I remember doing some of these old Notes when they were going around Facebook a few years ago, and thought this linkup would be wonderfully fun and easy for a Friday. And a great way to get to know some other bloggers! So here goes.
What were you doing 10 Years Ago?
Ten years ago, I’d been married to my husband for four years. I was one year into working for my current employer, but I was still the Senior Accountant at that time. And Lee was still working. We spent most of our spare time devoted to this 1 1/2 year old:
Jenny was all over the place – climbing out of her crib and getting into everything else at 18 months, so it was of course almost the point we decided to have a second kid, one who would be too little and good to get into anything.
What 5 things are on your to do list?
Call the doctor to make an appointment for that girl up there – she’s a little bigger these days, and home sick today. And she might have broken her thumb.
Get some new shoes for Brinky’s giant feet.
Go by the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions.
Finish reading the first #momsreading book. I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to get into it.
Clean out my email (this one’s always on my list and never done).
What are 5 snacks you enjoy?
Chips and dip (or the lazy version, barbecue chips and sour cream)
Pretzels dipped in Nutella
Chobani vanilla with chocolate chunk yogurt
A Dove dark chocolate bar
Hot chocolate (when I make it with milk and peanut butter, it feels like a snack)
Name some things you would do if you were a millionaire
Actually have money to pay for my kids’ college educations
Pay off my house
Go to Disney World
Buy some new clothes
Name some places you have lived
Not a really long list for me.
Richmond, VA (where I was born)
Staunton, VA (where my little brother was born)
Pittsburgh, PA (where my dad’s from)
Wytheville, VA (where I grew up)
Winston-Salem, NC (where I moved for college and stayed for life, I think)
Name some bad habits you have
Eating junk food. Or not necessarily a ton of junk food, but very little food that’s actually good for me.
Drinking soda when I shouldn’t. But it’s tasty.
Candy Crush. Why did I ever start playing it?
Name some jobs you have had
Pillow turner way back in high school
Office assistant for my work study in college
Accountant, various levels, now Accounting Manager
Fun, right? Go link up with Miss Elaine-ous Life and read everyone else’s fun answers!
While I can’t claim we’re excited about this Sunday’s Super Bowl game, we are always excited about planning out our Super Bowl food and allowing ourselves to eat everything we want that day. A little too much of everything we want, but that’s okay one day a year, right?
If you’re looking for last minutes ideas, I have several tried and true recipes we often fall back on for the Super Bowl. And they’re all quick to make, so you can decide to try one of these on Sunday morning and have them ready in time for the game!
- Pizza Dip – We’ve been making this for years. We like to pair it with tortilla chips, but it would also be tasty on breadsticks! The recipe we use is the same as this pin I found – and tasty!
- Baked Potato Dip – Perfect with Wavy Lays potato chips, it includes all the best baked potato toppings. And takes about 3 minutes to make! I’ve linked to the original recipe I used from Allrecipes, but I will say that I normally use real bacon pieces instead of bacon bits.
- Spinach Dip – I love cold spinach dip, but I don’t make it very often because I eat way too much. Perfect for the Super Bowl! I like to pair it with Wheat Thins. This is my favorite recipe for it, found on Allrecipes years ago.
- Ranch Dip – The classic ranch dip made with the dry ranch mix and sour cream is practically healthy when you pair it with carrots! But of course it’s tasty with chips too. I may try the healthier Greek yogurt version this year.
- Cream Cheese Salsa Dip – My favorite Mexican style dip for tortilla chips? A block of cream cheese, a jar of salsa, and a cup or so of shredded cheddar – microwave and stir. Easy. Delicious. This picture looks similar to the way mine usually looks, but the recipe linked to here just calls for cream cheese & salsa, without the added tastiness of cheddar cheese.
- Crescent Roll Cinnamon Cheesecake – This has been one of our favorite dessert recipes for years, so usually if we don’t want to try a new dessert recipe that could be hit or miss, we pull this one out! And you can make it slightly healthier with reduced fat crescent rolls and cream cheese. I prefer to use the seamless crescent roll dough sheet which is not available in a reduced fat version though. Link to the original recipe I’ve always used is here.
- Tang Fruit Salad – Reagan always loves it if we include some fruit, and this fruit salad my grandmother used to make is still our all time favorite fruit salad recipe. The recipe here is close to my grandmother’s. It matches the liquid part exactly, but she always used only bananas, mandarin oranges, and pineapple for the fruit, so that’s how I’ve always made it. Just writing about it is making me want some right now!
To round out my list of 10 Super Bowl recipes, here are three we’re planning to try this year. I can’t swear they’ll be successes like my tried and true recipes, but I’m excited to try them!
