Friday, July 31, 2009

prince charming???

This little frog planter is one of my summer favorites....I got one for myself and my mom several years ago, and every year I look forward to seeing his little smirk everyday. These pink dahilias are doing terrific this season. How many frogs did you have to kiss before meeting your prince charming??? :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Roasted-Red Pepper Soup

I am on a basil roll over here.......anything with basil, I'm doin' it! That little basil plant in the pot on my deck just keeps growing!Check out my other recipes with basil here and here.... This is my latest creation with basil...Red-Pepper soup....Just wonderful!!!!.....I clipped it out of Better Homes and Gardens last month....and pretty soon when the tomatoes are really here you can use fresh instead of canned.
If you'd like to try it, gather up your ingredients and let's get started....

3 small chopped garlic cloves
1 small chopped onion
olive oil
1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 12oz. jar drained roasted red peppers
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup packed fresh basil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
salt and pepper
sour cream for garnish

Saute 3 chopped garlic cloves and 1 small chopped onion with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat for 6 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, roasted red peppers and chicken broth. Cook for 15 minutes. In a food processor blend basil, vinegar and sugar....add to soup mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. When serving put a dollop of sour cream with fresh chopped basil on top. Serves 6.

This soup is fresh and wonderful for summer.....enjoy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What is it?? Wednesday

I can't believe I've never made trail mix before!!!!! That's what I've put in my lovely canister this week.....twice actually.... it was gone within 24 hours and I had to make another batch to take this picture!!!!! I always had this notion that trail mix was a "healthy" snack....well, it's's pretty much just candy... But that's okay...we are loving the mix of sweet and salt over here.....and the little silver scoop makes anything seem more special :) If you'd like to try the mix I made here's the ingredients:

peanut butter chips
cocktail peanuts
Honey Chex
yogurt covered raisins
yogurt covered pretzels

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

puppy love

I couldn't resist sharing this cutie patootie sweater I knit for a dear friend who had her fourth baby a few weeks ago.......

I haven't knit anything "baby" in so long......and I miss it!! :( The yarns and patterns are always soooo seems like just yesterday that I knit this same little sweater for Cubby. I found these super cute puppy buttons and couldn't resist using them.

Cubby has loved puppies since was a baby and has dozens of stuffed ones....he picked this one out for the baby gift. Best wishes!!!! Health and Happiness!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

cupcake update

I'm here to share a few of my recent treats with you....It seems I've been on a salad kick lately (with a few more up my sleeve that I still need to share :)...but I still have the treats going on over this SUPER.DUPER.ADORABLE cupcake timer my sister in law surprised me with a few weeks ago. Aparently the word is officially out.....that I am a cupcake LOVER!!!! :)... She was helping her mother in law pack up her things to move a few weeks ago and her MIL gave her this saying my SIL had given it to her years ago and she wanted to give it back to her.......well, my SIL doesn't remember that....but took it to give to ME!!! Yeah for me!!!!!! I looooooovvve it!!!!! Over the summer my kitchen has turned quite "cupcakey" when I wasn't even planning on it.....and this is my latest treat....and the pink mixer my sister gave me for my birthday is fitting in so nicely!!! see her!

My mom sent me this cute little cupcake book recently.....I haven't tried any recipes out of it...but I like to just set it out and look at it!!!!

Look at this book I picked up at Joanne's last week....TONS of great inspiration at only $5!!!! But a little tricky....I didn't realize it was printed in England and I had to convert a lot of the measurements...

And of course here is my new "Bible".......Martha's newest cookbook.....she is all OVER the cupcake thing!!! I HAVE to stop reading it in bed at midnight!!! I'm having dreams I'm in a room spinning with cupcakes and I can only choose one!!!!!! Yikes....I guess that would be considered a nightmare!!!!!

Here is a page from my new $5 dollar cupcake book....I'd like to try these tiny chocolate cupcakes with ganache frosting....but I'm not so sure about the ganache hard can it be though??? If it doesn't work I'll just eat the ganache with a spoon!!! :)

.....and these ones reminded me of my new timer!!!!

I tried these for a dinner I went to yesterday with my husbands family......

