Saturday, December 10, 2011

December Daily {Days Eight & Nine}

Well, it was bound to happen eventually. I slacked off. Thursday was rainy and miserable and I was totally uninspired. That’s my excuse. I picked up yesterday and made two pages, though, so that’s something.



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December Daily {Day Seven}

Not feeling it today, but I haven’t missed one yet,  so I’m faking my enthusiasm.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December Daily {Day Six}

Still going strong, although I had to go through my pictures today to find what this page was going to be about. A quick simple one about trimming the Christmas tree.


Monday, December 5, 2011

December Daily {Day Five}

I hadn’t planned this as one of my days, but sometimes the best stories aren’t planned. Christmas cards are one of my things. I send them out the first week of December – I’m usually ready to mail on December 1. I take care of it all on my own. This year I decided to let the kids help and we had such a blast talking about who all the people we were sending cards too. I think we ended up starting a new tradition.

No Reimer Reason - Template 68

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December Daily {Day Four}

Yesterday was our annual trek to the local tree farm to chop down an evergreen which allows the tree farm to plant more for the next year. The benefit of fresh Christmas trees is one of my soapboxes, so I’ll try not go on too much and just get to the page.

I’m finding sticking to one kit for an entire album a bit of a challenge. I love colors in my layouts, so this is a challenge in many ways to me. Actually, the only thing that came from the Persnickety Prints kit is the tree. Everything else is just color backgrounds and a number brush. I’m starting to question why I buy kits when I tend to only use the papers. I might be switching to just buying paper packs.


I’m not planning to do two page spreads for most layouts, but this one had so many pictures to go with it and I had a lot to say, so it couldn’t be limited to just one page. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December Daily {Day Three}

So far, so good. I’m also sort of making it a Project 365 (or 31 or 25 or whatever) by taking a photo every day.


This features a ChrissyW template from March, the Persnickety Prints Vintage Christmas free kit, and now (I had a change of heart on the tags – they just didn’t fit my style) these 31 days date stamps.

Friday, December 2, 2011

December Daily {Day Two}

Look at me, all keeping up with a project. This won’t last long, I promise.

Same products as yesterday, plus a free template from Gennifer Bursett.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

December Daily…

Another idea inspired by Pinterest (seriously – can I get kickbacks for blogging about nothing else this month?) is the December Daily. I mean, I know it didn’t originate on Pinterest. But that’s how it came into my awareness. I’m in serious need of some mojo rejuvenation. I’ve been going weeks without picking up my camera or digiscrapping. I’ve been in a bit of a funk. So I think doing something like a December Daily (and I’m contemplating a Project 365 – a picture a day for a year) is just what I need to kickstart my creative juices.

My plan is to do this in 8.5x11 format, not my usual scrapping format (I much prefer squares in general, but the wide open spaces of 12x12 in particular), but it will be easy to print my digital pages (I thought about going old-skool and breaking out the papers, but…nah) at home and actually have a finished book in my hands on January 1 (or let’s be realistic – sometime in Janurary/Febrary-ish).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pinterest Success (or not) – Week of 11/28

I’m trying to actually make/do some of the cool things I see on Pinterest rather than just admire and pin them. In the past week, these have been my attempts.

Origami Turkey

Not. Of course, at least half of this is on me since I thought brown construction paper would be fine for this. It was not. It was too heavy to be realistic, or even semi-realistic.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Success. At least, according to the hubby. I don’t like the crap. But he wanted something different to be added to the (considerable) dessert table at my grandmother’s house.

Paper Plate Lion

Success. This was our Girl Scout craft this week. We read a story in our books about how all the flowers and birds got their colors. I knew my girls like wild and crazy colors, so I let them color their lions whatever color(s) they liked, but they had to make up a story to explain why they were that color. It worked really well – easy enough for five and six year olds and didn’t take up too much time like most of my craft projects – and the girls came up with lots of fun colors/stories.

Other things I’ve pinned, but haven’t tried yet:

Clone of a Cinnabon

Fabric Trivet

Air-Dried Porcelain

Chili's Copycat Salsa

Refrigerator Cookies

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pinterest Success (or not)…

I’m one of those Pinterest fans. It’s my new go-to site for baking inspiration, mainly, although I like to browse craft projects and organizing too. Sometimes I even get so inspired that I {gasp} actually do something inspired by a pin.

So what pins have made me get up off my behind and do something?

I tried the water and vinegar in the microwave. Supposedly it will steam up and all you have to do is wipe your microwave clean. Notice I said supposedly. It didn’t work for me. I think I may have used a dish with sides that were too high – the steam couldn’t escape and loosen the spills all over. It did work just above my dish, so I can see where this MIGHT be successful.

Felt Flowers

I love it when I have all the supplies for a craft project on hand. I made these flowers a few hours before a photo shoot for my cousin. They took about ten minutes each (and probably would have taken less time if I hadn’t had to conserve my last hot glue stick). The headband is just a crocheted chain stitch.


