Monday, January 31, 2011

Where Does One Go To Buy A Furnace?

Last night, in the middle of the night, we woke up to the smell of something burning.  After a frantic check of the house (inside and out) we pinpointed the source of the smell to the heating vents.  So we bundled up and went, at 3:00 am to my mom's house.  The HVAC guys confirmed that we need a new furnace.  It was 30 years old.  It lived a good life.  So tomorrow new furnace & ac for us (woohoo!) 

Being the 3 year old that he is, Munchkin was burning with questions a little curious about why we'd be having another sleepover at Grandma's.  Broken furnace, we explained.  Munchkin thought about it for a minute and then his face lights up - "I have an idea" (yes, this is one of his new phrases) "let's just buy a new one at Walmart!"  Try to suppress laughter when your oh-so-serious and oh-so-proud-of-himself little boy says that.  I dare you.  I swear I gave myself a headache.  And note to self...spend less time at Walmart.

Clearly we spend waaaaay too much time at Walmart!

Friday, January 28, 2011

20 Minute Meatball Hoagies

Sandwiches are one of Hubbers favorite things.  Quick weekend dinners are one of my favorite things.  But not my absolute favorite thing - that would be chocolate.  But who wants a chocolate covered meatball?  No one.  So sadly, my favorite favorite thing will not appear in this recipe. 

Ooops, stream of consciousness.  Anywho, hot and yummy meatball hoagies are a win win - fast & tasty with easy clean up.  And that gives me more time to make brownies :)

20 Minute Meatball Hoagies

1 pound ground meat
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 medium onion, chopped medium-fine
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
hoagie buns

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Mix everything together (but the spaghetti sauce) in a big bowl and shape meatballs roughly 3 inches in diameter
Bake meatballs in preheated oven for 15 minutes
Remove meatballs from the oven and pour the spaghetti sauce over (Hubs doesn't like alot of sauce, so I generally use 1/2 a jar)
Put back in the oven for 5 minutes until the sauce is heated through and bubbly
Slice up a hoagie bun and smoosh on a few meatballs - we like them with a little sliced onion and extra parmesan sprinkled on


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Burlap Valentine Wreath

So I'm crazy late to the burlap party, but I finally made a burlap wreath.  It's everything I'd hoped it would be.  Fluffy and ragged.  Rustic and pretty.   

Nothing exiciting about my technique - cut 'er up and tie 'em on.  Hmmm, I think that's a country song. 

And I love how the red pops against our black door.  Yeah, I took this picture at night. I kept forgetting during the day.  And yeah, I reeeeally need to Windex that storm door.  Again.  For the 10th time today.  Because you cannot have a 3 year old and a glass surface free from fingerprints. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Give Us 15 Minutes and We'll Give You A Little V Day Decor

It has come to my realization that I have practically no Valentine's Day decor.  How did this happen?  What on earth have I been doing all these years with just a measly Valentine wreath?!?  And I call myself a crafter.  At any moment the crafting police will descend upon me and strip me of my Crafts-for-Life badge.  Heheheh I totally need to make a Crafts-for-Life badge. 

Ok, back to V day.  This past weekend I whipped up heart wreath for my front door.  And a Valentine rag garland has been started for my mantle.  But I needed some insta gratification.  That's just the kinda girl I am.  Last night in between dinner and bath time I had a few minutes to make this:

In took all of 15 minutes (including paint time) and used only 4 supplies (5 if you count the craft paint).

a tiny Dollar store frame (and some cream craft paint to cover the funky metalic finish)
a heart punched out of pink scrapbook paper
a thin strip of tissue paper (3/4 inch)
aqua foil for the background (candy foil - not pictured)

