Thursday, March 22, 2012

S.S. Question Mark : Week 9

* Week 8 *'s question is good to keep in mind while considering this week's question:

What would I like to learn?

You learn a TON of things throughout your life, but what is something specific you want to learn? It could be something that's purely for hobby like how to knit or play golf; it could be something deeper.

One thing simply for "hobby" is to learn a new language fluently. OK..more like 6 or 7 languages! For some reason I've very drawn to learning Russian...even though I dont know anyone else who speaks it or really have the need for it except I'd like to visit some day. Learning more languages would certainly give me more of a reason to visit their native lands, right? Right! =)

Something more deep I'd like to learn is how to be a better person and live up to the standards I have set for myself. You have to examine yourself sometimes and ask yourself, "What could I be doing better?" It could be anything. That comes from some place a bit deeper within yourself. When it comes to my standards I'll admit that some of them can be a bit absurd and completely unrealistic. I'm not really going to be able to be the love child of Marilyn Monroe and June Cleaver. Haha! So using them as an example, I would have to choose certain aspects from each woman and see if they match up to what I actually want, see if its something I could realistically achieve.

There's no need to set yourself up for failure!! There's going to be more "failure" in your life than you'll ever want, so always try to be real with yourself. We see this a lot when it comes to desired body images. I would NEVER be able to be a model. For one I'm too darn short. Secondly...I want to look like a real woman, not like I havent yet hit puberty. Would I love to be able to wear clothes they can, you're darn tootin' I would! But that isnt me and its so not even in my genetics to come close! Its a common and superficial example, but it can more or less apply to any sort of goal you have for yourself.

Ultimately make it a goal to learn to be yourself and be happy with who you are!=)

* Week 8 *'s question is good to keep in mind while considering this week's question:
Happy Searching!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Garlic Cheese Bread - The Cheaters Way

Last week I wanted to get the kids a yummy snack...but to be honest I didnt want to put a whole lot of effort or time into it or just open a box of some processed snack. With how much they all love pizza and how much I hate the mess of the sauce most times, I met it in the middle!

You simply take one store bought pizza crust
Cover it with as much cheese as you would like. I just used mozzarella.
Sprinkle on some garlic salt. ( I still use Lawry's)
Place in an oven at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. To brown up the cheese just a little I turned the broiler on low for about 3 minutes.
Then it's all done!You can cut it anyway you want. Shake some Parmesan cheese on there, anything!The possibilities are pretty endless. =)
Happy Eatin'!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The girls are back in town

Wee man and I got some great mommy-son time the last week or so. But of course sissies had to come home...that's why I dont have a project post for you today. So I thought I'd give ya a look at the first couple hours of the girls being home was like!

My handsome little man, always saying "cheese!"

Stole her brother's mohawk hat of course!
'Cause girls in mohawks are rad ;)
The girls' cute Veggie Tales Princess Castle wee man picked out for them before they came home. =)
Ohhh yeah...mommy's socks.
Mommy's socks = knee highs

And what little girl doesnt wear their momma's shoes?

They were pretty excited to have the windows open too! Too bad the ground was still too mushy to go out and play.

I love my chillens...but be sure to send positive, patient vibes my way!! They all constantly keep me on my toes and my stress they are lucky they are so gosh darn cute!


Goal #10 mini-update

I'm excited to say I've lost ten pounds so far in the last month! Yes, as I said before, it didn't start off healthily...but I made the choice to turn it into something good. So I have 84 days to lose the rest of my desired weight...(and be able to cross off another * goal *) which is 17.5 pounds now. My only fear is a plateau, so I'll have to be sure to keep things fresh and changed up!

I got the Zumba game for Wii last week and that's really helped me get some cardio. I HATE cardio! But its made it fun for me =)

My challenge for the week, though...lifting and carrying everything with my left arm/hand. Sounds strange, but as of right now: left arm = wimpy, wimpy, wimpy! right arm = hefty, hefty, hefty!

I used to be able to do inverted push ups....nooowwww I can only do a hand stand. getting my strength back up and using my own body as resistance is how I've been doing everything.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that I reach my goal and finally love my body! =)


Monday, March 12, 2012

French Onion Soup

Recently I've been craving Panera's French Onion soup. As that can get pricey...I decided to make my own! After posting my * Chicken Stock * recipe last week, it really gave me the drive to give it a shot. So today I'll share a basic recipe of French Onion Soup.

