Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!! (And, a gift share--Dad, spoiler alert, don't read this post yet!)

Hi Readers!

Just wanted to drop in and wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you are able to spend the day with family and friends and enjoy a delicious meal.  We have lots to be thankful for in my household--and you readers are definitely on my list.

I also had to share a great gift find I found for my Dad.  (My Dad doesn't do much on computers, so it's likely that if he is reading my blog, it won't be until after he opens these little gems, so I think I am safe sharing them with you all!)

My Dad has had this Gonzo ornament on the Christmas tree as long as I can remember.  It was always special to find the Gonzo ornament amongst the box of ornaments when we were putting up the tree each year at my Mom and Dad's growing up.  Of course, my sister and I always wanted to hang it somewhere prominent on the tree, but with it being so heavy, he always got moved to the bottom branches.

The Muppet Show was a huge memory of my childhood.  It used to be on TV on Sunday nights and the treat at our house was to have Dave's Pizza, and we'd get to eat on TV trays in the living room with pop in our Tupperware sippy cups after our baths and watch The Muppet Show.  Even as a grown up, I still love that show, and the movies, and have shared them with my boys as well.

Last year, my Mom, sister and I had gone out for some after Christmas shopping for things like tags to add to our gift tag boxes (another tradition I'll talk more about this holiday season), calendars for the new year, and anything with the gift cards we had just gotten.  When we were at Target going through their holiday section for the tags, I came across these beauties:

I couldn't pass them up.  I can hardly wait to see the expression on my Dad's face when he opens them up. Another bonus, they aren't as heavy as Gonzo, so perhaps they will get to have a place a little more eye level on their tree.  You can bet that I will have my camera ready to capture my Dad's expression when he opens them, and, I will stop back in and share where they go on the tree once I see it decorated.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cookie Exchange Recipe Cards

Hi All!

Just had to pop in real quick and share the recipe cards I made for one of my girlfriends for her cookie recipe exchange.  She asked me if I could make her "something Christmasy" I think these fit the bill!  

I will be away from the blog for the rest of this week celebrating Thanksgiving with my family.  I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for each of you readers!!  Safe travels if you are traveling.  Enjoy the time with your family and friends and I'll look forward to chatting with you after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Share Recipe--What's in YOUR Freezer?

Happy Sunday Readers!

Today, I am going to share some recipes we've made lately on the weekend to have during the week.  We have a freezer in our garage, so it makes it real easy to make these things and then put them out there to store until we need them again during the week.  For our family it works best to make 4 different things and that is enough for a meal, lunch for Mitch and I, and possibly a night of left overs.  It usually takes me 1/2 of my day to get these things put together and packaged.

You will need this cast of characters:

Here are the favorites we've made so far:

Chicken Spaghetti--this is a good comfort food.  In Ree's recipe, she cut up a whole fryer chicken, we just used a couple cans of shredded chicken to cut down on the time it took.  It almost has a chicken pot pie taste to it.  It was a keeper.

Mexican Stuffed Shells- my kids love any type of Mexican food.  This was great with some fresh guacamole and a lettuce salad. Works perfect for lunch the next day, too.  

Crock Pot Beef Tips- I prefer this over mashed potatoes since I'm not a huge fan of egg noodles, but my husband and kids like the noodles.  (The boys were outraged there are mushrooms in here...but they are so delicious)

Lasagna-I love a good lasagna,  and I thought mine was pretty good.  I tried this one and I am converted forever.  I really like that the sauce lets the meat shine, and is basically just meat, seasoning and tomatoes.

Lastly, Chicken Andouille Casserole   This was DELICIOUS.  Although, don't tell Emeril, we substituted fake butter for butter and Greek yogurt for heavy cream.  Still delicious.  We are definitely adding these to the rotation.

So, we make these all up, put them in the disposible (recyclable) foil pans, cover with Saran wrap, then heavy duty foil.  Once wrapped up tight, we write the cooking instructions on top of the pan and in the freezer it goes.  Dinners and lunches taken care of for a week.  I hope this helps you and your families as much as it has mine!  Have a great rest of your Sunday!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hometown Tradtitions

Happy Weekend!!

Today, I don't have a crafty project for you---coming soon.  Today I wanted to share with you (and, I know, it's only Thanksgiving next week) a holiday tradition here in my hometown.

Last night, we went to the Christmas City of the North Parade which kicks of the holiday season here in the Northland.  Here's a little history on the parade:

Parade of Memories

The Christmas City of the North Parade dates back to the late 1950’s when the holiday shopping season ran particularly short one year. Original owner of KBJR 6 Bob Rich wanted to give his advertisers an extra retail boost by kicking off the holiday shopping season early. Since then, the parade has marched through downtown Duluth each Friday night before Thanksgiving. It has been nearly as reliable as Santa in the department stores to mark the start of the season.
The marching bands were sidelined just once in 1963 as the nation mourned the death of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The event has since survived pouring rain, snow and frigid cold. Even in years when instruments were too cold to produce music, the bands became choirs— using their voices to entertain the loyal parade crowd.
The “Christmas City” song is the signature sound of the parade. In 1962, Merv Griffin recorded the jingle at a local radio station as a favor to the station manager. Now you can download the familiar tune here. What a “nice-icle” way to keep you in the spirit throughout the festive season!

Here's the song:

Lastly, here's some pictures of my boys (my husband included) enjoying the parade last night.  My husband works for a local company that still has old fashioned family values (so thankful those still exist!!) and we got to watch the parade from their private heated skywalk.  A GREAT way to do it.  These will make it in to the Christmas book this year for sure :)
Mitch, Jack, and Alex waiting for the parade to come by

The parade route with people eagerly awaiting the start
Jack excited to see the start of the floats

The first float of the parade (love the white deer head)
Alex enjoying his view of the parade
The firetrucks were coming--two of our friends are local firefighters
-we were watching!
Bands and floats and dancers--even fire dancers.
 A great kick-off to our favorite season!

Hope your weekend is a good one!  Back tomorrow with some Sunday Share recipes for freezer food.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Envelope Punch Board

We made it!  Friday!!  Are you ready for the weekend?  I know I am.  Have you seen that Caribou Coffee has their Reindeer Blend back?  I was so excited when I stopped at the one in our local grocery store the other night.  I picked up a package and I can't wait to have a cup of it tomorrow morning when I can sit and savor it.  I was also very excited to see they had their Ho Ho Mint Mocha.  I did treat myself to one as I went through the store.

Anyways...we aren't here to talk about coffee, we are here to talk about one of Stampin' Up!'s recent product releases---the Envelope Punch Board.  Do you have one of these little beauties yet
Here's a video that will show you exactly how easy it is to use:

When you are done watching that, there are also videos out there on how to make fun file folder cards, as well as gift card holders which is what I'm going to show you today.  I watched Jackie Topa's video on how to make the gift card holder I shared with my stamping club this week.  It was so easy to do, but it was a simple wow when they watched the gift card pop up when you open the gift card holder.  Watch Jackie's video with step by step instructions here.  

Here's a picture of the gift card holder I made for us to do in Stamp Club after watching Jackie's video:

The girls in my club loved a new gift card holder they can use in their holiday giving.  Great for teachers, neighbors, friends, co-workers, Secret name it.  

Thanks for stopping in today!  Hope your Friday is a fabulous one.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tale of Two Challenges

Good Thursday Morning!

Today, my card was inspired by two challenges.  Here's another challenge blog I found cruising Pinterest-it's called Sunday Stamps and this week they have their SSC63f2 challenge going on.  It's a fun color challenge that I combined with their previous week's sketch.  What do you think?

Here's my card:

Something a little crazy happening with my background there.  The cardbase itself is white as is the background.  This has the look of the "soft lighting" on a dance floor or something....

I think these colors would be great for a baby boy card, too.  I love the "Oh What Fun" sentiment from the Christmas Messages stamp set.  It is one you could even use on a summer scrapbook page with some bright summery colors.  Isn't this also a fabulous sketch?  Lends itself to a TON of possibilities.  Thank you Sunday Stamps for the great sketches and color challenges!  I'll definitely be coming back.

