Friday, September 12, 2014

September Kits and a Meal

With September kits shipping this week, it was a pretty big bust in about every other department around here. 
My 30 Creative Days challenge was almost nil.  But I'm considering my trip to Hobby Lobby for some DMC floss, selecting photos for my 1st grader's project and helping my 8th grader with his design for his "vote for me" poster for Student Council as crafting time.  Not quite what I think about as creative time, but it is what it is.
My menu planning also took the quickest and easiest route possible, which means it was all via my Taste of Home magazines.  I do have a couple recipes from Pinterest to try out, but I haven't gotten to them yet.  It's cloudy, cold and raining which is perfect weather for baking (there was snow on the cars coming from the foothills.)
But with the weekend stretching out before us, I need to leave you with a recipe that's quick to pull together so you can get back to your own craftiness with minimal fuss and muss.
I made this on Monday - Italian-Style Chicken and Peppers.  I doubled the recipe since it was In-law Dinner Monday and made my own red sauce (which I've mentioned HERE.)  It was really good.  I diced the peppers more fine and the kids ate them without knowing it.  Insert sneaky laugh here.  It sort of made it's own sauce, which if I'd know it would do that, I'd have served it with pasta on the side.  Just a note about the link - it goes to Taste of Home, and for this particular recipe you need to be a member, which is free to join.  However, I did find the same recipe (and photo) on Pinterest.  Either way you get the recipe it's a good one.
If you're looking for something to dip your hands into, check out the September kits and pick one up to play with.

 This month's card kit will get you prepped for Halloween and other fall occasions.
The Smaller than a Breadbox kit has fun stuff for the beginning of school, the end of summer, sports and whatever else you can think of.
The Bigger than a Box kit will also help you with those school events, whether your first is heading for kindergarten or your last is off to college, plus general any of those fall themes you have waiting to be captured. 
There are no plans on the calendar this weekend, so hubby is considering taking the boys out for some fall fishing.  There's an early high school football game tonight - and it'll be a cold, wet one.  Go Mustangs!  Otherwise it's a weekend left for the imagination.
Happy Friday,

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Super Stash Busters Challenge #1

The rain is falling.  The temps have dropped, and will continue to do so for the next 48 hours.  They're even calling for snow overnight.  I fear my precious Autumn will not be a long one, if we're here already.  I'll just have to suck it in while I can.

I've mentioned taking the Stash Busters and, more recently, the Super Stash Busters classes over at Big Picture.  They have been some of my most productive classes.  And even though I'm not finished (nowhere near finished) with the Super Stash Busters class, it's inspiring me to think and look at my supplies differently.  It's also challenging me to do layouts that are "off the page" for me.

Like this one, I did for Challenge 1.  The challenge talked about the "Rule of Odds" and how odd numbers in design are more visually appealing.  Hence, the three groupings of photos.  My layouts tend to be symmetrical and linear, so attempting this one was tricky.  The class came with sketches for each challenge; this Challenge's sketch included five smaller photos.  I stayed true to the layout, but my photos, while including one more, were larger than the sketch's.  To tie these three groups together there needs to be repeating elements - like the orange buttons, the arrow paper and the general color scheme.  I used the Jillibean Sightseeing Stew line found in the Smaller June kit for the majority of it, but did pull from my stash for additional diecut tags and the metal pieces.

This weather makes me want to spend the day curled up and crafting.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

We Are | #100HappyDays

Sorry for the missed post yesterday.  It. . .I. . .let's just say the day didn't go as planned and leave it there.

It's been a while since I shared anything from the #100HappyDays challenge I gave myself to find joy during the hated/dreaded summer.  I kinda hit Day 50 and then the wall.  I was still recognizing the things during that day that made me happy, but I either more often than not, neglected to take the photo, or if I did take the photo, I didn't share and tag it.  And frankly, there were some days in there where it was difficult to find a Happy Place, Thing or Person. 

