Archive for February, 2014

Easy French Toast Sticks

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When I got married, I was so clueless about cooking I looked up how to boil water for pasta (when does the pasta go in? Do I add salt?  How big should the pot be?).


Unfortunately, the above is a true story.


Fast forward a few years and I was always buying those French Toast Sticks in a box for Max… imagine my surprise that I could just
make them fresh, myself at home!


Again, the above is a true story… it is shameful really.


So, here is the super easy recipe on how I make French Toast Sticks (even though this art is probably universally known)


3 slices of bread

2 Eggs

A Bit of Milk

1 tsp Vanilla Extract (mine could have been two…)



1)     Preheat your griddle (I usually use the medium setting)

2)     Mix the eggs, milk and vanilla in a low bowl that will fit your piece of bread… (speaking from experience here)

3)     Coat the pieces of bread in the mixture one by one, flipping to make sure both sides are gooey

4)     Place on griddle, let it cook a few minutes (2-3) and then flip for another minute or two

5)     Remove the French toast from the griddle and cut into strips.

6)     Serve while marveling at the transformation of the humble slice of bread

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Dizee’s Disney Tips!

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We have been back from Disney for over a month… sigh… I am already waiting to go back! Unfortunately, the play room is still the ‘Post-Disney-Disaster Site’ right now.


I have my work cut out for me… It always amazes me how quickly I can make a room a mess…


That being said, I thought I would share a few tips/tricks we picked up while we were in Disney:

1)     Stay on Disney Property


We stayed at the Art of Animation and it was love at first  sight.  The hotel was off the hook, the pool was amazing, the food court was stacked and the rooms came with a small kitchen with a microwave and refrigerator .  Pluses included a decent arcade and even a bar.  This is my kind of hotel.  No, this will not save you money in the long run, but it did contribute to the overall experience.

Or, maybe, I am just a Disney snob.

Actually, both are probably true.


2)      Shop before you get there


We rented a car because that is how we roll… get it, car… roll?  This stuff writes itself.

Moving on,  we were able to stop at Walmart and pick up some necessities (such as milk, yogurt and Oreos).  By far our best purchase was bottled water.  It seemed like Disney was pretty lenient with their food/water policy.   Every day we threw a few bottles into the stroller or our bags and we were able to save ourselves the cost of drinks.  We even brought water in to the Counter-Service restaurants.

Craig estimated we saved $75 by doing this (don’t worry, we spent that money elsewhere…).   I wished I thought to buy myself Diet Coke too… a 6-pack at the  hotel was going for over 9 dollars!


No thank you.  Even I have my limits.


We also fed the boys cereal and yogurt for breakfast (and occasionally for dinner) saving a few shekels there as well.

If you don’t have a car, there are services which will shop for you and bring the groceries to your hotel.  I think this would still be a win.


3)      Bring your own stroller (or even buy one in Florida). 


Kids get tired simply walking from the car to the entrance of the park (or atleast this is true for my boys) so I knew I would need a stroller.  A bunch of my friends recommended renting them through Disney, but at almost thirty dollars a day for a double stroller, we weren’t feeling it.  We picked up a $25 single-model at Walmart and “gifted” it to another family when we were leaving.  Over the course of a 7 night stay, the savings were substantial.

It also helped that our stroller looked different than the standard ‘Disney’ ones.  Stroller Parking can get a little  crazy.


4)      Dine in Italy



In Epcot, we ordered a large pizza in Via Napoli for the 5 of us and devoured the whole thing.  It was tasty, delicious and cost $30 less than our meal at T-Rex (a dinosaur-themed restaurant in Downtown Disney).

For the most part, excluding breakfast and table service restaurants, our meals cost approximately $10 per person.  (CK – you were right on the money… another clever pun… I am on fire!)


5)      Be over 40 inches tall –  Cooper was 38 ½ inches tall and wasn’t allowed on a bunch of rides… To say he was distraught was an understatement.  He tried everything to be ‘tall enough’ – he would stand on his tippy toes and plead with the cast members.  It was super sad….



6)      Pirate Savings 


Max wanted to be painted like a Skelton Pirate.  Honestly, I thought it was a waste of money and put him off for a day or two… However, he was adamant and even wanted to use his own money.

In the end, for thirty five bucks, he was decked out in pirate garb, made to take a pirate oath and given the grand treatment.   It was an hour and a half long experience.

I didn’t realize the purchase came with an eye patch, pirate’s bandana, earring, coin  necklace, sword and sheath.  All items we had purchased the previous day… #fail!  Max graciously gave Cooper all his previous ‘pirate loot’ and went on to become the handsome, undead swashbuckler you see above.

I wish I had thought ahead and purchased a pirate costume and brought it with us.  I saw them at the Disney Store for
$40 while the same one was going for $65-85 in Disney World…  And, if purchased after Halloween, I bet you could find a deep discount.


7)      Skip the Character Breakfast Buffett 

Did I just say that?

Yes, Yes I did.


Because it cost our little group of 5 almost two hundred dollars to eat at Chef Mickey’s.  I thought it would be the best way to see the elite characters – you know, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy.   Imagine my surprise when walking through Epcot, these same characters were hanging out, with only a 5 minute wait to see them!

It doesn’t help that we are not big breakfast people.  In fact, Cooper insisted on having an Multi-Grain bar.  I was a tad disgusted….



8)      Pack your own poncho – It is Florida.  It will rain.  Disney ponchos were $5-8 each.  I saw ones in Target for less than $2….  Doofy Dizee….


Anyone else planning a trip?  I can’t wait to go back.  I just love Disney. 

Move over Ben & Jerry’s – Snow Ice Cream

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“Do you want to build a snowman?” sings Anna

“No, I want to make snow ice cream!” replies Elsa.


Have you seen Frozen? Obviously, this is not how this song goes… but it would be if I was involved.


I equated Snow Ice Cream to the Abominable Snowman… something that was just a figment of an over active imitation.

However, I kept seeing it pop up on Facebook and on the internet. Finally, after 48 inches of the fluffy white stuff fell, I attempted my first pint of ‘snow cream’.


I followed this recipe from all recipes and let ‘er rip.  Obviously, since I can’t wait to make this again, it should now stop snowing in the North East….


Since it was ice cream – it needed a topping…. You see where I am going with this, right?



Large bowl of “clean” snow (yellow snow is NOT clean)

½ gallon of milk (I used whole milk)

½ cup white sugar

1 tablespoon of vanilla (I may have over done it a bit…. )



1. Wait for it to snow – a lot…

2. Fill a large bowl with ice cream and bring it in the house

3. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, sugar and vanilla until the sugar dissolves.

4. Stick your finger in the mix and make sure it tastes sweet

5. Add the snow by large cup fills, stirring to mix the contents

6. Taste liberally as you mix 7. Put a scoop in a bowl, add chips and call yourself done

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Negotiating for the Non-Negotiator

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There is a certain skill associated with negotiating.  I know a lot of people enjoy the thrill of bartering, the back and forth banter involved in sealing the deal, the whole dance.


Craig, for instance, has a patented approach to buying a car.  He puts on his game face and brings his A game.


I usually just do what I am told.  If I ask a price on something, I, typically, just accept the price and either buy the item or move on.


Today, though, I went a little of script.


I had to call the oil company to “lock in” my ceiling rate…  Currently I pay no more than a $3.99 a gallon but my term was running out.  I was putting it off because, hey, who likes calling the oil company?  Not this girl.


Anyway, walking thru the mail yesterday I saw a competitor’s sign offering new customers a rate of $3.69/ gallon.


Bitterness poured over me…  A loyal customer surely deserved that price!  So, today I called my oil company with a little more attitude…


The representative had a very nice voice…. It almost threw me off my game…  So, be wary of a nice voice.


I was told the average rate on Long Island (without an agreement) was $4.54 a gallon but since I was such a good customer I was given a rate of $4.24…


A far cry from the siren’s call of $3.69  at the mall…


So, I politely said I would call back tomorrow after discussing the value with my husband and investigating the price from the mall.


Just call me Miss Passive Aggressive.


Well, apparently that is all I needed to say.   The nice man on the phone spoke to his supervisor and lowered the price to $4.09.  Not the best price in the world, but much better than the first price…


So, what is the point of this meandering story?


Sometimes it pays to be a little hard to get…


Solid advice that can be used across the board.


C is for Cookie….

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C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me
C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me
C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me
Oh, cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C

You will be cursing me all day while this song plays in your head.


On one of the many snow days this season, I decided to make some homemade cookies.




Because I wanted to lick the batter.


My shame knows no bounds.


I always use the Toll House Cookie recipe, with some minor alterations….  Typically because I cannot find my ¼ cup




2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon corn starch

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 sticks of butter (microwaved for 30 seconds)

1 cup of packed brown sugar

½ cup of granulated sugar

1 tablespoon (not a typo) of vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 bag of peanut butter / chocolate chips



1)     Preheat the oven to 350

2)     Mix the sugars, vanilla, and butter with a hand mixer.

3)     Eat a few spoon fulls of this mix.  Sigh contently.

4)     Add the eggs, beat some more

5)     Add the corn starch, salt and baking soda, mix some more.

6)     Add the flour by the ½ cup full until all incorporated.

7)     Add the chips, eat some as you pour

8)     Drop by tablespoons on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper

9)     Bake for 4 minutes, flip if you have two trays, bake for 4 minutes more

10)  Cool on your stove for a few minutes.  I like mine very pale and gooey.


The total number of cookies this mix makes is in direct proportion to how much dough you eat.


I usually make two trays and free the rest for a later date.


The kids and I love these cookies.  Craig said he prefers his with more high
fructose corn syrup and preservatives.


This is what I deal with on a daily basis.  Pity me.

Did you hear about the new Pirate Movie?

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It’s rated “ARGH”!!!


What can I say,  A little pirate stole today’s post…..


Life has been crazy and snowy.  Literally.  Sorry, all you snow fans, I am done with it,


I have been a disorganized lady these past few days.  I am always amazed by those people who do it
all…. When most of the time I am lucky to shower and brush my teeth.


I am going to aim for a post later today, if not, definitely by Thursday.  Until then, know I am
thinking of you…..


PS –  I am reading the Money Saving Mom’s Budget book… very interesting.  As a side bar, and I am
sure she would be proud to know, I requested the book from the library!  It was my first time requesting a book so I
felt like a real adult.


Remember, it is the little things in life that make ya happy.

A Few of My Favorite Cruelty Free Products

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PS- (Can I add a PS when I just started a post??? I am not sure, but I am doing it anyways)  This isn’t a paid post – I just felt like sharing my love for this stuff…


One of my new resolutions is to use cruelty free products as often as possible.  Why?  Look at these faces!

I just can’t believe companies STILL test on animals.  (You can read more here… bring tissues….)


That being said, I can’t afford to spend a ton of cash on stuff… so, I am so excited to say I found shampoo, conditioner AND body wash that I love at a price I can stomach.


Let me introduce you to Organix.  As you can see, I have quite the selection –I love the way they work and smell.  Best
part – I got the smaller bottles for $4 and change on sale at STOP AND SHOP!  I have to do more research, but they
seem to run just under $6.  The big, ginormous bottle? That is a BJ’s purchase for $9.99…  Sometimes, I can even find coupons for the Organix line! It is almost too exciting.


I also love the Kiss my Face brand which I bought on Amazon using a gift card from my beloved sister-in-law (Thanks Melissa!!!!! ).   They each ran less then $6, although I had to buy  added enough stuff to my purchase so I didn’t have to pay for shipping and handling.  I guess Amazon had the last laugh there.


Either way, I am happy that my little purchases make a bit of difference.


I am looking for detergent now.  I am not a huge fan of the lavender scent I see Seventh Generation uses.  And my husband would have a cow if I bought the $12.99 bottle and brought it home.   Sadly, I had to let my Purex Crystals go…. They were my absolute favorite but since they still test on animals, I am out…. Which reminds me, I owe them an email.


Anyone else have cruelty free products they love?




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Opening Pandora’s Box (of Free Music!)

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Alright, it is my first post back on the bandwagon…. I am moving a little slow still.  Sorry!  I plan on two posts a week for the next few weeks – Let’s say Tuesday and Thursday?!


I took off the month of January to center myself, meditate on who I am and where I want to go, and really focus on being a better, kinder person.


Nah, I am just kidding.


I went to Disney, spent too much money and was harassed by a stomach virus that I thought was going to kill me.




Good Times… well, mostly.


One thing I discovered along the way was Pandora. (Thank you Myra!)  Am I the only one who didn’t knowthis?  It is like Sirus/XM radio but with commercials.   Oh, and it is free.


I got tired of listening to the same songs at work and noticed my pal was rocking out with her headphones on and toes-a-tapping.  (ok, not quite, but you get the picture).


Well, Myra told me about Pandora and there is no going back.  There are a million
stations to choose from (I am not above admitting that this NYC girl has been rocking the Today’s Country Radio channel).  You can also enter the name of the artist you like (let’s say Dave Matthews Band) and it will play music by the artist and similar musicians.


Lastly, unlike regular radio channels, you can ‘rate’ songs with a thumbs up or down for better future listening experiences.  And you can even skip a limited number of songs.


Simply head over to their website or download the app for your smartphone and start listening!


Now, if Pandora could clean my house while I listen to the music, life would be perfect….


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