Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Evolution

I got to go home the other weekend, and whenever I'm home, I grab one of my old scrapbook albums to bring back to my "new" home. It's very interesting to look through my old albums and then compare my "style" back then (which wasn't really a style at all) to the way I scrap now. I'm sure there were such things as embellishments (not just stickers) and patterned paper and online scrapbook layouts and sketches. But I didn't know about any of them! Granted, I started scrapbooking in high school and continued doing it in college. As a poor college student, I didn't have a lot of money to go to Michael's and purchase the latest scrap stuff. So for the longest time, I literally used whatever I had in my stash, and that was pretty much just solid-colored cardstock and some stickers. It wasn't until my senior year of college, that I discovered all the different scrapbook tools out there and my style began to evolve. (Although, I still had no money, so I have Walmart to thank for making such cheap scrapbook stuff.)
scrapbook layout circa 2002

Not long after I moved away from home, I discovered Scrapbook.com. I spent hours perusing its online store. I had never seen tools like what I saw on Scrapbook.com, nor had I seen scrapbook layouts like the ones posted in its online gallery. I became obsessed. That REALLY took my scrapbooking to a whole new level.

I know some people go back and fix their old scrapbook layouts, but that's not my thing. The way I used to scrapbook is a reflection of who I was back then. Plus, it's fun to see the evolution of my style over the years. What about you guys? Do you cringe when you look back at your old scrapbooks or do you enjoy seeing how far you've come in your skills?

scrapbook layout I completed last week





Monday, October 29, 2012

Baked Penne with Chicken

I've been on a real freezer meal kick lately, in case you haven't noticed. So I've got another for you that I discovered via Pinterest. It's actually a Martha Stewart recipe, which I didn't realize until I looked up the link again to make this blog post. I don't know if I've ever made a Martha recipe because usually they are kind of hard. But this one was easy, so yay!

Here are my adaptations:
1. The original recipe calls for mushrooms and sundried tomatoes. I forgot to purchase mushrooms and we don't like sundried tomatoes. So we just left those out.

2. I halved the recipe to make four servings and then divided the four servings into two eight-inch by eight-inch baking dishes. I made this on a Tuesday night because I didn't have time to do it on Sunday. I put one of the baking dishes in the fridge to eat on Wednesday and then put the other in the freezer.

3. Of course, you'll need to use gluten-free penne and gluten-free all-purpose flour. (I like Bob's Red Mill.)

4. I'm not really sure what it means when it says "cook chicken until opaque." What does opaque chicken look like? The outside of my chicken was starting to brown but the inside was still pink! I find that whenever I cook chicken, it's just easiest to cut it up into bite-size chunks and cook it in a little bit of EVOO in a skillet. It cooks much more evenly. I basically cooked it until all sides were white, and then when I baked it in the oven, it cooked through all the way so there was no pink. (I HATE cooking with chicken.)

Anyway, so that's my latest freezer meal conquest. We've still got chicken enchiladas in the freezer that we break out every so often for a quick meal. Yummy!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Life Map - Book Review

On November 6, a new book called My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future is coming out from Gotham Books. Have you ever heard of a life map? I had no idea what a life map was until I got the press release for this book. According to the authors of this book, Kate and David Marshall, the purpose of life mapping is to help you live with intention and purpose. No matter what your age, you probably have certain dreams and goals. And mapping them out can help you visualize them. Life mapping also increases the chances that you will achieve your future goals.

The book gives examples of Whole Life Maps for people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 60s. These just go to show that you can literally start a life map no matter how old you are or where you are on your life journey. Reading through these examples will definitely help you craft your own life map. As I was doing mine, I kept looking back through the examples for ideas and guidance.

