Archive | May, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

31 May

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! I’ve been meaning to blog sooner, but relaxing on the couch was just too much fun to get the computer out. I’m happy to report that Cashew’s surgery went very well on Friday. While our two crazy nuts stayed at a friend’s house, PoppaNut and I headed south to Port Charlotte to visit the family.

And it was a full house: aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, parents, nieces, nephews and more! But nothing beats a weekend of sitting on my parents’ back porch, listening to country music, eating my dad’s delicious food off the grill (especially when he makes boneless chicken just for me) and talking about old memories. We all had so much fun.

I tried to get a few family recipes out of the bunch … but after a few cocktails, that was pretty tricky. My Aunt Sherry did write out her potato-salad recipe, but I seemed to have misplaced it. When I asked Aunt Debbie to give me her apple-pie recipe, she said, “I just put a bunch of stuff together …” and I’m thinking, “What stuff??? My readers need details!!”

Debbie did share her favorite drink recipe. It is Malibu Rum Mango Flavored with no-calorie cranberry juice. She says it is quite a thirst-quencher on a hot summer night. I tried it, and it was very good! You all should try it too!

Favorite moments include: My mom and my aunts sharing memories about beat-up cars and learning to drive; JR telling me all about his recent trip to Disney World; seeing my sister again; taking pictures of Ashley, Madison and Kaylee playing in the kids pool; seeing Greg cut up Ashley’s ribs just because he loves her so much; seeing PoppaNut have just as much fun as I do at my parents’ house (he LOVES my family so much!); having Hap and Sherry tell me how much they love the blog; trying to get the pie recipe out of Debbie; hanging out with my mom and dad; cutting Shawn’s hair; and just generally being together during the holiday.

I’ve enclosed a few photos for everyone’s enjoyment! And be sure to write me your Memorial Day memories!

And that’s life in a nutshell … sharing memories while making new memories with your family!


Bryan, Shawn, PoppaNut, Ashley, MommaNut

Miss Madison



Debbie's Thirst-Quencher

Debbie’s Apple Pie


Cashew’s Nutty Friday

27 May

So, one of the nuts in my house will be a little less nutty by the end of the day. That’s right,

Cashew,. MommaNut, Peanut

Cashew is going under the knife to ensure he doesn’t make any walnuts in his future. I’m hoping his adventure at the vet helps calm him down a bit, because he has been the nuttest little guy ever.

In fact, both of our Chihuahuas have been extremely nutty lately. It could be our fault, naming them after nuts, but I think it is just their personality. And yes, I do believe dogs have personalities. Case in point: As soon as PoppaNutand I got Cashew, Peanut was so fussy. She snubbed me all the time, and even gave me nasty looks. She was furious that I would dare bring another nut into our family. Wasn’t she enough? I could see the disappointment all over her face.

Now, let's pose for a photo!

Over time, they started to bond. I thought they had become great doggie siblings until last night. I came home to the ultimate mess, courtesy of Cashew and Peanut. The puppies stay in our large spare bathroom during the day … they have been messy with Cashew still learning the potty rules in the house, but nothing like last night.

It literally looked like they had a pillow fight, but instead of feathers, there were tiny pieces of the potty pad EVERYWHERE! Their toys were covered in the filling … and that was only the beginning of it. Their beds were flipped over and nothing was in its place. Do they practice WWF wrestling when we are at work?

Peanut won't even look at Cashew

I swear it might be time for a nanny camera, so I just see just what these nuts are up to. Anyway, I assumed it was Cashew up to the no good, and I punished him for it. Then, last night, after we had tucked the little nuts into their bed, I heard a scratching noise. Visions of torn-apart potty pads danced in my head, so PoppaNut crept up the stairs to see it first hand. As he flipped on the lights, you’ll never guess who the culprit was ….. PEANUT!

That sassy little girl was tearing up that potty pad! Now, Cashew was around too, so he wasn’t innocent. I guess you just never know what is really going on until you catch them in the act! I was completely shocked! Here, I thought sweet, innocent Peanut was being traumatized during the day by Cashew’s shenanigans … and it turns out, she is his accomplice!

So, that’s life in a nutshell today … hoping that Nutless Friday helps calm down our two crazy nuts.


