Saturday, June 30, 2012

It's Been a Long Week!

And a busy one too...

It started here, at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, MD...not too far from home...My husband, myself, and few other volunteers manned the Susan G Komen table at the Aberdeen Ironbirds game during last Sunday's game honoring Women and Breast Cancer...We had a blast and the Stadium is a beauty! We had not had the chance to check it out yet...I even had cinnamon roasted cashews for the first time! Yum! 

Here is a picture of our table! Luckily we were in the shade with a great breeze! 
I say this because the weather has been beyond hot around here!

It's blurry, but you get the idea...that was the temp. during my ride home on Friday! Oh, and have I mentioned that my vehicle does not have a working AC!?!...

(clears throat) I did find time for a little quality computer time...(clears throat a second time)

I ordered new lenses for these on May 29...still waiting...
I am pretty tired of blurry vision let me tell you! I have progressive lenses and I have found that if I look through the middle for my distance I can see better...So I lift my head and look down...creating pretty bad posture in the top it off, my very cool new shades are in, but thinking that my new lenses would be here any time I have waited to pick those up...
I have had at least 3 conference calls after work this week and since I cannot listen or partake in the car with the windows open...I have to stay late...Grrr...

But then I come home to this little guy and he makes it all better:)
So....that's what I've been up to. How about you all?
Talk to me!
I am linking up with Snapshot Saturday(athomewithbooks) and Pink Saturday!(howsweetthesound)
Oh and...

A little early...

That's it for me this lovely, hot, Saturday...
Until next time...

Color + 1 Week at Dynamic Duos

This is my second post of the day.
It's a short scroll down for Less Is More!!

When there is a fifth weekend of the month, Dynamic Duos has a really fun challenge - we pick one color and YOU get to pick the second color!  For this month, our pick is Crumb Cake.  ANYTHING goes with Crumb Cake so I hope you all play along.

I have paired it with the new Stampin' Up color Primrose Petals for this very clean and simple card...


I am not the most trendy person...but I am loving the hexagon trend!

The other design team members, as usual, have put together some amazing cards for your viewing pleasure.  You will see Crumb Cake paired with greens, and blues, and oranges, and pinks, and even black.

Check them out for inspiration and then play along.  REMEMBER: Just TWO colors plus neutrals.  We have this handy-dandy little graphic to "define" the neutrals!

  • Stamps: Papertrey Ink Happy Hexagons (a $5 set!) and Quilter's Sampler
  • Paper: white
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Crumb Cake and Primrose Petals
  • Accessories: Stampin' Up Neutral buttons, Cuttlebug Pinking Stitch embossing folder (new release)

Less Is More: Never Give Up!

I have reached a high point in my crafting career!

Chrissie and Mandi from Less Is More asked me to be a guest designer!!

When they asked me a few weeks ago, I wanted so badly to tell someone.  Since it was a secret, I could only tell my husband and two boys...they looked up from their manly pursuits, said "good job" and went on with their lives.  Not quite the reaction I had hoped for.  How could I explain to them how wonderful Less Is More is??

I missed the first two weeks of LIM challenges - but I was there on week three!!  It was fairly early in the life of my blog.  I would like to say that we "grew up together" - but the reality is that they came out with a bang.  From the first, they were getting hundreds of participants in their challenges.  Does everybody remember Week 33 - with 782 entrants??  It's all due to Chrissie and Mandi - they think of fun challenges, create fantastic inspiration cards and motivate us each week with their comments!  Thank you so much!

This week's challenge is to be inspired by their logo.

Happily, the light bulb came on right away - this was literally a five minute card!  The die cut floral was inspired by the flourished frame (with a hint of flower and leaves).  Then the main sentiment box edged in brown, followed by a small tan item to the right.  I had originally envisioned very lightly embossed music (because that is my favorite part of the logo), but just didn't have the right tools to do it!

Never Give Up

The recipe is simple...a lovely Memory Box die (Honeyblossom), a graphic butterfly (Stampin' Up Papillon Potpourri and punch) and a bold sentiment (Verve Believe).

Thank you again to Chrissie and Mandi for featuring my card and for bringing us their challenges each week!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Bless Your Heart with scraps

I haven't done much cardmaking this week as my entire family has been volunteering at Vacation Bible School.  (I do have two posts ready to go for tomorrow about which I am VERY excited!)

