Sunday, May 31, 2009

Food Blog Updates!

If you haven't been by the Full Bellies blog in a while, Ive updated the past few days with some with some very yummy recipes.

We all know there's nothing better than homemade bread and especially if it's artisan type bread. What if I told you that you can do it yourself? No, don't look at me that way, I'm serious, it's not a joke, you can make your own artisan type bread, with that wonderful crust and the big holes inside *snicker*


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Five Senses Saturday!

Good Morning everyone, I don't quite know what I have planned for this day other than the usual housecleaning, mopping and laundry etc.

Oh I also plan on updating the blogs, all of them, food and books and tv watch for those later on today.

For now, I leave you with my Five Senses Saturday, it's been such a long time since I've done this and I miss it. Enjoy!


- Barlow Girl "Never Alone" on the computer
- Lawns being mowed outside
- The kids playing games on the computer
- Pugs sniffling around on the couch
-The keys on my keyboard as I type


- My grass needing to be mowed

- Merlin on the TV
- The sticky spots on the kitchen floor needing mopping
- My husband's tired face as he arrives home in the early morning hours
- My children's laughing faces as they play


- The hose outside as I turn on the sprinkler
- New Yarn as I get it ready for Dishcloths
- The pages on my new book
- The barbecue grill as it lights for the first time this summer
- The creamy soft "Safari Body Lotion" as I slather it on my legs



- Monkey Bread....YUM
- The bitter taste of my Vitamins
- Homemade fresh bread

- The first sip of a glass of ice cold water
- Homemade butter


- The monkey bread as is bakes
- Fresh picked lemons
- Lavender dishsoap
- My kids warm soft necks straight out of the bath
- Burgers grilling outside

Friday, May 29, 2009

Go Go Pets Giveaway!


I'm sure by now you've seen the cute commercials on tv for these adorable little hamsters.

I'm also sure by now, your little ones have asked you for one or two and all the cute attachments that come with it.

Let me tell you about this wonderful new toy, see I'm a mom who likes buying toys for the kids but there are some that even you will admit that you spend so much money on and they hardly if ever play with them.

When I was asked a while ago if I would be interested in reviewing these, I jumped at the chance and then I received in the mail....set it all up and let the kids go at it, but let me tell you that before the boxes were even open the kids were jumping around screaming in joy and trying to contain their excitement.


The was a HIT, and I don' t mean just a "oh it's nice" kinda hit....I mean humungous, play for hours the first afternoon and beg to start again the next morning kind hit.

I even got in on it because watching these adorable little hamsters running through their maze and wheel and then turning around and heading to the garage where they step into the car and literally drive off, was just beyond anything I could have expected out of this toy.


Go Go Pets are manufactured by Cepia and they are the world's first innovative, realistic, interactive, plush, and artificially intelligent hamsters that talk and move around in their own playsets.

If you want to learn more about Go Go pets be sure to visit their website at

Now here is the cool thing, for such a cool toy they are so inexpensive, their retail for $6.99 each hamster and the playsets begin at $14.99 at stores like Walmart and Target.

I asked the kids to join in today and tell you all what exactly they love the most about the Go Go Pets, I think this way you can get the perspective of a 10 and 6 year old.


Jasmine (10 years old) - They are really fun to play with, they are so cute, it's like they have a mind of their own. My favorite part is the exercise wheel because they look so cute when they go on it and they are really funny cause sometimes they stop and go backwards and sometimes they fall on their sides and you have to help them. My favorite hamster is Mr Squiggles.


Nicholas (6 years old) - I really like it because they know where to go and they're so cute and fuzzy. My favorite part is the slide because they go down it and you can make the little ball go with the hamsters and sometimes they get stuck at the top and it looks like they're dancing. My favorite hamster is Pipsqueak.


Now here is the best part.....Go Go Pets wants me to giveaway one hamster and one car/garage playset. Believe me, you will want to enter this contest and let all your friends know about it too. You won't want to miss the look on your kids face when they open this toy and start playing with it.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicImage and video hosting by TinyPic

Here's the deal, it's very simple:

The contest is open to participants in the USA only.
Leave a comment and a way to contact you, if you don't have a blog please leave an email

That's it. The contest will run from today until next week friday, then I'll draw a random number from the comments. Good Luck!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday

I apologize for posting this so late, but guess what? I actually got to sleep in today, for the first time in more than a year YAY. *snicker*

Mr Linky's usual linkies are not working, so we have to use Image Linkies, all you do is click on the green "Mr Linky" and it will open up the list for you to add your name to.

