Friday, November 6, 2015

Swirls, Fall Leaves and "Thanks"

Hi Everyone!

If you're a paper crafter, I'm sure you've made a card or a project and looked at it and thought..."'s ok; but not my favorite" and then you put it down and look it the next day and you think, "Wow...that actually turned out pretty darn great!"
Such was the case with this "Thanks" card. I used some rich fall distress inks: Rusty Hinge, Crushed Olive, Dusty Concord and Walnut Stain.

I used the Leaves Background Stamp from Simon Says Stamp which I heat embossed with Versa mark and white embossing powder. and then used my ink blending tools to blend in the distress inks over the embossed pattern. I used my cuttlebug with my swirls embossing folder for the second layered piece and then blended the same distress inks across that as well.  I stamped the "Thanks" sentiment, which is from an older Hero Arts and Basic Grey set "Special Lace" that I've had for a long time.

Anyhow, that's all for me. I'll be entering this into the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge this week for the "Thanks/Thanksgiving" challenge. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Easy, Cheesy Tortellini with Homemade Croutons.

Hi Everyone!

So today I have a super easy dinner to share with you. This one dish pasta supper only takes about 40 minutes from oven to table; and 30 minutes of that is in the oven. Honestly, I almost didn't post it because it is ridiculously easy to make! However, I figured everyone can use a quick, no stress dinner idea for a busy weekday night.


-- One bag of cheesy tortellini (or beef and cheese, which is what I used)
-- Marinara sauce of your choice, or a homemade sauce of your choosing.
-- Extra grated cheese of your choice 
-- Croutons: 
                Leftover (preferably stale sub rolls or french bread) cut into cubes
                Olive oil and preferred seasonings. I used salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian Seasoning

-- Preheat oven to 400
-- Heat your sauce to a low simmer in a saucepan on the stove. You don't need to boil it or anything...just warm it up a bit.
-- Add the desired amount of tortellini to your pot. (I didn't use the whole bag) and stir together.
-- Transfer the mixture to an appropriately sized casserole dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes
-- While the tortellini is baking, make the croutons by tossing your bread cubes with some olive oil and seasonings. You don't want to soak the bread in the oil, just enough to give it a nice crispiness in the oven.
-- At the end of the 20 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and uncover it. Add the grated cheese to the top of the tortellini and then top with the bread.
-- Return the dish, uncovered this time, to the oven for 8-10 minutes to melt the cheese and crisp the croutons.


Monday, November 2, 2015


Hi everyone!

Good morning. I've had some words of encouragement over the last few days that have inspired me to perhaps not give up on my blog just yet. Thank you to those who reached out to me to give me hope. I took some time over this weekend to just have fun in my crafting room to create for the joy of creating, with no other pressures; and it really helped me put a few things in perspective.
First, sharing the things I've created, or recipes I've made and lessons I've learned along this journey of parenting makes me feel good. I may not be getting hundreds of views on a post; but I'd like to think that maybe the 20 people or so that see a post enjoy their visit to my little blog.
Secondly, I believe it challenges me to do my best work; and motivates me to try new things as well.
I could go on and on with more explanations; but I think I'll just keep this simple instead.
I will continue to blog and share my crafts and creations as time and desire allow. However, I have decided to just not worry about stats and views and comments etc. I will also no longer be following a set schedule of posts. If I have a craft to share, I will. When I have a recipe to share or parenting post to share, I will do that as well. I may blog once a week, three times a week or it may be 2 weeks between blog posts. I feel like I need to make my blog work for me instead of being a slave to my blog.
I will continue to travel around blog land and comment as I can as well. I believe in sharing love and giving people a reason to smile.

Ok, so...with all that in mind, I do have a card to share with you today.This card is for week five of the October Viva La Verve sketch challenge. (Let's not dwell too much on the fact that photography is NOT my strong suit!)

I used Verve's "You and I" stamp set and coordinating "I heart You" dies for this card. I made used distress inks (Chipped Sapphire, Seedless Preserves, Tumbled Glass and Mustard Seed) to watercolor the background piece.
The rest of the card came together pretty much as it appears. I stamped the "U" with seedless preserves distress ink and heat embossed the "Thank" with Versa Mark and Ranger White embossing powder. I added shimmer to the hearts as well as the U with my Wink of Stella Clear Glitter Pen.

Finally, before I go, let's talk about challenges. I have decided that I am going to limit the number of challenges I enter to five. The challenges I enter are the ones I find over at Paper Playful. In addition, for every challenge I enter, I will visit 5 blogs and leave comments. I think visiting 25 different blogs is sufficient for doing my part in spreading the blogging love. As I said before, I would very much enjoy the return of blogging love; but am no longer going to let it impede me.

With that said, here are the challenges for today's card: (These are from the list of Sunday's Challenges)
I may come back and post 2 more when Monday's Challenge list is posted.

