Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Owen's 1st Birthday Invitations... DONE!

Have I mentioned how much I love Shutterfly?  They sent me a code for 10 free cards just in time for Owen's first birthday party. Now, they have some adorable cards on their site but I had already planned the theme and none were just exactly the right colors. Enter photoshop and a blissfully long afternoon nap for both kiddos. It took a little while to design but I'm SO happy with the results. Shutterfly had a folded card option with just one photo across the front so I designed my photo, uploaded it and viola! (as Fancy Nancy would say) completely custom birthday party invitations... for just over $6 after shipping. I couldn't be happier.

5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

And here's what the inside looks like (edited for the blog obviously...)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crockpot Spin Dip Chicken Tostadas

Today I was craving Spin Dip. But with the whole, gotta be a bridesmaid in about a month thing, it needed to be weight watchers friendly. So, I threw a bunch of stuff in the crockpot and crossed my fingers. Lucky for us it turned out AWESOME!! It makes a ton, fooled the kiddo into eating her veggies, felt sinful and had only 6 points for two tostadas!

‎4 Chicken Breasts, I left them frozen
2 8oz pkgs Fat Free Cream Cheese
1 lb Fresh Spinach
1 can Artichoke Hearts, Packed in water and drained
1 onion, chopped
1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp chili powder (I used chipotle), add more if you like it spicy
1 tsp garlic powder (a couple chopped cloves would work too)
24 corn tortillas

Spray Crock pot with Pam. Combine everything but the tortillas in a crock pot (you may have to work the spinach in batches). Cook on high 6 hours. Stir occasionally to keep it from sticking and shred the chicken. Take the lid off off the last half hour and turn it off 30 minutes prior to serving to allow it to thicken. 

Spray cookie sheet with pam. Arrange tortillas in a single layer. Spray with Pam and bake at 350 approx 30 minutes or until crispy. We topped ours with a little more mozzarella, fat free sour cream and diced tomatoes.

That's it! Seriously, that easy.  This would be a great party dip too. And no one would ever know it's practically fat free.  We estimated 12 servings, 2 tostadas per serving, 6 Weight Watchers Points Plus.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


This whole chicken fiasco has me riled up. It's too long for a status update or Tweet so I'm taking to my much neglected blog.

I've heard all day from the wingers standing up for the Christian Col. Sanders' free speech by waiting in line to buy a crappy chicken sandwich. Do they realize it's not one tiny bit about his free speech? It hasn't a thing to do with what he said. It has to do with large sums of money donated to thinly veiled hate groups. But I'm not the only one trying to get that message across. They just stick their thumbs in their ears..."la la la la can't hear you." Whatever.

It's actually the "You're only tolerant of people when they share your beliefs" argument that has me so mad tonight. I've heard many on my side of the debate say that they defend the CEO's right to say the things he did and donate where he sees fit. I don't. I don't tolerate it. I don't tolerate it in the same way I don't tolerate Fred Phelps and his gang. I don't tolerate Nazis and hate mongers and racists and bigots. And, fortunately, most of our society doesn't tolerate those things either. And we shouldn't. We shouldn't tolerate hate. Society is better because we won't tolerate it. Just because someone uses their religion to say that some people in America don't deserve equal rights and privileges under the law doesn't somehow make it tolerable. Just because in this instance the CEO is an old man, set in his ways, as I've heard some say doesn't make it tolerable.

It's not tolerable to work to keep a portion of the population unequal. It's not tolerable to hide your hatred in your god. Remember when that same god thought interracial marriage was an abomination? Or how about when the same god was okay with stoning your wife or having 900 wives?

I don't believe in God. But my mother does. And she once said to a bigot, "We're all God's children." I don't know about God, but I love all my children equally.

So, if you say to me, "You only preach tolerance when you agree with it," I will say to you that I will tolerate a difference in opinion about the economy and tax breaks for the wealthy and welfare and healthcare and foreign policy. But hate? Never. I will NOT tolerate hate.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Situation

We had a situation. A Bow Situation.

Two years ago my handy husband created these great shelves for me for Evie's room.

(Incidentally, he'll also make YOU a custom set for about $30 plus shipping.  Send me a message via my etsy site for more information.)

