Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thrifty Find!

One day we were able to get out to a thrift store and we each found a couple of goodies! Here is a before and after project! The shade was inspired by this. Total cost: $4!

So, here is where we started - kinda tacky actually!

I quickly dumped out all of the old smelly potpourri and destroyed the lamp shade - getting better:


Then, I tore strips of canvas drop cloth and wrapped them around each section of the wire frame. 
Much better!!


And, here it is in its new home:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Patriotic Cake!

We returned last night from a weekend away where our littles and I were able to go to Virginia to see my friend Grace and her children! We had a fun time and as you can imagine, lots of crafting took place! I need to take pictures of most of our projects but will have fun sharing those over the next days!

First, I'm sharing this cake we made for Memorial Day - inspired by this flag cake (but not wanting to use two cake mixes!) we came up with this alternative. It was so festive and fun plus yummy too!

The fire-cracker candles were a stocking stuffer from my Mom! And, we made the red sugared star by laying a cookie cutter on the cake and sprinkling the red sugar inside it and lifting the cookie cutter off.

Obviously, I had fun taking photos of it!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Freezer Cooking

I've been inspired by Mary Ann and Crystal posting their progress in Freezer Cooking recently and when I had a quiet evening, it seemed a provision to do some planning for some freezer cooking of my own. Plus, as I was looking at the weeks ahead - I could see how wonderfully we'd benefit from this if dinner was ready to go for the next month.

So, I came up with a list of things I wanted to make and then a shopping list. I looked at the grocery ads and figured out the best store to go to with the best sales and God provided again with great meat sales.

I don't have any pictures - but one day that unexpectedly opened up - I knew that was an additional provision and we went grocery shopping in the morning. Around 1 in the afternoon, I got started. And, I worked until late in the night - but figured it was worth staying up extra late one night and getting it all done while the dishes were out and the kitchen was a mess than starting it all again the next day.

Not only did I complete enough dinners for our family for a month, but I was able to cook and portion out meals for David's mom for the next month for her freezer all at the same time!

Here's what I did:

* Cooked and cut up chicken to equal 16 cups.
* Cooked about 10 lbs. of ground beef.
* Cooked 1 lb. of sausage
* Started pinto beans to soak for refried beans - I finished these the next day in the Crock Pot.
* I also cut up chicken for the first time instead of buying boneless skinless chicken breasts. I've been wanting to try this for quite some time, but haven't for various reasons until now. I was so pleased with the results! And, I followed the directions for making broth with the bones in the Crock Pot and got a LOT of broth from that as well!
* Assembled Ranch Chicken x 2 dinners
* Assembled Italian Chicken x 2 dinners and baked a third batch to portion out
* Assembled Teriyaki Chicken - great use for the pieces left from cutting up your own chicken!
* Measured out 1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken each in two ziploc bags to make quick chicken salad.
* Measured out 1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken each in two ziploc bags to make quick BBQ Chicken sandwiches.
* Made Broccoli Rice Chicken Casserole and cooked the rice in chicken broth since I had so much! I used homemade Cream Soup mix instead of canned.
* Seasoned 4 lbs. of ground beef for taco meat, divided and put in bags. (I make my own taco mix)
* Sliced 1 lb. cube steak for these sandwiches and seasoned with Lawry's Seasoning Salt.
* Sliced 4 lbs. sausage - froze 2 for our family, cooked 2 for portions
* Made Chili. (Yes, I like PW, what can I say? Thanks to a B and N gift card from David and some spending money from my Grandma, I received PW's new cookbook for my birthday ... LOVE it!!)
* Made 4 pans (2 full recipes, divided) of Lasagna, two for us, one for portions and one for a co-worker of David's.
* Made Mexican Rice for David's mom as a side. I froze this in muffin tins.
* White Chicken Enchiladas x 2
* Beef & Bean Enchilada filling mixed, seasoned and bagged x 2; also made 8 individual burritos for individual portions
* Beef Stew (without beer) x 2
* Corn Chowder x 2

I have not been good lately at planning our meals out very well, so am looking forward to not dreading 5:00 and the What are we having for dinner? question! If this works well, I may just have to keep doing it!

Do you cook for your freezer?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hula Party

Emily was invited to a Luau party recently and I had fun taking some pictures of her and the party goodies!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Little House Morning

We've been reading through the Little House series around here this past year and have just started the fourth book. My girls and I had pinned this cute wagon craft and added it to our list of things we wanted to do this summer. Saturday morning provided an opportunity for just us girls to be home and I promised we would make this craft and we did!

After the craft, Laura and Mary paper dolls were pulled out and the fun continued! Recycled cardboard and a few minutes were all that was required to assemble these and the girls could do a lot of the cutting themselves while I assembled. FUN!

Meanwhile, if you follow me on Pinterest - you have seen Prairie Party ideas popping up as we are planning ahead for Emily's November Birthday!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Vow: a review

The Vow is another book I received to review came back in February! Carrie was in the hospital and I decided to send it to her instead - and she returned it when I was just at her house.

I had been looking forward to reading it - I usually enjoy peoples stories and especially when so flavored with their faith and a testimony of how God has worked in their lives. This book was not a disappointment and was an easy read.

I haven't seen the movie, but have heard that it doesn't really follow the book including names, places and faith not matching up on the movie. This is a great book that describes a very hard situation between a newly married couple and how they endure the accident and recovery process that followed.

Have any of you read the book or seen the movie?


Disclosure: I received this book free for review here. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mother's Day

I l.o.v.e.d. Ann's post about a DIY Mother's Day! Making our own day of R&R! And, oh - the things on her list were just how I wanted to spend the day! Being a mother, my day was full of spilled milk, sibling issues, a button pulled off of pants, toes run over by a bicycle wheel.

I tried a couple of times to redeem the day and make it special - and I will say the bubble activity was our highlight! At the end of the day, I could look back with a smile and that is what matters! Here are a few of the things we enjoyed ...

Lighting a candle ~ decorations which lingered from our evening with friends the night before.

Go outside and sit on the porch swing ...

Enjoy a tasty treat and took Ann's advice of even trying a self portrait!

We made bubbles! What giggles, jumping, bouncing, smiles and laughter came along with!

Gratitude Journaling ...

And, then a fun invitation to some friends for playing, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and fellowship! Fun!


And, it was my favorite kind of day: gray and cozy! How did you spend Mother's Day?