Monday, November 29, 2010

How much do I heart Shutterfly??? Let me count the ways...

So even if they weren't having this insanely awesome promotion for bloggers here I would love to brag about how many cool things I have ordered from Shutterfly.  I have recommended the site/company to many people. I know there are a few companies online that you can order prints/photo books/announcements/Xmas cards from but by far, my personal fave has got to be Shutterfly. 

Just this last weekend I was here working on our Christmas cards for this year. Love their selection and designs and they are having some great sales right now.  My cards were already designed and ready to go when I came across this great promotion for bloggers!
Hello Bandwagon! I am jumping on! 

Mario and I had a small beach wedding that included mostly close family.  So after the wedding we sent out announcements to extended family and friends that didn't attend. Guess where we ordered these adorable announcements???
You guessed it.
Need to announce an occasion of your own? Wedding, baby, new fish? You can create your own masterpiece right over here
For Father's Day I ordered Mario his own photo book that included solely pictures of him and baby girl.  He started crying when he opened it. (Sorry babe!)
I LOVE it and love flipping though it occasionally.
I also recently made a photo book from Stella's Birthday party to keep in her keepsake box.  I am anxiously awaiting it's arrival which should be any day now!!!
Take a wild gander where I ordered them from?
Mmmhm. You guessed it.
You can make your own book right over here and make your man cry. :)
For Mario's parents' Christmas gift last year we made them calenders.  The cool kind that have your personal pictures which we corresponded to what was going on in that particular month.  You also can add all of your families important dates.  They turned out great and it was SO easy! The hardest part was going through all of our pictures and picking out which one's to choose.
Where did we make these wonderful gift ideas you ask?
They also happen to be running a special right now on calendars, buy 1 get 1 50% off!
That great gift idea can be created right over here

Last year for Stella's birthday thank you's I ordered a simple white card with a cute border.  I added her name across the top and voila personalized thank you's for any occasion.
OK, overkill I know but thank you's are polite and you should order yours now right over here
They also have this cool little area where they have special offers just for YOU! OK, well maybe not specifically for me but I think the more you order the more "special" you are because there always seems to be a special offer for me and the best part is they are FREE! If you have a Shutterfly account go down to the bottom right of the home page and click on "view my special offers".  There is almost always a tasty little treat waiting!
But seriously...I use the product. I love the product.
Right now they are offering bloggers 50 free 5x7 Christmas cards here (Yes, photo cards included. I asked.)
Oh how i love cool free stuff.
Especially from a site I love and use regularly so thanks Shutterfly and this concludes my shameless plug.
Back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Thanks and goodnight.

If you receive a Christmas card from us this year...why yes they are from Shutterfly and yes they were FREE!!!

Black Friday Nightmares!

 image via news tribune

So there was a whole row of the cutest kids dress up ball gowns you've ever seen! Just beautiful! I went to grab one for Stella. Obviously the lady next to me was admiring them also, since she reached out to grab the same one at the same time. I won.  She challenged me with, "What size do you need"?  I responded vigorously, "4T"! Then challenged with "What size do YOU need"?  She volleyed back, "4T". It was a standoff. We both held our ground but I could tell she was going to stop at nothing to get the dress I held.

Then I woke up. 
Seriously, a Black Friday nightmare. 
 I've officially lost my mind.

Aubrey and I went down to one of the sales at midnight armed with the local circular and actually got everything I had "circled" minus 1 item.  Success!!!  We didn't get home until 2:30 though and so 6:30 comes early.  When I groggily woke up I realized I had been dreaming of a standoff with some random woman over a dress.  The funny thing is...there were tons of these dresses on the rack for 1 and for 2 Stella is no where near a size 4T. Black Friday obviously got to me. :)

I blame it on the year before.  I had never done Black Friday before. I'm sure at some point I had done some shopping later in the day, but I had never done the whole get up at some ungodly hour and jockey for items that the stores only carried 2 of to get you in to spend money on other things.  Last year I decided it was time.  I got up at like 3 am and headed out in the dark. I got to the first store right as it opened, grabbed a buggie (that's what they call a cart in the south) and jumped into the sea of others trying to make their way back to the toy section.  I quickly realized I was getting no where with a cart. I abandoned the cart and went in search of the items I had marked on this coveted circular with my sharpie. Nothing, everything I had planned on getting was gone.

