POSTED BY: Stefanie LaSalle
If you've been following along, our friends really like having parties. Everything from Superbowl to the Olympics - we have a party to celebrate it.

Another thing we also really love...food. 

Besides the Superbowl Chili Contest that we've been hosting the last few years, we also compete during the Oscars. The category changes every year, and we try to tie in the theme with one of the picture nominees. Last year, the contest was Pie (for Life of Pi). GET IT?


This year, in honor of the animated film Frozen (2013) the challenge was FROZEN FOODS. 

Once again, our friends did not disappoint. See what we all cooked up below!
Frozen Item: Puff Pastry
I found a wonderful little recipe for Jalapeno Popper Pies, made with puff pastry. I only baked half the batch that I made and froze the other half. They freeze really well!
Frozen Item: Pretzels
Meaghan used frozen soft pretzels and baked on a nice layer of cheese. Simple and delicious!
Frozen Item: NONE - Frozen food inspired
Jason thought outside the box with this one. Instead of making a new food using a frozen item, he made a homemade version of a usually frozen food item! Here we have homemade hot pockets. These also freeze really well.
Frozen Item: Pierogis (mini)
Rob made buffalo pierogis! Spicy, crispy and cheesy. Mini was definitely the way to go here - perfect bite sized. 
Frozen Item: Ice cream
Adam got all fancy on us and made Baked Alaska with homemade meringue! We didn't get a picture of it before we all dug in, but it was beautiful.
THE WINNER!
Frozen Item: Mini Waffles
"Dayna" made this batch of mini-waffle smores. She heated them in a 500 deg oven right before serving to give them that charred smores goodness.
Dayna's name is now on the trophy. She was very excited! Good job, Dayna.
BONUS SNACK: Cheese Porcupine
This little fella may look a bit...scary. But he was a great little beer-cheese dip! He may also be re-imagined as a football for our Superbowl party next year...
BONUS CATEGORY: Best Dressed
The Skelsies! Baby Skelskie was wearing a red Mossimo dress from Target. She was accompanied by her dad, who was very fancy in a bow tie and hat.
 
 
POSTED BY: Stefanie LaSalle
Thanks to a birthday gift card from some very special parents, I am now the proud owner of these cap-toed shoes. 

So comfortable!

So stylish!

But they have a secret...
They're CROCS.

Crocs has come a LONG way since they first introduced their iconic clogs. Now they have all sorts of styles for men and women, including these cap-toed flats.

I like these so much, I ordered a black pair too.
Happy Tuesday!

-Stefanie
 
 
POSTED BY: Stefanie LaSalle
It's been a long, cold winter here in New England. With another storm on the horizon, what better time to begin planning for spring!?

Last year, I decided that I wanted to grow vegetables. My dream of gardening was not without challenges. One, we rent, and we don't have any space for a traditional garden. Luckily, container gardens are very popular and there are tons of resources for having a successful crop. Second, I am not a garden-person. I don't know anything about growing plants. I am crazy afraid of bugs. And by "afraid" I mean spider-on-ceiling-stare-at-ceiling-until-someone-finds-me-and-deals-with-spider kind of crazy. 

But my head was filled with images of leafy greens, plump tomatoes, and that fresh earthy scent of soil.

Read enough garden books and blogs, and one message is loud and clear - you learn something new every year. I wouldn't say my first garden was a failure, but it was far from the lush jungle that I pictured. I'm making a lot of adjustments to my garden this year - everything from the containers, to the types of veggies.

Over the next few months, I'll be sharing with you my Garden Adventure 2.0. I'll highlight my favorite resources, my DIY attempts, and (hopefully) my lush and delicious harvest!

Until then, here's a review of my "Test Garden: 2013"

"Test Garden" 2013

Challenges
Space, water source, containers, inexperience, sunlight, animals & pests

Mistakes
Inside too long - leggy and weak, not enough water, not adequate light for some plants, no pest control, half soil/half potting mix

Improvement plan for 2014
Research, self watering container, companion planting, different crops, better location for light.
Looking back, my porch garden seemed so big, but really it was just a few pots and bags. You'll notice the make-shift cages over several of the plants. The birds and squirrels kept eating my little plants!
I'm totally excited to see my first green bean growing.
My carrot harvest. Enough said.
Our huge yield bean plants. We didn't get many, but the ones we got were delicious.
Our cut and come again lettuce (a gourmet blend) actually did quite well. We got several salads out of it!
 
 
POSTED BY: Stefanie LaSalle
Get your free day of PicMonkey's premium package by clicking HERE!
My favorite online photo-editing site is having a promotion for a free day of their premium Royale package. This is what I primarily use for editing pictures, making collages, and I even designed our save-the-date postcards on it earlier this year!

Here are some things that I've made in PicMonkey:

Chili Ballot. Most recently, I whipped together a little ballot for our Superbowl chili contest. Then I used a word document to print pages of them.
Save-the-Date postcards. Besides the obvious little images and fonts, I also used PicMonkey on the photo of us. I applied a filter, removed people and cars from the background - I even removed some smashed pumpkins!
Work. I also use PicMonkey to play around with ideas for events at work. Here were some quick draft logos I made for a sales contest.
Try PicMonkey out yourself FREE by clicking HERE!
 

Tupelo.

02/05/2014

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POSTED BY: Stefanie LaSalle
This snowy day reminds me of my family's recent trip to Londonderry, NH. My dad planned the trip for the four of us as a Christmas present for my mom. We drove up, through a snowstorm, had dinner at The Coach Stop, and saw my parents' favorite new band at Tupelo Music Hall.
Here we are at dinner at the The Coach Stop, right down the street from Tupelo. Oh. My. God. Steak. We went to dinner early, so we basically got a room all to ourselves. There is also a really cool lounge/pub on the second floor that has acoustic music on the weekends. I got the biggest, most delicious sirloin - we all got steaks, except for Kerry. 
The opener was the Brian Jarvis Band. They were great. Very mellow, but also very charismatic and funny.
THE ALTERNATE ROOTS. My parents are obsessed with this band, and now I know why. Not only is the lead singer's voice amazing, but the whole band really knows how to work the crowd. Is he holding a toolbox in his hand in this picture? Why, yes, he is. What is it for? YOU'LL HAVE TO GO SEE THEM YOURSELF TO FIND OUT.
It was a great show. the best part about Tupelo is that it's so small, and even the back row is like sitting across someone's living room. 

We had a great little weekend adventure, just the four of us, which we haven't done in a long time.

Check out these bands or Tupelo if you ever get the chance!