Thursday, December 30, 2010

Vacation Crash

Coming home after being away on vacation is both a happy event and a crappy event.

Happy because you are home.

You have your hot, hot, hot shower. You have your own comfy bed. You have all of your things within your grasp and most importantly, you have no snow in Florida.

It's a crappy event because, well, you're no longer on vacation! The eating out, the shopping, the new places and people, my nephews, my sister!

Plus Grandma and Grandpa aren't with you.

Coming home for us is exhausting because there's the unpacking of suitcases, the washing of dirty laundry, the empty refrigerator and once again, Grandma and Grandpa aren't with you.

And the kids want you to open and put together every toy that Santa left under the tree from them.

I've also done no work while away so my desk is piled up with stuff to do, things to schedule, items to return, to buy... but sitting down at my desk and seeing the pastures out of my window, seeing the blue sky, the people walking around... it's home and my eyes are happy to soak it all in.

Home.

Can't beat it.

Unless you added Grandma and Grandpa to the picture.

:)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review: Despicable Me

I have to be honest with you... I had no clue what in the world Despicable Me was about when I sat down to watch it. All I knew was that Steve Carell voice the lead character, it raked in a ton of dough and it has funny yellow dudes in it.

That's it.

But I adore cartoon movies and so does Roo. So we all piled into my bed with some popcorn and gave it a whirl.

And boy, am I glad we did.

Despicable Me is about Gru, an evil villain who wants to one-up his competitors by stealing the moon.

Yup, the moon.

Along the way to steal the shrink ray gun he needs to steal the moon, Gru stumbles upon three orphans selling cookies and can gain him access to the shrink ray gun.

Have I lost you yet?

Who cares, you'll love it.

It's an adorable movie that is so sweet and damn funny.

Steve Carell does an amazing job as Gru, Jason Siegel is funny as Vector and Russel Brand is hilarious.

Plus, it has a happy ending that involves the orphans (can you guess?).

Another great point of this movie, the music. I perpetually have the theme song stuck in my head all day. Pharrell Williams, the movie's music man, did a fabulous job.

Despicable Me has been in Roo's DVD player for the past week and while she was sick last week, she watched it, at least, twice a day. I've seen it enough times where I can recite all the funny parts (the fart gun joke kills my husband every time).

Buy it now online or one store shelves.



I received a copy of Despicable Me for review. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Turtle The Destroyer

My husband and I have always called our youngest, "Turtle the Destroyer."

That kid can be in a room and manage to trash it like a drunken rock star in seconds.

She is amazing.

We've been up at Grandma's the past few days and I don't know if her house is ever going to be the same.

Grandpa's heavy, cast iron (with an antique rail road car) train set is repeatedly yanked off the tracks and dropped on the hardwood floors.

The handles on Grandma's soaking tub are pulled backwards.

Her cousins toys are all over the place, ornaments off the tree broken, fingerprints on the wall, kitchen cabinets are opened, knobs are chewed on, cheerios are all over the floor...

She is destructive and, oh so, cute.

I don't know if Grandma's house will ever recover.

I'm sure she doesn't mind though.

Would you?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow

Every year when I go visit my folks up in South Carolina, I ask them for snow.



Every year that we've gone up there, we don't get it.

This year was completely different.

We got snow.



Lots of snow.

And being a Florida girl, I immediately dove in and ended up with hands that were burning it was so cold.

Thankfully my Dad gave me his gloves and I continued my playing.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Florida Friday: Busch Gardens in 2011

"BUSCH GARDENS ANNOUNCES BIG THRILLS AND BIG NAMES FOR 2011 EVENTS

Guests Can Pay For a Day, Come Back All Year For Exciting Entertainment and Non-Stop Thrills!

TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 21, 2008) – Big names in country, Latin, contemporary Christian and classic rock, plus a NEW extreme sports series and Florida’s first triple launch coaster are coming to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in 2011. It’s the biggest lineup yet with country and classic rock legends at Bands, Brew & BBQ, Viva La Música’s chart-topping salsa and meringue, a new breed of speed on Cheetah Hunt, Glory at the Gardens’ contemporary Christian music and Ramp Jam – a brand-new event featuring BMX, skateboarding and in-line skating by some of the sport’s top athletes.

