Friday, February 28

Introducing, the four-legged McEwens!

I've had a few requests to do a post featuring the four-legged McEwens. How could I say "no"? Just look at these faces!

We are a family of six. I write a lot about Super Hunk and Little Man but there are three more characters that fill my day with dirt and drool (besides Little Man).

Introducing..."Old Man"!

He's our 15-ish year old Border Collie (he's been 15 for a few years now, we're terrible at math). Super Hunk had him when we met...I confess, Old Man is one of the many reasons I love Super Hunk. Every family needs an old soul, the wise one that sits back and soaks it all in. People say Old Man has Super Hunk's personality, maybe that's why I adore him so.

There are times he has an extra pep in his step. Those are the days when we protect our shins because he's a maniac about a Frisbee. You've never witnessed Frisbee Doggie Cirque Du Soleil like this...he has mad skills.

Old Man is the leader...which, given his age and indifference towards the rules, is not always a good thing! But we are still crazy about him!

Presenting...."Dall" (we also refer to her as "Princess")!

Dall is a complicated K-9, some would refer to her as a "hot mess"! Super Hunk had Old Man when we met and I had Dall. I got her when she was 8 weeks old from an Australian Shepherd breeder. It wasn't long before I realized, her Mom had been naughty with the Milkman! Mixed mutt or not, she is a blend of "lay at your feet" and "spazoid". People say she has my personality, I'm not sure that's a compliment. :-)

Although she's grown to appreciate the thrill of a flying Frisbee, a tennis ball is her old trusty...again...and again...and again...and whoosh, I'm tired!

We attempted agility classes, assuming she'd burn off some of that ball energy. Running around crazy? No! She was more interested in visiting with other dogs.

 Let's face it, she'd rather be sitting in your lap, licking your face. Again, people say she's just like me (minus the lap and licking part).

One day, a little boy came along and threatened her position on the throne. As a good Princess does, she stayed confident in her position and rose to the occasion. She's now Mother Bear and Little Man's BFF! I think we'll keep her!

Last, but definitely not least...."Littles"!

Littles came a year after Super Hunk and I got married. We completed the family by having "his, mine & ours". She was found by a dear friend, cowering under a beer truck at a local gas station (we almost named her "Boozer"). The plan was to foster her until we located a perfect home, unbeknownst to us...she had already put down roots! Napping on Super Hunk's chest didn't help matters much!

We have no idea what breed she is (mini-something) but we don't care. She's quirky, loving and low-maintenance. All the things I look for in a companion! Besides her quirky personality (and the need to herd anything that moves), she's missing an upper K-9 tooth. The absence of said tooth occasionally causes a hair-lip and partial tongue exposure (as illustrated in the photos above). Again, we love her in spite of her quirks!

Once again, we tried agility classes. All these herding dogs with endless amounts of energy, what would you do? Littles was much better than Dall. As stated above, she has a freakish need to herd...agility was a good outlet for her!

She's also extremely camera shy!

At the end of the day, after all the running...herding...running...herding, she crashes. This is when I like her best...she's a pretty good snuggler!

There you have it, our four-legged kiddos in all their glory! Do me a favor, don't tell them they're dogs and not humans...I haven't had the heart to break it to them! :-)

(The identity of above referenced dogs have been protected and they are only referred to by nickname...we wouldn't actually name a dog "Littles".)

This post is dedicated to Wrigley.
Your family will always hold your place at the water bowl.

Thursday, February 27

Tomato Basil Cheese Bread

This recipe is a little random...randomly delicious!

Much like my brain, my cooking is occasionally all over the place. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

I recently used 1/2 loaf of French bread for French toast. I prefer French bread for a number of reasons, crunchy edges, slice thickness, spongy texture soaks up all the egg goodness. Let's face it, French bread = French toast. Wheat bread = French toast just doesn't have the same ring to it!

I digress...

I hate to waste food, I'll save you the "there are starving children in the world" speech...but there ARE. Thus, I hate to waste food.

Having rambled on and on, I'll get to the tomato - basil - cheese - point. We were having pasta for dinner the other night and what would a carb-loaded meal be without more carbs, right?

I repurposed the remaining 1/2 loaf of French bread and this creation was born!

Tomato Basil Cheese Bread
Yields: 1/2 loaf (If you have a full loaf, double the recipe)

1/2 loaf French bread
4 tablespoons room temperature butter
2 tablespoons basil pesto (in jar)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 roma tomato
1 1/2 teaspoon sliced green onion

Slice loaf in half horizontally and place on baking sheet.

Butter both sides (2 tablespoons per side. Feel free to use more or less, depending on your love of butter. BUTTER FOR PRESIDENT!).

Mix pesto, mayo & mozzarella in small mixing bowl.

Spread 1/2 mixture on each side of bread.

Thinly slice tomato and lay slices on paper towel. Gently pat dry. (This photo was prior to the patting dry process!)

Lay slices on cheese mixture.

Sprinkle parmesan cheese over tomato slices.

Sprinkle with sliced green onions and bake in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. 

Slice and serve. (Tip: Don't use a serated knife when slicing, it mangles the cheese topping. Nobody likes mangled cheese...well, mangled anything!)

The perfect addition to any meal! (If you and your waistline love bread as much as I do, this is a meal by itself!)

Side note: I know there's a whole group of white bread haters out there but I say "everything in moderation!" Enjoy!

Curiosity killed the cat! Poor cat!

Growing up, I was never around cats. We had a herd of barn cats but I learned to not get attached...if you know what I mean! Poor cat! Happy owl!

(I promise I'm not dead inside! Accepting the circle of life is a little easier as an adult.)

The one thing I do know about cats is their fascination with anything NEW.  Inspection of any unfamiliar object is involuntary. The same inherent curiosity is what caused the demise of their infamous buddy ("Curiosity killed the cat"...poor cat).

As I sit, having my first cup of coffee (still trying to convince the muscles in my eyelids to cooperate), I realize I haven't been crawled on in at least 10 minutes (by my son, not a cat).

Little Man has discovered something much more captivating.

I purchased this chair at a local antique store for a charity project I'm working on. I had no idea it would be a $10 playground!



(Don't panic, he was being closely monitored. My eyelids were fully engaged by this point!)

(Where there's sitting, there's cars. I'm confident it's in the boy handbook!)

And back down again!
(Such a great dismount, it must be his cat-like reflexes.)

Whoosh, what a lovely 10 minutes! His cat curiosity has transformed into disinterest...look out, here he comes!

Have a great day, full of cautious curiosity!

Bargains make me pleased as punch!

(photo from

I'm a bargain shopper from way back. In fact, I'm from a long (really long) line of bargain shoppers! I'm talking, hineys in the air....fully committed to dig through that clearance bin...bargain shoppers.

Most bargain shoppers go through the couponing phase. I never had a binder, but don't let that fool you...I was serious with a pair of scissors!

While I still appreciate the value of a good coupon, I obsess less. Yes, I realized it had become an obsession when I considered digging through a dumpster for circulars.

Notice I said "considered"!

The Queen of Bargains (my Mom, who is also the Grammar Queen...she is multi-fabulous) called one day and told me she had been to a new grocery store in her area. Aldi had just moved to our area as well so I was anxious to try it.

My first trip, I left with two weeks of groceries for $130! Needless to say, The bargain lover in me was pleased as punch (I love punch).

I won't deceive you, it's a BASIC store and their products aren't always consistent. On a regular day, they have 75% of my grocery list. I love paying $1.19 for a dozen eggs, so I'll go to The Wal-Marts (aka: Wal-Mart) for the other 25%.

For instance, I stopped for a few items while in town the other day.

I purchased a gallon of milk, six roma tomatoes, 3 bell peppers, jicama, and a chocolate treat for $5.24! You heard me, $5.24 (and the chocolate treat was a gift...sweet score)!

This is not an advertisement for Aldi. It is, however, a public service announcement! I would want you to share the same kind of bargain with me, it's what friends do! Right?

Thank you for letting me share, I hope you'll become an Aldi fan (just not on Saturdays, it's madness in there)!

