Friday, August 29, 2014

No! I'm Not the Maid....just Mom and Chauffeur.

Hi Everyone!

Raise your hand if you grew up in the 80's and thought you were SO. RICH when your parents handed you a whole $2 for your weekly allowance.  Keep them up if you feel like you worked HARD for that money! Not done keep them up if you now have children of your own doing much the same work; but for a LOT more money!
There are numerous debates over whether or not children should do chores; and whether they should get paid for them or just do them as some type of compensation for the free room and board they are getting at home for 18 years or so.
 I was a child that did chores every weekend, in addition to keeping my room clean during the week. Both my parents worked; and on Saturday mornings, I dusted, I vacuumed, I swept sidewalks, helped with dishes and whatever else my mother needed done; and I got my $2. The independence and freedom I felt I got with my $2 was so invigorating. I could go to the movies AND buy popcorn for that $2. If I saved for 2 weeks, I could get a drink and candy as well. I could stop by the corner store on the way home and buy my favorite candy or soda for a treat. I could buy a package of scratch n-sniff stickers (Come know you had them too!!)
Of course, as a child you don't realize what you are learning as you do chores. Things like, responsibility, taking care of your things, pride in what you have, time management etc don't come into your head while you're cleaning a bathroom. No, it's all about the money!
Fast forward many (and I do mean many...) years later and I'm now a mom myself with three kids and a busy house. Along with that busy house comes a lot of  dirt, disorganization, dirty dishes, laundry and well, just general life happenings. I have been a stay at home mom for 12 years now; and I'm grateful for the opportunity to raise my own children rather than paying someone else to do it for me. However, until very recently, I spent a long time frustrated with the fact that I felt like I was just here playing the part of the maid and not the part of mom. I was feeding my own frustration however by not utilizing an untapped labor force: my children! Oh, sure I thought about it; but then I always found an excuse not to do it or to sit down and figure it out. I thought, I'm home all day, why should I wait until they get home from school before I fold laundry or unload the dishwasher? Honestly...I thought nothing would get done. I thought about the age differences. What could the younger ones do so that the older child isn't unfairly saddle with the hard jobs?
Finally, when we moved last summer, I decided that it was time. The kids needed to do some chores; and yes...I was willing to pay for it. I think it's important for kids to do chores because it does teach valuable skills for life. I sat down and came up with a system that works for us.
Money is essential as well because kids need to learn how to earn money, they need to learn how to save it as well as to spend it wisely. To not pay children to do their chores, I believe is a disservice to them and unfair as well. Yes, they are living under your roof and eating your food and making messes and all that; but isn't that what family is? and isn't that what family does? They are your kids...not your tenants. The return on your investment later in life will be worth the money you give out now.
So, while the domesticated duties around the house are much more evenly spread around, meaning I have more time to dedicate to "mom things", I find that I am still largely alone in the "Mom's Taxi Service" business. Some days I spend nearly all day in the vehicle, coming and going with one kid or another for an event here, an appointment emergency trip to Target or whatever. That's OK however, because playing the part of the chauffeur is worth the time spent together in the car; and sometimes if I'm lucky...the teenager lets me choose the music!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

You're fantastic...and Bloglovin talk.

Hi Everyone!

Hope you are all having a wonderful week so far. Mine has been good. I wanted to share another card I made using Simon Says Stamp September Card kit.  Ok, so confession time...once I got this card together and photographed, I realized that I didn't love it as much as I was hoping I would. Does that ever happen to you? I've set this one aside to ponder and maybe tweak and redo a bit at a later date. I'll be sure to share the updated version as well. However, for today it will have to do. I did have a lot of fun building the bookshelf scene with this set. This is a very fun and versatile stamp set to work with. I don't think you could ever run out of ideas for it!
Before I do the challenge list for today's card, I want to take care of a couple of blog "housekeeping" things. Honestly, if you're still reading by this point...thank you! I know many just look at the pictures and move on, which is fine. I've been know to be guilty of that as well. It's an awful habit, that I'm making efforts to squash! First, I'm looking for people to follow me on Bloglovin. If you're unfamiliar with it, it's a website that allows you to put all the blogs you follow in one place, you don't have to search through hundreds of open tabs on your computer to find the ones you want to read. I love it! It has really changed the way I read blogs and I find I'm reading more and finding more to follow as well. Right now, however I am at 6 followers! I'm grateful for those 6; but would very much like to have a few more. So, if you would please click on the "Bloglovin" tab at the top and follow me! I will absolutely follow you back.
In addition, I'm also thinking of doing a blog candy give away soon if I reach a certain number of followers. Stay tuned for more information on that.
I'm sure at this point, you're more than ready to move on with your journey through blog land or maybe you have laundry to do or a screaming baby to tend I'll save the other housekeeping item for another time!

