Saturday, March 6, 2010

Recipe Corner: Quick and Easy Tostadas

Do you have left over taco meat? Left over taco shells? Here is a quick and easy recipe just for you!

Taco seasoned meat
Taco shells
Refried beans
Shredded cheddar cheese
Any other favorite toppings (sour cream, taco sauce, lettuce, tomato, etc…)

- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Heat refried beans in a microwave safe bowl for 1-2 minutes (stirring every 30 sec.)
- Break shells in half and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
- Spread cooked refried beans on to shells, followed by meat, and cheese.
- Cook tostada for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Remove, top with favorites, and serve immediately (to avoid sogginess).

Useless Fact of the Day

If a surgeon in Ancient Egypt lost a patient while performing an operation, _________________.

Take a guess in the comments below!

Quote of the Day

 "To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible."

Thomas Aquinas

Friday, March 5, 2010

Disney Vacation Club

My husband and I first took our two little girls to Disney three years ago. It was a last minute decision, literally, and we didn’t know what to expect. My husband is a hard working man and we don’t see him as often as we’d like. So our impromptu week at Disney was like finding Heaven on Earth. Not only did the kids get to experience Disney magic for the first time, but they also got their daddy’s undivided attention for an entire week! We stayed on Disney property at a moderate resort and we instantly fell in love with the idea of more Disney vacations. As we traveled the World, we realized that although our resort was great, Disney property could be even greater. But as we longed to experience an even grander Disney resort, we knew that the price was a bit (or a lot) too steep. Thanks to Disney’s Vacation Club, or the DVC, my family now gets to experience the magic of Disney every year! With this experience, we now stay only at the top of the line resorts and get treated like Disney royalty.

The DVC is a timeshare, but run Disney style. With this timeshare you can pick anytime and anywhere you want to take your vacation. Since you buy points, rather than weeks, you can even divide your points to take several vacations a year. You are also able to bank points you would like to save, or borrow from a different year if you are planning an extra long vacation. The DVC has a costly buy in, but after doing the math, we will have paid it off in about 6 ½ vacations. This year we will be staying at either the Animal Kingdom Resort or the new Bay Lake Tower resort. Without the DVC, one night at the Animal Kingdom (one-bedroom, Savanna View) would cost us $550 or $4,331 for the week. One night at Bay Lake Towers (one-bedroom, standard view) would cost us $480 or $3,780 for the week. This year our annual dues were $650. That means that we will be staying in one of these fabulous resorts for one week at only about $100 more than a single night. It doesn’t get better than that! If you love Disney and are interested in the DVC go to  or feel free to email me any questions you may have at . I can refer you to a great sales rep who never calls or bothers you at home (unless of course you ask her to). And as they say in Disney World, Have a Magical Day!

Recipe Corner: Sugar Coated Pecans

Pecans are a great snack just as they are, but this little change is great when you are looking for a little variety.

• 1 egg white
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1 pound pecan halves
• 1 cup white sugar
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Grease one baking sheet.
2. In a mixing bowl, whip together the egg white and water until frothy. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

3. Add pecans to egg whites, stir to coat the nuts evenly. Remove the nuts, and toss them in the sugar mixture until coated. Spread the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake at 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes.

Useless Fact of the Day

Saudi Arabia covers an area of 830,000 sq. miles, yet there is not a single __________ in the whole country.

Take a guess in the comments below!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Potty Training

Potty training is never funny when you are actually going through it. Cleaning “accidents” off the carpet. Scraping poo off the panties. But when you take the time to look back, there are certainly more than a few good laughs. Although my oldest daughter’s tale is too disgusting to repeat, my youngest daughter’s is a story of sheer will power. For about six months she would repeat to me every day, “I will go pee pee on the potty when I’m three”. So five days before her third birthday I began a countdown. “Guess what? In five days you get to pee on the potty!” I continued this until the day before her birthday. Then when she woke up on her third birthday, she walks in my room and says she changed her mind. She wanted to keep her diaper. Now I’ve read all the articles telling moms to just let their kids tell you when they are ready, but I just knew she could do it. She hadn’t even wet her diaper at night in over a year. So a few days after her third birthday, I decided we would start potty training.

