Yay for the Freakin’ Weekend!

Happy Friday, y’all!  This has been the slowest week ever, so I’m hoping this weekend goes nice and slow, as well, but we all know it won’t!  It’ll more than like go by super fast and Monday will be flying upon us like those crazy creepy flying baboons from the new Oz movie.  Oh well, it is what it is….happens every week like clockwork!

Giveaway.Painting

If you’re interesting in entering a giveaway for one of my 8×8 “Moonlight Cherry Blossoms” paintings, make sure and head over to Simply Stephanie blog a.s.a.p.!  All you have to do is visit my Etsy shop “The Painted Palette” & take a look and then go and leave a comment on her blog, as to which painting you like.  Easy peasy!  The winner will be announce on Monday, May 6th, so you only have until this Sunday to enter.  Last I checked there were only 4 comments, so you have a pretty good chance, so go enter!

kissimmee

Remember in my last post where I said that all of my posts I’ve written lately were in draft mode over on i.seekissimmee.com?  Well, if you head over there now, my first post has been published, so you’ll have about 10 more that will be published throughout the next week! Some of the posts you’ll see over there this week are for some pretty good places to eat, like Hawkers, Beaches & Cream, & Blue Bird Bake Shop.  You’ll also see my review of the musical dinner show the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, which is pretty spectacular, as well as things like the Boardwalk, Downtown Disney, shopping at The Loop & of course the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival.

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Other than that, not much else going on.  Been doodling a bit in my sketchbook & playing around with my logo character.  Tomorrow is my 1 month weigh in.  I’ve been trying my best to be a good girl and eat more veggies and smaller portion sizes.  My goal for the month was to hopefully be down -10lbs, so fingers crossed I can hit that in the morning.  As of week 3, I was down 7.7, so far, so we’ll see!  Well, until I post again…yak at ya y’all later & have a fabulous freakin’ weekend!!  

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#SorryNotSorry

LittleRainCloudImageHELLOOOOO??  Anybody out there?  I’d say sorry I haven’t posted for awhile, but I’m not. I had just realized I was spending way to much time on my computer, iPhone, iPad & whatever other technology based gadget I could get my hands on!  So much so, I wasn’t getting out and doing anything on the weekends because by the time I walked away from my computer or whatever I was using, my weekends were gone, which left me not feeling so great because I wasted so much time.  Recently, I banned all electronics to my office area, so if I want to be on the computer, I have to go to that room if I want to look something up, rather than having it attached to me from the time I get home from work until I go to bed.  I’ve noticed it’s helped me mix things up a bit.  Now I’ll come home, make dinner and then sit down and enjoy it while I watch a random episode of something on the t.v.  Then I’ll head to the office to do a quick check of things online and then since I’m in my office where I have all my art supplies, I’m more prone to playing around with my paints and brushes vs. starring at the computer screen, which I already do Mon.-Fri. from 9-6.

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I’ve also been trying to work on a few sketches and come up with some new ideas of things to paint.  You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to come up with ideas, but sometimes it my mind is as blank as my canvas when it comes to new ideas.  Kinda of like writers block, I guess.  Any of you out there have any ideas of things to paint that you may be interested in if they were in my shop?  Feel free to throw out some ideas!  I’m always game for a new challenge!

I am pretty excited that I have had a couple of sales over in my etsy shop over the past couple of weeks! I think I screamed when I got my first actual sale & then a week later I had a request for a custom painting!  Made my week!  I’ve even had some other e-mails for possible requests in the future….LOVE!  I’m my own worst critic & you have no idea how thrilled it makes me feel when someone likes my work!

Besides disconnecting from technology a bit & painting, I’ve also been busy blogging believe it or not.  Where are these posts, you ask?  Well, currently they are all saved in draft mode & will be published over on i.seekissimmee.com sometime in the coming week.  You’ll see me under the “Who’s Next” section if you go over to the website now.  I did the same thing last year and enjoyed it so much, I signed up a year ago for another crack at being their guest blogger for a week.  I love writing up all those posts, but man am I glad I’ve got them all done and out of the way.

Anyways, I just thought I’d pop my head in for a bit & let you know I’m still alive!  Just been too busy getting messy playing with my paints lately & enjoying it!  Well, I will do my best to write a little more regularly, but I can’t make any promises!  Have a great weekend y’all!

Hello, Spaghetti Squash! Goodbye, Pasta!

Spaghetti squash, in one word…Amazing!  I bet you’ve seen it in your produce section while grocery shopping & wondered…how do you even cook that stuff.  I know I did at first!  Thank goodness for the internet & a quick google search!  I first started cooking spaghetti squash several years ago, but for some reason I haven’t picked any up for a year or so.  Anyways, I was at the grocery store this past weekend & noticed that they had some nice small sized spaghetti squash, which was perfect, since I was only cooking it for myself.  They come in all sizes, so you can pick one up that will suffice for however many people you’re cooking for.

IMG_1590There are several different ways you can cook up your spaghetti sauce, so just go with whatever way is best for you.  I’ve baked it in the oven and used the microwave both and it comes out the same either way you cook it.  So, if you’re going to go the microwave route, like I do, you’ll want to poke it several times with a sharp nice all over!  This is a very important step, otherwise, your squash may explode & nobody wants to clean up the microwave after that mess!

