Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Stash-Busting Layout and a Card

After posting on Friday, I did as I planned and headed back to my work table to use my first StashBusters sketch.

I was shoving things aside and found the pieces to a card that I didn't finish.  So as a warm up I finished that.  I have no idea what my original intent was with the pieces I had, so I just moved things around and well, there you go.  I very rarely add a sentiment to a card until I use it; and sometimes I don't even do that, I just write on the inside.  Keeping them blank makes them more flexible.  It used up the remaining scraps from January's Bigger than a Breadbox Lily Bee line.  Dang, did I really not scrap for two months?  My February and March kits seem to be untouched.  Boo!

I decided to play with the current April kits - they've been sitting on my desk so they qualify as stash, just not really old stash.  

I used the Echo Park Splendid Sunshine line in the Smaller kit to work on ProjectLife® 2013.  I think this is one of the weeks with the fewest photos - lame photos, but it's what I took, so in it goes.  I like the layout and it was an easy way to incorporate several patterns of paper.  I still have a sheet of cardstock, a decent amount of patterned paper (even with several mis-cuts because my cutter kept slipping) and the majority of embellishments; clearly enough for another single layout.  It will depend on how many photos are in the next group.

I have two more challenges now, but a single event on Saturday that turned into an out-all-day-extravaganza put me behind on things, so I wasn't able to tackle them.  It is my sincere hope to cross at least one of them off my list.  See - the class is on my to-do list for this week - though I made the list before the third challenge hit my in-box.

Happy Tuesday,

Friday, April 11, 2014

Time to Tackle a To-do and a Pinterest Cook-fest

Sometimes you just have to do your best to ignore the clutter - the best your A-type personality can - and decide you're going to create.  I am telling the voice in my head to shut up, I did my usual morning routine - made beds, tidied rooms, kitchen is clean, floors have been swept and mopped and so it's on to the next to-do item, which just happens to be creative.  This is not a reward because there's plenty of things left on my to-do list.  After I finish this post, I'm heading back to my work table (averting my eyes from the cluttered desk behind me) and, with my Stash-Busters sketch in hand, creating a layout.

After reporting for the last couple weeks of not doing any menu planning with Pinterest, I decided to go all in for this week.  I'd been doing way to much pinning and not enough using - now if I could just implement the "use it" plan for my other boards.  Anyway, all dinners and desserts were from Pinterest.  Can I get a WooHoo!?

I was on Pinterest for something Wednesday when I saw these Fluffernutter Chocolate Chip Bars and I just had to make them.  I. Had. To.  Some day I'll master the art of cutting bars and be able to have a pan of bars that are more or less than same size, rather than bars I have now which range in size from like an inch and a half to three inches.  WTH?  These bars, that I baked Wednesday, are gone.  They are that good.

I started out the week with these Glazed Orange Scones as part of Sunday's breakfast.  They were light and fluffy with just enough orange flavor. 

