Monday, December 28, 2009

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas is over already?

How did that happen, anyway?

I hope you all had a wonderful day!   I think my children actually caught the spirit of giving this year......and not just monetarily.  That makes this mama VERY happy.

Tying up the loose ends now so that I can reveal my big surprise. 

I might as well throw out a hint.......and start begging.

Hint:  It's nothing as exciting as being pregnant.......or in other words......I'm not pregnant.

Begging:  scratch that.  I can't beg without telling you why.  I'll beg later.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Gift of Blood

When I was little my mom used to donate blood on a regular basis.

I remember sitting in a room for what seemed like forever {and ever} and then right when I thought we'd never leave I'd get to move to a table with my mom and drink an orange juice and eat graham crackers.

I understood at the time that what she was doing was important, but I thought of it as more of a job than an act of giving.

I think differently of those times now.

Jeff and I had the opportunity to donate blood {and sign up to be a marrow donor} yesterday for a local child with a rare blood condition.  We brought the children with us because we wanted them to see all of the people who were willing to give of their time (and blood) without getting anything in return except a good feeling.

I didn't expect to see the sick little boy there as well.

I was humbled.  I was glad.  I felt grateful, and I felt sad.

I'm grateful for my health and that of my children.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to see first hand the child that may benefit from my tiny donation.  I felt sad that that little boy was sick and his family was not out celebrating the season, but sitting in a blood bank watching and waiting.

I'm thankful for this sick little boy who allowed me to do something simple, something which reminded me to take every opportunity I can to do the right thing.

I'm thankful Christmas and the reminder of the birth of my Saviour....and for the blood he shed for me.

I'm thankful to all of you for taking the time out of your day to stop by and visit me and for the examples you are to others in kindess and deed.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wordful Wednesday-Holiday Edition

*Wordful Wednesday is for those of us that like to showcase a photo(s) but that just can't seem keep our mouths shut about it(them). If you'd like to play along, post a photo on your blog, and let the words roll. Feel free to "capture" my 7 Clown Circus button (below and on the left) or simply hyperlink to my site, and be sure to add yourself to Mr. Linky. Thanks for playing along!

Grab My Button


"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

Is it as crazy at your house as it is at mine?

Somehow in the hustle and bustle I managed to forget about writing a Wordful Wednesday post until someone emailed me about it.

Gasp.  How that's even possible I'll never know since I thought it was routine by now.....

So, I'd like to leave you with evidence of the activity going on {Gingerbread house decorating is a tradition we cannot miss} in my household and particularly draw your attention to my kitchen counters.

Double gasp.  Stuff everywhere.

I'm trying to breathe deeply and keep my heart palpitations under control.

Merry Christmas!
*Remember, exciting news coming soon.  Keep checking back because there will be something in it for one of you!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Can you believe the holidays are upon us?

I would be in denial, but it's not possible.

Wishing you {all my wonderful bloggy friends} a joyful holiday season filled with laughter, yummy food, warm homes, and cheerful attitudes.

I'll be pretty scarce for the rest of 2009 as I enjoy having all my children home all day long.

And, I have a big surprise to unveil to kick off the New Year.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Shout Outs

As I was going through my inbox this morning I realized that quite a few companies have contacted me to spread the word about products or campaigns that are going on now that might be on interest to you.

So, here goes:
*You know how I'm always saying I wish I could bottle time:  Well, take a gander at this new company I found:

GrowShow allows a parent to do these 2 basic things, with both aspects being truly unique in the marketplace:

1) A Unique service on the Web: Create a free and automatic time-lapse of your child's growth, using fun and easy online tools. Simply upload photos, and GrowShow does the work for you, automatically sorting them in time order. The result is a stunning slideshow that captures your child in a whole new way. This time-lapse will amaze you (the proud parent) and the friends and family you share it with.

2) A Unique product in the Home: Frame that growth sequence with our amazing new invention - the magnetically modular GrowFrame - A photo frame that actually grows .... as your child grows!