IMG_1591Once you have poked your spaghetti squash all over, so it can vent while cooking, you’ll want to place it on top of two paper towels in your microwave & cook it for 10-12 minutes.  While that’s cooking, you can prepare whatever else you want to have with it.  I had picked up some chicken meatballs & had them baking in the over for 25 minutes, while I was doing everything else.  Next, I put some spaghetti sauce on the stove to heat up.  Then I thought some mushrooms cooked in a little garlic would be a good addition, so I got that started up on the stove.

IMG_1595Once the microwave goes off, you’ll want to get your squash out of the microwave.  Be careful, it’ll be steaming hot!  You can let it set for 5 minutes or so, if you like.  When you’re ready, you’ll want to use a sharp knife and cut it in half length wise.

IMG_1597Next, you’ll want to take a big spoon and scoop out all of the seeds in the middle.  It should only take you a couple of scoops & it comes out super easy.

IMG_1599Once you’re done scooping out the seeds….it’s time for the fun part!  Get yourself a fork and just start scraping from the sides, towards the center and you’ll quickly see why they call it spaghetti squash!  Just scrape until you’ve got it all out of the shell and put it in a bowl!

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IMG_1602See!  It looks just like spaghetti, only this is super healthy & very filling!  Just an FYI for those Weight Watchers people out there…this stuff is ZERO points, so eat up!  So once you’re all bowled up, add whatever toppings you’d like!  I chose chicken meatballs, mushrooms & spaghetti sauce & topped it all off with a little parmesan cheese!

IMG_1605Bon Appetit!

Goulash – It’s What’s For Dinner!

I don’t know about you, but I have a few comfort foods from my childhood that standout in my mind & my mom’s goulash is one of my favorites!  What’s even better…it’s one of the easiest meals there is and you can throw it all together within 20 minutes!  First off, I’ll start you off with the ingredients, so you can pick them up if you don’t happen to have them all on hand, but most likely you will. Even better, right?!

  • 1lb box of pasta (whatever shape and kind that you like)
  • 1lb of lean ground beef
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Dried Minced Onion or the real stuff if you prefer
  • 2 cans of tomato paste
  • Ketchup
  • BBQ Sauce

Alright, what you’ll want to do first is get yourself a big pasta pot full of water & then throw in a good amount of salt to get that water boiling faster and to flavor the pasta.  Don’t be shy on the salt…the majority of it will be going down the drain when you drain your pasta!

IMG_1551Next, you’ll want to get your your ground beef and break it all up in a skillet to brown.  While it is browning, put in a bit of salt and pepper to your liking, as well as a few sprinkles of dried minced onion for some good flavor.  Once your meat is all browned up and cooked through, you can drain off any excess grease if any and then you can set it aside.

IMG_1550Now, once your pasta is all good to go, get out a strainer and drain all of the water off the pasta.  You can let it sit in the strainer for a few minutes while you prepare the next step.

Next, you’ll want to open up your two cans of tomato paste and scoop both cans into the pot that you were just cooking the pasta in.  Once those cans are empty, fill them up with water and add to the pot.  You’ll probably want to use 3 to 4 cans of water depending on how thick or thin you want the sauce.  You’ll want to stir this on low to medium heat until it’s all nice and smooth and blended together.

IMG_1552Once the sauce is all ready, you can then stir in meat and the pasta and stir it all together really good.  Next, you’ll want to squirt in a good amount of ketchup & BBQ sauce.  Just keep stirring and tasting and adding in a little more of what ever flavor you prefer.  I prefer a little more BBQ sauce myself, but everyones tastes are different.

IMG_1553Now dish it into a bowl & enjoy!  See, I told you it was easy!

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Bon Appetit!

P.S.  Corn on the Cob & Cornbread go really well with this dish!

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Knock, knock….anyone still there?  Sorry I haven’t posted an actually written post for a couple weeks.  It’s been crazy on the work front, so by the time the evenings & weekends roll around I usually sit in a coma from all the craziness during the week.  This week has been one of the roughest weeks in a long time.

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The Ugly: – Crazy & chaotic changes at work that are just not well thought out.  One of those things where you’re just so overwhelmed by everything, you just want to cry in the morning when your alarm goes off.

The Bad: One of my closest friends from high school lost his 2.5 yr old little superhero this week.  He laid down for a nap on Monday & never woke up.  It’s been such a heartbreaking week with all of the posts on Facebook.  The amount of strength and pure faith I’ve seen from his posts this week has been simply amazing.  It was also pretty amazing that they had a “Celebration of Life” vs. a funeral.  They asked that everyone wear a superhero shirt or character shirt that a 2 year old would approve of and to please not wear black.  Hundreds of people posted pics this week of their character shirts or superhero capes that they were sporting that day in memory of little Grayden.  And even more people changed there profile pics to a superhero in honor of this precious little angel.  The support they received this week was just overwhelming.  I’m so grateful that they were surrounded with so much love this week.  Since I was unable to make the trip from Orlando to St. Louis to be there, I was grateful for all the pics that were posted and people that took video of the balloon release after the celebration.  I was glad I was able so see those little bits & pieces from afar.

