Tuesday, February 28, 2012

March Menu Plan: Less Cabbage, More Potato

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I went old school this month guys. I hauled out the cookbooks from the cabinet above the stove, blew off the dust and flipped through the pages. I know, our children probably won't even know what they are when they inherit them. They'll be like, "Why did mom have so many different cupcake-decorating books? And did they really need to make cupcakes look like TV dinners? What's a TV dinner anyway?" Anyway, I wrote down a few recipes to try and then came back home to the internet to look them up. Not surprisingly, they're all here. So when you realize you've been to the Good Housekeeping website three times today, that's why. And although we're bad Catholics in our house and don't pay attention to the no-meat rule, I tried to drum up some meatless options for you devouts. 

While I'm not a devout Catholic, I am a devout celebrator of St. Patrick's Day. When I saw the 17th's recipe, I thanked God for making me Irish. I can't wait to dig into that. And three pounds of Irish potatoes. And a 6 pack. But that's just me. Hope you find this month's menu to your liking my friends!

Too chicken-centric for ya? Need more ideas? Browse the meal plans of the past...

 Oh and don't forget to register for the Always Crafty Workshop! The deadline is this weekend!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sweet Van Rockin

The title may make sense in a second. But let me back up. Last month, my awesome husband turned 42. Now I know that's old but it's not exactly a momentous occasion. So no over-the-top nerd-themed party complete with nerd party favors for him and all his little nerd friends. Nope, none of that. This party planner wasn't planning anything crazy. A simple dinner out would have to suffice. So we got ourselves a babysitter, got "dressed up" and headed into Philly.

For once I didn't pick our dinner location from the choices on Groupon. I picked it based on John's hunger for meat. The boy loves him some meat. And since neither one of us had ever been to one of those meat-coma inducing Brazilian steakhouses, I knew it'd be perfect.

I was right. He was in meat heaven. See, even his salad was covered in meat. We went to Fogo de Chao based on a bunch of recommendations.  One being something along the lines of leaving with "the meat sweats". Well that's a rave review if I ever heard one. Seriously though, John was giddy with excitement each time a meat man would walk by. You'd put your green card face up if you were interested in attaining more meat then turn it to red once you had your fill. And although we tried not to fill up on it, even the salad bar was top notch. Of course, we were slugging back Brazilian mojitos like we knew how much they cost. Which we didn't. Because there is no price on the menu...for anything. You just go in and eat all the meat you can until you explode. Then they hand you a bill for approximately 50 bucks a person and send you on your way. Dudes, definitely worth it.

So while it was a pricey enough dinner on it's own, using my hard earned Shannon-bucks, I also coughed up for a gift. With the help of my clever bff Kelly, I presented the following to John in a birthday card, labeled 'this is your present'.

He literally sat like this for like 10 minutes. While I would say incredulously "Are you serious?!?! You don't know?!!?"

Hmmm, well that's a pretty sweet van. No, that is not a rock. What does it look like John? Like maybe it fell from the sky? What falls from the sky John? During a storm??? What word might come after van? Hmm? What do you think John????

Yep, it's hail. More like Van Halen.You got it! I got you Van Halen tickets! And no, I'm not going, I effing hate Van Halen. That's two presents 1) the tickets 2) me not there miserable bringing you down. Happy Birthday darlin.

I guess 42 was a momentous birthday after all. It's the day we realized you no rebus-solving skills.

Feel free to leave John some belated birthday lovin. He loves you bloggies long time.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Does Thou Know a Good Plumber?

You know that when you give birth to a son that there are going to be certain rites of passage that you'll  experience. Actually, in this case, it's more like witnessing. You'll witness your son and his father do all the sorts of things he couldn't wait to show his son. You know, the usual stuff, throwing a baseball, tying a tie, shaving, that sort of thing. Well I'm pretty sure we had a first not too long ago, Gabe's first helper job. I happened upon this scene underneath our kitchen sink. And I'll thank you not to judge the state of my under the sink contents.

