Friday, September 30, 2011

Top Chef Just Desserts


One of my favorite no calorie sweet treats has been the show Top Chef Just Desserts.  If you don't watch it or haven't caught it, it comes on Wednesday evenings on Bravo.  It comes on at 10 p.m. at my house.  This show is one of my guilty pleasures.  With all the stress I've been under recently due to all these medical tests I'm going through, I love looking forward to Wednesday nights when this show comes on.

The show has contestants that go through various challenges every week that are dessert based.  They are just on their creativity and of course the taste of their dish.  One of my favorite episodes happened two weeks ago where they had the original cast from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory come and they chefs prepared a Wonka land room.  The things they did were incredible.  I would love to have been able to go through that room.  Just walking through and taking in the wonder of it all must have been incredible. 

Bravo runs lots of reruns of their shows, so if you haven't been watching and want to catch up, check your local listing.  There are still enough folks left that if you picked up watching now you would still enjoy it.

This is the second season of Top Chef Just Desserts and I think it is better than the first.  I think the show has found its groove. The folks who competed in the first season were great, but I just think the show seems more focused and what I expect of Top Chef. 

Are you watching Top Chef Just Desserts and if so, who do you want to win? 

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Roasted Sweet Peppers

Recently my Bunco group started back up. We take a break during the summer.  This year we decided to change things up and do it pot luck.  During that time, I was doing the gluten free diet because I was waiting to get confirmation on whether I had gluten sensitivity.  I'm happy to say I don't have it.  But the recipe I made is great whether you are doing gluten free or not.

Right now in the grocery section you can find small plastic containers of sweet peppers.  I personally don't like spicy peppers, so if you are in that category don't worry these are sweet and not hot/spicy. As you can see from my picture below they come in beautiful red, orange, and yellow colors.  I bought two packs of these peppers and hollowed out the seeds.  Then I had a log of goat cheese and stuffed the peppers with the goat cheese.  I brushed each pepper with olive oil along with the baking sheet and then put them in a 350 oven. I turned them when they started to get dark (I'd guess about 20 minutes into roasting). 

These are such a great appetizer and easy to make.  They were a huge hit.  I love all the colors and how it brightens up a table and your plate.  Have you ever made these peppers, or do you have a great appetizer recipe you'd like to share? I'd love to hear.

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Monday, September 26, 2011

DaySpring Back to School Supplies

A few weeks ago, I was sent a wonderful set of school supplies to review.  DaySpring in recent years has come up with this line that includes: three ring binders, composition notebooks, folders, pencil pouches, etc. with edgy, contemporary graphics, phrases and Bible verses geared towards middle schoolers.  Even though I don't have kids in middle school yet, I wanted to do this review because I was really intrigued and I do have friends who have kids in middle school.

When I opened up the box, I was really blown away by these products.  I thought the graphics and the message on the items would be something middle school and high school kids would like.  Even though I don't fall into those categories, I love the "Whatever" three ring binder.  It is the verse from Philippians 4:8.  Such a great, edgy way to put it out there.

I took pictures of these great products because I wanted you to see them for yourself. 

So here are pictures of all the great supplies they sent. There is a pencil case, three ring binders, a spiral notebook and a smaller notebook.  The black three ring binder reads, "This message is illegal in 53 countries."  The bottom picture shows a wonderful gift bag.  The verse on the bottom says, "God has been very good to me." (Genesis 3:11)  I love that bag because I think it is great for any occasion. Isn't the little spinner cute?  This would be great as a birthday gift bag, or just a pick me up.  And I love it that the bag comes with tissue paper.  I hate having to hunt for a bag and tissue paper separately.

I believe these items can be purchased at your local Christian bookstore.  I know school has already started, but I think these items would make great Christmas presents.  The notebooks could make great journals and the pencil case would make a great stocking stuffer.  Because you know stockings can be hard to stuff sometimes.  And if you had a girl who didn't want to use it as a pencil case, I think you could use it as a small make up bag instead. 

So this is one of the good things I've been checking out lately.  And with all of the crummy medical tests I've had recently, these really brought a smile to my face. I know you'll love them too.

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Monday, September 19, 2011

What a week

This is a week that is going to be busy and stressful.  We are on our preschool adventure.  So momma is getting used to both little birds flying the nest for a little bit.

Tomorrow unfortunately have to go in and get a colonoscopy and endoscopy procedure done.  I've had some issues and we are sure what is going on.  Also, I am hoping that they will be able to tell me if I really do have gluten sensitivity because my blood work was inconclusive.  So, things have been crazy and stressed around here to say the least.

