Monthly Archives: April 2009

Speak Now for Kids

You may have noticed the “Speak Now for Children” button on the left-hand side of my blog.  Don’t feel bad if you didn’t; I just put it up yesterday when I found out about it from Heather Spohr.  But I got really excited and wanted to share this info with you.

Speak Now for Kids is a national online campaign(spearheaded by the NACH and joined by the the AAP and several other great organizations)  which is designed to tell Congress and the Obama Administration what children need in health care. On their website, they are asking people to submit health care stories, photos or video messages and tell legislators your priorities for reforming health care for children.  They have also come up with many ways for you as individuals to spread the word. You can go here to enter your information and leave a comment, post a picture or send a video clip. (Just make sure you have your statement, picture or video clip ready to go when you fill out your info!  It doesn’t appear that you can go back and add that party later.)  They even have some information designed specifically for physicians.

Most of my readers are parents.  And even if you have healthy children with insurance, you cannot ignore this.  Do you know that there are 8.8 MILLION uninsured children in the United States? And even with insurance, children receive only 68 percent of recommended care for acute medical problems, 53 percent of recommended care for chronic medical conditions, and 41 percent of recommended preventive care. Children with asthma receive only 46 percent of the care they need. (All of this information is from NACH and Speak Now for Kids.)  Lives are at stake here, people.  Little bitty lives that are worth a whole lot!

So I’m asking you to please take a few moments of your time to visit the Speak Now for Kids website, which launches today.

Thank you for taking the time to read this…now go submit your ideas!

*I did see that MCG(where Marshall did med school and his pediatric residency) and CHOA are two of the 75 hospitals that have joined the campaign.  Yay, Georgia!*

Frosty Goodness

I love grapes of any shape, size or color.  Love ’em.  But I’m notorious for buying them and only eating half of the bag.  (Please tell me that some of you do that, too!)  I really like for my grapes to be firm and not smooshy, however, so when they start getting smooshy I throw them away.  But I hate to waste food.  So I wondered what woud happen if I froze some.  And low-and-behold, I pulled them out of the freezer one day and bit into a frozen grape to discover that not only was it good, it was GREAT!  Now, when that huge bag of grapes I bought start to get even a little bit smooshy(I like that word.  Can you tell?), I pop them in the freezer and the kids and I enjoy them later.

**I will say that you should only take out as many as you need.  And you must eat them fairly quickly.  Once they start to thaw, they get not only smooshy again…but slimy too. Yuck!

Here’s a look at the frosty goodness I munched on today:

And here’s what happened while I was trying to write this post.  They were supposed to be cleaning up.  Oops!


Wordless Wednesday: Pops & Lydia Edition


Will you be my friend?

I love facebook. I really do. I love connecting with old friends. I love keeping up with friends in different cities.   I even love keeping up with what’s going on with the folks I see on a regular basis. As a matter of fact sometimes, especially on days like today when we really didn’t see each other before 10pm, I get more information about Marshall’s day from facebook than from actual conversations. Some would argue that that’s not a good thing.   I think it is…we did at least communicate. Without facebook or texting, we probably wouldn’t have connected at all today. Sad, but true.

BUT…I have one big gripe with Facebook. Well, not facebook, but my own “internal facebook ethic”.

Here are two scenarios that grate on my nerves:

1. An old “friend” from high school sends a friend request. We weren’t friends in high school. I knew you…you knew me. (Seriously, it’s a small town…we all knew each other.) But I didn’t talk to you and you surely didn’t talk to me. So why do you want to talk to me now??  What is it that I can offer you?  Are you just curious about where I ended up?  Are you checking to see if your predictions about me came true?  I’m sure you heard that I got my boobs “done”.  Are you checking to see if it’s true??  (The answer is yes, btw.  But not the way most people do it.)

2. An old “friend” sends a friend request.  I accept.  Then (s)he proceeds to send you message after message after message.  (S)he comments on everything you do.  (As in my previous posts…if you think I’m talking about you, you’re probably wrong.  I’m not talking about anyone that I know regularly reads my blog.)  I get to the point where I wonder why in the world I accepted the friend request.  Silly drama from years ago pops up.  Stories I’d long forgotten(on purpose) are now back in my “sphere of reality”.  And sometimes (s)he just plain out annoys me.  But I can’t un-friend you.  I can’t.  See…I look at your friend list, and you don’t have that many friends.  And I know that if I do un-friend you, you’ll notice.  And I don’t want to be that mean.

