Friday, April 29, 2011

PROUD MAMA ALERT!!

I've been soooo busy lately. Too busy & tired to post, but I had to post this~

Our son has been selected to play sousaphone in the 2011 Marching Illini! We are sooo proud and sooooooo excited! This is a HUGE honor!Congratulations Jake! You will be awesome! The perfect addition to the sousaphone line!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Reality Wrap: Week 10

Survivor~ Rob has TOO much power! Seriously! They need to wake up from their trance. And....Phillip is NUTS! I think he's a calculated nut, but a nut none the less!!

Amazing Race~ You don't often see them cover 3 countries in one leg, but Lichtenstein is so small that it was easily covered. I am surprised that this late in the game that so many teams are helping each other out, but I think they were just trying to push out the cowboys. It sure looked close there at the end between the globes and the cowboys, but the globes did what they HAD to do to avoid being eliminated. They are a nice team and I know they felt bad. I don't think the other teams disliked the cowboys, they just wanted them out because they are strong!

Celebrity Apprentice~ OK...The Donald looks HORRIBLE! The jaundiced make-up look is SOOOO bad!!! The bronze look against the pink eyes is just atrocious! Both teams did so bad on the task and I think both should have lost...BUT it's about ratings so they wanted to put the strongest up against each other. LaToya did get some good face time with the execs, but she was weak. I am so looking forward to the Nene-Starr face off next week!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Low Carb & Celebrations

Holidays mean getting together with family & friends to celebrate and Easter was no exception. My downfall with celebrations are sweets, so that meant I needed to plan ahead. I tried out 3 recipes off Linda's Low Carb Recipe Site. For our Easter lunch meal with family I made a Orange Raspberry Fluff that was just outstanding. For the dessert potluck we went to I took Crustless Keylime Pie & Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake, which were OK. I thought the cheesecake could have used more chocolate. I did add extra peanut butter & cocoa, but the balance wasn't right. Overall the last 2 desserts weren't bad, but being that there were other (high carb) desserts to choose from people weren't fans of our desserts.

Cranberry FluffThis recipe called for cranberries, but I was unable to find them so I used raspberries instead. It was a fabulous combination with the orange jello. I did have trouble with it setting up so I had to use the extra gelatin step outlined at the bottom of the recipe. I used the Da Vinci Vanilla Syrup instead of the Spenda.

Crustless Keylime PieI ended up doubling this recipe and made it in a casserole dish instead of a pie plate. It was quite easy to make but not very sweet.

Peanut Butter Chocolate CheesecakeLike I said above I put in extra peanut butter & cocoa, but the balance wasn't right. I should have put in more cocoa! The peanut butter taste was awesome! I did not put on chocolate curls like the recipe suggested.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter

to those of you who celebrate. I've been super busy this last several days. I spent much of today on my feet preparing for tomorrow...preparing food, dessert, eggs, cleaning, etc. Tomorrow will be busy too, but hopefully with some relaxation time built in the afternoon. Hope it's a great day for you whether you celebrate or not.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

What am I doing today? Waiting for these to be delivered!

Reality Wrap- Week 9

Survivor~ The Zapatera tribe is right...Rob is a dictator. It's actually kind of funny to watch how stupid they are for listening to him. Not eating the fish when you are starving? Come on! Do you think they will all remain stupid and Rob will win?

Amazing Race~ This leg seemed very short to me. I had heard rumors that it was a non-elim leg, but I didn't believe it. The Globetrotters were super strong this episode. Looks like they just missed winning the cars. That was A LOT of schnitzel to eat in 12 mins! I would have started with the choc cake! LOL! Vyxen was being so ridiculous...totally jumping on Kent who really wasn't doing anything wrong. They (I mean she) has gotten pretty annoying. I don't think they have a chance at the top 3. They will probably be philiminated in the next 2 legs.

Celebrity Apprentice~ OK...Gary Busey has been kept around for ratings, but there was NO WAY he could survive last night. I thought for sure that he would be throwing John Rich under the bus because John had him figured out. John just washed his hands of everything. He and Lil Jon were worthless. Poor Meatloaf looked like he was going to have a heart attack! Nene thinks she's the best, but her days are numbered!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Noodle-less Lasagna

We had lasagna for dinner last night. With a lo-carb diet there was no noodles in it. I was hoping it would be good with no noodles and not much tomato sauce, but I have to tell you...it was FANTASTIC!!! So YUMMY! In fact, I overate!! I got the recipe from Linda's Low Carb site.