Fold the tissue loosely accordian-style (you can see the start of my accordian in the pic above).  Hot glue the tissue paper on the back of the heart, using tiny dabs to gather the tissue paper into loose pleats.  Wrinkle up the aqua foil and hot glue onto the frame backer (yep, I'm a rebel like that).  Affix the heart to the foil with another dab of hot glue.  Pop the backer into the frame and voila - a teensy bit of V day decor.  And maybe now I'll get to keep my C4L badge. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Cluttered Mess

We have too much stuff.  Ok, maybe I'm the main reason we have too much stuff.  And maybe alot of the extra stuff might be craft related.  And decorations for the house.  And tot school stuff.  And craft stuff.  And stuff to file.  And all this extra stuff ends up in the craft room/school room.  And now it looks like this

Oh the horror!  Look away, look away!  Kids, don't be like me. 

So now my big project (in between the thousands of littler projects) is whipping this room into shape.  Yes, whipping.  Whip it real good.  Into something a little more like this:

created using Pinterest

Oh this is gonna take awhile.  And I'll have to refrain from buying more craft stuff.  Or at least find another place to stash it ;)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

BBQ Chicken-Bacon Quesadillas

Oh the slow cooker, how I love you.  The things you do to a roast.  And chicken legs.  And chicken thighs.  Oh you delicious shredded chicken thighs.  Excuse me for a moment...I have to mop up this drool puddle.

Chicken thighs slow cooked and shredded are one of my favorite things.  And they're oh-so-versatile.  Pour in some bbq sauce and {bam} you have bbq chicken pizza...or bbq chicken sammiches...or these ah-maz-ing quesadillas.  They are on the short list of Hubbers favorite man munchies. 

BBQ Chicken-Bacon Quesadillas

1 package (approximately 3 pounds) chicken thighs
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 red onion, finely diced
1 medium tomato, diced
8 oz shredded fiesta blend cheese
8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 package tortillas

  1. Add chicken thighs and bottle of bbq sauce to a slow cooker - cook on high for 4 hours and then on low for another 1-2 hours
  2. Let cool slightly and shred chicken with two forks
  3. Mix 1/4-1/2 cup of the sauce into the shredded chicken
  4. Warm a flat griddle (or pan) over medium heat
  5. Once warmed, place a tortilla on the griddle
  6. Add 2 tablespoon shredded cheese to 1/2 of the tortilla
  7. Top with a layer of shredded chicken
  8. Sprinkle on diced red onion and diced tomato and the equivalent of 1 strip of bacon
  9. Top with another sprinkling of cheese and fold the tortilla over the filling
  10. Once the cheese has melted (1 minute or so), flip over and let warm for an additional minute
  11. Remove from heat and cut into wedges
  12. Repeat with the 7 tortillas
  13. Sprinkle any remaining onion & tomato over the top and garnish with a bit of sour cream and some jalepenos... Ole

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sausage Tortellini

Oh how I love pasta.  I could eat it with just a bit of butter and a sprinkle of Parmesan.  Penne, Linguini, Farfalle - I love it all.  The Hubs, not so much.  He does not love pasta (or so he thinks). He might even proclaim to dislike it {gasp!}  Over the past 10 years I have been slowly, patiently converting him.  A little pizza lasagna here...a little bacon portabella angel hair there...  And here we are...ten patient, years later...eating pasta every week.  Sometimes twice.  And I laugh a quiet mwhaahaaahaaa while I serve it to my unsuspecting Hubber.  Last night we had a delicious Sausage Tortellini.  And let me tell you, he loved every bite.

