Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

What a fun day for my 2 little Fire Fighters.  I will share another picture with their awesome homemade hoses.

Girl & Boy Firefighters 2013

Kielbasa, Cabbage and Onion Dinner in the Crock-pot

Kielbasa, Cabbage & Onions in the Crock-pot
I mentioned in one of the weekly dinner menu's that I was planning to make Kielbasa, Cabbage and Onion Dinner in the Crock-pot based on a pin from a while back.

I finally had all of the ingredients on hand and went to work.  This is a great cool weather meal.  After we ate dinner, I realized that this reminded me a lot of my Nana's Boiled Dinner.  She made hers with corned beef, which I also love.

Next time, I am going to add potatoes, carrots and whole onions to the Crock-pot and have a Polish Inspired Boiled Dinner! 

Kielbasa, Cabbage & Onions after cooking

All you need is:
1 lb of Kielbasa (any variety)
1 head of Cabbage
2 onions
1/4 cup of water
1 stick of butter
salt & pepper

Here are my instructions:
  • Spray the Crock-pot with non-stick spray like Pam.
  • Remove the outer layer of the cabbage and then chop the cabbage into quarters.  If you prefer, slice off the "core" of the cabbage and throw it away (or, give it to the bunnies like we do).  Add the cabbage quarters to the Crock-pot.
  • Peel and slice the onions into quarters and add them to the Crock-pot.
  • Slice the Kielbasa into small pieces and add those to the Crock-pot.
  • Add 1/4 cup of water to the Crock-pot.
  • Slice the stick of butter into pats and spread those out in the Crock-pot.
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper onto everything in the Crock-pot.
  • Cover the Crock-pot and cook for 4 hours on low (Please note that my Crock-pot cooks fast and 4 hours on low cooks almost everything!  So, adjust the time based on your Crock-pot.).
PS
Yes, I like mine with mustard.

Disclosure:
This recipe was a not a hit with my kids at all (they are both 4).  My son loves Kielbasa so he gobbled it up but wouldn't eat the cabbage or the onions, even when they were dipped in mustard.  My daughter tried a teeny-tiny bite of the cabbage and declared it to be gross.  She declared the same with the Kielbasa and wouldn't even try the onion.



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

TV Update - October 30, 2013


Shannon's current TV lineup:
Wednesday Morning TV Update

Oh no!  TOO MANY shows:
  1. Boardwalk Empire (Sunday)
  2. Bones (Monday)
  3. Sleepy Hollow (Monday)
  4. 2 Broke Girls (Monday)
  5. Hostages (Monday)
  6. The Blacklist (Monday)
  7. Revenge (Sunday)
  8. Homeland (Sunday)
  9. The Goldberg's (Monday)
  10. Revolution (Wednesday)
  11. Nashville (Wednesday)
  12. The Michael J. Fox Show (Thursday)
  13. Sons of Anarchy (Tuesday?)
  14. The Vampire Diaries (Thursday)
  15. The Originals (Tuesdays)
  16. Drop Dead Diva (Sunday)
  17. Hart of Dixie (Monday)
  18. The Witches of East End (Sunday)
  19. The Walking Dead (Sunday)
  20. The Talking Dead (Sunday)
  21. Arrow (Wednesday)
  22. American Horror Story: Coven (Wednesday)
  23. The Tomorrow People (Wednesday)
  24. Giuliana & Bill - now airing on E! (Tuesday)
  25. Keeping Up With the Kardashians (Sunday)
  26. How I Met Your Mother (Monday)
  27. Mike & Molly
  28. Dracula
  29. The Carrie Diaries
  30. Grimm
  31. The Crazy Ones
 
 Other Info:

 
Entering the last year of the series - How I Met Your Mother (ends May/June 2014)
Duck Dynasty's season finale was Tuesday October 22nd
 
Coming soon:
 
