Archive | April, 2012

Facebook Inspiration?

24 Apr

One of my childhood neighbors posted this on their refrigerator (among other inspirational quotes) and shared it on Facebook.  It really hit home for me.

This is your life.  Do what you love and do it often.  If you don’t like it, change it.  If you don’t like your job, quit.  If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV.  And if you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love. Life is short, stop over-analyzing.  All emotions are beautiful.  When you eat, appreciate every last bite.  Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences.  Ask the person next to you what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them.  Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.  Some opportunities only come once, seize them.  Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them.  So go out and start creating.  Life is short.  Live your dream and wear your passion.

 

Since we are no longer neighbors and barely acquaintances at this point, I doubt she will ever know this, but she is a huge inspiration for me.  She is also talking about working out – and working out hard.  She is so goal-oriented and at one point in our lives, we had similar problems.  She excelled through hers and is doing phenomenal.  If you can see positive changes in someone that you identify with, then it makes you want to improve yourself.

Period.

 

 

 

I Obviously Need to Watch More HGTV…

24 Apr

On Easter, my future BIL, gave his girlfriend, mom, and sister (which includes me!) a bouquet of happy spring flowers.

Since I am incapable of keeping anything alive (other than pets and people), ours quickly started wilting.

So I cut the stems down and composted them then separated the flowers by color since I’m completely neurotic:

Those little “vases” are old pesto jars I’ve been hoarding.

Voila!  Our hideous lamp is now transformed into a spring showpiece 🙂

Quesadillas and Craft Beer

23 Apr

After the Great Cloth Diaper Change, Amanda and Lil’ Red came over to our house to hang out.

Pretty much adore this kid:

For dinner, Amanda made chicken quesadillas (something that I NEVER make, but they are so yummy and so easy!)

Amanda apparently loves cooking in other people’s kitchens, which I of course had no objection to AND cooking involves music AND dancing.  Three? thumbs up!

We started by poaching some boneless, skinless chicken breast in salsa, water and a can I had of diced tomatoes:

Using…

Then Amanda added the chicken…

Then you let it go at a rolling boil until the chicken is done!

Easy – peasy…

My job was to take care of the red beans and rice…haha

Instructions on the box? Well, yes thank you I think I will.

While my gourmet black beans and rice were cooking, the chicken finished up and Amanda started shredding it for the quesadillas:

Since Amanda is so amazing, she brought over whole wheat tortillas AND white ones for her♥.

Once things started rolling, it happened pretty quick! (Sorry for the lack of collages, Picnik really screwed my pooch.)

The whole wheat quesadillas came second (gotta feed the hangry♥ first), but were just as good:

I consider my first Great Cloth Diaper Change and my official initiation into Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week (PCBW) the same day!

Mine is the one with the fat guy, she♥ picked the pokery one, and of course Amanda picked the IPA.

So anyway, dinner was ready to be served!

Dinner was so amazing…I basically love anything Meixcan/Spanish/LatinAmerican/Spanglish/TexMex. ♥

Pretty sure they were a hit…

Don’t forget to check out Amanda’s Blog – Ventures in Green.  She does way more cool stuff than me having to do with sustainability, green living and natural parenting.

Great Cloth Diaper Change 2012

22 Apr

I don’t know how many of my readers are into cloth diapers, but I AM.  I actually own a cloth diaper service with three of my closest family members/friends.

Well yesterday, was a big day in cloth diapers – the Great Cloth Diaper Change.  Its an event that people participate in around the world – at 12:30 p.m. on April 21st (this year, anyway) – millions of moms around the world changed a reusable diaper.  Its in the Guinness Book of World Records, look it up baby.

Well, we, the Changin’ Time staff + Lil’ Red of course because if we left her behind whose diaper would get changed…

So, off we went through the Laurel Highlands

And through the windy-whispery woods (I’m channeling Buddy the Eflt here people)…near Idlewild Park…

It was actually a pretty scenic drive.  My business-partner, future sister-in-law, and sustainabilabuddy Amanda @ Ventures in Green just went camping nearby with her son’s boyscout troop.  I’m not really into sleeping outside with bears, but if you are – then this place got two thumbs up from the scouts!

Ligonier, PA, where I had never been, was VERY old-town, very scenic, very small-town western PA.

It seemed very quaint, bustling, and safe…I pretty much loved it but wish it was in the middle of the city!

Very scenic and beautiful, but I’ll take my skyscrapers and bridges anyday!