Can’t decide which event to attend?

With a 2011 Fun Card, you can pay for a day and come back all year to catch them all! It’s the best value for again-and-again access to all of the amazing animal encounters, world-class thrill rides, exciting big-name entertainment and family adventure Busch Gardens has to offer.

NEW! A New Breed of Speed is Coming in Spring 2011Busch Gardens’ new mega-attraction brings guests face-to-face with the world’s fastest land animals, then invites them to race across the Serengeti on Cheetah Hunt – a one-of-a-kind launch coaster.

Memorable Music Gets Your Toes Tapping at Real MusicThe Real Music Concert Series presents notable names from music’s most memorable eras. From sock-hop era idols to swingin’ big bands, the lineup features something for everyone:

Jan. 19–22 THE TERRY MYERS ORCHESTRA with THE SWING SISTERS

Jan. 26–29 THE TOMMY DORSEY ORCHESTRA

Jan. 2–5 DEBBIE REYNOLDS

Jan. 9–12 PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS

Feb.16–19 THE VENTURES

Feb. 23–26 HERMAN’S HERMITS starring PETER NOONE

March 2–5 THE 5TH DIMENSION

March 9–12 THE OSMOND BROTHERS

March 16–19 TONY ORLANDO

March 23–26 CHARO

Blazing BBQ and Award-Winning Musicians Cook Up Band Brew & BBQBands, Brew & BBQ offers four weekends of smokin’ hot fun. Enjoy sizzling live performances from award-winning country and classic rock artists, sample dozens of craft and international beers and fire up your taste buds with food from your favorite local restaurants as well our own famous, blazing barbecue.

Sundays at Busch Gardens

Feb. 13 Blondie

Feb. 20 Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Feb. 27 The Commodores & The Pointer Sisters

March 6 Travis Tritt & The Charlie Daniels Band

Saturdays at SeaWorld

Feb. 12 Huey Lewis & The News

Feb. 19 Willie Nelson

Feb. 26 REO Speedwagon

March 5 Josh Turner

Get on Your Feet for Viva La MúsicaJoin the fiesta every weekend, March 13 through April 2, when Grammy and Latin Grammy-award winning acts perform salsa, merengue, reggaeton and more for Viva La Música.

Sundays Busch Gardens

March 13 Elvis Crespo

March 20 Jose Alberto “El Canario”

March 27 Angel Y Khris

April 3 Ismael Miranda

Saturdays at SeaWorld

March 12 Chino Y Nacho

March 19 Manny Manuel

March 26 Jerry Rivera

April 2 Edniya Nazario

NEW! Pro Athletes Amp Up at Ramp Jam This April, the ASA Action Sports World Tour amps up the excitement at Busch Gardens with the world’s best pro skateboarders, BMX riders and inline skaters shreddin’ a 14’ tall half-pipe. Live local bands, great food, the latest surf and skate gear complete the festival April 9-10 and 16-17.

Glory at the Gardens Brings Music and Fellowship Top acts in contemporary Christian, Gospel and Christian rock take the stage at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay select dates in May for Glory at the Gardens – a festival full of music and fellowship. Stay tuned for artist reveals and more details.

The 2011 Busch Gardens Fun Card is valid from the date of purchase through Dec. 31, 2011 and is available at the Busch Gardens’ front gate, online or by calling (888) 800-5447. Event dates, times and artists are subject to change. Performances are included with any daily admission or annual pass. Visit BuschGardens.com for more information."



This information was taken directly from the Busch Gardens Press Release.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sick & Tired of Being Sick!

The sickness is hanging in the air at our house.

Which is totally uncool.

Roo has croup, a fever, an ear infection (her first) and a case of the grumps.

Turtle has a snot nose and a cough that sounds too wet in my opinion.

After spending two and a half hours at the doctor we ended up with steroids, antibiotics, a nebulizer and a bump on the head.

It was exhausting.

And Christmas is four days away.

We've been dealing with this sick crap for almost two weeks and I'm just done with it.

Take back whatever present you got for me and just give me healthy, happy girls.