Aside from the Whole Life Map, there are several other life maps within this book. There are 10-year subject maps for Family, Friends, Learning, Work, Service, and Playing; and a 10-year Map covering all of those subjects. The Whole Life Map starts from your birth to your death. (I didn't put down a death date. I thought it was kind of weird to "plan" at what age I would die.) I completed all of the maps, but you don't have to. The Marshalls recommend starting with whatever map you think would be most beneficial to you. Different people prefer different maps. I did them all just to see what it was like and so I could thoroughly go through the book. I found the Whole Life Map to be more difficult to complete than the 10-year Map. It was easier for me to visualize where I want to be by the time I'm 39 than it was to visualize what I'd be doing at 79.

My Life Map asks you questions and gives you space to answer within the book, although you can also write your answers in a separate notebook if you need more space. The questions are designed to get you thinking about your past, present, and future so that it's easier for you to fill out the maps. They do get you thinking, but some of the questions I just ignored because they didn't pertain to me. I guess that's okay, because I was still able to fill out my maps. The whole thing seems like an activity that you tailor to meet your own needs, which is great!

After you finish filling out your maps, the last section of the book encourages you to move forward in reaching the goals you wrote down in your life map. The authors want you to commit to three to five SMART goals for the next year. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. I wrote down a few for me to do, so I'll see how well it goes, if I can complete them and if they help me achieve any of my future goals.

I feel like this might be something that would be easier or more helpful to do with a therapist or counselor, but if you don't have the time or money to do that, then My Life Map would be a good alternative.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Party Treats

A few weekends ago, we hosted a Battle of the Sexes board game party thanks to House Party. The game was fun! I had never played it before, and this version had new questions. It took us about an hour and a half to play and the girls won!!!

Because the party was being thrown in October, I decided it would be fun to make Halloween-themed snacks and treats for us to eat while we played games. So I looked through my Halloween board on Pinterest and picked out a few options that were either easy to make gluten-free or just easy to make.

Skeleton Bones - Gluten-Free
Snyder's Gluten-Free Pretzel Sticks (They sell them at A&P and I'm sure other grocery stores.)
melted white chocolate chips
mini marshmallows


You basically attach one marshmallow to each pretzel stick end and dip it in the white chocolate. Kind of messy but they turned out okay.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies - NOT Gluten-Free
You can find my recipe for this here.



I used the leftover white chocolate chips to make my favorite fall cookies. Normally I use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, but I saw a recipe for the cookies using white chocolate on Pinterest and figured, why spend more money buying chocolate chips when I can just use the white chocolate chips?

I didn't make these cookies gluten-free because my husband doesn't like pumpkin.


Dracula's Dentures - NOT Gluten-Free
chocolate chip cookies, cut in half (I made mine with refrigerated dough.)
white frosting
red food coloring
slivered almonds


Dye the white frosting with red food color, then spread some on each half of the cookie. Place marshmallows on one cookie half and top with the other cookie half. Place two slivered almonds on the front as the fangs.

I didn't make these gluten-free because I couldn't find gluten-free food coloring. All anyone had was Betty Crocker gel food coloring and it is NOT gluten-free. It contains modified food starch, which is pretty much 99 percent guaranteed to be unsafe for those with gluten intolerance or Celiac. Whatever happened to the liquid food coloring?? Does no one make it?

Anyway, I put these in little goodie bags for our party guests. I found some cute Halloween bags with twist ties in the Target $1 Spot. House Party sent us Battle of the Sexes magnets to give to our guests, so I punched a hole in the magnets and strung them through the twist ties, then tied the twist ties around the bags containing Dracula's Dentures.

We also had chips with salsa and queso, mozzarella sticks, and mini quesadillas. I think it was a pretty successful food night!

If you want to find more Halloween-themed recipes as well as Halloween crafts and costumes, check out my Halloween board on Pinterest. I've also got a Fall Recipes board with lots of food ideas that involve pumpkin. Yum!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Okay, I thought I had pinned the Halloween card that gave me the inspiration to make my Halloween cards, but... I didn't. And now I don't know where I got this idea!! Nevertheless, here are my Halloween cards for 2012. A great way to use up some Halloween paper scraps and some letters! These were easy to make. The base of the card is a manila folder.

