Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Have a safe and fun Halloween! Don't forget the Toxic Candy Alert and be sure to check the Trick or Treat loot.

Chances are you have probably seen the e-mail alert that made the rounds this week–but it is alarming enough that we thought we’d pass it along for any of you who missed it. We got this from–I did some initial sleuthing for hoax-iness, and it all checks out as legitimate. Scary Halloween stuff!

We want to give you a heads up about some Halloween candy that could be bad for kids: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to consume White Rabbit Creamy Candy or Koala’s March Creme Filled Cookies because they may contain melamine. And, the Canadian government is warning the public not to consume Sherwood Brands Pirate’s Gold Milk Chocolate Coins, which may also have reached the United States.

What’s wrong with these candies? You’ve likely heard about the dangerous chemical, melamine, which was recently found in the Chinese milk supply and sickened thousands of children in China. We’ve now seen reports that melamine tainted milk has been used in some Chinese candy products that have been shipped to the United States.

The good news is that Chinese candy makes up only 0.7 percent of the candy sold in the U.S. and the risk of serious harm from minor exposure to melamine is considered low by the World Health Organization. That said, we wanted to send this out to you because we don’t want our kids eating candy with any toxic ingredients.

Friday, October 24, 2008

No Brainer Dinner Ideas - Chicken Watermelon Salad

Rose at has a great idea in her blog today. It's Let's Share "No Brainer" Dinner Ideas. She wants us to share some recipes that are our standbys, with no measuring, no thinking and nothing that takes over 10 minutes to prepare. Rose's first recipe is a Grilled Chicken Pear & Pecan Salad. I thought I'd share my recipe for a similar salad made with ground chicken & watermelon. This is a huge family favorite at my house.

Chicken Watermelon Salad:

  • ground chicken, my 1st choice or ground turkey.
  • seasoning: chili powder, garlic salt, pepper & McCormick Roasted Garlic & Bell Pepper seasoning blend; (season to taste).
  • red onion - chopped - 1/2 for the meat & 1/2 for the salad.
  • watermelon - cut into bite size cubes, (I buy the small "individual" sized watermelons).
  • sweet peppers - chopped, I usually use yellow, orange or red peppers, you can cook some of the peppers in the meat mixture if you like.
  • small tomatoes - cut in half, I use grape tomatoes.
  • salad greens.
  • feta or blue cheese crumbles.
  • Greek olives - sliced - I love them, my family doesn't, so they're optional.
  • candied pecans - I use Emerald Pecan Pie candied pecans - they're out of this world!
  • raspberries, black berries or blue berries - don't have to have them, but sometimes I add several different berries with the watermelon.
  • Raspberry vinaigrette, Zesty Italian, blue cheese, or whatever dressing you're in the mood for.
Brown the chicken or turkey with 1/2 of a chopped red onion, chili powder, garlic salt, pepper & McCormick Roasted Garlic & Bell Pepper seasoning blend, (I love this stuff!). I cut up fruits & veggies & store in separate containers. Everyone likes something different at my house. (This could take longer than 10 minutes if the fruits & veggies haven't been cut up ahead of time, but it's worth it!) I've tried layering in a large salad bowl, which is beautiful until the first helping has been served, then all the heavier items go to the bottom of the bowl. I leave everything in separate bowls, then we make our own salads.

I've ordered this salad a couple times at the Los Gatos Brewing Company, They use red & yellow watermelon & top with a chiffonade of basil. (I don't recall much of flavor difference between the red & yellow watermelon.) Oh, it is just sooo good!


The ground chicken or turkey mix is also wonderful with tomatoes, onions, blue cheese crumbles, chopped sweet peppers, & Zesty Italian dressing; or as a topper over a baked potato.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Need a chuckle? A WOMAN'S WEEK AT THE GYM

I just received the funniest e-mail from a friend & thought I'd share it. It's so funny!


If you read this without laughing out loud, there is something wrong with you. This is dedicated to everyone who ever attempted to get into a regular workout routine.

Dear Diary,
For my birthday this year, my daughter (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me. Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try. I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Belinda, who identified herself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear. My daughter seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.

MONDAY: Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Belinda waiting for me. She is something of a Greek goddess - with blond hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!! Belinda gave me a tour and showed me the machines. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which she conducted her aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring! Belinda was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time she was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!

TUESDAY: I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Belinda made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then she put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. Belinda's rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT! It's a whole new life for me.

WEDNESDAY: The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot. Belinda was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. Her voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when she scolds, she gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Belinda put me on the stair monster. Why the heck would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Belinda told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. She said some other crap too.

THURSDAY: Belinda was waiting for me with her vampire-like teeth exposed as her thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late - it took me that long to tie my shoes. Belinda took me to work out with dumbbells. When she was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. She sent another skinny witch to find me. Then, as punishment, she put me on the rowing machine -- which I sank.

FRIDAY: I hate that witch Belinda more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic little cheerleader. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat her with it. Belinda wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the stupid barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?

SATURDAY: Belinda left a message on my answering machine in her grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing her voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.

