Never Switching To Decaf

Ramblings about life, family, cooking and photography.

A Celebration May 31, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — travit @ 1:29 pm
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Today I reached my goal for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer which takes places in Chicago this weekend.  I find it fitting that I reached this milestone on the same day as the end of Blogathon.  Congrats to everyone that completed Blogathon 212 and good luck to everyone taking part in the walk this weekend!

 

Baked chicken strips May 24, 2012

Filed under: Cooking,Food,Uncategorized — travit @ 10:02 pm
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My kids love chicken strips but I absolutely hate the mess and the work that comes along with  frying them and the strips they sell in the frozen food section are awful.  If I wanted to eat soggy rubber, I’d chew on my flip flop.  Over the years, I’ve learned how to get crispy and delicious chicken strips (or nuggets, if you prefer) straight from the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into even sized strips or nuggets
  • A shallow dish with seasoned flour.( I always add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and paprika and then whatever else I have lying around and I’m in the mood for)
  • A shallow dish with 2-3 eggs beaten
  • A shallow dish with 1 cup of panko bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with your favorite cooking spray.
  3. Dredge the chicken through the flour mixture.
  4. Next put it into the beaten egg and coat well. (It helps to keep one hand dry so that your hands don’t turn into Floured Hulk hands)
  5. Coat chicken strip with panko.
  6. Place on baking sheet and continue until all chicken is coated.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn over the strips.  Bake for another 15-20 or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauces and vegetables.  Total prep time is about 15-20 minutes and cook time is about 45 minutes.  Sure it takes longer than getting them out of the freezer, but they taste so much better!

 

15 days until the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer May 18, 2012

and I still need to raise about 800 dollars. Getting nervous.  Leave fundraising suggestions in the comment if you have any.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

 

Rainbow Party May 14, 2012

Glass vase full of bubblegumMy daughter recently turned 9 years old and for her birthday party we had a rainbow theme. The 9 year old rainbow and unicorn sticker collecting me loved this theme and went a wee bit overboard. Oh yeah, my daughter liked it too.

We knew we wanted a rainbow theme but didn’t really know where to go from there. So where does the non-creative mother with big dreams turn? Pinterest, of course. There I found more ideas thank I could have possibly accomplished but I wanted to share a few of my favorites here.

(more…)

 

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Cupcakes May 11, 2012

Filed under: Food — travit @ 9:27 pm
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chocolate covered pretzel cupcakes

Cupcake, delicious cupcake

The fundraiser was a giant success today.  We raised a lot of money for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  These little babies were the biggest hit and sold out first.  You just can beat that salty and sweet combination. Everyone who tried them love them, so much that I never even got the chance to try one! Wait until they find out how easy they were to make.

Ingredients

Chocolate cupcakes -24. I used a boxed cake mix (gasp!) and prepared according to package directions

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Crushed Pretzels

24 small pretzels

1 bag of Wilton Candy Melts of your choosing

Directions:

While cupcakes cool, melt the candy melts according to package directions.  Dip small pretzels into melted chocolate and set to cool on waxed paper lined cookie sheet.  Put in fridge to set.

Once cupcakes are cooled, frost the cupcakes.

Dip the frosted end into crushed pretzels.  I sifted the crushed pretzels with the strainer to remove fine powder. Coat the top of the cupcake with the crushed pretzels.

Stick chocolate covered pretzel into center of cupcake.

That’s it! Super easy, huh? What are you favorite easy cupcake tricks?

 

Clutter Confessions May 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — travit @ 9:15 pm
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Gmail Mailbox – Photo courtesy of rovlls on twitter

Clutter is a real problem in our house.  The amount of paperwork and forms the kids bring home from school is probably responsible for the deforestation of entire states.  It’s a constant battle, a battle I often lose.  But who would have thought the battle would hit my oasis away from everything.  My little spot of alone time.  My special place.  Of course, I’m talking about my laptop.

My desktop is full of files I’ll never open again.  I keep almost every picture I ever take, even the terrible ones.  And I take a lot of pictures and a lot of them qualify as terrible.  Yet I find it difficult to take the time to get rid of any of it.  Really what are the chances that I’m ever going to listen that Owl City song I have in iTunes ever again?

The worst collection of clutter though constantly reminds me of its ever growing pile with a number that goes up daily.  That number currently stands at 25,328.  That is my current unread message count on Gmail.  They gave nearly unlimited storage space a few years ago and I never looked back.  Email after junk email pours in and instead of reading and/or deleting them I ignore them as they slip off the first page.  What about important emails?  I read those but hopefully I respond before they too drop of the front page, because once they do, out of sight out of mind.  So here I vow to tackle this clutter pile and start deleting the stuff I don’t need, unsubscribing from those lists I never check (I haven’t letterboxed in years, since, well, since the first time I letterboxed), and unsubscribing from those sales flyers that only encourage me to spend more money.  If I can get that clutter under control, imagine what I could accomplish around my house.  Where do you battle clutter?  Any tips?

