a year in photos 2011

We had an amazing 2011, and look forward to what 2012 has to offer. 

May the New Year bring you all the things you deserve!



New Year's ideas

Not all of us have the ability to celebrate New Years with a room full of other adults.  We have graduated to the pleasure of ringing in the New Year with our precious little ones, some of which were products of New Year's Eve.

I searched the internet for adorable ideas that are family friendly, or can be used for adult parties.  Here are a few of my favorites!

I think that this is adorable!  
 As if the drink table would be hard to figure out, but there are other cute ideas on BHG.
Here are some free printables! Click on the photo or find more here or here
DIY decor!
Click on the photos more.

Don't miss out on some of my finds last year, there are recipes for food and drinks!  
Check them out here

Whatever you do, be safe and have an AMAZING NEW YEAR!



New Year's drinks

Yummy cocktails for the old and one for the young to enjoy this New Year's Eve!  

and be safe!

Midnight Martini

  • 3 1/2 oz vodka or coffee vodka
  • 1/4 oz coffee liqueur
  • lemon twist for garnish
  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Stir with a bar spoon.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist.
The San Francisco, TGI Friday's
  • 2 oz. sweet and sour mix
  • 2 oz. Rose’s lime juice
  • 1 oz. cherry syrup
  • sparkling soda

Fill tall glass with ice. Add first three ingredients. Top with soda.
Kiddie Holiday Juice
  • 1 (64 fluid ounce) bottle cranberry juice
  • 4 liters lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
  • 3 oranges, sliced into rounds
  • 8 cups crushed ice
  1. In a large punch bowl, combine cranberry juice and orange slices. Pour in the lemon lime soda and crushed ice. Serve immediately.

Passion Fruit Mojito

  •         2  parts Passion Fruit Mojito mix
  •         1  part white rum
  •         Ice
  •         Club soda
  •         Mint sprigs
  •         Lime slices

  1. Combine in a pitcher 2 parts Passion Fruit Mojito mix, 1 part white rum, and ice. Mix, then pour into ice-filled glasses. Top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lime slice.
New Year’s Sparkler
  • 1 oz. SKYY Infusions Passion Fruit
  • 1.5 oz. Pomegranate Juice
  • 3.5 oz. Champagne
  • 5-6 Raspberries

Combine SKYY Infusions Passion Fruit and pomegranate juice in a chilled champagne flute and top with champagne. Garnish with raspberry tree.*
*Slide 5-6 raspberries onto long skewer and place vertically in champagne glass.


New Years Recipes

With the New Year days away, I thought I would share over the next few days New Years recipes, drinks,  ideas and traditions.  So to start off, here are a few recipes to enjoy.

I found this recipe years ago, and have enjoyed it ever since.

Black Eyed Peas Salad with Basil

1 cup drained black-euyed peas rinsed
1 med onion, halved
3/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp fresh basil 3/4 tsp dried
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp sugar
 1/4 tsp ground pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 ribs celery 1 small red pepper

combine the peas and enough water to cover 1 inch.
Boil high heat then 1 min. remove, stand 1 hour
Drain, return 2 with fresh water 1 inch Add onion halves.
Bring to boil, reduce to low, simmer 45 mins.
*Last 10 mins add 1/2 tsp salt
Drain, discard onion halves, drain, rinse, let cool
In small bowl, whisk, vinegar, basil, garlic, sugar, 1/4 salt, and pepper
Combine all ingredients

Here are a few new ones I found that sound delicious!

Apple Pork Chops
Click on the photo for recipe

and a little something sweet for breakfast
Chocolate-Drizzeld French Toast

I hope you have a delicious New Year!  Enjoy


Christmas Day

Good morning friends!  I hope you all had an amazing Christmas/Holiday!  I know I sure did.  The joy and excitement of Christmas through my boys eyes is all I needed this Holiday season even though it was 5:30 AM.  The look and joy on all of my boys faces made the past few days, even months worth all of the work.  I thought I would share a few pictures from yesterday.

