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Stuttering Shell: September 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

it's ok thursday!

because it's been a while since i've done this {and i really should be doing it on the regular}, i am linking up with two lovelies, neely from a complete waste of makeup & amber from brunch with amber, for...

Its Ok Thursdays

it's ok...

that my followers via google friend connect seem to drop like flies every now & again. big deal.

that the stupid google friend connect box {found under the beachcombers label} isn't always present on my blog. where does it go? i have no stinkin' idea.

to be more motivated to clean the house than to do homework. 

that i'm too crazy, stupid nervous to substitute teach. i'm a weenie. {sub jobs are few & far between at the moment.}

to fight with your husband over stupid stuff every now & again. that yo-yo needs to check himself before he wrecks himself. 

to be super duper proud of your yo-yo husband {even though you are angry with him about stupid stuff} because he was accepted into {community} college.  this is the same guy who got his g.e.d. not even two weeks ago.

to dream about vacations we'll probably never take. well, not right now, at least. 

to have a {borderline crazy} thing for nail polish. are you a julep maven??

that no one read my list of seven things from a blog post yesterday. it's funny. i talked about poop.

to have the sadz because life doesn't always get the memo.

to enjoy driving a minivan...again.

that the grass in our front yard is tall enough for people to think we're trashy. if it would ever stop raining, then maybe adam would cut it. at least there's no car on cinder blocks in the yard, too. {ok, ok, the grass isn't that tall.}

to dream about a local coffee shop's midnight pumpkin latte because it is so much better than a well-known coffee chain's cult classic, the p.s.l.  of course, having said that, i think i need to ask that well-known coffee chain to make me a chocolate pumpkin it's on their secret menu, yo.

that i should be sitting in algebra class right now instead of typing this blog post. uh, oh!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

decluttering & organization - it's child's play.

i confess: i'm a pack rat. unfortunately, so are my children. take into consideration that we live in a small house and, well, clutter can spiral out of control and the next thing i know we look like we're living in an episode of hoarders.

okay, so it's really not that bad. but still.

we don't have a playroom. well, we did. but now it's more of a computer/craft/catch all space. {the intended use of the space should have been a formal dining room, but...} nowadays, i do my best to keep my children's clutter confined to their bedrooms.

remember, i said we live in a small house. very small.

despite my best efforts, i still find that my kids' toys, junk and other random items infiltrate my living room and even my kitchen. seriously, why are there lego men in my kitchen? why are there silly bandz all over the coffee table? do i really need a justin bieber cd next to the toaster?

here are ten of my strategies for keeping my children's rooms {you know, where they sleep, play, sulk...} in tip-top shape {otherwise known as decluttered & organized}:
  1. stay on top of things. okay, so this seems like a no-brainer and, yes, in a perfect world we would all be living in sparkling clean homes with no dust, no clutter, no mess. such is not the case. but, it is wise to keep on top of things. it's easy to "let it all go." once you do that, you've lost. sort of.
  2. get your kids involved. about once a month or so, the kids & i will go through their room - armed with garbage bags - and we decide what to keep, what to toss & what to donate. i did this last month in my son's room and wound up donating three garbage bags full of toys to one of our local shelters. three bags. and, by involving my son, it didn't feel like i was just throwing out his things. he actually decided what to keep & what to let go of.
  3. label, label, label. if it has a label on it, then there's no reason why it should be put away somewhere else. i've even gone so far as to label my children's dresser drawers. {because, let's face it moms, it's frustrating to see freshly cleaned & folded laundry end up in a pile in the corner of the bedroom.}
  4. two words: closetmaid cubes. okay, so maybe that's not what they are called, but you know what i'm talking about. those cubby things you can get at tar-jay. they require some assembly and you can buy colorful fabric bins to coordinate with your decor. they also come in various sizes. both of my children have the 9-cube organizers in their room. the fabric cubbies store everything from hot wheels, transformers and bakugan cards to nintendo ds games, cds and barbie doll clothes. i most recently purchased a mini cube organizer for each child's dresser. it's the perfect size for dvds. oh, and to conserve floor space {if your rooms are small} you can hang these bad boys on the wall {just remember to use brackets for extra strength}.  these cubes can be mounted to the wall {like dressers & bookshelves} for extra safety peace of mind, too.

