Category Archives: Guest Posts

Guest Post on Peace, Love & Bagels

Ahhhh! My day was so crazy yesterday that I forgot to tell you about my guest post on Peace, Love & Bagels!  My fantastic blogger friend, Becca, is getting married on Saturday and she asked if I might guest post while she’s off being fabulous. Well, of course! I can’t turn down an offer like that.

Becca’s blog is all about having a healthy lifestyle- running, yoga, eating healthy. Since I’m bad at 2 out of 3 of those things (my yoga is improving weekly!), I decided to post about something I do know about – being a bride! Hop over for my wedding day advice to Becca.

I kinda miss being a bride… excuse me while I go sit around in my wedding dress, look at my album and reminisce.


Find me at The Retro Kitchen

As I mentioned in this morning’s post, I’m over at The Retro Kitchen today as part of the OBA blog swap sharing my favorite chili recipe! Go check it out!!

OBA Blog Swap Guest Post from My Retro Kitchen

Hey Everybody- As a part of today’s Ohio Blogging Association‘s All State Blog Swap, I’m happy to introduce you to Amie from My Retro Kitchen. On this day, bloggers from around the great state of Ohio are guest posting on one another blogs as a way to help to get one another in our blogging community. For a full listing of blog swap participants, please visit Poise in Parma today.  I am totally in awe of Amie’s talents as a mom and abilities in the kitchen.  Keep an eye out for my guest post on her blog this afternoon!

my family, my life

Hi everyone!  My name is Amie and I write the cooking blog My Retro Kitchen.  Since becoming a mom myself I have noticed, although I hope it to be a dying trend, that the art of a home-cooked, sit-down family dinner is a thing of the past. It is a retro idea. People are busy, kids sports schedules are hectic and goodness, it can just get hard to have a moment to talk to one another, let along cook a meal and all eat it at the same table at the same time.  But truly I believe it is one of the best things a person can give their family! So My Retro Kitchen is full of recipes that anyone can make at home, they don’t take a lot of time and shouldn’t cost you a lot in the process.  Cooking for your family doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can be delicious and from the heart.

When the Ohio Blogging Association put together this blog swap together, I was thrilled to be pared with Sara!  At our last meet up, she and I got to sit next to one another.  I had such a nice time chatting and getting to know her.  It is always so much fun to actually sit face to face with a blogger you read online all the time!!  So thank you so much Sara for letting me take over your page for the day.

As a stay at home to two very, very active little boys- Jackson my Super Hero 5 year old and Owen, the busy 18 month old (who-thinks-he-is-five!), I often get asked if I really do cook for my family every day. And how in the world I can do it!! Of course we do have our occasional declared pizza nights, but aside from that, yes I choose to bless my family in the way.  For healthy happy bellies make healthy happy children and husbands!  Sarah asked if I could share some tips to making nightly home cooking simple, and not as time consuming as it seems.  I promise you can all do it!

Weekly Meal Plans I think one of the most cost efficient ways to kick-start nightly home cooking is to create a weekly meal plan.  This is actually a process that I discovered not to very long ago but now swear by it!  My meal plan isn’t broken down into strict Monday we will eat This and Tuesday we will eat That.  But I do decide the night before I go shopping for the 2 week pay schedule what dinners we will eat across those 14 days, and then shop according to those recipes.  That way all I have to do is peek at my “Menu” on the fridge where have a ton of ideas (that I also know I have all of the ingredients for on hand) and dinner is a snap.  There is nothing worse then having this great idea for dinner, you start cooking and realize you need some beans, canned tomatoes or maybe rice noodles and fish sauce.  Out to the store you go.  Not very time saving or cost efficient.

