Friday, January 28, 2011

Time to Create

Look I what I did in the past couple of days:

Thanks for looking!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Couch

When we moved into our brand new house almost 9 years ago, we, of course, purchased brand new furniture for our family room, including this humongous sectional. We have a spacious house and needed something specific for this odd-shaped room. The couch is comfortable and seats a lot of people, but the one thing that I CANNOT stand about this couch is that the cushion for the chaise slides out. It is horrible when you are laying or sitting on it. We constantly are re-adjusting it and pushing it back in. We have vowed that when it's time to get new furniture for this room, we will never again get a couch with removable cushions! Such a pain!

And, you know that a couch with removable cushions can mean only one thing to children....

INSTANT SLIDE!Yes, as you can see here, the cushion gets used as a trampoline, a roller coaster, a water slide, a regular slide, a surf board, a see saw...You name it!!! At first, it bothered us a little. But now that the couch is 9 years old and nearing the end of it's lifespan...we just don't care anymore...

You are probably wondering what the underside of the chaise looks like without the cushion? Good Lord! You don't want to know! There is a huge rip in the material, the springs are bulging through the fabric and it's screaming to be thrown in the trash! In good time, my good time. Our plan is to rip out the carpet and install hardwood floors first, then replace the furniture. It's hard to justify getting new furniture when we have 2 cats, 2 guinea pigs and three kids who pee, poop, puke, shed, spill food etc etc etc...

In the meantime, we'll just have to suffer through the amusement park living room and worry a lot less about the couch!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Swiss Chicks

I am a lot of things, but Swiss is not one of them. In fact, I have about 12 different nationalities. I'm a mutt, if you will. When I was in elementary school, I had a sing-songy jingle that I would use to rattle off all of my nationalities. My friends would get a kick out of it. I really should teach it to my kids one of these days, but they don't really care yet. They will be all of the same nationalities as me, plus Lithuanian, from Jack. Maybe I should do a layout with the list. Eventually...

So, anyway, today's recipe comes from a family cookbook that one of my cousins collected last year and emailed to all of us. It contains recipes from my great grandma and several of my aunts, cousins and second cousins.

Slow Cooker Swiss Chick
3 chicken breasts
6 clices of Swiss cheese
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can of milk (fill the empty soup can)
2 cups Herb stuffing
1 stick of melted butter
Layer all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours. Shred chicken when finished. Serve with vegetable and biscuits.

Had a little time to get crafty yesterday with my January Scarlet Lime Frugal Fab kit. Created these:
This was for a challenge to use song lyrics. I used "Just the Way You Are," by Bruno Mars.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

10 Rules for Being Human

I found this online and thought that today would be the perfect day for sharing...

Ten Rules for Being Human

1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it's yours to keep for the entire period.

2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, "life."

3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work."

4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.

5. Learning lessons does not end. There's no part of life that doesn't contain its lessons. If you're alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.

6. "There" is no better a place than "here." When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."

7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.

9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life's questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

10. You will forget all this.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Shel's Stuffed Shel(l)s

I lovvvvve pasta. It's so bad for me, I know. I watch the Biggest Loser religiously. I listen to Oprah's trainer, Bob Greene. They say to avoid pasta and cheese like the plague, but I can't. Of course, I don't pig out. I try to eat everything in moderation (except that bag of Bugles I bought last month. Worst. Decision. Ever!) but that is another conversation all together.

For those of you, like me, who like to endulge in a little pasta now and's a nice fattening one to enjoy! Shel's Stuffed Shel(l)'s:

1 package Jumbo pasta shells
28 oz whole ricotta cheese (low fat is fine!)
4 oz parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated romano
1 whole egg
salt and pepper
1/2 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound ground beef or Italian sausage
1/2 cup red wine
28 oz whole crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Cook pasta for half of the cooking time. Drain and rinse in cool water.

Heat 2 Tbsp EVOO in dutch oven over med-high heat. Add onions, garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add sausage or beef and brown. Pour in red wine and cook for 2 more minutes.