Don't forget to add your name to Mr Linky and a link back to your SCT post so others can come by and see your recipe too.

As always, share your slow cooking recipes but if you REALLY REALLY don't have one and still want to participate, then you can share any kind of recipe.

Crock Pot Chocolate Kahlua Cake

This moist cake is amazing served warm straight from the slow cooker, along with a small scoop of light vanilla bean ice cream.


1 box (18.25 ounce) devil’s food cake mix

1 cup fat-free sour cream

1 cup 1% low-fat milk (or use nonfat or 2% milk)

2 large eggs, a higher omega-3 brand if available

2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute

3/4 cup Kahlua liqueur (or similar)


1. Coat inside of slow cooker with canola cooking spray.
2. In large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, sour cream, milk, eggs, egg whites, and Kahlua by beating on medium for about a minute.
3. Pour cake batter into prepared slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
4. Cut cake into about 16 wedges. Serve each slice with a small scoop of light vanilla bean ice cream (using a cookie dough scoop), if desired.

Yield: Makes 16 servings

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 portion medium dessert.

Nutrition Information: Per serving: 210 calories, 4 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 5.5 g fat, 1.4 g saturated fat, 29 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 314 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 23%.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summer List


Have you ever made a summer list with your kids?

I usually make one every year but never thought to share it with you all, but the kids and I have been hard at work today, thinking up ideas and making plans for the summer, so I took a pic to show you how easy it is to come up with one that you can hang in your kitchen and just check off as you do the activities.

In between list making, we also cleaned the house. I tell you there's nothing like having the kids help clean, dust, sweep etc. They learn to appreciate what you do and also realize what their negligence with toys and messes all over mean to mommy.


But it wouldn't have been such a great day without our afternoon snack, which is usually around 3pm and in the form of either fruit, yogurt or a sandwich OR on those extra special days.....something more extravagant like Monkey Bread. To me, it takes but a few minutes to throw it together and cook, but to the kids, it is this amazing dessert that makes them ooooh and ahhhhh. Oh I can't wait to see the memories they have of childhood when they are one day sitting with their own children and grandchildren.

I'm off to fix dinner, then I'm hoping to start working on a bunch of ideas to make Summer Simpler, as soon as I get them all together, I'll share them here and then I hope you too will share some, maybe we can help each other come up with ways to have a great summer without all the tv watching and video game playing.

Have a great night everyone.

Did you know?

That getting into the swing of summer break and no school, is a lot of work?

You didn't know? Well neither did I and let me tell you it's taken me by surprise.

You may be wondering what we've been doing, where we been, well no where.

At home....sitting quietly and loudly at times, laughing and fighting at others, watching tv and playing computer games, eating or drinking, sleeping or running. There's a little bit of everything going on and I'm not quite into the Summer Break know the one? No rules, schedules, no getting up early and rushing, no appointments to keep.

It feels good, it's what we crave all year long and then it's upon us and the first few days seem to be a blur, I'm trying to find that middle ground. I'm trying to sleep in which I haven't been able to do because our bodies are still programmed to get up early and start the day.

So I apologize if my blogging seems a bit sporadic these first few days, I'm just trying to catch my breath and find my way, but I'm sure in a day or two I'll be back to full time blogging.

All this summer talk has gotten me feeling nostalgic, thinking of my own school breaks, how I looked forward to them so badly and how the last day of school seemed to drag, the clock slowly ticking.

Remember how when we were little time seemed different? It still does sometimes, you know when you're enjoying something and having a lot of fun, or out doing something with the family time just flies but then in other instances it's like eternity?

My brothers and I had so much fun during those weeks off of school, there was no thought about going back, it just didn't even enter our minds, we were too busy playing outside, building go karts, eating popsicles and staying up late, going on picnics with the kids from the neighborhood.

Remember how back then everyone would go outside and play? You actually saw kids riding bikes and playing hopscotch and running and hiding and jumping and having fun. It's all changed hasn't it?

The only danger back then was not hearing greatgrandma call you in for dinner and going hungry until the next morning.

So I'm hoping to bring a little bit of my childhood to my children, I'm not sure exactly how yet, but I want to go back in time and remember the things we did and maybe bring some of those to the future and introduce them to the kids.

What about you? What sort of things did you get up to during your Summer school breaks?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Handsome Man's Birthday!


36 years ago this wonderful man was born and I can only thank God that I was blessed enough to be chosen to spend my life with him.