I stapled some ribbon to the bottom of one of them and all her bows were nicely stored... until they weren't.  My daughter is a total DIVA and has bows for every outfit she's ever had. It didn't take long for the FOUR FEET of ribbon to be completely full, the headbands to overflow the shelf and all the barrettes were just completely unmanageable because they slid right off the ribbon and were left on the little cards they came on to keep the sets together. In short, a mess. And that's how we lived until yesterday.


Craft-a-palooza involved 2 days and a grand investment of $2.  Yep. $2 is all I spent.

The first thing I made was a new framed bow holder to use in addition to the one we already had.

I didn't take pictures as I made it but trust me, it was so easy you won't need them.   I started with this idea I found on Pinterest. But I didn't like everything about it so I modified it a little bit.

1 natural wood document sized frame from the $1 store
Paint and paint brush
Quilters low loft batting
glue/hot glue

The first thing I did was take the frame apart and discard the glass. Then I painted the frame glossy white. You could spray paint it. Thanks to a previous project, I learned that spray painting is not one of my best skills so I slapped on a couple coats of left over paint from when we painted our baseboards. The frame was so cheap and rough, it didn't need sanding and the heavier the coats the better to hide it's many imperfections.

While the paint dried I worked on the rest.  The back of my cheap frame was a flimsy cardboard so it needed to be beefed up a little.  I laid it on top of some batting and cut around it leaving about an inch all the way around to fold over the edge.  I folded it over and glued it down.  If your backing is more substantial staples would work great but my cardboard wouldn't handle it.  Then I did the same thing with the fabric.  Mine is leftover muslin from my Christmas Stockings.  On the corners fold the point down first then glue the straight edges to keep it a little neater. I used clothespins to hold the fabric taught while the glue dried.

Next cut 4 strips of ribbon about 10 inches long.  Glue or staple the ribbon on the back side at regular intervals. When the paint dries on the frame pop the back into place (I let it dry overnight).  The back side is pretty messy but it's against the wall so no worries. I made a paper flower for mine, I'll get to that part in a moment.

...And the front full of bows. I had everything but the frame on hand so, total investment = $1.

Then the next day I set about making a headband holder.  I found this one on Pinterest and really liked that I could store all those Gymboree bows that tend to slide down the ribbons inside it.  Again, I modified it a smidge.

1 large container of Oatmeal (empty, duh)
2 sheets 12x12 scrapbook paper (double sided works great so the Quaker guy doesn't show through)
Glue and/or Mod podge
1 dollar store Candle Stick

I already had everything but the candle stick so total investment = $1!

First measure your oatmeal container. Mine was 9 1/2 inches tall x 16 inches around.  Cut both your 12 x 12 pages to 9 1/2 x 12 and save the scraps. If your paper is patterned  match up your pattern and glue your pages together to make a 9 1/2 x (approx) 23 inch piece.  Cut your piece to approximately 91/2 x 17 so there's a little overlap when you wrap it around your container. Apply glue to your oatmeal container and glue the paper down firmly. I used mod podge. When the glue was dry I applied another coat of mod podge to the  outside to make it a little more water/hairspray/detangler proof. When the outside was dry I applied glue to the bottom and glued the candle stick on. That E6000 stuff would probably work pretty well for this.

While the candle stick dried, I used a scrap of paper to cut a circle the size of the lid and glued it on with mod podge.

Here is the finished product filled with barrettes and holding the headbands-

While the glue was drying on the oatmeal container I was looking at the left over scraps of paper and they were the perfect size to make this little paper flower (yeah, I found that on pinterest too).  

Evie helped with the flower so, it's not perfect but it worked. I didn't do the cut edges as it says in the tutorial though.  The purple center is the opposite side of the paper cut with a 1 1/2" circle punch from Creative Memories. The flower in the center is also a Creative Memories punch. I think the paper is Stampin' Up but I'm not sure. It was a thoughtful gift from my sister in law.  When the flower was dry I glued it to the corner of the bow holder  to cover an imperfection (what do you expect for a $1 frame?)  There ya go- Coordinating Bow and headband holders for a grand total of $2! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Apple Cinnamon FLUFFY pancakes

Last week we decided to try a bunch of new recipes for dinner. One of the ones we tried was a Weight Watchers recipe for vegetable fritters. I was sort of ho hum about it. It wasn't very filling and called for red peppers (which I hate). BUT it was super fluffy and I was inspired to try it as a pancake recipe instead.  Using that as my basis I experimented this morning with GREAT results.  I give you the FLUFFIEST pancakes EVER. And only 5 WW Pts + per serving (and that includes syrup and cool whip!)

