Musings of a Museum Fanatic: November 2013


Chocolate Turkeys

I have seen many recipes floating around Pinterest, the blogs and other recipe sites for a while now about turkey type desserts.  This recipe though is one of a kind and very unique,  I've been making these guys since I think undergrad.  People always ask where I got the recipe and honestly I can't remember for the life of me ... probably some wise old mystic handed it down through the generations to me ... or maybe mom?

Wherever I got it I'm sharing it with you now!  This is always my thing that I like to bring to our Thanksgiving meals and it always goes over so amazing.  People love how cute they are.

Chocolate Turkeys

1 bag candy corn (I suggest buying during Halloween or you will be running to 10 different stores trying to find it) 
1 bag mini Reese Peanut Butter cups
1 bag Rolos
1 package stripped cookies
1 package square chocolate covered cookies (the past few years I can only find the graham cracker ones)
Melting chocolate (bark or chips)

1.  Unwrap all Reese Peanut Butter cups and Rolos.  Set these aside on cutting board or cookie sheet.  Seriously do this or else life will be really difficult for you later.  

2.  Melt 1 brick of the melting chocolate.  (I use the bark so I like to do it one brick at a time in the microwave, if you prefer a different way go for it!)

3.  Using a butter knife or small spreader spread melted chocolate on the wide end of the Rolo then press it to the small end of the Reese's.  Allow the chocolate to solidify.

4.  Spread chocolate on the wide part of the Reese's then press onto stripped cookie.  Set these aside and allow to solidify.

5.  Spread melted chocolate on candy corn then place them at one end of the square cookie, wide part on the edge.  Be sure to melt more chocolate bark or chips as needed!!

6.  After both parts are solidified spread chocolate onto the bottom of the Rolo/Reese's body and press onto base.  You might need to move it around so it doesn't slide to the side or back.

7.  Take candy corn and dab the wide end into the chocolate and put on the edge of the Rolo making it look like a little beak.


Wedding Photo Dump 1970's Style

In an effort to move along in my quest to check off items from my 101 list and to do mysterious things for my parents ; ) I have started to go back and scan old photos.  Last week I brought home with me my parents wedding album so I could take out all the photos in it and scan them.  I ended up posting one of their photos on Facebook and it was such a hoot I thought I would share some of my favorites from their wedding with you guys.  Meaning we're doing a photo dump old school 70's style!
That's my mom!  I think she looks so beautiful.  I actually really love her dress (minus the 70's macrame) and was hoping we could get it re-made or something for our wedding but the fit just didn't look flattering on me 

Here are my parents with their entire wedding party.  OH yes my friends those are 70's powder blue tuxes!

From left to right is my aunt Donna & uncle Jim, my parents, my dad's mom and my aunt Bev.  It's so funny to go back and see my grandma in older photos because honestly from the 70's until she passed away she really looked almost exactly the same but with more gray hair.

Left to right here is my aunt Karen, my mom, her mom and dad.  It's hard to tell in these photos but my grandpa used to have a wicked comb over and from what I can tell he had it for a looooong time : )

I love these photos of my parents.  I don't know why I think they're so neat ... maybe it's the whole "they're exactly like us" mentality?  Or the fact that they're so darn cute and happy and still act that way all the time.

My favorite!  It's so weird to think that they were younger in these photos getting married than I when I got married.  Not sure if that makes them young or makes me feel old?

After posting the above photo on Facebook I got a lot of fun comments and one of my friends commented on my dad's hipster glasses ... I don't know if it can be considered hipster when you had the look the first time around.  Either way, bask in the 70's glory of the powder blue tux a little while longer and appreciate that it's not one of the 70's trends that's come back in style.


Da Bears

**Disclaimer**  I do not pretend to be an avid bears fan nor to I actually attempt it.  The extent of my being a true fan really comes from being guilted into watching the games with Kevin.

With that disclaimer being said even if you're not actually a Bears fan when you're from Chicago you're a Bears fan.  That's just kind of how it is in this town and in my family.   Lately the Bears have just not been playing their best, especially this past weekend.  Kevin was really glad we weren't able to watch it, I think he might have cried if he would have.  Even though our teams aren't always the best we still idolize them and our coaches.  We even think they're awesome enough to run for president!

