Thursday, December 18, 2008

up on my soap box...

so i kinda want to brag for a minute.

this year, i was SO on top of things. i made my neighbor Christmas presents in AUGUST!!! so today, all i had to do was tie on a bow, and make a little note. YAY for me!

i guess you can use the idea next summer.....but for this year, your a little late for jam makin'!! haha! and in case you think i'm being mean, don't worry. i have been there. EVERY year, the week before Christmas i am raking my brain for a neighbor gift. this year, i just feel so glad that i'm DONE!!
p.s. notice the mint milanos. yep, can't craft with out em'!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

yummy holiday appetizers....

i made these yummy appetizers for a party we went to on monday. and they turned out pretty yummy so i thought i'd share, just in case you have a fun party to go to!

i've used this one before and it never fails me....

Bread Bowl Artichoke Dip
2 16-oz sourdough bread rounds
vegtable oil
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts in water, drained
1 1.4-oz envelope vegtable soup mix
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 lemon
1 container (8 oz) sour cream
grated fresh parmesan cheese (optional)
1. preheat oven to 450. slice off top of one bread round to create a lid; set lid aside. Carefully remove center of bread round to form a 41/2-inch-wide and 2-inch-deep well for dip. Slice center of first and entire second bread round into 1-in. cubes. Place bread bowl on center of large stone. Arrange bread cubs around bowl; spray with vegtable oil.
2. in a large bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth. Add milk to creamm cheese; whisk until smooth. Chop artichokes. Add artichokes, soup mix and garlic in bowl; mix and microwave on high 5-7 minutes or until hot (do not let boil). juice lemon to measure 2 tbsp juice. Stir juice and sour cream into hot artichoke mixture; pour into bread bowl.
3. if desired, grate parmesan cheese over bread bowl and bread cubes. lean lid against bread bowl. Bake 13-15 minutes or until bread cubes and top of dip are golden brown. remove from oven; serve immediately.
Avacado Salsa Cups
6 (11-in) flour tortillas
1 tbsp vegtable oil
2 small plum tomatoes
2 small avacados
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp lime juice
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 350. for cups, using a pizza cutter trim tortillas to form six 6-in squares; discard trimmings. Cut each square into quarters for a total of twenty-four 3-in squares. Make a 1-in cut from each corner toward the center of eah square. Brush both sides of each tortilla square with oil. Press squares into bottom of mini-muffin pan. Bake 8-10 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven
2. for filling, slice tomatoes in half lengthwise; scrape out seeds and finely dice. Peel and finely dice avacados. Chop cilantro. combine tomatoes, avacados, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, and salt in small bowl.
3. fill cups with filling. Spoon sour cream into resealable plastic bag; trim the corner to allow sour cream to flow through. pipe sour cream over avacado mixture. garnish with additional shopped cilantro, if desired.
note: i didn't fill the cups because they wouldn't stay standing. so i skipped the sour cream...but if i could figure out a way to make them stay up i think filling them would be way cute!
*recipes provided by pampered chef.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

gift ideas...

so him decided very last minute that we were going to the family party one day early! now, i believe ANY woman would be a little overwhelmed. i quickly made about 5 new lists, (packing list, gift list, food list, etc.) and they moved to the top of shopping list, cleaning list, mailing Christmas cards list, and party list. so i had about one hour to make a salad (but i still needed the ingredients), pick up the cards at the photo store (cause i wanted to see how they turned out), and pack (something i can't have him do, or else i have no idea where things are and it only causes frustration.) so i left a new list for him of what to do while i ran to the store: #1 keep the house clean! (nobody likes to come home to a mess, so whenever we're going far away this is VERY important!) and off to the store i went. i had yet to find something to give the siblings as a small reminder we love em' all! i found these cute jars when i snuck into hobby lobby (only for a minute!!) and then while at the grocery store picked up some nuts, and look how cute they turned out!
the initial plan was to find cute jars and fill them with home made carmel popcorn....but i think this turned out just GREAT!

Friday, December 12, 2008

PILLOWS, a first!

when him asked me what i wanted for christmas i said "pillows for the couch!" but when him said 'something that's for the house doesn't count' i said, "a tricycle for baby" when him said 'something for the baby doesn't count either. i said "ooo ooo i know, chapstick!"
don't get me wrong, i'm REALLY excited about my new chapstick under the tree....but i still wanted pillows. so looking at some of my fabric; i decided, what the heck i'll make some.
when i didn't want to buy the inserts (i know, and you should know by now, i'm cheap!!) i decided to cover old pillows. so i took their covers off and layed them on the fabric of choice to eye-ball the size!*
then i squared the fabric up so the good sides were facing each other and pinned all the way around. don't mind the blue carpet.**
once it was all pinned, it was time to sew. i did an easy zig-zag stitch but left a big whole at the top so i would be able to stuff in the pillow! after the pillow was in, (it's a little tight!) i did a hoop stitch (that's just what i call it, i'm sure it has a real name fancy sewers use!) to close it up with just a needle and thread!