He has been the absolute best husband, friend, father, provider and soldier that we could have ever wished for.

So Curt, Happy Birthday honey, I wish you many many more and that I'm always there holding your hand on your special day.

I love you handsome man of mine....thank you for making our lives so wonderful!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Don't Blink.....

Another year just went by, a whole year, a time when I thought that I would have more of my little boy in kindergarten and my little girl in fourth grade.

But things don't work that way do they? You blink and it's gone.


We just got home from the school, Nicholas had his Kindergarten Field Day/Graduation thing going on, Curt and I got to go and watch the kids play outside and then head back into the classrooms to receive all kinds of goodies, finishing off with their Graduation Certificates and Report Cards.


I promised I wouldn't cry, but I should know that it's a promise I seldom keep because you see, the minute the teacher starts getting teary eyed, I find myself reaching for the kleenex and crying along with her. It's always such a bitter sweet moment.....the immense feeling of pride for you child knowing that they've grown and learned through a whole year and are now beginning a new period in time.....but there's also the sadness, knowing that it's a whole new classroom next year, new kids, new teacher and new bonds that have to be established.


We've been extremely lucky with the teachers our children have had, they have been nothing but the best, devoted, warm, kind, smart and absolute blessings to our lives.


Here's Jasmine with two of her friends.....and below the whole Fourth Grade class...bunch of little nuts they are, I told them to make funny faces for me LOL


So with that, it's done.....we are officially on Summer Break and when we return to school, I will have a Fifth Grader and First Grader. Boy do I feel old LOL

But all of this emotion today got me thinking about how quickly time flies and how one day I'll be sitting at home alone......there won't be any toys hanging out in the bathtub


when I go to sit down on the couch, I will no longer have to push all the stuffed toys aside to find a spot


there will be no little chihuahas hanging out above the tv


or little shoes thrown about in the hallway


when I fix dinner, I'll no longer have to remove the GI Joes from the counter


or listen to endless hours of Spongebob on the tv


and I'll be able to see the door of my refrigerator because it will no longer be covered in dozens of pictures made by little hands whether at school or at home


but thankfully, today is not that day.....I won't have to sit alone because I'm surrounded by laughs and giggles, by the loud tv with cartoons, by the music eminating from the game being played on the computer and the excited voices rehashing their final day of school.

No....for today......I'm going to enjoy every.single.second that I have with these extraordinary LITTLE human beings and thank the Lord for blessing me with them.

Slow Cooking Thursday

Don't forget to add your name to Mr Linky and a link back to your SCT post so others can come by and see your recipe too.

As always, share your slow cooking recipes but if you REALLY REALLY don't have one and still want to participate, then you can share any kind of recipe.


* 10 fresh bratwurst sausages
* 1 green bell pepper, sliced into long strips
* 1 red bell pepper, sliced into long strips
* 1 large sweet onion, sliced into rings and separated
* 2 cloves garlic, sliced
* 2 bay leaves
* 1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
* 2 cups honey mustard barbecue sauce
* 1 (12 fluid ounce) can beer, or as needed
* 10 hoagie rolls, split lengthwise

1. Place half of the bratwurst in the bottom of a 5 quart slow cooker. Arrange half of the green pepper, red pepper, and onion over them. Layer the remaining bratwurst over the top, and top with the remaining red and green bell peppers and onion. Throw in the garlic and bay leaves. In a separate bowl, mix together HALF of the honey mustard sauce, liquid smoke and beer. Pour into the slow cooker. Add more beer if necessary to cover everything in the pot. Cover, and cook on Low for 4 to 5 hours.
2. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil grate. Remove bratwurst from the slow cooker, but leave onions and peppers inside. Place bratwurst on the grill and baste with some of the remaining honey mustard sauce. Turn occasionally until slightly charred.
3. Place bratwurst on rolls, and use tongs to pull out a few of the onions and peppers from the slow cooker and drape them over the sausage. The onions and peppers are very tasty so don't forget this part!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Double-Daring Book for Girls!


Oooh do I have something awesome to share with you today. You all know about the Daring Book for Girls by Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz right? Right?

Well, guess what, they have a new book out, The Double-Daring Book for Girls and I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this amazing book. Why? Well because I agreed to join in the Double-Dare Party for this book.

I'm supposed to do a throwdown with you all, find a great craft or idea in the book, do it myself, share it with you and then issue a challenge for you to do the same, beat me at whatever game or craft I choose.