For some ideas, visit the GrowShow gallery -
For some info on just the GrowFrame alone, please visit -

*My Princess Academy has just announced the launch of its 2nd annual Princess in the City Search!  Open to aspiring princesses ages 3-12, girls can enter for the chance to win the grand prize which includes a trip to New York City and a professional princess photo shoot with Marlene Wallach, President of Wilhelmina Kids & Teens modeling agency!

In celebration of the launch of the Princess in the City Search, was hoping you might be interested in letting your readers know about the contest and giving them 20% off and $5 shipping on any order at www.MyPrincessAcademy.comusing code 20PrinFun.  

*SkinCareRx is offering a free $40 Gift Certificate with a minimum purchase of $100! The URL to share this offer is:

          Top Designs to be Judged by Greats in Ocean Exploration

Geographic Society invite kids to create a flag to fly on a National
Geographic research ship during the Ocean Now expedition in 2010. The Ocean
Flag Contest aims to engage children in ocean exploration and conservation.

The online contest at: is open to kids ages 8 to 14 and will be judged by renowned ocean researchers Robert Ballard, Sylvia Earle, Enric Sala, David de Rothschild and Nancy Knowlton.

The judges will pick the top 10 designs, and kids will then vote online for the winning design. The winning flag will be hoisted above the National Geographic Ocean Now expedition ship in 2010. The winner will receive a
patch bearing his/her flag design, as well as select National Geographic books and DVDs. The contest runs until Feb. 20, 2010, and the winner will be announced online in April 2010.

*Hill Christmas Tree Company would like to help you celebrate Christmas with a free customizable holiday e-card.  You can customize the card and put it on your website or blog.  The e-card also provides you with a discount on their artificial Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands.

You can view the e-card here: Just click the “send to a friend” link to customize the card. is doing everything they can to ensure that parents are aware of the new directions on kids’ OTC cough and cold medicines. In the December issue of Parents Magazine, there’s a brochure called Treat with Care (a copy is available on and can be ordered free of charge) – parents can tear the brochure out of the magazine and use this as a guide when determining how to treat their children who are sick with a cough or cold.

*Triaminic just launched a new idea called the National Cold & Flu Tracker campaign. "The Tracker" is an online resource that provides a weekly data feed of cold & flu symptom trends by state. For parents, being aware of the activity in their area could help them prepare for when cold and flu symptoms appear. This online tool also provides information and tips to help prevent their family from becoming sick.

The Tracker can be found here:

You might also be interested in the Sick Day Guidelines that Triaminic® partnered with the
National Association of School Nurses (NASN) to create. Parents know when their kids aren’t feeling 100% - these Guidelines are aimed at helping parents decide when to keep them at home, or send them off to school.

For more information, go here.

*It looks like the PR firm for EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES (the movie with Brendan Frasier and Harrison Ford) are trying out some fun new applications help promote the movie.

"To celebrate the inspirational and positive message of the movie, CBS Films wants you to share your uplifting stories via two unique new web applications!

The INSPIRATIONAL QUILT allows you to showcast short videos of other moving stories from
extraordinary people around the country. By participating, you
   can win a chance to  designate a charity of your choice to receive a  $10,000  donation from CBS Films  Official Rules can be found at  

Also, don't miss out on the
TWEET ACROSS AMERICA application which allows you to view inspirational Tweets as they happen, where they happen, and see how we are all connected!"

TWEET ACROSS AMERICA is having a three great one-day-only sales!!

December 23: Take $25 off any order totaling over $80! Use code: almostxmas

December 24: Take $18 off any order totaling over $65! Use code: silentnight

December 25: Take 25% off any order of eyeglasses! Use code: merryxmas

Have questions? Send them an email: or call 800-917-7083.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wordful Wednesday-Family Portrait

*Wordful Wednesday is for those of us that like to showcase a photo(s) but that just can't seem keep our mouths shut about it(them). If you'd like to play along, post a photo on your blog, and let the words roll. Feel free to "capture" my 7 Clown Circus button (below and on the left) or simply hyperlink to my site, and be sure to add yourself to Mr. Linky. Thanks for playing along!

Grab My Button


Remember how I told you that we had family pictures taken last month? 

I did something this year that I've never done before.

Wanna see?