Marshmallow Catapults

Not made by me, actually. I took this one to Cub Scouts for the Webelos Engineer activity badge. The boys loved it. Their moms might not have been as thrilled to be taking home a marshmallow catapult.

Those are three of my non-food Pinterest projects. I’ll be back with a rundown of my food projects, cause there’s a lot more of them.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What’s been cooking?

Let’s pretend it hasn’t been months, shall we? Good. How about instead I share what I’ve been baking lately? Even better? Why, you’re awfully accommodating today.

Tops on the list was this:


Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. Yes, they are as good as they sound. And easy. Seriously. If you like brownies, cheesecake, red velvet cake, or all of the above (check), you MUST try these.

Another favorite was this:


Okay, it’s just a picture of zucchini and squash, the first from my garden this year. But they were turned into Zucchini Gratin. The end product was eaten so quickly and completely that I never had time for its close-up.

For dinner tonight, we had these:


What are they? I called them Grilled Fries. No recipe. I just took some red potatoes that were hanging around and cut them into quarters. I tossed them in olive oil and freshly cracked salt and pepper (yes, we have a salt mill as well as a pepper mill. DH has a thing about stuff matching. Which is extra odd since I have a thing about stuff not matching on purpose). Then I just laid them straight on the grill grates. In retrospect, they probably needed a little parbake in the microwave (as it stood, I zapped them for about a minute to finish off the cooking once they were done).

And last but not least, I made Soft Pretzel Bites. Yes, I realize those aren’t exactly bites. Unless you have, like, a really huge mouth. I lost patience for cutting the dough into bites. I made two trays of bites and then finished the dough up with regular soft pretzels. Just as fab as the bites. I left them unsalted so that we can dip them in melted butter and sprinkle with either salt or cinnamon sugar, as the moment calls for.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Lesson learned…twenty years later…

I spent last weekend with my extended family, including my grandmother. Since my grandfather died in November, she is my last grandparent.

I just wanted to share this story about my grandmother today.

When I was in 8th grade, we all had to take home ec for a quarter. Half our quarter was cooking and the other half was sewing. Growing up, my grandmother was the main person I knew who could sew (my mother’s talents lie elsewhere). She had taught me some basics, so this class was kind of a connection to her.

Each student in the class ordered a kit that came with all the pieces we needed to sew. I chose this god-awful sweatshirt. I can only blame the 80s/early 90s for it. It was black with a pink stripe across the middle that had “Class of 94” printed on it.

I was very careful with this sweatshirt. And if you know me at all, this is highly unlike me, especially in my younger years. I tend to rush through and just get things done rather than go slow and get it exactly right. But this sweatshirt? I went slow. I was almost done without a single mistake, until I got to the final cuff. If you don’t sew, cuffs are quite hard. Even if you do, they’re really not an easy part – it’s tiny and curvy, two really hard things to sew. I sewed a piece of the cuff back onto itself. Just a tiny piece. But it bugged me.

A few weeks later my grandmother was at my house visiting. I brought out my sweatshirt to show her, which she naturally fawned over. Then I pointed out my mistake. Do you know what she told me? She said “No one sees that but you. If you never told anyone, they would never know it was there.”

It has taken me twenty years to learn the truth of that lesson. I see so many flaws in myself. And they’ve held me back in every single thing I’ve ever done. Except the whole time the only thing holding me back is me. I point out what’s wrong when no one else sees it.

So I’m trying to take a new approach. I can’t turn off my inner critic, the one who knows all the crap I’m doing wrong. I always hear that. But I can shut her the hell up. And I can ignore her.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Scout Tuesday: Use Resources Wisely

My Daisies met last night to earn their “Use Resources Wisely” petal. Last time we met, we had a tour of our local police facility (for the “Respect Authority” petal), which is right down the street from a recycling drop-off. So after the police visit, we strolled down to the recycling center and talked about why we recycle.

Then last night we made the cutest little Egg Carton Ladybugs. This one was my sample:


We used markers instead of paint. The girls made all different color ladybugs. Then we tried out some other creatures. The same concept worked for a turtle (color egg carton green and use a green pompom). The girls also suggested that it could be a mouse (shape the pipe cleaner antennae into semi-circles), caterpillar (add a few more egg cartons, or leave one row attached) or butterfly (pipecleaner wings, maybe?)

Fun, cute, cheap craft. I think the total cost was $10, but if I’d had a well-stocked craft box, I should have had all of these things in it. Because any well-stocked craft box has pipecleaners (I mean, chenille stems), pompoms and googly eyes. At least. I’ll think on that and be back with the full list.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just because…

This photo makes me laugh. It’s so…them, right now. Mr. T is all “whatever.” Miss G is a smiling ray of sunshine. Miss S is distracted by something. The Viv is exerting her independence (it was about 75 degrees out and she found mittens and insisted on wearing and either I’m getting soft in my old age or this is a battle I never would have fought, so I let her.). It’s also taken in the shed on our farm, which is very us right now.


