Thursday, April 5, 2018

Spring In for Savings

Spring and Winter seem to be playing a cruel game of cat and mouse with most of us here in the States.  We get a few days of warm spring weather and then, bam, winter blows back in to freeze our buds off.  At this rate, we'll go right into Summer, and that will stink as I'm not a fan of the heat.

For now, though I'll enjoy Spring where I find it.  In the bulbs that are sprouting along my front steps, and rethinking doing so, I'm sure.  In the barest buds on the trees.  In the birds that I hear and see busily flitting from tree to tree, who are probably checking their planners and wondering how they got their migration dates wrong.  I'll also find it in the papers I'm using - the bright colorful, floral graphic filled papers that are more consistently Spring than what's going on outside my window.

If you'd like to enjoy Spring the only way that Mother Nature will allow, by scrapping with papers and embellishments - then shop today.  Prices are already down 50%, and the coupon code will save you another 25%, for a walloping 75% on your ENTIRE order!

Code:  comeonspring

Pick up papers like American Crafts Daydreamer, their POW Glitter paper (who couldn't use something sparkly that isn't snow), Authentique, Doodlebug, Echo Park, Imaginisce and Pebbles have several bright and happy Spring paper packs.  Cheerful embellishments include:  Dress It Up Glittered Floral Buttons, Favorite Findings Floral Buttons, Heidi Swapp Frames, KaiserCraft Pop Banners, Pebbles Puffy Bumble Bee stickers and any number of neutral, kraft or chalkboard tags, tabs and perky pops of color in a number of alphabet stickers.  If you're looking for something quick, there are a few colorful TV Dinners, too, fully loaded and waiting for you and your photos.

Now go.  Make your own Spring inside, while you wait for the outside to catch-up.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Food for Thought

I was cooking away a couple weeks ago; this week not so much.  The calendar seemed full, but when the events aren't yours and you don't have to do the driving, it's amazing how blissful it is.

Looking for fast and fabulous.  Got a few below.


I have a couple of these Enchilada Bubble Up Casserole recipes pinned.  I went to see how similar they are and found they aren't too different - the other one is definitely faster, as this one has a couple items made from scratch:  the dough, the enchilada sauce.  You could certainly make those substitutions, but the dough is really good, and pretty simple.  I already had enchilada sauce on hand - leftovers (this is my recipe) and gauging the sauce in the recipe it looked like it would make about 1 1/4 cup of sauce.  I had a smidge more than that (probably 1 1/3 cup), so I just dumped it all in.  It was really good.  Had good flavor and the dough bubbles were tender and light.  It calls for chicken, I used rotisserie, but you could do ground beef, turkey or go meatless and add extra beans.

I made an Italian Wedding Soup found in 365 Slow Cooker Suppers.  She doesn't have it indexed on her website, but can be found in her book (linked above); I received the recipe via her emailed newsletter.  It was super simple, used pre-made meatballs and had a lot of flavor - though I might cut down on the Italian seasoning, or substitute in some fresh.  It was meant for the slow cooker, so the dried seasonings didn't soften much because I just simmered it on the stove-top.  I've made other recipes from her that are good, so it might be worth it to pick up her cookbook.




I hadn't made pizza in a while, so when I saw this Skillet Pizza with Sausage and Chili Garlic Tomato Sauce I figured why not.  I hadn't made a pan pizza before - I have my pizza stones and my go-to recipe.  My only worry was that the dough would be thick and heavy, but I was very surprised how light and chewy it was.  There was a bit of a mishap while it was rising, but even with that, I think the dough would have still turned out light.  We all loved it - except I put in too much garlic chili for the majority of us.  Next time, I'll cut down the amount and put hot sauce on the side for those who like the fire.




Instant Pot recipe.  Are you surprised?  Easy Balsamic Beef Pot Roast.  I have to say I was a bit worried when I opened the pot and it wasn't fall-apart-tender.  It seemed like it was tough and it definitely wasn't "flaking."  I was more than surprised that by the time I'd gotten it sliced that it was tender (I made sure to slice against the grain.)  I only had half of the balsamic the recipe called for but it still had great flavor.  I opted to do mashed potatoes instead of cauliflower. 

Not a big list of recipes this time, but they're good.

