Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Fave: Easter Candy

When all the holidays are broken down and examined, it's clear that Easter is superior in the area of candy. It doesn't have the quantity of other holidays (Halloween anyone?) but far surpasses the others in quality. In fact, I often say that the candy is my second favorite thing about Easter.

Think about it, Easter is the original holiday that gave us Peeps. Oooey, gooey, sugary Peeps. I know, I know, Peeps are now available for multiple holidays, but as a Peeps purist, I only buy and enjoy them around Easter, as was intended.

Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs are just delightful. I don't know how they do it, but by making the original Reese's Peanut Butter Cup into an egg-shaped treat, Reese's actually created something tastier than the original.

Cadbury Mini Eggs are AH-MAY-ZING. I have yet to meet a single person who doesn't love these easy-to-pop-in-your-mouth candies. If I had to choose a favorite treat in the realm of my second-favorite-thing about Easter, this would be it.

And then there is this, the classic Cadbury Creme Egg. It truly is a coveted treasure and only comes around once per year. The chocolate egg shell harkens back to it's English roots, and the yellow and white creamy goodness is second to none.
I've heard some fans of the Cadbury Creme Egg purchase cases of the delicacy in the spring to eat throughout the whole year.

The candy is indeed my second favorite thing about Easter. 
Here's the first:
Jesus Christ, living a perfect life, dying a horrific death, and rising in a miraculous, eternity-changing way will forever be far more important to me than all the Cadbury Mini Eggs I could eat. He thought of me and bore all my sins as he was tortured on the cross. It was my wrongdoings that led to Him being whipped and beaten. It was my pain and rejection he felt as the blood dripped from His body. And it was yours too.

When Jesus Christ died and rose again on that glorious Sunday, and God's plan was complete, it was me who was saved. It was me who's sins were forgiven and forgotten. It was me who was gifted eternal life. And it can be you too.

And that, is my FIRST favorite thing about Easter.

(If you want to talk more about this, or correct my grammar and/or spelling, we should get together. I'll bring my Bible and one for you too, if you want. Oh, you can go ahead and bring some Easter treats with you. We might as well enjoy the second as we discuss the first.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Missing You

Our visit from my Grandma Carol and cousin Cody was such a neat time. We spent hours in the kitchen, cooking and talking, played endless hands of rummy, and just talked and enjoyed each others company.

Lana, of course, absolutely loved all the attention and snuggles. She read stories with Grammy and spent two whole days with her while I was at work.

 She even conned Cody into giving up his iphone for some game time.

(Just so you know, the child is now officially more versed in smart-phone technology than both Dan and I combined.)

Our fair family visitors left us, and we were a bit sad. After dropping Grams off at the airport, I had some errands to run and tried to make them fun for Lana, as I knew she was working on a post-Grammy departure meltdown. After we left one store, Lana looked up and asked, "Okay, what's next?" In my probably-trying-too-hard-to-make-this-sound-exciting voice, I replied, "We're gonna go get lunch and you can have a treat!"
Lana, never wavers. "Then we go back to the airport and get Grammy?"
Sorry Pumpkin, that's not what we're doing after lunch.

Yup guys, I'd say she's missing you. I'd probably say I am too.
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Fave: Hunger Games!

Since I don't think any of the 3.6 readers of this blog live under a rock or on a desert island, I'm just gonna go ahead and assume you know about the Hunger Games.
I inhaled the books and was actually going through withdrawals when I finished the second one and couldn't get my hands on the third for a few days. Don't laugh, it was rough.

And now, I am so excited for the movie. I know, I know, the movie is never as good as the book, but guess what? I don't care. I'm freakin' excited anyway! I think I've got Dan talked into going with me, so I get to introduce him to Panem and the whole circus. Who knows, maybe the movie will make him want to read the books too?

Here are some great Hunger Games-related ecards I stumbled upon and thought were appropriate to share with all my HG-loving friends.

(Sorry! I had to throw that one in for my Twi-hard friends! But come one, think about it. It would make for a very entertaining Hunger Games, wouldn't it?)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The one where we play "The Cody Game"

While we had family visiting, we decided to go bowling. It's not the most glamorous of activities, but it is fun. Lana has never been bowling before and I thought she'd really get a kick out of it.
I was right. She loved it!