But it's hard people, so hard to just narrow it down to one. I mean, I could challenge you all to Waltz and video record it to share, but I somehow think that wouldn't work *snicker*

I could also challenge you to tie a sarong and see who's faster, but I don't think I could do it myself, I don't have the fabric and the time and the coordination and blah blah blah, I'm full of it, aren't I? LOL

But let me tell you about the book and I think the fact that I have a 10 year old daughter is just perfect, because we sat down with this book in our hands and started browsing through the pages, Jasmine's face lit up with all the information,ideas and stories, it made me wish that I had a book like this when I was growing up.....especially being an only girl, this would have been just the thing to keep me busy.

"Sand Castles", oooohhh I can imagine being at the beach and building just the right one.

"How to catch fish", well now I've always wanted to go fishing, can't believe I never have, maybe this summer we'll delve into that.

And I really could have used the section on "Slumber Party Games" when Jasmine was having all these sleepovers last year.

Ok but back to the challenge....I have to challenge you, I'm sorry but I just do and I think you'll enjoy what I am throwing your way, and hey if you do decide to try it, I would love to see your posts on it.

There's so much goodness jam packed into this amazing book, I think if you have little or big girls, this is a great gift.


So now, you've all been anxiously awaiting my choice haven't you....again, it was so hard to pick just one activity or craft. But finally after going over it a couple times, I decided I wanted to make the Red Paper Lanterns on Pg 68. So easy and so adorable and I can already imagine making tons more in different colors.

(Click on thumbnails for bigger pics)





My challenge to you is this.....I want you to grab yourself some paper and get to work, I want to see at least ONE lantern adorning your blogs, you think you could do that? Just let me know if you do and be sure to leave me a link so I can come and check yours out.

If you want to learn more about the book, be sure to check out their website or buy the book yourself at Amazon.

Are you up for the challenge?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Teacher Gifts


It's that time of the year again, school is about to end and I'm trying to figure out what to give the kid's teachers.

I usually do homemade gifts but with all the sickness and other stuff going on around here, it completely slipped my mind.

So now, here I am, trying to figure out what to give them.....just 3 days before school ends. Oh Lord what did I get myself into.

I think that I need to turn to what I do best and what I'm good at, and that is crafts, using my hands to create something and also, I believe that handmade goodies are always appreciated right?

Here's what I've come up with so far, the kids kinda pushed me in this direction because they both said they wanted apples for the I thought, well, if I can make donuts and cupcakes, I'm sure I can make an apple? Right? Right...well I set off looking for a good and easy pattern and I did find one or two.


What do you think so far? I've made two red apples and my idea is to make 3 each for each teacher, so a red, green and a yellow apple. I just hope they like it.


But now this is where you come in and help me out, I want you to give me ideas for homemade's the catch though, I don't want to spend any money, well I couldn't even if I wanted to, with my car needing repairs and Curt's birthday on Friday too, cash is kinda tight this month.

Here's what I'm looking for, easy, inexpensive, homemade, something I can make in 3 days (I know I know, I'm asking for a lot, but help a girl out).

Will you help me? If you do, I'll even give you a big helping of Bubble Pizza? Yeah?

Happy Homemaker Monday

On my bedside table:
Montana Creeds: Dylan by Linda Lael Miller

On my TV:
Dancing with the Stars
Paranormal State
True Blood
Robin Hood Season 3

On the menu for tonight:
Bubble Pizza, Salad

On my To Do List:
Clean the house
Put away laundry
Finish making crochet apples for teacher gifts

New Recipe I tried last week:
Mustard Herb Chicken Breasts

In the craft basket:
Summer skirts and dresses for Jasmine
Crochet Apples for Teacher Gifts

Looking forward to:
Summer break in 3 days, that's right, just 3 more days. YAY!

Homemaking Tip for this week:
I'll come back to this one later, I honestly can't think of a single thing right now

Favorite Blog Post of the week (mine or other):
Tapping into Joy by Marie

Favorite photo from last week:

Lesson learned the past few days:
That everything you go through in life is there for a reason, everything has a purpose and as hard as it may be to get through at that particular moment, later on, sometimes years down the line, you are able to look back and reflect and realize exactly what it is you were supposed to learn.

On my Prayer List:
A friend who was just diagnosed with Breast Cancer
My grandmother Odete, she was in the hospital last week
My husband and children

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:

May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works . . . I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
-Psalm 104:31, 33 (NIV)

Friday, May 15, 2009

The beginning of my Summer Reading!

It's no lie that I love books, paperback or hardcover, big and small, leatherbound or not, new and old.

