Organizing Pictures, Finally!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010, 12:09 | Category : Organizing
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Ok, we all know we love to take and have pictures to look back and remember but oh my goodness, what in the world are you supposed to do with all of those things???? I know I have thousands and I am just getting started with having a family. I can’t imagine 20 years from now how many there will be. Since we are cleaning our house out from top to bottom, this was just another thing that had to be done.

I decided when I was pregnant with Bree that I would get all of our pictures organized before she got here so I could just add her pictures as they came. Good idea huh? I got as far as buying all of the albums, pretty pages to put the pictures on, the highest quality covers to go over each beautiful page and so on. Well, I got as far as organizing the pictures into proper categories and um that’s it! She arrived and there sat the big basket of categorized pictures in ziploc bags.

So now we have no place to hide the unsightly basket full of pictures and something had to be done. My mother in law once told me that after the first baby, you just won’t do things that you would have done before and boy was she right about that! Who has the time? If I had the time, I wouldn’t want to use it to make perfect picture albums when I could be spending that time playing with Bree or doing something nice for myself. So I decided to forget about all of the nice things I spent hours shopping for at Hobby Lobby, waiting each week to see if something else that I wanted would be 50% off. I will just let it all go and get it out of my way because its just never gonna happen and I don’t want to feel like a failure every time I look at the stuff. My solution: I went to Ross and bought 5 super cute photo boxes for a grand total of $10 and spent 2 hours while Bree was napping and its finally done!!!!! WooHoo!!!! So happy am I!!!

The pictures are organized and accessible and I have no more worries about it. I am finding that there is usually an easier and less expensive way to get what you want without all the fuss. Take a look at these pictures and dare to criticize for my short cuts!!! :)



All Too Consuming???

Tuesday, 19 January 2010, 13:15 | Category : Thoughts
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I have been very busy getting our house ready for the arrival of DJ, our sweet little boy that will be joining us sooner rather than later.  This time is a bit different than when we were expecting Bree.  With Bree I had nothing but time to do everything I wanted and then some, now I am grabbing every second I can. With DJ joining our family, we will officially have a full house for the first time in our 10 year marriage.  We have always had empty rooms and spaces, so room for our stuff was never much of a thought.  We are having to seriously go through every single thing we have and decide if it is absolutely necessary to keep or not.  This task has brought about many interesting observations.

I have always kept things in order and never thought we had too much stuff until now.  As we clear these spaces , our garage has filled up wall to wall with STUFF.  I had no idea how much STUFF we owned!  I look at all this stuff that we had packed in our home and paid lots of money for and it is a bit sad for some reason.  I think of the money, time and energy we could have saved had we not consumed this stuff.  Money we could have taken a trip we would never forget or just the security of having it in savings.  Time we could have spent on more meaningful things like spending time together or just thinking about something real not fleeting.  Energy we could have put into relaxing more, exercising and so on, rather than thinking about and maintaining this stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, we have not been careless in any of these areas of our life but when you really take a good look at it and see how meaningless it is, you just realize how things could have been done better.  I am enjoying this process, its very cleansing in more ways than one.  I hope to remember this experience next time I think I can’t live without something and instead think of what really matters: my family and friends, the time we have with them, and ways to make real memories that we will never take to the dump or to Goodwill.

Mel’s Cinnamon Scones

Sunday, 17 January 2010, 10:18 | Category : Recipes
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It’s Sunday morning and I woke up feeling like making a wonderful, big breakfast for my family. I usually feel this way on the weekends since Donnie eats breakfast at work during the week. I like sitting down to breakfast in our pajamas and starting our day together as a family. When I was a little girl, my mom and dad always had to wake me and sometimes carry me to the table for breakfast. No matter how sleepy (I thought) I was, I always loved that!

So this morning Donnie said he wasn’t very hungry, he would just eat a pack of peanut butter crackers with his coffee. Well, anybody who knows me knows that just wouldn’t do. So I thought a scone would be fairly light and go great with coffee. While he jumped in the shower, I looked up some recipes online, got some ideas and went with it. I have some organic cherries in the freezer so I thought that would be tasty. I made my dough, added the fruit and it just looked weird. I went on to roll them out and cut them and it just got more weird. I started thinking that maybe I should just go by other people’s recipes and stop trying to create my own all the time. This dough just didn’t look or feel right. I managed (somehow) to get them on the pan and into the oven anyway. About halfway through the cooking time I started cleaning up my mess and there it was!  THE BUTTER I DIDN’T USE!  Shoulders fell, face goes in hands and Bree is standing beneath me, pulling my pajama pants saying: “bite?”

I took a deep breath and started over. This time I decided to make the scones with cranberries since I had WASTED all of my organic cherries on the first batch.  Donnie came in,  I told him the story and I could tell he was a little afraid although he would never admit it. He kept asking how I made this my own recipe, “what ingredients did you change”. It was obvious he was thinking I should leave it to the pros at that point. So Donnie kept Bree happy for the next 15 minutes so I wouldn’t be feeling the pressure of a starving one year old and the second batch came out beautifully! They tasted absolutely delicious!  Bree said, “mmm, mmm” after every bite! So if after all of that, you still trust me, here’s the recipe. I encourage you to make it your own, that’s the fun part! Enjoy!