Yes, that is what you think it is.  A Canvas Wrapped Print.   Isn't it fantastic? I'm SO excited.  And the best news?  Color Incorporated, the company where I got the print has offered to give you a 16X20 canvas wrapped print, too.  For more information, go here.

Color Inc. Review and Giveaway

Let me just start off by telling you how much I love this company.  Color Incorporated is a full service photo finishing lab with a commitment to the best digital product at the best possible price.  I ordered a canvas wrapped print and the product surpassed my expectations. I was satisfied with the quality, speed with which my order was processed and shipped and customer service on-line.

Color Incorporated has generously offered to give one of you a 16X20 gallery wrapped canvas picture like the one I ordered.  But different.  They won't be sending you a picture of my family.  The winner provides them with the picture they want enlarged and wrapped. 

The Rules are simple (seperate comments please):

1.  Go to Color Incorporated's website and browse around.  Come back and tell me what professional photo service they provide that most interests you.

2.  Tweet this giveaway using the message provided:
16x20 Gallery wrapped photo worth approx. $100 up for grabs: @angiescircus

For Extra Entries:

*Subscribe to my blog through my RSS feed
*Blog about this giveaway, linking back here.

Contest is only open to US residents and ends Wednesday the 23rd of December at 11:59 PM PDT.

Twisted Silver Glacier Earrings

Twisted Silver designers liked these earrings so much they redesigned them for the 2009 Winter Season.  Retailing for $40.00, they are a wonderful finishing touch for your outfit whether it's fancy or casual.  I personally love how the earrings look paired with jeans, boots and a solid colored sweater.

The Glacier earrings feature Swarovski crystals dangling from antiqued silver Victorian patterns.  Feminine, delicate and elegant, these capture the feel of vintage winter holiday.  They are a bit on the heavy side though, so if you have ripped lobes like mine, they might not be the best fit for you and might be better worn on your sister or friend.  :) 

If you'd like to win a pair just in time for the NEW YEAR, you must do TWO things (seperate comments please):
1.  Go to Twisted Silver's site and come back and tell me which original item you like the best.
Tweet this message: 
Enter to win Twisted Silver Glacier Earrings (valued at $40) @twistedrocks @angiescircus 

2.  Get creative and leave me a fun comment.  Not racy.  Just fun.  As in, will make me laugh.

That's it!

Don't forget to use the Twisted Silver coupon code found in my right side bar should you decide to make a purchase.

Contest Ends on Christmas Eve.  Only open to US residents.

Monday, December 14, 2009

That Universal Law

What’s that law called that exists in the Universe that makes us what what we don’t have?

You know, that law that makes people with curly hair want straight hair? People with brown eyes want blue or green and vice versa? Or, I know………people who wear glasses want perfect vision and those that don’t need glasses want them? Wait. I’m not sure that’s one of those laws. But it should be.

Can you believe that after all I went through to get perfect vision {remember this?} I miss eyeglasses? Let me clarify. I don’t miss the poor vision or the reliance on glasses or contacts to be able to function. What I miss is having a cute pair of frames I can throw on and feel a bit…….studious when I want to.

I sort of got my eye glasses fix last year when my Emma needed prescription glasses for a lack of depth perception. I had so much fun helping her pick out a few pair of frames. I LOVED her glasses. I loved her in them. I was actually sad when her eye sight corrected itself and she didn’t need them anymore.

This may be why I’m craving a pair of eyeglass frames for myself now. It’s been long enough since my Lasik surgery that I’m pretty sure Jeff just might be amiable to me getting a pair of “prop” glasses. No one needs to know that I just want them for looks.

In my search for some super affordable glasses, I found Glasses USA. I can’t believe their excellent, and by excellent I mean super affordable prices {we're talking $18 starting price for a pair of prescription single vision glasses}, and I found out that the company has a “heart”. No pair of returned glasses are restocked. Glasses USA donates all returned eyeglasses to organizations around the US who sanitize and then redistribute the glasses with the correct prescription lenses to people throughout the world who cannot afford vision care.  How great is that?

Now, no laughing when you see my in my no-prescription-lenses frames in the near future.

Disclosure: Glasses USA is helping to make my fancy for a new pair of glasses a reality!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sleep Talking

Wanna know my thoughts on sleep talking? Go {here} to find out.

