Hand-stamped goodness.

>> Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thursday night Bitty and I spent the night at my sister's house while both of our husbands were out of town! That's always fun. We've done it a couple of times now, and it's fun to watch a totally girly movie and just hang out.

On Friday we decided to finally finish the necklace I made her for her birthday (and the one I made myself!) I got a set of metal alphabet stamps for Christmas, so we stamped some cute brass tags to go with the big turquoise beads and chunky chains.

Here we are sporting our cute necklaces. Pardon my unkempt appearance please!

Some close ups. On my sister's (the circle) I stamped the first initial of each of her children. We were careful, and marked with a pencil where we wanted each letter, etc.

With mine...um, I wasn't quite as careful...oops! Oh well, I guess it's just got more of a home-made "rustic" look to it :) It was the first time I've stamped a plus sign or equals sign, so it was kind a of trial and a lot of error. I like it anyway!

Friday night I ordered my fabric from Around the Block Quilters Shop, and it got here Monday morning! Talk about speedy! And look how great it looks in person!

I should order things online more often...it's so fun to get a package in the mail!


Experimenting with Vegetable Purees

>> Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I've never really liked peas. Growing up I HATED them. I can eat them now, but I don't usually choose them. As legend has it, my mom would serve peas with dinner and I would not cooperate. I gagged when I tried to eat them. When my mom said no dessert if I didn't eat my peas, I would opt out of eating the dessert as a way to get out of eating the peas...I actually told her I'd just smell the dessert, instead of eating it, so that I didn't have to eat them. I know...weirdo. Anyway, as the story goes, my mom pulled a fast one on me one night by mixing spaghetti sauce and peas in the blender before serving it with our spaghetti. I was none the wiser. No idea I had just eaten peas. It worked!

Point being, this isn't a new trick. I think it gained a little popularity when Jessica Seinfeld put out her cookbook Deceptively Delicious, all about this very topic. I really think it's a great idea. I realized recently that I am great at making sure Bitty eats lots of fruit, but not as good with the veggies.

Purees currently in my freezer: 2 half cup bags of sweet potato, and 2 of cauliflower... and I have more veggies just waiting for a date with the blender!

So, a couple of weeks ago, remembering what my mom had done, and what I had read in Deceptively Delicious, I decided to throw about 2/3 cup of frozen peas and carrots (thawed) into the blender with some spaghetti sauce to serve over the chicken with cheese ravioli (kind of a mix of chicken parmesan and baked ravioli) I was making. Unfortunately the carrots turned the sauce kinda orange, but it was still pretty good!

So then on Monday, I was planning on making sweet and sour chicken with fried rice. I decided to try using some sweet potato puree instead of the egg you're supposed to wet the chicken in before covering in cornstarch and frying. It worked pretty well! I don't make sweet and sour chicken often, because it's more work than I usually put into dinner on a normal night, but I think next time I would like to add maybe a quarter cup of sweet potato puree to the sauce mixture too and see how it turns out.

Soooooo good!

The only other puree I've made and used before is cauliflower. It's been quite a while but I thought it worked well too. I used some in my cream soup/sour cream/chicken mixture in enchiladas once and was pretty good. My all time favorite use of puree so far was in lasagna. I mixed 1/2 cup of cauliflower puree in with the cottage cheese and made the lasagna as usual. SO GOOD. I'm all for a moist lasagna, and the addition of that puree made it perfect.

So now, I've got some spinach in the fridge that's a little too wilty for me to want to use it for a salad like we usually do. I was so excited that I don't need to let it go to waste, but I can puree it instead!

Have you ever cooked with veggie purees? Have any good recipes to share??


Bitty quilt inspiration...

On my list of projects to do this year, is a twin-sized quilt for my little boy, that he can start using when he moves to a big boy bed.

I'm not planning on starting it until after we move this summer, because I have so many other projects to finish first (including 2 other quilts!). But, I have been keeping my eyes out for cute patterns and fabrics. I want something that will definitely look like a "boy" quilt. BUT I also want colors that I could find girly prints in, in case the next baby we have (no, I'm not pregnant!) is a girl and we needed them to share a room. I'm thinking ahead, ya know.

Which also brings me to...I don't want it to look extremely juvenile either. I mean, I've never finished a quilt yet, in my life...I would love to be great at it and make my kids lots of quilts, but just in case, I don't want the one I make this year to be something he outgrows too fast.