SUNDAY: I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my daughter (the little brat) will choose a gift for me that is fun -- like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, He would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!

Have a great day!

Monday, October 20, 2008

This one's for Kat - paint color woes part 2

Yikes - more paint chips!

Kat at Kats Whimsy,, very graciously posted one of her rooms painted with Waverly's Soft Camel so I could check out the paint color. The pictures show a beautiful warm color. She also suggested Laura Ashley Gold colors which range from 1, an almost white shade to 6, a very dark gold color. I just had to make a trip to Lowe's for paint chips. While I was there, I just happened to pick up a "few" other paint chips to add to the wall.

I've taped all the little paint chips to the dining room wall and here's the YIKES part! It's down right mind boggling to look at all those little paint chips. We usually have the drapes closed downstairs so the fur babies don't bark at every person, car, or leaf blowing down the street and it's kind of dark, so DH thinks the deeper colors are too dark. I even held Chief up to the paint chips, he's a lovey warm beige color and tried to match him to a paint chip. Well, I actually held him up to the wall, then held the appropriate paint chips next to him. Valspar Martha Stewart Sesame Tahini is a close match to Chief's fur.

The funniest part of this is the color my DH likes. It's Valspar Basket and very similar to Quiche Lorraine in the guest bedroom. He disagrees. I taped it to the wall to show him, it's close, he still disagrees. I give up!

I'm going to Lowe's to buy a quart each of Sesame Tahini, Basket, and Soft Camel then to Home Depot for a gallon of Behr's Creamy White for the baseboards and moldings. We'll see how the colors look actually painted on the wall.

Wish me luck!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Paint color woes....

Why is it so difficult to choose something as simple as a paint color? I'm always drawn to yellows, reds and autumn colors, so this should be a breeze, right? No such luck! While I'm drawn to warm colors, my husband prefers ULTRA WHITE, but he can be daring and live with BUILDERS BEIGE. Hmmm, see the problem? A few of months ago I painted our guest room walls with Kelly Moore Quiche Lorraine and the trim is Behr Creamy White. I absolutely loved the colors. I was ready to paint the entire house this color. Unfortunately, once I had finished the room, my DH looked at the color and with a very sheepish look on his face, said "I can't live with this color". Oh no! There is also a bit of a problem with the guest bedroom. It's a loft room & has a wall a little over half way up, with an open area looking out over the living room. I don't like the loft bedroom & would have the whole area drywalled so there isn't an opening but I've been vetoed. I'll get back to this.

Back to my paint dilemma. Last Saturday, my neighbor & I went to an open house to, (I'll be honest), SNOOP. The house is about a half block away, was once a small single story house about 1100 sq ft and had been recently remodeled. (I don't know why they're selling it now). The house is beautiful & well over 3100 sq ft now. (I also don't know how on earth they got away with the size of the addition on that size lot with the city planning board!) Sorry, I'm easily distracted. I OH'd & AH'd over the kitchen, the bathrooms, and the paint colors. They used 2 similar paint colors on different walls and it was just gorgeous! Unfortunately I don't know what paint brand or colors were used. This required a trip to Home Depot. Bella mentioned in a comment on my fall post that her family room is painted with Ralph Lauren Chamois, so this gave me a starting point. It turns out Chamois is very similar to Quiche Lorraine, so that's a no go. I finally resorted to looking at the RL paint samples & selected Cottonwood, Oatmeal, and Devonshire. Check out the pictures of our hallway. I thought about using one of the darker shades in a couple of smaller areas as accent colors but they're kind of dark and I'm waffling here... I'm leaning towards Oatmeal, but have a feeling that my DH is going to veto all 3 colors.

I'm looking for suggestions... Any ideas? Our living room has a very high ceiling so the paint color will be next to the Quiche Lorraine in the loft bedroom. We also have a L-shaped living/dining room, so both rooms and the hallway will be painted.

I'm lost... :0{

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I've finally been bitten by the Halloween decorating bug!

My daughter-in-law & I went to Joann's Fabrics & were bitten by the Halloween decorating bug! We loaded up in the store, then rushed home to find places for our treasures. Well, it was mostly finding new treasures for my darling DIL since I have quite a few containers full of treasures, but it was fun non the less. It did inspire me to finally open up the containers & pull out this years decorating winners. (I really need to downsize my decorations but that's another blog! I sent a couple of armfuls of treasures home with my DIL.)

I mixed scarecrows with Halloween witches & ghosts this year. That way I just have to replace witches & ghosts with turkeys for Thanksgiving. They're whimsical & they make me smile, I hope they do you as well.

My favorite soft sculpture witch dolls...

Two of my favorite scarecrow dolls...

Views of the living & dining rooms.

Bailey & Chief tired of giving directions. (Murphy was exhausted by the whole process & didn't understand why we needed to go up & down the stairs so many times carrying all this silly stuff. )

Bailey & Chief were still giving instructions from the landing.

Hope you enjoyed the tour. Now if we could just make a decision on a paint color, then the new drapes could be hung & I'd be a really happer camper!

Have a great day!

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