For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows grace and favor and glory - honor, splendor and heavenly bliss! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Psalms 84:11

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mystery Spice Monday! #8: ApplePalooza Part 1

Ok, I realize that Apples cannot be a Mystery Spice, but I've decided to post 2 recipes both involving apples, that also involve spices as well.

Yup, that's right, I have too many apples on my hands and I'm using it as an excuse.

Don't worry, Ranch Chicken is coming up next week. You'll like it, I promise.

I think you'll also like this!

Carmel Apple Upside Down Cake!

I got the recipe from the Land O' Lakes website, but I tweeked it quite a bit.

First I combined 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of cold butter with a fork until it was in little crumbs.

The recipe didn't call for any spices... how boring! So I just went ahead and added some in at my own discretion. I'd guess that I used about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg.

Then I pressed the mixture into a well greased round cake pan. It doesn't have to be perfect. As it cooks all that sugar and butter will melt and cover everything.

Then in my mixer I started on the cake batter. I creamed together 1/3 cup of butter and 2/3 cup of packed brown sugar.

I added 1 egg.

And a splash (1 teaspoon) of vanilla extract.

Then I turned back to my cake pan. I sliced up 2 apples into very thin slices, and arranged them into the pan. I tried to make it fancy and pretty for you... :)

Then I added 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of milk to the batter and mixed it until it looked like this.

I spooned the batter on top of the apples. Bye-bye apples!

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then place your serving dish on top of the cake pan.

Invert the pan and dish.

Remove the cake pan, and Voila! A beautiful cake!

Hubs and I decided that although this cake really is beautiful, the only truly yummy part is the top and outside edge. I'm not really sure why, but the cake itself turned out rather bland and somewhat dry. I can't even imagine what it would have been like if I hadn't included the cinnamon and nutmeg that the recipe didn't call for!

As a result, I decided that this cake either needs to be served with ice cream or whipped cream. I didn't have any ice cream on hand, so I made up some whipped cream. I knew I had that cream in my fridge for a reason!

Amy's Simple Whipped Cream

Whip up 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream in a high speed mixer. You'll wanna crank it up to nearly as high as the mixer will go (7 or 8 speed on my mixer) for about 3-4 minutes until soft peaks form. Add about 1-2 tablespoons of packed brown sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Serve atop cakes, cookies or with fresh fruit.

Carmel Apple Upside-Down Cake

Topping Ingredients:
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large apples, cored and thinly sliced

Cake Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl with a fork until it becomes a crumb-like mixture. Add in cinnamon and nutmeg. Press into the bottom of a well greased 9-inch round cake pan. Arrange sliced apples on top. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Combine 2/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup softened butter in a bowl. Beat on medium speed until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth. Add flour mixture alternately with milk until well mixed.

Spoon batter over apples, spread evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; invert onto serving dish. Serve warm or cold with dollop of Amy's Simple Whipped Cream.

Do you have a Mystery Spice Recipe that you'd like to share? Link up to Mr. Linky below!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Weekly Meal Plan 3/29/09

I didn't share my plan last week, and I guess that's a good thing because we ate so much leftovers last week that I didn't end up cooking as much as I thought I would. So my plan this week is pretty much based on the foods I didn't get the chance to cook last week. Great for my grocery bill that's for sure!

Again, I don't assign meals to days, I pretty much just decide that morning what I'm going to make out of the following options:

Zuppa Toscana Soup & Irish Soda Bread - I froze my leftover bread from St. Patty's day, so I figure we'll pull that out and use it. The soup is just like the one served at Olive Garden, you should really make some.

Burritos - I'll make mine with seasoned ground beef. Serve it up with tomatoes, cilantro, green onions and sour cream. This is Hubs' favorite, he's been asking for it for a while so here it is!

Chicken Pie with Cornmeal Crust - Great gluten-free recipe! Found it on I'll share it here if it turns out good.