Cousin Cody was her favorite helper by far. In fact, she now ties him to the game so closely, she refers to bowling as, "The Cody Game." So hear ye, hear ye! All ye citizens of Lana's realm, bowling will heretofore be known as "The Cody Game." And it shall be so.

Lana liked using the ball ramp, and don't think for a minute I didn't want to use it too.

Cody was a fair bowler himself.

And here is proof, that I suck at bowling (SL), Lana has beginner's luck (LL) and Cody just rocks (CF). 
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Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Fave: Poor Man's Tiramisu

We have some out-of-town family visiting for a few days. Since Dan and I have been trying to cut back on the amount of sweets we eat, I had to use the excuse of company visiting to make one of Dan's all-time favorite desserts.  I've dubbed it 'Poor Man's Tiramisu' and there's a bit of a backstory behind this dessert.

(It looks so-so, but tastes phenomenal.)

Back in the olden-days when Dan and I were doing the long-distance dating thing, he took me out to dinner at a fancy-schmancy restaurant where we got gourmet tiramisu for dessert. It was amazing and I thought it would be really awesome if I could make some of that delicious dessert for my honey the next time he came to visit me. I found the most decadent recipe I could find and assembled the ingredients. It should come as no shock to any of you to know that tiramisu is pretty dang expensive to put together. Between the marscapone cheese, coffee liqueur, bakery-fresh lady fingers and real whipped cream, I think the entire 9 x 9 pan of dessert ran me about $24. It was delicious, but to make it now (and spend over 1/3 of the week's grocery budget) would be absurd and impractical.

So, I came up with this (much) less-expensive alternative that it still quite tasty and very much keeps the essence of the original dessert:

Poor Man's Tiramisu
1 box yellow cake mix (and other ingredients to bake cake according to box directions)
1 box instant chocolate pudding
1 cup milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups brewed coffee
2 pouches instant coffee mix (2 servings)
1 tub Cool Whip
Sprinkling of baker's cocoa powder

1. Mix and bake cake according to box directions, substituting 1 cup water for 1 cup brewed coffee.
2. While cake is baking, mix up the pudding using 1 cup milk and 1 cup brewed coffee and mix in the pouches of instant coffee.
3. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven (while it is still hot or very warm), poke a bajillion holes in it, like this:

4. Next, pour the can of sweetened condensed milk onto the cake, filling the holes.
5. Repeat with the chocolate pudding mixture.

6. Cool completely on counter top or in the fridge.
7. Cover with an entire tub of Cool-Whip and sprinkle with baker's cocoa powder.

8. Enjoy! (Please note. It is pretty rich, but really, really good. So go ahead, cut yourself a nice big piece.)
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Time for a bit of nostalgia

This time of year is kind of special to me. No, it's no one's birthday or wedding anniversary, but it is the time of year when I think about this:

(click to enlarge)

Yup, the email from then friend/now friend and sister-in-law, Angela. The email introduction that got this whole crazy adventure started.

Thanks Ang. We definitely owe you one. 
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Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Fave: The End of Winter

Our recent 50-degree days have shown us that winter really is on the way out. Yay! Is all I have to say about that.
I won't miss needing to wait on the snow plow before I'm able to drive into town and I'm sure Dan won't miss having to shovel the deep drifts of snow off the roof.

Lana will probably miss being "Mr. Plow" with Daddy, but we'll just have to make sure she gets lots of warm-weather 4-wheeler rides to make up for it. 
Yay! I'm so excited that it's finally time to put our boots and snowsuits away and get out the shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops!

(Urgh! Nevermind. I just checked the forecast and MORE SNOW is predicted for this weekend. Kindly disregard everything I just wrote and stay bundled up.)
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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lana Explains it All - Artwork

Hi! It's Lana again and I'm here to tell you all about one of my favorite hobbies - ART!
I just love art. Coloring, cutting paper, gluing, all art is really fun for me. Here, let me show you some things I made:

This is a fun picture frame I made for Mommy and Daddy for Valentine's Day. I put all the pretty hearts on all by myself.

Here is a color wheel game I made with my friends at daycare. The colors on the clothespins match the color squares on the wheel, so I can play the game and learn my colors at the same time. (Although really, I am pretty awesome with my colors, but practicing is always a good thing.)

Here is another masterpiece. I call it Large L, done in the medium of fruit loops and dried macaroni.

