November 30, 2008

{ Christmas Time is Here! }

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend. We had our little house full of family & it was great! The food was delicious & we had just enough. Whew! I spent some time shopping with my sisters this weekend, along with everyone else in the world! And, of course, I pulled all of our Christmas bins out & got started on decorating for the most wonderful time of the year!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. I still have so much to do! I feel like Christmas is going to be over before we know it, so I want to get my decorations as quickly as I can. I haven't checked any blogs this weekend so, I'm excited to see what everyone is up to. I can't wait to see everyone's amazing ideas!

P.S. Just wanted to let you know that the { JOY } project that I did in this post looked great but, didn't last. I'm sure I followed the instructions of using a Sharpie & baking it in the oven & everything but, when I washed it in the dishwasher I was able to wipe the { JOY } right off. Bummer! I guess you could still do it but, it would be more for decorative use than real eating off of it use. Just keepin' it real. I didn't want to mislead any of my blogging friends. Sorry!

November 27, 2008

{ Give Thanks }

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

November 25, 2008

{ Thankful For a Rather Large Family }

Happy day before the day before Thanksgiving! We are running around crazy here trying to get ready for our crowd of 34 for Thanksgiving dinner! Yes! I said 34! And 3 of the siblings' & their families are not even coming! Have I mentioned my hubby & I come from rather large families? But, we love it! It will be so fun!

photo: Martha Stewart

And we're cheating this year. We ordered Claim Jumper for dinner. Shhh! Maybe that's a big no-no out there in blogland. Aw, I don't care. It will be so much easier to prepare, clean up, etc...especially with all those people coming! One less thing to stress about, right?

photo: Martha Stewart

By the way, I was lucky enough to get a couple of awards this week! Ashley from Domestic Fashionista was kind to think of me...

And Laurel over at Ducks in a Row awarded me with this! Thank you so much, gals!

One of the rules of this award is that I need to list 6 things that I am grateful for. What could be more perfect for this time of year? I have so many things to be grateful for but, for this, I would like to list some of the silly little things that make life a bit sweeter for me. Here we go...

1. reading a good book in my jammies on a rainy day
2. apple crisp with ice cold milk
3. anything from Anthropology
4. tomato soup from Nordstrom Cafe
5. Christmas music anytime
6. old movies {especially ones starring Cary Grant}

I am also grateful for our rather large family & that we get to host Thanksgiving this year. It helps me get the house into shape & prepared for Christmas decorations! Yay!

photo: Country Home

So now I get to pick a few of my favorite bloggers to pass this award onto.

1. A Work in Progress- AJ is so sweet. She always leaves me nice comments.

2. For the Love of my Home & Life- I just found her blog & love her ideas.

3. Lola B's Boutique- Kasey is way too cute & fun. Love her! And she has a cute shop!

4. Just a Girl- Cuz, I want to award her to death. :)

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

November 24, 2008

{ Are You Ready? }

Country Living
There's so much cleaning to be done around here! It's going to be a busy week getting ready for the big day of the big feast! Are you ready?

November 22, 2008

{ Neighbor Gifts & Goodies }

I mentioned that I taught a class at church titled Neighbor Gifts & Goodies. I thought I would share a few of the ideas that I had on display. This first one was an idea for a child's little or big buddy at school {you may not have to worry about that at your elementary school}. The plastic cups were from Walmart, 4 for $1. Add a Pez, candy canes & some chocolate candies & your ready to go.

The idea of this class was to buy ordinary things & package them up cute with a clever tag for a budget friendly gift. Hope you enjoy!

This was wrapped onto a Hershey's bar. Everyone got a kick out of the poem.

If you want to see more, here is a list for you to check out.

November 21, 2008

{ Muddy Buddies }

I got some great comments from my last post about how good my handwriting is on my project. I have a confession. Although I do have some nice handwriting, I cheated. I used the old trick of printing out the { JOY } on my computer, rubbing a pencil on the back, turning it over & tracing it onto my bowl. Don't look too close at it. By the end I did have to do some freehand when the pencil started rubbing off as I was going over it with my Sharpie. But, thank you for thinking I was really that talented to be able to freehand it. You gals know how to make a girl feel good about herself.

