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Gummy Bear Bark

>> Saturday, July 30, 2011

Show me a kid who doesn't like gummy bears, and I'll show you... well, a weird kid.  I'm totally kidding!!  I am not a big fan of gummy bears myself, but in this bark I can't stop eating them.  When my mom and I visited the Savannah Candy Kitchen on our trip to Savannah last month, they had some samples of gummy bear bark.  I tried it and thought it was really good, but then saw they were out of it.  I knew my kids would love it, so I decided to make some.  The addition of the butterscotch was my idea, and I think it adds alot in appearance and flavor.  If you'd prefer peanut butter or white chocolate, just substitute those.

There really isn't a recipe, but I used half a bag of semisweet chocolate chips and 1/4 bag of butterscotch chips.  I wanted to make a really small amount.  I melted the chocolate first in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stopping to stir every 30 seconds until melted.  Then I poured it on a foil lined cookie sheet and spread it all out with an icing spreader.  Next I quickly melted the butterscotch chips the same way.  I dropped the melted butterscotch in spoonfuls on the chocolate and then used a knife to swirl, the same way you'd make a marble cake.  Then I pressed the gummy bears on top.  You have to do all this pretty quickly before the chocolate hardens.  Put it in the refrigerator until it hardens and then break up into pieces.


Quick Tips for Disciplining Toddlers -

>> Friday, July 29, 2011

I think I'm a pretty "normal" mom.  I love my kids and I would do anything for them, but sometimes they drive me CRAZY!

I recently came across a blog post and wanted to share it with you...hope it helps you as much as it did for me!

Quick Tips for Disciplining ToddlersSusan Yates 

“My kids are driving me crazy,” a young mother with toddlers said to me. “My discipline methods don’t seem to work. My children are so strong-willed. I am frustrated. They are frustrated. Some days I don’t even like my children!”
These are honest emotions from a very normal mother. We’ve all felt this way at many different points, particularly in the toddler years. Having raised five strong-willed toddlers to adulthood myself, and now watching them raise their kids, I’ve learned a few things I hope might encourage you.
1.  Husbands and wives need to agree on a discipline philosophy, otherwise you will confuse the child and the child will learn (especially later) how to play one parent against the other.
2.  Discipline must be immediate (particularly with the young), needs to hurt (it has to hurt or it doesn’t mean anything), andshould be over quickly (give your child a hug after the punishment is finished and tell the child you love him or her).
3.  It must be consistent. This can be the hardest, but the deeper lesson you are communicating to your child is that you are reliable. He can count on you. You mean what you say. This gives him security. He has to know you are in control andnot him.
4.  Don’t over negotiate with small kids. Clearly explain actions and consequences. Then follow through. Do not threaten or say the same thing over and over. They don’t need clarification; they need action, otherwise they are manipulating you: “I can get out of this; she won’t really punish me.” Translated: “I am the boss, not my parent.” This breeds insecurity in children.
5.  Use the word “obey.” It will help your child to know you mean it. You can say, “If you do not obey now, I will have to discipline you.” And then if she doesn’t do what you are asking, follow through immediately with punishment. Remember, your child is learning that you are reliable. With small children, you can try diversion to avoid conflict as much as possible, but there comes a time when diversion will not work and the child has to obey immediately just because you say so. (There is no time for diversion when your child heads toward the street. She needs to have learned to obey you immediately so that when you say “stop,” she stops.)
6. Determine specific consequences for disobedience. Explain the plan to the child as best you can. Follow through. Any time you institute a new plan, expect it to take at least three times of enforcement before your child will believe what you say and realize that you will follow through with punishment. Make sure all caregivers are on the same page with the plan.
7. Take action when your child misbehaves in public. Kids are smart. They learn they can get away with bad behavior in public, at the grocery store, etc. If they disobey, immediately go some place and discipline them in private. The principle you are teaching is “right behavior is the same no matter where I am or who I am with.”
8. Distinguish between whines and intentional disobedience. Whereas disobedience requires immediate consequences, whining kids are usually exhausted and need to go to their room to play quietly. Usually they fall asleep or just need some solitude. It’s not punishment; it’s alone time. As moms, we’d love to be sent to our rooms!
9. Keep in mind the goal of discipline. We want to teach our kids to obey us—their earthly parents whose voices they hear say, “I love you,” and whose arms they feel hug them. Teach them to obey because as they grow up, they’ll be weaned from us, their earthly parents who they can hear and feel, and they’ll need to obey a heavenly Father whose voice they might not audibly hear and whose arms they will feel mainly through the body of Christ. But remember that this Father loves them even more than we do. How can we expect them to want to obey Him if they have not been taught to obey us?
10. Keep a long-range perspective. We expect our kids to “get it” after a few days, weeks, or months, but sometimes it takes years. Yes, years. That’s why training is exhausting! But it is also why God gives us more time. Remember that you are building for the future, and God is patient.
Feelings of failure and frustration are normal. No mom feels like she’s got the discipline thing down pat. As soon as she does, a child will throw a kink into her plans.
This article originally appeared on MomLife Today, FamilyLife's blog for moms.