The day started like every other day. She woke up with a dry diaper. But this time, I immediately took off her diaper and put her on her toddler potty. I told her today she was going to become a big girl. She sat on the potty for about ten minutes and began to complain that she wanted breakfast. So against my better judgment, I let my naked daughter go down to the breakfast table. After a quick bowl of cereal, back to the potty she went. She sat and sat and sat and sat….. We read stories. We sang songs. We colored. We argued. By 11:30, she still hadn’t gone potty. Now remember she woke up with a dry diaper. She hasn’t gone potty for about 16 ½ hours and she is hurting. I continued to give her positive encouragement and reassurance that she could get off the potty as soon as she went. Right about now, however, I’m starting to second guess my strategy. She is crying because it hurts, but she refuses to go. She is so stubborn that at 12:30 when a little bit gets by, she is able to stop the flow (how many of you out there could do that?). She looks at me and sees my excitement. “Mommy!!! It didn’t hurt!” And with that…she let it all go. My little baby continued to pee for the next five minutes. She nearly filled the entire toddler’s potty! Despite all her stubbornness, from that day on, she has never had an accident!  Do you have a funny potty training story to tell? I am always ready for a good laugh!

Grab a latte, put up your feel, and join the discussion!

Recipe Corner: German Currywurst

I was so excited when I found this recipe and even more excited when I ate it. It brought back so many memories of the time we spent at our favorite pool in Germany. I just recently told my sister about it and couldn’t find it, but here it is. Enjoy!

• 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
• 1 pound kielbasa or sausage
• 2 tablespoons chili sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
• 1 tablespoon white sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1 pinch paprika
• Curry powder to taste (start with a tsp and work your way up)

1. Cut meat into 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch slices.
2. Pour tomato sauce into a large saucepan, then stir in the chili sauce, onion salt, sugar, curry  and pepper. Let simmer over medium heat, occasionally stirring; bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer another 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cook kielbasa sausage over medium-high heat until cooked through. 
4. Pour tomato sauce mixture over sausage, then sprinkle all with paprika and curry powder and serve.

Quote of the Day

"Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth."
— Mark Twain

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Natural Disasters

Nothing is scarier than the unpredictable and uncontrollable wrath of Mother Nature. Natural disasters traumatize minds, destroy property, and end lives. As I watch the endless coverage of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, and Tsunamis, I am thankful for living in Virginia. I’ve always considered Virginia a safe place to live. Besides an occasional tornado, snow storm, or tail end of a hurricane, we are usually safe from natural disasters. Despite the recent Tsunami warning (that did not actually create any large waves), Honolulu Hawaii is one of the safest places to live. According to Forbes, “between 1972 and 2000, Hawaii had a total of 12 major disasters declared, according to the Federal Emergency Management Administration. That's relatively low, especially compared to states like Texas, where 51 major disasters were declared in the same period, or California, which had 45.” On the opposite end of the spectrum, Monroe, Louisiana was ranked as the most unsafe place to live. Monroe is constantly battling high winds, hail, and severe storms. And since it is a coastal area, they must also face the occasional hurricane. If you would like to see Forbes’ list of safest places to live go to . Do you feel safe where you live?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Recipe Corner: Bean Salad

Enjoy this zesty bean salad as a side dish or healthy snack! Do you have a mouthwatering recipe you would like to recommend? Shoot me an email at  and I can post it for all to enjoy!

• 1 (14.5 ounce) can green beans, drained
• 1 (14.5 ounce) can wax beans, drained
• 1 (15.25 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
• 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
• 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
• 1 red onion, chopped
• 1 green bell pepper, chopped
• 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
• 3/4 cup white sugar
• 3/4 cup vegetable oil
• 3/4 teaspoon ground dry mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried cilantro

1. In a large bowl, layer the beans, onion and green pepper. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, mix the vinegar, sugar, oil, mustard, tarragon and cilantro. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and pour over bean mixture. Stir until all ingredients are coated. This is best if it is left to marinate for a few hours in the refrigerator, and stirred occasionally.