Pour in tomatoes and stir. Add sugar and salt. Add a dash of basil and parsley (and oregano if you like). Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In separate bowl, mix ricotta, 4 oz. Parmesan, Romano, egg, and salt and pepper, basil and parsley (2 Tbsp fresh) to taste.

To assemble coat the bottom of dish with sauce. Fill each half-cooked shell with cheese mixture. Place face down on the sauce. Repeat until cheese mixture is gone. Top with remaining sauce. Bake at 350* for 25 minutes.
I like to serve it with wilted spinach.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fun with Food

I've been having some fun with food lately. First off is a cool gift I got from my friend Heather for Christmas. She bought me these cute doughnut pans and mix from SurLaTable. They were so delish! And super fun to make too. We made some with cinnamon sugar on top and some plain.
My sister-in-law bought me these cute pancake molds for Christmas, along with some Barefoot Contessa pancake mix. The kids got such a kick out of the pancake shapes! So much fun!

What kind of fun are you having with your food these days?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Make your own wall-hanging

My friends who have been to my home know that I like to make my own art work. I have paintings by me in several rooms. So, it will come as no surprise that I decided my bedroom needed a little oomph.

Here is what I created (with a little help from Jack)...

I started with 3 canvases. Each canvas was 12x12 and stretched already. I covered each with a different sheet of coordinating 12x12 pattern scrapbook paper. I used a combo of Mod Podge and adhesive tape runner on the corners. Then I painted a border around the three pages. When the canvases were dry, Jack helped me to attached them together. He started by using a vice to hold them together.
Then he drilled two holes into the wood frame. (See either side of the vice). Wood screws went into the holes to hold two canvases together.

Then he repeated the vice and drill on the third canvases, so all three pieces were attached in a row.

Then I attached a piece of ribbon across the length of all three canvases. I used an adhesive tape runner to attached it.

Finally I glued two glittery flowers at the end of the ribbon. This is actually upside down. LOL The flowers are in the lower left corner of the pic.

Here is a close up of the flowers...

And the finished product...hanging on my bedroom wall....

Got questions? Feel free to contact me! :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Giving Up Creative Control

Ok. I admit it. I'm a teeny, tiny bit of a control freak. (Pause)

OK. OK...I'm a big, ol', honkin' control freak. But on my birthday I decided to relinquish control of my cameras to my children, so they could capture the momentus event for me. Lily had the point and shoot and Matt was armed with the Digital SLR. As you can see, Lily was planning to do some karaoke, and helped to decorate the kitchen with streamers and a banner. The cake was donned with candles that said "21". Why are you laughing? We couldn't find any other numbers. LOL

I was treated to gift certificates for Charming Charlie and a Swedish massage at Mario Tricocci. Stef bought me an awesome bag and bracelet from Charlie and my parents got me a Kindle. My favorite gifts were from Matt and Lily. Lily wrapped her piggy bank in a pretzel box. It contained a quarter, a penny and a Chuck E Cheese token. Matt taped four quarters to a card for me! So so sweet!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lots to report...

I know. I know. It's the end of January and I am just now posting my December Daily. Here it entire month of December rolled into one mini-album. I decided to make a 6x6 album and created a page for each day. The cover of the album has a window and the first pic in the collage shows what it says in the window. I put the pages in order for you, but since I had an odd number of pages, it had to repeat a page, which is why Day 10 is at the end of the collage again. Sorry. Couldn't figure out how to do it otherwise. Click on the collage to see it larger. Enjoy.... I also finished making my blog into a hardcover book. I used the software Booksmart which I downloaded from Blurb. It was a pain in the rear end, but it turned out great. It's almost 300 pages long because I published from the time I began the blog (April, 2008) until Dec.31, 2010. If you are thinking about making your blog into a book I recommend doing one year at a time. It's tedious to reformat each page, but once you get the hang of it, it is not too bad. Here are some sample pages of how the book turned out...
I went to a crop on Sunday. It felt good to have un-interrupted crop time. Here are my pages:

Thanks for looking!!! Tomorrow I'll be back to share some birthday party pics!

Monday, January 17, 2011

2nd Lost Tooth & Chicken Orzo

Congrats to Lily on her second lost tooth. It fell out at school and the nurse gave her this cute little tooth necklace for carrying it home.