The Following - Due back in January 2014
Mike & Molly - November 4th
 
 
And finally, my comments:
  • Sleepy Hollow -  Off for few weeks (I'm missing it.  Monday was not the same!).  Back this coming Monday, though.
  • Bones - I have decided to let these epi's pile up on my DVR since I am on the fence about this show.  During last year's winter hiatus I watched them all and that was a fun treat.
  • Boardwalk Empire -  An OK episode.  I like The Medium (Patricia Arquette) on this show as she gives Nucky a run for his money (& his booze).
  • The Originals - Haley's unborn baby healed her?  Nice.
  • 2 Broke Girls -  SO FUNNY!  Caroline and her sheets and her hair extensions and Max in the clothing donation box - so funny!
  • Vampire Diaries -  Stefan has amnesia?  Snooze.  Tyler is finally back and everyone knows Bonnie is dead.  Double & triple snooze respectively.  I do want to see if Caroline continues to hook up with her new friend once he is a vampire. 
  • Hostages -  On DVR
  • The Blacklist -   2 episodes on DVR
  • Revolution - the gang is back together!  And, Monroe started a war.
  • Nashville -  Hmmmm, things are heating up!  I can't wait to see what happens with the Dad and his arrest.
  • Michael J. Fox - Why is the youngest son living in the older son's room?  Does anyone know?  Maybe we missed the back story.  It didn't look like little kid's furniture to me so it seems like the youngest son has all of the older son's furniture and whatnot.  I know they don't want him to be a college drop-out who gets too comfy at home but the toddler bed is extreme to me.
  • Sons of Anarchy - How handy that the guys can snack on candy and ice cream right before their meetings!  Tarra did not have a real miscarriage, right?  So, the doctors and nurses know that she is still PG because they have medical equipment.  That whole segment of the show hurt my head.  But, I completely understand why she wants to torture Gemma a bit.
  • Drop Dead Diva -  I just read that this was renewed!  Yay!!  A shot in your G-Spot, huh?  Well, they do keep it interesting.  Deb/Jane has Deb's mom's blessing to be with Grayson!  Wow!
  • Hart of Dixie - cute.  I'm still rooting for Lemon to find someone.
  • Witches of East End - Good!  I like this show and want to see more.
  • The Walking Dead - So, what was that huge building off in front in the car/zombie extreme hoard?  Was it just a stadium or something else?  I hope that the gang can get some meds for all of the sickies asap!  The cast is really being decimated week by week.  I wonder if Beth will be the next to lose it (yes, Tyrese I'm talking to you!) after being locked up with Judith alone for all this time?  And, Carl's got his gun and his hat back.  I would say all is right with the Apocalypse then.  OMG Carol!!  Boy, has she transformed, or what?
  • Homeland - DVR issue - I should have it on the DVR soon.
  • Arrow - Good!  I want to see more of Oliver & Felicity.
  • American Horror Story: Coven - Kyle& his mother? Ick!  I want to see more of Kathy Bates' story.  Do we think that blonde is dead DEAD? Or, will she be back next week.
  • The Tomorrow People - on DVR.
  • Revenge -  Better.  I hope to see more of Emily's original plans in the coming episode.
  • Giuliana & Bill -  on DVR.
  • Keeping Up With The Kardashian's - gasp!  They sure are excitable!  It was fun to see all of the backstory around baby North's birth.
  • Dracula - So we finally got to see the premiere and I was bored!  I liked the light bulbs and that was it.  I will give it another try because I was so looking forward to this show.
  • The Carrie Diaries - So cute!  I was pleasantly surprised that this show got a second season.  I was worried about it.  I can't believe that the Carrie purse is gone!  I was hoping it might somehow resurface for Carrie to reclaim.  But, I think when we saw it stroll across the street when Sam&Carrie were walking down the sidewalk at the end, that was it!
  • Grimm - I love The Walking Dead but was not looking forward to seeing Nick as a Zombie, at all.

Shows that may not make the cut:
  •  HIMYM - I am also going to save this on my DVR until the winter TV break.  (Bones is receiving the same treatment, again).
  •  I need to slash some shows after the October 25th premieres!  Which shows   are going to take the cut?  MJF, Blacklist or Hostages or other?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shopkick

Shopkick - easy to use!
Another App that I am using to save me some money (or, earn me some gift cards) is Shopkick!  I have
been using this for a couple of months now.  This is a really easy to use App that will give you points when you go inside a certain store or when you scan certain products within a store (and answer a few simple questions).

You can open the App and the GPS locator inside your phone will pull up the participating stores around your location.  Certain stores will give you Shopkick points just for entering the store.  These stores include Target, Old Navy and Best Buy.  I have all 3 of these stores within a .5 mile radius of one another.  The 3 stores are only a few miles from my house.  My Target now has a grocery store inside it.  I have a Target Red Card that gets me 5% off of my purchase price so I often pick up grocery items at Target. 

This all means that I am often within the vicinity of all 3 stores and I am often running inside to get the points for entering the store and the points or scanning.  I ended up with a ton of Shopkick points during the 2 week period that I was trying to get a reliable Wi-Fi signal in my office.  I made so many trips to Best Buy for products and advice that I racked up some serious points.  They have double kids car (Geek Squad) shopping carts.  This enables me to bring both kids with me to that store without too much of a headache!

Sometimes when you scan the items, they offer bonus points for scanning everything in a group.  For instance, the other day I scanned three different types of flavored tuna in a pouch.  Because I scanned all three, I got a separate bonus for scanning all the items in the group.  Sometimes, you will be asked to scan the items a second or a third time when you shop on different days.  This is especially awesome because you already know exactly where the product is.  You just pick it up and scan it and you can be on your way without re-locating the product.

I only do Shopkick stuff when I have my 2 car seat belted kids with me about 30% of the time.  If I am alone, I can run in and run out so much easier.  Not to mention that if I have a lot of regular shopping to do, I can't do that many scans because my kids would lose interest and go crazy.  But, you can also do the scanning at some other stores like Walmart, CVS and Walgreens.  So if I end up at one of these stores and I am by myself I sometimes take the time to scan for points.

You accumulate points and then trade the points in for gift cards.  Shopkick has some really great vendors that you can choose from including Target, Starbucks, Sephora, Toys R Us, Best Buy, American Eagle, Macy's, Old Navy and Lowe's.  You can also trade points in for stuff too.  I assume that the "stuff" changes periodically so I am trying not to get excited about the 24" SmartTV that would be fab in my office.

Please let me know if you need any help or want anything clarified.



Disclosure:
I think that I have mentioned this a few times but, I have not been paid or otherwise compensated for my opinions in this post or in any of my other posts.  If the day comes when I am paid or otherwise compensated for my time and/or opinions I will disclose that at the bottom or the top of the post.




Monday, October 28, 2013

Check Out My Organized Baking Closet

Small Baking Closet
The Closet When Opened
Yesterday, I was baking and I couldn't find my small fondant rolling pin.  I had my regular rolling pin but I wanted to use this one for cookie dough rolling.  I looked in my baking closet and it was no where to be seen.  I finished baking, cleaned the kitchen and decided, that since the kiddos were outside with their dad, that I was going to tackle reorganizing my baking closet. 