Years from now, this picture will say more than it knows. Twenty years from now, my kids might say “in 2011, Mom was an obsessive photographer finding fabulous light. Her cell phone in its cute purple case is sitting behind the kids. Americans still used fossil fuels to power our vehicles. Can you believe it?”

Who knows? I think about the photos from twenty years ago and all that’s changed. And all that hasn’t. I took pictures of everything – big scenes, little details. I was the memory keeper. Funny how some things don’t change.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Facing fear…

I recently applied for a couple of jobs that really seemed to suit my skills and interests. I wasn’t necessarily planning on going back to work right now, but the fact is we’ve been living on one pretty small income for ten years – hell, longer than that. We’ve never both worked full-time at any point during our marriage.

I had a phone interview yesterday. I thought it went really well. But now I’m faced with paralyzing fear. Like I can’t do anything right now. I know, in my logical portion of my brain, that I’m afraid of the changes this could bring. Plus, I like having time to design logos for the band boosters and websites for the church. I’m afraid that going to work full-time is going to mean letting go of those things.

But then I think of all the extras we’re going without and how much easier I could breathe when I needed to go to the grocery store.

Tom suggested I substitute at the school he works at. They have a shortage of reliable subs. I think, if this job I did the phone interview for doesn’t pan out, that I will strongly consider this. If I could bring in the extra money we need and only have to work one or two days a week, I think that would be the best of both worlds. But again. Scary.

Here’s a fear to face: I recently took some self-portraits. This one is the most “me.”


Thursday, February 17, 2011


I have a new-found goal. I’m going to this formal event the first week of March. I went out with some friends dress-shopping on Saturday and fell in love with a dress. Unfortunately it calls just a little too much attention to my flaws (my flabby belly).

dress_detailWEBclose up of detail on my dress – I took a pic of the whole thing, but you can’t tell what it looks like. I need a new battery for my camera remote  so I can’t get my whole body in the dress right now

So I’ve decided to step up my workouts. My goal is to workout every day, rather than every other day. Since I’ve been the same weight (plus or minus 5 pounds) for six months, this might be the push I need to hit my goal weight.

I want to weigh what I did on my wedding day by my 35th birthday. I only have 12-15 pounds to go (depending on the day). But I just can’t get past this point. Until now. So I say. It’s been two weeks of healthy eating and working out daily and no change.

I have several other 35th birthday goals. Something about that age is freaking me out. I have no logical explanation for it. But I’ve decided to make it a positive milestone rather than a negative.

I want to finally finish writing a book. I don’t care which one, just any of the myriad of books I’ve started over the years. I love to write and I’m pretty good and constructing scenes. I just suck at working those scenes into a larger cohesive plot structure.

I want to make it to the blue level on Nike Plus (this is actually a 2011 goal, not just by July 30). I think this means I need to run 500 miles this year. I have no idea if this can happen. Last year I did about 150 from Mother’s Day to the end of the year, but I had a lot of building up, sickness, etc. in there.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Day 12-What you believe

I’m not a super religious person. I believe in God, though not necessarily every little detail in the Bible. I met someone who had attended Catholic school her entire life. She told me that in her more advanced Theology classes, the nuns taught them the Bible stories aren’t necessarily literal interpretations, but more symbolic. That made so much more sense to me.

I was raised Catholic, but a couple of weird experiences (all related to music, actually – they were trying some weird stuff to get people interested when all it did was turn me completely off) led me to stop attending church altogether. We moved to the town DH grew up in and his mother began taking our children to their church for Sunday school and services. I had no problem with and went in on special occasions, but wrangling a very active 2 year old in a tiny church that isn’t meant for children is not my idea of a peaceful communion with God.

My grandfather died in November. He was a devout Catholic and his funeral was a full mass. I couldn’t believe how utterly at peace I felt during that service. It was a complete epiphany. The reason I’ve never felt comfortable at my husband’s Methodist church is that I’m not Methodist. I am well and truly Catholic.

Now I’m on a mission to find a Catholic church that I like and isn’t too far away. There are none within 15 miles of my house, so it’s a matter of how far do I want to go? I would go farther for a church I liked, since once you’ve gone 20 minutes, another five isn’t that big a deal. That actually sums up life in this little town.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

TV Time…

Day 11-Favorite TV shows

I was going to say that I’m a TV addict, but that’s not really true anymore. I watch a certain collection of shows faithfully, but I don’t just watch crap to watch TV.

  • Big Bang Theory
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Glee

Those are the only three shows I regularly watch on network television. The rest of the time our television is tuned to kid's’ shows, Food Network and its new sister channel Cooking, History, Discovery or similar channels. We like How It’s Made and shows like that.

