Tuesday, August 31, 2010

To-The-Top Tuesday!

To-the-TOP Tuesday

Link up here to participate in To-The-Top Tuesday hosted by One Little Mister :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Last chance to win with LOW entries!

In case you missed my earlier post, I am being featured at Mrs. Sassy Crafter and giving away one of my handmade hats to a follower of hers!  SO, if you didn't happen to win one of these last week:

You still have another chance!  Go HERE and enter the giveaway on Mrs. Sassy Crafter!!  The winner will be picked tomorrow at 8 am EST.  Good luck :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nature's Path Giveaway

By now you all know that I've been making a real effort to include as many natural and organic ingredients into our meals as possible.  That's why when I came across this giveaway from Mommy2TwoGirls I HAD to enter.  She's giving away a plethora (yes a plethora) of Organic goodies from Nature's Path.  The winner seriously gets like six different packages of various cereals and granola bars. Yum!  I want to winnnnnnn :)

So I'm blogging about this giveaway so you'll go check it out.. but don't win. hehe.  Just kidding!  Good luck to you too if you decide to enter ;)  You just have to have me and Dominic over for breakfast!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Four times tagged

Holy cow.  Yesterday I was tagged in four survey posts.  Each post had 8 questions.  Rather than answering all 24 questions, I'm going to answer my favorite 15 and then pass those same questions along to five people who haven't yet been tagged. 



Thanks to the following bloggers for tagging me and contributing to these questions:
- Kaley @ a tale of three poags!
- Jeska @ Living our Love Song
- Ashley @ our crazy fun life
- Heather @ The Best of Both Worlds

1. What is your favorite recipe/thing to cook?  My favorite thing to cook really depends on who I'm cooking for.  If it's just a dinner for my husband and I at home, I'd have to go with something simple and tasty.  Some of our favorite dinners are tacos or chili.  I like making food with a lot of flavor that will have us eating leftovers for days :).  Yum.  If I'm making food for a party I'd have to go with pasta salad.  I make a mean pasta salad and it's usually a crowd favorite.  Oh, and at Thanksgiving I'm the sweet potato lady.  I make a savory sweet potato casserole complete with an oatmeal pecan topping... um, let me compose myself.  I think you get the drift.  This girl likes food.

2. What is your best memory with your significant other? Falling in love.  We had such a whirlwind relationship at first.  It was like everything just clicked and things were happening so fast... which is slightly odd given the fact that we knew each other for years without giving second thought to our friendship.  We were engaged about 6 months after we started dating and married about a year after that.  Its such an amazing feeling to just know that you're starting the last relationship you'll ever have.  The best single event would have to be our wedding day.  Best day ever.  We had such a great time.  And then got to have an amazing honeymoon just enjoying a week to ourselves.

3. How do you find time to blog?  Uhhh I stay up late.  And blog during nap time.  I start blogs when an idea pops into my head and save them as drafts.  I'll come back and finish them later when I get a chance and I almost always have a couple blogs waiting to be published.

4. Who is the celebrity you're most often compared to?  Lauren Conrad "LC" from the Hills.  I get it all the time. 
Signed Conrad, Lauren 8x10

5. What is your favorite song?  "Hands Down" by Dashboard Confessional.  It reminds me of being young. hehe.

A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar6. If you could give any piece of advice to a newborn, what would it be? This is a tough one.  I think my advice to a child (since a newborn wouldn't remember ha) would be to just do what makes you happy and don't worry about what everyone else is doing.  At 15 you'd be surprised to know just how little your classmates' opinion of you really matters.  I think kids in general spend so much energy trying to "fit in" and be like everyone else, only to grow up and spend just as much energy trying to get back to who they were in the first place.  Growing up is hard, but it does all work out in the end.  You'll find your niche in life and happiness is what you make it. 

7. What are two goals you have for 2011? First off, I'd like to find some success in a non-traditional work career (could I be more vague?)... meaning I'd like to promote Caterpillar Family Shop to the fullest and work on a couple other projects I have floating around in my head.  Crochet hats weren't the only thing I had in mind when opening my store ;)  Second, I'd like to have another baby.. or at least have one on the way.  Dominic turns three in 2011 :/

8. What makes you lose track of time?  The Internet.  The spot on the wall.  My thoughts.  Shall I continue?

9. What is your favorite movie?  Dirty Dancing.  No contest, I love it.

Dirty Dancing (Single-Disc Widescreen Edition)
10. When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?  An archaeologist.  Shut up.

11. What would you consider to be your dream job?  Now I'd say my dream job would be a doula/lactation consultant/mommy team leader :)  I don't know what a mommy team is.. haha I'm totally making that part up.  I would love to be able to work with other moms, work out of my house, and have time to crochet and cook on my own terms.

