Blessings: Day 9-18

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I'm going to make a post every day of November saying what blessing I'm especially thankful for that day.

Today, November 18th, 2011:
I'm behind again (shocking, right?) but I'm determined to have something for every day this month, so here goes...

#9. I'm thankful for my amazing mother.  She is someone I have always looked up to and someone I'm still inspired by to this day.  My mom is loving, giving, genuine, funny, honest, tell-it-like-it-is, strong, dependable, smart, business-savvy and beautiful.  

#10. I'm thankful for my daddy.  He has always had high expectations and pushed me to reach them. He is the kind of man that will keep you grounded while encouraging you to reach for the stars.  He's smart, handy, loyal, family-oriented, protective, dependable and fun. 

#11. I'm thankful for animal advocates.  I deeply admire and respect those who are able to care for and speak for these creatures that so desperately need our help. There is one rescue in particular that I hold dear to my heart: For Bunny Sake

#12. I'm thankful for technology. Internet, Facebook, blogging, email, online schooling, DVR, cable tv, iPad, smart phones... I love and use them all.

#13. I'm thankful for my in-laws. I really hit the jackpot marrying into a family that I love and genuinely enjoy spending time with. They are there for us whenever we need them and I can't imagine anyone being more devoted to family.

#14. I'm thankful for my nephews and niece on both sides.  Jack, Aiden, Adam, Shawn and Lucy... they are all so fun, so adorable, so loving and I love the relationship that Abby has with all of them.

#15. I'm thankful for chardonnay. Haha. Rough day yesterday and that glass of wine after dinner was just the right thing.

#16. I'm thankful for friends that I make at work... Cheryl, Karen, Gloria, Ekaterina, Jen, Maryann, Amy... just a sampling of the people who were once only coworkers (and some of those jobs were long ago) and are now real friends.

#17. I'm thankful for the little things that help brighten my day... writing with a pink pen, neon green sticky notes, the pictures of my family at my desk, surprise donuts brought in by a visiting accountant... it's the little things that make the difference.

#18. I'm thankful for YOU... the people that read my blog... and I'm thankful that one day I'll be able to print this blog out and share it with my daughter.

PHEW! That was a lot of catching up. Have a great day, everyone!


Blessings: Day 5-8

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I'm going to make a post every day of November saying what blessing I'm especially thankful for that day.

Today, November 8th 2011:
I've fallen a few days behind so today is going to be a short list of things I'm thankful for on days 5-8...

#5. I'm thankful for my job and coworkers. I genuinely like everyone that I work with and I'm confident in my ability to do my job well. These are great things. :)

#6. I'm thankful for the great insurance policy at Mealy's! We bought brand new expensive furniture about six months ago.  When they delivered it one of the pieces got damaged (a slight scuff on the leather) so they ordered an entire new piece.  They said it would be in around 6 weeks.  12 weeks later it still wasn't in so they told us to come back in and choose entirely new furniture, which they would have delivered and remove the old furniture at NO cost. New furniture in exchange for furniture we had used for 6 months. Nice! (Plus we were able to get the sectional that I've always wanted. Bonus!)

#7. I'm thankful for good people.  The auction for MS that I held on my business page raised OVER 500 DOLLARS! People were bidding like crazy and some paid more than retail value for these items, all in the name of charity. It was amazing to see and I'm so thankful that I got to be a part of it.

#8. I'm thankful for my dog, Roxie.  She's loyal, loving, protective, smart, faithful and brave.  I feel so much safer (and happier) having her around.


Blessings: Day 4

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I'm going to make a post every day of November saying what blessing I'm especially thankful for that day.

Today, November 3rd 2011:

Right now I am thankful for weekends.  Sleeping in (as much as you can with a preschooler), extra family time, cooking, staying up late, friends, family, a break from "the daily grind"... I do love me some weekend. <3


Blessings: Day 3

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I'm going to make a post every day of November saying what blessing I'm especially thankful for that day.

