Sunday, October 30, 2011



Lit Fest Magazine is part of a feature being done this week on an awesome blog for writers: Writers In Business...The Business Side of Writing. Brigitte Thompson, author of Writers In Business is a freelance writer, author of multiple books and accountant who runs an accounting firm in Vermont.

Head on over to Writers in Business and learn about the Lit Fest Magazine and Crazy Moms Everywhere giveaway which runs Sunday, October 30 until Saturday, November 5. This gift bag is truly one of a kind, perfect for everyone! It includes over ten items, most of which we talk about on these two blogs constantly. Such as waffle mix, an unbelievably amazing stuffed monster every kid loves, children's books, cook books, and much much more!

Learn the guidelines and rules over at Writers in Business and enter today! SO AWESOME!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Grown-Up Drinks!

One of my favorite things about the Fall Season is the yummy beverages. I have always despised apple juice, but love hot apple cider and look forward to it all year. I only drink black coffee but can be found sipping a Pumpkin Spiced Latte on a couple occasions in October and November. I'm always looking for a new fall beverage and today after messing around in the kitchen I came up with an idea.

Sobieski Cinnamon Vodka is amazing. I mixed it into a Coke and it taste spectacular. Then I had another idea. Why not put a tiny bit in some hot apple cider! Score! Cinnamon Apple...Amazing! A great beverage to sip with your feet up after the trick or treating is complete and the kids are snuggled tightly in bed!

Last Minute Halloween Snacks!

I LOVE HALLOWEEN! I get into it. I make snacks, I make gift bags, I visit many, many costume stores. I make chili, buy tons of candy and get dressed up EVERY, SINGLE YEAR! I ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY LOVE HALLOWEEN!

Yesterday I had planned a little get together for my daughters class at the park. It was a half day of school and I thought it would be a great time for moms to get to know each other as well as have the kids play without all the restrictions of school. Plus here in Phoenix it's been 100+ degrees until a few days ago....finally we could play outside, NO MORE indoor playrooms! YAY!!!

Then suddenly an hour before I was heading to pick up the kiddo and meet everyone at the park I realized that even though this was a last minute thing and I had told everyone to bring a picnic lunch, I should have some snacks and some sort of drinks just in case. Plus it was a few days before Halloween.....I had to do something fun!

Problem...I had ONE HOUR. No way to make my usual ridiculous overblown Halloween cupcakes!  I ran to Target and got thinking. I filled a drink container with ice and orange gatorade, grabbed some stuff to make a Halloween snack mix and some cookies and candy to make a silly little cookie thingy! Ta-dah! Yummy, Halloween snacks!

HALLOWEEN SNACK MIX: Popcorn, Candy Corn, Peanut Butter M&M's, Pretzel Sticks.
I put little brown lunch sacks next to it, with about four inches cut off so it was more snack and kid size. Everyone had a great time filling up their bag and eating their favorite parts of the snack mix.

WITCH HAT COOKIES: I saw a few different versions of a cookie like this over the past few weeks and thought it was a great treat the kids could help prepare. The kids went nuts for it and with the awesome Pillsbury Easy Frost Orange Halloween frosting these were even easier to make. Grab the Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies and Hershey Kisses and you are all set.

You now have easy snacks you can buy and prepare in less than an hour.

Fairy Cupcakes for the Princess

My little princess totally shocked me when I asked her what type of cupcakes she would like for her 6th birthday. She looked me in the face and announced....FAIRY CUPCAKES MOM!

My little munchkin has tons of interests. Last year she wanted pink and purple cupcakes with guitars. She loves princesses, singing, dancing, dolls, flowers, butterflies, anything colorful and imaginative but she has never much interest in fairies. At this moment I still have no idea what brought this on other than the fact that the girl sitting next to her at school is going to be a fairy for Halloween. But whatever the case, I took off for the cake decorating store with fairies in mind!

I walked up and down the aisles and before long had a plan. Fairies in the Garden. They had flowers and butterflies and little fairies as well. I grabbed a a frosting tip to make grass, I figured this could be kinda fun!

I had to make some cupcakes with grass and some with dirt because my baby girl LOVES chocolate. She asks for marble cupcakes every year so some would have vanilla frosting and others a delicious chocolate and cookie crumble. YUM!