I used to be an American Idol fanatic, but I haven’t even been tempted to watch this season – it was bad enough last year without Paula, but without Simon? I can’t imagine it. I might give it a try if I get bored one Wednesday night.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fear factor…

Day 10-Something you're afraid of

I have one major phobia (well, two if you count heights, but that’s more just an avoidance or dislike – not necessarily a fear). It’s so specific that I’m not even sure there could possible be a word for it.

Insects/creepy crawlies en masse. Any group of insects freaks me the hell out. See one, two, half  a dozen ants around? No big. A pile of uncountable ants? FREAK! It’s not just limited to ants – I use them as an example because they’re fairly benign. I mean, who’s afraid of a single ant? Probably no one. Put ‘em in a big old pile and AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!! That was me running away for a can of bug spray.

It’s not just ants, though. Spiders, natch. Ladybugs, even. Pretty, innocent little ladybugs. A whole corner of our back porch was covered in them and I flipped.

So note to insects and arachnids worldwide – there is NOT safety in numbers at my house. Fastest way to get yourself on the business end of a can of Raid is to stick with a whole bunch of your buddies.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My friends…

Day 9 – A picture of your friends

Is it horribly sad that my closest friends are related to me? I think it says something about what a wonderful family I have. You could also make the argument that I don’t make friends easily. You’d be right. I have more friends where we live now than I ever did in our old town. But none that I would call a close friend who I could call for a favor and know she’d do it.

There’s this guy:


Fabulous father, wonderful husband, best friend.

And then this chicky:

IMG_4223Amazing aunt, great sister, best friend (yes, it’s a tie). 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Oh, the places I go…

Day 8-A place you've traveled to

I’m not much of a traveler. I’m afraid to fly. And this isn’t a post 9/11 fear. This fear has always been there. Tom and I flew to our honeymoon in St. Thomas. We flew to my brother’s wedding in Maine and then again for his second marriage to the Dominican Republic. Add in a flight to Orlando as a child and that’s the sum total of my plane-riding career. We even drove four kids (the oldest was 7 and the youngest was 7 months) to Disney World.


My favorite movies…

Day 7-Favorite movies

In the campy comedy category, we have



Groundhog Day (planning to watch tomorrow, cause we’re dorks like that)


In the romantic comedy category, the nominees are:

The Holiday

Love, Actually

(leaving room because I know I’ve forgotten lots here)


For the nostalgia factor:


Grease 2 (yes, I know it’s awful)

The Parent Trap (Hayley Mills version only, please) – this is also my sick movie.


The Trouble with Angels (we were big Hayley Mills fans)


Favorite Classics:

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (which I think should be required watching in every civics/government lesson)

It’s a Wonderful Life (which, btw, is what I name when forced to pick just one favorite – I have a thing for Jimmy Stewart – let’s not talk about how he’s dead and even if he weren’t, he’d be a mummy)

The Wizard of Oz

Gone with the Wind

Monday, January 31, 2011


Day 6-A picture of something that makes you happy

These guys…


My favorite recipes…

Day 5-Your favorite recipes

This could get long. I print out a lot of recipes from the Internet. I slip them all into a magnetic file on the side of my refrigerator. Every now and then I go through and toss out recipes I only used once and didn’t really love.

Smitten Kitchen’s Best Cocoa Brownies

Smitten Kitchen’s Best Birthday Cake

Chicken and Dumplings

Mrs. Field’s Sugar Cookies

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake & Frosting

Friday, January 28, 2011

My parents…

Day 4-Your parents

My parents are currently planning their latest globe-trotting escapade. They’re planning to head to Hawaii next week. I love that they travel so much. My mom is a bit of a  perfectionist at work and it stresses her out. She also suffers from some of the “no one else will do it, so I guess I will” syndrome that I have. My dad has worked for the same company for more years than I’ve been alive.

They got married young. Had me young. I was quickly followd by two siblings, so they had them young too. Much of the beginning of their marriage was keeping a young family above water – financially, morally, educationally (is that a word)?). When my brother graduated from high school and joined the military, my mom was only 43. That’s only 8 years older than I am. Wow. Anyhow, they had begun traveling before then, but traveled more frequently once no kids were home.

Now they have six grandkids and are the most fun grandparents ever. They spoil the kids rotten, just as grandparents should.

Red Velvet Cupcakes…

Among my baking weaknesses is Red Velvet Cake. Tom’s aunt brings a Red Velvet Smith Island Cake to family functions every year and I’ve become addicted to that cake. Add to that the Red Velvet Cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory and now RVC is like cake Kryptonite to me.

Which is why when I volunteered to bake cupcakes to take to an event, I thought RVC would be perfect – I get to eat a few and take the rest away from my house. Unfortunately (not) the recipe made more than I anticipated and we were left with at least a dozen at our house. So sad.

Seriously, how was I supposed to resist this beauty?


