Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Panini Sandwiches for Summer!

Panini sandwiches are all the rage, and for good reason. I've had my panini grill for a couple of years and experimented with many sandwiches. This Cuisinart Panini and Sandwich Press
is one of my personal favorite grills! I enjoy making panini sandwiches because it allows me to be as creative as I wish! Also, breakfast burritos taste delicious after putting them between a panini grill!

A great idea is to make a sandwich bar when you are entertaining.

Put a deli meat tray out with ham, turkey, and roast beef.
Arrange a cheese tray too with cheddar, provalone, and swiss.
Also include a vegi tray with sliced avacados, tomatoes, red onions, and lettuce.
I mix up a sandwich spread that includes mayo, mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
I spread it over bakery bread, usually whole wheat french bread.
People pass through the sandwich bar and load up their plate with their sandwich fillings, and I put them together and sizzle the stacked sandwiches on the panini grill.

Sooo extra yummy!

Serve with fresh fruit, pasta salad, and chips. Don't forget some sun tea with a colorful straw and you're ready to go with a perfect SUMMERTIME meal!

Extra tip! Buy this book to find AMAZING and unique sandwiches to is full of ideas. It is one of my favorite cookbooks.
Grilled Cheese: 50 Recipes to Make You Melt

I would love to hear how you use your panini grill...
This is a Works for me Wednesday Post. For more ideas, click HERE.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My 7 Year Love Affair With Uggs

I don't have a large shoe collection like a lot of women,
but I do have quite a few Uggs.

They are my therapy for bad days, bored days, busy days, and happy days...okay, for all days...I can't live without my Uggs.

Usually, I go through abnormal withdrawals during the summer because I don't have Uggs on my toes. BUT, this year all that changed with my new FLIP FLOP UGGS!!! *gasp* Can you believe it? A layer of plush coziness lying over a flip flop?! Here are some pictures of my lovelies...
I actually don't own a pair of the now popular simple boot ones. I prefer the fun styles and I really like their slip on clogs with heels! Here are a couple more of mine...
(these are the boots I prefer)

Ugg shoes are a passion of mine, obviously...but I am also in love with their accessories. I have an Ugg cell phone case and a few Ugg handbags that are absolutely adorable and softer than purses should be allowed to be!

Ugg now sells normal shoes too without the sheepskin but what is the point in that? I only have the Ugg products with the sheepskin...nothing beats that Austrailian sheepskin cuddling your feet!

And now for the best part!

This pillow will completely transform my couch

This handbag is similar to my other ones because it has all the soft sheepskin, but it is a different color and....hmmm....I can't think of any other good reasons why I need it, JUST BECAUSE I suppose. :)

I hope my husband reads this post...and to the rest of you...go buy some Uggs ;)

Friday, April 24, 2009

If you're hurting...

This post will grab you only if you take a moment to still your spirit. I ran across this song yesterday and wanted all the world to hear it in the same way it has spoken to me. A lot of you know I went through some incredibly difficult times a few years ago....and at that time, this song was given to me. She thought it would be helpful. I would play it on repeat often.
This song literally
soothed my wounds,
cradled my heart,
and restored my vision to help me gain strength for the days ahead.

If any of you is going through difficult struggles, I am confident this will bless you. You can listen to it below.

Here are a few of my favorite lines:
The Lord’s my Shepherd, I have everything I need.
Though I walk through the dark valley of death, I will
Not be afraid for He’s here.

Surely, the Angel of the Lord is around me.
I have no cause to fear, my God will not forsake me.
I am His child, no enemy can touch me.

And most of all remember that this season will pass. I never imagined that God would have restored things so quickly and completely in my life. Sooo....if you're hurting, good days are ahead! :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sweet Delights

In my opinion, the sweetest delights of life are
creatively fun,

Thank you Brandi for the brown box I found at my doorstep the other day. This carnation cupcake looks tempting enough to eat!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Set a Timer and Do it *Works for Me Wednesday*

Have you ever waited until the 11th hour to finish a project? You know they say, "if it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done"...BUT in the meantime, those tasks, chores, and projects weigh heavily on the back of your mind stealing your peace and creating an edgy mood. Sooo, just get it done and avoid the drama of a bad mood! ;) The best way to finish a task is to START it. Grab a little kitchen time and set it for 15 minutes.
Yep, that's all. Commit to only 15 minutes. You must work diligently on your task for 15 minutes with NO interruptions or breaks. Tell yourself it is only for 15 minutes and you CAN set your mind to a task for that short of time.

CHANCES ARE, once that timer beeps, you'll finally have the momentum you need to finish or at least conquer half of it. You'll probably be able to work well beyond 15 minutes! And tomorrow, set that timer again. Use the 15 minute rule and your kitchen timer EVERY time you have a daunting project that you don't want to do.

Simple, but entirely effective!

For more WFMW ideas, click here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

He Rocks My Socks

I wrote yesterday about my birthday, but the story didn't stop there. My brother made me dinner that same night for my birthday!! I thought it was extra sweet and thoughtful of him. He started it all out on the right foot by carrying in a pretty vase of cut flowers with a butterfly balloon and a 12 pack of coke (he knows what I need). ;)

I had no idea he was going to make dinner for my parents and my family, but in he came with bags of groceries to prepare BBQ Chicken sandwiches with bacon, and tomatoes. How sweet is that?! The sandwiches were extra tasty! He did a fabulous job.

And to finish off the evening, I found this darling new outdoor patio set on my back porch from him and my parents.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My 27th Birthday

Usually when ones gets surprised at a surprise party, they will stop in their tracks, look a bit stunned, maybe gasp a little, or not say anything. mom threw me an intimate surprise luncheon with two of my friends and I FREAKED. I didn't have a graceful entrance or that little stunned look on my face...I screamed (loudly), cowered back into the door, ducked, and covered my head, as if something was out to get me! My friends and mom are beautiful, not scary-looking monsters out to get me, so who knows what I was thinking!

I was pleased that my mom gave me this afternoon. I so enjoyed it!! I would love to share moments of our day with you. My mom always puts together lovely tables and I find much delight in taking photos of beautiful things! :) This luncheon was in cheery spring colors: both soft and bright pink and lime green. She served delicious panini sandwiches, spinach salad with a tangy lemon dressing, and strawberries with a super yummy cream cheese marshmallow dip.

The cake was a strawberry chocolate jello cake with homemade ice cream! Mom is lighting all those candles up...

We each got a fun party favor bag with girly stuff to pamper ourselves with...

I absolutely adore these flowers from my incredible friend Melissa! Aren't these so fun and unique?! She did a super job matching them to the party colors as well. And those limes smelled so fresh. ;)

Thanks to all three of you for making me feel important and cared for on my 27th Birthday. xo

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fly Away Beautiful Girl

And all makes strangers can sketch portraits of their everyday life on the www for all to friendships are woven with typed words as we each express our we could laugh and cheer as we read families happy successful moments...and it makes sense how our tears could fall over our computer keys as we read of hurts that we can feel deep within.

It's the world of blogging: the updated way to reach out, share, love, and laugh. It has taken the place of other forms of relationship-making. But sometimes in the midst of our online networking, we ask ourselves if it's worth the time, and we wonder if it EVEN makes sense to share our hearts with the vast world out there....and we learn...THAT IS DOES MAKE SENSE.

Beautiful Maddie flew away from the arms of her loving parents unexpectedly last week. Both of her parents, Mike and Heather have blogs. I have read their blogs as they deal with the fun and trials of parenting. I was on Twitter following Heather's updates the night that Madeline was rushed to the hospital...and her passing was the last thing I expected.

BUT, if her parents hadn't have shared their life online, the cute footprints of Maddie would have silently disappeared. However, because of the incredible technology we have as we form online bonds, hundreds of thousands have supported Mike and Heather during this time. THOUSANDS of dollars have been raised for March of Dimes in honor of little Maddie.

And today, you can give Maddie your love by watching this tribute video of her.

In her memory, use gentle, kind words with your children today, with no harshness, because they are your gifts here on earth for a season. Don't waste a minute scowling or frowning at them. Do it for Madeline and do it to remember your blessings.

The Tribute to Our Madeline from Mike and Heather on Vimeo.

"Fly, fly little one...your endless journey has began...take your gentle happiness...far too beautiful for this."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sweet Pink and Bad Black: 50th Birthday!

It was my Mom's 50th birthday the other day. Wow, a variety of emotions swirl in my mind as I rewind the years in my head. My mom has lived an incredible life, living it very much to the fullest! She has blessed many people, especially her family. She is our foundation and we so enjoyed celebrating her LIFE with this bubbly party.

You all should know that I absolutely thrive on planning celebrations! So, I am going to waltz you through step by step on the planning of this family bash. :)

The theme was pink and black, and polka dots, with a splash of retro mixed with contemporary. EVERYTHING was pink and black!!

I made the table runner out of scrapbook paper pages and ribbon.

I bought plastic cups and embellished them with scrapbook stickers.

I also replaced the lightbulbs with 2 RED and 2 PINK lights to give a fun effect.

I made a round pink carnation (50 carnations) centerpiece (See this post here) and bought black disc marbles to decorate with as well. The marbles don't show up in the photos because of the dim lighting.

What did Grandma get inside all of those pink-wrapped presents?? WOW...(the faces say it all)

We even planned for most of her gifts to be pink and black and retro. She got a black apron from Heavenly Hostess, (click here to see it). She received a lot of pink and black fragrances from Victoria's Secret, vintage bath products, a pink ice cream scoop, a classic pearl necklace, etc.

Even the food was pink!
I made a fresh raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing that was pink of course.

Pink lemonade was served.

Also, a fruit jello/pudding that was pink(ish). I cut pink marshmallows in round discs and put pink sugar on them to maintain the color and polka dot theme.

We had bowls of pink whopper candies and pink strawberry marshmallows too.

And the cake was too cool! I got it from a local cake shop and it turned out lovely!

This is the menu I prepared:
~ Blue Cheese, Bacon, and Chives Stuffed Pork Chops
~ Baked Zucchini Chips
~ Garlic Parmesan Red Mashed Potatoes
~ Homemade Honey Wheat Bread
~ Fresh Raspberry Vinaigrette, Roasted Almonds, Feta Cheese, and Red Onions over Mixed Greens
~ Strawberry Cream Jello pudding

I had to add a sappy touch too...I got a photo of when my mom was little and I copied a poem called "Daddy's Girl" that my Grandpa wrote for my mom when she was little onto the photo to create a banner.

Before the lights were changed to red and pink ;)

And after...

We all had an exciting evening, a perfect way to start her first day of being 50.