....but I had issues.....the recipe was for 12 cupcakes so I doubled it....well it still wasn't enough, so I had to make another batch...they didn't rise at all....there was no baking powder or soda in the recipe, maybe that had something to do with it??? ....then on half of them the papers didn't stick to the cupcake?????....They tasted Yummy.Yum.Yum.....but I don't think I'll make them again.....toooooo many others to try in all of my new books!!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mike and Ike's

Let's just start off my saying....the treatgirl looooovvves chewy candy....sour patch kids, gummy bears, licorice, Hot Tamale's and Mike and Ike's!!! Mike and Ike's being among her faaaaavorite!! The Original, Tropical Typhoon and Grape are terrific......but I am truly in *HEAVEN* when I can find the Lemonade Blend!!!!!!! ....and when I do I buy them ALL!!! They are hard to come by.....usally I can only find them at the Dollar Tree.....why is that???! Why are they making it soooo hard for the treatgirl to satisfy her addiction??????? Come on Mike and Ike....let's get with the program and stock them everywhere!!! Have you tried these??? What is your favorite candy.......let the treatgirl know.......

Thursday, July 23, 2009

greek pasta salad

I certainly didn't intend for this to be a weekly "thing"....but I have another salad this week that I just HAD to share with you.......Greek pasta salad. I spent the day at my friends house out in Harrisburg last week....another friend from college and all of our kiddos spent the day swimming in her pool. Just look at the incrediable view from her backyard, pool, deck and every window in the back of her house!!!!! I couldn't stop saying how I would never tire of looking at that every day......anyway.....back to the terrific pasta salad she served us for lunch with fruit and her special "mojitos"!! Totally worth the 3 1/2 hour drive!!!!!

I have to say that I modified the recipe a smidge....but I'll let you know when we get there ...... :)

Here's the ingredient list:
16 oz. bow tie pasta
10 oz. fresh spinach (I use baby organic if possible)
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Italian dressing....she used Ken's Lite Northern Italian with Basil & Romano...I bought that, but when I was putting it together I thought, "this is GREEK, so I used my favorite Athenos greek's up to you...the Ken's was great too.
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. dried again, I switched it up a bit and used a bunch of fresh basil that I had from my "garden"....that is, the pot of it I have growing on my deck!!
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesean cheese.....I put a bunch more of this as well :)
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 or 4 chicken breasts......I sauteed these in one inch pieces in olive oil
black olives, chopped

Rinse and coarsely chop the spinach and fresh basil. Boil the pasta to desired doneness, drain and cool immediately by rinsing in cold water. In a large bowl, mix together the dressing, olive oil, Parmesean, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the spinach, basil, olives, pasta and feta cheese. Mix gently but thoroughly.

What a wonderful dish to bring to a picnic or to enjoy at your own backyard bar-b-q....with plenty left over to have for a few lunches!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What is it?? Wednesday

Thomas made it into the canister this week...Cubby had them all over his room the other day and I just had to fill my canister with them...He hardly plays with them any more....and it makes me sad to think this stage is almost gone...

For almost the whole year he was three and most of his fourth year he was ADDICTED to Thomas.....and all of his friends. We all knew them..... We had Thomas jammies, slippers, winter snowboots, rolling suitcase, memory game, shampoo, bubblebath, tootbrush, underwear, t-shirts, bathings suits, beach towels and anything else "Thomas" you can think of!!!! For his fourth birthday he had a Thomas birthday party too.......complete with engineer hats and Thomas party games!! How fast it all goes by......I can really get sad sometimes when I let myself think about it. But I will certainly keep Thomas and all of his friends....and the miles of track that we have, for when my grandbabies come to play someday.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

my almost famous baked beans

Okay......if I had a dollar for everytime I've given this recipe out I'd be laying on a beach in the Caribbean right now!!! I made them over the weekend and just had to get the recipe out to my bloggy friends so you can all love them at your picnics this summer too!!!

1 lb. cooked ground beef
2 cans pork and beans
1 can dark kidney beans
1 can chili beans.....I don't care for kidney beans, so I put in 2 cans of chili beans.
2 Tbsp. dark molasses
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. mustard
1 cup ketchup
1 package Lipton onion soup mix
2 tsp. vinegar

Put everything in a big dish and mix it together. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes.....and just to let you know they freeze great!!!

I served them with these terrific ribs that my family now loooooovves!!!!! I got the recipe from Jennifer here to get the recipe for these......and you'll have the makings of a fabulous bar-b-q!!!!! So get out there and enjoy the summer......we still have lots left, even though it feels like it's flying by!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

fresh basil pesto

Last week while relaxing on the beach marzipanmom commented she needed to start making pesto because her garden was apparently producing tons of basil.....I have just one plant growning on my deck, but I certainly had enough to make a batch too. So the treatgirl googled "how to make fresh pesto" and up popped the perfect little recipe!! Look how great it turned out....I happened to have all the ingredients....and it took about five minutes!! If you have a bunch of basil and would like to try it.....follow along....and at the end you'll see what I made for dinner last night :) is the ingredient list:
2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesean or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts...which I did! ....and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

2. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again unil blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Makes 1 cup.

