First of all

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

All the kids are in school

All three kids are in 3 different schools in the same school district, all on 3 different buses at 3 different p/u and drop off locations. So I get 3 sets of the same announcement pages one from each school...that's about a tree a week down the drain I figure...

I don't mind the 3 different schools and 3 different buses because that still adds up to almost 3 hours of life to myself. Today I got to run 6 miles and take care of 3 errands. Yep it was wonderful.

Too bad they already have a 1/2 day on Friday and Monday off, I was just starting to get used to this!

I wanted to post a pic or 2 of Anna going on the bus, but I can't seem to locate the UBS cord for the camera. When I find it, I will post.

Only 2 more days til the Fall/Winter Tastefully Simple Catalog is out. I am pondering stocking up on some extra Cool & Creamy Cucumber for this fall when fans of it are looking to find it...that seems to be a super popular dip.

Cool & Creamy Chicken Wraps
Submitted by Kimberly Scibelli (MA)

Ingredients 1 pkt. Cool 'n Creamy Cucumber
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3 - 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Seasoned Salt to taste
Italian Seasoning Blend to taste
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Tomato basil tortilla wraps

Directions Prepare Cool 'n Creamy Cucumber as directed on package with mayonnaise and sour cream; set aside. Sprinkle chicken breasts with Seasoned Salt and Italian Seasoning Blend. Grill chicken until done; cool. Slice chicken into strips. Spread Cool 'n Creamy Cucumber liberally on wrap; add chicken. Top with lettuce and cheese; roll up. Makes 4-6 servings.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

This and That

Oh you must go read this blog, this woman (who lives in the Burbs of Chicago) is so funny...think Erma Bombeck...Jean Kerr..Rosanne Barr

Anyway it's a wonderful blog:

So how was your weekend? Today was the most beautiful weather in a long while. Just a perfect day. I spend the day selling my Tastefully Simple at the Lockport Moose Lodge Car Show--big thanks to Patty for getting me into the show. It was a fun afternoon. I met lots of very nice people, sold a bunch of Tastefully Simple and scheduled a November party.

It was a suprise to me to see so many families there--I thought it would be more guys and maybe their wives/girlfriends but it was a real family event--very nice to see so many people enjoying the day together.

Last night's dinner....(today I was too beat to cook!)

Take 2 chicken breasts and cook in a couple tablespoons of Asian Aura Dressing. Let them get mostly cooked and then cut them up and then add in a bag of frozen stir fry veggies, and whatever fresh veggies you feel like adding, I added pea pods and bean sprouts (add the bean sprouts at the very end) and a 1/4 cup of Asian Aura and 2 tbsp of Honey Teriyaki. Stir fry together until the chicken is done and the veggies are tender and serve over whole wheat noodles or brown rice.


Tues is Anna's first day on the bus! Wahoo!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rain Rain Flood, Humidity, Tornados in Downtown Chicago

Our sump pump couldn't keep up, we took on some water in the basement, just a bit...but still not good. Good thing we have awfully ugly linoleum tile and not a nice carpet! I can't see the green in this pic, but that is the tile, just imagine that the white areas are green...sea green.
Today was one of those days where you can't figure out what you did all day, and the full basket of laundry and the dishes in the sink aren't doing anything but reinforcing that feeling.
We are already just about through the first week of school...Tomorrow's dinner will be pizza at Chuck E Cheese. In my opinion, it's not too bad, considering the source...
I have a butternut squash I need to figure out what to do with....I will be sure to share how I cook it...using some Tastefully Simple products of course...right now I have no clue what I will do...
Bah, if it wasn't so hot today and if I had one in the house, I would have made our new favorite bread...Cranberry Pecan bread..just add an egg (or is it two...) and a cup of water. It is SO good. I can't wait to share it w/everyone this fall!!!--especially my fellow cranberry lovers! The Cranberry Pecan bread would be even better w/a nice cup of our new Caramel something Latte drink. I can't remember the name how good it is distracts me!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

August 21st

(picture of the new fall/winter line)

Well in 2 days it will be my parent's 38th anniversary. Hmm I think my mom said I was in charge of planning a good party for them for their 40th...I better check on that, might be time to start planning!