  5. when in doubt, throw it out. this goes along with staying on top of things, but sometimes it IS easier to get into your kid's room while they're at school and give it a good cleaning yourself. i recently did this in my daughter's room. she's ten and she keeps everything. and, i mean everything. two trash bags later, she had a nicely organized, clutter-free room. {her closet, however, is a different story...i haven't gone there. yet.}
  6. storage, storage, storage!  take advantage of every last space available and use it wisely. in my daughter's room, all of her craft items are found under her bed. they are housed in two under the bed organizers that were originally intended for shoes. speaking of shoes, both children have shoe organizers hanging on the back of their bedroom doors. this keeps shoes off of the floor. shoe organizers are also great for storing smaller toys, craft items, etc. i also use colorful storage bins in their closets. this is a great way to hold stuffed animals, barbies and other fun things that you don't necessarily want strewn across the bed at all times.
  7. make the bed. whether it's your child's bed or a futon or daybed in the playroom, make sure it's made daily. a neat bed will make the messiest of rooms seem a little less chaotic.
  8. one new thing in, three old things out. so this principle goes along with getting your kids involved & the whole "when in doubt, throw it out" thing. for every new toy or fun item that is purchased, gifted, etc., your kiddo has to get rid of three things. seems fair, right? now, if only i could apply this principle to my own closet...
  9. have catch-all bins. the $1 of tar-jay is a great place to get cheap metal bins or buckets. you can personalize them with your child's name, too. keep it in the living room or wherever else you need it and use it as a way to corral your kiddo's things. then, make them take it to their room or playroom to put away.
  10. relax. there is no such thing as a perfect home. not in my opinion, at least, especially if you have children. 
so there you have it. my top ten tips for decluttering & organizing. it's not a perfect list, but it's a list that works for me.

what are some of your decluttering & orgazining tips?
share them with me!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hot Wheels® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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being versatile. it's an award, yo.

the very cute & sweet terri t. from sweet home alabama gifted me with this bloggy award a little more than a week ago. in true slacker style, i'm just now sharing it with you all. what can i say...grad school has me by the throat. {nevermind the fact that i'm also seriously lazy & quite the procrastinator!}

thank you, terri, for thinking of me!

here are the deets {a.k.a. rules} about this award:

1. thank the person who shared the award with you by linking back to them in your post.
2. pass this award to 15 recently discovered blogs & let them know that you included them in your blog post.
3. list 7 things about yourself.

um, yeah, about rule #2...i hate listing blogs. i don't like choosing which blogs are worthy of whatever list. IF you are reading this blog post {because, let's be honest folks, content here at stuttering shell has been getting dry & boring and i don't blame you for not reading or following...}, then i encourage you to take this award and run with it. seriously, y'all, it's for all of you.

now, onto my list of seven...

1. i love tofu. love it. i love edamame, too. but, i can't stomach soy milk. go figure.
2. i don't watch college football. sec. acc. huh? i'm not interested. {please don't hate!}
3. i have this thing about pooping in public. yes, i went there. and, i know i'm not the only person out there who can't stand the thought of dropping a deuce into a strange toilet. {if you talk about it, people will confess...}
4. i prefer beer over wine.
5. i am absolutely terrified about becoming a teacher {in my mid-30s}. ter-ri-fied.
6. sometimes {and i stress sometimes because it's not often} i wish i were single & childless. this is a terrible confession to make, but i think all mothers wish this at some point. trust me.
7. 90210 reruns are my crack. seriously.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

the family that plays together...

are you the outdoors-y type? what about your hubby? the kids?

do you make time to get outside together as a family?

if not, you should. why? because it's fun. but, not just that, it's healthy, too.

it should come as no surprise that my family LOVES to be outdoors. no matter the season or the weather {okay, okay, i draw the line sometimes} we try to get outside as much as possible.

it helps that we live minutes from the beach. during the warm summer months, we are always packing up the truck and headed out for a day of fun in the sun. sometimes, we'll even camp at the beach! we especially love to camp on hatteras island in north carolina. not only is it relaxing, but it's so educational, too, for the kids. but, even in the winter you can still find us on the beach. there's no better time to search for shells than after a nor'easter!

we also love to cook out & host backyard get-togethers. the adults play cornhole & horseshoes while the kids run through the yard chasing each other & the dogs.

