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Parmesan Tomatoes

Posted on Aug 22, 2013 in Recipes | Comments Off

Years ago, I lived in a garden level apartment in a part of the city where things were hopping.  I also had a great roommate who happened to love cheese as much as I do (we are true mid-westerners).  We would do such things as sprinkle shredded cheese on tin foil, broil it, and eat it….imagine the good almost burnt crusty cheese on the edge of lasagna or pizza.  Yes, delicious.

One day we thought we would expand our cheese eating ways and try to incorporate a healthier version by sprinkling the cheese on tomato slices.  We added a little of this or that and came up with the following idea.  I have since seen the similar idea on the internet and couldn’t believe my eyes.  I thought it was so ingenious that no one could create such an easy and delicious side dish or light meal, other than myself.

You can make them as simply as slicing tomatoes, topping them with parmesan, and broiling them.  Or you can use all or a combination of the following ingredients to add more flavor and substance.

What you’ll need:

*note – I just sprinkle these various ingredients on the top of tomatoes.  There is no measuring or science to it.  Put as little or as much of any or all ingredients as you prefer.

  • Tomatoes, sliced about about 1/2 inch thick
  • Olive oil
  • Bread crumbs (this helps soak up some of the watery juice and makes them a little more substantial)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh basil, chopped (dried from a jar works too)
  • Shredded parmesan cheese
  • Balsamic glaze

  1. Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil (for easier clean up)…the step isn’t necessary.  Neither is putting a little cooking spray on it, but you can to ensure they won’t stick.
  2. Layer the above ingredients in the order they are listed.
  3. Broil for 10 minutes or until the parmesan starts to turn golden brown.

This is virtually a mess free food.  All you have is a knife and cutting board to clean.  I sometimes eat these for lunch or make them as a side dish.  They are so easy and have so much flavor.  Mmmmm!

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5 things I use painter’s tape for…other than painting

Posted on May 25, 2013 in Lifestyle | Comments Off

There is a saying that a person only needs two things in life to fix anything…duct tape or WD40.  I disagree.

I use painter’s tape weekly….a roll of it sits handily in my ‘office supply’ kitchen drawer.  I think it’s the best thing that’s come along since hair dye.  Here are 5 things that I currently use it for:

1.  Marking artwork: Roll up a small piece of tape and loosely place it against the back of a picture frame… where the hook is.  Set the frame against the spot on your wall where you want it positioned and press.  The tape should stick to the wall, so you can easily place the nail where you want it.

2.  Holding together loose plumbing:  ok, so this isn’t an everyday use, but I currently have a wiggly faucet and the tape is doing the trick until I get something new. I have been looking but there are entirely too many to choose from. I have narrowed them down to this so help me pick something out from Kohler Bathroom Faucets …I’m excited for a bathroom upgrade!

3.  Labeling food:  it doesn’t leave a residue on dishes or food storage containers.  I make my kid’s baby food in bulk, so I just re-use some previously purchased baby food containers, label them, and freeze it.  I reuse the containers over and over, so this tape works awesome.

4.  Hanging artwork (or letters):  I have both my kid’s names on a wall in their bedrooms.  All I had to do was paint the letters and secure them with a bit of tape.  My daughter’s name has been up for 2.5 years and the letters have never fallen down (granted, they are very lightweight).

5. A ‘chip-clip’:  It’s resealable.


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Freezer Tracking

Posted on May 16, 2013 in Home Projects | Comments Off

I don’t always live the most organized life.  I try to put things back orderly and know where things are, but sometimes things just slip away from me.  One area of my home that seems to always be hard to keep orderly is our deep freeze.  Food piles up, items get lost at the bottom, and digging in it to see what is in there is a big pain.

I came up with a simple solution, so I can keep track of what is in the freezer.  This helps me plan meals easier, use food that may have been forgotten about, and not have to dig through to see what I have.  I purchased a basic dry erase whiteboard to log what goes in and out of our freezer.

To make a board you just need a few items:

  • a whiteboard
  • a dry erase marker
  • a permanent fine point marker, like a Sharpie
  • something to adhere the board to your freezer or wall next to the freezer (my board came with stickies, but you could use magnets too)
  1. Draw lines on the board with a permanent marker.  This way you can erase food items as you use them without ruining the lines.
  2. At the top mark the quantity of items, description, and date you put it in the freezer.
  3. Update the board as you add or take items from the freezer.

This is an example of what I’m dealing with and why I need to keep track of the items outside of the actual freezer:

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An Elmo inspired birthday party

Posted on Apr 25, 2013 in Entertaining | Comments Off

My daughter was really into Elmo.  She couldn’t get enough of him or watching “Elmo in Grouchland” last year (I, on the other hand, definitely got enough).  When her second birthday came rolling around this February I figured having an Elmo themed party would be just the way to celebrate.  Here are some ideas if Elmo is something your little monster is into.

