Thursday, October 27, 2011

Baby it's cold outside!

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{Or if you're an oldie but goodie, MUAH! Love Ya!}
I can't wait to get to know you, but in the mean time check out

this post to get to know me a little better.
Thanks for stopping by!


Here it is, October 27 and it's SNOWING!
And the low tonight is going to be 25 degrees. 
I am so not ready for winter.
Tingly fingers, toes and runny noses aren't my thing.

Before going any further - I apologize for the blurry photos. 
My camera battery forgot to charge itself, so I had to use my cell.
Less than 40 minutes before this picture was taken  my yard was still green.

Optimistic Katie, be OPTIMISTIC!

Ack! I'm sure I can see the good in the white stuff falling from the sky, 
but the temperature??

Nope, I'm sorry. Someone PLEASE bring back July.
Cookouts, the beach, long sunny days, tank tops, and sweating instead of shivering.
And flip-flops, how can a girl LIVE without her flip-flops?!?!
I attempted to wear my flip flops to run out to the car tonight - they cracked.
Thats right they CRACKED! 
Apparently the cold was too much for the cheap rubber they're made of.
Sigh, and they were my favorite paisley ones too. 

Pulling out the sweaters and scarves the past couple of weeks was fun.
I loved making sure my best accessory was the pumpkin spice coffee 
in my un-gloved hand.
And that my sunglasses could be worn on my face to block the fall rays
or as a quick head band when the wind picked up outside.
Also top on my list - playing in the leaves and the sunshine WITHOUT a jacket on, 
but still sporting cozy clothing was a lovely change in pace.

Had someone told me two weeks ago that today I would need my winter coat, 
gloves and a hat to protect me from the below freezing temps and snow 
I never would have believed them.
C'mon, it's only October!

Yet, here I am. Making the best of it {really, I am} in the snow.

I played outside before dinner tonight with Maddy.
Watched her joyfully look up at the sky letting those soft, fluffy flakes fall on her tongue. 
Laughed with her as she giggled her little heart out every time a flake tickled her nose.

She dressed herself. Dig the monkey jammies and butterfly rain boots?

She made footprints all around our yard tonight.
Tried her hat at making snow balls.
And tried to "save" our last tomato plant by wiping every last little bit of icy cold snow of its leaves.

I have to admit, that never gets old - 
watching a child's face totally light up at the sight of the first snow.

I can remember when I was little, my sister and I would FLY out the door of the house as 
soon as we caught wind of the first snow fall.  
We'd run around hooping and hollering about how we had waited all year for this 
little miracle.
Chase around the few flakes floating in the air trying to soak them up on our tongues. 
Then, we'd wait anxiously for it to accumulate enough that we could make homemade snow cones. Topping them with cranberry juice or maple syrup.
We never complained about the cold. I don't think we ever felt it.
Those were the days.

And now I get to teach Maddy the ways of the first snow, and watch her follow in my childhood footsteps.
I get to soak up the happiness radiating from her little body.
And in turn she gets to re-teach ME how to be a child again, 
how to have fun with the simplest of things.

So to say I hate the snow. No. I don't "hate" it.
I even made a few snowballs myself tonight.

But, I do dislike all the adult responsibilities that come with it.

The cold?
That is what I really and truly hate.
And every year older I get, the more the cold gets to me.

So Old Man've made your entrance. 
Now, we're stuck with you for the next 4 months.
I suppose I need to make the best of it.
Snow cone anyone?

What's your favorite part of the first snow of the year?
And if it doesn't snow where you live, what things about snow do you wish you could take part in?

Linking up with:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Deep Breath In...

After finishing up the Punkins Halloween Costume this morning my day went down hill.
I became totally FRAZZLED to say the least.

All dressed and ready for her Halloween Party, too bad she had a coat on!

For some reason all day today I felt like I had to rush through everything.
I felt like I didnt have time to even take a breath, let alone pee!
I had butterflies in my stomach like I was forgetting something.
My mind was frazzled beyond belief.
I felt like a crazy lady.

The funny thing? 
Today was my day off! 

Sure I had to cart Maddy around to school and run some errands;
finish up some cooking I had started yesterday and clean the house a bit.
But nothing that should have put me in a foul mood. 
Yet there it was plain as day - PISSY 'OLE ME!

Little things set me off. ALL DAY LONG.
Things that should have made me just sigh, or even laugh!

I dropped a cast iron pan in the sink this morning.
I spilled some of the chicken stock I was simmering.
Punkin' Head kept laughing at me when I asked her to do something.

I Can't Hear You!!!!!

I ran out of yellow ribbon for Maddy's costume.
I drove past the bank instead of stopping there.
I got home to find that one of the horses had undressed himself and was stuck.
{Ok, this kind of made me chuckle.}

He's special. Notice how he got it over his head then stepped on it?
I forgot to pick up bread while I was out.
One of the chickens got loose while I was feeding them.
And the hubs asked (nicely!) for a hair cut tonight after dinner.

All of these things made me CRINGE and grit my teeth. 

What made my day go this way? I have not a clue.
My head apparently wasn't screwed on tight or something.
I know - the snow we are getting tomorrow. I'll blame it on that.
For cripes sake its only OCTOBER! Why are we getting snow?!?!

So, tonight I am FINALLY sitting down, taking a deep breath and eating some chocolate.
I think I'll start scouring Etsy, pre-gaming for Christmas gifts too.
That should make a girl relax and feel better.

Wow, in hindsight it really WASN'T a bad day. Just a silly one.
And now I feel a little silly for complaining.
I must be PMS-ing!

Thanks for listening reading while I vent. I feel much better now. 

Oh, and one last thing....
If you haven't done so yet you should really check out my left sidebar. 
Those lovely buttons at the top under sponsors? 
Yup, they're super cool and deserve a look-see. 

Here's to a better day tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Roll'n Up The Fruit!

I made these little lovelies yesterday.

And I admit I was TERRIFIED they weren't going to come out right.
Actually, I was pretty sure I ruined the last batch - 
turns out that even over cooked they're pretty tasty.
Although if you cover ANYTHING in dark chocolate it's tasty, right?

What I learned?
This recipe is super easy, and pretty darn healthy too! 
You just have to have the patience to 
and wait...
and WAIT 
while they dehydrate and set up.

2 - 3 cups of fruit, fresh or frozen and thawed.
Berries, Pears, Peaches, Apples - anything goes!
Honey or the sweetener of your choice
Spices if you desire

What you do:
Puree the fruit until it's been pretty much liquified.

Strain the seeds out if you like, I left mine in.
It needs to be pour-able and not sticky or thick, 
so if needed add in water or juice.

Taste it.

Add some sweetener and spice if you'd like.
As much or as little as your taste buds tell you.
I used 2 teaspoons of honey and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

HINT: I found that even though I thought my raspberry puree was pretty sweet, 
I should have added more honey. 
I only used 2 teaspoons. 

When it was done cooking we found it to be a little tart - but we like it that way!

This was my second batch, so I added honey before I pureed
Line a rimmed cookie sheet with a Silpat mat, or plastic wrap 
(all the way up and over the sides if using plastic).
Pour the mixture in and spread out until you have a thin layer of fruit.

Set your oven to the LOWEST temperature (mine is 170)
Or you can use a food dehydrator which I don't have.

Place in the oven and let sit there for 6+ hours.
One of my batches only took 6 hours the other had to stay in for 8.5.
And the third, on and you'll find out.
I did have to shut the oven off twice so I could go run some errands and they still came out fine.

You'll know its cooked when you can touch your finger to the middle and it doesn't stick to your finger tip.

Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

Peel off the plastic.  
The edges will be crispy but they are still yummy!

We couldn't wait to dig into this one, hence the funny shape
Slice up your roll-ups and wrap in parchment paper. 
OR use cookie cutters to make some fun shapes!