As a Chicagoian you root root root for the home team!  Even when the home team isn't that great ... or even good at all ... *cough cough Cubs cough*.  I'm pretty sure that Chicago has some of the most out there and in your face fans in the whole country.  We are hardcore fans to the end!!  Well most of us are ... especially this guy ... 

Drunk Chicago Bears Fan Runs Headfirst Into Street Sign

Unfortunately the video was removed by the person who put it up before I posted it but this GIF shows the most important part.  In summary Da Bears fans are so intense we run into solid objects, and keep on ticking just to show our pride!  


Thanksgiving Old Navy Outfit Ideas

Since becoming an adult I have found it necessary to step up my game style wise for family get together type occasions.  We have on one hand my sister in law Bethany who being the awesome retail person she is always looking fabulously put together even when she's just sporting jeans and a tee.  There are the extended family who since they're older have a developed style that just screams I'm an adult and I have my life together plus then there are those people who just just really want to outshine and show up.  

Thanksgiving is definitely one of those holidays where I want to put that best foot forward.  I know it's a week away and I'm already planning my outfit nuts right?  Although in blog world probably not, I'm probably late to the game haha.  Thanks to Old Navy and their awesome bajillion extra rewards points they're giving away like candy when you use your credit card right now I can take myself on a little shopping spree.

I pulled together some super cute blouses and sweaters perfect to wow the in-laws, get oodles of compliments and just make you look so darn cute.    

Thanksgiving Top Ideas

I did purchase the black blouse in the lower right corner but I'm still debating if I want to keep it.  I'm not sure if it's the cami I tried on underneath it or what but it doesn't look quite right on me.  There will be much debating over this top between now and then.

I usually try to be a little casual (i.e. my really nice jeans and nice top) on Thanksgiving since we're running from one end of the suburbs to another.  Wondering though if I should forgo that tradition and step it up a notch since I'd really like to shine this year ...

Thanksgiving Dresses

Thanksgiving Dresses by betsy-giles featuring a sweater dress

It seems that the sheath sweater dress is in this season.  Not sure how I feel about that since they tend to give me no shape and as other bigger gals will attest you need something that highlights the curves not put a bag over them.  Am I right?  Even though all these dresses are super cute might have to stick with tradition and go for the dressed up jeans look.  Must not forget though that every outfit needs the right accessories too ...    


Happy Birthday Stephanie!


Stephanie from over at Not Entirely Perfect is celebrating her 29th birthday today!  Be sure to head over and send her some love.  I know I've explained before how she peer pressured me into the start of my blogging career, peer pressured me into starting up 101 list, peer pressured me into getting myself (and Kevin by association) more organized, peer pressures me with purse alcohol.  Looking back at it she really does peer pressures me into a lot of different shenanigans.  Not that I really mind all that much : )

I have never noticed Ryan's face in the back of this photo before now!!!

One thing I don't I've ever shared about us is our early friendship and how we became friends.  Although now that I actually sit down and think about how we met it's not super exciting or long!

So way back in the dark ages of 2011 or P.S. (pre-Stephanie) I was a cute little newly engaged lass.  Well sorta newly engaged ... I guess it was probably about six months new at that point in time but I digress.  It was a cold October night in Lincoln Park, I'm assuming it's cold ... it's always cold in Chicago right?  So there I was in McGee's Tavern, the speakers were lugged, the basses toted and cords were already all over the stage.

Off to the side I stood just waiting for friends and fun to arrive when much to my dismay some random chick did appear.  "Are you Kevin's fiancee?" she asked, "Why yes." said I in a skeptical tone.  Who was this girl who seemed to know me.  "I'm Stephanie your new friend!".

OK so she didn't exactly say it like that but as far as my memory goes that's exactly how she said it and obviously our whole conversation was set to the tone of The Night Before Christmas because that's how we roll.  Then there was girl bonding, dancing and ridiculous pictures, some drinking, drama (not between us!), crazy annoying people, more dancing, and more drinking.  That's pretty much how we met and made it through the first year of our friendship.  It was and still is good times!!!