On to my post for the day, I have another recipe for you. This is my son's favorite treat...Muddy Buddies. The title alone sounds like boys should like it. I'm sure some of you have already tried this one.

Muddy Buddies
9 cups Chex cereal (our favorite it Chocolate Chex)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

In a 1 qt. bowl microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter & butter for about 1 minute & stir. Microwave 30 second longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal & stir until evenly coated. Pour into 2 gallon Ziploc bag & add powdered sugar. Shake bag until evenly coated. Spread on cookie sheet & store in airtight container in refrigerator.

I taught a class at church a couple of days ago titled Neighbor Gifts & Goodies-Easy & Budget Friendly Ideas for the Holidays. I used Muddy Buddies for one of the ideas & this is how I packaged it up to display.

It's all in the presentation, right? Put it in a bowl {the one with { JOY } on the bottom}, tie with a ribbon, make a cute tag & it's ready to give away. But make sure you save some for yourself. It's too yummy to give all of it away.

November 20, 2008

{ JOY }

I wanted to show you one of the projects that I tried from Just a Girl's I Can Do That party. For the life of me, I CAN NOT find the blog where I found it. I'm sooo sorry. I searched & searched so I could give you credit but, I could never find you. Maybe you will find my blog one day & let me know it was you. It is a super idea. You take a Sharpie permanent marker & get creative on any kind of white dish. I got this one at Walmart for about $3. The bigger one underneath is a pasta dish also from Walmart for about $3. Anyway, after you are finished with your design, you put it in a 350* oven for 20 minutes to make it permanent. Awesome!

There are so many possibilities with this. You could use colored markers for pictures. Your kids could draw a picture or write their name for a personalized bowl. It would be cute to write the word "cookies" around the edge of a plate & fill the plate with homemade cookies for a neighbor gift. What about a special birthday plate. I think I'm going to do that one next! The possibilities are endless.

{ Give Thanks }

I don't have too many Thanksgiving decorations so I was excited to make this tin sign at our church's craft night. Super easy, since the words were vinyl. It literally took 2 minutes to make from start to finish. That included tying the ribbon. And it only cost me $10!

I love it hanging on my little shelf. Sorry for the blurry picture. A new camera is on my Christmas list but, I give thanks that we have what we have. We are blessed in many ways.

November 19, 2008

{ Pretzel Hugs }

Here's a simple, so easy the kids can do it, treat! And they're yummy too!

Supply list:
1 9 0z. bag pretzels
2 12 oz. bags Hershey HUGS
1 bag of m&m’s

First lay out the pretzels on a cookie sheet like this...

Then place a HUG on top of each one like this...

Then cook for about 3 1/2 minutes in a 200* oven. You want the HUGS to get soft, not melt & lose their shape. Take out of the oven & place an m&m on each one like this...

Refrigerate to set up & keep stored in refrigerator.

And there you go! Package them up cute for a gift or eat 'em up yourself!

November 13, 2008

{ I'm a Copy Cat }

What can I say. I'm a big copy cat. It' the sincerest form of flattery, right? I have been racking my brain, trying to come up with ideas on a how we can celebrate Thanksgiving & make it more than a one day hoorah so, of course, I went to my precious blogland for ideas. My favorite idea came from Just a Girl who got it from The High Heeled Mama.

The High Heeled Mama's fireplace

Isn't it cute! The idea is that every day each of us writes down what we are thankful for. So, Ms. Sassypant's & I traced & cut leaves out last night while watching a recording of Dancing With the Stars. {note to self: next year go get them die-cut}

I love how The High Heeled Mama hung them across her fireplace but, since we don't have one, we hung them down the stairs.

The kids are having fun with it. So far, some of the things they are grateful for are ice cream, church, Cap'n Crunch & family.

I like the idea of saving them each year so we can look back at them. And maybe we'll get enough to decorate the Thanksgiving table! Go to Just a Girl to get more cute ideas on ways we can help our kids {& ourselves} remember the many blessings we have.

November 10, 2008

{ I Can Make That }

Chris over at Just a Girl is hosting a blog party today! She is calling it "I Can Make That" & it's to help us get ideas for Christmas gifts this year that we can make ourselves. I know I am cutting back this year so this is a great idea. Head on over to her blog & check out all the great ideas.

