Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Summary of Our 2008 . . . .

Instead of sending out a Christmas letter this year, I decided that I would actually take the time to update my blog with the highlights of our year. Of course, we started out 2008 in Connecticut. This was our second year there and although it is a beautiful state, it sure does get cold!

Grant and Sydney enjoyed taking skiing and snowboarding lessons at the beginning of the year at a ski resort only 15 minutes from our home in Connecticut. Although Luke would have loved to do the same, he was still to young for the lessons which they took. Grant played basketball with a school team for the first time. He LOVED playing basketball even though he has lots of learning to do. Grant and Sydney were both involved with the student council at their 100 student school (K-6th grade). Sydney participated in girl scouts as well as karate.

After finishing up their school year in June, we drove all the way from Connecticut to Myrtle Beach, SC to meet my dad and stepmom, my brother and his 6 year old daughter, and my sister, her husband and their almost two year old son. Talk about a drive which we never wanted to do again! Our trip was a week long and my main objective was to have family pictures taken on the beach. I have always loved the ocean and it's where I feel closest to God. There is something so powerful and peaceful about seeing how far the ocean spreads and listening to the crashing waves. So . . . my dream came true and we had some pictures taken at Myrtle Beach by Kara Stovall. I really liked the way most of them turned out, although I regret not having certain others taken during this time.
Not long after we got back from Myrtle Beach, I went to the Uppercase Living convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was great getting the sneak peak into all of the positive changes which were taking place with Uppercase Living. It was fun getting to meet several demonstrators whom I had only had contact with online!The biggest news of this year is that we made a major move from Connecticut to Tennessee, my home state. Yippee!! Of course, we were sad to leave all of our new friends in Connecticut, but we are so happy to be back in the south. Brad is loving his job here in Tennessee. He especially loves the fact that he is only ten minutes from work. The kids have started making friends and have already found extracurricular activies to be involved in. Grant is playing basketball again through the church we have joined, Sydney is on the spirit squad at school and Luke will be starting Upward basketball soon as well. the kids have all adjusted really well and seem to be doing great in their new schools. As for me, I have been busier in the last three months than I was for the entire two years we were in Connecticut. Shortly after moving here, God blessed me with a wonderful Christian friend who shares many of my thoughts and beliefs. Since then, I have met several other wonderful ladies and have started developing relationships with them. I have joined a local recreation center and exercise three to four times a week. I really enjoy the aerobics, the spin (cycling) classes and even Zumba. I have been able to get involved with a Bunco group and have started studying Moses in Bible Study Fellowship. I have even gone on a scrapbooking retreat. So . . . as you can see, I've been really busy -- but I'm loving it!

Most recently, we got Grant his "own" dog. JoJo is a black miniature schnauzer and has really won all of our hearts. JoJo is as sweet as she can be but she can be quite vocal and energetic, of course. Bandit, our nine year old shih-tzu has finally started to tolerate her and I think they will eventually be friends. Right now, however, it is like a little kid wanting to play with a cranky old man.

Unfortunately, we also had to say a sad goodbye to Sydney's little guinea pig, Coconut. Coconut had come into our lives back in January along with Luke's guinea pig, Lizzy. Coconut developed an upper respiratory infection shortly after we moved here and although we had tried to fight it with antibiotics, she only went downhill. When we discovered that she had pneumonia and it would be unlikely that she would recover, we made the tough decision to have her put down. Sydney, of course, was extremely brokenhearted and decided to get a new guinea pig whom she named Peekaboo. Peekaboo is only two months old and is a very vocal little friend for Sydney.

Our family spent Thanksgiving with Brad's family and we are looking forward to seeing my family during the Christmas holidays. We feel so blessed to have such a wonderful family, good health, a nice home and so many friends. We look forward to the year 2009 and all it holds in store for us!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting ready for Thanksgiving . . .

I love being a stay at home mom! Today, I was able to go spend the morning with Luke and his first grade classmates. They were celebrating with Thanksgiving festivities. The kids rotated between classrooms learning how to weave, making "pumpkin pie" with vanilla pudding, pumpkin in a can, graham crackers and whipped cream, making Native American drums, using Native American symbols on writing, etc. The kids had a great time and learned a lot about Pilgrims and the first Native Americans. This is a picture of my little pilgrim.