Do you guys make your own Halloween cards? Do you send out Halloween cards? I know I should be getting my Christmas cards done, but I've still got a few weeks left for that. Can you believe the holidays are almost here???!!!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Edge of Nowhere - Book Review

A few weeks ago, Viking Children's Books sent me a copy of the new young adult novel The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George. (It came out in hardcover September 4.) Because my company doesn't cover young adult novels, I decided to read the book on my own and review it here. I also wanted to see what it was about and if it would be appropriate for the middle school book club my husband and I run every summer.

In The Edge of Nowhere, we meet Becca King. Except, her name isn't really Becca King. Becca and her mother had to change their names and go on the run because they knew some disturbing details about Becca's stepfather. Details that could put Becca and her mother in danger.

You see, Becca can hear people's thoughts, and she heard a terrible thought coming from her stepfather. So Becca and her mother, Laurel, leave California and make their way to Washington. Laurel sends Becca to stay with a family friend on Whidbey Island while Laurel goes to Canada and tries to find a job and get settled. Once that happens, Laurel will come back for Becca.

But the plan hits a snag, and soon Becca finds herself alone and depending on the kindness of strangers. She meets Seth, a high school drop-out who is a talented guitarist; Hayley, Seth's ex-girlfriend who is dealing with issues at home; Debbie, a recovering alcoholic who can't get past the death of her daughter; Derric, a handsome athlete who was adopted from Africa; Jenn, who hates Becca from the first time they meet; and Diana, the one person whose thoughts Becca cannot read. Not long after Becca arrives on Whidbey Island, an accident occurs in the woods, and it seems as though everyone has something to hide.

The book is told through third-person POV, but the "main" character changes from chapter to chapter. While the first part of the book focuses exclusively on Becca, once you reach the second part, the chapters switch between Becca, Seth, and Hayley. Seth and Hayley's stories serve as sub-plots and sort of have something to do with the main plot.

The Edge of Nowhere kind of gets you thinking about jumping to conclusions and judging people based on their appearance. That sort of thing happens a lot in this book. It's also a fairly thrilling mystery story as Becca tries to figure out what really happened in the woods while also keeping her real identity a secret from her newfound friends.

The book is kind of long—400+ pages. I would love to read it for the middle school book club, but I'm not sure how well the kids will handle such a long book. It is geared toward ages 12 and up, but we usually read shorter books for the book club. Perhaps we'll have to discuss this book over two sessions. The kids can read the first half of the book for the first session and the second half for the second session. I've already come up with some discussion questions and an activity. Go me!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Goulash - Freezer Meal

Got another freezer meal for you: Goulash. I had never had Goulash before, and I didn't really know what it was. It sounds Russian, but it doesn't seem Russian. It's basically baked pasta with corn and cheese on top. So more Italian than Russian, I guess. But hey - pasta, meat, and cheese? You can't go wrong there. I found this recipe from Joyful Momma's Kitchen. It's very easy to put together.

To make it gluten-free, of course use gluten-free pasta. I didn't have gluten-free elbow macaroni, so I just used gluten-free fusili. I used Amy's gluten-free cream of tomato soup. You always have to be careful with soups and make sure to find one that says on the can (or box) that it is gluten-free. Campbell's is never safe. The only other thing to check is the tomato paste. I used Hunt's. All of the other ingredients are normally gluten-free, so you won't have to do any label reading.

You will need an 8x8 baking dish for this recipe if you don't already own one. I found a nice Pyrex one with a lid at Target. You'll be freezing the Goulash in the baking dish. An 8x8 aluminum baking dish would work fine, too, but I bought an 8x8 glass dish so that I could reuse it.

It turned out great! We thawed it, baked it, and it was really good. It also works well as leftovers heated up in the microwave.

Hope these freezer meals are helping make your weeknights easier! I know they are definitely helping ours!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Have You Heard of Zulily?

Back in August, I attended a media event for the discount shopping site Zulily.com. Honestly, I had never heard of it, but I was lured to the event by the promise of a free pedicure. And boy was that pedicure (my first) AMAZING. But I digress. If you aren't aware of what Zulily is, let me tell you.


