Thursday, September 13, 2012


Two essentials for the beach...a great hat and your favorite drink!  I wanted to show you a photo of my Lifeproof case but found it impossible to take a picture of my phone with my phone ;)

The new iPhone5 was unveiled yesterday.  Honestly, I am more than thrilled with my iPhone 4 and have no desire to upgrade but Superman is ready for his contract to allow him to upgrade.  I know for certain that when he does get his new phone he will already have a Lifeproof case on hand, ready to protect his investment. 

My family surprised me with my white iPhone (remember when "white" was new and exciting? to me, it still is) and I immediately ordered an Otter Box in bright green to protect my new, favorite toy.  It arrived quickly, something like 3 days.  My Sunshine gal had to help me get it on my phone and I thought, Oh now my phone is forever protected and this will last a long time.  Not so lasted about 8 months.  I am not one who drops her phone often or is particularly hard on my electronics so I figured I got a lemon.  During this time, I had visited the Apple store for some help with the "cloud".  The employee helping me noticed my broken case and shared with me about how wonderful "this new lifeproof case is".  I was in OK at the time and couldn't find it at a local store so just settled for another Otterbox, thinking I would get back to NC where I could mail back the broken one and get a refund.  Life got in the way, and by the time I was able to mail it back, the 1 year warranty expired. I was now the "proud" owner of two Otterboxes, one of which lasted 8 months and the newest one lasted all of 2 months.  Blah!

In July we had some friends over for dinner and the husband was showing mine his Lifeproof AND the video he had made of his kiddos swimming UNDER water!!!  He told us how even at the beach his phone stayed water and sand proof.  I was SOLD! I knew I wanted that case but hated to spend another chunk of change.

My girls and I were at Best Buy in August and I spotted an entire row of brightly colored LIFEPROOF cases!!  I was so excited to see one in red, my favorite color!  I was going to ask for an exchange (as I had purchased my 2nd Otter from Best Buy) when I realized I had left the pesky clip at home.  A few days later Superman and I returned to the same store where I was delighted to find that they were more than happy to give me full credit on my broken Otter in exchange for a Lifeproof!

A few reasons I think my Lifeproof is the BEST case for my iPhone:

RED! my favorite color, but they have lots of bright colors from which to choose. 

BEACH! proof, really 100% blowing sand and water proof.  I have not had the problem of condensation build up between the screen and protector that I constantly had with the Otter. 

HAIR!  my  hair no longer gets hung up on the silicone part of the case. 

Just to be fair about the Otter Box, Superman has had his iPhone for about 1 1/2 years with the same Otter Box that he purchased the day he bought his phone and it still works perfectly.  He does tell me that the first thing he will purchase for his iPhone5 is a Lifeproof case :)

Oh, and Lifeproof makes the same great case for your iPad and iPod too!

What is your new favorite product?

thanks for stopping by...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cookin Up a Storm!

Cooking is relaxing.  Well, at least to ME it is relaxing!  Today I spent the day "cookin up a storm" while watching The Help.  It is my new go-to movie when I want to watch something but need my mind to concentrate on the task at hand.  Since both of my daughters are now working and Superman is self employed, meaning he rarely works 9-5, I have to have a meal ready for one of them to eat at odd times during the day and evening.  I was stressing over this task until I remembered Investment Cooking, a concept I have taught many times at Pampered Chef shows.  So, today was Investment Cooking day and once again, cooking is FUN!!!

A couple of friends asked me to share one of the meals I often make on Investment Cooking day.  I hope you enjoy it too!!

Cheeseburger Soup

2.5 pounds of ground beef, browned with garlic.  I also season the meat at this time.

1 large yellow onion, chopped

5 celery stalks, chopped

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried parsley

5 cups (or more) chicken broth (I use the store bought, but I keep telling myself I will make some stock to have on hand)

4 or 5 large turnips, peeled and diced...before you say TURNIPS?! trust me, they are incredible cooked this way.  I told my family they were Irish Potatoes (not a complete lie) and they ate them up!  This is my man's favorite soup!!