Noodle-less Lasagna
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt & pepper
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 28 ounces zucchini
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch parsley, chopped
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded, 2 ounces
Brown the hamburger with the garlic; drain the fat. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato sauce and Italian seasoning. Beat the eggs with the ricotta; add a little salt and pepper and the parsley. Thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise about 1/8" thick; do not peel. Grease a 9x13" baking pan. Layer everything in this order: 1/3 of the zucchini, salt and pepper, 1/2 of the meat sauce, 1/3 of the zucchini, salt and pepper, all of the ricotta, 1/2 of the mozzarella and parmesan, 1/3 of the zucchini, salt and pepper, the rest of the meat sauce, the rest of the cheeses. Bake at 350ยบ for 45 minutes to an hour until bubbly and the zucchini is cooked well.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pixie Outfit for your American Girl Doll Giveaway CLOSED

A few months ago I featured Blissality with a giveaway of a Mermaid Outfit for an American Girl or 18" Doll. I've joined ranks with Blissality again for another giveaway. This one is for a pixie outfit for your doll. Blissality sent us a few pixie dresses and a set of purple wings for my daughter to test out on her doll.The pixie dress is well made. It's fully lined and is so cute on the doll. My daughter just loves the wings. This set was made with a sparkly dot purple fabric. They slip onto the doll with elastic over the shoulders.Blissality is offering a pixie outfit (dress & wings) for an American Girl or 18" Doll to one of my lucky Diana Rambles readers. The winner will get to pick from the available pixie dresses & wings in Blissality's shop. This giveaway will run through 11:59pm CST on Sunday, April 24th. The winner will be chosen via random.org and notified on April 25th and will have 48 hours to contact me. This giveaway is for the dress & wings only! Doll not included!

Entry Rules
  • You must do the mandatory entry
  • Leave your email address with your mandatory entry if it's not available in your profile
  • Each entry needs to be a separate comment (remember to do multiple comments on those indicated as multiple entries!)
  • US addresses only
Mandatory Entry
  • Visit Blissality Etsy shop and check out their items. Come back here and leave a comment on what your favorite item for an 18" or American Girl doll is.
Additional Entries
  • 1 entry for adding Blissality to your list of shop favorites at Etsy.
  • 1 entry for adding my shop to your list of shop favorites at Etsy.
  • 3 entries for signing up for Blissality's email list here.
  • 1 entry for being a public follower of Diana Rambles via Google Friend Connect. Find this under My Followers near the top of my left sidebar. Click Follow and then confirm.
  • 2 entries for subscribing to my Diana Rambles Feedburner. Make sure you verify the subscription. Find at the top of my left sidebar.
  • 1 entry for following me via Twitter @FreeStyleMama.
  • 1 entry (up to 10 each day...must be at least 2 hours apart) for tweeting about this giveaway on Twitter. Feel free to copy the following~ Enter to #win a Pixie Dress & Wings for an 18" #AmericanGirl Doll #giveaway #contest ends 4/24 @FreeStyleMama http://tinyurl.com/AGpixie Please leave the link to your tweet in the comment. (You get the tweet link by clicking on the '4 mins ago' time)
That is a bunch of entry possibilities. The more times you enter, the better chance you have of winning! I will publish each comment when the entry has been verified. **MAKE sure you follow the rules or the entry will be DQ'd!!**

Friday, April 15, 2011

Busy Week & Outlook

I took last weekend off to go to St. Louis. While we had a lot of downtime/relaxing in St. Louis, we also got a lot of exercise and it was hot. I've been very tired each night this week and have been sore too. My back hasn't really been sore, so the exercise was good for it.

