Main Dish Caprese Salad

The tomatoes taste like tomatoes again and we scored an amazing deal on some fresh mozzarella sheets rolled with proscuitto and basil so we came up with this delightful salad that was filling enough for our dinner- if you need more, some lovely warm breadsticks would go beautifully.  You can buy the fresh mozzarella sheets and proscuitto (Italian cured bacon) and roll them yourself if you can't find them near you or they are too expensive.

Every ingredient in this delightful dish is crucial so use the best quality that you can find/afford and make sure the tomatoes are in season in your area-  if I still lived up north I would have to wait at least another month.

Organic baby spinach
Organic baby arugula
Fresh tomatoes, sliced
Fresh mozzarella sheets rolled with proscuitto and basil, sliced
Fresh basil, julienned
Extra virgin olive oil (evoo)- dipping quality
Coarse salt and freshly grated black pepper.

Lay your spinach on a plate and top with some spicy arugula.  (We wash and pick through and de-stem our greens even though they are supposedly ready to eat.)

Alternate slices of tomato with the rolled mozzarella in a pattern that pleases you.  Drizzle with evoo (you can substitute a lovely aged balsamic vinegar with this dish) and sprinkle with salt- we used sea salt but kosher or any coarse salt will do and freshly grated black pepper.


Cover loosely and let set (can refrigerate or not) at least 1 hour.  We have had this without letting it sit and it is delicious but it takes it to another dimension if you give the flavors time to marry.


Hope you enjoy this refreshing taste of summer as much as we do.


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Ravioli lasagna

Another one so easy but so so tasty-  we were trying to figure out what to have, knew we wanted pasta but didn't want just spaghetti, felt like lasagna but didn't want to wait, so here's what we made-  I'm sure there are other versions, but ours is simple and delicious and looks like a work of art when it's done.

We fight over the crispy perfectly browned cheese- do you do that at your house?

P.S. This makes a TON-  we made one to keep, Ki took one to a friend and we had enough for to put a meal in the freezer.  Feel free to cut down the recipe or freeze for a busy night.

2 bags frozen cheese filled ravioli
4 or 5 cups worth of your fave marina (meatless) spaghetti sauce - we used homemade, but a couple of jars would be fine, especially if you "doctor" them up with some Italian spices or spaghetti sauce seasoning blend
1 large container ricotta cheese
2 eggs
Grated mozzarella
Fresh grated Parmesan
Fresh sliced mozzarella

You can make this without defrosting or boiling the ravioli as long as you can separate them (just bake longer) but we were in a hurry so boiled first- either way will be fine.

Mix ricotta with 2 eggs and a generous handful of fresh grated Parmesan and a couple of handfuls of grated mozzarella.  We season our sauce really well, if yours is on the bland side add your favorite Italian style seasonings  to the cheese mixture.

Coat the bottom of 2 9x13 baking dishes with sauce.  Add a layer of ravioli noodles to each.  Top with sauce.  Spread cheese layer on top, distributing half evenly between both dishes.  Another layer of noodles, then sauce then spread remainder of cheese mixture.  Top with final layer of noodles, plenty of sauce and then cover with thin slices of fresh mozzarella and sprinkle with more fresh grated Parmesan.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes or until it's all hot and bubbly and browned nicely.  (You can broil for a couple of minutes to get that lovely browned cheese if you like.)

If you are starting with frozen or uncooked raviolis, add at least 30 minutes to the time.

Enjoy.

P.S. If you overstuff your casserole like we did put one of your crappy cookie sheets underneath or you will end up with a horrible mess to clean.



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Menu for week of 4/25 - 5/1


Oriental chicken wings; easy lo mein; fresh fruit

Slow cooker pepper steak; perfect rice

Ravioli lasagna; Caprese salad

Puffy chicken; garlicky smashed red potatoes; peas, mushrooms & pearl onions; mixed green salad with fruit, seeds and a balsamic vinaigrette

Eat whatever doesn't eat you first aka eat what you want aka leftovers

Fair food from Toad Suck Daze- not sure what we'll be having but the must haves for the divas are funnel cake; cherry lemon/lime ades and a bloomin' onion to share.  Oh, and mustn't forget the cotton candy.

Yummy baked ham (we had Easter with the fam at Ken's mom's house so are baking our ham now); oriental noodle salad; summer (yellow) squash; dinner rolls.


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Wishing you and yours a Blessed and Happy Easter



XOXOX The Divas


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My Happy List 4/23

Photobucket

I am happy I decided to play happy list again (and have the oomph to do more than stare blankly at the computer).

I am happy that we'll see lots of loved ones tomorrow and share good food and good times.

I am happy that the mini diva is going to help Dev and her friends get ready for prom.

I am happy that I got the winners chosen- now to email them (going to try very hard to get it done this weekend).

I am happy that the girls are getting down to business and doing what they need to get done to move forward and advance themselves.

I am really happy with a new recipe we tossed together this week (we'll be posting on the food blog soon) omg it is so good and easy.

I am happy for access to sinus/allergy pills that make breathing possible and even more happy for the caffeine that means I do not sleep allergy season away.  Yay coffee!

I am happy that my dogs love me even when no one else (including me) can stand me.   I really <3 my doggies.

I am happy with a few new books I've gotten lately - nothing like a great read to get over yourself or at least temporarily forget the crap you are mired in.

