First of all

Thursday, April 29, 2010

No really it's true, I went to Cancun and I didn't come back with a tan or a lousy sunburn!

This picture is from Friday Night in Cancun right prior to us going to dinner.  behind me you can see ocean.  Ohh Ahh I love the ocean.

Many nice people have asked how was my trip to Cancun.  If I can be cliche in a word it was memorable.  We drove off with our minivan taxi driver at 5ish AM on Saturday morning, it was cold for sandals.  I wore them anyway, the minute we were out the door I was on vacation. 

When I travel, as I do about quarterly thanks to my super awesome part time job livng the life of a jet setting Tastefully Simple Lady,  I like a few things to go a certain way.  Just think of me as a female version of Ryan Bingham in Up In The Air, without 97% of the issues.  I had my pre-boarding Egg McMuffin and Venti Starbucks (black).  Can I just say, this is the perfect traveling breakfast, as long as you are not adverse to using the plane's bathroom. (Venti is a lot of coffee).  I like to sit in the back-ish of the plane and must have an aisle seat. Ah aisle seats how I love aisle seats.  "Up in the Air" was the movie for the flight, a movie that takes place in airports and on American Airlines-the same airline we were flying. 

Have you ever been to Cancun?  I really don't like wintertime and I am the one who says bring on the heat, I can handle the humidity.  righhhhttt.  Let me put it this way, people who live in Cancun like to travel to Florida to experience the dry heat.  When they visit Chicago in August and we are enjoying 90% humidity,  they bring a coat so they won't be chilly.  Walking from the plane to the baggage claim my hair went from straight-ish with some wave to boing!  Frizzy city.  The plus was I didn't spend any of my vacation on hair styling. 

Tom walked into the resort and looked around and his mouth dropped opened. He was impressed.  The resort is all tile and marble and has beautiful stainglass ceilings.  It reminded me of a Las Vegas Hotel big, sensory overload, and you have no reason to leave the place except to catch your plane home. When we arrived at the resort there was really really long lines for check in, which was bad because I was starving, and good because they had a cocktail bar and snacks next to the check in line.  Because I am almost 40 and wise in the ways of drinking alchohol, I grabbed a margarita, and no snacks.  I told Tom, I didn't want to waste my hunger on chips and salsa. 

Once we got to our room we checked out the minibar, which was included in the all-inclusiveness of the place so we opened the wine in our room, toasted to the view, took a picture of the liquor dispensers, checked out the robes and I made Tom get in the hammock for a picture. The courtyard our room overlooked had a bit of an ocean view, lots of palm trees and birds were singing.  I remarked to Tom that the birds reminded me of our honeymoon in Hawaii.

Clearly this picture isn't going to end up in the resort brochure touting how relaxing it is at their resort. 
We had a lovely room.  As we were starving we wanted to get right out there and enjoy the all-inclusivity, and I wanted to wear my most awesome shoes.  Micheal Kors sandals I got via daily deals.  Obviously the man didn't appreciate the awesomeness of the shoes.  Not only are they cute but also super comfy, except if you wear them for a night out then you might get a huge blister on your big toe like me!

I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but I am know for my falling.  I trip from time to time and fall and it is funny every time.  Something about seeing someone fall down is always funny. So there I was feeling stylish and trendy in my cute shoes and my casual dress walking around with my hubby with the ocean breeze.  A lovely stroll, and then I walk over to a bathroom over by one of the pools and whooops.  I slipped and fell right when another lady was walking out of the stall I fall smack on the floor on my knee.  The kind lovely lady says, "Are you OK?  I did the same thing!"  I laughed and made a mental note to text my good friend and let her know I had fallen again.  It's not a fun time til I fall down.  That lady probably didn't really even fall, she was just trying to make me feel better or she thought I was drunk and she wanted to humor the drunk lady.

In my defense of falling:
1. I don't fall that much, I just happen to fall around others.
2. I learned the hard way not to walk or run and look at my iphone.
3. I run 20-30 miles a week so on average I don't fall anymore than anyone else.
4. I didn't fall until I after I sprained my ankle really bad, I blame my bad ankle.

