Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Nails

"Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!
This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!
I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!" 
- William Arthur Ward

Two coats of Sinful Colors Black On Black then two coats of Elf Golden Goddess on my ring finger.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

BBQ Chicken Wrap (TGI Fridays Style)

My husband, father-in-law and myself used to hang out at our local TGI Fridays every Sunday to watch football and I would pretty much always order their BBQ Chicken Wrap. Then one Sunday everything changed! They had totally revamped their menu (again) and dropped a bunch of their items which included my beloved BBQ Chicken Wrap....dun dun dun. Missing and craving the wrap I decided to try and make it at home and I have to say what I made tastes pretty close to the real thing and is probably a lot healthier, I am a happy camper once again!

Ingredients: wheat tortillas, skinless boneless chicken breast (cut into small chunks and cooked), sliced pickles (I used dill but bread and butter would taste great too), original BBQ sauce, Ranch dressing (fat free or light would be healthier but all I had at the time was buttermilk), lettuce and french fried onions
 I didn't use any measurements, I just put in as much or as little of the ingredients as I wanted. 

Preparation: Spread some of the BBQ sauce on one of the tortillas. Add some lettuce then some of the chicken chunks followed by some of the sliced pickles. Top with the french fried onions and roll up the tortilla like you would a burrito. (I like to dip the wrap in the Ranch but you could put the Ranch inside the wrap instead, this would probably be a little less messy.) 

Yummy! Makes me hungry just looking at it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas To You And Yours!

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful." 
-Norman Vincent Peale

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fun Frosty Breakfast

Its Christmas Eve...yea! I cant believe that Christmas is tomorrow, where has this year gone? I am in such a festive mood that I made a fun winter breakfast for my family and myself.

In a pan I made a large circle pancake then poured a smaller circle pancake into the pan making sure they connected. After my snowman body was done cooking I plated it then sprinkled it with a bit of powdered sugar. I used chocolate chips for the eyes, smile and buttons. I added a bacon scarf and a raspberry nose and Frosty was finished. I sliced up a banana and made a candy cane out of some of the slices and some raspberries. My family loved it, it definitely got them into a Christmas mood!

Merry Christmas Eve!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Movie Night...Santa Clause 3

"On the fifth night of Christmas Disney gave me....the Santa Clause 3 movie"

Dinner: We had Santa turkey burgers. I cut up some white cheese to form a beard and sideburns, black olives for eyes, ketchup for the nose and hat and mashed potatoes for the trim and ball on the hat. We had mashed potatoes on the side which represented snow once again.

And for dessert we had a nice cold glass of milk and Christmas tree cookies.

I hope that you enjoyed our Merry Movie Nights as much as we did. This is definitely a tradition that we are going to keep, it was great seeing my sons face light up with excitement every time I gave him his dinner and dessert. It was a wonderful way to bond with my son and it made us even more excited about Christmas. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Movie Night...Shrek The Halls

"On the fourth night of Christmas DreamWorks gave to me...the Shrek The Halls movie."

Dinner: Since Shrek loves to eat bugs we had caterpillar hot dogs (sliced hot dogs on a wooden skewer with black olive eyes and raw spaghetti legs) and ants on a log. We also had green macaroni and cheese (I made the mac and cheese then stirred in a little bit of green food coloring.)

And for dessert we had green vanilla pudding (also dyed with food coloring) with gooey gummy worms.

(P.S. Shrek The Halls will be on TV...on Christmas Eve night...on ABC)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Movie Night...Polar Express

"On the third night of Christmas DreamWorks gave to me...the Polar Express movie."

Dinner: I made a bell out of a personal size cheese pizza and pepperoni that I cut to make all the shapes, I used green onion to make the little decorative bow. Using apple slices, grapes, sliced strawberries, banana chunks and tooth picks I made some fruit trains.

And for dessert we had some Pepperidge Farm Chessmen Christmas Cookies and a nice warm cup of hot coco topped with some marshmallows.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Movie Night...Beauty And The Beast The Enchanted Christmas

"On the second night of Christmas Disney gave to me...Beauty And The Beast The Enchanted Christmas movie."

Dinner: Since Beauty And The Beast live in France I thought peanut butter stuffed crepes would be appropriate (here is a great French crepe recipe.) I served vanilla pudding on the side to represent snow and I topped that with a strawberry I cut to look like a rose. 

And for dessert we had some warm cinnamon apple spiced tea.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Movie Night...Merry Madagascar

I wanted to start a new Christmas tradition with my son, something we can look forward to around this time a year for many years to come. What I came up with was Merry Movie Nights. Every Sunday morning, in December, before Christmas we will pick out a Christmas movie to watch together that night and I will come up with a themed dinner and a themed dessert for us to eat while we watch the movie. Sunday night was the first night of our new tradition and my son loved it! So without further is the first Merry Movie:

"On the first night of Christmas DreamWorks gave to me...
the Merry Madagascar movie."

Dinner: We had chicken nuggets for Alex (Alex eats steak and sushi but my son doesn't care much for either so chicken it was), fruit for Gloria and I made some penguins to represent Kowalski, Skipper, Rico and Private (click here to find out how to make the penguins)

And for dessert we had some animal cookies.

We hope to see you back for our next Merry Movie Night!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Spicy Cinnamon Coffee

In October I am obsessed with everything pumpkin but once December hits its all about cinnamon and spice. Our house smells spicy all month long and everything I bake has to have cinnamon and other spicy ingredients in it. And of course my coffee flavoring changes from pumpkin spice to gingerbread and spicy cinnamon. I already posted the recipe for the gingerbread flavored coffee, you can go to that by clicking here, so today I thought I would post the recipe for the spicy cinnamon flavored coffee.

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/3 cup milk
A dash of cinnamon
A fresh brewed pot of coffee

Mix milk, sugar, ginger and cinnamon in a pot. Just before this mixture starts to boil remove it from the heat. Pour yourself a mug of your fresh brewed coffee and stir in some of the milk mixture, the amount you add is totally up to you and your taste buds. Enjoy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Nails

I decided last night that my nails needs some Christmas pizazz! Here is what I came up with:

I used Maybelline Express Finish in Plum Intense, Wet N Wild in 469, Sally Hansen in White On and tape.

I painted 2 coats of Plum Intense on each nail then painted over that with one coat of Wet N Wild. I let it dry completely then put a piece of tape just below the tip of each nail creating a line. I then painted the tips of my nails with White On and when it got tacky I took off the tape leaving a white French tip on each nail.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Crunchy Peanutnut Butter Cookies

My mom used to make these cookies around Christmas time every year and when she stopped making them my brother and I started. They are by far my all time FAVORITE treat to make and to eat. Since Christmas is only 9 days away I figured it was about time to whip up a batch.

Ingredients: 1 cup sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup, 1 1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 6 cups Special K Original cereal.

Preparation: Stirring constantly bring the sugar and syrup to a boil in a large pot. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter and the vanilla. Blend well until smooth. Pour the Special K cereal into a large bowl then pour the hot peanut butter mixture over the cereal. Stir until everything is mixed well and the cereal is well coated. Let it cool for a bit, just long enough to where you can handle the mixture without burning your hands. After it has cooled grab small chunks of the mixture and roll them in your hands making little balls. Set on a plate to cool completely.

Depending on the size you make the balls the mixture should make about 4 dozen. That is it, they are now ready for you to enjoy.....and trust me you will enjoy them! 

Words don't even describe their deliciousness!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hanging Holiday Cards

For as long as I can remember my mom would hang a string across the archway that led from our living room into our dinning room, this is where she would hang all the holiday cards we would get in the mail. I kept this tradition when I moved out into my own place but of course I had to put a little decorative spin on it. This is how I hang our holiday cards:

I hang a string across the wall and pin a red sparkly bow I bought from The Dollar Tree in the middle of the string. I hang our holiday cards on the string using clothes pins that I dyed using water and food coloring. I put a small amount of water in two separate bowls then add a couple drops of green food coloring in one bowl and a couple drops of red food coloring in the other. I put a couple clothes pins in each bowl and let them sit over night. I like the slight tint of color they have now.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thrift Gift Tips