Friday, November 14, 2008

We have a new puppy!

Although we have an 8 year old shih-tzu, the kids claim he is mine. Bandit follows me around everywhere and seems to only obey me. Sydney and Luke had acquired new guinea pigs (Coconut and Lizzie) earlier this year and have thoroughly enjoyed them. They are by far some of the easiest pets we've ever had. Of course, Grant has been asking for "his own" pet for some time now as well. We finally broke this past weekend and purchased a solid black miniature schnauzer after getting good reviews from both my aunt and several websites. The new puppy's name is Jo-Jo (she received her name from both my sister and my mother's middle names LOL) and she has been a joy thus far. Only three small accidents in the house (and it was really our own faults). These dogs are supposed to be some of the easiest to housebreak and I'm impressed already. They also do not shed which was another plus in our minds. Here is a picture of Jo-Jo and Grant.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Uppercase Living now has online ordering!

I was so excited to find out that Sr. Demonstrators and above now have the option of having a premier website (instead of the basic website) which allows online ordering! This will make it so much easier for all of my out of town customers, friends and family to place their orders. With computer technology these days, it makes it really simple to have the option of shopping online. So if you are reading my blog and would like to check out the NEW and improved online Uppercase Living catalog, go to and then to PRODUCTS. You can even play with changing the color of the vinyl expressions after they are enlarged on your computer screen. You can even put in your wall color to see how the expression would look on that color of wall. Oh, so cool! Uppercase Living can help enhance the walls of your home or even add fun to making craft projects. You can view several photographs of finished product on my website as well. Go to ABOUT ME and then you will see the option of viewing my photos. And it's all sooooo affordable!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Have you heard of BzzAgent?

Have I told you about BzzAgent yet? I'm a member, and I thought you might like to be one too (joining is free). I get to try products and services at no cost with samples, coupons and stuff like that. Then I make my voice heard by sharing my honest opinions with others, including some of the largest companies in the world. Want to learn more and sign up to join in the fun? Just let me know and I'll send you an invite!

As a BzzAgent, you'll get to:

Discover and try new products and services (often for free)
Spread sincere word of mouth about them
Have your opinions influence some of the biggest companies and brands around

If you'd like to receive those benefits, become an Agent today. Don't worry, BzzAgent respects its members' privacy and won't share your personal information or spam you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Invisible Woman

As I have been feeling very overwhelmed by the task of moving three times in three years (YES, I am almost an expert at this) and feeling like I'm in the "background" of everything around me, a good friend of mine emailed this clip to me this morning. So inspiring and motivating! And what perfect timing. We all need to be reminded of this story quite often.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

On the move . . .

We were supposed to meet at a friend's house for dinner this past Thursday before our big move from Connecticut to Tennessee. When we arrived a few minutes late on Thursday, we were welcomed by a group of neighbor friends at a surprise party for us! We were so thrilled! What a happy ending to a wonderful two years in Connecticut! Thanks to all of our neighbor friends for going out of your way to make this such a special evening.

Moving day arrived yesterday, August 30th. We flew out of Hartford to our new home destination in Tennessee. I must say that the hotel room has been rather cramped with three kids, a dog, two guinea pigs and Brad and me. Not a way that I would desire to live on a day to day basis. However, I am grateful for the fact that we will only be here for about a week while we wait on our house closing date to arrive this coming Friday.

We could definitely be in worse circumstances. There are a ton of evacuees from Hurricane Gustav in the Memphis area right now. People have been checking in to hotels around here all day today and I really feel for them. I would much rather be in our situation than in this terrible situation. Not knowing whether you would even have a home tomorrow would be very disconcerting.

Today was not a wasted day as we visited Bellevue Baptist Church, which we have been told is the largest Southern Baptist Church in the nation. The kids really enjoyed it and it was not quite as overwhelming as we thought it would be. We may be going back for another visit in the future.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Moving Fun!

It's amazing to me how fast the days fly by when you are in the midst of moving chaos! It seems like just yesterday when I found out we'd be relocating again. Here's how we've been spending our time lately.

I had my last Uppercase Living open house this past Thursday. I'm hoping that since we will be in a bigger city, I won't be driving an hour to two hours to do home shows. I'm now trying to get two shows closed before it really gets hectic.

