Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's been a long time...

I do apologize for being the worst blogger ever!  New job is going great but keeping me crazy busy plus it's show time for Keeks and Brie.  I am not doing nearly as many as I have in the past but I think I selected just the right amount.  Many more might have killed me :)

What's the big seller this year you ask?   We completely sold out of our new ribbon doll headband line - I have been wrapping grosgrain and making yo yos in my my sleep.  A couple of glue gun injuries here and there due to exhaustion but I do believe it's all worth it - check em out!

Look how pretty this little lady looks

You can find them here xo, Brie

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Halloween Ideas

While I hate to toot my own horn, I do have some good Halloween costumes ideas.  Here's the bad news... my kids RARELY ever take me up on them.  One year the boys did actually go for my Ronald McDonald vs The Burger King and it was a huge success ;)  and by success I mean Burger King gave Kevin a free dinner that night and he LOVED it.

Everyone loves this picture of Caroline - I have to admit, it is hilarious

We took our youngest to 2 different Halloween stores today and while they only had 5500 different costumes, she was unable to find something that she liked.  She wants to be something "scary".  Blah.....  We ended up leaving with nothing because nothing was calling her name and I walked out 2 hours later with nothing but a bunch fake spider web decor stuck in my hair.

This is what she would like to be....

This beaut is sold out everywhere :(

Then.... I seriously had the greatest idea EVER.  CORALINE!!!  We LOVE that movie, there is a little scary to it PLUS your name is Caroline and if those aren't the best 3 reasons ever I don't know what are!!!

She said no :(

All I would have to get is a yellow rain coat, some boots, and blue wig.  I'll throw in the button eyes free of charge.

Still no....

I'm sad

Instead she wants to be this.  45 dollars for cheaply made unoriginal fun.

Maybe I'll be Coraline >:)  xo, Brie

Thursday, October 13, 2011

American Horror Story

Have you heard about this new show on FX, American Horror Story.  Here is my one word review.... NO.

I was intrigued by this show for several reasons....

Reason 1 - created by Ryan Murphy (the guy behind Glee)  Hey, I love Glee - maybe I will like this too!  NO

It stars two of of my all time favorites!!!  Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton!!! ?  Come on, The Practice and Friday Night Lights are two of my ALL time favorites? There is no way it can be bad with these two, right?  NO

It also stars the great Jessica Lange (LOVED her in Grey Gardens) and Francis Conroy (mom from Six Feet Under!!!)  I love these two, I bet I will like this show!!  NO

In the words of my two favorite movie critics......

HAAAAAAAAAAATED IT!  It is scary and not good scary, WEIRD scary and it's pretty vulgar.  Tammy Taylor says the P word - EW!  Oh no you didn't.... That's a two snaps out and off the season's pass.  xo, Brie

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs

This youtube video of Steve Jobs' 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University has been making the rounds on facebook today.  I had never seen it - it is SO worth stopping what you are doing and taking 15 minutes for this.  My favorite line - Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick - don't lose faith!    xo, Brie

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Meal Plan Wednesday ;)

I had hoped to be updating here more than I have been!  Busy busy - I won't bore you with the details!!

The new job is the BEST EVER!  Loving it so much!   Went ahead and took Kiki's suggestion for The Gap's favorite tee to go with my scrubs.  They are working out great - love this shirt - fitted but not too tight, long in length, and just the right amount of thickness.  It is a very flattering tee which we all know is not the easiest to find!.  Thank you, thank you Kiki!  I enjoy not looking like a 2 by 4 :)

Still menu planning - some days work out better than others but I am trying my best to get some balanced meals on the table most nights.  

Here's what's cookin this week:

Wednesday - Pasta and sausage and salad
 Thursday - Chicken with Broccoli and rice
Friday - Hamburgers on the grill, fruit salad
Saturday - out
Sunday- Tacos
Monday Chicken Parmesan, salad
Tuesday Make your own Pizza
Wednesday Linguine and Clam Sauce, salad
Thursday Chili, corn bread,
Friday London Broil on the grill, grilled potatoes, corn
Saturday Penne A La Betsy

That ought to do it :)  Keeks and Brie is gearing up for holiday shows - I have been working on some super cute additions to the headband line.  More on that later!