Tunes on Tuesday: 5 Weirdest songs

Sunday Kevin was complaining about how people just don't get his love of metal music and how everyone just thinks it's so weird.  I'm not a huge metal fan especially the kind he listens to but honestly if people saw some of what was on my play list they would think I'm a crazy lady.  Seriously I have some weird stuff in my musical collection that spans the entire music gambit, except country I don't like country.

1.  Australian Aboriginal
Seriously I have at least two entire albums and a number other other random songs.  I have always been a big fan of international traditional music but I think Australian aboriginal takes the cake as the oddest type I have on my playlist.  The uniqueness of so many different culture's music is just fascinating and very beautiful.  If you're looking for something not sooo out there check out middle eastern belly dance music (another major favorite of mine!)

2. 90's German Punk
I know I've mentioned this one before but during my younger years I wanted to do everything my brother did and that included developing a love of some of the same music.  Since he took German in high school he got really big into German punk music.  SO of course I became really big into German punk music.  I'm a big fan of the band Die Toten Hosen, this song in particular is a really good one to work out to.

3. Hardcore Metal
Moving further down the metal spectrum I don't tend to like a lot of hardcore metal but when I do it seems to surprise people.  Not sure why? : )

4. Christian Rock/Pop
Being the good Lutheran I am I went though my love of Christian rock phase during high school when Jars of Clay, DC Talk and Newsboys ruled the scene.  Since this era I feel like Christian rock isn't just the same so I tend to stick to that time period in music.  I know the whole oh man Betsy is Lutheran? thing is a bit on surprising side but I don't tend to talk about my faith walk much with anyone so that might be something in the future.  For now rock out to this killer tune by DC Talk, again another one I enjoy working out to.

5. Techno
I'm not talking about the top 40 type techno that gets played on B96 (Chicago's pop station) I'm talking hardcore club type techno.  I've got loads of it!  A friend of mine was a DJ a local under 21 place in high school and gave me a ton of stuff and I've been hooked since then!

What's the oddest thing on your playlist?? Seriously I need some new things to listen to : )


10 Things I Hate About Monday

1.  Going back to work

2.  After a fun weekend with friends you have to go back to being an adult and doing adult things.

3.  It's the longest point away from the next weekend of fun or just not having to do adult things.

4.  Everyone always seems to be extra crabby or annoying.

5. You realize everything you didn't get done at the end of last week because you were so busy wanting it to be the weekend and now realize you have a ton more work to do on Monday

6.  Monday makes you realize how unprepared you are for the week and remember all the things you were going to get a head start on over the weekend but didn't.
Doesn't it seem like weekends are flying by anymore? *Like* if you agree that there should be another day in between Saturday & Sunday! :)  -Parra Electric, Inc.

7.  Everyone seems to drive like a jerk on Mondays.

8.  Everyone else seems to be totally off their game so even if you're on the ball, being awesome and getting awesome things done they mess it up.

9.  Even though you got 8 hours of sleep the night before you seem to always be extra tired on Monday.

10.  Because it's Monday!!

...oh yeah...


Space Jam Mockumentary

If you were a functioning human being in 1996 you know the amazingness that is Space Jam.  This is probably one of the best movies of any 90's childhood.  Space Jam is probably the perfect movie it has Michael Jordon, who let's face it was probably the god of 1990's Chicago & basketball, the Looney Toons , every kid's favorite, basketball, some big name walk ons *cough cough Bill Murray* and a killer soundtrack.

Like half of the online world I have been addicted to Buzzfeed and this week was gold.  They posted the video of 30 for 30: The Space Jam Game.  I couldn't find it but the two places and couldn't embed it so head to the link and watch!

The mockumentary is one of the best videos I've seen in a while.  As someone who has had a lot of experience doing documentary type filming and silly broadcasts through my radio time at Valpo this is right up my alley.  I wonder how many takes they had to do for each person in order for them to keep straight faces, not sure I could have done it.  They killed him in front of his team and just kept going.


