Monday, August 13, 2018

Pom Pom Cupcake Toppers

 I recently brought these little pom pom cupcake toppers to GMT.  They are such an easy addition to some cupcakes for a football party...or really.....add some google eyes and make them purple and green and you have monsters for Halloween.
 I took two colors of this yard I got for a dollar at Hobby lobby.
 I wrapped it around my three fingers 20 times.
 I took another piece of yard and tied the middle.  Then I cut the loops.
You can trim down any pieces that are a little longer, but use your tie to attach these to candy pop stickers (sold at the craft store-or even in Walmart's party section).  Then decorate your cupcakes.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Bible Journaling Gift Idea

 My cousin's daughter loves art, and she's old enough now to really be able to get into more intricate work.
I always start my Christmas shopping in January to try to help with the pocket book.  As I think of ideas, I pick them ups, so gifts are ready to roll come December.  There are also a ton of birthdays in the fall, so this has kept me afloat.
This year I'm putting together a beginner Bible Journaling Kit.  I made her a personalized pencil pouch and got her the basic supplies (map pencils, water color, pens).
I also used a coupon at Hobby Lobby to pick up this bible journal bible.  It has some pages with pre-drawn pictures and words you color, and some are blank for creative interpretation.  My plan is to do a few with her to get her excited.  Now....on to the other 9,567 gifts.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Princess Baby Gift

 One of my good friends just had baby #4...and it was a girl.  She has three adorable boys, so we are all pretty excited they get a sister.  She also happens to be a Disney fan.  I went on a hunt for Disney themed gifts, and then made a few crafts to go with them.  I found this romper on eBay.  Her favorite movie is Snow White.  Then I made a little felt bow using this tutorial.  I also bought some elastic baby headbands from eBay.
 She named her baby Aurora Rose after Sleeping beauty, so I had to do a pink theme.  I made this name banner and a onsie with her name on it using my embroidery machine.
 I found a mirror rattle on Amazon and a little crown clip at Hobby Lobby.
I made a few other bows and sent this off.  Incidentally, this was the second package I've sent in less than three weeks...I'm all about the spoiling.  

Monday, August 06, 2018

2 Cheese Sausage Balls

Maybe it's just me, but when I've made sausage balls in the paste, the bottom 1/4 of the mix can be a little dry and sandy.  I recently ran across a recipe on allrecipes that used cream cheese.  This was the first time I've ever been able to use every last bit of the batter and bisquick.  Side note, they were still (if not more) tasty than the original.  So, if you too have guilt over wasted bisquick.....or just like cream cheese, try out this combo.  
2 Cheese Sausage Balls
Ingredients:  softed 8 oz cream cheese, 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese, 1 lb sausage, 2 c. bisquick.
Instructions:  
1.  Mix sausage, cream cheese, and bisquick with a mixer, or your hands.  
2.  Add in cheese.  
3.  Roll into balls (about 1 T)-this makes about 60 balls.  
4.  Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to let the cream cheese harden a little.  
5.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  

Saturday, August 04, 2018

West Texas

I have lived in Texas my whole life.  I have had Big Bend National Park on my list of places to see for years, but I've never made it a priority.  This was the year.  Big Bend's peek is Thanksgiving and Spring.  I have to say, I pretty much had the park to myself on this visit (we were the ONLY group at all the stops and lunch).  It is, in fact, the desert, so it was pretty toasty, but....it's pretty toasty back in Dallas right now too, and I loved getting to see the sites without a crowd.  The mountains really felt nice, even midday, the canyon area was hot, and I don't think I'd do too many hikes (that's what this park is known for) during the summer, but I really just don't think there is a bad time to see the park.  I put it on my is to check off, but I definitely feel like I need to add it back to explore in a different season.  
 On the way down to Big Bend, I stopped in Big Spring at the historic Hotel Settles.  I stopped here last year.  It's about half way, the rooms are great, the restaurant is delicious, and they have a great pool and hot tub.
 Day 2, I headed to Fort Davis, home of the McDonald Observatory.  This is a trip unto itself.  They have night star parties, but I wasn't there on the right night, so I took part in a sun watch where we got to see solar flares and dark spots.  This is one of only 6 'dark sky' areas in the US, and this one has places that are close enough to stay to make this star gazing more convenient.
 As a bonus, we stopped at For Davis National Historic Site.  It's an old army encampment.
 We also had a lot of tasty meals, despite the less than promising sign....or maybe the sign overselling the sheer number of items available, I can't tell you there was a bad meal anywhere on the road.  Just ask a local.  They are friendly, helpful, and full of great tips.
 We also swung through Marfa.  Marfa has housed some pretty swanky movie stars throughout the years and is a stop on it's own.  This is also home of the famous "Marfa Lights."  Aliens or highway lights?  Regardless, there is a spot to watch and discern the truth along the road.
 I spent several nights in the CUTEST hotel.  The Gage Hotel is in Marathon, Texas.  These towns are LITERALLY in the middle of nowhere and I just can't believe how much they have to offer.  The closest Walmart is 60 miles away.  Most things are closed on Monday (and Tuesday), and there isn't much TO be closed, but what is open (stores and a restaurant at the hotel) far exceeded expectations.
 I don't know that I could do this hotel justice in this post.  Every little nook and cranny is filled with adorable, personalized, and unique details.
 Our rooms overlooked the courtyard with great seating in front of the room, and behind the room on a private patio.
 There are so many flowers and decorations all throughout the grounds.  Look it up, I don't want to fill up *your* device with too many pictures, but this is as much as I can narrow down hotel details for now to even give a taste of what it was like to get to hang out here for a few days!
 There are several entrances to Big Bend.  This one was about 40 miles from our hotel.  Some of the visitor centers were closed for the season, so it was probably an hour or more before we encountered some of the larger visitor centers.
 We only had a day, so the goal was to hit up one of the mountain views (Window View).  This is also where they have a restaurant overlooking this view and lodging for folks staying in the park.
 We took a 40 mile scenic drive called Ross Maxwell.  You wind through the dessert with overlooks at nearby canyons and mountains.
 The final destination on the drive was Santa Elena Canyon.  There is a short walk on a boardwalk to where you can go and stand at the mouth of the canyon where the river runs.
 Big Bend is a birders paradise and we saw our fair share of road runners and all their friends throughout the park (I'd need to do some real studying up to do them justice).  There are a lot of really unique cactus,  friendly looking trails, and again-great star gazing throughout the area.
It was just enough of a preview to let me know I'd definitely love to go do it again now that I know what I'm doing.  Above is a little quirky building I passed halfway between Alpine and Marathon.  It didn't appear to be open for business, but there is apparently the world's smallest Prada store with actual items for sale nearby....so....something for everyone!