I can't wait to get back to some regular blogging. I've been working on a knitting project the very few precious moments I get.  I'm also thinking ahead to Halloween and have already bought a few cute decorations that I"ll share later in the week.

I hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Play-Doh Play Dates Website

One of the things that I love right now is that my kids have really gotten into playing with Play-Doh.  That makes me happy for a number of reasons.  The first is that I have fond childhood memories of playing with Play-Doh.  I used to love (and still do) the feel and the smell of it and how you can create so many different things with it.  The possibilities are endless.  The other reason I love it that my kids are into playing with Play-Doh is that my boys are VERY busy and don't stop a lot.  So, any chance where they will sit still and play and give me a few minutes to get something done in the kitchen is huge in my book.

I was approached by the folks at SocialMoms to review the Play-Doh Play Dates
website.  I had never heard of this website before, so I was intrigued to go and check it out.  And I have to say I haven't been disappointed.  The website has ideas for parents as well as teachers.  It provides different play date ideas with different themes.  An example of this is that the theme for this month is pizza play date, but of course they have a number of different themes.  Under each theme they have "Fresh Ideas" which are nifty links for you to click on and they show you easy step by step direction of how to create Play-Doh creations that go with that theme.  The steps can easily be followed by an adult or child. The pictures in the instructions are really helpful and cool to look at.  One of the pizza theme creations they show you how to make is a Play-Doh pizza.  Another one that was really neat showed you how to make a calzone.  Who would ever have thought you could make a calzone out of Play-Doh?

Also to support the different themes they have "Crafts".  The crafts that go with the pizza theme are so cute.  They have about four different ones you can click on. One of them, for example, is a pizza box.  When you click on it you can then print off the page and cut out and then fold the paper into the shape of a pizza box.  This is a craft I think older kids would like to do.  So once you make your Play-Doh pizza, you'll have a paper pizza box to put it in.  Wouldn't this make a great party or play date favor?

The final link under the theme is the "Snacks" theme.  They give the idea of making english muffin pizzas which is a great idea since working with Play-Doh will work up an appetite.  Also, you can tell the kids that instead of trying to eat the Play-Doh, they can eat their real mini pizza. LOL 

 The website also has a great games section.  I really liked this because I've wanted to let my kids start playing some simple games on the computer to get them used to working a mouse, but I've found some of the websites difficult.  The matching game on this website is a great game for young children to practice not only the obvious matching skills, but learning to use a mouse as well. 

As I mentioned before, there is a section for teachers to utilize lesson plans that incorporate using Play-Doh.  Most of the plans I saw went from PreK-3rd grade.  I know if my kids had a teacher that utilized Play-Doh as part of a learning activity, I would love it.  Working on fine motor skills, as well as utilizing multiple senses such as touch, sight, and smell would be a great way to enhance their learning experience.  So if you know a teacher, be sure to share this website with them.  I think they'll find the information very useful. 

Here are some pictures of my boys playing with Play-Doh and making a Play-Doh pizza.  They both love pizza and were thrilled with getting to make a pretend pizza.

Here is our finished pizza.  The boys had so much fun making their pretend pizza.

I love this Play-Doh Play Dates website.  I think these ideas are not only great ideas for play dates, but they would work really well for a birthday party idea as well.  The Play-Doh would make a great favor for the kids. 

So that is what is happening in my world.  Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods.
Disclosure: This post is part of a SocialMoms product evaluation, for which I’ve been selected. I’ve been compensated for my time with 8,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. The opinions expressed in this post are mine and don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of SocialMoms or Play-Doh.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Manic Monday

So yesterday was single handedly the worst Monday I've ever had.  Preschool drop off was a nightmare and then I had someone who was rude to me in Target.  I'm stressed about my kids going to preschool today, so I've been up since 3 a.m.  This is one of those times I'm slammed this morning and I've been stressed so I'm giving myself the day off.  I'll be back to blogging tomorrow.

Hope you are having a good day in your neck of the woods.

Monday, September 12, 2011

1st day of preschool

Today is the first day of preschool for my oldest.  The youngest will join him tomorrow.  So it is a big day here.  I also have to go to the specialist to find out what is going on with me.  So, I'm going to share my cool DaySpring review with you tomorrow. I've also got some other great things I'll be sharing this week.

Fall is officially here because we are hitting the ground running today. 

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Friday, September 9, 2011

My crazy week

Oh blogging how I've missed you.  I feel like since Hurricane Irene came through and it has just thrown everything into a tail spin. 