This was the final result!

Poor Little Sickie: Chicken Soup

My husband never gets sick. He never ever ever gets sick. So when he does actually get sick about once every other year its usually pretty bad. After two days of feeling terrible for him I usually whip out the hardcore meds.....homemade chicken soup. It works every time. This time it worked so well Mr. Man was feeling a million times better the very next day (which is a big deal because he was really sick!)

The best thing about this recipe is the ginger which in itself is a great thing when you're not feeling so hot. Another added bonus is how incredibly simple the recipe actually is. I ran to the store in the morning and had soup made before noon...woot, woot!


2 tablespoons olive oil
1.2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons ginger finely chopped fresh ginger
2 32-ounce containers low-sodium chicken broth
1 16-ounce container low sodium chicken broth
1 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 medium turnip, peeled and chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 2- to 2 1/2-pound rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 scallions, sliced

1 cup pasta (penne, ziti, or orecchiette)


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Add the broth. Stir in the parsnips, carrots, celery, turnip, and ½ teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.

4. Meanwhile, using a fork or your fingers, shred the chicken meat, discarding the skin and bones.

5. Add the chicken, peas, and scallions to the saucepan and cook until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.

6. Add pasta to the finished soup and serve in individual bowls.


Well I was doing really well with my TRY SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY thing but then suddenly things got way too nuts around here I couldn't post everyday. I was doing new things I was really excited about and looking forward to posting but then I was one day behind and then two, three, fours days! I couldn't keep track of what I had done and posted and when was what....OIY! Welcome to Mommyland! Sometimes I try to do way too much and this time it all caught up with me.

By the way, in the midst of all the chaos I was the chairperson for my daughters kindergarten class project for their annual school auction fundraiser. We made a book that all the kids participated in and it turned out amazing. We also painted a bookshelf which looked adorable. All the kids put their thumbprints in a tight row and we made it into a caterpillar. It was awesome! We raised a ton of money so some of my Looney Toons craziness lately was worth it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Phoenix Zoo....DAY TEN OF NEW THINGS!!!

All I can say is "Who Knew?" Not me, that's for sure! The Phoenix Zoo was one of the biggest shocks of my life (I know what you're thinking...must be a boring life) but seriously, it was INCREDIBLE!

Voted one of the Top 5 Zoo's in America for Kids, I can see why. Built in an area of town that has land to spare makes this Zoo a mass of wide open spaces, perfect for animals to live in a way that seems comforting and kind. Leaving this zoo I had the feeling that the animals were happy and that is not always the case when I walk away from the zoo in various cities around the country.

We began our day hiking a mountain which eventually had us at the top of the hill looking at Big Horn Sheep. Growing up in Las Vegas, Big Horn Sheep have always been one of my favorite animals and seeing them relaxing in peace in a their natural habitat absolutely tickled me. Next we moved onto the giraffes who you could actually feed as they spread out on a massive field with bull and tiny deer of some sort. Throughout the day we discovered a monkey area where you can walk amongst them playing in the trees, my kiddos rode a camel, we played for over an hour in a farm area which covered every area of farm life and let the kids have a ball while doing it, oh and there was a giant cactus slide that the kids loved and I still can't believe it wasn't a real cacti.

Hours upon hours can be spent hiking, playing and learning at this truly outstanding zoo. Next time you find yourself in this awesome desert make sure to hit up this hot spot...and give me a call, I'll go back any day!

Day Nine! Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies!!!

I've been on a peanut butter and chocolate kick. My recent love for oatmeal has had me thinking of creating a new cookie. I wanted to combine a few recipes and come up with a cookie that has all the elements I've been dreaming of. 

I found a recipe that with a few tweaks could easily become what I had in mind. I quickly got to work. 

I'm not going to share the recipe yet, because although the this round little delight was incredibly flavorful and hit the mark in so many ways, I was not thrilled with the texture. Immediately after the cookies came out of the oven I knew how to fix it and wanted to start over. Next time it will be perfect!!!


