Friday, November 30, 2007

Decorating the Tree

Last night we put our Christmas tree up. I put up the tree while M was still at work so we could decorate it when he got home. We had dinner and then we set up M's computer with a Christmas radio channel playing (since I cannot find any Christmas CD's so far -- they are still packed far far away), and started to decorate. The kids were hilarious with their decorating. They would put all the silver snowflakes on one branch and then all the jingle bells on another branch -- oh and only on the very bottom of the tree. DH and I had to remedy the tree a little once they were done. It was funny! After we had the tree up we did a photo session to have some fun family pictures (and because I *might* be a little obsessed with taking pictures.) I love the two pictures at the top -- my kids look so grown up them - kind of freaked me out!

I can't believe Christmas is so soon. I am working on some fun elf gifts for a couple sweet people and I am trying to get most of our house unpacked before Christmas. We shall see how it goes. Hope your holiday season is not too hectic so far . . . oh and if you have not entered to win the pinecone ball kit -- see the post directly below for how to do that -- the winner will be drawn tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pinecone Balls Revisited

So lately I have been noticing that a lot of the traffic to my blog has been to the tutorial on how to make the pinecone balls that I put together about a year ago. SO, due to the increase in popularity, I thought I would get rid of some of my extra supplies on hand (because I made some already this year again and my fingers are sore enough) -- I have decided to giveaway a kit that contains enough supplies to make three balls. It features some great papers and ribbon and will be similar to the ones you may have seen at I know it is not a huge giveaway, but I thought it would be fun! To enter, tell me what your favorite Christmas tradition is in the comments section of this post. I will draw a random winner on December 1st, so enter today!!!

UPDATED: We have a WINNER -- Post number 44 was chosen using the random number generator and the winner is *drum roll please*

Rosella said...

WOW! I'd love to make some of these beautiful pinecones! I think my favorite Xmas tradition is getting and putting up the tree!

2:20 PM

Send me an email with your address and I will send that out to you as soon as possible! Thanks for everyone who participated and shared your awesome holiday traditions. I am excited to borrow some of them! You all are great!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

House Warming????

So my house has been officially broken in . . . while BIL & SIL were here, they brought their little not so potty trained puppy and he peed and pooped a couple times on the new carpet. I had been doing so well with keeping my puppy from going on it too . . . *sigh* Then J and his cousin decided to color on the walls in blue crayon and pencil. So my living room/dining room now has those all over it.

Today was a rough day! My sweet children decided to color on my upstairs hallway walls with black sharpie, and my DD decided to tell me that her brother did it. Her brother was the only one to get in trouble because I did not notice until I was doing the primer that DD wrote her name on one of the chairs so basically I knew she lied to me at that moment and my heart sank. It is the first time she has ever lied to me *cries*

The primer seemed to cover it well. Now I just need to get a small roller to put the paint over top of it again . . . . hopefully it turns out well.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Leftovers??? Try this . . .

This is just the yummiest recipe. We just had it for dinner tonight and it is great!!! Tastes like thanksgiving in a bowl! Enjoy!!!

Thanksgiving-Leftovers Shepherd's Pie
Serves 4 to 6

* 3 cups cooked stuffing
* 1 cup cranberry sauce, plus more for topping (optional)
* 1 pound sliced cooked Roast Turkey With Sage
* 10 ounces glazed carrots, (or another leftover vegetable) (I used green beans and corn)
* 4 to 6 tablespoons gravy (I just poured about a 1/2 cup of gravy over the top, maybe more)
* 3 to 4 cups mashed potatoes


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, mound stuffing on bottom; layer with cranberry sauce, turkey, and carrots. Drizzle with gravy; spread potatoes over surface to sides of dish. Top with more cranberry sauce, if desired.
2. Bake until heated through and potatoes are golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I have so much to be thankful for this year. I have been so blessed. I have a wonderful hubby and two wonderful children and we all recently moved into our dream house. I am spoiled absolutely rotten and feel loved. I have amazing friends, amazing blog readers/friends, who make me feel like I am at least kind of good at this whole stamping thing and inkspire me all the time to be better. I am thankful for all the amazing things I have given to me, as well as the little challenges that help me to be a better person.

