Friday, January 30

NYC--Help!

I am going to NYC in April for a conference. I just registered for it and they have some special events taking place a few nights. I need to decide if I want to participate in them soon. One of the events includes a really good price to see Mamma Mia! on broadway. I think I will be signing up for it. I know that April is a long ways away, but I am a type A planner. I just want to have an idea of things that I want to do. Luckily, this conference does offer a lot of time to explore the city. So, if you have been to NYC tell me what I have to do, see, eat, etc. What was your favorite thing? Best place you ate? I could go on and on and on. I feel very overwhelmed planning this trip. I'm extremely excited for it, but I feel like there is just so much to do and I don't even know how to begin to narrow it down. I just know that some of you are going to have some great places for me to visit. Thanks!!
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Wednesday, January 28

Yum, Yum

Tonight I wanted something new for dinner, but I hadn't been to the grocery store in a while and Ty informed me that I wasn't allowed to drive anywhere. (Apparently, I'm not a good driver and that doesn't mix well with icy roads!) So, I started searching for a recipe that I had all the ingredients for. I stumbled across these two dishes: Baked Parmesan Basil Fries and Ranch Style Chicken.
Recipe and picture from Love and Olive Oil.
Ingredients:
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 medium red potatoes
Directions:
In bowl, combine parmesan cheese, oil, basil, and garlic powder. Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch sticks; add to cheese mixture and toss to coat.
Spread evenly on a large cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan coated with nonstick cooking spray, trying to keep all the fries in a single level. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, then flip. Bake 20 more minutes or until crisp and tender. Sprinkle with additional parmesan if desired.
Ranch Style Chicken Recipe and photo from The Pioneer Woman.
This recipe does not contain ranch dressing like one would think from the name.
Ingredients:
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Thick cut bacon (I used turkey bacon.)
Bacon grease
HoneyDijon Mustard
Lemon juice
Paprika
Crushed Red Pepper
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Canola oil
Directions:
To begin, mix together 1/2 cup Dijon or country/grainy mustard with 1/2 cup honey. Add juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. And have some fun here! Sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne if you like things a little spicy. Whisk it together until smooth.
Next, just add all the chicken to the bowl with the marinade. You’ll want to cover this with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour—usually I let it go about 2 to 3 hours, but that’s only because I’m always running behind.
While the chicken is marinating, go ahead and fry up some bacon. Keep in mind that the bacon will eventually go into the oven, so you don’t want to get it too crisp in the skillet.
Next, and this is important, reserve 1/4 cup of the bacon grease, and go ahead and clean out the skillet. Otherwise, it’ll get too smoky.
When you’re ready to prepare the chicken, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the chicken from the fridge and pour off excess marinade into the sink. Heat half of the reserved bacon grease with an equal quantity of Canola Oil in the clean skillet over medium-high to high heat. (We want to sear the chicken, not cook it completely.) When the grease is sufficiently heated, add a batch of chicken to the skillet. Don’t overcrowd the skillet—just 3 pieces is usually enough. Cook just until brown/blackish areas appear. Each side should cook for a maximum of 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
Repeat with all chicken breasts. Then put them in the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Take out of oven and put the bacon and cheese on the chicken. Put back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
ENJOY!
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Searching for Warmth

The school was closed again today due to the ice storm. I'm sure we will go back tomorrow. It is very sunny outside. Blindingly sunny due to the snow we got last night. It is so pretty! Ty decided yesterday that Nuts and I had spent way too much time on the couch. He made us bundle up and go outside. But first we had to stick the heater in front of the sliding glass doors because they were frozen shut. We only lasted a few minutes outside. Nuts wasn't very happy about being out there.

After spending some time outside I got motivated to make something: a rice pad. You know those things that are filled with rice and you can throw in the microwave for a minute and then it will warm you up. Kinda like an electric blanket. Well, I read about one on the Buzzings of a Queen Bee and decided to make one for Nuts. I thought it could go in his cage with him at night. Or that maybe he could use it instead of the heater.

I didn't have very much rice so it ended up being kind of small. But since we are iced in it will have to do.