Ranch Chicken with Potato Salad & Green Beans - This will be next week's Mystery Spice recipe, so stay tuned!

Chicken with Asian Marinade with Rice & Salad - I plan to make a huge batch of this chicken and marinade for my freezer.

So that's 5 meals. Generally that's all I need for a week because depending on how much leftovers we have we'll need a couple days of unscheduled meals to eat what I make. And if it's so good that we scarf it all down and don't eat leftovers? Well, that's unlikely, but there's always take out for those rare occasions. :)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Herbed Turkey Breast with Orange Sauce

Ok, this one is so simple, and it turns out so yummy that I didn't even get a picture of it when it was done because it got gobbled up so quickly. Ha! Turkey.. gobble... get it?


That was lame.

So here it is, you should rush out and buy the ingredients today so you can toss it in the crock tomorrow morning. :)

Herbed Turkey Breast with Orange Sauce
Adapted from The Crock Pot Recipe Collection

1 boneless skinless turkey breast (2-3 pounds) or 2 turkey tenderloins
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups orange juice

Toss onion into a 4-quart crock pot. Combine garlic, rosemary, pepper and salt in a small bowl. Slice raw turkey 3/4 way through at 2 inch intervals. Rub turkey with garlic mixture, make sure to get in between slices as much as you can. Place turkey in crock pot on top of the onions, sliced side up. Pour juice over the top. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours.

I served it with rice and green beans, and it was a major hit!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Aloha Friday! #2

Thank you so much to those of you who answered my question last time: What are some fun activities to do with a Toddler? I got some great answers that I was able to work into my routine with them, and we've had a much happier week this week! So THANK YOU!!! You have no idea how much you helped me!

From An Island Life:

In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

I thought I'd take it easy this week and write a more "fun" question. For those of you who garden out there, do you plan to have a vegetable garden this year? And if so, what do you plan to plant?

My Answer: I have loads and loads of seeds just waiting for April! Cucumbers, radishes, onions, chives, basil, green beens, corn, lettus, and carrots. Plus I have some marigolds and bell pepper plants on my kitchen counter that I've started from seeds! This year will be my VERY FIRST garden and I'm so excited!!!

If you'd like to participate in Aloha Friday, just head on over to An Island Life!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Day In The Life

Well, an evening really, but I can't be troubled with such details.

So last night, Hubs leaves for work around 5pm, right as the girls are sitting down for dinner. Just a typical Wednesday.

After dinner, it was bath time for the twinks. So I helped them climb up the stairs (one of their favorite activities), turned on the bath water (which made them both squeel with delight), and proceeded to undress them and get them cleaned up.

After bath time I usually remember to bring diapers upstairs, but last night I didn't. So I decided, what the heck, and I just helped them walk down the stairs naked as jay birds. They thought this was GREAT fun! And for the first time, I helped them go down the stairs in an upright walking position. I held Ziva's hand on my left, and she held onto the banisters on the other side and was able to walk down really well! I was proud of her. :) Anya needed a little more help, as usual she's the more cautious of the two. So I sort of put my right arm around her so that she could hang onto me with both hands since there's really nothing else to hang onto on that side of the stairway. Notice: Mommy only has 2 hands and they have 4. So it was pretty tricky, but we made it down the stairs without anyone falling and hurting themselves.

Then of course they ran all over the kitchen with their nakie bottoms. At that point I was really wishing someone were around to take pictures because it would make awesome blackmail material for later on. And I was sad that Hubs was at work, missing all the fun.

So I finally got them rounded up and into the living room. Before I could get their diapers on Anya pee'd a little on the carpet, no biggie. Just got her diaper on quick in case she wasn't done and ran to the kitchen for paper towels and cleaner. And man were they fascinated with those paper towels! So I gave them each a clean sheet of towel, and they started running around and squeeling... which is pretty much their standard form of enthusiasm these days.