The tooth fairy came and brought her $5!! Lucky girl!

Chicken and Orzo
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 small garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
28 oz. chicken broth
2 cups orzo pasta
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
1/2 cup grated cheese (Parmesan, Romano, or whatever you like. I used Gruyere because I had some leftover)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a deep skillet, heat EVOO. Add onion and garlice and cook 2-3 minutes. Add poultry seasoning and broth and bring to a boil. Add orzo and chicken and stir. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
Stir in cheese and season to taste. Crusty bread makes a great addition!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Many years ago, before children, in a galaxy far far away, Jack and I went to Cancun with our friends Dennis and Andra. We stayed in this fabulous resort. Our friends got sick on the trip (I think from drinking the water) and we ended up spending a lot of time at the hotel. So, we decided to try some of the delicious dishes on the room service menu. We went crazy for the chicken tortilla soup! I don't know what it WAS about that soup, but we loved it! I think we ordered it several times! When we came home from the trip we tried a few times to replicate the soup, to no avail!

This soup isn't exactly the same. The one in Mexico was more of a clear, broth base, but this one blows the Mexico soup out-of-the-water! And that's saying a LOT!

I found the recipe for this soup on the Pioneer Woman website, but I made some modifications to it, because I'm me. And I like to do things my way! Heehee (Jack is nodding his head right now!)

So, here is my version of:
Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 & 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 diced red onion
1/2 diced orange pepper
1/2 diced yellow pepper
1/2 diced red pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chiles
32 oz. chicken stock
3 Tbsp tomato paste
4 cups water
2 cans black beans, drained
3 Tbsp cornmeal
5 whole corn tortillas, cut into strips
1 lime
sour cream, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 375*. Mix cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and little salt. Drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil on 2 chicken breasts and sprinkle small amout of spice mix on both sides. Reserve the remaining spice mix.
  2. Place chicken breasts on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Shred chicken with forks when done. Set aside chicken.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp EVOO in a pot over medium high heat. Stir in tomato paste. (I've read that cooking tomato paste in olive oil helps to remove acidity. I didn't taste it, but I'm going with it...). Stir for a minute or two. Add onions, garlic, and peppers. Stir in the remaining spice mix. Cook 3-4 minutes or until soft.
  4. Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, water, black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in reserved shredded chicken.
  5. Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into soup. (Adds a slight corn flavor. Very slight. In fact, this is optional because I hardly tasted it at all. Maybe if you add more, it'll make a difference. Try it and let me know.) Add a couple of handfuls of chopped cilantro and the juice of one-half of a lime.
  6. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Ladel into bowl and top with a dollop of sour cream, some chopped cilantro, a sprinkle of red onion and a lime slice!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy Birday

I love birthdays. I love decorating the house for my kids's special days. I love hosting a backyard barbecue every year for Jack's 3rd of July birthday. I love going out to dinner for my parents' and sisters' birthdays. But...I don't like my own birthday. I hate getting older. I hate looking in the mirror and discovering a new wrinkle. I know I shouldn't feel that way. Life is too short. I should embrace my age, or whatever it is that Oprah always says. I should feel proud that I'm good shape and have oily skin, so those wrinkles aren't nearly as bad as they COULD be, but I'm human, and I just don't like my birthday.

Despite my feelings, my family tried really hard to make my morning a special day. I got this awesome card from Lily... And these smiling faces greeted me at the kitchen table this morning...
And my kids worked really hard to make me a "special birthday breakfast." Lily laid out the napkin-placemat and placed two doughnuts on my plate. LOL (I didn't eat either one. Not a fan of doughnuts or the calories that come with them!) Matt made the French Toast sticks and prepared the cereal bowl and peeled the Cutie for me. Zoey sat next to me and sang, "Happy Birthday Toodles," (Toodles is Mickey Mouse's friend on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and she recently watched the episode where it was Toodles' birthday).

But the best part of the morning so far was when Lily's teacher called me to say that Lily announced to the whole class, "Today is my mom's birthday and she is 21 today!" Thanks, Lily...that truly made me smile!!
I think today is going to be a good day! :)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin