Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Votes Are In!

I know you've been putting off buying more chocolate chips until you heard from me regarding my chocolate chip contest, and I apologize for the delay. But wait no longer will you, because the results are in!

After blind taste testing each of the 5 different chips, my highly trained judges made their choices by secret ballod.

And it was unanimous! I couldn't believe it. Actually, you wouldn't believe how different the chips can taste when tasted one brand right after the other. I was very surprised.

My judges? Well, of course they were the people who will eat most of my chocolate chip cookies - Keith, Noah, Emily, Me... and Em's BFF who was over here for the afternoon.

The winner? Trader Joe's Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips got all 5 votes! So, I'll be headed back out to Trader Joe's at some point this week to purchase many more bags of chocolate chips. But the Chocolate Chip cookie recipe Throwdown will have to wait til next week. I'm off to Arizona!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happpy Spring!

or as Emily would say....
Yeah, those legs need some sun! We've got plenty of it today! Yeah!
Hope you are enjoying a beautiful day!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Meet The Contestants

The contestants have gathered in my kitchen and are ready for judging. Now if I could just coordinate my judges' schedules, we could get on with this "Throwdown"!

Nestle, Hershey, Trader Joe's, Ghirardelli, Essensia. Semi-sweet, every one.

May the best chip win!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's In The Bag!

A few months ago I found a blog website that is full of inspiration, creativity, humor and great photography. The author, Brooke, doesn't post everyday, so it is an easy site for me to follow along with. I like that in a bloggy website. And unlike my own blog, this one is "professional", with sponsors and giveaways and stuff. Anyway, I commented on one of her posts recently and WON a giveaway!! I was thrilled as I never win anything, and since I received the item this week in the mail, I wanted to share both the blog and my prize here with you.

The Prize:

An insulated lunch tote. Trendy, practical, pretty and fun! It looks like I could pack at least 3 pints of Chunky Monkey Ice Cream, 6 chocolate chip cookies, 4 chocolate bars, 2 cupcakes and a diet coke, easily. Not that I would do that. I don't drink diet soda.

And as if I didn't love the stylish patterned wet suit material enough on it's own, it's called the "Gourmet Getaway". Yes, please. Let's book that right now.

Okay, maybe that won't be happening right now, but I can cart all of my HEALTHY, gourmet snacks to soccer and baseball games, and be able to offer refreshing alternatives to all of my soccer/baseball mom friends from my new trendy bag! Now I just need a pair of shoes to match. Hmm...

Check out Brooke's site, but after you fall in love, don't forget to come back and visit me every once in awhile!

And you can get one of these bags, too. Visit Land of Nod here!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Two Very Unrelated Things, Now Related

(last year's photo - it was raining and he was too far from the house today!)

Chewy crawled up from under the shed today and showed his ugly mug!

In honor of this Super Springy tradition, I am having a chocolate chip throwdown next week.

See, related, yet not.

First, my highly trained panel of judges will choose the best chocolate chip. Then, later in the week, I will bake chocolate chip cookies a-plenty, using 6 different recipes (and the winning chocolate chips) to determine which recipe is best.

I promise no groundhogs will be harmed in the making or eating of the cookies. I cannot necessarily say the same for my waistline.

I'll introduce you to the panel of judges next week. In the meantime, if you have a favorite chocolate chip you'd like included in our judging, let me know!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Looks Like We Made It

No, I'm not singing Barry Manilow, and I'm sorry if now you are. This isn't a post about 70's tunes, it's about SPRING! I've torn myself away from the great outdoors to share with you how we celebrated our balmy 58 degree weekend.
And this is a picture I took today!!! WooHoo!!

Oh look , there's me taking the picture!

Sorry - back to our regularly scheduled post... This weekend I took my Brownie Troop to a workshop at the beach. It was a "Magical Fairies" workshop.

They painted tooth fairy boxes and made comfy pillows for their tooth.

They made glitter globes and body sparkle....

And they used this... ( oh, the possibilities!!)

to make magical fairy crowns...
And got their faces painted - Emily is a "Fire Fairy" - says she, not me.

After the workshop, we went to the beach!!!

The girls had a blast running around and searching for treasures.

It was a perfect day. And when I got home, Keith announced that we would be going back on Sunday afternoon !! Yeah!!!!
I've told you before where you can always find us in Ocean City, and even in March that holds true...

As long as there are free samples, my gang will be there.

And, well, Keith bought a pound a fudge. We needed our fix.

So Spring!!

