Friday, April 24, 2009

New Header

After trying for a week to get a new header on my blog, it finally happened thanks to my wonderful friend Jeannie.  I told her very vaguely what I wanted and she came up with the perfect header.  To give you an idea, some of my adjectives to describe what I wanted was "more peachy".  Now you can see how talented she is because she got the perfect color from that description.  :)

Thanks again Jeannie!

Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice

I first made this recipe a few years ago.  I decided to pull it out again when I made the Mozzarella Chicken Ciabatta Sandwiches.  It is so easy to make and just tastes like summer.  This recipe is by Giada De Laurentiis.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice

Prep Time:  15 min.
Cook Time:  30 min.
Serves: 4


  • 1 cup Arborio rice (or other short-grain white rice)
  • 6 ripe but firm large tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan


Cook the rice in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, stirring periodically, until just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain. Rinse the rice under cold running water. Set the rice aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut a 1/2-inch thick slice off the top of each tomato; reserve the tomato tops. Cut and scoop the seeds, pulp, and juice from each tomato into a small bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup of the tomato juice and pulp.

Oil the bottom of an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Place the hollowed tomatoes in the prepared dish.

Toss the rice with the reserved tomato juice and pulp. Add garlic, basil, parsley, Parmesan, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and salt and pepper, to taste. Combine well.

Spoon the rice mixture into the hollowed tomatoes, mounding slightly. Sprinkle leftover stuffing on the bottom of the pan. Drizzle entire dish with olive oil. Place the reserved tomato slices atop the tomatoes. Bake until the rice is heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Review: Pure and Natural Soap

I've used shower gels for years and years.  I never thought I would make the switch to bar soap, but I have done just that.  In trying to lighten our footprint, I have been looking for ways to reduce the amount of plastic we buy and use.  Since I have little ones and we only have one bathroom with a tub/shower glass containers are out of the question.  

So, when I ran out of shower gel I headed to Target on a mission to find some soap that would moisturize and be as natural as possible.  Pure & Natural caught my eye first because of the recycleable packaging. When I saw that they had a grapefruit scent, I was sold.  It is paraben free, hypoallergenic, not tested on animals, and 99% natural (natural can be broad, so I don't put too much into this).  

I've used it for about a month now and I love it! It smells wonderful, but doesn't leave a scent on your skin.  It makes my skin so soft that I really don't have to use lotion everyday.  I would recommend buying this and giving it a try.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Great Find

I love when I find something that I like and it is a good price.  Last night while shopping for groceries and other needed items at Wal-Mart I decided to check out the jewelry section. I found this cute necklace, and the best part it was on clearance for $4.50!

I saw something very similar in the Boden catalog for about 8 times the price!

Monday, April 20, 2009

What do you think?

We went to Greenfield Village on Saturday. The weather was so great that I was able to wear a spring outfit.  I wore my red flower top from Old Navy that I posted about here. I've actually worn it a few times. I really like it and wish I would have ordered on in a solid color as well.

You can't see, but I wore it with cropped jeans and brown flats.  I felt really good in this outfit, which is a change.  

Only 28 More Days!

Only 28 more days and we'll be in Hershey, PA!  We were looking for a pre-summer getaway and decided we wanted somewhere where we could drive.  We are planning on hitting up Hershey Park, Crayola, and Dutch Wonderland.  

Anyone have any recommendations for Hershey or Pittsburg?  We'll be stopping in Pittsburg both ways and will have some extra time on our way back.

Baked Ziti

I'll admit, this is not the most healthy recipe, but it is so good!  I made this the first time for a potluck on New Years Eve.  I guess it is my signature dish now as everyone loved it.

I don't change a thing about this recipe. I found it on my favorite recipe site, All Recipes.  It was submitted by Colleen B. Smith.

Baked Ziti


  • 1 pound dry ziti pasta
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
  • 6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.

New Shoes!

I ordered these shoes on April 10th. They were shipped on April 14th. I called today to see where they were and after 30 minutes on the phone, talking to 5 different people I finally found out that they should have been delivered on Saturday, but will probably be delivered tomorrow.  Well, I guess my phone call promted something because 1 hour later a Post Office van pulled up to our house and delivered my shoes.