Then as you can see, they proceeded to rip the towels into tiny little shreds. And I was happy to let them do it, simply because it kept them occupied for 20 minutes.

Once my living room was completely littered with paper and they had finally lost interest in it, I decided to bring out the vacuum and clean up the mess. I haven't actually vacuumed in front of them for a LONG time because I purposefully wait until they go to bed. Back when they were babies they would freak out every time I tried to turn it on. So I was hoping they had grown out of that vacuum fear... and sure enough! It worked! They actually thought the vacuum was VERY interesting and were totally and completely entertained while I was cleaning! A totally wonderful thing to discover since I'd much rather sit around and watch TV after they go to bed and not clean! This whole concept pretty much adds hours to my week! So I was super excited about that. I went on to vacuum the whole downstairs.

Once I was done with that I decided to empty the dirt & dog hair from the vacuum. I push the lever to release the canister (we have a bagless), and the flap that holds all the yuck inside flung open and covered my newly clean floor (and toes!) with the entire contents of the canister (and it was FULL)! I stood there in shock for a moment... O-M-G!!! Maybe I'm a weirdo, but stuff like that tends to make me scream and curse. I HATE dust!

So I pulled myself together long enough to call my neighbor across the street. She has a vacuum right?? She doesn't answer. So I leave her a message, "Uh, Hi! This is Amy from across the street. Um, my vacuum just exploded!!! Is there any way I could borrow yours for a few minutes??? Please?! (OMG... HURRY!!!)" I hung up the phone. I looked at the dirt. What did people used to do before they had vacuums??? Oh yeah! A broom! I have one of those! So I found my broom and dustpan, took me like... 10 minutes... to find it because I never use it. I swept up the mess and put it in a plastic bag, because house dirt is YUCKY and must be taken away, right away. And then I got some damp paper towels, wiped down the entire zone where the mess occurred, and then added those to the plastic bag. Because dust mites are nasty little buggers and I didn't want ANY of them to survive the ordeal.

By then it was almost 8pm, so I gave the girls their milk and got them into bed.

This entire story took place in roughly 3 hours. Yup, I can pack a lot of fun into one evening! Thankfully the rest of the night was more subdued. I ate chocolate, I watched TV, I drank tea. You know, my usual. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Way Back When-endsday: The High Chair Picture

This picture is one of my favorites of the girls. Some of you have seen it before because I have it as my profile picture on one of the sites I frequent. I have very few pictures of them at this age, right around 10 months old, because they were suddenly quite mobile and as a result were difficult to photograph. But thanks to high chairs (to strap them into place!) and a toy bunny (to tickle them with and make the experience into a game), I was able to actually get them to hold still AND smile at the same time! It was a miracle! As a result of this picture we often look at how they fit into their high chairs now to see how much they've grown. :)

For more way back fun (and a great site for all things twins related!) visit Cheryl over at Twinfatuation!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Seriously Hate Facebook Now

You ever heard the term if it ain't broke don't fix it? Yeah... well Facebook did this whole huge makeover thing and now it's slower than molasses and I haven't been able to do diddly squat with it since.

So, I'm so sorry to any of you who have been trying to communicate with me via Facebook. I've been able to read your messages, but I haven't been able to respond with any of my usual witty remarks or even return direct messages.

And since my blog is supposed to post directly to my notes in Facebook and I'm assuming that part still works...

Hi Steve! Yes, I went to Gordon. I helped out on a project in Spring 2000 in Honduras rebuilding a church in Tierra Blanca. I still remember that place. Are you still working as a missionary? What projects are you working on these days? I'm currently a stay at home mom with twin 21 month olds. So my life is pretty busy, but also pretty simple. I'm enjoying it. :)

Hi Jeanette! I talked to my mom this morning and she said that it's probably not going to work out for her this week. I'm sorry, maybe we can get together next time Sunshine is in town. :)

I'm sorry I had to make private conversations public! Stupid Facebook.... So far I've been able to read messages... but can't send them. So I will get your responses if you send them via Facebook, I just won't be able to return the favor. :(

Not Just Any Ol' Roast!