we garden. we are constantly doing yard work. we take the dogs for walks on the beach or we run with them in the backyard. honestly? we feel like we're wasting a perfectly good day if we're cooped up indoors.

our children especially love to be outside. they are outside riding their bikes, playing football or catch, jumping rope or just having a good time every. single. day. i'm not kidding. even now that school has started, they are outside from the moment they finish their homework until it is time to eat dinner. i love that they are burning off some extra energy while getting some exercise & enjoying time with their friends.

the kids especially love it when their father is outside playing, too. he loves to help our son learn a new skateboarding trick or race our daughter. the amount of giggling & the smiles on their faces is simply precious.

we don’t just play outside, but we like to participate in events outdoors, too. whether it’s a family-friendly concert, a festival or a walk for a cause we support, we enjoy being together as a family doing something that we love. not only is the time together important, but the time spent together outdoors just further instills the importance of family for our children. these are moments we’ll never get to relive again, so why not make the best of it and get outdoors, right?

what kinds of things do you enjoy doing outdoors with your family? share them with me & while you're at it, why don't you make a pledge to play outside:

the fine print:
I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Clorox2® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

the one where i ramble on & on.

blogging. it's starting to feel like a chore & i don't like that. i know y'all know where i'm coming from with this. sometimes you just hit a dead end. or you just have nothing to write about. when in doubt? be random.

first of all, adam k-i-l-l-e-d the g.e.d. exam. seriously, he did. you need an overall average of 450 to pass. his overall average? 682. boom! he applied to our local community college last night. so, this spring, it looks like there will be two of us enrolled in college. it took my husband fifteen years to get to this point & i'm so proud that he did. and, it's good to know that there are people out there who are also proud of him, too!

speaking of school, i hate algebra. that is all. i'm still trying to get adam to do my homework for me. the man is a math whiz. i suppose that's a good thing considering he plans on pursuing a degree in engineering. they have to take some crazy math, yo.

i've been trying really hard to go to bed at a decent time. it helps that my usual late night ritual {a.k.a. watching reruns of the nanny} hasn't been happening. but, that's only because nickelodeon has been playing reruns of that 70's show. believe it or not, i only started watching a few weeks ago & i'm hooked.

i still love me some grandma yetta, though.

malia has an orthodontic consultation this week. her small mouth has no room for her teeth. she literally has teeth growing on top of teeth. she's nervous about the visit. so is my bank account.

something she's not nervous about? school. she's doing quite well & making lots of friends. i promised her a pair of toms if she makes straight a's on her first report card. i'm not sure why i bribed her offered an incentive...the child's been making straight a's since kindergarten. 

both kids have been taking muy thai kickboxing lessons two times a week. they love it. we're not members of the martial arts studio where they've been training, but i think we'll make it official in october. i love that it helps them learn a skill, build self-esteem & release some extra energy. 

we're getting a new {well, new to us} vehicle this weekend. my parents offered us their minivan. i said yes before discussing it with adam. we need a bigger vehicle. the altima i am currently driving used to be my mom's so we're swapping out cars. works for me!

i'm having a hard time styling my hair. really, i am. i'm not sure why. i mean, there's not much hair at all to style. speaking of hair, i should snap some photos of my bed head. it's crazy, y'all.

we've been dog-sitting my parents' shih tzu, no-no, for the last couple of weeks. she is old. old, nearly blind, arthritic {or she has to be}. she sleeps a lot. but, she's so sweet. and, i truly believe how we care for aging animals is a direct reflection of how we'll take care of our elders {but, don't worry, mom & dad, i won't block you in the kitchen with puppy pads on the floor when y'all get old...promise}. by the way? no-no is short for noel.

our pups love having no-no around. we joke that she's frisco's b.f.f. buxton, on the other hand, annoys the crap out of no-no. how could someone so cute be so annoying??

{sorry about the strategically placed hot pink paw print, but i didn't think you wanted to look at a wang & nuggets}

i'm thinking about giving up caffeine...again. or, maybe i'll just give up soda {mama loves coca-cola}. i don't know. 

as tight as we are living on one income {all the while paying down a mountain of bills}, i feel blessed that i can be at home while i tackle graduate school full-time. i also feel like our children have a better quality of life because of it. one day i'll muster up the courage to finally sub. in the late spring, i'm sure i'll be working temporarily for the same testing company that i did last year. but, for now, i'll keep stressing about our budget & count our blessings. 

and, maybe next week i'll try scheduling posts...again. 