Brad and I flew down to Memphis to go househunting this past weekend. We left the kids with two different sitters. Of course, we always joke that we have to move around every few years because it's the only time we get a weekend away! Ya know, most couples go to Bermuda or to an exotic destination. We, on the other hand, go to look for a house! Anyway, we successfully located a home and made an offer in one weekend. Seems like everything will go smoothly. Now, we are hoping that our own house will sell in a short amount of time.

When we got back from our trip, we had to schedule our new carpet to be put in the upstairs of our house. I felt that I was already moving. Furniture was taken apart and moved to different areas, bookshelves were cleared, etc. Then I had to spend the next day (yesterday) putting the entire upstairs back together. Today will be spent recleaning the entire house so that it will be "show worthy" and getting our house contract sent to the kids' new schools. Our moving date has been arranged, our flights have been booked and now the time is ticking. I hope that I have served God's purpose while being here for such a short time in Connecticut. I know that I've made several friends who I will hate to leave. But I'm really looking forward to going "home" to Tennessee!

Check out my favorite moving site at

Friday, August 1, 2008

How God works . . .

I haven't posted a lot lately because our family has been in a "transitional thinking phase". Brad has accepted a position at a different hospital in Tennessee. Of course, we are so excited to be going back "home" but now the chaos starts. We have just a few weeks to plan our move, find a place to live, register the kids for school, etc. I've had a very sleepless night. I'm not usually up so early, but I haven't been able to fall back to sleep since 4:30 this morning. My mind keeps going over and over everything there is to do.

We know that this is definitely a God thing. I have been praying for some time that we would be able to move back down south -- and closer to family. Nothing against the northeast, but it's . . . different. Back in January/February when I was praying about this, I kept having the very definite thought of "July". I told Brad about it and that I strongly felt that God was trying to tell me that Brad would have a new job in July. Of course, we never know where that will lead but God has always blessed us through our moves in the past so although the human side of us is scared of the "new", we trust that God will always provide and place us where he wants us to be during that period of our life. So . . . even back in May, I reminded Brad that I felt with certainty that he would find a job in July. Around the same time, Brad was coming home from work one evening and was thinking about the stress of selling our home in a bad economy if a job should come along. He had the thought, "Don't worry about your house. It is taken care of." He later told me how that it was so strong of a thought, he knew it must be a God thing.

So all this to say . . . Brad accepted this job in July and our house will be taken care of by the company if it is not sold within six months. I'm overwhelmed with the feeling of graciousness. I can't say that I always feel that God is speaking to me but once again, His goodness never fails! I feel so unworthy and undeserving of such love, but I'm reminded once again of God's grace, His presence and His unfailing faithfulness.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Catching Up!

Wow! I feel that I am just now coming up for air since the summer started. Convention was a blast and I loved Minneapolis! Next year, convention will be held in Anaheim, California so I'm already looking forward to that. My FAVORITE part of convention is when they announced that demonstrators will be getting our own FREE websites as of the first part of August! I can't wait until customers no longer have to use my demonstrator number and token to log in to view the catalog. I will have my own URL! The NEW Fall/Winter Catalog is awesome -- tons of fun "off the wall" projects. I have about four shows scheduled in the next few weeks. Summer has been a little slow because of busy schedules, etc. so at this point, I don't think that I will be earning enough points to go on the cruise. BUT there's always next year!

The kids had a wonderful time at camp and came home with lots of stinky clothes that needed to be washed. Fun! So we are all readjusting to life without trips and constant activity. Today we will spend the day at our little town beach in hopes of not getting sunburnt.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I'm off to the Uppercase Living Convention!!

I'm so excited! Tomorrow morning, I leave for the Uppercase Living convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I didn't attend last year since I had just started with Uppercase Living a couple of months prior to the convention. I'm hoping this will boost my business even more and that it will be a fun and rewarding experience. Can't wait to meet all the ladies I've become cyber friends with over the last year in my Uppercase Living Yahoo group!

Because Brad has to continue to work, we had to find places for the kids to go this week. We dropped Grant and Sydney off earlier today at their first sleepover week long camp! It's at a small Bible camp which is located just 20 minutes from us and they were very excited. A little wierd for mom and dad though. Luke is going to be attending a day camp at a nature center within 20 minutes of us every day. The kids are definitely growing up!

Well, I'm off to continue packing and getting ready for my trip. I hate flying and I'm sure I will be a bundle of nerves tomorrow. Just hope that all of my flights are on time and there isn't too much turbulence!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Review of MagiQuest in Myrtle Beach

We traveled to Myrtle Beach on June 20th for a week long trip. Yes, we drove all the way from Connecticut to Myrtle Beach!!! What was supposed to be a 13 1/2 hour drive turned into a 20 hour drive because of traffic, traffic, and a few stops here and there. I'm sorry, but you can't convince me that everyone is "hurting" because of gas prices. In fact, we decided that pretty much everyone must have been at Myrtle Beach because it was so busy.

The highlight of our beach trip was MagiQuest! Not sure who loved it more -- Brad or the kids. We spent many hours here. After choosing a wand (some are more expensive than others), you then have the option of choosing and customizing your own wand topper. Luke's was a dragon, Sydney's was a unicorn and Grant . . . hmmmm, I'm not sure what his was supposed to be. The wands are then programmed to gather information when they are pointed toward certain objects on your quest. We initially purchased 90 minutes of play time. You walk into a huge area and get to choose your "quests" from a screen. Then you have to follow clues to finding items to fulfill your quest. When items are found and the wand is pointed at the object needed, the object lights up. Once those items are gathered, you report back to the "screen". This reminded us of an interactive computer game in which you are gathering objects and advancing in levels. The only difference is that with MagiQuest you are walking and exercising. Very fun! There were a few frustrating times when the item would not recognize the wand or when the item was not properly "gathered". We would report back to the "screen" to find out that we never got the item. All in all, however, it was a really fun and rewarding type of entertainment. I was an observer, but Brad played right along with the kids and they all had a wonderful time. Now . . . next time we go to MagiQuest, the computer will have stored all information regarding the completed quests. There are also "Adventures", "Duels", etc. This will definitely be an ongoing event to look forward to in the future.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lyme Disease has hit!

Our daughter, Sydney, complained of a headache for several days last week. She NEVER complains of having a headache. Then on Friday she woke up with a stiff and sore neck. I took her to the doctor who then tested her for strep throat. The test came back negative. Our final step was to take her to have blood drawn.

We were informed yesterday that she has Lyme Disease -- all this before going on vacation!! Lyme Disease is almost like a common cold where we live, but I thought that perhaps we could avoid this terrible illness while living here. So she will be on a 28 day course of Ceftin. It's all we can do to get her to choke this medicine down. She really, REALLY hates it but has trouble swallowing pills.

Our younger son, Luke, had Ehrlichiosis in November this past year and was also treated for Lyme -- just in case. So it seems that we will have first hand experience with what ticks can do!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

We have more birds!

Our previous birds from the bird's nest on my front door wreath died several weeks ago. We think that it got too cold for them one night and that the mother was not there keeping them warm.

However, we have three bird's nests underneath our deck. During a recent wind and thunderstorm, one of the nests must have blown down with the baby birds inside. There had been four birds but we only found two birds on the ground this past Saturday. After doing a little research, we found out that we could gently pick the baby birds up and place them back in a nest. So we used one of the empty nests under the deck to place the baby birds in. Looks like their mother has returned and is still taking care of them. This is a picture of what they were doing after we put them back in the nest. I think they thought we were going to feed them too!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Uppercase Living Father's Day Project Party

Well, I recently reached one of my goals after being with Uppercase Living for only 14 months. I just promoted to Director on June 1st! Woo hoo! I have an awesome team of ladies -- 14 in my downline and 21 ladies overall. Can't wait until convention in Minneapolis. It's coming up July 7th-10th!

I recently tried a Project Party at my home and it went really well. We used one of my favorite Uppercase Living expressions, "Any Man Can Be a Father, but it Takes Someone Special To Be a Dad" to make this great gift for our husbands. My childrens' pictures hang from this particular piece. We had lots of fun and I must say that the finished result is wonderful!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Exciting Uppercase Living Announcements!

The Summer Splash Incentive is going to be great! Hostesses receive triple-up rewards instead of double-up rewards. So basically any purchases that the hostess has made from me in the past 6 months will be tripled in total and added to their own open house. If someone has purchased $125 from me recently, she gets to add $375to her own Open House total!

Also, anyone who enrolls as a new demonstrator between now and July 31 gets either $25 off the Essentials Starter Kit or $50 off the Essentials Plus Starter Kit. AND these new demonstrators receive a $10 bonus commission for every $100 in personal sales which are submitted during this time.

Uppercase Living is really a wonderful company to be a part of right now! If you happen to be reading my blog and like what you see with the business opportunity information, now is the time to enroll! Don't forget to type in my Demonstrator ID: 469594 and token: WAHM when you enroll!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Uppercase Living goals!

Well, I'm not quite giving up yet. I am a little over half way to earning the Uppercase Living incentive trip -- with many more potential points this month and next. I still have until August 31st to earn the Uppercase Living incentive cruise. However, I'm just not sure I want to spend my entire summer doing 20 more shows (LOL).

I am, however, just one step away from promoting to Director!! One of my downline ladies needs just one more person on her team in order to promote to a Senior Demonstrator. This will give me two Senior Demonstrators on my team which will help with my own promotion. I'm hoping to meet this goal by the end of May in order to attend the Leader dinner at convention this summer! Woo-hoo!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Snake Birthday Cake!

Luke is turning 6 years old tomorrow and I can't believe it! We are having his party at an animal conservation center and the theme is "Turtles and Snakes, Oh My!" So I decided to dig down deep and find my creative side. I actually saw the instructions to this cake on the internet. I made a white bakery cake and then a buttercream frosting. Most everything in this cake (with the exception of the red frosting) is all natural so that Sydney can enjoy it too. I used all natural food colorings for the yellow and the gray, shaped a Starburst for the tongue and chocolate chips for the eyes. It turned out pretty cute if I must say so myself!

School program

The kids were in a school musical program last night and I was able to get a few shots of them together. This one turned out really cute!

The birds have hatched

About a week ago, we found two brand new baby birds in their nest. So far, the other two eggs have not hatched, but we so enjoy looking in on God's little creations every morning. Here is the best picture I have right now.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Birds in my wreath

Well, it looks as if we might have company. I opened my front door about two weeks ago only to discover a birds nest on my wreath. Not wanting to disturb it, I left it alone. The nest went from one egg to three. The kids are really enjoying peeking at it every day to see if the baby birds have hatched. Hasn't happened yet. We think it is a sparrow's nest because the momma bird looks like a sparrow when she quickly flies away when we open the door.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Uppercase Living expressions on canvas

Here is an example of an Uppercase Living expression on canvas.  I first painted the canvas with a gold shimmery latex paint.  I had ordered TWO expressions from Uppercase Living (one brown, one burgandy).  I then separated the pieces to mix them up on the canvases, carefully measured and applied.  They turned out beautiful!  I then added a burgandy ribbon around the edges of the canvas.

Wow! I'm so behind!

I really need to get better at this, but we have been out of town off and on for the past week. Our kids were on spring break and we traveled to Nashville, TN to visit a couple whom my husband and I have been close friends with since college. It was great to see them and their family. We also got to do a little site seeing in Nashville. We visited the state capitol and the Bicentinnial State Park. We took the kids to the Parthenon replica as well. I'm posting a few of our pictures from trip. The funny thing (or not so funny thing) is that the cold weather followed us from the north to the south and we were walking around in 45 degree weather! Thankfully, since we arrived home, the weather has been beautiful and we are thoroughly enjoying the sunshine!

We were home for two days and then I had three Uppercase Living shows in Massachusetts! We traveled as a family to Springfield, MA where we visited the Springfield Science Museum. One of the highlights was visiting the Dr. Seuss National Memorial (Dr. Seuss was born in Springfield). The kids really enjoyed this leg of our trip but we are all very happy to be home.

So . . . I am in the midst of closing four shows and have two more coming up this weekend!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Friday, April 4, 2008


So . . . for all of you busy mothers (and dads) out there who find 5 pm dinner time sneaking up on you, I have discovered E-Mealz! It costs $1.25 a week ($15 for 3 months). I will have someone actually planning my dinners for me AND my actual grocery list as well! I'm really excited about this and hope that it will simplify my life. The nice thing about it is that there is very little to no repetition on the dinners, which means that my family and I aren't going to tire of the same thing over and over and . . . . well, you get the point. Anyway, check out the link below!


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My first completed knitting project!

A couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to learn knitting. I'd like to learn how to crochet as well. So I finally took the plunge on March 11 and took a wonderful one hour class with Lisa, my teacher, at a yarn store nearby. So . . . I've been slowly working on my little hat project for the past few weeks and went in today to learn how to finish it off. Here is a picture of my first project. The hat will be a gift for my 20 month old nephew, Ethan. Kelli, you need to start talking to Ethan now about keeping hats on his head so he can proudly show it off!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Oh, the Love of a Guinea Pig

My 9 year old daughter is in love with her guinea pig. She and my 5 year old son acquired these cuddly creatures a few weeks ago. Sydney had been begging for a pet for a couple of years. We already have a shih-tzu. However, she has wanted something to call her own. We had delayed getting an additional pet for as long as possible I think. After doing a lot of research on hamsters versus guinea pigs, we decided that a guinea pig would be more of what she is wanting in a pet -- soft, cuddly, small, doesn't run away from you, not vicious. Anyway, Coconut is her guinea pig and Luke has a guinea pig named Lizzie. The two little ladies live in a cage which we made from a design we saw on The cage stays in Sydney's room and she is responsible for cleaning it out and keeping the area clean. I think she would live in the "pig pen" herself if we'd allow her to. Here is a picture I took yesterday of Sydney and Coconut. It was taken with my new camera! I finally decided on the Canon S5 IS because it isn't so complicated that I can't figure it out. Yet it is the closest to an SLR camera I can find.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thinking Back on Easter

Easter was not our typical Easter this year. It didn't even feel like Easter. First of all, it is too COLD in the northeast to FEEL like an Easter holiday! Grant (our 11 year old son) was in a big Easter production on Saturday and Sunday at the church we've been attending. He had one of the main roles in a song. Well, lo and behold, who wakes up vomiting on Saturday morning? At first I thought that this stomach virus would move in and out quickly. However, he was still sick in the early afternoon. Not wanting to spread such a terrible thing to anyone else, I called the people in charge to let them know of the circumstances and to forewarn them that Grant may not be able to attend. Thankfully, prayers went up from us and the people at church and by 2:00 or 2:30 that afternoon, Grant was starting to feel better. Although he was late for the rehearsal before the performance, poor Grant finally made it in -- weary but alive. God is a great God and answered our prayers! Grant ended up doing well during all three performances and is finally starting to perk up this morning. The Easter production was really awesome and I'm glad that he got to take part in such a ministry.

Sunday evening we spontaneously arranged an after dark Easter egg hunt for our kids and a few neighbor friends. I think it was a big hit and we will probably be doing it again next year. The kids had flashlights and even though we didn't wait until pitch dark, it was fun for them to look for the eggs in the "almost" dark circumstances.

We didn't color eggs this year because of our busy schedule and we didn't even make our traditional Resurrection Rolls. Maybe next year . . .

Resurrection Rolls

1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
8 large marshmallows
Melted butter

Give each child one triangle shaped section of crescent roll. This represents the tomb.
Each child takes one marshmallow which represents the body of Christ.
Dip the marshmallow in the butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture. This represents the oils and spices the body was anointed with upon burial.
Lay the marshmallow on the dough and carefully wrap it around the marshmallow.
Make sure all seams are pinched together well. (Otherwise the marshmallow will "ooze" out of the seams)
Bake according to package directions.
Break open the tomb and the body of Christ is no longer there!!
Celebrate God's love!

Friday, March 21, 2008

A healthy dose of spinach and blueberries in pancakes

One of my exciting finds in the past few months is "The Sneaky Chef" cookbook by Missy Chase Lapine. I also own "Deceptively Delicious" by Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry Seinfeld's wife). My kids have no idea what I sneak into their foods these days. Although my middle child will eat just about anything you give her, my two boys have never been as accepting of vegetables. So I turned to The Sneaky Chef for a little bit of help. The basic concept is to spend a little bit of time each week pureeing foods which you will later put into your main recipe.

