Flash Issues.

Just came across a giveaway on


and checked out this product - http://lightscoop.com/

wow it rocks! This would save me HOURS in Photoshop and make my pics so much better. Jackie, you need one too!



Well, let's discuss it, shall we? **Warning: longest post ever.**

First things first. I know a lot of people said they wouldn't watch once Simon left - but if you haven't seen it yet this season, then you have seriously missed out. I LOVE the new judges. I've always been a fan of Steven Tyler - I heart Aerosmith, ST is crazy talented and well, just plain crazy sometimes, but everything he says just seems to ring true, like he knows what he's talking about. And who knew he was funny too?? So much fun on the panel. J-Lo is awesome too - always put together and beautiful, and smart, without having Paula's nonsensical blubbering. She seems to draw on her wealth of experience with each comment. Randy seems to be a little more eloquent this season - maybe that comes from sitting in chair #3 instead of #1. Time will tell whether he will dumb it down and pull out the "Yo Dawg" and the "For you for me," etc.

Second Point: As much as I love the judges, hello, they put WAY too many people through to Hollywood. Sigh. That's why I haven't posted until now - there were just TOO many wannabes that didn't deserve to be there. Like that Ashley chick (you know the one, the insane anorexic one who looked like Lindsey Lohan's cousin? Yep, that's her. At least she was able to get married in Vegas. Insert eye-rolling here. Granted, she was entertaining.) And gag me with Tiffany "Snooki" Rios "I'm tired of seeing other people try to do what I know I can." Ack. She was delusional and had a horrid voice. And Jacee? Come on, sweet kid, but you know as well as I do, as well as the judges did, that a fat, awkward 15-yr-old with a small voice is never going to make it on the live show. I was quite impressed, however, how he calmly accepted being KICKED OUT on group night. Wow. I would have broken down and commenced sobbing, or screaming, or both. But I digress: there are 24 important people to discuss, so I won't spend any more time on people like them.

Third - Who I think does NOT deserve to be in the top 24:
#1 on that list, Brett Loewenstern - the resident Keebler elf. I think he was an extra on Lord of the Rings - he played Legolas' red-headed step-child. Yes, I'm being a little harsh, but that boy is just odd, his voice isn't that great, and he will not be loved by America. Nuff said.
#2 on the non-deserving list: Scotty McCreery. What's his one, great talent? His deep voice? That's it? He's not even all that cute! I would have rather had John Wayne cowboy dude on the show - now HE was interesting.
(I know I have commented on looks here, but it's not as if they can be ignored. I have to look at these people every week for next couple of months! (And it's all about me!) It cracks me up when the judges say they're looking for "the entire package" - ummm, what does that mean? BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, that's what.)
#3 on the non-deserving list: Jovany Barreto. Insert bigger eye-roll here too, for the mexican mafia dude who showed his abs to Paula on his first audition day. Puh-lease.
#4, 5 and 6 - other guys I don't really like - Clint Jun Gamboa (rude, full of himself) Jacob Lusk (absolutely scary when he sings, his mouth and tone are freaky, and he's way too flaming for me - I think he would be fantastic on Broadway, he just seems to be more of a "character") and Jordon Dorsey (again, RUDE. Thinks he's God's gift to music, and to this show. I predict he will not go very much farther because of his attitude.)
#7 - on to the girls. Tatysnisa Wilson - seriously? She's not shown me anything that impresses.
#8 - Karen Rodriguez - (I think both of these last two were added for diversity-sake.)
#9 - Not a huge fan of Thia Megia yet - but withholding judgment. We'll see if she's really got what the judges think she does. She just doesn't seem to have any stage presence.
#10 - Also not a fan of Julie Zorrilla. (you know, with the immigrant parents from Columbia?) She plays to the camera way too much, too flirty, and seems a little too confident for this stage in the game. She leaves a bad taste in my mouth each time I see her.

Fourth: Whew. Now on to my favorites so far!
#1 - Casey Abrams - um, WOW. That's all there is to say. This dude is amazing. He may look like Buddy the Elf's brother, but he has the voice, the incredible musical ability, the style to go all.the.way. Can't wait to see what he'll do next. How much do you LOVE IT when he plays the bass?
#2 - James Durbin - um, WOW again. This guy has got way more impressive pipes than Lambert, and way more of a sob story. LOVE HIM. Totally rooting for him. And his Tourettes. (sp?)
#3 - Tim Halperin - oh, wow, love him too. On and piano and off. Have not seen nearly enough from him yet, but totally looking forward to it.
#4 and 5 - Paul McDonald (dark horse, possibly) & Robbie Rosen (amazing depth for so young!) - - both are very, very good as well. Hope they stay in it until the top 10.
#6 - Lauren Alaina - so flippin' sweet. 16 years old. How can you not love her? She also knows she's good, but it doesn't seem to be annoying like it is on other singers.
#7 - Haley Reinhart - so versatile.
#8 - Rachel Zevita - finally, she made it - this girl is SO so talented, with all of her range and all of her lovely tone. I'm predicting top 5???
#9 - Ashthon Jones - eek, I like her so much too.
The rest of the girls.... eh, they're just all right. Naima Adedapo might turn out to be interesting... We shall see.