Tomorrow I am thinking I might pull out the Halloween decor so I'll something more fun with pics to post!  xo, Brie

PS Linguine and Broccoli - two words I will NEVER know how to spell properly.....  thank you spell checker!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Menu Planning

Have to post it before I lose this slip of paper b/c I did the grocery shopping this morning :)  I am love, love, loving the new job - so fun.  Best part is, no Fridays so TGIT the weekend has just begun for me!  Whoop!  xo, Brie

Friday - American Chop Suey/salad

Saturday - out to dinner

Sunday - cheese steaks

Monday - spaghetti and meat sauce, bread, salad

Tuesday - chicken enchiladas/ mexi rice

Wednesday - london broil on the grill, salad, mac and cheese

Thursday - chili and cornbread

Friday - Penne A La Betsy

Saturday - Stromboli

Sunday - Beef Stew and egg noodles

Monday, September 12, 2011

Favorite Drink

Meet my new BFF in a can.  If you haven't tried this yet, I highly recommend it.  I HATE (and by hate I mean would rather die of thirst in the desert) diet soda.  This guy is just the pick me up I need late day without a ridiculous amount of calories and sugar.  I am now buying the handle version :)  I love you Arnold! 

This week's schedule is truly pushing me to the limit. If I think about it too much it is anxiety producing so I am not even going to show you the list.  It's insane....  I'd honestly be up a creek if I didn't have some carpool friends to depend on.  If you have a busy schedule and lots of places to be - do yourself a favor and make some friends to carpool with.  LIFE SAVERS!  xo, Brie

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Time for Reflection

As we approach the anniversary of 9/11, it's hard to believe 10 years have passed. It still makes me sad (to tears) to think back on that day.

I love our NJ Governor Chris Christie. I am in general bored by politics and politicians but whenever Governor Christie speaks, there is something about him that always makes me stop and listen. I do love his no nonsense, cut to the chase approach.  I truly agree with him on almost all issues and he just has a way of articulating that I wish I had.   I just saw this clip on his thoughts of 9/11 and I couldn't agree more. Our weekend is jam packed with the busiest sports schedule I think I have ever seen, but I will most certainly be taking some time out to remember and pray for the families and the survivors of 9/11. xo, Brie

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back To Work

I have officially completed my first week at work!  I am feeling excited!!  School is great, faculty seems great, and the students seem great for the brief amount of time I saw everyone.  Nobody has been sick which was a nice bonus and it gave me time  to try and find my way around the office.  Only bad news is - they want us to wear scrubs.   On the upside they are comfy comfy to wear to work but there is nothing that makes my keester look more humongous than a nice pair of ill fitting scrubs ;)  I need to investigate my options here.  I was kind of looking forward to doing to fun "back to work" shopping for me - cest la vie!

On top I can just wear some regular t shirts and if anyone can recommend a good go to for some nice standards in tops I am all ears :)  I like them to be slightly fitted but in no way tight, I hate when they are too boxy b/c I will seriously look like a 2 by 4 marching around in a shapeless top and the ever flattering scrub pant.  I also like them a little on the longer side (nobody needs to be treated to the site of my pale white dough boy belly)  and I am thinking solids  or solids with a fun trim might work best.  Definitely no fun phrases on them ;)  Any suggestions?  I am all ears!   Something like this one... would be a no :)

This change in routine has reverted me back to a school aged child in my level of exhaustion.  I am soooooo tired - I know I'll adjust but it is so funny how a tiny tilt to your regular routine can throw you for a loop!   Hope your back to school experiences have been just as great :) xo, Brie

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Tender Bar

Just finished this book.  LOVED it!  It is getting my highest recommendations so if you feel like reading a book, keep this one in mind.

