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Showing posts from 2011

Cleveland Rave: Petitti's Garden Centers

Petitti's Garden Center is a lawn and garden store with several locations around the Cleveland area.  We live a few miles from their Avon store.  Sometime before the All Star's first Christmas, someone recommended we take her to visit the Petitti's Santa.  They let you take your own pictures, so we were sold!
Since then, and as long as they continue to offer a visiting Santa, it is the only place we will go!  They really do let you take your own photos!  Every year the photographer has encouraged my husband to get up right behind him/her to get the best shot.  They do have picture packages available for purchase as well.  The same lovely gentleman has been playing Santa the 4 years we've gone.  His partner is a welcoming and friendly Mrs. Claus.
As if that's not enough to get you in the spirit, your children will love Bertie the Talking Tree.  She loves to meet new kids.  She addresses them by name and happily sings songs with even the youngest customer!
New (as f…

Lego KidsFest: Cleveland

Last weekend, Cleveland hosted the LEGO KidsFest at The IX-Center.  I was lucky enough to win tickets from Clue Into Cleveland.  My husband and daughter went out for a Daddy/Daughter date and pretty much had a blast.  (He's super excited that she loves LEGOs so much.)  When they got home it was hard to tell who had more fun.

Information from the KidsFest website says: "LEGO KidsFest is a three-day show filled with hands-on, interactive and educational activities for the whole family. Get creative in the construction zones, meet LEGO Master Builders, help build the Creation Nation and Mystery Murals, experience LEGO Universe and LEGO Games, and see dozens of life-sized models made entirely from LEGO bricks." Additionally, my husband read (he can't remember where) that cities are selected for the tour based on LEGO sales.  So, go Cleveland!

There were a variety of activities and stations for guests to participate in.  Because our daughter is only 3, there were a co…

Recipe: Croissant French Toast

I have wanted to try this recipe for awhile.  Like pretty much all my fabulous ideas of late, I found it on Pinterest.  We tried it out this weekend.  Original recipe is from My Recipes.  I tweaked a little because I didn't have or want to make Strawberry Syrup.

As with all French Toast, this is super healthy!  I kid.

Use day-old croissants.  Whisk up the eggs, milk, and vanilla.  Half the croissants then dredge them in the egg mixture.  Melt some butter in your skillet or griddle.  Cook croissants about 2 minutes on each side.  I needed less time as the pan got hotter and hotter.

Plate up, cover with butter, syrup, whipped cream, fresh fruit, whatever your fancy.  We used butter, syrup, and/or whipped cream.  They were tasty.

We rarely have French Toast because I won't eat it if it's made with your everyday sandwich bread.  And I don't like that I would have buy special bread, so this was an easy alternative.  Flavor-wise, it's not any different!

Croissant …

Recipe: One-Ingredient Banana "Ice Cream"

You read that correctly.  There is only one ingredient in this yummy treat.  It is very easy and obviously healthy compared to the Moose Tracks in your freezer.  I originally found something similar on Pinterest, but didn't want to use cocoa powder, so I did a little Googling which turned up this recipe and excellent step by step instructions
First, take your bananas and slice them about 3/4 inch thick and place on a freezer safe dish.  I used 3 extra ripe bananas which provided 2 1/2 servings.  Place the dish in the freezer for at least one hour.  You want the bananas to be fully frozen.  Mine were in for about 3 hours.

Place frozen bananas in your choice of small appliance.  I used my blender, but next time I think I'm going to try the food processor.  The first pulse with the frozen bananas is loud!  Warn the children in the room it's coming.  Also, if you are a fan of Dippin' Dots, you can just stop right here and dish the bananas up.  It looks just like that!


Recipe: Sausage Stew (Crockpot)

* Recipe from my cousin. * Hope to edit with pictures soon. Sausage Stew
1  16 oz. smoked sausage, sliced 1/3 cup diced onion 2 15 oz. cans kidney beans, undrained 1 15 oz. can pinto beans, undrained 1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained 1 10 ¾ oz. can minestrone soup 1 Tbsp. Creole seasoning*
Combine all ingredients in crockpot.  Cook on low for 6 -8 hours.
*You can buy Creole Seasoning premade, but I found a website that has a recipe to make your own
For 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning:

3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder


I don't know what to say today.  I've struggled with Facebook, Twitter, and general conversations with family.  9/11 brings me such a crushing sadness that sometimes I don't even want to talk about it.  I just prefer to sit alone and take in as many 9/11 TV specials as I can.

