Recipes for National S’mores Day

This is Day 10 of my 31 Days of August Awesomeness Blog Challenge. Want to know more? Check out the inaugural post here.

Did you know that today is National S’mores Day? I didn’t either! A friend of mine revealed this awesome news on Facebook today and immediately I knew that this was what I was going to talk about today.

I guess I’m a little bit traditional. My s’mores are your standard campfire fare: Hershey chocolate bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers. Toast the marshmallows over the fire and then mush with chocolate between two graham cracker squares. It’s hard not to look like the kid in the photo at the top of this post. 🙂

So for something a little bit different, I decided to dig for some “fancier” s’mores recipes to shake things up for you and do a little recipe round-up. In no particular order, here they are.

S’mores-n-berry bars – From Sheknows Food & Recipes this one adds raspberries

Caramel S’more Cups – From Betty Crocker, these look like cupcakes!

Easy S’mores– This recipe uses the same ingredients, but takes out the campfire.

S’mores Pops – From Dying for Chocoloate, this is s’mores on a stick!

Are you hungry yet? I know I am!

(photo credit kretyen)

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Sing Your Heart Out

This is Day 9 of my 31 Days of August Awesomeness Blog Challenge. Want to know more? Check out the inaugural post here.

There was a period of time when the kids constantly walked around the house singing. Mostly it was random tunes and notes, nothing with words or that I had ever heard before.

Whenever we’d say something about it, they’d look at us with complete surprise on their faces. They didn’t even realize they were doing it. It was something that felt natural and fun, and there was no conscious effort required. It was like their insides were bursting with happiness and they just needed an external way to express their joy.

Singing is something that I’ve loved to do since I was little. Wanting to be a singer ran a very close second to my desire to be a writer. In junior high I auditioned for every musical, took choir every year as an elective, and even joined show choir. Singing was just something that I did; I never thought twice about it.

Somewhere around my sophomore year of high school though, being in singing-related activities started to feel less fun, and more like work. I guess that’s the testament to if  you are passionate enough about something to really make a go at it. I felt pressured to perform and constantly stretch myself, and at the end of the day singing was something I did for fun. So I joined the drama club and focused on the light crew instead. 🙂

In my early twenties, we started hanging out at a local dive bar after my company softball games. We were horrible; we lost every game. So we’d go out to drown our sorrows. The bar we always went to had a karaoke night that same night. My interest was piqued. An interest in singing re-entered my life.  I needed a part-time job, and so I thought why not? I auditioned with the karaoke company and started hosting shows myself three nights a week.

I grew out of wanting to hang out in the bar scene after I got married (the first time). But as is always the case with things in life, the interest in singing emerged again when my boyfriend (now my husband) started exploring his musical side again. So we trek down to our local karaoke hangout about once every other month for some karaoke goodness. In fact, it’s where we’re headed tonight.

All sorts of people sing. Some sing the same song every week because it’s comfortable and easy. Some people shake when they sing and their voice quivers, but they get up there and do it anyway. There are some people who bring the house down with their talent, and still others who should never ever try to sing in public again (but you can’t tell them that).

Regardless, one thing is common for all of them. They sing because feel like they can’t not sing. Their insides are bursting and they need to get it out. Just like my kids. Singing can join a whole group of people together and make everyone happy. Which is why it remains one of my favorite things to do.

Just in case you’re wondering, my current favorite song to sing? Invincible by Pat Benatar. 🙂

(photo credit p_a_h)

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

A Few Of My Favorite Things

This is Day 8 of my 31 Days of August Awesomeness Blog Challenge. Want to know more? Check out the inaugural post here.

If you have Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music singing in your head right now, then we have something in common. 🙂  Maria had her favorite things, Oprah has her favorite things, and as I was pinning things over on Pinterest, I decided that I should share a few of my favorite things too.

The things that really get people excited and passionate can tell a lot about them. I can only imagine what my list says about me.

Apple products: Okay, I admit that I’m an Apple fangirl. I have an iPad, an iPhone, and a MacBook Pro. Oops, I almost forgot about Apple TV.  I don’t quite know how it happened, but I think it was the original iPad that really sucked me in. I am on the go a lot, and travel quite a bit for the day job, so there is no way to put a cost on being able to be mobile and still be connected. Plus I trust Apple stuff- they make cool products that last forever if you treat them right. (You may remember I mentioned in my Day 6 post about my camera sucking? It’s from my iPhone 3GS- so I’m not always an early adopter. Just most of the time- lol.)

Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc: If you are looking for a solid white table wine, then this one is a winner every time. It’s crisp and hits just the right notes on the palette, and it’s extremely  affordable, usually ranging anywhere from $10-$13 depending on where you pick it up.