So how did I mess up? 
The third batch I managed to forget about. 
Before I went to bed last night I realized they were still in the oven, going on 10 hours

But in all honesty - this was my favorite batch! 
The raspberry hardened enough to become crispy raspberry brittle.

And might I add DELICIOUS dipped in melted dark chocolate. 
Yup, thats right. I can turn ANY 'good for you' food into something bad :)

I'm thinking chocolate raspberry bark for Christmas Gifts!

A Little Hiatus

Well, hello there!

If you hadn't noticed I took a MUCH needed hiatus from the computer for a few days.

Umm...that's a LIE if I ever heard one!

I can't stay off facebook.
So the honest truth? 
I took a vacay from everything on the computer that's NOT facebook related. :)

It was nice. I got a few projects done around the house, 
played in the leaves with the kiddo,

baked some goodies and roasted some butternut squash seeds,

tastiest little seeds ever

I even receieved some goodies in the mail.
Like this BEAUTIOUS, GORGERIFIC (I know its not a word, humor me), and cozy little custom number by Summer at Made By Munchies Mama.

I need a better picture. This doesn't do it justice, someone refused to stand still!

You MUST go to her Etsy Shop NOW! RUN!
Quite the talented little lady.

As much as my fingers were itching to sign in to Blogger this morning
I knew it was going to be overwhleming.
And I was right.
Almost 700 new posts that I needed to catch up on?!

Geesh, can't you guys take a break from posting when I do? 
It'd be MUCH easier to get caught up on my favorite reads. 
It's going to take me all week to read what you guys have been up to!
So next time, lets all schedule this together, mmm k?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monogram Pumpkin Tutorial

I know these tutorials and pictures have been floating around lately, but I had to share one of the pumpkins we did for Maddy.

By far one of the easiest "carved" {if you can call it that} pumpkins I have ever done.

What you'll need:

A pumpkin {not too small,  you need to fit your hands inside}
String of Christmas lights {I used 2 strings of 20 lights}
Drill, with a bit that matches the size of the light bulbs
Serrated Knife
Embellishments {optional}
Stencil of a letter {optional}

Start by cutting a hole in the bottom of your pumpkin

Spoon out all the "guts", save the seeds for roasting.
{might I add - brown sugar and cayenne pepper for roasting - yummo!}

Using the spoon, or a scraper, scrape down the inside wall of the pumpkin until its
about 1/2" thick or less 

Now for the fun part.
Decide what you want to put on your pumpkin.
A letter, pattern, shapes, name it!

I chose an "M" as one of mine, for Maddy of course.
Draw out your letter and tape it to the pumpkin.

Using a pen or something pointy, poke holes where you want the lights to go.
I wanted a light about every inch.

Remove the paper and start drilling baby!
This was the really fun part :)
And the hubs has NO IDEA I used HIS drill.
What he doesn't know won't hurt him.

Clean off the pumpkin and start pushing light bulbs into the holes, from the inside.
Push them in just until the tip pokes through the hole.
Leave the plug hanging out the bottom of the pumpkin so you can plug it in.

Plug her in and give her a test run!
Not bad :)

Add some embellishments if you'd like.

 Toss on the front step for a cheery Halloween greeting!

Linking up to:

Friday, October 14, 2011

When the bond grows stronger

Looking into his eyes 11 years ago I was love struck.
I was bit by the love bug hard, and I knew I could never love anyone any more than I did him.
We instantly had a connection, an unbreakable bond.
A bond that felt like it was as strong as it could get.

I think the beginning of a relationship is like being on your honeymoon.
Nothing EVER goes wrong. Everything is picture perfect.
All the negativity in the world gets blocked out, and the world revolves around you, at least for a little while.

Each transition in our relationship has had this.
Engagement. Marriage. First home purchase. Our first child.
The honeymoon phase has happened with each milestone. 
You feel so proud, happy, filled with love, nothing can take the smile off your face.

Our Wedding - June 4, 2005

But, inevitably each uplifting event we have had was followed by a downward slide.
All the build up, just to have a torturous month or two once things settle down.
Whether it was money or stress at work or with family, something always came up to give us a swift kick in the butt. It's like life just HAD to remind us that things aren't always butterflies and rainbows.

Source: via Katie on Pinterest

I RARELY talk about these things to friends, even family.
I always try to portray the positive, not the negative.
Maybe its my pride. Maybe its my independence. Or maybe I feel guilty that I just HAVEN'T DONE ENOUGH to prevent the negative from creeping up on us. 

Whatever it is that holds me back from opening up has been weighing on me lately and yesterday I hit my breaking point.

We've hit another obstacle in this past month, actually a couple of them. Nothing major in the grand scheme of things, but enough to add a good amount of stress into our lives.

After a heartfelt conversation last night with Mr. D about our finances, why we aren't where we thought we would be at 30, and how I feel inadequate lately in the "providing for our family" department it occurred to me -

It hit me like a slap in the face. A true AH HA moment. Even with all the landslides we have had in the past 11 years the one thing that has ALWAYS become better is the bond between us. We have NEVER let the world and its everyday issues come between US. Day to day we have grown and molded ourselves into honest, trusting, unselfish, compassionate, loving and loyal partners. And there is nothing that could be thrown at us that will change that. It's who we are. 

With the good comes the bad, or in our case: 
With The Bad Comes The Good {optimistic, aren't I?}

I burst into tears last night. Not because I have been so stressed over all the new financial burdens we have taken on, or the extra hours Mr. D has had to take on at work that take him away from us, or because I'm not where I wanted to be in my career. 

I burst into tears because 11 years ago I never would have been able to fathom loving someone as much as I do now. I would never have thought it possible. And without him by my side today I wouldn't be able to overcome any of these little hurdles life has thrown at me us. 

We have been through it all, and no matter what we have held on to each other. Wiped each others tears, held each others hands, had each others backs, and stood up for US.

Our bond is unbreakable and just keeps getting stronger.

It's funny how sometimes it takes life throwing you a curve ball to make you see the things that really matter.

We may have it a little rough right now, but we're travelling this bumpy road with each other, and I wouldnt want it any other way.

Ch Ch Changes! & Some Sponsor Lovin'

Friday! We made it through another week :)

Have you noticed all the changes to the blog this week? It was time for a change.
Cleaner, brighter, more down to earth. This is the "real" me.
My favorite colors, my family, my favorite things. 
I live here. My home away from home.

I hope its a little easier for all of you to navigate through too. If not, let me know. I'd love to hear your feed back.

All of my grab buttons are now on the right side bar, so if you haven't done so yet would you swap out my old button for the new one? Thanks guys!


And on the left sidebar, first and foremost at the top is my fab
I'm psyched to finally have it in the spot light. If you'd like to know more about being a sponsor shoot me an email. I have a couple of affordable packages to offer.

Shop owner?
I am running a 60 day special to get you through the holiday season!
Email me for the details.
So what are you waiting for? Get your name out there!
All sponsors receive a 30 day spot, become a sponsor when it's good for you, not just on the first of the month.

Since we are on the sponsor topic, I'd like to introduce you all to my newest sponsor -
  My Adventures Through Mommyhood.

my adventures through mommyhood

Jen is a stay at home Momma to a rambunctious toddler named LJ. You'll see more of his cute little face on her blog when you head over there. A little about Jen In Jen's words-

"Hi Everyone! We live in lalaland (Los Angeles). Pre LJ I was a paralegal contemplating daring law school. But hung that idea up when I found out we were expecting. We are very blessed to have LJ. I have rheumatoid arthritis, I was diagnosed about 5 years ago. And a few months prior to finding out we were expecting I was told there was a chance I may not be able to conceive because of my RA. my heart sunk hearing those words come out of my doctors mouth. It wasn't easy to hear let alone the thought of not being able to have my own child was hard. We refused to let that stop us and decided that no matter what we'd never give up. And 3 months later, I was pregnant!  I've had many struggles with having RA as a mom. But I will never let it get the best of me. LJ and my husband are my reason for getting up every day, they are the reason I fight through painful days. They are my constant reminder that I have RA, RA doesn't have me! I am very fortunate to be symptom free for almost a year now. I love being a mom and wouldn't have it any other way. 

My blog is a place for me to share both the good and bad things that are involved with being a parent. its a place for me to find other moms who can relate to my experiences. Its about me trying to balance life as a mom, wife and still manage to be me. along with sharing some of my favorite baby/toddler and mommy must haves. Being a mom, has been a blessing. So I hope you enjoy this journey with me!"

I hope you get the chance to venture over and meet Jen! She is one of my must-reads in this bloggy world. I love reading about her life with LJ (who by the way is cute as a button!). She's a down to earth Momma that shares "real" life with a toddler. I can totally relate to all she has to say, and am pretty sure if I got the chance to meet her in real life we'd be fast friends, as would LJ and Maddy :)

Thanks for checking her out everyone.
Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tag-Along Thursday Facebook Hop!

It's Thursday! That can only mean one thing...

It's time for our Facebook Hop!
I hope you can join in and make some new friends with us...

My lovely friends Nicole at Miss Mommy, Em at And Nothing Else Matters, and Summer at Made by Munchies Mama and I are hosting a once a month Facebook Hop.  We will do it on the Second Thursday of every month.

We had a tremendous success with our Blog link up last week!.  All of us hosts went around and followed all of you.  Thank YOU so much for linking up.  We're looking forward to doing this again on the first Thursday of November.  

This is for all of us to get to know eachother better and gain more likes on Facebook:)

The rules of the hop are:

MUST like ALL 4 hosts on Facebook
Each host will follow you back - so you're sure to gain atleast 4 new likes!

Please like a few others in the hop and leave them a comment saying you came from the Tag-Along Thursday Facebook Hop :)

You can grab a button if you wish as well :)

See you all soon!
Nicole, Em, Summer and Katie

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Pumpkin Roll

The Pumpkin Roll.
Really, does it need anymore of an intro?
I think not.

A great treat to bring to an outing, to serve for dessert, 
or to devour out of the fridge as a midnight snack 
{the midnight snack thing – yup, this is how I roll! Get it? Roll?!?!}

For this tasty little treat, you’ll need:

1 cup sugar
3 eggs
¾ cup of canned pumpkin
1 tsp. lemon juice
tsp. baking powder
¾ cup flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
powdered sugar (1 cup, estimated)

For the filling:
8 oz. softened cream cheese
4 tblsp. softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 375. 
 Grease a 10.5 x 15” cookie sheet with sides; a jellyroll pan also works well.

Mix together pumpkin, sugar, eggs and lemon juice until smooth.

Separately mix together cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, flour and salt.
Blend both mixtures together until well moistened, again mixing until smooth.
Pour the batter into the pan making sure to spread evenly.

Bake for 13 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.
While waiting, spread out a towel on the counter, and cover with a good amount of powdered sugar.

The sugar keeps the cake from sticking to the towel so the more you use the better!

Once the cake is done immediately flip it over onto the towel and remove pan.
Roll both the cake and towel together and let cool for at least 45 minutes on the counter.

Combine all the ingredients for the filling and mix well.

VERY IMPORTANT – don’t forget to taste test the filling. You’re the cook, its ok, stick your finger right in it. Just don’t double dip. That would be gross ;)

Once the cake is cool slowly unroll it.

Spread the filling evenly over the cake covering all the way to the edges.

Re-roll the cake, this time without the towel.

Wrap in tin foil and refrigerate about 75 minutes {or more} before slicing.
Tick tock, tick tock….75 minutes later – VOILA!

As much as you may not want to, PLEASE make sure you share; 
it’s the polite thing to do!

Feel free to freeze this for later use too – I like to slice it and wrap each slice in wax paper before placing in a freezer bag. When you’re ready to eat it just let a slice thaw in the fridge and dive on in!

Hope you enjoy it :)

Care to Share?