How easy do you think it was to get all 3 to cooperate for this photo before opening presents?  
Not too bad, our secret, they opened a few prior to this photo.

My little Space Ranger trying out his new Buzz Lightyear pillow.

This boy has a style all his own.  Love the tie and NY Yankee gear.

Baby's first Christmas.  Hard not to want to put bows on his head.

Finally, who thought a box would have been the most popular thing.  
This would have saved a lot of time shopping. 
 I can hear the post office now, "Anything liquid, fragile or perishable?"
Me: "No."

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and we're wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Here's to 364 more days until Christmas!!!

Steve & Bobbi


Skinny cookies and drink for Santa

I came across a couple delicious recipes in my Biggest Loser cookbook that I thought would be great for the "Big Guy" or for you (wink)  I know I feel guilty with some of the things I eat this time of year, and when better to start watching what I'm eating than at Christmas.  Why wait another week for New Years?  So here you go.

Peanut Butter- Oatmeal Cookies

What you'll need:
 12 Pitted Dates
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1 tablespoon reduced-fat peanut butter

Place the dates in the bowl of a mini-food processor fitted with the chopping blade.  Process until the dates are very finely chopped and stick together.  With a spatula, transfer to a small mixing bowl.  Add the oats and peanut butter.  Using an electric mixer fitted with beaters or your hands, mix well.

Divide the mixture into 4 equal amounts.  Shape each into a ball.  Place one ball between two sheets of waxed paper.  Flatten the ball to a 3" diameter cookie.  repeat with each ball.  Serve immediately or stack between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight plastic container.  Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Iced Buffed Mocha

What you'll need:
1 tablespoon water
3/4 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1 cup light chocolate soy milk
2 tablespoons fat-free, artificially sweetened vanilla yogurt
1 package sugar substitute
8 ice cubes
2 tablespoons aerosol fat-free whipped topping
Cocoa powder

In a small microwaveable cup, combine the water and coffee powder.  Microwave on high power for about 20 seconds, or until hot.  Stir to dissolve the powder.

In the jar of a blender, combine the milk, yogurt, sugar, reserved coffee mixture, and ice.  Blend on high speed or ice-crush setting for 30 to 60 seconds, or until smooth.  Pour into a large glass.  garnish with whipped topping and dust with cocoa, if desired.  Serve immediately with a straw.

I love the Biggest Loser Cookbook, (the original one)  It has several yummy recipes, and I highly recommend it if your going to start a New Year's resolution soon!

If you need a couple more cookie recipes or a shot, check out these yummies!

Happy Eating or Drinking! BJ


Reindeer shirts

This is one of my favorite crafts that I have come up with.  I even pulled D's shirt out and he wore it to school again.  I wanted to make one for little man, but it's been crazy busy around this house, so it will have to wait until next year.  I hope if you have little ones, you will love this shirt as much as I do!

Grab the steps here, and happy crafting! BJ



Here is a delicious recipe for Latkes (potato pancakes) that is pretty simple.  I thought I might share this in celebration for Hanukkah that begins today.

What you'll need:
6 medium sized potatoes
1 medium onion, grated
2 eggs
1/2 C. flour
dash salt
dash pepper
1 T. cooking oil

1.  Peel and quarter potatoes and soak in cold water until ready to grate
2.  Drain, dry and grate potatoes into mixing bowl.  Squeeze out excess water
3.  Beat eggs well and add to potatoes
4.  Add flour, salt, grated onion and pepper to the potato and egg mixture.  Mix all ingredients well.
5.  Preheat frying pan to 375 degrees with cooking oil.  shape 8 small cakes, place in frying pan and press gently.  Fry until the latkes are crisp and well browned on both sis.  Drain on paper towels and serve hot.
6.  enjoy

I've also had them made with leftover mashed potatoes, either way they are delicious!


These are a few of my favorite "yummy" things!!

