Caramel macchiato recipe

Recently I joined Twitter (www.twitter.com/mymilitarylife) and somehow through clicking around started to follow Karen. Today she twitted about my favorite drink!!

When getting a fancy coffee, I usually opt for this yummy treat. Since I prefer it iced, I haven’t had one in awhile. ….another reason why I can’t wait for warmer weather!

Well, if you are like me and you LOVE the caramel macchiato, you are going to love this recipe.

From karenrouch.wordpress.com

Caramel macchiato recipe

In my obsession to save money and be as thrifty as possible I decided there’s not much out there we can’t do ourselves or make ourselves so why not apply that to our fru-fru coffee? I got to the bottom of my new fave – the caramel macchiato. Turns out there’s not much caramel in it. They should probably call it a vanilla macchiato but oh well. So here’s what I’ve found, and after a few attempts my husband even agrees the taste is spot-on. You should try it for yourself…

Ingredients:

double shot of espresso (or a really strong cup of coffee)

4 pumps of Vanilla flavored syrup

hot frothy milk or cream

caramel sauce

Caramel macchiato recipe

Step by step method without having a big fancy machine:

1) make espresso using a french press or you can make a really strong cup of coffee

2) add 4 pumps Torani (or any other brand) vanilla syrup

3) pour about 1/4 cup of milk or cream into a separate cup and microwave it for about a minute or until hot

4) use a nifty gadget like the aerolatte to froth your milk

5) pour frothed milk on top and drizzle with caramel sauce

That’s it!

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BuildaSign.com Gives away 20,000 Welcome Home Banners

Buildasign.com is doing it again! They are giving away 20,000 Welcome Home banners or if you prefer a huge greeting card, all you have to pay is shipping.

buildasign_logo

BuildaSign.com gives away 10,000 Homecoming Banners

These banners will go fast!  Over the summer BuildaSign.com gave away 10,000 banners in just 3 weeks, so don’t wait….order yours today!!

Details from buildasign.com/troops

What do I need to do to get a jumbo card/banner sent to an APO address?

When you are checking out and entering your shipping information, please select AE in the State/Prov/Reg:* drop down menu (AE will be at the very bottom of the list). Please note that APO orders can take 5-15 business days for delivery after your jumbo card/banner has been printed.
»  When will I receive my jumbo card or banner?
Our normal turn-around time is 8 weeks. If you need your banner or jumbo card sooner, within your shopping cart, you can choose from several delivery options: 6 weeks, 4 weeks, 2 weeks and 1 week. Your shipping and handling charge will be calculated based on your shipping address and delivery option chosen.
»  Will you review my artwork before printing my jumbo card/banner?
No. BuildASign.com provides you with several opportunities to review your own artwork by allowing you to open up a “proof” while in the design tool and within your shopping cart. If you upload an image that our system determines may be pixilated or does not meet our quality standards, you will receive a pop-up warning. If you do not have a higher quality image, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Group at 1-800-330-9622 or email us at Art@BuildASign.com. Please attach your image and sign specifications, such as what material and size sign your image is going to be used for so we can best assist you with your order.
»  How do I get started?
Please visit http://www.buildasign.com/troops and select one of the templates (you must place your order via this URL in order to receive the promotion). You can then customize your jumbo card/banner, add to your shopping cart and complete your order all online.
»  What if I want to order more than one banner or jumbo card?
The first jumbo card or banner you add to your cart will be free (you’re only responsible for shipping and handling charges) and each additional 18″X24″ jumbo card is only $7.99 and each additional 2’X4′ or 3’X6′ banner is only $9.99.
»  How many will you give away/how long will the promotion last?
BuildASign.com is giving away 20,000 banners. The promotion will run until supplies last.
»  What is the difference between unfinished banners and finished?
Unfinished banners are not sewn or grommeted. Finished banners are sewn and grommeted. You have the option to upgrade your banner to include sewing and grommets within the shopping cart for $9.49.
»  What will I need in order to display my banner?
In order to hang your banner, we recommend that you visit our accessories page for a variety of choices, such as bungee cords, zip ties, hanging clips or suction cups. We also offer several different types of banner display stands under the heading “banner accessories”.
»  What if I have any other questions?

Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-330-9622 or contact us at http://www.buildasign.com/support.aspx

Let’s shop at Sears!

