for this post, but I did sign up to be an affiliate for Pick Your Plum.  Here's my link, just in case. *wink*

Monday, February 13, 2012


M got some new jammies yesterday.  I had to wash them immediately because there was a monster truck on one of them.

And then there's the cheese.  *sigh*

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Waste Not, Want Not

I bought a couple bags of Valentine M&M's for E's Valentines this year, then decided not to use them.  They'll get plenty of other candy, right?

So, in the spirit of not wasting anything, I used them to make cookies.

Good choice.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Yesterday morning, E and her BFF were playing "chess," as only 7 year-olds can play it.

They set it up like checkers and called out "checkmate" every time they moved.

Then, of course, they argued over the rules.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Recipe--Shepherd's Pie

This is what we had for dinner this last week:

It's unbaked at this point, though.

Shepherd's Pie. 
Yummy goodness of meat, veggies, and mashed potatoes, all thrown together into one baking dish.


2/3 of the kids loved it!  The other one is picky and his opinion doesn't really count on how good something is.  Unless he loves it, of course.

It's a Cooking Light recipe I got from, though I modified it.  It has quite a bit of prep work, but it's totally worth it.  Try making more than one and freezing the rest.  It makes all the work even more worth it.

(actual recipe through the link; modified recipe below)


Potato topping:

2 pounds peeled baking potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/2 tsp dried rubbed sage
1 tsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper


1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 tsp olive oil
2 cups diced carrot
6 cups quartered mushrooms (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tsp dried rubbed sage
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups low-salt beef broth
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika


To prepare potato topping, place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water.  Bring to a boil; cook 20 minutes or until very tender.  Drain.  Place potatoes, sour cream, and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.  Keep warm.

Preheat oven to 375°.

To prepare filling, brown beef in a large nonstick skillet and drain off fat.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Heat oil in same skillet over medium-high heat.  Add carrot; sauté 7 minutes.  Add mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes.  Add 1 tsp sage and garlic; sauté 2 minutes.  Sprinkle with flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring until well-blended.  Add broth and wine; bring to a boil.  stir in tomato paste and vinegar.  Add beef and mix thoroughly.  Spoon meat mixture into a 2-quart casserole.

Spread potato topping over meat mixture; sprinkle with paprika.  Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

If frozen, thaw in fridge overnight then bake according to directions above.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I finally ordered myself a new lens for my camera.

I was more than happy to use my "telephoto" exclusively, but I also wanted to explore my camera's options a little more fully.

So, I bought myself a prime lens.  A 50mm prime lens, to be exact.

These are the inaugural photos.  The color is off, and the focus, probably, but I don't really care.  I was just having fun.  And my subject was more than willing to have his dinner interrupted for a little while.