John looks dubiously upon the pipe in question. And also at the number of Target bags I've stashed under there.He really has no idea how much money is spent there. Gabe? He's supervising. And also sneaking peeks at himself in the oven door. He's vain like that. Oh and we're pretending Gabe is speaking with an old english accent. Ok? Go with it.

 Halt! An intruder! Of the female persuasion! I'll get her Father!

 Mmmm and who shall I presume you to be? What business do you have here?

 Ohhhhhh I see.You're here to fix me a snack. Well why didn't you say so?

 What do I want?

CheeriOOOOOs of course! Prepare them at once! 

Now I must get back to my post!

Have you assessed the situation Father? Do I need to pick up that 18" pipe wrench for thou? The one that will surely give me a concussion upon it's inevitable meeting of my noggin?

I don't know Father, this medieval scary cabinet lock doesn't seem too strong. I propose that I fiddle with it for a fortnight and make sure it can stand up to my brute strength.

 On second thought, why doesn't thou move out of my way? I can catch the wayward water better than thou bucket.

No hugs Father! Thou is embarrassing me! There is work to be done! Have you no shame in the puddles that are sure to form underneath thou sink? Think of the retchid puddles Father!


Sorry for the abrupt end to the drama there.I just had no more pictures. Although it seems I do have plenty of places to use the word thou. Oy. Anyway, this was a pretty cute little moment that I happened to catch, made all the more weird by my commentary. I guess Gabe should get used to that, eh?

Don't forget to sign up for the Always Crafty Workshop! You can purchase your seats here. Bring a buddy! And some wine. For me. Kiddddding. The deadline for registration is March 3 so don't delay. 
Thou will be sorry!

Monday, February 20, 2012

PPRs...Not to be COnfused with PBR's

Not actual size, these babies are mini!

Ahhh remember when I used to make things that hadn't already been passed around Pinterest a billion times like a dirty hooker? I sorta do. And I miss that. So I'm gonna try to get back to that and cook up something every now then instead of just giving you links to things other people made. 

So my friends and I have taken to planning little get-togethers every so often to make sure we get in our face time. Because that's what old people have to do. Make appointments with each other. Sync calendars and whatnot. Anyway, there's no set plan for what we do. This past weekend, we did a low-key hangout at Katie's so I made this little number...Prosciutto, Pesto & Roasted Pepper Sandwiches, or PPRs for short. I like em because 1) I like all of the ingredientses 2) they're simple to make and 3) they look kinda fanc. Just because we're low-key doesn't mean our snacks are.

Sheet of Puff Pastry
Small Jar of Pesto
Cup of Roasted Red Peppers
Sliced Prosciutto


1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thaw puff pastry at room temp for 30 mins. Lay flat then brush with beaten egg. Cut into thirds, along fold lines. Then cut each into 8 strips, about 1-1/4" x 3"

2) Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.Let cool for 15 mins.

3) Drain peppers from jar then slice into small strips. Lay the strips on a paper towel and blot the rest of the oil. Slice prosciutto into bite size strips.

4) Gently slice puffed pastries in half to make sandwiches. Spread bottom with 1/2 tsp of pesto, top with slice of pepper and prosciutto and place the top on.

Friday, February 17, 2012

18 (Months) to Life

Well kiddo, this is the big one. 18 months. Or as we moms who've been doing this awhile say, a year and a half. How old is your son? Oh he's a year and a half. No more of this silly talking in months business for us, buddy. At least for another few months when you're closer to two. But let's not talk about that. Right now, you are just the most amazing kid. I know, I know, every mom says that. But if they could see the joy that you exude almost all day long, then they'd at least have to agree with me. I can't help but smile and smother you with kisses and Iloveyou's all day long because you just make me so darn happy. So bud, in the past month...
Not only am I without my laptop, I am also without my camera battery. Mama is dyyyying.

- you've really turned into a little boy. You love slapping a hat on your head and truckin around the place in your little boots, looking like a lad thrice your age.