The only problem is he isn't quite sure what it is. He thinks it might be a toy or food. Either way he really wants to rip it up! Good think I double layered the fabric. Hopefully he will get used to it. It doesn't help that the only rice I had was risotto rice, which is a lot more fragrant than white rice. If I was making one for a human I would add lavendar to it to make it smell good. I think I will go heat it up right now and put it on my tootsies!

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Tuesday, January 27

The Babysitter

My dog loves to be warm. He loves to bury himself under some blankets. But something even better than blankes is a space heater. This dog will lay for hours in front of a heater. We have dubbed the heater as his babysitter. He turns into such a bum.

We have been turning the heater on for him so much that I had forgotten how nice it can be to cuddle up on the couch with my little puppy.
He looks kinda chunky in this picture. Maybe it is time to turn off the heater and put him on the treadmill! :)

We are in the middle of an ice storm. The school shut down yesterday at 3 p.m. It took us an hour to get home. It usually takes around 12 minutes. They cancelled work and school for today too. Yay for me! Bad for Ty, because this means that he has to make the day up sometime, somehow. I will be enjoying my day off by watching lots of t.v. and organizing a few closets that have gotten out of control.

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Monday, January 26

Is it Spring Yet??

I can't wait for Spring to be here. Spring is definitely my favorite season. I love all the bright fun colors. Target has some great spring decor out right now. Everytime I go I have to walk by all the pretty floral and damask and polka dot plates, bowls, and cups. I have been a good girl and haven't bought any of the dishes! There is just no place to store them. But I did buy a few new things for my office. I figured these springy things would be more welcome in my office than at home. Ty doesn't exactly love pink as much as me.
The storage box and floral arrangement came from Target. The clock and tall vase came from Pottery Barn. I want to find some sort of stick like things to put in the tall vase.
I found this trench coat/jacket at Tarjay last weekend. I just can't resist cute coats. This is pretty light weight so I will have to wait until it warms up more before I can wear it.
(Ignore the boots with this long jacket. I'm way too short to actually pull them off together.)
The best part of the jacket is the inside:

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Sunday, January 25

Turtle, Turtle

New Onesie Design for the Spring/Summer.
A cute little turtle.

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Friday, January 23

Bedroom Inspiration

I really want to fix up our bedroom. Its pretty plain jane except for some great black damask print curtains. The comforter has been ruined by a certain little puppy and because of that little puppy it was thrown into a washing machine that basically ate a spot out of it. But more than just bedding I want to completely change the room. I want to paint and change the feel of it. Of course if I had some moolah I could do this. And if my husband would agree to paint it for me. (I was banned from painting in our house, because I am so bad at it.) Until then I will just continue to search for pictures so that one day I can have my dream bedroom.
I found these rooms on HGTV's Rate My Space. I love the color palette of grays and whites. Its not too masculine or too feminine.
I love the black furniture and the clear glass lamps in this room. Its the closest thing I could find to what I am wanting to do.

Another view of the room pictured above.


I love the champagne color in this piece of art.


I love the champagnes, greens and blues in this room combined with the gray.



None of these rooms are exactly what I am thinking, but I do like certain things about them all. After searching for inspiration I decided to try out polyvore. I had never used it before and it was fun to play around on it. I don't like everything below. I got kinda carried away on there and just kept clicking away! :)

Thursday, January 22

Etsy Obsessions

I could spend hours upon hours browsing through Etsy. Recently, I have seen some great items that other blogs have talked about. I read about these fabulous items then immediately go to etsy.com and search for similar items that fit my style. Here are some recent finds:

Vinyl Monogrammed Wall Art:

I'm not a huge fan of the quote on top of the design pictured above, but I love just the design.
I would love to have an address stamp that looked like these:
RubberStampPress
SweetPaperie (mr. and mrs. one)
Do you spend hours and hours browsing etsy? If so what have you been eyeing from there. If you've never been to etsy then beware you will want to buy so many things!