I've been trying to play catch up business wise. I was able to get 2 makeovers done early in the week but that pace has slowed down with some volunteer activities and lots of running kids around. Yesterday I was gone nearly the WHOLE day and then I realize we made a mistake on our taxes so there was a flurry of activity here in the evening. This discovery will net about a grand more for us. Yeah! We will be filing an amendment once our return is processed. I am glad that I don't have much on my plate errands wise today. I have A LOT of work to do and several chores around here including laundry. We are getting a new washer & dryer next week (delivered on my bday!) but there is no way that we can hold off on doing laundry til then. I will get it done today and then we are going to clean out the utility room. It's a storage room down in our basement with the studs showing (no drywall) so we want to get in and clean it out and make any necessary repairs. The forecast for this afternoon is storms which is A-OK with me. It makes doing my work & chores easier because the kids will be inside.

Things are also getting quite busy for the teen. He's a senior so he's got college placement testing, a HUGE audition (college marching band), a few concerts, Six Flags, Prom, and of course graduation. I know some parents feel sad when their kid is at this point in life, but I am excited for him. Maybe because he's the oldest. I do feel sad that the youngest is starting Kindergarten in the fall though. I am sure I'll have a mix of emotions over the next 5 weeks or so!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reality Wrap- Week 8

Survivor~ I thought that Matt was going to lose with that injury on his foot. That must have been so painful to stand on that thin little piece of wood. I thought that was the end of Redemption Island, but they are starting it up again. There are some strong players still in the game, so it will be interesting to see how far he goes this round. I think this is the first time I've seen the 2 teams at the merge stay to divided as they are. It could be the editing, but they are not showing any faltering! 2 tribals this week...so things might possibly shift out of Rob's control.

Amazing Race~ Wow! Varanasi was intense!! Zev did a great job. Actually all the teams did. Vyxsin was *VERY CRAZY* to jump into that river. I am sure she has to follow up with all kinds of shots/medicines. Props to the teams who did the manure. I would ready to barf too! I followed Phil on Twitter during the show, which was interesting. I know that Ron & Christina were driving me crazy at first, but they were less obnoxious as of late so it was sad to see them go. I actually have nothing against any of the teams left, so the rest of the race should be good!

Celebrity Apprentice~ Amazing Race was delayed 12 mins so I missed the task assignment & project manager being picked on CA. It's interesting that the woman's team was so disorganized but they won. Obviously if it was based on who worked the hardest then the guys would have won, but it all hinged on the pirate theme. Gary is an idiot and he really should not still be around, but it's about ratings. He's not in for the long haul, but he does make it interesting. The 2 strongest men are John Rich & Meatloaf and the 2 strongest women are Marlee & Starr. Nothing says that the final has to be a man vs. a woman, but I think the final 2 will be John Rich vs. Marlee.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lo-Carb Desserts

We tried 2 different lo-carb desserts this week that we really liked.

Cherry Coke Jell-O Whip (I am copying the entire recipe here as the link has pop-ups)

Add a small box (the box that makes 4 servings) of cherry flavored Jell-O or your store brand of cherry gelatin to a small bowl (bowl must hold at least two cups liquid). You can use regular Jell-O, or if you are watching calories, you can use sugar free Jell-O.

Pour in 1/2 cup of boiling water. Stir the gelatin until it is dissolved. Let the gelatin sit until it is room temperature.

Add one 12 ounce can (or 1.5 cups) of Coke or your favorite store brand of cola. To save on calories you can use diet Coke or diet cola. Stir then put in the refrigerator until it starts to set.

When the gelatin starts to look like the consistency of egg whites (starting to set but not firm), pour the contents into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until it nearly doubles in size.

Pour the gelatin into individual serving cups or leave in the bowl. Top with whipped cream if you like just before serving.

Tips: If you want a creamy version of this gelatin dessert, you can add 1/2 cup of whipped cream to the mix just before beating with the mixer. You can also freeze both versions in individual serving cups for a tasty frozen low calorie treat. Small yogurt containers are just the right size to use for freezing.

**We used black cherry jellow and whipped it with a 1/2 cup of heavy cream and just let it chill in the fridge. It was so light & airy, but YUMMY!

Miracle Cookies (another from Deliciously Thin)

are FAST and use only 4 ingredients you most likely have right now! No FLOUR or SUGAR either!