Sidenote - It's called American Idol, people. Stop singing Spanish in your auditions.

SO - who are your favorites? Have you been watching? Did you see THESE?


Quiche 101.

I love quiche. Since I've tried this recipe, I haven't made any other. I can eat it for any meal of the day and love it. I've perfected it (I think) and have to share ... just because anyone who has tried it asks for the recipe... here it is.

Two pie crusts (yep, I use store-bought. Do NOT pre-bake them, even though other quiche recipes might tell you to.)

Lay out crusts in two glass pie pans. Flute edges.
Swiss Cheese - slice thinly and arrange in bottom of crusts. (a 6-8 oz. brick fills two crusts nicely) Set aside crusts.

Dice 1-2 T of bell pepper (I use whatever color I have on hand)
Dice 1-2 T of onion
Dice 1 small can of mushrooms (drained, of course. If you have fresh use a handful of those instead.

Sauté peppers, onion and mushrooms together 'til onions are soft(ish).

At this point, chop up a big handful of fresh spinach and throw that in to the pan too, just to wilt it a bit. Set aside.

Mix in separate bowl:
7 or 8 eggs
2 cups half & half (or heavy cream if you're evil like that. I've used both and can't tell the difference, honestly)
Chopped ham (recipe calls for 12 oz, but that seems like a lot - I usually just grab a handful.)
Shredded Colby/Jack cheese (I usually use a handful of mexican blend)
1/2 tsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. parsley
1/4 tsp. tarragon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. pepper

Be generous with the spices. I barely measure anything. Add in pepper/onion/spinach mixture, and then divide between the two crusts.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Watch the edges of the crust, use a guard if they're getting too brown for your liking.

Eat it for breakfast tomorrow morning and think of me - because I'll be eating the same thing! You can take the extra quiche to your neighbor to show how thoughtful you are (unless you like it as much as I do, then by all means, put it in your freezer for yourself for next week, it'll still be fabulous.)


I'd like your vote...

I really, really, really want new furniture. Like, everywhere. My ideal color palette and my style has shifted since we bought most everything that exists in this house - but unfortunately the amount in the category of "extra money not slated for anything else" has dramatically shifted as well. When we moved in 5+ years ago, I was pretty happy with most everything we had, including those darn red couches and the rug they sit on. I got guest room furniture, the girls' furniture done, bought a dining room set (wait, don't misunderstand, I love THAT) but the rest, well, it's all looking a bit tired. Several months ago I tried to replace my front room rug and stupidly ordered one from a catalog - turned out to be pretty cheapy and so, so, so not the right color - so back it went, and I gave up.
I've got the bug again to re-do my front room - I'm envisioning light, bright - cream colored upholstered couches, funky fabrics on pillows, a super fun patterned chair - - but it all has to start with the rug to get me out of my red-country-thimbleberries-woven funk. But, since it's in the same room with the green parsons chairs of my dining set, it has to get along and play nice. So, I've found a few rugs that caught my eye, that are made of wool this time, mostly still affordable, and hopefully the quality will be up to par with what I want. So - - keeping in mind my room looks like THIS right now (okay imagine it with a bit more clutter and dust on the furniture, and vinyl on the walls)
and I'd rather it looked like something in a Ballard Designs catalog, here are some options: I'll tell you right up front that it was this first one that made me seriously consider this whole project, but the reviews on it said that the color was very "lime green" which simply won't work. Love, love, love the pattern though.

This was the closest second-place option I could find - and I bet the color of green would be great - afraid it might be a little busy though.
I honestly would prefer a geometric pattern, but this one is too brown, not enough green.
Floral? Eh. Maybe not so much. I think this one was the cheapest of the bunch though. But, not enough chocolate color.
Ah, now this one is nice, but man, that green would have to be RIGHT ON, since there's so much of it. And it's the most expensive option.
What I originally wanted was THIS pattern - - if only I could find it in a nice, thick, embossed pile, tufted wool rug instead of painted on a wall...go ahead and click on the photo to see the pattern large - but imagine it in just the right muted green, and deep chocolate... sigh.
Any ideas where to send me to go look at rugs, either online or in a real store? I'm clueless...