While I was typing that the number went up to 25,330.

 

31 is the Lonliest Number May 1, 2012

Filed under: life,Me — travit @ 8:08 pm
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Photo courtesy of jakeandlindsay via twitter

Here we are.  Day of 1 of Blogathon.  Day 1 of me getting back on the blogging horse.  Yesterday I wrote about how nervous I was coming into to this.  So today I thought I would write about 31 things I was looking forward to or excited about in the next month.  One for each day of Blogathon 2012.  Really this is just me trying to brainstorm ideas of things to write about. Don’t you judge me.  Don’t you dare judge me.

  1. I look forward to get back into the habit of writing.
  2. Taking pictures, editing pictures, and talking about pictures and photography.  Even if I am still firmly in the fauxtographer realm.
  3. Tackling my fear of math head-on once I start a new finite math course on Monday.
  4. Mother’s Day. Even though according to a commercial I saw today KFC thinks my family should get me KFC for Mother’s Day dinner.  They should not.
  5. Reading at least 2 books for fun and enjoyment, not for work or school.
  6. Speaking of work, the last day of school is this month and I’m very excited about starting my summer break in May this year for the first time.
  7. Watching my kids continue to get better at and participate in the things they love.
  8. Sunday morning at the hockey rink.  Even if 8:30 is way too early to even think about being awake must less sitting next to a big pool of frozen water on a Sunday morning.  Thankfully there are doughnuts and coffee nearby.
  9. Watching the NHL playoffs.  Both of my teams (the Blackhawks and the Penguins) are out of it but there is nothing better than race for Lord Stanley’s cup.  Don’t worry I won’t blog about hockey too much.  I save the swear words and caps for twitter.
  10. I will actually try a few (okay, maybe two) of those recipes that I’m always pinning on Pinterest.
  11. While I’m at it, I’ll also try at least one craft project.  I am very uncrafty. So expect me to blog about how this turned into a monumental and expensive disaster.
  12. All month, I will be completing my training for the Chicago Avon Walk for Breast Cancer which takes place the first week in June.  I’ll be walking one and half marathons over two days to raise money and awareness for the fight against breast Cancer.
  13. Because of #12, I’ll spend a lot of time this month trying to creatively fundraise.  I will also be on the search for underwear that doesn’t chafe.  These are unrelated, I assure you.
  14. Next weekend is a family party to celebrate a cousin’s first communion.  I love getting together with my husband’s family.  They are not nearly as crazy as my family.  (I’m kidding, Mom)
  15. I will continue to be obsessed with Draw Something.  All my pictures look the same.  They all look like penises if I’m being completely honest.
  16. I look forward to being more than half way finished with this list.  Hey, I did it! Woo Hoo!
  17. Thursday is Science Fair night and if you ask me if I’m looking forward to that I will just smile and nod politely.  That counts, right?
  18. Feeding my reality TV addiction. The American Idol finale and the return of So You Think You Can Dance make me giddy.
  19. Everyone tells me I need to read 50 Shades of Grey. If I do, I will likely be too busy blushing to blog about it.
  20. I can’t wait to get to know my fellow Blogathon bloggers and learning from all of you.
  21. I’m blog swapping with Tara at some point, and I hope not to destroy her blog in the matter of a day.
  22. I will have at least one meal at my favorite restaurant, Macarena Tapas in Naperville, Il.
  23. When the weather warms up, my friend and I open up the driveway drinking club which means sitting around the fire pit with a bottle (or two) of cheap Trader Joe’s wine.  Pretty much the perfect way to spend a beautiful evening.
  24. Getting through the Saturday that includes a girl scout event, a piano recital and a dance audition without losing my mind, my wallet, or my car keys.  The DDC will definitely be in order once that’s over.
  25. May will be a time of good news for lots of people in my life who can use good news. I can feel it.
  26. I plan to reconnect with friends that have slipped away while I’ve been so busy lately.
  27. I plan to find the bottom of my closet floor and the top of my bedside table.
  28. I will accomplish most of the things on this list.
  29. I will compliment more than I complain.
  30. I will still be snarky while I’m doing it.
  31. Finally, I will finish Blogathon.

Let’s do this thing! Good luck to everyone participating.  What are you looking forward to this month?