Thursday, May 27, 2010


I apologize for my recent blog hiatus.  I spent the last week or so combatting some sort of virus.  It basically amounted to me doing nothing but laying around and going through 700 boxes of kleenex for several days.  So, rather than writing a substantial blog post, I am going to distract you with this cute picture of Moose:

We leave this weekend for an out-of-town trip, so I promise, promise, promise that I will have lots of interesting things to blog about next week! 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Amazing Mac N' Cheese

I don't know if this particular version can technically be considered a mac n' cheese, since I didn't actually use macaroni noodles.  So call it what you like, either way it will still be delicious.

The Ingredients:
1 box pasta of your choice
1 can (10 1/2 oz.) Campbell's Cream of Cheddar Soup
2 cups (8 oz.) Shredded Cheddar Cheese (or any variety)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. garlic pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground mustard

The Rules:
1.  Cook pasta until al dente
3.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl
4.  Transfer mixture to casserole dish and bake with foil cover at 400° for 40 minutes.

And you're done!  It's super easy and amazingly delicious.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Viva Las Vegas!--Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3 was kind of a lazy, uneventful day, but I'll give you the run-down anyway.  To kick things off, we went to the grand canyon store.  We did this last time as well, but I can't get enough of that place, so we went back.

Naturally there was an alien in a giant tube of water.

Then we walked around the city center where, if you desire, you can dine in this cool wooden orb thing.

It was also full of stores that I refuse to shop at based solely on principle since you can feed an entire third-world country with the cost of a single one of their handbags, but that's a different rant for a different day.

Then we strolled to Bellagio with its pretty glass ceiling...

And conservatory...

Which happened to have an ant theme this time.  Would not have been my first choice, but maybe that's why I'm not the horticultural guru at the Bellagio.

At least the hydrangeas were pretty.

After wandering around we went back to the MGM where you can go to CBS Television City and screen potential upcoming tv shows.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but we actually had a lot of fun doing it!  The show we watched was pretty interesting, I hope it makes it to tv!  It was a fun experience, and something that would definitely be different every time you go.

The rest of the afternoon was spent being deliberately lazy, but that's what vacations are all about, right?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Vegas, Baby!--Day 2

After we left Fremont, we moseyed (mosied?) our way to the hotel we would be staying the last two nights.  We stayed at the Signature Suites at the MGM.  I was surprised to learn that this hotel is neither at the MGM nor owned by MGM.  It is actually an independent, non-gaming hotel located directly behind the MGM, with a covered walkway connecting the two.  Let me tell you, these suites are amazing, and definitely worth the extra footwork to get yourself to the main hotel/strip.  

And the jacuzzi bathtub made me never want to leave.  Ever.

After we checked in we wandered around our hotel a bit.  The MGM lions were cuddly and sleeping together.

Um, anybody have any idea why there is a guy in there with them?  He is not even wearing any official "lion trainer" gear or anything.  He just sat there texting away like he was anywhere but in a lion cage.


Brett and I were both very confused and I said to him, "Well, they are just cats."  To which he replied, "Yeah, really big eat-you cats."  I have no response to that.  He wins.

Moving on.

This trip (as opposed to last trip) I sucked it up and hauled around my big-girl camera.  It was nice to get some decent night shots.

The Excalibur was all pretty and glowy.

And the MGM was glitzy and sparkly.

As was all of Las Vegas Boulevard.

The Planet Hollywood casino is still by far our favorite.  I won $75 bucks there!

Not too shabby for a low-roller such as myself!

The new City Center is done now.  It is ginormous!!

We rounded out the night at New York New York where I think we ended up having the most fun.  They have a dueling piano bar there that is definitely worth checking out!

Day 3 post coming soon...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Las Vegas Day 1-Fremont Street

Brett and I have been to Vegas before but never made it down to Fremont St.  So, for the first night of our three night trip we stayed at the Golden Gate hotel which is right on Fremont St.

Brett had to see patients in the morning, so we didn't take off until the afternoon on Day 1.  I have to say that the Phoenix-Las Vegas drive is, in my opinion, much more scenic than the San Diego-Las Vegas drive.

Lots of pretty cacti and interesting scenery:

Look kids!  A Joshua Tree!  I was excited to see one of these.  I have heard of them, and was even forced to write a report on them in grade school, but I had never actually seen one before!  Cross that off the bucket list I suppose.  ;) 

We got to see Hoover Dam!

Another thing you don't see on the San Diego-Las Vegas drive, and another thing I had never seen before.  We got to take a dam tour and take some dam pictures and buy some dam souvenirs.  Only not really. 