Well, I've been promising this recipe for what seems like DAYS... oh wait.. I guess it has been days. OOPS! Well, it's finally here, and that's what's really important, right?

When I saw this recipe in my new Crock Pot Recipe Collection I seriously HAD to have it! Just reading the ingredients list made my mouth water! Plus it was listed under the "Prize-Winning Recipes" tab... so it just HAD to be good!

The title of the roast? Heavenly Harvest Pork Roast... oh yeah baby!

It has a few extra steps involved, but I was able to get it all put together and in the crock in 20 minutes. So I really think the extra steps were a big pay off!

First step... and this is where my mouth started watering... add 1/4 cup of pomegranate juice and 1/4 cup of sugar in a small saucepan. You can find pomegranate juice in the produce section. Cook over low heat, stirring, until sugar melts. That took about 2 minutes. Pour into a 4 quart crock pot.

Then prepare your roast. I picked up a 3.5 pound pork loin. If you use something bigger than that I'd suggest using a larger crock pot as mine barely fit into the 4 quart. The rule of thumb is that you need to fill the crock at least 3/4 full otherwise it'll burn whatever you put inside. So you want it to fit snuggly.

I trimmed the fat off my roast, you don't necessarily have to. Hubs thought my roast was a little dry. I think next time I'll trim the fat but then add some butter on top of the roast while it cooks to add moisture.

Then mix your spices in a small bowl. You'll use 1 T of salt, 1 T of garlic salt, 1 T of steak seasoning, and 1 t of black pepper. It's a lot of salt obviously, because steak seasoning usually has salt too. I thought it was great, balanced out the fruit juices, but if you're having guests who have high blood pressure you could easily just use garlic powder instead of garlic salt, and then use No Salt steak seasoning.

Rub the seasoning mixture ALL over the pork. Make sure to get all sides, including the bottom.

Then place the roast into the crock, turn it over once it gets into the juice so that the roast is completely covered in that yummy pomegranate syrup.

And then pears! I know... SO GOOD! PS: I think this picture is proof that my photographing skills are getting better. Aren't you glad! lol

Slice and peel the pears. I used An'jou. They're in season right now, I just bought them for $1 a pound which I thought was a good price.

Then I stacked them on top of my roast. I think fruit and meat is a marvelous combo, don't you?

And then an orange! Yup, that's three fruit flavors for this roast! I used a tangelo, they're also in season right now.

Slice it up, and stack it up and around the roast too. I think these fruits and meats are going to be GREAT friends!

Then put the lid on and set your crock on High for 6-8 hours. Mine totally fell apart as I was trying to take it out of the crock. It's important to let a roast rest for a few minutes before slicing into it, so you should always take the meat out of whatever it's cooking in and put it on a plate or cutting board for a few minutes before slicing. Go ahead and pour that juice from the crock all over it while it rests!

And when it's done... your house will smell amazing and you'll have this fantastic roast that everyone in your family will love!

So there's the roast, as promised! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. :)

Heavenly Harvest Pork Roast

1/4 cup of pomegranate juice
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon steak seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 boneless pork roast, any type
2 pears, cored peeled and sliced thick
1 orange, sliced thick

Combine pomegranate juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook on low until sugar melts. Pour juice into the slow cooker. Combine all seasonings in a small bowl. Trim roast to your liking, and rub roast with seasoning mixture. Place the roast in the crock pot and turn the roast to cover it with the juice. Slice pears and place on top of the roast, then slice orange and place on top and around the roast. Cook on High for 6-8 hours.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mystery Spice Monday! #7 Lavender Honey Bunches

Dang, I can't believe it's Monday already! At one point Hubs and I were talking last night and he asked me, "Is it Saturday or Sunday?" And that's pretty much the same question I had been asking myself all day long! It just seemed like a super short weekend for us since Hubs had that training last week and had to work on Friday, when he normally has that night off.

