Friday, October 29, 2010

All About Me in 30 Days: Day 20: A Recipe

I adapted this recipe from a couple of others.  I was looking for a good mac & cheese variation that could serve as a meal.  Super simple, and I have found it bares a strange resemblance to one found on the back of the Kraft Deluxe mac & cheese box.  But I swear, it is a complete coincidence.


1 box Kraft Deluxe Mac & Cheese (or equivalent)
1 small onion, diced
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1 lb ground beef
1 24 oz jar spaghetti sauce, any flavor
1 cup shredded cheese, any flavor or blend


1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Prepare macaroni & cheese according to package directions.
3. Saute onion and garlic over med/high heat in a small amount of oil or cooking spray until onion starts to become translucent.
4. Add ground beef to pan and brown. Drain off fat if desired.
5. Add spaghetti sauce to meat and combine thoroughly. Allow to heat through, stirring occasionally.
6. Add sauce mixture to prepared macaroni & cheese. Stir to combine thoroughly.
7. Transfer macaroni & cheese mixture to a lightly sprayed 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over top.
8. Bake in 325 degree oven for 20 minutes or until cheese starts to brown.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

I call it Mac & Cheeseburger, and it is T-A-S-T-Y!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All About Me in 30 Days: Day 19: A Hobby of Mine

Oh, yeah, hobbies I have!  Actually, I have 2 hobbies...

1. Learning stuff 

I have been in school, in one form or another, for most of the past 28 years.  That includes elementary through highschool, of course.  After I graduated, I jumped into college...  and nearly drowned.  I was totally burned out.  A few year later, I got a diploma in Gourmet Cooking & Catering.  Shortly after that, another diploma in Interior Decorating.  In 2004, 9 years after graduating highschool, I finally completed my AA.  A few years following that, I took a class or 2 in event planning.  Then I started working on a Business degree.  I didn't get far, but I plan on picking it up again soon.  Most recently, I started towards a degree in Crime Scene Technology, pretty much for fun.  I'm on a hiatis from that for a bit, until I'm back to a full time, permanent job.

That is just official education.  I love learning new stuff... which often ties into my other hobby...

2. Making stuff

Besides the photography, I dabble in sewing, jewlrey making, cooking...  I'm constantly finding new inspiration, things I want to learn and do.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Blue Angels 10/24/2010

All About Me in 30 Days: Day 18: A Talent of Mine

Talent: n., a special natural ability or aptitude

I'm not so sure I have a "talent" to speak of.  There are several things I like doing, but I don't know that I am good enough at any of them to call them talents.

But, since that would seem like a cop-out, I guess I'd say I am somewhat talented at photography. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Patchin'

Ok, so we don't really have a true pumpkin patch around here.  There is a corn maze, but it is a bit of a drive.  We'll probably hit that after Halloween.

But, we did get to the pumpkin "patch" at a local church. 

Lovely gourds, yes?

We walked away with these two 2 beautiful pumpkins, and a handfull of little lovelies.  Yes, it cost more than the supermarket (in fact, we stopped at Whole Foods and picked up 3 more for less than these 2 cost) but these have alot more character.  Totally worth it.

We won't be carving any until a little closer to the big day, lest they rot in the Florida heat.  I'm not even 100% sure what I'll carve.  Caleb will be painting one.  Pictures will be posted.

All About Me in 30 Days: Day 18: My Wedding

My wedding to the ex-hubby was beyond a simple affair.  It was my nephew's birthday (so the cake was covered) and the honeymoon was paid for by his employer in the form of an out of town convention.  My mother became an ordained minister a couple of days prior so she could officiate and the "ceremony" was performed in my parents' living room.  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures.

To me, it was perfect.  I have never had plans for this big dream wedding.  If I get married again, I'd like to do it on a crusie ship, on the way to the honeymoon.

All About Me in 30 Days: Day 17: An Art Piece

Yeah, I'm not going to be able to narrow it down to just one.  The fact I only have 2 here can be attributed to the fact that I had a very long and busy day and am half asleep...

My all time favorite sculpture is Michaelangelo's Pieta...

The detail is absolutely amazing.  Just look at the folds in the fabric...

One of my all time favorite artists is Albrect Durer.  This self-portrait is one of my favorite pieces...

Every strand of hair, every fiber of fur in the coat is individually painted.  Love it!! 

Durer's etchings are incredible.  I honestly tried to pick one to add to this post, but could not do it.  So do Google Image Durer and see them for yourself.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

All About Me in 30 Days: Day 16: A Song That Makes Me Cry (or almost)

Angel, by Sarah McLachlan.  Hands down.  Doesn't necessarily make me cry, but it comes pretty darn close.

Helped in no small part by the ASPCA commercial.

Friday, October 22, 2010

All About Me in 30 Days: Day 15: My Dream Home

HGTV's 2004 Dream Home in St. Mary's, Georgia...

My ex-hubby and I toured it while it was open to the public, before it was given away.  Absolutely loved it!!

More about it here...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

All About Me in 30 Days: Day 14: A Non-Fiction Book

My favorite non-fiction book is The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men by Christina Hoff-Sommers.  Very enlightening.  Highly reccomended!

The WAR AGAINST BOYS: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men

I am actually currently reading a non-fiction book for an upcoming review.  It is called Seeds of Turmoil: the Biblical Roots of the Inevitable Crisis in the Middle East by Bryant Wright.  I'll be posting that review soon.  Very interesting and educational. 