I'm happy that I have some giveaways to get posted for y'all this week-  love being able to do that and sorry for the slack but sometimes life kicks my butt just a little harder than is comfortable and I need to take a breather from it all.  I'm really happy everything is waiting for me where I left it when I get back in the game.

What's on your happy list?  Head on over to mamarazzi's and link up and to read more happy. 

XOXOX Dddiva

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Happy Earth Day 2011 - 11 in '11- Simple things we can all do to make a difference



Earth Day Comments, Graphics for Facebook, MySpace

We aren't the greenest family around, but that doesn't mean we don't try to do our part to make the world a better place.

Here are some really simple ways that we try to help the earth- some are new for us, some are an ongoing process, and some we have done since the girls were babies and probably my mom did with me. *Hi mommy, love you. Thanks for raising me to try to be a responsible citizen.*


*Even when the kids were in strollers, we'd take along a bag on our walks and pick up trash wherever we were walking- side of the road, park, wherever.

*Take reusable bags shopping- get the kind that store neatly in your purse/diaper bag/whatever or keep them in your trunk so you always have them handy- they aren't just for grocery stores, use them everywhere you can.

*Buy products with as little packaging as possible, and if the packaging is recyclable so much the better.

*Always leave a place nicer than when you got there- pick up extra trash in picnic areas, simple things like that.

*Recycle as much as possible- we have plastic, cans and cardboard/paper here and even though we have to take them in ourselves, it is worth it until the middle of nowhere gets curbside pick-up.

*Buy good reusable water bottles and to-go cups. Even your fave coffee shop will be happy to fill it up for you if you ask. (If using plastic be sure it is bpa free etc- we like stainless for the water bottles and ceramic for the mugs when possible- obviously Ian is a little young for a ceramic mug unless we are staying home.)

*Invest in reusable lunch containers (again, making sure they are safe from toxins) whenever possible.

*When replacing appliances (they really don't last like they used to) invest in energy saving models- you won't regret it.

*Combine your errands into as few trips as possible, carpool if you can and offer to pick up a few things or bring your family/friends/neighbors with you to save on gas.

*It is not always feasible or possible, but whenever we can we like to buy organic and support local businesses (or even those far away that help others to help themselves- think fair trade).

