Black Sheep Dancing

Why be like everyone else when you can be yourself?

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Little Dragons

Back in November, munchkin’s grandma asked what he wanted for Christmas, so being the resourceful mommy I am, I put on my thinking cap for things he wanted AND he/I needed. I also like to dream pretty big, so for Christmas munchkin was super lucky and got karate lessons!


Since I told him about the lessons, I have been prepping him. “In karate, you have to listen to your teacher. In karate, you have to pay attention. In karate you can’t be late.” I have to remind myself of that last one…


Today was our first day. I picked out this activity for a variety reasons. First, he has to listen, and listening is a good skill to learn for when he starts school. Second, he has to learn to be patient when waiting his turn or watching others. Third, it is great exercise, and fourth, let’s face it. He is around a lot of women and needs more guy time. He got his little outfit and looked so stinkin’ cute! I knew I was going to love the class when all the kids had to run laps while waiting for class to start.



We also vaguely know some people in the class, so that was comforting. The lady sitting next to me also told me all the wonderful things she had heard about the dojo. Score!



I still can’t get over how cut they all are in their little uniforms. And it’s pretty entertaining to watch the instructors deal with the 5 second attention span of a room full of 4 and 5 year-old kids. They do way better than I do!


So, now I have to figure out how to balance this along with work, cleaning, baking, bills, grocery shopping. Tips? Oh, how I envy stay-at-home-moms sometimes!


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2011 – it HAS to be a good year

Happy New Year!

I hope all my lovely readers out there ***crickets….silence*** had a lovely Christmas. We had a lovely time.


I made a Christmas dinner for friends including this super yummy bread pudding.

Munchkin got his very first sled ride…and quite a few after that!

We went to church on Christmas Eve.

And fed the horses…

We enjoyed some crackers. My “toy” was a pair of really bad nail clippers and a joke…want to hear it? You know you do.

What kind of soap does a judge use? Give up??? TRAIL size soap! ahaahhahahaha….okay, so not the best joke ever.

Had lunch at one of the best restaurants ever. (I got grilled cheese of course, and onion rings. BEST ONION RINGS EVER)

I rang in the new year with my sister and crew at a country club. It was awesome because I was by far one of the youngest people there to celebrate with friends.

And I finally got a pair of wellies! Aren’t they cute? I even found fleece inserts so they are nice and warm.

We also went to a couple of tag sales. Nothing super exciting, but I did find some loaf pans so I can bake more quick breads and a cute 60s enameled bowl. Santa also brought me some fun vintage finds for Christmas. Did I ever mention I collect hammered aluminum? Well, I got a TON of it for Christmas and now I am in hammered aluminum bliss.

So, that’s my end of year/ year so far. But here is to being single and making dreams come true in the new year!  I love the number 11. It’s a fabulous number. When I won first place in horse competitions, my number always had 11 in it. When I ran my fastest time in cross country my number was 11. So 2011, let’s do it!

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I want candy

Throughout the year I go through phases of wanting to bake and cook and then periods when all I want to do is run through the drive through for every meal. Usually at Christmas I am baking up a storm, but it would seem this year my baking button is off. I tried making some spritz cookies the other day and they flopped. Seriously, I don’t know what I did wrong. Then I started making some oatmeal cookies…I measured the flower and stopped. I just don’t feel like baking. I better get in the mood soon!

So, because I don’t really feel like baking, I have found some super easy, super fast recipes. Candy can be so easy!

I first made some Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy. It took all of 5 minutes to make and it is super easy. And pretty!

Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy

I followed this up with some candied walnuts, which were almost as quick and easy. I really do need to make some cookies though.

This morning we were going to head on out to the Firefly Play Cafe for a play date. If you haven’t been there I highly recommend it. It’s a nice alternative to Chuck E Cheese, they can run around, and it encourages creative play. Plus, it’s only $5 and grownups can get coffee and there are healthy snacks for the kiddos instead of candy. However, as we were eating breakfast the munchkin said, “Mommy, my tummy hurts.” And then it came, and came and came…so gross. Being a parent is not for the weak stomach, that’s for sure.

Now that we’re in for probably the rest of the day, I guess we’ll watch Shrek Happily Ever After, wrap some more presents, maybe play some Chutes and Ladders. I’m pretty much done shopping, but I LOVE to go shopping in December. Everyone is jolly, the decorations, the smell of spices. Maybe we’ll sneak out to a store or two.

Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy


  • 1  cup  pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 3  (4-oz.) bars bittersweet chocolate baking bars
  • 3  (4-oz.) white chocolate baking bars
  • 1  teaspoon  coarse sea salt*

1. Place pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet.

2. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.

3. Line a 17- x 12-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Break each chocolate bar into 8 equal pieces. (You will have 48 pieces total.) Arrange in a checkerboard pattern in jelly-roll pan, alternating white and dark chocolate. (Pieces will touch.)