And, don't forget about the auction going on here now.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Blog, Bid, Hope

Welcome to Blog • Bid • Hope, an auction benefitting The Liz Logelin Foundation and Anissa Mayhew.

Our seven host sites will each be offering a different selection of items, so be sure to visit everyone: Adventures in Babywearing, Buried with Children, Mayhem & Moxie, Scary Mommy, 7 Clown Circus, The Extraordinary Ordinary, & Mama’s Losin’ It.

Items up for auction are:
Carolyn's Kitchen Apron
$75 Party Package
Purse And Photo Pendant
Baby Love
Sassy Apron And Soothing Suds
Personalized For your Pup

Pair of "Ohhhhhh" Earrings
Customized Canvas From Complete Silhouette
A Trio Of Girly Fun
Superhero Cape And Telescope
For The Fairy Ballerina
Sock Monkey Fun
Pocket Video Camera

Buckle Toy, Blanket, And Burp Cloths
Celtic Mist Bracelet And Reminisce Heirlooms Hair Clips
Blue Hat Radio Controlled Robot Car
$75 Gift Card To McKenna Designs
Mommy And Me Aprons And Monkey Measuring Spoons
Punkin Wear And Little Alouette

Custom Blog Header
Flipping For Phonics
Michael Buble, Wine Glasses, and Personalized Portraits
Metal Detector For Kids
Countdown To A Crafty Christmas
Little Girl Tutu and Rockin' Boy Onsies
Imaginative Play

Kids ATM
His And Hers
Princess Package
Holiday Bakers Delight
Tween Package
Little Boys Package

Poppy Clips And Room Decor
Dippin' And Dancin' With Baby
Inspire A Writer
Recycled T-Shirt Dresses
Nintendo DS Light

RC Cyclone Speed Racern
Blog Design Package Valued at $225
Space Monkey Print
Gift Set for the Baby (and Parent) On the Go
Toddler Apron and Crayon Roll
Designer Earrings

Bidding will begin at $10 and bids will increase at $2 increments. Scroll down to the connected posts, and if you see an item you'd like to bid on, simply leave a comment on that item's post stating your price. Shipping only in the US and Canada. Winners will be notified by Monday, December 14th and can send payment via Paypal.

Thank you for your participation, and happy bidding!


Don't see anything you want to bid on? There are many other ways to help:

Aiming Low, a community site started by Anissa, is hosting a "Shop for Anissa Day" on December 10. Visit their site for vendors who will be donating the days proceeds to Anissa and family.
• You can also donate directly by clicking below.

Kids ATM

Kids ATM
Aimee at Ain't Yo Mama's Blog knows the value of educational toys and thoughtfully secured this toy for one lucky child.  Perfect for teaching your child the value of money management, the toy is ideal for children eight and up.  It even calculates savings as coins are deposited!

Opening bid: $10. Please place your bids in $2 increments.

His and Hers

Nothing makes you feel more special and loved than wearing this 18 inch LOVE charm necklace from Momstar, around your neck. The hearts on the necklace add a little extra love. The charms are connected with jump rings and the letter "O" and "V" are connected with a special heart connector.

Love Charm and Rockin' Onesie

And now that you look good how about something for your little guy? Some little boys were born to rock! And your choice of either one of these rockin onsies are for just that little boy. These items were donated by the Swanky Chics.

Bidding starts at $10 and increase in $2 increments.

Princess Package

Computers are a part of life and everyone wants to have one, even the little kids. Now they can with the Blue Hat Tech & Talk Activity Lap Top. This is an educational toy computer that offers a wide variety of activities like arithmetic, word spelling, music composition, time telling and more.

Teach & Talk Laptop And Princess Academy

To go along with the adult's computer how about a My Princess Academy mouse pad and mouse? And for the little girl that wants to journal the old fashioned way -- with a paper and pen, a My Princess Academy Diary.

Opening bid: $10. Please place your bids in $2 increments.