Today, November 3rd 2011:

Today I'm thankful for my health. I know, I know... I'm usually complaining about my health. I have Fibromyalgia, Cluster Headaches, Hypothyroidism and assorted other ailments. However, none of my problems are degenerative and all are controlled by medication, for the most part. For this I'm very thankful. Before my Thyroid problem was discovered all signs were pointing towards Muscular Sclerosis (MS). I did a lot of research and familiarized myself with this condition. While MS was ruled out for me, it's a reality for a lot of other people. I want to do what I can to help.

Tomorrow (Friday 11/4/11) I'm having an auction on my business fan page. The auction will run from Friday at noon until Saturday at 10pm. 100% of the proceeds will go to the MS Society. There are 40+ items to bid on and lots of businesses to check out.

Look for the auction album at:


Blessings: Day 2

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I'm going to make a post every day of November saying what blessing I'm especially thankful for that day.

Today, November 2nd 2011:

I'm thankful for my husband today. He's a good man who works hard and loves his family. Last weekend's early snow was a strong reminder that as we head into the winter months I won't get to see my husband as often as I would like. He frequently works as long as 72+ hours straight handling snow and ice conditions. While I miss him terribly, I am very thankful for the additional income that this provides. Mike is a wonderful man, husband, father, provider, best friend and so much more.


Blessings: Day 1

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I'm going to make a post every day of November saying what blessing I'm especially thankful for that day.

Today, November 1st 2011:

I'm so very thankful for my daughter... she is smart, sassy, loving, hilarious, adorable and simply amazing.

 We had a blast Trick or Treating last night. :)


Dog Biscuits

It's a rainy Saturday and my husband is working, which just leaves me and Abby at home, stuck in the house.  After puzzles, painting, barbies and a movie we were running out of ideas.  One of our favorite mommy/daughter things to do is bake.  However, we have plenty of goodies in the house right now and I started Weight Watchers last week, so I didn't want to make anything tempting.  Enter: Dog Biscuits!  Why not bake for our favorite four-legged family member? So I googled some recipes and we decided on this one: Everyday Dog Biscuits.  We followed the directions to make the dough, rolled it out...

 ...and got busy!  Abby decided that Roxie would like snowflake shaped biscuits. (I also noticed that we are running very low on cookie cutters. Our choices were snowflakes or gingerbread men. This must be remedied!)

These were the biscuits right before we put them in the oven
 One satisfied customer.

The Dog Biscuits turned out very dense and crunchy, exactly what we were hoping for!  It was cheap, simple, easy and made enough biscuits to fill an entire gallon bag to the very top.

Oh and as a bonus.... Abby drew an awesome self-portrait on her drawing board today!


The Missing Pieces Giveaway

The Missing Pieces is announcing the launch of their new website: http://themissingpieces.weebly.com
by giving away two free gifts!  

One lucky person will win a floral filigree ring in the color of their choosing:
Another lucky person will win a set of floral hair pins in the color of their choosing:
 How to enter: 

Write a status for your friends to check out our Facebook Fan Page and tag us in your post. Contest will run from today until next Friday (9/16/11) at 10pm EST. You can enter once a day by posting. Winners will be drawn at random by random.org. Any questions please feel free to ask! 

*You can tag someone in a facebook status by typing the @ symbol before their name then selecting them from the pull down menu that appears.


Summer 2011

Summer 2011 is drawing to a close... kids and teachers are going back to school... the weather is SLIGHTLY cooling down (finally) and we have had a great time these last few months.  So great that I've totally neglected this blog. Yikes! So here is a brief recap of things we've done that haven't been posted...

 I've been exploring the crafty side of life... my business participated in an auction and did fairly well, I've been scrapbooking, playing with my sewing machine, creating nail art (ha!) and have invested in some yarn and knitting needles and I'm determined to make a blanket. 

 We haven't been able to spend NEARLY the amount of time that we would like outside as we've had weeks and weeks of horrible heatwaves... but when we were outside, we were playing with water. :)

 The in-laws had a great 4th of July party and Abby wore this adorable little patriotic number.

