30 January 2013

Tuesday LInk Party - What's on Your List?

Last night I let my daughter stay up a little later than usual to help me decorate for Valentine's Day. It was lots of fun to watch her decide where things should go. She has a good eye for color and shape. 

I got the printable over at J and A and company  blog.

 Tutorial for the little beaded hearts here

The "Bushel and a Peck" pillow is my latest project. I found some letters that I cut out last year when I was doing this pillow for a friend, and decided to make one for me.

There's still a little more work to be done, and I am working on a couple of little projects, but at least my daughter feels like we are ready for Valentine's Day.

What's on your list? Link up below!

29 January 2013

Menu Plan Monday


Anybody wonder what happened last week? I took a couple of sick days, then just as I started perking up, one of my kids got sick. On the bright side, everyone else has stayed healthy.So far.

Please note that my blog may go through a few make-overs during the next few weeks. I have hired my 14 year old son to be my "social media manager" and he's having a great time. I am now on Twitter, and we are working on a bit of a face lift and social media merge around here. Should be fun to see how it all turns out. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner.

The Menu:


Korean Style Beef
Rice or Salad





5 Spice Chicken


Meatball Subs




Superbowl Food
Chips, salsa, appetizers, popcorn...

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday.

22 January 2013

Menu Plan Monday

We've had a wild few days with 6 extra people in the house. Both sets of parents and 2 uncles visited for my son's Eagle Court of Honor. I am so glad they could all come! I am hoping for a low key cooking week while I get my schedule back together.


Sandwiches and Salad


Baked Potato Bar


Citrus Chicken skewers



Orange Chicken




Slow cooker cream cheese chili

Also linking up to Menu Plan Monday. 

What are you making for dinner? Link up below!

18 January 2013

Ham and Bean Soup in the Crock Pot

Ham & White Bean Soup

Every year, we have ham on New Year's Day. It's tradition. Not so much about having the ham as it is about the leftovers. Because sometime, later in January, we get that leftover ham bone with generous pieces of ham still on it out of the freezer and we make Ham and Bean Soup in the Crock Pot. It's tradition. 
It's the perfect meal on one of those chilly January days when coming home to the scent of onions, carrots and ham is the coziest thing imaginable.

Ham and Bean Soup - in the Crock Pot

1 leftover ham bone with some ham still on
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
16 oz. Navy beans - dry
3 cups chicken broth

Pour the dry beans into a large pot and cover with water. Soak for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Drain, replace with new water and boil the beans for about 30 minutes over medium heat. Drain and pour beans into crock pot with the ham bone.
Chop the celery, onion and carrots. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and a little butter. Saute the onion, celery and carrots until the onion and celery are translucent and everything has that delicious blended scent.
Add to the crock pot with the ham and beans. Pour the 3 cups chicken broth over everything and cook on low heat for a very long time. I often start it in the evening before bed and let it cook until dinner time the next day. Stir occasionally and add liquid if needed.
My recipe is a little preparation intensive because I use dry beans. If you substitute a couple cans of beans for the dry, you can skip that part and cook the soup on low for 6-8 hours in the crock pot instead.
Serve it up with a big slice of home made corn bread. The perfect meal.

16 January 2013

Tuesday Link Party and Blog Hop!



Happy Tuesday everyone, and welcome to any Etsymoms who are stopping by from the Blog Hop!

Today I want to share a few things I have learned over the last couple of years in my search to  simplify my life, my home and get me a few more hours in the day to work on my Etsy shop and other things that I want to do. Of course I will share links to the places where I got my inspiration.

Personal Study/Spiritual Renewal

1. This has to come first. Everything else falls into place after this is done (still working on this one, but I know it's true)
Clearly this will vary according to each of our faiths. Here is a link to an article (specific to my faith, but applicable to many) that I really connected with. The Battle in Our Brains


1. Make a plan that is reasonable for you. For me, I have to do it early. Once I shower and dress for the day, the exercise isn't happening.  If I wait until evening, I am toasted and I won't do it.
2. Keep track. I use MyFitnessPal to keep track of my exercise and I use a combination of walking, Pilates and other things to keep it interesting. I really like The Daily Fitness Solution for workout ideas. There is mounting evidence that you don't have to exercise intensely, just 30 minutes a day can make a big difference and you can keep it up over the long term.

INSTANT DOWNLOAD - The 2013 Clean and Organized LIFESTYLE Kit - 74 documents 

1. Make a schedule and stick to it
2. Don't spend more than 30 minutes a day - Love this printable list from My Three Monsters
3. De clutter regularly so there's less to clean up
4. 60 second clean-ups - assign each kid a room or a group of kids to one room, set the timer for 60 seconds and see how much they can pick up. My kids usually beg for more time because "they aren't done yet" how amazing is that?
5. Be organized. Embrace the calendar and the lists. Just do it! I love A Bowl Full of Lemons for tips and ideas - and the amazing Home Organization 101.


1. Crock pot. Enough said, right?
3. Grocery list made from menu plan - love Clean Mama Printables


1. Make a plan for the day, list orders to fill, contacts to make, etc. Keep it real
2. Set time frames for each activity and stick to it if possible


1. Try to do something that feels relaxing. For me it's reading or knitting or a project like something I've pinned on Pinterest. It could be browsing Pinterest or reading your favorite blogs. Just don't let it take over your whole day. LOL


Maybe I should have put this one first. You know the quote from The Princess Bride: "If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything." I am absolutely terrible at getting enough sleep, but I'm working on it. Sleep helps everything. Mood, efficiency, and studies have even shown that people who get enough sleep actually lose weight faster and keep it off longer. Might have something to do with decision making... 

Now it is time to end this long-ish post. I hope there's something here that inspires you. I'd love for you to leave a link to what inspires you! Link up below to share your ideas. 

Here is the blog list for the Etsymom Team blog hop! Stop by and see what they have going on.

Hi Mamma www.himamma.com

15 January 2013

Menu Plan Monday

It's 3 degrees F outside my house right now. We are supposed to reach a high of 16 F. Brrrr. All I can think about is hot chocolate, but I will try to create a balanced menu...

My husband took over the cooking on Saturday and so we do have some meals to carry over to this week. That's always nice. He made a delicious ham and bean soup with the leftover ham from New Year's. I think I will share that recipe on Thursday.
I have both sets of grandparents and assorted uncles coming into town on Thursday for my son's Court of Honor. I am putting them in charge of dinner Friday and Saturday. 

Also, for anyone who is fond of finding new blogs, the Etsy team I belong to is having a little blog hop, starting tomorrow. I will post links in tomorrow's post if anyone is interested in taking a look.


Cilantro Lime Chicken (we're really having it this time. It's in the crock pot now)


Spinach Salad


Leftover Ham and Bean Soup



TBD - grandparents in charge


TBD - grandparents in charge


Family Pot-Luck
sandwiches (cheese and cold-cuts)

What's on your menu? Link up below!

Also linking up to Menu Plan Monday

11 January 2013

Miniature S'mores

Introducing my guest blogger for the week: my daughter. She has a really fun and cute recipe to share with you.

Miniature S'mores


graham crackers
mini marshmallows
chocolate chips
microwave safe dish and microwave

Break the graham crackers into quarters, carefully. Place the quarters on a microwave safe dish. On one quarter, place three mini marshmallows. Top each marshmallow with a chocolate chip, squishing it into the marshmallow. Microwave it for about 8 seconds. Top with another graham cracker quarter. Let cool for just a minute and eat!

Repeat as often as needed to satisfy your s'more cravings!

10 January 2013

Another Little Valentines Project

I really, really like this one. Pinned it, Made it!

I found the inspiration here at Mine for the Making - and I don't know if she ever found the original link for her inspiration, but thank you to whoever it was out there in blog land who first made this. I love it!

For this project, you will need:
  • Wreath - this was perfect for the straw wreath I had in the basement. It needed a biggish wreath for the hearts to show up well.
  • red/white/pink felt
  • heart pattern
  • scissors
  • yarn - I used dark and light gray. Dark to wrap the wreath and light for the argyle. I like the contrast
  • hot glue
  • ribbon for hanging
Follow the instructions on this post (if you need to) for wrapping a wreath with yarn. 