Stock Your Pantry Going along with the weekly meal plan is also the importance of a stocked pantry.  I don’t mean going crazy and buying 10 cans of tomato sauce at the bulk store.  But having one or two extra items of the things you go thorough most often along with a few “special” ingredients for when a fun idea hits you.  I love playing with Ethnic recipes, so for these I like to pick up some of the not so everyday (for me) items to have on hand. There is something about a nice stocked pantry that makes me smile from ear to ear.  Ohhh the choices!!  Don’t do it all at one time, just maybe buy an extra bottle of ketchup or those two for one cans of kidney beans each time you shop.  You won’t notice the expense in your weekly shopping, but your pantry will get full fast.

Make Use of Your Freezer Another thing I find hugely helpful is making two batches at a time when I am putting together a recipe like a casseroles, enchiladas, or homemade raviolis (won ton wrappers are a great time saver for these by the way!) and even breakfast muffins- one for a meal that day and another to wrap in plastic and foil and placing in the freezer for another night down the road.  You already have the ingredients on the counter so it takes not all that much extra time now but saves you a world of time when you get home a little later then usual in a couple weeks and the thought of making a full dinner makes you groan.  All you have to do is pull that tray of enchiladas out of the freezer and pop it in the oven. Dinner is ready in 25 minutes and you did nothing… but your family raves of your Super Ability!  All it takes is a little pre-planning.

I could go on and on all of the simple changes you can make in your routine to make dinner time a family tradition.  But with so many tips I think I have found a new weekly blog post on my Retro Kitchen! Thanks Sara! lol.

So now I am going to share with you one of my most favorite, and also most popular recipes on My Retro Kitchen.  My Spaghetti and Meatball Pie.  Everyone loves spaghetti and meatballs and how many of us have it as a regular item on your rotating meals?!  Well this recipe takes the basic idea of the dish, but gives it a little spin to turn it into something completely new and delicious.  And the best part of it- it freezes awesome!

Spaghetti and Meatball Pie
8 oz. dry spaghetti noodles (half a box)
2 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 well-beaten eggs
1 lb ground turkey or beef, divided (1/4 for meatballs and 3/4 for in the skillet sauce)
1/2 cup sliced onion
1/2 cup-1 cup shredded zucchini (optional)
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1 (8-oz.) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes (don’t drain) or 4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta cheese (I prefer cottage cheese for this, but both work. I use whatever I happen to have on hand)
1/2 cup Mozzarella or Moneterey Jack cheese, shredded

For the meatballs (makes about 4-6 meatballs)
the reserved 1/4 lb ground meat
8 ritz crackers, crushed (or 1/4 cup bread crumbs)
1 teaspoon fresh oregano chopped
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and roll into golfball-sized meatballs. Brown on all sides and set aside.

For the pie

1. Cook spaghetti noodles. Drain. Stir margarine into hot noodles until melted. Stir in Parmesan cheese and eggs. Form pasta mixture into a crust shape in a buttered 9-inch pie plate.

2. In skillet, cook ground beef and onions, bell pepper and mushrooms until meat is browned. Drain. Add to meat mixture, tomatoes, zucchini, tomato paste, oregano and garlic. Heat through. Spread cottage cheese over bottom of spaghetti crust.

3. Top with tomato/meat mixture.

4. Cut the meatballs in half and arrange on top.

5. Sprinkle grated cheese over all.

Lightly cover pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove foil and bake for 5 more minutes until cheese is lightly browned. Cut into pie wedges and serve.

Special Note: You can also prepare this dish ahead of time and freeze for later. If you want to go this route, you will cover your pie pan with plastic wrap and foil right after assembly; label and freeze. When you are ready to serve: Thaw. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes at 350 F. Remove foil and bake for 5 minutes more until cheese is lightly browned.  If you prepare this in a disposable foil pan you even have less dishes to do!

Blogging FAIL!

So, I’m guest posting over at Clue into Cleveland today. I wrote a post all about it called “Find me @ Clue into Cleveland” (get it? FIND me, like FINDING the time???).  Here’s where I failed.  I pre-wrote that post and set it to publish later.  However, I didn’t think about the fact that I wrote it in 2011 and it would be posting in 2012.  So, it posted here as if I had written it on January 5, 2011.  Remember how you used to have to write the date on all your work in school and would write the wrong year on things for weeks into the new year.  Yup, I’m still doing that at 27 years old! FAIL.

Please forgive my fail and check out my “Clue into Near West Theatre” post by clicking here.  If you need a little extra motivation, I’m doing a giveaway of 2 tickets to Near West Theatre’s 2012 benefit!  You won’t want to miss it! 🙂

Guest Post: My Dogs Are My Most Important Teachers

**I told you I’d be back! 2 posts in a day, how lucky are you? Becca from Peace, Love & Bagels is here with a very important lesson that she learned from her pups, Pele and Buck.  I want to thank Becca for writing such a heartfelt post and Alicia from Poise in Parma for initiating this OBA Guest Post-athon.  Well, without further ado, I’m going to go snuggle Henry and hand things over to Becca!**

Hi fellow Sara Finding the Time readers!! I’m Becca from Peace,  Love & Bagels here to take over Sara’s blog! When I first met Sara at one of the last Ohio Blogging Association get togethers, something that stood out to me about her was how much she loves animals! As a multi-dog owner and animal lover myself, I originally wanted to write a post about the life lessons I’ve learned from my pups. I’m still going to write about that, but it’s just a bit more poignant today because Pele (our oldest, a rescue black lab/german shepherd mix) has epilepsy, and had a seizure this morning that really shook us up.

Honestly, I spent most of the night thinking about all of the things that I’ve learned from my puppies and how I could organize it into this post, but after Pele’s seizure this morning, one lesson stands out in my mind –

“If you can’t change it, you might as well learn to let it go”

Actually, that’s a quote from a Zac Brown song, but it does a good job of putting my thoughts into one very eloquent sentence.

We woke up this morning and my fiancé, Brandon, was helping me get my lunch together for work, as he usually does, while I got dressed. I was just about ready to leave when we heard this banging upstairs in our bedroom. I thought it was Buck (the younger one, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix) because he is a big, floppy teenage dog who doesn’t understand where all his limbs are yet (life lesson #2: it’s ok to be an awkward teenager – it’s not the end of the world). It wasn’t Buck, it was Pele, and he was having his second seizure in three weeks.

If you’re unfamiliar with puppy seizures, they’re pretty much exactly like human seizures, and all you can do is make sure they don’t hurt themselves. When it ends, Pele always gets up, shakes himself off and goes outside to poop.

Brandon took care of Pele while he was going through this and I made sure Buck wasn’t in the way. I could tell that Buck was unhappy about it. He wanted to make sure his big brother was okay and he was urging me to let him back upstairs to investigate. As soon as it was over and I let Buck go upstairs to see what was going on, he snuggled in between Brandon’s legs with Pele, making sure that he was alright (life lesson #3: take care of the ones that you love).

Brandon was worried that I was going to be late to work (I was) and kept trying to help me get on my way, but we were both so shaken up by the seizure that all I wanted to do was stay there and hug Pele and let him know we’d take care of him (life lesson #4: make time for what’s really important). Pele was a little rickety on his feet at first, but was fine once he could walk on his own. We always know he’s okay when his tail starts wagging again. The whole experience happens in about five minutes and then it’s over and Pele’s as wonderfully happy as he always is!

Sometimes letting go is hard to swallow, as a pet owner. In fact, right this minute I’m still worrying if he’s okay, how he’s feeling, what I can do to make him comfortable. Pele, on the other hand, is just living his life as if it never happened. Isn’t that amazing?! Something as traumatic as a seizure doesn’t even phase him.

I know that I’m never going to be able to be as carefree as he is, after all, as a human I was blessed (and cursed) with more memory and foresight than my puppy is capable of. I can, however, use this as a teaching moment…Pele is a constant reminder to me not to sweat the small stuff. My dogs inspire me every day to appreciate what I have and to not spend my time dwelling on things that I cannot change.

Please tell your pets that you love them today!

Find me at Peace, Love & Bagels!


Sorry, I haven’t had breakfast yet.

I’m guest posting over at my buddy Becca’s blog,  Peace, Love & Bagels, today as part of the Ohio Blogging Association November Blog swap.  Check out my post by clicking here.  Is it just me or does Henry look even cuter on other people’s blogs???

But that’s not all!  I’ll be back very soon with a post from Becca on life lessons she’s learned from her dogs. YAY! I love pet posts. 🙂

Life According to Lindsay’s Blackberry

Today’s Life According to My Iphone comes from my fabulous friend, Lindsay.  She guest posted previously with an amazing brownie recipe.  Today she’s showing off her Blackberry pics for your enjoyment…
Well hi there. I’m Lindsay. I left Wonderland to guest blog for one of my nearest and dearest while she soaks up that Cali sunshine with her hubby for a few days. Even though I’ve been neglectful of my own blog, I can always find the time to guest post for Sara. See what I did there? I wore my clever pants today, just for YOU.
I love Sara’s idea of perusing through phone pictures because it’s quite comical to see what images you snap here and there. So as the theme suggests, here’s My Life According to my Blackberry:
When Sara and I get our group of friends together for a party, we try our hardest to incorporate a theme. This photo is from our ski trip this past January. After a day of layers and snow, we stripped down to neon and short shorts for a late night 80’s party.
This is from one of our many family dinners. My husband and I love to entertain and hosting a dinner means I get to decorate my table! This was from a welcome dinner we hosted for our current house guest who arrived back in March.
This is a picture of the mall. Not the shopping kind, the DC mall! After our house guest arrived, we played tourists for a day and this was taken from the top of the Washington monument. I’m afraid of heights, so this was proof that I sucked up my fear to enjoy the view. After the vertigo subsided, it was quite lovely.
I sent this photo to my parents when I was grocery shopping last week. Once as a child, I wanted chocolate milk, but was told to wait. Impatience and a sweet tooth led me to take a similar can of Hershey’s under my sister’s crib and chug the entire container. Lesson learned: don’t starve a chocolate craving.
I’m co-hosting a luau bridal shower for my BFF in a few weeks. I’m too cheap to buy this “Tropical Luau Sounds” CD from the party store, so I took a pic to remember the songs. That isn’t stealing, right?
And this is my life lately. On my laptop attending my virtual GRE prep course, while my dogs keep me company. Stonewall on the left, Nelly on the right. 
Thanks for taking a peek into my BB life! If you want to see more of my life, head on over to my blog. Do you have any weird or funny photos on your phone? I can’t wait to see what Sara has to share when she gets back!

Life According to my IPhone

Ever since Chris got me my IPhone for Valentine’s Day, I have been completely obsessed.  How did I ever function without this little piece of technology?  Honestly, I functioned quite well, but life just seems a little more fun and the world seems to be a little more at my fingertips since I got it.

I love photos.  I could look at photos all day long.  I often find myself going through the photos on my Iphone in my spare time. You know, those moments when you are sitting in a waiting room or in the car and you’ve already played all your opponents in Words with Friends???  Oh, is that just me?

I often wonder about what people would think if they had only the photos on my Iphone to go by.  So, I decided to post an assortment here in this new series, “Life According to My Iphone.”  Judge me as you will.  Oh, and don’t just judge me… with my Cali vacation on the horizon (3 days!), I’ve enlisted a few friends to share their life in pictures while I’m gone.  My super awesome and hilarious friend, Candice, will be posting her Iphone pics and Lindsay (of Lindsay in Wonderland) will be contributing her life according to her Blackberry.

So, without further ado…

Lovely tulips I planted 2 years ago. I heart perennials.

At a Season Brochure photo shoot for work.

Tracy & Poe at Andy's birthday party.

I bought this at 12:30 p.m. on a Wednesday. It's 5:00 somewhere??

My cookies n' creme shake from Sweet Moses

Henry on a hot day.

Russ with his $20 lottery ticket at a rest stop in Lima, OH.

