Sunday, November 30, 2008

comfort foods

My nose is nearly running off of my face yet still, I cook. There is plenty left to put away from our trip, laundry yet undone, a house not particularly clean and the looming holiday decorating and shopping yet I cook.

I borrowed this photo but since the recipe that followed mirrored mine exactly, I feel it is OK to show you! I use a recipe from the Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust box and it is the best:

Classic Pot Pie

1-15 oz. Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust
1/3 c. butter or margarine
1/3 c. chopped onion
1/3 c. flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 ½ c. chicken broth
2/3 c. milk
2 ½ cups cooked chopped chicken or chicken breasts (you can buy this pre-cooked in the refrigerated case)
1- 10 oz. bag frozen mixed vegetables, thawed (one with corn, beans, and peas etc.)

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pie crusts as directed on package for a two-crust pie using a 9 inch pie pan.
In medium saucepan, melt margarine over medium heat. Add onion; cook 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until blended well. Gradually stir in broth and milk; cook, stirring constantly until bubbly and thickened.
Add chicken and mixed vegetables; remove from heat. Spoon chicken mixture into pie crust. Top with second crust and flute; cut slits in several places.
Bake at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until crust is golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

I place the pie pan on a baking sheet covered with foil b/c this inevitable cooks over making a big mess!

***My super Mom and sister visited yesterday and brought me Thanksgiving leftovers so I used turkey breast instead of chicken tonight. Yum.

I had also thawed out some ground beef so I made super quick vegetable soup:

30 minute vegetable soup

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. garlic
1 jar 20-30 oz. chunky garden style pasta sauce (I used Ragu, about ¾ of a jar)
water to taste (start with 1 soup can) (I actually omitted this, I like thick soup)
2 cans beef broth
1 can 10 oz chopped tomatoes and chilies
1 bag 16 oz frozen mixed vegetables, thawed if you have time

Sauté meat, onion and garlic together in stockpot. Drain any fat. Next, add everything else. Remember to add only part of the pasta sauce. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Toss in fresh spinach if you’d like (I did not) until wilted, about 1 minute. Serve with grated cheddar or parmesan for garnish.

I was so sick of eating out, and particularly eating fried food, that some home cooking should be exactly what I need to get me on track for life in the real world. And for snow :)

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

christmas card photo

The one that did not make it! I had a few really cute choices from last week and I totally love this tree on the beach in Captiva but I had a better shot of my girls and I chose it. In the interest of saving time (and money!) I actually ordered a ready made photo card from Costco. I have designed my own for the past few years but sometimes, a girl has to do, what a girl has to do. I am soooo behind this year so I am happy to check one thing off of my list and they had some super cute choices. Maybe this will free me up to do a few more crafty things I had in mind.
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Friday, November 28, 2008

a vacation recap

No better way to start the weekend than with BEACH pictures! And my sweet little beach babes. Florida in November is much different than going for a summer vacation. The days are shorter, the nights crisp, the water cool! But it was a very relaxing and fun break. Once I come up from under the laundry and tackle the homework from 4 days of missed school, I hope to get into the spirit of Christmas. Could it be just around the corner? I am in total denial.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the view from here...

My two girls looking out at two very near dolphins! A definite highlight of our trip: a boat ride through the Florida Keys and some fabulous dolphin sightings!
I have a laptop but very spotty service so I just stole an hour in a computer room with wi-fi and the quiet has been wonderful but went by in a flash. I am looking forward to our very non-traditional Thanksgiving, and then a plane ride back to HOME and FAMILY.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

forecast: mostly sunny

I am going to say very little but this sun might be a hint. I may be scarce, or missing for about one week and I might be in a warm, sunny place.

When I return, I am going to be hitting the crafting, shopping, gift making, and gift wrapping like a fool so be warned!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

high praise for Nintendo

Best customer service I have received in a very long time...from this company! Long story short but the borrowed Nintendo DS stopped working. Lights came on when it was plugged into the wall, but no all. So, I slowly resign myself to buying a new one to replace it, lamenting the $130 price tag. I google "nintendo ds troubleshoot" and come across Nintendo's 800#. I call, and get a live person, nearly immediately, on a Sunday. Yes, you read all that correctly. This person determined it is 100% covered under warranty, including the return shipping via FEDEX. Off this little guy goes tomorrow with an estimated return in 9-11 days. If they cannot repair it, they will replace it. Go Nintendo! This makes Santa more willing to purchase a few more of your games for two game systems coming our way.
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Friday, November 14, 2008

my first thrift finds!

