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Stuttering Shell: February 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

thoughts on thursday.

  • traffic was bananas this morning!  i live just a few minutes from one of the many naval bases in our area.  operation solid curtain {or whatever they're calling it} is causing huge traffic backups.  good thing there's more than one way to get around this city. 
  • yesterday was my 9th wedding anniversary.  adam took a half-day off from work. the kids had early dismissal.  the four of us celebrated by having a low-key lunch at margie & ray's
  • i also spent $$$ on my car yesterday.  ugh.  but, i gotta keep my '01 nissan altima, emmy, running {jules named her!}.  she's purring like a kitten now.  i'm so glad i finally had my {dry rotted & cracked} alternator belt replaced...among other things.
  • we're getting a new boston terrier puppy this weekend.*  we pick him up on saturday.  he's red.  he was sired by the same dog as frisco.  his name will be buxton.
  • the flu visited our home.  thankfully, malia headed back to school yesterday after being sick since last thursday.
  • i have yet to take a sub job.  i'm still wondering how to make it work.  so far, it hasn't.
  • i ordered a pre-made blog design yesterday from designer blogs.  it should be loaded in a week.  if you check them out & decide to get something, please let them know i sent you.  thanks.
  • my sister will be in town next month.  i really cannot wait to see her.
  • i woke up this morning seriously thinking it was friday...only to be disappointed when i realized that it's really only just thursday.

* i hate to put this out there, but please spare me with the "you should have gone with a rescue" lecture.  my husband & i are going with what is best for our family.  while i appreciate the passion that some folks have about rescues, please be respectful of my decision.  i don't shove my opinions down your throat, so please don't shove your opinions down mine.  {for those that are curious, YES, i caught some flack on twitter because we decided NOT to go with a rescue.  to each, his own.  if you don't like it, then i kindly ask you to stop reading/following my blog.}


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

wordless wednesday: holy jalapeno!

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

the great american race.

boogity, boogity, boogity...let's go racin', boys! 
{yes, this girl loves the smell of burnin' rubber on a race track.}

today is the 53rd running of the daytona 500:  the great american race.
this year also marks the 10th anniversary of dale earnhardt's death.

i'll be watching.  so will adam.  we'll be rooting for #88, dale earnhardt, jr...he's our driver

i fell into nascar by accident.  well, not really by accident because it was more by default.  when you date {and eventually marry} someone who is into stock car racing, you learn to either love it or hate it -- i love it.
this is what we do on sundays {and a few saturday nights} now that the n.f.l. football season is over.
sometimes we make it to a race either in martinsville or richmond, but usually we're at home with the television volume cranked & a cold beer in our hand. 

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

knit goods.

at the rate i'm going, it will be summer before i ever {re}launch my etsy shop.  it seems like every time i sit down to concentrate on it something else comes up.  here lately, that 'something else' has either been grad school work or sick kiddos.  

but, i do have ten scarves ready.  the scarf pictured is one i'm currently working on.  i'm slightly obsessed with the seed stitch at the moment.  i'm also obsessed with the color - goldfish - which is such a great coral color perfect for spring!

if you are interested in a scarf, please let me know.
email me at michellechissler {at} gmail {dot} com and put SCARF in the subject line.
$25 is my asking price {it includes shipping}.  i have different colors & sizes available.  

hopefully, i'll have something online showcasing my {small} inventory by the end of the weekend.  

p.s. i'm also toying around with the idea of including glasswear, too, like handpainted ornaments, wine glasses & margarita glasses.  i also make hair lollies.  but, i'm worried that i will have too much of a hodge-podge for one shop.  we'll see what happens...

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Friday, February 18, 2011

snow day.

i broke out the flops yesterday & today.  
opi's cajun shrimp adorns my toes. 
 i've been driving with the sunroof open.  
our windows are open.  
and, yes, i've been wearing capris.  

we've had some amazing spring-like weather recently which makes it hard to believe that this was what it was like just a week ago:

dear mother nature,
please keep the warm temperatures and the bright sunshine.  you can keep the snow.
love, a girl yearning for spring

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Thursday, February 17, 2011


i'm sure you've seen the tweets, blog posts & emails about this exciting opportunity.  who doesn't want a chance to earn beautiful jewelry, cash & other prizes {did someone say ipad}??  although there isn't much information about bamboopink just yet {jewelry sales start in less than a month}, now is the time to sign up for this great opportunity.  the more registrations increases your chances of winning prizes!

you have until march 15th to sign up for free!  
why don't you join & help spread the word about bamboopink??

to join bamboopink & learn more, click here.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

winner, winner!

first of all, thank you to lis for allowing me to not only review a scentsy warmer, but host a giveaway as well!  remember, the winner will receive her choice of scentsy plug-in and scent bar.

my favorite plug-in...i have got to have it!

as promised, i chose the winner this morning with the help of my buddy,, and i'd like to send a big ole congratulations shout out to:

