Tuesday, April 29, 2014

She-Ra Power Breakfast Muffins

I typically avoid "good for you" muffins because they tend to taste like cardboard to me. I tried these on a whim because I needed a good freezer muffin with some oomph behind it: one that's good for you, and filling. This fits the bill and I have to say I really like these. Original recipe from Suzanne Shares here.

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
A shake or two of cinnamon if you're into that
1/3 cup flax seed
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 bananas
1 cup of apple sauce
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk (I used skim and 2% at different times. I don't know if soy, almond, whatever will work)
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with liners.

Mix all ingredients up to vanilla, Mix well and set aside. Add vanilla through milk to a separate bowl, and mix with a hand mixer until well-blended. Mix in dry ingredients with spoon, add chocolate chips (more or less to your liking).

Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way. Bake 15-18 minutes. Recipe makes 24.

Now for the tip portion of this parade:

If you make muffins or cupcakes, life will be easier if you use an Oxo large cookie scoop to fill them. Fill it up, release into tin, boom, done. Onto the next one.
If you are freezing, cool muffins and then flash freeze in the freezer before packing them in a ziploc bag. One of my favorite things about this recipe is that there's no waste. They travel well to work and they're good for you.
Healthy but still good.
Chocolate in my breakfast?
Come hither, muffin.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Back in My Day

SMD's Blog

Suze from Straight on the Ground did an awesome Back in my Day post. Everyone loved it because who doesn't like to think about what shit used to be like? So Steph @ Steph's Space and I joined Suze to co-host a linkup and here we are talking about how it was back in our days.
To give you a frame of reference age-wise, I was born in 1977 and turned 37 in March. I'm totally a child of the 80s and did my high school and college stints in the 90s.

Back in my Day...

You could sit this close to New Kids on the Block in concert because nobody knew who they were.
There were no cell phones. I got my first cell phone when I was a sophomore in college in 1996. So when you were out, people just couldn't reach you. When we were in high school or college, it meant setting up meeting times or just driving around/walking around to various meeting spots and parties and running into people. It was pretty awesome. I always had change for the pay phone.

We used to slide around in the backseat of Gamma & Pop's car, the triplets and me. No seatbelts, no car seats, no problem! Standing up was frowned upon though.

We used to go see Steve Miller Band in the summer and who was driving was always a big thing.
There was no caller ID. We used to prank call people all the time, and that would be our activity for the night. It provided endless amusement.

There was no social media of any kind. Up until college the internet was still something no one was really using.

We went to the library to study because we had no computers. We needed books and reference materials and the dreaded microfiche.

We took photos and didn't know how they'd come out until we got the film developed. I have a lot of pics that look like this.
When you wanted to share music with your friends, you dubbed a mix tape. To make the original tape, you sat around listening to the radio and hit pause/record. When a song you liked came on, you scurried over and unpaused it. SCORE when you caught it from the beginning.

School shootings were not a thing. Stink bombs were things. Schools were safe places that sometimes stunk.

We thought orange was a good hair color...or I did, anyway.
The weekend morning cartoons were awesome: Monchichis, Superfriends, Scooby Doo, Popeye, Bugs Bunny/Road Runner, Speed Buggy, Smurfs, Get Along Gang, Muppet Babies, Cartoon Express on USA (Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, G.I. Joe, Captain Caveman, The Great Grape Ape, Jabberjaw). Pee Wee's Play House, The Glorious Ladies of Wrestling, and the WWF all ruled too.

The Berlin Wall was up until I was 12. We did duck and cover drills in elementary school where we'd get under our desks and also sit out in the hallways away from the windows. As if the drill would save us from a nuke the Russians may send our way.

If you weren't the winner, you didn't get a trophy. Period.

I ordered books from Scholastic Book Clubs. Pizza Hut's Book It program launched in the early 80s and that meant I got a lot of free personal pan pizzas. I remember the assembly where they announced the program. I was elated in the way that only book dorks can be. And oh, the books. I read The Little House books, The Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Christopher Pike, Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley High, choose your own adventures, Babysitter's Club, VC Andrews (whoops)...

