A Winter Wonderland.........

I have been snowed in for the last 2 days. I'm thinking tomorrow will be the same story. Ryan called me today on his way home from work (in a 4wheel drive) and asked if I wanted to go on a joy ride. He picked me up and we went flying down the road doing doughnuts in "certain" parking lots. We stopped so I could take this photo opt. We were the only people on the road for miles. It was such a peaceful shot. Thanks Ry for releasing some cabin fever!


Some Snow Humor..........

Things to do when your snowed in!

I'm sure a lot of you are like me and spent the day indoors. While I didn't have a free day to catch up on fun stuff, (had tons of paperwork to do) here are a few things to do (on behalf of associatedcontent.com) if your at home tomorrow!

Home improvement

1. Shampoo the carpets. Do one room at a time and get started. No visitors when the snow is deep.

2. Paint the rooms.. Just make sure that you have enough paint to finish your project.

3. Early Spring cleaning. Make a list of major items to clean. Things like curtains and drapes and upholstery can be done.

4. Rearrange the furniture in your home for a new look.

5. If your garage is warm, clean it out and straighten it up.

6. Clean and detail your vehicle. Again, just be sure the garage is warm.

7. Clean and organize your attic. Get rid of the things you no longer want to keep.

Home finances

1. Organize your bills and receipts. This often provides an excellent time to get ready for the IRS.

2. Review your yearly balances on your bills. Double check your accounts. Update your yearly budget.

3. Straighten up your home office. Place things in an organized manner. Throw away things that get your way.

4. Clean out your computer. Get rid of programs to speed up and improve your computers performance.


The dreaded FLU....................

I was just bragging on Friday about how I NEVER get sick. Last night I believe the flu came to visit me. Anyone have any fantastic home remedies? I can't be sick this week!


More favorites to list.........

So many of you fellow bloggers list your favorite products. I think it's a great idea! Here is another list of my favorites of the month of January.

If you are looking for another meat substitute but don't want to eat something tasteless here is the most wonderful chicken substitute I have ever come across. I put mine in the toaster oven (thank you Aunt Lisa!) for 6 mins. I promise you will be shocked that something so good is only 140 calories. LOVE IT!!! The con is the box comes with only 4 at the price of $4.89. It's pricey but I swear by it!

I love hummus. When I buy it at the deli or co-op it always has a strange taste to it. I have found that hummus is either really bad or really good. I found this at the co-op in Carbondale and I always have it in my pantry and one in the fridge. I can safely say it is the best hummus I have ever had! From a box at that! All you add is olive oil and warm water. Easy to take to a party for sure!

Having a sister that is a stylist is good thing! She always can recommend the next best thing in the hair world. I recently purchased this hair system from Nioxin that I really like. I don't have issues of hair loss but I do use a lot of hair product. So she recommeded the cleasnser and scalp therapy for me. It also protects color treated hair. So far I think this is a keeper. Ryan likes it too. He likes the "tingley" feeling it leaves on the scalp.

SoundTrack to your life

I have often heard that music is the soundtrack to your life. When that one particular song comes on, how many of us attach it to a particular day in our life or a span of time? I know I do. I found this online and it looked like fun. Feel free to steal and post it on your blog! I want to read what your answers are! I however didn't follow the directions. You can do it one of two ways. One, with your Ipod or two, your personal choice. I chose to think of them on my own!

From the online directions:
Here’s how it works:
1. Open your music library on iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, or whatever
1. Shuffle it
3. For every ‘scene’ below, type the title and the artist in the order the songs come up

Waking up: New Day-Robbie Seay Band
Falling in Love: Crash-DMB
Fight Song: Right Here-Staind
Breaking Up: Best I Ever Had-Vertical Horizon
High School: Freshman-Verve Pipe, Oasis, Jodeci, RKelly, I could go on forever........
Prom: Secret Garden-Bruce Springsteen
College: Anything Missy Elliot or 50 Cent, Hi Fiving MF-Local H, Your Winter -Sister Hazel, Lil' Kim, Britney
Life: Little Wonders-Rob Thomas
Parents:Mom: Midnight Train To Georgia-Gladys Knight and the Pips
Dad: Dancing With My Darling-His own adaptation, I believe he made this one up
Mental Breakdown: Let Go-Frou Frou, Breathe Me-Sia
Driving: Spin-Lifehouse
Flash Back: Breathing-Lifehouse
Getting Back Together: Collide-Howie Day
Best Friends: For Good-Wicked
Wedding: This Years Love-David Gray
Significant other: Don't Stop Believin'- Journey
Birth of a Child: N/A
Fade to Black: Closing Time-Semisonic

Fresh Vitamin C

Ryan's Grandma Mary spends her winters in Florida. She recently sent a huge box of oranges back here to Southern Illinois for us. After we finished our freshly squeezed orange juice at breakfast I cut up the oranges and boiled them on the stove with some cinnamon and nutmeg. It smelled soooo wonderful!