*We are trying to get our yard (which is rocks on top of more rocks on top of more rocks) to where we can plant our own garden - we've had some success with container gardening in the past and are considering raised beds as we can afford them, but ideally we would love to have a wonderful, organic garden full of fresh veggies, some fruit trees and berry bushes and of course flowers for the pretty factor.
~~~We've been told that planting potatoes will help bust up the yard, move the rocks etc so we have planted several *eye* pieces and hopefully will have more usable space next year. If you have any other ideas (REALLY CHEAP) please please share, we're desperate.~~~

Are you environmentally friendly? What do you do to make a difference? Inquiring divas want to know.

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Aloha Old London - Tasty treats and a chance to win a trip to Hawaii.


Yay a new blog tour!  Of tasty things!  I like those, especially the tasty ones.  We've always enjoyed the Melba snacks (though when I was little, I thought my Grandma Melba had made them; I mean, really, I didn't think two people in the whole world could be named Melba, and she did REALLY like the snacks).

I like them because they are fairly simple, and tasty- crunchy. I mostly have them with hummus, tapenade and/or bruschetta.  Even the flavored ones are light flavor, so they pair easily with other things, but also carry their own weight if you just want to slap on a little cream cheese (and maybe some olives, I really like olives) and call it snack.

Not only are they tasty and crunchy and amazing, but they are healthy, too.  A good way to get your chip fix without the chip fat (and the ucky greasy feeling after). I am one of the lucky people who generally likes the taste of healthy food better- grease just tastes awful in my mouth (with a few exceptions; I am a sucker for funnel cake) but I know not everyone feels the same- most people can't go without their chip fix!  

You can also use the Old London melba toasts, bagel chips and the like with your usual dips, or go with a natural cream cheese or yogurt based dip, or once again I must share my favorite of hummus- so many yummy varieties and all of them delish!  You still get the salt and crunch and burst of yummy goodness, but this way you are putting good stuff into your body.  Try more fruit for your sweet fixes, maybe dipped in yogurt or put some simply fruit spread on your cream cheese.

The divas just love when you don't have to make sacrifices to do something good for yourself, and Old London snacks help us to do just that.  What's not to love?

How do you guys eat healthy without giving up flavor?  What is your favorite good for you food, or the junk food you are having the hardest time giving up?  What are some small steps you take to keep healthy-  do you park at the end of the lot and walk across instead of looking for the closest space or take the stairs instead of the elevator?  Dance around when you are dusting?  Skip with your kids?  Inquiring divas want to know.

And now for the exciting part- Old London is giving away a 4 day 3 night all expenses paid trip for two to Oahu, Hawaii  with tons of extras - see here for details.

You will be really glad you switched to healthier snacks when you don your bikini and do the hula if you are the winner- trust me on this. 

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Old London and received product samples and a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.”
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Hot flashes, night sweats and more- the joys of being a woman Estroven blog tour.

I am a very girlie girl, and don't want to change, but there are a few parts about being a female that I would just as soon not have had to go through. I was not a glowing, breeze through pregnancy mom, I was an in labor for months given numerous drugs to stop it mean cranky witch. (I kept the mean cranky part, sometimes.)

I had very irregular periods from being tiny but when I got them they were a nightmare.

Menopause, oh the joys of menopause (and perimenopause)- since it started right about the time I got sick we decided I would not take any drugs due to all the surgeries, transfusions and other medications I had to take.

Here are some of the most common menopause symptoms. (Taken from the Estroven site) I suffered and/or continue to suffer from at least 80% of them. Moodiness and forgetfulness are especially rough *s*.

* Changes in menstrual periods
* Hot flashes and night sweats
* Vaginal dryness
* Forgetfulness
* Moodiness
* Changes in urination
* Weight gain and shift
* Headache
* Palpitations
* Joint pain
* Loss of bone density
* Skin, hair, and eye changes
* Other perimenopause and menopause symptoms

A few secrets I have learned for dealing with menopause and perimenopause are:

.When I am in a *mood* that I can't control I give fair warning and try to keep to myself as much as possible. I also apologize in advance for anything I may do to anyone who doesn't or can't avoid me for whatever reason.

.Threaten bodily harm to anyone who messes with the thermostat- sorry, you put on a blanket or sweater if need be but when I am having hot flashes you do NOT tell me it's too cold I can't have the air on or you will regret it.

.Keep a personal fan by the bed that I can turn on and off as needed. Freezing damp cloths for your forehead and neck help as well.

.Taking pain relievers with caffeine boosts the speed which it reaches your headache.

Now there is something I can do about it without resorting to prescription drugs or suffering needlessly. Estroven. I love that they are an herbal supplement made with all natural ingredients. There are several formulas, everyone can choose the one that is right for them. I am torn between Maximum Strength and Plus Energy.

Estroven® plus Multi-Vitamin combines menopausal symptom relief with a multi-vitamin for women. Estroven® plus Multi-Vitamin contains a unique Mood & Memory blend to support mood and memory function, as well as mild to moderate hot flashes.

Estroven® Maximum Strength was created for women who may be experiencing more bothersome menopause symptoms.

Estroven® Nighttime helps promote natural sleep patterns to help you sleep through the night and wake feeling refreshed without morning grogginess.*

The Estroven® plus Energy formula naturally supports the energy you need to stay productive and energized all day, while reducing hot flashes and night sweats.*

There is no need to suffer any more than you have to- why not check Estroven out and see for yourself what a difference they can make.

Be sure to like Estroven on Facebook for special offers and check out their special rewards program here.

Do you suffer any of these symptoms?   Would you try Estroven?   If you are too young, do you think you would recommend Estroven to your older friends and relatives?  Life is hard enough, if there is something that can help make it easier, I say go for it.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Estroven and received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.
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Randomy random type stuff.


You may have noticed we've sort of been mia- I barely read a blog and certainly left no comments let alone did any blogging here. Oops. Did get a new design though, on both blogs- and am happy- for now. I think they are fun and hopefully are more user friendly. Have tons of catching up to do but wanted to post the (very late) link so y'all can add your giveaways.

Not going to make excuses, life has gotten in the way and we're dealing with getting a TON of paperwork turned in (because as you know when you are dealing with this crap they LOSE IT 3 F*CKING TIMES, minimum), getting some girlies enrolled in college, tax crap, money and lack thereof crap, illness, one of the divas is moving to a new place and has to sort and declutter her apt and what she has stored here etc and add in a husband who is home ALL THE TIME DRIVING SOME OF US CRAZY (love you honey- get a hobby that doesn't involve my computer or tv all the time ;-) ) and we had to let some balls drop- sorry it was y'all, but unfortunately if we want our stupid bills paid the other junk took priority.

Sorry I missed your birthday, Julie! Hope it was fabulous.



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Menu for week of 4/18 - 4/25


The weather still can't make up its mind, so we have a mix of warm and cool weather foods on the menu this week- all of it tasty and delicious.  We have a big extended family thing for Easter, complete with egg hunt for the kids so this is only a partial list of what will be on the menu.  What's cooking at your house this week?  Do you do anything special for Easter or whatever holidays you celebrate this time of year?

