Friday, January 30, 2009

My First Blog Award

Wow! I've received my first blog award! Thanks to Tricia at Craft Addict for passing along this award to me. You should totally go visit her blog. She has some awesome craft projects and a fun blog! Be sure to visit!

What is the lemonade award you might ask. It's an award that celebrates good attitude and gratitude. So I am passing it along to ten other bloggers. Some of these I have been visiting for awhile and some I just recently found. I enjoy visiting all of them and seeing what they are doing, saying or creating. I think they show great attitude and gratitude. So be sure to check these out too!

When you receive your lemonade award, pass it on to others who show great attitude and gratitude. Share the love! Here's what you do:

1.Put the lemonade logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate 10 other bloggers who you think demonstrate good attitude and/or gratitude.
3. Link to your nominees within your post.
4.Comment on their blog to let them know they have received this award.
5.Link back to this post and the person whom you received this award from.

My nominees for the Lemonade award are:
1. Jessie@Sprgtime
2.Heidi@Blue Eyed Blessings
3.Angela@The Creative Homemaker
4.Lia@Getting Busy Living
6.Jessica@The Pelkey's Place
8.Hat Chick
9.Chaos Platz
10. Faith@That's Just Freaking Lovely

Thanks again Tricia for the award!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Birthdays To Remember

Today I'm showing off the cute birthday calendar my friend Kim gave our family for Christmas. (Now I have no excuses for forgetting birthdays! Ha! Ha!) It's a plain white spiral bound pad with a numbered page for each month. Just fill in the name by their birthday! Easy peasy! She made it pop by stamping cute images that go along with each month. Cu-ute! I featured February in the picture above. She did eggs and bunnies for April, stars and stripes for July, Halloween for October and so on. I actually had one a long time ago, but lost it in one of our moves. I'm glad I have one again. Now I need to get busy making cards to send out. Thanks Kim. I love it!

This is the front cover. I think it is from Stampin' Up, but not sure! It's a great gift idea!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday- Foam Cookware Protectors

Rocks in my Dryer hosts a Works for Me Wednesday, so I thought I'd join in the fun! Check it out for some good tips and fun stuff! Thanks to Heidi for posting about WFMW, or I would have never known about it!

I want to share a tip I learned about not too long ago. A lady from my church told me about it when I saw her in a craft store one day. Go figure, me at a craft store. I visit them frequently! Anyway, she told me that her daughter uses foam craft pieces as pan protectors. I thought that was awesome since I'm always scrounging up some funky piece of cardboard to go between my pots and pans, which never really fits right. You can buy special protectors, but the ones I've priced are pretty expensive. I got a pack of foam circles for about $4.50. I didn't use all of them, so I can use the rest for crafts. Can't beat that!

The foam pieces come in different shapes, so you could use whatever you like. I chose circles. However, I couldn't find the really thick pieces of foam, so I adhered 2 of them together with sticky strip to make them a bit thicker. You could probably use glue dots or hot glue as well. I think they work best for saute pans. They will go between my bigger sauce pans, but not the small ones.Guess I should just cut them in half. I invested in a nice set of cookware, so I want to keep it in good shape. This is an inexpensive way to protect your pans from getting all scratched up. Try it!

Nope, that's not a purple pancake. It's the foam in between my pans.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pinewood Derby 2009

Let's go racin'! Pinewood Derby Style!

This past Saturday, Trent participated in his second Pinewood Derby. It was a day of racing and fun projects for the boys. Aside from the races, they made racing flame pennants and decorated their own stands for their cars. He also got to lead the color guard in the flag ceremony. Cool! Even though he didn't win his division, Trent did get the award for Most Turbocharged car. I agree! His car was sweet! It was black and red with racing decals. It looked like an Indy car!

Here he is working diligently making his car. It takes quite a bit of work to get the finished product! He did a great job!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sweet Cake

This weekend, the girls and I took a trip up to my parents and had a fun time as always. We also took this sweet little cake to my nanny as part of her birthday present from us. A sweet cake for a sweet grandmother!

I thought a 6 inch round cake would be perfect for her. It's a yummy butter recipe, yellow cake with homemade buttercream icing. I simply piped borders of stars and added some purple pansies cascading down the front. I told her this was all hers, no sharing! She finally cut it the last day we were there. Happy Birthday!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Game Time!