1. Viva La Verve Week 5
2. 613 Avenue Create: Anything Goes with optional Thank You.
3. Little Patch of Crafty Friends: Anything Goes

I hope you all have a fabulous day. If you've taken the time to read all of this today, I thank you for your continuous support.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why I'm not blogging or sharing my creativity anymore...

Hello Everyone,

After a lot of thinking and soul searching I have decided to stop blogging and sharing my crafts. I have come to the realization that I am putting so much work into something that is giving me very little return of my investment.

I am constantly entering craft challenges, uploading to Facebook, Instagram, pinning on Pinterest, sharing on Google etc hoping and hoping for validation of my creativity and work. It's hard to buy materials from my favorite stamp companies such as Simon Says Stamp, Hero Arts, Verve Stamps and more, spend time creating something using those products and if I'm lucky have 2 people comment and tell me they like what I've made. I've never been repinned or "spotted" or "reposted" Does that make me selfish? Maybe...but it's just how I feel. It's hard to be on Pinterest and Instagram and see those companies repinning and reposting so many other creations. I have done the research, I have tried to incorporate all of the strategies I have learned into being a more successful blogger. I have received positive interactions on Google + and I am grateful for that, I truly am. I try to be a reciprocal blogger and comment as well; but it's just become too much of a one way road.
I have come to accept the fact that I'm never going to be a Kristina Werner or a Jennifer McGuire. I'm never going to be asked to be on a design team. I'm never going to turn my passion for creativity into a livelihood and to be honest I'm exhausted trying to chase that dream.
The same is true for parenting and recipe shares. I try to come up with things people will like or want to read and well...the result is always the same. Some recipes I have shared have been popular; and I do appreciate the support. Still, the 3 that have been popular aren't enough to make up for the 50 other ones I worked just as hard on that no one cared about.
Honestly...I'm giving up the blog because I don't think anyone will care if I don't blog anymore; and worrying about it has taken so much of the joy out of just being creative.

I will still paper craft and share my creativity with family and friends and will continue to donate my cards to charity organizations to bring a real life smile to someone, I hope!

I will keep my Perfectly Created Chaos Instagram account open and will upload photos there if and when I want to do so.

For those of you who have supported me...thank you.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Beautiful Kindness: Viva La Verve Week 4

Happy Sunday Everyone!

I have a few moments before we head off to church this morning. I hope you are all continuing to have a nice weekend. I wanted to share my card for week 4 of VLV October challenge. For this card,  I chose some pretty neutral pattern colors from my scrap box of patterned papers and then built the card around those. The sentiment is from Verve and I embossed it on to some Khaki card stock from Simon Says Stamp using versa mark and Liquid Platinum embossing powder also by Simon Says Stamp.

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

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Circles of Color

Hi everyone!

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend so far. I'm here today to just quickly share a card I made using the "Lots of Circles" set from Simon Says Stamp.

I used Abandoned Coral, Seedless Preserves, Scattered Straw and Evergreen Bough for my color palette. I added some silver stickles, glossy accents and a little wink of Stella clear glitter pen to add some pizazz to the simple layout. The sentiment is also from Simon Says Stamp: "color and sunshine"

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Dear Children: Life is Real...Get Used To It!

Hi Everyone!

Before we get started with today's post, if you read yesterday's post, you know I've been struggling with whether or not I wanted to continue with the website and blogging. For now, I'm just going to keep plugging away at it as long as I feel I have things to say and share. So for the 10 of you that may actually show up and read this post...THANK YOU!!

I try hard with my parenting posts to promote good parenting,and to encourage those of you who may be experiencing challenges with your little ones. Really, I have no authority or expertise other than I'm a mom...just like many of you. I have wondered, lately if we as parents and a society are not doing our children a great disservice by not allowing them to experience failure and disappointment. This has been a hot button topic in the parenting blogging and "expert" world for a while now. I think there are many valid arguments for why we are standing in the way of our children's successes as future adults and contributing members of society. We are focusing so much on our children's emotional well being and saving their feelings that we are failing them as parents.

Why is that exactly?

1. Birthday Parties: This is my number one pet peeve about parenting in this age of  "don't hurt anyone's feelings" My youngest son has a birthday the day before Halloween. I would LOVE to throw him a nice costume Halloween related party; but the only way I can do it is to invite everyone in his class. This is a problem for me for a couple of reasons: First, guess what? He's human...he DOESN'T LIKE EVERYONE IN HIS CLASS!! Why should he be forced to invite someone he doesn't care to spend time with? Second, it's expensive! Hello?!!? Which would you rather pay for as a parent? A birthday party in which you have 8-10 kids coming or one in which you have to PLAN for 20 kids even though may 12 will come. And let's NOT talk about the fact that NO ONE ever RSVP's for their kid anymore either! It is not up to me to prepare someone else's child for disappointment in life. If the situation were to arise in which my own child wasn't invited, I would use it as a teachable moment in parenting. Yes, I would be upset that he's upset...I'm not unfeeling or unsympathetic! But I'm also a realist and I"m trying to raise a logical, well adjusted and capable child as well. I would NEVER allow any of my children to be mean about not inviting someone to a party, either though. There is a way to be tactful about it. Perhaps sending in cupcakes to be shared with the class in celebration or sharing goody bags with everyone.