Holiday Bakers Delight

This lovely holiday half apron, made by Vixen at ApronFrenzy is fashioned in a snowflake print against a deep, rich blue. The snowflakes are metallic silver, lighter blue and lighter purple. The pocket and apron are finished with a light blue edging and a dark blue waistband and ties. The giant pocket could do double duty; either carrying supplies or hiding goodies! It is perfect to wear while doing all that Christmas baking.

Spoons, towel, and Holiday Aron

And when you do all that baking, you need to make sure you have the proper tools. Scary Mommy's vintage kitchen store Bread and Butter is here to help with that with some measuring cups, spoons and to make the kitchen full of holiday cheer, Christmas towels.

Opening bid: $10. Please place your bids in $2 increments.

Tween Package

For the tween or teen girl in your life there are a couple items she might really like. What teen doesn't want to make a personal statement in their bedroom? Well, with this from Flair4all removal wall decor, Poppy Pow, they can. Place these poppies all by themselves on a wall or group them together for a different look the best part is that you can move them around and each time create a different look.

Decals & iPurse

For all those girls who love to look posh, the perfect iPurse for you. Each iPurse kit from dekoposh, inc can be customized just for you. It is the perfect way to be stylin' and carry all the things that you need.

Opening bid: $10. Please place your bids in $2 increments.

Little Boys Package

In this basket you will find something for a little boy in your life. I am sure he would love to find these items under the tree. First he can rock out to the CD 'Rockin' Rollin' and Ridin'.

RC Truck and Rockin' CD

Once he has danced all his energy out, its time to play with this Blue Hat Remote Control Monster Spinning Car donated by Ain't Yo Mama's Blog.

Opening bid: $10. Please place your bids in $2 increments.

Wordful Wednesday-Favorite Vacation Destination

*Wordful Wednesday is for those of us that like to showcase a photo(s) but that just can't seem keep our mouths shut about it(them). If you'd like to play along, post a photo on your blog, and let the words roll. Feel free to "capture" my 7 Clown Circus button (below and on the left) or simply hyperlink to my site, and be sure to add yourself to Mr. Linky. Thanks for playing along!

Grab My Button


I love to travel.  If I could travel abroad with my children, or without them without feeling guilty, I would.  To be honest though, trying to plan trips with a large family is difficult logistically and financially, which is why going to Utah is one of my favorite vacation destinations.

I don't know that it would be a favorite destination if I didn't have tons of family there, and a feeling that my "heritage" is there as well.

My ancestors were pioneers and helped settle the areas they lived in.  I feel pride in that accomplishment and love to hear the stories of their tremendous feats of strength and faith.  In a weird way, when I visit I feel like I'm a part of the heritage of the state, even though I haven't lived there in many years, and certainly never did anything to "leave a mark".

Perhaps part of the pull for me to Utah is my mom.  She lived and died there, and did leave a mark.  My mom is buried in a beautiful cemetery set below on of my favorite religious edifies.  I want to be buried there too.  When I visit the Manti temple I see real artifacts that someone I'm related to lovingly created.  Even though Sanpete County hasn't ever really been my home, I feel like coming home when I visit.

Salt Lake City is also a favorite of mine.  There are so many interesting houses and buildings to be toured.  Beautiful, clean streets with old houses with character and streets set in a perfect grid.  One of my all time favorite museums is the Pioneer Museum right by the capitol.  Housed in the museum are oodles of pioneer implements and handcrafts and they sell the best honey taffy there I've ever had.

And when I say best honey taffy, I mean the best honey taffy.

What is your favorite vacation desination?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Merry Christmas....

I mean, {SITSmas}...from my family to yours!
Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Sitsmas
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

{Don't forget to come back tomorrow for the commencement of the Blog, Bid, Hope auction

All this week a group of bloggers, including Buried with Children, Mayhem & Moxie, Scary Mommy, Adventures in Babywearing, The Extraordinary Ordinary, & Mama’s Losin’ It, will be working together to promote an event entitled, Blog • Bid • Hope. By hosting a three day auction, their goal is to raise money on behalf of the Liz Logelin Foundation, as well as Anissa Mayhew, a 35 year old blogger who recently suffered a stroke. The auction will offer a variety of items, including blog designs, accessories, electronics, baby gear and art. Do some good over the holiday season and donate to the members of the on-line community who need our support. More details here.}

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Blog, Bid, Hope

Through blogging we have learned that we can make authentic connections with people around the world.