I think that this closet was originally designed to be a broom closet.  Since our basement is unfinished and there were already broom and mop hooks in a small basement stairwell alcove, we put shelves in this closet instead.  A long time ago it was used to organize the Crock-pots, Tupperware and Pyrex type dishes.  Then, I had the inspiration to make it my baking closet.  It is handy to have all of those things that you usually only need when baking in 1 spot.

After I took everything out and organized, I did find the small fondant rolling pin!

This closet has 4 shelves and then the floor gives me a fifth storage space.  All of the little bins and trays that I have ended up with from other organization projects over the years has ended up here in this baking space.  Most of my cabinet dividers have ended up in here, too.  They are very useful for such small little items.

Top Shelf

On the top shelf, I keep a few mixes, store bought frosting, liquid measuring cups, sprinkles and muffin & cupcake wrappers.  That plastic bag on the left covers some disposable cake plates.













My next shelf contains marshmallows, candy, nuts, small bowls with covers (perfect for cracked eggs), all the baking chocolates, baking powder and baking soda, fondant tools and all of my measuring spoons and cups for dry goods (they were all hand washed yesterday as part of the project so that is why they are missing).  Also on this shelf are the candy molds, baking mat (rolled up), Christmas cupcake decorations and a small tray of office supplies.  My kids have a tendency to get into things so having all of that miscellaneous stuff in a small tray on a shelf in a closet keeps it out of their little hands.  I also keep my kids iron-on labels here as well. 





The third shelf is where I store canola oil, extra sugar, and my FoodSealer Canisters
In these canisters, I put confectioners sugar, marshmallows, brown sugar and nuts.  I also have my cupcake mix dispenser, extracts and flavorings, frosting dyes, candles, sticks, off-set spatulas, the traditional rolling pin  and fondant.







The next shelf contains our 2 bottles of olive oil, mini cupcake maker, cake pop pan, cake pop stand, mini pie maker and waffle maker.  Yes, I am the person who likes those little machines!  In the plastic containers in front are the cookie cutters.  One container has holiday cutters while the other box is non-holiday cutters, plus the birthday cutter.

Finally we have the floor or the final shelf.  Here I have a small tote that has non-scratching pads on the bottom.  It holds my pour-able tubs of sugar and flour.  I stash the "butter" liquid that we need for our popcorn maker.  Finally, the cake pop maker is stored down here.

Having this all organized makes me so happy!  Someday I want to jazz up that bottom shelf.  But, I hardly ever see it at this exact angle.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Weekly Dinner Menu - October 27, 2013

Dinner Menu - October 27, 2013
Monday -  Kielbasa, Cabbage & Onions in the Crock-pot made from a Pin that I have had for a while based on this recipe from Mostly Homemade.

Tuesday -  Sweet and Sour Meatballs in the Crock-pot (from the freeze) from Six Sisters Freezer Cooking.  I am going to serve this with egg noodles and carrots.
 
Wednesday - Tilapia with twice baked frozen potatoes and peas.
 
Thursday -  Cheese Tortellini with Chicken Broth.  May add carrots and celery to broth.  May serve with bread.  (I never made this last week).

Friday -  leftovers
Saturday -  Butter&Lemon Shrimp, Mom's Cheesy Potatoes and a veggie.  (We didn't have a chance to make this shrimp last week - again!).
 
Sunday -   TBD because I want to plan something really good for cool weather and nothing has hit me yet in the inspiration department.

If you haven't had a chance to check out the About Section of the Weekly Menu, please check out now for info on sides & veggies.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Saltine Toffee With Peanut Butter - Accountant By Day's Version Of This Treat

Saltine Peanut Butter Toffee
I have made this rich, delicious chocolate and toffee treat before and completely ruined it!  I thought that you broiled it for 4 minutes.  Don't do that!  Bake it at 400 for 5 minutes instead.  That seems to be the secret to making a delicious treat instead of a scorched mess.

A second suggestion to leave 50% of this treat in the fridge/freezer and to leave the other 50% in an air tight container at room temperature.  Then, you and your family can decide which storage method makes for the yummiest treats.  If you were wondering, we prefer them frozen or very chilled in the refrigerator.

All you need to make this treat is:
1 sleeve of Saltines plus a few extra from a 2nd sleeve
2 sticks of unsalted butter (I like salt and even I suggest the unsalted version for this recipe)
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of smooth peanut better
A dab of butter
2.5 cups of chocolate chips or Hershey Kisses or Hershey Bars

Here are my version of the instructions:
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and then spray this foil with Pam spray.
  • Place all of the Saltines salt side down on the foil.  I needed 5 extra crackers but, you may have a slightly different sized pan and may need more or less.  If you don't mind not having the cookie sheet filled perfectly then just use the 1 sleeve of Saltines and be done with it.  That is what I did this time and it really bugged me so next time I am going to use another 5 crackers to complete the pan.
  • In a pan, melt the 2 sticks of butter and the 1 cup of brown sugar in a sauce pan.  Once it starts to boil let it boil for exactly 3 minutes.  Then, remove the pan from the burner and give it a final stir.  Pour this over the crackers and use an off-set spatula to spread it all around evenly.
  • Add the peanut butter and the dab of butter to a small bowl and microwave it for about 25 seconds.  Stir this well and then pour it over the butter/sugar mixture.  Use the off-set spatula again to smooth it out.
  • Put the chocolate on top of the peanut butter.  Put it back into the oven for just 1 minute (or maybe 75 seconds).  Remove from the oven and smooth it out with the spatula.  Then, place the entire cookie sheet in the freezer for one hour. 
  • Once the hour is up, take it out of the freezer and break it up by hand.
PS
After spreading the chocolate, you can add sprinkles or nuts or whatever.  This time I was in the mood for just chocolate but I may spice things up at the holidays.