The worst part is, I didn't know a single person killed or injured that day.  I feel like beyond the patriotic duty of being saddened, I have no right to feel this way.  Then, I had discussions with some ladies on my local message board for moms.  Turns out a lot of people feel this way.  Or at least, a lot of those moms anyway.  Women my age, some a little younger, some older all talked of feelings bigger then them.  Feelings they couldn't understand.  I was comforted to know that I was not alone.

Ten years ago, I was recently graduated from college, living with my parents.  My only sibling was away at his first year of college.  And my parents were leaving for a small mid-week trip to a bed …

Recipe: Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken

* Recipe introduced to me by a friend. 
* Hope to update with photos...

Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken
4 boneless chicken breasts 1 stick butter (*I use 1/2 or 1/4 stick and it tastes just fine!) 1 package Good Seasonings Italian Salad Dressing mix 1 can cream of chicken soup (*I buy one of the healthy versions) 1 bar of cream cheese, softened 3/4 cup white wine 4 cloves garlic 1 small onion, chopped (optional) fresh black pepper prepared pasta or rice
In crockpot, place chicken, butter, garlic, onion (optional), a shake of pepper, and package of Italian dressing mix.  Cook on low for five hours.
After four hours, add white wine.   
After five hours remove chicken and shred.  Add soup and cream cheese and stir.  Return shredded chicken to crockpot.  Stir to combine.  Cook on low one hour more.
Serve over pasta or rice. 
Total cooking time: 6 hours.  Serves 6.  

First Baseball Game

My post where I published the letter for my girls earned me an e-mail from the social media rep from the Cleveland Indians.  He invited my family down to watch a game in the social media suite at Progressive Field.  A mix up in scheduling meant we didn't get to sit in the social media suite for that game, but the rep gave us tickets to attend the game anyway.  We are rescheduled for the social suite in July.  I am very excited to attend a Tribe game in the suite!

We had fun at the game we did go to.  It was AS2's first game.  The Indians played the Cincinnati Reds and won 12-4!

Pink Themed Birthday Party

The All Star had one request for her birthday party.  She wanted pink.  In fact she told me everything should be pink.  Pink decorations, pink clothes, pink cake, pink food.  We did our best to grant her request.  Literally.  Everything was pink.

Menu Hot Dogs (boiled or grilled) Ambrosia Salad Potato Salad (dyed pink) Macaroni Salad (dyed pink) Watermelon Jello Jigglers (they don't really make a "pink" flavor. Boo.) Pink Party Punch Birthday Cake (cake and frosting dyed pink)

Hot dog toppings ketchup, yellow mustard, ball park mustard, sweet relish, dill relish, onion, cheddar cheese, chili, Frank's Red Hot, sauteed peppers and onions, sauerkraut, salsa, and cole slaw
If you are here for pink party ideas we also entertained doing ham and mashed potatoes (dyed pink) but our All Star has a spring birthday so we wanted more summery foods!
 Invitations:  I used and we tweaked the "Birthday Star" invitation a little to be more personalized.

A Letter for My All Stars

Our local newspaper, The Plain Dealer, along with The Cleveland Indians recently held a contest for Indians fans.  You were to write a short essay about your most memorable game.  They received over 600 submissions.  Originally they were awarding one grand prize winner a ball signed by Indians greats, 4 tickets to a game, and the chance to throw out the first pitch at a game.  Four additional finalists would win 4 tickets to a game.  Apparently they were so surprised at the number and sincerity of the entries they decided to award 162 (one for each game of the season) extra winners a 4 ticket prize.  All 167 winning essays were or will be published in the paper.  My essay was not chosen as a winner.  I'm still not sure how since my children are named after Indians, but in any case, that doesn't mean it can't be published in some capacity.

I have been an Indians fan as long as I remember.   Indians players are household names for us.  Literally.  My oldest daughter, Maris, i…

Polka Dot Birthday

When we switched my daughter from Pampers to Target diapers, she was quite pleased. She'd run around yelling "Polka dot diapy!" So we figured that would be a fun (and easy!) birthday party theme. It was!

We started with the invitations. I love Evite. It is free, saves on postage, allows immediate RSVP options, and even lets the sender know when guests have viewed the invitation. Even better they had a birthday invite with a polka dot background! We thought up a fantastically literary poem about birthdays and polka dots and sent the invitation out.

Decorations were easy too. I bought $5 worth of poster board, found four dishes in different sized circles and started tracing. Cutting turned out to be the hard part. I had almost 100 circles when all was said and done and my hand was significantly cramped/blistered to prove it. We found perfect polka dot table clothes at Old Navy during their 30% weekend and my mom bought 3 dozen daisies in beautiful bright colors.…