Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Sketches!! July 2012 Sketch Class!

Woohooo!  I just finished up a bunch of brand new sketches for our upcoming Inspired to Scrap sketch class!

Want a peek?

All of the sketches call for photos that are 4" and larger.  (So, I have 4x6's, 4x4's and 4" circles!) This will allow you to use the photos you already have printed instead of worrying about ordering smaller photos.  *Of course you can alway use smaller photos, too!!!*

**We have some fabulous prizes lined up in the next couple of months on I2S...including $25 at Crop Chocolate and some kits from Scrapbook Steals!**

Join us on the forum and/or in class to be inspired and possibly win some great prizes!! If you are a member but haven't been by in awhile, don't be afraid to pop back in and say hello!  We would love to know what you have been up to. :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Baked Chicken Sandwiches-Freezer/camping meal

We made these last year from Once a Month Mom's recipe here to take camping.  They were a big hit and very yummy. 

This time, I added a little extra chicken and celery and stretched it into two bags.  Each bag has five 1/3 cup servings in it.  I will take the bag out of the freezer, put it into the camping fridge to defrost and then put the sandwiches together before cooking them.

(I will try to update after we eat these and I get a photo!)

Baked Chicken Sandwiches
(includes my updates)
2-3 cups Chicken (or Turkey), cooked & cubed
6-8 ounces Cheese, shredded (I used a Mexican blend)
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
2-3 cups Celery, diced very small
2 Tablespoons Onion, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
10 Hamburger Buns

In a bowl mix all ingredients (except buns). Season to taste. Divide into one or two freezer bags (I divided it up for two separate meals for us). Press out all of the air and double bag your bags to prevent freezer burn. You could bag it up along with five buns if you wanted to be fully prepared.  Freeze.

To prepare:
Defrost in the fridge. Add approximately 1/3 cup of chicken mixture onto each bun, wrap in aluminum foil, bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Alternatively, I bet you could cook these on a grill (covered).  Be sure to turn them often if using a grill!
Servings: 10 (or 5 per meal)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

DIY distressed side table

Anyone else like to re-fashion things to make them "new" again?  Or buy inexpensive thrift store items to fix up?  This has been my latest interest!!  My friend, Misty, sparked my interest in searching through thrift stores and I am on the hunt for fun, nifty and thrifty items!

To start, I grabbed this ugly old (and cheap!!) little table from the basement.  I have had this for a long time...and I am pretty sure it came from my mom who got it from a rummage sale. I wanted a spot for the girls to be able to store their hair clips, play jewelry and brushes.  The bathroom counter wasn't big enough for their box so I painted and distressed this table.  I think it turned out fun and much cuter than when it started!


Show me your thrifty makeovers!!!  I have a tiered appetizer stand I am working on now. :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pikachu card

Hubby got me a Silhouette Cameo for my birthday.  He was pretty slick picking it out and getting it as a surprise.  He was a bit bummed when I guessed what it was right before opening it, though. LOL!!!

Anyhow, I haven't had a whole lot of time to play with it...but I did manage to make this card tempate this morning for Joshua to use as his birthday thank you notes.  Hoping to have him write those today...we are a little late on them!

Whatcha think?  Not perfect...but I think it is cute!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Menu Planning Monday

See more menu plans at
Time for another plan! 

Monday- Crockpot taco style lentils and rice, lettuce, cheese, salsa, leftover steak (burritos)
Tuesday- Chef salads with lettuce, quinoa, ham, hard boiled eggs, various veggies, cheese, homemade bread
Wednesday- Roasted red pepper sausages, brown rice, carrots, salad
Thursday-Egg drop soup with chicken and noodles, edamame
Friday- Pasta with red sauce, broccoli, salad
Saturday-Taco bowls-Crockpot black beans, Mexican rice, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa, cheese, etc.
Sunday- Mini meatloaves, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, salad

What are you fixing?

Crockpot-Taco Lentils and Rice

This is a really easy, tasty and inexpensive recipe.  We usually eat this as a burrito filling but it would be good as a side dish as well. 

Crockpot-Taco Style Lentils and Rice
(From Hillbilly Housewife...I have changed the spices to suit our tastes better.  Adjust to your liking.)