We all have favorite foods or condiments that we love to use.  The problem for us is that the items we love to use are not available in central Ohio.  Being that I am from New Jersey and have lived in many states and I have flown around the country, here are a few items that have become my favorite and will not be substituted by anything else.

Let's start out on the east coast.  Living in New Jersey and being so close to Coney island and New York, Nathan's mustard has become my favorite.  I really like the spicy brown the best.  When we go to New Jersey on our annual trip to visit the family, we always have to go to ShopRite and buy 6 to 10 bottles of this mustard.  Hopefully it lasts a year.

Staying on the east coast and just looking south a few hundred miles, our annual trip to Myrtle Beach contains a shopping list of items that must return to Ohio.  First item that we need to buy is Blue Plate Mayonnaise.  Not sure what it is, but there's something that just makes it taste better and different from Hellman's.  The store shelf usually is stocked with 5 or 6 jars which find there way into my shopping cart.

On one visit to Myrtle Beach, we stopped by our cousins house in Salisbury, NC.  When driving with him he asked if I wanted a Cheerwine.  I said I had no idea what he was talking about.  Well we stopped and got one and I was hooked.  It has become our favorite soda.  Now when we travel to SC, we always have to get a couple of twelve packs for the house.  Seeing our cousin over Thanksgiving was great and a bonus was he brought us 2 - 12 packs.  Its hard not to drink them all but we are trying to conserve some.  Try one if you get a chance.

The last thing I will talk about is another item that is not easy to access for us.  It resides in Memphis Tennessee.  For 2 years we lived right across the border from Memphis in Southaven, MS.  Living by Memphis one has to try there famous BBQ.  By doing this we have come to love Corky's BBQ sauce.  Its not like we just buy 1 or 2 jars.  We buy 4 - 5 gallons.  Yes I said gallons.  I love using this stuff on almost anything I grill, plus our boys use it to dip just about anything including grapes.  It has a sweet flavor with just a very little bite in it.  When flying into Memphis, I would have some old friends drop it off for me, now that I don't travel there anymore, I just make a call and have them ship me up a couple of gallons at a time.  As you can see, this gallon is on its way to empty.

All this talk has me thinking I better go check my stock on these items.  If I'm low, it's time to make some calls.
If you live somewhere were there are products that are only available in your area, please let me know so I can try them.  You never know but I may end up with a few new favorites.

Happy Holidays everyone!!


Thumbprint Reindeer

I am now hooked on Pinterest.  If you haven't checked it out, it's so cool.  It's a great way to put all of the stuff you love, that you find on the internet,  in a folder and be able to go back and check it out.  I have found so many cool Christmas crafts that I'm in craft heaven!

Anyway, I found an adorable reindeer thumbprint ornament that I just had to try.  I love preserving my boys in some way throughout their lives.

All you need is an ornament (I recommend a shatterproof one)
brown acrylic paint
black sharpie marker
red sharpie or puff paint

1. Paint your child's thumb brown
2. Place it on the ornament
3.  Let dry
4.  draw 2 lines for antlers and make little V's
5.  draw the eyes with black sharpies
6.  I used puff paint for the little red nose
7.  Let dry and hang.
I just think they are soooo cute!  The best part is you can add several kids to one ornament and there's room to add more.

Happy Crafting all!  BJ


Strawberry Smoothie

This is what we are going to have for Christmas!  Thanks Betty Crocker!

North Pole Strawberry Smoothie Recipe

1 package (10 ounces) frozen strawberries in syrup, partially thawed and undrained
1/4 cup water
2 cups vanilla frozen yogurt
2 tablespoons vanilla reduced-fat yogurt
1 strawberry-flavored or peppermint candy cane, about 6 inches long, finely crushed
Green decorating gel
1. Place strawberries and water in blender. Cover and blend on medium-high speed until slushy. Blend on medium speed until smooth. Transfer to 2-cup measure.

2. Wash and dry blender. Place frozen yogurt and reduced-fat yogurt in blender. Cover and blend on medium speed until smooth.