So it really is Monday right? lol

I hope all of you had a marvelous weekend that was much longer than mine!

So... sorry about not posting that roast recipe yesterday! The rest of my day sort of ran away with me. I'll get it to you tomorrow... I PROMISE! And you really are in for a super treat because it's probably the best roast I've ever had!

Instead, today I'll share the recipe for Lavender Honey Bunches, for those of you who didn't win my cookie contest. They really turned out MUCH better than I expected, so you really should try to get your hands on some lavender in order to make them for yourself! I'm sure there are places where you can get it online.

But, to those of you who did win (Olivia, Annie's Granny & Auntrene), uh... they're not exactly free of calories. In fact, I'd suggest adding in an extra 20 minutes on the stairmaster after you eat these. Just thought I'd warn ya!

Lavender Honey Bunches... doesn't that sound like something Anne of Green Gables would eat?

You start out with 3 cups of oatmeal. It's just about the only healthy ingredient. So look while you can, because it's only going to get better.

Next comes 2 cups of flaked coconut.

Then 1 cup of flour.

Then mix those all up and turn to your wet ingredients. Super easy huh?

Next you wanna break out 1 cup of butter, and 1 cup of packed brown sugar. Put them in a sauce pan to melt.

Then here's where the stars of the show enter the party! Add 1/2 a cup of honey...

And 1 teaspoon of dried lavender blossoms. Sorry my picture of the lavender didn't turn out so great... You'll just have to trust me when I say that it IS lavender in that spoon!

Then you want to stir the mixture on medium heat until it comes to a boil. Allow it to boil for a minute or two, but be careful! Sugar gets out of control on the stove really quick! Don't ask me how I know...

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that I decided to toss in that other 1/2 a bag of white chocolate chips. White chocolate... it makes everything better!

So I guess I could call these White Chocolate Lavender Honey Bunches.

Or maybe not.

Then I convinced Hubs to take a picture of me pouring the hot sugar into the dry ingredients. He's such a champ! When he heard that 3 of my favorite bloggers were going to eat these cookies and not him he LEAPT at the opportunity to pitch in!

ha ha ha!

Don't worry, he got to have a taste. :) I promised him I'd make them again soon.

And I must have gotten really excited (or too tired to think straight) because I forgot to take a picture of the next step!

The next step is: break out your muffin tins or silicone muffin cups (like me) and drop the dough by the spoonful into the prepared cups. Then bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the tops start to turn golden.

This is how mine looked in the sunlight this morning. :)

They really are delish! You should now start your google search engines and go order some lavender! You'll be glad you did!

Lavender Honey Bunches

3 cups of rolled oats
2 cups of flaked coconut (I used sweetened, but I think you could get away with unsweetened if you prefer)
1 cup of flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup of butter
1/2 cup of honey
1 teaspoon of dried lavender blossoms
1/2 a bag of white chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine oats, coconut, flour and white chocolate chips. In a sauce pan bring butter, honey, sugar, and lavender to a boil. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well. Drop dough by the spoonful into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden, careful not to over bake. Cool in the tins for 15 minutes before removing.

Do you have a Mystery Spice recipe that you'd like to share? It's easy! Just blog about a recipe using any spice from your rack or cabinet, link up here. TA DA! You'll find, like I have, that using your spice cabinet for inspiration can lead to some really fun and interesting meals that you may not have considered making before.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Winner and A Roast!