- Pizza Quesadillas – How good do these look? Plus – what I always love – quick and easy! Note: we definitely wouldn’t put nasty olives on them because they’re slimy and gross.
- Blooming Onion Bread – I’ve been wanting to try one of these bread recipes for a while, and this could be the right one.
- Brownie Refrigerator Cake – We need a little sweetness to go with all the salty food, right?
Now I really can’t wait until Sunday!Read More
I love lists and stats, so I thought I’d share my popular posts (according to WordPress stats) just because I was having fun looking at them. So here they are:
1. Thanksgiving Pinterest Successes – This was a pretty recent post and one of my favorites because I love sharing food successes. When I am browsing Pinterest, I often wonder whether or not the recipes will turn out as good as they look, so it’s always nice to hear about someone’s successes. And the crockpot mashed potatoes picture has been re-pinned more than anything else I’ve ever pinned on Pinterest.
2. Then and Now: My Senior Year – I’m not sure why this post is popular. It was part of Belle Bean & Chicago Dog’s I Was a Senior Hottie linkup and tons of fun because I love looking back at old pictures. And thinking about how surprised some people I know now are that I was this cheerleader:
3. A Great Wolf Lodge Birthday – This post was actually from Jenny’s birthday last year and was one of my first ever posts on this blog. We went to Great Wolf Lodge for her birthday and I decided to share the experience here.
4. Tasty Tuesday: Quick & Easy Cinnamon Rolls – Sharing a fun & easy breakfast recipe that’s perfect for the morning after a sleepover when you want to try to be one of those good moms who makes breakfast, but don’t want to make much effort.
5. Sleepover Fun #iPPP – I love linking up with Greta and Julie for #iPPP every Wednesday. This was a silly post (from the pre-Greta and Julie) #iPPP days showing funny pictures of a sleepover Jenny had with her friends. And I have no idea why it’s popular.
6. Snip-Its: Fun Haircuts – This is another review type of post (not compensated – just sharing my opinion) about the first time we visited our local Snip-Its kids hair salon and my girls got feathers in their hair – actually in 2011.
7. First Day of School – I’m not sure why 2011′s first day of school post was so much more popular than this year’s. Were my girls cuter then?
8. Magazine Day: Featuring K-Fed – This is the only one of my Magazine Day posts to make the list. And since “kevin federline fat” is the most popular search term that leads people to my site, I can understand why. Except the fact that I can’t understand why so many people are searching for that. Though I guess I did blog about that time he was really fat in Us Weekly, so what can I say.
9. Tasty Tuesday: Spicy Creamy Sausage Pasta – Still one of our favorite Pinterest finds. You should try it.
10. Why You Shouldn’t Cut Your Daughter’s Hair – I made the mistake of cutting Reagan’s hair earlier this year. We both regretted it instantly. It looked pretty cute, but was a tad bit shorter than she wanted or I planned.
That was fun! I don’t think it gives a clear picture of what was happening in our lives this year, but I enjoyed it anyway.
Food’s the topic for Monday Listicles this week, and I’m always ready to talk about food! I decided to share 10 Pinterest recipe successes. I’ve pinned so many things that I haven’t gotten around to making on Pinterest (especially crafts – I’m just not crafty), but I actually do try some of the recipes I pin. The easier ones. Here are a few from my Recipes We’ve Made board that we’ve enjoyed – most have been enjoyed more than once.
Starting with breakfast…
1. Butterscotch Rolls – I just made these this weekend. They were delicious. And easy. The base was Rhodes Dinner Rolls, which it turns out are the best base for…pretty much everything. They’re light and fluffy and the caramel was perfectly ooey and gooey. Bonus – the butterscotch topping hardened into basically toffee for later snacking.
Moving right onto dinners…
2. Crockpot Ribs – We’re having these again this week. My husband loves some ribs, and he says he prefers these to any restaurant ribs he’s ever had. Plus, like pretty much anything I try and like – easy!
3. Crockpot Shredded Beef – This is actually in my crockpot cooking as I type. It’s one of our favorite crockpot beef recipes. We don’t use it for tacos – it’s plenty good on its own.
4. Baked Spaghetti – This recipe taught us that crispy fried onions – and cream cheese – make something that was already delicious even better.
5. Spicy & Creamy Sausage Pasta – This was one of the first recipes I tried on Pinterest, and still one of our favorites. It’s the meal that caused my girls to raise their hands when asked if they love dinner a couple weeks ago! (I’m linking to my own pin because my version is slightly modified from the original recipe I tried.)
6. Sweet & Spicy Bacon Chicken – This one’s so simple and so tasty. The sweet and spicy and salty combo is just delicious. We just lay the bacon on top of the chicken – it’s not quite as pretty, but the bacon on the bottom of the chicken didn’t cook as much as the part on the top when they were wrapped around.