Then I moved on to:
  • Lemon Garlic Chicken.  I made this Monday night.  It was a hosting-the-in-laws night so I cut the breasts in half (I usually do this with chicken breasts anyway, but the blogger mentions it as well) and doubled the recipe.  I am always wary of breading and browning things and then finishing them in the slow cooker - the "breading" tends to become mush.  I think doubling the sauce portion of the recipe was probably unnecessary as there was plenty of sauce to cook in.  I was conscience of the thin-ness of the chicken and the double cooking, so I didn't get the pan-fried color on them I'd have liked.  The breading was a little soft in the end, but the chicken was moist.  It wasn't my favorite recipe, but the family said they liked it.  It was a quick meal to assemble, even with the pre-fry, so I may try again, just for us, and instead of cutting the breasts, I may just pound them out. 
  • Orange Chicken  Half of my little clan loves Chinese, the other half tolerates it.  This was a quick-to-table recipe, even with the rice.  Those of us who like the Chinese loved it - though I think it needed more garlic and a pinch of salt.  That or I needed to press the garlic instead of grating it (as called for in the recipe.)
  • One Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole  Besides being a big fan of quick meals, I love a one-pan recipe.  This one was good and made a ton.  I forgot to salt and pepper before serving and while there was flavor, it could have used at least the pepper.  I think it needed a little more something. . .mustard maybe?  We did top it with fresh tomato and lettuce, but green onion might have done the trick too.  I'll make it again.  It's a good one for a "serve yourself" night when I want to be crafting.
  • Oatmeal Cookies with Apple, Raisins and Pecans  If you follow me on Instagram, you saw me enjoying one of these fresh out of the oven.  The recipe makes two dozen, which doesn't last in this house, so I scooped them smaller and they still didn't last more than a couple days.  They were really good.  My only problem is how to store them.  Because of the fresh apple, you can't store them in a cookie jar or tin because they'll get all soft and just fall apart. 
  • BLT Chicken Salad Sandwiches  We took the blogger's suggestion and used potato rolls - good call.  This was good the evening I made it, but even better the following day, after the seasoning had a chance to meld.  Next time I'll make it more ahead of time.  I served it with the bacon sprinkled on top - I hate soggy bacon - and tossed the remaining bacon in with the leftover salad and it, 1) didn't get soggy and 2) was way better in the salad than on it.  The yogurt and mayo combo I may cut down just a bit because there is plenty to bind the salad together.  This is a perfect too-freakin'-hot-to-cook meal and another one that's good to do ahead and then leave for the family to serve themselves.
So, of the recipes I grabbed for the week, I still have tonight's and then one to do on Monday, plus a dessert and a granola bar.  Report for those to follow.

I've got a sunny day to head out into for a walk.  A present to wrap and mail.  Dinner and dessert to get a move on.  A graduation.  Snow is in the forecast for later this weekend - yep, snow.  But that crafty time for myself comes first.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Totally random thoughts for today.

I'm so excited. . .the Stash Busters class started today.  I have my printouts sitting by me and have browsed the first week's challenge - Paper - and am looking over the first of the sketches.  Now to get the stupid donation list done for our taxes and then I can play.

It never made it to the near 80 that was called for yesterday (note if it had been 80, it would have been too hot), so I used that and the "I need to make these Fluffernutter bars" as reasons not to head out for a walk.  Hey, the photo looked amazing and they turned out to be really good bars!  I could have also used:  My daughter headed to the rec center without me.  Or my 15 y.o. needed help with his Confirmation poster - the one he waited until an hour before he left for his meeting to start!  Or it was my turn to drive the car-pool, which I had totally spaced out, and therefore it was too late by the time I returned.

I might be too good at the enabling dis-abling self-talk.

I'm feeling an intense desire to purge and clean various places in my home.

Every month when I pull together the orders for the kits, it's all done online.  I don't have samples in front of me, or even catalogs (nobody puts out catalogs anymore, they're all online.)  So it's a lot of page surfing and jumping around from site to site.  I'm always impressed with myself when the orders arrive and I see the kits together for the first time, in real life.  The colors, generally, coordinate and the bits and baubles look good together.  This month the April kits have lots of color - which I love.

One of my favorites is the October Afternoon All Boy line from their Daily Flash release.  If you have boys you know it's hard to find a non-bug, non-truck, non-dirt infused boy line.  I love the graphics (even the one side of a double-sided paper that has, yes, bugs).  Especially the Moon graphic - "Love you to the Moon & Back," which was my 15 y.o.'s favorite book when he was little.  Don't worry if you don't have boys, the line works for girls and just about everything else.  

If you aren't a member of Apron Strings no-commitment autoship, join us today.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