Question for the Ladies....... (Like men read my blog!)

Why is it that when we lose weight it has to come from our bra size first?! Seriously!


It's a new day........

As a preface, I am only speaking for myself and do not expect anyone else to agree nor am I trying to persuade others. I am simply stating my views. Since this is my blog you have a choice whether to read it or not.

I can safely say that in my 28 years of life, today might be the most moving & hopeful day I have witnessed as an American (September 11th is a close second). I come from a working class family where everyone had to work everyday to pay bills. By no means did I ever go without, I always had what I needed/wanted. The presidents that have been apointed in my lifetime I couldn't relate with, nor could my parents. I think of them as untouchable. Men that came from mostly wealthy backgrounds, those who wanted to do well as a president, but simply couldn't know what it was like to live like the other half of America's population.

Today that other half celebrates because they are being represented in this political party. I celebrate today for my family, my hometown that is suffering from economic failure, my friends that are of other nationalites other than my own, my aunt, her lifepartner, and close friends whose rights will be fought for this presidential term, for countries whose hope might be restored in America, for those that are of other religous beliefs than my own, for those who have had to choose between paying the eletric bill or their medication, for those who do not have affordable healthcare, and for anyone else who felt under represented in our goverment. Being a social worker reminds me that not everyone is born on the same playing field. Some have it easier than others and some do not bother to work to their fullest potential. But today is an example to all, no more excuses, you can do just about anything here. I am so proud of my new president and his family. Today is a new day for America. I'm so proud to have witnessed it.

The New Presidential Family

What an amazing day for people around the world.


Irene Suchocki

I ran across this artist while visiting one of my favorite blogs M.Writes . She was hosting a giveaway for one of the artists pictures. After I sent in my comment for the drawing I visited her website on Etsy . I love the whimsical feeling of all of her work. The first one reminds me of my friend Shelly. Paris in love. The 2 below would go perfect in my living room. That's a hint for my Valentine! Check out her Etsy site. There are some really beautiful portraits that I know you'll love!

Love this one too!

Monday Morning.... Where did the weekend go??

Williams-Sonoma has some great gift ideas for Valentines Day. I think it is 26 days away. So get to shopping if you partake in this sickening holiday (I do). I added this pictures of their "Sweetie Pies". I have seen them called "Whoopie Pies". I'm thinking about making them for V-Day. Oh and by the way, 10 more weeks until Spring. Who's ready?


Peanut Butter Cupcakes....

I made a new cupcake recipe yesterday. It was a success! Organic Peanut Butter cupcakes (with chocolate chips & heath bar chips inside) and chocolate frosting. They are definetly a keeper! I also made chocolate kringles. There is a bakery in Paducah that always makes them and I found the recipe online. They turned out so-so.

Here are the cupcakes cooling. They cooked up a lot like peanut butter cookies do.

The Chocolate Kringles


Cupcakes by Martha.....

I was looking through some martha archives and found "cupcakes through the year". I posted a few of my favorites. My favorite cupcake from 4 years back in the bottom left picture, the bird's nest. I love that one. Also the Sand and Sharks is cute too! Very appropriate for my parents that are leaving for Florida very soon! Jerks. FYI, it's 14 degrees here. Time to make some cupcakes to warm this house up!


I curse you Chicken Pot Pie.......

I love this recipe so much I hate it! I hate it because I want to fix it constantly! I bought these new dishes at World Market that I thought would be perfect for my "mini pot pies". I can't say enough about these dang dishes! I love them. They baked the crust perfectly. Even in my glass pie pans there are always spots of gooey crust. With these the crust was cooked to perfection! I couldn't believe it! I swear, try this recipe and you too will be addicted!

Ryans pot pie

The vegetables and the wonderful sauce

This picture is to show the perfect crust!

Sweaty cupcakes and melted frosting.........

