Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Our 2nd Honeymoon


I mentioned before that Jeff and I were going to Disney in October. We had a great time! It was super hot and humid, but we had a blast. The staff there is amazing and reallytook the time to always make sure we had everything we needed. I highly recommend the dining plan. We saved a lot of money and were never hungry. We were there during the food and wine festival at Epcot, which was really neat. We got to try a lot of different dishes from all over the world. Tip: If you have the dining plan, save up your "snacks" to use at the food and wine festival. So worth it! We went to Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, Hollywood Studiod (MGM), Magic Kingdom, and Epcot. It wasn't crowded at all, and we were lucky enough that a few of our friends and relatives were there at the same time. We met up with Jeff's cousin Jim and Jim's girlfriend Trish one day, and spent a lot of time with our friends Matt and Bridget and their 4-year-old daughter Erin. It was amazing to see Disney through a child's eyes, as I never got to go there when I was little. Here are some pictures (Jeff had the camera and was a little stingy with snapshots):

Saturday, October 24, 2009



Have you ever just dusted around things to save time/out of laziness?

What other shortcuts do you take in cleaning or everyday life?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In the Red


I'm feeling really good today. I think it's my sassy combination of the following:

Monday, October 19, 2009

I have found Heaven, and it costs $144.00 a pound


I was having a rough week a while back and Jeff and I happened to be in the Cherry Hill Mall runnig errands. I was cranky/depressed/all over just not right, and then I saw it. It called to me. It said, "Stacy, come in, and we will melt your stress away." Ahhh.

Teavana. It is indeed a heaven of tea. When I walked into the store, it was sensory overload, but not in the Times Square, I-have-to-get-outta-here kind of way. There were lovely, friendly, tea-making people offering me samples of yummy warms elixers. Just go there if there is one near you. I can't even describe it. They even found a tea that my tea-hater of a husband liked.

I could have gone totally crazy in the store, but I tried to limit myself a little bit. I ended up with Moroccan Mint Green Tea and I splurged on Silver Needle White Tea, which is a special blend that is only harvested two days each year and was until recently reserved for the Chinese Imperial Family. The Silver Needle was very dear at $18.00 for two ounces ($144.00/lb!), but it is Bliss.

There are so many different blends at Teavana for every taste and need. The health benefits of tea are almost never-ending. I definitely recommend checking it out. And sending me some. ; )

Sunday, October 18, 2009

We never know what tomorrow will bring


My best friend sent this to me a few years ago, and I thought it was beautiful and worth posting... I'd like to extend the thought to all of my friends/fellow bloggers.


i'm sending this e-mail to a lot of people. some of you i haven't spoken to in a very long time, while others i've managed to keep close. but i have something that i really need to express. it's taken me a little bit to put all my thoughts together, but it's important. so here it is
last weekend, bobby & i had to attend a memorial service for a friend of his, matt boattini. bobby grew up as friends with matt & his older brother, chris (who is bobby's age). they met through lacrosse, and found a lot in common. for example, both of their mothers were rasing 2 boys alone, and the boys were very close in age to each other. mrs. boattini (theresa) & bobby's mom (diana) got to be very good friends, and the two families became almost like one for many years
of course, we all know what happens when childhood friends go to college - we lose touch, but not love. the coles & the boattinis grew physically apart, but kept in touch. than that started happening less and less as well, but the love was always there. bobby & all of his friends (he has a lot) stayed in touch through a sort of network - and still do. this one is closer to that one, and they talk more. then this one talks to that one, who talks to someone else more, and news of friends gets passed around that way
but anyway, matt's story is like this... he had a hard time with college at first, being more attracted by the pary scene, and was eventually kicked out. he struggled with goals & directions for a while, and made his way out to california, where he started "hippie school" (they teased him about it - it was actually an agricultural school). he graduated (!!!) and got a job on an organic farm in hawaii (not bad for a hippie)
the first weekend of february (almost 2 weeks ago), matt went with a bunch of his friends from the farm on a hike to a waterfall. along the way, matt was being his usual goofy self. apparently, he touched a rock in such a way that it caused it to dislodge. matt was pinned there, and all of his friends had to run for help (apparently hawaiian hippies don't carry cell phones). they got back 40 minutes later to find matt barely conscious. he was dead before they got to the hospital
matt died in paradise, doing what matt loved, being in nature. if anyone had asked him if he could live to be 80 in new jersey, or die at 25 on a hike in hawaii, he would have chosen hawaii
when bobby found out, he was, obviously, tore up. he said that around christmas time, he was looking through his e-mail address book and saw matt's e-mail. he wasn't sure if matt was still using that address, and thought about sending a msg. to test it out. needless to say, he didn't send the e-mail. it was really hard to go through that realization with him. i think it finalized it in his mind
we never know what tomorrow will bring, if it will come at all. i'm taking this oportunity to send out that msg. to friends who have been close over the years, from whom i have drifted, but who mean so much to me still, or are still very close to me. i'm sorry if i don't get to write as often as i think about you all. we made a connection somewhere along our travels, and i still feel it. why is it so difficult to stay in touch with people? is it because the ones that we care about most are the ones who will understand & forvgive? or is it just that life is too fast-paced? how long can there be no words from friends before you stop counting them as friends? i want to reach out now, to let you all know that i still care, i'm still here, thinking about you, wondering what life has given you since we last spoke/wrote. and if i don't have to wonder, i'm wirting to let you know how important you & your friendship is to me
so if you're going through your address book one day, and you come across my e-mail address, try it out, write to me. even if you just say "hi." i'll write back, and i'll do it a lot sooner than i used to. never pass up that oportunity. someone may be thrilled to hear from you again