For dinner last night I made this wonderful pasta dish....I didn't have a recipe....I kinda just threw it's loosely based on one of my favorite things at a restarant in my town....Penne is what I did:

Boiled water and cooked 1lb. of penne.....while that was going on, I sauted 4 chicken breasts in olive oil....sliced into 1 inch pieces....then I added the pesto, sundried tomatoes and sliced olives. When the pasta was done, I drained it and returned it to the pot.....then mixed in everything from the skillet. Delicious!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

foot jewelry????

I'm not sure what this beaded little thingy would be called....but my sister brought it from Dubai for me. I wore it all week at the Outer Banks......and you guessed it!!! Of course I was thinking, "I could make this!!!" So I did......for Ms. Joy's birthday on Monday.

All you need is clear stretchy cord, crimp beads and an assortment of beads. But make sure you use the thinner stretchy cord and that the crimp bead is big enough to fit it over the cord when it is doubled.....

You need to cut a piece of cord about 11" long...string about 2" worth of seed beads on first to create the loop to put around your toe. Next choose some flat beads to sit on the top of your foot. Feed both ends of the stretchy cord through all of these beads. Leave about an inch of the cord and then work with the longer end spacing out the beads in a pattern. When you are finished slide both ends of the stretchy cord through a crimp bead right above the last flat bead and crimp it in place.

It's kind of hard to put the directions into words......I'm thinking it doesn't make much sense when you're reading it....but play with it and it will be easy to figure out :) Then you'll have some cute foot jewelry too!! But get busy quick....I can't believe how fast summer is passing!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What is it?? Wednesday

Look!!! My cansister is a pretty candle centerpiece this week!!! To continue with the beach theme.....I toted home some sand from our Outer Banks trip, added some shells, a few bits of glass and votive candles. And now it's the perfect centerpiece for a summer evening. I do LOVE my jar!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Taco Salad

Yes!! Another salad!! This is the salad I took to the Fiesta party at the beach yesterday. I googled "cold taco salad for a picnic" and this one came up.....I altered it a was soooo good!!! I have to warn you though...I don't really have exact as Rachel Ray says,"Eyeball it" :) Here's what you need:

One head of iceberg lettuce, chopped
a few sprigs of cilantro, chopped
a cup of mexican shredded cheese
1 lb of taco meat
chopped black olives
about 3/4 cup black beans, drained
about 3/4 cup yellow corn
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
a few handfuls of Fritos

about 1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup taco sauce

I layered the lettuce, then the taco meat, a layer of dressing....then I topped it with the rest of the ingredients. Toss it all together right before serving.

This one is a keeper!!!!!! I will certainly be showing up with it several more times this summer!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Soul Sisters @ the beach
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We Soul Sisters have been excited to do something special for Ms. Joy's birthday....she was away on vacation with her family for her "real" we had to be patient until we could all celebrate with her. Well, today was the day!!!! We all caravaned (is that a word???!!) up the beach about an hour and a half from here to spend the day having a picnic and a margarita!! There were some awesome salads, fruit and of course.......cupcakes!!!!!! I made a cold taco salad for the first time and I was pleased with it.......I'll post it sometime was quite windy, but it didn't stop us from having a terrific day....the kids played and we relaxed and enjoyed the afternoon......before too long the day was coming to a close. We stopped at a playground and Ms. Joy and Jennifer Juniper "planted" a letterbox.....something I am excited to try with my family! If you haven't heard of it check it out at We also made a stop at Sara's hotdog stand for dinner on the way home. What a great day!!!! Thanks so much girls........

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Meet Denise!!!!!!

My dear friend from twitterville and blogland has arrived!!!! She set up a blog a little while ago and I've been stopping by every now and then to see if she was up and running......well, today is her big debut!!!!!! Check out her adorable new blog Life on Stepping Stone Lane. She considers herself technically challenged....but she has set up the cutest little blog......with an adorable cupcake right in the sidebar!!! Let's all welcome her!!!! Great Job Denise!!!!! You Rock!! Have fun!!! :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

They're off.....

Cindy Lou and T. are off to visit Auntie M. in Vail, Colorado!!! I can't believe it!!! I have an identical picture of the two of them about 10 years ago rolling through the airport with their Barbie and Scooby Doo suitcases...I had juice boxes and crayons in they have ipod's, cell phones and laptops!!! Oh my gosh!! How fast the time goes by!!!!! Now they are practically all grown up!!!... As I'm posting this, they have just pulled up the gate in Denver. Well, a few weeks ago we were all visiting my Dad for Father's Day and she proposed that they come out to visit her for a week...which meant flying unaccompianed as well. And having been a flight attendent for 17 years I have tons of horror stories.......anyway....she is not married and has no children....and no comprehension of what a mother feels like letting two of her kids fly across the country by themselves for the first time!!! Well....they have been sooooooo excited and I know they will have a blast. She has tons of fun stuff planned....hiking, fly fishing, mountain biking, white water rafting and horseback riding. It will so much fun for me to spend the week with just Cubby, too. We have lots of fun things to do this week as well. I can't wait for my updates/Skypes!!! Wish me luck!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Strawberry Salad

Thanks Denise!!!!!!!! I just had to do a post about this AWESOME salad!! I was hosting a birthday luncheon for my mother in laws 70th birthday a few weeks ago and Denise, my blogger/tweeting friend from Oklahoma had sent out a tweet about this great salad....well, I retweeted that I had to have the recipe and now I'm in heaven!!!! So if you need just the perfect summer salad, gather your ingredients and lets get started!!

1 cup olive oil
1/2 pint strawberries
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. tarrogon....I have no idea where mine went so I substituted oregano :)
1/4 cup can adjust this according to your taste

purple onion
grilled chicken.......this would be terrific on top!! But I didn't have any :(

The salad was a huge hit at the birthday luncheon and I've been wanting it again ever yesterday I treated Cindy Lou and I to our own private lunch on the deck....complete with all of our really cute strawberry stuff. It was even better than I remembered!!! Thank you sooooo much Denise!!! It will be a favorite forever!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

J.Crew knock off tshirts!!

Most of the soul sisters got together today to make these super cute tshirts from J.Crew. Ms. Joy got us inspired, invited us over (as well as all 13 of our kids!!) and sent us our supply list.....We haven't all gotten together since the Smackdown in May and I was really missing the sisters!!

She offered us a delicious fruit tray, lemonade and......

...the biggest cupcakes EVER!

The kids played in the yard.....

Painted some cute rocks...

....and kept very busy creating masterpieces.

While we got busy making our tshirts. If you'd like to make your own shirt, the project couldn't be easier....unless of course you're Ms. Juniper. Hers just wasn't going the way she wanted it to....but she quickly got on track :)

You will need two to wear and the other one to cut your flowers out of. As well as matching thread.

I put 6 flowers on mine......but it is truly up to you how full you want yours. I then cut three circles... a large, medium and small. Stack them up and just tack Then add as many as you want.

A bit of girl chit chat and getting caught up as we snipped and sewed....

And VOILA!!!!!! The CUTEST.CUTEST tshirt!!!!!! I think I want one in every color!!

Ms. Juniper is super happy and sunny in this adorable shirt of hers....her flowers show up so great.

We all missed our other sister..The Girl in the Sticks.....but here we are in our terrific little tshirts from Walmart.......Thanks again Ms. Joy! It was sooo fun!!!

Oh. and here is a cute little frog in the wonderful little backyard oasis at Ms. Joys house....I couldn't resist sharing him with you :)


21 friends is who Cubby sleeps with every night....I couldn't resist snapping this picture of him last night....yep, I turned the lights on too! He can sleep through anything....even vacuuming his room!!! He loves them all. They all have names and he plays with them almost every day. I hesitate every time he wants a new "friend"....I say, "There just isn't going to be any more room on your bed!!" But he truly does love them all.....and there always does seem to be enough room, for now.

Here we are this morning...all tidied up. And for any of my lovely bloggers who are interested I'll give a quick run down on his friends.....

There are seven friends from Build a Bear Workshop:


.....complete with a wardrobe all their own!!

Then of course there is his beloved PUP!!!!!!! She has been with him from the very beginning....his very first friend. And her mommy Logan, and her Daddy Grover. And notice pups portrait he painted last summer. He's so proud of it!

Acorn was won at Cedar Point last summer. The lady couldn't guess Daddy's weight and she was immediately a part of the family. He often wonders what would have happened to her if the lady had guessed right.

Bubbles is the bright green octopus that T. won for him in Disney World...she's from China and filled with sawdust. And by my calculations cost about $35 to win!!

There is Mickey and the gang too. One of Cubby's favorite shows is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse....and he already knows he's having a Mickey Mouse birthday party in October!!! When we visited Magic Kingdom last November he got Mickey and Minnie....and then this past May he had to get everyone else. He is a fanatic about having the COMPLETE collection!! Luckily, I found that they had all of these cuties at the Walmart around the corner from our hotel for half the price of what they are in the parks.

And finally SpongeBob is a friend too!! Apparently he is the one teaching him all of his phrases such as, "Holy Shrimp!!" and "Tarter Sauce!"

So unless he gets bunk beds we may be getting maxed out on getting any new friends around here!!!!