Monday, September 19, 2011

peace out, thirty-three!

yesterday was my birthday.

my thirty-fourth birthday, to be exact.

another trip around the sun, another year wiser, another year closer to forty.

how was my special day?
it was pretty uneventful.
the kids fought.
i did laundry.
i watched some 90210 reruns. {it's an addiction, i tell ya!}

my husband went shopping for my present on my birthday. {that's nothing new. you should see him at christmas. yes, he's one of the many at the mall on christmas eve.}


i was spoiled.

the kids gifted me with not one, but two perry the platypus plush dolls {i love phineas & ferb, y'all}:

and, after dropping some major hints {thanks for calling adam, mom!}, adam gifted me with this:

{i've already exchanged the bracelet for a smaller size, but i think i need to exchange it again.
i'm pretty certain it's now too small. ugh.}

a pandora bracelet! i love the middle charm . . . it is a sea shell. you know, because shell is my nickname & i also love to collect shells. i can't wait to get more beads.

we don't eat out often, so i made a special request for dinner: linguine with clam sauce. here is adam's version of the dish:

it was so yummy! i had leftovers for lunch today.

and, i'm pretty sure you all know what also happened this weekend {if you follow me on twitter}. if not, here is a hint:

i absolutely adore my hair stylist & she squeezed me in for an appointment on saturday afternoon. she & i had a deal that i would grow my hair out until june rolled around. clearly, june came & went. but, i kept my promise.

this is what i looked like on my last day as a thirty-three year old:

my hair was l-o-n-g. well, long for me. it hasn't been that long since i was a sophomore in high school and that was, well, many, many years ago. if there is one thing to know about me & my hair, i don't mind doing something drastic. it's hair . . . it will grow back. except now it's going to take a while for my hair to grow out.

here is the new {thirty-four year old} me:

 {look at those crazies behind me!}

{ok, ok, so technically i'm still thirty-three in these pics.}

i went pixie, y'all. my husband's reaction? "oh, my god." he'll get over it. i mean, damn, we've been together a-l-m-o-s-t eighteen years, you would think he'd be used to my drastic hair cuts by now. i also colored it. mama needed to hide those grays {one day i'll gladly sport nature's highlights . . . just not right now}.

the kids {who went with me to my hair appointment} helped cut my hair, too. my stylist let them both cut a chunk of my hair. they were pretty stoked about that.

all in all, it was a good day. throw in the fact that the redskins won {like i really give a crap about football} and i would say it was a great day!

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Friday, September 16, 2011

it's friday! {a.k.a. let's be random}

best meatballs ever. i make them all the time. this dear friend does, too! i made them last week using ground turkey & almond milk and they were still ridiculously delicious.

oh, i added a "get cooking" tab at the top of my blog. it isn't the greatest list of food ideas, but at least you have everything that i've posted about {thus far} in one central location. go check it out, please.

i woke up in the middle of the night one day last week to let frisco out & got pretty spooked when i saw the biggest moth i've ever seen. it was still on our canopy in the morning. it was a good three inches long {i think}.

speaking of frisco, he jumped into the shower the other morning. i've never bathed with a dog before. it was bizarre. he's a nutty yo-yo, that dog!

speaking of yo-yo's...check out these two...

buxton's big day is october 2nd. not that y'all are keeping tabs on when my pup loses his nuggets or anything.

speaking of dogs, this is the best dog food ever. this sweet friend told me all about it. our boston terriers don't have any skin issues or hot spots now that they've been eating this food. coincidence? maybe. but, it's worth every last dime, in my opinion.

the weather is starting to cool down. at least i think it is. i'm hoping i'll be able to turn off the a.c. this weekend & open the window {even if it is supposed to rain all weekend}. of course, opening the windows means i'll have to clean out the window sills. hmm...maybe i'll just leave the a.c. on.

next weekend, we're packing up to visit these two very important people:

{george...a.k.a. dad}

{mee lee...a.k.a. mom}

i love having old photos of my parents around the house. i wish i had more. i'm going to have to raid my mother's photo stash at some point. malia thinks i look just like my mother in that picture. i'm not 100% convinced. i think i'm a pretty good mix of both of my parents.