Some challenges for this card (Tuesday and Wednesday challenges from Paper Playful)

1.  PDE Linky Party: Dies/Punches
2. Through the Craft Room Door: Anything Goes
3. Top Tip Tuesday: Anything Goes.
4. Tuesday Throwdown: Anything Goes
5. Tuesday Morning Sketch: Sketch
6. Crafter's Cafe: Punches/Dies
7. Inky Impressions: Anything Goes
8. Simon Says Stamp: Anything Goes

Have a wonderful day everyone! Thanks for visiting me today and I'll see you again soon!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

True Story

Hi Everyone!

Busy day here for me, but I wanted to share a card I made yesterday using my new monthly stamp kit from Simon Says Stamp. You can visit their online store and see the kit and then also stop by the Card Kit Gallery to see lots of inspiration. I am so looking forward to making lots of great cards with this set. You will probably be seeing a lot of cards here on my blog over the next few days using this kit. I love this kit because I think it's one that serves well to either dress up or make cute and fun.
For this first card, I opted to dress it up a bit with some subtle colors and distressing around the edges of my papers. I had originally thought I might add some sparkle or glossy accents somewhere; but then decided that would contradict the more vintage feel I was going for with this particular card. I used the Gathered Twigs mini distress ink pad in the kit to do the majority of the inking around the edges. This is my first mini pad; and it was so much fun to use! The "True Story" sentiment was stamped with Fire Brick Distress ink.I used my distress markers (Iced Spruce, Fired Brick and Spun Sugar) for the book stamps in the circle.
Anyhow, here's a list of challenges from Sunday and Monday over at Paper Playful that I'm linking this card to.

 The Sweetest Thing: Sunday Sketch
Come and Get It: Anything goes with a sentiment
Stamping Sensations: Anything Goes August Challenge
Crafting From the Heart: Anything Goes
My Craft Creations: Anything Goes

Have a great day, and I'll see you again soon!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Warm Thoughts

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Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Mine was busy getting everyone ready for the first day of school this morning. I did find some time to do a bit of crafting yesterday, however and made this card to share with you today. I really wanted to play with some distress inks and water coloring. I really love the look of the distress inks on the water color paper when they just move and bleed a bit on their own. I stamped the flowers from (the now out of business but very much missed Our Craft Lounge) Floral Fantasy set in the distress inks, spritzed the stamp with my mini mister and then stamped it on to the paper. After it dried, I went around the edges with my blending tool and some Walnut Stain distress ink. For the flowers I used, Seedless Preserves, Broken China, Victorian Velvet and Forest Moss all of which can be purchased from Simon Says Stamp The sentiment is from Handwritten Greetings also available over at Simon Says Stamp. I added some faux white stitching at the bottom, some sequins to the flowers in the middle and some May Arts Natural Twine String around the top and finished the card.

Challenges from Paper Playful: 
A Gem of A Challenge: Stitching (Real or Faux)
Crafty Calendar: Anything Goes
Kitty Bee Designs: In the Garden 
Brown Sugar: Get Krafty

What's For Dinner Monday: Chicken, Potato and Mushroom Hash

Hi Everyone!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Ours was busy getting everyone ready for the first day of school. Last night for supper I made this dish originally found in this Food and Wine cookbook. You can go over to Amazon and buy the book, or you can just scroll on down here and get the recipe. Sure, my pictures aren't as pretty; but's free!
This is a very rustic comfort dish. The egg on top is optional; but I highly recommend it because adds another layer of creaminess to the dish and really rounds out the the flavors. It's also important to let the mushrooms and onion mixture really cook down and brown well. It's an easy dish to put together and requires very few ingredients.