My biggest "news" I had this week is that I got some test results back from my doctor. I've been having issues for months and they did some blood work. I found out I have gluten sensitivity, so I've got to find out what this all entails.  Some folks on Twitter have been so kind as to point me in the direction of bloggers who blog on gluten issues.

I've so enjoyed working with the great folks at MyBlogSpark.  And a year ago yesterday, I blogged about Chex mix cereals and how they are gluten free.  I went back and read the post and had said I was so glad no one in my family had gluten issues.  Then a year later, I find out I now have gluten sensitivity.  Crazy, huh?  Here is a link to the Chex Gluten free cereals post if you are interested.

Monday I'm going to a specialist and will find out some more information. I have a family history of Crohn's Disease, so I'm praying I don't have it.  So as you can imagine, things have been crazy. Plus, the kids start preschool next week so we will be getting used to a new schedule.

I've got a great blog post coming Monday on some great Christian school supplies by Dayspring.  So be sure to come back and check them out.

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How we survived Hurricane Irene

After what I've been through with Hurricane Irene, I'm now calling myself "The Pioneer Woman". LOL  We lost power Saturday afternoon and then it came back on mid day Tuesday.  I am so glad I did some things ahead of time.  And I did learn some lessons on ways I can prepare if another one hits.

The first thing I'm glad I did was heed the warnings and fill my car up with gas.  Because the day after the hurricane it was insane.  Here are shots of one of the gas stations and the lines that spilled into the road. I heard people were getting into fist fights over ice.  Can you imagine?

Dh on the other hand did not fill his car up with gas.  He went to a gas station and waited in a line to have them run out right before him.  That prompted him to drive to an area about 20-25 minutes away from us and we found out they hadn't been hit as hard.   We were able to go to that area and eat at Arby's Sunday evening. 

Sunday evening Sawyer started running a fever, so Monday morning we went to the pediatrician. I've never felt so sorry for a kid to have a fever with no ac.  They gave us an antibiotic and knock on wood he is getting better.

During the storm we had a Coleman Lantern which I highly recommend.  That gave out the best light.  We had candles which I don't like to use as much with the little ones. I do have a candle sconce on the wall, so that helped that it was up high and out of their reach.

I wanted to share with you how I got creative for rigging up light sources for us.  You don't realize how dark it can get until you don't have light and even don't see light from your neighbor's houses. 

To back track, at the beginning of the summer Dollar Tree had some really cute Chinese Lanterns.  I bought them to take on vacation because I bought a bunch of flamingo themed things to decorate our beach house.  I remembered I had the lanterns so I pulled them out and hung them on the ceiling fan so they would provide some light and be out of reach of the kids.  The kids loved it and Sawyer was so cute and asked if we were having a birthday party since I was decorating and had lit candles. He was excited because he thought we would have cake.  LOL  I have decided I will definitely get more of these battery powered Chinese Lanterns to have.  I had four originally hanging from the fans, but I had to put one in Sawyer's room so he would have a night light.  So thanks Dollar Tree for saving us in that regard. I don't know what I would have done if we didn't have that lantern for him in his room.  As an FYI, I was at Dollar Tree last Thursday before the storm and they have super cute Halloween Lanterns. I bought two pumpkin lanterns and they had white and purple too. 

We did have some storm damage and had one of our big trees split in the back.  I tried to take some pictures to give you a perspective of how big this tree is.  We watched it split and were so blessed it went over our fence into our neighbors yard and didn't damage their property or ours. We had some neighbors who didn't fare as well and they had a tree go through the middle of their house .  They are ok, but they've had to move in with family and will probably be out of their house for months.

Here are pictures of the damage we sustained.  So glad it missed my fence and my kids new play set.

 Here are some other pictures of homes around me that didn't fair as well.  And some of these folks still don't have power. We can hear their generators still going in the distance.  As you can see, tree damage was severe and that is what has hampered the power company from getting power restored quickly.

I'm thankful to all the folks who are working on getting power restored as quickly as they can and are missing time with their families.  And some of their families still don't have power.  But the numbers are dropping quickly, so that is good. 

I am proud to say my family faired this storm fairly well and we were one of the folks who didn't have a generator.  But that came at a price and I lost all my food in the fridge and in the freezer in my kitchen.  But when I look at all our blessings that we are safe and have power again, that puts things in perspective.  Of course food can be replaced easily, your family can't be replaced.

So this is the what has been happening in my world.  How have you been? Did Irene mess anything up for you? Hope you all have stayed safe!