Tomorrow is the first day of school for the kids, but TODAY is the first day for me.  I've got that nervous, "I don't know anyone or where anything is" feeling (which isn't entirely true because I have a friend that is sharing the nursing job with me).  I know I'll be fine but I think I will feel a whole lot better a few months into this :)

I think the kids are ready to go for school.... clothes - check, school supplies - check, haircuts - check.  Only thing I forgot is all those forms I have to print and fill out from school websites with info.  Looks like I have quite a bit of writing in my future today!    I also just dug through a rather disgusting trash bag looking for a summer reading form that needs to be filled out - found it 30 minutes later on the desk.  Time for a hot shower - yuck!  Wish me luck!  xo, Brie

Friday, September 2, 2011


Are you on pinterest yet?  I have to admit it's becoming my new most favorite thingamajig.  I will warn you however, proceed with caution.  It is very addictive.   I will try to explain in a nutshell....

You sign up with a username and it instructs you to download this cool little button to your tool bar called a "pin it" once you successfully complete this step (I am not going to lie, it took me about an hour or so to figure out how to do it but I am a little bit dumb dumb with computer things) you are good to go!  Anytime you see something cool on the internet you can click your new shiny "pin it" button and save it to a board on your page. I have lots of boards with examples like "decorating" "craft ideas" "recipes" "kids parties" etc.  Whenever you decide to revisit the pin to execute the fabulous idea, click on the pin and will take you the original url.  Neat-o!

You can pin things YOU find that you like and want to keep handy and you can also REPIN other people's great finds. You can have followers like Twitter or check out everyone's pins too.  I think it would be especially handy if you are redecorating a room, planning a party, planning a wedding etc etc.  I have started a crock pot board with lots of good looking recipes that I hope to be using lots upon my return to work force. 

My only advice - it is addicting so prepare to go wild the first few times you sign on.  What I am finding with time the obsession dies down a bit b/c lots of these great ideas are being recycled.  This is good news b/c now I check in about 2-3 days a week verses every 2-3 minutes ;)

Here is an example of a "board" - nice and organized - way better than bookmarking everything and clogging up your favorites on the computer!   If you check it out, be sure to follow me: Bridget M and I will follow you right back :) 

You can also find some great quotable to hang on your fridge for some subtle inspiration.  This one is up in my house and I refer to it often! 

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone - how the summer goes by so fast every year beats me!  xo, Brie

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New Favorite

Anyone who can sing this well live - has me for a lifelong fan.  I love Adele - she killed it at MTV video awards on Sunday but I couldn't find a good quality youtube.   This is my next song to learn on piano fo sho! 
xo, Brie

eta - found mtv version! I am having voice, hair, dress, eyelash, and talent envy. Shout it from the rooftops - I heart Adele :)

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music, Adele

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Celebrating Progress!

Just would like you to note in a major step towards getting my act in gear... I changed up the St. Patrick's Day motif that stayed on this blog from March to August.   Phew!  Maybe that's enough work for one day.... baby steps :)  xo, Brie

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back to School is Better than New Years...

It really is.... back to school time is when I tend to (or should I say ATTEMPT to TRY) get my arse in gear.  The resolution lists are all your typicals like eating healthier - good Lord do I enjoy myself every summer and the scale is certainly reflecting that fun fact, and getting organized.   I don't mean cleaning out that crappy drawer in the kitchen that collects the most random insane items  (anyone remember the lobster ornament kind of organizing... I mean it this time (ha)!  By the by that little hot spot referenced up there in the link is as big a disaster as ever.  Add it to my do list :)

I have 4 school schedules to manage this year as my oldest is going to high school (and I fear that might mean I am getting old) PLUS I am going back to work as a part time nurse 2 days a week.   I am really looking forward to this so it's time to get the old rear in gear!  I got more sports schedules to manage than I am even going to admit b/c truthfully it looks ridiculous to me and I can't bear to spell it out.   Long story short is my time is tight and I am going to make it work and make it work well. 

First order of business.....  my menu planning.   I spent 185 at the grocery store today (note to self:  boys eat a lot of food) and I'm afraid I will lose my list and forget all the wonderful things I have planned :)  I unfortunately speak from experience........