Deal?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Giveaway: The Greatest Show on Earth!

It's that time of year again: the circus is coming to town!!

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is presenting it's 141st show, the electrifying Fully Charged, it's the Greatest Show On Earth.

The circus is packed full of fun. With clowns, stunts and, of course, animals!

The circus is pulling into Orlando in January for the following dates:

Thursday January 13 7:30PM
Friday January 14 7:30PM
Saturday January 15 11:30AM, 3:30PM, 7:30PM
Sunday January 16 1:00PM, 5:00PM
Monday January 17 5:00PM

They will even be offering an exclusive $11 ticket to the circus for you! Use promo code “MOMMY” at ticketmaster.com or at the Arena Box Office (good for select performances: Friday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 pm; Sat. at 11:30 am and 7:30pm; Sunday at 5pm; and Monday at 5pm; minimum 4 ticket purchase required).

I also happen to have four tickets to giveaway to a lucky reader.

All you need to do to enter is leave me a comment telling me what your favorite circus animal is.

Easy peasy.

Contest ends on January 3, 2010.

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning breakfast was always Dad's job, unless he was on shift at the fire department, and when Dad made breakfast, you knew you were in for a treat.

My Dad can make the most delicious, most perfectious (not a word, I know) french toast. It had just the right amount of cinnamon, mixed together with a hearty helping of sticky sweet maple syrup.

It was heaven.

Now that I have my own family, Christmas breakfast falls on my shoulders.

I've tried to replicate my Dad's french toast but it's never really been the same (must be all that love he heaped on it). We've done the monkey bread thing too, but it's just too sweet. I normally hand out the trusty bacon and eggs.

But that can get boring.

I've come up with some great recipes (okay, stole some) to try out on Christmas morning (to go along with my Dad's French Toast b/c we're going to Grandma's for Christmas this year!).

The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls
Paula Deen's Breakfast in a Cup
Erin's Bacon and Egg Quesadillas

What will be on your table this Christmas morning?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dear Turtle: 10 Months

My dearest,

This past month you've turned into a destructive baby.

A cute, destructive baby.

If there's anything you deem interesting, we better watch out. If you get your tiny little hands on it, you'll rip it apart, shake it up and throw it.

You're newest infatuation is Diet Coke cans. You're big blue eyes light up and your chunky monkey legs kick into hyper walk just to get them.

You are also a fan of chewing on everything that is on the floor, knocking over the little Christmas tree in your sister's room, not sleeping, toddling around the front yard, riding the little Barbie four wheeler and looking adorable.

Needless to say, it's been a crazy month.

This month is bound to be fun.

You're taking your first very road trip in a few days and I'm so nervous about it. You're not a huge fan of being in your car seat for hours and the trip to Grandma's is 6 hours.

This month is also your first Christmas. I can't wait to dress you in your pretty red dress and take tons of pictures of you. I also have the "My First Christmas" hat that your sister wore, so I'm hoping you take a million or two of you in that.

Until next month, my love.

Love,
Mommy

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Spend the Weekend Cooking (or Baking)

I don't know if you've seen it, but last month I started a new page on NYTM to follow my journey of becoming a better cook and baker.

There's a cute little tab at the top and it takes you to my page.

Or follow this link.

Feel free to email me with suggestions, tips or "what the hell are you doing?!"

Friday, December 17, 2010

Floirda Friday: The Beach

After nearly a week of freezing temperatures in Florida, today has a high of 76.

So my suggestion for you, dear Floridians, is hit the beach.

Call in sick.

Hop in your car.

And drive East.

Volusia County doesn't charge for you to drive on the beach this month or next, so take full advantage of it.

Plus, December and January are some of the best times to visit the beaches in Florida.

Read that as: NO CROWDS.

So, GO!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dear Roo: Christmas Time

Even though this will be your 4th Christmas in 3 years, this one is super special.

Sure, your first was amazing and the other three were fantastic, but this one... Wow, this one is going to rock.

Why, you ask?

Because you have a clue.

You know what's going on around you.

You know what the Christmas lights are for, you understand the jolly old man in the red suit, you know that you need to be good.