Gather up your ingredients:

1. Chicken tenders or Chicken Breasts cut up. I never like to tell people how much to use. Use as much or as little as you want. I didn't use the whole package because I saved about 5 tenders to bake in the oven for the kids.
2. 2 large or 3 medium potatoes peeled and diced small (this is important. If you make them too large, they will take too long to cook)
3. 1 onion diced, 1/2 pound mushrooms chopped into 1/2 to 1" pieces
4. 1/4 cup heavy cream (I actually didn't have any, so I just used regular milk)
5. 1 egg (optional)


1.Put your peeled potatoes on to boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium/low and simmer for 5-6 minutes and drain well.

2. Chop your onions and mushrooms. Heat up 2 TBSP of oil over moderately high heat and add the mushroom and onions and cook until well browned about 6 minutes.

3. While that is cooking, chop up your chicken into bite size pieces and season to your preference. I use Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder and Paprika (because that's what I use on EVERYTHING!!)

4. After the mushrooms and onions have browned, add the chicken and continue cooking and stirring for another 5 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink.

5. Remove the mixture to drain on a paper towel lined bowl or plate. Wipe out the pan and return to the heat. Then add about 2-3 TBSPs of fresh oil and then add the drained cooked potatoes in one even layer. Cook over moderately high heat (7 if you're using a number dial on your stove) without stirring for 6 minutes. Season to your preference as you go along. Me personally, I season throughout cooking. I think people under season things or season all at the end and then can't figure out why they've under seasoned or over seasoned.

6. After the potatoes have cooked for the 6 minutes, stir them and continue cooking and stirring for another 4 minutes or so. Add the chicken, mushroom and onion mixture back to the pan. Stir in the heavy cream and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.

7. Prepare your fried egg for the top if you are choosing that option and enjoy!

Thanks for visiting me today. Have a great day; and I'll see you again soon! If you have a chance, pop on over to the Marvelous Monday linky Party and check out some other great recipes and goodies!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bringing Families Together with Popcorn, Chocolate...and Laughter

Hi Everyone,

Like many families in America today, mine has become slaves to technology. Cell phones, tablets, computers, laptops, Nintendo, Wii, and Wii U. We don't have everything, or as much as some do; but we definitely have more than our fair share and certainly more than we really need. I will admit too, that I am the biggest user of the abundance of technology we have in my house. My cell phone and tablet are never out of reach. They keep me entertained through TV, movies, games and more. They keep me informed through news podcasts, and web articles. They allow me to know bank balances and credit card information at a moment's notice. They keep me connected through social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Don't get me wrong, I believe technology has greatly improved much about society, our relationships with one another and has probably also done a great deal to feed what has now become an insatiable curiosity about everything from politics and world events to recipes and parenting advice.
However, it is not lost on me that the technology that beckons me toward this need for constant and instant gratification also pulls me away from my family. It pulls many families away from each other and we often don't even realize it. Sometimes we do for a moment; and then the moment passes because someone sends a text or a notification lights up our screen and instantly that person or that notification becomes more important than the person sitting beside us.
Every day I realize my children are speeding through this process called life and the opportunities to spend time together as a family are dwindling at an exponential rate. We are not a family that vacations often, or goes out and does grandiose things together. Like most families we are bound by the ebbs and flows of the economy. That is not to say we don't find ways to spend quality time together. We do, and we do because we make family time part of our routine, part of our daily schedule. Life is busy with school, homework, sports, and other activities. Still, we eat dinner together as much as possible and then without fail on Friday nights we have Family Movie Night!
Friday Night Family Movie Night has had a lot of starts and stops over the years; but since we moved into our new house in July, we have done it every week.  Sometimes we buy an On Demand movie, or a Redbox movie. Sometimes we find something on Netflix and sometimes we watch something we've already seen a hundred times together. It's never really about what we watch, although the entertainment factor is definitely important! No, rather, it is about the fact that for that two hours there are no brightly pixelated screens lighting up the room. There are no other people in the outside world more important than the one sitting right next to you. It is about the fact that for that two hours, popcorn, chocolate and laughter brings a family together.

Friday, August 22, 2014

To my Dearest Daughter: As you Begin High School

Hi Everyone!