12. If you could get any gift for yourself, what would it be?  Maid service whaaaaat.

13. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  I'd like to spend a few weeks touring Europe.

14. What is your favorite quote?  It's a tie between these two (long) quotes:

1)"How would you explain it, Pooh?"

"With a song," he said. "A little something I just made up."
"Go ahead"

Tao of Pooh and Te of Piglet Boxed SetHow can you get very far,
If you don't know Who you are?
How can you do what you ought,
If you don't know What You've Got?
And if you don't know Which to Do
Of all the things in front of you,
Then what you'll have when you are through
Is just a mess without a clue
Of all the best that can come true
If you know What and Which and Who.

"That's it," he said, leaning back and closing his eyes.
"A Masterpiece."

[Taken from The Tao of Pooh]  if you've never read that book, you should.  It's the greatest and simplest way to explain Taoism... which is a philosophy anyone can apply to life, regardless of your religion.

AND

2)
It was fun for a while
6" ROXY - Vinyl Decal StickerThere was no way of knowing
Like a dream in the night
Who can say where we're going?
No care in the world
Maybe I'm learning
Why the sea on the tide
Has no way of turning

Which is a quote from a tag on a Roxy dress that I bought nearly a decade ago and have since remembered every word.  I love it.


15.  How do you want to be remembered when you're gone?  I want my children to look back and think "I love it when mom did _____" or "Do you remember when we went to the _____ with mom?" or "It was so great when mom ______, I really miss her".  I just want to make fond memories and be important to those I love.  I don't have to be famous or rich or really even matter at all to someone I've never met.  But, I always want to be a positive influence in my family's life and that's how I'd like to be remembered.

Now it's my turn to tag!  The following 5 bloggers should answer as many of these same fifteen questions as they'd like (please).  Have fun :)

1. Ashley Sisk @ Ramblings and Photos
2. Jessica @ Barefoot by the Sea
3. Diane @ No Nuts for my Peanut
4. Amber @ Life on a Stick
5. Megan @ Mommy Minded

Friday, August 27, 2010

# 87- Have a giveaway on my blog (And the winner is..)

[drumroll please]

Ramdom.org has spoken and #8 Vic won with this comment: I put your button on my blog :)

I'll be emailing you in just a minute!  Congratulations :)

In the photo Fridays

This is a picture of Dominic and I taken at a baseball game Wednesday night :)

I'm Featured at Mrs. Sassy Crafter!

That's right!  Mrs. Sassy Crafter has featured me on her blog :)  As a thank you, I'm also giving her readers a chance to win one of my handmade hats.  What does that mean to you?  Well... if you don't happen to be the lucky winner of my current giveaway (which ends tonight at 10pm EST) you have another chace to win!  The giveaway on Mrs. Sassy Crafter will run through Monday.  So be sure to hop on over and check it out!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Recipe- Choc Chip Banana Muffins

The absolute best thing to make with over-ripe bananas!  If you've read my About Me you might remember that I'm actually allergic to bananas.  When I was little, my banana allergy was just as bad as my peanut allergy.  But, thankfully, my tolerance has increased as I've gotten older (as is common with allergies to fruits).  Within the last couple years I've discovered that I can eat bananas when cooked in foods.  I still can't just eat a whole raw banana for breakfast or anything, but I don't have a problem handling them.  It wasn't long after discovering this that I came across a recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Loaf.  I ended up tweaking it just slightly and also altering the recipe to make muffins instead of loaf.  I like the muffin variation better because they travel better and are already portioned out into single servings.  This recipe is SO simple.  You won't believe how easy it is to make!

So when our bananas look like this:

I make muffins so delicious I'm willing to risk death (just kidding- hives)..

You'll need:
- 3 bananas, mashed
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mash bananas and beat eggs in two separate bowls. 


Step 2: In a medium mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Then add oil, beaten eggs, and mashed bananas.  Mix just until blended.

Step 3: Gently fold in the mini chocolate chips.  Do not overmix!

Step 4: Using a 1/2 cup measuring scoop, pour batter into a muffin tin that had been lined with cups and sprayed lightly with cooking spray.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Step 5: Enjoy!

You may have noticed that this recipe makes 14 muffins.  I use one full (dozen) tin and a half tin.  Because the muffins in the half tin cook just a tad quicker, I ususally remove them from the oven after about 26 minutes.  If you would prefer a plain banana muffin, the mini chocolate chips may be omitted.  In fact, because Dominic does not like chocolate (I know.. odd) I actually pour two muffins before adding the chips to my batter.  You can see from the picture in Step 4 that the two muffins in the half tin are chip-less.

These muffins are so good and super easy to make.  They have so much real flavor and can be made from scratch at home without the preservatives or artificial flavors found in boxed mixes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Welcome/Wordless Wednesday

Hi to all stopping by from Welcome Wednesday :)  Please leave a comment with your blog URL so that I may follow you back.