Tomato, fresh mozzarella, proscuitto & basil chiffonade atop a bed of organic baby spinach and arugula sprinkled with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and drizzled with evoo.

Homemade turkey potpie made with carrots, pearl onions, snow peas and mushrooms in puff pastry shells; tossed salad.

Southwest salad; dinner rolls.


Pork roast; roasted purple potatoes, carrots and pearl onions; strawberries and kiwi.

Easy fettuccine alfredo; mixed green salad.

Pulled pork sliders made from leftover pork; coleslaw; fruit.

Easter dinner:  baked ham; mashed potatoes;  fresh green beans; tossed salad; deviled eggs; homemade dinner rolls; tons of pies, cakes and cookies and whatever else everyone brings.


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Southwest Salad

We make these by the bowl so everyone gets exactly what they want, they are incredibly versatile, so delish! and a great way to use up leftover fajitas-  you can add anything you have left over- peppers, mushrooms, any vegs, etc.  We had some chicken left that was made using our basic fajita marinade.  You can use any leftover chicken- shredded from a roast chicken works beautifully.

Baby spinach*
Romaine hearts, torn*
Canned black beans, rinsed and drained (or leftover homemade)
Canned, frozen or fresh corn removed from cob (mexi-corn w/peppers works well
Chopped tomatoes
Diced red or white onion or sliced green onion
Diced avocado
Diced chicken or beef
Shredded cheese-  colby. jack, co-jack, cheddar, pepper jack or any mexi-blend
Dollop of sour cream or plain greek yogurt- can be non or lowfat**
Salsa**
Sliced jalapeno or other small peppers, optional
Fresh lime slices or wedges**

*You can use any  greens you like- make sure to buy organic and/or local that you know the farmers don't use pesticides even if they aren't certified whenever possible, on the greens and any other veggies and fruits, especially those you don't peel.

Put a generous serving of greens down in the bowl then start topping.  We heated the corn, beans and chicken up- just mixed and heated them all together but that is a personal preference and put them on the greens.  Top with the tomatoes, onion, avocado and cheese.  Add your sour cream and salsa and squeeze as much fresh lime juice as you like -  I like a lot.

Enjoy.

**If you prefer using Ranch or Catalina dressing, by all means feel free, this is our preference but they are very adaptable and you should make it your own by adding and subtracting anything you like.

***LOWFAT VERSION***
Chicken or beef cooked in salsa or marinated in just lime juice, salt and pepper
Omit corn
Use fat free or lowfat sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt in place of whole sour cream
Use light or 2% cheese (lower fat)



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Pondering making my own dreams come true.

Mom and I have been talking about the restaurant we want to own and run one day, one of my favorite dreams to get caught up in. We are very picky about food, and often don't enjoy eating out as much as we do eating in. Sure, we love someone else doing all the work for us, but our food just tastes better. Mom has already told you about why Runza hates her because I would throw out any hard, brown or wilty lettuce, but really, who would want to eat that?

One day we want a Cafe and bookstore and Neat Things We Love shop, just somewhere... us. I don't know how well it would go over here, we would want our metaphysical suchnots in it, and those kinds of stores tend to close around here quickly.

I spend more time focusing on the kitchen part, just thinking of my dream kitchen. I've been browsing PriceMyKitchen and getting dream-ideas for that some-day that I know will eventually get here. They have Kitchen equipment price comparison so I can even do some of my dreaming with a touch of realism! Or... something like that, anyways.

In my one-day restaurant, it will be a bit bigger and fancier than your average coffee-shop cafe, and have better than average selection. Probably one of those things with a small static menu, but most everything is whatever I make that day. Fresh baked breads and pastries, and not like the coffee shop here where they buy frozen and bake it here, but REAL fresh made bread. Sandwiches and salads based on what is good and in season, soups and stews in bread bowls, as much of it organic and natural as I can get.

The restaurant itself will be a relaxed but interesting atmosphere, a place you can just relax but everywhere you look there is something new and shiny to see. Probably a lot of prisms and wind chimes. I'm trying to figure out how to make most of the tables feel like each is a special hidden nook... I want you to come here and step out of reality. How do you think would be best to make that happen? What kinds of foods should I serve?

And how much do you think it would cost? I'm getting a basic idea from the price comparison on restaurant equipment but it really doesn't tell the whole cost of everything. So I dunno... How much does it cost to make a dream come true? What would you be willing to do to bring your dreams to life?

This is a sponsored post brought to you by http://www.pricemykitchen.com/, all opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.
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Menu for week of 4/11 - 4/17

Homemade roast beef and havarti subs; strawberries and kiwi

Roast chicken courtesy of Kroger; pierogies; steamed baby carrots & snow peas

Grilled angus beef dogs & burgers w/all the fixings; watermelon

Baby back ribs; sweet corn; bbq baked beans; red skin potato salad

Salad with organic baby spinach and hearts of romaine, fresh mozzarella and proscuitto spirals and tomatoes drizzled with choice of evoo and sprinkled with kosher salt and fresh grated pepper or a balsamic vinaigrette

Eat whatever doesn't eat you first aka leftovers aka eat what you want

Breakfast for dinner: Strawberry stuffed french toast; bacon; citrus cups




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Happy list time again!

What is GeekyMommy happy for this week?

My amazing family- we are so us!

My wonderful friends- You guys rock! You have been there and helped me out so much. I love you all.

Sleepy baby snuggles- I love napping with the boy I babysit.

Air conditioner- Nuff said.

Great food- This will always be on my list. Roast beef sandwiches were todays great thing.

Coffee- this is the only reason I'm here. Coffee keeps me going

Random good things- I found a notebook I had lost more than a year ago. I had forgotten I wrote about half of that!

Words- I just love words, playing with them. They can do anything, be easy or tricky, simple or complex. Yes, I just love words.

What has you smiling this week?
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Gamer Girlie's Fave Web Comics

Hi y'all.

For today's Frolicking on Friday fun post I thought I would share my favorite web comics, most of the ones included are ones I have been following for years.  All of these are ongoing stories, so you may want to go to the beginning.  Trust me, they are all worth your time- full of great stories and memorable characters.

A fun fantasy romp Filled with comedy, magic Epic story lines and even more epic puns.

An epic tail of An evil warlock, and the group he travels with, this story includes adventure comedy, magic, bunny steeds , the razing of village sand the fork of truth......... FOR PONY!!!!!!!!

The story of an energetic orphan down on her luck and living on her own in the Forrest and the bounty hunter she..."adopts" Its the one i more recently found, But its story is very engaging and the art superb.
A group of gamer roommates and the .. strange adventures they get into, including but not limited to: raiding a gaming company for early copies, building a robot out of an x-box, and the derpy main character forming a new religion.

So one dark and stormy night Chell runs into an alien who accidentally turns her kitten in to a Pokemon like creature called a DICE. Wanting to make sure her kitten is safe she tags along and is swept into a stellar adventure that is one of my all time favorite comics. Its actually more like an illustrated novel as she often includes text as well as the comic panels.
Actually the artist behind this comic does A LOT of comics. Seriously check all of them out, your sure to find something you'll like. This is also the comic I have been reading the longest.  Go here to