and TA-DA! they're not the ones i wanted. but of course those were $40.00 EACH. and i know, that's not gonna happen any day soon, so untill then*** these will do!
*eye-ball the size: i have no idea what to cut it at so i guesstimate! (yep, it's a word in my vocab.)
** so i'm doing a home remodel (don't worry, many pictures to come!) and when we ripped out their carpet, i decided i'd take the old mat and carpet for my unfinished basement so my feet don't freeze while i craft down there and watch sappy romance movies like 'the notebook'!
***then=we're millionaires!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

there's nothing deceptive 'bout my domesticness today!

ok, except for maybe the fact that only ONE batch was truly 'home made!'

i made a BUNCH of cookies today! for some reason, i feel like it's just not Christmas unless theres LOTS of baking going on! and since the last three days have been strictly shopping days, i designated today as the baking day!

you're hungry now, aren't ya!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

here's an idea...

the last couple of years i have really wanted to do the twleve days of Christmas for someone. sadly, i've never completed this goal. i've had a hard time deciding a lot of the details. how to do it cheap? who to do it to? how to not make it cheesy? i felt like even if i only spent a couple dollars a day, by the time all was said and done i would still have to fork out at least $50.00! and who has that laying around this time of year? so this year, since my desire to do it is even stronger, i came up with a great idea for me.. and all you who find it hard to get the extra cash needed for the extra service projects.

no more partridges or pear trees. no more trying to think of something cleaver when it comed to 'five golden rings'. i have the answer....

here's how it works. everyday for the twelve days before Christmas make a batch of cookies to take to a different neighbor each night. this can be something you and your family decide to do secretly, or something you use to visit and get to know your neighbors better. they wont know that you are on a 'twelve days of service' mission. but what they will know is that you care about them and want to wish them a Merry Christmas. and better yet, your family can get excited about serving others this holiday season.

i have gathered twleve cookie recipes that are EASY! some i have tried, and others...i'm excited to try for the first time. but before you resort to these. make sure you make your best family recipe! our favorite family recipe comes in a tube and requires cutting, baking, cooling, and eating!

deC. 14th: ginger cookie

dEc. 15th: english toffee

DEc. 16th: Angelettis cookies (you may want to cut this recipe in half..or use it twice)

DeC. 18th: cookie dough truffles (you don't need a double-boiler. you can fondue the chocolate, or heat a metel bowl over a boiling pot of water.)

dEC. 22nd: snickerdoodles

now, get bakin'! (remember you can easily freeze cookies so you can be ahead of yourself!)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

frame remodel

i found this sad frame at the D.I. (second hand store!) for $1.50 the same trip i found the bulbs.

i gave it a good spray paint job and hung it up with a collage of white frames. i still need to change out the picture with one of baby, but i just got to excited to see what it would look like.

yes, the picture is crooked...not my hang job!

what do ya think? good find?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday {Dress} Up!

something about this time of year, and all the parties makes me want cute, festive dresses. so if you too are looking to wear a fun holiday dress to your annual family Christmas party and still have money for their gifts, check out these fun finds.

i found all of these dresses at dillards for 59.00 and UNDER!!! (sorry there was one 59.00 that i just had to put on here, the rest are in the 30's!!)

i think my fav is the grey "v" neck. (and it's probably the least festive...wierd!) what are your favorites??

Happy Holiday {Dress} Shopping!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

tonight's dinner... deceptive as it gets.

my only job: get rid of the evidence!!

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh....

i {LOVE} helping others decorate for Christmas! this tree was especially fun! i'm usually not a big fan of ribbon on the can sometimes look so sloppy, but i had some good wire ribbon and decided this skiny tree could use some.

and i LOVE this gold netting! it catches the light so good and fills in all the holes were other sticks and cords were visible.

don't you love the red and gold together? so festive!!

are you hosting a holiday party this year? need some added help making your home look 'just right'? check out this AWESOME website. they specialize in home staging and have a WONDERFUL online staging program, so it doesn't matter where you live. and their prices are incredibly REASONABLE!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

check this out!

ever wonder were you can find a blog on interior design, motorcycles, crafts, arts or any other subject under the sun? here it is.....

i've just joined with world4blogs too, so you can even find me!! i've come across some pretty cool blogs here. go on, check it out!

and in case you don't have time to check it out today, don't worry...i've added the link to my sidebar!

Monday, December 1, 2008


so this year we (me) made a 'family' Christmas tree. it all started when i didn't want to pay $8.00 for the star tree topper. i was scrounging (yep. it's a word, in my vocabulary) around the house searching for something that could be considered a "tree topper". last year we just went without, which is fine with me. but him insisted that a Christmas tree is not a Christmas tree without a topper. and since i make it an effort to make everyone around me pleased (insert smile!), i had to find something! so deep in the decorating box i found the letter "P"! i had one of those ah-ha moments and decided with a few family pictures and the letter "P" we could chalk this one up as the first "family" Chirstmas tree! him thinks this is a tradition we should stick to. and each year when we (me) decorate the tree we can remenicse over the year-old pictures still left in the frames! sounds fun huh! i think we just might have our first home made family tradition in the making!!! Yay for traditions!!