Saturday, March 5, 2011

Days of Play: Lava Lamps

Okay, your kids may not have any idea what in the heck a lava lamp is since they are apparently not cool anymore.  So maybe show them this picture:

Photo Source

Making a poor-man's lava lamp is easy and fun.  All you need is vegetable oil, water, alka seltzer tab, and a clear water bottle.

Now, watch this video and then make a lava lamp with your kiddos!  Don't be surprised if you oooh and ahhh along with your kids!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Date Night {IN}--NYSDM--Roadhouse

***Deep Dark Secret Alert***

Matt loves the movie Road House.  Loves it!
Photo Source

So for some Not Your Standard Dinner and a Movie date (NYSDM) whip up a little Road House movie fun.

For starters, have a dinner of cracked ribs and black-eyed peas (<--click that link for the recipe) and smashed potatoes.

Serve sarsaparilla and root beer.

After dinner, watch the movie.

When the movie is over find a great 80s love song and do a slow dance with your man.  

Re-enacting the barn scene is a judgment call :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Things I Love: Make It and Love It

I'm really into DIY projects.

Note, I did NOT say I was good at DIY projects, but that I liked them.

I recently happened upon the website Make It and Love It and you know what? I love it.

Love, love, lovey, lovey, love it!

Here are some tutorials I can't wait to make!

A Pleated Scarf

An Embellished T-Shirt

Hemp Decorative Balls

What to make first---I'm torn!

Check out this website. You'll love it.  You can thank me later.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What I Think About--Men and Women Being Friends {Guest Post}

This is Sarah from The Munchkin and Little Miss and I'm guest blogging today so Reagan can write a paper for her Advanced Instructional Strategies class.  I think she is actually taking a nap or shopping for her trip to Vegas but whatever.
Today I'm Pouring My Heart out over an old question that has been very hurtful and confusing: Can Men and Women be Friends?

Society tells us that if men and women are friends it will ultimately end up in a sexual relationship. I don't believe this is true. I believe that men and women can be friends. I believe that there has to be honesty not only between the two friends but also honesty with the spouses of the friends. I am going to tell you my story and in turn you can tell me what you think.

I have been BEST friends with a guy for 15 years. "Sam" and I met at the bus stop when I was 12. He is 2 years older than me so we only had one year of Jr. High together before he went off to high school. We still remained friends and when I started high school he drove me to and from school until I got my license. He became a rock for me.  At one point during the school year I was was having a really hard day and I couldn't stop crying. My mom called him and asked him to come over. He just sat there with me while I cried on his shoulder. 
When "Sam" graduated, he went into the military and we drifted apart but still remained close. From then on we had one of those friendships where we could always pick up where we left off the last time we spoke. We could always count on each other to be there when it mattered most. 
He was the first person I called when I decided to divorce my first husband. I was the one friend that he warned his girlfriends about. We watched out for each other when it came to who we dated. He wanted my approval and I his. 
After my husband and I got married and I became pregnant with our first daughter, I met Sam's new girlfriend and I honestly liked her from the beginning. This was rare as there were only a few of his girlfriends that I liked. But this one was different. I could see how happy they were together and that's all I needed to be happy for him. I think the other thing too was that she never seemed to have an issue with Sam and I being friends.  Our friendship continued like normal. Talk every once in a while. Get together for dinner.  "Jill" asked me to be in their wedding after "Sam" proposed.

After the wedding Sam and I started hanging out more. You see, Jill was sick and after the wedding spent most of her time in bed or at work. Sam was becoming angry and needed someone to talk to. Since I have been the sick wife, or rather am the sick wife, I knew where Jill was coming from. 
As an outsider I was able to get Sam to see what life is like for Jill. I was able to help him get to a place where he wasn't angry with his wife and could go home and talk to her. 
During all of this my husband was well aware of the time I was spending with Sam. My husband understands how much Sam means to me as a friend. I was open and honest with him from the beginning and I thought Sam was being the same way with Jill. 
Little did I know. 
I later found out that Jill was not happy about us hanging out or that Sam talked to me about what was bothering him. So we decided to sit down and figure this all out like adults. I apologized to her because I thought she knew and was okay with us hanging out. 
After we had our talk we all agreed on a certain amount of time Sam and I could hang out. We also agreed that I wasn't the issue. The issue were her insecurities in her marriage. We ate dinner and the next day they watched our girls while we went to Denver. I thought everything would go back to normal. 

The following weekend Sam and I were supposed to hang out. It was the last time. Jill decided that she still didn't like us hanging out. By this time I just wanted her to make up her mind. She went from giving me a key to their house to not trusting me around her husband despite knowing that Sam and I have never even kissed!