I moved on to store #2 with said circular with similar sharpie markings.  FAIL.  OK, OK. Store 3? Nope, nada.  Even worse I had to drag 4 different play tents up through the maze that led to the checkout.  Each time to be informed that the tent in my hand was NOT the tent in the circular.  Every tent I brought up was a variation of the Disney Princess tent just not THE specific one.  I was getting mad by the 4th tent and asked the girl at check out to please have someone find this needle in a haystack only to be informed it was sold out. 

Fading quickly and getting more pissed off by the second I drove to the 4th store.  By this time it was about 6:30 A.M. and I had made not 1 purchase.  At this point I abandoned the circular and just started shopping for deals. Success! I finished almost all of my shopping and saved a nice amount of money. Was the whole morning worth it, probably not. I most likely could have saved the same amount just shopping for deals through out the season.  I had the experience though. The famous "Black Friday" experience. It has obviously scarred me for life. 

This year was a greater success. I still got out the sharpie and circled.  I started with what I had wanted to get the most. Upon arrival I staked out the 4 wheeler and waited for the clock to hit 12:01.  Well, actually 11:56.  People started grabbing their items 5 minutes earlier and who was I to stand there like a dummy.  I told the lady next to me that everyone had started getting things and she could probably go ahead.  She told me her husband was a lawyer and would kill her if she started early.  Her loss, let her look like the dummy.  There was only 1 item I didn't get that I had wanted and the clerk informed me that their store never received that item.  7 out of 8 isn't bad odds. 
Happy Holidays!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Da Girls!

We went down and took some pictures at the beach last weekend. I really really like them and am excited to get some up on our wall.

I am pooped from Turkey prep.  It is the night before Thanksgiving and I am DONE!!! All we have left is season the turkey, stuff the turkey and cook the turkey. Oh and vaccum upstairs and swifter the family room, but those are Mario's job.  I feel like I got a really good workout in at the gym. So far I have Cranberry sauce, Mashed Potatoes, some kick butt stuffing, a Pecan Pie, Sweet Potato pie & green beans.  I feel like I've left something out...hmm.  Mario's mom is bringing sweet potatos, rolls and olives.  We also had Book babies at the Library today then cooked & cleaning and now it's time to relax. I've been a real party animal lately. I've taken up a new hobby, crocheting. Yes, I know. I am getting old, either that or extremely lame. It's actually soothing. You can just zone out and get really zen when doing it. So far I've made Stella a hat and am working on a blanket now. More on that at a later date though.  So I have been sitting in bed while Mario is asleep crocheting me little heart out til after midnight lately. Last night I was going to try to crash early and where did I end up? On the computer surfing Amazon. I'm not doing Black Friday this year I am going to do my shopping from the comfort of my own computer in my pj's. Ahhh.
Get your free Amazon Prime Mom membership here

You get free shipping on tons of items!

For now it's time to RELAX! Gobble Gobble!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Salmon with Mustard and Brown Sugar Glaze

image via
Salmon with Mustard and Brown Sugar Glaze

3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 2 pound center cut skinless salmon fillet
1/3 cup spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350.
Boil wine, butter, and Old Bay seasoning in small suacepan 3 minutes.  Sprinkle salmon on both sides with salt and pepper.  Place fish on heavy rimmed baking sheet.  Pour wine mixture over.  Bake until fish is opaque in center, about 14 minutes. Remove from over.
Preheat broiler.
Mix mustard and sugar in small bowl to blend; spread over salmon to cover.  Broil salmon until topping is brown and bubbling, about 3 minutes.  Transfer salmon to platter and serve.

So I made some modifications to this, but it had a great flavor.