Wed (football scrimmages) early quickie dinner hot dogs, strawberries

Thur - Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry with Rice

Fri - Lasagna Roll ups and salad

Sat - hoping we are out :) so I can save this for a future day but if it fall through I am making Gigi's (mil) chicken casserole and rice

Sun - Labor Day BBQ hamburgers, deviled eggs, pasta salad type things

Mon - Tacos

Tue - Linguine with Clam Sauce, salad

Wed - Make Your Own pizza and salad

That's as far as I've gotten but I think it's a good start.  Keep you posted on all the tremendously exciting progress!  xo, Brie

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gone Fishing

You may or may not have noticed.... but I am on hiatus.   Don't let anyone tell you to fear the 40 - it's been fabulous to the third power.  A perfect excuse to get together with all you girl besties you haven't seen in FOREVAH and get away.  It's very good and shiney fun.  I am revamping my website so stay tuned for some very exciting updates ;)  I miss you all!  xo, Brie

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Still Here

I've been sewing, cooking, gallivanting and photographing it all.  Just need to upload and get typing some text.  Promise to do them soon :)  In the meantime... I'm drinking this

pardon the stinky pic taken with my phone!
a homemade shamrock shake and while I am enjoying very much and drinking the whole thing in under 5 seconds.  It pains me to tell you that it is truly not as good as McD's version.  Boo hoo... I suspect it's the peppermint extract - don't use as much as that recipe suggests.  A little goes a LONG way with this stuff.  xo, Brie

Tomorrow I am posting a favorite meatless meal recipe for Lent!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Glitter Hands!

By now I'm sure you've seen these new Sally Hansen Salon Effects  adhesive nail polishes.   I decided to splurge on a set for 9.99 last weekend.  The selection was pretty picked over at our Walgreens but I am very drawn to shiney things (like a fish) so it was an easy decision for me despite the limited selection.  Crazy multi color glitter it is!  Frock Star to be specific.... oh yes please!

I put them on Saturday night while we watched Inception (don't try this at home, this movie requires your complete attention so I suggest you put on American Idol or something instead while you bedazzle your nails). 

When it comes to nail care, I generally leave this up to the professionals.  I am terrible at it... filing and painting skills are not top notch.  I was afraid these would be a disaster but I found the application QUITE easy!  You just size them up, stick em on, and file them down!  It comes with everything you need in the kit (nail polish stickers plus a few extra in case you mess up - which I did not by the way :), a wooden sticky thing for your cuticles and to smooth, and a file - I thought the file was only so so, if I ever do this again I think I'll use my own nail file).

Here is my review in pro and con form - disclosure:  I paid cold, hard, cash for these.  Nobody sent me anything to review these and if for any reason they wanted to.... my arms are wide open. 

  • Easy to put on
  • Nice "staying power" we're on day 4 and they're going strong.  Box claims they last 10 days
  • I am not nibbling on my nails
  • Polish feels soft and pliable at first but definitely hardens with time
  • I was able to bedazzle Ms. C's nails too with the additional strips and left overs - she loved them for the whole 30 minutes she wore them before she peeled them ALL off
  • Our librarian  gave me a lot of positive feedback over my (and I quote) "festive nails" 

  • I feel the designs are little young for me although I must say after looking at glitter hands for 4 days now, I am starting to own it.
  • while they fit me well at the cuticle line, a few of them are a smidge short on the side length of the nail
  • When the sun hits them just right, I'm pretty sure I could get myself rescued of a deserted island (maybe that's a pro, I don't know)
  • May cause you break out in jazz hands without any warning whatsoever
In conclusion, I think it was money well spent.  They're kind of fun and hey... my librarian thought they were fabulous!  xo, Brie

Friday, February 25, 2011

What a Week

I am happy this week was short with Monday's holiday, I am ready to bid it a fond farewell.   My youngest was SICK with a crazy high fever and no other symptoms that lasted for 3 days.  Apparently it is really going around and not just in New Jersey which I was able to gather from handy dandy facebook.  I hope this nasty virus doesn't come to visit your house, it's no fun at all.    She missed the whole week of school and probably could have returned today but I decided it was just best to stick a fork in this week and we'll start fresh on Monday. 