- you've taken advantage of the awesome winter weather by exploring every inch of our yard, the neighbor's yards and the hair salon parking lot down the street. We have to start spelling O-U-T because you are obsessed with being outside and don't understand that the less than stellar freezing rain isn't ideal truckin' around weather.

- you've taken a special liking to your mittens. One day, your Gigi put socks on your hands and you wouldn't take them off, even during your nap. Coming in to find you in your crib wearing red socks on your hands and a smile on your face sorta killed me. Aaaaaadorbs.

- you had your first ear infection, which led to your first prescription for amoxicillin. Thankfully you handled both well and we had no issues. The only thing that does worry me is your eagerness to take that medicine. All I have to do is hold up the little cup of liquid meds and you come a running. This does not sit well with your Intervention-obsessed mother.

-you are learning new words every day and are still obsessed with letters. And you have a fondness for the question mark. We'll have you diagramming sentences in no time.

- you've had more playdates and outings than ever as your mama gets more and more comfortable with dealing with others. She figures some socializing won't kill you. It might kill her though, so get social quick ok?

I'm sure there's so much more because every day your dad and I sit across from you at dinner and talk about how awesome you are and what new thing you've done that day. I should probably keep a running list or something. But I'm too busy rolling around on the kitchen floor with you finding the runaway macaroni elbows that you decided no longer belonged in the cabinet. Love you buddy bear, so so much.

your Mama

Monday, February 13, 2012

Internet Ish

Let's chat, bullet point style...But not really bullets because Blogger and I aren't getting along doing bullet formatting.

- So I've been without my laptop for a few days now because it caught a virus. I was unaware that computers still caught viruses. What is it? Y2K? But apparently they still do. And apparently everyone's (and I mean everyone) response to such a problem is to "get a Mac". I don't think I will though. I'm not a Mac person. Sorry dudes. In the meantime, I've been feeling very out of the internet loop, which is a good and bad thing. I've been starting to get obsessed with Pinterest and seeing what's been pinned and how many hits I'm getting from it and all that. Being obsessed with anything on the internet can't be a good thing. Sure, I've got this ancient desktop that sits in an upstairs bedroom that I can use, but it doesn't quite offer the same at my fingertips feeling the laptop does. And it's slow as ffffffffudge. So maybe not being on the internet so much is a good thing. I guess. The bad part about all this is that I feel out of the loop with my internet friends and while that may sound lame, I consider a lot of my blog friends vital to my everyday sanity. Luckily I've made a lot of them real life friends so I don't consider myself quite the loser when I say that.

- Speaking of internet friends, I feel like blog commenting is way down around here. I know I've hardly been the best commenter out there but in looking at my own blog now and say, this time last year, the number of comments are just way down. I know you're not supposed to care about comments, or at least act like you don't care, but I do. Everyone does. That thrill of an email arriving with a comment is so fun. And I've always had good commenters too. Hardly any of that "So cute!" and done with it comments. I've mostly always gotten quality responses and I appreciate that. So I don't know if it's a cyclical thing or if I'm just not posting enough Gabe pictures, which are usually popular, but I just thought I'd throw it out there. Meh.

- Similarly, I do get quite a few one or two time commenters and then poof, they're gone! Now I know when I started out blogging, I would do that. Quick to jump the gun on commenting on a blog I thought I enjoyed. But then 1 of 3 things would happen. 1) I found the blogger never updated frequently and I moved on 2) I found, through their next few posts, that I really wasn't into them like I thought I was or 3) I was kind of hoping for a glimmer of a response and never got any. I understand 1 and 2 completely. But in case you ever felt like #3, I have a major suggestion for you. Make sure your email is attached to your profile. So that when you leave a comment on my blog, when I go to click your name, your profile will pop up and show me your email. Likewise, when I get an email with your comment in it and I hit reply, it won't show up as "no-reply". It will automatically have your email listed. So if you have a question or comment and want a response, you'll get one. Maybe not that day, because face it, Gabe is kind of an all-day handful, but within a few days I'd say. To make sure you're good to go, check out this easy tutorial.