I decided to place the additional pictures down here because this recipe and instructions are so simple that I didn't want to make a 10 minute project seem like a big to-do:

 
 
 
 




 


 

 

 

 

 

 





Thursday, October 24, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Ring

Buffalo Chicken Ring
This is one of my favorites!  It's a Buffalo Chicken Ring made with Crescent Rolls.  It's really easy and tasty, too.  You can also serve it as an appetizer.  Just don't forget the blue cheese dressing to dip it in.

My only technical problem is that I want it to be taller.  It is too flat when it comes out of the oven.  I wish that it were taller and more ring like. 

I found this thru a Pin (of course!) and have made it 2 times.  Here is the source.

All you need is:

Buffalo Chicken Ring - from the side
2 containers of Crescent Rolls
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 small onion
12 or so oz. of cooked chicken
1/2 cup (I use more) Frank's Red Hot or Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce
Scallions
Blue cheese dressing (for dipping)

Here are my comments:
  • Use the pin's link to get the best pictures of how to arrange your crescent rolls on your aluminum foil covered cookie sheet.
  • Mix everything else together in a bowl.  You can sauté the onions first for extra flavor.  Skip the celery like I do - because it tastes weird.
  • Buy chicken-in-a-can.  Don't be hating.  Didn't your Mom make you try it before you could say you didn't like it?  I don't like Tyson brand but I do like almost all of the other national brands.
  • Use Frank's brand for the HOT.  Unless you really have a awesome hot sauce.  If you do, please share it in the comments because I want to try it.  Adjust the amount based on your family's palette. 
  • Don't even consider using Ranch Dressing.  Ranch is for veggies.  This recipe ain't for no veggies!
  • It tastes good with scallions inside the mix, too.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Turn the pan around after this time and bake for another 10-15-20 minutes.  You will have to touch the inside of the ring to make sure that it is funny cooked.
  • Let it cool, get the dip and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

TV Update - October 23, 2013

Shannon's current TV lineup:
Giuliana & Bill & Duke - my pick of the week

 
Oh no!  TOO MANY shows:
  1. Boardwalk Empire (Sunday)
  2. Duck Dynasty (Tuesday)
  3. Bones (Monday)
  4. Sleepy Hollow (Monday)
  5. 2 Broke Girls (Monday)
  6. Hostages (Monday)
  7. The Blacklist (Monday)
  8. Revenge (Sunday)
  9. Homeland (Sunday)
  10. The Goldberg's (Monday)
  11. Revolution (Wednesday)
  12. Nashville (Wednesday)
  13. The Michael J. Fox Show (Thursday)
  14. Sons of Anarchy (Tuesday?)
  15. The Vampire Diaries (Thursday)
  16. The Originals (Tuesdays)
  17. Drop Dead Diva (Sunday)
  18. Hart of Dixie (Monday)
  19. The Witches of East End (Sunday)
  20. The Walking Dead (Sunday)
  21. The Talking Dead (Sunday)
  22. Arrow (Wednesday)
  23. American Horror Story: Coven (Wednesday)
  24. The Tomorrow People (Wednesday)
  25. Guiliana & Bill - now airing on E! (Tuesday)
  26. Keeping Up With the Kardashians (Sunday)
  27. How I Met Your Mother (Monday)
  28. The Crazy Ones
 
 Other Info:

 
Entering the last year of the series - How I Met Your Mother (ends May/June 2014)
Duck Dynasty's season finale was Tuesday October 22nd
 
Coming soon:
 
Mike & Molly - I saw a TV commercial and the premiere is Monday November 4th
Dracula - Friday October 25th
The Carrie Diaries - Friday October 25th - (FRIDAY - uh-oh!)
Grimm - Friday October 25th - (Friday was OK for Grimm last year, so here's hoping!)
(OK, so...maybe Fridays will be the new hot TV night again like they were back when I was 12 in 1988).
 