*To see ideas from my daughter’s first birthday click here

I made invitations from card stock paper.  You could use construction paper too, but they would just be a little flimsier.

For the Elmo cake pops I used little eyes that I found in the cake decorating section of a craft store and orange Tic-tacs for the nose.  I think using orange Skittles would have been cuter.  If you want to learn how to make cake pops click here

I made a fruit platter with strawberries, clementines, marshmallows, and and chocolate chips.  You could also make a vegetable platter with cherry tomatoes, black olives, and carrots.

My daughter’s cake is the little Elmo face.  I found Elmo rings online that I used to decorate cupcakes for the children and just simple polka dots for cupcakes for adult.

I used pre-made red frosting, large marshmallows, 1/2 an oreo, and an orange peanut M & M to decorate her birthday cake.

A little construction paper taped to balloon and Elmo helped decorate Lauren’s chair.

You can make Elmo ice-cream treats.  Here I used a cherry Dilly Bar from Dairy Queen and decorated them with Mentos, a peanut M&M, and 1/2 and Oreo


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DIY Sparkly Phone Case

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 in DIY & Crafts | Comments Off

So I’m starting to think that I should have named this site something like ‘All that Glitters’, considering how many glittered projects there are!  After seeing some of the projects I’ve done a friend asked me if I could make a phone case for her with a turquoise glitter….of course I could!

*If interested in making glittered washable glassware click here

*For basic glittering directions click here

I knew it would have to be pretty durable, as most of us throw our phones in our purses, counters, floors, etc.  This meant a few more steps than a typical glitter project, but nothing difficult.  If you want to make one for yourself or a gift follow these directions:

What you’ll need:

  • A plain phone case (or anything you want to have durable glitter… such as a camera case, compact mirror case, etc)
  • A strong adhesive for a base coat.  I used E-6000
  • A permanent adhesive for the glitter.  I used Gem-tac
  • Glitter
  • Lacquer spray to seal the glitter

This is what I did to make the case:

  1. First thing I did was folded a piece of tape (or use double sided tape) to adhere the inside of the case to a little soup box.  This made it easy for me to work around the case as I needed without smudging anything.
  2. Applied E-6000 to the phone case and let it dry (basically super glue).  I just speared it on smooth with my finger.   The reason I put this on first was to create a surface that the glitter would stick to and not easily scrape off over time (like the smooth plastic of the original case)
  3. I used a paint brush to apply a layer of Gem-tac and then sprinkled the glitter. I used this adhesive instead of Mod-Podge, like most glitter projects, because it’s more durable.  I let this dry and then tapped off the extra glitter.
  4. After  24 hours I sprayed a coat of lacquer on the case to seal it.  Since it will be getting so much use I sprayed a few coats of it throughout the day.  I let it all dry another 24 hours before using it.

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My “what I’ll need at the hospital to have a baby” list

Posted on Mar 14, 2013 in Mommyhood | Comments Off

I’m a list maker.  I have post-it notes, pads of paper, and scribbles all over my house.  I can’t imagine getting by a week without writing down what I need at the grocery store, to pack for a trip, or things to do before a certain event.  Here is my list of what I take to the hospital for having a baby.

*The below paragraph is what I started writing weeks ago, but the night I started this post I actually had my son by c-section a couple weeks early!

“I’m due to have a baby in two weeks and have been putting my hospital packing list together for a couple weeks now;  adding things as I remember and feeling very prepared while doing so.  This will be my second go at having a planned c-section (after having a vaginal birth as well).  My list might be helpful to share for some of you who have yet to experience the joy of labor or a cesarean. ”

For you to easily nurse the baby:

  • super stretchy comfortable nursing sleeper bras (1 or 2 should do it).  I hate wearing hospital gowns, so I just wear these sleeper nursing bras and underwear while in the hospital (except when guests visit, of course)
  • 1 or 2 sleep shirts or nightgowns that unbutton down the front or unclasp at the strap
  • a Boppy style of pillow
  • a box of ‘Mothers Milk’ tea.  I hate tea, however I swear this helps bring your milk in fast and full.  I make it, let it get cool, and then just slam it down… does not taste good!  Start drinking it right away after you have the baby and continue drinking it until your milk is in.
  • nipple cream or hydro gel pads for sore nipples.  I LOVE using gel pads instead of cream and recommend ‘Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads’

For your comfort:

  • a box of ‘smooth move’ tea.  This is another tea I dislike, but force myself to drink after having babies.  It helps keep your digestive system on track as various pain medicines and lack of physical movement will slow down your bowels.  You don’t want to have to work hard to go to the bathroom or have any added discomfort!
  • an eye mask and ear plugs to block all the lights and sounds
  • your own menstrual pads (going without your period for 9 months is completely ruined by the 4-6 weeks of straight bleeding after the baby comes).  The huge diaper sized uncomfortable pads that the hospital supplies are terrible and I recommend bringing your own to use.  I like ‘Always Ultra Thin Long Pads with Wings’.