- Have I mentioned that I really want you to come to Always Crafty craft workshop? Because I do. Even if I don't know you. And especially if you're funny and/or awesome. In case you weren't aware of it, I hosted a blogger meet-up last fall where a bunch of people who never met, came to Philly and became friends. So you should come. What's holding you back, besides being far away? Let me know. For reals. I want to know.

- Lastly, who stole my baby and left this small boy? WHO?

    Got internet qualms? I'd love to bitch about them with you. Let's hear em.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Homemade Valentine's Decor

Couple weeks ago, my friend Adrienne came over for some good ol fashioned crafting.She brought a shit-ton of yarn and a tiny sewing machine. Newsflash: I can operate a tiny sewing machine. I was pretty proud of myself. We actually got a lot done and my house is now properly loved on. I think it was on Michelle from Decor and the Dog's post about Valentine's Day decor that I commented about never caring about VD before. But like all the holidays, as soon as Gabe popped out, it was a holiday free for all around here. Gabe will grow up in a festive house dammit! Pink and red shit everywhere!

Gabe's got the yarn ball poofs down pat.

 Glittered hearts on burlap inspired by this pin

 I sewed that! Myself! Applause please!

Um, heart artwork blatantly printed out from this pin

 My first attempt at yarn poofs turned out a-ok with me.

 Pipe cleaner letters inspired by this pin

 I'm sort of obsessed with decorating with tons of stuff on my dining room table.

Aren't the arrows adorbs? They were inspired by these.

 And the chalkboard, while blank right now, is sporting this pretty new garland made with all sorts of scraps of ribbon I had. Oh and it was inspired by this one...

So we are all clear now right? By inspired I obviously mean "blatantly copied". Ha. I'm pretty proud of all my crafts this year. What's next? St. Paddy's? Yeah, you know it. We'll be throwing up green in no time.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Always Crafty Workshop!

I am really, really excited to announce the first official Always Crafty in Philadelphia craft workshop! Will you guys come? It will be a day of crafting, lunching, chit-chatting and general shenanigans at my house. Did you want to come to the Always Bloggy meetup but couldn't make it? Or felt weirded out? This is perfect then! Surely you can deal with me for a few hours, right?  It will be held on April 1, when most of us will be giving winter the boot and ready to decorate our houses with new, springy things.  Here is what we'll be crafting:
Clockwise from left to right...

1)Stamped Dinner Napkins
2) Moss Monogram Wreath
3) Flower Garlands
4) Chicken Wire Frame
5) Mason Jar Sewing Kits
And up close and personal...
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There will be examples of each craft plus directions and um, me. I'll be there. I'll hold your hand if the crafts get tough. Which they won't. But if you still want to hold hands, I'm ok with that.  The cost will be $45 and will include all of your supplies, packaging and a tasty lunch. Seats are limited and you can purchase yours here. So go get your seat! Be excited! Let's hang out!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Livin' the Dream: The Conclusion

The conclusion sounds so official, doesn't it? That's me, all-business. Ha. I just wanted to thank my creative friends for contributing to this series. I hope it helped you guys out there who want to stop talking ideas and start making them happen. I'd love to continue this sort of thing too, so if you have your own business or are even thinking of starting one, I'd love to hear from you.

In the spirit of business-y things, I thought I'd give you guys a little peak at a party I'm working on. It's a Kate Spade-Inspired Birthday Bash, all inspired by a Kate Spade iphone case. It's going to be very pink, very gold and very girly. I can't wait.

all sources can be found on my corresponding Pinterest board

Did you guys know that Bottle Pop Party Company can plan parties from across the miles? Even if you don't live in the PA/NJ/DE area, we can make all this awesomeness happen over the internet. It's a magical thing.
Give me a shout at bottlepopparty @ gmail.com.

Oh and did you notice that ol' Shannanigans went and got itself official? I am now shannanigansblog.com so you can update your internet whatevers and whooseywhatsies. Have a fantastic weekend friends!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Livin' the Dream: Kristen from Miss Prissy Paige

Talk about good timing. My next guest, a blog friend from wayback, literally just launched her wedding consulting business YESTERDAY. How cool is that? This is Kristen and her new baby is called Miss Prissy Paige.

