Monday, February 28, 2011

I Heart Faces: Anything But A Face

The photo challenge of the week at I Heart Faces this week is Anything But A Faces which, means I don't have to have a face in the picture this week. I could do anything head, shoulders, knees and toes! I had ideas.  I truly pondered this one. I am on 5 weeks of entries with no wins or mentions so I wanted to get something good. There are usually around 800 entries at the end of a contest and there are some GREAT photographers out there. With that said, I had ideas of photographing my daughter painting her toenails which, is always somewhat of a comical treat! But, then as usual, I toted my camera around with me and was struck by a special moment that I snapped a picture of.

Roughly 13 years ago, while in college, I met a young lady who ended up to become a constant and lifelong friend. After we graduated from school we moved apart for work and got married and had children and about 3 years ago now, she moved back to my neck of the woods. We had talked on average of 2 times a day the entire time we lived apart so we didn't skip a beat when her family moved up my way. Our children have become great friends and we often have play dates and get togethers with the family. Her children even call me Auntie! Nothing warms my heart more than to see my children light up when they get to see their best buddies after being apart for a few days.

Today when I arrived to pick my daughter up from school with my sweet surrogate niece in tow, this was what took place. They yelled out each-others names and ran for a warm embrace. I love it and it reminds me of how special our friends are in life and how lucky we are to have them! Thanks to a friendship made 13 years ago, a new one has bloomed!

Special Hugs!


Monday, February 21, 2011

I Heart Faces: Cell Phone

A couple weeks back my Jedi had an accident on his skateboard. About 30 minutes later we were at the Urgent Care Center getting stitches in his chin. He was remarkably brave getting the stitches in because, he couldn't wait to show them off to his friends and father. However, a week later, when it came time to get them out, he was terrified.  He asked his sister to hold his hand while the doctor removed the stitches and while I waited on the sidelines, gleaming in the glory of proud parenthood, I snapped this photo on my iphone.

This week over at i Heat Faces the photo challenge is any photo taken with your cell phone. So, now I have the opportunity to show off my cute kids yet again.  In case you were at all concerned, the chinny chin chin has recovered nicely and the skateboard is off limits for now. :)


Monday, February 14, 2011

I Heart Faces: Red

Today over at I Heart Faces the photo challenge is the subject red. This weeks topic is in honor of Go Red For Women.  This is a very important cause for me since I have a history of heart disease within the women of my family. I recently was also diagnosed with the beginnings of a hereditary form of heart disease. It is my goal to stay active, stay strong, and carry on. For this photo challenge I wanted to use a somewhat artistic photo of a women more my age and show the beauty of  our age and gender! I love it!  Go check out the rest of the entries at


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What to do with this damn chicken: Wednesday 3

I have been slacking this week and had absolutely zero creative moments to share with you yesterday but I hope you enjoyed your Taco Tuesday regardless! I was not going to leave you without a chicken recipe to cook tonight, however. Funny thing is that I actually will need to go to the store to get more chicken!  Crazy I know!  I thought I had enough in my freezer to last me months but I have actually been using it very regularly (pat on the back), so yeah me!

This next recipe comes from Michele B. who says this recipe is a crowd pleaser in her home. Once again, she does have children, so I will see if I can slid it past the lips of my finicky eaters. Now, as a side note, Michele's kids ask to have Broccoli for dinner so they are not earthling children ,as far as I am concerned, but they call me Auntie so I still love those little alien babes! :)  This recipe however, does seem like it is worth a try and it is from Barefoot Contessa who rarely goes wrong!


Chicken Piccata

  •  2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  •  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  •  1 extra-large egg
  •  1/2 tablespoon water
  •  3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  •  Good olive oil
  •  3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  •  1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons),  lemon halves reserved
  •     1/2 cup dry white wine
  •     Sliced lemon, for serving
  •     Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.


Monday, February 7, 2011

{I Heart Faces:} Weekly Photo Challenge: Hearts

This weeks photo challenge over at I Heart Faces is "Hearts"!  I included my little loves in this photo since I heart them and they heart each-other.:) Ahh, I love this coming holiday because it gives me a reason to get all silly and sappy and its okay because its February!

Happy Valentines day!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Joy of Love Day 3 ...makes me think

Today the Joy of Love photo assignment was to capture your loved one with the theme in mind of Then and Now.  Boy did this assignment take me back.

Six years ago as I nursed my daughter in a quiet rocking chair far removed from any stresses, I was suddenly struck by a crazy thought. See the Mouse was only 6 months old and the most precious thing I have ever laid eyes upon. I was sitting there gazing at her and realizing how upset my stomach was and how tired I felt. Well, more things started to align in my mind and I was smacked across the face with the realization that my life would be changing again very soon. Yep, I was pregnant again!  

That was a scary moment for me. How could it be? Okay, we all know how it could be but, I was in denial! It took a couple of days to absorb but I was soon thrilled with the thought of having another baby. Now, I realize just how blessed I am that my kiddos have each-other. They are only 16 months apart and they are each-others best friend.  I wouldn't have had it any other way. My babies love one another and we love them!  Here is their Then and Now photo. Aren't they cute!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What to do with this damn chicken: Wednesday 2

As promised I am providing you with yet another chicken recipe so that you can open your freezer with ease today. Take it out, defrost it and get ready for some tasty goodness. This recipe excites me because of the first four letters in the name.. SALT!  Yep, you have sugar people, you have salt people and you have people that look at the cows with envy every time you see them slobbering all over their salt lick. I want a salt lick! Salt is my reason for existence and the reason I love Margaritas so much. When else is it socially acceptable to just lick salt out in public. Only when it is on the rim of your glass I guess.