Zulily is a daily deals website for moms, babies, and kids. Each day, there are several new "events", or sales, featuring boutique brands. The events start at 6 a.m. PST and usually last 72 hours. After that, the event is over with and a new event featuring a different brand takes its place. When you sign up for Zulily, which is free, you'll receive emails every morning alerting you to the new events and to what events are still open. Inventory is limited and pretty much first-come, first-serve, so if you see a sale that you want to take advantage of, don't wait to check it out! You'll have the widest selection the earlier you shop an event.

Now, what kinds of brands and products are on Zulily? It's not just kid products. Sure, Zulily has great deals on toys, children's apparel, and baby gear, but they also have a lot of stuff for mom: housewares, home decor, clothing (maternity wear, workout wear, ready to wear), shoes, etc. And these are top brands, too. Toys from Melissa & Doug. Clothing from Kenneth Cole. Shoes from Skechers. And all the products are heavily discounted!

When I attended the event, I received a $50 gift card to try out Zulily for myself. I don't have kids, so I didn't peek at any of the kid product sales. I just focused on the women's apparel and housewares. I got a great pair of leopard print Sam & Libby flats, a 3-tier oven rack extender (that I had JUST pinned on Pinterest!!) for cooking multiple dishes on Thanksgiving, and a glimmery gold pair of flats from Chinese Laundry. (The $50 gift card wasn't enough to cover all three of those items. I had to shell out an extra $20 for the Chinese Laundry shoes. But still. Not bad.)

You also have to pay for shipping, but sometimes the site has shipping deals. For instance, I purchased the Sam & Libby flats one day and was given a free shipping credit if I ordered something else within the following 24 hours. So I purchased the oven rack extender and it shipped for free! Woo!

It did take three to four weeks for the items to get to me. That's because, once the event closes, Zulily places a bulk order with the company for all the items that Zulily customers ordered. The company ships the items to Zulily. Then Zulily packs them up and ships them off to its customers. Zulily says that this shipping plan is one way it ensures such low prices.

One other thing to note: Because the deals at Zulily are limited-time offers, returns and exchanges are usually not accepted. Before you order, the product page will tell you whether or not the item is eligible for a return or exchange. (None of mine were eligible.) For items that are eligible, Zulily must receive the unused item in its original package within 14 days of when the item was delivered to you. Your refund will be credited toward your Zulily account or to the credit card you used, based on the reason for your return.

If you have any other questions as to how Zulily works, you can find answers on the FAQs page.

I think this site is really great, especially if you're a parent or a soon-to-be parent. You can find some great discounts on items for your kids. If you don't have kids or you're just looking for stuff for yourself or your home (or even gifts for someone else), then Zulily is also the perfect site to check out. Signing up for an account is FREE, doesn't require an invitation, and doesn't mean you ever have to purchase anything. I think it's definitely worth it to sign up and casually check what events are happening every day. You never know when you might find a sale that includes just the item you've been looking for!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gluten-Free Chicken Enchiladas - Freezer Meal

Dear Pinterest, Thank you so much for helping me find such great freezer meals. Here's one that was cross-posted on SixSistersStuff.com from SimpleOrganizedLiving.com: Chicken Enchiladas!

This recipe literally did make 20 enchiladas. And I made all of them at once. I placed five of them in a baking dish that I placed in the fridge so we could have them the next day. For the rest, I individually wrapped the enchiladas in foil and placed four to five of them in a freezer bag. Right now I have three freezer bags filled with enchiladas sitting in my freezer just waiting for us to eat them. If we only want to make two at a time, we can just take out two. If we want more, we've got more. I really like that!!

The original post recommended putting the enchiladas in baking dishes and freezing them in the baking dishes. But I don't have a surplus of baking dishes, and I didn't want what I do have to be occupied if I needed them. I suppose you could purchase those cheap aluminum baking dishes, but I think my freezer bag idea will work out just fine.

