Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Wreaths

This year I made two wreaths. One for me and one for a friend. Wreaths are really easy to make, and it's so nice to be able to personalize them. Since I'm stuck on the beachy theme, I had to do something with starfish.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Things

We all had a wonderful Thanksgiving here. The food was fabulous and the company was even better. So now we're on to the next holiday, Christmas. While reading some of my favorite blogs I stumbled across these great ideas for making beachy Christmas ornaments.
You can buy the empty clear glass ornament balls at Michael's craft store, then all you need to do is fill them up with sand and sea shells. How easy and cute is that! To get the full story and all the details you can visit the blog The Stories of A to Z, where I found the top photo.

(Top photo from Tales from an oc cottage, bottom photo from Completely Costal.)
These are also super cute, glitter starfish Christmas ornaments. All you need is white finger starfish, glue, glitter, and ribbon. Another 15 minute easy craft that would make a great gift for someone.

While you're making these great Christmas Ornaments I recommend listening to Chris Tomlin's new Christmas CD, "Glory in the Highest". I just picked it up today and I can't stop listening to it. It is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit while reminding you what Christmas is really all about.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Making Of The Brine

Less than 48 hours till Turkey Day! So that means it's time to start making the turkey brine.

I'll let the brine chill over night in the fridge so it will be nice and cold for the turkey tomorrow night. Mmmm I can taste the moist delicious turkey already.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Turkey Day

Thanksgiving is now less than a week away. It's time to start prepping for the big day. Each year I make the turkey and have used the same recipe every time. The turkey always comes out perfectly moist and delicious. I usually brine the turkey in a 5 gallon bucket, you can buy a new/never used one at Lowe's or Home Depot. Then I just store the bucket in the fridge overnight to keep chilled. Or if you don't have the room in your fridge, I have also brined the turkey in a medium size cooler. With the ice in the brine and the cooler lid kept tight, the turkey will stay at a safe cold temperature over night. Since the brine needs to be completely chilled before soaking the turkey in it, I usually prepare the brine 2 days before Thanksgiving. Then the night before Thanksgiving day all I need to do is clean the turkey and soak it over night in the brine. It couldn't get any easier. Follow the directions exactly as the recipe states for cooking the turkey. Yes the recipe is correct for cooking the turkey at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. This gives the turkey that fabulous golden color that is picture perfect. This high temperature may cause a lot of smoke from the fat drippings. Adding watering into the bottom of the pan may help reduce the smoke. After you decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees, place tin foil (AKA *turkey triangle) over the turkey breast, and place the temperature probe into the turkey, you can sit back and relax. Don't touch the oven door till you hear that thermometer alarm. I encourage you to view this video found at the Food Network website for more information about this recipe, specifically on roasting the turkey and using the *turkey triangle.

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown


  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Make a * turkey foil triangle * and place it over the turkey breast then insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Very Spicy Chili

I found a new recipe for chili from the blog I'm Just Beachy and Publix. This chili is quick and easy to make with a pretty good kick if you like things spicy. Here is the recipe with the changes I made.

Warm You Up Chili


1 onion (chopped); I used 1 tsp of onion powder instead since I don't like the texture of onions

1 lb ground beef

3 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin (my addition)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed tomato soup; although I used the condensed soup this time, I think next time I will just use a can of tomato sauce

1 (14.5-ounce) can Rotel (whatever kind you like, I used hot) (undrained)

2 small cans diced green chiles (undrained); I only added 1 can

1 (16-ounce) can chili beans in mild sauce (undrained); I added a can of corn instead since I don't like these beans

1 (15-ounce) can black beans (drained)

1 bottle of beer (any kind); I used Blue Moon, only about 3/4 of the bottle.

Preheat large saucepan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place beef, chili powder, pepper, and onion or powder in pan. Cook 4–5 minutes, stirring to crumble meat, or until meat is brown and no pink remains. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low; simmer 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors.

Serve with shredded cheese, crackers, and sour cream for toppings.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk

While we did not participate in the 3-Day 60 mile walk to benefit the Susan G. Komen foundation, the fire departments of Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach were out to cheer them on. We built a pink ribbon out of balloons were many stopped to have their picture taken, and a cold water mister to help keep the walkers cool.

The firemen wore specially made pink t-shirts as their part of their uniform for 6 days to show their support.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Last month we gathered up the family and took a trip to Seattle, WA and a cruise to Alaska.

We took a train ride through the mountains...
Took a helicopter tour of Mendenhall Glacier...
Took a ride with the sled dogs of Alaska...

Ate too much...
And enjoyed all the beautiful scenery!


Saturday, July 25, 2009

I'm Not Dead!