{check out her blog}

email me at michellechissler {at} gmail {dot} com and we'll go from there.  thank you to everyone who entered!!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011


my kids are not picky eaters.  well, unless you try to serve them frozen peas or brussel sprouts {this makes me sad}.  i take pride in the fact that my kids will try most anything once.  if they like it, they'll ask for it again.  in our home, you eat what is served to you or you go hungry.  but, i think a lot of what my kids eat is due to the fact that adam & i are not picky eaters ourselves.  in fact, we're very daring when it comes to food.  apparently, so are my kids.

here are just a few favorites that my kids - ages 7 & 9 - enjoy:

pho, more specifically chicken pho:

mochi with red bean paste: 

peking duck:


dan tat: 

okay, okay...everything pictured is some sort of asian treat and, yes, i grew up on all of this stuff so maybe that is why my kids like it, too, but here are some other things {in list form} that my kids love that might surprise you:
  • greek yogurt
  • blue crab {they can pick the hell out of some crabs}
  • clams
  • sauteed spinach {heavy on the garlic}
  • blue cheese dressing
  • prunes
  • fish of any kind
  • couscous
this certainly doesn't cover everything they love, but it does give you a good idea about how atypical their palates are compared to other 7 & 9 year olds.

do you have some quirky food favorites?  what about your kids {if you have any}?

psst...don't forget to enter my scentsy giveaway!

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Friday, February 11, 2011

best christmas gift ever.

i know, i know, valentine's day is monday so why am i talking about christmas?  

malia made this 'snowman' in school.  i think it's pretty damn awesome.  i especially love that it's made out of a brick.  y'all did know that adam is a bricklayer, right?

it currently sits on the hearth.  i don't think we'll ever use it for it's intended purpose - a doorstop - but, instead, we'll keep it on display year round because we're in love with our daughter's creativity and thoughtfulness.  it really was the best christmas gift ever.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

fricky frack.

because i'm slightly obsessed with, frisco, our boston terrier & i'm still trying to figure out my new camera:

{i used the flash for this picture.}

psst...don't forget to enter my scentsy giveaway!

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

{semi} wordless wednesday: ranunculus

in the spirit of budgeting, getting out of debt & saving money, i bought a new camera.  doesn't make a whole lot of sense, does it?  didn't think so.  but, i couldn't pass this camera up.  for those of you who know me well, you know i've been yearning for a fancier camera.  you probably also know where i bought it from {today's special value?  yes, please!}.  but, yeah, about that qvc thing...that's a whole 'nother blog topic.

anyways, about the camera.  it's in between a point & shoot and a's a 'tweener!  i haven't played around with the manual settings yet, but i'm really enjoying the auto setting.  i tested out the camera by taking pictures of the ranunculus clippings i bought last week while at trader joe's.

{i edited these pictures with adobe photoshop elements 8.0 &
i think the pictures look a little grainy.  it could just be me.}

my kodak point & shoot is nice, but it would not have taken these shots with such clarity.  my new camera isn't the fanciest camera out there.  the picture quality may not be the greatest.  i'm not very skilled when it comes to photography.  nor am i skilled when it comes to editing photography.  i'm still learning.  but, the main thing is:  i'm happy.

psst...don't forget to enter my scentsy giveaway!

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Monday, February 7, 2011

chicken bellagio.

we don't go out to eat very often, so it's a real treat when we do.  for christmas, we received a gift certificate for the cheesecake factory.  i can count on one hand the number of times i've eaten there.  yep, not often.

we used our gift certificate last month.  we enjoyed a great meal.  the kids loved bringing home a slice of cheesecake.  i, however, was completely smitten with my dish:  chicken bellagio.  the chicken bellagio was two crispy, thin cut chicken breasts served over a bed of pasta with a basil cream sauce.  a couple slices of prosciutto and peppery arugula topped the chicken.  it was divine.  it's not on the regular menu.  i'm guessing it's a special or seasonal thing.  regardless, it was good.  so good that i had to recreate it at home.

there are numerous recipes for chicken bellagio on the internet.  if you want to see a picture of what the cheesecake factory's version looks like, click here.

this is my version:

i swapped the chicken breast for chicken thighs {because that's what i had in the freezer}.  yes, that is pasta roni!  why not take a shortcut when you can, right?  and, since the store did not  have arugula, i substituted by using baby spinach.  the hardest part of recreating the recipe?  not eating all of the prosciutto while the chicken was cooking.  this recipe-recreate was a hit, especially with the kids, and will certainly be a part of our meal rotation.

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

it's that time, again.

a couple weekends ago we purchased seeds for our spring/summer garden.  we sprouted our own seeds last year and were quite successful, so we're very excited to do the same thing this year.  we added a few new vegetables and herbs - dill, green onions, rocket {a.k.a. arugula}, kaleidoscope carrots, chives & pickling cukes - and we planted a few seeds we kept from our garden from last year - okra, string beans, sugar snap peas & jalapenos.  of course we have the requisite hot peppers, tomatoes, bell peppers & squash.  our basil & cilantro will come back on it's own.  same with the pineapple sage.  our rosemary plant is just plain awesome.  and, i'm hoping our lil' fig tree will give us plenty of fruit this year.  we are also growing mammoth sunflowers again this year AND malia asked if she could sprout her own flowers so she's growing marigolds, zinnias and cosmos.

all of the seeds have been planted & our kitchen table has turned into a make-shift greenhouse.  hopefully, in a few more weeks we'll have little seedlings.  we hope to get our garden planted by april {maybe sooner if punxsutawney phil was right}.  if last year was any indicator of our success, we should have a very bountiful harvest this year!

