Monday, February 28, 2011

Orlando Trip Part 1

I'm baaaack!!!! I know it's been awhile and you are probably going through Janine withdraw!!! 

Several weeks ago I dropped my computer and it died!!! I had the computer for 5 years so we got a lot of use from it. My computer also had some keys taken off thanks to my son!!!

Before we left on vacation, we took advantage of the President's Day Sale and purchased a new computer!!! 

I don't know how I lived three weeks without a computer but I did. Ok, I do have internet access on my cell phone!!! 

As, many of you know we took a vacation this past week. Tommy got a new job, so in between jobs we thought we would take a vacation. So when we were deciding where to go, we decided Florida so we can spend a few days with Tommy's paternal grandfather and  go to Disney!!!

All this week I will be blogging about out trip to Orlando.

When planning this trip I looked around at different airports to travel from. We are about 1 1/2 hours from both Newark and Philadelphia. We also have the Allentown airport about 45 minutes away. I looked at the fare and found that the cheapest flights were from Philly. I also thought that it would be easy for us if I asked my father to drop us off and pick us up so we didn't have to worry about shuttle buses and parking with the kids. 

We decided that we were not going to tell the kids about the trip. We arrived at the airport and they were excited to be at the airport. However, when we told them that we were going to Florida they both started crying about not wanting to go to Florida on a plane. All the people around us were laughing and telling the kids that they would go in their place. It wasn't until we told them that we were going to see Great Grandpa that they were excited to go!!! Thank GOD!!!!!

We made our way to the gate and the kids made a friend with a little boy who was happy to inform the kids all the fun things Orlando has to offer them. 

We had an uneventful flight. However, the kids didn't care for their ear's popping.

Once we arrived in Orlando we hopped on a taxi to get our rental car. 

Never rent your car from the airport rental car places. They charge you twice to three times the amount as someplace away from the airport. We traveled three miles away and got a deal.

Not only did the kids have their first airplane ride but they had their first taxi ride too!!!

We arrived at Enterprise and I went in to fill out the paper work. While I was inside little did I know that Speed Racer was picking out the car he wanted. Speed Racer came in to tell me that we wanted the Dodge Challenger. I laughed and told him that wasn't happening. (Because we rented an Economy car). A few minutes later the lady at Enterprise told me that all the Economy cars are gone so we can choose one of three other cars. The Town and Country Mini-Van, Dodge Challenger, and I don't remember what the other option was because I said the Challenger and Tommy said the Mini-Van.
(I know shocking that it wasn't the other way around.) I said to Tommy we are on vacation and we should have fun and fun would be the Dodge Challenger!!! Of course I had Speed Racer on my side. 

The two door was a pain, but it was a lot of fun to drive and ride. We all had fun in the car!!

We had an hour and a half ride to Grandpa's house but it was all good.

We arrived right on time. We told him that we would be there at 5:00. For some reason he was shocked that we were actually there at 5:00. 

Grandpa had dinner ready for us. He made us beef stew which was so yummy!!! 

We took a nice walk to stretch our legs and to allow the kids to run around.

My two guys enjoying the sunshine and warm weather!! 

 So nice to see green and palm trees

 The lake that Grandpa's house sits on.

The kiddies running around like CRAZY!!!

The kids stopping for a picture!!

 So nice to see the kids happy being outside!!!

 Reaching for the palms!!

 Running back to Grandpa's house!!!

 Playing in the grass!!!

 Running from the alligator!!! Not really, I told a little lie!!

More little Palm Trees!!!

Ballerina stopping to smell the flowers!!!

Once we finished cleaning up after dinner we all hit the hay for another fun filled in Florida!!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cookies and My New Favorite HGTV Show

Happy Tuesday!!!

On Sunday we finished our brownie muffins which meant that I needed to make dessert for the kids.

So, yesterday as I cleaned out the pantry, I came across some chocolate cake mix. I thought I should use it up, instead of making a cake or cupcakes I decided to open a cookbook that Nana gave me a few years ago.
"Cake Mix Magic In Minutes."
Basically it's recipes that use cake mixes.

I try not to give the kids a lot of sugar during the day, but we do give them a cookie for dessert with a glass of milk.

 I opened up the cookbook and flipped through the pages until I came across this recipe.
Devil's Food Fudge Cookies. Yummy!!!