Anyway, enough of my salt addiction and on to the recipe which was provides by Michelle S. This woman had time to send me a few recipes in all of her spare time that she has with 3 children under the age of 2 that have all been sick with some nasty bugs in the last 2 weeks. You rock Michelle and we all appreciate you taking the time to help us out on this Wednesday!  Here you are folks..

Chicken SALTimbocca

1 10-oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed to room temperature
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
6 chicken cutlets (about 3 ounces each), pounded to flatten evenly
6 paper-thin slices of prosciutto (or more if you love it like we do)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 14-oz can chicken broth
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Squeeze the frozen spinach to remove excess water. In a small bowl, toss the spinach with 1 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the chicken cutlets on a flat work surface. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Lay one slice of prosciutto atop each chicken cutlet. Arrange an even layer of spinach atop the prosciutto and sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly over each (or skip this step if you're on a dairy-free diet :) ). Roll up each cutlet as for a jelly roll and secure with a toothpick.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Add the chicken rolls and cook just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the broth and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to dinner plates and set aside. Increase the heat to high and cook the sauce until it is reduced to about 2/3 cup (about 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle over the chicken before serving.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Taco Tuesday, Food for thought: The Jedi and iTunes

When I was young we had Atari. That was it for the video game world, no internet, no searching for the latest and greatest graphically inclined games, nothing more than Asteroids and Pong. Now, we have so many options of mind melting materials to spend hours wasting your day on that my quest for a happy medium in my home has temporarily gone awry.

 It all started about a year ago when the Jedi discovered my iphone. This was only after I loaded 2 games on my phone to keep him busy in one of 2 places, the doctor’s office and the grocery cart. We loaded Hatch, a silly game where your child can crack and egg and see what crazy animal hatches from it and the other was a game that had them trace a letter on the screen with their finger to the sounds of a cheering crowd.   The Jedi then began a love affair with anything and everything Pirate. There entered our great idea of finding him a game on my phone where he could sail the Seven Seas without leaving the confines of our home.  It worked for a while. I used the game as bribery (yep, I said it…BRIBERY!). “Go make your bed and clean up your room and you can play the Pirate game on Mommy’s phone”. It worked. I got what I wanted and he got what he wanted. Until….

 On a dark and cloudy day about 2 months ago I checked our bank account on-line. There was a mysterious charge on my bank account reading “iTunes purchase $99.99"!  HOLY CRAP!  I ran to my husband, “Babe what the Hell are you buying on iTunes that cost 99 bucks?”  He swore up and down that it wasn’t him. Okay so who was it, nobody else has my password to purchase anything and it couldn’t be the Jedi who is playing some silly game called  Lil Pirates that just lets you float a little boat around searching for treasure. I got right on the horn and called iTunes direct. The lady on the other end opened my eyes to the whole scam of free but not so free gaming where they pray on young children and it is legal!

 Here is the thing, when you load a child friendly and “free” game on your phone you HAVE to read the fine print! Your child can make purchases through the game even though they can’t read! My son bought $99 worth of rafts for his pirate ship through the game and he didn’t even need to enter a password to do it. Crazy huh! And apparently it is perfectly legal. So when you pick a FREE game for your child to keep them occupied in times of need, make sure the app doesn’t read “Top App Purchases” (see pic below) in the description. This means they can buy things for the game, through the game.   After a lot of ranting and threatening I was refunded my money and immediately broke my son’s heart into pieces by deleting the game.

 Well, one day he jumped ship (Pirate Ship that is). No more Yo Ho Hoing in our house. We have moved on to Star Wars. So we did some serious research and found yet another free game that had no purchasing abilities. Here lies the second problem. He is addicted! It is a problem! We take the game away and he cries, he wants to take it with him on car trips, to people’s homes, to his bed. Ummm, don’t worry, I realize this is a problem and we are trying to gradually find a happy medium with gaming and regular homework, play, chores, etc.

What He Does...
I recently saw an article about a mom that unplugged the whole family for 6 months! No TV, no phones, no games, etc. for a whopping 6 months! See Unplug Your Kids and read about her here.  Sounds cool. She is a gem, she is amazing and the problem is, I am not ready to lead by example!  Thoughts?  I use Facebook and blogging and my phone for my photography work purposes and general staying connected purposes. I wouldn’t have even seen this Unplugged Project if it hadn’t been for my computer.   This mom’s goal is to help you out along the way with ideas of things to do and ways to get through it but I’m still not sure.

I would love to hear your thoughts on giving it all up. I am all for limiting TV, etc. and don’t want my children to get obese and stupid just as much as the next mom. With that said, I like to be able to let them do these things every now and again  so I can actually get something done too without worrying that they are painting the dog red (this has actually happened!).   I am not a crazy holistic mom by any stretch of the imagination. We do crafts, I spend quality time with my kids, we ride bikes, I work in their class rooms but, I also take them to McDonalds and when they ask, “ fries or apples” , I have to laugh! Really, do your kids pick apples at McDonalds?  Well, mine don’t and they also watch TV!

This takes me to my creative moment on this fine Taco Tuesday. I have entered a photo project/class for the month of February called, The Joy of Love.  Each day in February Willette Designs asks you  to capture a picture of one of your loved ones based on a daily theme you are given.  Today (day 1) I was to capture them in “What They Do”.

So here is my son, and What he Does! (on the left)

Happy Taco Tuesday!