Fluffy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Serves: 4  5 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving

2 Egg Whites
1/2 cup Skim Milk
1 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 Cup Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp White Sugar
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp table salt
1 small Apple, very finely chopped
1  Egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Cooking Spray
1/4 cup sugar free pancake syrup (I like Carey's)
4 Tbs Cool Whip Free


Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until a stiff meringue forms. Set aside. Combine milk and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside (alternatively you can use 1/2 cup buttermilk and skip this step). Combine Dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir in Milk mixture, egg, apple, and vanilla extract  until combined.  Gently fold in beaten egg whites.  Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium - medium/low heat. When hot add in scoop fulls of batter.  It will be too fluffy for the old flipping standard of bubbles popping on top so keep an eye on it and when the underside is browned and the pancakes are stiffer turn them.

Makes approximately 8 pancakes (2 pancakes per serving).

Serve 2 pancakes topped with 1/4 of the sugar free syrup and 1 Tbs Cool Whip free and some finely sliced apples.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Where does the time go?

Seriously?! Where does the time go!? It seems like yesterday we were bringing home our sweet little boy. I blinked (you know I didn't sleep) and suddenly he's 4 months old already and Evie is closer to 3 than 2! I know I'm way behind on my blogging. I just haven't been up to it or thought it couldn't wait until tomorrow... and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...

So here we are. Owen turned 4 months on Saturday. He is 26.75" tall (95%) and 15lb 1oz (56%). He is the SWEETEST baby. He only cries when he's hungry and you haven't fed him after he's been telling you for about 20 minutes. He is full of smiles, even when he got a vaccine today. He loves watching his big sister and interacting with all of us. He still loves to be held but is seeking a little independence. He's so tall that he's able to comfortably stand in the exersaucer and really enjoys playing with those toys. Evie was excited to see them come back out too and likes to "teach" her brother how to use them. "Teach" is in quotes because she's more likely to push his hand away so she can play with it herself but when asked she says she's teaching him.

Owen has rather exceptional long curly hair. I should probably have it trimmed just to keep it out of his eyes but I'm not gonna. :)

The weather has been so nice that he's gotten to try the outside swing out and he thought that was okay. I think he was more enamored with the silly faces I made while I pushed him. He's also very ticklish, a fact I exploit at every opportunity. Love those baby giggles.

I thought having 2 kids would be difficult. And it's certainly challenging but not as hard as I thought it would be. I think Evie needs more one on one time than I am able to give her but her Daddy has really stepped up and done a lot with her lately. As for Owen, we have a weekly date with Glee on Wednesday afternoons while Evie naps. I cherish that time to spend just with him doing nothing else in particular.

Evie is growing and looks so much like a little girl.

She has a mind of her own and speaks it. She is smarter than I am and I'm not sure what to do about that. Example: I told her she'd be in trouble if she pee peed in her diaper while she was awake a knew better. In the morning she'd taken her diaper off and peed all over her bed. But her diaper was dry as a bone. Note to self: be more specific.  She has gotten into Disney princesses much to my chagrin. I told her I didn't like the princesses because they didn't have any girl friends, their only friends were animals. She said she'd be their friend so I would be happy. See, smarter than me. She wants her hair fixed like a princess most days and loves to run around in her tutu and fairy wings. But she also loves Fancy Nancy and we are happy to encourage that.

We think a Fancy Nancy birthday party may be in order this year. Evie is scared of Wolves. Don't know why. But we've been checking out library books where the wolf is the good guy to try to combat the fear.

Winter is the hardest. Short days, cold weather (though not so bad this year). We do great in the mornings where we have a pretty set routine and schedule of events and playdates. But the afternoons are sort of long unstructured time. So we're striking back with arts and crafts. I use her nap time to come up with an activity (Thanks Pinterest!) and we work on it in the afternoon until dinner time. It really helps. So far we've done things as simple as glue cotton balls to print outs of snowmen  to painting with TP tubes.  Here are a few other activities we have done recently:

Marshmallow Shooter- This one results in shoes filled with mini marshmallows such that a few days later Evie was eating found marshmallows that came from the shoes...ewww.
Valentine Bee- cut out hearts. Let Evie glue them down and decorate. EASY

TP Tube Hortons- Evie loved using her scissors to make the hair.