My thoughts? I AM AWESOME (but I may be biased). JK!  However, these photos do make me smile. So, what do you think these photos say about me?  If you say that I like food, booze and dogs- you would be right.  But that’s not all I am.  🙂

Lindsay & Candice… tag! you’re it!

Guest Post: It’s all relative.

It really is all “relative,” because this post was written by my husband, Chris!   (He is considered a relative now, right???)  Lindsay Phillips commented on my Awkward and Awesome Thursday post 2 weeks ago asking if Chris would be writing a guest post during his Spring Break.  He has! Well, it is a little late but… ‘better late than never’ right???  I think so.  Enjoy!

          Perspective is everything.  My friend J.B. posted a picture on Facebook the other day through the windshield of his F150.  He was plowing about 10 inches of snow in the parking lot of his family business. The caption read, “Ohio sucks!!”  This was approximately 5 hours after an 8.9 earthquake had rocked Japan, and only minutes before the resulting tsunami was about to hit the Hawaiian coast.  I sarcastically “commented” on J.B.’s picture, “not as much as Japan…”  The next time I looked at his caption, it was changed to, “Ohio Rocks!”  It’s all relative.

                I’ll throw you another fun little example from my past.  I couldn’t tell you that I was “bullied” in high school and keep a straight face (maybe middle school, but that could be its own post), but I definitely was not a linebacker who people refused to mess with either.  My freshman year of college, I remember weighing myself at the climbing gym: 148 lbs.  I spent a couple of years continuing to be “the skinny guy.”  There are certainly worse labels to have, but some time during my junior year of college, I got sick of being labeled by a (perceived?) deficiency.  I printed out an 8.5×11” sign that simply said, “GET OUT OF BED AND GO WORK OUT, YOU PUSSY!”  I hung it on the ceiling above my bed, so it was the first thing I saw when I woke up.  In retrospect, I was probably a bit hard on myself, but “please, if you feel like it, waking up early to go to the gym would really make you feel better about yourself” just isn’t quite motivating enough for someone who loves to sleep-in as much as I do.

                I worked out relentlessly and ate everything in my path for 2 straight years.  I remember mixing 36 oz protein shakes twice a day and piling multiple cans of tuna on top of freezer pizzas to make them more filling, and higher in protein.  I also remember spending 1.5-2 hours at the gym, then going to class, and then back to the gym for another half hour to make sure I’d actually gotten a good workout.  I couldn’t tell you exactly when it happened, but somewhere during those 2 years, I stopped being known as the skinny guy, and started being known as the guy who worked out all the time.  I remember laughing when someone referred to me as “a body builder,” but it’s all relative, remember?  Compared to 148 lbs. me, 187 lbs. me was quite a change.   (Sara has pictures from one of the first times we met if you demand proof.)

                Fast forward another 2 years.  Working full time takes its toll on one’s gym schedule, but I had managed to keep on most of my workout weight. I was at a motorcycle trackday (at a race track – I can explain that in another post if anyone cares) and attending a clinic on body positioning during lunch.  Now remember, I had spent the last 2-3 years with people telling me how big I was – so when the guy running the clinic said, “it’s good that we’ve got a couple of bigger guys, and a couple of smaller guys,” and pointed my direction when he referenced the smaller guys; I was kind of surprised.  It only took a couple of seconds to digest what he was saying, but I was probably 60 lbs. lighter than the “big guys.”  Once again, life is all relative.

                Most recently, I’ve been dealing with “the curve.”  For those who don’t know, law school is a “true curve,” which means that in a class of 50 people, there are maybe 10 A’s, 15 B’s, 15 C’s, 8 D’s, and 2 F’s.  It’s not an exactly science, and I have yet to encounter a professor who will fail someone unless they really deserved it, but the fact is you’re no longer competing to know as much of the material as  you can, you’re competing to know more than the rest of the people in your class.  This is most frustrating when the exam is easy.  The problem with an easy exam is that everyone does well.  Very well.  What that means is that you can get 2 questions wrong, and a couple of points off your essay, and suddenly you’ve got a B- despite the fact that you got 95% of the available points.  Relative isn’t always a good thing.