I found keeping up on the photos was kinda sucking the joy out of the project, which given the name, #100HappyDays, seemed to be counter-productive.  This kinda took me by surprise since I love the Day In the Life or December Daily projects.  So, I gave myself a break and permission to snap and post when I felt like it.  On the calendar I'm around Day 72 (I started on July 1st.)  In photos I'm at Day 58.  I'll get 100 photos of Happiness proof, it'll just take me longer than a 100 days.

So for this week's "We Are," I'm doing some catch-up and posting my Happy photos along with a couple from the past week in general.  Some of the Happy photos were already shared on another "We Are" post, so I'll save you the duplication.  Dang, just throwing out all the rules. . .so not me!

Day 44 - Let the "what do I do with all these" begin. On deck...Tomato Bruscetta.  And it was awesome.  Even my picking-out-the-tomatoes kids like it.

Day 46 - Halloween displays!

Day 47 - Three cheers for the demise of Mt. Give Away - I showed you the end product in a previous blog post.  Shamefully, here's the process.

Day 51 - Happiness is a simple, empty box.

We are gathering friends before heading out to the football season opener.

We are rockin' the Friday Night Lights with a win for the home team.  A big one.  38-0.  Go Mustangs!

We are celebrating the win with "the family."

Day 57 - Lovin' the Harvest Festival

We are wondering what's not to be happy about when you're holding a hot, sugar dusted funnel cake that's as big as your head?

We are loving our big, but feels small, town.

We are big brothers who coerce a younger brother into facing his fear of the "Dragon Coaster"

We are doing selfies. . .we just need to check the lighting and be sure the camera isn't still on "burst mode" from capturing the 5 y.o. on rides.

Day 58 - First PSL of the season and a good way to start the week

We are getting frequent texts from our hockey-fanatic loving-counting-down-the-days-'til-the-season-starts daughter, showcasing her favorite "hot" players.  I love that girl.

Happy Wednesday,

Friday, September 5, 2014

Heaven is Fall Color, Rain and Food

I noticed it last weekend. . .a few trees on the back roads home were randomly dotted with reds and yellows - this week there are even more turning colors.  The mountain peaks are totally bare, which only comes at the end of the summer and is short lived, as snow has already fallen above 12,000 feet.  The light has definitely changed.  When I get up in the morning it's dark and I'm turning on lights earlier in the evening now.  The air is cooler.  Even on the warmer days, if there's a breeze, it has that edge of cool to it.  I'm turning on the oven without fear of self-combustion.  And today, it's cloudy and misty.  It's the time of year where I want to do everything and nothing at the same time.  OMG, it's awesome! 

As evidence of my return to the kitchen, I baked up some Peach Crisp to use up the remainder of my Palisades Peaches - the rest were turned into jam and are in the freezer.  The peaches are definitely an ode to Summer, but there's something about Crisps and Cobblers that scream Autumn.
We got more than 12 cups of Blackberries from our bushes this year; there might be a few more to come.  I froze them individually as we picked them, and then packaged them in four cup bags - though I now realize I could have just tossed them in a giant bag and dished them out as needed.  Oh, well.  I decided it was time to use them and made this Blackberry Cobbler.  The recipe is from one of the Pioneer Woman cookbooks, but she's pinned it, as well.  So, so good!  If, like me, you don't keep self-rising flour on hand, you can find substitute recipes, like this one.

I love cooking shows.  I was watching a Bobby Flay show and he was doing Beer-Glazed Bratwurst with Wilted Red Cabbage, which we love - the Brats that is.  We were hosting the in-laws on Labor Day, he was cooking with brats and I had brats.  It was meant to be.  And it worked out well.  I loved the boiling liquid (if we marinate, it's usually just in dark beer.)  I made the mustard and the cabbage topping - though I'm not a huge sauerkraut fan - but this slaw/kraut thing was good.  It was sweet and worked well with the brats and mustard sauce.

I couldn't sleep last Sunday.  I got up and did some productive work and then had a bout of mom guilt because I hadn't cooked a Sunday Big Breakfast in months.  I had seen this Sheepherder's Breakfast and its one-pot prep appealed.  We keep dehydrated potatoes on hand, so after re-hydrating enough for the recipe, and cooking the bacon (I don't buy that pre-cooked stuff) the meal came together fairly quickly.  I erroneously cooked the eggs so they weren't runny, but apparently my family is okay with runny eggs in this type of setting.  It was really good and would be a good camping recipe.