Recipe: McCormick Red Velvet Cupcakes and Em’s Magnificent Cream Cheese Frosting.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My first love…

Day 3-Your first love

My first love? This should probably be a  person, huh? And yet I know the real answer. Books. I’m a reader and have been since I was four. My grandma taught me how to read Go Dogs, Go! when I was four. Really I probably memorized it, but I still loved the power of telling myself the story.

I began to read everything in sight after that. I’m one of those people whose eyes just can’t stop themselves from reading. It makes me sort of nosy, but if my eyes see words, I have a compulsion to read them. And I have 20/10 vision (and possibly better – that’s where they stop measuring) so I can see pretty far away.

I tend to go in trends. Right now I’m on a historical romance novel kick. I suppose they’re nothing but fluff, but well, at the end of the day (which is when I read), my brain wants fluff and a happy ending. What can I say? I am a natural worrier so most of the “book club” books seem like they would just fuel my tendency to fret.

I also like to read cozy mysteries, meatier historical fiction, and biographies. I used to read true crime, psychological thrillers and straight-up mysteries (I don’t know the technical definition, but in my mind cozy mysteries are lighter, less gruesome reads). But then I had the 10PM Epiphany and I haven’t read those genres since.

The 10PM Epiphany? Why, that’s the realization that I worry less and sleep better if I go to bed without watching the 10PM dramas (I’m on the East Coast – remind me sometime to explain my theory about why Midwesterners tend to be nicer). A – my blood pressure doesn’t spike from the tension and get me in a pattern of getting all stressed and B – I don’t watch the news that comes on after it and trust me – that’s helped immensely. I’ve found that I can even tolerate waking up early in the mornings (and by that I mean before 9) since I had the Epiphany. Sort of. Still not a morning person, but I’m better.

I think once my kids are older and I sleep like a normal person (rather than being woken up by a two-year-old who can get out of her crib and wants to watch “Ooh-Ooh” - AKA Curious George – at 4AM tapping me with the remote), I might venture back into more literature type reads. In large print. Or maybe I’ll check out a Kindle for the text-enlarging feature. Yes, I have fab visual acuity, but a terrible attention span. Large print has less info on a page so I can absorb it better. Not a problem for fluff novels, but I need smaller chunks for the heavy stuff.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Blog Title

Following a 30-Day Blog Challenge from HERE.

Day 2-Meaning behind your blog name

Creating Christy started in my mind as an adjective gerund describing what I do. I create. Therefore Creating Christy. Then I read it again a few months after I started it and realized it has another meaning. It could also mean the creation of me. And then I really liked it. Because that’s what this is about. A form of self-discovery and becoming of me.

My subtitle is /Crazy, crafty, creative/ and I will readily admit that there are times when I’m not at all crafty or creative. I’ll plead the Fifth on the crazy part. But even if I’m not actually creating, there is within me a need to be creative and probably crafty as the result of that creativity.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Scout Tuesday…

Last night our Brownies worked on the Art to Wear Try-It. We didn’t do the same t-shirt project as the Daisies did a few weeks ago and it didn’t turn out as well. I printed a design and inserted in each shirt. Then the girls traced that design with puffy paints. It was hard for them to figure out how hard to squeeze. So we had some mishaps and the paint didn’t dry well. Oh, well.

The other project we did last night was a mask. I found a really cute mask made from handprints. We made tracing their hands our opening activity. They cut them out and then we moved to the t-shirts.

Once those were done, we moved back to the hands. I cut out eyeholes and stapled them together to make a mask. The girls folded some paper to make handles. They were adorable. Plus, they made use of my paper scrapbooking supplies, which I’m thrilled to not have just sitting around now that I prefer digiscrapping.


All About Me…

(Inspired by this post) I’m going to try to follow all 30 days.

Day 1-Introduce, recent picture, 15 interesting facts

I’m the girl behind the camera at our house. Unless my husband physically pries the camera out of my hands (or I ask for help – something I’m loathe to do), I’m only in photos in as much as my vision created the photo.

Tom took the camera from me on New Year’s Eve, so I do have a few pictures of me from only a few weeks ago. This is unusual.

ME_123110I actually like this photo a lot. I’m wearing my favorite Notre Dame shirt. Go Irish! They won an awesome bowl game against Miami on NYE, so I was especially happy to wear it. Our kids are a little too young to stay up until midnight so we have a countdown at 9 PM with a party. We had chocolate fondue, a veggie tray with dip and sparkling cider. Yeah, we’re party animals, what can we say?

1. Compulsive crafter

2. Mom to four

3. Wife to a musician

4. Runner (something I never would have identified myself as even a year ago, despite the fact that I’ve been running longer than that. I just spent so much of my life as a non-athletic klutz that my being a runner took some time to sink in. But I am. I run. It keeps me sane (saner).