Mommy calls this one my version of a Jackson Pollock. I'm not sure who that is, but I am sure I really had a great time with paint and marbles and shaking it all together in a box. I hope that Jackson guy had as much fun with his artwork as I do with mine.

Apparently showing off my hand print caterpillar makes me want to act like I'm shy. If you know me at all, you know I'm not really shy at all, but I like to pretend I am sometimes.

And this is a sampling from my 2011 Christmas Collection. I've already got grand ideas for this year. I'm thinking more paint and definitely more glitter. You can't go wrong with more glitter, right?
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Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Fave: TV shows we watch together

We're a single television family - just one in the living room that we all must share. This arrangement has resulted in a few "discussions" about what to watch and when. (Dan likes testosterone-fueled fare like all Jason Statham movies, car and truck shows, football, and hunting shows. I tend to prefer a few guilty-pleasure reality shows (Top Chef, Project Runway), family sitcoms, and everything-ends-well Hallmark movies.) Fortunately, the DVR has proven it is worth it's weight in gold and most of these "discussions" are easily resolved by pressing the record button.

However, despite our differences, we have been able to find a handful of shows we genuinely enjoy watching together. In no particular order:

The Office.

I introduced Dan to this show when we first got married. I think I had to use my new-bride secret powers to get him to stick with it for more than a couple of episodes, but now he laughs as much as I do. We both enjoy the hi-jinks between Jim and Dwight, the ridiculousness of the situations and the quirkiness of the characters. Yes, you're right, it's not the same without Steve Carrell (and I may or may not have shed a tear or two during his last episode), but it kept its heart and oh-so-very-awkward situations.


While watching the hilarious re-cap show, The Soup, we decided we really like host Joel McHale. So it seemed only natural to follow him to his new sitcom. Community is odd - crazy odd, and the characters are nuts and out there and the storylines are completely outlandish and random. But it's funny. Oh so very funny.


Are you watching this show? If not, you should be. It has probably the best cast on TV right now, realistic situations and characters. Very well acted and superbly written. Completely believable and every single episode initiates a what-would-we-do-in-this-situation conversation.

Hawaii Five-O.

You've wondered, who actually watches this show? Haven't you? We'll let me answer that question. Dan and I watch this show. Please don't judge us too harshly. Yes, the storylines are completely over the top, and yes, the fake tans are obvious, but dang, Hawaii is gorgeous and therefore nearly every scene of this show is gorgeous. The crime-fighting duo of Dan-o and McGarrett are the ultimate in good-cop, bad-cop and their back-and-forth quick rapport is indeed entertaining.

Friday Night Lights.

Yes, I know, this show has run its course and is now over, but it will forever be in our Hall of Fame for best-ever TV show. The acting, writing, plot development - everything was superb. It was our first show we were both equally excited to watch together. For three years we planned our Wednesday night in-home date nights around this show. It's available now on DVD, so go ahead and rent it so you too can agree that it was the best show on TV during its time.

Finding suitable shows for all three of us (me, Dan and Lana) has proven to be a bit tougher. So far we can all watch nature shows together, but that's about it. Lana likes to watch home-improvement shows with Dan, especially Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection. (Look Daddy, dat Mike breakin' things with a hammer!) And Lana and I do pretty well watching Jeopardy together. (You know all the answers Mommy!) But I could definitely use your suggestions.

What shows do you and your Honey like to watch together? What ones do you like to watch with your kiddos?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

This looks worse than it really is......

Here's our Lana getting breathing treatment #2 for the day.

Yesterday afternoon Lana woke up from her nap burning hot, crying, completely inconsolable, and breathing short and shallow breaths. By the time I picked her up, she was also shaking. I pleaded with the receptionist at the pediatricians office to make room in an already-full schedule to get Lana seen ASAP. I'm not sure if it was my tears, the good and compassionate heart of the receptionist, or Lana's flaming, red-hot cheeks, raspy breathing and lethargy, but we were immediately sent to an examination room.

An hour later, after the fever medication kicked in and she'd undergone a breathing treatment, our sweet Lana was looking and acting more like herself. She wanted to sing songs and play with her dolly and held still and didn't protest while the doctor continued her exam. We left with a prescription for medication and a nebulizer to perform at-home breathing treatments. She hasn't had a fever at all today and willingly sits still for the 10-minute breathing treatments. The vast improvement between yesterday and today is astounding.

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