We Are

  • We are planting doughnut bushes.  Or so the 5 y.o. believes.
  • We are walking.
  • We are waking to a pretty, but wet, Spring snow.
  • We are, or rather the 17 y.o. is, at an Av's game trying not to drool on the glass.
  • We are awaiting appointment #4 of 5. . .in the home stretch now.
  • We are walking. . .again, though it's not quite a pattern and far away from a habit.
  • We are noticing clutter in corners and then it's all we can see. . .cluttered corners.
  • We are over-the-top excited to have bid on last-minute tickets to the Av's final home game and finally had the bid accepted (bidding and waiting was almost an all day torture.)  I think there were tears.
  • We are thinking a good 'ol cardboard box beats the xBox any day!
  • We are cheering (and there was a lot of animated cheering) on the home team from the couch, while big sister is at the game.
  • We are having a serious Big 80's flashback.  Hubby had a pair of these when we first met. . .although he went sock-less as opposed to the Mickey Mouse choice of today.
  • We are thinking that today, a warm Apple Pecan Oatmeal cookie is as good as it gets.
  • We are still walking and have decided the track is beyond boring.
  • We are always struck by the snow covered peaks. 
  • We are enjoying this view on today's walk.
  • We are thinking the work-out summary is lying, because it sure as heck felt longer and more calorie burning harder than past walks.
Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bustin' Out the Stash

If you're a scrapbooker, card maker, paper crafter you have a stash.  You just do.  Other crafters have their own stashes - sewers?  Fabric.  Stitchers?  Threads and patterns.  Knitters?  Yarn.  It just comes with the territory.  What varies is the amount of stash we have.  Some folks are good at using it and some are better at collecting it.  I'm kinda in the middle - I use it, but I still have quite the collection.  I do go through my stuff now and then and cull the items that no longer "do it" for me and donate them away.  I'm in need of doing this again.

I know there are strategies for using up your stash.  Like challenges - either self-imposed or someone else's suggestions - like the ones I run here on the blog.  Mixing older stash with new stuff, 'cause the new stuff is more fun to use.  Am I right?  Enter having an Apron Strings autoship to the kit of your choice.  A little new paper breeds inspiration to add some older ribbon or buttons, especially when creating cards or tags from the scraps.  Taking a class.  Like through Big Picture.  

I'm pretty good at recognizing I need to use things from my stash.  I can think of plenty of ways to use things up - shoot I post them here.  I am not, however, very good at taking my own advice in my own crafting.  Which is why I decided to take the Stash Busters Anonymous class.  Someone else needs to call the shots, plus I get to see if there are ways of incorporating my older stuff that I haven't yet thought of.  The class starts this week.  I have, finally, crossed off some of the loudest ringing bells on my to-do list, so I won't have those hanging over my head.  I can finally craft without the guilt - which I know I've preached about lately, but sometimes the to do must-do vs. reward takes precedence.  It's about not using the "to-do" as the reason for not crafting.

Class starts Thursday.  I'm excited.  If you're signed up, let me know, we can cheer each other on.  If not, and you've got a stash (and we already know you do ;D), check it out.  Maybe it's just what you need, too.

Happy Tuesday.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Doctors, Done and Dinner

Sitting here waiting at the fourth of the five mouth-oriented doctor's appointment we've had in the last week.  I'll be glad when this round is over, as will the patients, I'm sure.

Yet another week had passed where I'm struggling to get time to be creative.  I'm working hard at trying not to make it a reward, but frankly the stuff filling my days, and my thoughts, have just been more important...mostly taxes.  Taxes make me anxious and nervous in a way that mere words cannot describe, so I put them off and then I'm up against the deadline and it just makes it all so much worse than if I'd just gotten it done and out of here.  Blah.

I didn't plan my cooking from Pinterest this week, but that didn't stop me from pinning a dozen fresh-flavored looking recipes.  Dishes that involve fruits other than apples and oranges.  Dishes not slow cooked.  Spring-fare dishes, like this. . .

. . . Fast Forward 12 hours after I originally started this post and at almost 10:00 PM I finally get to finish it . . .

. . . like this Lemon Garlic Cream Fettuccine.  I saw the recipe in my Taste of Home magazine and planned it for this week.  This recipe sort of goes along with "ready for Spring" like stuff - like rain instead of snow, fresh ingredients instead of frozen, lighter dishes instead of casseroles and slow cooked stuff, lemons instead of apples.  I thought I'd direct you straight to Taste of Home, but if you're not a member you can't access the recipe.  I did find a pin on Pinterest of a blogger who made the recipe "as is" from the magazine - SWEET.  