5. Friends trivia buff

6. Cookie mom for my DD’s Girl Scout Troop.

7. Baker extraordinaire (that might be an exaggeration. I do love to bake from scratch, though).

8. Lover of coffee. And flavored creamers. I’m using a new one this morning – one of the Coffeemate Breve ones. It’s Vanilla Caramel. Will definitely make my rotation (I hate using the same flavor twice in a row, but I only like certain flavors, mainly vanilla based ones)

9. Notre Dame (and really any college) football fan. I love college football. I’ll watch the NFL, especially this time of year when college is done for the year. But my first choice is always college. I think they just play harder. I mean, it makes sense. Every game is an audition for the big time, so they have to play their hearts out.

10. Leo (and no, I don’t recognize the “new” Zodiac. A – my physics teacher in high school told us about that and it’s been…a few years since I was in physics, so this is nothing new. And B – I don’t want to be Cancer. So there.)

11. Daughter, Sister, Cousin (to many. I mean MANY – like 35. No, 36, I think. My mom and dad both come from big families).

12. Stay-at-home Mom. I’ve been home with my children for ten years. Well, not yet. August will be the 10th anniversary of my SAHM-ness. I only have a 2.5 year old home all day now and I’m sort of bored. Maybe it’s just that I need a temporary challenge to get my brain engaged. Or maybe I’m ready to re-enter the workforce (assuming I can – not the best job market to be trying to break back into).

13. Disorganized mess. I have this huge desk in our open living room. It’s an L that serves to divide the space a little (which it does well). It’s also supposed to help me stay organized. Which, really, is expecting way too much from a piece of furniture. Plus, I need the right mix of order and chaos for my brain to properly function. Too neat and I can’t create anything. Too messy and I just can’t function. So orderly chaos. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

14. Soul Searcher. If I could make soul-searching into a career, I would. My mother said as much to me when I was about 15. She read an article about multiple intelligences and told me mine was intrapersonal skills. Can’t argue that. I’m always trying to figure myself out.

15. Lucky, lucky woman. Earlier I referred to myself as a girl, but with my coming birthday I don’t think that flies anymore. It’s one of those milestone-ish birthdays (let’s just call it the midpoint of my 30s). I have a husband whom I love and who loves me. I have four sweet kids, a warm house, plenty of food in the pantry. We may not have a lot of extra money (see #12) but we’re happy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Our photo date…

So I missed my creative post yesterday, but well, I’m still fighting to get the mojo back. The kids had a sleepover at their grandparents’ house last night, so I asked Tom to drive me around to some nice icy rivers and creeks nearby for a photo date. I suggested a few places I had noticed and he came up with several more.




Friday, January 14, 2011

Recipe: Baked Potato Soup

I love potato soup. I make a big batch of it at least every other week and have it for lunch for several days (and the fact that I’m eating leftovers is really the best rave anyone could possibly give about this soup).


I start by baking potatoes. I’m sure you could put them in the microwave have “baked” potatoes in five minutes. But I think the texture that comes from actually baking the potatoes in the oven for an hour or so is incomparable, so I really bake them. I wash five medium to large russet potatoes (and russets are really best for this recipe and for making baked potatoes in general – they have a nice fluffy quality when baked rather than waxy like all purpose or white potatoes, which is fine for boiling or grilling, in fact my preference for those). I prick them a few times with a paring knife or fork (whichever I reach first). Then sprinkle with salt if I’m considering leaving the skins in the soup (either way is fine).

Bake the potatoes in a  350 degree oven for about an hour. I sit the pricked, salted potatoes right on the rack. After baking, I remove them with a pair of tongs and just sit them on a plate to cool.


In a large stockpot, start melting 4 tbsp of butter on medium heat. Dice half an onion, more or less depending on your preference. You could actually leave the onions out if you don’t like them, but I think they give a nice, subtle flavor. Sauté the onion in the melting butter until they’re soft and clear – not brown. If your butter is browning, turn down the heat.


Add 1/4 cup of flour (more if you want a thicker soup – I like to add at least an extra tablespoon of flour – this time I even added more and my soup was still thinner than I like it – so maybe go ahead and add the whole 2 TBSP of extra flour) to the butter and onion and whisk together. Whisk in 2 cups of milk/cream/half & half.


Whatever milky type thing you like to use. Cream will make for a very, very rich soup. I use 1% milk because that’s what we drink. And when I made this batch, I only had one cup of milk left, so I improvised with 1 cup of milk and 3 cups of broth. As long as it adds up to four cups of liquid, it’s good. Whisk in 2 cups of chicken stock, or whatever stock you like. I used some turkey stock I had in the freezer that I had made.

While the soup base comes to a slow boil, begin dicing the potatoes. They may be a little hot. I either use a silicon potholder to hold it steady or just my bare hands. I have pretty heat tolerant baking hands, though.