I do walk around when I drop off my own stuff for donation at the local St. Vincent DePaul but have never happened upon a treasure. Today I came armed with a list, at the top were wool sweaters for felting. I thought I had struck gold finding this enormous men's sweater at 100% cashmere. I mean, I actually do not know, but from what I have read on other thrifter's blogs, this is gold, so I found joy based on that. So, I got it for $2 b/c it had some moth holes. I got another 100% wool sweater for about $2 more and then this desk hutch. Sigh. It was sitting outside the front door as I walked in marked $12. I check it out, LOVE it for my office and go in only to find out that furniture is 50% off today. I did not even see the original $99.99 price tag until I loaded it in the car. It is so heavy, someone had to help me. I am so darned excited to clean it up and then spray paint it something fun, like orange, and then rough up the edges. I totally get the thrill of this thrifting business now! Hopefully, me and my meager sewing skills can also make someting of the sweaters. Are already washed and dried them. Now I am on the hunt for bright colors. This feels like yet another little I do not really have time for.
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

krystal hartley: feelin' frosty kit

You can find this kit at Funky Playground. Good stuff. That top layout is way outside of my norm, cutting out or extracting the photo but I thought it worked well here. Krystal also has a FREE alphabet on her blog so grab that too.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

crafting: a pencil wrap

I have seen this idea many times, both online, and then in my copy of BHG Weekend Decorating Ideas, which I love. That one said to use a dinner napkin, so I had two of these on hand from who knows when and gave it a try. The stripes actually made it VERY easy for me to sew straight and to space out the lines correctly. And this was FAST. My daughter's preschool class is collecting for an "artrageous" gift basket to be given away at the Cookies With Santa and I thought this would be perfect. I might get super ambitious, make another, and give it away here!
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Monday, November 10, 2008

camera strap slipcover: prototype

A clean house, and folded laundry are highly overrated. I'd rather make this, so I did :) A few improvements, I would change fabrics to something slightly less busy yet still modern but I had this around and it worked fine. Next, I'd shorten mine a bit to expose the "pleather" part on each end. Additionally, I will finish off each edge better, and maybe do an X inside a box, like I have seen on some others. I will also make it a tad wider so I can top stitch over both sides, that really finishes things off right. I am so grateful for all the sites that inspired me. I notice some of the above links are not working but if you do a search at etsy for "camera strap" you will see plenty.
Oh, a tad heavier fabric would look nicer too. I hesitate to line this with anything b/c it was pretty tricky to turn and then get onto the strap itself. Although, I am a notoriously BAD cutter and then my straight lines when sewing could only be called semi-straight at best. I will share once I make another and work out some of the kinks.

Today, I made this recipe for the teachers' conference tomorrow after school. Super easy. Super yummy. Peanutty Buckeye Bars. Photo from BHG website.
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Sunday, November 9, 2008

fashion camera straps

I have probably been coveting several versions of these for about two years. Again, the DIY-er in me kept thinking I could/would just knock it off. I have gone so far as to remove the strap from my film 35mm and was going to use that strap...just in case things did not work out well. Lo and behold today I run across this: a DSLR strap slipcover tutorial. Absolutely genious! I must make time to give this a try.
For those of you into instant gratification, check these out: : stop the presses, covers are available for sale too! quick release straps more sleeves/covers the original, ribbon covered strap

An internal conflict rages after all these search results: do I make one or simply add these to my Christmas list?! Pin It

Saturday, November 8, 2008

as promised, a FREEBIE!

A cute notecard that ANYONE can print at home onto cardstock. You do not need photoshop, just the free software available to open PDF files. My "from our house to yours" card can be downloaded HERE. Everything used to make this card can be found at Funky Playground Designs, the In the Neighborhood kit by Krystal Hartley and Jennifer Barrette. I used additional items to design the above "flyer" too. Great stuff, check it out!
Please share your comments. Have a great weekend.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

pdf files: print your own labels, bookmarks, cards tags...

over and over and over. I am thinking this is so genious. To get a feel for what I am talking about, see the above photo from the Lolly Chops blog. She has a ton of cute FREE tags and cards. You simply punch or cut them out. I have seen some great stuff on etsy too:

Little Brown Pen--my first intro to this idea, and a big fav, love the calendars too

Salamander-more cards

Stelie Designs-beautiful stationary, not print your own though

The do-it-yourselfer, photoshop lover in me just had to take this idea and run with it. So, I have already made a few personalized gifts in this fashion, however, since I am incorporating other designer's (digital scrapbook elements=perfect fit) I cannot offer anything here for free...yet. I believe I can make something simple enough on my own so stay tuned. Last week, the first set I made were for a good friend's birthday. First, I made a simplified version of the "gratitude wrap" and then 8 notecards using a tree template, and digital papers from Little Dreamer Designs.

Everything folds up neatly and can hold a journal, notecards and stamps. Love it!! I am going to buckle down soon and make my list for Christmas gift giving, and I hope I can make a few handmade things. Pin It

Sunday, November 2, 2008

guest designer for krystal hartley

Yea! It is finally November and I get to do some creating for Krystal Hartley. This is from the In The Neighborhood kit. Cute, huh?!! Wouldn't this house and the trees make for a cute change of address card?
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Saturday, November 1, 2008

2 halloween girls + 1 mom

Shelby's pumpkin had a carving accident so these Mr. Potato head style thing-ies saved the day on the reverse side. The bottom photo is my Angel and her Mom (me), the room Mom! All of our parties and activities for the day and night turned out very fun. And now it is November. How did that happen?! Oh, speaking of November it is 70+ beautiful degrees here.
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