So we finally arrived at Mommy Gear – this amazing breastfeeding and women’s boutique which hosted the Great Cloth Diaper Change in Westmoreland County.  Their store is so cute!!  Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to really take pics in the store area, their website is great.

They hosted the GCDC in their lower room, which is basically a big open space.

Notice the man putting change into the meter, because parking is no joke in Ligonier.

We weren’t able to see too much of the store, but

I did snap a pic of Lil’ Red for the 5 seconds I could get her to keep this hippo hat on her…

So, back to the GCDC2012…

I was an EXPERT witness, if you can believe that. And it being my first year, I had no idea what to expect.

People came in, they were given door bags as they entered:

& were able to check out and the door prizes and the display tables (like ours).

Then, there were just a lot of babies!  But it was nice to see that a lot of the cloth parents already knew each other, and were open to networking with one another, and just lots of babies being babies!

People were coming up to our table and asking about our service; several expectant moms were considering a diaper service because cloth diapering one kid can be hard enough (let along two or three).

It wasn’t surprising, considering we had amazing free advertising…

As time wound down to 12:30, Dawn, owner of Mommy Gear and coordinator of the event, explained the rules to everybody and people got situated in their diaper changing squares.

And then it was time!

All the parents held their reusable (cloth) diaper in the air for a before picture:

And after the Mayor of Ligonier counted down, the Great Cloth Diaper Change happened!  Just like that…

Here are the charming, expecting couple who chose our door prize:

It was an amazing day for us!  Lots of positive energy, lots of networking, and lots of sustainable-minded families, just like ours!!

On the way home, we had to stop at Ligonier Town Hall…

To pay a parking ticket.  Unlike the guy feeding the meter in the beginning of this post – we city folk should have know they took this parking issue very seriously.  Ligonier: $5  Us: $0

The car ride home was pretty much what I expected…

♥ I’d say for us as a family, as a business, as a family-owned business, as a circle of tight knit friends,

it was a pretty good day all around. ♥

Baking Blogger SOS!

21 Apr

It all started years ago when I became OBSESSED with my first blog – Bake at 350.

Um, hello…God Save The Queen.

I was new at cooking, working full time, and we were in the process of buying our house.  So, unfortunately my creative baking endeavors had to be pushed to the back-burner.  This was mainly due to the fact that I am incapable of baking a sugar cookie.  If I had been any good at it, I’m sure she♥ would have encouraged MORE encouragement and LESS evasion.

I tried a few additional times, but they were all failures.  How disheartening.  It is probably easier to watch someone do it so you can trouble-shoot more effectively, but I don’t have that opportunity.

Here is the debacle that happened last night.  Perhaps some sympathetic reader could explain where I went wrong…

I used Bridget’s Sugar Cookie Recipe from Bake at 350° (it seems simple enough):

First, I lined my pan with this weird fusion of parchment paper and tin foil (They sell it now?  I’m not really sure what the point is or what its useful for.)

The cookies never made it this far, so I will have to let you know how the lining paper works out a different day.

So, then following Bridget’s recipe, I combined 3 cups of unbleached flour and 2 tsp. of baking powder in a bowl.

Great.  Like, who could mess that step up, right?

So then she says to combine 2 sticks of cubed, UNSALTED butter and 1 cup of sugar.

Then, I creamed them.  Like on the “Stir” and low settings.

This might be where things went salty, so to speak.  I’m really not sure what “creamed” looks like.

This is what I ended up with (I tried to get a detailed close-up photo).

¿Yo no se?

So then, I added 1 egg along with the extracts which the recipe required.

Then she says to gradually add the flour mixture in (which I know I did correctly because I am capable/have been capable in the past of doing this step).

She says, the mixture should be crumbly, so knead it into a ball and turn it onto a floured surface.

Cool.

My dough looks crumbly, I think?

Except this crumbly dough didn’t form into a ball.  Not at all.  And certainly not one I could knead and roll out.

In fact, I tried to roll it out as best I could and it was clearly in no shape to be cut into shapes.

Here is a run-down in my head as this progressed, since I can’t take video footage from my brain:

HELP!  This is a baking-blogger S.O.S.!!!

Can anyone tell, just by looking at the dough, where I went wrong?

I cannot for the life of me complete a decent sugar cookie recipe.

(I realize I could Google this, but you know how that goes.  I’d rather go right to the experts.)

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