My contribution to the party are coasters! I love vintage postcards, especially Halloween & Christmas ones. I found these images online & to my suprise I had quite a few on my PrintShop program. I printed out 4 images that I liked & trimmed them to size using my ripped paper decorative scissors.

Next I Mod Podged them onto these tiles. I bought darker ones that were not tumbled because I wanted a smoother finish.

After they dried, I cut felt squares to size & glued them to the bottom so they won't scratch your furniture.

And wah, lah! Quick & easy, right!

Oh yah, you should do at least 2 coats of Mod Podge...3 would be best. Just to make sure it is liquid proof.

You could use any images that you like. I did pictures of my kids just for fun. I printed the images out in sepia tone & used the tumbled tiles for these. The skies the limit!

If you have a great "I Can Make That" idea, go to the Just a Girl blog & join the party!

November 8, 2008

{ An Attempt at a Tutorial }

I don't usually post on the weekends but, I finished this project last night & was excited to share it with you. I saw some very cute art display thingies in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog & thought I could make them myself. Well, a few years later, I finally decided to just do it. And guess what, they weren't as difficult as I made them out to be in my mind. And I think they turned out pretty cute.

I started with a 1x4 that was 2 feet long & started drilling holes. Okay, not really. There was lots of measuring involved. First I measured where I wanted the big clips to go & drilled small pilot holes for the screws that would hold the clips on. Then I was able to see where the holes would go for hanging it. Now this is where it gets a little tricky. Not because it was too hard, but because I am going to have a hard time explaining it. I found these little wood plugs in the toolbox so I decided that I wanted to hide the screws used to hang it. First I drilled a hole the size of the screw. Big enough for it to slip right in without having to screw it in but, not too big. You don't want the screw head to go through. Then I used a bigger drill bit {the size needed for the wood plug} & taped off how deep I wanted to drill. You don't want to drill all the way through, of course, but deep enough to make room for the screw head & the wood plug to fit into it. I used electrical tape because that's all I could find. It worked well & came off easily when I was finished. Phew! I hope that all makes sense.

Then I spray painted them white. They would be cute in a fun color as well.

Here are the big clips I used. They are about $5 for two. Yikes! I had a hard time with that price. That's one of the reasons it took me so long to get started on this project.

To attach the clips to the board you need to get screws that have a larger head than the hole on the clips.

By the way, this is what Peanut & Boo did while I was tinkering in the garage. Sitting at the end of the driveway, talking & eating yummy fudgesicles on a nice, warm California autumn day. Perfect!

And here's the finished project! I made two but, if you had a longer wall, you could use a longer board with 5 clips. I'm sorry for the lame attempt at the tutorial. I had a hard time explaining it. But I love how they turned out & the girl's think it's pretty nifty too.

My hubby wasn't as impressed as I was of myself. He already thinks I can do anything. :)

November 7, 2008

{ M.I.A. }

I've been missing in action, as they say. I have been busy, busy, busy with many, many projects. Halloween is put away & Thanksgiving is up. I'm hoping to get most of my projects done this weekend so I will have lots to show you next week. Have a great weekend!

November 3, 2008

{ Halloween Night }

We had a great Halloween. My sisters & I made taco soup for dinner with homemade breadsticks. Yum! We also made this really delicious appetizer.

Here's the recipe:

Cream Cheese Harvest Dip
Mix together & shape onto serving dish:
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
¼ cup cheddar cheese (grated)
1/3 cup sweetened coconut

Layer in this order on top of cream cheese:
Apricot jam
Green onion (chopped)
Pecans (chopped)
Craisins (boil water-add craisins & boil for 5 minutes; drain)

Serve with crackers. (butter crackers are best!)

I know it sounds like a weird combination of food but try it. It is really good!

We also made some pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. They were a hit.

This is what the living room looked like after the trick-or-treating was finished. You can't even see all of the candy that was under the pool table. Too, too much!

Our elementary school is asking the kids to bring their extra Halloween candy to send to the troops in Iraq. So last night I had my kids pick out 30 of their favorite candies to keep & I bagged up the rest to donate. They also wrote letters to the soldiers to go with it. I think it's a terrific idea.