And finally, my comments.  I just realized that because I had some many shows on my DVR, you are getting 2 weeks of comments on a bunch of shows:
  • Boardwalk Empire - We finally saw Nucky & Margaret get together.  That was anti-climatic though.  Is he going to try and win her back?  Is he going to actually work for it?  Or, I guess that The Medium (Patricia Arquette) might be keeping him too occupied for him to miss Margaret enough to chase her.
  • Sleepy Hollow - no Sleepy Hollow for a few weeks (I'm missing it.  Monday was not the same!).
  • Bones - I have decided to let these epis pile up on my DVR since I am on the fence about this show.  During last year's winter hiatus I watched them all and that was a fun treat.
  • 2 Broke Girls - How could you not love these two girls?  And, their supporting cast.  It is so hard for me to recommend a 30 minute sitcom but I fully recommend this one!
  • Vampire Diaries - A road trip with human Catherine, Damon and Elena?  OK, I'll tag along if only for the snark.  I like Tessa (or maybe I am just partial to the name) and hope that she sticks around for a while.  I am bored with whatever is happening with Matt.  I like Stephan's stories so far.
  • Duck Dynasty -  We already have a Silverado truck.  I didn't need the commercial, thanks tho A&E.
  • Hostages -  I like this show and think it's an interesting twist on peril/drama in a one hour show.  If it's just a 1 season arc that is also fine with me!  I still have the most recent episode on the DVR.
  • The Blacklist -  I like this show but I am not fanatical about it.  I have a few FB people who really like this show.   I still have the most recent episode on the DVR.
  • The Goldberg's - Not the best epi so far but still had some funny moments.  I forgot all about scrambled cable TV channels, haha!  Our HBO and other movie channels used to come thru all squiggly like that.
  • Revolution -  Still enjoying this show!  I am so sad for Rachel, in that her old friend turned out to be a murdering psycho.  That was a bummer.  I am ready for the crew to be reunited.  It looks like it will be next week.
  • Nashville - Ok I probably sound like a complainer with my Nashville hate but Connie B has such talent!  That weirdo graveside scene.  Really?  That horrible photo shoot with Scarlet.  It was so fake and weird.  I felt like I was watching a soap opera at 3pm instead of prime time TV.  But then, amazingly, it got better!  I even enjoyed the teenager drama.  I can't wait to see her connect with Deacon and have them work out their relationship.
  • Michael J. Fox - Funny.  But, I seldom stick with 30 minute sitcoms...
  • Sons of Anarchy -   Started off really interesting.  I was happy to see Bobby and so happy the former investigator is finally being investigated and happy they checked out his hotel room.  But then, it became so boring.  Might be time to go back to 60 minute epis and give the 90 minute epis a break.
  • Drop Dead Diva -  gasp!  Stacey & Owen.  Yup, I will continue to turn in!
  • Hart of Dixie -  cute!  I want Lemon to find someone.
  • Witches of East End -  I thought this 2nd epi was a good, story packed episode.  I like the characters and just figured out that one of the brunettes is Channing Tatum's wife.  We had to IMDB the other sister to see who she is.  I am pretty sure that I remember her from American Dreams (as Beth).  That show ended quite a while ago, but, none of her other listings looked familiar to me.
  • The Walking Dead -  Who is feeding those rats to the Walkers?  I don't think it's the kid.  I think it's an adult.
  • Homeland - glad to see what Brody has been up to.  But, I feel like I am watching a different show.  Need Carrie to get some freedom!
  • Arrow - I actually like Thea's BF as the Super-hero wanna be.  Too bad she gave him the boot.  I am a little bored with the season-long plot arc but I do enjoy this show.  When is "The Hood" going away and "The Arrow" coming out to play?  Ohhh... that was a great ending with The Hood surrounded by the coppers!
  • American Horror Story: Coven: I had a DVR issue and did not get the 2nd epi!!  Going to try and track this down.  FX repeats it a few times the night is airs but not on any subsequent days.  This is a problem for people like me who wouldn't notice that they didn't get the show on their DVR until the next night!
  • The Tomorrow People - This show appeals to me but I'm not sure if it's going to make the cut.
  • Revenge - Hmmm so much to see this season.  Me & Charlotte shared the same favorite moment - when Victoria got a J-O-B.
  • Giuliana & Bill - so happy to see this show airing on E now because we missed 5 or 6 epis when it aired a few months ago on Style network.  It is one of my favs so I am so happy to see it on again and we can catch up.
  • Keeping Up With The Kardashians - I haven't said too much about this show this season.  I really enjoy watching this family.  I totally get why Bruce would want to divorce Kris but, I still feel bad for her and want them to stick it out!  I was really suspicious of the Malibu beach house so I am glad that we now know the real reason behind the separate abode.  I was also sad for Khloe & Lamar.  I liked their whirlwind romance story and hoped they would make it.  But, I think Lamar's drinking has been out of control for a while.  Who knows what else the issues are, but, the drinking was obvious.

Shows that may not make the cut:
  • Nashville -  OK, I am loving my hating on the season, who am I kidding?
  •  HIMYM - I am also going to save this on my DVR until the winter TV break.
  •  I need to slash some shows after October 25th when 3 more shows premiere!  Which shows   are going to take the cut?

Does anyone else have this issue:  Too many shows on Sunday and Monday.  I have a ton of shows from these 2 nights.  Luckily as the week progresses, I have less and less in the way of shows, so, I have a chance to catch up.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pinterest

I realized that I haven't provided my Pinterest account information in a while.  If you also enjoy pinning, please follow me.

Here is my page.

Pinterest is a place I go to get inspired.  I am a visual person so when I first stumbled into Pinterest, I was in inspiration heaven!  It is a wonderful way to organize digital pictures, recipes, tips and almost everything else.  A newer feature are the 3 private boards that you are allowed to create.

Homemade Vanilla Creamer - a la The Pioneer Woman

DIY Vanilla Coffee Creamer
MMMMMmmmmm yummy!  This is a favorite treat of mine - Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer.  I mix it with my black coffee without any extra sugar and I am good to go. 

I originally saw this on The Pioneer Woman's TV Show and then I came across a pin on Pinterest.  I have made it about 5 times now and I really love it!

All you need is:
  • A larger Mason Jar
  • 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk
  • 14 ounces of milk or cream
  • 2 tsp. of vanilla
I do have some notes for you.  If you don't have a mason jar with a lid, then make sure that whatever you use can be shaken, frequently, without a mess.  You will be shaking this often - before every single use. 

Choose whatever you like for the other dairy product in the creamer:  skim milk, 2%, whole milk, fat free creamer, regular creamer and so on.  All of them will work.  It just depends on your palette and what you like.  I like really rich creamer in my coffee so I choose 2% , whole milk or regular creamer, depending on what we have in the house.