2. Disappointment is not a gateway to violence: School shootings have been a horrible, unimaginable and all too prevalent reality in the last decade. I would lose my mind if my children fell victim to something so horrendous. That being said, I believe we are using the fear of "what might happen" to allow our children to never experience disappointment or rejection. No parent, myself included, wants to be the parent of the kid with the gun or the kid that bullies someone to the point they commit suicide. We see the reports and the news and the "research by the experts" and we all cringe a little inside and hope we don't screw up our parenting skills badly enough for our child to that kid.
It is wrong, however, to assume that disappointment or rejection will lead to a life of violence or even an act of violence. Children need to experience disappointment so that they can learn other important life skills such as determination, perseverance, and discipline. My daughter experiences severe test anxiety and often doesn't do well on tests in school and most of the time is very disappointed in her scores. Guess what though? We keep plugging away at it, we keep trying new tactics and new ideas to help her. I know she probably isn't seeing it right now; but I know she's learning other important lessons through these challenges.

3. A Child's Failure is NOT your Failure as a Parent: When my daughter or her brothers do poorly in school or my son strikes out at a baseball game, or doesn't get a part in the school play or whatever...I don't curl up a corner lamenting to the heavens: "It's all my fault! I'm a horrible mother!" Many parents want the credit and the glory when their children achieve greatness and milestones; (and that's not right either, by the way...) However, just as equally bad, are parents who shift the focus from the child and the lessons that failure can teach to themselves and their "lack of parenting" skills. That's just wrong! Guess what?! IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU! Children need to learn to stand inside their own failures and deal with them. Failing is a quintessential part of life. Without it, you never learn to rise to a challenge or overcome an obstacle. You never appreciate the concept of really hard work. Most importantly, if we take the pain of failure away from our children, we essentially take away the sweetness of victory when it comes as well.

4. A Spoiled Child is a Selfish Child: If we give our children everything they want in life; and never say no, then can we really be shocked when we realize we've become the parents of the kid that always screams at the top of his lungs because he didn't get candy from the check out lane or the little girl who made another little girl cry because she took something away from her?! Can we really be shocked when we spend 16 years giving a child everything they want only to have that same child become raging mad when there isn't a shiny new car with a big red bow on it in the driveway on their birthday?
Children who are never told "no" or "not this time" or even a more truthful and honest "I can't afford to buy that for you" are really only be taught one thing: Selfishness. They're also not learning how to work for something themselves. They're not learning how to wait or maybe contribute to buying something themselves by earning money for it. They're not learning that life does NOT always revolve around them.

Photo source "Poppy's New Adventure"

As I said in the beginning of this post, I am by no means an expert in anything related to parenting. I have been one for a little while now; and over the years, this is just what I have learned, valued and tried to remember to help me along this journey. I hope it provides you with some tips and help as well.
Have a great day and I will be back again soon!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday and the Pity Party Express.

It's been a long time since I've done a Thoughtful Thursday message here on the blog. I think this one is especially appropriate for me today as I contemplate whether or not I will continue to blog and maintain this website. *Spoiler Alert: this is about to get a tad whiny...and put upon....

Right now the numbers and traffic I have just doesn't justify the amount of time I put into it.

I wish I was a well known crafter with an awesome design team gig or worked for a great stamping company. I wish I had enough artistic talent or was business savvy enough to start my own business.

I wish people pinned my recipes

I wish people spent as much time leaving comments on my posts as I do travelling around the blogosphere and commenting, retweeting, repinning and +1 other people's posts.

Ok. I'll hop off the "Pity Party Express" now. 

Seems I have a bit of thinking to do...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pinterest Recipe Roundup

Hi Everyone!

I realize it's been a while since I've posted a recipe; and well honestly...that's because I've sort of run out of original ideas for what to cook that is sharing and picture worthy. No one is starving or anything, we're actually eating some really yummy recipes. However, I must give credit where credit is due, a lot of what I've been cooking for the kids and I lately have been recipes I've found and pinned to my Eat, Drink and Be Merry Pinterest board. Wait...did I just say that I've actually been cooking recipes I've pinned?! That's crazy, right?!!?
So, I decided to do a little recipe round up of things I've actually made over the last week and a couple of little thoughts about them. I hope you find some "Pinspiration" to cook a couple of them as well!

1. Swiss Cheese Chicken. I just made this recipe on Monday. It was also very tasty and another one that made a lot for us. We had just enough for some leftovers last night as well. I served it with pasta and home-made biscuits. I used Provolone cheese instead of Swiss or Pepper Jack. However, I will say that I think next time that I think I'd just leave the cheese off of it. I don't really think it added anything of great flavor or importance to the dish. Also, I found that I had to cover the dish the last 10 minutes or so because the stuffing on top was getting a bit too crispy.

2. Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti. This recipe was really good. It makes quite a bit though, so I actually cooked it and invited some family over for supper to share with us. It would have been way too much for just the kids and I. It was also really thick, the cream cheese made the pasta stick together quite a bit as it cooled. I think when I make it again, I may add a bit of sour cream along with the cream cheese just make the pasta a little more pliable.

3. Slow Cooker Cheesy Tortellini. This is part of of my mission to use my crock pot a little more. It was very good as well. I think I added maybe a little too much tortellini to my sauce though, which wasn't a problem until it came to heating up the leftovers. The pasta was just too mushy after having sat in the sauce in the refrigerator over night. I really liked the flavors of the dish though and would definitely make it again.

4. Creamy Italian Chicken. This crock pot chicken recipe was another delicious success. I made the recipe pretty much as stated; but I did leave off the mushrooms.  It did make quite a bit of sauce, which may have been because I didn't use very large chicken breasts. I always forget that they tend to shrink up a bit as they cook. I took the leftovers that I had with this dish and turned it into a creamy chicken and corn chowder with bacon and onions the next day. So it was great as a double duty dinner!

So, those are a few things to share with you. It's not a lot, I know...but honestly, I don't cook a big sit down dinner every evening. Sometimes we just have chicken tenders and mac and cheese. Many times we have left overs.
What have you been making lately? I would love to know! Leave me a comment if you can!
Have a great day!

Monday, October 19, 2015

All about Verve!

Hi Everyone!

Today I have THREE cards to share with you for various Verve projects and challenges. It's been a VERY long time since I've played along with Verve Challenges; but I decided it's never too late, right?! Let's get right to it, shall we?!

This first card is for Week 1 of October's Viva La Verve Sketch Challenge. I used the free digi download Verve offered "Latte Love" that had been available until Oct 15. Did you get your copy? Gosh, I sure hope so! I had a lot of fun coloring the latte cup with my Copic Markers. I am not a Copic coloring expert by any means. I don't own very many of them, so I just play around until I get a result I'm satisfied with. I was quite pleased with this one!

The second card I have today is for week 2 of the VLV October challenge as well as the October Diva Inspiration Challenge: Black, white and glam! I'm not
am not a big Halloween fan, honestly, so I didn't really feel the need to make a Halloween card for this challenge. I decided instead to just go with a more uplifting message instead. I used the leaf background stamp from Simon Says Stamp which I embossed with silver embossing powder. The sentiment is from Verve and whenever I use it, I always feel the need to add a flower or two to my project!

Finally, my third card is for the current Viva La Verve Challenge: Week 3. This was a simple card and relied mostly on the patterned paper in the center. I used a simple sentiment from Verve and added some liquid pearls around the outer circle to add some fun and elegance. 

Ok. That is all for me today! Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting with me. I hope you like what I've shared with you.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The 5 Lessons of Motherhood

"Motherhood changes you."  It's the phrase most often heard by any mother to a new or expecting mother. Why? Because, simply, it is true. Becoming a mother is unlike any experience of your life. For me, I can remember almost feeling the physical shift of the earth all around me when I held my oldest, my daughter, for the first time. I knew with unequivocal certainty that nothing I knew before this point in life would ever come close to this feeling, to this raw unfiltered emotion now seated deep within my very soul.
Still, just because motherhood "changes" you, doesn't mean it comes with an instruction manual. The only thing harder than being a mom is learning how to be a mother. It is the hardest on the job training ever! After all, there's no trial or training period between labor and delivery and "Congratulations! Now, take your baby home and be a parent!" I realize that learning and growing as a parent is not something that ever stops, no matter how old your children get. I know I have learned and continue to learn through all my mothering moments in life. As I look back over the last 15 years of this wonderful journey and at life through the eyes of my children, I realize that the lessons I have learned are the ones that I value the most.

1. Perseverance: There are no "sick days" in parenting. There are no holidays. There is no 2 week vacation. Being a mother is 24 hours 7 days a week. It is 365 days each and every year.  Parenting, especially in the early years requires a level of energy and stamina you didn't think was possible. When you are awake for 18-24 hours nursing a sick baby through the day and night; and then still manage to find the energy to care for other children or go to work, or make dinner or something else, knowing the night will once again be long and exhausting...that is perseverance. Parenting is knowing that no matter how tired you are, no matter how mentally or physically drained you may be, you will take care of your child. That's what we do as moms, as parents...we get up and we take care of our children. When it's us who becomes sick or ill, we still parent our children. We get them up, we feed them breakfast, we get them off to school, we still take them to soccer practice, we still bake the cookies for the PTA bake sale. Perhaps no other occupation in the world takes the choice out of your hands the way that parenting does. There is no day when you can just not be a parent.