I cut the potato’s ends off and squeeze them out into the soup. Then I dice the middle section. This gives a good mix of whole chunks of potatoes and finer bits that will thicken and flavor the soup. You could smash a lot more for a less chunky soup that will get fairly thick. Or you could leave everything in dices for a thinner soup with lots of potato bites.

Add in all your diced/smooshed potatoes and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. I like a lot of freshly ground black pepper. Let everything come up to a slow boil and it’s ready to go.

This soup will thicken a lot as it cools. It will turn into a solid almost in the refrigerator, but it will thin again once it’s warm.



4-5 Russet Potatoes

4 TBSP Butter

1/2 onion

1/4 cup + 2 TBSP Flour

4 C liquid (any combo of milk, cream, and/or broth)

Salt & pepper to taste

Wash whole potatoes and pierce. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until tender. Remove from oven.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook until onion is clear and/or soft but not brown. Add 1/4 cup flour (include the 2 TBSP for a thicker soup) and whisk together. Whisk in liquid and allow to boil.

Dice  or smash (or both) potatoes and add to soup. Allow to come to boil again and soup is ready to serve.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Scout Tuesday…on Thursday…

We didn’t have much going on this week, hence the lack of scout post. My Brownie troop worked on the Senses Try-It, which was fun for everyone. We didn’t go off book or do anything especially creative except for our cookie taste test.

We blindfolded the girls and handed them one of the cookies we’re selling to see if they could guess it by name or flavor/description. First we verified that no one had any allergies – one girl thought she might and her mom wasn’t there to verify, so we erred on the side of caution and gave her the allergen-free cookies – the only one I knew for sure was Trefoils, so that’s what she got.

I gave the new girls what I hoped were easy ones – Thin Mints and Tagalongs. If they didn’t know the names, the flavors were at least strong enough that they could say what kind of cookie it was.

We had fun and hopefully the girls will remember the cookies as we get our sale in full swing. Can’t wait! I love being cookie mom – it’s a load of work, but the fun kind. If that makes any sense at all.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Creative Friday…

Since it hasn’t even been a week, I’m happy to report that I’m keeping up with my New Year’s resolution to post something creative on Fridays in January (and maybe some other months). I didn’t have a specific project planned for today. I have some on my mind, but they require some commitment to a color that I’m not ready to make right now.

I’ve had a crush on fabric buntings for a while now. I can see that they’re pretty simple to make and yet I’ve never taken the time to make one. Until today (yesterday) that is. And it took me under an hour from start to finish – including ironing my triangles and hearts.


(Excuse the leftover Christmas candy and egg cartons waiting for next week’s Girl Scout project)

I wanted something for Valentine’s Day and something that wasn’t expensive. Well, this was made entirely from my quilting (ha!) stash, so it was free. Yay for free!

I didn’t have any ribbon, so I just took a long piece of fabric and folded it flat. It works. I picked five triangles because that’s how wide my fireplace is. I sewed the triangles to the folded (and ironed – because I’ve freehanded enough to know that I must iron) black strip. Then I hung it up and realized it really needed a little something else. So I cut out some hearts and sloppily (with intention of being sloppy, though, so it’s okay) sewed them on.


It’s Valentine-y, it was free and I loved making it. My mind is already dreaming up all the uses for buntings.

There about a zillion tutorials for these online already, so I don’t plan to do a tutorial, but as I do plan to do more buntings, I can. Say the word, peeps, and I’ll document my process next time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Re-organizing: Day One

I really need to take the Christmas tree down, but I told DH I was going to do it tomorrow and his post-Christmas depression will spin out of control if I do it another day. So for now, I’m doing some redistributing of kids’ toys. I was in their room last night looking for something and it was crazy. Stuff piled everywhere – they couldn’t even get to their nice, neat bins.

And then I looked at those bins and realized they probably didn’t care, since most of it was toys they had outgrown. So I decided to take a rack of bins downstairs for the Viv to play with. She’s loving having tons of new toys. I emptied some bins so her new Christmas toys will be able to go in some too.

Now I just need to clean off my desk and take Christmas crap up to the attic. Sigh.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas Cupcakes…

I asked for a set of piping tips for Christmas. I didn’t get them. So I marched myself into the craft store and bought what I wanted. Actually, the set I asked for had ones I didn’t need, so this worked out. I wanted a huge tip (that’s what she said?) for piping frosting onto cupcakes, mainly. DH tells me I have the baking and frosting part of cakes down, so I should work on my presentation.

So I practiced on family, because what is family for, right? I took cupcakes using my favorite yellow cake recipe. I made a simple buttercream (you know, butter, powdered sugar and milk – I don’t usually use vanilla because…well, I tend forget it so I pretend it’s on purpose). Then I testing my new piping tip. LOVE!!! My cupcakes now taste and LOOK awesome. I picked up some sprinkles at Target for 75% off. Here’s what they looked like:


And they tasted good too.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Scout Tuesday

I’m all over Scouting this year. I’m my 5 year old DD’s Daisy leader, my 7 year old DD’s co-leader/cookie mom and my 9 year old son’s assistant (to DH) den leader and pack treasurer. Since I spend every Monday and Tuesday coming up with projects for some type of scout or another, I thought I’d share one of my projects each week. Coincidentally, our meetings are also every Monday and Tuesday (the girls alternate Mondays, the boy is every week). I don’t think I could do it if I couldn’t procrastinate.