Anyway, I was browsing Cluck, Cluck, Sew the other day and found this really cute disappearing nine patch quilt made for a boy!

I think the disappearing nine patch in the center is so cute, and just "messy" enough to be a great pattern for a boy! So I'm thinking I'll do some version of this for his quilt! Cute, eh?

Now the question is should I buy the green or the blue Garden Party print (on sale at Around the Block Quilter's Shop this week!)?

Which do you like better??


Post-Valentines Post

>> Monday, February 15, 2010

I hope everyone had a great Valentine's day! I didn't make a fancy Valentine dinner, but I did make some awesome PINK heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast! Not really very original, but so festive and fun! It may just be a new Valentine tradition for our family!

And this is what happens when you leave a plate unattended at our house...
I made my hubby a little coupon book for Valentine's Day (remember, one of my goals this year is to give homemade gifts!).

I was a little worried he'd think it was really dorky. But I'd totally forgotten that he said his mom used to give him coupon books for his birthday and he loved them! Phew! Turns out he really did like it.

Above is the cover I made for the book. I used a kit from shabbyprincess.com for all of the papers, and put it together with Scrapbook Factory Deluxe. Below is the coupon that he liked the best:

My husband got me this great clock for my present! I love it!

Our old clock pretty much stopped working after we moved here at the end of last summer. It would kind of work off and on, so it hung on our wall for months with the wrong time on it. Pretty gangster, I know.

I didn't really expect him to get me a clock, because I didn't think he'd want to pick it out himself. As you can see he did great. What's funny is that it actually looks just like our old clock, except the old one wasn't painted black. I guess he knew I'd like it, since I loved the old one so much, and we've got lots of black accessories in our living room! Well done, Dear!

My husband told his high school students what he was getting me, and they thought it was pretty boring, but I LOVE it! I told him that I'll hold it on my lap in the car when we move this summer so it doesn't get broken. He thought that was a little extreme, but I just may do it!


Friday Faves: Nester and Knock-Off

>> Friday, February 12, 2010

About a year ago, I was looking at my sister's blog and noticed a link to a few blogs I'd never heard of. At that point I really had no idea that home decor and craft blogs existed. The blog that I looked at and got totally hooked on was the Nesting Place.

Nesting Place

I read it, oh, every day, and today she is re-posting her 10 Minutes to a Room You'll Love series. This was originally posted last year when I stumbled onto her blog in the first place. I really love this series, so it was fun to read it. If you haven't read it you should! It's about simple changes you can make that will help you love the rooms of your house!

A blog I came across a couple of months ago that I like is called Knock-Off Wood.

Knock Off Wood

It's this woman who builds furniture...and she teaches you how with very detailed plans. But it's not just any furniture...it's knock-off's of wonderful, ridiculously expensive places like Pottery Barn.

I haven't built anything...yet. But I just realized that I would LOVE to build a bunch of bookshelves for wherever we move to this summer! Who knows if THAT'll ever happen...but a girl can dream!


My daily job list

>> Thursday, February 11, 2010

This is how I {attempt to} keep my house clean during the week. When I stick to it it works pretty well! I laminated it, and hung it on my fridge so I could use a dry erase marker to check the boxes each week. Because I need the reminder and the accountability to help me get motivated. (Confession: This has been hanging in my kitchen for a month and I still haven't dusted or cleaned any glass...oops!)

I didn't include things that need to be done daily, like picking up toys or doing the dishes and wiping down kitchen counters. It's so not a perfect list, but it mostly works for my situation in my apartment with my one child. I hope this idea can be useful to someone else!


Personal Home Decor

>> Monday, February 8, 2010

Here's a fun video I found on Studio 5's website about making your home decor personal and something that reflects your family.

Don't hang anything on your wall that isn't meaningful to you...LOVE it!

And don't you just love those kid paintings? I don't think I'd have the guts to hang them in the formal living room...but maybe a playroom, or kids' room. Hmmm...maybe even a kitchen or dining room; the possibilities are endless!

P.S. If I ever own a wingback chair, I want it to look like that green one she brought to the studio with her!


Kneader's French Toast recipe!

>> Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Kneader's french toast is delicious. If you've had it I'm sure you'd agree.