Soccer game! Yes, although I feel like I was just putting on my baby brothers cleats, it is now time for my little munchkin to strap on some shin guards and start playing the game. It's sort of a surreal feeling. Soccer was the single item in which my family completely evolved around. Soccer was not a game, it was our life. And I never even played. My little brothers played and my dad coached. I did a ton of babysitting, shoe-tying and cheerleading. I wasn't just a sister to my kid brothers, I was a sister to an entire team of kids. My sister and I both began to resent soccer a bit because it was not our thing but it was definitely our family ten years later I'm back on the field, trying wipe the slate clean and look at the game in a completely different light.

It's easy to be positive when it comes to my little man. My baby boy is Mr. Positive and his giant smile and bright eyes are evident on the field. As he chases the ball he is almost laughing and I just about squeal with joy myself. My little monkey is having a ball!

There is nothing like seeing your child try new things and have a blast as they're doing it. On this saturday morning my baby was trying a "new thing" and that easily translated into my "new thing" as well.

DAY SEVEN!!!! Selling the baby stuff!

"Trying Something New" today came in the form of five boxes of baby clothes that have been sitting in our garage for about five years. When we moved this summer my husband was stunned to realize I've been holding onto all the onesies, footsie pajamas and adorable little dresses and instead of passing them on to the world of new little munchkins, I've been hoarding them in large tupperware boxes.

So while I have been giving away to the Salvation Army and Goodwill for years, I thought this time I would try out the resale boutique up the street. I packed up the car with my massive amount of stuff and headed on out. I'm pretty sure the Traverse was dragging in back because it was so heavy. My kids were looking at me like i was nuts, and even more so when they watched me carry box after box into the store. More than once I hear, "Mommy, what are you DOING?"

The one thing I've learned from resale stores over the years is that even though these stores need your stuff, because its the only way they make any money, they will always treat you like you are annoying them and your stuff totally sucks. It's tough to get past the judgemental eyes and more than once I have walked out and said forget it. This time however, when I realized how much work went into getting here, I was forcing myself to stay!

An hour later I walked out of the store with a tiny bit of cash and three boxes of clothes. Pretty lame for sure! I realized the feeling you get when you walk into a store like this with your awesome, slightly used stuff, is in itself NOT worth any amount of money! Next time I will give it to a neighbor who has just had a baby or call one of the many companies always looking for donations. It's the ONLY way to go!

Day Six....SCONES!

I have dreams about scones. Their crumbly exterior, usually containing some sort of fruit or nut component that sweeps me off me feet. I was spoiled at a young age; my first job was in a coffee shop and we baked the absolute most spectacular scones in the world (well maybe in the United States, and at the very least in Las Vegas). I wish I had the foresight at sixteen to know I should have taken the recipe with me when I moved on to my hostess position at eighteen. But I was young, naive and imagined a world of simple recipes which resulted in out-of-this-world pastry. Oh how I was wrong...

So when a nice older man set up a table at my local Whole Foods, giving samples of his scone mix which he and his wife serve at their Bed and Breakfast in Tucson I was far more excited than your average shopper.  The best part of his was plain with a fabulous list of different types and what ingredients you will need.

On this day, DAY SIX of TRY SOMETHING NEW I decided to make Apple Cinnamon Scones. OOOHhhhhhhhh boy were they delicious. Have I mentioned I LOVE TRYING ALL THESE NEW THINGS!?!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Although I had all sorts of grand ideas for trying something new on Wednesday, it turned into a day of mommy-firsts. It was one of those days where I drove here, went there, got in the car, out of the car and felt like with a blink of an eye, the day was over. 

My first "first" of the day had to do with going on a tour of a pre-school for my three and a half year old son. I am an old fashion girl who has a hard time with the thought of sending my three year old to school, but unfortunately in a day and time when every kid his age is in school, I knew the best thing was to start looking at schools. My munchkin and I walked the grounds, taking in everything this outstanding place has to offer and I was both extremely excited for him and terribly sad. My youngest child and almost certainly my last child, will soon be leaving my side and starting something of his own. I'm not one who usually gets sentimental with these things, choosing to be more excited for the growth and experience my child has to look forward to, but this did pull at my heart strings. I was slightly stunned that at 29 years old I was watching my my baby turn a corner in his life which undoubtably means I too will find myself on a new journey as well.