We read about one another's greatest accomplishments, we celebrate the highest highs and we grieve the lowest lows.

This holiday season I have decided I want to help. I want to use this platform as a way to bring good to some not so good situations.

And because we read and love and learn and cry and laugh with each other, we must be here to support and help one another as well. Recently one of our own, Anissa Mayhew, a witty mother of three, collapsed after suffering a massive stroke. Her family and friends are devastated.

One minute her husband was talking to her about which hotel they could stay in over Thanksgiving and the next moment she was unresponsive in a hospital bed. Everyone is praying for Anissa to pull through and little by little it seems they are starting to see bits of progress, but her family has a long way to go.

Matt Logelin is no stranger to the devastating turns our lives can take. He started blogging like many of us did, as a way to update friends and family across the globe on the progress of his his case, a pregnant wife, Liz.

He proudly posted the excitement of the birth of his baby girl Madeline one day and the tragic loss of his beautiful wife due to a pulmonary embolism just 27 hours later.

The Liz Logelin Foundation was established by Matt to assist families suffering similar losses. The goal is to "financially assist these families as they deal with the loss of their loved ones, and struggle to move forward."

Matt also challenges his readers...and "skip the latte" and donate 7 dollars on the 7th of every month. It can be such a small number for us, but if EVERYONE donated $7 on the 7th, we could help SO many.

The week of December 7, I will be working with a group of bloggers (Buried with Children, Mayhem & Moxie, Adventures in Babywearing, Scary Mommy, The Extraordinary Ordinary, & Mama’s Losin’ It) to promote a three day auction called, Blog, Bid, Hope to raise money on behalf of The Liz Logelin Foundation and Anissa Mayhew.

Thanks to Laurie from Tip Junkie we were able to connect with wonderful mom-preneurs who have generously agreed to donate their goods, including blog designs, toys, art, accessories, baby gear, and SO much more.

You'll be sure to please anyone on your holiday list with any number of the packages that will be available! Not to mention ALL of the proceeds will be going to help people during extremely difficult times in their lives.

The auction will officially begin on Wednesday, December 9th. All items will listed on any one of the Blog, Bid, Hope hosting sites and will begin at $10. We're asking for bids to increase at $2 increments. If you see an item you'd like to bid on, just leave a comment on that item's post stating your price.

In addition to our own auction we want to encourage everyone to swing by Anissa Mayhew's Aiming Low site on December 10th. Her friends and fellow Aiming Low writers have organized a Shop 4 Anissa day, where they will link to specific vendors who have agreed to donate a portion of all proceeds to the Hope 4 Anissa fund specifically for that day.

See that. You can help too. We all can. Together. Like a giant kumbaya family. Bloggers helping bloggers. Let's show everyone how powerful we can be when we choose to work together toward a common goal.

Men of a Certain Age

Men of a Certain Age starring Ray Romano premiers tomorrow night (December 7th)!

Tune in at 10/9 Central on TNT, and be sure to check out their website where you'll find a sneak peak and information about all the actors.

Brazilian Chicken and Shrimp Soup in my Cuisinart

Humor me as I begin this post with a contented *sigh*.

I found not only a delicious recipe developed by Chef Hubert Keller, but a kitchen gadget by Cuisinart that makes my heart sing.

Have you seen or heard about Cuisinart's Rice Plus™ Multi-Cooker with Fuzzy Logic Technology?

If not, let me introduce you.  Cuisinart's Rice Plus™ Multi-Cooker with Fuzzy Logic Technology is a fancy schmancy rice cooker, and I mean that in the best possible way.   Basically, it's a rice cooker that is also a slow cooker and steamer.  And it has a built in brain.  It's fantastic.  Seriously.  I can steam rice, I can steam vegetables.  I can slow cook meat.  I can cook just about anything I want in it, even going as far as being able to saute the food first.

The best part is that the totally new and innovative "fuzzy logic" or brain housed in the appliance "senses fluctuations in cooking and automatically adjusts operation to ensure perfect results". 

The cooker has pre-programmed settings for six types of rice and did I mention that it's dishwasher safe?