A week from today the bus will be coming to pick up little Anna and take her off to Pre-K. Wahoo!

Last night I realized that w/the kids in 3 different schools we'll be getting 3x the fundraisers and PTA requests. Hmm--I don't think I'll be ordering Market Day for 3 schools! But it's a small price to pay for 3 hours of time each day for me to enjoy the quiet and reflect upon life's mysteries big and small--or in the real world which I live in--time to get caught up on laundry and errands! Ahh, kid-free trips to the grocery store and the post's like a little slice of heaven.

One day soon I'll be making this recipe for dinner using our new Cafe Portabella Mushroom Soup.

Shari Kennedy ~ CA

Title: Cafe Portabella Mushroom and Chicken Pasta

Ingredients:1 pkg Cafe Portabella Mushroom Soup Mix

1 8oz pkg mushroom

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 tsp. Garlic Garlic

1 cup light sour cream

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces

1 16oz pkg pasta

2 tbsps Italian parsley for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:Follow directions on package for the sauce mix. Meanwhile boil your water for the pasta, chopped onion and chicken breasts.Warm olive oil in a large skillet, add mushrooms, onions and Garlic Garlic. Saute until tender. Add in chicken and cook until chicken is no longer pink. Pour sauce over mushroom and chicken mixture, add pasta and mix well.Bon Appetite!

Number Of Servings:6-8

Preparation Time:30 mins. start to finish

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Running in the Rain and Great Chicken Recipe

Well here is how my day went today.

Spend time cleaning since Anna's Pre-K teacher is coming over 2morrow for a home visit.

Watched the rain fall and fall and fall and fall.

Made Tom go into the attic and check if the roof was leaking. (it's not)

Decided I should go run anyway since if it rains on 9/9 (the day of the 1/2 marathon) I'll have to run in the rain anyway, so might as well train in the rain 2day.

Ran 6 miles.

Hoped that the rain meant that any itch mites wouldn't be getting on me--since I already have a very itchy welt on my shoulder thanks to the itch mites.

Decided to try a new recipe for chicken, and found it to be delish.

And realized that while I ordered samples, catalogs, order forms, flyers, and invitations, for the new line of products, I neglected to order order forms. :-(

Lastly made the kids take baths and go to bed b/4 9pm because tomorrow is...drum roll please...The First Day of School!!!!!

Okay here is the recipe!

I made this w/roasted potatoes seasoned w/Seasoned Salt and roasted asparagus seasoned w/yep...Seasoned Salt. It was awesome!

Better-Than-Grilled Chicken
Submitted by Tracy Weeks-Gariepy (MA)

4 - 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Seasoned Salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/8 cup Balsamic & Basil Dipping Oil
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/8 cup Vidalia® Onion Dressing
1/8 cup white cooking wine

Season chicken with Seasoned Salt and pepper; dredge in flour. Heat Balsamic & Basil Dipping Oil and olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken on both sides; drizzle with Vidalia® Onion Dressing and white wine. Continue cooking about 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Makes 4-6 servings.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Anna Gets a Haircut and a movie recommendation!

Thanks so much to my friend Kit for cutting little Anna's hair. Her hair was just looking so straggly and she hated to have it brushed. Now she is ready w/a cute new do for school! I could just eat her up!

Last night I went w/my friend Diana to see the Bourne Ultimatium, boy was it good! Nonstop action! That Jason Bourne is so smart, he makes James Bond look like a hack.

It is a really beautiful day outside here in Chicagoland, I hope many people leave work early so they can enjoy the day, I think there is not a cloud in the sky. From my kitchen window I can see a cardinal in our neighbor's peach tree just sitting there taking in the sights and catching some rays.

