Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Traveling, New Year, Fun Stuff

Well I will be en route to KCMO tomorrow, so no blogging till after the new year for me. Going to spend time with my family and attend the Onething conference. I am so excited. Almost 30,000 people are registered this year, can you imagine worshiping with so many people?!?!?! Exciting!

I am really praying that the Lord gives me an awesome impartation and some direction for the new year. We are living in some incredible times, God is moving all over the world in such an incredible way and we get to be a part of it!

You can get on ihop.org and watch the webcast of the conference for FREE (yay! free is good!).

There are lots of good resolutions to make this year, but I for one want to pursue the HOLY ONE and live with boldness, unafraid to open my mouth and speak what is on my heart. I love many things, my hubby, my kids, crafting and anything involving pretty fabric, but to gaze on the one who calls US his BELOVED! THAT is everything.

"My Beloved is beautiful, dazzling and excellent, my Beloved is beautiful, he stands ALONE!"
I think I am finally starting to learn how to incorporate living a life in pursuit of Him, and being a mom, wife, sister, daughter and it is so much easier than I thought. Some days really just stink, but HE is our peace, the fire in our hearts and he is fully capable of making it all work!

I am going to try to incorporate some little tidbits from Jesus in my blogging this year :0) I think He has something to say this year for stay at home mommies.

Be blessed and bask in his love and favor

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Earwarmers and Laptop Sleeve

After all of the crafting for others, I really needed to craft something for myself :)

Of course the crafting bug hit on Christmas Day, when we were bored and had nothing to do and of course not a craft store ANYWHERE is open. So I made some earwarmers for my upcoming trip to Kansas City. Turned out quite cute.

I was working from my own depleted stash so I turned to my PJ drawer.

This one was made from a pair of thermal pants and some flower poms that were going to be a necklace, but I made a brooch-type thing instead. The broach is removable :)

This was made from an old dance t-shirt. It is super cute in person and I even got to wear it today since it was REALLY cold!

Delia over at Delia Creates is the brain behind the earwarmers. She is so clever, please be sure to check out her blog :)

Now for more fun :)

I've been needing a laptop case since I take mine with me for school and travel so I came upon this clever tutorial. You simply must check out Amy a la Mode, especially if you are into knitting/crocheting or quilting.

I rushed out to Joann today to grab some materials and was pleased to find some really cute fabric. I used a heavier weight fabric and a quilting cotton fabric for the inside. I also used fusible batting. Which was really nice considering I've never quilted. It was nice that I didn't have to pin the fabric when I was quilting and that it just stuck on.

VOILA! So happy with how this turned out. Now my hubby wants one for his new laptop :) This was also really easy :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's for Dinner Wednesday? HOLIDAY style

I am not going to do a detailed recipe today, just sort of re-cap on some things as the year comes to a close.

It's my stepdaughter's year to do Christmas with her mom so we are having Christmas Eve dinner early since she leaves tomorrow morning.

My stepdaughter doesn't like turkey (yeah, I know...haha) so we are having ham since everyone likes it. Gotta love pre-cooked hams! So with some mashed potatoes, green beans and carrots, it will be super easy and stress-free! I think we are all a bit overdone with sweets...so I'm a little uncertain on dessert.

Something I might make for me :)

As the only person who eats artichokes in my house...

I have a cute little vintage dish for these...as much as I DON'T want to go to the grocery store...this sounds sooo good! If you haven't checked out Gina's Skinny Recipes go now! All of her recipes have points values if you are on Weight Watchers and are just good!


My hubby gave me my Christmas present early....

A plane ticket to KCMO to visit my family and attend the Onething conference!
If you are not familiar with the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO you need to check them out. Here is a wonderful article that was recently in Charisma magazine about IHOP.

I am totally thrilled, but I am a little sad to leave me babies for so long! They are expecting about 25,000 people (yes THOUSAND) at the conference this year and I am STOKED to go!

I am praying that some of the fabulous fabric stores up there are open if I have a little spending money :)

So anyways, I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a happy New year! I am off to find some fun chilly weather things to make for my trip!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Life, Blogs and the Pursuit of Happiness

I am obsessed...with blogs that is. Everyday I come across a blog or two that really inspires me and makes me want to make my blog even more awesome! It is pretty amazing to think that there are other moms out there finding ways to make something pretty on their own or just sharing their lives in a fun and creative way.