{me & my sissy, monica}

school is school. my algebra class is kicking my butt. part of it is because i haven't taken a math course in so long. part of it is because my brain is slow when it comes to math. but, i think the main reason is because my professor just isn't up to least not what i'm used to. of course, anyone who says on the first day of class, "i don't really want to be teaching" {or something to that get the idea} is setting the class up for disaster, in my opinion.

hopefully, these lil' suckers will help me squeak by with a good grade in algebra:

smarties are my crack. kind of crazy considering i did not like them until about four months ago. i blame it on the temporary job i had earlier this year. i ate a lot of candy {read: smarties} all day long. coloring in scantron bubbles will make you do that.

as for this weekend?

tonight i'm having a girls night with some wonderful friends.

saturday is adam's big day. it's test day. he's going to rock that exam! saturday is a big day for me, too. i'm chopping my hair off. i'm torn between a bob & a pixie. so far, all votes are leaning towards pixie.

sunday is the big day. MY big day. i turn 34. that's six years closer to 40. sigh. but, you know what? i'm okay with this. i think.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

let's get poppin'.

cake pops.

they're a hot item. i blame bakerella. {seriously, though, i want to be bakerella.}

and, i suppose we can all channel our inner bakerella. {watch out, i might say bakerella again....bakerella, bakerella, bakerella...}

where was i? oh, yeah...cake pops.

whenever i talk about cake pops {or cake balls, too, for that matter} i'm always asked, "how do you make them?" there are a gazillion & one tutorials for cake pops on the internet, but i'll share with you my version. it's not fancy. it's actually kind of easy. but, i'll warn you now, it does take some practice. i'm definitely not at the level that bakerella is, but i can certainly scoop, roll & dip pretty darn well if i do say so myself.

  • first of all, decide on a flavor of cake & frosting. you could do this with scratch made everything, but let's be real here: store bought mix & frosting works well - very well - for cake pops. {it's all about the k.i.s.s. principle.}
  • bake the cake per the directions on the box. once the cake is baked, let it cool. {you can bake the cake the night before you make the pops if that is easier.}

 {why, yes, i jacked up the top of my cake. thanks for noticing!}
  • crumble the cooled cake into a bowl. you can do this by hand, but i prefer using a fork {or two}. if you do this by hand, make sure you take off any rings because your hands will get messy. oh, and be prepared to wash your hands...a lot.

  • once you have the cake completely crumbled, add the frosting. how much to add is up to you. i personally think that using a whole can of frosting is way too much, so i use no more than half of a can. just eyeball it and gauge how much frosting to use by how "gooey" you want your cake mix to be. {there was a "moist balls" joke in there, but i refrained.}
  • mix the crumbled cake & frosting mixture well.

  • now comes the fun part: scooping & shaping the cake balls! i own this pastry scoop & i love it. if you don't have a scoop, no worries! just make balls about 1" to 1.5" in diameter. you could go bigger, you could go smaller. just remember, you want it to be bite size {cake pops are usually eaten in about two bites}.
  • as i roll out the cake balls, i like to set them on a baking sheet.

  • if you were making cake balls, you would begin dipping them at this point. but, since we're making cake pops, there are a couple of extra steps to take...
  • in a small bowl, i melt a little bit of chocolate. this will help me get the lollipop stick to stay in the cake ball. simply dip the end of a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate & then insert into the cake ball.

  • once i get each stick inserted into a cake ball, i place my tray of "naked" cake pops into the freezer to chill for a bit. you don't want to leave them in there for too long because bad things can happen to frozen cake pops when you dip them {the coating will crack & the cake will "ooze" out of the crack}.

 {the cake pops look dark because i used the flash...sorry!}
  • as the "naked" cake pops are chilling, i like to make preparations for dipping. when i first started making cake balls & cake pops, i would only use almond bark for dipping. now, i use candy melts. it's so much easier to melt the candy in the microwave than it is to set up a double boiler and melt the almond bark on the stove. but, it's your preference.
  • keep in mind that the candy can get funky it spends too much time in the microwave.
  • also, i like to thin my melted candy with a little bit of veggie oil {or you could use crisco}. this also makes it glossy.

  • dipping is fun, but can be very frustrating. trust me. i've effed up plenty of cake balls & cake pops in the couple of years that i've been making them. word of advice: be patient.
  • i like to keep my dipping bowl on an angle, so i fold up the end of a pot holder. that seems to work well & allows me a nice pool of melted candy to dip the cake pops. as i dip a cake pop, i make sure that i get all the way around the cake pop {twist the pop as you dip}. you also want to make sure you get the bottom completely covered as well.
  • another good step is to get off any excess melted candy either by lightly swirling the cake pop over the bowl or gently tapping the cake pop on the side of the bowl or on your finger.

 {..."when i dip, you dip, we dip..."}
  • if you're not going to use any sprinkles to decorate your cake pop, place it immediately into a foam block to set up. i found my foam blocks {floral foam, y'all} at the dollar store.
  • if you are going to embellish with sprinkles or other fun stuff, do it now while the candy is still wet.
  • if you want to really go crazy, you could always melt another candy melt color & use a small squeeze bottle to make squiggles & other designs.
  • bottom line: have that foam block ready for dipped cake pops that need drying time. 

  • don't get frustrated if you see small cracks. that ish happens. besides, it's going to be eaten.
  • once your cake pops are finished, you can display them any way you wish. although it's a pain, i prefer to use small bags over each pop tied with a coordinating ribbon. it beats the heck of out trying to display them {which i haven't mastered the art of just yet}.

so there you have it. my version of how to make cake pops. it seems long & complicated, but the more you make them, the easier they become.

oh, and just so you know, a box of cake mix typically makes about 48 cake balls or cake pops {it depends on how big or small you make them}. for this tutorial, i only made twelve cake pops. because i made a small cake for the pops, i used the rest of the batter to make cupcakes...

any questions? just ask!

and, here are a few pictures of other cake pops i've made in the past...

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

m-m-m, m-m-m good!

my husband can whip up a delicious meal using the most random ingredients {think: chopped}. me? not so much. i'm not very creative when it comes to preparing meals. and, because of that, i love, love, love to follow recipes.

i have a thing for cookbooks. but, i also have a thing for recipes on labels. especially if they are soup can labels.

last night's dinner - beef & mushroom lasagna - came to me while pacing the aisles of target {sorry to disappoint, ladies, but there was not one single missoni item in my shopping cart...too zig zaggy!}. i have an undying love for campbell's cream of mushroom soup. i eat it. i cook with it...a lot. i picked up a can and, voila, there was my dinner inspiration!

beef & mushroom lasagna {the recipe - that i tweaked just a little bit - is from campbell's kitchen}:

1 can campbell's condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup milk {we only drink almond milk so i used 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk}
1 lb. ground beef
2 cups prego fresh mushroom italian sauce {because i couldn't find this particular sauce, i used a whole jar of ragu - really, any sauce you like would work - and sauteed chopped button mushrooms with my ground beef}
9 cooked lasagna noodles {you can boil these while you cook the ground beef}
1 cup shredded italian-blend or mozzarella cheese

here's what you do:
heat your oven to 400*f. stir soup & milk in a small bowl until smooth.

cook beef in skillet over medium-high heat until well browned, stirring often to separate meat. pour off fat. stir in sauce. {this is where i added a container of chopped button mushrooms since i couldn't find the mushroom sauce the recipe called for.}

layer half of the beef mixture, three noodles & one cup soup mixture in a two-quart shallow baking dish. top with three more noodles, remaining beef mixture, remaining three noodles & remaining soup mixture.

sprinkle with cheese & cover the baking dish. bake for 30 minutes or until hot. uncover the baking dish & place under the broiler for about two minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. {i broiled the dish on low for about three minutes or so. remember not to walk away while using your broiler!}

when finished baking & broiling, let the dish set for about ten minutes. {i didn't do that...whoops! we were hungry.}

slice, serve & enjoy!

this recipe makes six servings. nutritional information for this recipe can be found on the campbell's kitchen website.

this recipe was a hit with my family. this is also the second time this week that i cooked with cream of mushroom soup {we had beef stroganoff on sunday night}. if you don't like mushrooms {like my friend, rachel}, i'm sorry. if you do like mushrooms, but prefer not to use ground beef, i'm sure this would be great using ground turkey or even a vegetarian-friendly substitute!

oh, by the way, campbell's did not coerce or bribe me to write this post. i just love their soup...and the recipes that are found on each can's label. seriously, y'all, stock up your pantry with a few cans of cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of celery &'ll cook with them. i promise.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

are you ready for some...random thoughts on a thursday?

