Monday, April 30, 2012

Family Weekend

I just got back from a fun weekend in Minnesota and boy am I tired!  Jeff plays lacrosse for the Minnesota Swarm and this weekend was their last home game before playoffs start!  The team arranged some activities for all the family members that came out which was really nice!  

Last year, Jeff played in Toronto which is very close to home for him.  They won the Championship game in May and everything was great!  

Then in September, as I was relaxing on the last day of my Hawaiian vacation with some girlfriends, I get a call saying he had been traded.  To Minnesota!  

I was sad for Jeff because Toronto was the only team he has played for, and they just won it all and  now he would no longer be part of that team.  And since Pittsburgh is a lot closer to Toronto than Minnesota, I got to go to most of his games before.  Not anymore!  And I know he had to be bummed, but its a business and no one stays on the same team forever!  

So off he went to Minnesota.  Flying back and forth every week!  In Toronto, there were a lot of older guys, most were married with kids.  In Minnesota, it was a much younger team with only one other guy being married.  So Jeff got to take on more of a leadership role and was a veteran on the team.  That was great for him, and he got to be the Assistant Captain quite a few times (they change them every game)!

I have gone out to Minnesota only one other time this year, so I was excited about going out for Family Weekend.  I flew out Friday, rented a car and went to the hotel to take a quick nap because I was tired from my early morning.  

That night, a bus picked us all up at the hotel and we went to pick the guys up from their practice.  We then went to a banquet and dinner.  After we ate, they gave out awards and Jeff won 3 awards!  He won for Most loose balls, Most forced turnovers and Defensive Player of the Year!  It was so nice to see him recognized for all those things because when you are on defense, you don't get noticed like the offense does!  

Here we are at the end of the banquet.

 Yes... I painted my nails yellow and blue!  Swarm colors!!

The next morning, bright and early (6:45!) all the ladies got on a bus and headed to the spa for breakfast and services!  We got to choose between a facial, massage, manicure and pedicure.  Then everyone got their hair done!  We were supposed to get our makeup done... but that never happened?!  Not sure why, but there were so many of us that we would have been there forever if we had that done too!  

I got a facial.  I had never had one before, and I figured if I was getting something done for free, I wanted to try something that I had never done before!  I figured it might be a quick little facial, but no!  It was a nice hour long facial/massage!  Oh my gosh... I LOVED it!  I already told Jeff that I will probably have to have more done!  :-)  

Most of the morning appointments were taken up by our group, but there were a few other customers there and they probably hated us!  We were a bit loud for the relaxation room of the spa!  Oh well... it's the official salon and spa for the team (the cheerleaders mainly, but they always give away a gift certificate at every game) so I'm sure they weren't too mad... after all, they probably made a ton of money from all the ladies there (the team paid for everything for us... even the tips!  So nice!!).

Then, it was a quick lunch and nap after we got back and then off to the game!  Our bus took us under the stadium and dropped us off where the players get dropped off!  Pretty cool... I have never been driven under a stadium before!

Then, we made our way up to out suite!

All the family went down on the floor to high five the players as they were announced.  Again... pretty cool since I have never done that before!!

Oh yea... I did a quick wardrobe change since I finally got a Swarm t shirt!

The Swarm always plays the song Warriors by Santiago x The Natural, and they came to perform it at the beginning of the game!  So cool!  You can buy their song on iTunes!!  I did :-)  

And I got my picture with them after we left the floor!  Really nice guys!

View from our suite.  

There's my boy on the floor!!  

Now I know the next picture is all blurry and weird, but it was one of his teammate's daughters birthday so they put us on the jumbo-tron and if you look closely, you can see me right above "Happy" holding up my camera.  The girl turned 5 so it was so cool for her to hear them announce that it was her birthday and to see us up there on the jumbo-tron!

Yay!  They won.... 16-13!  They beat Colorado, and now next weekend the Swarm will head to Colorado for the first round of the playoffs.  So let's hope they can pull out another win!  The game will be on the CBS Sports Channel at 7:30pm Eastern time Saturday in case anyone wants to watch and cheer on the Swarm!