Of course, I needed to adapt this recipe to make it gluten-free. The biggest change was using corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas. The corn tortillas are always smaller than the flour tortillas, so be careful to not overfill the tortilla or it won't wrap very well and it might tear.

Also, make sure you read the labels for all of the other ingredients: enchilada sauce, taco seasoning, etc. We usually make our own taco seasoning but because we needed three packets of seasoning and I didn't know how much of our own mix to make for that, I just purchased Ortega brand. I like that brand because it labels its corn tortillas as gluten-free, and there doesn't appear to be anything bad in the seasoning packets. We used Old El Paso Mild Enchilada sauce. I read the label and it looked okay.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Take Action for Celiac Disease - Sign the Petition Now


Just doing my duty as part of the Celiac community to pass around some important information regarding food allergy labeling. Read below for more.


Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-282, Title II) was enacted in August 2004 and required Health and Human Services to set a gluten-free labeling rule by 2008.  

With widespread support from the Celiac community, the FALCPA requires:
  • ingredient  statements to list whether any of the top eight allergens (milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, Crustacean shellfish, soy, and wheat) are contained in the product;
    • the allergen to be listed by its common name, e.g. ‘wheat’ rather than ‘semolina’ or ‘kamut’; and
    • the labeling for allergens if used in spices, natural or artificial flavorings, additives, and colorings.
    These important food labeling changes went into effect on January 1, 2006.

    In addition, the law required the FDA to implement rules for the voluntary labeling of products as 'gluten-free' by August 2008. The agency's proposal was published on January 23, 2007. To date, the regulations have not been finalized.

    An estimated 3 million Americans have Celiac and even more may have non-Celiac gluten sensitivity. Without adequate labeling, those on a medically prescribed gluten-free diet struggle to make safe food choices and stay well.

    Children with Celiac cannot participate in the National School Lunch Program when food service staff cannot determine if products are gluten-free.

    Congress did its part by passing the law. It is up to the White House to protect the health of millions of adults and children by finalizing the rule NOW.

    Click here to sign the petition to finalize standards for gluten-free labeling.

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

    Scrapping The Windy City

    I always have so much trouble picking what pictures to scrap from my vacations. As you can imagine, I took a BUNCH of pictures during our six-hour train layover in Chicago last month. I knew that some of the pictures I wanted to frame and put on our "travel" wall (which doesn't exist yet, but it will some day) so I just needed to weed through the others. What pictures were scrap-worthy and what pictures should I just have not printed? I think all the pictures on these two pages were keepers.

    This first page I made using a sketch from ... somewhere. I think it was a sketch challenge but I didn't do this for the challenge. I just liked the sketch and needed a way to get multiple pictures on one page. This page also uses super awesome October Afternoon papers and embellishments.



    For this layout, I knew I had to use the background paper (that I got from a friend) because it had a Chicago stamp on it. I didn't want the pictures to cover up the background paper too much, so I trimmed them down a bit. I added a few embellishments, a journaling tag, and a title and I was done! It's not my most favorite page, but really, I wanted to let the beautiful buildings of Chicago do most of the talking.



    What are some of your favorite vacation-themed collections? Have you finished your summer vacation albums yet? If you have tips on completing a vacation album or just new ways of creating them, please share with us in the comments! I've got a lot of stuff on Pinterest, so don't forget to start following my Get Crafty board for everything scrapbooking!
    Follow Me on Pinterest

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist - Review



    As part of being a BzzAgent, I get to try all sorts of new things for free and then tell you about them! One of the newest campaigns I joined was for the Glade Expressions Collection. You're probably already familiar with the Glade brand, and this new collection of oil diffusers and fragrance mists is inspired by art and meant to be left out on display. You know how you buy a fragrance spray and then keep it in the bathroom closet until you need it again? Not these products!

    I tried the Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist (mainly because the store I went to was all out of the Glade Expressions Oil Diffusers, so I couldn't get both), which comes in a chic white holder. You just press the top of the holder to release a spray of fragrance. If you run out of the fragrance you can just purchase a refill in your favorite scent and place the refill in the holder.

    There are four fragrances to choose from:
    1. Cotton & Italian Mandarin
    2. Fuji Apple & Cardamom Spice
    3. Lavender & Juniper Berry
    4. Pineapple & Mangosteen

    I tried the Lavender & Juniper Berry. Because lavender is a soothing scent, I sprayed it in our bedroom and left the Fragrance Mist holder out on my bedside table. The scent was fresh and not too sweet, but it did wear off rather quickly. It's not like the plug-in items that are constantly giving off the scent. I do like those items and have a few of them around the house. But if you need a quick burst of fragrance here and there, then the Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist would be a good option for you.

    I do like that the holder is just plain white once you take off the product wrapping. It's got a modern look to it, too. I already mentioned that I used the Fragrance Mist in the bedroom, and so I also decided to keep the Fragrance Mist in the bedroom. It goes well with the colors in our bedroom and doesn't stand out too much on the bedside table. You'd never know it was a Fragrance Mist! It just looks like some pretty decorative item.

    I've seen the Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist in grocery and mass retail stores, and the prices have been all over the place, too. Just the other week Target was selling them at marked down prices, so be on the lookout in your circulars. As with most things, the Fragrance Mist is more expensive at grocery stores (a few dollars higher than suggested retail) than at stores such as Target or Walmart, so you might want to keep that in mind when you go shopping.

    I can't wait to try the Glade Expressions Oil Diffusers because those have a really cool look, too, and would look nice in our living room. I also really want to check out the Fiji Apple & Cardamom Spice scent. I bet that smells good!

    You can also check out the Fragrance Mist and Oil Diffusers at a discount with coupons! I'm giving away coupons for $4 off any Glade Expressions Oil Diffuser Starter Kit and $2 off any Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist starter kit. The first three people to leave a comment on this blog post will receive one of each coupon for themselves and another set to share with a friend! So if you want to try these for yourself at home, then don't miss out on this giveaway!

    Sunday, October 7, 2012

    Spicy Egg Salad

    I don't think I've ever shared this recipe with you guys, and I've had it for a really long time! I got it from BUST magazine back when I subscribed. It's super easy to make and pretty tasty, especially on toasted bread.

    I can't find the recipe online, so here it is:

    1. Put 8 eggs into a pot, fill with enough water to cover, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook another few minutes.
    2. Turn the heat off, cover the pot, and let sit for 15 minutes.
    3. Run cold water over the eggs until they've cooled, then peel them.
    4. Chop them up well and mix with three heaping plops of mayo, a pinch of chili powder, a pinch of mustard powder, and season with salt and pepper.
    5. Slather between two slices of bread. (gluten-free bread if you need it)

    I don't use mustard powder, so I add a little bit more chili powder, like 1/2 a teaspoon. It's not too spicy, I promise. In fact, I might try adding a little more the next time I make it because I can still barely taste the chili powder.

    Anyway, this is a delicious egg salad sandwich, and I like making it to use up eggs before they go bad.

    Friday, October 5, 2012

    Wisdom Meets Passion - Book Review

    I received a copy of Wisdom Meets Passion by Dan Miller and Jared Angaza from Booksneeze for my honest review. So here is my honest review.

    I was excited to read this book because it claims to show readers how to find work that "integrates your skills, personality traits, and passions; provides a sense of meaning, accomplishment, and fulfillment; be a person's greatest vehicle for living out God's purpose and calling; and ensure an unexpected flow of income and ultimate wealth." However, I feel that this book just didn't apply to me.

    First of all, I have no idea what God's purpose and calling is for me, and this book doesn't offer insight as to how to figure it out. Perhaps I am supposed to visit the 48Days.com community online (based on Miller's other book 48 Days to the Work You Love) and pay for a coaching session.