Seeds of Turmoil: The Biblical Roots of the Inevitable Crisis in the Middle East

Review: Absolute Green Kids Natural Bug Repellent

So, this is my first product review.  Woo!!

A few weeks back, I was asked by the makers of Absolute Green Kids Natural Bug Repellent to try it and let you all know what I thought.  Now, living in Florida, we know bugs.  And I know I, for one, am always on the lookout for a good bug repellent. 

Luckily (for the purposes of this review), our bug season isn't quite over, if it ever really is, so I had the opportunity to try it out the other day.  I used it on Caleb, and on myself as well.

The first thing I noticed, the smell of the spray was a little strong at first.  Not unpleasant, just strong.  It quickly disapated, though.  It dried quickly and completely.  I could easily have forgotten I had put it on.  Always a plus with bug spray.

Caleb had been out without any sort of repellent the day before, and I had noticed a few bites that night, so I know the bugs were out.  I was pleased to see that he was free of new bites the day we tried out Absolute Green Kids Natural Bug Repellent.  I had sprayed it on my feet as well, and I was also bite free. 

So, I have to say, this stuff works!  The best part?  It is all natural and DEET-free.

From the Absolute Green Kids Natural Bug Repellent website:

A 100% Natural Deet-Free bug spray for kids that repels mosquitos, including the west nile virus producing mosquito's, biting flies, gnats, no see-ums and other annoying insects! Our spray of essential oils keeps the bugs away while your children enjoy nature, look for seashells, find frogs or just play outside without getting bug bites!

Absolute Green™ Kids Natural Bug Repellent is a non-toxic bug spray that works great, dries non-oily and has a pleasant aroma. Convenient 4oz size allows for an easy travel companion. Lasting 4-6 hours between applications. Recommended for the whole family.

Contains: Witch Hazel Distillate, Ethyl Alcohol (from corn), Lemon grass Eucalyptus Essential Oil, Neem Seed Oil, Cedar wood Essential Oil, and other essential oils.

Taking a closer look at DEET

  •  Doctor's advise not to use it on children, as there have been some fatalities.
  • It gets absorbed through the skin and eventually goes into the bloodstream.
  • It runs through your nervous system and has been proven to cause neurological damage.
  • It Interferes with medication and over-the-counter antihistamines.
  • DEET is toxic to fish and wildlife. It does not dissolve in water.
  • And it melts plastic too!

We encourage you to do your our research on DEET and ask you to reconsider the bug spray you are currently using. Let Absolute Green provide you with a natural and effective alternative.

Thanks to the folks at Absolute Green for the opportunity to check out your product!  I will very likely be a returning customer!

Note: I received the Absolute Green product mentioned in the review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

All About Me in 30 Days: Day 13: A Fiction Book

Not really clear on this one...  a fiction book I like?  a fiction book I'm reading?

Just for good measure, I'll answer both...

I have mentioned my favorite book, Steinbeck's East of Eden.  Well, a close runner up is Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird.

To Kill A Mockingbird

I never read this in school. I actually read it for the first time a few years ago as part of the local library's annual reading campaign.  Like a city-wide book club.  Anyways, I loved it!  I was so ticked that we never read it in school, in favor of some of the crap we had to read.  (I'm looking at you, Ethan Frome...)

On to a fiction book I am reading now, that would be Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

Atlas Shrugged

Tough read, but I'm up to it.  When I have to time to read.  Between making Caleb's costume, making felt s'mores, candy corn wreaths (more on that later) and a birthday present for a certain little girl.  (I'll share that later, too.)  Really, though, so far, I'm liking it.

A Wee Bit Of Me Wednesday... 10/20

{one} have you ever crawled through a window?

Yes.  That is all I have to say about that.

{two} what’s one subject that you wish you knew more about?

Music.  I tried to learn to play guitar once.  But my teacher had hairy knuckles...  totally could not concentrate on what he was teaching.

{three} who’s your favorite villain?

Captain Hook...

{four} have you ever hit a jackpot on a slot machine?


{five} what is your favorite disney movie?

Pirates... (big surprise, I know)

{six} if the whole world were listening, what would you say?

RESPECT!  For yourselves and one another.

{seven} if you could choose one song to describe you or your life, what would it be?

I honestly have no idea.

{eight} your desk: messy or organized?

Messy... ashamedly messy

{nine} have you ever had surgery?

yep, 3... tonsil-ectomy, gall bladder-ectomy & Caleb-ectomy

{ten} if you could have any animal as a pet, what would you have?

I am absolutely in love with sugar gliders.

  I want one.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

All About Me in 30 Days: Day 12: Something I am OCD About

Its funny, sometimes I think I am boarderline OCD, but right now I can't think of anything in particular.  Never fails...


I will often still get up a couple of times to check on Caleb in the middle of the night...
I'll get up and check the locks sometimes, too...
I get paranoid about my zipper being down...
I second guess myself... like, alot...  and so I'll spend hours replaying things in my head to see if there was another way I could have handled them.  It becomes obsessive at times.

Ok, if there is anything I can say is a little OCS, it's counting.  I count and group in my head all the time.  Sometimes, I don't even realize I'm doing it; I'll just catch myself.  It is kind of wierd. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

All About Me in 30 Days: Day 11: A Photo Taken of Me Recently

This one was a hard one for me.  I don't like having my picture taken, at all.  Pictures I take of myself are the worst.  But here goes...

Photo by Target Studios

This is from Caleb's 4th birthday pictures.  When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, among his list of toys, was one request I couldn't refuse... "a picture of my mom and me."  How can you say no to that?