The final straw was when she decided that she wasn't comfortable being around me in any setting. I told Sam I couldn't take it anymore.  He would always be my best friend but I needed to take a huge step back from all of his wife's drama.

I felt like I was being portrayed as a home wrecker, which I'm not. He needed to work on his marriage.

That was November 17, 2010 and we have not hung out since. There have been two instances when we have spoken since then and other than those two times there has been no communication but that's it!

There are days that I miss my friend, but this has given me new insight to the whole men and women being friends. 
What I think is that men and women can be friends.  However, marriage changes the dynamics of that friendship. I think that it's okay to hang out just the two of you as long as your being honest with yourself, your friend, and your spouse. 
But then I think of this experience and I don't know; maybe I am just deluded. Maybe all of this is a shining example that men and women can't be friends. 
Can men+women=friends?

What do you think?

And the E-Book Giveaway Winner is ...

Shelly C.

YAY Shelly!

Please send my your e-mail and you'll get a link to the e-book!

Congrats and thanks every one for entering!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Do Dogs Go to Heaven?

M.E. has been asking some tough faith questions lately.  "Who made God?"  "How is God God and Jesus?" "Are there dinosaurs in heaven?" and "When Bailey (her uncle's pug) died, did she go to heaven?"

I sort of want to throw my hands up in the air and go "Geez kid, I don't know!"  How do you answer these tough questions? (The egg and tree example did not help explain the trinity).

In the meantime, my brother-in-law sent me these photos. At least I'm not the only one struggling!

FYI, these churches are across the street from one another.










Hope you enjoyed this spiritual nonsense.

Now really--how do you answer the "tough" questions?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Things that Make You Go Mmmmm!

What do lemons, garlic, milk, cinnamon, and chicken have in common?  Nothing, except for making the best darn chicken EVER!

I know I generally don't do food posts because though I love to cook, I'm better at following directions than making stuff up.  But, I just HAD to share this recipe.

The History:
When Sarah and I forced our husbands did our Iron Man double date, I was looking for recipes that combined chicken and cinnamon.

I found this Jamie Oliver recipe for Chicken in Milk. (<---Click that link to get the recipe. I'm not into stealing!)

Chicken baked in milk with lemons.

If you just got the heebie jeebies, I don't blame you.  It sounds weird.  But I kind of like weird and couldn't wait to try it.

The Experience:

So, I browned butter, which the recipe doesn't call for but I like browned butter and it was my chicken so I did what I wanted.  Brown the butter, season the chicken VERY liberally with kosher salt and pepper and toss it in a pot.  Brown the chicken all over until it is a delightful golden color.

When the chicken is golden, remove it to a plate and toss out the rest of the butter.  Leave the caramelized goo (yes, that is the scientific name) at the bottom of the pot.  Return the chicken to the pot and add the remaining ingredients.

Now, here are some changes I made to the ingredients: I used a 5.5 lb. chicken, the zest of three lemons and the juice of one (next time I'll use the juice of 2!), 2 T. dried sage, a full cinnamon stick and I used 8 cloves of garlic (unminced).

Put a lid on the chicken and pop into an oven pre-heated to 375'.

The original recipe did not call for the chicken to be covered but I thought it would make it more tender.  So, I baked with lid on for 1 hour and with the lid off for 45 minutes (I adjusted the time for the chicken size).

The smell of this chicken baking was totally groan worthy.  I could hardly stop myself from climbing into the oven just to soak in the smell.  Mmmmm....

The Result:

I'm not alone in saying this was the best chicken I've ever made/eaten!

The meat practically fell off the chicken and the gravy was not white but more closely resembeled a thinner chicken gravy.

But the taste, oh the taste!

Let me be honest.  I literally ladeled a few spoonfuls of the gravy into my mouth.  And when gravy is good enough to drink plain, it is G.O.O.D.!

My kids ate it.  My husband devoured it.  My dad and I had seconds (or maybe thirds), and my mom cleaned her plate!  It was DIVINE!

The Pros:
The best thing about this chicken was how amazingly easy it was to make.  If you can zest a lemon you've got it made because that's the hardest part.  Brown and bake.  Done.

I served this with mashed potatoes.  I do wish I would have had bread to spread the soft garlic cloves onto but I didn't so I just ate them with bits of chicken.  That was good, bread is better.  Serve with bread, potatoes, and a green veggie!

Do I have you convinced or are you still totally grossed out at the thought of milk and chicken?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

CSN Stores

CSN Stores is a conglomeration of 200 online stores where you can find anything from Herman Miller chairs and funky lighting to kitchen gadgets and diaper bags.  

I go crazy looking at everything on their website and my "wish list" is several pages long!  Have you ever browsed or purchased anything from CSN stores?  CSN has graciously offered me $40 to review a product from their website.  I'm so excited! 

Be on the look out for my review!