Friday, March 23, 2012


One of my favorite bloggers - NieNie from the Nie Nie Dialogues - is featured in People Magazine this week. I never, ever buy that mag, preferring to skim through it in waiting rooms, but I might make an exception this week. She is a beautiful, faith-filled, family-oriented SAHM with an incredible story to tell. She's been on Oprah, the morning shows, the Glenn Beck show, and she has a book coming out soon. Check her out. Read her archives if you haven't already. I dare you not to cry at least once.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hurrah for Spring!!

S P R I N G!!

When I was younger, I loved wintery clothes - heavy sweaters, wool skirts, jeans, my perfect black coat, boots, and especially turtlenecks. But these days my wiser grownup 2012 self scoffs at my 1992 self dressed in a kilt and tights in Florida. What was I thinking?! Although I still like chilly winter weather, my wardrobe is almost 100% polar fleece with the occasional Land's End Canvas Heritage cardigan thrown in. So much more suited to the mild Florida winters.

I'm also making an effort to wear more color, but that kind of change comes slower.

Here are some things I'm loving this Spring:


Country club pool opens 4/1 and we can't wait! (That's a LEC red cardi and khaki capris w/ flip flops. Doesn't it just scream "Florida-mom-in-winter?" Ignore my lack of hair style, this was after a long, long day at Disney.)

British Breakfast tea

I still need a cup of joe to get moving in the morning, but this stuff is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

Method Lime & Sea Salt dish soap

Smells like a beach vacation. I got mine at Target, and I had to buy up a bunch since it's one of their limited edition scents.

One of the many "opoly" versions out there and our new fave family game. It's actually the first opoly-style game we've played. The first time we played I only taught them the basic rules, figuring I could help them with strategy over time. I thought they were too young to understand the concept of buying properties and collecting rents. Boy was I wrong. Anders is a natural risk-taking mogul, buying up everything from the get-go with the sole intent of putting barns on everything (barn = hotel) and raking in the huge rents. Watch out Donald Trump!! Dagny is a totally emotional investor refusing to buy a property if she doesn't like the way the name of a property sounds or how the picture looks. When I told Anders to watch his cash and maybe not buy a barn just yet, he gave me a look like "what kind of strategy is THAT?" and ignored me. The next round of the board he collected $800 in rent from Dagny & I. Thank goodness I can still beat them at Scrabble (for now).
Dove Coconut Creme eggs. Get 'em while you can. Yum.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Dream home

HGTV is announcing the winner of the 2012 Dream Home tomorrow. Unless they are planning on presenting it to me while I'm working at Dagny's Girl Scout cookie booth (at the new Publix on US 19 & 22 Ave N., just in case they come looking for me), I'm going to assume I haven't won.

Bummer, because I really liked that house. It spoke to me.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

As the saying goes

"You catch more flies with honey."

Nowhere on Earth is this more true than at the mechanic's shop.

Maybe it's something to do with those guys being surrounded by greasy oil pans, old tires and dirty air filters all day, but in my experience using a little "honey" (and a cute dress and some lip gloss) will get you great deals and excellent customer service.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Bun in the oven

A couple years ago, for a New Year's "resolution" I decided I'd try to bake all the bread we eat. It was great - until the summer came and our a/c units were soooo inefficient and our house was sooo hot and running an oven at 450+ degrees for an hour didn't seem like a great idea.

Then we got new a/c units and now our house can reasonably maintain 78 degrees even in the summer. With the oven on. Yay for modern appliances. Also, I figured out a system wherein I am organized and efficient enough to bake in the morning when it is cooler.

So, fast forward, and I'm still baking year-round. I mostly make sourdough breads & English muffins. However, I've learned to not be so militant about it because being militant about something like baking bread can make you nuts. If I'm having a busy week, or if the kids are sick, or if I just don't feel up to baking several loaves of bread, I have no problem whatsoever buying a loaf of squishy-soft, white, sliced sandwich bread. The kids act like I'm giving them candy for breakfast and I get a reprieve from them complaining about having to eat, because it turns out they will eat most anything if it is accompanied by sandwich bread (this includes previously taboo foods like asparagus, fish, salads, tomatoes, and pot roast).

I'm happy that the kids know what fresh, home-made bread tastes like; they appreciate the vast differences in taste, texture and appearance. They don't always like it (even I'm not a fan of 100% whole wheat homemade - way to dense, crumbly and dry) but they appreciate it.

There are a few other things that we usually only eat homemade/homegrown: ice cream, baked goods in general, waffles & pancakes, soup, tomatoes, and, recently, jams and jellies. We used to not eat packaged cereals, but with Anders being in school full-time, my mornings were crazy and I've resorted to Cheerios, Grape-nuts and Life as a time-saver. Enter the No-Cereal Challenge. Since both kids also like oatmeal, granola, waffles, pancakes, yogurt, fruit, smoothies and toast, I'm going to challenge them to give up the boxes of processed, packaged cereal in favor of these other things. If I can freeze 3-4 loaves of bread a week, surely I can maintain a supply of waffles and granola? And it will be one less thing to buy.

Waffles of Insane Greatness
(from here)

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Butter and syrup, for serving

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add the milk, vegetable oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.

Preheat a waffle iron. Do not use non-stick spray on the waffle iron; the oil in the batter will allow the waffle to release easily. Follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles. Serve immediately with butter and syrup.


4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups raw pecans, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups large flake coconut chips
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 300° F.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, pecans, coconut, maple syrup, coconut oil, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake until golden all over, about 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.