Shawshee Is Coming to Town

24 May

As you can see from the title of this post, Shawshee is coming to town. No, that is not some new word I made up to mean Santa Clause. It’s the nickname of my cousin Shawn. Mr. Hoosier-Basketball-Is-My-Religion, No-Drama, Laid-Back Shawn Gear is heading down to good ole Port Charlotte for a week of family time and relaxation.

Shawn, Josh, Stephanie

I’m so excited to see Shawn! He happens to be hysterical all the time, and has such a laid-back personality that you instantly want to relax when he is around. I’ve always loved hanging out with Shawn. When I was a little girl, I used to crawl up this leg when he would come to Grandma’s house (all us cousins used to stay the night at Grandma’s house on the weekends).

I’m sure it was probably pretty annoying to have your little cousin crawl up your leg and never leave your side every time you saw her … but Shawn never said a word. He never complained and always just gave me a hug.

Now that we are all grown up, I don’t crawl up Shawn’s leg anymore, but I’m still just as excited to see him. It reminds me how lucky I am to have a family that is so close. Often cousins go their own ways, but the cousins in my family are very close. We have inside jokes and nicknames for each other (I will not mention the bedtime joke but all you in the family are screaming it at your computer screens as you read this!). It’s GREAT!

MommaNut, Shawn

So, as PoppaNut and I prepare to head down to Port Charlotte, I’m remembering all the get-togethers we have had in the past and how lucky we are to be so close even though we live very far apart.

And that’s life in a nutshell … call up your cousins and schedule a party! You’ll be thankful for the closeness in the end.


Chef PoppaNut

23 May

So, I’m the queen of taking on way too many things and then freaking out because I have taken on way too many things. People are always joking that PoppaNut and I literally take on everything all the time. We are running here and there all the time that we never have time to slow down and relax. I pack my lunch hour with errands and chores, just so we can fit everything into our week that we need to.

Having said that, PoppaNut (Bless his heart!) knows that I’m like that, and he is always there to help me out when I’m ready to wave the white flag. Case in point: Sunday morning. PoppaNut was ready to help with whatever I needed. Instead, I told him I didn’t need any help and I proceeded to do the dishes, load the dishwater, finish the laundry, put the laundry away, go to the grocery store, clean the fridge, cook breakfast and lunch, bathe the dogs and paint my nails. Then, I had the nerve to complain that I had a busy day.

Meanwhile, PoppaNut could tell I was headed for a Sunday breakdown, even though I had done this all to myself. Why do I do that? Why can’t I just accept help the first time? Why do I say that I don’t need help and then get mad that I’m not getting help even though I know he is more than happy to help me?

Well, I have figured out the reason. I think I’m Superwoman. Instead of MommaNut, I’m SuperMommaNut in my home, and I think I can do everything. And the second reason is that I’m insane.

So, when PoppaNut saw me close to the edge, he sprang right into action. He ORDERED me to sit on the couch and watch countless hours of trashy girly reality-TV shows while he cooked a homemade dinner. How lucky am I? Nothing like Oprah, a bottle of wine and the view of my hubby cooking in the kitchen that makes a Sunday turn amazing!

So, I sat back, watched Oprah, Mob Wives, The Real Housewives of Every County and whatever else I had recorded from the week, and relaxed. It was wonderful. And it reminds me how well PoppaNut really knows me. He knows when I say one thing and mean another. He can tell when I’m saying I don’t need any help, but I really do want some help. He knows when I need some pampering and he jumps into action.

I’m sharing the amazing meal he made me: Bourbon Chicken with White Rice. It was so delicious! And it was so thoughtful and wonderful! I hope you make this at home for your loved one.






    • 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
    • 1 -2 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
    • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup apple juice
    • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons ketchup
    • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Remove chicken.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium Heat until well mixed and dissolved.
  5. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Serve over hot rice and ENJOY.

And that’s life in a nutshell … learning when the other person is waving the white flag, and being that knight in shining amour to the rescue (with a bottle of wine in hand).


Bridesmaid Fabric

20 May

So, anyone who knows me knows that I HATE bridesmaid fabric. If someone can explain to me why a bridesmaid dress that costs more than $300 is made of the worst fabric in the world, I would love to hear the reason why. The fabric doesn’t breathe at all! Spending $300 for a dress is a little extreme anyway … and then you top that by making it out of fabric that is not even fit for my window curtains.

Ashley and I forever ago!