The posters on my wall were of Richard Grieco and Jon Bon Jovi. In my basement, my friends and I ripped pages out of Teen Beat and Bop and glued photos of dreamy stars to the concrete block walls. My dad was not pleased with that when it came time to sell that house.

I tight rolled my pants, wore scrunchies and banana clips, collected Swatch watches and colored high top Reeboks, and had big bangs. In high school, I loved flannel and all the jeans were high waisted. There was no choice.
My room was a mess. And I photographed it with a Polaroid camera. I wish I never threw that out. Thank God I got neat.
We wrote notes. I didn't get my first email address until I was a freshman in college, and even then we didn't  use email for everything. In college, we sent letters and cards.

I made lists for everything. Wait, I still do that.
When we got our licenses, we got beaters or hand me down cars and drove them with pride, patting them lovingly and praying they worked. A negligible percentage of kids drove newer cars. A beater first car was a must.

We carried our college student IDs in these...and our student IDs had our social security number printed right on them.
MFD was homecoming king the year we graduated high school. This makes me laugh because people who didn't go to school with us are always like seriously? Yes, seriously. (Hi Nancy!)

Ugly then and now:
Many eighties styles are back
Stop with the peg pants.
Link up here, and click around to see what it was like back in someone else's day.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Romance is dead because that's how I like it

About 10 years ago, MFD brought home this weird cooler thing. He was full of glee as he sat down on the bed and said, "Look! I got you a present!" I unzipped it and it was a picnic basket cooler with all the things you need to eat on some grassy knoll or the beach. "We can go on picnics," he exclaimed. "That's...um...nice," I said.

Before you think I'm a total asshole (too late?) you should know I appreciated the gesture and that he chose something we could use on an outing together. I'm just not the girl who swoons over a picnic. We did pack it for vacation one year. Then he suggested ordering pizza so we didn't have to clean up, and I said, "Now you're speaking my language." When we moved, that went into the donate pile.
You won't find me in the awwww chorus when your man does something super sweet, I have to remind myself to ask to see your engagement ring because I just don't care about jewelry, I'm not into public displays of affection (go on with yourself if you are, but keep it clean friends!), surprises freak me out, I don't like the word cuddle, I like candles but don't want to live by candle light, I have no desire to be swept off my feet, I don't take baths, I'm not a When Harry Met Sally fan, and it makes me sad to see rose petals on the ground instead of whole in a vase. I'm just not a romantic. I never have been. MFD is a romantic, and he's awesome at it. He puts up with me anyway.

There are women out there who are all I want to live in a Nicholas Sparks novel! Movies & books have made people lose their fucking minds and think relationships should be a living dream brought to fruition by the perfect person. Two things: 1. There is no perfect person. 2. There is no perfect relationship. Work at it, communicate, and show up for each other every day even on the hard days. That's real life romance.

Then there's me, living with the master of the Grand Gesture, happiest when he's vacuumed so I didn't have to, cleaned the snow off of my car, or run an errand I didn't want to run. The flowers and surprises are nice, but it's the day to day stuff that really matters to me. Don't worry, I do like power ballads, when MFD asks me to slow dance in the kitchen, tales of 50 year long marriages, hearing about why your partner is awesome for you, iconic LIFE magazine shots, Casablanca, etc. The other typical romance stuff, eh.
What about you? Romantic or no?

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Linking up with Kathy for Humpday Confessions.
 Linking up with Shanna for Random Wednesday

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Do what you can.

My best friend dresses up in costumes for sick kids. My husband gives rides to a homeless vet working two jobs and trying to get his head above water. An artist friend of ours just donated his time and talent for a bedroom makeover for a little girl diagnosed with leukemia.

The world is full of people who need help, and people who can give it. We're not all comfortable with the same level of giving and that's okay. As long as you give something - time, talent, money, whatever - you're comfortable with giving when someone needs it and look for nothing in return except a good feeling in your soul, you're a good human being in my book.