Quick Tips for Disciplining Toddlers -


New Addition!

>> Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Steve and Beth would like to welcome Molly Sue to the world!

Born today, July 27 at 8:04 am.

8 lbs, 9 oz

20.5 inches long

She shares her birthday with her Aunt Jo!

Birthday Buddies!


Good Luck Beth!

Such an exciting day!  Beth's family will grow by 1 more!  Keep her in your thoughts and prayers today!  Can't wait to hear the exciting news Beth!


DIY Topiary

>> Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Excuse the terrible iphone pics here.  I wanted to share a little project I recently did.  I love color, but like to keep furniture and wall colors fairly neutral.  I recently wanted something with a little pop of color to replace some photos in our entry while we try to sell our house.  I also tried to go with something versatile that I'll use again when we move.

Supplies I used:  a stick from the woods (free), a round styrofoam ball (can't remember the cost so I'll estimate $3), flowers (I used $12 worth), a small pot ($3 clearance at Michaels), some green styrofoam I already had (free), and a little moss from the dollar store ($1).

I took the flowers off the stems and then pushed them into the styrofoam a little to make the hole.  Then I filled the hole with hot glue and put the flower in.  I just continued that until all the ball except the bottom was covered.  I put the stick in the bottom and glued around the stick.  After that dried, I covered any remaining space around the ball and filled in any holes I saw.

Then I put the squares of styrofoam into the little pot and put my stick in.  I covered the top of the pot with a tiny little bit of moss.  And there it is, in my entryway.
And from a little further back.  (I still need to put something in the center of that frame).  For less than $20, I thought it was a nice addition.  You could do it for much less if you had several Michael's 40% off coupons and went back a few times. The yellow candlesticks were really cheap looking and old, so I decided instead of throwing them away I would cover them with some yellow spray paint.  Then I used a brown color craft paint, thinned out a little with water, and painted that over top. I wiped it off while it was still wet, just allowing it to settle in the crevices and give some more dimension to the paint job.  I may get sick of the yellow, but that's the beauty of spray paint!  Just pick another color.


Costco vs. Sam's Club?

>> Monday, July 25, 2011

So, we used to have a Sam's Club membership.  While I loved it, we let it expire at the end of 2010 because I found I didn't go there as often as I would like.  Plus, I used it mainly to purchase supplies for my business (making wedding and special occasion cakes), and with expecting baby #3 I decided at that point to stop taking any additional orders until 2012.

There is a Costco just down the street from the local Sam's Club.  I've only ever been in Costco twice.  I didn't see much of a difference, but I had kiddos with me both times I went, so I couldn't really compare things.  Anyone had any experience with both of these stores?  Do you think it's worth it to have a membership?  Any tips or tricks to getting good deals at either of these places?  I would probably purchase mostly bulk baking supplies plus some fresh fruits, veggies, etc...


Dulce de Leche Frosting

>> Sunday, July 24, 2011

I hesitate to post any cake/frosting recipe here, because Beth makes the most amazing cakes! In fact, I am still eating the leftover cake she made for my son's 7th birthday. Not only am I eating the cake, I am trying to prevent it from setting up permanent residence on my thighs.