Today's post is dedicated to my beautiful daughter, Reagan who is just two days away from starting her Freshman year in high school. Honestly, I'm not sure who's more shocked that this is happening already, me or her! I know that there are probably many moms out there facing this same milestone this year. I think I was too busy with two boys under the age of 2 when she started kindergarten to really process the significance of that milestone. Sad; but true, nonetheless. Now, however, this one is charging down the road right at me with no hope of distraction or change. I know that the next milestone is only 4 VERY short years away; but please...don't ask me to think about that one right now. I just cannot do it.
I know she is excited and she is a little nervous too. She's a new kid in a new a big school. 1500 kids. That's a LOT of bodies to be navigating through in a day. I'm not worried about her being the new kid. As a military child, this is her 7th new school...she's a Pro!
She and I have reached the point in our relationship where we often talk about a lot; and then we often don't talk at all. I want to make sure she has the most successful year she can. I thought about just sitting her down and telling her all these things; but then I just imagined I would see her as though she was five years old, not 14; and then I would probably cry. This of course would be followed by one of those awkward adolescent moments in which she would frantically text a friend telling them, "OMG, my mother is in my room crying, what is wrong with her?"

So, behold the power of the blog and the written word!

 Reagan, as you embark on this new journey in your life, I hope the following things help you a little along the way.

1. Be you...always. You are a kind and beautiful person inside and out. Don't ever let anyone change that.

2. Ask for help. No one knows everything and no one expects you to either.

3. Give help to those in need when and where you can. A simple act of kindness can go a long way.

4. Work hard, read often, ask questions. Develop good study habit now, the work only gets harder

5. Proof read everything. And then...proof read it again!

6. Be aware of the decisions you make. Stay true to who you are. Remember the life lessons you've been taught; and the morals and values we've tried to instill in you. Any choice you make that causes you to sacrifice your character or integrity is never the right one.

7. Don't be afraid to try something new. You may hate it, you may love it; but you will never know if you don't try.

8. You can talk to me about anything, about everything and about nothing at all...always!

9. You are going to succeed. You will have projects, papers, and tests that you will do well on and your teachers will praise you. You will have friendships that are meaningful and may even become life long. You will excel in many areas. Embrace each of these moments and know you've earned these successes.

10.... and you are going to fail. You are going to be unprepared for a pop quiz. You're going to read the wrong chapter in English, or study and study for a math test and still not do well. No one gets through high school without stumbling along the way. What matters is that when these things happen, you don't allow them to define you or to become excuses. Acknowledge your mistake, learn from it and move forward...keep moving forward!

All my love,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

CASE Study 4th Anniversary

Hi Everyone!

Inspiration Piece from Julee 
I was very excited when I stumbled upon the CASE study 4th Anniversary blog hop and challenge. I was so inspired by all the lovely creations I saw while completing the blog hop and commenting. I decided to play along and CASE this card from Julee Tillman over at Poetic Artistry. I was inspired by a number of elements in Julee's card. First, the colors and soft grungy-ness look of the card. Second, I liked the skewed panel in the front as well.
In order to replicate the background, I got out my distress inks and blending tools and got all inky and experimented and threw stuff away and experimented again and finally ended up with a couple of backgrounds I liked. I used the following distress inks for the backgrounds: Antique Linen, Worn Lipstick, Victorian Velvet; and Pumice Stone for the bottom layer. For the top layer, I used Crushed Olive, Peeled Paint, Scattered Straw and Pumice Stone. I used Verve's "Build a Poppy" set and mixed and matched some more distress inks and used the dies in the set  to cut them out. I layered the panels on to a piece of Fine Linen (PTI) card stock cut to
4 1/4 x 5 1/2 which I scored and folded from the top. I then added some liquid pearls for embellishments, and sequins to the center of the flowers. Finally, I added a bit of sparkle to the flowers with my wink of Stella pen.
I also decided to enter this card into the Diva Dare Challenge over at Verve where they are showcasing cards that celebrate! 