 Like I said... outside = water. 

 We had some fun visits from my parents... this is the crew at Red Robin. What a blast. :)

 Baby Shawn turned 1 and these two goofballs had a blast celebrating. (Baby Shawn is also walking now... watch out, world!)

 Since we have had to spend so much time indoors because of heat, we had to find new ways to entertain.  This game says it's for second grade and up, but Abby loves it. :)

 Since I'm so passionate about (and really enjoy) making most of our food from scratch, my parents got me this yogurt maker for my birthday. Awesome!

 Abby and I spent one Saturday making 5 dozen cookies (peanut butter and chocolate chip) so that I could take some with me to a nursing home the next day and help out with a church service. It was so rewarding and inspiring. :)

 We had a BBQ for my 28th birthday... it was so much fun.

 Abby and her new buddy, Cole. They were adorable!

More happy party-goers. :)

So while this summer has been SUPER great, I'm super excited to start to settle into fall.  Cooler weather, hot chocolate, hoodies, leaves changing, cooking stews and soups, walks to the park... I can't wait. 


So I was waiting to post about our vacation until I got the rest of the pictures from someone (ahem *dad* ahem) but that hasn't happened... so I will just have to bring my laptop up to the mountains next time and steal them myself. :)

We spent a long weekend up at my parents house on Lake Wallenpaupack last month and it was ah-mazing.  Everything we used to do as "tourists" back in the day and much more.  Relaxing, food, family, friends, fun... it doesn't get any better. 

 Abby was pretty sure that she was going to be the one driving the boat. :) She was so brave and daring, this child! A few weeks before this vacation she and I got on a huge tube and got pulled behind the boat, the whole time I'm holding on for dear life and trying to lay on top of her to hold her down and she's screaming "faster! I want to go faster!" My sister took a picture of us on her cell phone and I'm hoping that one day she'll send it to us. ;)

 Speaking of her bravery... my daughter would LIVE on this jet-ski if she could. Weeks later she still talks about "going faster on pop-pops jet ski". 

We roasted marshmallows over the fire one night and Abby had her first smore.  Her reaction?
"Whoa. This is good!" 

 Our vacation time fell in line perfectly with the "world famous" (not really) Tafton Outing.  What a blast! Beer, music, games, clams, face painting and glitter tattoos (as you can see on my daughter)

 The weather was gorgeous and we spent plenty of time swimming in the lake.  Abby told us that she was a "super fish" and didn't want anyone to hold her in the deep water. She wanted to swim by herself. (so proud!) 

 The boat had this effect on her every time... and has since she was a little baby. <3
*side note... see that pasty white skin on my leg and the leggings above it? Yeah... that made for a NICE tan line...which is still prominent a month later. Nice.*

 My hubs and our pooch relaxing.  This was after we got back to the house from our "date night".  Mike and I got to go out and play pool at a local bar and have a few beers. It was so great!

 The boat working it's magic again. Hehe.

 We visited a "zoo" (I use that word lightly... there was a fox with three legs limping around and all of the animals had mange) and all Abby wanted to see was the giraffe.  We showed her an elephant... "can I see the giraffe?"  We showed her a bear... "can I see the giraffe?"  We got to the giraffe enclosure and he was in his house. Crap.  Luckily he must have known he had a fan awaiting him, since he literally RAN out of his house and right over to Abby, even lowering his head enough for her to pet him. It was so cool!

 She also enjoyed petting the food-stealing goats. 

We spent plenty of time on the water, took a trip to the blueberry farm, spent an evening at an engagement party (Congrats Liz and Jace!) and it was everything I wanted out of a vacation and more. Thanks so much to my amazing parents for having us.   We're hoping to make it up again one more time before it gets too cold to enjoy the water sports.  LOVE YOU!!!



The Abster and I have been working really hard for months on growing our own little mini-garden of tomatoes and basil... and it paid off!