Today, I decided that I was crafting NO MATTER WHAT!  I saw the Friday Free For All at Splitcoaststampers - "what a load of scraps"!  And I remembered a sketch that I had wanted to use from cardabilities - the challenge closed, but it's still a great sketch...

Bless Your Heart

I used scraps of Stampin' Up So Saffron, Pool Party, Tangerine Tango and Basic Gray.  The stamp is from Sweet 'n Sassy's Blessings and Thanks set and the heart is from their Heart Die set.

On an entirely different note...a Colorado fire update...(see my posts from the last few days for details)

The positive news is that the weather is cooperating and the town of Colorado Springs is not in any imminent danger.  However, there are small towns on the other side of this fire.  And you should also know that large forest fires like this can rage on for weeks/months.  So, if the weather changes...who knows what can happen?  (The biggest current fire in our state, at 90,000 acres, is not going to be officially out until it snows - and we've just started summer.)

On the negative side, 346 homes destroyed (on top of 200 destroyed in the other big fire), 1 death and 1 missing.  Here's one neighborhood. You probably have to click to make it big to see the true horror.  Those are piles of ashes that you are seeing...

Other bad news - two new fires.  One is on the western side of the state, near the town of Grand Junction.  There's a major oil field in its path.

Forest fires aren't uncommon in Colorado.  After all, fire is what nature does to renew a forest.  But typically we see fires in August, when we have had a whole summer to heat up and dry out.  Seeing all of this in June is deeply alarming.  

People's stories are heart-breaking.  They just interviewed one lady who, when evacuated, only took the ashes of her deceased daughter and son-in-law.  Her house has burned - and she is raising her five grandchildren.  How does a person continue to survive such tragedy?  Another elderly gentlemen was already sifting the ashes of his home (strange concept - there are actually sifting tools for this) and was happy to simply find the melted metal of his wedding ring.

In the midst of all of this - there are so many stories full of grace and giving...and I will be sharing some of these stories in the next week.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

a favourite photo...

DO you have a favourite photo of your kiddies. This I think is my all time fav photo of my eldest taken when he was about 11 month old. It was at my mum and dad's and he used to love playing with the drain cover when we were there! This also served as my final project for Elle's Studio, so thankful for this opportunity!
Finally cutting into my stash of that October Afternoon cowboy paper!

 OOOO a new Woodgrain button from Greatest View! ( don't forget about the GIVEAWAY happening all this week on the Greatest View blog )

 Ancient Making Memories metal letters!

Easy Peasy Chicken Legs {A New Family Favorite}

This is going to sound ridiculous, but this simple recipe for chicken legs is easily my favorite recipe of the year so far!  I know.  It's sounds crazy.  They're just chicken legs after all, but they are absolutely fantastic and everyone goes crazy for them, especially the kids. 

I found this recipe because my son begged me to buy a package of chicken legs.  It's kinda funny...I've made and shared hundreds of different recipes on my site, but I've never actually made a plain old chicken leg before.  I had no idea what to do with them so I did a quick recipe search online and found this recipe.  The recipe had wonderful ratings so I decided to go with it and boy am I happy that I did!

This is now the fifth time I've made this recipe!!  Yep, you heard me right.  We've made these chicken legs once every week for the past five weeks.  The kids gobble them up like crazy and me and my husband love them as well.  The outer coating of the chicken gets nice and crisp while the inside stays nice and tender.  Most importantly, the flavor of the chicken is insane.  I was actually blown away the first time I made them.  There are only five ingredients in this recipe (chicken, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a seasoning of your choice), but those ingredients come together to work some great magic. 

I've learned a few things since I first started making these.  I've noticed that the organic chicken legs in my market always look a bit bigger, and a little nicer, so I try to source them out. I like the results from using organic chicken legs the best.  If I can't find them, I don't sweat it.  Regular chicken legs are very tasty too (just a little smaller).  Also, the chicken has a tendency to stick to the baking sheet,  causing the skin to tear, so I make sure to add enough olive oil to prevent that (a silpat would be a great tool to help prevent sticking).  At first I was unsure about how much seasoning to use.  I was afraid to add too much seasoning because of the kids.  They didn't complain.  Now I lay the seasoning on pretty good.  Of course, you could season them half and half.  Leave half somewhat mild for the kids.  Go heavy on the seasoning for the adults. 