I couldn't even tell you how I came across The Pioneer Woman but wow, she has an AMAZING blog, she homeschools, cooks, has a FARM! I mean seriously! Make sure you check her out, there is so much cool stuff on her blog.

We have been enjoying (well sort of) some very chilly weather here in Florida, which has meant a lot of days indoors. We finally got out yesterday as it warmed up a bit and what a difference some time at the park can make!

Sometimes when cooped up indoors with a rough and tumble 2 yr old boy and a spunky 1 yr old girl can make you question your own sanity and completely doubt your ability as a parent! Getting outdoors can help you remember, yes I do love being a mom and no I don't want to send them back to the hospital.

My amazing little Isabela-Bean. She has the most amazing giggle and smile and the personality to go with that RED hair. She doesn't know what "NO" means yet and just laughs at me when she is in trouble, but gosh, how can you resist!
She was having an interesting hair day yesterday....

My Leonard is so full of energy and uses quite a bit of it to test my patience daily. BUT, he is so gosh darn sweet it is hard to stay mad long! He loves Caillou, duckies and Transformers and is currently addicted to "Chocolate Cow" (chocolate milk). Sometimes I think I have NO CLUE about being a good mom, and then he will do something that makes me think "wow, he is such an awesome kid!"

So during those moments when the toys are everywhere, you stepped on yet ANOTHER goldfish or cracker and crushed it on the floor, mopped up a thrown cup of yogurt...remember that we have been entrusted with these tiny treasures and that God has them right in his hands, even when we feel like things are running out of control.

And I will remind myself too!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What's for Dinner Wednesday?

Ok, I seriously almost forgot about today's post...whoops! Doesn't help that tonight's dinner is very boring and not exciting...Chicken, Rice and Veggies...hmmm...so I consulted my binder of recipes that I have collected over the years...nothing...I am so not going to the grocery store and I am out of at least one thing for every chicken recipe...so I am pulling out the standby and in reality, my standby isn't all that bad and it's easy.

I may not remember to pick up soy sauce and garlic when I am out, but I always have extras of three things in my fridge.

Having these items ensures that your family at LEAST gets a warm, home-cooked, but only half home-made meal. Better than ordering pizza or giving up and spending too much money going out to eat :)

Also make sure you have a decently stocked spice rack. The right combo of spices makes even a boring chicken meal fun. My favorite for juicy, flavorful chicken is simple. Seasoning salt and thyme. I don't know why but it is SO GOOD. Toss your steamed veggies in some butter or EVOO and thyme and you have a nice meal. And come on, EVERYONE loves chicken Rice a Roni!

So, while it isn't anything life changing like Apricot Glazed Chicken...it is saving us from pizza night :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stay Warm and be Crafty

I hope everyone is staying warm in Sunshine-y Florida and everywhere else! It is COLD, this old house just ain't cut out for this weather.

I have had a few free evenings this week to work on some craftiness, which hasn't happened in a while so I have been having lots of fun!

I made a couple of these to put some gifts in. I didn't use Christmas-y fabric so they can be re-used for anything.
I got the idea for these fun gift tags from Lola Nova, what an awesome blog!
I couldn't figure out how to get a good picture of this headband I made. I have like a MILLION little fabric roses that I need to use on something so here it is. It is much cuter on a head...

THIS is today's creation which I am in love with. This will probably be under the tree for Bela. I have seen so many stuffed owl things and I LOVE owls so I just sorta made my own pattern and I cannot believe it turned out so cute!

My kids love playing with cell phones. We have a bunch of old ones and the kids are so cute playing with their phones. I just wish they weren't sitting on the ugly spot of the floor where our bookshelves used to be!

This is about the only use the training potty has gotten. It is a stool and a chair to sit on while playing at the train table...go figure...

Hope everyone is bundled up and warm! Have a great day!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Long overdue

So it has been a bit of a weird week and I completely forgot to update on the Apricot Glazed Chicken. It was totally amazing :) Even better the next day :) Definitely going in the rotation for sure!

Ok, so my Pilates instructor told me about this website for more help on getting organized and running your home more efficiently. A new year is around the corner and I think most moms resolve to be more organized, etc. So let's do it this year!

I have started doing the 15 minute declutter and I tackled my closet first. Which, if you live in Riverside, you know is the size of well...a very tiny person's closet.


Now if you are in the middle of a renovation in Riverside you also know that there may be missing doors in your house...I don't keep many of my clothes in my closet, it is really craft storage and whatever will fit. So there it is. My horrid closet for all the blogosphere to see.

Now for the challenge.

15 Minutes - Twice a week

Set the clock and tackle a problem area.

STOP after 15 minutes.

Take a BEFORE and AFTER photo.

Post on your blog, Facebook or whatever and leave the link in your comment.

Here's my closet

Now it isn't perfection yet by any means, but I can find my stuff and I was able to finish filling another 2 bags for Goodwill. And seriously, all in 15 minutes. Now I totally embarrassed myself showing my ugly closet, so you better show me your clutter too!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's for Dinner Wednesday?

So today's post will actually spread out over TWO days, yay! I am making a recipe from Weight Watcher's Now and Later cookbook so I will make one recipe today, and then use the leftovers for another the next day. I also have never made this, so I will have to do a review on the recipe :)

Here's what you need:
1/4 cup all fruit apricot preserves
1 chipotle en adobo, minced
Grated zest and juice of 1 small lime

1 tsp honey

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

I am omitting the chipotle, in order to make it kid friendly and not too spicy.

1. Make the glaze - mix the preserves, chipotle en adobo, lime zest and juice and honey in a bowl.

2. Mix the cumin and salt in a small bowl; sprinkle over both sides of chicken.

3. Spray grill pan (or skillet) with nonstick spray and set over med-high heat. Add chicken and cook 12 minutes, turning and brushing with the glaze every 4 minutes, until cooked through. Transfer two of the pieces of chicken to a container for tomorrow. It can be refrigerated up to 3 days. Thats basically it. I am serving with some rice and a veggie. The chicken is 5 points, so if you are counting points, with rice and a veg will probably round out to a nice 8-10 point meal.

Seems pretty easy. I'll deliver the verdict tomorrow when we make Chicken Cubano Paninis with our leftover chicken. Sounds delish!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Organized Momma

I would by no means call myself an expert on the subject of home organization, BUT I have found some tools that have really helped us, especially living in an early 1900's home with no closet space. I had been off the plan for a while and just got back on it, and I realized how much easier life is! Hopefully this will be the start of a weekly post where I will post the cleaning tasks I accomplished, complete with before and after photos. Here's hoping. Sorry if this is long and wordy, but do read it!

I have shared a few times about the Just Mommies Home Organization Plan but I am going to go into a bit more detail as to how it works.

When I became a SAHM, I knew that if I let myself, I would spend the entire day cleaning. I can thank my Grandma Janet for my slightly OCD cleaning habits. Even as a teenager I would do strange things like clean ALL of the grout on the kitchen floor with a toothbrush and bleach. I would delight in polishing the silver...and when I learned to iron embroidered linens so that the embroidery would "pop" out (thanks Martha Stewart), I scoured the house looking for every linen that was embroidered that I could find...

I really wanted to enjoy my time with my kids and the Justmommies plan has worked GREAT for us! Its super easy, just print off the month and stick it on the fridge.

Here is an example of how a day works.

Morning- make bed, wipe down bathroom, set out dinner.
Afternoon - Work on Weekly or Monthly tasks. Afternoon tidy.
Nighttime - Kids bath, brush and bed. Clean kitchen.

I do most of my afternoon work during naps or while my son is eating lunch. Some days may be a little more work than others and you even get catch up days for your monthly tasks. It may be something easy little cleaning the dishwasher, which just requires running it with some vinegar, or a little more labor intensive like cleaning the baseboards in a room. Like yesterday was wipe down kitchen chairs...you have no idea how gross those get!

Once you get the hang of it, you realize you have MUCH more time to enjoy your kids and when you get off the plan...well you realize you need to get back on it!

There is also a decluttering challenge every month. Somethings may not apply to you , so just cross off what doesn't apply. It's just a challenge so you don't have to do everything.

So everyone print out your calendars, you can do it! Also, post your home organization tips, we got some smart mommas out there!

I'm Still Here :)

I haven't had a whole lot to post lately since I dropped the camera on the pavement and it shattered (yes shattered). Totally no $$ in the budget for a new camera so I am having to rely on my Iphone, which really doesn't take the best pictures. Here are the photos I took right before the camera hit the pavement. It is really quite depressing...

Also, the majority of my crafting is for gifts right now, and since my family does read this blog (well I hope they do) I haven't been posting what I have been up to lately so AFTER the holidays there will be lots of photos of fun stuff.

Note to self...do not decide to make multiples of a project that takes more than 3-4 hrs to complete...