They are by Nicole and I got them at  They are so comfortable!  Now the only thing I need is warm weather.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Taking a step back in time...

(Baby B. is in the back seat)

Greenfield Village is open! I cannot tell you how excited I am for it to open its gates.  A lot of people do not understand my love of the Village.  It is a little getaway from the real world.   A collection of houses, stores, rides, and people that take you back about 100 years.  

If we were asked to live in the village for a summer, I think I would say yes.  The hardest part would probably be the no air conditioning on top of the fact that you have to cook on a wood stove for most of the day.  It would be an interesting experience.  

I took both kids to the Village today for our first visit of the season.  We rode the 100 year old Carroussel, a steam engine train, had a picnic, and enjoyed walking outside on a beautiful day.  Our plan to is to go back to the village tomorrow, all four of us. Since R. will be with us I'm sure we'll add frozen custard to that list and a ride in a Model-T.

I'm taking the plunge!

I ordered 3 cloth diapers this morning.  I've been thinking about the idea of cloth diapering B. for a while now.  I read a few articles about the chemicals in conventional disposable diapers and found the information eye opening to say the least.  So, I took to the Internet to do some research. Some research turned into 2 days of research.

When I posed the question to my husband, he was very open to the idea. I was surprised because I thought he would shoot down the idea before I could even give him any of my information that I had been collecting.  After a few more days of research I decided to order 1 Fuzzi Buns size medium, 1 Bum Genius 3.0,  and 1 Sposoeasy.  Now I am on to researching detergent for washing, bags for storing, liners, and inserts. Who knew cloth diapering could be so complicated.

In doing my research I have found just how discounted in real life we have become.  All of my information is coming from friends I have made in cyberspace or on websites.  I don't know a single person in real life that uses cloth diapers.  It's almost like a forgotten art.  I experienced the same thing when I first starting breastfeeding, but at the time I was too sleep deprived to even realize that I turned to cyberspace before I turned to a person in my every day life.  In a way I find this so sad because the art of mothering is no longer a family or neighborly duty, but rather a cyberspace experience that links women from around the country or even the world.  I feel so disconnected from local community but connected to people I have never even met.  Such a strange world we are living in for sure!

Anyway, my diapers should be in next week and hopefully I'll have some detergent to wash them in. I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Homemade Cliff Bars

I'll admit, I've never had a real Cliff bar. My husband started eating them a few months ago and he loves them. So, when my friend Laura posted a homemade cliff bar recipe I had to try it.  I used raisans as my dried fruit, but I think they would be great with almost any dried fruit. 

It seems like there won't be enough liquid to combine them into bars, so make sure you mix well and press them hard in the pan. Also, you may want to cool them in the fridge to make sure they are set well before cutting.  Cutting in to 12 bars is really small, so 8 bars.

Homemade Cliff Bars

1 1/4c Rice Krispies
1c quick-cook oats
3T flax seed meal
1/4c finely chopped, dried fruit (I increased to 1/2c)
1/4c finely chopped nuts
1/4c honey (or maple syrup or light molasses)
2T dark brown sugar
1/3c nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, soy nut)
1t vanilla extract

Combine cereal through nuts in a large bowl.
Bring honey and brown sugar to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in nut butter and vanilla.
Pour heated mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until coated. Press firmly into greased, 8" square pan. Allow to cool.
Cut into 12 bars. Wrap tightly in plastic and store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jeans, why don't you fit me?

Jeans, the item that brings me so much joy, yet so much confusion. Before I had kids I really only had one issue with jeans, length.  In high school and college I got most of my jeans from Lerner (which is now NY & Co.) because they had petites and I lived in an area that didn't have a lot of stores, like a Gap.  Being only 5'3" on a good day, regular length is just too long for flats.

Now that almost all stores carry petites it should be easy to find a jean that fits, right?  Wrong!  The jeans that seem to fit most of the time are from Gap and they are the Long and Lean.  They fit great in the leg, length is great, waist...not so much.  When I put them on, the waist fits great, throughout the day they seem to stretch or something and the waist band seems to roll over, it's hard to explain.  By the end of the day, they are saggy and uncomfortable.  I've tried Old Navy Sweetheart jeans and they are the worst!  The waist stretches out so bad.