2. Patience: Nothing teaches you or tests your patience like being a parent. Navigating your way through the early days and nights of newborn feedings, dirty diapers, laundry, and lack of sleep is the first lesson. Then moving on to the "terrible twos" and what I often referred to as the "tyrannical threes" is enough to make you really think you might not survive this parenting all!! As our children learn and grow and begin to forge their own path in this world to become "independently operating" people there is simultaneously a deep desire to let them go and to hold on to them. We want them to succeed; but we often get caught in a misplaced desire to see them succeed according to our definition, to our wants and ways and means. We want them to learn the way we did because it's what we know. It takes a great deal of patience to just let your child become the person they are meant to be and that they want to be. Learning to be a "grown up" is hard at times; and our children need us to be good teachers, they need us to be show them every day for a year how to tie their shoes. They need us to help them hold their knife and fork every night at dinner to learn how to cut it. They need us to go over vocabulary words and spelling words 10 times in an evening to prepare for a quiz.

3. Protectiveness: I'm not sure that this is a lesson necessarily; but I do know that I've never ever felt anything close to the raw animal like protectiveness I feel about my children. There is no doubt in any way at all in my mind that I would do whatever I had to keep my children safe. I know with every fiber of my being that I would not hesitate to hurt, maim or kill anyone that harmed them...period.  Some might think that an exaggeration; but if you're a know what I mean!

4. Selflessness: There's a saying that when you're a mom and there's only one piece of pie left, you decide you're not in the mood for pie after all...even if it's your favorite...even if you've been thinking about that piece of pie all day long. As a mom, you give it without regret, without hesitation or second thought to the little face that looks at you and says, "please, Mommy?!" Being a mother doesn't mean you go without the things that make you happy in the name of some type of martyrdom, however. There is no prize for the mom who gives up the most. Motherhood teaches you to think beyond your own self, and beyond the bubble of your needs without even realizing that is what you are doing.

5. Love: This may be the obvious one; but really there is no greater lesson taught or learned throughout parenting than love. The type of love you learn to give and that you receive from your child goes beyond anything words can describe. This is love in its purest form for sure. It is the feeling that rises from deep within the bottom of your heart and soul and fills you with such satisfaction and reward that nothing else could even come close to comparing. I never thought a love like that was possible; and for me, that has been the greatest and most wonderful lesson of all.
Have a great day! Thank you for spending your time with me.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Poll Question for Blog Content

Hi Everyone!

I have a quick favor to ask all of you, and that is to look over there to the right on the side bar for me and vote in that little poll I have set up. I am trying to decide if I want to keep all the different parts of my blog the way they are, or if I want to streamline a bit and focus on just one (or maybe two) areas?

Thanks! Have a good day and I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Friendship has its Perks

Hi Everyone!

I have a fun little Fall friendship card to share with you today. The patterned paper on the front is from an old pad of JillyBean Soup called "Dutch Mustard"  that I've had forever!
I used the "What's Brewing?" stamp set from Simon Says Stamp, which I stamped onto Neenah Solar White in Memento Rich Cocoa Ink, and then colored it in using Copic Markers: Y32, Y21, Y35, E25, E29

I stamped the little heart in the middle with Peeled Paint distress ink and punched it out with a 3/4 in circle punch. The main circle of the card is actually on the inside of the card. The front circle acts as a window when it's standing up, as you can see in the second photo.
I added some Wink of Stella glitter pen to the mug as well as some butter pearls around the circle for some final touches.

Have a fabulous day! 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Best Ever Lemon Cake

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a fun and fabulous weekend. Ours was quiet but good. I have a recipe for the BEST...and that really is no exaggeration...lemon cake EVER. Now, I must give credit where credit is due, my wonderful sister in law, Jennifer shared this recipe with me and now I am sharing it with you.


-- 2 1/2 cups flour
-- 2 Cups Sugar
-- 1/2 tsp salt
-- 1/2 tsp soda
-- grated lemon peel about 1 tsp or a little more 
-- 1 tsp Vanilla
-- 1 Cup butter softened
-- 1 8oz carton sour cream or plain Greek Yogurt
-- 3 eggs


-- Powdered Sugar
-- Lemon Juice (personal preference to taste)


1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. There is no need to cream the butter and sugar before you add the other ingredients.
2.  Blend at low speed until all the ingredients are incorporated. 
3. Then beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. This is an important step as it will allow the cake to be very light and fluffy. 
4. Pour into a greased tube pan and back at 325 for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (While the cake is cooking prepare the glaze. There is not really a recipe for this...I started with about 1 cup of powdered sugar and 2tsp of lemon juice and just adjusted until I got the flavor and consistency I wanted)
5. Let stand for 10 minutes and then if your pan comes apart, go ahead and separate the pieces. (just remember the top of the cake is on the bottom, so you'll need to flip it over)  While the cake is still warm, use a toothpick or skewer to poke holes in the top of the cake and then pour the glaze over the top of the cake. The icing will fall down the sides of the cake and into the center as well adding to the lemony goodness!

Sharing today's recipe with my favorite Monday Linky Parties:

Have a great day, everyone! Thanks for visiting with me and I'll see you again soon!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Best Birthday Wishes!