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Tuesday, January 20

Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip

This past weekend I made spinach and artichoke dip. It was so yummy. The recipe came out of my Katie Lee Joel--The Comfort Table cookbook.
Ingredients:
--8 oz package of cream cheese
--9 oz package frozen artichoke hearts (drained jarred or canned, cooked fresh, or frozen, but
not marinated.) I bought canned.
--1 cup steamed spinach (1 lb. raw or one 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed) well
drained. I bought frozen.
--1/2 cup mayonnaise
--2 garlic cloves
--6 large fresh basil leaves (I sprinkled in dried flakes of basil. Just eyeballed it.)
--1/2 tsp. kosher salt
--1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
--1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Grease a 2 quart baking dish.
3. In a food processor, combine cream cheese, artichoke hearts, spinach, mayo, parmesan, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. I combined all the ingredients in a bowl besides the artichokes. Then put 1/2 of the mixture into my magic bullet with a few artichoke hearts. The texture wasn't what I liked. It was too smooth. So I put the rest of the artichoke hearts in the magic bullet and then combined everything together and poured it in the baking dish. This way you could still see pieces of spinach.
4. Top with the mozzarella.
5. Bake until bubbling and the top is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
The best part of this is you can mix all the ingredients and refrigerate it until right before your guests arrive and then pop it in the oven. This way it is nice and warm!
I forgot to take pictures. Forgive me??
I did have an oops moment in the kitchen this weekend. I was trying to make chocolate cream pie. I bought these cute individual graham cracker pie crusts. (Just like my nanny uses!) I started combining my ingredients. You know 1 and a 1/4 cup sugar, 1 and a 1/4 cup flour, etc. Its supposed to be boiling in my sauce pan, instead it is lumping up and forming small pieces of dough. I thought well I guess thats what its supposed to do. I then proceeded to fill all 6 of the pie crusts with my lumpy chocolate mixture. I think I knew deep down that I had messed up, but I just kept filling them. Then I decided to read back through the recipe, convinced that this person had purposefuly messed up the recipe so that no one could make a perfect chocolate cream pie like her. Well it turns out I was only supposed to use 2 tbsp. of flour, not a cup and a 1/4!! I will buy some more pie crusts this weekend and try again! :) Oops!
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Monday, January 19

Weekend Recap and Funky Tights

I enjoyed a great 3 day weekend! Friday night Ty and I just relaxed around the house. On Saturday I ran my usual errands and then we had a couple of friends over. My bff from high school moved to a suburb of my city in October. So Chelsey and her husband came over along with Chesley. We had so much fun playing Taboo and Family Feud. I think I need to invest in Apples to Apples. Everyone I know keeps talking about what a great game it is.
Sunday was spent at church and then just relaxing and a little bit of shopping. I found some great tights at Wal-Mart on Saturday while grocery shopping. I decided to wear them to church on Sunday. I wore them with a black dress with a black cardigan to balance out the purple.


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Friday, January 16

Check Out My New Blog DESIGN!

I had the best stocking stuffer ever in my stocking from my MIL--a gift certificate to get a blog make-over. I was so excited. This was a last minute addition to my Christmas list and I didn't really think that I would get it. I stumbled across Simply Yours Designs and loved her work. Hilary did a great job with my design. She was very patient with me while I struggled to figure out exactly what I wanted. She is so creative and definitely surpassed my expectations. Check out her gallery she has created some great blog designs.
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Healthy Hair

I have had long hair for years and I love it. But with long hair comes split ends. I just recently became obsessed with keeping my hair healthy. I know, I know dyeing my hair is not the healthiest thing ever. That is why I have been cutting down on the blow dryer and the chi. I'm using a hot oil treatment once a week and just recently bought some leave-in conditioner. Healthy Sexy Hair Soy-Tri-Wheat Leave in Conditioner to be exact. I LOVE it! It smells so good!
It also does a good job of detangling my hair. Did I mention how good it smells!?! I heard somewhere that if you rinse your hair with cold water it makes it shinier and healthier. I have no idea if that is true or not. Anyone know??

I used to have extremely oily hair. I had to wash my hair in the morning or else it would be way too oily. Luckily, with age my hair is starting to become a lot more normal. I can actually wash my hair at night! This is a huge deal for me. I've been letting it air dry before I go to bed or just sleeping on it wet. Anything to avoid blow-drying it. I can tell that not blow-drying my hair as much has really cut down on my split ends.
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Thursday, January 15

Its Snowing!!