3. Place crushed candy cane on small plate. Pipe decorating gel around rim of two 12-ounce glasses. Dip rims into crushed candy.

4. Carefully pour yogurt mixture and strawberries at the same time into glasses, creating a half-and-half design. Serve with large drinking straws if desired.


Christmas Card Garland

If you are like me, you don't have anywhere to put your Christmas cards.  I have taped mine up on the wall for years.  I decided this year, I was going to come up with something a little more creative.  I call it Christmas Card Garland.

What you'll need:
1 roll of ribbon.  (Dollar store ribbon works well)
Clothes pins (also can be bought at the dollar store)
Jolee's Dimensional stickers
dowel rod

1.  Put your clothes pins on the dowel rod, use however many you think you'll need for your cards

2.  Paint the outside of the clothes pins, let dry
3.  Remove clothes pins from rod, and paint the inside
4.  Let dry
5.  Place your Jolee's 3-D embellishment on the top of clothes pins

6.  Hang your ribbon where ever you have a spot
7.  Hang your Christmas Cards for all to see.
It almost completes the mantel,  all I need is our stockings!

Love, BJ


Festive Popcorn

Here is a really cute popcorn recipe, I thought you might all enjoy!

What you'll need:
6 cup prepared popcorn
2 T. butter
1 t. red gelatin dessert mix
1 t. green gelatin dessert mix

1.  Divide popcorn in two equal amounts.  Keep warm in oven.
2.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter.  Stir in red gelatin mix
3.  Place on portion of popcorn in zippered plastic bag. Pour over butter.  Zip and shake
4.  Repeat steps 2 and 3 for green popcorn
5.  When cooled, combine colors
6.  Enjoy!


Mint Julep with a twist!

Today I am joined by a very special co-contributor; my lovely wife Jo. I was prepping the dinning room table for my picture of my new whiskey rocks, more on those later, when I was persuaded to help with a wonderful treat that my wife found the recipe for. Jingle Bam! The two elements went together like peas and carrots and this post was born.
Mint Julep phase one.

I was recently the lucky recipient of a set of 9 Whiskey rocks from Teroforma. If you have ever wondered where the expression "on the rocks" came from I am going to guess that these wonderful one inch cubes of soapstone are not far from its origin. As the name clearly points out these are Whiskey rocks, plain and simple rock cubes that stay cold long after you remove them from the freezer. You may ask what good are a bunch of rocks in my freezer when I have ice. Ice is the ruination of fine bourbon, it dilutes the complex flavors that the master distillers have spent their lives perfecting. Who are we to go screwing up a mans lifetime of work. The idea is simple, put the rocks in the freezer, put three rocks in your tumbler, and cover the rocks with your favorite libation and the magic happens. The lucky recipient enjoys his first glass of bourbon as it was intended to be drank and you get the joy of telling your friends you have his stones in a bag in your freezer. For $20 the man who has everything gets a unique gift idea that he will thank you for every time he takes an unspoiled sip of his favorite Kentucky bourbon. These rocks neither absorb or impart any taste or odor; soapstones are non-pourous. All that you have to do is rinse them off and let them air dry before putting them back into the freezer.
Mint Julep phase two.

Hello everybody! I am Jo and my husband has asked me to break the sacred Manday manliness. We make wonderful things out of happy accidents and this is one of the best. He was so happy with the results of this one he had to share it with his followers. He is a hillbilly at heart and likes his bourbon, but mint juleps are his favorite on a hot summer afternoon. Now he can have a touch of those summer evenings in the winter. I was making the most wonderful peppermint bark when he was taking pictures of his new whiskey rocks and after he was done being a shutterbug, he poured himself a dram of Wild Turkey and took a taste of my peppermint bark. It was like he fell in love with me all over again! The recipe is super easy, and when you think about how much designer peppermint bark costs, it is cheap. Here is a link to the recipe. As you can see from the picture that it makes a lovely display and a great gift too. He wanted me to share this with you and I hope that you enjoy it. One little tip; if you don't have space in the freezer the hood of your husbands jeep that is parked in the uninsulated garage will work just as well if it is freezing cold. LOL I love you baby.
It was such a great combo, you guys need to try it! Sip the whiskey, bite the bark and relax. It will keep you warm on these chilly nights. Remember the most wonderful things are created from love, so no matter how crazy life gets this holiday season, this is a time for spreading joy and happiness. If you are looking for gift ideas that cover both of those bases grab some whiskey rocks and cook up some peppermint bark, give them away and watch the joy. MERRY CHRISTMAS.