One of the purees which I seem to use up quite quickly is the PURPLE PUREE. Basically, you take 3 cups of raw baby spinach leaves, wash them up and boil them in a medium pot. I make sure and cram my measuring cup full instead of loosely putting the spinach leaves in there. After the water comes to a boil, you turn the heat on low and simmer for 10 minutes. Then, fill the bowl of your food processor with 1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries (rinse them off in cold water to thaw a little). Once the blueberries are in your food processor, add the cooked spinach, 1 tsp. of lemon juice and around 3 tablespoons of water. Puree away! You can keep the puree in your fridge for up to two days, but I usually place 1/4 cup portions in my freezer in sealed plastic baggies to use at a later time.

So here is one of my kids' FAVORITE breakfast meals!

Cocoa Chocolate Chip Pancakes

3/4 cups flour blend (1 c. all purpose flour, 1 c. whole wheat flour, & 1 c. wheat germ)

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 c. milk (I use whole milk)

1 large egg

1/4 c. Purple Puree

2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup

1/4 c. chocolate chips

Mix together flour blend, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the vanilla, milk, egg, Purple Puree, honey (or maple syrup). Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones until just blended. Add a little milk if batter is too thick. Add the chocolate chips and mix lightly.

Well, there you have it! If you don't have "The Sneaky Chef" cookbook, I would highly recommend it (and no, I'm not being paid to advertise). I just love it and so do my kids!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

In Search of a Camera

I usually consider myself to be relatively technologically savvy. However, in searching for a new camera, I feel a little bit overwhelmed.

For example, there are regular digital cameras and there are SLR cameras. These are Single Lens Reflex cameras. So should I spend $350+ on a regular digital camera or $650+ on an SLR camera? What type should I be looking at if my main photography experience includes taking pictures of my kids along with vacation pictures?

I'm an avid scrapbooker and realized recently that my Kodak EasyShare V530 is just not cutting it! When taking pictures indoors, my pictures turn out dark and fuzzy. I'm losing great opportunities for my scrapbook album!

So I am now trying to decide between the Canon Powershot Pro Series S5 IS and the Nikon D50. I'm keeping in mind the fact that I need something uncomplicated, yet reliable. Oh, it's all so overwhelming!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My business goals

I wasn't exactly sure as to how it would go when I enrolled as a Demonstrator for Uppercase Living last year, but I must say that I'm truly loving it. Not only do I love the products, but I love the fact that it has made me set some goals for myself. Right now, I am trying to earn a cruise for my husband and me. All expenses are paid for including airfare and gratuities for the both of us. Now . . . I know that some of you who know me may be laughing. The only cruise we've ever taken was to Mexico (which I won at my husband's company banquet) and I became so terribly sea sick! Of course, we were having 10-12 foot wave swells against the boat. I couldn't even walk straight and felt like I was living out "The Perfect Storm". However, the shore excursions were lots of fun! I even snorkeled, which was a big accomplishment for me since I can't swim and am terribly afraid of the water.

So why am I trying to earn this cruise?? Well, for one thing my husband doesn't usually take much time off from work. If we had to actually purchase the cruise, I would get this scenario . . . "I don't know if I can take time off work", "We have better things to spend our money on", "vacations are too expensive and then they're over". But if I EARN the cruise through all my hard work, how could he ever so no?? I will have definitely worked for it. The cruise incentive period ends on August 31. I am almost half way to where I need to be. I figure that if I am at the half way point by the end of April, I will definitely keep shooting for the goal. Besides, I am getting the word out about Uppercase Living. I am making new friends and making our car payment (which is most important to my husband). I am adding new ladies to my team and inspiring others with our products. I love it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'm ready to blog!

I have finally succeeded in getting my blog up and running. Jen from The Trendy Mommy Blog Designs did a wonderful job in customizing my page and getting me started -- and it was VERY affordable. I would highly recommend her to anyone!

I haven't ever really "blogged" before so I'll add this to my list of new experiences. Hopefully, I will have something beneficial and fun to add to the blogging world. I hope to be able to talk about my wonderful family a little along with my fun businesses! And I'm definitely looking forward to making some new blogging friends.

Here is a photo of my three very beautiful children!