Yay! Its snowing here! Not a whole lot but its definitely snow. And the best part no ice! We hardly ever get just snow. Its always ice with a little bit of snow. It was snowing when I let Nuts outside this morning. And according to the news it was 17 degrees but felt like 2 degrees to your skin. Nuts actually didn't seem to mind too much, which is very surprising. This is the dog that doesn't like to get his paws wet from dew and is afraid of the wind.

As Ty and I were pulling out of the driveway this morning I was looking at our house thinking how picturesque it looked with snow on the roof. I think it also helped that my Christmas wreath added to the picturesqueness. Yes, it is still up! Its the only Christmas thing left out and for some reason I can never remember to take it down.

I hope it snows all day! Then I can curl up on the couch all night with a cup of cocoa and admire it. Forget that last post about the treadmill, the couch and hot cocoa will be calling my name!

Wednesday, January 14

Walk It Out

I have been wanting a treadmill for a long time, but they are really expensive. Then I remembered that my Nanny had a treadmill that she hardly ever uses. I was willing to offer her some money for it. But she was not having that and told me to just take it. Yay!! Ty wasn't too happy about hauling it home for me or the fact that it now sits in our living room. Luckily he saw my side of things--a healthy, in-shape wife. I'm still working on the in shape part.
I'm so excited to be able to work out in my own house with something other than a work out video. I have to have a t.v. to work out. For some people its music, for me its television. I need the distraction.
Now let's just see if I can keep it up....

The Comfort Table

Meet my bff Katie! Okay, so she's not my bff but thats just because we haven't met yet. hehe! Katie Lee Joel the very young wife of Billy Joel has a great cookbook titled The Comfort Table.
It has some great recipes. I'm trying out the chicken and dumplings later this week. I'll let you know how it goes. I discovered this cookbook over the break at Borders. I loved it because it was a girl my age who has great style, her recipes were simple with ingredients that I can actually find, and the biggest thing that drew me in--the great design of the book. Its really cute!

I've marked several recipes to try including her spinach artichoke dip, caprese flat pie, and black forest trifle. Katie Lee Joel's cookbook is definitely worth picking up and thumbing through the next time you are at the book store.

Visit Inspired Kara for a great giveaway!

Tuesday, January 13

Baby Love

I took yesterday off and headed to the hospital to welcome my new nephew, Garret James to the world. His due date was February 19th so we were pretty surprised to meet him this early. He weighed 5 lbs 8 oz and was 18 in. long. He would have been a big baby if he was full term! I've never been around a baby this tiny. He was so small and cute!
Less than 24 hours old.

Proud big brother!


Grandpa on diaper duty!
Had a little spit up incident so he needed a little sponge bath. Garret was not happy! He turned so red any time someone took him out of his comfortable warm blankets.
Melinda was feeling pretty tired and sore from her surgery. But don't worry she showered, fixed her hair and put on a little bit of make-up. My kind of woman! ;) This was a topic at work the other day. Whitney and I both had the opinion that make-up makes everything better and we were definitely going to apply make-up before we went into labor! haha! The other ladies in our office just laughed at us. I'm sure they were thinking silly, naive girls. But we were dead serious about the make-up! We'll see how I feel about this when its my turn... AND no its not my turn yet or anytime soon. :)

The spit up incident presented the perfect time to put him in his new outfit! Can you guess who gave him this!?!

It is a newborn size and still big. He is so tiny! Check out his bird legs! :)

3 Generations

My dad and all his boys! Boys definitely dominate the D family.

Their smiles were a little forced. I just love making the men in my family take pictures!

My dad had to drive back home yesterday to get back to work. He got to the hospital at 10:45 Sunday night. He was pretty worn out and had a 4 hour drive to make. I had to make him leave the hospital. He could have stayed forever if that was an option. He did take a break from driving to stop by to eat a quick dinner of yummy roast with us. So I filled his stomach and he was tired--not a good combination for the rest of his 3 hour drive! I'm sure he stopped for a diet mt. dew to get him through.

I can't wait to see baby Garret again. He is perfect!

p.s. I really liked to use smiley faces in this post for some reason. ;)

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