I roughly calculated how many calories of cake I thought I consumed the other day, which led me to a 7 mile run that night. I'm trying to increase my mileage anyway, so in a way eating the cake was very helpful, right?

For me, running is dependent on good music. I am a huge fan of country music, but when I run my taste in music leans toward more pop, hip hop, sometimes some 80s... Basically my running playlist would be the only thing I need a friend to destroy if something ever happens to me. It's pretty embarrassing...

The bike trail I run on is right near my house, and often it's pretty empty. I love that, but the downside is that sometimes I forget that I am on a public trail and I find myself singing along to my playlist.

Like, for example, the other night while running that cake off, I was listening to Dierks Bentley's new song, "Am I The Only One". And here, I must issue a public apology. To the middle-aged man with his 10ish year old son - Sir, I am very sorry for my loud and off-tune singing. I did not intend to scare you or your son (although I think you were more scared than him based on your protective arm around his shoulders quickly guiding him away from me). I promise, I am not dangerous or crazy. Or, at least not in a cougar kind of way, which is what I think you were worried about. And I sort of can't blame you, considering I was belting out "Am I the only one, who wants to have fun tonight? Is there anybody out there who wants to have a cold beer and kick it til the morning light?" I promise your son is safe, sir. I was just trying to get rid of that cake.

So, what I'm saying, internet, is don't blame me if you make this frosting and you have the same experience.

Don't judge. It could happen to you too.

This recipe is from Joy the Baker. I did make both the cupcake and frosting recipe. The cupcake was pretty good, but the frosting is the real star. I think the next time I make this I will likely choose a different cake recipe. This one seemed to get dry after a day. Maybe someday Beth will share her amazing cinnamon cake recipe. But the frosting, definitely give it a try because it is delicious!

For the dulce de leche, you can buy a can or make your own from sweetened condensed milk. A can will either be in the baking aisle or the hispanic foods section, depending on your grocery store. I made mine and it was really, really delicious. I boiled it right in the can, although later I found that the manufacturer strongly advised against that method because the cans could explode. So, I'll leave it up to you to decide. If you're interested in making it just google and you'll find the method, along with directions for using the microwave too.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 
8 ounces cream cheese, softened 
3/4 cup dulce de leche 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar 

Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until very soft. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the butter and dulce de leche. Beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Stop the mixer and add the salt and powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy and lighter in color. Generously spoon frosting on top of cupcakes, or use a large frosting tip to pipe on frosting. Drizzle top with more dulce de leche or sprinkle with cinnamon. Refrigerate leftovers and bring to room temp before serving. 


“If you’re always racing to the next moment…”

>> Saturday, July 23, 2011

Just a reminder that I really needed today!


Freak OUT!

>> Friday, July 22, 2011

Ok, so I'm less than 7 days until c-section time!  In fact, there's only 5 days left.  And while I hate being pregnant, I'm starting to freak out a little.

It's not the c-section that's freaking me out...this will be my 3rd, so I kinda know what to expect.  I do have a new doctor this time around, though.  The doctor that delivered both of my boys decided to drop his licensing to deliver babies and is just doing gynecology now, so I had to get a new OB doctor for this pregnancy.  I had my final doctor appointment this morning and was able to schedule it with the doctor that will be doing the c-section on Wednesday, so I feel as comfortable as I think is possible with him.

It's not the recovery that is freaking me out either.  I've never had a regular delivery, but I think that c-section recovery might be a little easier.  I don't know since I can't compare the two, but from talking with friends, I think I had it a little easier than they did!

It's not the fact that we are now going to be entering the world of "pink" either.  It's no secret, I was hoping for boy #3 this time around...just because I know what to expect and they are all so close in age that I thought it would be nice for them.  But, after I found out we are having a girl this time around, I've gotten really excited about the idea.  Baby boy stuff is cute, but baby girl things are ADORABLE! In fact, the first thing I purchased for the baby this time was a couple of hair bows from my friend's Etsy Shop, Morgie Porgie Ribbon Works!