So, in case you all had not noticed, I like to cook and bake. I think it is fun! However, after completing thanksgiving dinner, I think I might be in need of a little break. I thought I would share with you some of the food I cooked and recipes to go with it, so plan on bookmarking this post! *grins*

Our Thanksgiving menu:

**Breakfast: Cold cereal, orange slices, melon slices, orange yogurt cake

Orange Yogurt Cake

Orange-Yogurt Cake

Makes one 8-inch round cake

Unsalted butter, softened, for pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus 1 tablespoon orange juice
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large oranges (1 zested into thin strips, both segmented)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Stir flour, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, yogurt, oil, orange zest and juice, egg, and vanilla in a bowl. Pour into pan. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
2. Place zest strips in a bowl. Stir in segments and remaining tablespoon sugar. Garnish cake with some segments; serve with the rest. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

**Snacks: Puppy Chow (Taylor's Recipe), Spinach Dip and Bread - photo above right (Knorr), Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Fruit Gobbler - photo above left (Recipe), and Veggies and Dip

NEW!!!!! By Request - Knorr Spinach Dip (from the Knorr Website)

PREP TIME: 10 Minute(s)
CHILL TIME: 2 Hour(s)

1 package (10 oz.) baby spinach, chopped or 1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 container (16 oz.) sour cream
1 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise
1 package Knorr® Vegetable recipe mix
1 can (8 oz.) water chestnuts, drained and chopped (optional)
3 green onions, chopped (optional)

Everyone loves our dip! Here's how we make it:
Combine all ingredients and chill about 2 hours. Serve with your favorite dippers to your favorite people.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs


2 pounds ground round (very lean) - I used ground turkey
2 cups dry bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 1/2 (16 ounce) jars pineapple preserves


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix barbecue sauce and pineapple preserves together.

3. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, onions, salt, and parsley. Mix well and form into bite-size balls. Arrange the balls in a single layer in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour the barbecue sauce mixture evenly over the meatballs.

4. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the meat is cooked.

**Lunch/Dinner: Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Carrot Souffle, Sweet Potatoes, Stuffing, Green Beans, Corn, Gravy, Sweet Potato Crescents (recipe)

This year was my first year ever brining the turkey. I had never done it before and was curious about the results. The turkey turned out juicy and yummy, so I think it was a good thing to do. M watched a show on how to carve a turkey and was super excited to do it. It turned out wonderfully! He rocked!!! Here is the recipe I used for brining the turkey:

Clove and Honey Brine for Turkey


1 large bag of ice
1 gallon hot water
2 quarts chicken broth
1 pound salt
1 pound honey
2 tablespoons whole cloves

Combine salt and hot water until it dissolves. Add honey, broth, and cloves to mixture. Once thoroughly mixed, add ice. Brine for 1 hour per pound.

Carrot Souffle

1 3/4 lbs peeled carrots
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons flour
3 eggs
1/4 lb margarine, softened
powdered sugar

1. Steam or boil carrots til extra soft& drain well.
2. While carrots are warm, add sugar, baking powder and vanilla.
3. Whip with mixer til smooth.
4. Add flour and mix well.
5. Whip eggs separately and add to mixture, blending well.
6. Add margarine and blend well.
7. Pour mixture into baking dish-ABOUT HALF FULL--as the souffle will rise.
8. Bake@ 350 about 1 hour or until top is light brown.
9. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar before serving

Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing


1 1/2 cups cubed whole wheat bread
3 3/4 cups cubed white bread
1 pound ground turkey sausage
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 cooked turkey liver, finely chopped
3/4 cup turkey stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F (175 degree C). Spread the white and whole wheat bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until evenly toasted. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl.
2. In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned. Add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to blend flavors.
3. Pour sausage mixture over bread in bowl. Mix in chopped apples, dried cranberries, parsley, and liver. Drizzle with turkey stock and melted butter, and mix lightly. Spoon into turkey to loosely fill.

**Dessert: Apple Raspberry Pie, Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Cheese Pie, Cranberry Crumb Pie, Blueberry Cream Pie

Apple-Raspberry Pie


2 3/4 pounds assorted baking apples, (such as Rome or Cortland), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
6 ounces fresh or partially thawed frozen raspberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
2 frozen pie shells (one for top)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir apples, raspberries, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into a 12-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Fill with apple mixture. Dot with butter.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining disk of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into a 12-inch round. Drape over filling. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Press edges to seal. Fold overhang under, and crimp as desired. Make five 3-inch slits in top crust. Refrigerate 20 minutes.
4. Whisk egg yolk and cream in a bowl; brush over top crust. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes. Place foil on rack below to catch juices. Tent pie with foil if browning too quickly. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool 4 hours (up to overnight).