A great dessert for late August:

Brandon's Key Lime Ice Cream Pie
Submitted by Laural Caster (NY)

2 pints softened vanilla ice cream, divided
Prepared graham cracker pie crust
Key Lime Cheese Ball Mix

Directions Spread 1 pint of vanilla ice cream over prepared pie crust; sprinkle with crumbs from Key Lime Cheese Ball Mix Packet 2. Combine contents of Key Lime Cheese Ball Mix Packet 1 with remaining vanilla ice cream; spread on top of crumb layer. Freeze pie for 4 hours or until firm. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired. Makes 6-8 servings.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wine Bar

Last night the hubby and I got together w/some old friends and went to a local wine bar. We had fun and I learned that in the future it would be much cheaper for us if we just get together at one of our houses and everyone brings their fav bottle of wine, some crackers and cheese.

Me, I like light white wines, the man prefers shiraz and pizza.

Speaking of cheese and wine the delicious Warm the Oven cheese dip that everyone went crazy for last fall is back and is now part of the Tastefully Simple fall line. This cheese dip is geat w/wine!!

This morning Patrick had some rash on his arms and chest, and then w/in an hour he had hives on his face. We have no idea what the allergic reaction was from, we dropped everything and went to the dr, he doesn't seem to be too concerned just said to give Patrick Benadryl for the next 48 hours and keep an eye on him to make sure the hives don't come back/get worse.

Hopefully this is just one of those things that won't be a recurring allergy!!!

The whole hive scare and rushing around to the dr and then taking the kids to Wal-Mart to get the medicine in the high humidity, has left me just wanting to take a nice afternoon nap..ah wouldn't that be lovely????

A fondue recipe, make it for those fond of you!

Chipotle Cheese Fondue
Submitted by Rosemary (MN) HQ Resident Chef
2 pkts.Rockin' Chipotle Dip Mix
1 lb. shreddedSwiss cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp.cornstarch
1 1/3 cups dry white wine
1 Tbsp. freshlime juice
Blue Aztec Chips
Directions Toss first 3 ingredients together in a large bowl. Bring wine and lime juice to a boil in a large saucepan; stir in cheese mixture by handfuls. Bring mixture to a bare simmer over moderate heat; stirring. Transfer to a fondue pot and set over low flame. Serve with Blue Aztec Chips. Makes 6-8 servings.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Exciting News!

Me and Steve Dahl on my birthday.
One of my team members has welcomed her third team member which means she is promoting to Team Leader! I am so excited for her!!!!

This weekend was awfully hot. I did an open house w/my good pal Patty the Home Interiors queen, and wow it was very hot, I think I melted a bit. I am grateful that I was able to get in a 4 mile run last night after spending a few hours in the air conditioning!

I finished a book this weekend, it seems that almost every book that catches my eye lately is British Chick-Lit...I think Bridget Jones spawned a cottage industry. In any case, it makes for fun relaxing reading. The name of this one was The Second Wives' Club. Next I am reading Bidding for Love by Katie Fforde. This is the last week of summer for the boys...and only another week past that before Anna begins PreK!!! --not that I am looking forward...

Yesterday was sooo hot but today so lovely and so much cooler that I could have made a batch of the brand new for fall Cafe Portobella Mushroom Soup and Sauce and the Perfectly Parmesan Biscuits (ie Tastefully Simple's answer to Red Lobster's Cheesy Biscuit...) and served that w/a nice salad of fresh greens, peapods, red pepper and Ginger Teriyaki Ranch Dressing. Talk about easy, you don't even need a recipe for that dinner.

Countdown to the new fall/winter line...18 days!!!!

Healthy Eating tip, whenever a recipe calls for more thank a tbsp of oil, I reduce the oil by one third, it doesn't seem to make a bit of difference in anything.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Happy Birthday!

To Me.

Yep it's my birthday. A nice sunny August day w/moderate humidity. If I had a pic of when I was a little kiddo I'd probably post it, but I don't...

So far it's been like every other day except that Bryce has been out of sorts for some reason I can't figure out so it's been loud and lots of fighting. ARG!!!

Exciting news yesterday...I am going to be in THE REPORTER newspaper, a very local paper, next Thursday in their Our Neighbor section for my Tastefully Simple sales excellence last year! So that is super exciting for me!

Also exciting, and Im not sure if I mentioned this already, but Anna is going to go to preschool via the school district which means all the kids on a bus!!! 5 days a week. Wahoo~!!

And I am working on the evite for my What do you want night where I'll share how Tastefully Simple gave me what I wanted and what it has to offer others. That will be August 28th.

Found this great recipe on Better Homes and Garden changed it to make it easier...

8 6-inch corn tortillas
1 batch of Simply Salsa Salsa
8 oz. fresh green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
1 tsp. Fiesta Party Dip
1 lb. medium to large shrimp peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1. Prepare Simply Salsa as directed 1-2 hours before making the rest.

2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap tortillas in heavy foil. Heat in preheated oven 10 minutes.
2. In a bowl toss beans with 1/2 teaspoon Fiesta Party Dip. In another bowl toss shrimp with remaining 1/2 teaspoon Fiesta Party Dip. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green beans; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add shrimp to skillet; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes more or until shrimp turn opaque.
3. To serve, fill each warm tortilla with about 1/3 cup shrimp and green bean mixture. Serve with salsa. Makes 4 servings (2 tortillas each plus 2/3 cup salsa)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Timbercreek Farm Organics

We got our "goodie" box of organice fruits and veggies today and it included a recipe for Ratatouille on the Run, and I had all the ingredients on hand, including fresh basil from my big basil plant/bush. Not suprisingly, I was the only one in my family willing to try this dish...and it was very good, nice side dish...I crumbled a little bit of sharp cheddar cheese on top.

Here is the recipe:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp garlic garlic
1 large eggplant unpeeled, diced
2 green bell peppers diced
2 large tomatoes chopped
1 onion cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large zucchini cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tbsp dried
2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Heat oil in BIG heavy sauce pan or wok over med heat. Add garlic garlic; stir. Add eggplant, green bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, zucchini and basil. Saute 5 minutes. Cover and simmer until all the vegetables are tender, stirring occassionally, about 25 minutes. Uncover pot/pan and simmer until juice thickens, stirring occassionally, about 10 min. Mix in vinegar, season to taste w/salt and pepper.Preheat oven to 350. Spread ratatouille in 9 inch-diameter pie dish. Sprinkle w/cheese, if desired. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.

On the homefront I went to the Courthouse today and in literally 3 minutes, I got a copy of Anna's birth certificate. I was mightly impressed w/the experience, have you ever heard of getting in and out of a government office in less than 5 mintues??? So I was able to take that along w/a bunch of other paperwork over to the schoool in our district that offers preschool...So do you know what that means? In less than 3 weeks all 3 kids will be taking buses to school and I won't have to drive anyone to the park district back and forth and back and forth. And I'll have about 2.5 hours of the day to myself....but really it's all about the environment and not driving my car as's not about being able to sit and think in silence or being able to clean the house and have it stay clean for a few hours, or catching up on my reading, or getting on TS offered conference calls, or going for a run every morning...really it's not about's about the environment!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

His own room

For six months my younger brother was living with us in our basement. He moved out this past weekend to head out for the big city...NYC.

And the moment he left, Patrick was packing up his stuff to move into his own room. This was all young Patrick's idea, and boy is he happy about having his own room...except when it's time to sleep. That has been a bit of a work in progress involving a nightlight and several back up lights on throughout the basement.

I'm very excited that Patrick now has his own room, there is less fighting btwn him and his brother and he has a place for all his important stuff...such as a bottle cap...a ragged Miles Kimball catalog, lots of little legos, an an assortment of Spongebob stuff.

He also found and had me hang up several St. Patricks Day related school art works. Such as a paper potato wearing a green leprechan hat. St. Patrick's Day is Patrick's day you see?

When Patrick is not writing in his Imagination Journal on his makeshift desk he enjoys this meal...