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How To Prepare: Combine peanut butter and Splenda. Mix well. Stir in egg and vanilla extract. Roll dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten with Carboquik-floured fork. Bake at 350 degrees F for 7 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from cookie sheet.

Number of Servings: Yields 4 dozen.

Carbs per serving - include all nutritional information if known: one cookie at 3.5g of Carb (18 cookies)-24g in 1C splenda and 40g in 1C peanut butter

**Very powdery. Fresh out of the oven they will just fall apart, but when fully cooled they stayed together. YUM!!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Girls Weekend

My daughter & I are on our way to our annual girls weekend. Hope you have a fun weekend too!
Image courtesy of Your-StL.com

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My last name isn't Rambles!

Lately I've encountered several people who thought my last name was Rambles. How strange is that? I personally think it's quite obvious that it comes from my random ramblings here on my blog, but I guess they are confused because I use dianarambles.com for my email. I recently got an order in the mail and it was sent to Diana Rambles. Even the order form had my credit card processed as Diana Rambles. Uhm...how did that go through? The mailman was very confused and came by a 2nd time with that package wondering if I knew who that was. Another person wanted to send a payment to Diana Rambles. It's not that I don't want a payment, but they need to know what my name actually is.

Have you ever met someone with the last name Rambles? What would you think if you heard that as someone's last name?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Reality Wrap- Week 7

Survivor~ Stephanie lost at Redemption Island, so my prediction of the winner was wrong. No big deal~ I wasn't a fan at all. Another boring episode, but the merge next week should bring on some GOOD drama!

Amazing Race~ Week off due to the CMA. Bummer! I miss it!

Celebrity Apprentice~ The one good thing about Amazing Race not being on is that I was free to watch Celebrity Apprentice as it aired. I am normally impatient with commercial breaks, but I had kids to attend to and I was texting with a friend. This friend is quite astute and snarky. Our text conversations made the whole episode so much more enjoyable than normal. I might have to ignore my family more on a Sunday night! I was surprised that the woman won and even more surprised that they decided to send one of the men packing. Richard is a better team member for the men's team, but Gary is the wild card that helps with ratings. Besides, with Richard back in prison right now he would not be available for the finale. Lulz! Jose would have been booted soon, so he's no loss! I won't miss his twitchiness!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ramble not Recipe

I usually post a recipe on Mondays, but I didn't try any new recipes this week. I did make Grilled Chicken Cesar Wraps (salad for DH & I), but that was just grilled chicken chopped and mixed with Newman's Cesar Dressing & shredded Parmesan cheese. Super simple & yummy!

Spring is here and I couldn't be happier. I wasn't sad over the winter, but I was sure SICK of it! Spring is my *FAV* season and gorgeous weather like this (we have long overdue rain today!) validates our decision to live in the Midwest. Spring also means that things get BUSY around here. This morning is my first chance to relax in nearly a week. Our busy weekend included attending the Fairy Tale Festival on Friday night, a HUGE adoption event all day on Saturday, watching the teen perform (3 different bands-3 different instruments) at an even on Saturday night, and then on Sunday~ church, took the kiddos to Rapunzel, and then dinner with extended family.
adoption eventJazz solo with valve tromboneFlute in 2nd bandEuphonium in 3rd band
We have a variety of activities this week, but nothing too overwhelming. Friday is a big day. I'm taking my daughter to her annual check-up of her kidneys (in another city) and then afterward we are heading to St. Louis for our annual girls weekend with friends. It will be a LONG day of driving, but worth it. We will stay in St. Lou til Sunday afternoon. The outlook for the following week isn't too busy at this point.

What did you do this weekend? Anything exciting planned for you this week?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Distracted

The kids used to play piano, now they play ping pong. We picked up this table a few weeks ago for really cheap at a garage sale. It's a homemade table that goes together with slots in the supports.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Backpack Carrier for American Girl 18" Doll Giveaway

It's time for another Doll Tested - Mother Approved review of a great item for an American Girl or 18" Doll. This review has a giveaway too!Over the last 3 months I've been reviewing a variety of great clothing and accessories for my daughter's American Girl 18" doll. At this point I think my daughter's doll has more clothing than she does. LOL! My daughter loves to change her doll's outfits and bring her with us when we go places. Of course my daughter hands her doll off for my hubby or I to carry. DH is a good sport about it, but we get tired of carrying the doll. I decided that I wanted to get a doll carrier for her. I knew I didn't want a tote because my daughter would get tired of it and we'd be carrying that, so I researched backpack carriers. I only found a few viable options online with the nicest being offered by Inspired by Grands at Etsy. I contacted Terri and she was excited to work together. She sent me 2 adorable backpacks~ one for my daughter with her name embroidered on it and one to give away.