Pecan Pie ( I had never made a pecan pie and I ended up putting it back in the oven for awhile but it turned out really yummy! I will totally be making one again)

Makes one 9-inch pie

All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 pie shell
2 1/2 cups pecan halves
4 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional ) - I left this out
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream, for serving


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured board, roll out the pastry to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Place the pastry in a 9-inch pie plate that has been set on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and press it into the bottom edges and along the sides. Trim the pastry using scissors or a sharp paring knife. Crimp or decorate the edges of the pastry, if desired. Transfer to freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.
2. Coarsely chop 1 1/4 cups pecans; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine eggs granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Whisk to combine. Add dark and light corn syrups, butter, bourbon, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until well combined. Add chopped pecans, and stir to combine. Pour into prepared crust.
3. Arrange remaining 1 1/4 cups pecan halves decoratively over top of pie. Bake on a Silpat-lined baking sheet until crust is golden, filling is firm, and a cake tester inserted in center of pie comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before slicing. Serve with whipped cream.

Pumpkin Cheese Pie


2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
2 cups pumpkin puree
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I usually make my own mix of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg)
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie (make sure it is deep dish or you will have enough filling for 2 pies)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Mix cream cheese and condensed milk together until smooth. Stir in the pureed pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and eggs. Mix until well combined. Pour batter into the pie shell.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean. Keep refrigerated.

Cranberry Crumb Pie by Eagle Brand®


1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1/4 cup lemon juice from concentrate
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/4 cup cold butter or margarine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake pie shell 8 minutes; remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
2. In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese on low until fluffy. Gradually beat in EAGLE BRAND® until smooth. Stir in lemon juice. Pour into prepared pastry shell.
3. In small bowl, combine 1-tablespoon sugar and cornstarch; mix well. Stir in cranberry sauce. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
4. In medium mixing bowl, cut butter into flour and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until crumbly. Stir in nuts. Sprinkle evenly over cranberry mixture. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Cool. Serve at room temperature or chill thoroughly. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator

Blueberry Cream Pie - E insisted that we make this pie, even though it really did not match with the holiday at all -- she really wanted it, so I gave in.


4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, from an 8-ounce package, softened
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups nondairy whipped topping, from an 8-ounce container
1 (8-inch) prepared graham cracker pie crust
2 cups fresh blueberries, divided

Directions: In a medium, with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar until well blended. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon half of the mixture into the pie crust; top with 1 cup of the blueberries. Spread remaining cheese mixture over the blueberries. Scatter the remaining 1 cup blueberries on top. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate until set, about 5 hours

This year we had my brother and sister in law come from Utah and their four kids at our house for the holiday. They had a lot of fun playing Guitar Hero on the Wii! SIL took a liking to it. She played so much she managed to beat the game on EASY level while she was here.

Everyone enjoyed playing Wii sports as well. It was fun! The children played very well together. It was really good to have a chance to visit with them because we had not seen them in a couple years. It was super busy busy, but fun at the same time!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I've been ELFED!

So I got a private message in my box the other day on SCS, and then a couple days later, another one came and I was informed that I had been elfed twice and I needed to send my address and choose 2 other people per elfing to elf as well. I still am working on who to choose . . . there are so many cool people who are so awesome on SCS . . . here is the thread if you are interested in gifting a couple of your friends this holiday season. Also, apparently they have a second thank you thread that everyone has been posting on here.

Anyway, I wanted to show you what two very generous people did for me . . . I was so surprised by the amount of generosity it made me teary. I feel so loved by my stamping friends and I just want to thank the two sweet elves publicly for how awesome they made me feel and how they both went over the top in surprising me.

ELF #1 (We'll fictitiously call this one Jody - lol) sent me: a cute handmade altered lunch tin with an Elzybells stamp inside, a big roll of pretty ribbon, an acrylic stamp set by My Favorite Things -- so cute, and a gorgeous card!!! You were busted by the style -- it looked like you -- but then I saw where it was from and knew without a doubt!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! I love it all and I love the edge of the card with the icy look -- you will totally have to show me how you did that sometime soon!!

Plus this awesome acrylic stamp set:

ELF #2 (who we will fictitiously call Jennie) sent this: 3 acrylic stamps designed exclusively for 2Jills, Lily Kate Ribbon, Prima Belle Fleur, Deluxe Designs Plain Janes, Deluxe Designs Fleur Classic Laser Cut, 2 cards by My Minds Eye, Imaginisce Chantilly Charms in Antique Silver, and a Basic Grey Half Pint Album (which I had been totally coveting but had not spent the money on yet and now I have one *giddies*) THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU girl! It was so awesome to hear from you and this was a wonderful surprise and I appreciate and can't wait to play with all of it!!! You are so generous and I miss you!!!

Aren't I lucky???