It's not that I don't have everything ready to go.  I mean, there are probably a few things that I'll need to run out to the store to purchase that I haven't thought of now.  But, the nursery is ready, I have diapers and I have a few containers of formula just in case.  So I have the eat, sleep, and poop things ready...'cause really that's all they do for a while :)

It's not even the fact that I'm going to be completely outnumbered now.  As a few of my friends have pointed out, I'm already outnumbered all day while my husband is at work...what's one more?  The boys have been playing really well together lately and Tyler has started doing "quiet time" in his room for 30 minutes or so while Ryan naps, so I typically get a little bit of a break.

I'm really not sure what it is that is freaking me out.  It's probably just the pregnancy hormones and there's nothing I can really do about that until after this baby is born...sigh.



>> Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So, this is the final full week before baby girl arrives!  I've been creating a to-do list to make sure I get all the last-minute things done.  None of them are necessary, but all of them would be helpful to have finished before I try and manage life with 3 kiddos!

Last weekend, we took a train ride to mark one thing off my list (do something memorable during our final weeks as a family of 4).  Lesley took some maternity photos a few weeks ago as well...though I hate how big my belly is, this is the last baby and wanted a few shots of the kids with "baby sister" in my belly.  We've also been hitting the pool a lot because taking 3 kids is going to be a lot harder and it's been so hot here that it's pretty much the only place I can stand being outside without swelling up like a balloon!

Here's the remainder of my list:

This Week:
-clean kids bathroom
-clean our bathroom
-clean 1/2 bath
-mop kitchen
-shampoo living room carpet
-re-organize kids closets
-organize garage
-organize/clean basement
-Finish gifts for the boys from baby sister
-Birth Announcements?

Next Week:
-change sheets on all beds
-clean & arrange carseats in van
-pack hospital bag
-touch up bathrooms and kitchen
-all laundry
-move chair/changing table to baby room
-setup pack-n-play in dining room
-Abby (our miniature schnauzer) - bath and haircut

Any other suggestions of fun/important/necessary things to accomplish in the next SEVEN days?!


Translation, please!

>> Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tyler (our almost 4 year old) has been saying some funny things lately and I thought I would put them down along with the translation to help us remember them.  Oh, and just in case you ever need help translating what a 2 or 3 year old is saying, this list might come in handy for you as well....

Said to daddy: "Are your tail noses pink?"
Translation: "Are you toe nails pink?" because he just watched me paint my toes.

Said to mommy: "Can you see my crack butt?"
Translation: "Can you see my butt crack?" because he has no butt and I have to constantly tell him to pull his pants up.

Said to both of us:  "Can we go to the yellow eater?"
Translation: "Can we eat lunch at Subway?" because there is a subway on our way to church and he decided he wanted to eat there for some reason.

Said in the car: "I want to eat at the circle res-er-naught"
Translation: "I want to eat at Burger King" because obviously BK is the only place with a circle logo.

Said to his brother: "I'm a yogurt!"
Translation: "I'm an Ogre" because he just watched a Shrek video :)

Said to anyone who will listen:  "I farted on my tongue!" while giggling...
Translation: "I burped" and because he's a boy, this is absolutely hilarious :)

Said to daddy: "I wanna play wee-wee."
Translation: "I want to play wii" but pretty embarrassing when he says this in public!

Said in the car: "I want to go to candyland."
Translation: "I want to go to Kings Island" because we drive by it on the way to the doctors appointments.

Said to both of us: "Nylart"
Us: "Tyler, what does nylart mean?"
Tyler: "Boinkies and Roxie Rocks"
Translation:  Who knows!

I love this kid!  He constantly makes life interesting!


Three Favorite Websites

>> Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm sure at this point, you all think I do nothing but spend time on the Internet.  Not true, but after the kids go to sleep I do always spend at least an hour, sometimes two.  I've heard people say "what in the world could he/she possibly be doing on the internet?", but for me it's more of a "I can't go to bed because there is so much to see".  I've already talked about how much I love pinterest, and I spend lots of time looking at recipes and cooking websites.  I also sometimes read blogs about parenting, decorating, and photography.  I have way too many favorite blogs and websites to share, but I thought I'd showcase 3. 

