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.