Yesterday, I shared my kids' love of board games with you.They're not the only ones who like to get their game on. So today it's mom and dad's turn! Will is definitely more into strategy games. Me, not so much. He is a certified computer geek,after all. Really, he is. He's a software developer, come on! And no, he doesn't mind if I refer to him as a geek. That's a term of endearment to him. He's proud of it and so am I. I love my geek!:) Anyway, back to the games. By far, his favorite of all time is Chess. It's not in the picture because I didn't know where the chess set was. Other faves include Risk, Fluxx and Munchkin. If you haven't heard of Fluxx, it's a card game where the rules constantly change. Pretty fun once you get going. Check it out.

Moving on to me. I am a party game kinda girl. Apples to Apples and Taboo are a couple of my faves, but I also enjoy games like Spoons, Scattergories and Outburst. Like I said before, I'm not so much into the strategy type, but I will play them. I'm just not very good at them. Probably the reason I don't care for them too much. It' just so fun to have everybody involved and interacting in the game, to me. These are a sure bet for a fun game night. I think it's time to call some friends and get the snacks ready!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mom, Can We Play A Game?

Mom, can we play a game? It's a question I hear a lot at our house. The kids(and their parents) love a good game. We have game nights all the time. It's just so fun for us to sit down and spend time together this way. Mine and Will's family always played games and I'm glad our family does too.Usually, the amount of time we have determines the one we play. My kids like all sorts of games; Sorry, Clue, Apples to Apples, Zigity. I could go on and on. But I thought I'd share a few of their favorites. Check 'em out if you can. They're kid tested and approved!

Oh how we love Fancy Nancy! The girls, that is. Laci adores the books and the game now, too. She got the Fancy Nancy Big Easy game for Christmas from Nana and Grand dad and has been lovin' it! It has big, chunky pieces, a puzzle piece board and fun cling on stickers. So cute! You get to visit places from the books like The King's Crown, ice cream parlor and Nancy's bedroom to earn those little stickers. A Laci favorite. She can't wait for her b'day in May, when we celebrate Fancy Nancy style.

Fun, Star Wars trivia is.(Say that in your best Yoda voice) Yes! Star Wars Trivial Pursuit is Trent's favorite! Probably because he's so good at it.He won this game in about 30 mins. one day. Now, if you're not a SW's junkies like most of our family, then you might not like this one. I have to say it is fun to play with him. I think he's surprised when I get the questions right. He forgets I've only seen those movies like 100 times! Definitely a good choice for the SW fan in your house.

Gotta love Wig Out! A friend of mine introduced me to this game a few years ago. It's fast paced and fun! It won the Best Vacation Children's Product from Dr. Toy. We play this one over and over!( Our box is so tattered, I think it's time to store the cards in something else. ) Basically, it's just a deck of cards with silly looking faces on them and you make piles of matching cards. Everyone-at the same time. Well, my explanation of it is not the best, but the kids and I highly recommend it. Give it a try! Tomorrow, I'll share mine and my husband's faves. If you have some game recommendations, leave a comment to tell me about it. We're always looking for a good game.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Bowl Of Warmth

Yesterday it was so cold and windy outside. A perfect day for a bowl of White Chicken Chili to warm up inside.(Although, the picture makes it look more red than white) This chili is hearty and spicy. A little too spicy for the kids. My son said I should go lighter on the spice. I think I will next time. However, it did hit the spot for me! This is a recipe that I adapted from a Pampered Chef White Chicken Chili recipe. Try it for a different, lighter option!

White Chicken Chili
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion
3 grilled or boiled chicken breasts, chopped
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
2 cans Great Northern beans, drained
1 jar (16 oz.) salsa verde

Mix all ingredients together in slow cooker and cook on low 3 to 4 hrs.
You could also serve with sour cream and/or cheese.Yield: 8, 1 cup servings.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My "Go-To" Crafty Products

Today I want to share some of my "go-to" crafting products. I find myself using these over and over,mostly on paper crafts, but on other projects as well. I've found all of them to be very helpful in my crafty adventures!