In other news... I'm told from some very reliable sources that the totally delicious Shamrock Shake from McDonalds is back.  I went out in search of one only to be told that our local NJ franchise "does not have them yet"  - what are you waiting for folks, I need to get my shamrock on!!!  This news was delivered yesterday around noon and here we are a full day later at 3pm and I am still not over it.   I now have the recipe in my hot little hands - so take that McDonalds!  If you would like to join me and have one too, here is the recipe

I'm still cleaning out the dreading sewing room.   It is taking forever and is long overdue.   I am really trying to weed out and get organized this year.   One great side effect of cleaning is that you find items you COMPLETELY forgot you even had!    Look at this cute little flower I made today out of felt scraps - I love working with felt!  I am working some felt flowers into our hair accessory line and will probably debut them in the etsy shop, so I'll keep you posted on that!  I think it came out pretty cute....

I'm making a delicious chicken and broccoli stir fry tonight that I am told is excellent and I'm charging my camera up so stay tuned - hopefully will get this up over the weekend. 

Last but not least - while I should be cleaning my house in all my spare time, I have been making some etsy treasuries of some of my amazing finds ;) This is the one I made today - it's one of my faves! Check it Out Here! There sure is a lot of talent over there on Etsy!

Cheers to a fabulous weekend for all!! xo, Brie

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A week in bullet points

  • Life has been hectic around here.
  •  Basketball is still going on and it's basically March madness come early around these parts. 
  •  I didn't post my meal plan last week as it was most unimpressive.
  • I read another book by Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants) called Ape House.  I didn't necessarily NOT like it, but it was no Water for Elephants.
  • I've been weeding out the sewing studio - it's in quite a state of sadness, finding lots of small amounts of oldie but goodie fabrics so I'm making some limited edition items to put in the xoribbons etsy shop
  • I've been updating my etsy shop (linked) new products, more organized, shipping worldwide now - holla!!  ;)
  • discovered my 6 and a half year old decided to shave her legs in the shower and thankfully was not hurt (razors are now up even higher than they were in the first place).
  • Last but not least - I bought the dress you see below completely on impulse and triggered by a facebook sidebar ad.  How fab is that?  Keep in mind that at this point in time I have absolutely NOWHERE to wear it.  I couldn't resist the amazing savings and am hopeful a fantastic event is on the horizon for me.  Worst case scenario, I pull a Ms. Havisham and wear it around the house.  

Here's the link - they are going fast!! My size is already gone so now I'm EXTRA happy I went for it :)
xo, Ms. Havisham

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Water for Elephants

Have you read this yet?  You should!  I loved it, gave it the full five star review. I knew a movie was in the was in the works but I had no idea an actual trailer existed until just now - I approve of the casting :)  I will most definitely go see the movie when it comes out! xo, Brie

I think Christina must have read it before she made this video ;)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Barbeque Beef Short Ribs in the Crock Pot

This one is a keeper!! 5 out of 6 in this house loved dinner last week and 1 out of 6 nibbled on snacks all afternoon whenever I had my back turned so she "wasn't hungry".

I picked up some boneless short ribs at costco and the pack contained 6 BIG short ribs and the cost was around 25 dollars.  I ended up cooking all 6 because I have never made them before and I was afraid they were really going to shrink up after cooking all day but they didn't.  Next time, I think I will try to make this stretch to 2 meals (cook 3/freeze 3)

Here is the incredibly complicated recipe -

I took the short ribs and put them in the crock pot raw

Mix up these ingredients in a bowl.  I liked it because they were all  common items that I already had in the house.

I'll post the link at the bottom again with all the measurements of everything

Pour the mix over the short ribs and cook in the crock pot all day!   It just doesn't get easier than that....
The recipe calls for crock pot low setting for 8 hours.  I put mine in around 9am and checked them at 3pm - they were definitely cooking, but not hitting that "fall apart" stage so around 3, I bumped up the temp to the high setting. 