 The proud gardener with our latest crop of tomatoes

Caprese Salad: Fresh basil, fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella with EVOO, salt and pepper. YUM!


Want Free Jewelry? UPDATED

You know you do!  My business page, The Missing Pieces, is hosting a giveaway!
The Missing Pieces is handmade beaded jewelry for all occasions... necklaces, bracelets, anklets, earrings, children's jewelry and custom orders... go check it out!

I'm giving away one free necklace OR bracelet of your choice.  There are many ways to enter... here is how:

MANDATORY entry:  Go "like" The Missing Pieces on Facebook then come back here and leave a comment telling me that you have done this and which piece you would want if you won. If you're already a fan on facebook then just leave a comment saying which piece you would love to win.

EXTRA entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway on your own blog and come back here and leave a link in the comments.
2. Become a follower of my blog (or subscribe through email) and leave a comment saying you have done this.
3. Follow me on Twitter and a leave a comment here letting me know you did.
4. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment here with a link letting me know you did.
5. Join my mailing list for discount codes and notification of sales! Send an email to: themissingpiecesbynicole@gmail.com with "register" in the subject line... then leave a comment here that you have done that.

That's it!  A winner will be chosen by random.org on July 9th and the winner will be announced here and contacted by email, so make sure to leave your email in the comments.


The Weekend Gourmet

One of my very favorite hobbies (other than jewelry making and scrapbooking) is cooking.   I LOVE to cook, and lately I've been cooking a lot of things from scratch.  Starting "from the ground up" with ingredients is one way that I can be doubly sure that my family is not only eating healthy food, but also getting the freshest and healthiest versions of that food.  No preservatives, no chemicals, no ingredients with names I can't pronounce. Just wholesome goodness.  I also buy as much organic produce and milk as we can and free range chicken and lean beef.

I am very proud to say that it has been MONTHS since we have bought a loaf of bread.  I make all of our bread and most of our rolls... and might I say, they are delicious.  Making your own bread is SIMPLE if you have a bread machine.  I just throw the ingredients in, hit the "dough" button and wait for that little beep (about an hour and a half) then I take out the dough, put it in the bread pan, cover it with a clean dish towel and walk away (it needs to rise for another 30-40 minutes) before popping it in the oven for about a half hour... viola! Fresh homemade bread! (IMO the bread is 1000% better when baked in the oven instead of letting the breadmaker bake it... and I HIGHLY recommend you also invest in a bread slicer and splurge on an excellent bread knife.)

Since I am a full-time working mom, most of my available cooking time is on the weekends.  I like to do a lot of prep work for meals for the upcoming week, and cook a few good meals as well.  This morning I prepped the steak that I will be cooking tonight and made a loaf of bread.  As I sit here typing this I can smell the made-from-scratch corn muffins cooking (recipe from Heavenly Homemakers) that I threw together this afternoon.  Dinner tonight will be Steak Bites, fresh steamed green beans, and buttered corn muffins... and there will be plenty of extra to have leftovers one night this week as well.

Another way to be sure that your family is getting nothing but the best produce (and to stay frugal) is to grow it yourself!  Right now we are growing tomatoes (we have three plants... one already has 15 baby tomatoes on it!) and basil in our garden and I can't wait to make my own tomato sauce.  The tomatoes have required only a little bit of work (replanting the sprouts from their original containers, watering every other day has worked the best for us) and the basil has been pretty effortless... I just water it when I remember and the rain does the rest.  So far it has come up lush and bountiful.  

A huge perk of my cooking hobby?  My daughter LOVES to cook!  I always have a little helper in the kitchen with me.  She has become a pro at stirring, pouring and dividing and will often ask if we can bake something together. I love sharing this with her and it makes for some great mother/daughter time.  In fact, I think I'll go get her right now so that we can start snapping the ends off of these beans for dinner tonight...

Bon Appetite!