Open Discussion: Schools

As a parent of young children, I am constantly hearing talk concerning which type of school is best. Will our kids reach their full potential in public schools or should we take out a second mortgage to send them to private school? Then there are safety concerns. Can we guarantee our children’s physical and mental safety in either public or private school? Maybe home schooling is the answer? Although there isn’t one right answer, it is good to discuss our options to see which works better for our own family. Post your thoughts, insights, or suggestions.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Does Make-Up Really Expire?

Do you have a drawer of make-up that you keep, just in case? You know what I mean, the purple eye shadow that you just might need. Or the perfect shade of lipstick, if you ever get a tan. Although some make-up comes with an expiration date on it, I always wondered if it really could expire. Is it ok to have that just in case make-up? After a little perusing of the internet I discovered that make-up can indeed expire. The problem us women will face though is that the expiration date on the make-up is not really accurate. Make-up that is store incorrectly will expire long before the actual expiration date, just as make-up that is stored properly will have a longer life than it has been labeled. If you are interested in a suggested length, however, here you go:

Concealer – 6 to 8 months (If it starts to smell funny, however, toss it!)

Water based foundation (compact) – up to 12 months

Oil based foundation (compact) – up to 18 months

Liquid Foundations – 3 to 6 months

Powder - 1 to 2 years

Eye Liner – Up to 3 years if you sharpen it regularly (If you develop an eye infection, don’t reuse it.)

Eye Shadow – Up to 3 years

Lip Liner – 1 to 2 years

Lipstick – 1 to 2 years depending on how you store it (hint: keeping it in your car is not a good idea!)

Mascara – 3 to 4 months (As with the eye liner, if you develop an eye infection, throw it away.)

With all make-up, use common sense. If it looks or smells different than it out to, don’t use it. Changes in your product will begin from the first time you open it. As soon as it is exposed to air and to your face, it begins collecting bacteria. Make sure to keep your brushes and sponges clean to avoid unnecessary infections. Do you have a “just in case” make-up drawer? Do you ever end up using it or does it go to waste?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Recipe Corner: Carrot Cake

This carrot cake stands apart from others because of its precooked carrots. The precooked carrots make the cake extra moist and YUMMY! Do you have a mouthwatering recipe you would like to recommend? Shoot me an email at  and I can post it for all to enjoy!

• 6 carrots, quartered
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 cups white sugar
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 eggs
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 3/4 cup vegetable oil
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup buttermilk
• 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
• 1 (3.5 ounce) package flaked coconut
• 1 cup chopped walnuts
• 1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 cups confectioners' sugar

1. In a small saucepan, cover carrots with water. Bring water to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool and mash.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add vegetable oil, buttermilk, 2 cups white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt. Mix in pineapple, 2 cups mashed carrots, nuts and coconut.
3. Pour into paper towel-lined 13 x 9 x 2-1/2 inch pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 minutes, or until cake tests done.
5. Place cake on a plate, and allow to cool completely before frosting.
6. To Make Frosting: Combine cream cheese, melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and confectioners' sugar. Spread on cooled cake. Cake tastes best after refrigerating overnight.

Blogger Awards

***Updated at the bottom***

Yesterday I was very happy to wake up and see that I had not only reached 100 followers, but I had also been given two blogger awards from Jess at Life With BooBoo and Bug. Thank you for helping me start off my day with a smile! I’m having a great time blogging. Thanks to everyone who is reading!

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award and insert a link to their blog.
2. Pass on the award to 5-10 other bloggers who you recently discovered and think are great!
3. Contact the other bloggers and let them know they have been chosen for this award.
4. Say 7 things about yourself.

Wow, 7 things about me...
1. I enjoy running, even if I can only work out on a treadmill.
2. I read every chance my kids let me!
3. I’m a Disney fanatic.
4. I play the piano (in all my spare time).
5. I’m a SAHM and love it.
6. “I have no idea what I am doing when I blog but I have fun doing it!” (From Jess, but I feel the same way :)
7. I was an elementary school teacher before kids.

To keep the award going, I’ve picked 5 wonderful blogs that I have recently discovered. Good job ladies! Keep up the good work!