And Spring Break for my nephew, Christopher. Emily was just a little excited that he came with us! I'm thinkin' Christopher can't wait to get back to college....

Okay, my angels. Get closer, look like you know each other...

A little closer, please. I just want a picture of the two of you TOGETHER.

Um, okay. I'll take what I can get.
Flock of Seagulls....

Yeah, I'd have to say Winter Weather is pretty much for the....

Couldn't resist. Sorry. Eleven more days til Spring is "Official"!!!!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Record Keeping

Because one of the purposes of my blog is to record family memories, my thoughts and our story, I have to mention here that Keith and I... well, ....we went on a cruise in February. I'm sorry I didn't mention it sooner. I don't know why I didn't. I guess there were other things I wanted to record first, and I guess I feel a tad guilty because I've been spoiled by travel this past year.

For the record, we didn't find Spring on the cruise. Well, I guess it would be considered "Spring weather" if it were here and we had the clothing options of our closet. But it was Mexico, and it was only about 60 degrees, and we had packed for weather 20 degrees warmer. We layered - a lot.

Having said that, we did have a very nice time.

This was sunrise on the first morning. The last morning of calm seas...

After this morning, I spent a day believing we may be on the Titanic.

Because of the rough seas, I didn't sleep much, so I saw every sunrise - however, I'm thankful I took pictures on the first morning, because it was overcast and raining on the following mornings.

Someday, I'm sure I'll laugh about it. Or not.

This is Keith and I getting ready for our dinner with the Captain.

Okay, so maybe I was completely ready before I let Keith take my picture.

For the record, it was a short cruise with just one stop in Cozumel, Mexico. Thankfully, we had a few hours of sunshine, although too cold for swimming. We shopped instead.

I really liked this statue in town, and wish it had been working. You may recall seeing another picture I took of it here.

Well, of course there is a food picture. We enjoyed a yummy lunch at Pancho's Backyard (recommended by the cruise staff - we didn't stray to far off the beaten path...) It met our need for Mexican cuisine. I was happy just to have fresh guacomole and margaritas while listening to Pancho and his daughter play music for us. It was nice of them to have us over.

For the record, I only had one margarita - and a sip of Keith's Pina Colada. Not that anyone is counting - except my Mom.
It was Carnivale while we were there. We weren't able to stay for the parade, but we saw them preparing for it.

We were on the cruise for Valentine's Day. The crew thought to "entertain" us. How sweet. THAT is the Captain dancing there in the front. And I wondered why the ship was rocking so much... hmmm....

Don't even ask what was happening here. Those crazy crew members....

And you may remember my appreciation for towel animals. Well, this little piggy stole my heart.

But for the record, I have no idea what our stateroom attendant was thinking here...

I will say it may have impacted his tip. Okay, maybe that's a poor choice of words. For the record -- I'm jumping overboard now.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fake It Til I Make It

Well, I've decided that since it seems that Spring is going to be taking her sweet ol' time reaching me, I'm going to have to search out my own Spring until she decides to arrive - or even gives us a clue that she is coming soon.

I started Monday.
Maria and I took on the Philadelphia Flower Show. Despite the throngs of people, it was very good for my soul. It is so hard to decide what to share here, so here are just a few highlights...
These beautiful orchids

were a part of this much larger magnificent display.

This display was so unique, I couldn't decide how I felt about it. I loved the creativity, but it represented how I've felt about the winter - trapped in the ice!!!

This year's "theme" for the Flower Show is "Passport to the World" and so the plants and landscape of different countries were highlighted.
This was South Africa. A lot of seeds and dried plant material were used in very creative ways...
These are just the masks...

I've yet to inform Keith that we really need all of THIS in our backyard....

I mean, come on... there is even a bed with a waterfall right next to it....

I can't imagine how he could possibly have any problems with this, can you? (Careful, don't ruin my personal Spring.)
Oh, look. Another bed in the yard. Very colorful. Very India.

This may have been one of my favorite parts of the flower show...and it was in the shopping section - it wasn't actually a part of the show. These are David Austin Roses...

Until I saw these roses, I wasn't a huge roses fan. I much prefered a bouquet of tulips, or a basket of hydrangea, a vase of peonies or a potted hyacinth. I could go on... but all to say that roses weren't at the top of my list.
Until Monday.

These roses took my breath away.
I needed that. My soul has found some Spring.

What is your favorite flower?
Awake, thou wintry earth-
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
Thomas Blackburn, An Easter Hymn