Family Man

As I sit here catching up on some late night television and watching my husband and daughter sleep next to me, I keep finding myself falling in love with my husband over and over again... and reflecting on how incredibly blessed I am to have him. 

Mike is mostly amazing.  I say mostly, because he is human and to err is human, but he is just SO darn good to us and always striving to be even better.  Throughout our relationship I have seen him change and grow up so much... from a young adult figuring out what he wants in life to the man that he is today... a man that knows what it means to be a husband and father... a man who works his butt off to be amazing at both. 

Today really stands out as an "amazing man" kind of day.  I got a flat tire on my way back to work from my lunch break.  Mike came by to look at it on his way home from work.  Even though he had just worked a full day and I'm sure would love nothing more than to head straight home, shower, and relax, he came to help me with absolutely no trace of negativity or annoyance.  I expected him to put on my spare (donut) and continue on his way... and I would drive home on the donut and we would deal with it tomorrow.  Well he did come by and put on the spare, but the next thing I know he's walking into my work and handing me the keys to his car.  He left me his car and took mine... he got four new tires put on, had an alignment done, and made sure I had what I needed to be safe and comfortable in my vehicle.  Then he WALKED home to wait for my car to be done. Before he left the garage he noticed that there were some tattoos on the counter with Mater and Lightening McQueen on them. (Abby is LOVING the movie Cars right now... of which Mater and McQueen are her favorite characters)  He was given a few to take home and accidentally left them on the counter.  Instead of waiting for all of us to go together to get my car, he made a point to get back to the garage first (and wait extra time) so that he could surprise Abby with the tattoos.

He's the kind of man that will go out of his way to make us smile... he'll do more than the minimum for his ladies... and though these may seem like "little things" to some, it's often the "little things" that matter the most.

Buying a new flavor of juice that he thinks I'll like, bringing home a small toy from Abby's favorite movie, switching the clothes from the washer to the dryer so that I can go to bed early, surprising me by leaving work to come to my doctors appointment with me... these are all little things that he's done recently that are so appreciated and show me how important our marriage and family are to him.

I love and adore you, Michael Hofmann, and I thank God for you every night.


Weekend Craftiness

I've been dealing with some health problems, so we haven't made it to Sunday services at church in... well... way too long.  To help fill that void for my daughter (who loves "chuch") I've been reading to Abby from her bible and supplementing with videos, coloring pages, etc.   This weekend we read the story of Jesus and the fishes and loaves. To keep her engaged in the story we got a little crafty! We cut out some coloring pages from her bible coloring book, taped them on some construction paper, then hung the whole thing up on the wall with contact paper.  The great thing about contact paper is that it's just like a dry erase board!  Abby colored her pictures and then we just wiped them clean and they were ready to go again.

Later we cooled off with some refreshing homemade popsicles.  Earlier in the week we had thrown some blueberries into the molds and filled them up with orange juice.  They turned out great!

Have a great week, everyone!


The 3 F's

Friendship, feet and fish... what do all of these things have in common? They are involved in sweet and humerous stories about my daughter that I want to share!

Friendship:  Abby has come up with a new tactic to try and play on my emotions to get out of trouble.  Last week sometime we were playing and she said to me "You're my best friend!" which was sooo sweet, until she started calling EVERYONE her best friend. Haha. We were in line at Walmart and she said "Mom, that boy is my best friend" talking about the boy in the cart in front of us.  Then she told me the dog was her best friend later that day. 
However, she must have realized that I swooned when she said it to me the first time because last night when she was being threatened with the dreaded Time Out for misbehaving she jumped on my lap, grabbed my cheeks and pulled my face close to hers, and forcefully said to me "You can't be mad! You're my best friend and we have fun! I love you! You're my best friend!" Inside... I melted and wanted to cuddle and forget her bad behavior.  In reality? I said "I love you too, but you HAVE to listen when mommy tells you to do something, now go to your room!" Tears and angry stomping away ensued... but she got over it. :)

Feet:  Abby was sitting on my lap the other night while we were all lounging on the couch watching a movie when I had an itch on the top of my foot.  I asked my adoring husband to scratch it it for me since I couldn't reach and he said "eww... no. I don't want to touch your feet." Well apparently my little baby girl took HUGE offense to this.  She put on her angriest face, looked at her daddy, shook her finger at him and said "I love mommy's feet and mommy loves my feet!" Then she insisted on reaching over and rubbing my feet lovingly to prove this.  It was precious and hilarious. She was seriously steamed that her dad insulted my feet! (and I got a nice foot rub out of the deal. Ha!)