Old Sneakers reused!

Do you have old sneakers laying around your house?  Or are you going to with Christmas around the corner?  I know I have at least 3 pairs.  Horrible, I know!  I hate throwing them away unless they have holes in them.  When I started running, I began wearing shoes out, but they still are in a good enough condition not to throw them away.  I hate taking shoes to Goodwill and people having to buy them.  So I was looking around this morning and found that Nike reuses them to make some cool stuff for reuse.
Like these
and these
I know if I found a playground with these soft surfaces, I wouldn't have to worry so much about my destructive little guys getting hurt!

Thanks to Nike and other cool places like them, we can recycle our old sneakers, and know they go to a good, safe place!

Check out the website here

Have a great day! BJ


Peppermint Patty Mocha

Are you excited about all of the yummy winter flavors out?  I had an amazing coffee yesterday, which inspired me to share a delish coffee recipe!  So here ya go, I hope you enjoy!  

In a 16 oz cup add the following:
2 shots espresso
3 shots chocolate syrup
1 shot ghiardelli's chocolate flavored liquer
1 1/2 shots Peppermint flavored Schnapp's
Fill to top with hot milk
Add froth
Top with candy cane bits


Glass Blocks

Good Morning pretties! I thought I would share one of my favorite crafts for the holidays so that you can make one for yourself or they make  great gifts!

If you love it, click on the picture to find out how to make it!

This week I'm one of the spotlights over at Take it From Me
Hop on over and say hi! 


Just One of Those Days

Do you ever feel as though there are days when nothing goes right? 
Today is just one of those dreary, rainy days here where it seems as though nothing goes right.  You try your best to keep the house clean, only to be terrorized by your kids when they get home from school. 
Now its 45 degrees out, raining, the house is somewhat of a mess, the washing machine keeps cutting out mid cycle, Christmas shopping isn’t finished and now it’s time to go to work.
Work.  Of boy, talk about another ball of stress.  My company was bought by an investment group who seems to slowly be liquidating the company.  Every day something goes on with “restructuring”.  Just a nice way to say your fired I guess.  I still have to go in with a smile on my face and do my job.  Let's hope I can survive through the Holidays.
Not much to say today for Man day Monday, so I’m sorry about that.  It’s just one of those days, plus I’m hungry plus it's time to go to work.
I wish you all have a great day though!!


Reindeer Ornament

Last year I shared this adorable ornament, and thought that I would share it again, just in case you missed it.  It is a great craft if you need something for your kids class, or present toppers or even just for a tree full of them, I just love them.  You can grab the instructions here!
Enjoy!  Love, BJ



Here's a yummy winter treat!

What you'll need:
1 gal. apple cider
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1-6 oz. can frozen lemonade
1-6 oz. can frozen orange juice
1 Tbsp. whole allspice (tie in cheese cloth)
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 cinnamon sticks (tie in cheese cloth)
1 tsp.  ground nutmeg

Simmer covered for 20 minutes.  Garnish with lemon and orange slices.  Enjoy!

Love, BJ


It's the most wonderful time of the year

I love Christmas time, it's my favorite time of the year, and has been as long as I can remember.  I love December for that matter, maybe because my birthday is in December, but who knows. One tradition I stick by is putting our Christmas tree up, and all of the decorations when we get back from West Virginia for Thanksgiving.  When I was a kid, it was always on Black Friday, but given we aren't home that day, it's whenever we get back.  Anyway, this year was very interesting.  Seeing everything new through Baby Diesel's eyes, brings joy to my heart.  He got excited from the moment we took the boxes out of the basement, until we lit everything up.  Each time a box would open, he loved whatever was in it.  He ooohh'ed and aww'ed over the ornaments, the bows, even the garland.  It was precious!  Here are some pictures of our tree.