You'll need beef broth. (You could also use vegetable or chicken stock as I've seen others use.)
A medium/large white onion and I went ahead and tried out a red onion to give a variation to the flavor.
You cant beat 5 calories and 0 fat!
Burning a candle is supposed to help keep you from tearing up when chopping onions. It worked all right until the very end and then the sting still cut through.
Slice them into "half moons" and then again in half. I used the whole white onion and half the red.
Mix the onions with salt and pepper
Crush a couple cloves of garlic if you want. You dont have to chop the garlic, just lay your knife flat across the clove and pound it with your fist. Peel away the skin and toss them in with the onions.
Melt butter over medium, medium-high heat.
Add the onions.
After a couple minutes give them all a good stir and fold them all over so each side is coated and exposed to the heat.
You'll start to see them become clear and tender.
This is the beginning of caramelizing! This is what really brings out the flavor of the onions.
Cover your pan and let them cook.
Be sure to give the pan a stir so the onions dont stick or burn.
You'll want them to get to about a golden brown, but you can certainly let them cook longer and get a deeper caramel color. (It's kinda crazy how much they shrink!) This is about a 30-45 minute process, so be patient. I was still able to get plenty of organizing done and hang out with T, I just had to make sure I'd stop in and give it all a good mix.
Add the broth. (I originally planned to put it all in the crock pot...but it didnt work the way I planned in the time that I had planned.)
I added a dash or two of Thyme.
A dash of crushed Bay leaves. (I never remember to get fresh herbs!)
The flavor of the broth seemed a little thin so I added two chicken bullion cubes. You could use regular broth or, again, vegetable broth.

Bring the soup to a boil for a few minutes then you can turn it down to a low heat. The longer it cooks, the better. The total time I took was just under 4 hours! (But one hour was basically wasted in the crock pot.)

Got a couple loaves of bread last night for a buck a piece, yay!! Pop one in the oven at 350 degrees for at least 6 minutes. You can also pre-slice the loaf and toast it that way.
There IS cheese in there...but it melted and sank to the bottom right when I took the picture! I used shredded mozzarella. You can use Parmesan or Asiago as well. Traditionally a piece of bread tops the soup and the cheese is melted/broiled on top. Wellll...I'm not a huge fan of soggy bread, so I skip it now and just dip my bread.

See?! Totally easy! And I made enough that I'm going to separate it and put some in the freezer for later!

Plus! Yet another Gluten Free option. =) Obviously you swap out the bread, but otherwise, you simply check to make sure your broth(s) are GF and you're good to go.

Happy Eatin'!


Thursday, March 8, 2012


Sometimes, there are things that only make sense to me and maaaybe one other person. (That I actually know.) The movie Dr. Strangelove and some of the quotes from it is one of those things. =)

Take a plain canvas.
Select the size lettering you want. I used 2 or 3 inch Vinyl stickers.
Its advisable to use a ruler to get your letters even...but I was in a hurry that day!
To make my canvas at least a little different from all the others like this out there, I took heavy gloss gel...
And added paint to it.
This gives you more thickness and texture. (I'm all about me some texture.)
Because Dr Strangelove is about a bomb, I wanted it to look rough and in some ways mimic an explosion.

Once the yellow was dry, I painted over the center and letters with black.
Carefully I peeled away the letters once the whole thing was dry.

Its a great way to make something like an inside joke, favorite quote or lyric into "art" that you can put up in your home...and get a smile out of every time you see it! =)

Happy Creating!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

S.S. Question Mark : Week 8

Everyone has something in their life that they are striving for…but when do you stop? This week we have an age old question:

What does success mean to you?

There has to be a point where you stop. (Yes, I know you have to work to maintain what you’ve succeeded in.) But that is up to your personal definition of success. A lesson I’ve learned that I think pretty much applies to everyone would be to learn contentment. You have to be happy with what you have. For me, success would be reaching a goal I have set for myself and being pleased and content with the outcome.

Sometimes you reach a goal….and you are definitely not happy with what has come of it. That may mean that your desire has changed or that something you were working for doesn’t actually work for you. Instead of getting angry and resentful about it, be content that you’ve figured out what doesn’t work for you. Sometimes you don’t even realize what you truly want until you’ve gone through enough things that don’t work for you and you figure out what you DON’T want. It seems backwards…but I’ve learned a lot of things that way. I always thought I was a huge failure at a ton of things until I redirected my mindset to see that those things were simply lessons in what I don’t want or don’t work for me and my life-Especially now with children.
Its pertinent to separate your wants from your needs. Naturally there will be lots of things you “want”, like that new huge flat screen TV, but do you “NEED” it? Is it going to feed you or give you shelter? Nope.