Anyways, I did get around to a project that I have been wanting to do for A WHILE. Recovering our dining room chairs. They turned out REALLY great and the best part is the fabric was only $10 at Joann. My lovely friend Bobbie actually bought me the fabric. I totally love it!
The color looks really off in this picture (the iphone), no its not seafoam blue, but a very light blue green color. Our mismatched chairs look quite dapper now! I only have 4 chairs, but I didn't even finish my episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills before I was done. It also only took ONE yard of fabric, which ROCKS. Anyways, I am very happy and my chairs are fugly no more :)

I will be back with dinner tomorrow :) Now to figure out what that will be...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What's for Dinner Wednesday?

Today I am using Rachael Ray's awesome Yum-o: The Family Cookbook again for Creamy Tuna with Marjoram and Egg Noodles. Basically kicked up Tuna Cassarole. No cans of condensed soup for this recipe! It is actually done with fresh Tarragon, but I am not in the mood to peel little leaves off of little stems and chop them, so I'm using Marjoram (plus there are 3 half filled jars in my pantry...). Oh and if you do not have this cookbook, please go get it! (Where's my promo check RR?)

Here's what you need!

3/4 lb of extra-wide egg noodles
1 tblsp of EVOO
1 small onion or large shallor, finely chopped
2 tblsp butter
2 tblsp flour
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
1/2 half and half or whole milk
1 tblsp dijon mustard
1 tsp of marjoram (or leaves from 3-4 sprigs of tarragon, chopped)
2 cans of tuna in water
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
Black pepper
1 slice of whole wheat bread (or some breadcrumbs)

It does seem like a lot of ingredients, but this comes together REALLY fast and you could even make while the kids are napping, pop in the fridge and heat it up for dinner (I do that a lot).

Cook your egg noodles in a large pot of salted water, cook al dente with a bit of bite to them.

While waiting for the water, heat up the EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, then add butter to the pan. Once butter is melted, sprinkle in the flour and stir, let the mixture cook for 1 minute. Whisk in stock and cook until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and the mustard and bring to a bubble. Turn to low and add the marjoram, tuna and peas. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain your noodles and combine with sauce. Adjust your seasonings if you need to, top with breadcrumbs made from your bread (just toast bread, let cool then blend in food processor or blender). If you use store bought bread crumbs, pop it in the oven at 350 for a little bit to make the breadcrumbs toasty. But really try making the crumbs, its fun and cheap!

The dish comes together very quickly so remember to:

1. PREP - organize your ingredients beforehand and have everything you need within reach (ingredients, utensils, measuring cups, etc.)

2. KEEP IT TIDY - use your trash bowl :) Toss used dishes in the sink. My theory is if the counter is clean, the kitchen is (mostly) clean.

3. HAVE FUN making your family a wonderful meal from SCRATCH!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Project Christmas Decor: Nearly Complete

That is, until I find something else to do...

My favorite Christmas decor project is always my mantle. I put my little trees and my village on it, garland, stockings...its crafting happy land!

My mantle has been the same for the past 4 years so I decided to change up my mantle garland. I was going to do a fun felt garland running through it, but I had a crafting epiphany while being bummed about my burlap wreath.

The wreath did NOT come out as planned...so now I have a bunch of burlap rosettes...so BINGO! I thought "Hey, those would look neat on my garland!" I glued the clips I use for hairbows to the back and just clipped them here and there and VOILA!
I'm totally digging the slightly rustic, maybe a little country (?) look I have going on. We got new stockings last year and they really go great with the new look.

I found this totally cute and simple project while browsing the web today. I really need to use up this burlap! Here is my take on the project.
I put it on the colored yarn because our walls are a really neutral color and I needed a little pop. We STILL haven't put up the majority of our photos after resurfacing and painting the walls and this space has been so blank. I might put a couple more here and there using other Christmas-y words. I do plan on using the little clothespins, but a trip to Michaels is in order for that :)

I am sure there will be more Christmas decor posts to come!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's Christmas Time!!!!!

I can't believe it is already Christmas time! We have pulled down the Christmas stuff and decorating is in full swing. The tree is up and decorated, stockings are up...and that's about as far as I've gotten. I have totally lost momentum ALREADY! My small Christmas village is still in boxes and I need to figure out my approach for the mantle garland. I do know that it will include this amazing felt garland wrapped around my Christmas tree garland and I cannot wait to get started on that project.

We had fun today staying in our jammies till almost noon putting up decorations. Lenny has actually gotten the concept that the ornaments go ON the tree...but it doesn't mean he hasn't stopped taking them off, Bela of course thinks they do not belong on the tree, so thus another year of finding ornaments all over the house and re-decorating the tree everyday, Oh well!

Another thing I am looking forward to is all the wonderful Christmas crafts and projects that will soon be on everyone's blogs!

I still can't get any good photos of my tree!!! My camera stinks!

This is a Waterford crystal nutcracker ornament that hubby got me in KC, tiny extravagances make me happy :)
Can you tell I like nutcrackers?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Crafting

Even though it was a crazy day I managed to sit down and make a few Christmas ornaments with my stepdaughter. It's sort of a tradition and we are really in need of some NON-breakable ornaments...Here are mine.So tragedy struck on Wednesday and almost ruined my week...I was using my zipper foot on my sewing machine and I am guessing one of the kids got a hold of my regular presser foot and it has vanished. Thus, a frantic run to Joann only to find that they don't sell them for my machine...it was amazing husband to the rescue who remembered my distraught when he went to Walmart on Thanksgiving day for an emergency ingredient run, and checked in their craft department, he bought me a quilting foot and a clear plastic presser foot to tide me over. I'm actually digging the quilting foot and the clear presser foot works just fine...so anyways back to the crafting...

I remembered to grab some heavy-weight needles for my sewing machine during my frantic Joann trip and today I did this project which I saw when I first got my machine and have been saving this jacket I've never been too fond of for it. One broken needle and several hours later...my bag!
I had to make a couple changes because the sweater I was using was not working for the straps, a cotton worked much better. I love the two pockets in front and I am glad to get some use out of this jacket that I have had for several years but only worn twice...

Make sure you check out the link and the rest of her blog. She is really a hoot!

Thanksgiving 2010!

Wow! What an amazing year! The year is coming to a close and we get an entire day to just reflect on the amazing blessings we have in our lives. I think it has been a tough year for us, but we have three awesome, healthy kids and I still love my hubby! So far, so good! We made a lot of progress with our house remodel (even though there is lots more to do) and it was my first year as a stay-at-home-mom.

For me, this was my first Thanksgiving with just my husband and kids. I have NEVER made a turkey or been involved in the process so I may have had a couple freak-outs, but the turkey was good and dinner was wonderful, and it was wonderful again today!

Crescent rolls are Lenny's new favorite food...
A rare picture of moi!
Our awesome spread! (Check out my yellow and green dishes that I got for $6 each at Ross, SCORE!)
Jeremiah ruined all the dinner pics...not a single good one...grrr....
Lenny wearing my apron, yep, it was almost 80 degrees on Thanksgiving so my kids were running around topless...

All in all it was a great day, I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving and didn't get into any fights during the Black Friday sales today!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What's for Dinner Wednesday?

Since it is Thanksgiving Eve, I am going for an EASY dinner tonight! This will be my first Thanksgiving doing all the cooking and I am making a pie, some cookies and probably fresh cranberry sauce tonight, soooo super easy dinner it is.
Tonight is TACO NIGHT! Everyone loves a taco (right?). Kids love it because they can put whatever they want on it and feel like they are making their own meal. All it requires is whipping up some taco meat and all the fixings!

There really aren't any instructions, but here are some ideas for what you can put on your taco.

Shredded lettuce
Chopping tomatoes
Shredded cheese
Sour cream
Refried beans
Black beans and rice (make a burrito!)
Soft tacos
Crunchy tacos
Tortilla chips (make nachos!)

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and eats lots of wonderful food!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Harvest Linens & Napkin Rings

Since this is my first Thanksgiving at my house with just us, I have been having fun with fall decor. I found this fun project for decorating a plain table runner and napkins here. I didn't have any plain table linens on hand so I found regular tablecloth at the thrift store for $4 and made my own runner and napkins out of it. It turned out really cute for the bit off extra work. It was fun to make and I even had my stepdaughter help out with some of the stamping.

I was on Prudent Baby the other day and found a tutorial for really cute reversible napkin holders. I couldn't get a link for it, but it is on the main page. It was my first time ever making button holes so they aren't perfectly centered and my first attempt went horribly wrong (uh yeah, practice on scraps first...) so I actually have to redo one of the napkins holders...but anyways, I am liking how our Thanksgiving table is shaping up and can't wait to take pics the day of!

Anyways, I know everyone has been working on tons of cute fall projects so I am really looking forward to seeing everyone's pretty Thanksgiving spreads!