Fish:  My little munchkin is proving to be more like me with every day that passes.  Some background... I have always had a heart for weak and unfortunate animals.  When I was a kid my mom took me to the pet store to pick out a new pet and when I saw that they were about to feed a gerbil to the snakes, I was horrified! The gerbil had a broken foot and a broken tail and though they usually feed mice to the snakes, this guys day had come. Or so they thought! I adopted that little guy (named him Big Foot in honor of his broken appendage) and nursed him back to health. He lived a long life (for a gerbil) and at 27 years old, I still remember him fondly.
So... Abby and I were at PetSmart picking up a new bed for Roxie when Abby (as she always does) ran over to the fish and wanted to look at them.  She asked if we could take one home.  I said sure and took her over to the wall where they keep the Betta fish.  There are all kinds of GORGEOUS Betta's with bright red, blue and teal coloring and looong flowing fins.  What did my daughter pick?  The smallest, greyest, un-fancy Betta that she could find.  The thing looks like a guppy. I, of course, applauded her choice and home we went.  She ADORES this fish! She runs out and says good morning to it every morning and feeds it every night.  When someone comes to visit she grabs their hand and takes them over to meet her new fishy. It's precious and it melts my heart that she just might have inherited some of my finer qualities along with my *ahem* stubborness and clumsiness.

So that's that! I hope that everyone has a great weekend. :)


Fantastic Weekend!

This weekend was awesome. It was, literally, my ideal family weekend that I always envision during the week when I'm sitting at work pining for Friday evening to arrive.

The awesomeness started Thursday evening when Mike and I took Abby and Roxie for a family walk. In the past our rare "walks" usually consist of me pushing Abby in the stroller (or holding her hand) and Mike walking 10+ feet in front of us with Roxie, straining at her leash to run.  There usually isn't much talking going on. This time we all took a nice leisurely stroll together and chatted the whole time. After the walk Abby got to take a bath with her new tub crayons and markers.  It was such a nice night and really set the tone for a great weekend

Friday night after work we had some friends over that we haven't seen in ages, Cheryl and Chris!  It was great to catch up and kick back and relax.  Abby was her usual social self and had a blast.  When she woke up Saturday morning the first thing she did was run out to the living room and then ask me "Where did the people go?"

Saturday morning Mike had to work, so it was just Abby and I.  We lounged around for a bit and Abby found her old flower girl basket from our wedding.  She broke one of her Lei necklaces open and filled the basket with flowers, wanting to play "flower girl, mama! Like in the weddin'!" (I was so impressed that she remember what to do, being that she was only 20 months old in our wedding last August)

Abby playing Flower Girl

After a few dozen games of that, we broke out the art box.  We created some masterpieces with glue sticks, foam, craft sticks, and construction paper and then stumbled upon some long forgotten body paint sticks!  Abby got it in her head that she wanted me to paint "zebra feet" on her... so we gave it our best shot, decorating each others feet.

Zebra feet!

While sorting through our art supply box Abby found a bunch of old disposable placemats.  I told her that we used to take them to restaurants with us when she was a baby so that her food wouldn't touch the table. That must have put an idea in her head, because when Mike got home from work she ran up to him and told him that we wanted to go to a restaurant for lunch.  This was the first time that she's actually ASKED to go out to eat, so we hopped in the car and headed over to Friendlys.  It was a blast! Abby did a great job of cleaning her plate (she practically licked it clean) and we all had ice cream for dessert.  When we got home it was time for a nap, naturally.  After crashing out on the couch for a bit Abby and I ended up next door at my sister, Erica's, house (while Mike got to relax with his new video game), where we sat out on the porch for hours just enjoying the nice weather and playing with the kiddos. 

Aiden (sad clown) and Abby (nerdy toddler) being goofballs.

Abby and Aiden dancing and apparently getting married. LOL!

When it got close to bedtime we headed home, cleaned up, got in our jammies and settled in for Abby's current favorite movie... Monsters vs. Aliens.

Sunday morning I made pancakes and eggs for breakfast and we got dressed and headed out to do some shopping.  There was a sale at Big Lots that Mike really wanted to take advantage of, so that's where we ended up.  We checked out some furniture (we found a sectional that we really liked and bunk beds for Abby's room, which she fell IN LOVE with) that we may end up purchasing with some extra tax money.  Abby ended up with a new ballerina barbie and her first pair of kiddie scissors!  After shopping we stopped by Kristy and Eric's house to drop something off and spent an hour or so playing with Jack, Adam, and Lucy.

Abby's adorable cousins... Adam, Lucy, Jack

By the time we left it was well past lunchtime, almost naptime, and were all starving.  So we grabbed some Subway and headed home.  Usually Abby will only eat the pizza from there but this time she asked for a sandwich!  She ended up getting a kids meal with a turkey sub (loaded w/ veggies), apple slices, and chocolate milk.  I was majorly impressed with how well she ate her sandwich, being that this was her first time ever agreeing to even try one! Then Abby and I both had a looong nap.  When we woke up she wanted to practice cutting with her new scissors and did a fantastic job.  I know, from teaching preschool for a million years, that learning to cut is a difficult process for a lot of kids... but Abby managed to grasp the concept pretty quickly. My little smarty pants. :)  As the day finally wore down we watched a movie I've been wanting to see, Water For Elephants.  The book was fantastic (one of my favorites) and I have to say that I thought the movie did a great job of portraying the story exactly as I imagined.

Our weekend was a great mix of family time, relaxing, friends, yummy food, fun and great weather.  I was a little sad to go to bed last night, officially putting to an end our lovely little weekend, but I'm already looking forward to the long Memorial Day weekend that awaits us at the end of this week!


Creamy Bacon Dill Potato Salad

I'm going to try something new today and post a recipe tutorial on how to make my favorite potato salad. It's creamy, it has bacon and dill, and it's super easy to make. Does it get any better?! Plus now that it's grilling weather, this potato salad makes an EXCELLENT side to some hot dogs and burgers. :)

Step One: Fry up some bacon! I made this bacon earlier this morning then let it cool and cut it up into small pieces.  There are about 13 small slices here. We started with 15 but a few may have gotten "lost" along the way. ;)

Step Two: Prep and boil your potatoes! I always use baby potatoes (baby reds and yellows here) and leave the skin on.  Rinse them off and then put them in a pot of boiling water.  Boil for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork.

Step Three: Gather the remaining ingredients... mayonnaise, mustard, dill and garlic salt. I would normally substitute garlic powder for garlic salt, but I was all out.

Step Four: After your potatoes are finished cooking and have cooled a bit, cut them into bite size pieces (whatever size you want, actually, I just prefer bigger pieces so you really get that potato taste.)

Step Five: Add all of the ingredients and fold together with a large spoon.  (This is where I should have taken more pictures of actually adding the ingredients... but I was distracted by a certain two year old who needed help with her play-doh.) You'll notice that I didn't put any amounts next to the ingredients. That's because I've never measured! I always just start with a little mayo, a little mustard, and keep adding until it's the consistency that I want.  Then I add a small shake of garlic and a HUGE shake of dill. I adore the flavor of dill and it really blends with the flavor of the bacon very well.

Step Six: Sneak a bite or two and then cover with saran wrap and place in the fridge until cool.