Travel Journal

Sunday, June 26, 2022 No comments

     I've kept a journal when I traveled for years. It's been great to go back and read about the day to day vacations I only remember as vacation blobs (beautiful blobs, but....just a generic summary and not the day to day details).  It's also been a great way to remember the things I wanted to remember before returning.  In the last few years I've added some 'scrapbooking' to my journal, as opposed to keeping a full album for the trip separately.  Now I might do a few pages in a larger book I'm keeping with chronological life moments, but I don't have as many full albums anymore because....time.  
     I've also slowly been teaching myself the most efficient way TO scrapbook on the go.  I know I used a two page spread each day.  I have a few walk throughs on youtube on past journals, but this last trip (Hello, Oahu), I took a few photos of what my set up looks like.  
I now travel with a pouch with my glue, a few paper scraps, some enamel drops, a mini stapler and little strips of washi, but I try to do most of my decorating beforehand.  
I attaching a few things to each page I think I might like to use when I decorate the page.  In this case, I made a little pocket using half an envelope beyond the house.  I put in some litlte squares I used for extra space for journaling, and a place to put my photos.  I also make little date tags in advance with my label maker.  This way I could use more than two pages, so I don't put the date on the pages until I get to that day.  
I use a canon ivy, which really prints great little photos AND you can buy your paper with a sticky back.  
I'm on my fourth travel journal now, and they sure do take up a lot less space.  I'm sure I'll go back to the 'big books' someday, or on really different vacations, but for now, I'm loving the travel journal life!

Muddy Buddy Truffles

Tuesday, December 07, 2021 20 comments


Every year for at least 15 years I've hosted a cookie RECIPE exchange at my work.  I've talked about it in the past, but the gist is that you bring two cookies and a recipe attached for each person.  We've had 25 people and 10 people.  You never know how wants to bake, and what they want to bake.  I always find a few new recipes this way regardless of the number, and this year was no exception, including the one I brought.  
These muddy buddy truffles taste exactly like you would expect them too.  The crunch of the chex and the pb, powdered sugar, and chocolate give them the delicious taste of a muddy buddy, but I thought they were easier to make (I can never shake my muddy buddies evenly).
The original recipe says they make 12, but I got more like 18 out of a batch.  It also said to wait for the chocolate to dry before rolling them in powdered sugar (double rolling), but mine got a little too hard b/c the powdered sugar didn't fully stick.  I think I'll try to roll when it's ALMOST dry next time, but that didn't impact the taste, it was just powdery!  

Corn Salad

Saturday, September 18, 2021 12 comments


I've been meaning to post this for awhile, but I just (re) found the recipe.  My mom had this at a potluck last spring and she told me we absolutely had to try it.  I made it for the 4th of July and it was a huge hit.  The pickiest people I know I call family and they all at it and liked it.  
This will be making all the summer get togethers from here on out!  

Ingredients:  2 15 oz cans of whole kernel corn (drained), 2 c. grated cheddar cheese, 1 c. mayo, 1 c. green pepper (chopped), 1/2 c. red onion (chopped), 1 10 1/2 oz bag of Frito corn chips (crushed)

Instructions:  Mix and chill.   Stir in corn chips just before serving.  

*The original recipe called for chili cheese corn chips, I just used what I had on hand.  

*If you won't be eating the whole salad in one sitting, divide it in half and only add half the chips.  It does not taste as good when the chips have been in it overnight b/c they don't have the right texture, so just reserve them and mix the second half together with the chips when you are dishing it out as left overs.  

Fall Trail Mix

Tuesday, September 07, 2021 9 comments

You can eat this trail mix at any time....and I do, but it feels right for the fall and it's so simple to put together!

My friend Susan shared this with me years ago and it will always be "Susan's mix."  It's the perfect mix of sweet with just a tiny hint of spicy (which you can leave out if you want, but most people don't even know that.  

