Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry ........

oh, wait..... come back.
ahhh...... :-/ you have to stay on your bottom, Liv.
 hmmmm....... smile.
not exactly.
one more time.
(Okay, this will do.)
Merry Christmas!!!
From all of us to all of you!

I'll see you all back here after the first of the year.  Enjoy your time with friends and family and I plan to do the same while consuming my weight in holiday treats.  :)  

Monday, December 20, 2010

2 Bean Chicken Chili

This is another recipe that has been requested lately.  My SIL introduced this soup to us soon after she and my brother were married and we have all enjoyed it ever since.  Not only is this soup extremely good tasting, it is UBBER-easy to make.  {Just wait.  You'll see.}  So - just for you Melissa- here it is.

2 Bean Chicken Chili
1 can Black Beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can Pinto Beans (rinsed and drained)
2 cans chicken broth
8 oz. corn
1 T chili powder
1 clove of garlic
1 jar chunky mild salsa
3 cups cooked chicken
8 oz tomato sauce (Mexican hot if available)
1 chopped zucchini

Place all ingredients in a large soup pot on stove top.  Mix and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes.

That's it.  Seriously.

Want to add a little extra to it?  Our family likes to put a dollop of sour cream on top, a good sprinkle of shredded cheese and then scoop it all up with Fritos or Tostitos.  {Has anyone else noticed that my recipes never end up in the low fat category?!}

Another great recipe to warm you all up on a cold (yep - I thought about putting 'chili'.) evening.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Curly Present Bow Tutorial

Have you seen the cute curly bows for presents for sale at Wal-mart and such stores?  You know - those ones that are way over priced, yet very convienient?  Right, those.  Here's a quick tutorial to help you make your own.

 1.  Select your ribbon and cut to length.  I chose 4 colors and cut 2 of each color at about 18 inches.

 2.  Curl your ribbon with the edge of your scissors.
 3. Gather them all up holding them in the middle.
 4.  Cut a small piece of paper to anchor the ribbon to and staple.

5.  Tape your curly bows to your packages to make them extra festive with very little effort.

That was easy!  Just think how many of these you can make at the same price of buying just one from a store. :)


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Creamy Potato Soup

It is COLD outside!  All I want on nights like these is a bowl of something warm and comforting.  I found this potato soup recipe about a year ago and really enjoyed it.  Since then I have tweaked it to fit my cooking and our tastes.  Several of my friends have asked me to get the recipe on the blog, so here it is.

Creamy Potato Soup 
1 T + 1 tsp Bacon grease *
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp minced garlic
3 T all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
3 or 4 Yukon Gold Potatoes, cubed**
1 C half-and-half cream

Hot Sauce
Shredded Cheese
Crumbled Bacon

1.  Combine flour, salt, basil and pepper in small bowl and set to the side.
2.  Saute onion and garlic in bacon grease in large pan until onions are tender and almost translucent.
3.  Add flour mixture and stir well.  Let this cook for just a short amount of time until you have almost a 'nutty' aroma.
4.  Gradually add chicken broth stirring well to keep flour from clumping.
5.  Add cubed potatoes.
6.  Bring to a low boil.  Cover and boil for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are fork tender.
7.  Stir in half-and-half.
Top with shredded cheese and crumbled bacon for extra yummy flavor.  (Yeah, added fat, too.)  Serve it up and enjoy the warm, happy feeling in each bite.  My husband also likes to add some hot sauce to his bowl for an added 'kick'.

*Every time I cook bacon I save the drippings in a storage container and put it in the fridge.  It will keep forever and comes in handy when needed.  If you don't have some on reserve, just cook up about 3 or 4 slices and keep some of the grease.

** Peeled or un-peeled - it doesn't matter.  It depends on personal preference.  I usually leave mine un-peeled, but my potatoes weren't very pretty today.

If you fix this up for your family, let me know how you like it.  It's become a staple for us during the winter months - hopefully, it will for you too.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Workshop in Full Swing

In between all the normal daily activities, I've been trying to get all the Christmas preparations done.  We are in full swing!  I'm giving myself until Friday to get all the sewing done.  (Fingers crossed!!)  I finally got the tree and a small amount of the decorations up this past Friday.  Plus, I have a couple of packages that need to be mailed by the weekend.  All very do-able.

My kids have been getting in the Christmas mood this past week, too.  Arts and Crafts have been cluttering up the 'craft room', but it is just too cold for them to do much outside these days.  I love seeing them so intent on their projects.  (The mess afterward- not so much.)
 Our oldest really surprised me with her creativity this weekend.  I thought nothing of it when she said she wanted to make a snowman.  This is what she showed me when she was finished.

I mean, really, why stick to one dimensional art at age 7?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Making Progress

I hope you all had a wonderful family filled Thanksgiving weekend.  Our time was spent with Kevin's side of the family this year.  It was such a fun time and the kids loved getting to play with their cousins they haven't seen in about 15 (?) months.  Of course it was crazy with 8 adults and 9 kids, but it was a great, albeit short, visit.

As for the progress part of my post?

I've been able to get the craft/office room emptied and move the furniture around a bit.  It's amazing how much really useful stuff was in the room (do you feel the sarcasm?).  I'm slowly getting things sorted and put back into place. Very much hoping to have this room situated by tonight - at the very latest tomorrow.  We are having company Friday evening and my parents are coming for a visit this weekend, so the pressure is on!

Friday, November 19, 2010

And The Winner Is............

via Mathgoodies

I'll be sending the gift card your way soon!

Thanks to all of you who entered and all of you who didn't enter but still read the blog.  I keep my sanity and creativity by doing all these little things, but I'm glad that it has been of help to others.

The next couple of weeks are going to be CRAZY.  I love this time of family and food, but it can also mean a LOT of driving for us.  I'm sure all of you are going to be busy too.  :)  Hoping to get a couple of posts up during that time, but we'll have to see.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm In The Mood... For a Giveaway!

****NOW CLOSED****

Yep.  Blame it on early Christmas Spirit or just a general good mood or maybe it's me just wanting to say a HUGE 'Thank You' to all of you who read this little blog.  (I think it's the last.)  Regardless, I'm giving away a $20 gift card to to one lucky reader.

Here's how to enter:

Leave a comment at the end of today's entry.  ( 1st Entry)

Become a follower (the button in the upper left) and then leave another comment telling me you did so. If you are already a follower, just tell me in the comment.  (2nd Entry)

Head over to Facebook and become a member and then leave another comment here letting me know.  (3rd Entry)

That's a total of 3 entries per person!   (Make sure I have a way to contact you in the event that you should win.)

Giveaway will be closed on Thursday, November 18th at Midnight.  I'll use a random number generator to pick the winner first thing Friday morning.

Good luck!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pencil and Paper Holder Extra

I'm on a mission to get a few of the Pencil and Paper holders made up as gifts for Christmas this year.  Some of the kids are kinda young, so I wanted a place for crayons as well as pencils.  Here is what I came up with.
The green area is for the pencils and the lower blue is a place to put the crayons.  {I really need to figure out how to use a photo editing software.}  There is room for 12 pencils (just like the original) and 11 crayons.

Here's a quick tutorial on how this is done.

First, get all your pieces ready for sewing just like the original tutorial.  Also, cut out a piece of material 6x12 1/2".  This will make the pocket for your crayons.  Fold this piece in half lengthwise and press so it is now 3x12 1/2"

Mark your sewing lines as directed for the pencil area.  Then mark sewing lines on the crayon pocket placing them in between each of the sewing lines for  the pencils.  Measure in 3/4" for your first line and then every inch after that.  Here is a diagram to hopefully make it more clear.

Wow! Make sure your lines are straighter than mine. :)
Next, get ready to sew.  Follow the sewing directions in the original tutorial.  We are just going to be adding an extra layer.

Your first stitch will be the crayon section to the pencil section.  Make sure your edges line up and stitch the first line.  (Without the body section.)

Now, place the attached pencil and crayon sections on top of the body and line up the edges.  Flip the crayon section back out of the way and sew your first line on your pencil section attaching it to the body.
After you have that line stitched down, lay the crayon section back in place.  Then get the body out from underneath. 
Keep alternating this process until you have made it all the way across the body.  You will eventually end up with this.
Just remember - When sewing the pencil section to the body, have the crayon section back out of the way.  When sewing the crayon section to the pencil section have the body folded back out of the way.

I think this is all clear.  If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment here, on facebook or email me.

Linking to:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I've Been Dabbling.....

in Photography.

Don't you just love those pictures you see in the store front windows of professional photographers of the adorable kids outside just having fun with genuine smiles on their faces?  Getting ALL the kids dressed and looking presentable at the same time (for an extended length of time) rarely happens.  Not even on Sundays are we able to avoid some sort of mess on the clothes (i.e. toothpaste, spit up, marker, snot :) nor can we keep the hair nice.  Plus, I get exhausted just thinking about all the work it means for me.  Great pictures I want, headaches and stress I don't.

The only other option that worked in my mind was to just take a leap and do the pictures myself.  This way I can do it at my own pace (one kid at a time when they are happy) and get the pictures that really fit the individuals personality.  Here's a couple of what we've gotten.

As you can see, there has been a LOT of giggling lately.  The one on one time is great for me to keep connected to them as an individual, too.  Now, these aren't exactly professional quality, but there's much more meaning to these pictures than I've ever had.  
Now I just need to learn how to use a photo editing program.  I'll add that to my list......

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday's Tip of the Week

Remember the Tip about unfreezing frozen bread?  Well, I'm excited to let you know that it DOES work for hamburger buns too!  Yea!  Just do the same process as was done with the loaf of bread.  (I did separate the them so there was only a single layer.)
Now I can keep a supply in the freezer and spare my husband a stop at the grocery on his way home from work.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Weekend

Well, it's Monday.  We had a very busy and crazy weekend as usual even with a couple of things getting canceled.  Unfortunately, I got no sewing done.  No crafting done either.  My kitchen is clean and the laundry is fairly well caught up, though. :)

So, instead of sewing, I started tackling my mess of a craft room/office.
Here I've started clearing it all out.
And a little farther into the process. (The shelves are now down, too.)
My dining room is now a mess as well, but I had to put it all somewhere.  I decided that if I'm going to be doing several projects this holiday season, I need to actually be able to find things quickly and easily.  After I've finished clearing all the items out and rearranging the furniture, I'll have to sit down and sort things into keep and get rid of piles.  Anyone what a couple of bookshelves?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pencil and Paper Holder

I'm in the process of adding a little to the DIY Pencil and Paper holder like I made last Christmas using the tutorial at Skip To My Lou.

Here is a little peak at one addition I've made.
Still trying to get everything tweaked just right.  I'm pleased, for a first run, though.  Fingers are crossed to have it done by Monday.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day!

Get out and vote everyone.  Exercise your constitutional right, and then you will have the right to complain.  (If you so choose.) :)



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