I came across the following in a military spouses forum that I participate in.  Like the author of the message, Sears is usually not my first choice.  However, I am going to pledge to buy at least 1 gift there this holiday season just on principle.  I hope you will do the same.  All of this information can be verified at:  http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/sears.asp  http://www.searsholdings.com/communityrelations/hero/military.htm

—-

 Sears – Christmas shopping has already started

I know I needed this reminder since Sears isn’t always my first choice. Amazing when you think of how long the war has lasted and they haven’t withdrawn from their commitment.

Could we each buy at least one thing at Sears this year?

How does Sears treat its employees who are called up for military duty? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up.

Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years.

I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution. I suggest we all shop at Sears, and be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement it well deserves.

Pass it on.

Decided to check this before I sent it forward. So I sent the following e-mail to the Sears Customer Service  Department:

I received this e-mail and I would like to know if it is true. If it is, the Internet may have just become one very good source of advertisement for your company. I know I would go out of my way to buy products from Sears instead of another store for a like item, even if it’s cheaper at that store. 

This is their answer to my e-mail:

Dear Customer: 

Thank you for contacting Sears. The information is factual.  We appreciate your positive feedback.  Sears regards service to our country as one of greatest sacrifices our young men and women can make. We are happy to do our part to lessen the burden they bear at this time.

Bill Thorn
Sears Customer Care
webcenter@sears.com
1-800-349-4358

Please pass this on to all your friends. Sears needs to be recognized for this outstanding contribution and we need to show them as Americans, we do appreciate what they are doing for our military!!!

 I think we all should shop there, and again tell the store manger why!

Nikki Fitness Testimonials Needed

I received an email from Nikki today and she has been approached to do an interview with First Magazine. How exciting!!

We did a show on Nikki Fitness not to long ago and posted her workout DVD for military spouses. If you have the DVD and would like to share your testimonial on how it has helped with your workout routine and getting fit Nikki would love to hear from you asap!

Here is her email

nikki(at)nikkifitness.com

If you haven’t yet ordered the DVD, be sure to get your copy. You will love this video created just for the busy milspouse!

Philosophy Let Go and Let Love

Philosophy Let Go Let Love

Philosophy Let Go Let Love

My latest favorite thing. I found this at Sephora over the weekend. It is a refreshing Lime scented Bath / Shower Gelee from Philosophy.

The wording on the bottle is in true Philosophy nature really sweet and great to ponder while in the shower.

This scent isn’t too overpowering and really helps wake me up when I feel like crawling back into bed.

from philosophy.com

let go and let love write your name in the sky. let go and let love plant your secret garden. let go and let love fertilize the impossible dream. let go and let love prevail when you feel fear. let go and let love choose for you. let go and let love be your flashlight in the dark. let go and let love heal the places that hurt. let go and let love hold you when you feel most alone. let go and let love melt down the frozen ice and bitter cold days of your past. let go and let love cherish you and all living creatures for this is the promise of heaven on earth.

You can order yours here.

The Next Notebook – Nights in Rodanthe

25 Sep 08

Look for the full details of my 1st trip to NYC in upcoming posts. I’ll also be adding photos as I get them edited and captioned.

Nights in Rodanthe World Premier

Nights in Rodanthe World Premier

The Ziegfeld Theatre, built in 1969 just steps from the original Ziegfeld Theatre, is said to be one of the last real movie houses built in America. It’s located on 54th street in Manhattan and has recently been the location of many movie premiers including Mama Mia, Dreamgirls, National Treasure – Book of Secrets, Made of Honor just to name a few. On Tuesday, 23 Sep 08, the Ziegfeld Theatre hosted the world premier of Nights of Rodanthe, starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane.

We arrived on site about 6pm, running late from our dinner at Carmines. There was a HUGE line and I was sort of freaking out thinking we would be late getting inside on time. My mom without skipping a beat walked up to the front to say “We are guests of Warner Bros” and we were quickly taken care of. Who knew!?? How strange to say “we are quests of WB??”.

We walked by the red carpet, who my mom would later say, “what red carpet, I don’t remember seeing any red carpet?” I told her, yes mom….you walked right by it! ha! Anyway, we entered the theater that was decorated in velvet red carpet and chandeliers. We were treated to complimentary popcorn, soda and water. The staff was so friendly and the New Yorkers in attendance were also friendly. We found our seats, row H. That is row 8 people. Row 8! Thank you Andrea!

We sat for sometime wondering just were the stars might be coming in or where they might sit. In the end we hear the crowd rustling and discovered they are sitting behind us about 3/4 of the way up. My pictures are pretty dark, so I won’t post all of them here. Instead I’ll link to the “professionals” here, here and here to let you get a good look at all the stars which included Richard Gere, whose hair was “white white” and Diane Lane, whose about as big around as my wrist and author Nicholas Sparks who surprisingly was wearing a button up shirt with a simple leather jacket.