I left the pre-school with a sentimental heart as well as an extremely positive feeling towards the school I had just seen. I was feeling good but knew a day of non-stop, full speed ahead chaos was ahead of me. I had one hour to hit a few different stores and pick up all the supplies for the art project I was responsible for in regards to my daughters school auction. I am the chairperson for the KS class project (first number 2) and the deadline was sneaking up on me. I was on my way to have each kid in her class grace a single wall shelf with their fingerprint and name, although I wasn't exactly sure what I was doing and how it would come together.

The guy at Michaels had assured me that I was buying all the right paints and such for my project but after the paint began to dry on twenty one fingerprints I watched in horror as paint began to chip and peal away. With one hour before I had to return back to school to grab my baby girl, I found myself at Michael's again, buying a sealant and praying to God things would work out. 

My need for speed became an issue and although I was able to secure the safety of the kiddos' fingerprints, I had somehow made the massive mistake of writing 2001 instead of 2011 with a Sharpie paint pen! Now I had a huge blob and smear to solve....not to mention it was 2:45, I was almost late for pick-up!!!

When I returned home with kids in tow, I made a decision I rarely choose (first number 3 for the day). I decided to set the project aside and return to it in a day or two with a clear mind. Thankfully just in time to leave for my favorite part of the week....The Downtown Phoenix Public Market on Wednesday Nights! Or in other words......FOOD TRUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First number four came in the form of a chocolate covered banana from Mojo Bowl at the Downtown Public Market. We hit up this market every Wednesday night because the produce is spectacular (perfect for our morning vegetable juice) but also because we cannot pass up the mobile food biz done right. Short Leash Dogs feeds us, while Mojo Bowl and their refreshing all-natural shaved ice satisfy our sweet tooth at the end of the evening. This time however, as Mojo Bowl begins to expand their menu I tried the Chocolate Covered Banana with nuts. This frozen chocolate-y fruit on a stick was out of this world good and I ended up sharing with my entire family as each person chimed in over and over again "can I have a bite".

This day of firsts was a challenge but in the end so incredibly satisfying. The constant action was exhausting but as I fell asleep that night I drifted off to dream land with a smile on my face. Life is good!

Chicken with bacon....heck yah!!!!

Tuesday nights dinner was a new recipe and one I was extremely excited...Chicken with Cabbage, Crispy Potatoes and Bacon. The steps were simple and although the ingredients were extremely basic, they were ones I don't often use (cabbage, bacon), especially in such a fashion. I had extremely high hopes and had a feeling it was a meal that could please everyones different tastes.

The crispy tiny pieces of bacon, the cabbage cooked in a way that turned it into a tangy slaw, crispy chip like potatoes and simple grilled chicken. So yummy, so easy, SOOOO great!

Try this one and please the masses!!!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

S'more Cupcakes.....Yes Please!!! (Day 3 of New Things)

On day three of my NEW THINGS challenge, I was racing to get a million things done and wondering if I was going to miss out on a NEW THING already! I had my regular Monday chaos combined with my every-other- Monday volunteer work in the cafeteria at my daughters school. I thought I might have a chance after lunchtime but mopping my floors took way more time than I thought (yuck, the weekend really adds some extra sludge) and before I knew it I was getting back in the car to pick up the munchkin!

After the munchkins dentist appointment it was time to prepare dinner which I was worried about because I was rushing and I destroy meals when I'm rushing (or talking on the phone)! But shockingly enough, dinner was awesome. So awesome my husband took this picture. I will post the recipe another day when I have time to figure it out because I've made so many adjustments to the recipe over the years I'm not even sure what I do anymore.

Oh and for those keeping track, it was chicken meatballs with penne pasta, baby heirloom tomatoes, small buffalo mozzarella balls and basil.

So anyway, I had crumbled and SMASHED the graham crackers for my S'more cupcakes earlier in the day, in between mobbing the floor and picking up the kiddo. As soon as I washed the dinner dishes, I grabbed the graham cracker crumbs, chocolate bars, butter and marshmallows and immediately got started!

This is what you'll need!