Pinterest Style: Blogging Advice

In the continuous effort to organize and improve myself and my blogging I have been really attempting to look at the 324 pins I have on my Blog Board.  As I go if I read through and the info isn't helpful or I don't need to keep it as a reference ... buh bye pin!  The first helpful pin was a big one for me and leads to a big announcement : )

How To Set Up a Custom Domain in Blogger!!
It took me maybe 20 minutes total between registering and creating my domain name on blogger.  Which means there is no longer a .blogspot attached to my name!  I am my own .com oh yeah!  so be sure to check me out at the newly formed

how to organize your gmail inbox
I have already been making attempts to organize my Gmail by working on my All Mail area but I didn't realize that you could add categories on the right side of the homepage.  

How to Watermark Photos
Done through a nice easy to follow video and PicMonkey this is definitely going to help me out a lot.  I've been thinking about watermarking some of my images with all the stories you hear about companies just randomly using photos.  

6 Things Successful Bloggers Are All Doing {How To Be Successful} - The SITS Girls » Blog Community
These 6 things are great general things to keep in the front of your mind while you're blogging.  I also like how the ladies have links to other pages and other things to keep in mind or work on under each topic.  

31 awesome (and totally FREE) blog organization printables
Who doesn't love a freebie printable?  And we all know 31 is way better than one!!  For those who need a little extra help or just ain't got any time for that there are so many different styles and colors to choose from you're bound to find one that works for you. 

Instagram Tips!
Sorry this last one is so big but it was either really really big and read it or really really tiny and read nothing.  Some of the tips I already knew but there are some like the hashtags grouping together photos of yours was something I didn't know.  

I've pinned a ton of other helpful (hopefully!) pins for blogging on my Blog Board so be sure to check them out and try out so new techniques or improve on things.  Be sure to let me know if something is particularly fabulous!


Grandpa's Homemade Sauce & Meatballs

One of the items on my 101 list was to make my grandfather's/mom's homemade meatballs and sauce recipe.  I am happy to say that over the weekend I achieved this feat!  Now this isn't some easy open the jar of sauce and add a few extra dashes of spice, this is make it in the morning let it cook all day need to stir and let the flavors meld type stuff.  I have assisted my parents in making it before but I've never done it all on my own in our kitchen.

I must start off with disclaimer this is one of those type of recipes where things are simple but don't really follow the recipe and some things are added.  So I apologize for the craziness of it.

1 head garlic
Onion (I used a yellow)
2 small cans tomato paste
1 can crushed tomatoes
To taste: Italian Seasoning, Parsley, Oregano, Mint (I have no clue if my mom has ever actually put mint into the sauce since I've never seen it in the spice cabinet)
1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/4 C. bread crumbs
1 T. grated cheese

1.  Saute in olive oil  4-5 cloves pressed garlic, 1/4 C. chopped onion & 1/4 C. chopped celery until transluent  (I'm not big on chunks of either so I really chop mine up super tiny with my Manual Food Processor)

2.  Add cans of tomato paste to pot.  Fill cans with water (getting off all the leftover paste!) and add that.  Add the can of crushed tomatoes.

My hint of the day ... open up all the cans before you start trust me it helps!

3.  Add Italian Seasoning, Parsley, Oregano, Mint to taste and stir so ingredients start to combine.  Let it start to heat at a low heat.

1.  In mixing bowl combine beef, 1 clove pressed garlic, bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper and cheese.

2.  Mix together all of the ingredients with your hands! Form into about 1 inch balls.  If you like bigger meatballs go ahead and make them bigger it's all up to you!

3.  In a saute pan brown the meatballs on at least two sides (I prefer 3) then put them into the sauce.  You will probably have to do it in batches.

4.  Simmer or cook on low heat for 2-3 hours.  Stir on a semi-frequent basis, stirring gently from the bottom to keep incorporating all the flavors.

I was too slow to get a photo of the finished spaghetti dinner since we devoured it right away!  This is a great recipe for a crowd, just double or triple the amounts of everything.  My mom is a big fan of freezing some of the sauce and meatballs for later in the month.  I hope you enjoy one of our family favorites!


Tunes on a Tuesday: Disney on Pandora

Lately in an attempt to not be so connected to my computer I have taken to listening to Pandora on my phone in the mornings.  The past week I was all about the 90's alternative but this morning I went for a change in style.  I had been putzing around on Buzzfeed last night and came across the article about 21 Underappreciated Disney Songs.