check out the rest of her comics. PURE is my other favorite on the site. But I read nearly all of them.

Well those are the comics I read on a weekly basics. Hopefully there is something on this list that sparks your interest.

Gamer Girlie out.

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Family Movie Night: Truth Be Told



With some of us on crazy schedules and all of us attached to some electronic device or another (ahem, except me, of course... -hides laptop and smartphone-), finding time for quality family bonding can be pretty difficult. One thing we do try and make time for, when our schedules permit, is family movie night.

We were pretty jazzed when we were offered the opportunity to see an early viewing of the P&G movie Truth Be Told (premiers Saturday, April 16th at 8e/7c). Since summarizing isn't exactly my forte, I'm going to go ahead and pass the gauntlet to the official web site for a moment to give you the synopsis:

When leading marriage counselor Annie Morgan (Candace Cameron Bure) is offered an opportunity to host a relationship talk show, she jumps at the chance. But fearful that being single might ruin her big break, she conspires with an old college friend and recent widower, Mark Crane (David James Elliott), to pose as a married couple with kids. Their story starts to unravel when Annie and Mark join her eccentric soon-to-be boss (Ronny Cox) for a weekend at his ranch in New Mexico. Comical misunderstandings mark the event as Annie struggles to keep up the ruse, finding herself emotionally invested and conflicted by her own conscience. Will she confess the truth about her marital status and her feelings for Mark... and will the truth set them free?

It's a really cute family movie with good character dynamics and "teaching moments". The story line's a little predictable (if you've seen any of the "rent-a-family" type Christmas movies), but then, I don't really see that as a bad thing, especially when the movie serves as a channel for bonding and discussion.

Especially if you have younger kids, it's a really good conversation starter and an easy way to open up on the topic of lying. I was always taught growing up that small white lies ("You look great!") can sometimes be beneficial, if they keep people from getting hurt... but lies that can hurt people or are only told for your benefit (to avoid getting in trouble or--in this case--to get a great job) are wrong and will only come back to hurt you in the end. What do you tell your kids about the different types of lying?

The official P&G/Walmart Family Movie Night Facebook page is here--enter a sweepstakes to win an LCD TV! And don't forget to tune in to FOX on April 16th to see the world premiere of Truth Be Told!


I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of P&G and received a movie kit to facilitate my review and a gift code to thank me for taking the time to participate.
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Paint it purple- The Divas have been abducted!


by alien... cupcakes?  At least we know they can't experiment on non-existent brains.
 

The divas were selected for the Welch's "Paint it Purple" blog tour- yay! *happydance* Welch's has always been a favorite brand, and their 100% Grape Juice with Concord grapes is definitely at the top of my list. I like it because it isn't sickeningly sweet like so many other juices, its all grape with no added anything, and, well... I like purple. More seriously its a good, healthy drink. This tour is to celebrate National Nutrition Month, and to tell our awesome readers about some of what Welch's is doing to help make it easier to keep up with your health.

First, Welch's wants you to know that while diet and exercise do affect your health, so do your genes. It can be hard to keep track of which family member got what when (I know that is always my least favorite part to fill out at the doctors) so they have created Welch's Family Vine Tool where you can track your own history and share with family, and print it out to take to the doctor with you.

They also have The Grape Science Center to learn all about how grapes are good for heart, cognitive and immune system health. They have grape chemistry and nutrition info there, all kinds of goodies. Hey, who wouldn't want a tasty way to stay healthier?

For doing this blog tour, we got two bottles of Welch's juice- yum! One we just drank, because it is tasty. And Boy drinks juice like its going out of style- no kidding! I've never met a thirstier kid. The second bottle decided to cook with- who knew there were so many grape recipes out there? Check out Welch's Recipe Box to see for yourself! I wanna try the Sweetheart Salmon Filets some time, but for today we just made cupcakes, because that is what Ian wanted.

Its really easy to make Purple cupcakes, too... we just replaced the water with juice on a box mix! Cheating? Maybe. Easy for an impatient boy who wants purple cupcakes? You betcha. Depending on your icing recipe, you can make that grapey too, but I don't recommend just dumping it in pre-made icing unless you want it really thin.

We didn't want to just make cupcakes though. Sure, its fun, but not fun enough. We made these purple cupcakes from OUTER SPACE! MWAHAHA!

It's a really easy craft. You take a paper or styrofoam bowl (we had some left from the picnic) and paint it, we of course did purple. Lots of purple! After it dries you can add either yellow of black for windows all around, cut strips of construction paper and crimp them for space-ship legs, and really let your imagination go wild. Or get abducted. Whichever floats your... ship?

Aaaanyways. Yeah, I'm good at bad humor.

We put it on our awesome curly-fied cupcake holder, leaving a space between each because it made it look all funky-new- spaceish. We printed out some little aliens, attached them to suckers with more icing, attacked those things with sprinkles and nerds, topped it with our space-ship and tada! Ian -loved- it! I wound up looking like those little space ships the Jetson's had all under the Mothership, haha! What do you think? How would you decorate your space ship?

Thanks for making us think of this, Welch's, we might have this years birthday theme, now.
You can keep up with Welch's as well through their Facebook page or follow them on twitter  @Welchs

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Welch’s and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a gift code to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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Hoarding, Extreme Couponing, Greed, Snooki, more

Here in the loonyverse we're not big reality tv watchers and only know of Snooki from the headlines (ie: we know she's a laughingstock and on the Jersey housewife something show).

What we do know though is this-  she got paid more than Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison for her pearls of wisdom to the student body of Rutgers - such gems as "Study hard but party harder" and "When you're tan you feel better".  High class advice, that.  I know if I was paying a fortune for tuition I'd feel really good knowing that is how some of my money was wasted.

Honestly, I am kind of disgusted that we as a society have sunk so low. 

Speaking of sinking to a new low-  TLC (used to be the learning channel, now it is the I guess I'll watch that channel so I don't feel so bad about my own sucky life channel).  I believe their new acronym should be the Total Loser Channel.  Wonder if they will pay me for my sage advice.

Anyhoo TLC has a new show about extreme couponing-  we're not talking about saving money on your groceries and health and beauty needs, we're talking extreme greed and hoarding.  I've seen numerous blogs and message boards (now you know where I hang) touting the new show with a few criticizing it.  Guess where the divas fall.
Don't be a selfish pig!
A couple have converted their basement to a storage facility.  It is larger and more crammed than several of the stores in our area.  They have way more than they can reasonably use before the items expire.  How is that saving?  That's being a greedy, selfish jerk. 

Donate that stuff to people they use it.

People clear out the shelves of the sale items before the rest of us can use our coupons - selfish selfish selfish.  Dozens and dozens of candy bars.  Cereals.  Pastas.  Tons of overprocessed crap.  Moderation, people.  Save some for the rest of us, it's people like you who make the stores and companies not want to extend these offers. 

Some donate, and that is admirable, but don't take every last one of the items in the first hour of the sales, some of us depend on these savings so we can feed our families without having to go to the food pantries etc. 

