Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Soup

One of the benefits of having a chef in the family is trying amazing unique new recipes. Josh, my nephew brought pumpkin soup to kick off our Thanksgiving Dinner.  Can I just say it's amazing! We truly just wanted the soup almost...I said almost...forgetting about the turkey and stuffing. You see he also makes an awesome stuffing so I was definiately not going to miss out on that.  He works at the BrewRiver GastroPub go check him out. If he's cooking you won't be disappointed.  Their main menu ranges from Truffle Fries, a Buttermilk Crispy Amish Chicken and an Oyster Po'boy (cornmeal crust, iceberg, sriracha aioli, pickled ginger on local bread, and hand-cut fries) and then there's a Sunday Brunch featuring New Orleans-style BBQ Shrimp and Grits, a Ricotta Cheesecake Stuffed "Pain Perdue" oh and Eggs Sardou. (poached eggs on artichoke bottoms nestled on a bed of local spinach with "beer"naise sauce.) Can I order all these at once?

On top of all of the amazing food they offer they also suggest beer and wine pairings with each menu item and with their vast inventory you won't be disappointed. Carrying more than 50 of the world's best guest beers, 40 bottles of hand picked wines, they also carry a line of private label spirits distilled at the Woodstone Creek Distillery (the oldest independent distillery in Ohio), featuring an A.J. Henkel Premium Vodka, D.L. Billigheimer Artisan Vodka and a Turkey Bottoms Straight Bourbon Whiskey.


Pumpkin Soup

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar
 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée
 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1/8 teaspoon pepper
 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 1 cup heavy whipping cream

 In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Remove from the heat; stir in brown sugar until smooth. Gradually stir in the broth, pumpkin, salt, pepper nutmeg, and rosemary; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add cream; cook for 2 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6 servings. Top with Rosemary Thyme Croutons. (recipe to soon follow) Enjoy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Talented Artist


There are people who are just gifted in seeing a vision and bringing it to life. Notice the small piece of candy in the cheek of the little boys mouth, the wrinkles in the elderly man's hands, the missing headlight from the dilapidated car.  Well my uncle is one of them. You wouldn't know it because he doesn't talk about it very often. He's a humble man, a good man not only that but he's also a superb father and husband. I'll never forget one day I was visiting Grandma, his mother, and saw the most beautiful painting hanging up in her room. I had to comment because it quite frankly took my breath away.  Grandma responded well Tom painted that.  Wait! What? I was shocked to hear that my uncle also painted this masterpiece...Not shocked because I know he is talented but shocked that everyone in America doesn't own one of his masterpieces.  So not only can he draw, he can paint but he can also take one hell of a photo. What can't he do?  Check out his artwork below.  Hopefully you too will own a masterpiece of one of the most talented Artists I know---T.L. Neeley


Our take on how to bring out the artist in your own child. Teach them how to draw with pencils. Talk about shading, shapes,erasing, shadowing and blending.  Then let them create. We chose to mimic the mason jar just have it out on the table for them to refer back to...A perfect masterpiece for any wall just frame and hang.  


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Award Winning Chili Recipe


Another one of my husband's creations.  He even named this one J-Town's Lip Spanking Good Chili. (yes he is weird oh well but he can cook so that's all that matters) Here we go..
2 sweet peppers finely chopped (1 orange, 1 yellow)
2 lbs ground chuck
1 sweet onion finely chopped
1 16oz can diced tomatoes drained
1 16oz can tomato sauce
2 16oz cans red kidney beans drained
1/2 cup chili powder or to taste
1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. Tabasco
2 Tbsp. salt
1 cup sugar
Brown ground chuck and drain (make sure the ground chuck is broken down finely and not chunky). Then mix all of the ingredients in a large pot and bring the mixture to a slow boil, stirring frequently. After you chili has reached a nice boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour (stirring often, no one likes burnt chili)
Note: Do not add any liquid to this chili other than what's listed; the contents will cook down adding enough liquid to provide you with a nice hardy consistency. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and crackers, but you really won't need all of that stuff, because this chili is so "Lip Spanking Good".

Friday, October 26, 2012

Art World Foam Paper

Seemed like it was going to be a gloomy day outside so to brighten up the inside, I give Ava another art project. I cut foam paper into various shapes (mostly rectangles), put some water in a bowl and let her dunk the pieces in the water. Next step is just letting her stick them onto the window. Easy & Fun! The only hard part for me was, well besides cutting shapes other than rectangles was, was making sure the water didn't get everywhere since the toddler thought it was funny to stick all her toys and her head in the water.

Items Needed:
Foam Paper

Now I was going to post this last  week but forgot oops and yesterday the weather was definitely not gloomy, hello sun & 78 degrees, but since its getting close to Halloween I made some ghosts & pumpkins though my little art critic told me it wasn't a pumpkin.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Perfect Combination

Pink and Snakeskin does it get any better than that. Everytime I put on the pink what a minute not just pink I mean hot pink...blazer. I seem to carry a smile with me all day long. Who doesn't need reasons to smile?  Add those shoes now it's just over the top pure happiness.

I borrowed my daughters birthday polish

Pink Blazer and Flower Pin H&M found similar hot pink color; Necklace, Camisole (in store I paid 9.99 for the cami and 7.99 for the bracelet) and Bracelet Ann Taylor found similar here, here and here; Clutch Steve Madden found similar; Joe's Jeans (found at TJMaxx cheap) found similar, Belt Guess bought at TJmaxx found here and here and Shoes Nine West found similar.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Morgan's Haunted River

Can you tell I love free?? Another post involving something free.  One free child's admission when accompanied by a paying adult. Coupon Link With only one weekend left until the Halloween festivities are over you do not want to miss out on Morgan's Spooktaculor Haunted River. Your journey will start off with a spooky hike through the Forest of Lost Souls. Then if your one of the lucky ones to escape the deranged doctor you will make it to a raft that's waiting for you for a short ride down the haunted river. Just when you think it's safe you'll find yourself paddling maybe even screaming to death through Zombie Island...Get Ready Paddle or Die....(In all respects my little one is a scaredy cat and she thought this was the coolest Halloween activity we have done together by far. Actually our whole group thought that this was one of the best Haunted Houses of all time.)

You won't be seeing any photos from the hike or the river...There was no way I was stopping for a photo shoot. 

All children 17 and under must be accompanied by and adult.
Price: $15 for Adults, $10 for Kids 12 and under
Price with Reservation: $13 for Adults, $8 for Kids 12 and under. Call 1-800-932-2663 .
Bonfires and movies will be provided while you wait! Our deli will be opened too, with an offering of beverages (both hot and cold), food and sweets, including s'more kits.
Because this is a guided tour, there may be a wait, so please feel free to bring your own s'more fixins to roast around the fire. A movie will be showing too!
7-11PM on the following days:
  • Fri. Oct 5 and Sat Oct 6
  • Fri. Oct 12 and Sat Oct 13
  • Fri. Oct 19 and Sat. Oct 20
  • Fri. Oct. 26 and Sat Oct. 27
Last tickets will be sold at 10:30                  


Monday, October 22, 2012

Lemon Pepper Broiled Chicken Breast Sandwiches

Free Free Free Chose your Free Sample packet of Mrs. Dash at Facebook/MrsDashRecipes (while supplies last)


3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Mrs Dash Lemon Pepper Seasoning Blend Salt-Free
Onion Sandwich Rolls
Bacon Cooked

Season the Chicken Breasts with the Seasoning Blend then place on broiling pan or cookie sheet. Place oven rack one rung from the top and set Broil to High.  Wait a couple of minutes to let your broiler get hot then add pan of chicken. Once the chicken is browned approximately 6-7 minutes remove pan and flip the chicken breasts over and place back under the broiler until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees (approximately 6-7 minutes more. Make sure to check the chicken often your oven could cook faster or slower than mine) Remove from oven and let rest prior to eating. Now you are ready to create your sandwich. We prefer to slice the chicken breast because they are generally huge and it just makes it easier to eat.  Grab your favorite sandwich roll, add around 5 to 6 slices of the chicken and any of the toppings you enjoy. (If you end up having extra chicken refrigerate it would be perfect topping for a salad)

If you want to make your own marinade here is Rachel Ray's Lemon Pepper version

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons divided
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely grated or pasted
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the EVOO, zest and juice of 1 lemon, garlic and black pepper. Season the chicken well with salt and toss into the bowl. Marinate the chicken for 15 minutes. Prepare same as above in Broiler.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October Think Pink

I can't think of anyone Breast Cancer has not touched...Stories after stories...Tears of Joy...Tears of Sadness...I wanted share this story with everyone because it touched me...especially the part where doctors tell her to go home the lump is nothing...How does that still happen today???? Yes she found a lump and doctors tested with an ultrasound and they just dismissed it. A few months go by oops another lump once again doctors dismiss it...A full year later in 2010 after getting a second opinion through The James at Ohio State University did they finally diagnose her with Stage III invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer...not only that it evolves into Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer...She was only 28years old...Throughout her journey she exudes courage, strength and inspiration for others and hopes one day her dreams of becoming a mother will come true.