Happy Friday,

Lori

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Crafting Home

Last year, after some good, relief-inducing news, I treated myself by picking up this kit from Paisleys and Polka Dots.  She has quite a few things I'd love to grab up, hug to myself and run down to to my craft table to assemble.  Her wood decor is adorable, and if you're looking for a card kit to replace Apron Strings, she has a good one.

The kit includes all the wood pieces, papers and embellishments, along with basic instructions.  This kit is a 12-month "HOME" set, where I have the all the letters to spell "home" and then 12 seaonal shapes to either use in place of the "O" or in some other fashion.  I've used the shapes on my mantle with other seasonal decor, but usually I put them with the rest of the letters.

I had managed to get September, October, November and December's shapes assembled to use during those various seasons/holidays, but fell behind and didn't get January's done, or February's for that matter - though I managed to get February done and out for a week before February was over.  But hey, it's ready to go for next year.  As part of my huge to-do list in 2018, I included finishing these shapes.  One weekend I sat down and did just that.  Or, well, almost did that.  I have three months left.


I sort of follow the instructions.  I glanced at the first couple sets and they all say basically the same thing.  I don't customize the paint on individual pieces (to match to papers), instead I paint almost everything white, and then it's just the sides of the pieces.  Nobody is going to see the backs, so I don't bother.  The only other thing I don't paint white are dark-colored pressed board pieces.  I like the look of the dark sides against whatever paper I'm using.


You can see the dark-colored edge of the pressed board on the egg above - in the band and the flower.


Finished January's.  It's ready to go for next year.  He has a lot of thick layers up on the brim of his hat, but the recommended Aleen's Craft Glue and a Wood Glue are doing great jobs of holding it all.


I stopped with May, so I'll have to get back on the ball again and complete the remaining pieces.  I have to say, I'm enjoying a different kind of paper crafting.  I'm enjoying changing up what I'm doing.  The only downside is I have several works-in-progress.

Happy Thursday,

Lori



Wednesday, March 28, 2018

We Are

I have shipped off my two older boys.  One back to school in Arizona, and the other to Spain.  With Girlie home, but working 12 hour shifts, it's mighty quiet just me, the hubby and the 9 y.o.


  • We woke to a very wet snow a yesterday.  The affect isn't unlike the scene from Willy Wonka where they were hosed down with white fluff.  Only this prettier.
  • Just the day before, on Monday, I saw at least a half dozen ant colonies working busily.  Not sure how they fared after the snow though.
  • Untamed blooms, while pretty hardy, I don't know survived the heavy snow any better than the ants.
  • Spring is popping up in the house
  • Girlie is doing a bit of changing things up in her room
  • When you have a bit of "some assembly required" redecorating in your room to do and, sweet, your brother is home on Spring Break.
  • Friday Night Lights of a different kind
  • Well, we know he made it to his gate . . .
  • . . . And we know he made it to Toronto
  • A group photo before sending him off.  Girlie was working and couldn't make the send-off
  • So I added her in.
  • She said it was good, but Her Boy (a photoshop genius) could do better
  • Spring is popping up outside the house, too.  These are gonna need covering tonight - snow's moving in - Monday's snow squashed those blooms.
  • Taking a different route for my daily walk.
Happy Wednesday,

Lori

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A January Layout, Finished

I'm three months for three months worth of class material.  Back in January I joined the SCT365 2018 class (I had done, sort of, the SCT365 2017) as a way to help me achieve my creative intention where scrapbooking was concerned.  

Every month I get a sketch for a layout and a card, examples for both, cut files (which I have yet to use, but it's in the plan) and access to a Facebook group where I can share, see other examples and get cheered on - and cheer on others.

I started late, so I'm playing catch-up, but it still counts as three class challenges complete. ;)

I did the following layout using Simple Stories Elementary pack.  This paper wasn't part of an Apron Strings kit, rather one I picked up when Archiver's was going out of business.  (Yes, that was a long time ago, but it goes with how old the photos are.  My babies are not this small and I have one more, who wasn't even around yet.)


I stayed fairly true to this sketch, from January.  I also tried to use only the items from the Simple Stories package.  My intent is to use up as much of the kit as I can, before either tossing the remainder or sending it along to the Kindergartners to use.  I will be creating a couple more layouts using the line.  Same photos, too, to create a layout for each kids' albums.  One way or another, I'll be done and over this paper line.


I used up some scraps to create a general card.  It is more "inspired" by the sketch, rather than a direct creation.  But it's a card in my stash.  I've said before I don't put sentiments on my cards, which allows me to use them for whenever and whoever.