My daughter was so excited when the package arrived. She loved seeing her name on the backpack. Right away she had me help her put her doll in and on her back. She is an average sized 5 year old and the backpack is a little big on her. It sagged a little at first, but when she put her AG catalogs and some doll clothes inside it fit much better. Now she can change the doll's clothes on the go. Right away she wanted to take her Mei Mei (doll) for a bike ride. How adorable they were!This backpack is well constructed with cute quilted fabric and all seams surged. There is a loop on top for hanging and the straps are adjustable. I have them the tightest they go for my daughter and it's a little big, so she will get several years use out of it. The bright pink print fabric is edged with pink polka-dot fabric. The straps for the doll appear to button, but they actually Velcro so the buttons are for decoration. Very cute!!! We've taken it out with us in public a few times and gotten lots of compliments on it.Terri at Inspired by Grands pays attention to the details in her creations. They are well made and she only uses high quality fabrics. In addition to doll carriers she offers regular backpacks in all kinds of adorable fabrics for boys & girls. She even takes custom orders. I plan on picking out a special fabric and having her sew a backpack for my daughter for Kindergarten. Due to the quality, attention to detail, and little extras I give Inspired by Grands big 5 stars! Inspired by Grands is offering an adorable backpack carrier for an American Girl or 18" Doll to one of my lucky Diana Rambles readers.This backpack is pictured above. It's made out of cute pink Kaleidoscope fabric with the inside being the same pink fabric as my daughter's pack. The trim is purple with white polka-dots. It measures approximately 12 inches tall by 10 1/2 inches wide. It's very similar to this pack in Terri's shop. Since I am in possession of the pack already and will be sending it directly to the winner it will not include personalization. (embroidered name) All packs ordered/purchased directly from Inspired by Grands do include personalization!

This giveaway will run through 11:59pm CST on Tuesday, April 12th. The winner will be chosen via random.org and notified on April 13th and will have 48 hours to contact me. This giveaway is for the backpack only! Doll not included!Entry Rules
  • You must do the mandatory entry
  • Leave your email address with your mandatory entry if it's not available in your profile
  • Each entry needs to be a separate comment (remember to do multiple comments on those indicated as multiple entries!)
  • US addresses only
Mandatory Entry
  • Visit Inspired by Grand's Etsy shop and check out all the great items offered. Come back here and leave a comment on what item you would like from her shop and how you would have it personalized.
Additional Entries
  • 1 entry for adding Inspired by Grand's shop to your list of shop favorites at Etsy.
  • 1 entry for adding my shop to your list of shop favorites at Etsy.
  • 1 entry for being a public follower of Diana Rambles via Google Friend Connect. Find this under My Followers near the top of my left sidebar. Click Follow and then confirm.
  • 2 entries for subscribing to my Diana Rambles Feedburner. Make sure you verify the subscription. Find at the top of my left sidebar.
  • 1 entry for following me via Twitter @FreeStyleMama.
  • 1 entry (up to 10 each day...must be at least 2 hours apart) for tweeting about this giveaway on Twitter. Feel free to copy the following~ Enter to #win Backpack Doll Carrier for 18" #AmericanGirl Doll #giveaway #contest ends April 12th @FreeStyleMama http://tinyurl.com/AGpack Please leave the link to your tweet in the comment. (You get the tweet link by clicking on the '4 mins ago' time)
That is a bunch of entry possibilities. The more times you enter, the better chance you have of winning! I will publish each comment when the entry has been verified. **MAKE sure you follow the rules or the entry will be DQ'd!!**

Test Results!

No April Fooling from me!

I got my test results from my skin biopsy today and it's BENIGN!!!!

Diana
- Sent from my Palm Pre