Here's to bargain shoppers everywhere!!

Visit their website to find an Aldi near you (don't forget to check out their sale circular).

Wednesday, February 26

She's four...and she's crafty!

I recently read this article and instantly knew I had to share. I'm raising a boy, a world full of toy cars and rocks in the pockets. While I cherish every moment, I sometimes daydream about baby dolls and dress up (then I'm brought back to reality by a Tonka truck to the shin). 



By Llana Wiles (The Huffington Post)

I started following @2sisters_angie a little over a year ago. Back then she was posting the typical stuff you see from moms on Instagram -- pics of her daughter at the park, pics of her daughter eating breakfast and lots of photos of her daughter playing dress-up.
You know, the same stuff I post.
Then, about nine months ago, Angie's feed started to change. It became clear Angie's daughter (she calls her "Mayhem") was more interested in fashion than the average 4-year-old. Mayhem shunned her store-bought princess dresses and started wrapping herself with scarves and sheets creating her own styles.
Then one day Angie got tired of finding her clothes in Mayhem's toy box and suggested they make a dress out of paper. Mayhem loved the idea and they haven't stopped creating paper dresses since.
I've been continually amazed every time Angie's pictures pop up in my feed. The dresses started like this:
And over the last few months, I've watched them evolve to this:
Having a 4-year-old daughter of my own, whose biggest fashion moment was putting a red bow around the waist of her green Super Soccer Stars t-shirt and calling herself "Peter Pan," I had a few questions for Angie. Namely...
How much is done by you and how much is done by your daughter?
The ideas are pretty much a 50/50 split, but Mayhem constructs a lot more than most people would probably believe. That's one of the best things about this project, I see her learning new skills every single day. At this point, she knows exactly how many sheets of construction paper she needs to make herself a top and a bottom. She can lay the entire thing out and tape it together all by herself. Definitely, the more complex designs have more of my time invested, but she's literally always beside me learning something new if she's not tearing or taping or gluing while I am.
Do you have an example of a dress she constructed on her own?
She made the dress below entirely by herself. I wasn't even home and she couldn't wait to show it to me and have me photograph it.
Are all the dresses made of paper?
Most of the time. We use a lot of construction paper, but we also use tissue paper, wrapping paper, and gift bags. We have also used silk scarves, tulle, and aluminum foil. Basically, if we can find it laying around the house and it's pliable, it's fair game. Clear packing tape and glue are our adhesives of choice.
1643876 1643876 1643876
Where does she find her inspiration? Is she watching runway shows and award shows?
We pull inspiration from wherever we go. The shark dress, for example, came as a direct result of her first visit to an aquarium.
She also gets a lot of ideas from shows that she watches or books we read, like Minnie Mouse, My Little Pony and Elsa from "Frozen."
1643876 1643876 1643876
Sometimes I'll Google images the day after award shows, so she can see the dresses worn on the red carpet and pick which ones she wants to make.
1643876 1643876 1643876 1643876
We also leave a tab open on our iPad with a search for "project runway dresses" so that we can quickly reference those as well. She's never actually seen an episode of Project Runway, but I did show her a clip one time explaining that there is a show all about making dresses and I thought she might hyperventilate.
1643876 1643876 1643876
Have you always been crafty? Were you a fashion designer in any sense before this started? No and no. I actually don't consider myself to be the least bit crafty. Don't ask me to build something out of popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners ... you'll be incredibly disappointed! Cutting and taping paper is about all we do. And the most ironic part of this whole project is that I am literally the least fashionable person you will ever meet. In reality, I know nothing about fashion and cannot sew a straight line to save my life. A friend suggested I could start sewing these creations from scraps of fabric and I laughed at her. I'll take paper and tape any day over getting anywhere near a sewing machine!
Do you think this is going to be a lifelong interest for Mayhem?
After we made our first paper dress, Mayhem requested another the very next day. Then another the day after that. And no one is more surprised than I am, that she still wants to make them nearly 9 months later. I have no idea if it will continue, but as long as she wants to make them, we'll keep doing it.

(Original article found at by Llana Wiles)