Happy Thursday,

Lori

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

We Are

I have one son home on break.  I have one son leaving for Spain, tomorrow, during his break.  I have another son who won't be on break for another week.  And I have a daughter, who after doing three 12 hour shifts, will be in definite need of a break.

I hauled out all my Spring decor, lumped it all on the counter and have been trying to figure out where it should all go.  I have a few odds and ends left to deal with, and some tweaking to do, but most of it is out.  Post to follow.


  • In Colorado, it doesn't matter whether the calendar says Spring is here, or near, Winter holds on as long as it can.  We got a good frosting (about four inches) of wet snow that was gone by the following afternoon.
  • Her Sexy pose, aka "What are you eating over there?"
  • On my walk, I caught up with hubby coming back around the lake, and Girlie passed in front of me on a training run - she's running a half marathon in a few weeks.  And she wasn't dead on the lawn.  She looked pretty good to me.
  • They said rain was coming in and dang if they didn't get that right this time.  We got thunder and lightening too!  Loved every thundering second of it.
  • Girlie finished her banner - looks amazing.  She ended up backing it with a navy floral print (you can see the floral HERE), and it looks even better, if that's possible.
  • When you wonder if you have too much stuff, or too many ideas.
  • Then you realize, you might actually need just a bit more.
Happy Wednesday,

Lori


Monday, March 19, 2018

Food for Thought

You shouldn't be surprised that these recipes are all made in my new Instant Pot.  Besides the below, I've also made chicken broth in it - using my ingredients and an Instant Pot recipe for the amount of liquid.  I also used the Slow Cooker function to make meatball sliders.  


I original picked this Three-Bean Chili for Friday - the whole Lent-no-meat thing, only to find when I went to actually make it that it has ground beef in it.  I simply left out the ground beef and added an extra can of beans - so I guess it should be four bean chili.  I could have also added quinoa or farro, instead of extra beans.  I didn't have chili powder so I mixed a couple of hubby's chili powders (he has his own stash for rubs and sauces) and, unfortunately, picked one that was far too hot.  At least for me and most of the others around the table, hubby thought it was perfect.  There was good seasoning, despite the heat (which luckily didn't linger.)  I used leftovers the next night on sheet-pan nachos, with lots of cooling sour cream and avocado.


Thought I'd see how rice did by cooking Instant Pot Chicken Taco Bowls.  Even before I started cooking, I knew three cups of rice was a lot.  I cut it to two cups and it was still too rice-heavy for us; next time I'll do a cup and a half.  I also forgot to rinse it, so it was overly sticky.  Those things aside, it was a decent dish - maybe a tad under-seasoned, which could have been, in part, to the large amount of rice.  I would make it again, but have extra toppings and I'd mess around with the seasoning.  


One of the features I love about the Instant Pot is the sautéing, so this Instant Pot Pizza Pasta would have been a one pot meal if I'd had canned marinara and pizza sauce.  I didn't, and don't because I make my own here and here - which I could can, but they are fast enough recipes to do on an as needed basis.  I basically whipped them together while the sausage was browning.  I would chop the pepperoni next time because the slices didn't mix in well. Also mixed in the cheese at serving.  It was good, comforting, and cheesy.  I do have to mention, I was surprised that the pasta didn't get overcooked - but it was perfect.


We were heavy on the Mexican food this week with this Instant Pot Shredded Mexican Chicken. I wanted to see how chicken breasts held up in the Instant Pot, as I usually substitute for thighs for such recipes.  They were okay.  Certainly not as dry as slow cooking can sometimes produce, but not the juiciness of pan-frying, grilling or oven baking; I'll continue with the substituting.  We did crunchy and soft tacos, but would be great on sheet-pan nachos (and it was) or in a bowl.



I needed something different for dessert - we have been hosting my brother-in-law and his family, along with my in-laws, while they are all temporarily living together.  These Blackberry and Cream Biscuits seemed like a quick solution, and different.  They were really good - light with big bites of berries and a bit of sweet from the glaze.  You can even talk yourself into thinking these have healthy qualities because of berries in them, but the amount of cream will wipe that out, unless you consider the amount of calcium in that and then you're good.  The recipe calls for fresh, but you could probably get away with frozen; the fresh berries get a bit crushed in the "folding."  I would also mix it all together, instead of mixing everything and then trying to fold in the fresh berries.  


Happy Monday,

Lori