WOW! I am so amazed by how many people were interested in winning a homemade batch of Lavender Honey Bunches! You're all so brave to try something baked with lavender, PLUS something that's an experimental recipe for me! Hopefully they turn out ok and you won't have to throw them out. lol

For those of you who don't win, never fear! I'll be sharing the recipe tomorrow after I make them today, PLUS you'll have many more opportunities to win homemade goodies over the next few weeks! I had so much fun with this little contest that I'm planning to hold these little giveaways as often as I can. :)

I was expecting to have like... maybe 10-20 entries. But because my little contest was posted on The Secret Is In The Sauce I ended up with WAY more entries than I thought possible. A grand total of 78! Craziness! So I've decided to make 2 batches of cookies, and hopefully that'll be enough for my family plus THREE winners! Yup, that's right, I'm gonna draw 3 names from my handy little tupperware dish! It's all about spreading the love... :)

The first winner is...


Super fun since I went to high school with Olivia and she's one of my most recent subscribers!

The second winner is...


Granny has the most awesome gardening blog that I subscribe to... that lady has some serious energy! I don't think I could keep up with her even if I tried my hardest. lol

And finally... the third winner is...


Auntrene is one of my newest subscribers who found me through SITS. She has a cute blog that I just subscribed to about her life as a single lady who runs an in-home daycare! She must be pretty amazing to care for 6 little ones under the age of 4! Can't wait to read more about her, because her life sounds totally interesting!

I'll email the three of you shortly to get your info and mailing addresses. :)

And what's this about a roast? Well, I made the most AMAZING crock pot roast last night and I just have to share it with you. So I'll be posting it up later today during nap time. :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Random Things That Happened This Week

If you're looking for the Blog Party, see yesterday's post. It's still going on at 5 Minutes for Mom and they're giving away lots of fabulous prizes! Plus it's a great way to get to know a lot of other great bloggers!

Today is the last day to enter my little cookie giveaway! Info is up top. :)

Just thought I'd take a few minutes to share a few random things that happened in our family this past week, just in case my brain was too befuddled to include them in other posts.

1: This past weekend our dog Rocky proved that he really isn't as stupid and psycho as he looks. My parents were visiting, and my dad offered to let the dogs out. They both ran out the door, Rocky with the infamous ball in his mouth. Long ago we had a rule where the dogs weren't allowed to take their toys outside. So my dad turns to me and asks quietly, "Is it ok for him to take that ball outside?" And without another word Rocky turns around, jerks his head upwards, and spits the ball back into the house!


2: We went to a St. Patrick's Day party at the home of a lady from my local Mom's group. Not 10 minutes after we walked in the door and Ziva threw up! It's amazing how such an event and wreck havoc on your thought processes. I had no clue what to do besides clean up the mess. "Should I stay, should I go? Does she have that flu bug? How could she have gotten it since we seriously never go anywhere? Maybe she's car sick. Yup, that must be it. Man, I bet all these other mom's think I brought the plague to the party! How embarrassing! They probably all think I brought my sick kid to a party just so I would contaminate the rest of the group. Like toddler terrorism or something."

And on and on it went... Thank goodness most of these moms have more experience than I do in the puke department. I even learned something new! White vinegar cuts throw up smell! Who knew? Not me, because I've been fortunate enough to miss out on all stomach viruses so far *knock on wood*. Anyway, I know some of you ladies in the group read my blog, so THANK YOU so much for not treating me like an outcast at the party and for helping me out even though that meant risking getting your own family sick. Fortunately Ziva hasn't been sick at ALL since, so looking back I know for sure that she was just car sick. But none of us knew that at the time, so thank you for being so nice and helpful without that knowledge. I really do appreciate it!

3: Hubs has been at a week-long self defense training this past week for work. This has meant that he's had to adjust his sleeping schedule to be awake during the day for training. So it's been a tough week for him. He's come home tired and sore from the physical exertion and flat out sleep deprivation. It hasn't been fun. But he's hung in there and now it's over and he's spending the weekend recuperating.

4: I transplanted my seedlings into paper cups. Hopefully soon we'll be able to put together my new garden beds and the weather will allow for them to be planted outside!