The weekend kicks off with the High School's  season-opener football game, so I'll be two children short for dinner tonight.  My 13 y.o. is running for Student Council, so I'll help him run through his speech and getting him supplies for his poster.  Our town's Harvest Festival is also this weekend - a parade tomorrow morning and then Midway stuff all weekend.  My 5 y.o. would like to go (they can see the set-up from their school and the parking later today will be more psychopathic than usual because they start closing streets.  They can't wait 15 minutes?) and I expect my high schoolers may want to meet up with friends there, but there are no firm plans.  Otherwise, I think the weekend is fairly open, which means everything and nothing is possible.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Throw-Back Thursday: Sketch Solutions Lesson 12

It's been a while since I've done a Throw-Back Thursday.  It's the photos, more than the American Crafts Dear Lizzy Lucky Charm line from 2012 that help this layout meet the TBT requirement.  The photos are from 2006.

I still have a couple lessons from Big Picture's Sketch Solutions class.  When did this class end (cough) June (cough)?  The lessons are printed and on my work desk , so I just keep plugging away. 

This was also an example of me tossing photos in with kits.  I have tote that I use when I leave the house to crop, but given the Archivers closed and I haven't attended a crop the only scrapbook store around, I decided to work with the kits in the tote.  I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, just grab photos and look for a kit with colors that will work.  Usually this process is done in the frantic last minutes before I leave. . .and so far it works for me. 

The sketch for this lesson was actually a two pager, which I stayed fairly true to.  The sketch had a nine-photo grid, plus one large photo on the left.  I had a ton of photos that I was able to crop smaller to get more in the grid.  I used patterned paper to fill in where photos might have gone.  I need to get better at embellishing those non-photo blocks, though.  I actually had a couple other photos that I just couldn't work into the grid, they threw off the balance, hence the need for patterned paper.  The journaling in the sketch was on the far right side, which was now more narrow because I added more photos.  But I couldn't recall enough details to actually need that much room.  I think the photos tell the story well enough, anyway.

Overall, I'm pleased with how it came out.  It wasn't what was in my head when I started the layout, but that's okay, too.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

We Are

  • We are making Freezer Peach Jam with the last of the peaches.
  • We are perched to keep an eye out
  • We are enjoying the after-the-rain-full-gutters. . .an every time it rains request
  • We are rediscovering unfinished projects
  • We are celebrating 25 years
  • We are back to school
Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

25 Years Ago

The year, 1989.

A gallon of gas was just $0.97.
The big quake in San Francisco during the World Series
The Calgary Flames won the Stanley Cup
Game Boy and Sega's Genesis was a gamer's must-have
High waists, skinny ankles, long jackets, wrap skirts, Keds, and, yes, shoulder pads were in fashion
The Little Mermaid, Parenthood and When Harry Met Sally were on the Big Screen
Seinfeld debuted on the Small Screen
"Cold Hearted" by Paula Abdul was #1 on Billboard's Top 40 this week
The Berlin Wall came down
The beginnings of the World Wide Web started

And hubby and I were married.

25 Years.  It seems like a long time ago.  We've been together longer than we were with our families.  We've changed.  Adapted.  Sacrificed.  Fought.  Grieved.  Laughed.  Explored.  We have our inside jokes.  We've been strong.  And weak.  We've leaned on each other.  We've given each other space.  We've welcomed four children and one we'll meet some day. The key in all those experiences. . .we did it together.

25 years ago we had no idea what we were doing or where our lives would take us.  All we knew was that we were a team, even if we weren't quite sure what that definition would look like for us.

I can't imagine my life with anyone else.  I can't imagine the journey with anyone but him by my side.

I love you, babe.  It's been quite the ride.  I look forward to the next chapters to be lived.  With you.

Happy (Anniversary) Tuesday,