Sunday, March 29, 2009

Week In Review

I love busy weeks. This week was especially busy preparing for family events, two birthdays, and my parents anniversary.

THE chocolate birthday cake.

This cake is one of our family favorites and is usually requested by my husband, brother, and dad on their birthday. If you're a fan of chocolate, give this cake a try. It's easy to make and very delicious.

If you have the time, bake and frost the cake the day before you plan to eat it; it's really twice as good the next day.

I've had this recipe for a long time, it was printed in a Hershey Anniversary cookbook that I have but you can find the recipe on the Hershey website.

Twitter. Snippets of information in 140 characters of less. It's very fun and mildly addicting. I follow CNN, Martha Stewart, Ashton Kutcher, Etsy, and the New York Times to name a few.

Watching: Twilight

I haven't read the books yet so I can't base my opinion of the movie on my thoughts of the book. If I had to rate this movie on a scale of 1 to 10 I'd give it a 5. I didn't like it but, at the same time, I didn't hate it either.

Reading: Handle With Care
This is my first Facebook book club read with my friend Inna. We used to work together and loved to talk about and swap books. I miss Inna terribly but, through Facebook, we get to stay connected and continue talking books.

I'm only about 1/3 of the way through this book but so far, so good. I'll report back when I'm finished.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Couple: MN vs. WI

It amazes me that my husband and I have such different ways of saying things. We grew up in different states; he in Minnesota and I in Wisconsin. 180 miles and the Mississippi river separated us as kids yet you'd swear we grew up on opposite sides of the country. Here's my ever growing list of "he says, she says".

  1. He says dinner. She says lunch.
  2. He says hotdish. She says casserole.
  3. He says "Duck, Duck, Grey Duck!". She says "Duck, Duck, Goose!". (I mean, really? Grey Duck?)
  4. Hey says Aunt (like want). She says Aunt (like ant). This one is tricky for Cookie, so we call everyone "Auntie" (anty).
  5. He says grocery bag. She says Dick's bag. Note: you'll only get this if you grew up in Southwest Wisconsin where our grocery store was called Dick's Supermarket. I realize that my husband is "right" with grocery bag but Dick's bag is burned in to my brain, never to escape.
  6. He says water fountain. She says bubbler. I'll never forget the time I was in Arizona and asked where the bubbler was. Not only did they not have a clue, they looked at me as if I were from a different planet.
  7. He "puts gas on". She "gets gas".
  8. He goes to the lake. She goes to the river.
  9. He has rolls. She has doughnuts.
  10. He calls them folks. She calls them parents.

Friday, March 20, 2009

In My Top 10

I love this picture. It's in my top 10 favorite shots of all time. It's one of those shots that happened by chance.

Both cats were on the table checking out a bouquet of tulips. By the way, being on the table is a no no in our house but try to tell a cat that. I was trying to get a nice shot of Emmy who, by the way, was more interested in sniffing tulips and yawning. I snapped this photo right in the middle of one of her yawns. I love how it makes her look ferocious.

What Emmy really looks like. Not at all ferocious.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How did this happen?

We received a letter in the mail last week letting us know when and where we sign Cookie up for preschool. I know that every parent says this, but really..."Where did the time go"?

Preschool? Really? Already? Wasn't it just last week we were taking this picture?

But she's so stinkin' cute here and she hasn't figured out how to call me a butt crack yet.

Yeah, she's stinkin' cute here too but she HAS figured out how to call me a butt crack.
How can I even think of sending her to preschool with that word in her repertoire?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Extra help

Occasionally I have an extra 5 minutes in the evening to sit down in our wicked comfy recliner, grab the mini laptop, kick up my feet, and surf the net. If you have a cat, especially a cat that loves attention, then you'll most likely answer the following question with a "yes".

Have you ever tried to surf the net with a 12 pound cat laying on your arm and hand?

Fun isn't it?

Monday, March 16, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Winners of the Ninth Annual Weblog Awards, or more affectionately known as "the 2009 bloggies", were announced today. Click here to check out the nominees and winners. You never know, you just might find your new favorite blog.

Happy Reading.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Can CAN

Because bread sticks out of a can aren't always a bad thing.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing better than homemade but frankly, who has time to do that during the week? I like the convenience of canned bread sticks but they often lack that extra flavor that the homemade ones have. Adding dried or fresh herbs, cheese, and/or spices to canned bread sticks can take them to a whole new level.

