Feb 28, 2011

the end of a monday

I finally have a few minutes to myself tonight! I just made the most wonderful Chai coconut tea... I want to say latte but it's more like a creamy tea. It's a wonderfully perfect end to a non-stop day.

I woke up this morning with a mind full of ideas and, like almost all of my mornings, I spent it talking to a friend. A little craft pep-talk to get the day started right!! You know how most people call their mom each day, well I talk to one of 2 really good friends everyday. Every women needs a few great girlfriends to surround herself with. I'm so thankful that 3 of my girlfriends live in different time-zones!! So, no matter when I want to talk or need someone to listen to my greatest new idea, one of them is usually available! Lucky me. :)

That brings me to this weeks... make that the rest of this years mantra.

perfect right? I think so. I'm working on such a big creative-project right now and I try to spend a little of everyday working towards that dream. That would also make a great mantra: work a little each day towards your dreams.

It's Monday. This week's menu is going to look a little like last week's menu. I got sick last Monday and it lasted until yesterday. There were 2 days where I wanted nothing but Gatorade and saltine crackers. Needless to say I didn't do much cooking last week, in fact I did nada. nothing. zilch. I left it all to Peter which the kids LOVED anyway (go-figure) because they had things like pancakes and quesedillas for dinner. :) So, here's my kinda repeat menu for this week.

Organic Tomato Soup
Turkey and Havarti Panni's

Marinated Chicken Tenders, (coated in Panko Bread crumbs and baked)
Grilled Polenta with a Mushroom Ragu
Watermelon & Strawberries

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
toasted Pine Nut Couscous

Clam Chowder
Homemade Croutons
Garden Salad

Friday: breakfast for dinner night!
Baked French Toast Casserole
turkey sausage
fresh melons and berries
raspberry lemonade

Chicken Taco's
Broccoli Coleslaw
fresh fruit

I was on a phone call the other day with Chase's Dr. and I gave him a feather. This was a first for him and I've come to realize that if you give a boy a yellow feather - he'll stay entertained (and quiet) for 30 minutes. :) We have an in-home evaluation tomorrow for him. I spent a good part of my day running around the house like a crazy person, cleaning and trying to find a space for the 165,320.25 toys that are scattered through our home. It's so unnerving to know someone is coming into your home to observe you. You can't help but want everything to be perfect!

I have my fingers crossed for a low-stress day tomorrow! Oh, and one more thing!! For 2 weekends in a row now, I've been lucky enough to add 2 new Kodak cameras to my collection. Sweet!

Happy start to a good week!

Feb 26, 2011

Inspired by: Tiny Notebooks

Beautiful sunny Arizona was hardly beautiful and certainly not sunny today, so Alaina and I took this rainy-day opportunity to stay indoors have a cup of hot-choco and create something cute. I asked her the million dollar question "what should we make today?" and after a cute story about a boy named Will and the little note-book he made for her, we decided to make our own teeny-tiny notebooks.

Our paper choices today were between Basic Grey's June Bug paper and Crate Paper's Emma's Shoppe. The debate ended when A saw the lipstick and nail polish stickers from Crate. :))I decided to make the covers with Crate Papers 6x6 Pad Emma's Shoppe. I cut a sheet of the 6x6 paper in half to make 2 3x3 sized notebooks. Since I have an over abundance of office paper scraps I filled each book with a mix of ledger, graph, lined notebook papers and used just one staple in the center to secure them all in.

Alaina loves the stickers from Emma's Shoppe! and why not! They are so perfect for little girl projects. We made a little mixed cluster of stickers and accent cuts from the line to embellish the front of each book.

While A and I were making these I had this idea of making these at her next birthday party. Can you imagine a whole table full of little girls making their own tiny notebooks. You could fill a couple of cupcake/muffin baking tins with glue sticks, markers, stickers and other little decorations, and then have the girls each choose what they would like to embellish their books with. Hmmm, I'm bookmarking this idea for later use!!