So while I was out running errands today, I ran across a new little shop that is opening up at our local BX, it is still in it's beginning stages, with little shelves, a small white desk in the corner and tubs full of books. Used books, the kind of books that I just love getting.

I think it's because I look at it as giving them a new home and then I wonder too just who the previous owners were, where did they live, what did they do, did they enjoy the book while sipping a hot cup of tea or coffee or were they snuggled in bed under the covers.

I browsed for a little while and walked away with 6 books, my first six on my Summer Reading list and I'm so thrilled.

Now I know there are all sorts of Reading Meme's out there, and as great as they are, they are not for me, I always feel overwhelmed and like I'm on a schedule to make sure I get them all read so I can review them on the blog. So I thought it would be easier to just embark on my very own Summer Reading program, where if I read the book great and if for some reason I don't get to them, that's fine too.

So what do you say? Do you want a peek at my first books on the list?

Montana Creeds Series by Linda Lael Miller

Montana Creeds: Dylan
Montana Creeds: Logan
Montana Creeds: Tyler

The First Time by Joy Fielding

Mattie Hart has spent the past 16 years destroying the evidence of an unfaithful husband: she has brushed aside countless scraps of scribbled phone numbers, thrown away hotel receipts she finds in her husband's coat pockets, and ripped up love notes. Finally, with the recent discovery of yet another indiscretion, she realizes that shredding physical evidence has done nothing to prevent her emotional fraying. Yet before Mattie can confront Jake, a high-profile defense lawyer, and come to grips with the fact that he has never loved her, he moves out of their beautiful suburban Chicago home and into his latest young paramour's apartment. And then Mattie receives some devastating news from her doctor: she has Lou Gehrig's disease. Struggling with a guilty conscience, Jake moves back home to care for his wife and repair relations with their angry teenage daughter, Kim. After a bout of furious denial, Mattie finds herself in the compromising position of depending upon a man whom she has never fully trusted. She also must convince Kim that her previously absent father will be there for her in the future. This is rich stuff. While skimping on plot, Fielding has created an adept study of three flawed characters who, after years of playing head games, must learn how to communicate. Despite such heavy psychological drama, the tone lightens as together these three vanquish inner demons. In the end, even as the novel races toward tragedy, Mattie prevails. Fielding has again pushed a seemingly fragile heroine to the brink, only to have her fight back, tooth and nail. This time, though, death is not the greatest threat.

Ransom by Julie Garwood

Gillian finds the key to resolving her troubled past in handsome Scottish chieftains Ramsey Sinclair and Brodick Buchanan. With the cunning and courage of the daring Scotsmen and with the friendship of a new ally, Brigid, Gillian at last fights the unscrupulous Baron Alfred, laying claim to her home, her family, and her father's reputation. But in the presence of the mighty warriors, Gillian and Brigid discover that desire can be a weapon of conquest, betrayal can slay trust in a heartbeat, and the greatest risk of all is surrender - to the deep emotions of unexpected love.

Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn

Amelia Willoughby has been engaged to the Duke of Wyndham for as long as she can remember. Literally. A mere six months old when the contracts were signed, she has spent the rest of her life waiting. And waiting. And waiting...for Thomas Cavendish, the oh-so-lofty duke, to finally get around to marrying her. But as she watches him from afar, she has a sneaking suspicion that he never thinks about her at all...

It's true. He doesn't. Thomas rather likes having a fiancée—all the better to keep the husband-hunters at bay—and he does intend to marry her...eventually. But just when he begins to realize that his bride might be something more than convenient, Thomas’s world is rocked by the arrival of his long-lost cousin, who may or may not be the true Duke of Wyndham. And if Thomas is not the duke, then he’s not engaged to Amelia. Which is the cruelest joke of all, because this arrogant and illustrious duke has made the mistake of falling in love...with his own fiancée!

Secrets of A Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

Four young ladies enter London society with one common goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.

Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle's most intriguing--and persistent-- admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition... but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.

Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon--and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon's passionate embrace and tempting kisses... and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.

Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton. Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for the tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan.

Wealthy beyond most men’s dreams, Cam has tired of society’s petty restrictions and longs to return to his “uncivilized” Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship—but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter….


I'll be adding more along the way because honestly these will be gone FAST with me *snicker*

BTW, thank you all for the great book suggestions yesterday, I have taken note of all the titles and will be looking for them at the library and the store.

So now you tell me, do you do summer reading lists too and if you do, do you prefer fiction or non fiction? If you do have a book list posted on your blogs, let me know, I would love to come and see :)