football starts tonight. well, officially, i guess. that preseason stuff is over. and, speaking of over, so is MY control of the television & desktop computer. with the hubs participating in 34290574396 fantasy football leagues, he totally bogarts most of our electronics from now until february. he's lucky i like bud light & his hot wings...that's the only reason i like football season.

his team?


speaking of football, i don't watch college football. don't hate me, please?

and, considering that grad school is in full swing & the fact that adam will be hogging {redskins pun? um, sure} the computer, i am currently searching for a new laptop to purchase. many folks have told me to buy a mac. but, apple doesn't offer the macbook any longer & i'm skeptical to a) buy a refurbished one and b) drop a huge chunk of change for any other mac. besides, i've always been a pc girl. it's time for me to replace my nearly seven year old compaq & i've got my eye on this:


it kind of looks like a macbook, no?

ugh. since we're talking about school, my algebra book showed up today. i'm still waiting on one of my education books to show up. i've been following the tracking. it started off in missouri. it wound up in kentucky. now, it's in maryland. who knows when it will show up on my doorstep. i suppose this is what i get for free shipping.

oh, and about algebra. um, yeah, i'm just hoping i pass with a "c." an "a" would be nice, but this old dog might have trouble learning some new mathematics-related tricks.

the kids are transitioning well to being back in school. today is the third day of school and they're already working on homework, reading charts, journals, etc. malia is a guidance helper and i think she's going to enjoy her new responsibility.

speaking of the kids, they're both taking muy thai kickboxing classes. yep, kickboxing. i just hope they both remember that i can still take them on...regardless. i'm the momma. 

i'm calling peta this week. why? someone needs the snip...

buxton is one day shy of being nine months old. it's time. in fact, it's kind of overdue. and, how does buxton feel about his {eventual} upcoming appointment?

{please, mom, stop talking about my nuggets.}

i've got a gazillion & one craft projects swirling through my head. and, once again, i've made a vow to myself that i will try to make as many holiday gifts as i possibly can. i say that every year. i never really follow through.

i'm praying for my friends in texas & all along the east coast. it's amazing that one part of our country is on fire and the other is water-logged. friends, stay safe, please. 

oh, i killed the biggest black widow spider the other day. it was on my front door. gross. gross. gross. i think we have a "family" of them living somewhere near the front door because i killed one walking across the floor in the same area last year. yuck.

i promised adam i wouldn't put out any fall decorations...yet. but, i'm thinking that's going to change...soon.

how is your thursday going? 


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

pillows of pumpkiny love.

or, how to undo your workout/diet in 10 easy steps.

really, y'all, if you like pumpkin, chocolate & easy-peasy baking all rolled into one, then this recipe is for you. i can't take credit for it. i owe my undying love for these pumpkin puff balls to the shabby princess. it's all her fault.

seriously, though. this is the perfect bite of comfort, especially once the weather gets a bit cooler, you need a quick snack or you're just feeling sorry for yourself & are craving something loaded with carbs & chocolate {totally my reason for baking them today}.

that's all you need. three ingredients: a box of spice cake mix, a can {15 ounces} of pumpkin - NOT the pie filling - and some chocolate chips. before you start, just preheat your oven to 350 degrees {i have a gas oven & this temperature seems to work best for me}.

combine your ingredients into a bowl. i don't measure the chocolate chips...i just dump. and, if you can't tell from the picture, i used a combination of milk chocolate morsels & semi-sweet morsels. some of the milk chocolate morsels melted so they clumped together...bonus! {for what it's worth, i prefer semi-sweet over milk chocolate any day.}

mix, mix, mix. stir, stir, stir. the pumpkin filling will work its magic with the cake mix. you don't need oil, butter, eggs, applesauce, sour cream, mayonnaise or anything thing else that you might put into a cake. really, you don't.

drop them onto ungreased baking sheets. you can use a tablespoon, but i use a cookie scoop. also, i don't flatten them. i leave them mounded. and, i apologize now for my dirty oven.

bake them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. your oven might require you to bake these little gems a bit longer. once baked, transfer them to a cooling rack. but, don't wait for them to cool. they are so damn good enjoyed warm & fresh from the oven.

seriously, they are gooey, moist & soft. oh, and don't be surprised if they disappear quickly. you really can't just east one.

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