You know and it's making me feel like I'm a kid again.

Seeing you, watching you, experience everything is amazing.

Watching you sign your letter(s) to Santa Claus and detailing exactly what you want (which is two dinos, one Slinky Dog and two Zhu Zhu pets) makes my heart melt.

And watching you meet Santa Claus for the first time made me cry.

You were so shy, so excited, so giggly.

And I was a puddle on the floor.

I am so excited for you, Roo.

I am so excited to see you run down the stairs at Grandma's (we'll be in SC this year for Christmas) with your cousins and rip into those presents.

I am just so excited and I'll be there with the camera, clicking away, making memories that will make me cry for years to come.

I love you so much, Roo.

Mommy

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NYTM Cooks: Potato Soup

Ah, Potato Soup.

This is my go-to, most fave, must have on a cold night.

And it's super easy.

Here's what you need:

1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
½ cup butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 can (10 3/2 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
½ cup cubed Velveeta Cheese
6 large potatoes, peeled, diced and cooked (8 cups)
1 tsp seasoned salt



And here's how you do it:

In Dutch Oven (or heavy bottomed pot), sauté onion, celery, carrots in butter.

Stir in flour until blended.
Gradually add milk and bring to a boil.
Stir for two minutes.
Add soup, cheese, potatoes, and seasoned salt and mix well.
Cook and stir until cheese is melted and soup is heated through.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Review: KitchenAid Stand Mixer & Cooking.Com

When we first got married, I had three solid recipes I could cook and serve to my husband.

The poor thing got to eat meatloaf, spaghetti and chicken (which tended to be under cooked, every time).

And considering he wasn't a huge fan of meatloaf or raw chicken, we ate a lot of spaghetti.

When we got married the only dessert I could manage was from a box and came with ready-made icing.

After burning the green beans (which came from a frozen aisle at the grocery store), I decided that I really needed to learn to cook.

If not for my husband, for my own love of food.

Eating out was too expensive (and still is) so I bought a few cookbooks and when I got (a little) better at the dinner part, I moved on to the best part: dessert.

I would spend hours drooling over magazines that boasted high res, glossy photos and hours of sitting on the coach watching the Food Network.

The Food Network drew me in with their chocolate desserts, pies and cookies.

Oh, the cookies.

I would spend hours whipping things up by hand and they never really turned out how I wanted them to, plus my hands would be sore from kneading and mixing.

A friend had suggested that I get myself a solid stand mixer to help with all the work and I spent some time researching what the heck a stand mixer was.

In my defense, my Mother wasn't a baker and never owned a stand mixer.

I settled on the Steel Blue Stand Mixer from Kitchen Aid.

There's nothing like a fancy stand mixer to make you feel all professional.

From the first moment I used my stand mixer, I was in love... and in baking heaven.

I made shortbread cookies, peanut butter pies, peppermint tortes... the list was endless and my waistline was expanding.

It was a match made in heaven.

The Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer has a 575 watt motor with heavy duty transmission (sounds like a car, huh?). Its 6 quart bowl can handle over 8 pounds of mashed potatoes (and yes, we've made that much mashed potatoes!) and the attachments have really been a life saver.

It comes with a flat beater, PowerKnead spiral dough hook, a professional wire whip and pouring shield (optional attachments like the shredder are available for purchase).

I used them all, and loved them all.

To be honest, there isn't one thing about the Kitchen Aid stand mixer that I don't love, well maybe except for the fact it hasn't helped my knack for under cooking chicken.



This post was written for Cooking.Com for the Food Network. I was compensated with a gift card for this post. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.

Sick Days

I remember when I was in high school I would look for any excuse not to go to school (my favorite was: I don't wanna go... so I didn't).

The number of sick days I plowed through those years made my parents suspicious and lead to many groundings.

But the thing about being an adult, sick days no longer mean lounging in your pjs on the couch, eating soup and crackers and watching endless hours of bad tv.

Being an adult with a sick day is like... any other day.

Being a parent and being sick doesn't earn you any sympathy points.

You just have to buck up and deal with it.

Lucky for me, I have to buck up and deal with three other sick people.

The whole house is sick.