Boneless Chicken Breasts marinaded in Balsalmic and Basil Dipping Oil and baked.

Roasted Potatoes: I take potatoes leave the skins on and cube them up then toss them w/a bit of olive oil and Tastefully Simple's Italian Seasoning Salt and put them on a Pam sprayed pan and bake those...


Broccoli steamed w/a little of our Seasoned Salt.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

3.5 hours early

This morning the Feldco guy came to look at the windows we have that need to be fixed. 3.5 hours early. The appt was for noon to 2 (a two hour window) and then he called at 8am...Tom answered the phone, I probably would have let it go to voice mail...and asked if he could come at 9am instead of noon. Then he showed up at 8:30. I had to hide in the bathroom and get dressed. Nevermind that the kids were in their PJs....

830am on a Saturday, me personally I am not ready for company of any sort at that time!

Today was exciting. I have all the school supplies bought and divied up for the boys. I have a sneaking suspicion that one bryce starts, they are going to ask him to get more supplies...seems like there wasn't too much to his list. Now if I could only find some info on when I can pick up Patricks info --the really important stuff that we need to know like--ah what time is the bus coming to pick him up and where is the bus stop??? LOL

Tonight we are going to see the Simpsons at the drive in. Here's hoping the rain holds off until Midnight.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Only one week...

Until my birthday. I'll be 26. LOL. My birthday always means that ragweed season and the start of school are around the corner. So take notice now, quick do some fun summer stuff, the summer fun clock is ticking down very quickly!

The Ty Warner splash pad is a great place to find summer you can see here, Anna is having a great time.

A note to anyone watching their weight. You'll want to avoid Jewel this week as Ben and Jerry's ice cream is on sale. Did you know they have this ice cream called Cinnamon Buns? Oh it is so good. Sinfully good!
Speaking of Cinnamon...
Apple Nut Cinammon Muffin Melts
Submitted by Denise Grant (TN)
Ingredients Cinnamon Muffin Melt Mix™
1 cup water
1 chopped apple
1/2 cup chopped pecans or nuts of choice
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
Directions Prepare muffins with water; stir in apples and pecans. Bake as directed on package. Roll in melted butter and reserved cinnamon sugar packet. Cool and serve. Makes 12 muffins.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

August 2nd. Yep, no creative title

I think the heat has gotten to my brain. I cannot think of a clever title for todays blog and I can't remember what I had for breakfast. But I do remember what I had last night at dinner...I made the most delicious 'silver treasure' foil packet potatoes w/garlic infused olive oil from Market Day and a sprig of fresh rosemary. and some of our TS Italian Seasoning Salt. Oh it was soooo good. I also did this...

Cut a giant zucchini lengthwise, pour our brand new salsa that I got as an attendee of National Conference on top and that you can get for yourself 9/1, then sprinkle on shredded moz. cheese over that and bake. Oh it was so gosh darn good!!!

Also can you see the graphic for eWomens networking? I cant but the link is still clickable. If you could email me and let me know what you see?

On Tuesday night I participated in an Idea Party as part of my 8 week Success Team class, boy it was wonderful. I have 2 giant pages filled with ideas on how I can achieve my goal this year of becoming a member of Tastefully Simple's Gold Leaf Executive club. Now I have no excuses and now that you know it is my goal, you too can hold me accountable! The incentive period is July 1, 2007 to June 30th, 2008, so it's a year long goal. In order to reach this goal I'll have to work harder than ever...but to reach such a career goal will be worth all the effort. To find out more about Success Teams go to

About 10 Tastefully Simple consultants reach the Gold Leaf club each year. In order to be a member I'll be working toward having $65,000 in personal sales, welcoming 16 new team members and helping 3 team member become Team Leaders. It's a tall order...but as they say...nothing ventured...nothing gained!

And when I reach my goal, not only will my business be definitely taken to the next level, and not only will I be recognized on stage at Nationals next year and get to hug the CEO, I'll be going on an all expense paid trip of a lifetime w/the hubby to Puerto Vallarta!