So I was fresh out of spicy mustard so I just substituted regular mustard and it was still really good.  Fyi.  I also didn't have Old Bay seasoning so I used a little Lawry's and some paprika instead.  I added fresh chopped garlic to the wine/butter mixture.  I just used a casserole dish instead of the baking sheet.  The other change I made was in broiling.  We (ok well mostly me) LOVE sauces.  I am the sauce queen.  So I heated the mustard/brown sugar mixture in a pan and after the salmon was cooked I just did a few minutes on each side in the sauce.  Then topped with remaining on plate. Yum! It was really good.  If you are looking for another way to do salmon try this, the flavors are really good with the fish.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Free stuff is cool!

How cute are these?

I never used slings but I know they are really popular...

Seven Slings is giving away a FREE sling! All you have to do is pay shipping, which is $11.95.
They also charge $3.00 for insurance to exchance sizes, but you can choose to remove that.
Even if you don't use them yourself they would make a great gift for someone that does!
Thanks Liz for the info!
Always love a deal!

Click on the Seven Sling website.

Make sure you know what size you need under sizing, choose your sling which automatically takes you to the cart. Put the word "turkey" in the promo code and VOILA!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fairy Extravaganza Part Deux

Here's the remainder of Stella's Birthday pictures. Thanks Larry for sharing your copies with us.  Right now through Shutterfly they have an offer for a FREE softcover 7x9 Photo Book.  I'm going to make Stella a book from her Birthday/party to keep in her keepsake box.  

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Great Grandma's No Bake Cookies

 I foresee lots of cookie baking in our future! I am starting to get excited for the holidays. Thinking about our Thanksgiving menu, we are having Mario's Mom & Step Dad over.  The The Pioneer Woman has been posting lots of yummy recipes the last week or so. I have already printed out a few I am going to try.  I've pulled out my old & new Holiday editions of Bon Apetit & Cooking Light.  I'm going to make the infamous Pumpkin Ice Cream Torte and am trying to decide between this Pecan Pie from Ree or this Caramel Apple Pie from Cooking Light. After that Christmas Eve we'll host a open house here which includes numerous kinds of Christmas cookies! My Mom always had so many different choices on Christmas and by the time the day came, our freezer was stocked with goodies. The trick was to see how many you could skim off the top in the weeks before with out it looking like your sticky little fingers had been into her precious stash! :) The fudge was the GOLD prize but because the neat little rows it was pretty obvious when too many of those went missing.

This morning we made my Great Grandma's No Bake Cookie recipe.  Not for the holidays, just as a treat for Daddy.  He loves them. They aren't at the top of the pretty cookie list but boy are they easy, yummy,  rich and chocolatey! Pour yourself a BIG glass of milk before you dive into one of these!

No Bake Cookies

1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Milk
2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (optional)
4 Tablespoons Cocoa
2 Cups Quick Oatmeal
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Bring Butter, Sugar, Milk & Cocoa to a boil in saucepan.
Boil at a rolling boil, stirring constantly, for 3 solid minutes.
Take off burner. Add Peanut Butter, Vanilla & Oatmeal.
Drop quickly by spoonful on wax paper.
Let set.
Official Taste Tester

Friday, November 5, 2010

Goodnight Seattle

My sister gave this book to Stella as one of her Birthday presents. It is so cute and Stella loves it! When she opened it she made me read it about 5 times in a row. Every night we read 3 books in her rocker before bed. This has been on the list every night since she got it! You can get your own here

or here

If you happen to be in Seattle she got Stella's at this adorable toy store here

Tinkerbells Stroll

How cute is Stella's Tinkerbell outfit?  She insisted on putting wings on top of the wings the outfit already has. After everyone left on her Birthday Mario and I were taking a few remaining things down from the tents.  She did laps around the yard for almost an hour. After we were done, we sat down in 2 chairs and just watched her for a bit. She would stop every once in a while and rub her eyes then keep going. She was pooped. She pushes her baby stroller all over the house. The next day she even wanted to bring it in the car with us and sit it next to her like a car seat. Every night she's been tucking the "baby" in on a pillow bed next to her crib. She kisses it, gives it drinks from her sippy and rocks it. She is such a little sweetheart, I love it.