I am so excited that I am already done with ALL my Christmas shopping...go me! I'm even more excited by the fact that I didn't put us into debt doing it. Money is super tight for us right now, I'm sure a lot of people are in the same boat, and if it wasn't for thrift stores I don't think anyone would be getting much from us this year and that would break my heart because I love giving gifts. I know a lot of people are put off by thrift stores, I was at first, but after finding some amazing products for almost nothing at all I was hooked. I am now a huge thrift store shopper, my nick name has become The Queen Of Second Hand Shopping, and I hardly ever shop anywhere else (besides the grocery store of course.) Over time I have learned some tips and tricks to finding the best products for the best price and since Christmas is right around the corner I thought maybe I could help by sharing what I have learned.

15 Thrift Store Shopping Tips

1. Goodwill is my all time favorite thrift store but there are a lot more out there like Arc, The Salvation Army, Buffalo Exchange, Plato's Closet and Once Upon A Child. There are also tuns of personally owned thrift stores, just Google Thrift Stores in your town to find them.

2. Goodwill has a Facebook page and if you LIKE their page you will get updates on sales and coupons. Just make sure to LIKE the Goodwill page that is in your area. 

3. All my local Goodwill stores have a 50% off sale every other Saturday and this is the best deal ever. Everything in the store is 50% off besides blue and orange tags. (I went to their last 50% off sale and found almost everything on my list, I spent $30 and bought multiple gifts for 6 people.) The only problem is Goodwill does not have this sale in every state, this sale does not exist at the Goodwill stores in my home town, so go to put in your zip code and under each store address that comes up there will be a link to your local Goodwill store's website. You can search that site for their sales or you could call a store near you to see what sales they offer.

4. Goodwill also has a coupon called Make My Monday where you get 25% off everything you buy on select Monday's throughout the year. If you LIKE their Facebook page you will see an update on their page Monday morning about the coupon, you just click on the coupon link print it out and go shopping. My friend and I print out multiple coupons and hit multiple stores and get 25% off everything we buy at each store.

5. A lot of the thrift stores I have shopped at offer a military and a senior citizen discount, my local Goodwill stores offer 15% off every day for both military and senior citizens and every Wednesday senior citizens get 50% off at my favorite personally owned thrift store, so call your local thrift stores and find out if they have a discount and what day they offer it if they do.

6. One of the first things you should do after walking into a thrift store is look for signs telling you if a specific color is discounted that day. For example right now everything at my local Goodwill stores that is price marked with a pink tag is 50% off and at my favorite personally owned thrift store products marked with a green tag are 75% off, yellow tags are 50% off and white tags are 25% off. Getting any discount off already low prices is awesome.

7.  I am not sure if this goes for all the Goodwill stores in every state but my local Goodwill stores now have a Club Blue Rewards Card which gives me 20% off every time I spend over $25 which is pretty easy to do. That is another thing to check up on before you go shopping at your local Goodwill stores.

8. I have noticed that personally owned thrift stores do charge more for their products because they are trying to make a profit but they do have more name brand items then the thrift stores like Goodwill.

9. Before you go shopping know your brand names because if you find a Simply Vera Vera Wang shirt for $10 that is a steal but if you find a Faded Glory shirt for $10 that is a rip off.

10. If you find a product with a price tag still on it from the original store then this product has most likely never been used...duh. The Goodwill stores in my area get brand new products straight from Target so I can buy brand new clothes, bags and toys for more then half the price they sell it for at Target (these products are priced with a blue Goodwill price tag.)

11. I always take two trips around the store because they are constantly bringing new items onto the sales floor from their back room. If you see a rolling clothes hanger at the end of an isle the items on it are new items that are going to be put onto the clothes racks so these have not been picked through yet.

12. Dig! I have found some of the best products I have purchased under a heap of other items.

13. Inspect everything. I have not done this a few times and have been disappointed when I get home and find a large rip in a sweater or a pen mark on a jacket that I just bought.