1 package of Moist Deluxe Devil's Food Cake Mix. (I didn't have Devil's Food Cake Mix so I used regular chocolate cake mix)

2 Eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I didn't)

1. Preheat the oven 350* place parchment paper on cookie sheets.

2. Combine the cake mix, eggs, and oil in large bowl. Stir until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. (Mixture will be stiff) Shape dough into 36 balls. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

3. Bake at 350* for 10 to 11 minutes. (Cookies will look moist) Do not overbake. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheets. Remove to cooling rack. Cool completely. Store in airtight container.

I recently came across this show on HGTV called "Cash and Cari."

With her razor sharp business sense and an eye for spotting diamonds in the rough, estate sale guru Cari Cucksey combs through her clients' basements, attics and garages in search of hidden treasure. And once she and her team have organized and priced the entire contents of the home, they hold an estate sale right on the premises. From antique furniture and vintage toys to retro electronics and rare cars, there's something for everyone, and everything must go!

The show is on Monday Nights at 10:00 on HGTV. I think that she might have my dream job!!


Monday, February 7, 2011


Today, I was cleaning out our pantry and on the top shelf I found all of our old medications. We have a habit of getting medications filled and not finishing them like we are suppose to. Don't tell our Mom's please. LOL!!!

Anyway, I want to get rid of them and I wasn't sure how to go about it. So, I called CVS which is where we get our meds filled. They told me that they don't know how I could rid of the meds. The pharmicists told me that I should call our township. I called the township and they told me to call the State Police. The State Police told me to call the DEA.

I went on-line to find out how to get in touch with the local DEA.

I called my local DEA which is in Philly and she told me that on April 30th you can go to any police station and give them all of your old medications.

I tell you this just in case you need to get rid of some old medication too!!!!


Soft Pretzels

I think that the smell of yeast is getting to me. On Saturday, after I baked our bread for the weekend, I was craving soft pretzels.

What's a girl to do when she can't run to Wawa to get their  imitation of the Philadelphia soft pretzel. Well here is your answer she goes on-line and looks up a recipe for soft pretzels. The first recipe I saw was posted by Alton Brown.

I figured how could I go wrong?

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.

Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces.

Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope.

Sorry so blurring but I was moving fast!! I found that once I gotten about half way rolled out I would start turning it out like a jump rope. I've seem this method done before.

Turning it like this gets the dough out to 24 inches really fast.

Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds.

Very important do not forget to add the baking soda!!
Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula.

Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Look at those babies!! They were very good!!!

I served them with a choice of yellow or spicy mustard. I prefer spicy mustard!!!

Not bad for a novice pretzel maker. I will make these again and again.
I just wish I made them for an after noon snack because a nice birch beer or beer would have gone nicely with the pretzel!!

Here is the list of ingredients!!!


1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 package active dry yeast

22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups

2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

Vegetable oil, for pan

10 cups water

2/3 cup baking soda

1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Pretzel salt

You can also go here to get the full link!!!



Saturday, February 5, 2011

Habitat Store and a Low-Fat Dessert

Yesterday the kids and I traveled to NJ to visit the Habitat for Humanity Store in Mine Hill, NJ.

If you've never heard about this place, it's a place you should become familiar with especially is you are remodeling.

Habitat’s ReStore resale outlets sell reusable and surplus building materials to the public

While every ReStore outlet is a little different, most focus on home improvement goods like furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances.

This is the second store I have visited and they are different. I think depending on the area depends on the type and quality of supples you will find. I saw a Pottery Barn sofa for a few hundred bucks that was in perfect condition. I didn't buy because I really want a sectional sofa!! Anthropology had donated a surplus of tile to the store. It was never used and it was $10 a case plus 20% off.
Give it a whirl you might find something you need for the house.

So, the other day I was visiting someone's blog and they posted about a delicious and two ingredient dessert. I had to look it up and see for myself. It really is just two ingredients and it is low-fat and a Weight Watcher's favorite.

Don't they look so good?

I have them in the cake stand!!!

Here is the super easy recipe!!

Yum Yum Brownie Muffins

(1 Muffin, or 3 minis - 181 calories, 3.5g fat, 37g carbs, 2g fiber, 2g protein -- PointsPlus™ value 5*)
This super-simple 2-ingredient recipe is a Weight Watchers Fave!