This last picture pretty much sums up our last few days.  Totally happy about it too.  I was really needing some down time.  One on one time with the girl Some time to just putter around the house and let Stella play with all of her new birthday toys. Luckily that's what the last few days has consisted of. Those mundane things that sometimes bore you to death. I was craving mundane. No parties, dr appts, funerals, etc. No matter how excited I was about the party and how happy I am that it was amazing, I'm glad it is now a wonderful memory. I was feeling really off and fragmented and desperately needed a recharge not just of energy, of spirit.

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fairy Fun!!!

Toadstool appetizers and deviled eggs. (Hard boiled eggs, half a tomato and drops of mayo)  I also made Apple lady bugs in with the carmelled apples but I don't think I have any pictures of that in mine.  I'm sure Mario's dad got some though.

Loved this cake!!! It was almost painful to cut into it. Everything was edible except the fairy and all the kids wanted a toadstool. It stayed inside til closer to when we cut it and I came in for a minute with Stella, the minute she saw it she ran over to the table and was trying to get to it. It was so cute. She loved it. All the kids would just come up to it and look at it.

Stella's friend Bella when she first arrived.

Bella's Mom; Margaret & brother Christopher. Aka; Peter Pan.

Happy Birthday!!! We decorated with plastic ivy and flowers, streamers & and hung tulle flowers & butterflies from the inside of the tent.

I made the tutu's from a elastic headband and tied tulle all around it. It took about 3 yards for each one. Luckily the tulle was a dollar a yard. If you use a Joann's coupon, it's even cheaper! The wands I got at Micheal's for a dollar each. I glued their initial on then decorated with glitter glue and jewels. Then finished it off with silver glitter spray. Loved them!

One of the Fairy House Painting tables.

Each girl got their own set of Fairy wings, tutu & Fairy wand! I had strung them up around the tent and when the girls arrived they would find their set.  I would cut them down and help them get them on.  I think this was one of my favorite parts.  Just seeing their eyes light up was priceless!

 I was very lucky and Stella took about an hour and a half nap right before the party. She woke up right as everyone was arriving, so I got her dressed and brought her down. She was so excited to see her friends and all the fun!

Birthday Girl!

Bella, Zach & Stella. You may remember little Zach from Stella's horse adventures! He is HILARIOUS!!!

Pretty Fairy Princess!

Aubrey did fairy face painting of flowers and butterflies. We also had little Tinkerbell temporary tattoos!

I think my favorite thing that I made for the party was these Toadstools. I had seen some ideas online and Mario modified the idea. If anyone wants to know how to make them just let me know. They take a little bit of time but are super easy, cheap and adorable!!! They end up costing about $4.00 a toadstool. All the kids were sitting on them, especially when she was opening presents. Her wall in her room is decorated with the tulle flowers and butterflies on the wall.  I borrowed them to hang from the tent and bought a few more butterflies for a dollar each at Joann's. Which are now up in her room with the toadstools!

Painting the Fairy Houses!

She was very serious about her painting!

Daddy and Papa helping out!

Fairy Maddie! Poor Maddie had the only painting oops! I had been offering all the mom's garbage bags to cover their kids with before they started painting but everyone declined and said it was fine. Jenny was the only one I forgot to ask and Maddie accidentally got painted on her stomach with black paint! Sorry Jenny!!!

Jaden's pirate ship looked great!!!

Zach is ALWAYS enthusiastic about everything!

You can see little Laurel sitting on one of the toadstools in the background!

Stella's party was a total success! Everyone had such a wonderful time, especially the kids! I loved seeing all their faces light up. It was totally worth every minute spent on projects!!! Unfortunately, Mario was carrying the camera around so I didn't get nearly as many as I would have taken. He did a good job, I don't want to knock him but he doesn't think about details as  much as I do.  BUT his dad has a great camera with every lens in the world and he took 200. He totally gets pictures of details too so he should have some great ones. As soon as I get them from him I'll post round 2!  Bright and early yesterday morning we had Stella's 2 year Dr appointment. I'm worn out from the last few weeks, Mario is too. We both feel ugh and Stella's leg is sore from her 2 shots she got yesterday.  Today we are taking it easy and still in our pj's, well not Mario.  Gonna try to recuperate from all the party fun!!! I am pooped!