    Second, the personal stories told by Miller's son Jared Angaza (yes, son - Jared changed his last name because of his love of Africa) were kind of annoying. I get it. Jared lives "outside the box." He shunned the American way of life - big houses, fast cars, material yearnings - to live and work in Africa with his wife and adopted son. He's been incarcerated. He wrote and passed a law for women's rights. The only furniture his family has is a mattress with homemade mosquito net. They run a sustainable clothing line.

    Well, good for them but I like furniture. I like living in my house. I don't think of myself as materialistic. I just want my home to look nice and have enough money to pay the bills and do things that we enjoy doing while also having the free time to do those things. I felt like Jared was saying that the only way to find a fulfilling job and enjoy your work was to give up everything, live in a third-world country, and run a non-profit.

    Also, much of what Jared writes for his sections didn't seem to have anything to do with the book's main topic. I guess if you wanted to start an aid organization or non-profit for Africa, it's good insight. But if you're going to tell us the ways in which Africa needs to be helped, just write a separate book.

    Wisdom Meets Passion  is a good book if you are unemployed and trying to find a new job, perhaps a better job than what you had. It could also be good for a recent high school or college graduate. Some of the book is inspiring and raises good questions, such as "How would your life be different if you were using your strongest God-given talents?" (Well, I don't know what those are, so...)

    This book tries to get you to look beyond safe and stable positions. It encourages job seekers to keep an open mind. (Kind of like in dating.) It also points out that a manager of a Taco Bell makes more money than I do, which just goes to show that you can make more than $40,000 a year without getting a college degree. (And think of the sweet discount you'd get on chalupas!)

    I think the one thing I will take away from this book is that work isn't meant to be a punishment. Work is supposed to be enjoyable. We are supposed to like going to work and doing what we do, and I can definitely say that I wouldn't enjoy being a Taco Bell manager.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    More from the Grand Canyon

    I'm not going to lie. I took about 80 pictures at the Grand Canyon. And that was only one stop on our vacation. CLEARLY, I can't scrap all 80 pictures. So I picked the best ones and made as many pages as I could for them using what I had in the page kit I purchased. Now the page kit is done, and I have a grand (ha ha GRAND, get it?) total of four pages for the Grand Canyon pictures. I am planning on creating a pocket page so that I can put our Grand Canyon map/brochure in there, and I'll probably have room for one more picture on that page. 



    First photo: a helicopter making a delivery of supplies in the Canyon; Second photo: our bikes!;
    Third photo: a storm was brewing across the Canyon

    I love that star cut-out paper!


    The other pictures I will put in a multi-picture photo frame, and then hang it on a wall somewhere in our house. I realized that I don't frame pictures anymore. Everything gets printed out and put in a scrapbook. Which is fine, but our walls are bare and I would like to showcase some of our pictures in a more accessible way. So that's my plan. Oh, so many plans and not enough time. What "grand" plans do you have?

    Monday, October 1, 2012

    Spinach Lasagna Rolls - Freezer Meal



    Spinach Lasagna Rolls were my second freezer meal recipe, and they turned out well! We did have to heat them a little more in the microwave after they baked. The center lasagna rolls must not have thawed all the way and weren't as melty or heated through as the rolls on the outside of the pan. But no big deal! It still tasted good. My husband asked me if we had anymore because he wanted seconds.

    I found the recipe at Skinny Taste. But I don't think that recipe tells you about how to freeze it. I got the freezing directions from another website. Here are the freezing directions:

    Follow the assembly instructions but do not preheat the oven. Once covered with foil, instead of baking, place it in the freezer.

    Easy right? And then to cook, here's what you do:

    Thaw in fridge for 36-48 hours before serving. Bake 40 minutes (covered) at 350 degrees or until cheese melts.

    The only thing I had to do to make this gluten-free was to use gluten-free lasagna noodles. I thought they were a little difficult to cook, and I don't remember having as much trouble cooking regular lasagna noodles. I actually prefer the no-boil lasagna noodles, but you wouldn't be able to do the rolls with those.

    This recipe would be great for a Meatless Monday, if your family does that, because there's no meat! Just spinach and a ricotta/parm cheese mixture. Very good!