 
I'd like to share a couple pics for Wordless Wednesday too!

 

Monday, August 23, 2010

My First Giveaway!

...as promised!  I'd like to first say THANK YOU to each and every one of you for following Caterpillar Family.  I've recently opened Caterpillar Family Shop on Etsy and to celebrate both the store opening AND reaching 50+ followers, I'm giving one lucky reader a handmade crochet beanie.  This hat is "Toddler" sized and will fit children approximately 18-30 months old.  Pictured below is my handmade hat in striped gray and blue.  What's that you say... you have a little girl?  Not a problem!  I will make you this hat in gray and pink :)




I'm going to keep this short and sweet. This giveaway will be open from now until 10pm EST on Friday, August 27th.  You may enter by doing the following:

Mandatory Entry:
-Follow this blog and leave a comment below with your contact email.  Let me know which hat you would like!

Extra Entries:
-Add Caterpillar Family Shop to your favorites on Etsy
-Follow Caterpillar Family on twitter
-Add my button to your blog
-Blog about this giveaway

Once the comments are closed the winner will be selected via random.org and contacted via the email provided in each comment.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond.  Thank you and good luck!

:)

Mingle Monday + 50th post!

Well, it's now officially been one week since I became a temporary SAHM.  It's been great!  I can't say this is the only time I've been home with Dominic.  To be fair, I didn't go back to work after having him until he was four and a half months old.  So this is like SAHM round 2 ;)  Unfortunately, I know this won't be a permanent thing so I'm trying to sqeeze in as much coloring, finger painting, and general toddler madness as I can while it lasts.

I'm participating in this week's Mingle Monday hosted by KdBuggie Boutique.  I've participated in a few "Follow Me"s by now but I'm coming back to hers because, honestly, I really enjoyed the blogs I found though it.  Plus, I have to support a mom who makes high quality handmande baby items for BOYS as well as girls.  It is so dang hard to find cute things for boys, btw.  So, hop on over to her page and show some love!



mingle mondays button
 

This post is also my 50th!  If you notice.. I have 43 followers.  If you're a reader of my blog you'll remember from this post I promised that I would have a giveaway to celebrate 50 followers AND the opening of my Etsy store.  So, I'm hoping that might happen soooooon ;)  If just 7 more people follow this blog I'll be giving away something extra cute!  If you want a preview or an idea of what to expect, you can also check out my Etsy store here.  Stay tuned :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Recipe- Chicken Stir Fry

Asian dishes are some of the hardest to re-create at home.  After years of trial and error, I've come up with a delicious dish that's as close to "take out" quality as you can get.  Not to toot my own horn or anything- ba ha ha.  Anyway, the cool thing about this dish is that the only required ingredients are those for the sauce.  Everything else is optional (even the chicken) so you can make it with whatever YOU like to eat, or whatever you have on hand.

You'll need:
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 can chicken broth
- 1/2 cup flour
- EVOO
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (or 4-5 packets)
- 1/4 cup bottled stir-fry sauce
- 1 tsp minced garlic (or 1 clove)
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flake
- 4 cups of chopped seasonal veggies

Step 1: Chop your veggies and place in a bowl to the side, btw *this* is what I did with my fresh finds at the Farmers Market :)  I used broccoli, onion, green pepper, zucchini, and squash.

Step 2: Slice uncooked chicken into large-ish bite sized pieces.  I cut them thinly on a slant so they really turn out restaurant-style.  In a large pan (preferably with high sides) drizzle EVOO and turn burner on HIGH.  Place sliced chicken and minced garlic in the pan.

Step 3: While the chicken is cooking (you'll need to multi-task a little), whisk together broth, flour, red pepper, soy sauce, and bottled stir-fry sauce in a medium bowl.

Step 4:  When the chicken is almost thoroughly cooked, dump all veggies into the pan.  Stir and fry them (hehe) until the veggies start to cook down just a little.  At that point, dump sauce over the mixture.

Step 5:  Turn burner down to LOW/SIMMER, cover, and simmer for three to four minutes.  Your sauce should be thick by that point.

Step 6:  Stir and serve over rice.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Farmer's Market

I'm not sure why I haven't been a regular shopper at one of our many local Farmer's Markets.  A big reason is that I rarely carry cash... and it just seemed more convenient to buy our produce at the grocery store when we're buying packaged foods.  Whatever my holdup was- it's over.  Hub and I had already stopped buying our meat at the grocery store, in favor of the local butchery.  We've seen significant savings buying in bulk, separating, and freezing our meats ourselves.