I need help!  I know I like jeans that fit just below the waist, petite length,!  Do they even make jeans without a little stretch in the waist?  Is my sizing wrong? Do I need to go up, down?  Help!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Beef Stir Fry Recipe

I was looking for a recipe today to keep with our new eating habits and found a few that I liked. They merged into one, and it was really good!

1 package beef stripes
1/3 c. Stir Fry Sauce
1 TBS Wok Oil
1/2 c. Rice Sticks, boiled or fried
1/3 c. green onions
3/4 c. carrots
3/4 c. zucchini
3/4 c. broccoli

Marinate the meat for at least one hour in the Stir Fry sauce.  I did it for almost exactly one hour, but I think it would be better a little longer.
I served this meal with lettuce cups and brown rice.

Cut all the veggies to approximately the same size so they cook evenly.  Cook your rice sticks (takes about 10 minutes).  Warm the pan and pour in the Wok Oil.  Brown the meat in the stir fry sauce.  Poor in the veggies and cook until your desired tenderness. I put the lid on the pan for a few minutes to steam the veggies.
I was going to take a picture of the finished product, but it was gone before I thought of it.  It was good over rice or in the lettuce wraps.  

Macy's Monday at Henry Ford

Today was Macy's Second Monday at The Henry Ford Museum.  We try to go to this event each month.   April's theme was Easter and they had an "Egg Hunt" set up throughout the museum.  We met my friends Jamie and  Becky there with their kids.  All together it was 3 adults and 7 kids, which was a little crazy at times, but a lot of fun.   As you can see, we were able to meet the Easter bunny again, that makes 3 times. I think A. believes she is going to see the Easter bunny every day now.  

Walking through the museum A. and J. were holding hands like little sweethearts.  Isn't that so cute!

Easter Fun!

We had a great Easter weekend. We went to an egg hunt at the local high school on Saturday. It was windy, but still a lot of fun.   A. filled her little brother's basket before her own with eggs. What a sweet sister.

On Sunday we chose to go to an Easter brunch at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi.  I found out about the brunch when looking for Easter egg hunts and I'm so glad we went.  The food was really good and best of all the Easter bunny was there!  It was so nice to be able to eat and not worry about the cooking and cleaning.  We haven't traveled for Easter in a few years and it is so nice to be able to be at home for this holiday!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

Desk ReDesign

This is my new to me desk. Since our extra bedroom was turned into my son's nursery I have had no place to put my stuff.  I've been looking at desks online, in stores, on blogs and have found many I like. My only issue is that we hope to move next year to a house that better suits our needs.  My husband works from home and since the office became the nursery he was moved into the basement, but that's another post for another day.

Anyway, my friend Jenn suggested that I look on Freecycle.  After only a few days of membership a woman posted an old, but trustworthy desk.  I was so excited. My husband went and picked it up and although not totally my style, it was free and is big enough for my laptop and scrapbooking.

I'd like to paint it, but I'm not sure what color. Any ideas? I also need a chair, watching freecylce and Craigslist for that.

Lost and Found

One thing I always worry about when going anywhere with my daughter is that she is going to get lost.  I have this irrational fear that she is going to run around the corner and get lost.  

When we were planning our 1st trip to Walt Disney World in 2007, I stumbled upon a great message board for anyone who is Disney obsessed Disboards.  A poster on there suggested getting wristbands with your cell number on them.  

I found some on Spirit Bands for a reasonable price and you could order as many as you want in as many colors as you want.  They also have a "toddler" size which many other websites do not carry.  The toddler size fits my 2.5 year olds wrist and my .5 year olds ankle.  After 2 years and wearing them almost daily, my daughter still has 2 out of the 3.  

With summer approaching, I ordered her 2 new ones and my son 3 for the summer.  I have my cell number printed on them, but not their name.  It gives me a little piece of mind when we hit the amusement parks or the market.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Shoe

Spring Shoe
Originally uploaded by classicredesign
This year I have challenged myself to step out my nice comfortable box and try things I usually wouldn't. For the spring/summer I decided that I needed some fun, trendy shoes. For the last two summers I have lived in flip-flops. I know I'll still turn to my Crocs Capri shoes for trips to the park or a walk around the amusement park, but I hope to kick these work horses aside and go for a more fun flirty shoe for dinner dates or girls night out.