Lindsay Giannobile Link
Lindsay in the News

Running For Lindsay

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Starting a New Path

One day out of the blue a friend suggested that we should take some kickboxing classes...Wait! What? Was she being serious? I was fifty to sixty pounds overweight. You know when your only supposed to gain thirty pounds while being pregnant...well that definitely wasn't me or my body...I didn't have any medical conditions to explain why this happened trust me I was tested at first for a thyroid problem then for a sugar problem...everything kept coming back normal. Let's just say my normal was gaining eighty pounds with my second child and around seventy five with my first...Thank Goodness the weight came off the first time but I wasn't that lucky with the second...My youngest daughter was already a year old and I wasn't getting any skinnier on my own so I decided to leap back into the workout world. Why not? What did I have to lose? Hopefully sixty pounds and not my dignity. I wasn't exactly thrilled to be in a room of skinny fit people...not to mention walls of mirrors honestly I was scared. I just knew I was going to pass out worse trip and the whole room would be staring...possibly chuckling at me. In order to prevent harsh stares from all the skinny athletic girls we picked out the perfect spot last row in the wayyyy back.

They always start class off with a five minute warm up...did I say warm up? that felt like the workout...I thought I was dying. My heart was beating out of my chest. How was I going to survive the actual workout?  Needless to say we trudged through the next 45 minutes looking at each other in disbelief, exchanging WTF's, and checking to see if we had to perform CPR on the other.  It would have been real easy to give up but we didn't. This was harder than anything we had ever done before and with the sixty pounds extra that I was carrying around it just made everything that much harder. After class we kind of panted, laughed and panted and laughed over and over again. Did we just do that? Are we going to do it again? Amazingly the answer would be yes. We just kept going and seemed to be getting stronger. We starting seeing results. Little by little we would drop one size then another. Eventually we would even get through the warm up without breaking a sweat.

Unfortunately half way through our journey my friend started having back issues and decided to take different classes. I missed my workout buddy but was still totally committed to working out...It's changed my life so much so that if I miss a few workouts I really feel absolutely crummy. Currently I take 3 classes a week in weight training and 1-2 classes a week in cardio.  And I owe it all to my friend's suggestion and commitment. I've started a new path...a healthy path...a strong path. Now If I could just make an appointment with the dietitian to lose the last 15 pounds.

My personal suggestions that worked for me. (by no way am I an expert please consult your doctor for personalized advice) 

-Take it slow. It takes only a second to twist an ankle or tweak your back.  I like to take classes that offer levels.  Level one is beginner, Level two intermediate, Level three advanced. I like to stay at the Level two with bursts at Level three.
-Diversify your workouts and Change it up every once in a while. Try a Spin class, Zumba, Workout Outdoors, Wii Fit can be awesome too.
-I know what your thinking times are hard and a membership is out of the question...Just walk...this is an amazing workout within itself...Push yourself try to keep increasing your distances. Me and my sister in law would walk and talk and walk and talk and before we knew it our legs were hurting we were logging in over 6 miles.  Step it up to a level two and add a minute of walking lunges.  In one of my workout classes the instructor loves to take us outside where we hop over parking lot lines, do step up on benches, perform squats and burpees. What is a burpee you ask. I'll provide a link as it is an entire blog post within itself. In Summary what I do know about them is that it is a total body workout and I cringe when I have to do them.
-Always use correct form in any exercise that you do. Workout should be taxing but never painful.
-When using weights start light and then gradually increase.
-Make sure to warm up prior to starting and stretch following. 
-Drink plenty of water.
-Be patient it took me years to lose the weight...seven years to be exact.

Walking Lunge



Friday, October 19, 2012

Emergency Contact Information

You know by know from reading our blog how many hours can pass before you could be contacted by law enforcement or emergency medical responders following an accident. Thankfully Legislation to create the Ohio Next of Kin (N.O.K.) database was initiated by Ohioans who wanted to ensure Next of Kin be notified as soon as possible if an emergency or any critical event occurs.  Any Ohioans with a driver license, temporary permit or a state ID has the option of adding emergency contact information to their Ohio license/ID record.  The program is FREE.  Please Please Please sign up today and forward this to everyone you know.  Don't put it off it takes seconds to input the information. You can do so in three different ways:

- In person at any local deputy registrar.
- Online at http://bmv.ohio.gov
- Mail completed Next of Kin form to Bureau of Motor Vehicles Verification Services Document Management, PO Box 16520, Columbus, OH, 43216-6520.

Once your Next of Kin information is on file, you may change or remove it using any of the above methods.

Ohio also has an iD R KiDS Program. There is no minimum age to apply and it only costs $8.50. You can apply at any local deputy registrar just provide proof of name, date of birth, proof of residency and Social Security number. The acceptable documents list can be viewed at their website www.bmv.ohio.gov/driver_license/pd.htm.  Any children with an ID, under the age of 15, parents can also sign them up for the Next of Kin Registry. 


Additional Stories from the N.O.K. Program Initiators

Linda Wuestenberg

"My son, Steven Burge, was involved in a car accident in 2007. First responders searched eight hours before they found me. My son died from his injuries. A large group of us worked with our legislators and the BMV to create the Ohio Next of Kin database. The effort invested to make this valuable tool available to all Ohio citizens has been a deeply personal and emotionally draining journey. I do it in loving memory to my son to honor his exuberant love of life. I'm proud to be your Mom, Stevie B."

Carmela A. Wiant

"My son, David Money, was on his way home from work when involved in an auto accident. The only source of contact information was his work badge. Three hours later, I was told by the hospital chaplain David was dead. I was devastated."

If you are not an Ohioan please check with your State's BMV to see if the program is available to you. If it is not available ask your local BMV who to contact in order to create legislation to add Next of Kin Information for you and your family. Trust me and my family it can save many precious seconds...minutes...even hours.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lunch Date

I don't get that many lunch dates with my husband so I definitely wanted to wear something nice. It seems like on an everyday basis he only gets to see me in my workout gear and no makeup. What to wear what to wear what to wear argggghhhh. You know how you just stare in your closet and nothing looks cute enough or you have already worn everything a thousand times before.  The rifling started and there it was...my BCBG skirt I almost forgot about it.  Pictures don't do it justice the fabric is soooo amazing it not only has an intricate pattern but it also this unique green sheen. I purchased it at the BCBG outlet for $39.00. I paired it with a Vince sweater and Ralph Lauren Boots.

BCBG skirt found similar, Vince sweater found similar, Ralph Lauren boots found similar, Ring Forever 21 found similar, Necklace JCrew Factory similar, Bracelets similar, similar .

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Trick or Treat With Dinosaurs

Hurry only two more weeks left in the season. Don't miss out on the countless hours of fun for all ages. (Children 2 and under are free)  Kings Island has out done themselves and is now offering two attractions that are Fun Scary not Scary Scary for family friendly Halloween fun.  Their hours of operation for these attractions are Saturday and Sunday 11:00 - 6:00.

Trick or Treat With Dinosaurs is located in the Coney Mall section of the main amusement park. Although it is an additional $5.00 it is well worth the money. You will travel along a path filled with humongous animatronic dinosaurs that are dressed up and ready for Trick or Treating. Along the way you will stop for treats from employees that are also dressed up in Halloween costumes. To a dental assistant's delight they went beyond the typical candy and had some treats that were apples, pretzels and even toys. Around the halfway point through our prehistoric journey there was a Dig Site where they provided the kids with shovels, buckets and paintbrushes to see if they could uncover some dinosaur bones...oh and a bench for the parents for a much needed break to sit and relax watching the kids have fun. After having fun in the sand you will continue on your journey ready to pick a pumpkin in the pumpkin patch being overseen by very large sharp toothed dinosaur...ack...Stop by the craft station to personalize your pumpkin then off to the rest of the treat stops.  Some of our favorite moments...The little one repeating "Their lookin at me", or "Their talking to me", Roaring back at the dinosaurs and being able to press buttons to see the dinosaurs move.


yes they are moving and roaring every once in a while...Little one peers back to make sure they aren't coming any closer.

After all that fun you would have thought that was enough but heck no not for us we hopped on the train that took us through fields of hay bale pigs, cows, skeletons playing the banjo and even a bear stealing a pumpkin over to Howl O Palooza located in Soak City.

She's still talking about how the Dinosaurs were "Lookin at Me"

As you enter Safety Town is there to greet you featuring a Firehouse with a Firefighter handing out stickers, City Hall, Police Station and Hospital. Then you find yourself winding through the Twisted Tales maze perfect for little ghouls and boys where some of your favorite fairy tales take on a different twist. As you exit the maze your off to a small area of games costing around $1 to $2 per game featuring a guaranteed treat. (the kids were more interested in the animals so we ended up skipping this) Across from the games you will find a petting zoo filled with goats, llamas, bunnies, chickens, a cow and even some miniature ponies.  Some of their friends offered a Pony Ride that was only $1.00 per rider. (You should have seen those little faces light up.  Little one was proud to have done it all by herself and they even had a big horse for Rosey to ride) After that they have little tractors to ride through a hay bale course, a mini jumping blow up trampoline and a Dance party with foam waves (we skipped these to attempt another day little legs were getting very tired and I wasn't prepared with towels to clean them up after a foam bath) As you walked around the PEANUTS gang were there to have photo shoots and even had several of their own Halloween Party's scheduled at 1pm, 2pm, 3:30pm and 4:30pm making sure to celebrate Halloween with some of their favorite spooky classic songs...Now...we are definitely done off to take a nap...hopefully we won't have any nightmares of sharp toothed dinosaurs lookin at us.