Archive for November, 2009

Light Keeper Pro

I had a little trouble coming up with my Product Rave for this month, mostly because I didn’t really purchase anything new this month.  J picked up this handy dandy little tool over the weekend, and although I didn’t use it myself, I can attest to the fact that it saved us a ton in purchasing new sets of Christmas lights this year.  Upon opening our box of oh, approximately ONE MILLION Christmas lights, we found that less than half were working properly.  The frustrating part was that on most of the strands, half the lights were working and the other half were out.  We couldn’t stand the thought of throwing out all these light strands!  (well, ok, one of us was more ok with that thought than the other…)  Enter the fabulous light strand checker thingy.  J found one at Hobby Lobby for about $20.  I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about how it would work.  Turns out, it fixed nearly all of our strands to working status! 

Stay tuned tomorrow for a post of our holiday outdoor lights!

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Thanksgiving & 17 Months

We celebrated a relaxing Thanksgiving in Green Bay this year. It’s always such a great feeling to go home for a visit. Besides the family time and the fabulous Thanksgiving feast (which no one had to slave over this year, since it came from Copp’s and tasted fantastic!), we all found a little something extra to be thankful for. S enjoyed her Grandma and Grandpa time, Mommy got to catch up with her former softball coach over coffee, and J got to…grade some papers?  Ok, that doesn’t sound like much fun, but I think he enjoyed himself, nonetheless.

S also turned 17 months old on Thanksgiving.  She constantly amazes us with how much she’s learning every day. Just this evening during bath time, she held up one of her foamy bath letters and declared that the letter ‘A’ she was holding was ORANGE!  (she was right!) Holy cow.  She picks up on everything! 

In honor of her 2nd Thanksgiving…here’s S when she was just 5 months old:







and one from this year











S & Mommy









S & Grandma










S awaiting her first Thanksgiving meal









Despite Daddy's best attempts, S wasn't a fan of the turkey feast...










But she was all about the croissants! Go figure!
















Our silly turkey









on one of our many trips around Gma & Gpa's house











Uncle M, S and a turkey









And just for fun...It's Fun to Stay at the "Y" MCA!!!


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Celebrity Look-alike

I had actually forgotten about this until my dad reminded me of it yesterday.  A few weeks ago while we were up north, S was playing in the living room with grandma and grandpa and daddy while mommy was taking a shower.  The TV was on in the background, showing a movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow.  Now, I wasn’t there to see it, but accounts from all witnesses in the room swear that when S caught a glimpse of the blonde-haired actress on the screen, she ran over to the TV yelling, “MAMMA!, MAMMA!” and proceeded to kiss the screen upon her arrival.  How cute is that?  Not to mention, super flattering that S confuses her “mamma” with the ultra-thin, uber-sexy actress, Ms. Paltrow.  I won’t take offense!  Though, I’m guessing it was the blonde locks that S mistook for her momma’s hair, and not the physique (Hey, we are working on that…but it’s going to take a lot of Zumba-ing to get to GP status). 

So, what do you think?  Any resemblance?

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I’ve had the following two recipes in my rotation for quite some time.  I love this combination for many reasons.  One, the chili is a crock pot recipe.  I love being able to throw everything into the magic pot and have dinner waiting for me when I get home.  Two, they are both fairly healthy recipes.  Great for when mommy is trying to watch her waistline.  And three, well, chili and cornbread just go so well together!

Here’s the chili recipe first.  I double the recipe if I’m making it for weeknight dinners, usually lasts all week!

Laura’s Quick Slow Cooker Turkey Chili (from allrecipes.com)

Servings: 8, 6 WW points


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans low sodium tomato soup
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground allspice
  • salt to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place turkey in the skillet, and cook until evenly brown; drain.
  2. Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray, and mix in turkey, tomato soup, kidney beans, black beans and onion. Season with chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, allspice and salt.
  3. Cover, and cook 8 hours on Low or 4 hours on High.

I usually top with a little shredded cheddar cheese.  Would be great with some sour cream or even noodles if you like your chili Green Bay-style 😉

Next up, the CORNBREAD.  I like the little squares of bread this recipe makes, but I also think it would be fun to make these into muffins.

Excellent and Healthy Cornbread (also from allrecipes.com)

Makes 12 servings, 2 WW points each serving


  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 2 eggs, beaten

*I also add a 1/2 cup of frozen corn and a small can (undrained) of diced green chilis.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8×8 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, sugar, soda and salt. Stir in yogurt and eggs (and frozen corn and chilis, if using). Do not over mix, stir only until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until center of the bread springs back when gently pressed.

A little dab of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter light spread…and voila!  A perfect meal on a cool fall/winter night!

Another great thing about this meal?  It is S-approved! She devoured it!

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Big Girl

Oh, yes, S is all kinds of “big girl” now.  It seems to have happened overnight.  Looks like we are leaving babyhood behind and moving full-force into toddlerhood…and, somewhere down the line…the “terrible two’s”.  But I’m not going to think about that yet.  So, big girl time…yup, it’s here.  We now have a little communicator on our hands. I know I’m going to miss the days of just putting her in her coat or high chair without her complaining and offering her protests.  When I asked her recently if she wanted to put on her coat,  I got my first response.  “No!” in her little tiny voice and a shake of her head.  Um, ok.  How about sitting in your high chair for dinner…want to sit in your chair?  S’s response: “No!” with a shake of the head.  She also knows when a “no” response requires the finger wag.  She has perfected it when we tell her, for example, “No, don’t shake the living room lamp.”  She lets go and says, “No!” and gives us the finger wag.  Wonder who she learned that from?  I’m just waiting for her to use it on the dog. 

