Okay, so why is it that sometimes the most simple solutions are right there, and we just don't see it or think of it?  

I was making baked chicken this evening.  I put a little oil in the baking pan, and then began to make the flour mix (flour, salt, pepper, and old bay) on a plate.  Of course, the idea is that you dip the chicken into the mix and put it in the pan for baking.  When I make this meal, it seems that there's always flour mix left over, plus I don't enjoy trying to coat the chicken.  As I began this process this evening, all-of-a-sudden I remembered that 'ol "Shake 'n Bake" idea!  All it took was pulling out a gallon-sized disposable storage bag and pouring the flour mix into it.  Then it took putting the chicken pieces into it, one at a time, zippering it up each time, shaking it, taking the chicken out and then proceding with the next piece.  I suppose if they were smaller pieces, I could have even coated three at a time.  It was so simple, clean and less wasteful, that I just had to share this with you!  (I know, I know---you probably have been doing it that way already...)

Winter is still with us making it hard to want to go outside and walk, but this mama knows she needs alittle help with the mid-section!  Even if I didn't have a baby just last year, I'm a firm believer (haha---firm? no pun intended) in getting moving.  Even when I was pregnant, I was grateful for all the steps in my house, forcing me to get the needed exercise and muscular strength without even having a workout plan.  But that's not always enough.  I, for one, cannot afford a gym membership (it's complicated to plan going there when you have a baby anyway).  What about gym equipment in the house?  Naw, not much room for that.  What about a mall?  YES!  Especially inviting a friend to join me!  Especially sipping on coffee and pushing the baby stroller as we go!  This is a great way to also help a friend get around to exercise too!  Yep... look out mall:  Here we come!!!



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Mom and Dad married in the 70's.  Like many of their peers, they were young lovers and started off in married life right away (unlike my backwards generation, but that's a topic for another time).  As they began their new life together, they discussed children, to which Dad said, "We will wait three years, and then we will think of children."  Ha!  I was born 16 months after their wedding.  No matter, they were very happy to welcome me into their family of two --- now three!  In fact, Dad was so excited after I was born he saw three stuffed bears for sale (a father bear, a mother bear, and a baby bear), and he bought them and brought them to mom and me.  From that day forward, they were my bears, though I didn't really play with them much.  Maybe they were just so special, that they were meant for safe keeping.  Thankfully so, because today, 30-something years later, I still have them in fairly good condition (although, thanks to my sister, the baby bear is missing an eye!).  Not only do I have the bears, but it came with the picture they took of little scrawny me (that's the only way I can describe my first days), sitting together with my bears. 
Recently I gave birth to our first born child.  Now we are a family:  my husband, me, and my son.  I no longer represent the baby bear, but my son does.  I'm very happily graduated to the mommy bear.  As for my husband, he never knew that in saying "I do", he would one day be represented by a teddy bear!  He's a proud and happy father, and certainly doesn't mind a bit!  Now the bears will belong to my little boy, along with my picture, AND along with his own picture of himself holding my picture and sitting with these special keepsakes.  Will the bears survive his playing with them to see the day when his own son or daughter will inherit them?  Time will tell.  

It's so sweet to have a keepsake, especially since my father has past away now.  But my boy has the teddy bears his "Opa" once bought on the occasion of my birth!

I have been telling my husband that I have a really great bread recipe that calls for beer and a small about of yeast.  It's an excellent artisan bread --- absolutely delicious!  I talked about it for months and said that I will make it sometime.  We even bought beer to make it, and then the beer was around so long, we drank it before I ever got around to the bread (this happened several times).  Finally, this was the day!  It's quite a long process to make it, though it's easy.  You have to start the night before or in the morning.  So anyway, last night, I was putting the ingredients together.  My husband was already impressed and he put his arms around me and told me how wonderful I was.  Maybe he should have waited until today to decide if I was so wonderful...

The bread was a flunk!  I mean, I've made this bread many times and it was so good, but what happened?  I made two loaves today and they were both pretty bad --- the second effort being worse than the first!  That "loaf" looks and feels like a big, hard rock that could really hurt someone!  It was so funny how my bread turned out so badly, that my husband was laughing and asking me to please save it (that shouldn't be a problem, because it's so hard, I'm assuming it will be well preserved)!

That's okay.  I'll try again another day.