3/4 cup dry lentils
3/4 cup brown rice
4 cups water
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon chili powder
1  teaspoon cumin
1 ½ teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Rinse the lentils and rice. Combine everything and cook in the crock pot on low for about 5-6 hours. Stir well. Use as a taco or burrito filling. YUM!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Menu Planing tips

A friend recently asked me for some menu planning tips.  I thought I would share in case it would help any of you! :) Here is my reasoning and the method to my madness. ;)

I used to love cooking. And I still do. But I just don't have the time to cook like I used to. Kids pulling on legs, hungry, crying, activities we have to go to, bath and bedtimes to do afterwards, etc.

Later, I would spend time going through sale ads and buying up what was on sale before making my plan. Then I would plan based on what I bought (plus the staples I usually buy.) But honestly, I don't have time to do that most of the time. I just buy what we like, stock up on fruits and veggies that look good and are a good price and then plan.
Menu planning prep work-Type up a list of your family's favorite meals that are not too difficult (or expensive) to prepare. I recommend listing meals that EVERYONE will like...not just you and your hubby. You don't want to be a SHORT ORDER COOK. You should have a little bit of what your kids like at each meal and maybe one new item for them to try. I think I read that it takes about 15 times for a kid to try something before they actually accept it. Don't give up...keep trying.  They will learn to eat new things eventually. Serve them things you like and they will learn to like many or most of them.
You can use this list week after week to quickly add most of your meals to your plan. I tend to resort to tried and true recipes most of the time. (Mostly, ones using things I tend to buy a lot or usually have on hand.) Then if I have a little extra time or desire, I might add in a new recipe or two to try a week. (But even then, I would have a back up listed just in case you didn't get to the store or run out of time.)
1. Before I make the weekly plan, I make a list of the things in the freezer/fridge/pantry that I want to try to include in the plan. Generally, things that will go bad if we don't use them this week or things I may have forgotten about that I want to use up. This would mean using fresh veggies earlier in the week then using canned or frozen later in the week if you run out of fresh-instead of running back to the store.
**Next, print a few planner sheets.  I couldn't find the one I usually use that I got online several years ago...but this one looks good.
2. On your planner, make note on the planner of any "special" lunches/dinners. "Special" might mean a dinner out. Or it might mean a lunch that should be packed in a cooler ahead of time (park playdate or?). Or it might mean that you won't be home in time to cook or have to leave after eating so you want to make it a crockpot night to make it easier.
3. Fill in your meals. I like to try to alternate types of proteins, veggies, etc. so there is a decent variety. Use your list of family favorites as well as the list of items you would like to use up. If I have time and feel like coming up with a couple of different recipes, i might flip through some cookbooks or do an online search as I plan.
** I also list a couple of alternatives on the bottom of the paper in case I want something different or am actually out of something I thought I had. If you don't use these extra ideas, you can put them on next week's plan (or not.) :)
 **NOTE** Menu planning takes time but it will make your life easier in the long run. Also, you can mix up the days you serve meals on...the point is to have a plan to fall back on and have an idea of the sort of meals you can make with what you have.
 Here are a couple of favorite menu planning sites that have great tips and ideas:
Frugal menu planning (she makes a lot of good points. I follow her on facebook and like seeing her thoughts on saving money and feeding a family.)
**This site also hosts Menu Planning Monday where 100's of people link up their meal plans for the week.
Good luck!!! You can do it!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Menu Monday!

Our new sketch class started yesterday!  It's not too late to join in the fun!!! Register HERE. :)

Here's my menu for the week.  (Life is just a little easier having a plan. I don't always stick to it, but it is there and that helps a lot!) We are on Spring Break this week and we have a couple of birhdays so plans may indeed change. Anyhow, here it is:

Monday- HG BBQ chicken (crockpot), roasted cauliflower, rolls, quinoa
Tuesday- Taco salads (beef or chicken, beans, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, etc.) (Or possibly out or bring something home for my birthday.)
Wednesday- Pizza (out for Joshua's 7th birthday!)
Thursday- CP creamy Italian chicken, rice/cauliflower rice, squash, salad
Friday- CP Santa Fe Chicken, chips and cheese
Saturday- Egg drop soup with chicken and noodles, possibly homemade wontons
Sunday- I know, tradition states ham.  But I am thinking- grilled steak & sausages, biscuits, salad, deviled eggs. 

What's on YOUR menu??? :)  Visit for more menu ideas!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chicken Parmesan (healthy!)