I like a lot of flavor.  I changed the 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons because I want to taste it - a lot.

PS
This is very rich!  If you are a no-fat, low-fat, fat-free kinda person, then you should skip this recipe or use skim milk for sure.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hello Kitty: Our New Kitten


Hello Kitty: peek-a-boo
We have a tiny new addition to the family!  My daughter named her.  Since she is all white I thought the name was quite appropriate - Hello Kitty.

We got her from the Providence Animal Shelter.  This shelter is really nice.  The cats each get their own cage in the main cat room.  You are allowed to let them out one at a time in that room.  But, there are also two cat visiting rooms.  We brought Hello Kitty and another slightly older black cat into the visiting room and let them play. 

We realized that two kittens were going to be too much for us.  We have 2 dogs, a third dog who lives with my Grampa and 2 bunnies (who live outside). We lost our black cat Elvis earlier this year after having him almost 10 years.  I thought that we would be cat-less a little longer.  But, we couldn't resist this cutie.

We wanted a young kitten so that he/she would adapt to our house and animals and kids without too many issues.  Happily, Hello Kitty adjusted without any issues.  She likes both dogs and she does a great job navigating to the basement to use her litter box.  She loves to play with toys and with the dogs.  Saying that the dogs love her would be a stretch but, they do seem to like her.  She does try to sneak outside when I let the dogs in & out.  If she would stay in the fenced in yard, I would let her.  But, something tells me that she is an escape artist!

J&J really like HK.  They are a bit weary of her when she is in crazy-attack-kitten mode.  She keeps her claws in for the most part.  However, she is a jumper!  I understand why her energy makes the kids stay away from her.  We have had some nice snuggle time, though.  You just have to wait until she burns herself out.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weekly Dinner Menu: October 20, 2013

Our dinner menu starting October 21, 2013
Monday - Leftover's from Sunday.  Creamy Ranch Chicken & Potatoes with a veggie.

Tuesday - Cheese Tortellini with Chicken Broth.  May add carrots and celery to broth.  May serve with bread.
Wednesday - Tilapia, twice baked potatoes (frozen) and a veggie.
 

Thursday - Ham & Potato Casserole and a veggie

Friday - leftovers
Saturday - Camping food (actual meal TBD) but maybe something from my camping board on Pinterest.
Sunday -   Butter&Lemon Shrimp, Mom's Cheesy Potatoes and a veggie.  (We didn't have a chance to make this shrimp last week).

If you haven't had a chance to check out the About Section of the Weekly Menu, please check out now for info on sides & veggies.



Saturday, October 19, 2013

Halloween Books for Kids 4 and Under: Goodnight Goon and Mickey Mouse's Haunted Clubhouse

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Haunted Clubhouse & 
Goodnight Goon
Goodnight Goon are our 2 new Halloween books for 2013.  They are both great reads!  I might be biased since Goodnight Moon and Goodnight Ipad are two of our favorites!

Goodnight Goon is exactly what you would expect from a Goodnight Moon parody.  Neither kid had heard the term "goon" before so it was a riot trying to explain it.

Mickey Mouse's Haunted Clubhouse is also a cute read especially to a Minnie & Mickey lover like my daughter.

Both are from Target and I believe that they were $6.99 each.


Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Haunted Clubhouse

Friday, October 18, 2013

Are you Viggle-ing?

Viggle: earn gift cards by watching TV
Watch TV--> earn points --> get giftcards to awesome places like Starbucks, Goupon, CVS, Old Navy or make a charitable donation?  I'm in!

How did it take me so long to learn about Viggle?
I am a TV junkie and I love free stuff. 

Really.  AccountantByDay + TV = Viggle

I watch a ton of shows anyway.  Why not just bring my Smartphone in the living room with me and earn points to use towards gift cards for places I already spend cold, hard, cash?  

I found out about this App through an article about 10 Ways To Save Money With Your Smartphone.  I wish I had kept the link because it was a great article!  A quick google search did not help.  If I wander to the page again, I will be sure to update this post.

I don't mind if advertisers stalk my TV viewing statistics.  I am OK with that and maybe it will keep some of my favorite shows on TV!  I'm pretty sure that the advertisers read all of my positive words about Sleepy Hollow and decided to give them the 2nd Season Pick-up to keep me happy (if only!).

All you need is:
  • The Viggle App
  • A TV
  • A semi-quiet room for at least 20 seconds  (Viggle needs to figure out which show you are watching)
Viggle does work when you watch your DVR'd shows.  You won't be able to play any of the live trivia games, though.  I already have over 2700 points and I plan to keep earning all the way through this fall TV season! 

It will take a long time to work up to a gift card or charitable donation.  But, I would watch my TV shows regardless of whether I use Viggle or not.  For reference, it seems that a Starbucks GC for $10 costs 25,000 points.  A CVS GC for $25 costs 62,500 points.  For charities, they have a $5 Rebuilding Together donation or a $5 American Red Cross donation both for 7,500 points.



Let me know if you have any questions or need help!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Random Thoughts From... My Head

Why are there so many shows that premiere on Sunday.  Is it the Soprano's effect?

Why do people like low fat dairy products.  Bleck.  I even prefer 2% yogurt.

My son regularly sleeps 12 to 13 hours a night.  He is a good sleeper.  He makes his sister look like a sleeping slacker at only 11.5 hours.

If I take a nap, it takes me an hour to fall asleep.  I sleep a bit and then wake up all cracked out.  What is the point?

When will that Veronica Mars movie be out?

