Friday, June 29, 2012

Celebrating the 4th

The 4th of July has become one of my favorite holidays. My brother is a Marine and has been deployed twice and there is a 90% chance he will be deployed this fall. While he was in Afghanistan, he told us a little bit about their life over there, and it made me so grateful for the freedoms we have here. When he came home from his last deployment, it was bittersweet for his company. 2 of his friends had been killed within a week of each other, including my brother's bunk mate.  I am so humbled and grateful for those who have given their lives and time to serve our great country. 


Last year, I was sad because we didn't do too much for this awesome holiday. Boo hoo.  We had just moved to a new state, and didn't know our way around and were barely starting to make friends. But this year, I have got treats to make and really want to start my own family traditions. Back home, we would always go to our hometown parade with our parents (they live about 5 minutes from each other) and one year, my husband even won a hot dog eating contest! Our town would have awesome fireworks, and we would spend the whole day with family. But since we aren't around any family, we will start doing our own thing. I love festive food, and thought I'd share some ideas that are floating around the internet...

Layered Patriotic Punch
(I am making this!!)

Patriotic Strawberries
(I'm also making these!)

Patriotic Kabobs

Layered Patriotic Cupcakes
by the Nifty Foodie
(You all know I can't resist making these! I'm so excited!)

Sheesh, the possibilities are really endless when it comes to making food for the 4th! I have literally spent hours just looking at tons and tons of different kinds of  desserts and foods.... Yikes!

Here are some fun craft ideas that I wish I had the time and unlimited resources to make...




Wow. Fun, fun, fun!! I hope you all have a delightful weekend! 

Claudia 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

4th of July Cake

Thank you to all of our readers for being patient while I was out on maternity leave.  I know our posts have been a little reduced, but Claudia has been holding down the fort fabulously.  I probably am not a 100% back yet, but I could not let this cake stay silent any longer.   

First things first!  You just might want to see what has been keeping me so busy?? 
Here she is, little Savannah...She is a really good baby and she let's me sleep 6 to 7 hours a night, so my recovery has been amazing and probably faster than most.  I am just thankful to not be pregnant anymore :)  Love this girl!!!


And while I am at it, this is my little boy, Boston enjoying some of the frosting from this cake. 
Love this boy!!!  I officially have two kids...whewww!  Let the adventures begin :)

And here is the cake...it was really delicious too, wish you could have tasted it...sorry!
 But here is how to make it...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Quiet Book Page 4--Do Some Laundry

I have to admit I love quiet book group!  Not only is it so fun getting together with my favorite girl friends, we also get to make something cute for our kids.  This month I got to design the quiet book page.  I was a little nervous, but it actually turned out pretty cute.  I decided on a laundry page.  I tested it on my friends 4 year old daughter and she loved it!  She loved getting the clothes out of the "basket" and hanging them on the line with the clothespins.
This page takes quite a few different colors, but that is what makes it bright and colorful right?!!

You will need:
A pen for tracing, red preferably (you can use later on the socks)
(3) mini clothespins (don't get too small, the kids won't be able to open them)
glue gun
bakers twine or some sort of string or jute
Sewing machine or fabric glue
(1) sheet of brown
(1) sheet of green
 (1) sheet of light blue

The rest you could use a half sheet or just share with friends if your making in a group.  Also the clothes you could do any color you have on hand.   I used red, pink, royal blue, maroon, turquoise blue and white. For the sun, I used bright yellow and mustard yellow.  I also used a bright green for the little small leaves.

Also keep in mind, we sewed a lot of this page, but if you don't sew you could glue or hot glue the whole thing.  If you want to sew some, be careful of where you hot glue, because your needle will not sew through the hot glue.  I sewed most of the pieces before I glued them on (the basket, the trees, the sun and any detailing you want on the clothes).  A sewed on the bird, leaves and the grass after they were glued on.  I also hot glued on the clothespins and the twine. 
 
Here is the pattern: Page 1 and Page 2





Happy crafting,
Christie

Friday, June 15, 2012

Baby Girl Quilt

I decided baby Savannah needed a pretty quilt to match her cuteness!  So I got sewing, I actually made a similar quilt for my best friend's little girl a few years back.  I had some left over plush minky that I just could not ignore anymore.  It is too soft and luxurious to be left in my un-sewn fabric pile.  So here it is.  One of my first, but not my first, first quilt.  Maybe my second :)  And I have to put a warning on here too, I am not a seamstress.  SO if you are looking for some expert tips on sewing, you probably won't find them here.  But if you are good a winging it, feel free to follow my attempted directions for this adorable cuddly quilt. 


Did you know that is takes math to sew a quilt?  Maybe this is why I proclaim to NOT be an expert, I don't really like math.  But I did enough to make this quilt, come to find out, I really did not do it right because I was working with scraps.  But I still LOVE this quilt! 

See I did the math...
I did not really allow for seem allowances, that was my mess up, so I would add a few more rows to be sure your top matches your bottom in the end.


My favorite pattern is subway and it is pretty easy, so that is what I went with.  I did my math and then cut the fabric I had with my cutting matte and rotary cutter.  Then I laid it out like this...

Then I sewed together the horizontal rows.

 Then I sewed the strips together...you get the picture?
 Then I put laid the batting out.  I used a thin batting and then I even split that.  I would have used just a sheet of flannel because it is almost summer and I wanted a quilt as thin as possible.  But I did not have any extra flannel on hand. 

I put the front and back together and sewed around it, left a little bit open so I could turn inside out.  Then I sewed all the way around again to give it an edge.

I finished it off by sewing a free form flower on the quilt. I sewed all the way through front and back.  This is what makes it a quilt right?  And keeps it together :)


Happy quilting,
Christie

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Little Re-Do

I have a lot of red in my house. Everything is accented in red... not only in my living room, but in my kitchen. I love the color red, but after 6 1/2 years of having it around, I'm itching for a change. Since I got my dashing new yellow Kitchen Aid, I've been wanting to redo my kitchen in yellow and white. Yellow is my all time favorite color, and it just seems to brighten everything up! So, I embarked upon the adventure of re-doing a little picture that I've had hanging in my kitchen forever....


I've wanted my kitchen to have a Bistro theme forever, and when I found this sign at TJMAXX for like $5, I fell in love! Those cute Italian guys just made me happy! But, they've got to go.... I've had enough of them!!!
So, I grabbed a piece of scrapbook paper, slapped on some Mod Podge and covered them up...


I went to Goodwill and snatched up some pretty sweet looking silverware...


used some E6000 glue, and glued them to the paper...


Ta Da! 

I thought I was finished until my husband came home and told me he didn't really like the black frame...
and let me tell you all something... when my husband says he doesn't like something, he must really not like it. Usually he doesn't really care how things look, but I could tell that this frame was bothering him. And because it bothered him, it started to bother me...
So, I decided to spray paint it. 
BUT...
I'm an idiot and realized that I should have spray painted it before I put the scrapbook paper and silverware on... life would have been a whole lot easier, but I can't dwell on what I should have done, and I just needed to cover the silverware and paper up so they remained beautiful.
I cut up a plastic grocery bag and taped it to the frame...


I sprayed a few layers of white primer on, and then sprayed it yellow!!


A few hours later, when it was dry, I peeled off the tape and bag, and now I have a beautiful picture that was practically free!!



Who says that you have to go out and buy all new artwork and decorations when you're trying to spruce things up a bit? Just look around your house, and figure out what you can re-do. With a little creativity, Mod Podge, and spray paint, you can practically reinvent anything in your house!!!

Happy Re-Doing!
Claudia

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pin-viewed....

      First off, I wanted to let you all know that Miss Christie had her beautiful baby early Monday morning! Yay! Miss Savannah weighed in at 9 lbs. 3 oz. and everything went well! I chit chatted with Christie today, and she sounds fabulous for just having a baby. I was a wreck after my 2nd baby, so I envy her energy. :)
      Now onto other important matters... I am pretty sure that you've all heard of a little site called Pinterest.... if not, then you better get on the band wagon! I looked at my menu this week, and about 80% of what we were having came from Pinterest, so I thought I would give you some "Pin-views" (a Pinterest Review) on recipes I've actually tried within the past few months. I didn't realize it before, but my menu suffered greatly before I was introduced to Pinterest. Now, there are so many yummy recipes, treats, crafts, decorating tips, and so much more that's literally at the tip of my fingers. I found myself wondering how people actually managed pre-Pinterest era. Ha ha ha!! Now onto some of my Pin-views...

by Mel's Kitchen Cafe (one of my fave food sites!)

This salad was super easy to make, and uber yummy. It's basically fruit coated in a little bit of sour cream. Yep, that's it! When I put the sour cream in, I was a little hesitant on how it would taste, but I know that Mel wouldn't lead me astray. As it turns out, Mel knows what she's talking about! I will definitely be making this again!

by Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour

I tasted this pasta dish at the same womanly get-together that I made these for. But, I liked my friends version a lot better than this version, for some reason. This was a little spicy for my kids to eat, so i had to make them sandwiches, and my husband and I ate this. I really liked the concept of this dish, but I'm pretty sure I'll be tweaking it to my own liking.

by Oh! You Cook!