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup sour cream


your favorite shredded cheese, I use co jack

In a large stock pot, saute the onion and celery in a little butter.  When they are tender, add the chicken broth and turnips.  Boil until the turnips are tender but not mushy.  Add the seasonings and the ground beef.  Boil a few more minutes then slowly add the heavy cream.  Allow to simmer til you are ready to serve.  Just before serving, add the sour cream.  Heat through.  Ladle into bowls and top with your favorite shredded cheese.  This soup reheats very well.  It is also a great meal to prepare and then pour into a crock pot to keep warm and ready to eat when you arrive home after a day out.  Just prepare a tossed salad and dinner is ready!

This recipe was given to me by friend who doesn't think cooking is relaxing.  She would much rather clean up the kitchen while I cook.  We make a great team in the kitchen!

I know what you are thinking...what does this picture have to do with Cheeseburger Soup?!

This picture was taken about a year ago in Oklahoma.  Meet (bottom row L to R) Shana, Danielle, Ally. Also, (top row) me, Natalie, and Sheryl.  We had just watched The Help   (the movie I was watching today while I was cooking) and wanted to take a picture of all of us since we are rarely all in one city.   Sheryl, my friend who would rather clean up than cook, lives in Istanbul, Turkey, and is the one who shared this recipe with me. 

As you can see, this is the perfect picture for Cheeseburger Soup!

What cooking challenges are you encountering since summer is almost over?  Please leave me a note, I love reading each one!!

Kiss The Cook~

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back to Blogging!

Last year at this time, I was preparing for my final back-to-"school" year.  This year I am back-to-blogging!  My previous post was supposed to be the start of a commitment to post two or three times a week. As you may have noticed...that didn't happen!  Right after we finished helping my friend clean her beach houses (see my last post, Home Sweet Beach Home) our summer whizzed past!  Another unexpected, fast trip to Oklahoma and several sets of company later. I am back to my commitment to post, regularly!

Just a sneak peek into our summer...please stop by again soon for more Summer Fun!

 One of my favorite ways to spend a spring evening...a wienie roast at a friend's house!

 I have to apologize for the quality of these pictures...all were taken on my iPhone and this is obviously a self portrait.  While in OK, I was subpoenaed to testify at a trial.  My dear friend offered to accompany me and we joked that we had better take a picture for my blog.   A little piece of advice...ALWAYS pack a going-to-court dress!  I pack for a wedding, a funeral, a GNO, and a date night whenever we head to OK for an extended period of time but had never even thought of needing a dress to wear to court!  Thankfully, all my anxiety was for naught, I wasn't even called to the witness stand!

 Downtown T-Town (Tulsa) taken from our excellent seats at the new, perfectly located for the optimum view, Driller's Stadium.  After the baseball game an incredible fireworks display took place.

 Although I had lived in the Tulsa area for 20+ years I had never experienced the Jenks Herb Festival.  When a friend invited me to tag along with her and her step mom I jumped at the chance! 

 These ladies are the best friends a girl could ask for (minus 3 who were preparing to send a young lady off to Africa).  We are so blessed that even though I live in NC and one lives in Istanbul, Turkey, we see each other at least twice a year and always eat at PF Changs for our GNO. 

 A day on Skiatook Lake with my man's on his cousin's boat.  We have spent hours on this lake making memories with family and friends.

 The REAL reason we traveled to OK.  Allyson graduated with her fellow home educated friends who she literally grew up with since the age of one.  Here, Andy is presenting me with flowers in honor of Hudson Academy completing the girls' high school education. 

She was ALL smiles!!! 
The Pioneer Woman launched her new cookbook with a party at the Cain's Ballroom, a Tulsa icon. I had never been to the Cains so my dear friend Rhonda joined me for a fun night.  I will post more pictures and details soon!

No trip to Oklahoma would be complete (at least to me) without at least one trip to Williams-Sonoma.  At the Utica Square location this cute chef has been carved out of a dead tree. 

I'm so glad you dropped by!  Our trip to Oklahoma was full of adventures and I can't wait to share more of them and details of some of those shown above so be sure to return often!

Tell me about your summer...did you explore some new, exotic location or did you have a staycation?