And that’s just another reason why I love my cousin Ashley. We recently went shopping for bridesmaid dresses, and she totally understand my hate for that fabric. Ashley is getting married in October and she has asked me to be her maid of honor.

I’m so honored to have the honor! I have never been a maid of honor before. And while I also hate giving speeches, it means so much that she wants me to be a part of her day. So, I was prepared to have to wear the nasty fabric … but this fashionable bride also doesn’t want that fabric at her wedding. So, we did some hunting and we found a great dress. I’m so excited!

Madison, Ashley and Randy

I think I’m most excited about watching Ashley grow up and turn into such an amazing woman. I remember when she was born, and she slept in this beautiful bassinet. As we got older, Ashley and I always spent a lot of time together … we played Barbies, we performed in talent shows, we went swimming together and jumped on trampolines … we drew animal figures on each other’s backs … and then, I went off to college. I didn’t get to see Ashley as much, but that changed again when Ashley moved from Indiana to Florida.

I was looking for a roommate at the time, and the timing was perfect. We looked at a few places and moved into a little apartment with granite countertops (that was HUGE at the time). And we got even closer. Ashley was there when I first started dating Steve, and I was there when she started dating Randy.

Ashley, Brooke, Stephanie and I at my wedding

We often laugh that that apartment is a life-changer. You either get married, have a baby or breakup in that apartment. You move on to your next life change. And all that happened in that apartment. Steve proposed to me in the living room of that apartment. Ashley found out she was pregnant. And I think I few people when through breakups either in the apartment or in the parking lot outside!

The bridesmaid dress I'll wear for Ashley's Big Day

Ashley was a bridesmaid in my wedding, and I’m so happy we got to share that moment together. Now, it is her turn to be the beautiful bride, and I can’t wait to be there … Well, I guess I just wrote my maid of honor speech!

So, that’s life in a nutshell … staying close with your family and sharing special moments by their side … and appreciate when the bride says “NO” to bridesmaid fabric!


Oh, oh, Ocean Prime

17 May

Beep, beep, beep … this noise woke me up out of a deep sleep on Saturday afternoon. It was 3:30 p.m. and I had been taking a little afternoon snooze when my phone alarm woke me up. “How odd,” I thought. “I didn’t set my alarm for 3:30 …”

I was just about to go right back to sleep when I noticed a note, written in PoppyNut’s handwritting. As my eyes began to focus, I read: “I hope you are resting. I’m not at home. You can’t text me or call me. Get dressed to impress and be ready at 4:30. I know you will go crazy trying to decide what to wear (No, I’m not wearing jeans.) So put on your bling and get ready to head out. Go upstairs and shower, but first, go the fridge to get your drink.”

Wow, what is happening? A surprise date night? Now, PoppaNut is great at surprises, and he does a ton of sweet things all the time, so this doesn’t surprise me … but at the say time, WOW! What an amazing treat! What’s even more amazing is that PoppaNut managed to make me a drink, set my alarm, write me a note and take his clothes out to the car without me even noticing!

So, I ran to the fridge, grab my drink and headed upstairs. There, the room was filled with lit candles and a card. I’m going to keep some things private, but the card was very sweet. I took a quick shower, fixed my hair, put on my makeup and went to the closet. What do you wear when you don’t know where you are going? A LBD seemed just right, paired with heals and my Otazu Sex in the City necklace (Carrie wore this necklace in the Sex in the City 2 necklace and now its mine!).

The doorbell rang, and there was PoppaNut … dressed up with a crisp, collared shirt and fresh flowers. It was quite romantic. He took me out on date night, to Ocean Prime in Tampa. We went there on our six-month anniversary as boyfriend and girlfriend, and here we were again. We had the most delicious food … and the best drink. I had a Berries and Bubbles, pictured here. YUMMY!

We took dessert to go … and headed home to spend some quiet time together. It was amazing, and reminds me how lucky I am to have PoppaNut in my life. And that’s life in a nutshell … remembering to surprise your special someone every now and again with a truly wonderful night.


Sunday Dinner

16 May

As I mentioned last week, I had decided to make PoppaNut something very special on Saturday night for dinner. Turns out, he beat me to the punch and surprised me with an amazing date night (more to come tomorrow). So, I dusted off my old recipe book on Sunday to dream something extra special up.

Turns out, there is a dish that I haven’t made in a while that PoppaNut loves. I used to make it for him when we were dating and I was living with my cousin Ashley. It’s pretty simple, and it makes amazing leftovers.

