Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Favorite Food

I have several. Though my favorite thing for a snack after work is Nutella and pretzels. Nutella is a creamy spread of hazelnuts and chocolate. It is the most delicious treat around. The smooth texture with the crunch of a pretzel can't be beat. I was at the grocery store yesterday and Nutella was on sale for 2.99. Then I noticed a coupon for a $1.00 off! How great, I'll take two please! It is always good to have on hand, just incase you need a pick me up! If you have never tried Nutella, and you like hazelnut, and chocolate you should pick up a jar. I usually find it in the aisle with the jam. Yum.

What is your favorite snack?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Deli

A new deli opened last week in Chicago Heights, a small town just down the street from us. Bergstein's NY Delicatessen serves great sandwiches and hot dogs. We went to try it out on Saturday afternoon. We walked in and the decor was nice simple and most importantly not confusing! The walls were red, with dark tables and chairs. To order you walk to the counter where the menu is posted clearly. I had a roast beef sandwich with horseradish sauce and Mr. Threadbeaur had the Chicago hot dog. Both orders were good. The hot dog was great, piled high with tomato, onions, pickle, sport peppers, and cucumber served with coleslaw and all for $3.50! A nice find in our little town.
I hope they do well and are open for years to come.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Surprise for Me?!

When I got home from work on Friday, there was a box sitting on the trunk of my husbands car. I glanced at it, but went inside to say hello. He asked "did you see your present?" I told him I saw a box, so we went back to the garage and he opened the box, that strangley had holes in the side of it. Inside were some leaves and a praying mantis. We have not seen any here before and it is an amazing bug! I grabbed the camera. What a fun surprise! I love the way the bug can turn his neck it is the strangest thing. This brown and green bug turns to watch you.
The praying mantis is a carnivorous insect that will even eat a bird! Check out this link for some more fun facts on a unique bug.

Monday, September 22, 2008

An Etsy Artist Giveaway

I came across this great blog called Oh! How Lovely. She is hosting a giveaway of art from Kerry Beary's Etsy shop. The giveaway is a easy one to enter, so for some great items go check out Oh! How Lovely. Don't miss it the contest ends Friday!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Check out Martha's Blog

Martha Stewart on blogging! Well, why not! She has a fun little contest you can check out on her page. She had some good tips on setting up a blog for those new comers to the blogging world!
Check it out!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When crafts don't go as planned.

I tried a new painting craft with the little ones in my extended day program. I do arts and crafts in the afternoon with 3 year olds. I set up the table for painting. I pulled out the paints and watered them down so they could plop it on the paper and then blow it around with some straws. I thought it was a great idea, and had seen it done with much success. Somewhere along the way my project ran off the tracks. I am not sure if it was the straws that I had or if the paint was not right, but I could tell that I was losing the kids, and fast. I had planned ahead though and the paint brushes were just across the room. I had taken them out just incase the straw blowing was not their thing. Just as one of them said they were finished I held up the paint brushes, and instantly they were refocused!
Thank goodness plan B was a success! Now they will get to go home with beautiful water color pictures, instead of a blob of paint on the paper!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Buy online with In store pick up....

In hopes of speeding up the process we did just that. I picked out the Fridgeaire dehumidifier 50 pint for our basement on the Lowes website, and opted for the in store pick up. We wanted to grab a bite to eat out there and thought it would be quicker if we bought the dehumidifier online and it would be ready and waiting for us to pick it up, right? I ordered it online at 6pm, at half past 7 (a full hour and a half later) we pulled in the parking lot where it was pouring, and hubby ran inside to pick it up. After a few minutes I began to wonder what was taking so long. Where they giving him a hard time about the computer printed receipt? Was it really busy at customer service? What could possibly take that long. Well, after a half hour, I see him trudging through the parking lot with a cart and the dehumidifier on the cart. Needless to say, he was not happy with what had happened inside. Apparently, they did not have the product ready, nobody could find it and as he stood waiting at the counter the employees that were supposedly "looking" for the item, he noticed that the description and invoice were still sitting on the counter. Finally he went to find the dehumidifier himself in the aisle. They were way up on top of the shelves, so he had to go find yet another person to help him. The two guys that were getting it down, decided since they were up there to spend a few more minutes taking not just the one we had purchased, but a few more down. As if he had not waited long enough. He kept is cool though, and headed back up to customer service to let the gals behind the counter know that he had found the item and would be on his merry way. I don't think we will be using that express in store pick up again. So after that fiasco he got an extra beer at dinner!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My new Favorite Italian Restaurant