Cut out your heart shapes. The number you need will vary by the size of your heart pattern and the size of your wreath. 

Arrange the hearts in an up/down pattern on your wreath. When you are happy with the layout, glue them into place with the hot glue gun. You will be happy to know that I only burned my fingers a little bit. My skill with the glue gun is legendary (or not).

Next, take the yarn you are using for the criss-cross argyle pattern. Use a little hot glue to glue the end to the back. Wrap it around, crossing each heart. When you get back to where you started, place a little glue to hold the yarn and then begin wrapping in reverse to make an X over each heart. No need to be perfect. I also used a little glue occasionally on the back to hold my yarn in place around the wreath. It won't surprise you to hear that I accidentally glued my wreath to the yellow poster board I was using to protect my table...

Tie the ribbon you wish to use for hanging and you're done! Once the glue is cool, of course. Then you can cut the wreath away from the poster board - oh, that's just me - and hang your wreath in the perfect spot!

Also, I made this cute little garland for a friend of mine. I used this pattern from Planet June for the hearts, and I think it's the best crocheted heart pattern I have ever used. They are super easy and they look like hearts. Cool!

Have you been making for Valentine's Day?

09 January 2013

Tuesday Link Party - What's on Your List?


 Last week I mentioned that I was going to work on a couple of things. One was the continual process of clearing out things we are not using and keeping spaces neat and organized. This week it was imperative that I start that process in my sewing room. Holiday orders and other holiday related sewing did a number on that room for sure. It hasn't really helped that in a fit of organizational fervor that happened last October, I took a bunch of stuff out and went through it, but then got busy and didn't finish...wonder again where my kid gets the ADD? Nope. Let's not go there...

Due to my tendency to go all-in on a project, I set two important parameters for this week's effort to get my sewing room in order. 

1. Time limits - assess the level of disaster, set a time that is reasonable to address the disaster and set the timer. When the timer goes off, I should be done.
2. No new projects - no getting distracted by the odd bag of knitting UFO's or a pattern I meant to sew last summer but never got to. Put them in their place and you'll be able to find them later. 

There are other little things that help me stick to my time limits. If it's not the kids' school, don't answer the phone! or the door or allow other distractions to interfere. 


I decided that 75 minutes should be sufficient to address this mess. It totally was, if you don't count the ironing...

  • Ironing - done
  • take out trash - done
  • put away assorted project remnants and fold up fabric - done
  • put tuned up sewing machine and serger back on sewing table - done


 Reality check: OK, maybe 75 minutes wasn't quite enough to do it all...

What have you been up to? Link up below!

08 January 2013

Menu Plan Monday

I just thought the shirt was funny. And it's kind of related to eating, but don't think about it too much...

I got a little messed up on the menu last week, so we may have some meals that were planned for last week but didn't happen.


Indian - probably chicken shwarma, but I am undecided.


Korean style beef & Veggies



Beef and Bean Burritos




Citrus Chicken and Veggie Kebabs


Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

04 January 2013

Cinnamon Rolls

Sometimes, I like to make a fun surprise for my family for breakfast. These cinnamon rolls are one of our favorites. This recipe is my aunt's and it makes rolls for a crowd. She has 7 kids... I usually freeze the extras.

Sweet Rolls and Doughnuts
Aunt Kathleen

1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup shortening
6 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
3 Tbsp. dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 tsp. sugar
3 eggs
6 1/2 cups flour

1 cube butter, softened
brown sugar

Dissolve yeast in warm water (I do this in my Kitchen Aid bowl. Scald milk, shortening, sugar and salt. Let cool. Add beaten eggs. Add egg/milk mixture to yeast mixture. Slowly add flour. The dough should be a little bit sticky. Do not overwork the dough. Let rise, and make into rolls. Roll dough to 1/2" thick. Spread softened butter over dough and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. I also like to add raisins, but my family thinks I'm a little weird. Roll dough up lengthwise into a nice firm roll. Using a sharp knife or string, cut dough about every inch. Place rolls in a greased pan and let rise in a warm place until about double in size. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cube butter, softened
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup whipping cream (I use milk)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar

Beat all the ingredients together until smooth. 