First, google reader.  We've mentioned this one before.  Beth and I both use google reader.  It is just a way to keep all of the blogs you read in one central place and see new posts to those blogs without going to each individual website and checking.  You set up a google reader account/page and then add subscriptions (website or blog addresses) to it.  After that you log in and read new posts.  Here's what it looks like.  Make sure you add our blog!! :)

Another website I've been spending lots of time on is  This is a website with tons of different home pictures.  Very useful for me right now, as we are planning on breaking ground on our new house within the next couple of weeks.  I am decorating challenged, so I've been saving all kinds of pictures to pinterest from this website.

And finally, this one isn't so much a favorite website as something I think all moms should be introduced to.  It is The Flylady.  In a nutshell, this is one woman who has a method of cleaning her house that she shares on her website.  The website itself is, in my opinion, a little hard to navigate and understand.  But the method is great.  She has certain chores she does daily, some she does weekly, and some she does monthly.  I think her method needs to be adjusted to your own needs (I'm not really into her "shine your sink" idea), but if you take the time to read her strategies I think it can really help you develop your own system.


We've been Robbed!

>> Sunday, July 17, 2011

No, not really, but we had an adventure yesterday and I wanted to share!

So, we've lived in Lebanon for almost 6 years now.  Lebanon, OH is a small country town, but we are known for a couple things.  First is the Golden Lamb - a restaurant and the oldest Inn in the state of Ohio.  It was opened in 1803 and has had 12 presidents that have visited.  We have actually never been there, but it's on the to-do list (one of these days!).

Second is the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad (LM&M), which is a scenic train ride that offers hour-long train rides and a bunch of different themed train rides.  For example, they have an Easter Bunny ride, Curious George, Civil War, Clifford, and their most popular, Day out with Thomas.  I've stopped a couple times with the boys just to take a look at the trains but we've never taken a ride.

Until yesterday, that is.  I received an email about discount tickets on Friday for a "Great Train Robbery" ride this weekend, and I decided that it would be a fun "last event as a family of 4".  But we surprised the boys with the ride and we also didn't tell them about the train robbery that was going to take place. :)

Ever since seeing Thomas last year (we just went to see him, but didn't actually ride), Tyler has been begging to go for a train ride.  He was THRILLED about actually being able to get on the train and go for the ride.

We started out by taking a 30 minute train ride out to the "country".

While riding, people dressed in cowboy attire kept warning us about getting into the "bad land" and that we should secure all of our gold and valuables.  Then, when we arrived to the staging area, "robbers" boarded the train and demanded all of our valuables.

Tyler (my almost 4 year old) kept telling us to be quiet so the "bad guys don't hear you."

Ryan's reaction to the robbers on the train
After they took some jewelry from other actors on the train, they unloaded us and we walked to the staging area.  There, we found the 3 robbers who couldn't find their horses.  Since they couldn't make their getaway, 3 Sheriffs confronted them and resulted in a shoot out.

Of course, the "bad guys" lost and fell down dead.  But they didn't stay dead for long...which Tyler was disappointed about.  He kept asking why the bad guys didn't die :)  We tried to get a photo of the boys with the actors, but Tyler wouldn't go close to the bad guys.  I think he was a little nervous about them!

Anyway, it was a lot of fun for the kids.  The acting was really cheesy and the train wasn't in the greatest condition (the engine had over 2.5 million miles on it!), but it was a perfect day out for 2 little boys!


Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

>> Saturday, July 16, 2011

I made these pretzels a couple of months ago and they were fabulous!!  I wasn't able to make them look very pretty (that seems to be a theme with me!), but the taste was fantastic.  They were even good warmed in the microwave, not as good as freshly out of the oven of course.  For these, I used my kitchen-aid mixer, but I couldn't find my dough hook so I used the mixer attachment for the whole recipe. 
For the dough:
1½ tsp. instant yeast
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
¼ cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
2½-3 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
½ cup small diced ham
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
To finish:
6 cups water
4 tsp. baking soda
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt (or pretzel salt), for topping
To make the dough, combine the yeast, brown sugar, water, milk, and 2½ cups of flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix until a dough has formed.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until a soft, elastic dough forms.  Add the remaining flour a 1-2 tablespoons at a time until the dough is tacky but not sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size and bubbles on the surface, about 1½ to 2 hours.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide into 4 equal pieces.  Stretch or roll one piece of the dough into a 12 x 4-inch rectangle.  Sprinkle some of the diced ham and the shredded cheese over one third of the dough closest to an edge, lengthwise.  Roll up tightly, filling edge first, so that the filling is tightly sealed inside.  Slice the log into 12 pieces and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Repeat with the remaining 3 portions of dough, and the remaining filling.
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Bring the 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.  Add the baking soda and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.  Boil the pretzels in batches, cooking for about 2o seconds and turning once. They should be slightly puffed.  Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to transfer them back to the baking sheet.
Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Brush the warm pretzel bites with the melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt


I'm OLD!

>> Friday, July 15, 2011

So, this year, my husband and I will be celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary.  Despite the fact that this is LONG time, I'm relatively young still.  At least, I think so.  I met my husband just before I turned 17 and we married just after I turned 19.  Young, yes.  In love, yes.  And still going.

Anyway, my birthday is at the end of May and his was just this week.  He is several years older than me, so I typically tease him about being an "old man", but this year his friends seemed to take over that position so I'm just laying low until he turns 40 :)

But then today, I found out I've either been pranked or put on a random mailing list.  You see, I received a membership card for the AARP.  So, if you added the numbers together above, you would realize that I just turned 28.  What I would consider a LONG WAY FROM 50!  My parents are barely even old enough to be card carrying members.

And to top it off, it came to my parents address...where I haven't lived for 10 years and came in my maiden name.  The info says I have until 8/15/11 to respond by...guess I have some things to think over before then.  Meanwhile, my mom will continue to laugh and I'm sure it will make my husband feel a little better about all the old man jokes he got this past week.


Random Products I Love

>> Thursday, July 14, 2011

I wanted to share a few products I love!

Coconut milk-  I don't drink this plain (I don't drink any milk plain), but I love it in smoothies.  I make protein shakes for breakfast and I love coconut milk in them.  I also make the banana cherry "ice cream" I posted about earlier with it.  It's great in any smoothie or in iced coffee too!

These bars.  I like Fiber One bars too, but this particular flavor of this brand tastes like a Girl Scouts Samoa to me.
SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 gel.  I love everything I've tried from SkinCeuticals.  I had a facial a couple of years ago and the aesthetician had worked for a dermatologist for years and was a big fan of this line.  She introduced me to this product and it is amazing.  I hadn't been using it until recently because it's pretty expensive ($55 for this size), but I see a huge difference with it.  It feels so soft and it contains hyaluronic acid, which is found in your joints and it helps bind moisture to your skin.  I use it as a moisturizer but it also can be used under your moisturizer to increase the effectiveness of the moisturizer.  It really minimizes lines for me.I buy mine through
my Keurig.  Again, not cheap but I love my coffee!
 L'Oreal Lash Boosting Serum.  I've used this for about 3 weeks.  You're supposed to use it twice daily but I only remember once.  I do see a difference in the length of my eyelashes, which are super puny!! (Boys always get the best eyelashes).  For $7 I think it's a great buy.

Clif Mojo Bars:  These are with the energy bars in my grocery store.  They are about a dollar each, so I don't eat them very often.  They're great to keep in your purse.  They are about 200 calories, depending on the flavor.
And I've saved the strangest for last - chia seeds.  I read a book called Born to Run which talked about a tribe of long distance runners in Mexico.  They ate alot of chia seeds for energy, so I was very intrigued.  I feel like I am always lacking in the energy department, unlike my friend Beth!  As I researched them a little more I found out that they are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.  They also form a gel in water, so they are great to fill you up!  If you are hard core (I am not!) you can mix them in with your water.  The taste is like a sesame seed, which I don't mind.  But the gel-like texture when mixed with the water is a little gross to me.  So I like to mix mine in with my  yogurt or protein shake and eat them before they turn into a gel!  A serving (a tablespoon) is 80 calories.  I do think they give me more energy and make me fuller.  I can't remember the price, but I got this bag at The Vitamin Shoppe and it was less than $10.