1 box devil's food cake mix

1 can solid pack pumpkin (15 oz.)


Mix the two ingredients together. Don't add anything else that may be mentioned on the box, such as eggs, oil, or water. The mixture will be very thick and you will be tempted to add in other things to make the batter smoother. DO NOT DO THIS AS IT WILL RUIN EVERYTHING! Place batter into muffin tins (or mini muffin tins) lined with paper, or sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 12 regular or 36 mini muffins.

I like how I am able to sneek something healthy into a dessert. The kids love them and so does Tommy. I have to say they are really good when you are craving something sweet!!

If you are interested in finding more of these recipes click on this web-site. She also has a show on the Cooking Channel!!!


Friday, February 4, 2011

From Scratch

I thought I would share with you how I am doing with the from Scratch Challenge.

We finally ran out of our bread, so I had to make my own. I tried a different recipe from what I usually make. I was a little nervous but it turned out awesome.

See for yourself.

Yummy!! Doesn't it look good? The kids had some toast today with peanut butter and they said "it was very good." Twin approved!!

I thought I would share the recipe with you. In case you are looking for something to do this weekend.

For sandwiches, toast, and French toast, you just can’t beat a classic American sandwich loaf, with its creamy-white interior, golden crust, and soft, easily sliceable texture.

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*

1/2 cup milk (skim, 1%, 2% or whole, your choice)**

1/2 to 2/3 cup hot water, enough to make a soft, smooth dough**

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) melted butter, margarine or vegetable oil

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water OR 2 teaspoons instant yeast

*For added whole-grain goodness, substitute great-tasting King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour for up to half of the all-purpose flour in this recipe.

**Mix the cold-from-the-refrigerator milk with 1/2 cup of the hot-from-the-tap water to make a lukewarm combination.

Mixing: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine set to the dough or manual cycle). Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8" log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 60 minutes, until it’s domed about 1" above the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.

Baking: Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until it’s light golden brown. Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or by measuring its interior temperature with an instant-read thermometer (it should register 190°F at the center of the loaf). Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature. Yield: 1 loaf.

After I made the dough for one loaf, I made another loaf to put in the freezer. This way when we finish one loaf of bread I can take the other out of the freezer to defrost, rise, and then cook.

Here's where the challenge got a little tricky!!
Wednesday is burger day for dinner. I knew the kids were not going to eat a burger without a bun. What was I going to do? I looked around the house and I saw a box of bisquick. Now I know that's not from scratch but I did say I would use up what I had around the house first.

I made biscuits and it all worked out!! "I'm so smart and I like it that way." (This is Ballerina's new favorite saying). LOL!!!

I like putting the cheese in the middle of the burger!!! "Try it you might like it"

Happy Friday!!!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cleaning the Closet

Speed Racer has gotten into the habit of dressing himself. In doing so he pulls down his shirts from the rod. He has broken about a dozen hangers and I am afraid that he is going to pull the whole closet system down.

Last Thursday, I informed Tommy that on Sunday I wanted to move down the closet system and re-organize. He agreed!!

Here is the closet Before:

Here is the closet now.

Ballerina helped me clean the closet. We took out all the clothes and toys. We went through everything and pulled out all the 3T clothes that were still in the closet. We packed them away to store for the other kiddies we give the clothes to. (I LOVE knowing that the kid's clothes go to family members that put them to good use.)

We have so much space left in the closet, I think I want to put up another shelf for storage.

As Ballerina and I were cleaning out the closet we came across my wedding dress that I had stored in their closet.

Ballerina wanted to wear my gown but I told her it is a little big for her. She started getting upset. I said wait I have something you can wear.

Get ready, it gave me the chills and I had to make sure that her whole life didn't just fly before my eyes.

My veil!!

She was a little freaked out by the comb in her hair.

She had a good time posing.

I let her wear my veil for awhile and then told her that I wanted to put it away in case she wants to wear it when she gets married.

I really thought I was having one of those moments from TV when the Dad is seeing his little girl but actually she is an adult. Do you know what I'm talking about?

For some reason she didn't want Tommy to see her in the veil. She was afraid he would get upset!!

I wonder if she will have any interest in wearing my veil?



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