Without further ado, or unnecessary words:  

Ingredients:  6 c. plain chex, 1 c. pecans, 1 c. pretzels (I always add a few more pecans and pretzels), 1 1/2 stick melted butter, 3/4 c. brown sugar, 1 scant tsp Cayenne pepper

Instructions:  Melt butter and stir in brown sugar and cayenne pepper.  

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Pour the butter mix over the dry mix and toss until the pieces are coated.  

Lay out on a large sheet pan and bake at 350 for 8 minutes.  Pull it out and stir.  Back another 8 minutes.  Cool and bag.  This should last at least a week if stored right,'s so delicious it won't last that long!  


Puff Pastry Sausage Appetizers

Monday, September 06, 2021 5 comments

 Last year for the super bowl I didn't host a party.  I barely watched the super bowl, but I did indeed still make an appetizer dinner like I was doing all of the above.  One thing I tried out were these 'pigs in a blanket' gone fancy via Martha Stewards Instagram.  

I cut my down b/c I didn't need a million, so here's my trimmed down version of some fancy dogs in some tasty blankets.  

Ingredients:  1 puff pastry, 4 sausages (I used Costco's Teton Polish sausage), 1 egg, spicy mustard, everything but the bagel seasoning (you could also just do poppy seeds or sea salt)


1.  Heat over to 400 degrees.  

2.  Cut puff pastry into 4 equal pieces.  

3.  Spread spicy mustard on half the puff pastry.  Lay sausage down over spicy mustard.  

4.  Beat an egg and brush some on the second half of the puff pastry.  Roll the hotdog (seam side down).  Cut into 4 pieces at an angle.  

5.  Once you have all 4 hot dogs cut, brush the top of each with the remaining egg and sprinkle with seasoning.  

6.  Bake for about 30 minutes (until golden brown).  

7.  Serve with Spicy mustard.  

DIY Balloon Columns

Friday, August 27, 2021 8 comments

I recently helped host a party for a friend of mine that retired from teaching.  She's really into politics, so we had fun with a patriotic theme (campaign buttons, shirts, and headbands).  One thing I wanted to try out was balloon columns.  It was MUCH easier than I thought.  I'll definitely be doing it again, and I'll go with a video next time, but here are some pictures and lessons I took along the way.  
First, I have a balloon blower.  I got this on Amazon.  It blows up two balloons at a time (I only have talent enough to do one), BUT it's a life safer.  It comes with different nozzle sizes and plugs in.  
I also found a kit on Amazon for less than 15 dollars that came with 100 balloons of different sizes, mylar balloons, string, glue dots, and these strips you can put the balloons into to create an arch.  It ALSO came with this tying divice, which saved my fingers from hurting!  
The other thing I purchased was balloon columns (two), again it was 15 dollars, and reusable.  They have door arches and circles, but I have seen the arches fall over before, and I decided this would be the least stressful way to make displays.  The column came with a bunch of different pieces you can attach.  I wanted a random sampling of balloons (nothing uniform).  I used these little round balloon holders that slip onto the poles.  
When you have four balloons, you slip them into the slots.  
And you slip the circle onto the balloon poles.  
I just kept stacking until I had it as full as I wanted.  The day of the party I went and inserted smaller balloons I had blown up into the gaps using the glue dots.  
One lesson learned, I don't know if I blew them up too big, but randomly during the night I heard balloons popping.  It wasn't a huge deal b/c I had set aside a bunch in case this happened.  BUT I also dropped the columns going to my car.  It was 100 degrees and all the balloons that hit the sidewalk popped.  Whoops.  I would assemble this on sight next time, not fill them QUITE as full, or transport them in trash bags and not fully assembled.  Live and learn.  
I put the mylar balloons at the top and filled the based and random spots with baby balloons.  I lost quite a few of my confetti balloons along the way, but it still was fun.  The plan was to put them outside the doors, but it was just too hot, so I put them in two random places in the house.