In other big girl news, S seems to have changed her seating preferences and now asks “up?” to sit in the regular chairs.  She enjoyed the view from her new perch and practiced some spins on the shiny veneer…all was going well until she decided to get down.  Let’s just say she needs some work on the dismount.

Another recent development is her ability to say, “Hi!”  She’ll just pop into the room and announce her presence with a big, “Hi!”  So far, she’s reserving this talent for just J and I, but I’m sure she’ll be sharing her friendly spirit with all the folks at the grocery store in the near future. 

I’m excited that our little miss is learning new skills, but it is a little bittersweet.  These new bursts of independence are taking her one step closer to being an official toddler and further and further away from being my little baby.  They really don’t stay little for very long.  Makes me appreciate every single day with S as I try to capture as many memories of her “littleness” as possible. 

S is one week shy of 17 months old.  How did THAT happen?

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Last Two Wednesday’s ago, I celebrated my 32nd birthday.  I am still getting over the shock of being in my 30’s (that SOUNDS old, but I definitely do not FEEL old!)…(and yes, I considered reversing the “3” and the “2” candles on my birthday cake).  I feel very fortunate to have a wonderful husband, an adorable little daughter, a great family, good friends, and a pretty darn good life! 



 took me out to dinner at Eno Vino, one of my favorite Madison restaurants.  We had a great dinner. 

One of my favorite things about Eno Vino is its basic concept…tiny plates of delectable bites.  The idea is to order a few plates and get a sampling of different flavors (kind of like eating tapas).  Here’s what we ate:

To start, I had a salad: (MIXED GREENS with kalamata olives, red onions, feta and aged balsamic vinaigrette).  It was just what I was looking for, nice Greek-style salad with a tart vinaigrette.










J had soup (CHARRED HOT HOUSE TOMATO: local cheddar, truffled greens and pine nuts), which looked great and he enjoyed very much.










We chose 3 plates to share:


CRAB SPRING ROLLS: with sweet chile sauce and soy lime sauce









TEMPURA SHRIMP: with avocado and tomato puree, arugula and garlic lime soy sauce










BEEF TENDERLOIN CARPACCIO: lemon-shallot vinaigrette, baby arugula, endive, crostini, capers and reggiano









My favorite was the beef carpaccio, then the crab spring rolls (very crabby!), and last would be the shrimp.  I didn’t really care for that one.

For dessert, we shared a creme brulee and each had an espresso.









Happy, Happy Birthday to me!












Something I learned: the little slips of cardboard placed on your table when the drinks arrived ARE NOT advertisements for Vodka.  They are your coat-check slips.  DUH! 


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Goodnight Moon







S’s favorite book as of late is Goodnight Moon.  Fortunately, it’s a book that I don’t mind reading over and over and over again.  I love how the pages get darker as the story goes on.  Makes ME want to take a nap after reading!  S seems to have picked up on the “moon” concept of the book and now likes to point out the moon whenever she sees it.


Vodpod videos no longer available.

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::WARNING:: Feeding the furry animals may result in uncontrolable laughter!


Vodpod videos no longer available.


Not too shabby for my first video post, huh? 

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I’m so in love with my PammyJ Opera Wallet that I got for my birthday.  Isn’t it cute?
I saw one of these “flat wallets” at a Nestie get-together and I thought it was so cute, I just had to have one.  I never knew what an “opera wallet” was until I started my search for these.  I love that it slips easily into a diaper bag, my “real” purse or I can carry it by itself and it looks so stylish.  My only issue with this little guy is that is just that…little…well, compared to my old, clunky foldable wallet, that is.  I had to do some downsizing in the credit cards, store cards, and other odds and ends I was carrying around in my old wallet.  After the de-cluttering, however, I can easily take some dinero, my major cards and even some change along with me wherever I go! 

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5. The adorable/hilarious way that she bends her knees and bobs up and down while she “dances”.  This girl has rhythm and LOVES to bust a move whenever music is on.

4. They way she is starting to express herself verbally.  She now says, “Bfassss” (breakfast), “WaaWaa”, “Moo” (could be either Moon or the sound the cow makes), and pooh ba (Pooh Bear), to name a few.  She also likes to jabber in her incomprehensible baby language, which is also very cute!

3. Her insatiable appetite for cheese.  You can definitely tell this lady was born in the dairy state.  Any type of cheese, cheddar, mozzarella, even stinky German cheese, she’s all about it!  Just devours it and asks politely for “more”.

2. How she will back into your lap when she wants you to read a book to her.  So stinkin’ cute! 

1. How I was awakened the other day with her baby kisses.  S typically doesn’t give away her kisses without having to ask for them, so her giving them on her own free will was so heart-warming, especially first thing in the morning!


S is 16 months and one week old and is so darn cute!  (if I do say so myself!)

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