Bow Valentines- We made 3 different bows for Evie's girl friends and then put them on paint chips for her to give her friends.

Finger puppet monsters- We got the idea off etsy but were able to easily make them ourselves. I just used some fleece I had left over from making hats (the same fleece I used for the stockings we made at Christmas). We cut out the finger shape and then Evie helped glue on the pieces of the faces. Later I embroidered the mouths and stitched them up. We are using paint chips for those cards too. I just cut a little finger type shape to slide the puppets on and then made a little tag on photoshop. Evie helped cut them out and glue them on the cards. Free valentines! Can't beat that.

Cat Masks- we did these before the Cotton Bowl to show we were equal opportunity party hostesses.

Razorback hats- I made this one up myself and was really pleased with out how it turned out. The hats were perfect for the Cotton Bowl party. And we made noses out of cut up TP tubes too!

Family Tree- I didn't even use Pinterest for this idea! Evie is having a hard time grasping the concept of families. She doesn't understand that her Grammy is also my Mommy so I thought this would help her. I made a worksheet on photoshop and put our names on it.

Then I made another file with 1"x1" square photos of each person. I cut them out and she and her Daddy sat down together and glued the faces on the appropriate squares while I cooked dinner. It was so cute listening to them talk. "You have a mommy?!" Evie asked Mike.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Santa's Mailbox Ornament DIY

Evie is just starting to understand who Santa is so we haven't quite reached the Letters to Santa phase yet. But I'm looking forward to it. This year I had her "write" a letter and I'm going to print up a list of what she got for Christmas and another list of what Owen got on his first Christmas. Then it's all going into these cute little ornaments I put together during the miraculous few minutes that both children napped at the same time.

I love Christmas ornaments. LOVE THEM. My favorite day is Black Friday because I spend all day getting the tree up. I pull out each ornament and I can tell you who gave it to me, where and why. We collect ornaments when we go on vacations, we each get a Hallmark ornament each year plus more on special occasions. I love the hand made ones I've received from loved ones. I plan to make one of these each year and then I'll most likely go and re-read their Christmas lists each Black Friday.

To make your own you'll need: 1 toilet paper tube, a 12" piece of ribbon or string, glue or Mod Podge, Scrapbook paper, hole punch, scissors, computer and printer (optional).

I started by creating this template. Please feel free to print and use it. Make sure it is 4 1/4" Wide x 6" Long when you print it.

I added a name to the flag and printed it directly on scrapbook paper.

If you choose not to use my template just cut your scrapbook paper to 4.25"wide x 6" long.

Coat the back of your paper with glue or Mod Podge and (if you're using the image above) starting at the bottom where the line is glue it around the TP tube.

It should overlap a little. Allow glue to dry slightly so the paper doesn't slide around. But you don't want it hard yet.

Punch 2 holes in the top of your ornament about 1 1/4 inches in on each side, as shown.

Tie a knot at one end of your ribbon so it doesn't pull through the hole. Thread the un-knotted end through the hole from the inside out. Then down through the other hole and tie another knot in the end.

Gently push the ends together along the half circle lines.

Glue one end closed.

Wrap a rubber band around your ornament to hold the bends in place while the glue dries.

In the meantime, make your letter. Of course a child can just write a letter and decorate it however they like. I made Evie a little letter sheet since she can't write yet. Feel free to print it out if you like.

Evie's letter is on a plain sheet of letter sized computer paper.  I trimmed it to 6" wide and I glued a 6" x 2.25" piece of coordinating scrapbook paper to the bottom.

To fit it in the ornament, first fold the scrapbook paper back right along the edge.

Then, with the "Dear Santa" facing up, fold the whole sheet in half short ways.

Next fold it in half short ways again.

The scrapbook paper should now be on top. Gently roll your letter with the scrapbook page out so you have a 2.25" tube.

And there you go! Easy, Fast and FREE! Love that!