By 6pm they were perfectly done.  I served them with mashed potatoes.  I highly recommend this easy recipe :)  I'll definitely make these again!

View the complete recipe HERE
xo, Brie

Monday, February 7, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

I LOVE Julia Child and I love her funny valentines - also wonder who took this pic?!?

I have been among the missing.   My camera card port decided to no longer accept my xd card and I couldn't find the usb cord ANYWHERE - I have a short ribs recipe to post (and it's a good one) and you know how I love me some pics!!   I ripped this house apart trying to find it but came up empty handed so I was forced to order a new cord.  It arrived Saturday and GUESS what I found this morning in my junky drawer???  Now I have 2 cords - hooray!  I also had a NASTY case of the flu and was achy all over that even my teeth hurt.   So that's that.... now onto my unimpressive meals for the week b/c I have so much laundry to catch up on from being sick, I can't imagine I'll get to the store until later this week. 

Monday  - chicken casserole with rice - this is your standard crock pot chicken with sour cream/cream of mushroom soup deals and to be honest, I don't really like it.   My appetite is still sub par from the flu but the kids like it plus it's easy so who am I to argue with this. 

Tuesday - Linguini with Clam Sauce, salad

Wednesday - Hamburgers

Thursday - soup and sandwiches

Friday - London Broil, homemade mac and cheese

Sat - Kev's Birthday and we're having a family party, how is my boy turning 12 already, HOW?! 

Sunday - make your own pizza night and salad

So there you have it, I don't really have time to try something new this week but I will make an extra effort to do so next week - I promise ;)  If you saw the mountain of laundry that awaits me you would understand!  Have a wonderful week :)  I'll try to get that short rib recipe up tomorrow!  xo, Brie

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

Menu Tuesday here - I was hoping to try a few new recipes this week but we are having some more winter weather this week.  The snow doesn't really bother me, the snow days from school don't bother me - the schools hesitating to call days off now because we've used so many already DOES bother me and the mania at the grocery stores prior to these weather events is making me mental.  I just refused to do it yesterday - so while I have the stuff to try one new recipe this week, my other one will have to wait until next week when I can get to the store :) 

Basketball is winding down so my driving here there and everywhere is starting to calm down.  We'll get a nice break until baseball time in March :)

Monday - spaghetti and meatballs, salad

Tuesday - Short Ribs in the crockpot (recipe is linked) mashed potatoes, corn

Wednesday - Chicken with Broccoli (recipe is linked) with jasmine rice

Thursday - London Broil on the grill, baked potato, salad

Friday - Ravioli, salad, bread

Saturday - out

Sunday - Super Bowl Sunday

I picked up the short ribs at Costco this weekend I'll post this recipe tomorrow.   First time making this, so we'll see.... xo, Brie

Monday, January 31, 2011

Meal Plan Monday will be magically transformed to Meal Plan Tuesday b/c the last week or so has been cuckoo for me!

Time is of the essence though for the FABULOUS deal that my friend posted on facebook today!  Go to , type in your zip, find some good restaurants in your area, buy a 25 dollar gc for less than 25 dollars, type in code MEAL and get 80% off your gc.  I'm told they do NOT expire but there are some restrictions based on each restaurant and they are clearly stated right there for you to see.  I bought 75 dollars work of gift certs to restaurants we LOVE for SEVEN DOLLARS.   Yea boy ;)  xo, Brie


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Talbots Sale

My cousin Sara alerted me on some great sale deals at Talbots and I couldn't resist this cute sweater dress.  I got it in black, I hope it fits ok ... sign says "all sales final" which always makes me nervous!  I think it will cute with black tights and tall black boots.   Fingers crossed for a good fit.   Stay tuned!!
View all sale items here! xo, Brie

UPDATE:  Dress is here and is super cute!  Not too clingy - I ordered a med which size form says fits 10/12.  I usually wear an 8 but didn't love the idea of wearing a dress designed to fit 6/8.  I don't think I've been a 6 since high school and it scared me.  The size I chose is definitely a smidge big - might need a belt to give if a bit more shape.  I don't love to accentuate my waist though - after 4 kids, let's just say it's not my best feature :)   Long story short - I am pretty pleased with this "final sale" purchase.  It's a pretty classic looking dress that will work for a variety of occasions!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sleepover Complete

and I live to tell!!  Must have been all those candles you lit for me.  I thank you :) We have a very tired yet happy girl.   GO JETS xo, Brie