I love Valentines Day. Love.... It....! So being it one month and 5 days prior to this grand holiday I thought I had better start preparing for the festivites. I made cupcakes with my new cupcake pans. I had cherry chip cake mix and plain white whipped frosting. I cannot "leave well enough alone". I had to not only throw the frosting in my kitchen aid for about 5 mins. but also add some more flavoring. I thought that lemon flavoring would be fantastic with cherry cupcakes. Sort of like cherry lemonade, I thought. Geez...... the frosting ended up more like a paint texture and running all over the place. The cupcakes although tasting really good, were sweaty. Sweaty like they had been stored in a plastic bag for 2 months. Oh well, like I said, one month and 5 days until Valentines day to prepare. If you are on of the "lucky" ones to receive one of my baking treats, just smile and nod please! Valentines cupcakes weren't enough to complete my pre-party so I made a Valentines mobile, featured in the last picture. It would make my 2nd grade teacher proud. I'm keeping it up until I travel to Hancocks to get some felt for my "real" mobile that I have invisioned in my crazy mind!


Cookies and Burpcloths........

My sunday was most productive! I managed to finally take down all my Christmas decorations and haul them up to the scary attic. I put up my Valentines wreath on my front door just to make myself feel better. I tested about some "Barefoot Contessa" cookie mix tonight. Ryan loves this woman! For those who don't follow the Food Network, Ina Garten hosts a cooking show in her home in the Hamptons. She cooks fabulous meals for all of her "fabulous" friends. Ugh.... I think that secretly Ryan wishes he'd married her. Anyways, the cookie mix although quite pricey was super easy, 1 egg, 1 stick of butter, mix, and throw on the cookie sheet! Ryan said it was sort of blah, but I really love them. I'm not surprised. Throw anything on a plate that resembles carbs and it's my favorite food. Earlier today I made two sets of burp cloths for two new baby boys that were born this month! Lets see how long it takes for me to deliver them to their home! I am already dreading tomorrow. I have been off work for 3 whole weeks! I hoard my vacation days until the end of the year! Hope everyone else had a great Sunday. For those like me that are finally going back to work from the holiday season, summer vacation is just 150 days away!



Ryan made waffles this morning and I made cinnamon apples for them. I had never made these and I couldn't find an easy recipe online, so I created my own! I didn't use any syrup, but used the remainder of the apple mixture. It was so wonderful and super simple. This would be a fun breakfast for guests in the morning.

MSR Recipe:
2 Granny Smith Apples peeled
1/3 cup of sugar
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tbp of brown sugar
3 tbp of butter
cook until tender and apples are coated


Sugar Scrub....

I love, love, love, sugar scrub! I realized after buying one every few months, how easy it would be to make my own. I researched several recipes and reviews and chose this one. My sister and I tested out both a sugar combination and a salt combination. Our reviews are that the salt (kosher) was perfect for feet but not gentle enough for the entire body. The sugar was perfect for everything else! We wish we would have thought of this before Christmas because they would have made such cute gifts!
We made our own personlized tags for each jar

On the reverse side is the recipe for the recipient

This is a picture of my sister's scrub. She put orange zest in hers. It smelt amazing!

Here is the coconut oil (found in the organic section). It comes in a paste form. Put in in a bowl of hot water and it will change back to oil form.


1 cup of sugar/salt

1/2 cup of coconut oil

Essential oil of your choice

Freshly sqeezed citrus juice


Scrub your feet, give as a treat, rinse and repeat!


Oh Martha, you are certifiably crazy..........

The scene is set for a crazy cat party!

Okay, I know Ryan and I love our cats. We even post pictures of our cats wearing costumes from time to time. Although, never have we ever thrown our cats a party. On Martha's latest blogspot she has pictures of her party she threw her cats from New Years. Enjoy this rockin New Year Bash! Hope the cops weren't called.

This is "Vivaldi" wearing his cat hat. He looks hopeless doesn't he?

This is the catnip that Martha grew in her garden!

These cats are obviously under the influence of catnip. No cat in their right state of mind would sit there that long especially with gold sparkle hats on. I'm surprised that Martha would allow her cats on her "servery" and take pictures of it! Although, I sound quite annoyed by her ridiculous ideas, I'm probably just jealous I didn't think of the idea first! Foiled again Martha! Foiled again!

Winter Birds........

I found this fantastic pattern on one of my favorite craft websites. http://www.spoolsewing.com I have seen these little birds featured everywhere on the web including my potterybarn kids magazines. I even saw a Christmas tree flocked with these and it was adorable! These would be cute in a little girl's room. The pattern is so simple and I will include it at the bottom of this post. I say it's simple. Watch my birds turn out like the dang sock cat I made back in July! They might look like they have been stricken with the bird flu. We'll see!! Starting on these cute feathered friends tomorrow. Good Luck if you try out the pattern too! Let me know how they turn out!