- 2 cups crumbled graham crackers
- 3 Hershey's chocolate bars (1.5 oz), chopped
- 11/2 sticks butter, melted
- 12 marshmallows

Using one 12 cup cupcake pan, place liners inside and then spray the inside of the liners with cooking spray.

Mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Once combined really well, add the chopped chocolate.

Scoop the mixture into each cupcake holder, a little more than half way full. Press down on each, so they are packed inside.

Bake at 325 degrees for ten minutes. Remove from oven and place a large marshmallow on each. Return to oven and bake another ten minutes. Cupcakes are finished when the marshmallows are golden brown.

Remove from oven and place pan on a baking rack. After cupcakes have cooled for 20 minutes, pop each out of the cupcake liner and sprinkle with powdered sugar!

These cupcakes are easy and OH SO TASTY! They taste great with a glass of red wine and in my eyes they seem more like a grown up version of the campfire treat!


Here's mine with a big giant bite taken out!

Yep, I made a Cognac Sauce!

I'm not a very saucy girl! I've attempted a couple simple gravy recipes but have never been thrilled with the result and never, ever have I tried to make a sauce. I've always wanted to, but this has been my kryptonite, something I am terrified of and the results I've experienced thus far can be the death of my mood and my meal. I'm embarrassed to admit that I usually rely on recipes that don't require 'saucing it up' or I reach for a powdered version that instructs you to just add water! Horrible, I know. I can feel your judgement already!

SO last night I gave in and after throwing my silly little fears out the window, I created not only a NEW meal for my family, but one that was unbelievably yummy and to top it all off, embarrassingly simple yet dripping with a tasty sauce. Cognac sauce to be exact!!!

The meal was out of the latest Real Simple magazine: A skirt steak with cognac sauce, crisscross fries (which are store bought and the best I've ever had) and a romaine salad with an oil and vinegar dressing, red onion and crumbled blue cheese. Here is the recipe for your own cooking pleasure:

I bought Alexia Waffle fries which are all natural and already seasoned to perfection! I also switched out the blue cheese for another crumbled cheese because we had it on hand! The oil and vinegar dressing is simple but really delightful, possibly one of our favorite aspects of the meal. And the cognac sauce....well we have an overly stocked liquor cabinet and a beautiful cognac was on hand for my cooking pleasure. I recommend you use a good bottle...the sauce reduces and the flavor stands out, which wouldn't be so awesome if you went for a cheap-o brand!

Day Two of 31 DAYS OF TRYING SOMETHING NEW went great! Now....what to do tomorrow?


Recently, after a ton of change in my life (massive amounts actually) I have fallen into a slight rut. I have been cooking the same things every week, following the same routine every day (which is comforting I know, but sometimes we need to throw a wrench in our carefully constructed system) and at the end of the day, although feeling fulfilled I knew something needed to change.

On Saturday afternoon, after futzing around for a bit I knew what I had to do. I pulled out my favorite baking bible and began searching the pages. This time I wasn't going to simply bake one of my four favorite recipes which lay within these pages, I was going to try something new!

I decided on a peanut butter cupcake with milk chocolate glaze. This was the decision for many reasons: (1) the kids and adults in our home would all enjoy it equally. (2) I had all the required ingredients. (3) It was a new version of the old reliable peanut butter cookie I had been thinking about making for days.

The result of my TRY SOMETHING NEW experiment was a massive success, which doesn't always happen and is the thrilling part of thinking outside the box. I am one who believes in trying new recipes on a regular basis (although I haven't been doing it lately) and like I tell my husband on a regular basis...Attempting a new recipe is 50/50 on whether we will have a great or terrible meal/treat, but if it turns out well, we suddenly have a new addition to our regular rotation. There is something to be said for that, for sure! As for my husband, not sure what he thinks of this motto, he does in fact have to eat the lousy experiments and the look on his face as he slowly eats a disaster of a meal is pretty sad, although to his credit he has only suggested we throw out a meal and cook a frozen pizza once or twice!

So this weekend I made an exciting decision! For every single one of the thirty-one fabulous days in October I will attempt something new. Most will be food oriented, either a meal or a delicious delightful treat...but you never know, I may even get crafty or go sky-diving (however, this is very, very, very, unlikely)!

Stay tuned to see what happens!