Easy Butter Pecan Bars

Earlier this week, I hosted a playgroup for my MOMS Club at our local YMCA pool.  It was the perfect day for the pool...temperatures were in the mid 90's with high humidity, and the pool water was refreshing!  

Anyway, as part of being a "playgroup host" we provide drinks and snacks for the group.  I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to take to the pool that the adults as well as kids would like and the lifeguards wouldn't hate me for!  I decided on taking a fruit (watermelon), salty snack (goldfish) and sweet snack (Butter Pecan Bars).  I prefer to make cookie bars in the summer so I don't have to open and close the oven and stay in the oven to switch trays every 10 minutes!

The inspiration recipe is actually a Chocolate & Oat Toffee Bars, but I modified it a little, so the below version is what I actually made.

Easy Butter Pecan Bars

  • 3/4 c butter, room temperature
  • 2 T butter per each type of chocolate you are using for the topping
  • 1 package Butter Pecan box cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)
  • 2 c uncooked quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 c butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • 1/3 c semisweet chocolate chips, 1/3 c butterscotch chips, 1/3 c white chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9×13” pan.
  2. Stir 3/4 c butter in a large bowl with a spatula until creamy.  If necessary, stick in the microwave to soften a little, 10 seconds at a time.
  3. Add cake mix, oats, brown sugar, egg and vanilla; stir until well blended.
  4. Stir in butterscotch chips and pecans.  Batter will be thick and almost dough-like.
  5. Pat dough into prepared pan.
  6. Bake 31-35 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and cool completely in pan on wire rack.
  8. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter and white chocolate chips in small saucepan over very low heat.
  9. Drizzle warm glaze over bars.  Repeat with butterscotch chips and chocolate chips.
  10. Let glaze set one hour at room temperature, or stick in the fridge to speed this process up a little.
  11. Cut into bars with sharp knife, serve and enjoy!


Evernote aka The Way I Organize My Recipes

>> Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I know a couple of you are now addicted to Pinterest!  Yay!  I really do love it, although now that we've moved to a small apartment and I am temporarily free from all the cleaning I'm used to doing  I spend too much time on Pinterest!  I love Pinterest as a visual way to organize things I like. As Beth said, it has saved me from bookmarking everything on my computer.   I like finding new recipes on Pinterest, but the downside is accessing them.  To access them, I need to log into my pinterest account, find the board I've posted the recipe on, click on the picture to take me to the original website, and read the recipe from there.  So although I find many recipes and pin them on pinterest, I usually go to the original post and clip them to Evernote for faster, easier access.

Evernote is similar to Pinterest in that it is a way to save any ideas you come across on the web.  The differences, in my opinion, are that Evernote enables you to save way more text along with the picture.  So you can save your entire recipe.  You can also make quick notes, record voice notes, scan pictures or receipts or other info into Evernote, etc.  You organize all your info into "notebooks" (again, similar to pinterest).  But the reason I am in love with Evernote (beyond being able to save alot of text) is that I can clip things into evernote from my computer and it automatically syncs to my ipad and iphone.  When I am cooking, I use the ipad or iphone to view the recipe and it is as easy to access as any other app.  In the grocery store, I can view my recipe and buy ingredients needed.  So that's a really wordy explanation of Evernote, and I'm sure I've made it about as clear as mud!!  For more info, go to to read about it.  You download to your pc or mac from and then you get the app for your smartphone or ipad from the app store (my husband has a windows based phone and he can get the app; I'm not sure which phones it's compatible with).

In the past, I had a 3-ring binder that I used to store recipes.  Some are handwritten, many are printed from the internet, and some are cut out from magazine.  I like this method so much better and I am slowly transitioning my binder of recipes over to evernote.  I am all for any thing that saves storage space, and I like being able to make menu plans (I have a notebook for that too) while waiting at the doctor's office or anywhere.  If I am not crazy about a recipe I just delete it.

Here's a picture of Evernote open on my ipad and some of my notebooks (click on photo to see larger):

 Here's my ipad with my "recipes- main dishes" notebook open and you can see the recipe for chicken salad at the bottom:
 Here's a screenshot of evernote on my computer with the icons from some of my notes on the left side and my note for Cincinnati Chili open on the right:
 Here is a screenshot of