We had a really yummy dinner and I think I let the nice waiter give me a bit too many cervezas.  I mean the guy was taking my glass when it was 3/4 empty and giving me a fresh mug.  It was a fun night, Tom was Mr. Social and lucky for me I switched to water!

At the crack of dawn, the birds woke me up.  They were louder than my alarm clock and not welcome at all. Tom the morning person that he is, was up and working on a presentation for work and pre
paring for his conference call at 8am.  He was grumbling, and I dug thru my carry-on, found the ibuprophen and went back to bed.

On our walk to breakfast, we decided we aren't cut out for a vacation of drinking.  Tom said we should have been practicing by drinking frequently in the weeks leading up to our trip (tongue-in-cheek).
After breakfast Tom had more work to wrap up, so I took a nap, because I could.  Naps cannot be overrated. Tom's work was wrapped up and we finally got to check out the pools. When you have lots of freckles, such as I do, you learn how to put on loads of sunblock.  Much to the disappointment of Ms. Anna, we came back with no suntan. 

I have to share more of the trip, more falling, learning to use chopsticks, our door falling off our room. I'm going to try to tell the rest of the story tomorrow, but I might not get to it since at 7pm tonight (Thursday) I realized that Bryce's 1st communion is at 10AM on Saturday, and he doesn't have a suit to wear and I have to get an xray on my toe because it's probably broken.  Too funny!  Really I am organized, and in great health!  It just doesn't sound like it! 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tis Tuesday!

It's Tuesday, that means in 48 hours will be in Cancun and my parents will be spending an afternoon with Anna.  Hopefully they won't try to go shopping after school with her, because she is the worst when you are trying to get a few things from the grocery store or to check your coupons to save a couple bucks.  How can that sweet Anna be a nightmare at the store?  Well lets see:
1. sitting in the toliet paper/paper towel aisle on the toliet paper.
2. picking up a cucumber after the mister mists the veggies and licking off water.
3. Opening the egg boxes and taking out eggs.
4. saying she is tired and sitting in the middle of an aisle
5. running off in the store then when you walk over and get her, she starts saying MAMA YOU ARE HURTING ME.
6. this one only happened once, wanting to know how babies come out of their mama's tummies. (the last one was pretty cute, 1-5 not so much)

In about 15 minutes I have to take her with me to the dentist.  :-(  I hope my phone is charged up so she can watch the zack and cody video on it.  I tell ya the iphone has paid for itself 50x over between the use as a distracting to keep a kiddo from being bored to death, directions to host's houses, and even blogging!

Friday, April 16, 2010—Be Heard. Be Happy.—Be Heard. Be Happy.

this is an opinion website that if you join you can get free samples, complete surveys for points/rewards cash. I like these sorts of things because I have opinions and I like to try new stuff. :-D So check it out!

I am typing today on my new Toshiba laptop from good old best buy (same as cash 18 months) my last laptop which I loved died a sudden death :-( a couple of weeks ago and so I was using Tom's laptop which he didn't like so now I have a new one. So there is a tax deduction for 2010. This one has a 10key pad on the right hand side of the key board andn I keep hitting those buttons when I am looking for the delete button. I guess I will so get used to it. This one also has skype built in, so if Oprah ever calls me and wants to skype me into her show, I'm all set!

Tomorrow I am going to be at the Relay for Life Oak Forest Craft Show at Kenootz Pizza, I have some really cute teacher's gifts that I'm sure people will grab, it's our Sweet Strawberry Cheese Ball and a bag of the twisty grahams in a nice white organza bag, it looks like you put thought into the gift, it's edible and shows you care all for only $16.00!

Tomorrow night I had a Tastefully Simple party scheduled but my host has mersa, poor thing! So we had to reschedule for the 2nd 1/2 of May. My May is getting really busy. Which is good, I am working on 1. saving $$ to send the kids to daycamp (a must for summer sanity --mine) and b. saving for our trip to my parents new home in Georgia (and to visit my bro and his family too).