                Last example, I promise.  I went running outside on Monday.  The weather pretty much demanded it.  In the gym locker room, I asked one of my coworkers if he would be joining me outside. “No, I did a short run yesterday, and I really need to lift today.”  I was planning to do a 5K (3.1 miles).  My coworker’s “short” run had been over 7 miles.  Now the only reason I mention that is because it’s what got me thinking about this whole topic to begin with.  There’s not much else to do during a 25 minute run other than get overly philosophical – hopefully you haven’t spent THAT long reading this!  There are times to compete against the world, and times to compete against yourself.  Very few of us will ever be the best at anything, but all of us can get better at something.  It’s all relative.

Guest Post: Super Brownies!

**YAY!  Lindsay in Wonderland is here to give you a super awesome brownie recipe…from SCRATCH (something you’ll never get from me so enjoy it!).  My only complaint- she lives 350 miles away so I’m not getting any of this brownie goodness.  I guess I’m forced to make the recipe myself!  Maybe a special Valentine’s Day treat for myself Chris. Enjoy!**

Hey blog friends! My buddy S-Rad is super busy this week with her benefit, so I’m filling in here on Finding the Time. When she asked me to be a guest blogger I immediately said yes. I was so excited! Then I was panicked. And stressed out. Then came the writer’s block. Even my husband offered to guest blog. Why was I putting so much pressure on myself? So I needed to relax and gather my thoughts. While I was doing that, I decided to make brownies in honor of Valentine’s Day because it is a requirement to eat chocolate on this lovely commercial holiday.

As soon as I pulled out my recipe card I knew I had my topic. My mom gave me her Super Brownie recipe years ago and to this day, I have yet to taste a better brownie. I know what you’re thinking. I’m wrong because you have the best brownie recipe from YOUR mom. But guess what? You don’t. Assuming I didn’t annoy you to the point of blog stalking someone else, humor me and try this recipe. It’s DELICIOUS. Gooey and chocolately and just perfect. Best of all, it’s soooo easy. Trust me. I hate baking. Measuring is for the birds. To the recipe!

Part 1. Super Brownie

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.

Mix: 1 cup of melted butter, 3/4 cup cocoa powder and 1/4 cup vegetable oil.

In the same bowl add: 2 cups sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 4 eggs, 1 cup flour and 2 tsp vanilla.

Blend it all together until smooth with a hand mixer. Or get crazy and do it with a whisk, but it’s not my fault if one bicep gets bigger than the other. You’ve been warned.

Pour the batter into a well greased pan. By well greased, I mean spray your pan with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes. Boom, done.

Part 2. Chocolate Frosting

This part is so necessary. It’s the icing on the cake. Literally. Well, except it’s the frosting on the brownie. It puts the SUPER in SUPER BROWNIE. Alright, I think you get it. Also, as a disclaimer, this recipe makes a ton of frosting. I usually make half a batch for the brownies, but if you love chocolate frosting, you’re going to want to make it all.

Ingredients: 3 cups powdered sugar, 2/3 cup cocoa powder, 1 stick room temperature butter, 5-6 tb milk, 1 tsp vanilla

Directions: With a hand mixer (you’ll definitely want a hand mixer this time) mix 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tb milk and the rest of the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining powdered sugar and milk a little a time. You really can just add more to get the right consistency. If you need more frosting, just keep increasing your milk and powdered sugar. If it’s too runny, more sugar. Too thick? More milk. It’s that easy!

So let your brownies cool completely and then frost away! You won’t be able to resist cutting into them the second you’re finished frosting. That is if you aren’t full from licking the spatula and leftover frosting. 🙂

And in honor of Valentine’s Day, make these for your sweetie, your best friend or just for yourself! Enjoy!

Oh and if you want to see what else I’m up to besides ruining your New Year’s resolution diet, follow me at Lindsay in Wonderland.