Last night we braved the flooding and drove a few towns over to Orland Park for dinner. I had the task of choosing the dinner spot for us and another couple so I picked italian food, it happens to be my favorite! By chance, I found a small restaurant called Palermo's, and I am so happy that we tried it.
It was no too crowded, but I think that had to do with the weather. We walked in at 8pm and greeted by a friendly host, who showed us to our table. He took us to a table in the middle of the room, which at first I was a little unhappy with, but turned out to be just fine. I don't enjoy sitting in the center of the room, I much prefer a booth in the corner. The restaurant was small, and cozy. The ceilings were high, and the decor was fitting for italian dining.
Our waitress could not have been better, she was new, and fun. When we asked a question she did not know, she went and got the answer! Wow, that does not happen much anymore, and she did it with a smile! Once the four of us were settled in at the table we ordered some calamari, and drinks. The menu had many items to choose from. It ranged from pasta dishes, to meat, and seafood, with a section for what you might think of as your italian favorites. The menu also had a nice feature that helped you pair a wine with your dinner selection. The entrees had a number next to it that corresponded with each wine on the wine list, very helpful!
Then the food...I had the pasta carbonara, and I was not disappointed. This dish had ham, peas and an incredible creamy sauce. I did not want to stop eating it, but I did have a little left over, I can't wait for lunch today! I would have to say that it was the best italian dish I have had since my favorite italian place went out of business a year ago! My other half had a great dish too a wide noodle with crumbled italian sausage in a creamy pesto. He said it was the best dish he had ever had! That is a high praise to Palermo's. We will be going back there again and again. I highly recommend it as a great italian restaurant.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rain Rain Go Away

It rained and it rained last night. It is still raining this morning. I usually love the rain, but the creek in the back yard is full and the water is only about a foot from the back deck! It is getting close. Our lovely picnic table is nearly floating away, as the water creeps up past the seats toward the tabletop. If you look closely at the photo you can see the picnic table in the water. We usually get one good rain a year when the creek comes up to the deck, so I am not alarmed by that so much, as the fact that the forecast is calling for more rain for the next two days! I will take advantage of this rainy day to get some bags made for my Etsy shop and the large custom order that I have. I need to really get busy and bolster my inventory with the holidays approaching. I hope to have a busy holiday season selling my eco-friendly bags. I have some great new fabric combos that I will be working on in the coming days. Off to the sewing room!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ni Hao

In preparation for the winter months ahead we have decided to take on learning Chinese this winter. We need a good activtiy for the cold dreary winter months ahead. I decided to invest in the Rosetta Stone to learn Chinese. I did the first lesson the other day and it was the greatest thing ever. The way that they present the language is fantastic and simple. The photo recognition is an easy way to identify the words and phrases. With Rosetta Stone you start speaking during the first chapter. As you practice speaking the program lets you know when you are saying the words correctly. When I completed the first lesson, I knew more words in Chinese than I thought I would. I knew things and I did not know how I knew them, that is the only way to explain the sensation I felt. My brain was working, on fire, and excited about my new project. I can't wait to work on the next few chapters! I would recommend Rosetta Stone to learn Chinese. I am sure that it works great for any language, but the Chinese is so fun.