And I'm closing in on earning the incentive trip to Disney, earning this trip is a must as I've already told the children we are going to go! I think next April will be a good time to go, Patrick will be 10, Bryce 9, and Anna 6.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wicked wicked allergy week around here, I stocked up on some benadryl today, for me and Patrick and. Bryce. It's been fabulous outside though, which helps mitigate the allergy suffering.

Curently I am on a sandwich kick, for dinner I adapted a recipe for Brie and bacon panni that I found on the Trader Joes website http//
So here is my interpretation of the panni

Take 2 slices of bread and brush one side of each with tastefully simple Roasted Garlic Infused oil
On the other side of the bread spread our new Bold &Bossy Honey Mustard
On the other slice layer thinly sliced apple (I used A fuji apple
Then on top of the mustard slice layer the ham of your choice, I used Hilshire Farm Brown Sugar Ham.
On top of the ham put slices of Brie cheese.
Pit the slices together to make your sandwich and grill in an iron skillet about two minutes on each side and then it is YUM!

All day today I thought it was thursday , I guess tomorrow will be Deja vu!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Facebook | Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

I have a soft spot in my heart for the mac and cheese in the blue box. It never disappoints. The only mac and cheese that could rival my love for Kraft Mac and Cheese was Annie's Homegrown Organice Mild Mexican Shells & Cheese. Which I have not seen  in a store for a few years.  :-(  Anyway back to the Kraft.  Not too long ago Jewel had a sale on the kraft and I stock up on 10 boxes at 79 cents a box.  This was quite the deal and we have just a couple left.  Now when I was a kid I swear there was a lot more in the box, but I do enjoy the noodle shapes that they have now.  We are big fans of the Spongebob and the Spiderman boxes.  Today I was checking out Rachel's mashup mom site and she had on there the scoop on how you can get a coupon for a free box of the new Cheese Explosion Kraft Mac and Cheese if you are Kraft  Mac and Cheese's facebook friend.  Obviously I friended the Kraft Mac and Cheese a long time ago and took this opportunity to make it facebook offical! I put a link to the Kraft Mach and Cheese facebook page on here as well as a look at my fav mac and cheese that they apparently don't make anymore.

Facebook Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

Friday, April 9, 2010

Upromise Guest Shopping for Victoria

Upromise Guest Shopping for Victoria

I went and checked my Upromise account balance today and found there is $45 in there. I guess each kid can purchase a notebook or 2 for college with that? Maybe a really cheap used book? Anna has informed me that when she grows up she wants to be an artist. So no need for college for that, she needs to leave home as soon as she turns 18, and find a muse. Or go stake out a spot at Navy Pier and paint pictures. Bryce wants to be a police officer, so I told him he can go to Moraine Valley Community College and live in the basement. Patrick wants to make video games. He told my friend that he wants to go to college via online classes so he doesn't have to leave home. I will have to remind him of that when he is a teenager, I have a sneakingsupicion that he will change his mind about not wanting to leave home.

Today I am making lunch for dinner. So we are having soup and sandwiches. I found this recipe in my Food Network Magazine Ham-Taleggio Grilled Cheese. Yum right? Now I noticed that the recipe called for Taleggio Cheese