Challenges for this card today from Paper Playful:

1.Crafty Girls Challenge: Anything Goes
2.Quoth the Raven: Anything Goes (non cute)
3.Scrapbooker PhD: Die cuts and Sparkle (the poppies and leaves are all die cut)
4.Kraftin Kimmie: Anything Goes
5. Inky Impressions: Anything Goes

Thanks for stopping by and visiting me today. Have a great evening and I'll see you again soon! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Brilliant and Amazing

Hi Everyone! I'm back with a crafty post as promised. If you missed my "I've returned to blogging" post from yesterday, you can scroll down and take a look and get a yummy recipe as well!
So for today's card, I decided to visit the lovely ladies over at Paper Playful and get some challenge ideas so I could share my card and hopefully a few people will see you! If you're reading this and visiting my little blog here, thank you!
I've linked and listed the challenges I'm participating in below my card. I don't think there's a whole lot to say about the card. My color inspiration came from this swatch I had pinned on my Pinterest color inspiration board a while ago. I scrounged around, found some scraps and put the card together! I realized after I got it all put together and photographed, that the aqua greens and blues look a little different; but oh well! 
Have a fabulous evening and I'll see you again soon!


3. Crafting from the Heart: Anything Goes

Monday, August 18, 2014

Recipe: Cinnamon Sugar Baked Donuts

Hello Everyone!
*Update* I made the recipe again...twice! Once using almond milk in place of the regular milk and omitted the cinnamon and then made a maple icing to go with it as well. In the other batch, I used regular milk, omitted the cinnamon again and added 1 1/2 tsps of pumpkin spice.* I added a new picture!

Well, it certainly has been a LONG time since I've updated the blog. Almost an entire year...WOW! Obviously, a lot has happened in this year and I won't bore you with all the details, because you probably didn't really come here to read about me, right?! I'll just sum it up in a couple of quick sentences!

1) I moved...again. Goodbye South Carolina, hello Pennsylvania. Yes, I know "Winter is Coming"!

2) My son was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Yes, it's as difficult to say as it is to spell; but not nearly as awful as it sounds. In a nutshell, he has an allergy to the protein found in cow's milk, so we have now moved into a completely dairy free diet for him. This has been a lifestyle change and a constant learning lesson for me as well as him. Believe me when I tell you...there is dairy in EVERYTHING!

3) I've become completely obsessed with Podcasts on my phone and my tablet. Just a random fact I thought I'd throw out there for you!

4) The crafting bug has come and gone so many times for me over the past year, I can't even comment on it!
Ok, so let's just jump right in and see if we can get things rolling again. I'm going to try to update as regularly as I can. I will link this post to the recipe page (found up there at the top) so if you want to make these donuts; and trust me you do...but can't right now, you can come back to the blog here and find it easily up there.
Here's what we're going to make today: Cinnamon Sugar Baked Donuts. These are fluffy airy cake-like donuts. These are NOT yeast donuts, so don't think you're getting a Krispy Kreme here. They are, however, easy to make and quick as well!

I bought these very cute donut pans at Target a while ago; and tried three or four times to use them and every time I did, it was a complete and utter failure. Honestly, it was pathetic, and completely discouraging. So in a fit of defeat, I stashed them away and thought nothing about them again. Until this morning, through various circumstances and a desire by Tyler to bake something with me, I decided to dig them out and try again. I took the recipes I'd found and modified and tweaked them and this is what I came up with.

Step 1: Gather up some donut making ingredients and pre heat your oven to 450

1 cup of flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup of milk
2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp canola or veg oil

Step 2: Secure the assistance of a cute helper. Optional step; but highly recommended!

Step 3: Measure all your dry ingredients together and then add the egg and the milk and whisk for one minute. One full minute...set the timer and get your whisk on, use those muscles!! Add the oil and continue to whisk until combined. (Sorry for the blurry picture)

Step 4: Fill up the donut pans (I used a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off for easier filling) Don't over fill them...try not to anyhow!

Step 5: Bake in the oven at 450 for 8 minutes. Set the timer for 10; but they will probably be done at 8. Cool slightly on a wire rack and then dip the warm donut in melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and then bask in the fluffy golden sugary goodness of these yummy yummy treats! Next time I make these, I intend to try them with a bit of almond milk so they will be dairy free for my son. I'll update and let you know how that turns out. 

So, that's all for now. Thanks for visiting. Come back again tomorrow for a crafty blog post. Enjoy the rest of your day!