So, if you have a birthday today or coming up soon, then this card is for you! It's been a while since I've shared a card, so I thought I would pop in really quick and do just that this morning. My crafting desk seems to always be in a state of "in progress" work; and now that school pictures have arrived, well...there's just even more to do.

For this card, I decided to make a plaid background using some stripe stamps from Clearly Besotted and some fun bright colors: Abandoned Coral, Dusty Concord, and Peacock Feathers. (actually...that might be Seedless Preserves. I don't really remember! :)  The sentiment(s) are from Simon Says Stamp's "Best Hugs" set.

Going to link this card up with a few challenges this week:

1. Simon Says Stamp: Anything Goes
2. Jo's Scrap Shack: Anything Goes
3. Simply Papercraft: Anything Goes

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

5 Times It's (almost too) Hard to Be a Parent.

Hi Everyone!

For most, parenting is among the most rewarding, gratifying and the fulfilling parts of their lives. However, let's be honest as well. Parenting, is tough work, period. It's never ending, it's exhausting, it's all consuming and overwhelming. It's a whole bunch of  "No, you cannot do that's" in a sea of  "But, whhhhyyyyy, Mommy?!"'s. It's "yes, you must eat your dinner to have dessert" surrounded by a symphony orchestra playing, "But I don't like this, Mommy!" It's 25 "GO TO BED's" yelled upstairs every night; and then "Get up, we're late!"'s the next morning.
Still, we do it. We get up in the morning, put our big pants on and parent our children, in hopes that one day they will be contributing, functional members of society with good manners, successful families, friendships and careers of their choosing. We also hope that one day, they will exhibit the same amount of strength, stamina and determination when it comes to their own parenting skills.
However, there are times when being a parent just almost seems too hard. Moments where, I know, I've wondered..."what was I thinking?" Perhaps these will sound familiar to you as well.

1. When it is Brand New:  The first year of parenting is life-changing.  There's really no other way to describe it. You can read all the books, listen to all the advice, develop a plan, learn all you think you'll ever know during the 9 months of pregnancy and you still won't even have any idea how your life is going to be turned upside down. Parenting a newborn for the first time, especially the first 6 months, is an experience that, I believe, is designed to test the limits of a person's mind, body and soul. Sleep deprived in a body that feels like it's been hit by a freight train (and usually looks like it has too) along with the overwhelming and all too sudden realization that this "tiny little human" is depending on you for everything...and I mean EVERYTHING is enough to make a new parent give up before the journey begins. The fact that babies are lacking in communication skills, doesn't help either! I'm just saying...

2. When they Learn Independence: That "depend on you for everything" scenario I talked about a minute ago?'ll wish for it back when they turn 2 and 3 years old! Any parent that has taken her "scuba shoe, snorkel wearing, polka dotted princess dress with a wand" daughter to the grocery store, knows exactly what I"m talking about! Or any parent who has listened to countless "NO, I don't need help!" and "I do it ...I do it... I do it,  Mommy!"'s also understands. Fast forward and before you know it it's time for driving lessons, group dates, and college campus visits. These are all stepping stones to being self -reliant, to being able to fly away from the nest one day; but still...watching your children take these important steps isn't always easy.

3. When They are Hurt or Sick. The first time you have to rush your child to the ER because of illness or injury, your heart will come undone. (ok...maybe not literally) but you will experience a feeling of helplessness unlike anything you've ever have in the past. When you watch your child, almost in slow motion, fall down the stairs or out of the tree in the backyard, or off his bike. Raging fevers, vomiting, coughing that lasts for days and nights and then spreads to the other children leaving you in a pool of mental and physical fatigue so deep that you're convinced the universe is punishing you for some long ago forgotten misdeed. When you think everything is fine, everyone is healthy...and then you find out that may not be the case. When, as in my own recently personal experience, a doctor says..."we think she has a tumor." That is when parenting almost becomes a little too hard...

4. When They Disappoint You: I know this probably sounds harsh and some may be taken aback by that statement. However, I believe it's true. Parents don't just corner the market on disappointing children when it comes to having to say no to things, or changing plans. When your child comes home from school with a failing grade on a test, or they lie to you about something, or they are mean to somebody...that's disappointing! It's almost having to admit a moment of defeat in parenting. It's hard to spend time teaching our children the difference between right and wrong only to have them do exactly what we told them not to do!

5. When You Have to Let Them Go. This is the one I think about most often:

--When I let them go to Kindergarten
--When I let them go to College
--When I let them go to new adventures away from home
--When I let them go to say "I do"
--When I let them go to hear their own new "I love you, Mommy!" 's  and "I love you, Daddy!"'s

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Mini Frito Taco Pie

Hi Everyone!

Life just continues to be rather busy busy for me! I am determined, however this week to try my best to do at least 1 recipe, 1 parenting post, and 1 crafting post. I'm not sure about Saturday Morning Coffee Cafe yet. That post takes a LOT of prep time...and I'm not sure anyone is really even reading it. So...we'll see.