I've just been busy with other things. Earlier this month I finished my 22 week residency nursing program. I am a new nurse now out working in the ICU on my own, and I'm loving it. I did have some time for a sewing project. Our dogs had the most pitiful dog beds and the ones in the stores were expensive and not so cute. So I decided I would make my own, with the help of various tutorials on the internet.

It's hard to tell, but the fabric has star fish on it. How cute is that!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fried Apples

I had a craving for Fried Apples this evening. If you're from the South and have been to a Cracker Barrel restaurant, you know what I'm talking about. Mmmmm. With the help of my friends on Facebook and the vast information on the internet I was able to make them myself. Very tasty! I can't wait to add them to my steel cut oatmeal in the morning.

Here is the recipe I used:

2 1/2 cups apple juice
4 large golden delicious apples, unpeeled and cut into wedges
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
4 tablespoons sugar
In a large skillet, combine the apple juice and sliced apples. Heat on medium until apples are fork tender, turning often to enable even cooking. Be careful not to overcook apples. Remove apples from juice with slotted spoon and place in large bowl.

In another bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir with wire whisk until well blended. Pour hot apple juice into dry mixture. Whisk vigorously until lumps are gone. Pour this mixture back into the skillet and heat on medium heat, whisking constantly, until bubbly and thick.
Remove from heat and pour over apples in bowl. Stir until apples are evenly coated.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Flea Prevention

The dreaded flea season for Florida and other states will shortly be here. Even though this story states that over-the-counter flea prevention is okay to use, I strongly disagree. Having worked in an emergency veterinary hospital I have seen countless reactions to these over-the-counter flea products. From mild hypersalivation to dangerous seizures. I urge everyone to purchase their pets flea control products from their veterinarian. Not just because I work in the industry, but because it's safer for your pets. I wish everyone a happy, safe, and bug free summer!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Kibble Fountain

Our dogs love it when the dog food bin gets empty. That always means soon there will be a kibble fountain for them to grab from. Well at least for Winston to grab from, the others pick up the stray kibbles that land on the floor.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Funny Things Around Town

Here we have the mac daddy of scooters in the geriatric world. It has an all weather cushion seat with a canopy to protect him from the sun.

Complete with a basket in the front to hold various items including a plastic rooster to lead the way.

Just when you thought your car needed to be cleaned, think again. We couldn't believe our eyes when we saw this car on the road. Half of the debris looked like food just bought from the grocery store, while the other half just looked like garbage. How can anyone drive around in a car full of trash?! A car full of hot Florida trash! Gross!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The FURminator

So the other day we went to our local pet store, Dog Lovers, to pick up some food and a brush for the Pugs. We went up to the counter with a $5.99 dog brush and walked out with a $49.99 dog brush! When we went up to the counter the checkout lady insisted that we try the FURminator if we're looking to remove excess hair from our Pugs. We brought along Zoe for the car ride, so we tried out the FURminator at the store. It seemed to do an okay job, so we bought it not knowing how much it was. We got in the car and started to drive home. Looking at the recipt we noticed that the brush was $49.99!! What!?!? We were appalled at the price and just couldn't believe that we spent that much money on a stinkin' dog brush. When we got home we tried the FURminator out. Let me just say, it was worth every penny we spent. It really does the job of removing excess hair and helps with shedding (if you use it almost everyday). I have noticed considerably less dog hair on the floor since we started using the FURminator. We give it two paws up.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Virtual Model

Lands' End has this great virtual model online that you can configure to your personal shape and size. There's even an option for the shape of your breasts, if you can believe that. Luckily they don't have an option for the shape of your belly. :-) After you put in all your dimensions and pick out the outfit the virtual tool will even suggest the best size for you. Although I've never purchased a swimsuit from Lands' End, this one is pretty cute. Right now their swimwear is 25% off plus free shipping in case anyone is interested.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Easter Kicked Up A Notch!

Just when you've thought you'd seen it all... something new pops up. Over in Europe and Canada McDonalds serves a Cadbury Creme Egg McFlurry! What could be yummier! Oh the creamy goodness!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Loving Starfish

I'm on a starfish kick lately. When I redecorated our living room I added starfish for a beachy theme. Since then I have been adding to my collection.

My most recent and favorite purchase has been a starfish necklace from Brighton, thank you to my mother-in-law for the gift card. There are really cute earrings to go with the necklace as well. I did not purchase them though because of my sensitive ears. Brighton said there was a trace of nickel in the earring so I was afraid they would irritate my ears. As I sit at home now, I am thinking maybe I would get them anyway and just paint clear nail polish on the backs of them. Hmmmm. I might have to run out and get them tomorrow.