Tomorrow I have a project to share with you that we made in my hostess stamp club this week.  Hope your day is a good one!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thank you Pinterest

Guess what day it is......

Come on I know at least one of you (more than likely most of you) read that in the voice of the camel from the Geico commercial.  They really have some of the best commercials don't they?

So thank you to Pinterest for a new sketch challenge to check out.  Well, at least new to me.  I have a board called Sketches to Try and that's where I found this one.  It's called  Seize the Birthday and it's a challenge dedicated only to birthday cards.  I did a Christmas card, so I won't be entering this one, but I really had fun checking out their blog and sketches.  Lots of fun ones I'll be going back to.

Here's the sketch:

Here's my take:

Clean and simple card--my favorite style.  I love the little bit of sparkle that the Frosted Elements embellishment gives to this simple sketch.  

What are you up to this weekend?  This weekend starts lots of the holiday favorites around here.  Bentleyville one of the best light displays you will see is ready in Bayfront Park, and the Festival of Trees is this weekend, too.  It's a crafters DREAM and I am hoping I can get there this weekend.  

Thanks for checking in with me today.  I'll be back tomorrow with a take on two challenges.  Hope your day is a good one.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Vintage Santa

Good Tuesday Morning!

Today I have for you my Vintage Santa card that I am using for my Create with Connie and Mary 277 challenge. 

Here's the sketch:

Here is my card:

I LOVE that vintage Santa face.  In fact, he's the reason I bought the Best of Christmas set.  Have you seen Stampin' Up!'s Best of sets yet?  They are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year by releasing an exclusive stamp set each month with some of the favorites from years past in each theme plus one new one for 2013.

This vintage Santa is so fun.  I plan on showing a few more projects with him in the coming weeks. Behind him is the decorative label punch, and the Cherry Cobbler layer behind that is a tag from our Pop and Place Holiday Gift Tags.  (LOVE those too)  A little sparkle with the silver glimmer paper. The sentiment came in my My Paper Pumpkin Noel kit on Saturday.  I can't be the only one who squealed with delight when opening up this month's Paper Pumpkin.  Stampin' Up! hit it right on the mark this month with this adorable kit.  

Santa makes me want to go look for some of those old timey Santa mugs--you know the ones. Wouldn't a cup of hot cocoa taste even better out of one of these while sitting in the glow of Christmas tree lights?  

Thanks for stopping by today!  Tomorrow another beauty from the Best of Christmas set.  See you then.  :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Clean and Simple 267

Happy Monday All!

Are you ready for another week?  Wow, I just blinked and a few weeks went by!  Sorry for the extended silence, it was our busiest time of the year at work these past 3 weeks and my crafting was sadly neglected.  Lots of ideas swirling around, but couldn't get them out on paper.  Today....I'm back with my card for the Clean and Simple 267 challenge.  Here's their sketch:
Here is my card.  I LOVE this single stamp Christmas Star.  Stampin' Up! came out with a group of holiday single stamps and this one was the first one on my list.  I loved that it could be Christmasy or wintery.  It isn't just a Christmas stamp.  You can see the rest of the holiday single stamps here  You can get these until January 31st.

I used the Pool Party Cut and Ready Card Bases--oh my word have you guys tried these yet? They come in several great colors (including Winter White, Crumb Cake, and Very Vanilla) and the rest of the card came together real easy.  Pick some up before they are gone 12/31.  I know I plan to!  

Thank you so much for stopping in today.  I'm so happy to be back with something to share with you. Have a great start to your week!  :) 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Swatchbook Sneak Peek

Hi Readers!

SO GLAD it's Wednesday!  We are halfway through the busiest 3 weeks of our year at work.  I'm trying to keep creating each day, but this week it's been all about digital Christmas presents.

Are you doing the 30 days of Thankfulness?  Today I was thankful for this little beauty.  Scout is almost 7 months old and she has been so much fun since she joined our family in May.