Some of these extremists have the stores make special orders for them-  not sure how they get away with it because around here there are limits (sometimes it is even printed on the coupon) on how many deals you can make per transaction.  The rules should apply to everyone, you don't deserve special treatment so you can get your greedy mug on tv.  (Shame on you, stores who let them get away with it.  That's a big no-no in my book.  If you are going to have the rules, enforce them for everyone.)

I'm through ranting today (Yay, right?) so what have you got-  get it out of your system so you are clear for the weekend.  Leave it in a comment or put a link to your own post and we'll be sure to check it out when we have time.  :)

XOXOX Dddiva

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Beef or Chicken Fajitas

We love fajitas around here, actually we love just about anything rolled up into a tortilla.  We line up the ingredients on the island and let everyone make their own so we can all add as much or as little of each ingredient we like.  Super easy for get-togethers since you can get a lot prepared ahead of time.  Enjoy.


Beef or Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients
  • Flour tortillas
  • Skirt, hangar or flat iron steak
  • Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Basic fajita marinade
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Sauteed peppers and onions (we usually use the tri-colored pepper and onion blend as it is much cheaper)
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Shredded cheese (cheddar, colby jack or mexican blend)
  • Sliced jalapenos (fresh or jarred)
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced onions
  • Sliced black olives
Cooking Directions
  1. Marinate* your meat (30 minutes to overnight for chicken, 3 hours to overnight for beef).
  2. Grill or broil steak to desired doneness, grill, broil or bake chicken.
  3. Let meat rest to settle juices and slice against the grain (for easier eating, cut into bite sized pieces).
  4. Warm your tortillas (microwave, oven, dry skillet) and fill with whatever you like. We usually put the condiments in a strip down the center (sour cream, guacamole, salsa) then pile on the rest. Don't overfill, they are messy enough to eat!
  5. Wrap tortilla around filling and enjoy.
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Basic Fajita Marinade

This is one of our little of this little of that to taste recipes- very easy and very yummy.  A lot of people go with the standard salad dressing ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part acid but we like it zesty, so we're giving you our version but feel free to play around to get it to your taste.  It's great on chicken or beef, marinate chicken at least 30 minutes to overnight, beef 3 hours to overnight.*


Basic Fajita Marinade

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup Oil (use whatever mild you like- canola, coconut, vegetable)
  • 1/3 cup Lime juice (fresh is best but not crucial in this recipe)
  • Healthy glug Worcestershire sauce (use the name brand here- it makes a big difference and you use a lot less)
  • To taste Fajita seasoning
  • 1 tsp (or more, to taste) Lime zest (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. That's it. Mix it right in the container you use to marinate- we recommend Ziploc bags for even marinating and easy clean up.
  2. If you like to do your prep work ahead of time so you can toss your meals together easily, go ahead and repackage your meat right in the marinade before freezing- when it is defrosted it's ready to go.
Delicious in our Beef or Chicken Fajitas or Southwest Salad, among other dishes.

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WW A Little Women's Humor w/Linky

Nothing against men, we like them fine, but ran across these and had to share. Enjoy.
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Totally Random Tuesdsay - fallback fail, ready for change

You guys would have absolutely no idea, but when I have nothing I can always post about coffee, the zombie apocalypse and Nickelback and/or Chad Kroeger because these are a few of my favorite things.  (Not a raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens kind of gal, what can I say) but even my fallbacks are failing me, I've really got nothing.

I wonder if zombies like coffee, or if they would let me go get some if I run out.  Seriously, caffeinated zombies might move at the pace of a turtle instead of a snail, don'tcha think?  I have always said they can feed me to the zombies first and my darling divas would do it, too, to save themselves, plus, they could get a few laughs and epic updates for their statuses, like "Zombies die of starvation because they tried to eat mom's brains but couldn't find anything but fluff" or "Zombies randomly start belting out Disney songs that were stuck in mom's head".  You know-  just a little bit different from what everyone else would be posting.  Smartasses.  They get it from me so I can't complain, I guess.  Heh- that's two out of 3 -  can't toss Chad and the guys to the zombies because I intend to haunt them.

I don't believe in heaven and hell as per the bible, more of a reverting back to source energy, but sometimes I think about what if it was like they say, you know, puffy clouds and harp music and crap like that.  I would be asleep all the time or bored to death (groan) but really, why would you think that's a good way to spend eternity.

If I was designing heaven it would be more of a take me to my mothership- aka Nordstrom's shoe department, unlimited perfectly cooked food with my tastes in mind that had no calories, and I would breathe in coffee so I didn't have to bother drinking it.  Like seriously, a giant pool party all fun all the time, with shopping breaks.  And lots of travel.  Plus, all the cool people would be in my heaven- which of course some have eternally damned me to hell so I can roll with that, much better than floating and listening to harps.



What can I say, I found a way to fit them all in.

More random-  Ki's potluck picnic was a lot of fun for all, much better than expected turnout and after talking to the attendees (including all of us) we'll try to make it a monthly thing.

We broke yet another phone-  the crackberry-  oops.  No idea what happened but sheesh.  So need a diva proof phone.  Dev's loving her droid but she's not had it very long yet. 

We have two new family members- two of Ken's nieces had babies, one of each and they are adorable from the pics but while we're pretty sure it's allergies while we have the crud we're staying away.  Hopefully soon.

I am ready for a gigantic change in my life, only this time save the drama lest it be the drama of winning a huge amount of cash or the equivalent of something great happening.

As you can see, I am struggling to find even randomness (It's not noon, I can't be expected to engage my brain yet- you ask for too much) so I am going to quit while I'm ahead.

Keely's still on hiatus from Random Tuesday Thoughts so we're going to play along with Random Tuesday Thoughts Rebel with Stacy.  Hope you will join in. :)


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Menu for week of 4/4 - 4/10

We've got tons of stuff already made so this week is fairly simple cooking wise, which is good because I'm trying to get more reorganizing/paring down, etc done (aren't I always?).  Anyhoo this is what our menu looks like this week-  what's cooking at your house?

Pasta salad; watermelon (both left over from Saturday's picnic)

Sausage, potato and carrot hotpot (leftovers); sauteed cabbage

Oriental chicken wings; easy lo mein

Breakfast for dinner-  Dev's special omelets loaded w/veggies & cheese; fresh fruit

Pork chops w/caramel apple glaze; cheesy rice; steamed veggies

Lentil soup; hot crusty bread

Eat whatever doesn't eat you first aka eat what you want aka leftovers.


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Why forgiveness is good for you.

Forgiveness is not always easy, especially when someone has done the unforgivable, (think child or animal abuse, heinous hate crimes, etc) but until you forgive, you won't be free.  We don't need to forgive to make those who did the harm feel better, in fact it's not even important to let them know you forgive them, but it is important for your health and well being to let go of the anger and resentment.  I'm far from the first person to come to this conclusion, here are some quotes that may give you a better understanding of the power of forgiveness.