I have my fingers crossed to be able to do an inspired by: idea-post every Saturday. Just a quick rainy-afternoon tutorial or idea but geared more towards the future little artists in our lives!! Hope you enjoy them!

Feb 21, 2011

Art Quilt - finished!

I finished my quilt today. Talk about a work in progress! I started this project last January.... that would be 2 January's ago to be exact. Here's the very first post about this quilt. I really did intend to finish it last year!!

In my family I'm the creative black sheep of sorts. My parents and one of my sisters have the thought process of an engineer. They think in numbers and have to be exactly precise when they're cooking, sewing, crafting or building. They are amazingly accurate in everything they do. Then there's me... I have no patience to measure or to read directions. I just want to do my own thing and if I like the end results then great! if not, I'll toss it and start over. (I have a feeling my parents often ask themselves where I came from and what went wrong with me :)) I would have made a great hippie. What I'm getting at, in a round-about way, is that with this project there were no rules, no boundaries, no directions, just creating something fun for myself! I'll be the first to tell you that everything about this quilt is technically wrong.

I didn't measure any fabric.
The edges are raw.
I used almost entirely re-purposed kids clothes.
and I most likely used the wrong thread type as well.

I spent days sewing each of the 6x6 squares but then I couldn't decide on how big it was going to be or how I was going to finish the edges and because it wasn't a project that had a deadline, I packed it all up and put it away in the closet for another day. Another day turned into 12 months of not having to think about it. Then last week, I saw it posted on Pinterest and I was really embarrassed. When I like a craft project I can finish it rather quickly, as in a day or two..if not just a few hours. This quilt had been sitting in the back of my closet for 13 months. I decided on Saturday, that today-was-the-day and as soon as I put Chase down for his nap I started sewing. I finished the edges late last night. It's not as big as I would have liked, but I also don't have that big of a sewing machine either!! It also didn't put much of a dent into my fabric collection... but another one of these quilts may be in my future soon...maybe a little blue & green one. :)

While I was taking photos of it today, Alaina picked out her favorite squares. Which is funny, because that's exactly what my sisters and I would do with our Great Grandmas quilts. She really loves the pink bus squares!! I need to find some more of that fabric it really was too cute! :) Here's our top 8 picks:

I love the colors. I love that the fabric is almost all recycled. I love that there are crazy threads everywhere and I love that it's finished.

Messy little Inside-Out Art Quilt - checked.

menu planning

The weekend was a blast and I don't think I've done that much shopping in one day since.... maybe ever! I've edited all of my quilt photos this afternoon and am planning to do a separate post for that project!! There are lots of photos to share tonight!

But first - this weeks menu! I'm revisiting some of my favorites like polenta and mushrooms and Peter put in a request for garlic chicken-bowtie pasta and meatloaf. (I'm going to fix the healthier version and hope he doesn't notice. :)) Have you tried any new dishes or recipes that are worthy of sharing?? :)

(proof that Polyvore can be used for more that just fashion!)

Pad Thai
Jicama-Papaya-Apple Salad
Marinated Cucumbers

Marinated Chicken Tenders, (coated in Panko Bread crumbs and baked)
Grilled Polenta with a Mushroom Ragu
Watermelon & Strawberries

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Broccoli & Cheddar Soup
Spinach & Strawberry Salad
Garlic Naan Bread

Turkey Meatloaf
Sweet Potato Fires
Garden Salad

Bowtie Pasta with Chicken & mushrooms, Garlic Parmesan cream sauce
Garden Salad

Off to the grocery store I go!

Feb 18, 2011

cute clothes!