The timer/delay button stopped working on our dishwasher.  It is 10 years old so I guess I shouldn't be surprised but I am annoyed.  The dishes come out clean so that makes me happy!


Fun Places To Go - King Richard's Faire, Carver, Massachusetts



Live Flute at King Richard's Faire
I have been meaning to get this post up for everyone for some time now.  There is still 1 more weekend to enjoy King Richard's Faire because it closes up shop for the year October 20, 2013.  If you live in South Eastern, MA then you probably know what this event is.  If you live in New England, I think it is worth the trip! 

We went to the King Richard's Faire in Carver, Massachusetts in September 2013.  There was a Groupon deal and we were able to get 2 adult tickets for $31.99.  Our kids are free this year but next year they would be $16 each.  We met some friends at the Faire and they brought their 3 children.
I haven't been to this Faire in probably 25 years!  It was much more family friendly than it used to be.  I remember hoards of drunk people.  Seriously drunk people and tons of them!  

I remember jesters walking around who were employees of King Richard's Faire and these were mean 'ol jesters.  I was traumatized by them and really afraid that they would pick on me.  Me and one of my cousins ran away from them at every opportunity.  We loved the time period rides (no engines) and all of the excitement of the King&Queen parading thru the park.  They did that this time but we totally missed it because I had low blood sugar and needed to eat unless I wanted to melt down!

There were a bunch of animals for the kids to check out and their absolute favorite thing was to ride the horses!  I liked all of the kid rides (still!).  I also liked checking out the food and ended up with a Bloomin' onion (like the Chili's version) and a loaded baked potato (awesome!) and a Root Beer Float (subpar). 

They had whip shows, tiger shows and dueling.  They also have a vendor who comes with Hobbit Holes which are tiny little houses.  You can see J&J below checking out a chicken coop made by the same company (I really want some chicken and a cute coop.  Must check zoning laws).

Something I remember from bring a kid is a maze made out of fabric walls.  When the maze ends, you get to go down a small slide.  We went thru this maze with an Auntie and it was a good time for all!
 
There is so much more to see and do at King Richard's Faire!  We hardly scratched the surface and I think that if you have little kiddos like us, then you will probably miss the shopping and will definitely miss the drinking!  There are a lot of pictures in this post but I think it will give you a nice feeling about the ambiance and how much fun this Faire can be for the whole family.

PS
I am having issues with the pictures and the captions and the picture formatting.  If you have any Blogger tips, please share them in the comments below.

One of the time period rides at King Richard's Faire
























Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting Into The Halloween Spirit

Julie's Halloween Goodies
We don't decorate for Halloween until after the twin's birthday.  So, in order to get into the spirit we got the kids some fun Halloween stuff. 

Julie loves Hello kitty so she gets a small stuffed Halloween Hello Kitty, Halloween Jack-O'Lantern Peeps, Minnie Mouse coloring book, Skeleton Straws and a light-up flashing light tubes with Halloween Minnie Mouse on it (these are super cool and I hope the batteries last!).

Jack's loot is very similar with a bat stuffed animal, Ghost
Peeps, Scooby Doo coloring book Skeleton Straws and a light-up flashing light tubes with Halloween Mickey Mouse on it.

I can't wait to decorate and actually see the kids in their costumes!


Jack's Halloween Goodies
,

Happy 4th Birthday to my kiddos!

4 years old!
October 16, 2009 seems like only a year ago!  But, we survived that crazy first year plus 3 more and
here we are in 2013 with two 4 year olds.

Jack enjoys transportation toys of all kinds.  His favorite spot is outside on his hill in Tonkalandia with all of the trucks and the new garage.  He has a farm set that he likes to play with inside the house.  Dinosaurs and Tomater & McQueen are also favorites.  TV and movies are big hits with Jack.

Juliette spends her time playing with Calico Critters, Minnie Mouse and cars & trucks with Jack.  She is not into dolls or My Little Ponies, to my great dismay.  Julie is very particular about which TV and movie shows she will watch.  A newer favorite is Doc McStuffins.

Together, they enjoy arts & crafts  -especially with Miss Debbie, Lincoln Logs, video games, reading, playing dolls, playing Barbies and board games.  They prefer to spend their time outside!  Bike and scooter riding are favorite activities.

Here's to a wonderful year!

TV Update - October 16, 2013

Shannon's current TV lineup:
Arrow - 2nd epi this week


Oh no!  TOO MANY shows:
  1. Boardwalk Empire
  2. Duck Dynasty
  3. Bones
  4. Sleepy Hollow 
  5. 2 Broke Girls
  6. Hostages
  7. The Blacklist
  8. Revenge
  9. Homeland
  10. The Goldberg's
  11. Revolution
  12. Nashville
  13. The Crazy Ones
  14. The Michael J. Fox Show
  15. Sons of Anarchy
  16. The Vampire Diaries
  17. The Originals (Remember, on Tuesdays now)
  18. Drop Dead Diva
  19. Hart of Dixie
  20. The Witches of East End
  21. The Walking Dead
  22. The Talking Dead
  23. Arrow
  24. American Horror Story: Coven
  25. The Tomorrow People
Other Info:

Hell on Wheels  - season ended (Sat 10/5)  
Entering the last year of the series - How I Met Your Mother (ends May/June 2014)
  