30 Projects in 30 days.

Let's see how productive I can be! Okay, I don't know if I'll actually count, bit I am deeming this month, from today until Spring Break, as "Month of Finishing Unfinished Projects" - - who's with me?? I've got a few successes under my belt this last week, and they have given me hope! What projects have been lingering around your to-do list for YOU to finish? Can I help? Do you want to get together so we can accomplish things together?? I'm not taking full responsibility of ALL of these, some should totally be on my husband's plate...

On My To-Do List:
1. M's fleece Knot-a-Quilt. (that we've had for at least 2 years, I think) I spent HOURS on this today, and finally, all the squares are assembled and the knots are tied. Now all there is to do is decorate each square (all 42 of them) with the cutout designs. Hopefully this part will be easy. My fingers are so tired from all the tying today!

4. This is a biggie - J'S QUILT. Ugh, I don't know why I procrastinate sewing projects so much. Most of the hard parts are done on this, hoping to tackle this tomorrow and make some progress.

6. Either finish painting the scallops & the ceiling in the girls' room, or give up all together and paint over them, once and for all.

8. Sand and re-paint M's nightstand (hmmm... do I still have that white paint?)

10. Sell our black secretary/bookshelf on Craig's List. Find a place to store all the books.
11. Move our (new) (hand-me-down) dresser into guest room downstairs, and put A's clothes in it.
12. Disassemble A's white bed upstairs, and find a place to store it (Senny's room perhaps????) Yep, it's time to separate the girls. Too many issues.
13. Figure out external hard drive again, and back up my computer.
14. Plan out A's new bedding, and shop for fabrics.
15. Get new plug for, or get my husband to figure out, the electricity for our instant hot water on our sink. Hello, it's been disconnected for like 2 years. Ridiculous.
16. Make my flippin' blue and brown bedskirt I started 3 years ago. (Sewing project. Are you sensing a pattern here??)
17. Santa penny rug, requiring a bunch of hand sewing, which I HATE. This one's been about 80% finished for 2 years. Sigh.
18. Research plans and options, and then get new phones.
20. Repaint the white spackled, patched hole in the red wall behind the treadmill. I fixed the hole, even though I did not make the hole, and I don't think I should have to paint the hole too. Humph. I'm not naming any names here as far as who made the hole in the wall, but it DID happen to be just the same size and shape as N's running shoe. I'm just sayin'.
21. Get our family pictures planned, scheduled and taken (This is actually MUCH higher on the priority list - not last)

To be continued...


Happy Valentines Day

Look, I actually finished a holiday craft BEFORE the actual holiday! Jackie and I put these together today. I think mine turned out almost as good as the original idea - as long as no one holds a level up to the stick! (this one) maybe some of my roses need a haircut to improve their shape a little though... And I think ours were MUCH bigger than the original too - who's your Daddy? Mine!

okay, just as soon as all my other projects are done...

laughing out loud right now, as if that would ever happen. How about, as soon as I finish J's quilt that's been in progress for two years...

I'm starting on THIS for new bedding for one of my girls. Love it.


These are a few of my favorite things.

• Zupas CafĂ©. Tried this place out when we went to Utah this weekend. And then went back the next day. Um, YUM. That's all I can say. Anyone who knows me knows that my meal of choice is ALWAYS soup. And here, I have like 10 different choices. AND vanilla to add to my Coke Zero. AND I get a chocolate covered strawberry with my meal. What?? Seriously. If someone wanted to open a franchise in AZ, I would not be sad at all.
• My new favorite snack. Awesome.
• Sales at Fry's, and using F&E coupons there too. So glad they're taking competitor coupons again! I can walk into that store not organized coupon-wise at all, without a plan, and still walk out having saved 50% or more. Let's face it, I'll never be a couponer like Ashlee or April or Kenise, so thank goodness Fry's makes it easy.
• Sure Cuts a Lot. This software has opened a whole new world for me, and made me fall in love with my Cricut again. Want to buy some cartridges?? I don't need them anymore!


Tick Tock, Watch the Clock!

It's giveaway time!  The Two Chicks have teamed up with Morgan from Becominghomegrown.com to offer our fans a chance to win FREE VINYL!  We're giving away your choice of a free vinyl saying that has "love" or "heart" in it to one of our lucky fans!  You have ONE more day to enter - - go HERE or HERE to do so!  I'd MUCH rather have one of my friends win than hers, so hurry and enter please!  Lots of ways to enter, many chances to win!