I'm taking a quick break tonight before I run out to Target and had to post this. Have you visited Polyvore? It is so addictive! I stumbled on Polyvore this winter while looking at Frugal Fashionistas. If you love celeb fashion or just looking & playing with pretty clothes, check these 2 sites out!!

friday = almost there

it's Friday!!! <------ I just said this in my best opera voice. :) I'm happy to report that this week has gone by rather fast, even with anticipating a whole weekend of festivities planned! My cute friend Erica is coming to spend the weekend with us. I've decided that you are never to old for sleepovers!!
On the agenda is:
1. crafting
2. cooking
3. lot's of thrift store shopping
4. movie watching

Having a weekend house-guest can only mean one thing - a little welcome basket! I suppose a little welcome bag would be a more fitting description. I filled it with some things I thought would be useful for this weekend; Tylenol, mint-gum, frosting flavored chapstick, handi-wipes. -(being around dusty stuff can make my skin crawl and I often go through an entire container of disinfectant wipes on the weekend when I'm out thrifting. I thought they would come in useful this weekend! :)) I plan on adding a couple of bottles of water and few new magazines and if I have time I was going to make a little itinerary for the weekend. Yep, I'm a dork, but I totally own it!

I also kept this little soap box (because it was gorgeous!!) and because tiny boxes can come in really handy when packaging small items. I tucked little bottles of shampoo-conditioner into the soap box and tied on a small bar of oatmeal soap.

*Erica is the queen of cupcakes!! and I made the fabric cupcake last week with the welcome tag/bag in mind just for her!

Little Chase and I were tidying up the spare bedroom yesterday and I found all sorts of cool stuff... some things I wasn't even looking for! Like having a mini Christmas in February. :) but when I pulled out an envelope and found his ultrasound photos & videos from 3 separate ultrasounds it was especially sweet. It doesn't seem that long ago and yet,

3 years later here we are. I was talking to a very good friend last night about Chase and the differences between him and Alaina. It's incredible having 2 children that have completely separate personalities. Alaina is just like Peter - an extrovert who loves being out & about socializing, and Chase is very much like me kind of quiet and reserved. However, both of my kids are very stubborn and that's all me!

This was our second spectacular discovery from yesterday. I have a small collection of doilies and granny squares that are mostly thrifted. They're all over the place, some in my closet, a few in the spare bedroom. :) I have no idea what I'm going to do with them yet, but they make me ridiculously happy to look at. :)

If you get a chance, I have a new tutorial on the Crate Paper blog. I've been making a bunch of these recently. Alaina has had a birthday party to attend almost every weekend now, and glittery flowers are always good for gift wrapping!!

I'm off to tackle the rest of my to-do list today. Lot's of cleaning, a little grocery shopping (I'm going to attempt to make Pad Thai for dinner on Saturday, I'm on bit of a Thai kick lately) and some shipping.... and possibly returning a few emails. Hope you have a lovely weekend! I should be popping back in and posting some fun photos of our weekend. I'm so looking forward to having fun!

Feb 15, 2011

a belated Happy Valentines + Monday's menu

I hope everyone had a very special Valentines Day!! I woke up to a little collection of cards from Peter, the kids and even the dogs. :))I love getting cards, especially because & I'll admit to this, I'm ridiculously hard to shop for. (I grow my own flowers, I hate jewelry and I don't really need anything.) So receiving a card on a holiday is perfectly dandy!

I did all of my grocery shopping for the week yesterday, which was an epic mistake on my part. Grocery shopping on any holiday could never lead to anything good and I should have known better! So many men running around the store trying to find the perfect last minute gift.... at a grocery store. :) While I waited in the check out line the man ahead of me had 5 dozen red roses. I almost feel bad for men, it must be one of the most stressful holidays imaginable!

After escaping from the hectic madness that is a Safeway's on Valentines Day, I rushed home to start on dinner and found a package waiting at the front door. Oh how I love the sound of a UPS truck on a Monday! It was a gift from my swap partner Marie. Marie's swap is only the second swap I've done, but I love-love making/sending/and receiving something cute!

This is probably the sweetest handmade gift I've received!! and a good thing Alaina was at school or else I'm positive she would have claimed it for herself! Marie is so thoughtful! Little Lucille (dear) is sitting on a shelf in my craft room, I think she likes it in there! :))

{Here's what part of our Valentines dinner looked like. Chicken Salad w/ Sweet Hoisin vinaigrette and Coconut Jasmine Rice w/ brown sugar syrup and mangoes. I love salads!}

This week is going to be a bit busier than normal, and Peter's working late, so this week's menu is going to be on the simple and light side.

Chicken Salad
Grilled garlic Shrimp
Coconut Rice

Watermelon & Cantaloupe

Turkey & Havarti Panni's
Spicy Tomato Soup

Turkey Bacon BLTA on wheat
Nectarine & Strawberry fruit salad

Chicken Mandarin Brown Rice Bowls
Roasted Zucchini

Pepper Pork Tenderloin
Roasted Mushrooms

**and before I forget, Alaina's cake that she made over the weekend! I mentioned it was a big paper cake!! She really loves my paper punches, can you tell?

Feb 13, 2011

Inspired by: cakes

Saturday afternoons are usually reserved for craft time! Once I put little Chase down for his nap, Alaina and I sit down and chit-chat about possible craft ideas. I held my breathe hoping that she wasn't going to say the chicken nugget matching game or another round of Pretty-Pretty Princess. (both of which I've played today.) So, I was pleasantly surprised (and a little relieved) when she mentioned wanting to make a big paper cake. Ahhh, now that I can do!

We skipped down to my craft room to pick out supplies and Alaina dug through the box of paper punches. I organize all of my paper scraps by color, so I put all of the plastic draws of paper on the floor so she could pick her own paper. It was cute to see her decide what color 'frosting' to use. This was a great kids art project and it used alot of my left-over supplies - got to love that!!

We put together a little tutorial-idea post for these paper cakes. The best part is deciding on the flavor-name combinations! The instructions are going to be super simple, they're the same directions I gave to Alaina (she's 6 years old) to help her make her own cake. I'll show you a couple of variations by just adding a few more details that will make your cake scrapbook worthy or perfect for gift-wrapping and cards!! :)


paper scissors
scrap paper
glue-stick or Glue Dots


1. cut out a rectangle for the cake.

2. Cut out strips of paper for the frosting.

3. cut out a larger rectangle for the top frosting, tear gently along the bottom edge or use a pair of shaped scissors.

4. cut out one more thin strip of paper for the very top of the cake.

5. Use a glue stick, or glue dots to glue all of the layers together. Or if your sewing machine is handy you can sew all of the layers! Trim the excess paper from the edges of the cake.

6. Make a flower for the top of the cake by hand cutting a few circles (or you can use a paper punch) and layer them together using glue-dots. Leaves can be made by cutting football's, as I explained it to Alaina, from different shades of green papers.

here's our Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

Want to see some more little cakes and cupcakes? :) We had a great time naming each cake this afternoon, Alaina has quite the imagination!! The names are written under each cake. (sorry it's a little difficult to see the names, they blended in too well!)

Once you've made a couple of cakes you'll probably wonder what to do with them! Here's a couple of ideas A and I came up with... feel free to add to my list!! This sweet cupcake was made from a coffee sleeve, fabric, a handmade felt flower and a bit of yellow lace. I decided it would be the perfect little cake gift-tag for a small gift.

To make a tiny card: cut a plain white A4 card in half and used a paper punch to scallop the bottom of the card. I added a little piece of ledger paper to the front and glued the cupcake to the card. I love-love small cards like this with just enough room to write something sweet! I used the other half of the card to turn a whole cake into a little card.

I think it would be a super cute idea to glue a magnet onto the back of some small cupcakes. Or, if you make a small fabric cupcake, sew a flat pin-back to the back of the cake and wear as a dessert pin! My favorite is a gift tag though, I think it's perfect tucked into a little girls present!!

I have a feeling Alaina and I will be making more of these cakes, they are alot of fun once you get started! I should also mention that Alaina made a strawberry chocolate cake, but when I wanted to photograph it today she informed me that it still needed some finishing touches. :) I'll add a photo of her cake tomorrow.