And then I start to wonder am I that mean? If I want to un-friend you, but don’t…is that like thinking someone’s ugly and not telling them?  Or wanting so badly to say something negative about someone, but not doing it because you just shouldn’t.  Is it wrong to think it if you don’t say it?


Blue Snack Day:Homemade Ice Cream Bowls and Candied Popcorn

Both of my kids were “sweethearts” at school one day this week, which meant that they were in charge of bringing snacks.  Both classes requested “blue snacks”.  And seriously?  There are no naturally occuring blue foods.  Well, blueberries seem obvious…but a) blueberries aren’t really blue…they’re more of a dark purple, IMHO and b) I’m too cheap to buy enough blueberries to satisfy 30 kids.  (Was anyone else aware that blueberries were so expensive?)  There’s also blue corn…but I doubt the kids want blue corn chips.  Just guessin’.

So…instead of delicious, healthy blueberries and blue corn chips, I decided to make trans-fat-full, high-fructose-syrup-laden homemade dough bowls(dyed blue, of course) and oh-so-(not)-healthy candied popcorn(also dyed blue).  I know…other parents love me.

So if you’d like to corrupt your children’s digestive system and make them happy at the same time, this is how you do it:  Make these homemade bowls.  (We usually use them as ice cream bowls, but I couldn’t figure out how to keep the ice cream frozen long enough for school.)  And make this delish candied popcorn.  Try ’em together, or try ’em separate.  Either way, they’re yum-yum-yummy!


Homemade Ice Cream Bowls (shown here dyed blue, but usually a nice sugar-cookie color)

You’ll need the following ingredients: 1/4 cup of shortening(yes…lard makes everything healthier, right??) 1/4 cup softened butter, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips(optional, not used in these photos)

Beat together shortening, butter and sugar.  Add egg and vanilla until combined.


In separate bowl, sift together salt, baking powder and flour.  Then gradually stir into the batter.

Stir in the chocolate chips(or in this case, 3 jars of blue food coloring).


Divide dough in half.  Shape each half into flat disk and wrap in plastic.


Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375°.  Turn two 12-count muffin tins upside down.  Cover ten of the cups with squares of aluminum foil.  Spray the foil with cooking spray and set aside.


Unwrap one disk of dough and roll dough into “Peeps” sized balls. (Hey, we just had Easter…that’s the best thing I had to compare sizes.)


Flatten balls into small disks, and place each one over a cup bottom and mold it to the muffin form.


Bake 10-12 minutes(8-10 in convectional oven), or until light brown.  Let cool 10 minutes.

Remove foil and bowls together.  Let cool a few more minutes, then peel foil out of bowl.


Fill with yummy deliciousness…today candied popcorn, tomorrow ice cream!


Candied Popcorn

I almost always make candied popcorn at Christmas(red and green, of course).  It is fairly easy to make(as long as you are paying attention and don’t burn it).


You’ll need: 1 regular size bag of popcorn(popped) minus a few handfuls for “taste testing”, 1 cup salted peanuts or cashews(optional), 1/4 cup butter, 3 TBsp light corn syrup, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 package(4 serving size) any flavor Jello.

Very important: Don’t forget to taste test the popcorn before you start.  If you don’t skim a little off the top, the candy to popcorn ratio just isn’t right.  🙂

Heat oven to 300°.  Seriously.  Not 301°.  It’ll burn.  I promise.

Line a 15x10x1 pan with wax paper.

Place popcorn and nuts in a large bowl.

Heat butter and syrup in a small saucepan over LOW heat.  Stir in sugar and Jello; bring to a boil on MED heat.  Reduce heat to low and gently simer for 3-5 minutes, stirring almost constantly.  (Be very careful to not let it burn!!) It should start out kind of thick and get more fluid as it heats up.


Immediately pour syrup over popcorn, tossing well.

Evenly spread popcorn onto prepared pan (like you used to do when people actually made Rice Crispy Treats).


Bake for 10 minutes(7 minutes in convection oven).


Remove from pan and break into small pieces.


Eat it all in one sitting.  YUM!

Easy Applique

I love Bailey Boys, Ragsland, Kelly’s Kids, Just Ducky and all those other adorable brands.  I’ve always thought appliqued shirts were oh-so-fun.  But I’m just too cheap to pay $25 (or more!) for a TEE SHIRT!  Seriously?  It’s a tee-shirt.  It will probably have a big red blob of pizza stain or paint or grass stain on it after the first wearing.  I just can’t justify spending that kind of money for a tee-shirt.

But I really like appliqued shirts.  So…off to Etsy. I found a bunch of cute stuff I liked, but I started wondering just how hard it would be to make them on my own.  You all know how I love a good craft project.  So after some Google action, I discovered the joy of Wonder Under!  With this “magic paper” you can make anything fusible!  Woo-hoo!

Here is a play-by-play of my latest creation for Carter:

1. Pick a picture(you can sketch one by hand, find a template online or just use a simple coloring book page), and draw out a template.


2. Cut out your templates and place them on the fabric to get an idea of how much you will need to use.  Cut out the section the fabric that you will need.


3. Cut out enough Wonder Under that you will have enough room for all of your templates.


4. Iron Wonder Under to the WRONG SIDE of your fabric pieces.  Trace out your templates BACKWARDS!


5. Cut out all of your pieces.  Peel the back off of the small black lines.  Iron them onto the yellow piece while the backing is still on that piece(to keep it from sticking to something else).  Then remove the backing from the yellow piece and iron it onto the green tractor body(while its backing is still on).


6.  Fold the shirt in half long ways and iron it so that when the shirt is open, you can easily see the center.appliquestep6

7. Peel the Wonder Under backing from all of the pieces, arrange them onto the shirt and carefully iron on.appliquestep7

8. You may want to stitch around the edges with a sewing machine or make a nice hand-made outline.  Otherwise, you’re done!  Wash and wear as usual!


A few other things I’ve made recently with this easy applique technique:


Wordless Wednesday: Glimpses of "Teenage Lydia" Edition

**No, I didn’t pop her in the eye…she fell off the bleachers at the softball field.**




Mouthwatering Monday: Lemonade Chicken and Green Bean Amandine


For a few weeks now I’ve had a recipe I wanted to try: Lemonade Chicken.  But it’s a slow cooker recipe, and I would always forget to start it ahead of time! I decided that I could change a few things and do it in the oven.

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
  • 3/4 cup lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water


Place chicken in  9×13 baking dish.  Combine the lemonade, ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar; pour over chicken. Cover and cook @350 for about 50 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170°.
Remove chicken and keep warm. For lemonade sauce, combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Cook sauce in oven  for 20 minutes or until thickened.  Serve chicken over rice and top with lemonade sauce.
Yield: 6 servings.

To go with it, I made yet another Taste of Home recipe: Green Beans Amandine.

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt


Place beans in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, cook almonds in butter over low heat. Stir in lemon juice and seasoned salt if desired. Add beans and heat through. Yield: 6 servings.

I'm an idiot

If you were to get an email and hit reply, you would assume the email was going to the person you intended, right?

Well I didn’t do anything *too* stupid like one guy friend of mine who sent a racy email to his mom instead of his girlfriend!  YIKES!  (And, no, it wasn’t Marshall).  But I often just hit “Reply” whenever I get a comment emailed to me from this blog.  It wasn’t until today that I realized all those emails were going to  Oops!  So if you’ve ever commented here and not gotten a response…you might want to check with Mr. DoNotReply.  He probably has your email reply from me.  Oh, well…

I'm in a music video…seriously.

Fo’ reelz.  I’m not lyin’.

If you somehow missed my last post about Chris Mann, then that means you don’t read often enough. 🙂  Just kidding.   If you missed it before, here’s the low-down on my newest music crush: Chris Mann is a new recording artist with Sony.  Trained classically, his voice is smooth as silk.  His sound is full and powerful.  And he’s not so bad to look at either!  🙂

You can listen to two of his songs on his website, and he has a few more of them on his facebook fan page. My personal favorite is “On a Night Like This”

His digital EP comes out next Tuesday, April 21st. You can find it on or on iTunes.

But here’s the coolest part:
Through the power of Twitter, he got “Mann Fans” to help him make a new music video.  He did a cover of Kanye West’s song “Heartless”, and asked “What does heartache mean to you?”   He asked people to send in words or to take a picture of yourself with your word.  I’m in there twice…go find me!  On your mark…get set….GO: