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Archive for August, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Smile – It’s Good For You!

  Written By: Jonathan

The following post was written by my wonderful husband (if you haven’t noticed my husband gave me a week off from writing) to give a man’s perspective on smiling. We see things very differently sometimes and it’s nice to get that different viewpoint that I read through his writing style. I hope you enjoy and give him some comment love.

Reasons To Smile

1033 Reasons to SmileThe good people over at Skyhorse Publishing sent me a copy of Elizabeth Dutton’s new book “1,033 Reasons To Smile” and it got me thinking about smiling. I cant turn around without seeing my daughter Anneliese smiling, I’m actually pretty sure she even smiles in her sleep. Every time she smiles it brightens up the room, her smiles are so contagious I can’t help but don one every time I see her. So after reading in “1,033 Reasons To Smile” that smiling has been shown to relieve stress, boost the immune system, and even release endorphins I decided I should look into it.

Cute Baby Smilling

If you don't have a smile, I'll give you one of mine -Anonymous

Everyone has heard that smiling is contagious but did you know that a scientific study in Sweden proves it. When our brain sees a smile it automatically sends a signal to smile ourselves. And when you think about it why wouldn’t you want to smile, smiling has been proven to relieve stress and make you more happy. Who couldn’t do with a little less stress in life, especially if this is one of the times your baby is screaming in the other room.

Messy Baby Smiling While Eating
People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile – Lee Mildon
I wonder if this also applies to when you are covered in food?

Here are some more facts about Smiling

Babies have the ability to smile at birth
Babies learn most of there behaviors from watching their parents and others around them, but since even blind babies smile scientists believe that all babies are born with the ability.

Smiling is a Natural Drug
Research has shown that smiling releases endorphins, serotonin and natural pain killers. So next time someone is beating you up just smile, they will think you are crazy and leave you alone, plus you will feel better.

Babies have a special smile for loved ones
Babies actually have different smiles and save their special smiles for the ones they love the most.

If you need some more reasons to smile I sugest that you head over to Amazon and get a copy of “1,033 Reasons To Smile” as the title says it has 1,033 more reasons to smile. Some of my favorite are:

When you are running errands, imagine you are in a montage scene from a bad 80′s movie. Ridiculous mental image smile.

You are not currently on stage at a poetry slam. That’s a relief. For you and for the rest of us.

Checking the calendar on Friday and realizing that Monday is a holiday. Sweet relief.

 

What makes you smile?

PostHeaderIcon Family Fun Day

  Written By: Jonathan

beautiful Butterfly on family fun dayThis past weekend our family had a nice and much needed break in our routine, it all started at 7am on Saturday. Now, I’m not one to get up early, especially on a weekend but every now and again I will break my own rules. After getting up, getting dressed, and eating a light breakfast, we headed off to the the park. It was nice to get out in the morning before the temperatures got to be unbearably hot, because there is not much more of a killjoy than the afternoon sun beating down on you while the temp pushes 100 degrees. Anneliese loves to swing, the only thing better than swinging is swinging with mommy. She always starts to laugh when I push Melainie (mommy) too high and mommy begins to freak-out.

Swinging with Mommy and family fun

After running around the park and getting nice and dirty, the three of us went to the nearby Farmers Market. It’s nice being able to get fresh fruits and vegetables, not to mention all of the fresh breads, jams and various hot sauce/salsas. Even if you don’t end up buying anything it’s nice to converse with local farmers and towns people. If I’ve learned anything in my life it’s that “Old Timers” are a wealth of stories, jokes, and knowledge. After buying some poppy seed bread and some “Old Goat” hot sauce it’s time to go.

Farmers Market family fun

After all of this excitement I’m ready for my morning nap, but Melainie reminds me I no longer get morning naps :-( . So we hop in the car for a 45min drive up to Huntsville to go see the Agape Baby & Family Fair. Agape Baby family Fair day We met Melainie’s Mom, Dad, and Brother at the event hall, it was a fun filled family day! There were lots of vendor from every imaginable “baby” oriented business in Huntsville and surrounding areas. I won’t attempt to list them all but some of my favorites include Just the Box- they make Castles, Vehicles, and other cool play equipment for kids using boxes. I remember growing up hoping my parents would buy a new dryer or fridge so that my brother and I could score a cool new box to make into a play house. Another super fun part of the event was the “The Little Gym”- they were so friendly and great with our baby girl, Anneliese. They have facility’s where babies and kids can learn motor skills, gymnastics and just have fun.

family fun day

We left the fair at lunch time and on the way to get some lunch Anneliese lost her battle with sleep. So much stimulation and excitement took it’s toll on her, she fell fast asleep and got a good cat nap in before lunch. It was such a beautiful day that we decided to eat at the park and have a nice family picnic. The park has a nice man-made pond well stocked with Koi and inhabited with Geese, Anneliese loves seeing new and exiting creatures.

Anneliese At The Park

After lunch it was time to say good bye to the in-laws {Grandpa and Grandma) and head home, Anneliese didn’t make it long before the eventful day took hold and she fell asleep. The day was very fun and enjoyed by all, but the best part was being able to spend time with family. I really encourage everyone to make time to spend with your family, because time spent enjoying your family is time well spent.

-Jonathan (Husband)

PostHeaderIcon Man-Canning | How to Can Jalapenos

  Written By: Jonathan

Man-Canning | Jalapeno CartoonThe other day I was looking in the kitchen at the large amount of Jalapenos that I had grown (really it was my wife) and stole from my in-laws, and decided it was time to get my canning on! If you’re like me, you want to Spice up every meal with some good old hot sauce and or pickled Jalapenos. And like any Jack-Of-All-Trades you don’t want to buy them from the supermarket, you want to be a real man and can them yourself! So the first step of being a man is going online and buying all the goods. After all, do you really want to wait at the ever increasing lines filled with overweight people wearing there PJ’s at 3pm in the afternoon at Wal-Mart?

You will need:

  • Jalapenos

Step #1
The first thing we want to do is cut the Jalapenos into nice uniform slices, I personally like mine to be on the thick side. As you cut them you should place them into a large bowl filled with cold water to let them soak. By letting them soak, the jars will not be filled with green looking vinegar at the end, instead they will be clean and clear.

 

Man-Canning | Jalapenos on Cutting Board 

Step #2
After all the Jalapenos are cut and places in their soaking bowl, you need to sterilize all of your canning jars. You will need to follow the jar companies procedures for doing this. You can get a feel for how many jars you will need by looking at the Jalapenos you cut.

*WARNING* Do not attempt at any time to “measure” the peppers to see how many jars you need. This would not be the Man way of doing things!

Step #3
Take all of the soaking peppers and drain them in a colander, rinsing them well with cold water. Place the peppers in the sterilized jars and set them to the side. Now take a large pot and boil enough vinegar to fill all of those jars.

 

Man-Canning | Jalapenos in Jars 

Break #1
While you are waiting for the vinegar to come to a boil, I suggest you find a fun mischievous activity to partake in. I went and told my wife that while I was cutting peppers one of them squirted me in my eye, and that I no longer wanted to hear about how bad child birth was because this was much worse. (It didn’t go over so well)

 

Man-Canning | Jalapeno Drink

Go get a glass of Gatorade and toss in a few fresh Jalapeno slices for flavor.

 

Step #4
Once the vinegar has come to a roaring boil you will need to add some canning salt. There is an exact science to the amount of salt per ounce of vinegar but I am not a scientist nor am I a woman, so I just add a “good bit”. Mix the salt and vinegar with a spoon until all the salt dissolves completely.

Step #5
Pour the vinegar and salt mixture into the jars filled with Jalapenos until they are about 1/8 from the top, then tighten the lids so that they are snug. You don’t want the lids too tight, because if you tighten them too much they will not seal properly. Now we wait.

Break #2
As we wait for the jars to seal we can plan some of the Man Meals we will be consuming with our Jalapenos. Here are some of my suggestions:

Man-Canning | Jalapeno Ice CreamJalapeno Ice Cream
There’s just something about the rick creamy goodness of Ice Cream with the burning fiery boldness of Jalapenos. Not to mention you wont have to worry about your wife trying to steal your desert.

 

 

Man-Canning | Crepes-JalapenoJalapeno Bacon Crepes
Every man needs to start his day off with a fiery kick in the pants, so what better way to do it than with Bacon and Jalapeno wrapped in a Crepe, after all Crepes are flambe’ed.

 

 

Step #6
After the jars have cooled and the lids have sealed, you will want to place the jars in the refrigerator overnight- it will help to preserve the crunch. I suggest waiting at least a week before you enjoy the fruits of your labor but that is up to you. (If you eat them too soon they will not be pickled yet.)

-Jonathan (Husband)

PostHeaderIcon Easy Chocolate Truffles Recipe

  Written By: Melainie

Finally, as promised in my baby’s first birthday party post, I have written down my husband’s super simple chocolate truffle recipe. I also included some very tempting pictures, so get ready to run to the store because you will want to try these rich and decadent little chocolate balls. Thanks Jonathan! (I am so glad I have a husband that enjoys cooking, because I sure don’t.)

easy chocolate truffles recipe

Delicious Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles

1 package of oreos
8 oz. cream cheese
12 oz. semi-sweet melting chocolate
white decorating icing

easy chocolate truffles recipeWhile melting chocolate (be careful not to scorch it) blend together cream cheese and oreos until smooth, and refrigerate the mixture for about 10 minutes to make it easier to form balls. Then form teaspoon sized balls from mixture and dip them in melted chocolate. Place on wax paper and refrigerate until chocolate hardens. Then crisscross each truffle with white decorator icing and allow to harden. Keep refrigerated. Makes 35-40 truffles.

easy chocolate truffles recipe

The Chocolate Truffles are Almost Gone!

After they had time to harden in the refrigerator, I transferred them to a cute box lined with wax paper. This was door prize #1 for the scratch-off game we played at my baby’s birthday party. I think everyone was jealous of the winner!

chocolate truffles recipe

Mystery Box Filled with Chocolate Truffles

Try them and tell me what you think. I thought they were very delicious and easy enough for me to make. Plus, it doesn’t take much time out of your day (time is a rare and valuable thing for every mom).

PostHeaderIcon Gotta Write It Down: Every Mom Needs a Memo Board

  Written By: Melainie

mommy memo boardMy husband has been telling me for a while now that my brain has changed since the baby was born. I think I really did lose some brain cells during my labor and delivery (or maybe from all of those sleepless nights?) because I can’t seem to remember anything from one minute to the next. If I don’t write down what I am thinking in a prominent place then it probably won’t be remembered. I can only imagine how difficult it will be for me when I have to add in school activities on my “to-do list” (school is still on my mind with all of the children in our area going back this week).

chalkboard wall stickers

My "Mommy Memo Board"

To help combat my memory struggles I have been using an adorable Mommy Memo “Board” which is not really a board but a wall sticker. I thought it was the cutest thing and just had to tell everybody about it. It is a big ladybug chalkboard that you can stick on most surfaces and even peel off then re-stick to another surface if you want. I have it in my baby’s nursery right now so I can use it to write down her appointments or shopping list if I notice she is low on diapers. Sometimes I will quickly jot down a blog post idea too, if inspiration strikes while I am changing my baby’s diaper.

mommy chalkboard wall sticker

Chalkboard Wall Sticker Above the Changing Table

wall art stickersI found this chalkboard wall sticker on the Bright Star Kids website and thought it would be  great to use as a memo board and when my baby is older she can enjoy using it too. (They also have cute nursery wall sticker art along with other wall stickers that I thought would look good throughout my house.) If you are looking for a good “Mommy Memo Board” like I needed, I would highly recommend that you at least check out the Bright Star Kids website first.

mommy memo board

Ladybug Chalkboard In It's Original Package

I was so excited when the package arrived (about a week after it was ordered, which is great for shipping from Australia to the U.S.) and couldn’t wait to try it out. It was easy to “assemble” and I knew exactly where I wanted to put it- as seen in my previous picture. But, if you do want to change where you put it, they are easy to remove and re-stick because of the nice fabric texture.

mommy brain memo board

Super Simple and Fun!

By the way, if you happen to be artistically challenged and need help putting your wall art stickers up, they have a YouTube channel with plenty of “how to” videos to give you inspiration. (They also have a Facebook Fan Page if you want to keep up with their special offers and new products; or keep up with the conversation by following them on Twitter.)

I admitted to having Mommy Brain and I am taking steps to correct this problem. How about you? Do you have a problem with your brain being missing?

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