love, a

Tuesday, October 13, 2009



Today I made chicken noodle soup for the first time. I didn't have a recipe, but I figured I didn't need one. This also marks the first time I ventured into the kitchen with a "eh, it'll work out," attitude. It went something like this:

I splashed some olive oil into our giant All-Clad stock pot. I heated it up, and got some minced garlic going. Once that was happy, I added about half a diced onion, about 5 ribs of celery, and about 5 carrots. I let them work out their feelings and added a generous splash of dry white wine because they looked like they needed a drink. I popped the lid on to let them simmer nicely, then took the lid off for the alcohol to evaporate. I threw confetti into the party in the form of dried basil, black pepper, oregano, and bay. In went two giant cans of chicken stock. That got to a nice simmer for quite a while, so I added two cut up baked chicken breasts (I don't like meat with parts). I was looking low on liquid so I added two more little cans of broth I had in the cupboard and improvised with some water and bouillon. It worked out nicely. I let the carrots and celery get even more tender while the chicken soaked up some goodness from the pot. I finished it off with a whole bag of egg noodles and a handful of chopped fresh parsley for color.

It ended up being so rich and delicious. I think Jeff was impressed, or shocked, or both.

Now we have tons of soup, but it will be really good as leftovers and I will freeze some. We shared some with our downstairs neighbor and we'll probably continue to do so.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Today, I channeled my mother-in-law.


My mother-in-law can make a meal out of everything and never lets anything go to waste. While I don't think I can aspire to do half of the things she does in a kitchen, I channeled her today.

I am home sick from work and feeling like crap, so I went a-searching through our cupboards for chicken noodle soup. I looked and looked, and then remembered that I married an Italian who scoffs at the mere mention of canned goods and would have a stroke if he saw any in the apartment. Sigh. I assessed my situation. I noticed in the refrigerator two blocks of cream cheese whose "sell-by" date was today (eeek! I live and die by these dates, my MIL lets them slide...and slide), a half an onion left over from the Penne a la Betsy mentioned below, and fresh parsley.

Single Stacy would have shrugged and made buttered noodles (I am still allowed to have boxed pasta, but only Barilla). Married Stacy snuck out to Shop-Rite (observing universal precautions so as not to get others sick). I built my list from my soon-to-expire ingredients and got the makings of cream cheese chili dip and mostly-home made chicken noodle soup.

If you have never had cream cheese chili dip, go to the store, get the ingredients and make it now. You need 1 block of cream cheese, 1 15-oz can of chili, an 8 oz (1 bag) of shredded cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips. Spread the cream cheese out evenly in a small casserole dish. Spread the chili out over top. likewise with the cheese. bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Dip. Send me gifts, because this is oh-so-good. Perfect for football season. Well, I don't watch football, but I am assuming it is perfect for football parties. i will rephrase: Perfect for hockey season.

I have never made chicken noodle soup before, but how hard can it be? I will let you know later...

Product Review: Scotch Fur Fighter Pet Hair Remover


While Jinx, our kitten, isn't shedding yet, Piper is. You can imagine how 10 pounds of fluffy calico gets fur all over our furniture and eventually our clothes. The fabric on our couches is like a soft corduroy: perfect for collecting and trapping pet hair. Since most of our friends are allergic to cats, we've been long searching for something that works to pick up the fur.

Lint rolls? Ha! A wimpy piece of tape does not cut it. Even our hot rod vacuum with spinney attachment of goodness won't get it all up. What's a crazy cat lady to do?

Enter: Scotch Fur Fighter Hair Remover (cue angels singing). This device, which resembles a cross between a sanding block and a giant sheet of velcro, traps all of that embedded hair so your friends can sit down without hives, asthma attacks, and anaphylactic shock! Plus, it's fun to use. You can get it for free here to try out, just pay $2.00 shipping. I did not know about that swwet deal. I got mine at Target for $9.99, which included the handle and five refill sheets. Eight refill sheets are $4.99. It works really well, so I do not mind the cost.

You're welcome.

Pioneer Woman's Penne a la Betsy


I needed a new recipe to cook for my husband, and I found this: Pioneer Woman's Penne a la Betsy. It's easy to do and delicious. She even has step-by-step pictures for beginners in the kitchen like me. It was my first time making shrimp, and it was perfect!

Check it out!