Sausage Tortellini

1/2 pound of your favorite Italian sausage - you could use bulk or just remove the casing from links
1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped - I use baby bellas most of the time, but button mushrooms are equally yummy
1 can diced tomatoes - with garlic, or fire roasted, or with onion and garlic...whatever you have on hand
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 box frozen spinach, thawed and drained - a big bunch of fresh is also delicious if you happen to have some
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup grated Parmesan - freshly grated is divine, but any kind of Parmesan (even the green can variety) is tasty
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon basil
1 package cheese tortellini

  1. In a stock pot or large pan, brown sausage over medium-high heat
  2. While sausage is browning, put a large pot of water on high heat
  3. Once sausage is nearly cooked add mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms have softened, 3-5 minutes
  4. Add cans of tomatoes and basil and cook for 5-7 minutes until sauce is bubbly
  5. Add spinach (if using fresh, cook for 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted and combined)
  6. In a bowl, whisk flour with milk until combined
  7. Stir flour-milk mixture and half and half into the tomato sausage mixture
  8. Add tortellini to the boiling water and boil according to package
  9. Cook until bubbly and then reduce heat to low
  10. Add Parmesan cheese and simmer for 5 minutes or until desired thickness
  11. Drain tortellini
  12. Either add tortellini directly to the pot of sauce, or plate tortellini and top with sauce

Hello gorgeous.

Incidentally, this sauce freezes well.  I usually double the recipe and freeze half for a quick dinner later in the month.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fluffy Winter Wreath

To display our Christmas cards this year, I whipped up a clothespin card wreath (and oh how I loved it).  When we took down the Christmas decorations, that wall felt so bare and lonely.  It needed a friend.  Something to fill the void left by that fickle card wreath.

Being as it was late and I'm impatient, I searched for supplies to make a fluffy winter wreath.  Cardboard...check  50 Walmart bags...check  After a week of cutting up bags and tying them around the cardboard form I ended up with this
 Oh how I love a simple, inexpensive project.  And now the wall is happy again.

To make the cardboard wreath form, I used a left over sweater sized gift box and traced a round platter for the outer edge and a dinner plate for the inner edge.  The form ended up being 2 inches thick

Then all you need is 50 or so plastic shopping bags.  I used bags from Walmart because that's what I had the most of and I didn't want any variation of color

To make the strips,flatten out your bag and cut off the bottom of the bag about 1/4-1/2 inch from the bottom

Then cut off the handles of the bag to make a rectangle

Finally cut off the logo/printed part(s) of the bag

I cut the strips in approximately 1 1/2 inch widths.  To minimize cutting time, I would cut the bottom, handles and logo off of 5 or so bags and then stack them together and fold them in half vertically to cut the strips.  That would produce 10 strips in a single cut.

To assemble, tie 2 strips at a time around the wreath form and double knot.  I positioned all the knots along the outer edge of the wreath to ensure uniform fluffiness

Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy Little Snowman Tute

Happy Friday!!  Here's the quick little tutorial on how I made this adorable wood-block snowman...

  • 4 pieces cut from a 2x4 (3 for the snowman body and 1 for the snowman hat)  The lengths that I used are approximately 5 inches, 4 1/2 inches 4 inches and 3 1/2 inches (I used the bottom two blocks horizontally, and the top snowman block and hat vertically)
  • 2 black buttons for eyes
  • 1 nose cut from a trim piece (approximately 2 1/2 x1/4 - I found this piece of wood at our Lowes in the same place as the dowel rods)
  • 1 hat brim cut from that same piece of trim, approximately 4 inches in length
  • ribbon(s) for the scarf
  • wooden clothespin
  • scrapbook paper
  • white, black and orange craft paint
  • E6000 glue
  1. Notch each corner of the snowman body wooden blocks to give them a slightly rounded look
  2. Sand each piece well
  3. Paint the snowman body 2 coats of white craft paint
  4. Paint the snowman nose 2 coats of orange craft paint
  5. Paint the hat pieces 2 coats of black craft paint
  6. Using E6000 glue, adhere the 2 black buttons and 'carrot' nose onto the snowman's top block and let dry several hours
  7. Using E6000 glue, adhere the blocks together and let dry overnight
  8. Cut scrapbook paper to fit the wooden clothespin
  9. Using hot glue, adhere the scrapbook paper to the wooden clothespin
  10. Using E6000 glue, adhere the wooden clothespin the the snowman
  11. Tie ribbon(s) around the snowman's 'neck'

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snowman Love...It's Driving Me Mad...It's Making Me Crazy...