Either way, you can't go wrong with these.  They are succulent, crispy, juicy, tender, flavorful morsels of goodness.  Totally worth turning your oven on!
Easy Peasy Chicken Legs

2 packages of chicken legs (about 11-12)
olive oil (enough to cover generously)
salt and pepper (give them a good coating)
seasoning of your choice*

*Note: Use your favorite seasoning blend.  We've tried them with garlic powder, like suggested in the original recipe, but we like them best sprinkled with seasoned salt, such as Lowry's.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Place chicken legs on baking sheet.  Drizzle the olive oil generously over the chicken, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and seasoning (Lowry's, etc.).  Rub the oil and seasoning into the chicken.

Place in the oven for 30 minutes, then remove and flip the legs over.  Place back in the oven for another 30 minutes and enjoy!

**You can cook as many chicken legs as you can fit on your baking sheet, but you will most likely need to increase the time.  I always make 11-12 chicken legs each time and they are always done in 60 minutes.  However, the original recipe calls for 14 legs and states to cook them for 90 minutes. 
Leave the silverware in the drawer and eat with your hands!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Colorado Fire Update

The winds are starting to howl again for another long night of fires (see yesterday's post for details.)  Here are a few unimaginable photos from yesterday in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

A thousand firefighters are fighting this fire.  And this is only one of 10 in our state.

The news station are providing regularly updated lists of all the fires so we can keep Boulder, Colorado there are 1500 people ready to evacuate.  Another huge fire is at 90,000 acres, 257 homes gone and 1 death - and it is only 65% contained - but luckily it is not in a heavily populated area as above.

Keep praying...

Edited: Not long after I posted, the winds calmed down and changed directions, so for tonight, at least, it's staying away from the city.  This is good news for tonight, but understand that in the best case scenario, this won't be out for a month, so it will be a daily waiting game for all of the home owners.

Colorado Springs in better days...

Sewing and summer

As I am sure many of you know, there are two times in the year that sewing tends to SLOW WAY DOWN for everyone. Summer is one and I thought I was going to be able to not have that happen THIS summer but you know what, it has.

I did work on this slipcover this weekend, one afternoon a few hours and this is what I have finished. I still have the cushion to do , which is now residing ready to cut out on my foyer floor  and the skirt but it is going to have to wait just a bit so I can enjoy my little people. It is not perfect but I did not want it super fitted, the one that was on there was harder to put on than actual childbirth so I wanted it to be SUPER easy when Adam gets his feet all over it to pop it on and off for the wash!

I also want to say that I LOVE comments!!!! I read them all and try to respond to each and every one!!!! I just realized that I am not, for some strange reason getting all of them in my email, so if I have not responded to a comment you have made, I apologize and it was not intentional!!!!!

Now for the summer photos and why I am a lazy clod!

Reading and Ed Emberley drawing!!!!!

It is no different from sledding right?

New color :o)

Katy's beautiful Zakka bag from Sara that she LOVES!!!!! I wish she hated it so I could snag it ;o)

Finally, this is Katy's way of curing the summertime blues! I love having the television off!

Welcome SUMMER!!!!!


If you are anything like me I always leave it till the last minute to make my cards for family and friends. I whipped these two up recently each just took me ten minutes - they came together easily  because I used some fun fun birthday buttons from Greatest View. They both use some delish Core'dinations cardstock.

 If you want to win some birthday badges we're featuring  on the Greatest View blog all week as well as a sampler of small chevron bags and a couple of metres of co-ordinated  chevron ribbon, simply leave a comment on this post over at Greatest View  and tell us if YOU make your own birthday cards!

The giveaway will run all week so come back each day for more chances to win! The winner will be announced Monday July 1st.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Prayers for Colorado

This is not a card-related post, but I need to ask for all of your thoughts and prayers for the state of Colorado.  There isn't a day that goes by during which there isn't news of a new fire.  We currenly have 10 fires going on.  One has been burning for 2-3 weeks, it has burned almost 90,000 acres and is the most destructive fire in Colorado's history with around 200 homes burned.

Our church youth camp is near that fire.  In fact, the middle schoolers from our church were there and had to be evacuated.  Not in danger mode - but the firefighters needed the road into the camp as an emergency road.  Our campers were given less than an hour to pack and go.  The wonderful camp counselors made sure the campers were ready to go - but they, themselves, had to leave with nothing.  They still haven't been allowed to go back.

The fire that is prompting my plea is approaching a major city in Colorado - Colorado Springs with about a half million people.  The news is broadcasting 24/7 so we are watching it live as it gets nearer and nearer. They just showed a scene of a neighborhood on fire - you can literally see a wall of fire with faint outlines of homes in the middle of it all.  What we are seeing is almost unimaginable - but people are living it.  Right now, 32,000 people have been evacuated.  The major highway through the state is shut down in the town of Colorado Springs to give these people a way to get out.

I'm not near any of these fires - Colorado Springs is about 60 miles to the south of me.  I sit on a hill to the east of the Denver metro area and these particular fires are to the west.  I can see the smoke - I can regularly smell the smoke - my eyes are constantly burning.  I cannot imagine living closer. It's sad that I have learned how to "read" what I am seeing - white smoke is grass, small puffs of black smoke are trees, major boiling clouds of black are structures.

I pray for those living in the area.  I pray for those who have lost homes.  I pray for those sitting in evacuation centers wondering whether they still have homes.  I pray for the firefighters.  They are fighting these fires in the midst of the longest streak of temperatures over 100 degrees in Colorado history.  It must be close to hell.

Cookbook Review: The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook {and Upside-Down Salsa Cornbread}

The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook
A Treasury of Timeless Delicious Recipes
288 pages

Eight Chapters:  Lodge Cast Iron: A Song for a Cook's Soul; Breakfast; Soup, Stew, Gumbo & Chili; The Main Course; Cooking Outdoors; Sides; Nothin' But Cornbread; Desserts, Biscuits, & Bread; and great features on the history of cast iron as well as caring for your cast iron. 

I am absolutely in love with cast iron.  I love the rustic and homey look of cast iron, but more important than that, I love the functionality and superior results from cooking with cast iron.  Cast iron goes from the stovetop to the oven and from the oven to the table. 

I had a chance to go to The Lodge Factory Store in Sevierville, TN this past winter.  It was a total dream come true.  There are four factory stores in the southeastern United States and I highly recommend stopping by one if you get the chance.  They have so many cast iron pieces to chose from.  I especially like the table in the back where you can buy "less than perfect" pieces for a fraction of the price.  After I stocked up on cast iron I spied this cookbook at the checkout and vowed that I would buy it when I got the chance. 

This is a beautiful softcover cookbook with lots of gorgeous pictures, both of the recipes and also the cast iron.  There are so many recipes that I'd like to make from this book, but I've been all about cornbread lately so I chose this Upside-Down Salsa Cornbread from the Nothin' But Cornbread chapter. We loved being able to cut a wedge of this and top it with additional salsa, sour cream, and a little bit of chopped green onion.  It was very pleasing to the eyes and the palate!

Upside-Down Salsa Cornbread
Serves 6-8

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound lean ground beef (I used 95% lean)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 medium green or red bell pepper, seeded and cut into rings

2 cups Martha White Buttermilk Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
1 (16-ounce) jar chunky-style salsa
1-1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 425F.  

Make the filling:  Heat the oil in a 10-1/2 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat until hot.  Add the ground beef, onion, chili powder, salt and garlic salt; cook until the beef is no longer pink, stirring frequently and breaking up any clumps of meat.  Remove the beef mixture from the skillet to a bowl.  Place the bell pepper rings in a single layer in the bottom of the skillet.  Spoon the mixture over the rings.

Make the topping:  Stir together the corn meal mix, cheese, sugar, salsa, milk, oil, and egg in a medium bowl; stir until well blended.  Spread the batter evenly over the beef mixture in the skillet.  Bake until golden brown, 32 to 38 minutes.

Place a serving plate over the skillet; carefully invert and remove the skillet.  Cut into wedges.  If desired, this can be served from the skillet:  Cut into wedges and carefully turn each wedge upside down onto a serving plate.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Vacation Bible School

Just wanted to tell you that it's gong to be quiet on my blog during the week (but fun stuff on Saturday!!) and I won't be doing much to any commenting on your blogs.

My entire family is involved in Vacation Bible School at church.  My husband and youngest are the science guys.  I'm the photographer and A/V gal.  And my teen is controlling a group of elementary kids plus playing the part of Flash SkyRunner in the daily skits...

I'm quite proud of my teenager who is willing to look totally foolish!!

See you soon!


This was my last month as part of Elle's Studio DT, it had been a wonderful 6 months and I want to thank Elle for this amazing experience. I have two gallery projects to share today using the new Summer collection of tags!

 OH that moustache button from Greatest View is my favourite ATM.

 ...and you can't go past the original chevron button from Greatest View either!