So as I was saying, this week creating has been about digital Christmas presents.  Since I know my niece isn't old enough to read my blog yet, I figured it would be safe to show you a sneak peek of one of the things I'm making for her.  I bought the Faces I Love download and am going to make her a swatchbook of her family.  

One of my son Alex's favorite things to do when he was little was to look at all the pictures I had out on my buffet.  He especially loved a family picture taken of my Dad, Mom, sister and I when I was about 20.  My sister would have been about 15.  He liked it so much he carried it everywhere, so my Mom had a copy of the picture laminated for him.  Since we live about 3 hours away, I thought it would be fun to make Brynnie a cute book she could hold and look at.  The swatchbook will be perfect.  

This kit is cute on it's own, so you wouldn't have to do another thing to it, just add your pictures and voila, something cute for those little people in your life.  I decided though, to dress up the cover with a few embellishments-a girl likes to accessorize, right?  Here's the finished cover.  One of my favorite parts of the accent are the adorable burlap flowers I colored in shades of pink.

I haven't finished all the pages on the inside yet, but here is a picture of Brynnley's puppy brother Nomad.  I added that cute scalloped Island Indigo trim on all the pages for consistency.  

Thanks for stopping in tonight!  Hope your day was a good one :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Clean and Simple 265-Merry Wishes

Happy Monday Everyone!

Better late than never right?  It's our super busy time at work right now, so I spent most of my weekend  getting us caught up with clothes to wear, and I made a bunch of meals to freeze and have later in the week.  I made a meatloaf, bow tie chicken pasta, chicken enchilada bake, and beef stew. My husband made a delicious pot of chili, so we are set for dinners and lunches this week.

My card came together really quickly today. I used the new pre-cut cardstock cards that are available until 12/31.  They come in Smoky Slate, Pool Party, Cherry Cobbler, Old Olive, Very Vanilla, Whisper White, and Crumb Cake.  Such an easy way to get a bunch of cards done, and at 4.95 what a steal! To that card base I added a piece of the Winter Frost designer series paper, and layered a piece of Whisper White next.  I used the stamp set Endless Wishes.  Have you tried photopolymer stamps yet?  I really like them.  I like that the image is totally clear so you have perfect placement every time, and they stick really well to the blocks.

I hope you will check out the Clean and Simple 265 challenge.  I'd love to see what you create. Thanks for stopping in today!  Tomorrow is digital download day!  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Happy World Scrapbooking Day-December Daily Preview

Happy Saturday Everyone!

Are you ready to "fall back" tonight?  I sure am.  I LOVE fall back.  Extra hour in my weekend, kids go to bed earlier because it's dark, and Jack won't have to ask me why we are leaving in the middle of the night to go to daycare and work anymore.

With this time of year I start to think about holiday projects.  What kinds of gifts I want to make for others, which I shared some of a couple days ago, and things I want to create.  One of the things I'm going to do again this year is the Journal Your Christmas/December Daily album.  My Mom and my sister are going to join me this year and I'm so excited to create along with them.  I found that taking a little time out each day to create these pages, really did calm and center me.

I have wonderful Christmas memories from my childhood with my family.  I have tried to keep some of my favorite traditions and start new ones with my boys.  Here are some pictures from my last year's December Daily album.  I used My Digital Studio and I found it much easier to keep up with each day. I could create from my couch and didn't have to haul out a box of supplies and put them away.  Clean up became as simple as hitting save and closing my laptop, that was a huge motivator for me.

I am going to go with an 8x8 size this year again.  Stampin' Up! has released a "Daily December" download this year that I'm going to use as the basis of my pages. I love that they have taken the guess work out.  I know my pages will look great as is, but if I want to, I can take creative license and change them up. Here's a couple samples of the download:

Additionally, there is a FREE download over at the My Digital Studio blog today in honor of National Scrapbooking Day (which is today)  Here's what it looks like.  Won't this be cool in white over pictures, or in silver or gold?  

Lastly, here is a cool blog I came across for picture inspiration for your album.  Check out her lists for all kinds of other pictures, too!!

Thank you so much for stopping in today.  I hope I've inspired you to think about what you want to create this year.  If you do a December Daily album, I'd love to see what you create!