 

Pampered Chef stoneware: I know how to cook, but I don’t really do it a lot. My husband enjoys cooking much more than I do, so I pretty let him run the kitchen. However, back in 2003-2004, I ran across this little home party that was selling kitchen products and I bought my first stone. Then I signed up to sell it (pretty much so I could get the discount to buy everything I wanted). Six months later, my kitchen was FULL of Pampered Chef products. Many of those stones we still use almost everyday, and they are beautifully seasoned (which means that they are almost black). I didn’t own a metal pan again until last year when my husband forced me to buy one as overflow for cookie baking.

Bath and Body Exotic Coconut Lotion: I use this everyday along with the shower gel and body spray. What drives me a little batty is that they don’t carry it in stores around here year-round because apparently it’s one of their “seasonal” scents. Thank goodness for the internet!

Stephen King’s The Dark Tower books: I cut my horror teeth on Stephen King when I was in grade school. I devoured everything he wrote (good thing the guy’s prolific!) and have continued to follow his dark journeys as an adult. But I didn’t read the Dark Tower books until just a few years ago, despite the fact that the books leading up to the last book have been around for a long time. I read like a banshee, but even I was slowed down by each massive tome. When it was all over, I cried. Literally.

I promised just a few of my favorite things, but I’m sure I’ll have more to share as I’m pinning away. If you like some of my favorites too, be sure to let me know in the comments below!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Know Thy Neighbor

This is Day 7 of my 31 Days of August Awesomeness Blog Challenge. Want to know more? Check out the inaugural post here.

Tonight’s post isn’t going to be too long, because I was out cavorting with my neighbors at National Night Out. If you aren’t familiar with this community event, it’s sponsored the first Tuesday night every August (with a few exceptions) and is a great excuse for everyone to get together, let the kids run wild, and get to know the people who live closest to you better.

I confess that although I’ve lived in a neighborhood since 2006 that sponsored an annual National Night Out event, this is the first year that I’ve actually participated. (I’ve always had a very valid excuse.) But there are a few reasons why I felt like it was important that I get my butt out there this year:

  • We moved into a development last year that is still growing. With new neighbors coming in all the time, this face-to-face event is one of the rare times that I knew that I could meet a bunch of neighbors. Otherwise it’s random happenstance encounters.
  • Our neighborhood has had a few incidents of crime this past spring. We’ve noticed a lot of suspicious vehicles hanging around in the as yet undeveloped part of the neighborhood, and I’m considering starting a neighborhood watch.
  • Our city encourages and supports National Night Out and send out policeman and fireman to chat with the folks. It’s a nice way to meet the people who protect and serve our community.

In short, I was eager this year to feel like I was part of my neighborhood, and not just a resident in it. And you know what? I had a lot of fun too. 🙂

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Going Shopping In Your Own Closet

This is Day 6 of my 31 Days of August Awesomeness Blog Challenge. Want to know more? Check out the inaugural post here.

First off, yes, the camera on my phone stinks. But the closet pic at the top is definitely of my own closet. I thinned it out quite a bit recently in preparation for an afternoon of closet fun. Nope, not organization. Shopping.

I read some statistic somewhere that we only wear about 20% of the clothes in our closets. After a bit of introspection, that felt right about on target for me. I wore the same rotation of clothes pretty much all the time. It was starting to feel very blah and very boring. But I’d grown to dislike shopping in general because I didn’t feel like I was buying things that looked good on me. I needed to shake things up a bit.

Enter Sally McGraw. Sally writes on a fashion blog called Already Pretty. If you are looking for practical, down to earth, make-you-feel-good-about-yourself fashion tips and finds, then her blog is the blog for you.

Last week, Sally came over for a closet consult. Better known as “shopping in my closet”. The expectation was that once Sally left, I’d have 6-12 new outfits using clothes I already had, and that I would something new things that would help me continue to build my wardrobe out from that point on my own.

After three hours with Sally, I can honestly say that the money for the consult was well-spent, and I have a whole new outlook on clothing and my own personal style.  Sally took my “orphans” (clothes that I loved but I didn’t know what to do with), and combined them with other pieces of my wardrobe to create some fresh, new looks. That was pretty awesome in and of itself.

But beyond that, I gained some thoughtful, personalized advice on what colors, shapes, and styles work best on me. Sally freed me from the idea that I have to tuck in every shirt and wear a belt with every pair of pants. She encouraged me to play with color (oh how I love thee, neutrals!) and reminded me that I do have lots of fun costume jewelry hiding away in my jewelry box.

I also was given an invaluable piece of information: a tailored list of what basic items were missing from my closet. Eureka!! In the last eight days since the consult, I’ve been out shopping three times (which I think is three times more than anytime in the last three months). I strategically picked up a few of those missing items and nothing more- so I don’t feel like I’m wasting my money buying a bunch of things I’ll never wear.

Best of all, I’m getting compliments right and left from friends and co-workers who keep asking me “Is that new?“. Best feeling ever!

So I know not all of you live in Minnesota or have the time/resources to hire a “Sally” for your own closet consult. If that’s the case, then here’s the next best thing. Pick up a copy of Sally’s book. If you follow even 20% of what she recommends you do, you’ll be having a ball shopping in your closet in no time!

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS