Esther 4:14b

"...and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So Long, Farewell

until the 30th anyways. I'm about to be internetless again. I was going to try to get some posts set up today so that there'd still be something to read while I was gone, but seeing how I'm just now leaving work (an hour after I'm supposed to), that obviously didn't happen.

But, when I return I hope to have some new crafts to post and look forward to catching up on everyone out there in blog world.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Christmas Gift Idea: Bird’s Nest Planter


Earlier this year I saw Martha make these rustic “bird’s nest” planters that held paper whites. I thought they’d make a great gift idea for some of hubby’s clients, but I didn’t know where I’d find paper whites at an affordable price.

Well, last night I stopped by the Christmas Tree Shop on my way home from work because someone sent me a coupon for 20% off your entire purchase. Lo and behold, when I walked in the door, right there were packages of paper white bulbs with a pot and simple instructions on how to plant for $3.99!

At that price, I should be able to make each bird’s nest planter with flowers for less than $10 each which is definitely a reasonable price to spend on gifts. If I decide not to go with the bird’s nest planters, I could easily wrap some nice burlap fabric around the pot and tie a ribbon with some embellishments around it too. That’d be even cheaper than $10.

Want to make your own bird’s nest planter? Click here to get the instructions.

And, if you live near a Christmas Tree Shop, here is your own 20% off coupon to use:

christmas tree shop coupon

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Homemade Granola

I finally remembered to grab the recipe from home so I could post this. My hubby loves having a snack of granola and yogurt. I’ve been meaning to make him some more homemade granola for a long time but kept putting it off because I had remembered it as a long process. Well my memory didn’t serve me correctly because making homemade granola couldn’t be easier. And, when my mom-in-law tells me she bought all the ingredients for it because I make the best, it’s hard to say no.

So, a couple weekends ago I whipped up a batch and we’ve been enjoying it ever since. Thought you might enjoy the recipe too. I have to thank hubby’s aunt for passing it on to me.

First, place whatever nuts you desire in a pan and toast them to develop their full flavor. As Rachael Ray says, “your nose knows” when they’re done. Just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.

toasting nuts

This time I used sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, ground flax seed, and slivered almonds.

Meanwhile, in microwave safe bowl, combine these ingredients:

brown sugar, honey & oil

Microwave until the sugar starts to dissolve and it’s easy to stir.

In a LARGE bowl, measure out 10 cups of oats.

oats and nuts

Add your toasted nuts and stir to combine.

Pour on the liquid ingredients and stir until all the oats and nuts are moistened.

oats, nuts and sticky ingredients

Next, add in whatever dried fruit you like.

add raisins

I used golden raisins and craisins. I’ve used dried cherries and blueberries before which is also very yummy. Stir until the fruit is evenly distributed.

In a parchment lined jelly roll pan, spread the granola in a layer that is about 1/2” thick.

spread in pan

Bake in a preheated oven until the edges are browned and the middle starts to feel firm to the touch.

NOTE: You’ll think you need to bake it longer than you actually do. When you pull it out of the oven, it will still be kind of sticky and soft. As it cools it will harden. Once the edges are browned, take it out otherwise you’ll end up with burned granola.

after baking

I tried to show you the difference between the baked (in the pan) and the unbaked (in the bowl) above, but they look too similar on my camera. You can see that the edges of the pan are browned, though.

I immediately transfer the baked granola to another storage container to cool. As it cools, I use my hands to break it up into chunks.


One batch filled 1/2 of one of those giant animal cracker containers. This will last us for quite awhile and it is so delicious when served on top of yogurt.


10 cups oats
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup honey
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 cups worth of dried fruit

Place nuts/seeds in skillet and toast over medium to medium-high heat until they reach desired toastiness. Place oats in a large bowl. In a microwave safe container, heat the brown sugar, honey and oil for 1.5 minutes to make it easier to stir and combine them. Add the toasted nuts to the oats and stir to combine. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until everything is coated. Add the dried fruit. Stir to combine. In parchment lined jelly roll sheets, flatten granola into 1/2” thick layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, checking often. It’s done when the edges start to brown and the middle is firmer to the touch. Remember, it will harden more as it cools. Store in an airtight container and enjoy for many days/weeks on top of yogurt.

Personally, this version is much tastier and much healthier than any version you could buy in the store. It is also much more budget friendly.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Time for a New Do

This Saturday I’m going for my first haircut in over 6 months. It couldn’t happen to fall on a better day because that night also happens to be the third annual Mayor’s Ball for our hometown and seeing how my hubby is on the city council, I kinda have to go to those sort of things and look presentable while attending.

I don’t think my split ends and funky mom-in-law trimmed bangs will go too well with the fancy dress I’m recycling from two years ago. That’s another thing. Hopefully no one will notice that I’m wearing the same dress I’ve already worn to two other political functions - albeit county level ones, but still. Another $400 for a dress is just not something in the budget right now.

Anyway. Back to the hair.

I’ve mentioned before that I get in these cycles where I’ll chop my hair short and then let it grow out for a few years and wear it long before chopping it off again. Currently, I’m in the let it grow out stage and it’s finally below my shoulder again. If it was up to me, I’d chop it back into the bob I sported most of this past year because I totally loved it. With my flat iron, it was super easy to style. Katie Holmes was my inspiration:

katieholmesbob    100_2632

Hubby loves when I change my hair up, though, because then he feels like he’s kinda married to a “different woman every day”. Whatever makes him happy. Only problem is, my flat iron bit the dust a couple months ago and they no longer make it so I’m having trouble finding an affordable replacement I’m happy with. Thus, my go to style of late has been leaving it naturally curly and I’m completely over it. It seems no matter what I do or what products I use the frizz takes over by midday. It’s got to go!

I’m not very talented with a blow dryer and that is why I loved the bob because the flat iron fixed EVERYTHING.

In the past I’ve turned to things like this to help me out:

But, let’s be honest here, those hairstyles don’t look realistic no matter who’s head you plop them on. (And no, that’s not me in those silly photos in case your eyesight has gone.)

Enter Google. How I love Google. What did we ever do without Google?

A quick search for “medium hairstyles” and “long hairstyles” resulted in the following selections I like:

eva-longoria-medium Ref: RANY 141101
Singer Mandy Moore at a party for Teen People's third annual What's Next  issue at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.
Picture Ronald Asadorian/Splashnews
Splash LA: 310-812-2666
            NY: 212-619-2666
    jessicasimpson medium-hairstyles1 eva_mendes

I don’t know which way to go. I really like the bang on Mandy Moore & Jessica Simpson and Eva Longoria’s simple straight layers, but the flirtyness of Eva Mendes asymmetrical do is super cute too. Only problem is, I can do the straight hair easily enough thanks to a flat iron, but the styles on the bottom look like I’d have to be pretty skilled with a blow dryer and then a curling iron and some good styling products to keep my naturally curly hair from frizzing out when I try to relax it into a softer wave.

Guess I’ll let my hairstylist make the final decision for me on Saturday and hopefully she’ll be able to give me some stellar tips too on how to style it because I really would love to go with something closer to Eva Mendes style.

Then again, I could always just have her style it like this for the Mayor’s Ball:


What the heck was Drew Barrymore thinking when she got out of the stylist’s chair that night? I definitely want to avoid having bouffant hair like that!

Oh, one other picture that came up on my Google search for “medium hairstyles”:

Again, not quite the look I’m going for, but Josh Holloway is pretty dreamy.

Tell me your opinion. Which style should I go with? Any hair products you found that work great on naturally curly hair? How about tips for having great success with using a blow dryer?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls

I think I mentioned that I recently started following The Pioneer Woman on her blog. She always has me cracking up and her recipes are pretty good amazing too!

About a week ago I decided to make a batch of PW’s cinnamon rolls. Click here for the recipe.

I read the comments before I started and saw that some people had problems with the melted butter oozing out of the dough as they tried to roll it up. I experienced this same problem.

The first half of the dough I used melted butter and it oozed all out over the counters, the front of the dishwasher and the floor. If I hadn’t been so aggravated that I didn’t follow the suggestions of others my hands hadn’t been so covered in butter and cinnamon and sugar, I would have taken the chance to snap a photo. Trust me. It was NOT a pretty sight!

The second half of the dough I only softened the butter and that way seemed to work much better. Both ways were still pretty messy to cut, but they turned out delicious.

One batch made one 9 x 13 of 15 rolls. Here they are before the frosting:

9x13 no frosting

And here they are after I added the delicious coffee/maple frosting:

9x13 with frosting 

It also made 5 round trays of 7 rolls each.

 round pan no frosting

 round pan with frosting

I was wanting to freeze the 5 round pans so hubby could enjoy them for breakfasts throughout the upcoming weeks. PW says you can freeze them at any stage, even after they’ve been iced. I decided to take her word for it and after pouring the frosting on and allowing them to cool completely, I covered them tightly with aluminum foil and placed them in the freezer with directions on top for hubby to reheat them. According to PW, you can either let them thaw and then heat them one at a time, or plop them in the oven frozen and with the foil on for about 20 minutes.

Hubby chose the frozen method and they came out just as heavenly tasting as those we ate fresh.

Have you tried any of Pioneer Woman’s recipes? If so, which ones?

Monday, November 9, 2009

More Tests

This morning on my way to work I received a phone call from my dr’s office. I think he must have received my x-ray results because now he wants me to go for a CT scan prior to my colonoscopy.

Hopefully whatever he saw is nothing serious, but at the same time, hopefully it’s something tangible so we can actually start the work of fixing the problem instead of trying to figure out what the problem is.