We have made this many times and it is excellent!  The kids love it.  I love it.  Hubby loves it.  You need to try it so you can love it, too!

Chicken Parmigiana
(makes 4 servings)
1 lb uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly pounded (4- 4 oz pieces)
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
½ cup dried bread crumbs (premade or grind a couple of slices of bread to a fine consistency.)
1 TBS Italian seasoning (more or less to your taste)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
1 ½ cups spaghetti sauce (whatever kind you like!  Homemade, jarred, etc. or even just spiced up tomato sauce)
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 TBS grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.

Place egg whites in a shallow bowl. Combine bread crumbs with Italian seasoning and salt; pour into another shallow bowl. Dip chicken in egg whites; turn to coat. Dip chicken in bread crumb mixture; turn to thoroughly coat.

Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and add oil; heat over medium-high heat. When hot, add chicken and cook until lightly browned and no longer pink in center, about 4 minutes per side.
Pour 1/2 cup of sauce into prepared baking dish; place chicken in dish and pour remaining sauce evenly over chicken. Sprinkle with cheeses and bake until chicken is cooked through and cheese is bubbly, about 25 minutes.

**I like to have this with just a big salad.  It would be great with pasta as well.  I usually double this since we love it and the leftovers are great as well.

Cauliflower rice!

I can't believe I haven't tried this good and healthy! Even my six year old liked it (and he was quite against "cauliflower rice" at first.) I have seen several recipes for this rice substitute around Pinterest.  Here is what I did:

Cauliflower "Rice"
1/2- whole head of washed and dried cauliflower
A handful of diced onion
a clove of garlic (minced)
*(Next time, I think I might try just some garlic and onion powder to see if I like it without the chunks of onion.  But it was really good this way, too!)
Cooking spray

~Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until about the consistency of rice (actually, it's more like couscous). Make sure your cauliflower is good and dry!  Do not add any water at any point.
~Put "rice" into a microsafe bowl and lightly cover (don't seal it tightly) with wax paper or lid. ~Microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring halfway. (Again, do not add water!)
~Saute your onions and garlic with a bit of cooking spray in a large non-stick skillet.  Add your rice and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently.
~Serve as you would rice and enjoy far less calories!!!
(We had this with Kielbasa and black beans...can't wait to try it with an Asian dish!)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Planning Monday!

Time for another menu plan!!! :) Days/meals may change since I am waiting to hear from the soccer coach about practices this week.

Monday- Homemade Chili Verde (hope to post the recipe soon...if I actually make note of what I do!), CP pinto beans(link to stovetop version), tortillas (plus all the goodies-lettuce, cheese, salsa, etc.)
Tuesday- Orange chicken (pictured above), white rice (we love short grain sticky rice!), a veggie (probably steamed broccoli)
Wednesday- WW Chicken Parmigiana, pasta, salad
Thursday- Kielbasa & black beans, brown rice medley, salad or veggie (green beans maybe?)
Friday- Thai Chicken Curry (sauce from a jar), rice, veggie
Saturday- CP chicken tacos (just frozen chicken breasts and salsa)
Sunday- Egg drop and chicken rice noodle soup (or dinner at/from Costco! :) ) We made this soup twice already.  I added some chopped up veggies and I also used cooked thin rice noodles instead of cooking large ones in the broth.  Really good!

What are you cooking? View more recipes at! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

*NEW* sketches!

I have lots of new sketches and a few more in the works!  We will be having a sketch class in April on Inspired to Scrap.  Watch for the photo details and some peeks soon. :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Win the April Sketch class for FREE!!!

We are going to have a ONE HOUR sketch challenge next week at Inspired to Scrap...come and vote for the day and time you would prefer. VOTE HERE (You must be registered on the forum to vote and play along.)

I will draw a winner randomly from all of the entries!!  It is going to be FUN!  Join us to complete a layout (the real prize, right??!!!!) and for a chance to win the class for free. ($15 value!) :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

A few class layouts...

Here are a few of my favorites from the January sketch class (all based on sketches by me)-

We are going to have another sketch class in April!  Hope you will consider joining us!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Month-by-Month Challenge! (MbM-January 2012 Sketch)

Have a hard time keeping up with scrapbooking every single activity and event?  How about streamlining a little and focusing on creating one (or two for both pages) layout a month summarizing the previous month? 
We have a new challenge this year on Inspired to Scrap- MbM! Just take it month by month and use our sketches to scrap your year.  :) We will be posting a new double page sketch near the beginning of each month for you to create a layout using the photos from the previous month.

Here is the sketch we revealed on Feb. 1st to scrap your January photos-
Here is the page I created with various January photos-

I hope this sketch inspires you to scrapbook those memories!  We'd love to see what you create on our forum. Join us!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Come play along!

We have a few fun challenges on the forum to inspire you. :)  We started member challenges this month and we still have openings throughout the year if you want to sign up to host one! Jean, Lu, Von and I all have challenges up this month.  You can see all of the challenges HERE.

Here is mine-
I thought it would be fun to scraplift one of our members and DT Alum, Julia! I love her layouts and she is such a fun person and very inspirational.
Soooo...lift this layout by Julia.  You can lift it all or part of it.  Just let us know which part if it isn't obvious. Love the colors and design in this layout!!

Here's my version!

Join me and lift Julia's fabulous page! Upload your page to the gallery and the forum so we can all ooh and ahhh with you. :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Design Team Coordinator!

I need a DT Coordinator for Inspired to Scrap

Here are the details:
It’s a new year and we are changing things up a bit on Inspired to Scrap! We are planning a few minor changes and some new fun activities to keep us motivated and scrapping. To help me run it all, I need a DT Coordinator! Here’s the scoop-
Design Team Coordinator CALL (
Date of call-January 1-20th 2012
Inspired to Scrap ( is seeking a well-organized and motivated scrapper to join us as a Design Team Coordinator. The term will run for four months (February 1- May 31 2012).
Duties include overseeing Guest Designers and Member Challenges; creating and posting a challenge each month; assisting in class planning; creating at least three class samples before each class (classes are every other month); creating two tutorials for each class; posting actively on the forum; and posting weekly on the blog. We request that you participate on no more than one other Design Team during your term. (Call is open to scrappers in the US and Canada only due to shipping costs.) As a thank you, you will receive a free class after your term, a package of scrapbooking goodies, and recognition on our site.
Please email three layouts that demonstrate your scrapbooking style and the following to stacey {at} for consideration:
1. Your name, address and email
2. Your blog address
3. Are you active on any other forums? If so, which ones?
4. Why do you want to be the Inspired to Scrap Design Team Coordinator?
5. What do you feel are your best attributes that would help you to be successful in this position?
Please join our forum so we can get to know you during the call. Thanks and I look forward to getting to know you and having you join the team!!

Peanut noodles- recipe!

Of course, I forgot to take a photo of this tonight! But this sauce is really yummy...try it out sometime. :)

I just use whatever noodles I have on hand. Tonight it was Lo mein noodles that have been sitting in my pantry forever. But I usually just use spaghetti noodles. :) Add in whatever veggies you have on hand (steam them first) and some leftover turkey or chicken for a full meal.

Peanut Noodles (just the sauce)
1/3 cup peanut butter (I used reduced fat)
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantrro (I have left this out in a pinch but it really adds a good flavor)
1/2 tsp ground ginger (or use a tbs freshly grated if you have it! I never do.)
1 TBS rice vinegar
1 TBS soy sauce
1 minced garlic clove
1 TBS packed brown sugar

Directions: blend everything together and pour over cooked noodles and veggies. This will cover about half a pound of cooked noodles. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Menu Planning (Pantry Challenge!)

Thanks to Jessica's challenge- ...I am going to save a few bucks and challenge myself to use what I have on hand in the pantry and freezer this month. Yes, I will still buy fresh milk, eggs, cheese, fruits and veggies.  But I am also going to try to use some things that I might not normally reach for in my pantry so nothing goes to waste. :)

I had a bit of a hard time planning for the whole month.  I am sure I will end up moving things around or changing things if I find a fun new recipe to try or end up buying different meats or items at the store. BUT...I like a plan and here is what I came up with based MOSTLY on what we have here. 

I will also add in some sides of veggies and fruits depending on what I buy each week at the store. :)

Here is the plan in order on my calendar starting Monday, Jan.2nd.
~Leftovers (LOL! What a way to start, huh? But we have several things to get rid of in the fridge right now!)
~Grilled Cheese and Crockpot Tomato Soup (new recipe)
~Asian Sesame Noodles (I have a tasty recipe the kids love...I will share if I remember to get a photo!)
~Fish tacos, pinto beans
~Pancakes (either oatmeal or banana nut)
~Homemade pizza
~Taco Pasta (new recipe...will probably leave out the cream or use milk)
~ Burrito Bowls (rice, beans, leftover turkey from the freezer, lettuce, salsa, etc.)
~Grilled Cheese and Soup (Not sure what kind of soup yet.  Maybe some leftover from the freezer or maybe I will make some fresh.)
~Star Hitched Chicken (crockpot) burritos (salsa, chicken and cream cheese in the crockpot...easy and tasty!)
~Cheeseburger rice (new recipe...from a magazine)
~ Pasta with red sauce,
~ Crock pot chicken cacciatore (new recipe), salad
~ Chili (leftover in the freezer) and rice
~Thai curry chicken, rice, veggie
Crockpot taco style lentils and rice-burritos (simple recipe but yummy!)
~Split pea and ham soup, homemade bread (my favorite and one of the easiest pea soup recipes!)
~ Chicken Masala, rice, veggie
~ Southwest taco pie (A pampered Chef recipe...we have had this before and liked it but that was ages ago!)
~Burritos (again...yes.  My kids will eat almost anything if it is in a burrito) with sprouted beans and enchilada sauce
~Turkey, stuffing, gravy, rolls, etc. (I have a huge turkey in the freezer I need to defrost and cook!)
~ Black bean soup
~ Ravioli, red sauce
~ Waffles and sausage (i have a couple of yummy waffle recipes!  I need to get on the ball with food photos and recipes again!)
~ Chicken and rice burritos
~ Coconut Curry Shrimp, rice, veggie
~ Chicken Parmigiana, salad (really yummy recipe!)
~ Turkey barley soup, homemade bread

WHEW! So, we'll see how well I can stick to this plan.  Or not. ;) The point is going to be to use up some items and cook in this month.  Think I can make it the whole month without getting take out or going out?? :)

Happy menu planning!  For more menus, visit

Good Luck Dip for 2012!

Need a yummy way to eat your black eyed peas today for good luck in 2012?
My grandma (or "Poolma" as I nicknamed her as a young child since she was the grandma with the pool.  The name stuck and we all called her "Poolma!!") would always make some black eyed peas on New Year's Day and we would be obligated to eat them.  I don't think I liked them much as a kid...but I knew they were essential for a good new year. ;)

I had a bag of frozen black eyed peas (from the same friend mentioned in my garbanzo bean soup recipe below!) and decided to make something a little different that I thought my family would be likely to devour eat. 
DIP!  Who doesn't love a good dip?? This is sort of like 7 layer bean dip...but fresher and yummier. ;) So make! Or tomorrow if you have to go to the store.  Better late than never.  My family could use a little good luck in the upcoming year...what about your family? :) The great thing about this dip is that you can make it to your preferences...add guacamole or black olives, take out the cilantro, etc. Make it yours, make it YUMMY...just make it!

2012 Good Luck Dip
Black eyed peas (canned, frozen and defrosted or dried and cooked)- about 2 cups
1-2 tsp cumin
Sour cream- (I didn't measure...maybe 1/2 a cup or more)
1 TBS taco seasoning (optional)
Lettuce- chopped (about a cup...up to you!)
Cilantro- chopped (maybe 1/4 much as you would like)
Chopped fresh tomatoes
Shredded cheese (We like it finely shredded for this.)
Chopped green onions (about four)

1. Drain your black eyed peas well and mix with some cumin to give them a better flavor ;) .
2. Mash up about half of the peas.  I used a hand blender, but a fork and some elbow grease would work as well. Spread peas out on a platter.
3. Mix sour cream with some taco seasoning and spread out over peas.
4. Spread enough salsa out over the sour cream to cover it with a thin layer.
5.  Add some shredded lettuce and cilantro.  I like to chop the two together so the cilantro flavor gets all through the lettuce.  (I do this for our tacos, too...YUM!)
6. Add your shredded cheese, then the chopped tomatoes and lastly the green oinions.
Serve with tortilla chips and ENJOY the good luck you will receive in the NEW YEAR. :)

Happy New Year everyone!!!  I hope you all have a fabulous 2012!! :)

Love and blessings to you and your family.

My lovely blog visitors