We have snots rolling off of faces, fevers, coughs and grumpy patients.

And that's just my husband.

Ha ha ha.

Hopefully we get better soon because the amount of tissues, paper towels, hand cloths and toilet paper we've gone through is massive and someone is going to have to get better soon and make a trip to the store because we are dangerously low on everything.

Makes me really miss those high school days.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Florida Friday: ICE!

I can count on one hand the amount of time it's snowed in Florida.

Twice.

And I've lived here for thirty years.

And it never stuck.

But if you're a Floridian and have a hankering for snow, the people at Gaylord Palms have it.

Enter ICE!

Two million pounds of ice, forty tons of real snow, four two story tall slides and a temperature of nine degrees.

Oh, and Santa!

All smack dab in the middle of Florida.

Make sure you bring your heaviest coat (if you don't own one the resort can provide you one) and get ready to call in a snow day.

ICE will be open until January 2, 2011 and tickets starts at $9.99 plus tax (tickets can be purchased in advanced here).

More information regarding tickets, special holiday packages or reservations is available online or by calling 407-586-4-ICE.

ICE is located at 6000 W. Osceola Parkway in Kissimmee.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Twin, I tell ya! Twins!

Roo 11-22-2007


Turtle 11-27-2010


There's not a resemblance at all, huh?


Buzzed Driving is a No No

With the Holiday season in full swing, there are tons of parties and events to attend.

And it's a good guess to say that most of these parties and events will be serving alcohol.

Global Influence is partnering up with the Ad Council’s Buzzed Driving IS Drunk Driving campaign to spread the word.

Here are ways you can become involved and spread the word:

• Join the Twitter Q&A on Thursday, December 9th at 2 PM ET. Follow the hashtag #buzzeddriving to get safety tips and prevention advice from NHTSA experts. You can follow the chat here: http://tweetchat.com/room/buzzeddriving

• Designated Driver Drink List — One of the most important things you can do before going out is designate a sober driver. If you’re throwing a party, make sure to offer non-alcoholic drinks for the sober drivers. We’ve compiled a Facebook tab with 50 non-alcoholic party drink recipes.

• Alternative Ride Locator — We’ve created a Facebook tab with a list of nationwide alternative ride programs that can help keep your readers safe.

• Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving website — Your readers can sign a pledge not to drink and drive; play “Spot the Difference,” an interactive game that simulates the effects of buzzed driving; and watch a real-life video about how buzzed driving changed one woman’s life.

Remember to plan ahead for your parties and be safe.

Review: Bravado's Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra

When you (finally) find the perfect bra, it's hard not to wear it everyday.

Seriously, every. day.

I recently received Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless Nursing bra (in Berry Burst!) to test out.

And it has recently kicked most of my nursing bras to the curb.

It. Is. So. Comfortable!

Plus, it's cute.

When wearing the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra you tend to forget that you're even wearing a bra (except your boobs are where they should be) and the seamless part really is true because you don't experience any pinching of any extra skin. Plus, the hooks on the bra are easy to snap and unsnap, so there isn't any struggle to nurse your baby.

The only issue I had with the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra was the removable pads that come with the bra. I'm a t-shirt kinda gal and the pads were visible through my shirt. I liked the concept behind them, which was to hide the breast pads but I'm past the breast pad phase and the fact that you could tell I was wearing cups in my bra was kinda embarrassing.

Besides, the pads fell out while washing the bras so I just didn't put them back in and the problem is now non-existent.

Overall, I really love the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra, it truly is a comfortable bra and has taken the spot as most favorite (and most worn) bra.



I received a Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra to test out for this post. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Central Florida Playground

Buying your kid a Christmas gift can be challenging.

Sure, they give you a list every year but it's typically full of pointless toys that will lock them inside the house for hours on end.

You don't want your kids lounging on your couches for hours, do you?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

I stumbled upon Central Florida Playground on Twitter and after some back and forth went to their showroom in Longwood to check them out.

I took along my girls so that they could really put their play sets through the paces.

What we found at the Central Florida Playground showroom was a husband and wife team with tons of heart.

And tons and tons of play sets.