After the game, all the guys signed autographs for the fans.  It's so fun to see these kids (and adults!) so happy that my husband signed something for them!  

Then it was finally MY turn for a picture with my hunny!  

Then, we headed out to celebrate the win!  

Then, I had to leave Sunday.  Luckily my flight wasn't until 2pm so I got to sleep in!  

It was such a nice weekend and the Swarm owners were so kind to all of us.  It's nice to be part of an organization that really cares about their players and families!  The last team he was on didn't even have a banquet when they won the whole championship!  

I am glad to have today to rest because we were on the go all weekend long!  

Sadly... I didn't go to the Mall of America!  I saw it twice, but I didn't have a ton of time and I only had a carry on that was pretty full already, so I didn't want to buy too much.  Oh well... maybe next time because I do love to shop!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mixed Berry Muffins

Have you ever used these Yankee Candle tarts?!  They are amazing!  Since I don't like to have a candle burning in the house, these tarts are the perfect alternative.  The warmer is electric, so you never have to remember to blow the flame out before bed.  Believe me... I know because I have left mine on overnight many times!  These come in so many scents too.  Tonight I am enjoying Lemon Lavender.  Mmm!  Love.  

I am also working on my honeymoon scrapbook.  You know... only 6 months after we got back!  I don't know why I have put it off for so long, but I am working on it now.  I just ran out of scrapbook paper, so I will have to get some more at the store soon.  I haven't even started my wedding scrapbook.  So I am doing things a little backwards and late.  But better late than never!  Once I get into the mood to scrapbook... I am on a roll and I could scrapbook all night!  

I always feel like I have SO much stuff going on when I get all my scrapbooking materials out.  

Materials I can't scrapbook without: a wide variety of scrapbook paper, letters and other stickers, my paper/photo cutter, scissors, tape/stickers for pictures and my Sharpies.

Is there anything you use for scrapbooking that I didn't mention?!  Let me know!!

I hate that I have SO many letters, and some sheets are only the letters that I don't use so much.  You know you always run out of the vowels, S, T, R, H, and N just to name a few!  But I never want to throw them out just incase I can use them for a word or name in the future!!  

Love all my different colored Sharpies!!

Oh yeah, and I also made Mixed Berry Muffins today!  They are so yummy and easy to make!  

Mixed Berry Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup berries, cut into small pieces; strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries (I used strawberries and blueberries)  
  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  
  3. Add oil, sour cream, milk, eggs and vanilla to flour mixture.  
  4. Mix until just combined.
  5. Gently stir in cut up berries.  
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups.  
  7. Bake approximately 20 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.  


Saturday, April 21, 2012

DIY- Heart String Art

If you aren't already on Pinterest, you should be!  It basically is a virtual bulletin board.  "Pinterest lets you organize and share all beautiful things you find on the web.  People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes."  -Pinterest

Check out my Pinterest here.  I have all kinds of desserts and food, crafts and DIY projects, beautiful things for the home, party planning ideas and much more on mine.  It also is a great place to get all kinds of ideas for the holidays.  

I found one of these string art projects on there and had to try one myself!  There are unlimited options for making one.  You could make one for a kids room, holiday decoration, or an initial.  A week or so ago, it was my 6 month wedding anniversary, so I wanted to make one that included our wedding date.  So I made a heart and then used a black Sharpie to write our wedding date.  

I found this wooden plaque and string at Michael's.

 I painted it blue and let it dry completely.

Once I decided that I wanted a heart shape, I cut it out of paper and taped it onto the board to show me where to hammer the nails.  I put each nail about 1/2 inch away from each other.  

After I had all the nails in, I removed the paper and started looping the string around the nails.  I went around the heart once and then did a random pattern.  I had to push the string down in some spots where I looped it around that nail multiple times.  

I was going to paint the date on the plaque, but decided that I didn't have a brush that was fine enough.  So I used a black Sharpie marker instead.  I used my KopyKake so that I could use a particular font.  But you can use a stencil and paint or free hand it... whatever works for you!  