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Reuben Sliders

Football season is when I bring out my appetizer recipes....or try new ones. I tried this guy last year for the Super Bowl and they were really delicious.  I love the varying Hawaiian Roll sandwich recipes, but this was a fun variation on a slider with the pretzel rolls.  I was able to find some at a grocery store near by that has a bakery.  The original recipe is from Bellyfull.
Reuben Pretzel Sliders
Ingredients:  12 (3 inch) pretzel rolls (cut in half), 1/2 c. Thousand Island dressing, 2 c. sauerkraut I used a little less b/c I'm not a huge fan), 6 oz sliced corned beef, 3 big slices of Swiss cheese (quartered), 5 T butter (melted), 1 T spicy brown mustard, 2 t. minced dried onion
Instructions:  
1.  Preheat oven 350.  Coat 9x13 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.  
2.  Place the bottom of the rolls in a pan.  Spread with dressing.  Top with sauerkraut, corned beef, then cheese.  Place roll tops on top.  
3.  Whisk together melted butter, mustard, and dried onion.  Pour over the sliders and cover with foil.  4.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Football Wreath

I'm headed to GMT this morning to do football crafts.
I'll post the segment later on facebook.
I saw a wreath like this via pinterest I'm planning to bring..  The original watermark is from a website called mamadish, but the link is broken (I like to give credit where credit is due, but I don't like to lead people to hackers, so.....).  I adjusted the tutorial a bit....
I cut 1 1/2 inch strips of fabric and glued them around a Dollar Tree wreath with some hot glue.  It took me about four strips, which was perfect.  
 Once it was wrapped...
 I used some of this yarn (a dollar from Hobby Lobby) and wrapped it randomly (both colors) around the wreath to give it....some pizazz?  Depth?  Character?  You pick.
 Then I cut strips of felt about 1 1/2 inch and I fringed it to about 1/4 inch.  Then I rolled it and gued the bottom....this becomes your pom poms.
 I cut out little pennants and used some 'Thickers' (thick letter stickers from Hobby Lobby I got for half off) to spell out my team's name.  You could also use your Cricut or painted wood letters.
 I glued these on to some string.  I sandwiched the back to hold it secure.
I glued all these pieces on to the wreath along with a wooden football I got from Hobby Lobby for less than a buck.  Again, you could make these with felt, but I took the easy route.  
I have literally made 20-30 wreaths using similar techniques (yard, fabric, and that trust Dollar Store Wreath).  Scroll here.  

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Vintage French Phrase Frame

 One of my goals is to redo my guest bath sometime over the next year.  Hopefully sooner, but I'll let my pocket book determine that.  I have been collecting a few things here and there.  I saw this frame at Target and I fell in love.  I was looking for a vintage print, but it's a bizarre shape....so I googled vintage paperwork and these old French/English phrase cards popped up on Etsy.
I used some double sided tape to float them in the frame.  This meets my French standards and my quirky standards.  Win.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Greek Mustard Sauce

This past spring I went to Greece.  I had a lot of grilled chicken with this really delicious mustard sauce on top.  It was generally drizzled over the chicken.  I've been working on recreating it, and this one was a good one.  I bought the chicken already cooked on skewers at Costco and it was so delicious.
Greek Mustard Sauce
1/2 c. spicy mustard, 1/2 c. Greek yogurt, 2 T of honey, and a pinch of salt (to taste)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Hosting a Group Baby Shower

I've hosted a lot of baby showers in my day.  When you host with a group things can get a little complex.  Who brings what?  How do you 'split the bill' etc.  This is one of my favorite group themes-milk and cookies.  I've done several versions of this.  A cute alternative is 'milk mustache' for a boy.  I put the milk and cookies link below to some of the more elaborate parties.  The easy thing about this one is that you can just assign each person a few cookies to bring.  This way, you don't have to worry about if someone wants to get plates from the Dollar Tree or Nieman's.  You do you, I'll do me, and we all bring equal shares and skip the cake serving.    I recently threw a shower with three other ladies and we just each decided which cookies we wanted to bring (points for pink).  I used scraps of fabric I keep in various colors to cluster under the food.  
We signed messages on the diapers for the new parents to use as they change diapers.  I also LOVE to get a book for everyone to sign-useful, and fun (especially since this was a shower for a teacher friend of ours.....hosted by a bunch of teachers).  We got "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie."
I also have a bunch of pink pom poms and fans....you'll see these again for a flamingo party I'm throwing next spring.  
This time we served pink lemonade, tea, and pink (strawberry milk).  A little hint-not many will drink the milk, but it sure is cute!  I also put out some bags for people to fill up with cookies to take home with them.  
And that's all she wrote in this chapter of party prep.