Last weekend, after Domininc's weekly MyGym class, I met up with my mother and sister for lunch.  After we ate, we stopped by a market that sets up each Saturday in a large parking lot right in the middle of our town.  I really had no idea what I was missing.  Not only did I get a huge bag of vegetables that were probably picked just a couple hours prior, but I saved a significant amount of money.  My bag of vegetables?  Five dollars.  Using the weekly produce ad from our normal grocery store, I figured I spent about half of what I would have- all while promoting local farmers.

*some of my veggies!*

OH, and there weren't just foods there... there were bath products.  A meal and a spa day, who knew?  There was a local vendor selling homemade natural salt scrubs, soaps, and body butters.  I bought a gift bag trio set in "Summer Blackberry" scent.  The cost?  Eight dollars.  Eight.  I swear when I was just in Florida I pondered over a set like this in a fancy store that was cost three times as much.  This set has NO chemicals, just things like olive oil, sea salt, blackberry seed, and shea butter.  It is wonderful.


So from now on that's where I'll be.  Every Saturday morning... buying my vegetables for the week.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hiatus Explained

Oh my it's been a crazy week.  The long and short of it is that I lost my job.  We'll be alright.  It's going to be tight but we should be ok as long as I find something else.. hopefully soon.  Now that that's out of the way, on to the normal things.  I already had a few other posts planned, so I'll be posting those shortly.  I'm trying to continue things as normally as possible. 

The upside to all of this is that I will be able to spend a bit more time with my little man for now.  If you know me, you know that being with him as much as possible is something I desperately want.  So that's the first positive thing. 


Secondly, in between submitting resumes and general job-hunting, I'm taking this opportunity to get my Etsy shop up and running.  So far I've only got a few things up.  I've got several more items, I just have to get pictures of them in action!  You can check out my shop here.  And this is one of my hats on my little man :)


So really I'm just staying positive and enjoying my days with my little sweatpea  :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My photo- retouched!

I'd like to give a BIG thank you to Ashley Sisk from Ramblings and Photos.  I submitted a picture of my son  for her "Touch-Up Tuesday" spot.  I am just so happy with the result and really appreciate the time she spent working on my photo.  You can check out her post here to see the before and after AND how she did the touch-up.

What do you think?!?


Please take a moment to check out this talented photographer.  I love this picture of Dominic and I'm so happy with her edit.

:)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mingle Monday

Happy Mingle Monday!


mingle mondays button

Hi to everyone stopping by from KDbuggie Boutique.  Please leave your blog url so that I may follow you back :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

#76- Make ice cream from scratch

When I originally put #76 on my Day Zero project list I thought it would be much further off... because I don't have an ice cream maker.  However, I stumbled upon this post over at Kevin and Amanda.  It's a recipe for homemade ice cream that doesn't require a maker.  I'm all over that! 

I can't very well tell you that I made homemade ice cream that was super easy without giving you my recipe, can I?  This came out well.  It's not really like 'traditional' ice cream- it's super rich and thick.  It also probably has about a million calories per scoop so because of those reasons you really can't eat much in one sitting.  I actually thought that it made a really good milkshake when smashed together with milk.

I used:
- 1 pint of heavy whipping cream
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- mix-in: Hersey's Syrup



That's it! (I DO realize that there's a jar of fluff in this picture... I was going to use it but when I opened it there wasn't nearly as much left as I thought, so I just left it out all together)

Step 1: Whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form

Step 2: In a small bowl, mix the sweetened condensed milk and the vanilla

Step 3: Pour milk mixture into whipped cream.  Add the mix-in (Hersey's Syrup) now.  Fold mixture together.


Step 4: Place mixture into a sealed container and freeze overnight.  Enjoy!
(this picture was taken after only 3 hours in the freezer... someone was a little anxious to get to their ice cream)

Yum!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Recipe- Spicy Sausage with Rice

Here's a dinner we really enjoyed.  I didn't follow a recipe or anything, just used ingredients I had on hand and threw them together.  It came out great though and I'll be making it again for sure.

You'll need:
- 1 lb Italian sausage
- 3 ripe tomatoes
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 clove (or 1 tsp) minced garlic
- 2 chicken bullion cubes
- 1 cup water
- olive oil
- Salt and Pepper

Other options: green pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, onion

Step 1: Dice tomatoes and jalapenos (and any other vegetables you'd like). In a large skillet drizzle olive oil to lightly coat the bottom.  Turn burner on high.  Place sausages in the oil and then pour vegetables all around them.  Season with salt and pepper.

Step 2:  Turn sausages once while cooking.  I like to cut the sausages in half to make sure they're done.  In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of warm water with the bullion cubes to melt them.  Pour mixture over vegetable and sausage mix.  Turn burner down to low.  Simmer for an addition few minutes.

Step 3: Serve over rice.  I really like the Uncle Ben's Boil in Bag rice because it's super easy and already portioned out.  Enjoy!

Instagram @jesscarbone