1. Magical Mouse Schoolhouse
2. The Keeper at Home
3. 2 teach is 2 touch lives 4 ever
4. BlessedwithGrace
5. Home Grown Families

***I need to add a wonderful addition!!!   Mrs. Addison over at Wonderfully Chaotic just presented me with another Beautiful Blogger award.  I am so honored that so many of you wonderful ladies are reading and loving my new blog.   I hope you enjoy many more posts in the future!****

Monday, March 1, 2010

Painful Oddities

Last night I woke up with a painful charley horse in my calf. As I rubbed it out and fought back my tears, I began to wonder where in the world this pain had come from. For those of you unfamiliar with charley horses, it is a leg/foot cramp that hits suddenly when the muscles contract. The pain is usually intensified if you try to stretch it because the muscles are so tightly constricted. It is usually a good idea to massage it out for a bit before attempting to stretch it out S-L-O-W-L-Y! Charley horses were my ultimate enemy during both of my pregnancies, but they hadn’t bothered me much since. So I decided it was time to do a little research. Leg cramps or charley horses are often the result of muscle fatigue, dehydration, heavy exercises, electrolyte imbalance, side effect of certain medications, and being overweight. You can easily prevent many leg cramps by simply staying hydrated, stretching often, and not overdoing your workouts. In my case, it is possible that I overdid a workout, but it is more likely that I wasn’t keeping myself hydrated enough. It is easy to let life distract you, but after last night I’ll be sure to increase my water intake!

While I was researching charley horses, I began to wonder about other minor irritations and why they occur. Canker sores, for example, bother my husband and I at least 4-5 times a year. Despite the fact that canker sores are the most common sores found in mouths, most people don’t know what they are and why they form. That is probably because doctors themselves aren’t 100% sure. Canker sores are not contagious like cold sores, so they can’t be passed from person to person. Doctors suspect that they are caused by a reaction of the immune system. So if the body has to fight off a bacterial or viral infection, you may be more likely to develop a canker sore. Stress and the overuse of anti-inflammatory medication are also contributing factors in canker sore development. Thankfully, there are many methods of treatment that can speed up the healing process. According to, “Try rinsing your mouth with a solution of ½ teaspoon salt dissolved in 8 ounces of water. Another mixture that may be helpful consists of 1-2 tablespoons of Maalox mixed with ½ tablespoon of liquid diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Swish a teaspoonful in your mouth and spit it out. This can be done four times a day. Liquids or ointments with a numbing ingredient such as benzocaine (Anbesol, Oragel, Orabase, Zilactin-B, Tanac) help relieve the discomfort of canker sores. Using these treatments won’t cure the canker sore, but they will help relieve pain and lessen the chance of reoccurrence. What other painful oddities have you baffled?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Recipe Corner: Delectable Hamburgers

For those of you who enjoy a good burger, this is the recipe for you! Whether cooked outside on the grill or baked indoors, this burger is juicy and delectable! Do you have a mouthwatering recipe you would like to recommend? Shoot me an email at  and I can post it for all to enjoy!

• 2 pounds ground beef
• 1 egg, beaten
• 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs or Oatmeal (my favorite)
• 3 tablespoons evaporated milk
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (a little more if you want an added kick)
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 2 cloves garlic, minced

1. Preheat grill for high heat.
2. In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, evaporated milk, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, and garlic using your hands. Form the mixture into 8 hamburger patties. If mixture is too moist add a little more bread crumbs or oatmeal.
3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill patties 5 minutes per side, or until well done. (Inside: Bake on 400 degrees for 20 min or until well done.)

Open Discussion: Shampoo

Does expensive salon shampoo really make a difference? We see all the commercial by Suave trying to convince us that their $1.99 product gives as much body and moisture, but is it really true? Since I am, for the lack of a better word, frugal, I have never bought salon shampoo. Am I missing anything? Should I invest more in my next bottle?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Silent Sunday

From Sunny Florida....
Disney's Beach Club Resort

Getting dizzy with the Mad Hatter

Sisters and Best Friends! snowy Virginia!

Playing in over 20 inches of snow!

Quote of the Day

An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

M.K. Gandhi