Friday, January 21, 2011


I am a pop music princess.  I completely admit it, I love it,  and I eat it up with a spoon :)   I am in love with the choir version of Radiohead's Creep that they showed in the in movie trailer for The Social Network (which I can't wait to see)

In case you missed it, you have to see this... (warning: there is a naughty word in this song and it's not "Fudge." It's THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the "F-dash-dash-dash" word! - name that movie and proceed with caution)

Available on itunes now - and it's the clean version too :) You're so VERY special ;)  How great is this?  If my choir sang my pop tunes, I made have stuck around longer than 5th grade - a person can really only sing the Baker Woman in her humble lodge so many times....

How about some Fall Out Boy, Sugar We're Going Down (on my personal top 10 faves of all time) to some strings?

Awesome, right? Just goes to show you, good music is good in any form! I feel so cultured and sophisticated now ;) Have a great weekend!! Don't forget to light that candle for me tomorrow night, I'm in complete denial that we're actually going through with this - thus the blogging while I should be baking and cleaning the house! xo, Brie

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Garlic Knots

No, your eyes do not deceive you - I cannot tell a lie, I ate the missing knot before this photo was taken.  I had to try it to make sure they were good before I blogged it.  I did it for you :)

or not.... not everyone likes garlic bread in this house we have a few purists on site!

This was an experiment that went WAY right tonight - I got lots of accolades and since I get very few around here when it comes to dinner (several picky children eaters) I'll take what I can get!

First up, I made the pizza dough (linked) I've posted a few days ago. When it was nice and properly risen, I rolled it out onto a large cutting board in a rectangular shape and cut them into 3/4 inch strips and then cut those strips in half horizontally with a pizza cutter - yielding around 12 strips approximately 6-8 inches long.

I tied the strips very literally into a knot and tucked around the edges to make a little bun.  Spray a cookie sheet with Pam and place your cute little knot on the sheet.  Repeat this process 11 or so times.  Cover with a clean dish towel and set out of the way for one more rise for about 30 minutes ought to do it. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brush the knots with a little egg wash if you are feeling fancy, it will make them a lovely and golden.  I also cracked a little sea salt over the top of them.   Bake in the oven uncovered for 12-15 minutes.

In a separate pan I melted 2 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp of olive oil and 2-3 minced cloves of garlic  and cooked on the stove stop careful not to brown it up. 

The pizza place we like to go to puts the knots in a bowl and pours the garlic butter all over them.  They are messy and so delicious you can't believe it.   I served my garlic butter on the side for both calorie control and also because 3 out of 4 kids hate garlic bread.  Go figure!  The rolls were perfect - nice and crusty on the outside and soft and yummy on the inside. 

Will  DEFINITELY make these again!  xo, Brie

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Etsy Valentines

Another snow day here in NJ, I am hoping the kids won't be in school through August!! 

I wanted to show you this valentine crafting kit I ordered from etsy store Fresh Lemon Blossoms.

They are so cute.... little mini valentines (they measure 3.25 inches by 2.25 inches) in all your favorite lovey dovey colors, tiny envelopes, stamped and adorably cut with pinking shears and just waiting for a little glue to assemble and a pen to sign. Ms. C loves to craft and I think these will fit the bill perfectly. Much cuter than Bob the Builder cards (sorry Bob)! I also like that this pack comes with 36 valentines so there are PLENTY for all her classmates, her teacher, and a few extra to spread to the love.