~~~~~
When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.  Catherine Ponder

~~~~~
When a deep injury is done us, we never recover until we forgive.  Alan Paton

~~~~~
Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.  Ann Landers

~~~~~
Forgive or relive.  Unknown

~~~~~
Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. Paul Boese

~~~~~
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.  Lewis B Smeades

~~~~~
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.  Mahatma Gandhi

~~~~~
Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.  Malachy McCourt
~~~~~
He who is devoid of the power to forgive, is devoid of the power to love.  Martin Luther King, Jr.
~~~~~

So now you've got these two points of vibrational relativity: the lover that you really are; and the lover that you might be being in your moment or the hater that you might be being in your moment.

And when you are feeling the emotion that you call hatred or anger, what that means is, you've got a very different point of view of whatever your object of attention is, than the Source within you.

We know physical beings don't like to hear it when we say, The Source within you loves your enemies, because you are so determined that you are justified in your not loving of them. But we want you to understand that when you are not loving someone that who you really are is loving, the problem that is caused is caused by you, and the trouble comes to you, not to your enemy.  Abraham-Hicks
~~~~~~
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I'm going on a picnic! This weeks happy list!

Photobucket
Geeky Mommy has taken over the happy list! I have a lot to be happy for today! Head on over to Mamarazzi's to play along.

I am happy for picnics! We are having the first picnic of the year, a big potluck picnic! I can't wait, we are getting everything ready now!

I am happy for good food! We have so many wonderful things to eat. I just finished making the brownies-yum!

I am happy to finally have good weather! Woo-hoo!

I am happy for Tangled. Ian has been watching it since we bought it, I love how disney is making their heroines strong-willed and awesome now! In this one, SHE even saves the guy!

I am happy for this, too. It makes me giggle.



I hope you are all having as good a weekend as we are!