Here is the recipe. I’ve included notes where I make exceptions.

Sunday Dinner3 cups (8 oz.) farfalle (bow-tie pasta), uncooked
4 cups  broccoli florets
3 Tbsp. KRAFT Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing
6 small  boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb.) (I cut this into little pieces instead)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups  tomato-basil spaghetti sauce
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1/4 cup  KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
COOK pasta as directed on package, adding broccoli to the cooking water for the last 3 min. of the pasta cooking time. Meanwhile, heat dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken and garlic; cook 5 min. Turn chicken over; continue cooking 4 to 5 min. or until chicken is cooked through (170ºF).

DRAIN pasta mixture in colander; return to pan and set aside. Add spaghetti sauce and Neufchatel to chicken in skillet; cook on medium-low heat 2 to 3 min. or until Neufchatel is completely melted, mixture is well blended and chicken is coated with sauce, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from skillet; keep warm. Add sauce mixture to pasta mixture; mix well. Transfer to six serving bowls.

CUT chicken crosswise into thick slices; fan out chicken over pasta mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese.

So, we watched our recorded “Saturday Night Live” and hung out on the couch eating this delicious dish. And that’s life in a nutshell … eating a favorite dish with your favorite person on a Sunday evening.


Yankees Pride

12 May

It is quite possible that when PoppaNut reads this post, he will want to change our phone provider to AT&T. Turns out that AT&T has a partnership with PoppaNut’s favorite friend in the whole world: The Yankees.

AT&T is asking Yankees fans to “Join the Team” by texting YANKS to 4663, and winners of the promotion can receive a slue of Yankees prizes. You can always register to win at (PoppaNut, don’t worry; I already registered us for the prizes but you can register as well for extra luck!).

Now, I call the Yankees PoppaNut’s best friend because, well, they are. He sees them a few times a week, follows up on what they have going on, can’t wait to see them again and even has pictures of them up in our home. For all intents and purposes, you could say that the Yankees are like family to us.

MommaNut, PoppaNut

Our First Game Together

When we first began dating, I took PoppaNut to a Yankees spring training game for his birthday. You would have thought I gave him a million dollars the way his eyes lit up when he saw the tickets. We had a great time, and we keep going back for more. I can’t even tell you how many games we have been to together, but he probably could. You’ll see some photos of the games we have been to over the years in this post.

Just eight days after we tied the knot,

PoppaNut, MommaNut

Go Yankees!

we went to our first Yankees spring training game as husband and wife for PoppaNut’s 29th birthday. And I had a special surprise in store … the marquee lit up with “Happy Birthday, Steve. Love, Your Wife” during the seventh inning. It was such a blast seeing PoppaNut’s face during that moment. Now, I wish I had a photo of that.

Even more than visiting stadiums to enjoy the Yankees, we have a spare bedroom in our home dedicated to the team. You’ll find framed photos, an autogr

MommaNut, PoppaNut

Almost Saw a No-Hitter at This One

aphed ball, a M&Ms machine and a ton more lining the walls: all themed Yankees. We live in a townhouse so this is PoppaNut’s mancave in leu of a garage. He loves it, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

So, that’s life in a nutshell … truly loving what your PoppaNut loves because it makes him happy. Now, I’m going back to texting AT&T … I want that grand prize!


Celebrating Wedding Anniversaries

10 May

Today is a very special today. On this very day 31 years ago, my mom and dad married in a small ceremony in Granger, Indiana. I’ve seen pictures of their wedding day … my dad had long hair and a suit with bell bottoms. My mom wore a wide-brimmed white hat with a yellow ribbon that complemented her dress. Dad, Mom, MommaNut, PoppaNut

In honor of their anniversary, I wanted to share some photos of my parents. These photos were taken at PoppaNut and I’s wedding in March 2010. I love the kind of marriage my parents have, and it is the kind of marriage that I’m also lucky to have. And that’s why PoppaNut and I have made additional vows on top of our Dad, Mom, Daviemarriage vows. It is our vow to go somewhere or do something wonderful on every anniversary we have. This past March, we took an amazing trip to Belize … and it was un-BELIZE-able.