5: COMPUTER VIRUS ALERT! Don't worry, I won't give it to you. But thought I'd let you know that there's a pretty nasty one going around. It's not nasty in a hostile sense though, just in a "I can't get rid of this damn thing!" sense. Basically, once you have it you'll get these random pop-up ads no matter what site your visiting online. The goal is advertising, not stealing your identity or anything horrible like that... it's just super annoying and slows down your computer. You catch the virus via pop-up ad on some sites, I have no idea where I picked it up... but I got it when a little box that says "Spyware Scanner" popped up on my screen and I stupidly clicked the X in the upper right hand corner thinking that I'd be able to close it. When I did that, it infected my computer. So I thought I'd warn everyone, DO NOT CLICK ANYWHERE ON A BANNER AD!!! Instead when it pops up, right click down on the bottom of your screen and select close.

This darn virus is pretty prolific! Even my parents ended up with it. They took their computer in to a shop to get it fixed, and the guys at the shop have been totally inundated with computers with the same exact problem all week. It's a small shop with only a few guys working there, and they've had to dedicate one of their employees to just answering the phone because they're getting so many calls about it. So be careful out there in Internet land! And don't click on any pop-ups! Not even to close it!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Ultimate Blog Party 2009!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Welcome fellow bloggers to the Ultimate Blog Party 2009! If you didn't find me via the party, then you should really go check it out! There are lots of networking opportunities and fun prizes to be won! We're supposed to say something about which prizes we'd like to win... but honestly, they're all so awesome I just can't decide! Truly, I'd be thrilled to win anything!

My name's Amy! Me and Hubs are proud parents of twin toddlers, Ziva & Anya.

So if you were coming to a REAL party at my house today, I'd have all these marvelous intentions of baking fantastic homemade delectable treats.... and then Hubs would answer the door, you'd notice the dust bunnies blowing across my floor and my kitchen sink full of dishes, and I'd be in the other room changing a poopy diaper. Sorry, but that's the reality folks!

Blogging and a couple local mom's groups are really what keep me sane and in touch with the outside world. I've only been blogging since January, but I've really jumped right in and so far I haven't missed a single day of writing something new about my life. There's ALWAYS new stuff to talk about with two growing toddlers in the house!

Plus I've taken on a culinary challenge for myself called Mystery Spice Monday! As part of the challenge I pick out something from my spice cabinet and aim to make a great meal for my family. It's kind of like those Food Network Challenges, except without the judges and the last second catastrophes while moving a five foot tall sugar sculpture to the judging table. Over on the right hand side you'll find a link to my alphabetical list of recipes, feel free to take a look and find something new and exciting to make for dinner next week. :)

Interested in how our life with twins came to be? Here's our Birth Story! Just don't look too closely at that pregnancy pic...

I also write about my wide variety of interests: Freezer Cooking, Gardening, Twins Topics, and of course, my dear Hubs. And every once in a while, I show my nerdy side.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Hopefully my messy house and screaming children didn't scare you off too much!

I LOVE comments, and I always respond in kind. Be sure to notice my very first Giveaway!

Aloha Friday!

Last week I participated in Aloha Friday over at An Island Life. It was a lot of fun, I met a lot of new bloggers, and I had my largest group of visitors to my blog ever! So I've decided to do it again this week. :)

From An Island Life:

In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you'd like to participate in Aloha Friday just head on over to her blog. :)

My question this week is:

If you have/had toddlers living in your house, what are some fun age-appropriate activities that you did with them? I did some google searches last night to find some new things to do with the girls, but I didn't find anything particularly exciting. My girls are 21 months old, and so far they're non-verbal (we're starting Early Intervention soon). Any ideas??? I could totally use the help here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Things I Love Thursday: TiVo and How it Works with Netflix

It's time once again for another Things I Love Thursday! This one is hosted by The Diaper Dairies, so go check out what other people Love this week.