On another note, I have a blog post on homemade granola all ready to go except for the actual quantities. Seems the version I have with me is not the same version I used  even though it came from the same person. Who knows. Guess that’s what happens when two different people right down the same recipe given verbally. I’ll try to remember to right down the version I actually used and post it tomorrow.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Fun Way To Spend A Thursday Morning

We’re still on a quest to find out what has been causing my stomach issues since this past June. After all the tests my internist ran kept coming up normal, I decided to head to a gastroenterologist instead to see if he could figure out anything. I had my first appointment with him a week ago and was given orders to have an x-ray of my upper GI and small bowel as well as a colonoscopy.

Fun stuff I tell ya! Stuff I thought I’d be dealing with when I was in my 50s not when I was 28. But, I guess when you have a family history of colon cancer (my paternal grandma died from it when she was 55), they want you to have these sort of tests sooner if you’re having issues.

Yesterday was my lucky day to go and drink barium milk shakes. They’re so delicious! If you haven’t had one, make sure you schedule your next upper GI and small bowel x-ray stat.


Here’s the lovely little cell room where you too could spend a few hours. It has everything you could ever want – a cold floor, hard seat, florescent lighting, and drafts. It’s absolutely fabulous! Of course you have the option of walking out and sitting in the hallway if you don’t want to stay in here, but there is one problem.

See those blue things sitting in the corner? You know. The ones that open in the back so that you’re whole rear end is visible for the world to see? That’s what you’ll be wearing if you decide to leave your isolation cell cushy room to go and enjoy the slightly warmer and less sterile hallway.

What’s that I hear? You want a photo?

flash for face

Oops. That won’t work. How about this one?

thrilled patient

What? You thought I was going to post my rear end flapping in the breeze? Ha! Not when you have junk in the trunk like me! Oh and see that crazy fake smile on my face? That’s what happens to you when you’re locked in that little room while you wait for them to come and force three cups of barium milkshakes down your throat.

Thankfully my lady was so nice and allowed me to wear a second gown as a jacket to cover up my backside. It made for a stellar fashion statement with my black and grey striped knee socks. Let me tell ya.

Besides the accommodations and beverages, the x-rays really were easy as pie. And, here are a few words for my fellow cellmates patients from yesterday: JUST DRINK THE STUFF ALREADY! Don’t complain about it! Trust me, they know it tastes awful. You complaining about it is not going to make the process any easier on you or them. Sure you have to rock back and forth and from side to side to stir up the barium once you ingest it, but lying still and holding your breath really isn’t that hard people.

I was such a stellar patient the doctor told the x-ray technician to hire me. I  have to admit, her job looks pretty fun. Maybe a career change is somewhere in my future. It would be closer to the pre-med track I was on in college than my current job as an office manager. And, I’ve never been more proud of my small bowel. The fact that it moved the barium through it fast allowed me to get out of there after only two hours instead of four.

Afterwards, I finally chowed down on some breakfast with a chaser of milk of magnesia. Now that stuff is nasty!

An Easier Way to Blog

I’m sure many of you already know about this, but I just discovered it yesterday and I’m L-O-V-I-N-G it!

At work we recently started using Windows Messaging for intra-office communication. For some reason, the program wasn’t loaded on my computer so I logged on to download it.

I was so excited when I saw it came with the program called “Windows Live Writer.”

This little discovery has made blogging sooooo much easier for me. I don’t know about you, but I dreaded the posts that included pictures because it was so cumbersome to move them around and get them in the right location. This program allows me to insert pictures when and where I want them instead of having to upload them all before I start a post. Plus, it has easy options for changing the border on the pictures and a whole bunch of other stuff. Plus now I can do things like annoy everyone cross out words if I want to. Always wondered how people did those strikethroughs. Ha! Now I know.

So, from now on dear readers, my pictures will have BORDERS. And, my posts will contain strikethroughs. And, I’ll feel like I’m finally up to speed with how to get this whole blogging thing working a little quicker and easier which hopefully will lead to more frequent posting.

And yes, did any of you catch that I do my blogging from work? Shh. Don’t tell the boss. J/K! He already knows and seeing how I’m such a speedy worker and have my work done two hours after I get here for the day, most days get spent surfing the net, making design sketches for my house, playing games on Facebook or blogging. Yeah, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! Now if only I could get myself to channel that free time into something productive and profitable like moving my Divine Creations shop from my stupid web host to Etsy I might have a little more success.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wahoo! BIG Wins!

Last night was a good night - a R-E-A-L-L-Y good night!

If you're a Republican that is.

I know a lot of people don't talk about politics on their blogs, but politics is just part of my life. After all, my husband is a politician.

From the top to the bottom, Republicans had HUGE victories in our state. Mr. Obama's visits did nothing to help his fellow Democrats, and as a result of picking up another "R" seat locally, looks like my hubby may get to serve as Mayor again next year.

Oh election nights are so much more fun when your party wins!