So this morning I decided that it was going to be a good morning for some Disney!  Lo and behold there were multiple types of Disney Pandora stations.  Obviously the ones relating to anything current Disney channel were quickly passed over, we don't roll that way in our house!  I decided on the Walt Disney (Children's) station.

The first couple songs were killer ones like "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" and "Belle" they got the blood pumping and woke me up for the day.  Then the romantic ballad and Billy Joel love fest started up.  Don't get me wrong I enjoy Tarzan and the soundtrack for the movie but when out of 8 songs half are from Tarzan we need to have a talk Pandora.

Just when the Billy Joel saga ended it was time to head to work and Disney on Pandora totally redeemed itself by sending me off with this epic tune.


5 ways I realized today I'm unprepared for Chicago Winter

Snow!  This afternoon one of my friends told me that it was snowing.  Since I work a basement and only emerge three times during the week day I had no idea that was going on.  Unfortunately for me I seem to be totally and utterly unprepared for winter and snow that has so obviously arrived!

1.  Shoes ... In the winter time I go all out and pretty much wear my Doc Martins all winter.  Staying two inches above the snow?  Yes please.  Today what was I wearing?  My cute little ballet shoes which got wet right away.

2.  Hat & Scarf ... I have awesomely warm, keep the wind off fleece hat and scarves.  Was not prepared with them today in my possession.  Really hoping that they are even at our place and not packed away at my parents house!

3.  Wipers ... Don't tell Kevin but he's going to have a major "I told you so" moment this evening.  He asked me a few weeks ago if I needed new ones and I was like oh no they're good.  HA not in heavier Chicago snow they aren't!

4.  Snowbrush ... I have a nice little 2007 Cobalt but I do NOT joke around with snow removal.  Currently in my car is a crappy little brush I had to buy after running my huge 52' one into the ground after three years.  I did not enjoy using that one and neither did my cute little ballet shoes.  Pretty sure I'm going to be ordering this bad boy from Amazon this week.  

5.  Moisturizer ... Kevin and I both have excema which means we both get super dry skin in the winter.  My finger joint skin started to crack this past week really badly.  We were finally able to get our industrial size humidifier but I took stock of our Aveeno and we are down to almost nothing!!  Meaning one thing of the excema type and two little travel size regular ones.  My poor fingers need more!

Are you ready for winter?!

These guys aren't ready either. 


People of Facebook: Things my Friends say

Yesterday Samantha over at Life is But a Stream of Thoughts posted a hilarious post about things she said when she was first on Facebook back in 2010.  After I finished laughing I realized that I've been on Facebook since 2005 ... Holy cow what ridiculous things have my friends said to me in 8 years of being on Facebook!  Let's just say there are definitely some good ones but I'll let them speak for themselves.

So the best part of going back and looking at the things my friends have posted, especially at the reaaaaally old ones is that the conversation is only one sided.  I have NO idea what he's referring to here and I'm not sure I want to remember!

Fact ... I have big boobs ... Fact ... my friends like to comment on them ... a lot.  These are two of the best early ones I found but there are definitely more!  

We called each other wench a lot.  I might have done something here with Snood.  Anyone remember Snood.  That game was the best! 

This is another one where I wish I knew what we were talking about.  I'm pretty sure I wasn't being dirty since I am an innocent little angel : )  

So much ridiculousness it cannot be contained in one single post.  There will definitely be more to come ... I might have to go onto my friend's profiles and see what ridiculous things I said on theirs ... maybe the have the other parts of the conversation ...  


Wide Calf Riding Boots

Living in the Chicago area you need to find ways of looking cute that won't freeze parts of your body parts off.  The past couple of years I've joined the crowd and have become obsessed with boots.  This year my obsession has headed the way of riding boots.  What can I say I always seem to be a little behind the crowd.  One issue I know I have is finding boots that fit my calves.  When knee high boots really became a huge thing like three or four years ago I couldn't find anything that would fit my calves.

Even up until last year only a few places would carry "wide calf" or "extended size" boots.  This year it has exploded and places I shop a lot (aka Target and Kohls) have a bunch of wide calf styles!  Plus since these types of retailers are now carrying them the average price has dipped down.  Here are just six out of the many I've already been eyeing for this winter.  I also may or may not be planning on ordering the pair from using my mother in law's 30% off coupon this week ...      

Wide Calf Boots


Tunes on Tuesday: Gettin' It Done Playlist

I'm the type of person who always has to have something going on in the background while they're working on writing, cleaning, cooking, etc, etc. As I type I'm working my way through season two of Gossip Girl. When it's time to get down and get serious on my organization and getting things done I break out the straight up music. Not just any music it's usually power metal music.

Being completely obvious and cliche I usually kick off with some 80's hairmetal and it's usually Loverboy! I mean come on this one just screams (or sings) get up and dance around with the duster as your microphone.

Next I usually go for the stripper music. More dancing and cleaning ensues.

Obviously you can't have any sort of play list without one Bon Jovi song. By that time I'm living on a prayer and wishing I could hire a maid

Moving on to the 90's to keep myself pumped

Then I start to get a little more hardcore. I know some people are not a fan of this song since it's not considered one of their older songs but I'm a big fan of their cover of it. This is also one of my favorite workout songs.

I know this one is definitely way out of character for me but you'd be surprised how hard metal I can get haha. Not a huge fan of the video but I do like the song

Then it usually winds down with some college age independent rock

What gets you moving and grooving ... and sometimes cleaning?


Strange Things are Afoot ...

Firstly if you know the quote my title refers to I will love you forever!  Secondly I don't know if it's because we just got done with Halloween or what but it seems that this weekend was a really strange news weekend here the Chicagoland area.

Starting off with today and working our way backwards we kick off the first Monday in November with a bang ... well more like a rattle.  It seems as though today there was some sort of earthquake that they're now calling a blast from a quarry.  If you look down at the comments some sort of rattle was felt all over the Chicago area not just in the immediate area of the quarry.  Like usual I didn't feel a darn thing!  People still talk about the few earthquakes that have happened on our fault line over the years and I've slept through them all.

Usually when you think of libraries you don't' think controversial but a south suburban library is definitely stirring up the pot.  They have allowed viewing of any website on adult only computers and of course someone has seen what people are looking up and doesn't like that.  I personally have no opinion either way and can see both sides but seriously guys you're going to look at that stuff in public?  I would feel really awkward about doing that haha.

Over the weekend a cute little alligator was found hanging out underneath the stairs at O'Hare Airport.  After watching the video the smart person who just left it, probably when they realized it wouldn't get through security, tweeted photos of the alligator on the Blue line.  Gotta love smart people who leave a "paper" trail.

The last story wasn't so weird as it was a little close to home ... well actually work.  Whenever I see any article that's near us or my parents I automatically read it, while this one wasn't at our end of Arlington Heights it is only about two blocks from work!

Hopefully all the wacky news dies down a bit.  I mean come on an alligator and an earthquake might be a little much in one weekend!!            


Get 'er done!

Starting off this month I wasn't very happy with the number of 101 items I had crossed off.  I was clocking in pretty low at like 12 but after further inspection I realized that I was able to cross off a few more.  It was officially decided (by Stephanie and Kevin) that I was allowed to cross off meal planning and hold Gamma Phi office.  Since I've been active president for a few months now we're counting it!!

I was also able to fully cross off my birthday calendar and a herb planter.  Word had a nice perpetual calendar so all I had to do was type in names!  Printed it out and it's in a nice bright folder.  I've also been using Google calendar a ton lately so I decided to add them all there too, maybe if I have it in multiple places I'll get way ahead of myself and send cards ... but that would require an up to date address book I'm guessing : )  My chives seem to be doing pretty well but the parsley has pretty much all turned brown and fallen out.  The gardening experts have told me theirs isn't doing well this fall either so I don't feel so bad but I'm still skeptical.

In addition I've started and am half way through a bunch of items.  Have almost eaten all my new fruits and veggies, I think I'm at three of each.  Definitely not a fan of kale!  Got a little freaked out at my first library program ... was doing research for my haunted Chicago post : )  Joined up with a meet up group in the northwest burbs and they do a lot of trivia nights.  The agenda for our video game day is all plotted, yup there is an agenda!!

The biggest and most excited progress I've made on my 101 list is on #58.  After weigh in on Wednesday I'm down 6.4 lbs (2.2 for the week)!!!!