What's your Resolution?

Ryan and I are certainly focusing on our health and Mother Earth! We are always complaing how So. Il doesn't have the recycling services that bigger cities have. But that's just another excuse to make. I ran across a list of recycling facilites in So. Il that might get you in the mood to reduce your carbon footprint in 2009!
"In a lifetime, the average American will throw away 600 times his or her adult weight in garbage. This means that each adult will leave a legacy of 90,000 lbs. of trash for his or her children."Source: http://www.recyclingit.com/

Jackson County
KARCO Scrap Recycling
N New Era Road, Carbondale
8AM to 5PM Monday-Friday, 8AM to noon Saturday
Accepts: Ferrous/nonferrous metals, appliances, automobiles, batteries, motors, newsprint, computer paper, corrugated, cardboard, glass, aluminum, steel/bimetal cans, and scrap steel.

Mail Boxes Etc.
Murdale Shopping Center, Carbondale Rt. 13 W.
Accepts: Polystyrene packing "peanuts" Peanuts must be placed in plastic bags and must be free of other material.
Southern Illinois University Carbondale Recycling Program
Southern Illinois University
provides recycling for faculty, staff, and students. located at the southwest corner of McAndrew Football Stadium on Physical Plant drive (near Travel Services across the street from the Student Center)Accepts: #1 & #2 Plastics; and cardboard.For more information on SIUC's Recycling program see http://www.recycle.siu.edu/

STM Enterprises
US 51, Dowell
568-15578AM to 4:30PM
Monday - Friday, 8AM to 1PM Saturday
Accepts: Newsprint, cardboard, aluminum cans, non-ferrous metals, and car batteries.

Southern Recycling Center
300 West Chestnut Street, Carbondale
549-28809AM to 5PM
Monday - Friday, 9AM to 1:30PM Saturday
Accepts: Newsprint, corrugated cardboard, computer paper, white/colored office paper, glossy magazines/catalogues, steel/bimetal cans, nonferrous metals and stainless steel, car batteries and motors, plastic soda bottles, and plastic bottles with necks such as shampoo and detergent. They also accept electronic items such as: computers, TVs, VCRs, cell phones, power tools, and radios.
Williamson County
Marion Recycling
1202 East Main Street, Marion
997-94488AM to 4:30PM
Monday - Friday, 8AM to noon Saturday
Accepts: Only cardboard.

Junk MailWant to get your name off many junk mailing lists? Write to: Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing AssociationP.O. Box 9008Farmingdale, New York11735-9008List all of the names of people living at your residence. Also, you may call(888) 5-OPT-OUT to have your name removed from credit offers.

Recycling facility locatorhttp://www.1800cleanup.org/ allows you to enter your zip code and search for recycling facilities near you.

Illegal DumpingReport illegal dumping of waste to the Illinois Attorney General's 24-hour hotline(888) ATTY-GEN

New Year's Day Black-Eyed Peas

If you are searching around for your good luck dish here is a highly recommended recipe.
1 pound dry black-eyed peas
2 cups chopped cooked ham
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch garlic powder
2 onions, diced
1 (14.5 ounce) can whole tomatoes

Place black-eyed peas in 8 quart pot. Add enough water to fill pot 3/4 full. Stir in ham and diced onions, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place tomatoes in a blender or food processor, and blend until the tomatoes are liquefied. Add tomatoes to pot. Bring all ingredients to boil. Cover the pot, and simmer on low heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the peas are tender.

DId you eat your beans?

I always hear, "Be sure to eat your beans on New Years for good luck". Why? I googled it and I found this. I myself haven't eaten any beans as of yet, but the day is not over! But the donuts (read below) might be in my future, for good luck of course.

"Traditional New Year foods are also thought to bring luck. Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes "coming full circle," completing a year's cycle. For that reason, the Dutch believe that eating donuts on New Year's Day will bring good fortune. Many parts of the U.S. celebrate the new year by consuming black-eyed peas. These legumes are typically accompanied by either hog jowls or ham. Black-eyed peas and other legumes have been considered good luck in many cultures. The hog, and thus its meat, is considered lucky because it symbolizes prosperity. Cabbage is another "good luck" vegetable that is consumed on New Year's Day by many. Cabbage leaves are also considered a sign of prosperity, being representative of paper currency. In some regions, rice is a lucky food that is eaten on New Year's Day. "