Here's an awesome little snowman that I made for my mom this year.  She has snowman fever...and the only prescription is more snowmen.  heh heh heh

Even if your not covered in a foot of snow, there's no excuse for not having a snowman to keep you company through the winter!

I'm working on the tute for this - it should be up for tomorrow :)

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm Dreaming of Some White Hot Chocolate

Today (and yesterday, and probably tomorrow) we're getting hit with a big snowstorm.  What a better time for some hot chocolate!  All that watching the Hubs shovel makes me cold ;)  While regular hot chocolate is good, sometimes I prefer a little white hot chocolate.  I'm finicky like that.  

I used a crockpot because I'm lazy like that it's easy.

Crockpot White Hot Chocolate
1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup half & half or cream
3/4 cup white chocolate baking pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla
gingerbread marshmallows
sprinkling of nutmeg and/or cinnamon
  1. Add the milk, half & half/cream, white chocolate & vanilla into a small crockpot
  2. Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours (my small crockpot only has an On setting - I cooked it for 2 hours and it was perfect)
  3. Use a whisk to incorporate the white chocolate pieces after half of the cooking time has passed (2 hours for low or 1 hour for high)
  4. Ladle into festive mugs and plop in a few gingerbread marshmallows or sprinkle with a bit of nutmeg/cinnamon. 
Then snuggle in and watch the snow fall.  Or the Hubs shovel.

P.S.  This recipe makes about 4 small cups of hot chocolate, but it can easily be doubled or tripled for a larger crowd.

P.S.S.  This is also divine in coffee - white chocolate mocha deliciousness!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Scary Truth

Last week Hubbers was upstairs getting ready to take a shower.  Munchkin runs into the bathroom and lets out a little shriek.  I go running over to the stairs, thinking something is wrong.  Instead, I hear the funniest thing I have ever heard.  Ever. 

"Daddy!" {pause}  "Your bum is scary!"

And then he turned heel and ran.  As everyone should, when confronted by a scary bum.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snowman Fun

Happy Monday!  Now that we're firmly in January, I thought that a snowman theme would be fitting...especially since we're forcasted to get upto another 6 inches in the next few days.  Munchkin absolutely loves the snow.  Loves wearing his snow suit and boots.  Loves helping Daddy shovel the driveway.  Loves shoveling snow back onto the driveway...  The only thing we haven't done yet is build a snowman.  I'm hoping that this storm will bring some better snowman snow - we've only had the powdery stuff so far this year.  Here are the snow-tivites that we'll be up to this week:

Letter of the Week: S
Crafty, Creative, Sensory Fun:
  • S is for Snow letter craft
  • Marshmallow Snowman collage
  • Snowman paper collage
  • 'Snowball' toss - tossing marshmallows into containers
  • S word recognition
  • Winter/snow themed sensory tub

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Bit of Wintry Decor

One of my favorite handmade Christmas gifts this year was a set of Epsom Salt Luminaries that I made for my sister and her husband.  They're pretty and wintery and, unlike alot of holiday decorations, can be left out for the entire winter season.  I liked how they turned out so much that I decided to make myself a set as well!

I've seen alot of tutorials out there, but here's the process that I used:
  1. Spread a layer of Epsom Salts onto a plate (I refilled the plate for each candle holder)
  2. Apply a thick layer of Modge Podge to the outside of the glass candle holder (I used a foam brush)
  3. Immediately press the Modge Podge covered holder firmly into the Epsom Salts
  4. Sprinkle additonal Epsom Salts onto any bare spots  (Because I was using square candle holders, I did one side at a time.  If you're using round holders I would recommend doing the entire holder at once to avoid seams)
  5. Let holders dry 24 hours
  6. Once the holders are completely dry, lightly brush the outside of each holder to remove any loose salt and empty out any salt that ended up inside the holder
  7. Spray the holder with a thin coating of clear sealer
  8. Let dry 20-30 minutes
  9. Repeat clear coat and drying another 3 times
  10. Let dry completely (another 24-48 hours)
  11. To finish them off, I just corraled three lovely candle holders onto a candle tray. 
Here's my set all decked out for Christmas.  I just twisted few floral picks together at each corner to add a festive touch. 