I loved her packaging (shown above) and the whole presentation. I haven't shown them to her yet because she'll want to start them right away and I have to head out to my first PT appointment of many for some knee troubles I am having (DREADING THIS). I know she is going to love them. These are really sweet and special.  xo, Brie

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

with a twist.... I am trying to plan this week using what I have on hand, my freezers are looking full and I need to take an inventory and use up some things that I have.  I am famous for a BOGO on italian sausage or something similar and then forget that I even have them hidden in there!  If I can get through the week with zero or only one quicky trip to the grocery store, I will consider this week a success!

activities: holiday and piano
dinner: steaks and salad (I had defrosted the steaks for last night's dinner but then we had too many snacks while watching the Jets game and nobody felt like it) So I'm off the hook :) 

activities: none :)  but it's cleaning lady day so I don't want too much of a mess
dinner:  Linguine and Clam sauce, salad

activities:  none!?!  I'm getting a bad feeling that I forgot to input something on the calendar
dinner:  Roast chicken, some kind of potato and corn.  Hot tip:  Our Stop and Shop has a roast chicken special on Friday where you can get the rotisserie chicken all cooked for 5 dollars each!  I usually buy 1 or 2 and put them in the freezer - take it out in the morning to defrost on the counter and reheat at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  So easy!

activities: swimming and basketball
dinner:  hot dog night (we ended up skipping these last week)  Stop and Shop often has a BOGO on these and I've never met a BOGO I didn't like.  Freezer looks like I am about to open a ball park.  Time to make some hot dogs :)  Hotdogs!! Get yer hotdogs heeyah!!

activities: basketball
dinner: fried chicken cutlets, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach

activities:  3 basketball games, 2 basketball practices, a birthday party to attend, and a
birthday party to host with 9 girls sleeping over.  If you think of it, please light a candle for me today ;) 
dinner:  take out

activities: 2 basketball games, ccd
dinner:  Pioneer Woman's Penne A La Betsy (linked) and salad  - if you haven't tried this you must!!  It's really good!

I have all the basics on hand already to make all these meals so wish me luck :)  My grocery bills have been off the charts high lately so it's time to organize these pantries and freezers!  xo, Brie

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pizza Dough Recipe

As promised here is the pizza dough recipe - I really hope you'll try it out sometime because it is SO easy, SO inexpensive, and SO good! 

For ingredients all you need is

2 and 3/4 cup flour
1 cup warm water
1 packet of active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp of kosher salt
2 tbsp of olive oil 

First up fill up your measuring cup with very warm (but not hot) water and dissolve your yeast in it - give it a gentle stir to immerse the yeast and walk away.

Come back 5 minutes or so and you'll see the yeast is starting to foam up (you want this)

Combine all 5 ingredients in a bowl and work into a ball with a fork.  I'm sure a kitchen aid mixer would be fabulous for this type of mixing but since I've broken not one... but TWO of these so I've learned to live without one.   For this recipe, you really and truly don't need one.   Just kind of mix it into a ball with your fork, remove from the bowl and kneed it with your hands on a lightly floured counter for about 10 minutes.   I never quite make it to the full 10 minutes and usually throw in the towel around the 6 minute mark.  It's always worked out fine.

You will now have a very soft pliable non sticky ball of dough.  Spray a new clean bowl with some Pam and cover with some plastic wrap or a dish towel and set it somewhere out of the way to rise. 

It can sit there all day and will be just fine!

she's at again with the faces....

When you are ready to make pizza take your dough out - I don't bother with the rekneeding process or anything.... spray a cookie sheet and you can either 1.) spread the dough right out over the cookie sheet to make one big pizza or 2.) score it equal parts for a make your own individual pizza kind of party.   This dough can stretch to make 1 full pan pizza or 5 good sized individual pizzas but tonight we're are meeting out some friends for dinner so I am scoring this in 4 parts for the kids. 

really, she can't seem to help herself

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spread out to make your individual pizzas.  This dough is so easy to work with, not sticky at all.  I usually bake them like this for about 7 minutes to get them going. 

Pull them out and let them cool a smidge b/c the pans will be hot.   Top with whichever toppings you like and have on hand.  Lower oven temp to 375 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes or so (eyeball it)

Delicious homemade pizza for everyone!!  Mangia ;)  xo, Brie

PS  Final Season of Big Love premiers tonight!!!  Can't wait....