I got these shoes at JCPenney. They are very comfortable and easy to walk in, which I would have never guessed when I first saw them. They are in my color palate of pinks/yellows/turquoise that I wear in the summer. I didn't pay a lot for them, but I think they are really cute.

Recipes of the Week

I tried out two new recipes this week. Both are what I would consider "Blue Zone" and Green entrees.

The first one is Ratatouille.  I love eggplant, so I just went to AllRecipes and typed it in and this was the first recipe that came up that didn't have any meat in it.  This recipe was submitted by Lynette Marie and it passed the test. It makes A LOT, so I used a 2 1/2 quart baking dish and cooked it for 60 minutes.  I served it over brown rice. To be honest, it was better the next day for lunch, so make sure you make a little more brown rice than you'll need for dinner.  This follows the Blue Zone because it has all fresh plant based ingredients and no meat.  It can also be considered green if you went with all organic ingredients and it has no meat.

4 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes (took me 25)
Cook Time: 45 minutes (I did 60)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced into rings
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat bottom and sides of a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic until lightly browned. Mix in parsley and eggplant. Saute until eggplant is soft, about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
  3. Spread eggplant mixture evenly across bottom of prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Spread zucchini in an even layer over top. Lightly salt and sprinkle with a little more cheese. Continue layering in this fashion, with onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, and tomatoes, covering each layer with a sprinkling of salt and cheese.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

The second recipe is Mozzarella Chicken Ciabatta Sandwich.  This was excellent! I felt like we were in a restaurant and not in our dining room.  I found it on RecipeZaar which they found in Cooking Light Magazine.  This follows the Blue Zone because there really isn't that much chicken on each sandwich, it is more of a side than the focus of the meal.  Make sure you get the fresh basil for the sandwich because the flavor combinations are great! I also got fresh mozzarella rather than shredded, so it needed a little more time under the broiler.



  1. 1
    Combine pesto and mayo in a small bowl, stirring to blend.
  2. 2
    Sprinkle chicken with pepper and salt.
  3. 3
    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. 4
    Add chicken and cook until done.
  5. 5
    Remove and place on cutting board to cool slightly.
  6. 6
    Cut chicken lenghtwise into thin slices.
  7. 7
    Preheat broiler.
  8. 8
    Cut ciabatta in half horizontally.
  9. 9
    Place bread, cut sides up, on a baking sheet.
  10. 10
    Broil until lightly browned (please watch so bread doesn't burn!). Remove bread from pan.
  11. 11
    Spread pesto mixture evenly over cut sides of bread.
  12. 12
    Arrange the chicken slices evenly over bottom half.
  13. 13
    Top chicken evenly with basil leaves, and sprinkle cheese over top.
  14. 14
    Place bottom half on baking sheet and broil until cheese melts (watch it!).
  15. 15
    Arrange bell pepper and tomato over cheese and cover with top half of bread.
  16. 16
    Cut into 4 equal slices and serve immediately.

It seems like a lot of steps, but they just break it down for you.  I found the pesto in the ethnic food isle of the grocery store by the tomato sauces.

Try them out and let me know what you think!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I've decided that I need to come back to this blog. I've been feeling a lot better now that the sun is actually shining a few days a week here in Michigan.  I've been shopping and bought a few things, I'll update that in a new post.

I've also started a working out which I think has helped a lot. I've been doing Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred and it was very hard, but I got some quick results.  I'm currently looking for another DVD to try.  While I didn't lose 20 lbs as promised (I didn't really follow her diet plan though) I did lose inches and have been able to get into some clothes I haven't worn since before my daughter was born.  I'm still holding onto some weight which I think my body just won't let go of due to breastfeeding.

I'm also redesigning the way my family eats.  I've been reading books on organics and also about blue zones.  So, our first goal is to add in more organic foods and products, which we have been doing for a while now.  Our second goal is to cut down on eating meat.  We are going to try to eat meat only once a day and have one meatless day a week.  Wish us luck on this.

So, this blog is going to be changing a little.  I;m going to open it up to more areas than just fashion as we are redesigning many things around here these days.