Tell us a little about your business…

I’m the founder and owner of miss prissy paige, a full service wedding consulting business. From creating a wedding budget to contract negotiations and invitation design, I cover the whole sha-bang!

I offer a variety of wedding packages that are geared to the DIY bride who needs a little help along the way, to the busy professional who can’t spare a proper lunch break to plan her big day.

At the end of the day, my business all boils down to this: big dreams. small details.

How did you know you were ready to go out on your own? Was it always your plan or did you have a light bulb go off in your head?

I’ve always wanted to be a wedding planner, especially after seeing J-Lo in “The Wedding Planner”. I knew I could do that – and then I found my Matthew McConaughey and had my dream wedding! So those who plan, CAN wed!

After our nuptials, I faced reality…I needed something more. I needed to be creative. I needed to be passionate. I needed to be excited again.

I talked about starting my business on our honeymoon, at the airport, in the car and with the support of my husband and family I told myself – you will do this! Then our world turned upside down; we moved from Virginia to Georgia.

But, as the saying goes “when you know, you know”. And I knew. Moving to Georgia was a blessing in disguise; it gave me the time and focus I needed to start miss prissy paige.

Do/Did you have a mentor or someone in the biz to give you guidance? How did you learn the ropes?

I’m inspired by Amy Atlas and Preston Bailey. I love seeing the beauty they create with candy (I have a SERIOUS sweet tooth) and flowers. Their blogs are my first stop in the morning!

Becoming a wedding planner was a natural fit for me, especially since I’ve been coordinating logistics as meeting planner for a trade association in D.C. for the past five years. I majored in hospitality tourism management in college, so I’d say that details and planning has always been in my future.

How do you plan on getting the word out on your business?

Quite simply, word of mouth. I think that’s the most trusted and let’s be honest, cheapest way to get your name out! I know I take the recommendations of my friends and family over the internet, who doesn’t! I want my brides to feel like they are planning their wedding with their best friend, and if my best friends are referring me, then according the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, I’m now best friends with my brides!

My other marketing initiative is to send handwritten notes to family, friends, co-workers, etc. Everyone is bombarded with e-mails, so I think a surprise note in the mailbox will help set me apart. I work from home and I love going to the mailbox every afternoon, silently saying a prayer that someone send me a note or a card!

I’m thinking about offering a little gift if someone sends a bride my way. So readers, if you live anywhere from Maryland to Georgia and know someone who needs wedding help – from planning to designing, let me know!

What do you think your biggest challenge will be in running your own business?

I think my biggest challenge will be setting myself apart from the zillions of other wedding consultants available to brides. I hope my DIY attitude and my attention to detail will set me apart and garner me new opportunities as I grow. I also think that I offer flexible wedding packages that can be tailored to fit with any budget. Since I’m a startup trying to branch into the industry, I can also offer my undivided attention to my clients.

How do you plan to stay motivated when things seem slow?

Luckily, my passion is in weddings and people are always falling in love, so I hope I don’t find myself in a slow time. I imagine the first year will be focused on getting my name out and finessing my skills. I’d love to take more classes in graphic design and even take a stab at html and website design. I also provide custom “embellishments” in my etsy shop that can be tailored for weddings or parties, so any quiet time will be focused on building my inventory of those.

What specific part of your new business gets you most excited?

I’m excited about EVERYTHING which is why I finally decided to take the plunge into starting my own wedding consulting business. But I have to say, I’m most excited to see my first bride walk down the aisle. I’m not a crier but I feel like at this moment I will be!

*Thanks so much to Shannon for featuring me on her blog! It’s so important to support fellow business owners and I felt so honored to be included in her “Livin the Dream” feature. Especially since I just went public with my dream, YESTERDAY! Its all about timing, right?!

Congratulations on your big launch Kristen! It seems the planets aligned to make your big dreams happen. I can't wait to see all of your hard work pay off.

Follow Kristen's Blog / Twitter / Pinterest / Etsy


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