Now.  About that soup I was telling you about.

Chef Hubert Keller  developed this soup recipe (and others as well) as a "one-pot meal that incorporates delectable and authentic flavors".    And it does.  It really is tastey, although if you have children that don't like onions, I'd omit them from the recipe or practically puree them so they don't know they are there.  One of the things I liked most about the recipe is that it gave me the opportunity to use different functions of my Cuisinart, so now I feel like a pro using it.

Brazilian Chicken and Shrimp Soup

A medley of aromatic spices, chicken and shrimp gives this hearty, Brazilian-inspired soup a burst of flavor; great as a one-pot meal.

Serves 8

5 chicken thighs, skinned
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 small)
1 cup diced green bell pepper (about 1 medium)
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
1/3 cup finely chopped toasted peanuts
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups coconut milk
8 ounces raw shrimp (medium size), peeled and de-veined
10 ounces frozen peas
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
4 cups cooked jasmine or basmati rice for serving

*Prepare rice using the long-grain directions on the cooking chart for Cuisinart’s Rice Plus™ Multi-Cooker. Rice can also be prepared the day before.

*Place the chicken in a medium mixing bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the lime juice and rub chicken with minced garlic. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

*In the cooking pot of the Cuisinart Rice Plus™ Multi-Cooker, add the olive oil. Set to Quick Cook and press start. Once the olive oil is hot, after about 3 minutes, add the onions and peppers and sauté for about 4 minutes until soft and fragrant.

*Stir in the canned tomatoes including juice, peanuts, jalapeno, bay leaves, salt, pepper, broth, and coconut milk. (Note: be sure to stir the coconut milk prior to pouring from can). Add the chicken and marinade and stir until well combined. Turn the unit off. Close the lid and select the Soup function and set the timer for 5 hours.

*15 minutes before the timer is done, rinse the shrimp well and pat dry. Place in a mixing bowl with the remaining lime juice and a pinch each of the salt and pepper. Refrigerate for 5 to 8 minutes; no longer or the acid of the juice will begin to cook the shrimp.

*Once there are 5 minutes remaining on the timer, open the lid and add the frozen peas and the shrimp, with the juices, and close again to finish cooking.

*Once the timer tone sounds, open the lid. Discard the bay leaves. Take out the whole chicken pieces and place on a cutting board. Remove the meat from the bone, cut into bite size pieces, and return to the pot. Stir in the cilantro to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

*To serve, place some warm cooked rice (approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup depending on portion size) in the bottom of each soup bowl and ladle the soup on top. If desired, sprinkle with additional chopped cilantro and/or chopped peanuts.

If you are looking for a holiday gift idea, I'm thinking I just gave you a great one (idea, that is).  I'm just sayin'.  :)

Disclosure:  Cuisinart sent me the small kitchen appliance that I just honestly raved about for review.  They also sent me the recipe I shared with you above.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Norton 360 3.0-Great Gift Idea

Up until last year I would have never considered Anti-Virus Software a particularly spectacular gift.  That was until both of my computers got infected and crashed.  Now I view Anti-Virus Software in a whole new light.  I'll bet many of you do too.

Norton has an all-in-one Anti-Virus Software that I use now.  It's called Norton 360 version 3.0.  It's family friendly, easy to use and most importantly, it works.

If you'd like to give Norton 360 3.0 a test drive, then go here for a FREE 30 day trial.  If you like it, then it might be helpful to know that one year of downloads for use on up to 3 computers costs $79.99.  Two years is slightly more and a very economical way to go.

Norton 360 3.0 offers the following features:
Protects your PC, online activities and your identity 24/7; Provides industry-leading security without slowing you down; Blocks botnets;  Makes online shopping safer;  Protects your identity when you buy, bank or browse online;  Offers secure, one-click login to web sites;Secures your browser from attacks; Delivers up to the minute virus protection; Protects your important files from loss;  Speeds up PC boot time; Defends your wireless network from intruders;  Helps make your PC run like new again;  Includes FREE 24/7 technical support.