Although I live at home with my parents and want my children and I to have our own home, I am content where I am while still having the drive and intent of getting us a home. As much as I’d like to be laying out on the beach in Rio de Janeiro, I am happy just having the warm sun on my face on this beautiful day...and watching the movie Rio. (hehe) There’s always something “bigger and better” that we desire, but we still have to try to love our daily reality. It helps you to appreciate those very special occasions when you get to partake in parts of your fantasy. Success is being happy. =)
You can click * here * to see Week 7's question.  
Happy Searching!


Monday, March 5, 2012

good bye, hello

Its been a rough couple weeks for me. Kyle is no longer in the picture and until yesterday it just hurt too badly to say it. (Since he was included in many posts, I thought I'd be frank about it instead of him just all of a sudden disappearing on here with no explanation.) As depressing as it was, its helped me realize a LOT of things about myself. As unhealthy as it was, it caused me to not be able to eat for almost two weeks which jump started the weight loss I so badly wanted. After a couple days I started being more healthy about it because I certainly didn’t want an eating disorder out of it. I still have three amazing children to take care of and be an example for. I’m scared as can be to be making such big life changing steps without someone by my side, but I know I can manage to make it work.

Lucky for me it came time for Jen’s bachelorette party in Nashville. I was still down and even a bit apprehensive about going at all. Of course I’m one of those who seems to think things are “omens”. When it was time for me to head down to meet up with her was when all the horrible storms and tornadoes were rolling in. I watched sunny skies ahead of me and the storms follow behind me the whole way. I felt like I was fighting the storms to be able to get a piece of myself back. Over all, I feel like I did. =)
Even though I’m back to my reality, I am happy. I’ve been laughing…a lot…even just on a drive around town by myself. I can just cut loose and sing (loudly), dance (as much as you can while driving), and just laugh at myself. It’s a really good feeling. Naturally I am still hopeful that there will be someone who comes along to go through life with me and the kids, but I’m definitely not going to run out looking for one. He’ll find me some day.
So thanks for my readers that stuck with me through the last couple weeks while I wasn’t posting like I normally do. My soul searching posts suffered the most I think, but I’m emotionally better equipped to do them again now. I guess this is another new chapter for me and its up to me to write the story using the characters and events that I’ve been given. The first part of this new chapter: Loving myself and being truly happy, embracing each hill on my roller coaster of a life to give me a happy outcome.

Ready to take on "Nashvegas" with the girls
(Dress and Belt from * Modcloth *. Ring: Khols. Watch: Bulova. Bracelet: Juicy Couture. Feather Headband: * Made Myself *.)


Homemade Chicken Stock

This past November I finally made something that I had been wanting to make myself at home for quite some time: Chicken Stock. It is so, so easy!! I went to Kroger one night for a quick dinner and picked up on of their Savory Rotisserie Chickens. They have a couple different kinds of seasoning, but I am a fan of the savory. This was about $5-6. After a tasty dinner, I removed as much of the meat as I could. It was my first time, so there was more bits of meat and skin than there is "supposed" to be. But hey, I was just giving it a shot!

As you can see...there's still quite a bit on the carcass. The more left on it, the more flavor it gets; but that also means it can be less healthy.
I didnt have fresh herbs/seasoning, I only had dried. I didnt want all the seasonings just floating around so I pulled open a tea bag, emptied it out and filled with my seasonings. That way I could pull them all out whenever I wanted. (I thought I was quite clever!)
The only ingredient I forgot or didnt already have was an onion. It tasted fine without it, but next time I'll include it just to get one more dimension of flavor.
Cover and Boil, then simmer for an hour or two. Keep an eye on it or it will reduce down. I did end up having to add more water to mine because it reduced a little too much. But it was good I did because it was very thick (which I like, but I was the only one. hehe) Besides, it made it a little healthier.
Give it a mix here and there so nothing will stick and it will flavor evenly.
When it was done, I wasnt sure yet what to do with it so I just stored it in the fridge. (It looks way cloudier in the picture than it did in person)

Since it was right after Thanksgiving, I still wanted something super tasty...but still light. Then it dawned on me. Dumplings!
Reheat the stock on about a medium heat.
As usual, dont over crowd! Give both sides a couple minutes for each dumpling.
Make sure it is cooked all the way through and they arent doughy in the middle still. You'll figure out the best balance for it to not still be raw or end up too hard.
And of course, yay for left overs!!

The broth is Gluten Free. (A great option of making things at home!) These dumplings werent GF, but are super easy to make. Take the GF Bisquick and follow the biscuit recipe and ta-da! You just drop the dough in by the spoon full.

Here is the recipe I used for the stock from * How Does She? *.
Now that I know the basis of how stocks are made, I'll be interested to see what else I'll manage to come up with! French Onion soup perhaps? =)

Happy Eatin'!