Try a batch tonight and make your ordinary bread sticks extraordinary.

Step #1: Prepare baking sheet and oven as directed on package. Separate the bread sticks and lay each flat.

Step #2: Sprinkle with herbs, spices, and or cheese of choice. Press seasoning in to bread stick and twist as directed on package. Sprinkle with more of seasoning mixture.

**For these bread sticks I used dried thyme, black pepper, and grated Parmesan. Feel free to use whatever combination you love.

Step #3: Bake as directed on package.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Curse of the Gas Pump

I've been cursed I tell you, cursed. Someone somewhere has created a voodoo doll of me holding a gas pump. Each time I get gas "they" apparently stick a pin in me and the prices go down. I should write a mystery novel about it; it would be a bestseller!

Here's how I know I have been cursed...

I usually get gas after work on my way home. I do this because, well, I'm not a morning person so carving out an extra 10 minutes or so in morning to get gas just doesn't work for me. About a month ago I got my gas after work as I usually do only to discover the very next morning that the prices had dropped about five cents. I thought nothing of it, chucked it up to one of those things and went about my business.

The next week, same thing: got gas after work and the next morning the prices dropped. This time I thought hmmm, that's twice in a row. Then I got smart. The following week I decided to outsmart the gas pump and filled up on my way in to work. Guess what? Yep, you got it...driving home the prices dropped!

So here we are, it's week number four and the curse has yet to be lifted. This time I decided to get gas in the middle of the day. I felt pretty sassy too because driving home from work later that afternoon I realized that the gas price was exactly the same as when I filled up at lunch. I felt the curse was lifted and that I had finally won. That warm, fuzzy, accomplished feeling lasted all the way until the next morning when I was driving past the gas station and saw that the prices had...........................

Game over Mr. Gas Price man, you win.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Can you smell it?

It's Spring.

It's upon us, well at least until the unwanted end of March blizzard that we get every year. Hats off to Mother Nature though today; she did us good. The birds were chirping, the sun was shining, the snow was melting, and some crazy fool had their motorcycle out in the "heat wave". Apparently 40 degrees is PERFECT riding weather. Kudos to you Mr. Motorcycle rider gave us all hope that warmer temps are on the way.
To celebrate the taste of Spring we dug out the grill to cook up some brats. I don't know if it's the "cheese head" in my blood or what but the smell and taste of brats is all it takes to get me out of the winter funk. Maybe I should start grilling them in January, I wonder if they'd taste as good as they did today?

Here's to Spring. Bring it on Mother Nature, bring it on. There's a lawn chair, a baseball game, dad's fire pit, and a cold beer calling my name!

P.S., Can you smell these too? Ohhhhhh, yeah...they were good.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Love Gifts

I love "Love Gifts". They are the best kind of gifts because there's no holiday or special event associated with them. They're never expected, there's no anticipation, and well, they're great! My latest love gift comes from Ree and it's on my top 10 all time favorite list.

Ree knows that I love to bake and when she spotted this little honey she felt compelled to snag it for me. It's called "The Cupcake DECK". It's a cute little box that's filled with 25 cupcake recipe note cards. You need to get you one...I promise that it's worth it. Give it as a "love gift", any baker would LOVE this!

Ree found this at a book fair at Kate's school but you can also get it on Amazon. Here's the link.

Thanks for the love gift Ree, I love it!

Isn't it cute?

I love the colors!

Each card has a picture of the recipe on the front.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bretzel Rolls

I discovered the recipe for these rolls on the Smitten Kitchen website. Smitten Kitchen is one of my all time favorite blogs that I check/stalk/drool over daily. The writer, Deb, is funny and witty and fun to read. Oh yeah, she also posts some kick butt recipes.

I've been drooling over this recipe for ever and have been waiting for the right time to make them. My husband had been craving chili and I thought these rolls would be great chili-sopper-uppers and WOW did they come through. They weren't too fussy, the recipe was easy to follow and they turned out great. The next time you need a diversion from the normal dinner roll, try a batch of these; they won't disappoint.

Click here for the recipe, found on The only change to recipe was that I omitted the cornmeal because I didn't have any. I baked them on a non-stick jellyroll pan that I sprayed with a little non-stick cooking spray. I would have baked them on parchement paper but I was out of that too.