And, if you'd like (or need, like I do) some tips for Internet Safety, then you won't want to miss these:

1.       Use up to date security software. Most security suites run on a subscription model, which means that your updates and upgrades are likely free within your subscription period. Older versions of security software often times are missing the latest virus signatures and may not be able to protect you from the latest online threats.
2.       Use firewalls to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. Most security suites or even internet providers offer a firewall. They are an important tool for keeping you and your files safe. Think of it as your first and last line of defense.
3.       Never click open emails or email attachments if they are not from a trusted sender or if the content/subject of an email looks suspicious. If the email looks like spam and is promising a deal that is too good to be true it probably is. Be sure to check any links in an email before clicking; if the link is not as advertised by the email content do not click. Cybercriminals know that we’re all out for good deals this time of year.
4.       Sites promising insane deals need to be treated with caution. Sometimes they are legitimate but sometimes they are not, if you’re getting a funny feeling from an online vendor follow your instincts and steer clear. Look for typos and any other tell-tale-sign that the site was thrown together quickly. Spoofed sites can be used by cybercriminals to deliver and install malware onto your machine without you even knowing it.
5.       Use a variety of passwords when setting up accounts with online vendors, this tip also includes your emails and online banking passwords. If a password is cracked you want to limit the damage.
6.       Do not use the “remember” function of your web browser for important credentials like credit card numbers. If your computer has been compromised you may end up with a couple purchases that you had no intention of making.
7.       Use secure sites when making online purchases. A safe site can be distinguished by the “s” after http, as in https://. This denotes that it is a secure site with secured data transfer. If https is not present in the URL and you do not know the seller from a previous experience you should think twice before making a transaction.
8.       Pay by credit card. Encryption and validation technologies have made most transactions quite secure, and furthermore, under U.S. law your potential liability for unauthorized use of your credit card is limited. You don't get the same kind of protection from checks or money orders, and certainly not when you use cash. Never send cash to make an online purchase.
9.       Save all of your receipts, one electronic copy and one soft copy (like a PDF or jpeg).

Disclosure:  The Norton Outreach program sent me a complimentary download for review.  The Norton Outreach Program aims to educate users about the importance of cyber safety and answer any questions related to Norton’s suite of security software.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Sheep, Sheep and More Sheep

In Central Utah, where my grandparents live, undeveloped land is abundant. The open land is perfect for raising live stock like sheep, cattle, and turkeys.

My grandfather has been a sheep herder his whole life.

I have wonderful memories of visiting his sheep camps.  Foremost in my mind is eating friend mutton and homemade tortillas;  playing with the herd dogs, riding horses, checking for newly born lambs and enjoying a world that seemed so different from the one I inhabited.

Somehow I've gone my whole life without knowing that a part of every herd is a guard dog.  I'm telling myself I didn't know about guard dogs because they are always out with the herd and as a rule are NOT people dogs. So, why would I know about them?  But, that's not a very good excuse.  The real reason I never knew is because I've never asked my grandpa for details about his life work.

This trip I found out about guard dogs because we "met" one that was actually a people dog.  He loved us, and to tell you the truth, I kind of fell in love with him, too.

He let the twins ride on him.  He had perfect manners, and I didn't even have to feed him or take care of him.


He was a perfect gentleman, but most importantly, he taught me a lesson.  It's amazing the knowledge we can obtain if only we ask.  I didn't let up with the questions this trip, and I'm glad.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Pioneer Woman, I'm not

We go visit the horses every time we visit my grandparents.  

I'm not even clear whether my grandfather owns the horses, to be honest.  I'm assuming he does since he saddles them up and lets us ride them.  And feeds them.  But, you never know.   {Kidding.  I'm kidding.} 

This trip  I decided to take some pictures and wow both myself and my readers the way Ree, the Pioneer Woman does.  I mean, she takes incredible pictures of horses like every single day.  And, no matter how many horse photos I've seen of hers, they captivate me every time.  

I'm not even a horse person.

So, when I had the opportunity, I clicked away.  I edited away.  Sort of.  And this is all I have to show for it.

Sadly, I came to a realization.  A Pioneer Woman, I'm not.  :)

I do have some great memories though, and a few good reminders that open fields, domesticated animals and children enjoying the wonder of them with their great grandpa makes me happy.