This week is our service unit’s cookie kickoff – which means it’s Cookie Time! Girls from all over our county will be at a party to start the cookie selling season. I thought it would be nice for my Daisies to have a troop shirt to wear to the party. The Brownies might actually do a version of this shirt later.

This project can easily be transformed for any use. My 7 year old's preschool did a similar project for Earth Day - they took white shirts and drew circles to represent the Earth in the middle and gave the kids blue and green paint.


I bought a pack of t-shirts in a size I thought would fit all my girls (all three of them). It actually is probably a little small for one of them, but as her mom pointed out, the next size up would be enormous. I picked out plain, old acrylic paints from my craft stash in each of the colors of the Daisy petals. I had to buy a few to fill in, but I had most of them from a project my older DD’s troop did as Daisies.

I also grabbed some old t-shirts for smocks to keep their clothes clean. I used a combo of paper plates and old plastic lids for paint palettes.

Step one: The Design


I printed out the Daisy petals from ScoutingWeb (scroll down a bit). Then I cut out the petals (I figured out that if you only cut out half, you could flip it to do the rest – saved my hands from cutting so many tiny petals – yay for the lazy way!). If my printer wouldn’t freaking jam every time I try to print on cardstock, I would have done this on nice heavy paper.

Then I went into Word and played around with WordArt to get a curve and found a font that was nice and thick, but still fun. I cut out the letters the first time and destroyed the outside. You can certainly trace around each letter, but then you have line them up and I’m lazy. So I reprinted and cut out the insides and made sure the surrounding paper stayed intact. It was much easier to trace the inside of the paper.

Step Two: Preparing the Shirts


I took a sheet of cardstock and put it inside each shirt, so my Sharpie wouldn’t bleed through. I left it there when I was done tracing so it would be ready for the girls to paint later.

Step Three: The Meeting

At our meeting I set up drop cloth on the tables we use. We have a very nice church that allows us to meet, so I don’t want to mess up their space. I put out one color for the first girl, she filled in the right petal (actually some were wrong, but that’s because I got my book out to check if I had all the colors I needed and left it on my table – I’m good like that) and passed her paint on to the next girl. We continued until they were all painted in. Then I let them fill in our troop number with whatever colors they wanted.

This is my DD’s. I think it’s adorable. The messy petals and letters give it a charm that can only be achieved by little fingers.


Final Cost:

I only have three girls, but this is still an inexpensive project – or at any rate, much less than having troop shirts printed somewhere.

I bought:

  • A pack of 5 undershirts - $6.67.
  • Four packs of 4 sponge brushes - $4.00
  • Dropcloth - $3.50
  • Paints - $3.00 (I had the rest on hand or mixed them at the meeting – this could cost more if you don’t own any paints)

So for under $20, we had troop t-shirts. And the cost wouldn’t have gone up if we’d had two more girls. So $4/girl. A little more than I like to spend on a regular meeting, but for troop t-shirts, a fair price.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Digi Saturday…

Two years ago, I made my mother-in-law a photo calendar for Christmas. She loved it and it replaced all other calendars in their home. So I made her another one last year. It was very well received again.

When it came time to get Christmas gifts together this year, I didn’t really have it in me to make one up. Then I got a last minute deal at VistaPrint and realized that my in-laws are creatures of habit – meaning if I didn’t make her a photo calendar, I’d definitely hear about it. Of course, the problem with gifts that are habits is that on Christmas morning it was more “Oh, here’s my calendar” than any sort of excitement about it. Not that I think that means it’s unappreciated, but when Season One of Murder, She Wrote gets a bigger reception than photos of one’s grandchildren, I’d say the bloom is off the rose.

But I made the calendar – throwing together some rather sloppy digital pages (to me, at least. I’m sure she loves them). While I was doing it I realized I didn’t need to buy special calendar toppers. I could just scrap from some 8.5 templates I already had or just scrap an 8.5x11 page.

So in the interest of working on relocating my creative mojo, I laid out a few sketches for calendar pages. I’m thinking that maybe, MAYBE, if I work on them as each month occurs, I won’t be scrambling next Christmas and I can just drop my pages in and print.

Here’s my finished page for January 2012’s calendar. Yes, 2012. I doubt I’ll have many other months done on the first day of the month, but I was just working on the page for this, so I quickly got my pics together and finished it.


I used the Peppermint Creative free kit and my own template. If you want the template, you can download it HERE. Ignore the January 2011 in the file name. I got all confused working in advance like that.