Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from us to you!
My husband and I were Bikers! Believe it or not - our chaps and jackets are real. Before kids we would go EVERYWHERE on our bike! When kids came - the bike left, but the leathers stayed! Ha ha- its fun to pull them out to show them off every once in a while!
Our kids were Mickey and Minnie Mouse! 
HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN!





Beauty Divine New Beginnings

This was our New Beginnings Night for the Young Women's group in our church. We had it at the start of the school year, and decorated the room around the theme of princesses. This evening is where all the parents come with their daughters and all the girls who are going to come into Young Women's this next year. It revolved around introducing the Young Women Values which are, Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Integrity, and Virtue. Each value has a corresponding color.We used different princesses from different movies, mainly the ones with the matching dress to the color of the value. We had most of the older Young Women come and introduce the values. They were all assigned a Princess where they looked at the story and saw the values we should want to imitate in our own lives.
It was wonderful! The presentation of the values was lovely.
I said a few words at the close and ended with this poem I made for the occasion. 


This is what our New Beginnings looked like!
At the end, each Young Woman was given a "treasure box" 
(we wanted them to "treasure" the values) 
where they filled them with jewel magnets the color of the values as a daily reminder for their school lockers.
(We purchased a big box of plastic gems and glued magnet buttons to the back!)




Things are TRULY always meant to be, I'll explain. I truly believe there are no coincidences in life. 
As we started looking at each princess we were SHOCKED to see the similarities between the princesses and the values they were assigned to. 
Take Individual Worth - Red-  for instance, Mulan had to find who she was by risking her life for her father and in turn showed the world that women could do great things. Talk about finding her Individual Worth!
Choice & Accountability- Orange-  Merida -The only princess with BRIGHT ORANGE hair - she made a choice by "changing" her mother into a bear and had to account for her mistake and make it better. 
I could go on and on, Cinderella had her sweet, truly Divine Nature around her truly wicked step mother and step sisters. Well you can see the list and see the similarities yourselves! 
It was truly MEANT TO BE!


Here is our list of Princesses according to the value colors

Faith - White- Odette (from the Swan Princess)
Divine Nature- Blue- Cinderella
Individual Worth - Red - Mulan
Knowledge - Green- Tiana (from Princess and the Frog)
Choice & Accountability - Orange - Merida (from Brave)
Good Works - Yellow- Snow White
Integrity - Purple - Rapunzel (from Tangled)
Virtue - Gold - Belle



*The Treasure Boxes were from Oriental Trading - they folded together beautifully and became a fun "decoration" to the tables. They filled in A LOT of gaps and made the tables look fun and full.
*The Jewels came from Hobby Lobby
*We Printed off Coloring pages for the Princesses from Disney.com to show the princesses and their value colors.



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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Clothes Pin Sunburst Mirror

Do you love mirrors that look like suns? Me too! Well this one came extra cheap and turned out SUPER cute, if you ask me! We were given a bag of wooden clothes pins and acrylic neon paint for free from craftprojectideas.com to craft and play with. So my daughter June (2 1/2) and I decided to paint the clothes pins blue with the acrylic paint to match the mirror we purchased at the dollar store.
The clothes pins were painted and ready to be placed. This is how it turned out!






Pretty simple, and pretty cute!
Enjoy!



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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Freezer Waffles

My children LOVE having waffles for breakfast, but I hate making them EVERY MORNING! Besides I don't always have the time. So what do I do? I make extra when I DO have time in the morning, I freeze them, and then they are ready to thaw and crisp up in the toaster. They're perfect with a swipe of Peanut Butter and out the door they go! When my kids are in school I know this will be our staple on busy days.


Our "Go To" Waffle Recipe: - I have this taped up on our cupboard door for fast access.

2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. Baking Powder
2 T. Sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. apple sauce
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix until smooth and cook in your waffle iron until golden brown


When waffles are cooked, cut parchment paper into squares and place between the layers of waffles.
(If you don't put wax paper or parchment paper in between they stick together and are a MESS!)



Place the bags of waffles in the freezer.

In the morning take out, and place in the toaster. Cook until warm and crisp.
DELISH!




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Monday, October 28, 2013

How To Make Perfect Brown Rice

Our family has tried many different ways to prepare brown rice. Finally, after many trials of following the directions and no tasty success, I made up my own way. I ignore the directions and let it boil until I like the texture. But that's not all I do, I RINSE IT! Say WHAT?! That's right, I rinse the rice when it is done boiling to get all of the starchy water off, and all you are left with is perfect, brown rice!
When my sister I TOTALLY idolize came to visit, I made a meal with "our" brown rice. She said it was the best rice she has ever had. AND THAT'S SAYING SOMETHING! I was BEAMING! MYYY older sister wanted to know how IIII made something!? I was happy to show her, and now I am happy to show you!


First place about 1- 1 1/2 c. brown rice into 8-10 c. water and bring to a boil


As you leave it and stir occasionally, the water will start to boil out. This is a problem when the water and rice start to meet at the top. Then you simply add more water...


You always want the rice "swimming" in water so the "starchy water" doesn't stay in the rice.
When rice has reached your desired consistency (45 min- an hour)


Pour the rice into a colander or strainer with small holes so the rice doesn't escape


Rinse well with hot water and EAT! 


There you have it! Perfect Brown Rice!



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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Grilled Chicken & Hummus Panini

Need to treat yourself to a fun lunch? How about a Sandwich and Pasta combination? I felt like I was in a restaurant! I had my Chicken Pesto Fettuccine in a bowl on one side, and this Grilled Chicken & Hummus Panini on the other. Talk about HEAVEN! I don't think I have EVER made a better lunch for just me! You would have thought it was my birthday or something. But it was just a good day! Super simple and blasts of flavor in every bite!



Grilled Chicken & Hummus Panini

2 Pieces of Italian bread - any bread works - I love sourdough
1/2 chicken breast- grilled with salt and lemon pepper
3-4 leaves fresh spinach
1 dollop Homemade Hummus 

Layer the chicken spinach and hummus how you want, grab a grill (I used my George Foreman Grill). Grill, until it's golden brown and crisp. Serve with Chicken Pesto Fettuccine. YUM!




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Friday, October 25, 2013

Give Thanks

I'm teaching the lesson this Sunday for the Young Women of our church. I'm talking and sharing a lesson on gratitude. I am so excited to teach this lesson. Gratitude is something that is very near to my heart. I love to look around and see God's hand in everything. There is so much I am grateful for, and to remember just how much I am grateful for, I started a gratitude notebook a few years ago. This little notebook is nothing special, it is just a small spiral ringed notebook you can get for $.50, but it's mine. I write in it every Sunday, it's my goal to never repeat something I've written before. Even if it is just 5 things a Sunday, it adds up fast. It's amazing the things you see in life that you take for granted.
This is the handout I made for the Young Women. Hopefully they put it somewhere where they can remember to always Give Thanks.

I am also printing and framing this for a Thanksgiving decoration. Just an idea.





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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Elastic Button Bracelet

Need an easy gift? How about an Elastic Button Bracelet? I recently made this with some elastic cord I received for free from CraftProjectIdeas.com. It was nice to have 2 small cords all in 1 big bracelet. My awesome mother-in-law gave me a WHOLE bag of buttons, some we used previously on our Button & Star Bead Bracelets. They have been so fun to create with! So, I made another bracelet, only one for an adult. This is such a fun "chunky" accessory, but yet it goes with brown, beige and black outfits! 
AWESOME!


Tape 2 elastic cords to the table and start stringing!


With the 4 holed buttons you can string them 2 ways, Diagonal Holes...


or Side by Side holes.


some of the small beads don't need to be strung with both cords, to add a different dimension you can have just one cord go through. You can see it down below.


When all buttons are strung, tie both ends of the bracelet together, and cut the excess elastic.



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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chicken Pesto Fettuccine

Need a delicious noodle dish? Well this is the one for you! I have made this 3 times in the past 3 weeks! We really love it that much. My kids especially love the "green sauce" and noodles. This is a keeper! Trust me, you will love making this, and better yet... eating it!


Chicken Pesto Fettuccine

1/2 pkg. Fettuccine noodles cooked in salted water according to package directions. While the fettuccine is cooking... prepare your chicken and sauce.

2-4 Boneless Skinless chicken breasts- cubed and placed in a large skillet. Brown the cubed chicken in 1 T. Olive Oil

Sauce:
In a small sauce pan, saute 2 minced garlic cloves in 1/2 T. Butter until fragrant and slightly browned

In a Blender or Food processor place:

Saute'd Garlic and butter
3/4 c. Milk
1 1/2 handfuls of Spinach
Blend until smooth. 

Add mixture to the small sauce pan and add:

1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp. Onion Salt
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 T. White Vinegar

Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Combine the cooked noodles and the simmered sauce into the large skillet with the browned chicken. Let cook for 2-3 minutes. If cooked any longer the sauce thickens quickly and gets dry. Serve immediately! Delicious for Lunch and Dinner!



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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cranberry Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Who loves a light lunch or dinner? ME!!! I love light meals, they taste delicious and I don't feel guilty/yucky after eating. Lately I've really gotten into Lettuce Wraps. I love just about any one pan wonder. Throwing in what you have on hand and wrapping it up in a lettuce leaf. These are delicious and very healthy. I honestly didn't think I was going to like something wrapped up in lettuce instead of a tortilla or something. But I am CRAZY in love with this! Check out this version I made up, its almost like a turkey dinner remix! YUMM!



Cranberry Turkey Lettuce Wraps:

In a large skillet start cooking...
1 lb. Ground Turkey (SO YUMMY! I thought I would hate it as opposed to chicken but now I prefer it!)

*Drain any excess grease or moisture when the turkey is almost cooked through then add:

1 T. Fresh Chopped Parsley
2 T. Minced Onion
1/2 tsp. Onion Salt
1/4 tsp. Ground Sage
2 T. Less Sugar Crasins (Dried Cranberries)
1/2 c. Cooked Rice
1/2 T. Balsamic Vinegar

Simmer all together for about 5 minutes so all the flavors mix together! 

Place in rinsed lettuce leaves, and eat up! 

DELICIOUS!



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Monday, October 21, 2013

Quick Tip: Cut your Pancakes with a Pizza Cutter!

Let all families with children know this trick! We cut pancakes, waffles, sandwiches, noodles and more with a pizza cutter! Cutting food into kid sized pieces made easy!


I have idolized my oldest sister all growing up. She is 15 years older than me (I was a miracle baby) and her oldest daughter is only 5 years younger than me. So I grew up around her raising all of her beautiful daughters and loved every second of it! I was the "Young Aunt Brooklyn." I was able to watch Candace do many amazing things with her daughters. She had to be very creative and inventive with her girls especially during meal times! Her girls would all be hungry for breakfast all at once, and all of them wanted their pancakes cut at the same time. So what did she do? She used her master mind, and grabbed a PIZZA CUTTER! No knife and fork required! Just Zip, Zip, Zip, and all of her girls' pancakes were cut to perfection!

Tell EVERYONE!


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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Wooden Peg Super Hero Set

Who made these? I MADE THESE! I'm so proud of how these little Wooden Peg Super Hero's turned out! Believe it or not, we actually made these for a Relief Society Activity. I was so excited to try these. We could purchase a Princess set, or a Super Hero set. Well, since my little June has over 30 figures already, some Princesses she has double, I thought it was time for some "Boy" figures! So, I signed up for the super hero collection, and here we are!
I made only 2 while I was at the activity because I was talking and laughing, and munching on goodies with some awesome women. 2 days later, I pulled out my paints and paint brushes and went to town. These will be the perfect little Christmas gift for my Connor! 
So, without further ado, here are my Super Hero's. I asked my dear friend who put on this event where she purchased the wooden pegs, and she said at Hobby Lobby.



I really tried to keep them as simple as possible. I have to admit, I LOVED USING MY BLACK PERMANENT MARKER! I used a black permanent marker on my spider man, and on my bat symbol! IT WAS HEAVEN! I am very pleased with the outcome. I painted them all with Acrylic paint then sprayed a clear coat of  "gloss" over top; so if Connor puts it in his mouth, the paint wouldn't come right off! 



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Friday, October 18, 2013

S'mores Popcorn

Popcorn anyone?
I am missing summer and camping already and I'm CRAVING S'MORES! I made this a couple weeks ago for a combined YM & YW activity and there was not one morsel to be found at the end. Talk about a home run! From the Graham Cracker Crumbs to the Melted Semi-Sweet Chocolate and the Melted Marshmallow this was like a dream in a bite. I can't wait to have a popcorn party! If you love this one, you will love my White Chocolate Oreo Popcorn I made previously! 




S'mores Popcorn:

2 Big bowls freshly popped popcorn
3/4 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 bag big marshmallows
1 pkg. Graham Crackers (crushed finely)

Crush your Graham Crackers in a blender, mixer, or in a ziploc bag with a hammer or rolling pin (Whatever WORKS!). Place the Graham Cracker Crumbs over the popped popcorn. Melt the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips in a double boiler (a pan with boiling water and a glass or metal bowl on top) Place the melted chocolate over the popcorn and graham cracker crumbs, and mix together. Melt the Large Marshmallows in a glass bowl in the microwave. I did 20 seconds, stirred, then 10 seconds. Everyone's microwave works differently. Keep a careful watch so it doesn't burn. When done place the melted marshmallows over the chocolate/graham cracker popcorn and mix all together. 
DELISH!



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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Button & Star Bead Bracelet

Here is yet another fun activity to do with your children. June and I had a loved making these Button and Star Bead Bracelets together. We were given the Sparkle Elastic Cords and Plastic Bead Stars for free from Craft Project Ideas.com. They gave them to us to do whatever we wanted! My awesome Mother In-law told me about these button bracelets she saw, and I remembered she gave us a HUGE bag of different buttons that have come in handy MANY times. These fun buttons of all sizes and colors came from her so June and I could make fun crafts together. June and I thought it would be fun to make bracelets for June's friends out of these star beads and the bright buttons. They are PERFECT for children! June ended up making a necklace to match. I love that you can put all of the buttons and stars in any mismatched order and they still turn out GREAT! Take a look at how EASY and cute these are!


The Supplies:


We realized shortly after this picture was taken, the bead came right off. I improved and grabbed some tape and taped down the end of the elastic cord to the table to keep the beads from continually falling off. 


When the desired amount of beads were strung, all you simply do is tie both strings together and make 2 knots. I pulled a little tight so it wasn't loose on  the little girls' wrists.


Cut the excess string, and you're done!


This is where June loved her bracelet so much she had so start again and made a necklace! So cute!


She is so proud of her homemade jewelry! 





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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Grape Stick Appetizers

Who doesn't love an appetizer that is easy to make and deliciously healthy ? I made these for a Young Women Activity night that the parents were invited to. We had a great devotional and then we had little treats afterwards. Well coming up with the treat options was the hard part. We have MANY Allergies in our group of girls, along with some of the parents. A few of them are, Wheat, Nuts, Gluten, Milk, Melons, Banana, and 3 Diabetics. So what could we make? 
We decided to be geniuses and made 4 different kinds of smoothies. One without Banana, and with Almond milk, one with Banana and Almond milk and the others had normal milk and other fruits. It was a HIT! Along with the smoothies we wanted something you could eat and not drink. We came up with fruit trays. I was in charge of the grapes. Well I am a germ-a-phobe and hate other people dipping their dirty hands into a bowl of grapes. So what is a good way to display grapes in a "non germy" way? 
How about tooth picks?! IT WAS FABULOUS! I'm going to do this at all sorts of parties and get together's. It was so fast and easy, plus they are super fun!


Grape Stick Appetizers

Wash your grapes
Place 2 grapes on a tooth pick
Place on a plate


It's that simple! 


"Longer" Grape Stick Appetizers

Cut Bamboo Skewers in half and place 4 rinsed grapes on each. SO EASY, and FUN TO EAT!





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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

15 Souper Soups & Stews

In celebration of the fall and winter season, I made a round up of 15 fabulous soups to keep us all warm! These soups are sure to satisfy our taste buds and warm up our bodies! These awesome soups are from yours truly- Cook and Craft me Crazy, High Heels & Grills, Welcome to the Mouse House, Yummy. Healthy. Easy. and Made to be a Momma. I can't wait to try ALL of these this fall! 
Check them out! They look YUMMMMY!



Click on the title of the soup or stew below the picture to take you to the recipe!





















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