Some people complained that it was too heavy in garlic, lemon and the sauce was thick.  I didn't know of these complaints when I made mine and we thought it was delicious!  Even the 5 y.o. hoarked it down!  Such a different flavor profile, too.  That said, I used spaghetti noodles instead of fettuccine because it's what I had.  I like onions, but the fam isn't a big fan, so while I put them recipes in I usually reduce the amount.  I thought the sauce looked a little thick, but then I added the lemon juice and all was well; it coated the noodles perfectly.  I can see where some people would think it was over lemony if you were expecting regular fettuccine, but this is LEMON fettuccine - it's not an undertone, it's the star.  If you don't like raw garlic, make the topping but serve it on side and you can better adjust it.  If you serve the dish hot, the heat from the dish will take some of the bite out of the garlic.

If you're feeling done with winter, this dish and a night of paper crafting should be enough to knock you out of the Winter Blues. . .even if you're expecting more snow, like we are.

Happy Friday,

P.S.  And I walked again tonight.  I dragged the 13 y.o. with me, who actually ran and looked like he was enjoying himself!  And my mother-in-law who keeps saying she needs to get back to the gym but finds reasons not to, so we didn't really give her a choice.  The 5 y.o. swam, the 15 y.o. did his thing and the 17 y.o. never quite got going.  Go us!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Snow, Walking and Peeks

This was the view from my kitchen window this morning.  Snow.  Heavy, wet snow.  Now, I love winter - it's my second favorite season - but I eventually I'm done with brown views, the brown grass, the brown trees and just a general lack of any color.  Plus there comes a point when there hasn't been enough snow to wash away the dust, which just gives everything a dusty coating.  I'm at that point - though the drive this morning was gorgeous - that whipped-white, hosed-down look on all the trees against a dark grey sky was just amazing and I soaked it all in.

I have no smooth transitions today, which you'll notice. . .ready?  So, two of the older kids, the 17 y.o. and the 15 y.o., are training for the Rock 'n Roll half marathon.  My son, the 15 y.o. is just doing it - he's in and he's all in.  My daughter, the 17 y.o., is struggling to get started get into a routine.  I know she can totally do this.  I know it's in her.  I know she's strong enough to finish.  I believe in her.  I do, however, worry that she's not getting over the hurdle of just getting into the training she needs to do.  She, unfortunately, is much like her mother in allowing small things to give her reasons/excuses why it's not going to work today, or this week, or this even this minute.  It's fun when you see your own flaws reflected in your kids isn't it??  Yeah.  

Anyway last week, on Spring Break, when the 15 y.o. wanted to go train at the local rec center, I took the 5 y.o. and forced encouraged the technology-bound 13 y.o. to join us.  My 17 y.o. joined once or twice.  I sat pool side with the 5 y.o. while conditioning commenced with the other three.  This week, because school is back in and we usually head to the rec center after dinner, I've left the 5 y.o. at home (he's not too happy.)  And while I could just sit and read, I chose to walk the track.  I know!  If you've been here for a bit, you'll recall my struggles with any type of exercise.  Basically, I hate it.  I have had minuscule success with walking in the neighborhood in the past couple years, but it was generally short-lived (remember that whole my daughter myself thing in the paragraph above - well, yeah, there you go.)  

The track is totally boring to walk.  But I'm doing it.  You will not be hearing, "I feel so much better" anytime soon.  But I'm doing it.  Right now my Achilles ache.  But I'm still walking.  My shin bones feel like they're on fire.  But I still walked.  I hurt my ankle in the car accident, which ached for about a week.  Well, after my first walk on Monday the pain was back and was way worse.  But I still walked on Tuesday.  My pace is slow, but steady.  But I'm doing it.

Finally, peeks for the April kits are up - though I just realized I need to change the home page slide show.  Duh.  Anyway, I'm looking forward to playing with their bright Spring-y colors.  I'm sure the majority will go for Project Life® catch-up, but you never know.


If you aren't a member of one of the autoships, today is your day to sign-up.  There's no time commitment and you have unlimited skips.  You've see all the things that are being created with the kits - what are you waiting for?  Join and get stuff done!  Just jump right HERE and do it!

Happy Thursday,