Roo was in heaven running all over the place, up and down all the slides while Turtle checked out the ballpit.

What I loved most about Central Florida Playgrounds was that they really stand behind their product and that that product is made 100% in the USA.

They feature great sets from Woodplay and Oasis by Woodplay, which are made from redwood trees. The redwood is super sustainable, strong and really beautiful.

From planning to installation, Central Florida Playground does it all for you. Give them a call at 407-790-4473 and get your kid a fabulous Christmas present (that keeps them off your couch!).

Central Florida Playground is located at 110 Bomar Court Ste 122 in Longwood, Florida. Connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.



I was not compensated for this post. I just wanted to show a local business some love.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Celebrate the Season: Sea World's Christmas Celebration

One of the great things about living in Central Florida is the endless amount of things to do in the area for the holidays.

The newest holiday experience my family got to check out was Sea World’s Christmas Celebration.

Sea World has gone all out for their Christmas celebration. Their motto is: Where the Season Meets the Sea and walking through the park is a magical experience with lights, literally, dripping out of the tree, snow falling from the sky and intoxicating hot chocolate.

Okay, not intoxicating, but I loved every sip of it.

We hit the park for a media event this past weekend and got to explore the park, take in some shows (including the very very funny Clyde and Seamore's Christmas Countdown).


We got to meet some penguins up close and personal (no touching though).
One of the best additions to Sea World's Christmas Celebration is the Sea of Trees. The 74 trees "dance" to music and can be viewed all along the waterfront.
There's also the Polar Express Experience, (where Turtle and Roo got to meet Santa!), the Miracles Shamu Show, a Sesame Street Christmas and the Christmas Market (where you can get yummy treats).

Sea World has really stepped up their game and become a major contender in the battle of Christmas celebrations that go on in the theme parks.
Sea World's Christmas Celebration runs the 10th thru the 12th and then goes nightly from the 17th until January 2, 2011.
Tickets are available online or at the main gate.
My family and I attended a media event where we received admission to the park and a special gift. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Florida Friday: Cracker Christmas

The 33rd annual Cracker Christmas celebration will be held Saturday, December 4th and Sunday 5th, 10am – 4pm at Fort Christmas Historical Park, 1300 Fort Christmas Rd., Christmas.

There will be a weekend filled with Florida Cracker/pioneer re-enactors who will demonstrate their ways of life.

Demonstrations include: spinning, weaving, quilting, lace making, wood carving, blacksmithing, broom making, hide tanning, soap making and more.

Santa makes a special visit at 1pm on both days!

Plus browse among more than 150 crafters with hand-made items, community booths and clubs.

For more information, call Fort Christmas Park at 407-568-4149.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Peanut Butter Pie & A Sears Giveaway

Giveaway is now closed. Thank you for entering!

Most people say that there are four seasons in a year: spring, summer, fall and winter. Not me, I’m totally different, I say I have five – springs, summer, hurricane, fall and baking. Yes, you read that right: Baking Season. I celebrate baking because anything that is yummy and tasty deserves its own season.


Plus it seem like I’m in the kitchen baking 24/7 starting in October going through to the very end of December. I don’t mind, really. I love baking so much. I make cookies, cakes, pies, candy, ice cream… you name it. I’ve baked it, or attempted to bake it (I’m not the best baker, but I really do try. I swear!).



The one thing that gets me through baking season is my Kitchen Aid stand mixer (bought at Sears on sale). I love that thing so much I’d marry it…well, if I weren’t already married and maybe if I were a kitchen appliance.



The stand mixer saves me soooo much time and soooo much elbow grease. I can be mixing one thing while I prep another and when I’m ready I just switch out bowls. Voilà! You’ve got two things going at once.





Gotta love multi-tasking!



My favorite recipe to make is peanut butter pie. A staple in any family holiday event we host. Seriously, if we show up and we don’t have peanut butter pie in our hands, we’re told to run back home and get it.





It’s that good.



It started with my husband’s grandmother and the recipe has been passed down and now it’s in my hands. I think that because it was started by this wonderful woman we want it on our table at every family event so it feels like she’s still with us.