And, we got to start a new tradition: anniversary gifts! I surprised PoppaNut with an inscribed pocketwatch, similiar to the one I gave him on our wedding day. I also Dad, MommaNutgave him tickets to a Yankees game, his favorite team in the whole world. PoppaNut got me a lot of gifts, but my favorite one was my anniversary band. It is just beautiful. And the replica top of our wedding cake was a very touching moment as well.

Here are the gift traditions for wedding anniversaries. Do you follow it or buy something you want that might not follow tradition. Tell me!

 Wedding-Gift Traditions

1st Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Paper
Modern Gifts: Clocks
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 1st Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 1st Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

2nd Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Cotton
Modern Gifts: China
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 2nd Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 2nd Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

3rd Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Leather
Modern Gifts: Crystal
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 3rd Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 3rd Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

4th Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Fruit or Flowers
Modern Gifts: Appliances
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 4th Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 4th Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

5th Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Wood
Modern Gifts: Silverware
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 5th Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 5th Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

6th Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Candy or Iron
Modern Gifts: Wood
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 6th Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 6th Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

7th Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Wool or Copper
Modern Gifts: Desk Sets
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 7th Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 7th Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

8th Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Bronze or Pottery
Modern Gifts: Linens or Lace
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 8th Anniversary Resources
Readers Respond: Read 8th Anniversary Stories and Gift Ideas

9th Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Pottery and Willow
Modern Gifts: Leather
Related: 9th Anniversary Resources

10th Wedding Anniversary
Traditional Gifts: Tin or Aluminum
Modern Gifts:Diamond Jewelry
Celebrating: Ideas and Symbols
Related: 10th Anniversary Resources

Find more here.

And that’s life in a nutshell … remembering to celebrate the special moments in the your life with the one you love.

Dreaming of a New Dinner

9 May

Monday is always a tough day. Work and errands fill the day, leaving little time to think about what to make for dinner. PoppaNut and I often have the same thing: plain chicken breast and steamed veggies with rice.

I can’t say I don’t like it; I do like it. It’s light and tasty, especially with a little cheese on the veggies. But I’m ready to challenge my cooking skills a bit more. I have decided to make a homemade meal on Saturday night, something that will warm PoppaNut’s tummy and leave his lips smacking for more.

Plus, it makes it easier to eat chicken and veggies during the week when I know something good is coming. I’m scouring websites looking for just the right dish.

I found a few really good options on Who knew Betty did more than baked goods? Seems like Betty is a busy woman, because her site has it all: party menus, videos, cooking tips and TONS of recipes.

This recipe for Garlic Shrimp Pasta looks delicious.

Here is the recipe:

8 oz uncooked multigrain angel hair (capellini) pasta or spaghetti
4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
3 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 lb fresh medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail shells removed
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine or Progresso® reduced-sodium chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
1/4 cup Progresso® reduced-sodium chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons butter
In 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, cook pasta as directed on package. Drain; return to saucepan. Stir in spinach, tomatoes and 2 teaspoons of the oil. Cover to keep warm.

While pasta is cooking, in 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir 1 minute. Add shrimp, garlic and pepper flakes; cook and stir 2 minutes.

Stir in wine, broth, salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and butter until butter is melted. Add shrimp mixture to pasta mixture in saucepan; toss to mix.

Makes 6 servings
We also got a slow cooker for our wedding, and it has been sitting in the cupboard for awhile. I pull it out every now and then when I’m making homemade sloppy joes (I’ll share the recipe another time). But, I think it might be time to dust it off for this delicious recipe. What do you think?
Slow Cooker Layered Enchilada Dinner
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef (I think I would use shredded chicken instead)
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can (4.5 oz) Old El Paso® chopped green chiles
1 can (10 oz) Old El Paso® enchilada sauce
10 corn tortillas (6 inch)
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (12 oz)
Chopped fresh cilantro
In 10-inch skillet, cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in soup and chiles.

Spray 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Spread about 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce in bottom of slow cooker. Place 4 corn tortillas over sauce, overlapping and breaking in half as necessary to make an even layer. Top with 1/3 of beef mixture, spreading evenly. Drizzle with about 1/4 cup enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese.

Repeat layering twice, using 3 corn tortillas and half of remaining beef mixture, enchilada sauce and cheese in each layer. Sprinkle paprika over top.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours 30 minutes.

Let stand about 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle individual servings with cilantro.

Makes 6 servings
And that’s life in a nutshell … finding the perfect dinner to make the one you love. I’ll let you know when I end up making!
%d bloggers like this: