Coaster Book Revisited

Monday, October 31, 2011 No comments
 I've made these coaster books before, but I just love them, and I just have to share the idea again because I love it, and it's so affordable, and such a fun little gift for friends.  I've shared this with my friends, made these to commemorate parties I've thrown for them.  Some of my friends have extended this idea and made it as little thank you gifts when they visit friends for the weekend etc.  Basically, any restaurant that has the cardboard coasters is fine with giving you a little stack of them.  I glue photos down, trip the edge, and repeat on the back. 
 Punch a hole in the corner, and then add them to a ring. 
 These are great little coffee table books. 
 I love to add ribbons and themed charms to the ring on the front to make it a little more festive. 
This little guy was sent to a friend that saved my sanity, and made my trip to the Amazon A-Mazing. 

Tie Rose Pin

Saturday, October 29, 2011 2 comments
 I saw a pin made from a tie awhile ago, and I've been wanting to try it out.  I found a tie this summer at the antique store for a buck that seemed to fit the bill.  I'm planning on adding this to a shirt, headband or a jacket, but I've also seen these on winter hats.  Actually, I'll probably give it away, but....those are things you COULD do with these.  I'm seriously fascinated by ties....or rather how you can transform one...I made this bag, using a tie as the strap awhile ago.  Next up...a pin....
 I tied a knot in the skinny end. 
 I then began twisting it around and around, and folder it over. 
 I didn't use the whole tie, just the skinny part, and then snipped it off.  I held it all together with pins, long enough...
To use super glue to hold it all together. 
 Now I have all this tie left over to find another project. 
I added a pin to the back using the same method as these burnt edge flowers

Last Minute Projects for Halloween

Friday, October 28, 2011 No comments
There is candy in my house in anticipation of the trick or treaters...that's mostly due to the fact that there is always candy in my house because candy is magical, and I like to keep a little magic in my life.  Oh, and I never know when I'm going to randomly trick or treat August.   BUT for Halloween, I like to go beyond the traditional candy bucket and give little gifts to friends, friend's kiddos, friend's kiddo's doctor's sister's favorite pet sitter. You know, the important people in my life. I haven't done that yet.  :insert gasp here:  You can officially call this an emergency of epic proportion in my world.  Maybe in some people's world 3 days before a holiday does not constitute as 'last minute,' but I assure you 'only' 3 more days until a holiday ranks as a major-minor predicament in my life. As I right this catastrophe....I've been shoveling through some old projects to create for the above mentioned people, and I'm sharing a few of these today on Good Morning, Texas. 
Here are the projects and the links attached to each that goes through the step by step instructions, resources, and random rabbit trails I run down while blogging.  Because.  I.  Can.
I made some of these last year for my friends hosting Halloween parties at their house. 
First:  Holiday Soaps
The sign of a truly thoughtful hostess is when the party extends into the bathroom.  I made that up.  It sounded good.  Wait, really didn't.    Unless you don't have holiday appropriate soap in your bathroom.  Then, you should ignore me.  Really, I made these in an effort to make my friend's little boys squeal with joy.  And wash their hands.   Get it, hands?    Monster hand soap.  Some-bod-y is lame.  Somebody talks in third person.  Somebody is moving on.
Monster Hand Soap

Skeleton Soaps

I also made these soaps just because. 
I used the same steps from the monster hand soaps, but I just poured the melted soap into a glass dish (with a spider ring) after I sprayed it with Pam so it was easy to pull out when it hardened.
...and then Cake in a Jar
Really, need I explain the importance of gifts that are edible?  If so:  #1  It's edible #2  It's edible.  #3 The awesome thing about a jar is that you don't have to be a master at piping little designs on cupcakes, the jar does the talking.  People think you are clever, and they don't even care that Betty Crocker made your cake, and ziplock is in charge of the design techniques.  Hello, traveling cupcake.  I die a little every time. P.s.  These are also shippable.  Yay!
Cupcakes in a Jar

For more ideas for making holiday soaps (dinosaur soap, cupcake fizz balls, and even ways to recycle piles of hotel soaps), or other creative ways to serve if the festive liners aren't on the labels below this post (soap or cake).

Taco Cornbread Casserole

 I saw this recipe a few weeks ago on Debbie's Blog here.  It sounded like the perfect meal to say, 'hello' to fall....and I was right.  This is one of my favorite recipe finds in a long time.  It's really easy to throw together, heats up well the next day, and is delicious any day you decide to consume it! 
Taco Cornbread Casserole Ingredients: 
8 oz corn bread mix, 1 egg, 1/3 c. milk, 3 c. cooked taco seasoned meat (follow directions on taco seasoning package, and I used about 1 lb of meat), 1 can black beans (I skipped this), 8 oz c. sour cream, 1 c. colby jack (shredded and divided), 1/2 c. onions (chopped), 1 med tomato (chopped), 1 c. lettuce (shredded), sliced olived (optional, I skipped this too). 
Taco Cornbread Casserole Instructions:
1.  Mix the cornbread, milk and egg.  Place in an 8x8 inch pan (sprayed with cooking spray), bake at 350 for 15 minutes. 
 2.  While bread is cooking, cook meat.  AFTER the meat is cooked, drain and add drained beans to meat at this point (again, I skipped the beans).  Pour meat and beans over cooked cornbread. 
 3.  Mix sour cream, 3/4 c. cheese, and chopped onions.  Spread over meat mix. 
 4.  Bake 20-25 minutes (until cheese is melted). 
 5.  Sprinkle with lettuce, tomatoes, 1/4 c. cheese, and olives (or my case). 
*This serves 6 and is about 530 calories per serving. 

Crockpot Cheese-ee Chicken and Rice

Thursday, October 27, 2011 3 comments
 Hold the applause, but this post serves as the end of one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2011.  True, it's the only 1 of the 11 resolutions I had that I completed, but still.....It was my goal to cook 10 new meals in the crockpot this year.  It's this unexplored territory in my life.  In fact, I surpassed this goal.  Fortunately, I didn't have 10 'good' recipes because a lot of them were yuck-eeeee!  What I learned about crockpot recipes is that you have to be really selective.  Chicken is one of the things that came out pretty well each time, and this happens to be one of my favorite for the year!  It's a keeper.  I found it on Fork In It blog.  It's easy.  And did I mention it was good?  I had a lot of bad crockpot meals this year, so.... yay for one that made the experiment worthwhile! 
And without further case want to try out that whole crockpot thing this next year....or if you are just looking for a good meal...or if I'm at the story and need to search my blog for the recipe b/c I forgot to write them down (the real reason I started blogging about recipes)  Here it serves 4.
Chicken Crockpot Ingredients
2-4 frozen/skinless/boneless chicken breast, 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese (softened), 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 pkg italian season (dry powdered kind).  Rice
Chicken Crockpot Instructions
Stire cream cheese, cream of chicken and seasoning.  Pour over frozen chicken in a crockpot.  Cook for 4-6 hours or until chicken pulls apart.  I cooked mine about 8, thus the edges of the cheese, which were goooood....
Cook up rice, and serve chicken and cheese over rice. 

Candy Wands

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 1 comment
I've seen these little wands around the net, and I had some 'left over' (I use this word with much irony considering my love of the stuff....) candy and threaded some wands of my own on 'left over' skewers.  gummy eyeballs, gummy worms, licorice wheels, and peach fruit strips (all from a gourmet candy selection).  It took a little patience, and I don't think I could have done this without the point of the bamboo skewer.  Chocolate eyeballs or other candies would be fun too, but I seem to be plum out.  I wonder what happened?  I'll go hire a detective.

Halloween Cider Broomsticks

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 1 comment
My life motto is, everything drink, dish, or fleck of dust needs an accessories.  Meet, Halloween's drink accessory, the witch's broom!I saw this idea last year at Taste of Home, and I had to try it out.  I love apple everything.  I grabbed some premade cider, and then I got to work on the brooms. 
Press and carve the broom straw out of orange slices, press them to a cinnamon stick, and then wrap a licorice string around the two meeting points.  I did add a dab of melted chocolate to the licorice to hold it all together, though I'm sure I cold have molded the orange slice to adhere all three if I had tried a little harder.  I like to leave room for improvement. 

Pumpkin Water Bottle Favors

Monday, October 24, 2011 5 comments
 I saw this idea a month or so ago on Home Confetti and fell in love.  How simple, and so cute....and healthy considering all the other things we (me) consume around this time of year, flavored water, sure! 

Pull the label off a water bottle, attach a straw and one of the individual size drink packages, draw a pumpkin face with a permanent marker, have the kiddos add the drink mix whenever they are ready, and ta da, a great little gift for anyone with a little magic attached.  Speaking as a teacher, these would be great to send up for a class as sugar coursing through their veins as we attempt to teach, yes, please. 

Clarksvegas Baby Shower Weekend Extravaganza

Saturday, October 22, 2011 3 comments
 The weekend of October 8th, I headed North towards Clarksville, TN.  My bff is having a baby.  It's her first.  It's a girl.  It's kinda a big deal.  I took the above shot the last full day I was there, and I love it.  I saw something similar online once.  I just opened up the blinds with the sun shining straight in, switched my camera to black and white, and snapped.  I heart it. 
I've been blogging about the details of the shower this week, but on a personal note.  It was exciting.  Regan tried for a very long time to give us this reason to host a shower!  After 5 years of marriage, and her husbands 2nd year over seas in 3 years serving in the US Army, they succeeded where treatment, and medical care had failed, God took over.  She is 8 months along...and counting.  Her friend, Liz, who I've had the pleasure of meeting while visiting her as an adolescent in NY, and later at wedding showers, and wedding festivities was also able to make it, and she was a ginormous help getting the shower put together. 
 I went with a Pooh theme to match her nursery.  I drove down with my car loaded down, and finished up some grocery shopping, baking and creating on Friday (when I drove the second half after leaving right after work on Thursday).  Her Mom and Dad also came up from SC.  I heart them so much.  My relationship with Regan's whole family has been such a blessing in my life, such a hug from God. 
 We hung out with Regan's Clarksville crowd on Saturday and opened gifts. 
 Da girls. 
 We spent a lot of the weekend in PJ's back at Regan and Dave's casa with the dogs. 
 We baked a pie, and I introduced Liz to the wonder that is Cherry Pull and Peel Twizzlers. 
 We spent a huge chunk of the weekend bordering, and decorating the nursery. 
I took some photos on Sunday.  There are some 'stomach shots' I'll let Regan post....there is just something about popping someone else's bare belly on my blog....I'm not ready yet, but this photo reminds me of another moment...
I have one photo of Regan holding blocks to spell out her baby's name, and while she was cradling them under her belly (they aren't ready to reveal the name yet), Baby Girl started kicking and making the blocks move.  It was, by far, one of my favorite moments.  I got to feel baby hiccups, and lots of baby kicks, and this little being definitely stole a huge chunk of my heart, and wouldn't let me have it back when I left for the long drive home on Monday. 
One month left of beautiful fall weather, and a few weeks after that I'm heading back up to hold that little nugget.  It makes me nostalgic about the past....all the things Regan and I have experienced in almost 25 years of friendship.  All the adventures, first, heartaches, and dreams fulfilled.  I can't even imagine 25 years from now where all the pieces will fit in this puzzle called life, but I know it'll be a-mazing.