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

the weekend schedule.

aidan came up with his very own weekend schedule.  i'm not sure why he 'penciled in' a nap because he hasn't taken a nap in years.  oh, and, don't let the 7:30 time slot fool you...that happens at all hours of the day.

{this is my picture. steal it & i will cut you.}

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Friday, February 4, 2011


sometime last month i decided to make my own croutons.  i don't know why i never made them before because homemade croutons are ridiculously delicious, budget friendly & super easy to make.  it's a great way to use up a loaf of bread - stale or not.

really, think about it.  a loaf of french bread or a baguette costs next to nothing at the grocery store.  all of the other ingredients you'll need - olive oil, salt, pepper, parmesan, dried basil or oregano - you will have at home.  how much does a bag or box of store-bought croutons cost?  anywhere between $2 & $3, right...maybe more.  well, for less than $2 you will have bread for your meal AND croutons to toss in a salad {this is based on a family of four}.  trust.

{this was part of a baguette from trader joe's. the baguette was only $1.79.}

{after tossing the bread in olive oil, salt, pepper, dried basil & parmesan cheese, i spread it out on a baking sheet & baked it in a 350* oven for about 10-15 minutes.  just keep an eye on it.}

{while the croutons were baking, i cut & washed some romaine lettuce.}

{voila! a yummy caesar salad topped with homemade croutons. delicious!}

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

happy new year, again.

happy {lunar} new year.  

it's the year of the rabbit.

it's been said that the year of the {golden} rabbit is all about calming your nerves, catching your breath & focusing on a peaceful lifestyle.

i'm looking forward to the new year.
hopefully, it really does signify a new beginning for my family.

{the pictures are from here & here}

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011



i was recently asked by my friend, lis, to review a scentsy warmer & scent bar.  i immediately said yes!  i was given the margot warmer.  it was january's warmer of the month.  let me tell you, it is gorgeous!

a description of the margot warmer from the scentsy website:
a shimmering metallic reactive-glaze finish and exquisitely embossed details punctuated by creamy faux pearls create a feeling of romance 

the picture does not do the warmer justice.  it's very chic.  very classic.  it goes well with any decor, too.  of course, the warmer is useless without a scent brick to melt in it, right?  i was given the scent "my wish" which was january's scent of the month.

a description of the "my wish" scent bar from the scentsy website:
a confection of earthy fig, sweet violet, and playful marshmallow will have you wishing for more

i was a bit skeptical about the scent at first.  lis said it reminded her of the way conversation hearts smelled.  it reminded me more of necco wafers {which i can't stand}.  but, i'm open-minded and i knew that the scent could smell different once it was melted {candles are like that, ya know}.  and, smell did!  don't let the lavender color of the scent bar fool you...that's just for show.  i only used two cubes of the scent bar {it comes 'pre-scored' into eight small cubes} which gives off the perfect amount of a sweet, subtle aroma.  to me, it makes my house smell like valentine's day.  we had friends over last weekend and he thought i had baked something...wrong!  it was the scentsy warmer that he was smelling!

scentsy products are great.  i like that the warmers do not use an open flame to generate heat.  instead, you're simply using a light bulb {that's included} to melt the wax.  the full-size warmers have a convenient on/off switch on the cord, too.  the warmers are portable and the variety of warmers that scentsy offers seems endless.  there are also plug-in warmers available if you'd like to use a scentsy product in a smaller space like the bathroom.  perhaps the most difficult scentsy decision to make is which scent bar you'll choose -- there's so much to choose from!  and, the scent bars last quite a'll be surprised at how much fragrance you'll get out of just two little cubes.  and, don't worry about the wax...if it spills, it won't burn you and it's easy to clean up!  and, don't just think that all scentsy offers are warmers & scent bars.  no, you can also purchase {just to name a few}: scentsy buddies, room sprays, travel tins & fragrance foam.

how would you like to win something from scentsy?

lis is graciously offering one lucky person a plug-in AND a scent bar - you choose the design and scent.
to see the different plug-in choices, click here.

to see the different scent bar choices, click here.

the rules are quite simple, but please leave a separate comment for each entry:
this giveaway is open to u.s. residents only.  

you have until 11:59pm e.s.t. on february 9th to enter.  the winner will be announced on thursday, february 10th.  due to a google reader glitch {there's no better feeling than knowing your blog posts aren't showing up at all...grr...} i am keeping this giveaway open until monday, february 14th.  the winner will be announced on tuesday, february 15th!!

disclaimer:  all thoughts expressed in this product review are my own.  i was compensated by being given a warmer & scent bar to review.  

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