Roll dough to 1/2" thick, then cut and let rise in a warm place. Cook in hot oil (350 degrees) until light brown, turn and brown other side. Drain on paper towel over wire rack.

1 cup powdered sugar
dash salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine all ingredients, adding enough milk to get desired consistency. Dip warm doughnut in glaze and place on rack over pan to drip.

03 January 2013

A Little Valentine's Day Project

I am really intrigued by all the yarn-wrapped wreaths I am seeing around blog land. I got the inspiration for the wreath I made from Kaboodle.com. I didn't happen to have a heart shaped wreath lying around, so I made mine round.

Want to make one? It's really, really easy.

(The following photos are for a completely different wreath - made the first one at night and the photos turned out pretty dark)

You will need a wreath, a glue gun and glue sticks and yarn. Depending on the size of your wreath, you will need up to two skeins of yarn. The ball above barely covered the entire straw wreath.  You will also need felt in red or pink or white, or any color you wish, to make your heart.

Start wrapping by first running a 1 inch line of glue along the upper edge of the wreath. Attach your yarn, and start wrapping. The glue cools pretty fast, so I only run about an inch to an inch and a half of glue at a time. 

No matter how particular you are about wrapping the yarn, there will be some gaps. Not to worry. When you've gone around once, just go around again, wrapping where you need to fill in. Place a dot of glue where you want the end of your yarn to be (preferably on the back or underneath), place the end in the dot of glue and put another dot of glue on top. That should hold it just fine. 

To make your felt heart, cut two heart shapes out of your favorite color of felt. Sew them together however you want - I used the blanket stitch, but a straight or running stitch would work just as well. Before you finish stitching, stuff a little fiberfill in to puff the heart out, and close it up.

Now, take a nice long piece of your leftover wrapping yarn. Thread it on a needle, and tie a knot in the end. Wrap it around the wreath, securing it underneath so the heart hangs straight down from the middle. I didn't take a picture of this - but I am totally confident you can figure it out. :) If you want to, put a dab of hot glue to secure the knot. You are done! Hang it up using the hanging device of your choice. I used a loop of yarn on the back. 

I gave this wreath to a friend. The straw wreath I started wrapping for this tutorial is going to be something else... I should have it finished tomorrow or Friday. 

How do you decorate for Valentine's Day?

02 January 2013

Tuesday Link Party - What's on Your List?


Happy 2013! I'd like to take a minute and say THANK YOU! for stopping by, reading, commenting. It's been a pleasure to get to know you better this year. I wish you all the best in 2013!

I think I say this every year - so we'll call it tradition. I don't do New Year's Resolutions. I have this list of goals I'm working on all the time. It's always there, so it can't really be new. That said, I think that the beginning of the year is a great time to reflect on our progress, make adjustments, fill out that new calendar...

A couple of personal goals that I will continue to work on this year:

1. Clean out, reduce, recycle, organize my home until every space is efficient, everything has a place, and we all know what that place is (see what I mean about ongoing efforts?). 
2. Feed my family more fruits and vegetables (some of them are fruit and veggie resistant).
3. Choose things that are in the "better and Best" categories more often. To find out what I mean, see link to the video below.

Good, Better, Best

Have you got some exciting goals, a new calendar, something fun you've been working on? Don't forget to look back at all the amazing things you've done in the last year!
Link up below!

01 January 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Happy New Year's Eve all! I didn't realize that it had been so long since I've posted. I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday. We did. It was quiet and peaceful. Best of all, it snowed on Christmas and we didn't have to go anywhere...


Tamales, salsa, chips
New Years Party for the 14 year old and his friends
Beignets, hot cocoa, fireworks down town...


Scalloped potatoes




Meatballs with apricot couscous


Crockpot Chili




Cilantro Lime Chicken

Linking up to Menu Plan Mondays