For the baby:

  • a couple outfits.  The hospital has basic clothing and blankets, so if you want to dress your baby in cuter clothes and comfortable sleepers you should pack a few items.
  • a birthday present.  I like to get my kids a birthday present for the day they’re born.  After all, the day they are born is the most authentic birthday they are going to have.  For my daughter I got her a silver necklace with an ‘L’ pendant (for Lauren).  I haven’t decided on what to get my son yet.

For everything else:

  • camera, camcorder, phone, and all the chargers
  • ID and insurance information
  • an outfit for yourself to leave the hospital in
  • toiletries, hair dryer, make-up, lotion, etc
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A New Addition to the Family

Posted on Mar 4, 2013 in Photography | 3 comments

Thank you for being patient with me the last few months.  I have not been the most consistant person at posting new tips and ideas for you.  I was a bit exhausted from the last trimester of my pregnancy, but now that it’s over I can just be exhausted due to having a 2 year old and a newborn!

Graham joined us a few weeks before his due date on February 21st!  I’ll put together a separate post under my new page ‘Mommyhood’ with an explanation of his early arrival, but this post is to show some photos I took this weekend of the little guy.  Enjoy my handsome little man!


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Cutest Bibs Ever!

Posted on Feb 20, 2013 in Mommyhood | 1 comment

I cannot take credit for making these beyond adorable little bibs, however, I can brag that my aunt and her students did!  These were a gift I received for my future son (due in two weeks) and I can’t wait to use them.  She used recycled mens dress shirts for the materials.  In fact, the plaid bib is made from material that was once one of my brother’s old shirts.

Besides the western style they also make bibs with little bowties or neckties.  I’m not sure if they sell them outside of their local craft shows, but if you’re interested contact me and I’ll try to find out some information for you.

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Coconut Oil Hair Treatment: A Must!

Posted on Feb 12, 2013 in Lifestyle | 2 comments

A friend of mine forwarded me a blog post about how to help your hair grow and I’ve started taking some of the advice.  Unfortunately, I had a terrible hair experience almost a year ago that left me with a ton of breakage, the need to cut much of my hair, and dye it dark to help protect it.  One of the tips was to give myself a scalp massage a couple times a week with coconut oil.  I figured why not give it a shot…..after all, if you google ‘coconut oil uses’ you’ll find that you should pretty much be slathering the stuff all over your body, as well as ingesting it.

I found some at Trader Joe’s for cheap.  A jar is only $5.99 and seems that it is going to last a while.   You can find coconut oil online or various grocery and health stores.  I worked it into my scalp; giving myself a massage for about 5 minutes and then rubbed it into all of my hair.  It’s somewhat the consistency of petroleum jelly, so I would rub it into my hands first to ‘melt’ it and make it easier to spread throughout.   I left the oil in for over an hour and then showered.  I shampooed, conditioned, and styled my hair as normal.

This product works!  My hair has been so soft and manageable for the last week.  I’m going to do it again tomorrow and figure I’ll do a coconut oil treatment about once a week forever!  It is an easy, at-home, inexpensive way to help heal damaged ends and moisturize those locks.

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She’s Crafty

Posted on Dec 13, 2012 in DIY & Crafts | 1 comment

Two years in a row I’ve had girlfriends over for ‘Brunch and Crafts’.  If you had told me 10 years ago that this is something I would be doing on my weekends I never would have believed you.  Well, I’m not 23 anymore and these sorts of get-togethers are a good ol’ time.  Last year there were a bit more mimosas flowing than this year, but that’s what happens when over half the women are pregnant now!  Nevertheless, sitting around and catching up with girlfriends is always a good thing to do.

Very simple concept:  come over for brunch, bring a craft and it’s supplies, bring a food item to share.  I supply the main dish, bread, drinks, etc.  It’s a great way to follow through on a project you’ve been meaning to complete or to try something you’ve seen on Pinterest or a magazine.

A little gift for the girls that came:

What to do with the corks from one of our favorite things (wine)?  Make coasters, of course!   A little hot glue and you have one inexpensive and easy holiday gift.  The girl that made these also hot glued corks to magnets to make wine cork magnets.

A different friend used corks to make this cute wreath.  She lightly colored them with a translucent white spray paint, hot glued them around a wooden ring, added a couple fake flowers, and wallah!  An idea to add something to the center is to hang the letter of your last name in the middle.

Both myself and a friend made these chic & sparkly deer decorations.  My friend found an image online and enlarged it to fit the 11 x 14 blank canvases.  We then traced the outline of the deer, used paintbrushes to fill it in with mod podge, and then sprinkled glitter on it.  I used a chunkier gold glitter and my friend used a finer bronze glitter.

Ladies getting their craft on.




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