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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Elf on the Shelf 2014

We had so much fun this year with Lily's Elf on the Shelf, Pepper!

This was my FAVORITE! Pepper got naughty as Lillers slept.

Her response to seeing Pepper's handiwork was ADORABLE!

Pepper and pals climbed the rope. Reminds me of gym class in high school!!

Peppers friends tried to blackmail Pepper into meeting Santa. Pepper did NOT give in. Way to go Pepper!

Take that you Alien Scum!!!!

Poker time! I wonder if Pepper will win!

Daddy helped me with their "hands" Poor Pepper is about to crap out.

Lily had an ear infection. To cheer her up, Pepper colored some pictures.

On this day, Pepper brought Lily a special Elf movie. She wanted NOTHING to do with it.
She liked watching other stuff on her little DVD player but what was having NONE of the Elf.


Scrub a dub dub! Marshmallows in the tub!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

It's been a busy busy holiday season! I have Secret Santa at work (for which I have been a terrible Secret Santa....MUST make amends with chocolates and a BIG gift card....),  many many fun Christmas parties, TWO Christmas cookie baking parties, and a lot of Amazon shopping. We're getting close to being all ready for The Big Guy!!

But no matter how busy I am,  I make my greeting cards every year. This year I wanted to try something different. I used overhead transparency sheets and Bubble wrap in the creation of my 2014 card. It's different than my usual and I got some lukewarm reviews but also some good reviews. However, no matter what folks thought-I love it!

Merry Christmas 2014

I also decided to make all the gifts for Lily Belle's preschool teachers. They were a big hit!

Bookmarks! All teacher can use beautiful bookmarks!!

And journals!

This Santa journal would inspire all manner of Christmas musings!

A beautifully decorated Christmas tree journal to get teachers in the holiday spirit!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Butternut Squash Fettucini Alfredo

It's been a while since I did a new recipe! (or maybe took the time to blog a new recipe.)  Lately, I have gotten into selling things through our town's Buy, Sell, Trade page on Facebook. 
I even sold our CAR!! (seriously-I posted the pics and description and in less than an hour a couple was at our house and they bought it!!) 
Anyway, so while perusing Buzzfeed I found several delicious looking pasta recipes. 

I HAD to try this one! 
Butternut Squash Browned Butter and Rosemary Fettucini Alfredo
The recipe promises it'll be ready in 30 minutes (and it was!), that it's a lighter version of Fettucini Alfredo, and has lots of flavor. All promises delivered!

Here's the recipe:

  • 16 oz. whole wheat fettucini noodles (or any other whole grain pasta you want!)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock or, in a pinch, water)
  • 3 cups prepared diced butternut squash (about 1/2 a large squash)
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cut up Butternut squash. This is about 1/2 of a large squash. This is about 3 cups.
You can look at my previous post on how to prepare the squash.

4 tablespoons of butter and a small onion chopped

1 tablespoon of Rosemary finely chopped

Allow butter to get nice and brown, and onions cooked to translucent before adding the Rosemary and about a cup of Chicken Broth

Add the cups of butternut squash and cook on medium high heat for about 10 minutes till soft. 
Meanwhile, make your pasta. I had on hand regular Spaghetti noodles but you can use any. The recipe uses a Fettucini Noodle but these are just as delicious!

Once soft, mash with a potato masher.
Add one cup of milk, salt and pepper, heat milk through and then use an immersion blender to make smooth.  (If you don't have one you can use a food processor.)

Pour over noodles.
The flavors are so wonderful! The browned butter, rosemary and the squash. YUMMM
I also took it to work for my dinner and it reheated beautifully!

If you want- you can eat it as a soup!  

Thank you Buzzfeed! I can't wait to try more of their recipes!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Queen of the Gorillas!

Lily-Queen of the Gorillas

Yesterday was "Monday Funday."  On Mondays I take off work to have adventures with Lily. Usually, we are joined by my best pal, Debra and her daughter, Cari. Yesterday they were sick so we went it alone.
We went to the Columbus Zoo and had the BEST day.
The Zoo was practically deserted and many exhibits were closed (Heart of Africa, the playgrounds, etc) but it turned out to be a huge blessing. There were no lines, no taking turns on the statues, and lots of the bigger animals were awake and alert! NOT sleeping away the heat of the day. We saw Tigers, and bears swimming, gorillas playing and Flamingoes in all their pinkness!
I got the best pictures I have ever taken at the Zoo because of the sunshine, the cool breeze and no crowds!  I highly recommend going on an "off" day.

So! This picture.
I had just bought Lily a little necklace at the Manatee gift shop. I helped her onto the gorilla and she sat proud as can be and declared herself "Queen of the Gorillas!" 
You can bet I snapped that shot!!!

Enjoy my Little Queen.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween Tags 2014

Happy Halloween 2014!!

This year I played a LOT with color and Halloween stamps. I ended up making several tags that I really liked.

This is my favorite! I loved the juxstaposition of Turquoise and orange! (With some yellow added in for  interest!)  The pumpkin and Spider web are Tim Holtz (Stamper's Anonymous)

Pumpkin and Spider Web-Tim Holtz- Stamper's Anonymous
The sentimet- Hampton Arts

Happy Halloween and pumpkin are from Stamper's Anonymous
The "31" I bought at Hobby Lobby.

Just playing with color and Glitter glue!

I love this Skeleton but couldn't quite get him to "pop" the way I wanted. 
ALL of these are from Stamper's Anonymous (Tim Holtz)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Vote for Lily!!

Vote for Lily! Lily was chosen to as the October "Kid Pic of the Month" All the previous winners are up to win the cover of the December issue. I have been telling EVERYONE to vote! PLEASE click on the link above and vote for THIS picture!

Skeleton Sugar Cookies

Skeleton Sugar Cookies

I have a friend named Marnie that LOVES Halloween. She even got married near October 31st so her wedding could have a tasteful Halloween theme. So, when I saw this cookie stamp at World Market, I just had to try it! 

The stamp came with instructions that simply suggested finding a recipe that did not use baking powder. The reason being that you don't want the cookies to rise and thereby lose the stamped image. 
I thought, "How easy. No baking powder. Easy enough!"

Roll a walnut sized ball of dough and press the dough flat with the stamp.

Here is a cookie stamped (before baking) using the first recipe I found. No baking powder! However, the minute they went into the hot oven, they spread and the image was totally lost.

Tasty but…..

First batch……Fail!  
The only reason these have a slight image is as they came out of the oven my husband pressed the stamp on them while still hot. (The first batch-totally blank)
They were good sugar cookies-chewy and sweet. Taste-success. Skeleton-Fail.
I decided to try again. I Googled cookie stamp recipes and chose this one.

The recipe is very simple:

1 c. butter
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. sifted flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter with sugar. Add egg and blend in flour. Fashion into balls the size of walnuts. Flatten with cookie stamp or roll out with rolling pin to 1/3-inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until brown. Makes 4 dozen if a cookie stamp is used or 3 dozen if cut out with cookie cutter.

TIPS- I figured out it's best to have a little flour out. The stamp can get a little sticky causing it to stick to the dough and ruin a press. I would powder the stamp a little between cookies. Also, I learned to roll a ball of dough and place it directly on the cookie sheet (either ceramic so they won't stick or onto a baking sheet or parchment) and press it there. It is much easier than stamping on the counter and then trying to move it to the cookie sheet. They tear or stretch or rip. Better to stamp them right where they will stay!!  Also, the recipe calls for 10 minutes baking time. Mine took almost 20!!  Start with 10 and keep an eye on them till they are full baked.

Yay!  Skeleton Cookies!  Or as Lily Belle calls them "Scallywag cookies!"

As for taste-I'd say the first recipe tasted better but I took the second to work to celebrate October birthdays and I came home with an empty plate. So! I am calling this a Halloween success!!  If you have a different recipe that would work-share in the comments!! I would love to try again!