I love how the salt gives the candle holders a snow covered effect :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Sweet Taste of Success

Tonight is a night of joy. A night of celebration.  For tonight, Mr Nopottypotamus pooped on the potty.  And how did we celebrate this momentous occasion?  First we called Santa. Yes, Santa. Santa apparently likes to know these things.  Then we called Grandma.  She, like Santa, also prefers to be in the know.  After all the calls were finished, we requested a ring pop and watched the John Cougar Mellancamp 'Hurt So Good' video on demand. Why, you ask, does my 3 year old like John Cougar Mellancamp? I blame his father.

Oh My Darlin Clementine

I love Clemetines.  Random little fact - I love Clementines best when dipped into vanilla yogurt.  It's my high-maintenance inner toddler coming out.  But I really really love Clementines in a glass bowl on the counter.

Yep, this is my picture of the day :)  Only 359 more days to go

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Potty Chronicles

Oh the potty.  Munchkin HATES the potty...wants nothing to do with the potty...laughs in the face of potty training.  We have quit pull-ups cold turkey - undies only (ok, except for nap and bed time - I'm not completely crazy).  It has been a fun day.  Munchkin 3, potty 0.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Beef Stroganoff

Last night I made Pioneer Woman's Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta.  It was creamy and lemony.  I loved it.  Hubbers did not.  At all.  So today I'm making one of his favorites - Beef Stroganoff.  It too is creamy but with the absence of lemon and the tang of cream cheese.  It's heavy comfort food that goes best with a nap.  Here's the recipe that I use.  It's been adapted from one I found on Allrecipes years ago.

Beef Stroganoff ala Slow Cooker

1 1/2 pounds cubed stew meat
2 cans cream of golden mushroom soup
1 medium onion, sliced medium-thin
1 pound sliced mushrooms (I usually use portabellas, but white mushrooms work fine too)
1 tablespoon butter/olive oil
1/4 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cream cheese (you can also use sour cream)
1 pound egg noodles, cooked
1 tablespoon butter
salt & pepper to taste

  1. In a slowcooker, combine stew meat, golden mushroom soup, beef broth, worcestershire sauce, and sliced onion
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours
  3. After 5 hours, sautee sliced mushrooms in butter or olive oil until golden brown
  4. Add sauteed mushrooms to the slowcooker
  5. Once egg noodles are cooked and drained, add noodles back to the pot with a tablespoon of butter and salt & pepper to taste, stir to coat all noodles with the butter
  6. Stir in cream cheese (or sour cream) to slowcooker just before serving
  7. To serve pile noodles in a shallow bowl and top with a ladle or two of stroganoff

Monday, January 3, 2011

Miscellaneous Munchkin Monday

Happy 1st Monday of 2011!  This week Munchkin & I are going to be doing some miscellaneous winter projects and reading a hodge podge of books...yes, hodge podge.  Here's our first tot-tivities of 2011:
Letter of the Week: W
Creative, Crafty, Sensory Fun:
  • W is for Winter letter craft
  • Winter sensory tub (filled with cotton balls, glitter pom poms, foam-ball snowmen
  • Build a snowman felt page
  • Homemade playdough - I've wanted to make this for awhile but somehow never get around to it
  • Car sorting - Munchkin got a car holder for has different sized slots for different sized cars/trucks
  • Glove matching - using the 5 million extra gloves/mittens that we have
It's a hodge podge of a few new Christmas gifts and a few potty ones (yes, we're still working on it)


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