Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas a little late

The days have been flying by this holiday.  We have all been sick, and we have been busy doing as much as we can while we are off.   We had a great holiday.  Jack got WAY too many toys (that he is not playing with), and we had a great time with family.

 Lenny is loving his new Bears jersey!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and a great New Years.  I'll be back in 2013!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Helping Newtown.....

So I have been away for a bit. I have had a bit of writers block, been super busy with work and the holidays.  I am also extremely sugared and cookied out, and with the events at Sandy Hook, I have not felt like posting on here.  But I am back and have been thinking of ways to do good at a time when so much awful has happened.    

So for this weekend all proceeds from sales on my Etsy shop will be donated to the Sandy Hook Support Fund.   Please spread the word.  This is a perfect time to pick up a print for your little one, and also help those that could really use it right now.

Check out some of my new and popular prints in my shop, Smitten Image.

Personalized Superhero in Training Print 8 x 10

Wild Things Print 8 x 10 Personalized Wall Art

Endloader Truck Print 8 x 10 children's construction, wall art

Have a great last weekend before Christmas and relax a little.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Snowball Cookies

One of my favorite memories from growing up is making holiday cookies with my mom.  We made all kids of Christmas cookies, painted ones, sprinkle name it. Now I just LOVE baking. And these little balls of butter, chocolate and pecans are a no brainer at the holidays.  It is..
 the snowball cookie
For me it's not Christmas without these simple little cookies
They are pefect to share at your work, holiday party or cookie swap....or they are perfect with a cup of cold milk. While you are sitting in front of the tree. Listening to your favorite Christmas tunes. Try them, and enjoy..

Snowballs (recipe courtesy of**
3/4 c butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBS water
1/8tsp salt
1/3 c sugar
1 1/2 c flour
1 c chocolate chips
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts (I choose pecans)
Powdered sugar, for dusting.
Cream butter, vanilla, water, sugar and salt. Add flour and mix well. Stir in chocolate and nuts.
Form into 1” balls. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Cool for a few minutes. Roll in powdered sugar (or "make it snow" on top of them) while still warm.
**I noticed that they tuned out way better when I chilled the dough for 10 minutes before baking, otherwise I had melted snowballs.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Creamy, Cozy Mushroom Risotto

I have been on this risotto kick lately.  I have never had it let alone made it until last week.  I decided to get out my Italian Cookbook last week and made a wonderful Asparagus Parmesan Risotto.  My husband and I instantly fell in love and so this is how my Mushroom Risotto came about.   Yes it involves a lot of stirring, it is not a recipe you can just set on the stove and walk away from.  But with all that love comes a wonderful simple meal perfect for two.  Enjoy!

(image courtesy of google images)

Mushroom Risotto  (adapted from Favorite Italian Cookbook)

5 1/2 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
fresh sprigs of thyme (or other favorite herb)
1 3/4 cups arborio rice
2/3 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups of diced mixed mushrooms of your choice (I used cremeni and button)
freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Bring broth to a boil and then turn down and let simmer

2. Heat olive oil and add onion, garlic and thyme and cook for 2-3 minutes

3. Add mushrooms and cook 2-3 minutes more. 

4. Add white wine and stir slowly until all the wine has been absorbed.  Next add broth to mushroom mixture 3/4 of a cup at a time.  Constantly stir until broth has been absorbed and then add next 3/4 cup.  Continue until all broth is gone and arborio is tender.*

*It is very important to keep stirring as this is the secret to a great risotto.

Plate and add salt, pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

(this tastes best with your favorite glass of wine!)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies

My Christmas baking has officially started.  I decided to start the season off with one of my favs...chocolate crinkle cookies.  I posted these 2 years ago on my blog and they such cute little pillows of fudgy delight that I wanted to post them again.  

This time, however, I decided to Christmas them up just a bit more by adding the smallest hint of peppermint.  These give them such a great little twist and go perfect with a tall cold glass of milk.  I know that Santa would go crazy over a plate of these cookies when he stops by your home. 