So for this week's recipe, I have a super...I mean SUPER quick and easy weeknight dinner for you! It was almost TOO easy to even share; but if you're anything like me, sometimes a busy night or late activities call for something that is just mindless to put together and will those tummies!
Now, I will say that I bake these in these little corning ware dishes that I have because...well, they're cute and everyone likes having their own little dish. You could, however, bake this in a bigger casserole dish such as a 9x9 dish or an 11x7 dish. I don't think you'd have enough filling for a 13x9; but you could try!

One of the keys to this dish is to not over bake it, so that the Frito chips on the bottom stay crispy and don't get soft and soggy. Everything you're putting into the oven is already cooked, so you are really only putting it in long enough to melt the cheese on top.


-- 1 lb ground beef and favorite taco meat mixture ingredients
-- Frito Corn Chips ( I do recommend using the "real" Fritos as opposed to store brand or generic)
-- shredded taco or Mexican cheese...which ever you prefer


-- Pre heat oven to 375
-- Prepare your taco meat mixture however you normally do. Most of us have a standby recipe we use. 
-- Put some Frito Chips in the bottom of either individual baking dishes as I have done, or another dish. Try to make as much of a single layer as you can. Cover the bottom of the dish; but don't over crowd it.
-- Cover the Fritos with some of the meat mixture.
-- Top with cheese and bake about 7-10 minutes. Just long enough to melt the cheese. 

It's been a few weeks since I've linked up with any linky parties, so I am sharing this week's recipe with the following:

Have a great day, everyone! And I will see you all again soon...I promise!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chocolate Chip Toffee Bit Cookies

Hi Everyone!

Well, it's been a little while hasn't it?! I'm so sorry for the haphazard posting lately. We had a bit of a medical scare with my daughter and my time has been preoccupied with taking care of that situation. I am happy to report though that all is well for the time being. We just need to monitor her closely over the next few months.  I will probably elaborate a bit more in a parent post a little later.

For now though, let's talk about these cookies:

These cookies...OH. MY. WORD....THESE cookies are going to CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.
They are perfectly crispy on the outside, warm and gooey in the middle. The best part is they are soft and deliciously chewy from the first day to the last. One of my biggest pet peeves about a cookie is when it's perfect on the first day, and then by the third day, they are hard and stiff and just not good....

These cookies though...

These cookies are just well...they're just perfect.  Honestly, I don't know how else to describe them.

Want to know the secret?

*whispers* Cornstarch

Yep! A little cornstarch mixed in with the flour mixture gives you the lasting softness and uber goodnes of these cookies.

A few more tips to share with you for perfect cookies:

1. Chill the dough before you bake it and between batches as well. I chilled mine for about 45 mins

2. When preparing the second batch of cookies, instead of placing the dough directly on the cookie pan, scoop all the cookies out first onto a separate plate and then place them onto the cookie sheet. This is to keep the cookies that you put on the hot cookie sheet from starting to cook while you are still scooping out the remaining cookies.

3. Do NOT over bake!! Honestly, I think people are SO worried about a cookie being raw in the middle that they just over cook them. That moment when you look at cookies and you think, "Gee, I wonder if these are done?" That's the moment you take them out of the oven.  Leave them on the sheet and let the little bit of carry over cooking finish them off for about 3-5 mins.  Make sure to let them cool on a wire rack.

Anyhow, I hope you give these a try and I hope you like them as much as we did!

Have a great day; and I will be back again soon!


-- 3/4 cup sugar
-- 3/4 cup brown sugar
-- 1 cup butter softened to room temperature
-- 2 eggs
-- 2 tsp vanilla 
-- 2 1/4 cups flour
-- 1 Tsp salt
-- 2 Tsp Cornstarch
-- 1 tsp baking soda
--1 tsp baking powder
-- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (or more or less to taste)
-- 1 cup Heath "Bits of Brickle" toffee bits


-- Preheat oven to 375
-- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt,baking soda and cornstarch. Set aside.
-- Put softened butter into stand mixer and mix for a couple of minutes on medium speed to make it fluffy (I know...very technical term) 
-- Add the sugars and continue to cream together over medium speed with butter until soft and fluffy. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl
-- Turn the mixer down to low and add the eggs, one at a time until incorporated. 
-- Add the vanilla, turn the mixer back up to medium speed and continue to mix for another 2 minutes.
-- Return the mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture.
-- Stir in the chocolate chips and toffee bits
-- Chill the dough for about an hour.
-- Bake at 350 for approx 10-14 minutes. Everyone's oven is different...I started checking mine at 10; but they weren't really ready to come out until 14 minutes. (See the notes above)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sending You Lots of Hugs (StampTember!)

Hi Everyone!

I am so sorry it has been a few days since I've posted anything. I've had some personal family issues that have required my attention. The blog will probably take a bit of a slow down over the next couple of months; but I will continue to share things as I can.

In the meantime, I do have a new card to share with you. My Simon Says Stamp "Stamptember"order arrived this week and I was able to find a bit of time to play around with some new products. I am so so so in love with this new small chevron stripes wafer die!! The possibilities are endless. It's just plain fun to play with! I already have another project in progress on my desk. I will share that as soon as I can.