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Little Known Fun Facts About Us

In keeping with the spirit of ending the week/starting the weekend on a fun note, here are a few little known things about the divas-  hope you enjoy.  In keeping with the spirit of April Fool's, all but one of these are true-  can you guess which one?

Gamer Girlie used to be a perky morning person-  so much so the rest of us wanted to kill her.  She's since joined the rest of us on the mornings would be great if they started sometime after noon side, but not until she was in her 20's.

We watched Mulan every night at least once but usually 2 or 3 times for years as our bedtime movie.  It's still one of our favorites.  We even had an entire bus full of strangers doing the Man Walk (Mushu style) getting off the bus and entering the theme park when we went to Walt Disney World.  We wore our more copies of Mulan than most people had of movies in their entire collections.

Geeky mommy used to blame Peter Pan for everything she did wrong, everything.  She still swears it was him. ;-)  The play version w/Mary Martin and Annie were the movies she watched over and over and over.

The Mini Dddiva is afraid of potatoes (she's fine once they are cooked or at least peeled, but the outsides and the eyes freak her out).

I have been having trouble sleeping lately and have decided to lighten up on the coffee and other caffeinated beverages after 7 pm to see if that helps.  Actually all of us suffer from insomnia at various times - I even broke down and bought Sleepytime tea from Celestial Seasonings yesterday-  the jumbo pack.

The Geekazoid has such an enormous sweet tooth that when she was younger she once snuck an entire (3 pound) pan of fudge that was cooling overnight.

We're huge multi-taskers-  not one of us just sits and watches tv or a movie-  Ken was remarking the other night that even during family time every one of us had numerous other things going on (texting, computing, reading, etc. but we all know what's going on and are paying attention to each other).  Some people would not consider this quality time, but it works for us.  Some of those texts and messages are to each other, even though we are talking and whatnot throughout the show.  We're not quite sane, and that's okay.  I don't think any genius is or was.

I can't talk without using my hands-  a lot.  Wide sweeping gestures.  Even when driving.

We don't move the dogs out of their spots even if we wanted to sit there, but they can make us move from their favorite spots.  Partly because this is their home too, partly because they get mad and grumble and whine til we move.

Gamer Girlie had a parakeet when she was little that used to sit on her shoulder and when it wanted her attention would hop on her head and start (gently) pecking and pulling her hair until she put down her toys and played with the bird.  Its name was Sammy and it flew up to us when we were playing outside one day.

When we lived in Manchester, New Hampshire in our little apartment (that we LOVED) we didn't have a car and almost every morning when the older girls were at school I used to walk the Geekazoid to the market, which had a Dunkin' Donuts in it and we'd get coffee and bagel for me and a donut and hot chocolate for the little diva before we did our grocery shopping for the day.  This is also where I was trying to cook healthier before they put flavor in the better for you foods and we had so many fails that when the girls called in the order they would say your mom was trying to cook healthy again, wasn't she?  (It was the best dang pizza, probably subconsciously I hoped the recipes would fail.)

When we lived in Alaska our neighbors had a wolf that used to come over for playdates with the huskies, Mischief and Mayhem.  His name was Hector and he was so sweet and gentle he'd take a Cheese Nip from the little divas mouths.  (Why he started coming over for playdates is a really funny story for another day.)

When Ian gets mad he goes and tattles on us to one of the others and says "now send her to time out".  He even told his auntie to tell Santa that mama could have presents but she had to get one lump of coal in her stocking too because she was being a little mean.

The Mini Diva was so tiny her kindergarten teacher recommended keeping her back a year, not because she was behind but because the other kids treated her like a toy or doll.

I have let the girls stay home from school for extremely bad hair days-  I'm talking really bad, the kind you get famous for.  It had to be a unanimous consensus amongst all of us, but it happened more than once.  Especially with Geeky Mommy, whose hair is an entity unto itself and has a life of its own.

Sometimes plain crackers are all I can eat when I am getting really bad-  since I always share with the dogs, I get a plate of butter to dip theirs in and eat mine dry.

Geeky Mommy used to wear the flounciest, girliest dresses-  hoop skirts with bells, tutus, you name it and she paired them with cowboy boots.  She loved those boots and never wanted to take them off.

More than once the girls didn't know we were moving until the day of-  I would tell them to pick out their favorite things, we'd pack what we wanted to bring and take off.  (There was always someone staying or we made sure there was someone to come in and clean up/donate what we left behind.)

This is the longest (11 years in June) I have ever lived in one house, one location, one state in my entire life.  It is driving me crazy and I'd move in a heartbeat if I had the money.

I was so spoiled growing up that on schooldays I didn't have to do anything but take a shower-  some friends came over and picked out what I would wear, do my hair and make-up, even go into the kitchen and tell my mom I needed a glass of juice.  This is just one small example.  To me this was just how things were, I had no idea I was spoiled until my mom told me when I was in my 30's.

The Geekazoid can't function without music-  even studying for tests and while she sleeps she has to have the tunes on.  (And not that Mozart stuff that you are supposed to listen to when you want to be smart, real music. ;-) )

The little divas had friends in Alaska who lived so rustically they didn't have indoor plumbing and used outhouses.

When we lived in Panama City Beach we tried to be on the beach each evening at sunset (except during red tide) because we could watch the dolphins come out to play but we made sure to be out of the water because the jellyfish came near shore then.

Can you tell which is the April Fool's made up factoid?  What are some fun little known facts about you?  Inquiring minds (aka nosy divas) want to know.
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