And I said to myself, man that doesn't look like a cheese that they sell at Jewel or Aldi, I better go to Trader Joes since they have a more varied cheese selection and their cheese prices are lower than Jewel for the cheese in the cheese section.  Anna was even willing to go to Trader Joes and behave since they have mini shopping carts for the kids, they also always have a food demonstrator and she likes to try the samples. 
Well we went to Trader Joes and they didn't have any Taleggio Cheese.  I didn't know what would be a good substitute cheese, since I wasn't sure what kind of cheese Taleggio Cheese was (like hard, semi soft, soft) all I could determine from the name was that it originated in Italy.  Given that I bought Asiago Cheese, Brie Cheese and Guyere Cheese.  I skipped on getting gouda for some reason, I usually get gouda if I am buying cheese esp. if I am at Trader Joes.   Today I found a website that is my new favorite website it is called and guess what, Taleggio Cheese is a semi-soft cheese not a hard cheese and so substitutes for it include Gouda and Fontina Cheese, not Asiago or Guyere Cheese.
Making an exectutive decision I am redoing the recipe as Ham-Guyere Grilled Cheese.
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions thinly sliced
8 thin slices white bread (Im using Trader Joes Italian Country Loaf)
10 oz of Guyere Cheese shredded
*note Tom won't eat Guyere Cheese so I am making his Ham-Swiss Grilled Cheese. The Swiss will be sliced
8 oz thinly sliced ham
1 green apple thinly sliced.
melt 1 tbsp butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over med-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes :-(  thats a long time.  For a short cut use onion marmalade in place of the caramelized onions.  *I wonder where one can purchase onion marmalade???
Lay out 4 slices of bread. Top w/ 1/2 the cheese, then 1/2 the ham, layer the onions and apple slices the the remaining ham and cheese on top, then the remaining bread slices.
Wipe out the skillet, melt 1 tbsp of butter over med-lowheat.  Add 2 sandwiches and cook, pressing gently with a spatula, until the bottom is golden and the cheese begins to melt, about 4 minutes.
Filp and cook until golden, about 4 more minutes.  Repeat.
We'll have the sandwiches, I am also making Lipton Soup because the kids probably won't go for the sandwiches and then baby carrots and Tastefully Simple Sun-dried Tomato Veggie Dip.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I am testing to see if I can blog from my iPhone. Test one two
Today we are at baseball practice and it is cold and overcast so I am very glad I can stay in the car.

Patrick is bummed that fast food Thursdays have ended along with choir practice, but I distracted him with a snack of flaming hot cheetos. I don't know how he can do it but his fav snack is hot cheetos and claussen pickles. Only classen pickles for Patrick and if I don't watch him the pickles are gone in one day. I can relate , I completely agree that Claussen Pickles are far superior to all other pickles on the market, however eating a whole jar in one day is so not good.

Back to baseball, the dads that coach these teams must really like baseball, the boys are so squirrely, I can watch closely or I feel compelled to yell at Bryce : stop messing around and pay attention to the ball!

I am going to get back to my book: Abraham Lincoln, vampire hunter, Bryce is up to bat.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day

I found out through that you can go to participating Comic Book Stores and get a free comic book on May 1st. That is Bryce's 1st communion so I don't think we'll be able to take advantage of the special.

It's all rainy today, and I think that soon Tom is going to have to mow the lawn. Probably that won't happen until April 30th (ie the day before Bryce's first communion--since we will have people over.) Yes I know I am perfectly capable of mowing the lawn myself.  Well mostly capable, I do tend to trip and fall a few times a year, so odds are good that I might trip in a gopher hole if there is one to be tripped upon in our back yard.  However, I am not going to go ahead and mow the grass because I'm always busy washing dishes, cooking food, folding laundry, yelling at small children and running a successful business from my home. :-D
*All* Tom does is go downtown to work all day in a small cubicle doing stuff for his company, so I leave the yard work to him. LOL

A bit late but on Monday I found the time to make Easter Bread, it was actually pretty easy. :-D

Here is the recipe I used:

Easter Bread

NOTE: I skipped the decorative eggs.

Original Recipe Yield 1 - 1 pound loaf


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

2/3 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

2 eggs

5 whole eggs, dyed if desired

2 tablespoons butter, melted


1.In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast; stir well. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan; heat until milk is warm and butter is softened but not melted.

2.Gradually add the milk and butter to the flour mixture; stirring constantly. Add two eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

3.Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

4.Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal size rounds; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each round into a long roll about 36 inches long and 1 1/2 inches thick. Using the two long pieces of dough, form a loosely braided ring, leaving spaces for the five colored eggs. Seal the ends of the ring together and use your fingers to slide the eggs between the braids of dough.

5.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place loaf on a buttered baking sheet and cover loosely with a damp towel. Place loaf in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Brush risen loaf with melted butter.

6.Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until golden.

Easter Bread