I used Simon Says Stamp inks to color strips of Neenah Solar White card stock (Lipstick red, Beanstalk Green, Caribbean Blue, and Goldenlocks) I stamped the sentiment from "Best Hugs"  in Caribbean Blue and then covered it with some Wink of Stella clear glitter pen. I added the smaller sentiment and then the little hearts for finishing touches. 

I am posting this a little late in the evening so I can link it up at the SSS Wednesday Challenge to use a Stamp. I hope to post a couple of more entries before next week as well!

Have a great night! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

You're Very Special

Hi Everyone.

I wanted to share another card with you that  I made. I have placed my Simon Says Stamp "Stamp-tember" order and am waiting anxiously for my package to arrive! In the meantime, I found some other great SSS products to play with. I love this "Lots of Dots" set that Kristina Werner designed. Sadly, though I have lost some of the circles from it...especially the really teeny tiny tiny ones. Will have to order a make up set soon.

For my color palette, I chose black and white and then a variety of SSS ink pads for the circles below. (Teal, Schoolhouse Red, Khaki, Green Leaf, and Hero Arts Wet Cement) The Sentiment is from an SSS stamp set called "Very Special" but I don't think it's available anymore.
I used the air vent die to separate the two parts of the card.  I added some Wink of Stella clear glitter to some of the circles, as well as some glossy accents; but it is hard to tell in the photograph. Finally, I rounded the top corners of the card for a final touch.

I am blogging on the go today, so I'll have to provide product links later. I've decided to not participate in any challenges for a while because it's a LOT of work! 

Have a great day, everyone!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Dream, Joy, Love: Keep Smiling

Hi Everyone, 

I have two cards to share with you today. Did you know that it is time for "Stamp-tember" over at Simon Says Stamp! I am having so much fun looking at the new products and deciding what new goodies I want to add to my collection! I can't wait to get them and then create and share with you. So...stay tuned!!

You will probably notice a jump in crafty posts this month and a little decrease in parenting and recipe posts. One because "Stamp-tember" makes me want to craft more and more; and two because I need some time to develop some parenting articles and ideas as well as some new recipes. 

My inspiration for the color palette for this card came from this group which I pinned a while ago.
I didn't have the exact colors; but I think I found some relatively decent substitutes. 

The first card features paper from Simon Says Stamp and Paper Trey Ink and the sentiments are from Verve Stamps "Tag Time" which I stamped using Simon Says Stamp Slate Ink and Coral Reef Ink 

My second card features a CAS design using the same papers from the first card. The sentiment is from Simon Says Stamp "Thinking of You" set which I stamped in Slate ink and the tiny circle border with Coral Reef. 

So, for now I leave you with these.  Have a great day!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Hi Everyone!

I have a sweet and sour chicken recipe to share with you today. I will confess, however that I used a store bought sauce for this to save a bit of time. Still, I did go through the process of battering and flouring the chicken and frying it. This is an easy recipe to do; but it take a little time to do. I intend to try this recipe for chicken with a honey sesame sauce as well soon.


-- 2 or 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces and seasoned to taste
-- 1/2 cup flour, 
-- 1/2 cup cornstarch
-- 1 tsp baking powder
-- 1 tsp salt
-- 3/4 to 1 cup water
-- extra flour for extra dredging.
-- Vegetable oil for frying. (I use Smart Balance Oil)
-- 1 jar sweet and sour sauce (store bought or home made)
-- 1 can pineapple chunks drained (optional)


-- To make the batter, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl
-- Add the water and whisk together. Start with the smaller amount and add to it as necessary. You don't     want a "soupy" batter; but you don't want a clumpy thick batter either.
-- Put some extra flour on a plate for dredging 
-- Heat 2-3 inches of oil over medium heat in a deep skillet
-- Take small amounts of chicken and coat them in the flour on the plate and then put them in the bowl of batter 
-- Take the chicken out of the batter and re-dredge through the flour.
-- Add the chicken to the hot oil and cook on each side until crispy and brown. (Approximately 5-7 minutes on each side)
-- Remove the chicken from the oil and put on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat the process until all the chicken is done.
-- Heat a second skillet (or drain and wash the one you are using...which is what I did) over medium low heat.
-- Add the sweet and source sauce to the pan with 2 Tsp of cornstarch 
-- Slowly stir in 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of water to thin the sauce to a nice consistency
-- Bring mixture to a boil and then lower the heat
-- Add the chicken back to the pan and the pineapple if using.
-- Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. 
-- Serve over Jasmine Rice.

That's all for me today. Enjoy your day and I'll see you tomorrow!

Linky Parties:

Not participating in as many as I normally do this week, because I have a busy day. I always hop around and leave some comments in the blogs that are participating. I mean isn't that what you're supposed to do?! Would appreciate a little comment love here if you have some time!

1. Mix it Up Monday
2. Munching Mondays 106
3. Marvelous Monday 69
4. What'd you do this Weekend?