Mel’s Cinnamon Scones

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milled flax seed (optional but very healthy)
  • 3/4 cup butter (very important)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Craisins
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees . Lightly grease a baking sheet or use a Silpat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, flax seed and cinnamon. Cut in butter. Add the Craisins. Mix the egg and milk in a small bowl, and stir into flour mixture until moistened.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead briefly. Roll dough out into a 1/2 inch thick round. Cut into 8 wedges, and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.


I just put a few tablespoons of powdered sugar in a bowl and added a touch of cinnamon, heavy cream and a few drops of vanilla flavoring. Drizzle or spread on scones for added sweetness!!

In the future I would like to try substituting the Craisins for blueberries or cherries. You could add nuts inside or on top. I think adding pumpkin to the batter with a little more sugar would be great for the fall!

Happy Birthday to the best sister in the world!!!

Monday, 4 January 2010, 14:06 | Category : Thoughts
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Happy Birthday Wendy!!  I love you so much!  Thank you for being such a wonderful sister to me!  You are my rock whenever I need one and you let me be yours.  You are loyal, I know that you’ve got my back girl!  You are my girl to chit chat with any time of the day (all day).  You are an amazing, loving aunt to my baby girl.  You are the girl I call when I don’t know what to cook.  You are my personal nurse.  You are a great mom, wife and one healthy chic!  You are awesome and I love you more than words could ever say!  Thank you for being you and for being my constant, unconditional friend.  I love you so much!  I can’t wait to eat bad food with you, mom and the girls today!!!!  Have a Happy Birthday my girl!!!

Baked Ziti!

Sunday, 3 January 2010, 20:46 | Category : Recipes
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My mom made baked ziti when I lived at home, so when Donnie and I got married I started making it myself.  I never got mom’s recipe so I just gave it my best shot and ended up making it different every time.  I have learned that no matter how hard you may try, you can never recreate a mom’s perfect recipe.  They may write it out themselves and give you a step by step demonstration but you will never be able to make it taste like they do.  So to save myself the frustration and disappointment, I have learned to take the idea and make my own version.  I have been working on some dishes for 10 years and they still aren’t just right but that’s what keeps things fun and interesting.  When I am experimenting, I always give the Domino’s disclaimer- “its just a phone call away”!

I must say that my baked ziti has become pretty good over the years but I think I made it even better today.  I didn’t have enough provolone so I substituted with Allouette cheese spread.  It was fabulous people!!!!  It was so good that Donnie got seconds and that almost never happens (he eats to live, I live to eat)!  So, since we enjoyed it so much, I thought you may too!

Mel’s Baked Ziti

14.5 oz penne pasta ( I like Barilla Plus, its multigrain)

24 oz Bertolli organic pasta sauce (I use the olive oil, basil and garlic flavor)

14.5 oz Ragu Traditional pasta sauce (I use organic when I can find it)

1 lb. ground round

6.5 oz Alouette Garlic & Herb spreadable cheese

6 slices provolone cheese

2 Tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.  Cook penne in salted water.  Cook ground round.  Drain both and put back in large pot.  Add both sauces, olive oil and heat until hot.  Stir in Alouette cheese until completely melted.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Put in deep casserole dish (about 2-3 inches, may fill 2 depending on the size) and top with provolone slices.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.  Let cool for 5 – 10 minutes and ENJOY!!!

Welcome 2010!!

Saturday, 2 January 2010, 21:30 | Category : Thoughts
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Well this is my very first post and the start of a new year!  Don’t you just love new starts?  I do!  I think every Monday is a fresh start.  Most people don’t like Mondays but I happen to love them for the most part.  Its the fresh start to a whole new week with new possibilities and plans.  I’m not one for making new years resolutions but I do like to make goals for the year.  I think the two are very different.  Goals are something to work towards and new years resolutions are more like something you want to change about yourself.  That may sound similar to some but to me its feels way different.

So far my thoughts for 2010 are: Be-Do-Have.  Be committed, do what it takes and you will have what you want.  This could be for anything that may show itself this year.  I love the unknown of what is to come and then thinking of looking back this time next year and assessing all that I didn’t know that was ahead of me.  Does that even make sense?  Does to me.

The fact that I am starting this blog at the beginning of 2010 was not planned just happened that way.  My idea is to share thoughts and my daily life.  My daily life consists of taking care of my sweet baby girl and my wonderful husband, cleaning house, avoiding laundry, talking to mom and Wendy on the phone, being in love, organizing, cooking, planning on exercising, oh and did I mention talking to mom and Wendy on the phone?   As for my thoughts, well I may have to edit those sometimes, you never know what they may be but I’ll try to be as honest as possible.

I am making this journal for myself but maybe along the way, some of you might enjoy getting to know me a little better!