And finally, my comments:
  • Boardwalk Empire - still on DVR
  • Sleepy Hollow -  am so loving this show!  I liked the plague epi and really like the team work between Abby & Ichabod.  There won't be a new epi until November 4th - 3 weeks away - boohoo!!
  • 2 Broke Girls -  so funny - got to watch out for the steam with those cappuccino machines!
  • Vampire Diaries -  Elena left college?  I hope she goes back soon because we have already seen enough of Mystic Falls.  I thought there were going to be college characters and new story lines.
  • Duck Dynasty - now I want some jerky!
  • Hostages -   still on DVR
  • The Blacklist -  still on DVR
  • The Goldberg's - I agree Poltergeist IS too scary!  Still really liking this comedy (for me, that is saying a LOT ).  My h likes it too, which is nice.
  • Revolution -  a good show that I enjoy but, after the Aaron shocker it's been quiet.
  • Nashville -  not sure this is cutting its-ville
  • Michael J. Fox -  funny enough to live another week
  • Sons of Anarchy -  still on DVR
  • Drop Dead Diva - still on DVR
  • Hart of Dixie -  still on DVR
  • Witches of East End -  still on DVR
  • The Walking Dead - so excited that this is back!  It was a slow build kind of epi.  Loved that they left us with a big shocker and we know there will be a lot of action next week with a walker in the cell block!  Did you recognize Patrick from Everybody Hates Chris?  He looks exactly the same + 5 years, to me anyway!
  • Arrow - Arrow was the surprise hit of the Fall TV Season last year!  I enjoyed epi #1 and hope that this show has a great sophomore run.
  • American Horror Story: Coven:  I really enjoyed this epi!  I love seeing some of the actors from Season 1 and Season 2 in their new roles!  This show is so much fun and there are so many amazing actors.  This year they have Kathy Bates and Angela Basset and others, too.  I can't wait to see what happens.
  • The Tomorrow People - I gave this a chance because some of the TV columnists I follow gave it such great reviews.  I was at about an 80% chance of dumping it.  But, I did really like the last 2 minutes and the way it ended so it lives on my DVR for another week!
 

Shows that may not make the cut:
  • The Crazy Ones  - deleted
  • Nashville - last season was SO good that  guess a sophomore slump is inevitable!
  • The Originals - safe: it turns out that there is enough going on to keep me interested.
  • HIMYM - seriously, I don't even want to watch this show but, since I have invested and watched SO many seasons I feel like I need to stick with it even though it's painful to watch!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Weekly Dinner Menu: October 13, 2013

Again I have to post that I'm sorry that the menu is late!  We have had some celebrating (yay!), someone in the hospital (boo) and a wake to attend (sad).

Monday - leftover Stuffed Shells, salad and meatballs.  Garlic Bread if you are well behaved!

Tuesday -  I WAY overcooked:  leftover Stuffed Shells, salad and meatballs.  Garlic Bread if you are well behaved!

Wednesday - Crock-pot freezer cooking Beef & Peapods with rice or egg noodles.  This is from Six Sisters.  They use mushrooms but I have a bad, ugly, awful reaction to mushrooms now so I made this dish with peapods instead.

Thursday -   Parmesan Tilapia, frozen ready-to-bake Twice Baked Potatoes and a veggie.

Friday -   Mini Cocktail Hot Dogs, Bush's Baked Beans, Pearl Onions and another veggie that the kids will actually eat.  For 6 months or so, my kids have refused to eat hot dogs.  As they are not particularly good for you, that wasn't an issue for me.  But, recently they have been asking for them so I will see how the cocktail hot dogs go over!
 
Saturday - Butter&Lemon Shrimp, Garlic Cabbage from this site and a baked potato. 
 
Sunday -   Freezer Crock-pot Cooking:  Creamy Ranch Chicken and Potatoes from Six Sisters.


If you haven't had a chance to check out the About Section of the Weekly Menu, please check out now for info on sides & veggies.

Ibotta Deals - October 17, 2013

Ibotta Deals
I haven't had much to say about my Ibotta deals lately.  That is probably because the deals have been quiet.  I have only bought 1 item per week for the past 2 weeks in order to work towards completing the Month In, Month Out Bonus for $2.  It's basically this:  buy at least 1 product per week, submit the receipt and scan the product.  Don't miss a week or you start over.  It does take 8 weeks to complete though!  That is some dedication, right?

As I did with the OJ HDA (that's orange juice Hot Deal Alert for any non-forum users out there), I will do a separate blog entry if I see any really good action with Ibotta anytime soon.

Crock-Pot Chicken Broccoli Alfredo


Crock-pot Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
From my freezer, I removed a freezer bag full of deliciousness, or Chicken Broccoli Alfredo.  I let it defrost for 24 hours and then I cooked it in the Crock-pot on low for 4 hours.  (I find that my Crock-pot runs hot and I feel that my meals cook really fast, even when on low).

In our weekly menu, I planned to serve this.  The nice thing about having frozen meals is that they are sitting there waiting for you.  If you have time to defrost them then dinner at home can be saved on those crazy evenings!  This recipe came from the Sis Sister's Crock-pot Freezer cooking that I did a while back.  Next time I do it, I will definitely take pictures and blog about it.
I served this over Linguini (It's Barilla, but I bought it before the drama went down.).

All you need is:
1.25lbs of cubed chicken breasts
2 jars of Alfredo Sauce (I like Classico, it can be seen here on Amazon)
1 16oz bag of frozen Broccoli Florets
1 diced green pepper
diced mushrooms to suit your family (I have an allergy/sensitivity so we omit these)
pasta of your choosing

I also baked some Texas Toast to go with our dinner.  If you buy some, they also have a version with cheese on top that is so yummy!