Helping daddy 
The finished tree

We let the little boys decorate a little tree anyway they want, the ornaments aren't spread out evenly, but it's cute because they did it all by themselves.
Little man was the biggest help, he stayed out of the way.
I can't wait to see his excitement next year.
Of course Da Freakout had to pimp, sad to say the glasses didn't make it much longer after this picture, baby Diesel destroyed them.

So far we only have lost two ornaments, one brand new one that never even made it to the tree, and a bulb, that was mistaken for a ball.  All in all, I look forward for the month to come.  It is the most wonderful time of the year!  

Hope you all have an Amazing December, and I look forward to seeing your month of celebration. 

Happy Holidays!  Love, BJ


What ever happened to Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays everybody! I hope that everybody had a great Thanksgiving holiday. I sure did. It was spent with my family, the food was great and I even had the opportunity to harvest a deer. How does it get any better than that. More often than not after Thanksgiving, people who do not have much sense seem to set out from their homes to add some darkness to an already black Friday.
It only takes a minute to realize how dangerous bargain hunting can be. It seems like there are more bargain hunting accidents than animal hunting accidents these days; and its sad. In a L.A. Walmart, one woman decided to mace a crowd of people waiting for their X-Box. Folks I've been maced, and it sucks, this lady was lucky however she strolled right up and purchased her item and walked leisurely out of the store. Only later to realize that Walmart has eyes in the sky and soon she was being hunted herself as video was pumped out on the TV stations. She later turned herself in. At least she has her X-Box to trade for her crack rock when she gets out.
That story was Los Angeles. Growing up in West Virginia I still like to think that stupid people like this have been quarantined in larger metropolitan areas. You could only imagine the horror I experienced when I read about all of the West Virginian's that stepped over a 61 year old pharmacist as he died in a local Target. However a group of nurses did witness what happened and rushed to his side to perform CPR until the EMT's arrived.
I am glad that my industry is sheltered from ridiculous scenes like this. I have recently endured another black Friday weekend from behind the gun counter. I must applaud my customers; they were no less patient than any other day of the week at a place where you must pull a ticket and wait to be served. Maybe it is because our customers belive that they would get shot if they acted stupid. I have another idea though, it's probably true but my customers have grown up in the rural big city of Columbus and are decent people who work hard for what they have and would most likely help you out if they had to. If the lady with the pepper spray would have pulled a stunt like that she may not have enjoyed this Christmas at all.
Be safe, act decent, and Merry Christmas.



Thanksgiving coloring placemat

Here's a pretty simple idea for your little one to entertain him while sitting at the Thanksgiving table.  All you need is your computer, some paper, printer and crayons.

Draw a Pilgrim and Indian, to the best of your ability
Scan it with your printer
Use your word or pages and type: I am thankful, you can even put your child's name and the year.
If it doesn't get too dirty, you could even laminate it and save it for years to come.
Here is how mine turned out
Da Freakout can color it tomorrow, and write what he is thankful for, or draw it.
Simple, and fun!  I hope everyone is having an amazing day, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Love, BJ


Cranberry Salad

You still looking for a yummy recipe to complete your Thanksgiving meal?  Well here it is, my Aunt Mar's perfect Cranberry Salad.

What you'll need:
 2 boxes cherry jello
1 1/2 cup boiled water
2 cups sugar
1 can crushed pineapple drained
1 cup diced celery
 2 cup ground cranberries
1 cup nuts chopped
1 T lemon and the zest of an orange

Boil water and add jello
Add the sugar
Add the celery, cranberries, nuts then add the drained pineapple
Last add the lemon and zest of orange
Mix all together and enjoy

Happy Eating! Love, BJ