I love all the ideas I get from Pinterest.  It is quite addicting and when I get on there, I will sometimes be on for a very long time!  But I love making things I see on there.  I joke that I am going to make so many things that I run out of room to keep them all!  But I love it.  

Are you on Pinterest?!  If so, what fun things have you seen on there that you have made or wanted to?!  

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fast and Easy Mozzarella Sticks & A Roadtrip With The Dog

Hi there!  Last weekend my hubby had to go away for work, and I was headed back to PA after Easter.  Bailey was going to have to go to a kennel for the weekend and neither of us wanted her to go there.  After all, she was a rescue dog and was so sad when she was in the shelter.  She is such a happy dog when shes with us and we didn't want her to think she was going back to the shelter... even if it was just for the weekend.  I think I am turning into a very protective dog Mama!  Haha.  I'm a little crazy...

So I decided I would just bring her home to Pittsburgh with me.  I wasn't too sure if I would even be able to do this since we would be driving over the border.  But after some online research and talking to someone who had done the same thing, I realized I should have no problem taking her with me.  I "doggie proofed" my car.  I put towels down and then put a sheet over the whole back seat.  I wasn't really too worried about my seats getting ruined, but I just wanted to make a nice little cozy place for her back there.  Her smaller bed went back there too.  And of course some toys!

We headed out on our 7 hour drive.  Bailey was really good in the car.  I was a little unsure about how often I would need to stop for her to stretch and go to the bathroom.  So on the way down, we stopped 3 times.  She didn't go to the bathroom once.  I guess she was a little nervous about the long drive.  

The first half of the drive she moved around a lot.  She wasn't too sure what she should do, but started to relax half way through and just laid down and slept most of the way home.  

When I looked back and she was sleeping like this, oh my... My little heart just melted.  She looked so cute!  I know... some of you may be thinking I sound crazy talking like this about a dog, but I don't have kids so she's my baby!

We have to drive on the turnpike for a good hour and a half or two hours.  As soon as you get off, there is a rest stop.  With these "No Pets" signs all over the place.  It was the only rest stop for a couple hours and you can't let your dog out?!  I don't think so...  I parked right in front of the sign and took her out for a walk.  As long as you clean up after your dog and they are on a leash I see no reason for not letting pets get out of the car.  Oh well.  

Once we got off the highway, I was able to open the window because she LOVES sticking her head out of the window.  She probably stood there for the last hour of the drive!  Haha.  You can notice all the drool marks on the window!

Ahhh... finally we got home!  I live out in the country so there were a lot of other animals for Bailey to see and try to chase.  She was on a leash but that didn't stop her from trying to get all the horses!  Here she is barking at the horses going down the road.  

Bailey's favorite thing... trying to catch the birds at the bird feeder!

And her big stick she found... and loved!

We always say that she gets this from me, or that from the hubby.  Well... she hates getting her picture taken just like her dad!  I guess who can blame a dog though... they don't have a clue about pictures!

She loves to jump up on the door when she wants to come inside.  It's so cute!

We made it back to Canada safe and sound a few days later.  She loved having so much room to run in the country though!  And she slept pretty much the whole ride home!  Sorry... I know that was A  LOT of dog pictures!  :-)  

Now for the food....

These Mozzarella sticks are SO easy and fast to make!  And they are only a few ingredients.  

Mozzarella Sticks

  • 4 string cheese
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Dash of Paprika
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 can pizza sauce, or tomato sauce of your choice
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Cut the string cheeses in half.
  2. Place bread crumbs and spices in a bowl, mix.  And the egg in another bowl.
  3. Heat a frying pan over medium heat.  Pour the oil in so that it just covers to bottom of the pan.
  4. Dip the cheese sticks in the egg mixture, and then the bread crumb mixture to coat.  Repeat a second time if you like.  
  5. Heat pizza sauce or tomato sauce until hot.  
  6. Fry the mozzarella sticks until golden brown on all sides and remove from pan immediately.
  7. Serve the mozzarella sticks with the sauce while still hot.  
  8. Enjoy!

So delicious and these take 10 minutes or less to make!  This recipe is very easy to double or triple too!  This is such an easy appetizer to make.  We gobbled these up pretty quickly and you will too!