7. Garlic Chicken Farfalle – Can you tell we love pasta? I think it’s the Italian in us. This is another one of our favorites – we had it last week and I swear it gets better every time. Plus it’s an awesome leftover! I like that part of the cooking effort takes place in the crockpot.
8. Crockpot Mashed Potatoes – I mentioned these after Thanksgiving, and I find I’m still thinking about them and the fact that I could make mashed potatoes in the middle of the week now! Normally I wouldn’t because they take just a little too much time and effort for a weeknight. But not in the crockpot!
9. Best Rolls Eve r - As I mentioned above, Rhodes Dinner Rolls are awesome. They’re also the base for these delicious rolls.
10. Rolos Cookies – Last but not least, one recent dessert recipe. These Rolos cookies only have 4 ingredients, so they’re easy. And, in case I haven’t used this word enough in this post, delicious. You should try them.
So, to sum up…I love Pinterest. Especially for finding recipes. I’m currently searching for the perfect idea for a treat to include in our teacher gifts. Do you have any suggestions for me?Read More
Now that December’s here I thought I would compile a big list of some of my favorite online places to shop, past and present, for those who didn’t finish all their shopping Thanksgiving week and need ideas. While I shared some holiday gift ideas from etsy a few days ago, I’ll admit that most of my shopping is done at other online shopping sites, and honestly mostly at Amazon, but I have found a few different places I love to shop over the years for some different gifts. I was going to split this into multiple posts, but I decided to just do one giant post so it’s easy (for me) to refer back to.
First and most important when I’m shopping online, I always start at ebates. If I go through ebates to find my other online shopping destinations, I end up getting cash back, and what’s not to love about that? As of right this moment when I’m typing this post, I’ve earned $184.09 in ebates. Cool, right? So if you haven’t signed up for ebates, do it now before you start shopping!
I honestly do as much shopping as possible at Amazon because I love my Amazon Prime two-day shipping and I watch the Lightning Deals throughout the holiday season for awesome deals. And now that Amazon has added categories to ebates, I also get cash back. So yes, Amazon is great, but I also have a few other favorites.
For Fun Different Gifts for Everyone in the Family:
Fred Flare – I seriously love Fred Flare. There are so many fun (and cheap) gifts that are perfect for almost everyone in my family. A few I’ve ordered in the past include this scratch off map for my travelling brother-in-law, this funny dance moves book for (I think) my cool sister-in-law, these cute and fun iphone lens filters, and this magic growing Christmas tree for my girls. There’s so much fun stuff to choose from – even in the less than $10 category!
Knock Knock – I can’t resist getting a few items from Knock Knock every year. All the products are hilarious for basically my exact sense of humor, so that’s fun. I’ve bought some for myself (this grocery pad I’ve used every week for several years) and some as funny gifts for others (Things You Must Do To Make Me Happy because how funny, The Complete Manual of Things That Might Kill You to help decrease stress). I may have ordered a few gifts this year.
Uncommon Goods – I’ve also ordered from Uncommon Goods in the past when I’m looking for something just right for some of my hard to buy for recipients. They can be a little pricier than Fred Flare of Knock Knock (though they do have plenty of options), but I purchased one of our favorite gifts ever – Table Topics – from Uncommon Goods. It led to some of the best family dinner conversations ever. I definitely recommend Table Topics!
Think Geek – We have a lot of geeks in our family because we’re cool like that. And I can always find fun gifts on Think Geek. I think their musical T-shirts are fun and have ordered a couple to form a family band in the past, or a Buffy t-shirt for those of us who still love Buffy, and this awesome dinosaur plant.
Cafe Press – Sometimes I want to make a customized gift for someone and I head straight to Cafe Press. We’ve ordered funny customized t-shirts for everyone in the family in the past. I’ve ordered duffle bags for my girls with their names on them for sleepovers, and last year I got them each iTouch cases with their names to reduce the odds of fighting over whose iTouch was whose. So many great choices!
Speaking of my girls…
For Gifts for Girls (and Some for Boys):
Little Miss Matched – We’ve loved Little Miss Matched for years! Who cares if you can find the one match for your sock? Not us! I have purchased their socks for my girls – and for me. And they are so durable that we still have them (most of them – and if you lose one it’s okay!). I love the Sock Jar! We’ve also purchased t-shirts (one of Reagan’s favorites ever), jammies, and backpacks from them in the past.
e.l.f. Cosmetics – I used to order from e.l.f. with my co-workers every once in a while because everyone loved their products and we liked to combine shipping. Their products are still great (and cheap) and now that my girls are getting older I find that a lot of the e.l.f. products, especially nail polishes and lip glosses make perfect stocking stuffers.