I am in love with my TiVo. We got the TiVo when the girls were very little, and I was SO excited about it because there's really not much in the way of great viewing material at 2am. And I don't know about you, but when my girls were in the midst of night feedings I did a lot of TV viewing while nursing. Some women gaze down at their newborn and contemplate the amazingness of life... I got hooked on Doctor Who instead.

Hey, it's better than infomercials!


Who am I kidding? With all that nerdy blood coursing through my veins it was only a matter of time before I discovered Doctor Who and got addicted to it.

It was super handy to have a TiVo around when the girls started sleeping through the night, because then I could record Doctor Who (which plays on PBS at ridiculously odd hours and at intermittent intervals) and never miss an episode!

Until that is... I realized that our local PBS station only plays season 1 over and over and over again and never moves on to season 2. Which really REALLY sucks if you've ever watched season 1 of Doctor Who because in the final episode (ok... I really want to spoil the story, but just in case there are some random Doctor Who fans out there reading this who haven't seen it yet...) something CRAZY happens and it has this unbelievable cliffhanger ending that leaves you screaming at your TV and BEGGING for more!

So I had Hubs add season 2 to our Netflix queue, but once he learned that there were only 3 episodes per disk, and that they'd automatically send the ENTIRE season in succession... he pretty much put the kabosh on it. I understand his point, if we had ordered it we'd be receiving Doctor Who and ONLY Doctor Who for the next month at least. And that wouldn't really be fair to Hubs because he won't watch Doctor Who with me, and pretty much rolls his eyes and leaves the room while I'm watching it.

Then just this last week I discovered something new and amazing!!! TiVo & Netflix can work TOGETHER!!! That's right! You can add movies & TV episodes to your Netflix "Instant Queue" and then watch them right away on your TiVo! How cool is that?! It's this new fangled thing called "On Demand", perhaps you've heard of it? I live in a cave and don't get out too often so it was all new to me.

Heard of it but don't know how to use it? Here's how!

First you go to your TiVo main menu.

See that little option in the middle called "Video on Demand"? Click that.

You'll get the wait a minute icon, and then eventually you'll see this.

The first time I saw the above menu my jaw dropped. You mean... you can watch YouTube...on my TV?! Wow...

So once you're able to pick you jaw up off the floor, scroll down to where it says Netflix, and then go over to the right hand side and click on Netflix account info. It'll give you a code. Go over to your computer, access your Netflix account, and then enter the code that TiVo gave you. This will make TiVo and Netflix work together!

Once you've done this, feel free to paruse your Netflix queue and start entering things into your Instant Queue. Some movies and shows have the option to watch instantly, some do not. So you won't be able to watch EVERYTHING via your TiVo, but you will be amazed at what you CAN watch instantly!

Then select "Watch Instantly" on your TiVo.

You'll have to wait a minute or so, and then you'll see this screen.

And yes, obviously Hubs and I have very different taste in movies. lol

Hmm... I wonder who likes Becoming Jane and who likes A Nightmare on Elm Street?

If I scroll down I can find what I'm looking for...

Doctor Who!

After I select Doctor Who Season 2 (I seriously hope the "new" Doctor is as good as the old one!) I get this list of all the different episodes.

When I select an episode, I get a screen very similar to when I select any recorded program on TiVo.

When you hit play, or resume playing in this case, it will take a minute or 2 for your TiVo to download the program before you can view it. Apparently TiVo waits until it KNOWS your going to watch an "On Demand" show before it saves it onto it's hard drive.

The best part??? It's FREE to watch "On Demand" shows unless in the menu it tells you otherwise. There are some areas, such as the Amazon department, where it will cost you to view the program. So be careful what you select! But to watch Netflix shows via TiVo is absolutely FREE if you are already paying for both the TiVo and an unlimited Netflix account. You can add as many movies as you like to the Netflix Instant Queue, so you can really go hog wild if you want!

Obviously I've been having a lot of fun with this, so I thought I'd let you know about it so that you can have fun with it too. :)
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