I made this to go along side the little French Dips I just blogged about, and it was delightful! In fact, my daughter just pulled up the whole bowl of fruit and started eating. That didn't really surprise me, since she loves fruit, but the honey lime dressing just added a little extra oomph to the fruit! This would be the perfect side dish to a summer party, or even as a snack! Yum! Yum!

from Real Simple

This dish was light and lemon-y, which satisfied my taste buds! If you don't like lemon, then I don't recommend you try this... but, if you like lemon, and you want an easy dish to make, then you should try this! I liked that I could throw everything into a pan and bake it all at once... it's like a casserole, but a little more sophisticated. :)

by Food.com

I made these for a group date night we had a couple of months ago. I had a jar of artichokes, and some wonton wrappers, and basically googled what I could make, and this recipe came up. It was easy to make, and extremely tasty, if I do say so myself. So I guess this technically isn't a recipe from Pinterest, since I pinned it to my board, but now it's on Pinterest, so I counted it. :) These were easy to make, and nummy to eat. 

by Mel's Kitchen Cafe

I told you Mel and I were BFF's. 
I cannot even begin to tell you how uber yummy these are. I have made these several times, and will be making these a lot throughout the summer since minimal cooking is required. One wrap filled me up, which is saying a lot. I highly recommend you all go out and try these right now!!!

by Add A Pinch

I haven't actually made this yet, but I'm making it Saturday night for Christie's family... I told her about it today, and she sounded super excited to try it. I've made a Pepsi Pot Roast (which is one of my favorite ways to make a roast) so I bet this one will be just as yummy.... I will let you all know how it turns out.

Pinterest has totally revolutionized my menu, and I would be utterly lost without the vast amount of knowledge and creativity that I've discovered on that site! 
If any of you have delicious recipes you've made from Pinterest, you should share the love!!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mini French Dips

    These days, it is absolutely essential that dinner be easy and simple. I get "night sickness" as opposed to morning sickness, so the thought of standing and chopping stuff for a long time doesn't really appeal to me. But, my family still needs to eat, so I look for things that I don't really have to do a lot of prep work for. Heck, even when I'm not pregnant, it's super nice to have those type of meals that you can just throw together at the last minute! Every lady needs a break now and then when it comes to getting dinner ready! Well, that's why I absolutely adore these Mini French Dips. I love French Dip, and it's usually a really easy meal to put together, but they can be kind of hard to eat, especially for children! So, when I found a mini version on Pinterest, I was super giddy.
     My kids gobbled these up, which means a lot because they tend to be really finicky when it comes to food. They will eat things that I thought they wouldn't like, and they won't touch things that I was positive they would like.... so I was super happy when they ate these!


The ingredient list is super long and tricky, so pay close attention (just kidding. Ha, ha, ha!)

2 packages of crescent rolls, 8 count
1 lb. thinly sliced deli roast beef
Swiss, Provolone, or Mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 pieces. I just used string cheese and stuck some on the sandwiches.
Some Au Jus for dipping.
Optional: Horseradish

     I lined a cookie sheet with tinfoil, because I always like an easy cleanup, but don't feel like you have to use tinfoil. Unroll the crescent rolls, stick a couple of slices of the roast beef on top, and add the cheese.

     Then roll them up, and bake according to the crescent roll instructions. 



     Wow, can it really get any easier than that? I think not! Thank heavens for Pinterest. It's loaded with tons of amazing ideas and recipes that make me think "Huh, why didn't I think of that?"

Friday, June 1, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

A couple of weeks ago... or was it last week? I can't remember. Anywho... sometime in near past, I attended a little church activity that asked us to bring a food that described ourselves. I thought and thought and thought about what I was going to bring... I love pizza and hamburgers, but that just didn't seem like something I wanted to cook up for 30+ women. If you think about it, what food best describes you? Now really think about it. Well, if you came up with an answer, you're a better thinker than I, because I couldn't come up with anything! 

On the day of the little activity, I finally decided to make one of my all time favorite cookies...

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies.

I guess it doesn't really describe me as a person... that would be difficult to do because I change my mind about everything All. The. Time! But I decided to go with these cookies because A) I love anything sweet B) I love to bake C) I love peanut butter and chocolate together. It's my all time favorite combination in the world! In fact, I love peanut butter and chocolate so much that when I have plain vanilla ice cream, I love to melt a little PB in the microwaver thingy for about 15-20 seconds and drizzle it over my ice cream. And then I'll add then chocolate sauce. It's delicious. Try it some time. You won't regret it! 

These cookies have become one of my favorite things to bake, and they have become one of my go-to recipes for parties/get-togethers/picnics/and what-nots...

I know, doesn't that melting chocolate just make your mouth water? It seriously doesn't get any better than that!

To make these cookies you'll need:
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 . peanut butter
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 TBSP milk
40 (about 1 pkg) mini peanut butter cups, unwrapped 
(I place mine in the freezer after they are unwrapped.)

Here's how you bake them:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

2. Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter, and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk. Add the flour to the mixture, and mix well. Using 2 spoons, drop the cookie dough mixture into each cup of a GREASED mini muffin pan.


3. Bake at 375 for about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven. Your cookies will look like this... don't worry...


Immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each cookie. Let them cool and carefully remove them from the pan. 

I have found it helpful to use a little silicon spatula when removing them from the pan. I loosen them first and then lift it gently, and I mean gently, out of the pan. The chocolate will be a little melty, but will harden after a couple of hours.

   
    You honestly can't help but love these cookies!

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