 This recipe is super easy, and best made while listening to Christmas carol's, watching the snow fall outside,  and drinking a glass of wine.  Enjoy.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Makes about 6 dozen cookies
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)

In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture.  Add peppermint extract and combine.  Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls with lightly oiled palms. Coat each ball in confectioners’ sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets. (I also rolled some in Christmas sprinkles!)

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Things I love...Christmas Cookies

The second Thanksgiving is over I am thinking, "Christmas Cookies".  If I didnt' have to worry about my figure, I would make Christmas Cookies everyday. It's one of my favorite parts of the season, and I thought I would share a few of my favorite cookie recipes with you.  All are so festive and perfect for that holiday cookie swap you have to go to.

 Chocolate & Peppermint Covered Shortbread


I would love to hear what your fav's are in the comments.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless(ish) Wednesday..and a Winner

I take so many pictures of Jack, that I sometimes forget about my first born Lenny.  We finally got him still enough to take a picture. 

Congrats also to #116, Anne Molino who has won the Oceanside Designs giveaway!  Anne, I will be contacting you via email!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Great holiday flavors without the calories!

I love this time of year.  I love the lights, the colors, the cold weather, the Christmas music and the happy feelings around the holidays.  I also love all the holiday cookies and dips and desserts.  That seems to be the best part for a lot of us right?  Unfortunately, you can’t eat all the time :( But there is a way to keep your lips feeling festive and flavorful this holiday, without the calories: new ChapStick Seasonal Varieties.
chapstick holiday flavors chocolate truffle candy cane apple cider
Available now through the holidays, ChapStick has brought back the ever popular Candy Cane flavor, as well as two new varieities: Chocolate Truffle and Apple Cider. The first thing I did when I received my holiday gift pack from Chap Stick was open the chocolate flavor. ...... I wasn't disappointed!!!!
Because these new ChapSticks are so affordable (suggested retail is $1-2), they are a truly multi-purpose gift. They are perfect stocking stuffers, holiday party favors, or as a Secret Santa gift for a friend or co-worker.  Everyone wants to keep their lips soft and safe in this cold weather and Chap Stick makes it so much fun!

chapstick cheerful lips kit gift target spearmint cherry strawberry
Another fun product from ChapStick this season is the Cheerful Lips Kit available exclusively at Target. Priced at $4.99, this adorable, reusable tin comes in three choices of designs, and each includes three Classic ChapStick flavors: Cherry, Strawberry, and Spearmint. This is the perfect little gift for coworkers, friends, teachers, and family. You can find them in the seasonal aisle at Target!
Be sure to follow ChapStick on Facebook to stay up-to-date on their newest products and promotions and check out the full line of ChapStick products, as well as find retailers online and near you on their website here.



I think I've had more than enough turkey after this weekend...I feel like all I did is eat.  However there is one turkey I will never have enough of...

Don't miss out!

My giveaway with Oceanside Creations ends tonight!  Don't miss out on your chance to win 2 personalized ornaments or a set of coasters, both perfect for the holidays!!!

Enter HERE!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Enter to win $25 credit to my Etsy shop!

So one of the many blogs I love is hosting a giveaway for my Etsy Shop, Smitten Image! 

733blog have so many creative ideas, I think you should check out her blog, AND enter to win a $25 credit to my shop.

Check it out HERE

Monday, November 19, 2012

Oceanside Designs personalized ornament giveaway!

I love holiday shopping.  I love deals and I love buying gifts for people (and myself).  What I love more is shopping for the holidays on my couch.  Etsy is one of my favorite places to shop for anytime, and Oceanside Designs is the perfect place to shop for everyone on your holiday list!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A New Winner

I have good news and bad news...the bad first...our winner of Jen's Wreaths never contacted me.

The good news?  A new winner!

#155  Mari Bolte you are the new winner!

Please email me at to claim the prize within 24 hours!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Loves and a Winner!

Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday.   I love the food, I love the time of year, I love being with family, and I love the fact that is means the holiday season has begun.  I also love that my birthday is on Thanksgiving this year.  I thought I would share some great Thanksgiving finds from Pinterest with you all.  These would be perfect additions to your celebration!  

And speaking of celebration, we have a winner of Jen's Wreaths!  

....#87 Rachel Travis, you are the winner!  
Please email me at to claim the prize!  

So take a look at my Thanksgiving finds, and have a great weekend!  

And of course I have to add my son's project from "school" this week....what a cute idea!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

An extremely late Wordless(ish) Wednesday

So I just realized that I never shared a picture of Jack on's about time.
Here's the cutest little Buzz Lightyear I know.
Have a great Wednesday.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jen's Wreath Giveaway!

The holidays are going to be here before you know it...I can't even belive Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away! Well this is the perfect time to start looking for that perfect addition to your holiday decorations. A fresh pine door wreath from Jen's Wreaths!

These fresh wreaths from Minnesota will greet you with the scrumptious scent of fresh pine. And they are all beautiful.Their company has grown so much that they now also offer centerpieces, ornaments and swag decorations. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fill it is back!

Wow.  It's been a while since I did these, but it's good to be back.  Please join me and others at the little things we do and have a great weekend!

1.  I like   peppermint mochas, cranberries, pecan pie and stuffing  (can you tell my mind is on Thanksgiving?)  .

2.  A life goal of mine is  to raise a kind, loving, hard working son.    .

3.  The last thing you would ever expect me to like (even though I secretly do) is   classical music.  It is so relaxing after  a long day .

4. Some wise words that I love are   what goes around comes around...may not be "wise" but I love them.  .

5. Most mornings you will find me  in my car on my way to work drinking my coffee. I love my morning's my alone time .

6. Right now I am super into  the Voice.  I don't know why, but I love that show! 

7.  Right now I am super over  the election and being tired  .

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Perfect Addition.....Alphabet Photography

I love personalized art.  I think it adds the perfect touch to any home or office, and it's something that can be such a great piece to keep, or pass down in a family. 
That's why Alphabet Photography art pieces offer the perfect accent for your home, or office, and will make the perfect gift this holiday season.

I was so happy to be able to write a post on Alphabet Photography courtesy of  The SITS Girls.

We thought about what we should put up, and thought about ordering "Chicago" as an image. But then we thought our last name would make the perfect addition to our home.

This unique form of alphabet art is the process of photographing everyday objects that resemble letters of the alphabet, then arranging the photographs in a collage to create any name or word. Alphabet Photography Inc. is the original and leading company in the letter art industry, and boasts the largest collection of photographs collected from around the world. Each official Alphabet® Photography art piece is hand crafted, high quality, and truly original. It’s valued at $169.95 with a 3” solid wood frame with a dark Chocolate finish accented with gold leaf. The frame is matted with a museum quality double mat with a V groove. It is hand signed and dated by the artist.  Everyone that has seen this has commented how amazing it looks!
The perfect customized gift that includes photographs from all over the world, this is the original Alphabet Photography. Celebrity owners include: Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate, Tyra Banks, Ryan Seacrest, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, John Schneider, Nelly Furtado, and many more.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Alphabet Photography. The opinions and text are all mine.
What would your word be?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The comeback....


I don't like candy corn...and actually I don't know many people that do.  I think that in the past 20 years or so this once popular candy has been pushed to the side by things like Snickers, M&M's and Laffy Taffy.  But I was thinking maybe I am being a bit too hard on this little Halloween treat and that maybe I would give it another try.  So I did some searching. 

What I found are endless ways to use this sugary treat.  I even plan to try a few this week...candy corn may be making a comeback and may just win over this family.  Take a look at the following ways in which candy corn is used and see if you can bring this lost little candy back into your life.

Candy Corn Oreo Stuffed White Chocolate Chip Cookies


Candy Corn Sugar Cookie Bites | Forgiving Martha for Camille Styles

Enough Sugar?  My head hurts just from looking at the pictures!  Enjoy your Tuesday and enjoy these recipes.