I think we're experiencing a bit of a giving backlash. Too often we politicize giving. It's a liberal thing! Or we feel inundated with requests for donations and we just turn them all down. We start to judge who's really deserving and who's not. We don't want to deal with large corporations and their charity machines. Avoiding all of these things is easy. Open your eyes...there are people all around you that need help. Think less, help more, and if you don't publicize it no one can politicize it. We live in our own heads too much sometimes.

Sometimes the people in need are people you know, and sometimes they're not. Need is need. Help when you can. But don't help just so you can pat yourself on the back and get praise. That's lame. If someone shows you kindness, pay it forward. If you're in a situation where you can't, wait until you can. There's no time limit on doing good. 

The world runs on those who are not afraid to reach out and lift up people around them. I'm glad to know so many of them and to be one when I can. I think it's cool that something so small on my part can make such a great difference in the life of someone else. I hope you do too. It makes the world a better place.

be a friend to friends
and to strangers, sometimes too
kindness changes lives
Are you into random acts of kindness? Check Kerry out at Till Then, Smile Often. Her Be the Change project rocks.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

One Community Photo Project: April

One Community is a monthly photo project in which participants photograph their lives and communities with a theme in mind. The theme varies by month. The goal is to both showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide – and bring us all closer together in understanding through art. To learn more, visit Sarah at Beauty School Dropout

The words for April: Spring, Flowers, Purple and Rise

I'm using one photo to encompass all. Purple hyacinths are my favorite spring flowers - I love the scent and purple is my favorite color. Seeing them rise out of the earth means warmer weather and greener times are coming. 

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

10 things I do to make daily life easier

1.  Say no to things without feeling guilty or like I need an excuse. I can't please everyone and I can't do everything. Over-scheduling turns me into The Exorcist. No one is safe and everyone must pay.

2. Do things the night before on weeknights: I check my planner to see what's on tap for the next day, lay out my clothes and jewelry, fill up my water bottle and make sure my breakfast and lunch are all together in the fridge or on the counter. I can be up, showered, and out of the house in 20 minutes in the morning since I'm not dicking around with that stuff. I like my sleep.

3. Drink 80 ounces of water by noon. This helps me with sinus issues, headaches, and overall health.

4. Plot out errands efficiently. Doubling back and inefficient use of time pisses me off so I group errands together, make sure my lists are ready, and keep my reusable bags in the trunk.

5. Request books in advance at the library. I know I'm always going to have something I want to read ready for me. I use Goodreads to keep track of books. I'm never without a to-read list and I love it.

6. Use cuticle gel and take care of my cuticles every week when I do my nails. And I do do them every week. I do not need to be walking around with janky ass chipped nails.
7. Plan to arrive early. I am without the stress of running late 99.5% of the time in life.

8. Not expect perfection from myself or others.

9. My Holy Grail - My Daily Dos: make the bed, wipe down the kitchen, deal with dishes, wipe down baths, spend 10 minutes picking up around the house and setting things to rights. This ensures that things never get too bad even if I skip a day here and there.

10. Value the opinion of my dogs over most people...and accept the fact that I'm never going to be able to eradicate dog hair from my home or life.
And of course, the kitchen version of this has its own post: did you see 10 things I do to make life easier in the kitchen?

What do you do to make daily life easier?

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Linking up with Kathy for Humpday Confessions.
 Linking up with Shanna for Random Wednesday

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Shit MFD Said Vol 4

Via phone after buying four pairs of glasses at Warby Parker and Pearl Vision in under two hours to make sure all the FSA money was spent by the deadline:
MFD: I bargained those bitches down. I said, "Look. I have $500 to spend and I want two pairs of prescription RayBans. For $500."
Me: And then what happened?
MFD: I bought a Groupon for 39 bucks for $200 off two pairs of prescription RayBans and BOOM I got them. I fed the dogs and now I'm going to buy shoes. Bye.

After spending 20 minutes in the Sam's bathroom:
MFD: Why would you blow your nose in the bathroom? It's like breathing in someone else's shit.