zài jiàn

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Snappy Hair Clips

I spent a while looking for snap hair clips on Etsy the other day. I got my hair chopped off, and I needed a little clip to keep the short hair back while I am at work. There is such a variety available from those with squirrels to those with a beautiful design. It was hard for me to pick which ones I wanted. I stumbled across the shop cutecumber, where I found a wide selection of hair clips. She has so many clips that I want, but I choose these.
They came in a cute little package, and the shipping was so fast! The clips are perfect, even better than in the pictures, I will be back to get some more from Cutecumber. Her selection is out of this world. One of my favorites from her shop is the brown owl clip, that owl is too cute. The clips are a great size perfect for little girls and adults too. The pricing is right and the clips make great gifts for birthdays and holidays. A unique way to incorporate a clip into the gift would be to use it as the card holder on a package. That way the gift wrap becomes part of the present!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Airboat anyone?

They may be loud, and a little unsightly, but they are a load of fun. If you ever get a chance to take a ride on an airboat...do it. Mims is a little town near Titusville on the east coast of Florida, that is where my sister found this great airboat ride at Loughmans Lake Lodge. When we got there we booked our ride, and went down to the loading zone, and hopped on the airboat. Just as we put on our big headphones, which are necessary to muffle the sound of the boat, the boat captain fired up the engine and off we went. It moved with ease over the grasses on the edge of the lake. We were skimming over waters in the St. John River for almost 2 hours. When it was over we wanted to go again. Despite the noise we were able to glide close enough to the alligators for a good look, and we also saw all sorts of birds. The weather was perfect no clouds, and temperature was about 80 degrees. With the wind from the boat it was almost chilly!The tour guide was wonderful as well, he knew his way around, and where the alligators would be. It is fun for kids and adults, so give it a try next time you are in Florida, it is a wonderful nature show you will not soon forget!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wine Addict

I just found this great up and coming blog about wine. I am looking forward to following the reviews, and must haves in the wine community. The catchy Grape In A Bottle, promises to have reviews of the wine they drink, not fancy smanchy wine that no one can afford. So far they are spot on with their review of four Emus, a bottle that I have had more than once, it will be interesting to see what is up and coming. Another entry over there is about recycled bottles, you will have to check it out! Very cool, though.
I am going to have this link on my side bar so that I will be able to follow it daily!
Good Luck new blogger!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Dinner

While most people associate Labor Day with grilling outside on the grill, my husband requested meatloaf for dinner tonight.
So for a twist on the original meatloaf, of which I am not a fan, I made this tasty dish.
Meatloaf Muffins with Barbecue Sauce
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

1 2/3 to 1 3/4 pounds ground sirloin
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
2 ribs celery from the heart of the stalk, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 green bell pepper
1 large egg plus a splash of milk, beaten
1 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
1 cup smoky barbecue sauce
1/2 cup tomato salsa
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Put ground beef into a big bowl. Put onion and celery into a food processor. Cut the bell pepper in half, rip out the seeds and throw them into your garbage bowl. Cut the pepper into a few pieces and add to the food processor. Pulse the processor blades to finely chop the vegetables into very small pieces then add them to the meat bowl. Add egg, beaten with milk, bread crumbs and grill seasoning to the bowl. Next, mix together the smoky barbecue sauce, the salsa and the Worcestershire sauce. Pour half the sauce mixture into the bowl with the meatloaf mix. Mix the meatloaf together with your hands. Wash up. Brush a 12-muffin tin (1/2-cup each) with vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil. Use an ice cream scoop to help you fill meat into a each tin. Top each meat loaf with a spoonful of extra sauce. Bake about 20 minutes. Cut open 1 muffin to test that the middle is cooked through.

The meatloaf muffins are fun to make and I love the little muffins... they make perfect servings! The BBQ sauce lends great flavor to the meat. I served the meatloaf muffins with crispy red potatoes and sauteed green beans. We had a great dinner sitting on the screened porch watching the black capped chickadee eat from the feeder. Doesn't get much better than that! I hope everyone was able to enjoy the weekend!