Ingredients and Directions



Mix four ounces of cream cheese and 1 cup of powder sugar together in your stand mixer.
Then add in 1/3 cup of creamy peanut butter (any brand will do).



In a separate bowl, mix together 1 box of Dream Whip Whipped Topping with 2/3 cup of milk (Whole milk works best).



You want to whip that until it’s stiff then add in the peanut butter mixture.



After it’s good and mixed, put it in a graham cracker crust and freeze overnight.






Pure heaven, I swear by it.





Now get to your local Sears Hometown Store, buy a stand mixer and whip up a pie of your own. Your family will thank you, I promise.





Want a little help buying that perfect appliance? I've got a $75 Sears gift card to giveaway to one lucky NYTM reader.

All I want you to do is to tell me what treat is always on your Christmas table (or holiday table).

Easy peasy.

Extra entries can be earned by following this blog through GFC, tweeting about this contest (make sure you @NYTMBlog) or subscribing to my blog via email.

Contest ends December 15, 2010.

Good Luck!





You can also find this post on the Sears Community Blog here.



Sears did not compensate me to write this blog or to say particular things in it. The views and opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own and any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified by Sears.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Problem With Blogging

When I first discovered that I had the writers bug, I was eleven years old and in sixth grade. I had just read Gone with the Wind and was so overcome by the emotion that Margaret Mitchell had provoked in me that I said to myself: I want to do that.

And I started.

And have never looked back.

I've written something almost every day since then.

Needless to say, I have tons of Rubbermaid containers full of spiral notebooks and tons of files on three laptops that I can't bring myself to get rid of (two of them have lost their powercords so I'm kinda screwed there).

I'm surrounded by the written word and it's my idea of heaven.

Since reading that last page of GWTW, I wanted nothing more than to be a published novelist. I loved creating characters and spending hours defining them. I loved that I could make them whoever I wanted them to be. I loved that I could create the perfect romance, complete with snarky angst and dreamy kisses.

Being a writer has made all my dream come true... in my head.

For years I wrote novels and would send out query letters then spend weeks waiting by my mailbox for replies.

Obviously, I've never gotten a yes or else you would hear it from me every day that I had a novel sitting on a shelf somewhere.

Sure, I've gotten published in the magazine arena and the world wide web has created a whole page of articles online in my writer's resume.

But I have yet to see my romance novel or my chick-lit ideas come to a blossom.

And I have to tell you the reason why is because I blog.

I put all of myself into this blog.

I pull out all my ideas and publish every thought I have here (and on twitter) and at the end of the day, my poor brain is exhausted.

At the end of the day, my creativity is used up on blog posts about how adorable my children are, how my boobs tend to leak and reviews on DVDs that are scattered all over my daughters' floor.

When I log off at the end of the day, the thought of picking up a pen and putting it to paper makes me a little insane.

And I hate that my blog sucks it all out of me, but at the same time I love my blog.

Goodness, do I love my blog.

I love my readers.

I love what I've accomplished here and on other websites.

I love being a blogger.

I'm proud to be a blogger (isn't there a shirt somewhere that says that?)

But I can't help that part of me that is yearning for a paperback with my name on the front.

And I'm hoping that in 2011 I can parlay my blog into something or I can introduce you to a bodice ripping hero that will make you want to come back to my blog again and again.

So while I believe my blog is a problem at times, I also know it's the solution at others.

ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas

I'm a big fan of Christmas, you know this because every year it rolls around I tell you.



And you know I'm a big fan of Christmas movies, because I told you that one too.



But did you know I'm a really big fan of the 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family?



Every year when it rolls around I print out the programming schedule and sit down with my red (festive!) marker and circle all the movies I want to watch with my girls.



I think the reason why I get so excited about watching Christmas movies with my girls is because I can remember sitting down with my brother and sister and watching all the classics.


They are such good memories that I'm sure if I share with my two daughters that they one day will look back and remember the memories we made together.

Some of my favorites this year are the classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer & the Island of Misfit Toys and Disney's newest Holiday hit Prep & Landing.


The complete schedule of the 25 Days of Christmas can be found here.

Why not print up your own copy, circle some movies and make some memories of your own?



I received a small gift in return for my post. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.