10:43 p.m., bedroom
Me: Are you eating? 
MFD: Just a light snack.
Me: A light snack does not arrive on a plate in the bedroom.

Watching Law & Order, mumbling to himself
MFD: He should go to jail for that hairstyle.

Looking in the mirror
MFD: Hey Steph, guess what I won't be doing anytime soon? 
Me: What?
MFD: Using that self tanner. 
Me: Well you thought it was lotion at first. 
MFD: Is that what you're saying so you can say, "My husband wasn't using self tanner for a week?" 

Via email:
MFD: Can you mash these two and put this kilt onto Dracula? (two photos are attached) Thanks!

Via phone:
MFD: I went to Dunkin Donuts today and the lady was barking, "Can I help you?" I said, "Can you give me a minute? There's a lot of items on your menu." Then she said it again real mean so I backed out of the drive thru. 
Me: I hate bad service people. But with the menu...it's not the first time you've been there...you go every day.

Excellent service...
Is there a Groupon for that?
I would buy 15.

All read and approved by MFD before they go live...
Shit MFD Said Vol 1
Shit MFD Said Vol 2
Shit MFD Said Vol 3

Linking up for
Voyage of the Mee Mee

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid Review

About a month ago, I received Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid from BzzAgent for free. My reviews are never influenced by companies because that's not how I roll.

This product is a liquid exfoliant. It's supposed to shrink enlarged pores. I was happy to get it because I've been displeased with my nose pores recently. I didn't expect a lot because I've been down this road before with pore products.

My skin is combination with super oily spots and super dry spots. It's uneven and I have blackheads.

This was my first time using a Paula's Choice product. I've been using it for three weeks and I like it. My pores are less noticeable, my skin seems smoother overall, and most importantly it hasn't caused eruptions of hysteria on my face or interrupted my skin care routine whatsoever. Since I already use a product with retinol in it at night, I use this BHA Liquid every other day in the morning before I put my sunscreen and moisturizer on. I wait a little while from the time I apply this to the time I apply my other products.

IMPORTANT - if you are allergic to asprin or its derivatives, you should not try this. If you do want to try it, use the code PRPAULA20 at www.paulaschoice.com. The price isn't too bad - $23 for four ounces.

If anyone is interested in a little sample, hit me up. I have one left and I'm happy to mail it to you. Those of you that opted to recieve a sample from my facebook post, have you tried it? How do you like it?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pancake Bites

I'm not a huge pancake fan. I only eat them when I'm at Lori & Jack's and Jack makes them. However, I like bite size food and easy grab and go breakfasts, so I figured I'd give pancake bites a try. They're good. Good enough for me to make a test batch, then make two more batches the next day to freeze.

They're perfect to take to work, to make ahead for company coming over for breakfast or brunch, or if you have kids and want to have breakfast ready to go in the morning.
Your favorite pancake mix and whatever you need to make it (I used Bisquick because I had it and added whole milk and eggs)
Sausage, cooked (or bacon, cooked and crumbled)
Fruit, fresh or frozen (I used blueberries, frozen, thawed and drained)

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix your favorite pancake mix according to package directions. I do this in a large glass bowl with a spout for easy pouring.

Add a tablespoon of vanilla and a tablespoon of syrup. Sprinkle with cinnamon to your taste.

Grease muffin tins - I used mini muffins. You can also use liners if you want to skip the mess.

Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full with mix. Top with your toppings of choice.

Bake for 8 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clear upon insertion.

If not using liners - allow to cool for a half hour in tins before attempting to remove. That part is important. Patience, Daniel-san. Using a plastic knife, work around the edges and then pull them out. If you're freezing them, put them in freezer safe bags and you're dunzo.

Bite size everything.
Because it's cute and lovely.
Like Justin Bieber.
(Happy April Fool's Day)
Are you doing the April Wallet Watch with me and Marla? It starts today!

Do you love Little House on the Prairie? Join the Little House book club at The Townhouse Pioneer and enter to win a full set of books:

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Martinis & Bikinis
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