Grayden.CollageThe Good:  In exactly 4 hours I’ll be picking up my parents from the Orlando International Airport!  Woo-Hoo!  After a week like this, I need a damn hug from my parents!  They are in town for my dad’s conference that lasts thru Wednesday afternoon, so they’ll be staying at the Disney Dolphin & Swan for the first part of the week & then they’ll be coming to my house until I have to take them back to the airport next Sunday.  Only plans we’ve got so far are dinner reservations at Disney’s Hoop De Doo Revue on Wednesday & then an airboat ride Thursday morning.  I’ll probably drag them up to the state park early Friday morning & show them all the manatees in the springs!  It’s an awesome site!  It’s been about a year since I was there last.

Manatees Galore at Blue Spring State Park

Since I’m a super awesome daughter…I went out this morning and rented a 2013 Dodge Dart for the week.  I only have an old 2-door car that I can’t run the A/C in or it sounds like it’s going to fall apart.  So, I opted to rent a four door car with A/C, because I know I hate climbing in and out of a 2-door car, so thought I’d make it easy on them.  It makes me nervous driving it though because they kind of make you feel really guilty if you opt out of insurance for the car, but it literally doubles the price, so I’ll just have to be super careful and hope everyone else on the road is too!

2013DodgeDartWell, that about wraps up my week…the good, the bad & the ugly.  With only two days of work next week & I took off the rest of the week…next week is going to be a whole lot better!  Have a great weekend!

Cutest Fairytale Photoshoot Ever!

Alright everyone!  Be prepared to be blown away by what I think is the cutest baby photoshoot EVER!  If you know me, you know I LOVE anything fairytale related, so I totally fell in love with these photos when I saw them!  What’s awesome is that these were taken of one of my high school classmates little girl, Maddie.  I’d be surprise if you haven’t seen these photos yet, as Miss Maddie has taken Pinterest by storm!  The photographer, Wendi Riggins, is based in my hometown of Burlington, IA & you can view more of her fabulous & oh so creative photos one her blog WendiRiggins.com. Anyways, I thought these were too adorable not to share, so, enjoy the photos from Wendi’s “Once Upon A Time” photoshoot!  Make sure to check out WendiRiggins.com for more photos!

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Maddie.PP2Maddie.Alice

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Maddie.The End

Super Simple Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing

OMG guys!  I pinned this recipe the other day while browsing Pinterest & now I’m so glad I did!  In one word….AMAZEBALLS!!!  This is the best AND easiest crockpot recipe I’ve ever made!  So, if you want to enjoy the first day of the new year & don’t feel like cooking, but still would like to woo your family with a delicious dinner…this recipe is for you!  Great thing is…it’s only 4 ingredients and you may already have them on hand!

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Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Breasts (Thawed)
  •  1 Box of Stove Top Stuffing Mix
  •  1/2 cup of Sour Cream
  • 1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1/4 c. water

The first thing you’ll want to do is place all four chicken breasts in the bottom of your crockpot.

IMG_1112Next, you’ll want to open up your box of stuffing mix and just dump it in the crockpot, right over the top of the chicken.

IMG_1113Step 3…mix your cream of chicken soup, 1/2 cup of sour cream & 1/4 cup of water in a bowl and simply dump it over the top!

IMG_1114Now all you have to do is put the lid on that puppy, set it to low and wait for four hours!  Super simple, right?!

Four hours later….

IMG_1119This was so freaking tender & moist!  You could just cut the chicken up with your fork.  Like I said…it was amazeballs!  Try it…you won’t regret it!  It’ll be a hit with the family & it’ll be one of those easy go to meals when you just want to throw something in the crockpot and go about your day without slaving over a hot stove & getting tons of dishes dirty!

Bon Appetit!

Veggie Cheese Soup…A Christmas Eve Tradition

Happy Christmas Eve!  Even though I don’t get to be at home with the family this year I still kept up tradition and made Veggie Cheese Soup.  It’s something our family has done for years!  Every Christmas Eve, we have Veggie Cheese Soup & sub sandwiches.  It nice knowing that even though I’m not sitting at the dining room table this year, I’m still eating the same thing as they are, so I’m there in spirit!  What are some of your family traditions?

Well, without further ado….I leave you with the recipe for my mom’s out of this world Veggie Cheese Soup!

Veggie Cheese Soup

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Onion

1 Cup of Celery

2.5 Cups of Diced Potatoes

1lb. bag of frozen California Mix Veggies

2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup

1lb. of Velveeta Cheese

Directions:  Put all veggies in a big pot and fill pot with just enough water to cover the veggies.  Cook until veggies are tender.  Add in 2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup & dice up a pound of Velveeta Cheese & put in the pot with the veggies.  Continuously stir until all cheese is melted.  You may want to turn the burner on medium to low heat so the cheese doesn’t burn.  Once all the cheese is melted, it’s ready to serve!

Bon Appetit!