Marbles: The Brain Store – This one’s obviously not just for girls, but it’s perfect for my smart girls! We’re a game-loving family and there are some great choices at Marbles. I love the Brain Boxes, Spot It, and Story Cubes, and so do my girls! And I’m sure Brinky will once he can talk. And read.
Calendars.com – My mother-in-law used to have a tradition of giving a new calendar to each of her kids each year, and I’m thinking about starting that up again now that my girls are old enough to really use a calendar and start keeping track of some of their activities themselves. And there are so many fun choices on Calendars.com that cover all of their interests!
Candy.com – I shouldn’t even put this on here, but you know what my girls (especially Reagan) always ask for as gifts on holidays or for report cards? Candy. They always want candy. And Candy.com has candy covered!
Zoobooks – Our Zoobooks subscription has been coming for almost a year now, and my animal loving girl is still excited each time every issue arrives. She tells us everything we could ever want to know about each featured animal, whether or not we want to hear it! Great for any animal loving elementary school kids!
For Clothes & Shoes:
Old Navy – I usually can’t resist some of the good deals at Old Navy for the holidays, especially the girls like their clothes. Jenny wants their skinny jeans in all the colors! And they’re on ebates!
Kohls – While I often find the Kohls physical store crowded and painful to shop, they have a lot of good deals available online too, and yes, they are on ebates! I placed an order this morning, so now I have a little more cash back pending!
Justice – Do all girls love Justice clothes? I think so. Jenny’s starting to grow out of the clothes at Justice, and the love for Justice, but Reagan still thinks they have all the coolest clothes. (Jenny’s unfortunately moving onto the very expensive Abercrombie & Fitch.) And they’re on ebates!
ThredUp – Want to pay a little less for some like-new clothes? I tried ThredUp for the first time recently – I filled a bag with some of the girls old clothes and dropped it off at UPS. They processed and gave me credit, and I used the credit to get some clothes for the growing boy. It was all pretty quick and easy! You don’t have to trade in clothes to purchase.
Payless Shoes – While the kids are little, it’s hard for me to justify spending big amounts on shoes that they grow out of so quickly. Especially more stylish shoes that they might not like in a few months. So I’ve ordered from Payless the last couple years and been very pleased with the quality, especially since I’m paying so much less!
A Few More of My Favorite Gifts:
Roku – We’ve been living with our Roku for about a year now, and I’m not sure how we survived before the Roku! Besides the fact that it has so many cool channels available (we use Netflix and Amazon On Demand the most), the remote is the most amazing thing ever because it works from almost anywhere. Seriously. Lee can be sitting in his office and hear a Dora episode end and hit the button to start the next one from there even though the Roku is in another room, behind the TV. We could not love it more. Get a Roku!
Cheryl’s Cookies – My mother-in-law used to order cookies from Cheryl and Co., and basically? They’re the best cookies ever. I try to resist ordering them every year. And then I do it anyway. But I’m getting ebates when I order, so it’s okay, right?
Paper Hat Personalized Book – How fun are these personalized books for a little one? I really love the Little Super book and think it would be so cute for Brinky, once I can trust him not to rip it up.
I hope this gives you some different ideas for your holiday shopping this year! Do you have any favorites I’m missing here?
Disclosure: Some (but not all!) of the links in this post are affiliate links. But these are all sites I love!Read More
I’ve had a busy few
weeks months at work, and I’m happy to report I’m officially on vacation this week! And I must say that I was about as ready for vacation as I could be. Even though I love my work.
I have big plans for vacation week, including:
- Taking the kids to the park to try to get decent pictures for Christmas cards. We went yesterday, though I wouldn’t necessarily say our task of decent pictures was accomplished. See below. (Don’t worry. I’ve taken a Facebook poll and determined I should in fact include some of these fun outtakes on my Christmas card. So I’m going to.)
- Stay up late and watch the American Music Awards with my girls. Currently in progress. I enjoy awards shows more now with my girls and Twitter than I ever used to.
- Have the couches cleaned so they don’t smell so much like gross dog.
- Catch up on some of my PTA treasurer duties.
- Make a dessert for Reagan’s Thanksgiving Feast at school on Tuesday. Maybe these. (Or maybe I’ll just make them for myself.)
- Spend lots of time on Pinterest deciding on said dessert.
- Attend the actual Thanksgiving Feast, and maybe volunteer to help since I can take my time.
- Go to the grocery store about six times since I always forget something.
- Make food for our own relaxing Thanksgiving at home.
- Watch the Macy’s Parade with the girls (and Brinky, I suppose, but I doubt he’ll pay attention).
And I guess I should start thinking about Christmas, too! I have to go back to work on Friday. Do you think I can get it all done? And relax a little, too?Read More