14. Check the glass lock case first because this is where most of the expensive items are kept and if it is a 50% off sale day or something in this case is marked with that days 50% off color you can buy some extremely expensive things for almost nothing (for Father's Day I bought my dad a gold Citizen watch for $5.)

15. The very first thing you should do after walking into a thrift store is ask about their return policy because you don't want to spend money on something that doesn't work when you get it home and you are un able to return it, that would be frustrating! A lot of the personally owned thrift stores do not have a return policy so I am very weary to buy anything that plugs in or needs batteries. Goodwill however does have a return policy: items must be returned in 7 days of purchase, you must have the original receipt and the price tag must still be attached to the purchased item, you have to return the purchased item to the original store you purchased it at. Most stores do have open plugs where you can plug in items to see if they do work before you buy them but this is still pretty iffy.

Here are just some of exciting things I have made out with after thrift store shopping:
Jessica Simpson glasses in store $50+ bought for $2.00, POC glasses in store $250+ bought for $5.00, Smith glasses in store $100+ bought for $2.00

Kids Polo Shoes in store $50+ bought for $5.00

Coach shoes in store $90+ bought for $25.00

Red Aldo purse in store $40+ bought for $6.00, Balenciaga knock off real $1,545+ bought for $3.00, Green Sophia Caperelli purse in store $40+ bought for $6.00, black Simply Vera Vera Wang purse in store $100+ bought for $10.00
Simply Vera Vera Wang tank in store $40+ bought for $9.00

Thrift stores definitely have something for everyone: books, toys, clothes, shoes, tools, electronics, jewelry, purses, sports equipment, cooking wear, home decor.....the list goes on and on. And I have to admit that its a pretty great feeling walking out of the store with bags upon bags of fabulous items that hardly put a dent in my wallet. Thrift store shopping is pretty guilt free and pretty addictive, its amazing walking through a department store and seeing the same sweater you just bought for $2.00 on sale for $20.00 (it makes me go ha ha.) I think the best advice I have for you is don't knock it till you try it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Top 10 Christmas Movies

Since Christmas movies have began playing non stop on almost all the television channels I spend the little free time I have parked on my couch watching them....I love them so. The older movies remind me of my childhood and immediately put a huge smile on my face when they begin to play. I remember sitting on the couch in my parents living room glued to the TV watching Christmas movie after Christmas movie feeling the anticipation of Santa Clause's visit building up inside of me just like it was yesterday. Christmas movies are seriously one of the best parts of the holiday season for me.

Here is a list of my top 10 all time favorite Christmas movies: 

1. How The Grinch Stole Christmas
 2. A Christmas Carol
 3. It's A Wonderful Life
 4. Miracle Down Under
 5. The Santa Clause (1, 2 and 3)
 6. The Nightmare Before Christmas
 7. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
 8. Arthur Christmas
 9. Scrooged
 10. Elf

Monday, December 3, 2012

Delicious Cookie Dough

My friend came over for a movie night last night and I wanted to make us something sweet to munch on. So I searched my all time favorite website (Pinterest) for a yummy recipe. I came across this egg-less chocolate chip cookie dough originally from here. I love cookie dough, who doesn't, but I never really eat it raw because of the eggs so I really wanted to give this recipe a try. I ran out and bought the ingredients I needed then came home and whipped up a bowl......Oh My GoSh I'm In LoVe!!! This recipe is so awesome I had to share it!

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
A pinch of salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix the brown sugar and softened butter in a bowl until smooth. Then mix in the vanilla and milk followed by the flour, salt and chocolate chips. Mix until everything is well blended. Put in the fridge to chill. 


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gingerbread Coffee

Now that is it December I can admit that I am super excited for Christmas! I love everything about Christmas...the lights, the smells, the all makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. So to start off my day the Christmas way I made a Gingerbread flavored coffee. It was so good and the smell totally gave me the warm and fuzzies.
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir all the ingredients into a medium pot and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, then take the pot off of the heat. After it all cools you can pour it into a seal able container and put it in the fridge.

I put about 2 tablespoons of the syrup I made into the bottom of my mug, then I poured in my HOT fresh brewed coffee. I then added some milk and stirred it all together.