We ate dinner at a really yummy Italian restaurant and then headed to our hotel to check in and then check out the action on Fremont St.  The Golden Gate Hotel was small but charming:

A word to the wise:  The party on Fremont St. goes until about 2-3am with live music, so unless you are wanting to join in on the action, don't book a room overlooking Fremont St.

On Fremont Street we got to see all of the old casinos like the Four Queens and the Golden Nugget.

I think we liked the Golden Nugget the best.  It had a pretty sweet shark tank pool with a slide running through it. 

It was a good time.  We really liked the live music and the fact that everything is all in one place (think: minimal walking) but now that we've done it neither of us is dying to go back and see it again.

Day 2 & Day 3 posts coming soon...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Salmon and Israeli Cous Cous Stir Fry

If you haven't before, you should check out Iowa Girl Eats.  It is one of my new favorite food blogs.  She has such great ideas and they are generally very healthy, and often vegetarian. 

Her recipe for Salmon and Israeli Cous Cous Stir Fry inspired me enough to try it out for myself.  It turned out really really well, and was a nice change of pace from the usual fish + vegetable + rice that we do at our house. 

I made mine a little bit differently with pre-packaged organic stir fry mix, but the end result was pretty much the same. 

You can head on over to this post for the recipe. 

Now, if anyone has any good recommendations for what I can do with the other 1/2 box of israeli cous cous and also the 1.5 dozen eggs that are hanging out in my fridge, I am definitely open to dinner suggestions!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Current Projects-Ruffle Shirt + Skirts

I am currently up to my elbows in a project from this awesome tutorial over at Thread Banger.  It's a tutorial on how to convert a men's shirt into a cute feminine ruffle shirt.

(Picture from

I thought I would have it done by today, but no luck.  I had a couple of mishaps (read: user errors) with following the pattern.  Hopefully it will be done next week!  I will report back with the results.

Also,  I checked out this great book from my library:
I love this sewing book so much that I should probably just buy a copy myself.  I checked it out a couple of times in Davenport, and it led me to make this skirt, and this one.

This fabric has been hanging out in my stash for a while now:

It is from the Fabric Discovery section at Hancock fabrics.  Oh, how I miss the Fabric Discovery section.  I don't know if this is universal to all Hancock fabrics, but the one by my house in Davenport had a rotating rack of fabrics all for $.75 a yard!!  Those were the days.

Anyway, I love that fabric and I think it's time for it to be transformed into a fun skirt for Summer.  More updates to follow!  In the meantime I am off to Vegas for some much needed couple time with the husband.  See you next week! 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

30 Day Shred

Has anyone else here tried Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred?  If you have I'd love to hear your experience with it.

We have a trip to Vegas coming up soon, and immediately following that I will be seriously hitting the gym/workout DVDs/what have you.  As convenient as it is that one lap around our block is precisely one quarter mile, my humble laps around the neighborhood are just not enough to keep this booty in shape these days.  Couple that with the fact that we are inching ever closer to our first 100° day for the year and you have a recipe for disaster.  Or at the very least a recipe for 'Amy doesn't want to work out outside anymore.'

So if anyone has tried it, let me know, I'd love to hear your results!

If I get gutsy, maybe I'll even chronicle this little adventure right here on my blog.  Just maybe.


Photo from

Whoever thought of this deserves an award.  

Sunday, May 2, 2010

DIY Keyboard Wrist Rest

Wrist rest.  Wrist rest.  Wrist rest.  Try saying that five times fast.  

Something I love:  Really simple solutions to everyday problems.

For instance:  My carpal tunnel has flared up.  :(  I needed a new keyboard wrist rest at work.  Rather than spend the next 6 weeks going through the necessary channels to order one, I thought I would just make my own.

The best part was that it is made entirely of things I had on hand:  a small amount of fabric and some rice.  And it's pretty.

Here's how I did it:

For starters, I used a highly sophisticated measuring device to determine the length of my keyboard:

Next, I cut out my fabric pieces, mine were approximately 18" by 4".

I sewed them, right sides together, around all but one short side.

Then, I turned it right side out, and top stitched around the same three sides.

Next, fold the open end in about 3/4", press, and fill with approximately 3 cups of rice.  You can use more or less depending on what level of firmness you want.  We don't fool around when it comes to rice in this house.  I had the giant 25 lb. bag from Costco on hand. 

After it was filled, I top stitched the open end closed, and Voila!  A handy-dandy keyboard wrist rest.  I did the exact same thing for my mouse, and just shortened it so that it would be the appropriate mouse size.

Now, because I love you, and because it's high time I start taking this blog o' mine seriously, I have created a template for you to use in case you desire to make your own handy-dandy keyboard wrist rest.  You can download it here.  Enjoy!

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