First, my tool bag. I love this thing! I found it at Michael's a couple years back. So glad I did! It has so many little places to hold a lot of stuff. Believe me! I've had this baby loaded down! There's even a zippered pocket underneath. I love that it's not too bulky, but portable. Mine has traveled to many a craft night. Let's don't forget the Crop-a-dile. A crafter's must have in my opinion. It will punch holes in just about anything. Aside from paper and card stock,I've done metal and leather and it cut through it like butta!

Moving on, glue dots and sticky stip (some call it bologna tape). I try to stay stocked up on these two items so I don't run out in the middle of a project. The glue dots are small enough to stick on tiny buttons and embellishments or use more for bigger items. They stick really well. I always use sticky strip when I am covering something like a paint can or just when I need a really strong adhesive. Try it.

Now for the paper piercer with the grid and mat. Paper piercing is just making little holes in paper or card stock for a decorative touch. It's really cute. You can even make it look like you sewed on the paper by connecting the little dots with a fine pen or marker. Love to do that! Before I knew about this product, I was making really uneven lines of holes on my paper. Really, it was sad looking. Then a Stampin' Up consultant told me about this. Where had you been all my crafty career?? This makes my paper piercing so much easier and nicer looking.And what can I say about Cutter Bee scissors? Their small and sharp. Just what a crafter needs. Get some!

Last, but not least, spray paint! I use it a lot. I've used it to transform metal, wood and plastic projects. Their is quite the collection of primers, colors and sealers out in our workshop. I've found the "No sanding required" spray paint to be good, too. I used it on my son's initials to go over his bed. The letters were gold, but after a couple coats of my trusty spray paint, black to go with his desk and ,hopefully soon, the dresser.(Note to self: make the "H" straight)
What are your go-to gadgets and tools?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Trash Has Never Looked So Cute

A few months back I got a small trash can for Trent's room and ever since then Laci has been asking for one to go in her room. So last week when I was in Target I spotted this little white trash can (or it could be used as a container for small toys, etc.). It was in the Dollar Spot section for $2.50, so I grabbed it. Right away, I knew I wanted to embellish it with some cute ribbon. I know it's just a trash can, but there's no reason we can't fancy it up a bit. When I told Laci about my idea, she was all for it. I used this wide brown and pink, polka dot ribbon to accent these colors that are also used in the quilt on her bed. I did try it with thinner ribbon, but the wide looks the best. You can get cuter, puffier bows with it. Laci and I both love it! Cute and girly!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Conversation Heart Cuties

Valentine's Day will be here soon, so I've already started thinking about gifts and treats I will be making and giving. This is another holiday that is so fun! It gets my creative juices flowing to see what I can come up with. I made these cuties after seeing something similar on the Martha Stewart website. Obviously, this is just to show you the idea. I will be emptying out my little votive cups and tucking away the conversation hearts until I'm going to use this idea. :) I love the look of these. A nice grouping of them would make an adorable centerpiece. Use them as party favors for your Valentine party or how about a teacher Valentine with a little note attached. Lots of possibilities! For these, all I did was fill up small votive cups with conversation hearts and stuck in 3 faux pink carnations that I trimmed to fit. How simple is that?! And, when you're done displaying them, you get to eat 'em! You could carry on a
" conversation " with your sweetie with them. Did anyone else do this? Ha! Ha! Look for more Valentine ideas to come!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Tasty Snack

I know, more food today. Yesterday I mentioned that I started Weight Watchers back in the beginning of November and have loved it. (No. I don't mind telling everyone out in blog land that.) I also said yesterday that I would share one of my favorite snacks today that is only 3 WW points. Here it is! Wheat Thins Fiber Selects Garden Vegetable crackers and 1 wedge of Light Garlic & Herb Laughing Cow cheese. A serving of crackers is 14 of them. Only 2 points for those and 1 wedge of the cheese is 1 point. This is what I grab when I am really wanting cheese. I think it's very good. Try it and find out. If you have a favorite low points snack, let me know by leaving a comment. I'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gimme Some Kisses!