When the lights dimmed everyone took their seats. There were no previews to watch or commercials, the movie just started. Something I thought different and unique; when an actors name came on screen the audience clapped for their favorites, including for the director and of course the author of the book the movie was based on. This also happened with Richard Gere came on screen, the audience went crazy.

I have to say going into this movie I was ready to be disappointed. I enjoyed the book, but I’m not the biggest fan of Richard Gere. Frankly, I was nervous on whether Diane Lane would keep her clothes on. I had seen Tuscan Sun and really liked that movie, so I tried to have an open mind.

Let me just say this movie really does sweep you away. I felt the entire audience was lost in the movie and at certain scenes there was not a dry eye in the house, classic Nicholas Sparks. How does he continue to tug at our heart strings and make us fall in love with the story and his characters….it’s amazing really. I do have to say the not-so-nice part of this movie is that in fact Diane Lane’s character is still married when she has this affair with Richard Gere’s character. There is one scene where her wedding ring is clearly visable as they are cozying up to one another which I found awkward.

It’s important to note, this is the fourth of Nicholas Sparks novels to be made into films. Message in a Bottle in 1999 (with Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn and Paul Newman), A Walk to Remember in 2002 (Mandy Moore), and The Notebook in 2004 (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams).

Diane Lane does an amazing job and I think should be nominated for her performance.

This movie is so visually beautiful, it made me miss the coast even more than I already do!

I’m sure there were lots of things I missed so I plan on seeing it again this weekend.

Nights in Rodanthe is the next Notebook.

Hope you go to see it and let me know what you think!

Look for the latest Nicholas Sparks book The Lucky One to be released Tuesday, 30 Sep 08!

Interview with Nicholas Sparks – Part 1

20 Sep 08

Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks

Last Thursday I had the amazing opportunity to be apart of interviewing author Nicholas Sparks on a conference call with 5 others bloggers. I’m so excited to share the call. As I mentioned in a preview post, I found Nicholas Sparks to be very open as he was willing to answer any question we asked. I felt he was truly engaged in the conversation and really elaborated in the answers he provided. My hope is as you read the interview you find it revealing, interesting and leave you wanting to read more of Nicholas Sparks or perhaps pick up your first of his novels. Nights of Rodanthe based on the book by Nicholas Sparks opens Sep 26th, so grab a girlfriend, your mom, sister, the neighbor along with a pack of tissues and escape into this great movie. I’m leaving for NYC for the World Premier on Tuesday morning (5am) and can’t wait to share all the sights, sounds and tastes I can manage to fit into 48 hours!

Enjoy:

MS: I recently read the book Nights in Rodanthe and when I finished the book I came away saying, “What a lovely story.” And the character Adrienne was so well drawn. How do you think it is that you’re able to write such well rounded women characters?

Nicholas Sparks: That in all honesty is the magic question. I have not the slightest idea. I have a, I have a standard group of answers that I give whenever asked that question you know and they’re all true. I had a wonderful mother. I married very well. All of the most important people in my life at the present time and throughout my publishing career have been women.

I have daughters. And yet none, and yet none of those fully answers the question. I suppose I just have an ability to create a character’s voice that is, that sounds genuine and real. And I know that’s the question you asked. I don’t know. That’s part of the magical writing process. It is what differentiates writers, the talent level of writers.

It’s, and it’s akin to asking where do you get the ideas. I don’t know. I just do. How do I create women? I don’t know. I just do. Certainly I observe the world. I’ve seen how my wife reacts in certain situations. I saw how my mom or my sister did it.

All of these things I’m sure play a role in that but it comes together in a way that is unique for me just as it is unique for everybody.

TO: You write so well about the south. Do you need to do greater research in terms of the settings, for example, the inn in Nights of Rodanthe?

Nicholas Sparks: As a general rule I don’t have to do so much research because I’ve been to, in every novel that I’ve written I have been to the town that I’ve described. And of course as a novelist I feel free to take certain liberties when I need to because I’m a novelist and I can do such things.

But the – and the reason for that is in the novels that I write and these are dramatic fiction, this is the love story genre. It’s got its roots way back to Greek tragedies and you know Hemingway did it, Shakespeare did it.

In these types of stories the atmosphere and the setting almost becomes a character. And you know that always on a subconscious level when you’re in the south, in all forms of southern literature the atmosphere and the setting almost become their own character.

And it’s just part of writing about, living in the south and writing about the south. And it’s the way people tell stories, it’s just the way it is down here. It’s a very different world in some places. I live in a small town that I swear hasn’t changed much in 30 years. I mean it is, people walk places, it’s very hot and muggy, you’ve got the Spanish moss hanging from trees, kids running around barefoot.

It’s very much like it, it’s like a place stuck in time. And whenever you’re in rural areas of the south it is, of the south, it’s often like that. It’s just, yeah it’s moved up, it’s got the, we’ve got cell phones and the whole bit but the core of the place has not changed.

And it is a unique and wonderful place and certainly every place has their unique features but it’s a great place to write about because the setting is so important and there’s always the perfect place to set a story. And I know exactly where that is.

You know I – for a while before I was a writer you know I sold pharmaceuticals so I drove around virtually to every small town in the eastern part of the state. So I’ve been to every one of them. So it makes picking a setting relatively easy.

SO: I was wondering when you are writing your stories and has this changed over the time that you’ve written them and published so many successful ones, how does the editorial decisions affect your plot and is that a painful decision when they want you to change things?

And how much does that play into the final book that we get to get our hands on?

Nicholas Sparks: That’s a great question. For the most part I am, I would be considered lightly edited. I mean there’s no question that I’m edited but the process is a little bit different for me than it is for other writers. And I suppose, and I can’t speak for other writers because I don’t know exactly what they do.

But for me the process goes something like this. I write a novel or I write half of a novel and then send the other half later. The first step is it goes to my agent. And my agent really, she’s a Creative Writing major. She’s probably one of the most intelligent women I’ve ever met in my life.

She, she goes through and does a pretty significant line edit on the work. And she, she suggests deletions of passages that she doesn’t necessarily believe are necessary. You know she might change the wording here and there on a few things. But it’s mainly a lot of blue marks and I’m deleting an awful lot.

And the reason she does that is I ask her specifically to do so. One of those core tenets under which I write is efficiency. I believe that efficiency is underrated and it is, and it is incredibly important to develop in quality literature. I’ll give you a real quick example before I go on.

You know you could write a story and say you know the country’s out of whack, you know the markets are crashing, house prices are plunging, you know people are losing their jobs, there’s a lot of illegal immigration, you know healthcare costs are spiraling out of control and yet you know some people are doing okay.

You know they haven’t been affected, da, da, da, da, you can go on and on like that. Or you could say something like it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Nicholas Sparks: And that is what I mean by efficiency. And that is very hard to do. And it’s a, it’s a lesson that only, that very few writers master and it’s always a struggle because it’s much easier believe it or not to take a paragraph to describe it than to come up with a sentence like it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. So my edit, my agent goes through with a rather significant line edit. I make all the changes. And then from there it goes to my editor. My editor is also very intelligent. And she and I have worked together since the very beginning. And by that time the writing is fairly strong and it tends to be very efficiently written.

And what she’ll do is she’ll fill in story gaps or she’ll say this doesn’t quite flow the way it should or you really need to maybe rework this particular scene. So she does story holes. And as a general rule there aren’t many. For instance, you know for me to do all of the line edits in a novel, you know I write a novel from beginning to end, to do all of the line edits for my agent might take 12 hours.

The edits from my editor which include new writing and you know deletion perhaps and increasing flow, all of those edits might take 12 hours.

So, in other words, no, no, once I, you know if I, I either send my agent the whole book or I send her half and then send her the other half. So it’s all done through the line edit. And then once she’s gone all the way through it once it goes to my editor.

So really my books go to my editor probably about 98% complete, you know 98% and so you’re only talking about editing at the most, 2% and that doesn’t take long at all. Like I said, I could do, for most of the vast majority of my books, a total editing process of less than 24 working hours…

SO: Wow.

Nicholas Sparks: …which isn’t much.

Nicholas Sparks: …and then rewrite the whole thing. I’ve never had to do that.

SO: Has that always been the case or is that improved as you’ve done more books? I mean was your first book the same?

Nicholas Sparks: The first book was the same. It probably took…
…well actually I probably spent a little bit longer editing. I mean it was probably a little bit more time. not, but certainly much less than you would imagine. They come in, they come in pretty close to what the final product is.

——————

Look for Part 2 of this interview coming soon!

A big thank you to Andrea, Gemma, and my fellow bloggers on the call: Megan, Tracy, Susan, Jenna and Ashley. Your questions were great.

Don’t forget Nights in Rodanthe, staring Richard Gere and Diane Lane opens Friday 26 Sep 08!