4. Bake at 225° for 5 minutes or just until chocolate is melted. Remove pan to a wire rack. Swirl chocolates into a marble pattern using a wooden pick. Sprinkle evenly with toasted pecans and salt.

5. Chill 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 month.

*3/4 tsp. kosher salt may be substituted.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars and Ghirardelli White Chocolate Baking Bars.

Dawn’s Candied Walnuts


  • 1 pound walnut halves
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread nuts in a single layer over a baking sheet. Roast for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until the nuts start to turn brown and the smell of roasting nuts fills the kitchen.
  2. Stir together sugar, cinnamon, salt, and milk in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 minutes, or until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage of 236 degrees F (113 degrees C). Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla immediately. .
  3. Add walnuts to sugar syrup, and stir to coat well. Spoon nuts onto waxed paper, and immediately separate nuts with a fork. Cool, and store in airtight containers.


Baby, it’s cooooooooold outside!`

Back in April when I moved home to Ohio after living in Florida, I was so excited to be near my family and around people who say “pop” and and play games like “euchre”. However, as we progress further into winter, I seem to be longing for those warm, sunny (okay, excruciatingly hot) days.


Last week we woke up to this:

Yes, snow. The munchkin was jumping up and down and screaming about how excited he was. As I looked outside I said, “Ugh”, as my little guy said, “Awesome!”.


Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a good snow at Christmas. Looking out the window is so pretty, and the lights seem to sparkle more in the white blanket of snow. And them I’m over it.


Well, it was about 30 degrees today, but we had been trapped inside all day and we were both going bonkers from being inside so we headed on out to Millstone Creek Park to brave the cold. Well, that is after running tights, jeans, tall boots, two pairs of socks, long sleeve shirt, wool sweater, fleece pull over, winter coat, scarf, gloves, and a horribly tacky hat that is nice and warm.

Other than it being SUPER cold, it was an awesome park. There are all kinds of slides and things to climb that are different than your average playground, and I love that squishy base that makes it soft in case they fall off. There is a nature area where, in the summer, the kids can explore the creek and swamp up close. They even have xylophones and chimes to play! Of course it would probably be more fun when it is a bit warmer when the nature areas are open and other kids are there, but we had a great time. It was worth the drive.

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Elliptical Machine

I’m participating in a contest/fitness thing at work where you have a team of five people and your team all has to walk so many miles each day (or run, or exercise – there’s a whole conversion chart they provide). Our team decided to be ambitious and go for the 5.2 miles a day. Easy peesy, right? RIGHT?

Now see, I consider myself a pretty active person, but some days you don’t want to do much. However, if I only walk 3 miles today, that means I have to walk 7.2 miles tomorrow to make up for the ones I didn’t walk. Yikes! It can be really easy to fall behind. So today I didn’t park at the far away garage and walk, and I didn’t walk much to meetings and things during the day, so after I got home I HAD to do something to make up for it. So, I packed up the munchkin and headed to the gym.

I also recently joined this gym. How’d I pick it? It’s the only one that has daycare anywhere close to my house. That is a must. They have all kinds of bells and whistles, but I’m a treadmill and a few weights kinda gal, so their fancy heated pool and smoothie bar don’t interest me too much. ALTHOUGH, they do have this movie theater, but instead of seats, they have cardio equipment! How cool is that?? I watched Indiana Jones the other day while running!

Anyways, back to my story. So I drop the munchkin off, go exercise and come back to pick him up. He wants to know if I went running. I told him no, that I used something called the ellipitcal machine. So he asks another question, but I didn’t understand him right away, so he kept getting louder and louder…”Mommy, what’s a ball licker machine?”

If my face wasn’t already red from exercising, it was then. But, at least I got my mileage in!

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I love hummus

So there is a new restaurant in town that I keep seeing pop up in various places, so I decided to check it out. I go through phases of loving to cook, and it seems I am phasing out right now. What does that mean? Time to eat out! The restaurant is called Mazah’s and serves quick mediterranean food. We all know I love me some Greek food!

Since it was a new spot, I opted for the large sampler, which included hummus, fava bean dip, baba ghanoush, 3 bean salad, cabbage salad, med. potato salad, falafel, rice and fatayer. The helpings were generous, the food reasonably priced, and it is a quick meal that is actually healthy. They also designate on the menu if it is gluten free, vegetarian or vegan, so you can take your veggie friends and know they’ll be eating well without having to create a new menu when they order. To top it all off, the service was quite pleasant. I think I’ll be going back. Now if only I can convince the munchkin beans are yummy!

Aren’t you just hungry looking at it???

In other news, munchkin went to the doctor and needed eye drops. Have you ever tried to put eye drops in a 4-year old kid who weighs half as much as you that REALLY doesn’t want them? It took a good 20 minutes to get one drop in and I’m pretty sure we are both scarred for life. I’m TOTALLY looking forward to tomorrow when we get to do it again. (Sarcasm – gotta love it!)