Hot Cocoa Kisses that is! I discovered these little babies when a friend from church gave me a cup of little treats to say thanks for teaching her kids. Can we get a -yum! yum! Now, don't get me wrong, they don't compare to my all time favorite kiss which is coconut. But they're up there on my list. I let the kids and my husband try one out of my cup of treats and then confiscated the rest. By the way, they all agreed that Hot Cocoa Kisses rock! They are chocolatey, cocoa, creamy goodness. We all liked them so much, I thought I'd get some more. Well, I thought wrong. I looked everywhere, Wal-Mart, Target, Winn-Dixie, Publix and NO HC Kisses! When I was just about to give up, I spotted them. Just strolling along in the dollar store and there they were! With a few of these little bags in my cart, I was set. If you come across these, give them a shot. With all my posts about cookies, cakes and goodies, it looks like I'm a choc-o-holic, but I'm actually not. Well, not anymore. I try to limit myself to just a bite to satisfy my sweet tooth. At the beginning of Nov., I joined Weight Watchers to just get more motivation to lose some extra pounds and to just be healthier and more fit. I love it! The points system is great and keeps me on track. I also work out everyday except Sunday now. Yeah! Anyway, tomorrow I will share one of my fave snacks that is only 3 WW points and it gives me my cheese fix as well.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Helping Hands

As I was getting out a cake mix last Wednesday, two little girls spotted it and were eager to help. Laci usually wants to help in the kitchen, especially if I'm baking, but her little buddy Althea was here and I thought it would be fun for them to help out together.
They poured in the oil and water while I cracked the eggs. Next they watched intently as it mixed in the mixer. Laci and Althea were very good at scraping down the bowl too. I poured the mix into the cake pans and let them put the pans in the oven. (Very carefully with hot pads) I think the best part for them came after the cake was in the oven. Licking the spoon and beater and scrapin' the bowl! They scraped it clean! Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of their finished product. I had to rush off to church with it so the young women I teach could decorate it. I'm sure glad Laci and Althea provided some helping hands!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Big Cookie, Little Time

Last week on our family night, I was responsible for the treat. I wanted to make M&M cookies to use up the last of my Christmas M&M's, but didn't have much time left to make them. So, being crunched for time(I forgot) and not wanting to deal with making batch after batch of cookies, I made a BIG cookie. I make these frequently when I'm short on time, but still want to have cookies. The BIG cookies have also been decorated by piping a border of icing around it and writing "Happy Birthday" or "Be My Valentine" and then packaged up in a pizza box or cake box and given as gifts. You can make these really cute, just like the ones you see at the Great American Cookie store and you'll be saving money. (Happy dance!) Who doesn't like saving money?? I kept this cookie simple since it was going to be devoured soon. No decorating. Just cut and eat! You can make big cookies with any cookie recipe, but for this one I made an Ultimate M&M Cookie recipe, which can be found at the bottom of this post. You can get two big cookies from this recipe!

Step 1: Make cookie dough.

Step 2: Measure out approximately 2 cups of cookie dough and put in the middle of large baking stone or round pizza pan.

Step 3: With a floured roller or clean hands, push dough out to sides to form a circle leaving about 2 inches around pan. The cookie will expand as it cooks.

Step 4: Bake cookie according to recipe directions, you may need a couple minutes longer. Keep a close eye on it. Cool completely before decorating with icing or just cut into squares or wedges with pizza cutter and enjoy!

Ultimate M&M Cookies
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 (12 oz.) pkg. M&M's semi-sweet or milk chocolate baking bits or 1 to 1 1/2 c. regular plain M&M's
3/4 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light & fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Blend in creamed mixture. Stir in M&M's and nuts. Drop by heaping Tbsps. about 2 in. apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-13 mins. or until edges are lightly browned and centers are still soft. Cool 1 min. on cookie sheet Cool completely on wire rack. If making BIG cookie. Follow steps listed above.
Makes 3 dozen.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Baby Talk

Let me just sing the praises of using baby sign language for a minute. We decided to teach/use it with our daughter, Ivy, and started when she was about 5 or 6 months. We hadn't used it with any of our other kids, but thought we'd give it a try and see if she would actually use it to communicate with us until she actually starts talking. Well, let me just tell ya, it's great! Now, we didn't go all out, using all the signs, but the ones we used and taught her, she uses all the time. Signs she uses the most are eat(that's a biggie), more, down, diaper, and sleep. She hasn't quite conquered the sign for "cookie," but she tries so hard. I LOVE that she's able to tell us what she needs, for the most part, even though she can't say those words yet! Some of the signs that Ivy doesn't use, she still understands, like, stop, come, and quiet. She does get a little carried away using the sign for "more" and I have to cut off the flow of goldfish. ;) However, our little Ivy is starting to spit out a few words these days and understands our words more. I did research on this before we started and used the American Sign Language for babies on the ASL website and a book a friend gave me as a gift after learning we were using it with Ivy. The book is Baby Sign Language, A Practical Guide to Signing with your Baby by Alison Mackonochie. I'm sure their are many books out there to choose from, though. Both of these resources have been so helpful. Overall, I have been very, very pleased with my experience and would recommend it to anyone.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pita Pizzas........A Family Favorite

KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce with mozzarella and seasoned chicken.

The other night for dinner, we made one of our faves, pita pizzas! Everyone in my family loves to have these. On this night, the menu was BBQ Chicken Pizza and Alfredo Chicken Pizza. My personal favorite is BBQ Chicken. So good! It's not quite up there with California Pizza Kitchen's BBQ chicken pizza, but it's a close second. Ha! Ha! :) We have been making pita pizzas for a long time now. I usually have a "pizza bar" set up so everyone can make theirs just how they like. Although, on this night I just kept it really simple and made 2 kinds of our little pizzas. The kids especially like being little chefs and creating their own. My "pizza bar" usually includes: pepperoni, chicken, Canadian bacon, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, marinara, alfredo, bbq sauce, olives,sometimes onion and, of course, whole pita rounds. These are fun to do for parties or when you have guests over too. They are simple and delicious!

Creamy alfredo with seasoned chicken and mozzarella. Delish!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Word Of The Year

For Talk To Me Tuesdays on Tip Junkie, they want to know what your "Word of the Year" for 2009 will be. So, my word of the year is..........................................


I want to enjoy this year more. Not that I haven't enjoyed previous years because I have, but I think I can do a lot better. We all really need to enjoy our life more and not just endure it. Sometimes I find myself so caught up in getting this done or that done and not really enjoying the moment. So one of my goals for the year is to enjoy life's little moments more. Not just vacation! I need reminders, so I'll post my word of the year on my fridge and my mirror so I'll be reminded everyday to ENJOY!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Fun With The Wii!

Yes! We have jumped on the Wii bandwagon! Our family got the game system for Christmas and have been enjoying it since. I'm not a video game kinda girl, but I have really been into playing games on the Wii. We all really like to bowl, play tennis and golf. The kids and Will have a favorite with the game Boom Blox as well. Will and I find ourselves having a date night of golfing fun once the kids are in bed. It's too funny! We recently had some friends over to have our own bowling tournament too. I don't know what it is about this thing. I guess because you physically have to do something, you get into it more. Not sure. The kids have one more day to play for awhile before they go back to school tomorrow and then Wii time will be very limited. These are some shots I got of them the other day playing a game of baseball. What are your favorite Wii games?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Vinyl Letter Decor

Today I wanted to share some of the projects I have made using vinyl lettering. I decided to give it a try a while back and have not been disappointed. I really like the look of it. A couple of my walls have pieces on them that I ordered from the company Uppercase Living. They actually have a nice catalog and demonstrators that do home parties. But you can find it available from so many places on the web now. I have also made some decor for our house with it. The monogrammed tile pictured above was super simple. I ordered a 12x12 "H" from a local graphic shop in a font that I liked and applied it onto a 13x13 tile which you can get at Lowes or any home improvement store. The tiles don't cost very much either. (My tile was free. When we moved, our workshop out back had a stack of about 20 left over tiles.) Woo! Hoo! Perfect for projects like this. It is displayed on a wrought iron easel in my kitchen right now. I also made a few of the tiles last year and again this year for Christmas gifts.

The board above the pictures, I made from vinyl that I customized on the Uppercase Living website and ordered. It is our last name with a layover of the names of all our family members. I measured the lenght of the vinyl, picked out a board and cut it to fit. Then I sanded it and spray painted it ivory. The board with our family pictures(need new ones that actually have our daughter,Ivy, in them) is on the wall in our entryway as you come in the front door. This is my favorite project that I've done. So happy with the outcome!

A closer look.Howell is in a stone gray and our names are in black so they stand out on top of the gray. If you have vinyl in your home, leave me a comment and let me know some of the sayings you have or things you have made!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

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