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Christmas Snack Mix Jars

I have this great book that I picked up at Walmart a couple years ago that has jar mixes that are perfect for holidays and special occasions. I decided I wanted to do something nice for the people who helped us move in, so I made up these snack mix jars and decorated them using my papertreyink "Holiday Treats" set. I sponged around the white paper on one and not the other. Not sure which one I like better. Each of them have a tag telling what is inside them as well (it says Cranberry Christmas Snack Mix - stamped using my Karen Foster Design Snap Stamps). I used my largest scallop punch to create a cover for the metal part of the jar. The colors are real red and old olive. Ribbon is some organdy that I had left over from making foam ball ornaments last year, from Michaels. Now for the most important part -- what's inside:

1 cup salted almonds, 1 cup dried cranberries, 1 cup yogurt covered raisins and 1 cup white chocolate covered pretzels (I made these myself with some square pretzels and some melting wafers that you can pick up at Michaels, or really anywhere they sell Wilton stuff). I put all the stuff into a big bowl and mixed it up. I also added a couple teaspoons of crushed peppermint candies that I bought (Wilton). Once it was all mixed, I carefully spooned it into the jars and they are ready to give away. I really hope the recipients like them.

I have also been busy working on some things for Skipping Stones, and once I get them all done, photographed, submitted, etc. -- I can show them to you! It feels so good to be back stamping and playing (even though I should be unpacking since I have thanksgiving guests coming). Anyway, off to watch Greys. Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We made it!

The move went super smoothly and we ended up having lots of help! It was great! The new guys from our ward who helped us out were super buff and unloaded super fast! It rocked. I managed to get the kitchen unpacked today and I am thinking I might go unpack my stamp room this afternoon so that I can get back to playing at night after everyone is in bed. I was so tired last night though I think I went to bed at like 8:15 pm. Ooops! We are loving the new house and I just thought I would post a new post so you would know we made it here. Off to make lunch for a couple of munchkins and then back to unpacking for me . . .

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Jaime's Visit/EASY Cauliflower Broccoli Soup

My friend Jaime came into town from California to visit and it was fun to catch up and let the kids play together. The last time we saw each other was quite awhile ago. Jaime used to live in AZ close to us. She was also one of my room mates in college. She is tons of funniness! It was totally fun to see her again and hysterical to watch the kids play together now that they are actually big enough to play together.

Here is her totally cool baking blog she started recently and you should go check out: Baking Memories at Chateau Vin Riche

Oh and I made the most simple broccoli cheese soup ever for lunch. I was surprised that it tasted as yummy as it did. In an effort to use up all the stuff in my fridge/freezer -- I chose this recipe:


1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen cauliflower
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen broccoli (I used one that had cheese sauce - smaller pieces)
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can Cheddar cheese soup
2 soup cans milk
1 cup shredded cheddar (thrown in right before serving)


Put broccoli, cauliflower and 1 cup of water in a soup pot. Cook until heated. Throw all remaining ingredients in soup pot (except the cheese) and cook on low for 20 minutes until heated through, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with pepper or parsley before serving. Serve hot with crusty bread and crackers!

Here are some fun pictures of the kids . . .

Kalei teaching J how to burp. Then he tries it out. Love that face . . .

Kalei and E playing . . . M and Jaime playing Wii -- they were cow racing -- I love the faces!

Hugs Bye Bye . . . which turned into . . . snuggles Bye Bye/take down and a J sandwich!

Cute Kids Waiting on the step while we moved a car seat

I will probably be away and not blogging for the rest of the week. Things are busy busy, crazy crazy here as we try to finish up packing and prepare for the move this Saturday. We close on the house on Wednesday, and Friday I have to spend the whole day waiting at the new house for the cable guy and the bug guy to come do their thing . . . so basically I have three days to finish packing and I know I am going to have to work my bootie off! SO, see you when we get to the new house! Have a great week!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Bee Movie, Paper Bows and Baby Shower Gifts

We took the kids to see Bee Movie today. It was really funny because when we walked in, we ran into some friends and their four little girls. E ended up sitting with them. The movie was a lot of fun. I laughed out loud quite a few times. Very enjoyable!!!

I finally finished crocheting a baby blanket for my friend Kristen, but I totally forgot to take a picture before I wrapped it. I seriously have been crocheting for days to get it done in time when I really should have been packing, but oh well, at least it is done now. Now I just have to get packed up. I thought the baby shower was today, but it turned out to be next weekend (oops) so I took it over early since next weekend is moving weekend. I really hope she likes it! I also made a frame to go with the blanket, it matches the the altered letters that I made with her for her new nursery. I did manage to remember to take a picture of how I wrapped it all up. I made the bow after I saw this wonderful tutorial on Splitcoaststampers. It was really easy to do and looks cool!!! I think I am going to make a bunch of them for Christmas!