My first experience eating it was while my husband and I were dating. I was working a couple of on-campus custodial jobs that summer, and since I didn't have a car my then-boyfriend would come pick me up and take me to work in the mornings (he also made my lunches for me a lot of days! What a sweetie!)

Well, one day he told me he was going to bring me breakfast before he took me to work. This is what he brought:

So, other than being honestly the best breakfast item I have ever eaten, I guess it holds a little sentimental value for me, since it reminds me of all the nice things my husband has done for me!

A year or two ago, I was on a quest to make french toast that tasted like Kneader's delicious chunky cinnamon french toast...I didn't get very far. I knew it was made with cinnamon bread, so I tried a couple different cinnamon bread recipes... Didn't work so great.

Today, on a whim, I decided to google "kneaders french toast recipe" since I realized I had never actually done that before... I didn't find a cinnamon bread recipe, BUT I did find the recipe for the rest of the french toast AND the caramel syrup!! So I may just have to start experimenting with cinnamon bread recipes again! This would be especially wonderful, since I live nowhere near a Kneader's anymore!

Here's what I found.

This luscious French Toast recipe remains unrivaled! This recipe was originally demonstrated on Good Things Utah May 9, 2005 and is being reposted to the website so everyone can find it again.


Kneader’s Over-Night French Toast
1 loaf Kneaders Chunky Cinnamon Bread cut in 8 slices
8 eggs
3 c. milk
1 T. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 T. vanilla
2 T. butter


Butter a glass baking dish generously (9" x 13"). Place the bread flat in the baking dish. Mix all remaining ingredients, reserving the butter and pour over the bread. Cut butter into pieces and dot over the top. Refrigerate over night or at least 1 hour. Bake 45 - 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves 8

Kneader's Carmel Syrup
1 c. Brown sugar
1 c. Creme
1 c. Light Karo Syrup
Blend together and heat on stovetop until sugar is smooth.
Serve warm.

From the Ovens at Kneaders


FINALLY: Our *New* Entertainment Center

>> Monday, February 1, 2010

In case you missed my post several months ago about needing an entertainment center because we didn't bring our old one with us when we moved here in July, let me just show you what we used for the first few months of living in this apartment:

Pretty sad, right? "But where could you possibly be storing all of your movies and games when you've got such a {cough} sleek and streamlined entertainment center?"

In/on/around/exploding out of the wet bar. Of course!

Folks, I was desperate. You've seen the pictures above, so I'm sure you can understand why. Well, in my desperation, I jumped on the chance to buy this beastly old dresser from the Salvation Army on sale for $40.

I know you want a closer look at those Star Trek-ian handles. Here you go.
We bought the dresser in September, if I recall correctly. I finally finished it around the first week in January. Not really sure why I always drag projects on for so long... but finally! It's done! It is by no means perfect, but hello. Can you say "one thousand times better than what we had before"?? I can.

What do you think? I still look at it once and a while and wonder if other people will think it's weird that we're using a dresser as an entertainment center. But really, it's quite practical...it holds the TV and stores all of our movies, hubby's video games, as well as board games and puzzles.

And because I enjoy looking at people's after photos and seeing how beautifully staged and accessorized everyone's homes are, I will point out my Kimba-esque vase of Hobby Lobby flowers. On the other, much less glamorous side....an Xbox 360, Playstaion 2, and the Wii. Because my husband...well. I love him. And for those of you who can relate to the whole video game-loving husband thing... Here's a little treat for my kindred spirits:

I really hope that I didn't offend anyone with that video... I think it's pretty dang funny.

Anyway...back to the subject at hand...TA DA!!

Have you ever used a piece of furniture for something other than what it was intended for?



Vintage Brush Giveaway!

My friend Vanessa of Vintage Brush Boutique is hosting a giveaway to celebrate the grand opening of her adorable Etsy shop (and her birthday!).

She sells some great vintage-style accessories for women, girls, and babies. Here are a few of my favorites from her shop:

Mrs. Jupiter Rosette Bracelet

Mrs. Roosevelt Rosette Beaded Necklace

Mrs. Good Girl Rosette Brooch

Miss Glam Pink Child Headband

Miss Playground Blue Rosette Clip

Vanessa's giving away a $20 gift certificate, which could buy almost any item in her shop! Her birthday is Wednesday February 3rd, so she's closing the giveaway the night before at midnight so she can announce the winner on her birthday!

Hurry on over and leave a comment to enter the giveaway!


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