Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap and Christmas Craft

Can you believe Thanksgiving is over?  I feel like it crept right up on me and passed me before I could even think about what was happening.  I have a feeling Christmas is going to do the same thing.  I think part of it is the weather.  As much as people don't want to hear this... I think it needs to get colder and snow!

Well, anyway.  I had a great Thanksgiving.  Michael and I drove back to Ft. Wayne, Indiana to be with family.  Last year we were only able to go for the day because of Michael's work schedule.  This year we were able to make it a little longer of a trip.  It was nice because we were able to spend time with my cousins that we sometimes don't have time to do.

Here's the recap:
  • We got in Wednesday night and hung out with my grandma for a few hours.
  • Thanksgiving lunch consisted of about 25-30 people and was very low key and yummy
  • This year, all the women did some sort of craft while the men watched football.  You know me.  I love crafting.  More on my craft in a bit...
  • After crafting we played some games.  I love playing games!
  • When the crowd thinned out and leftovers were eaten, we all cozied up with a hot chocolate and watched our traditional Miracle on 34th Street (the new one)
  • Friday morning we were able to sleep in.  Ahhhhhh.... one of my most favorite things.
  • We went to lunch with two of my cousins.  One of which had a baby five weeks ago and the other who just delivered twins last week.  We actually "closed" the restaurant down. (at 2 in the afternoon)
  • My cousin Erica and I were able to get in a little shopping while my husband and brother caught a movie.  The crazy crowds were almost over and there was nothing we were dying to get, so it was a rather relaxing experience.  We got some good buys at Old Navy.
  • Friday night was family night at my aunt and uncles.  We had homemade pizza, lots of good fellowship, and more games.
  • Saturday was another morning of sleeping in, no schedule to be had, and the quick drive home.
For my craft, I chose to use the cardboard letters from Jo Ann's and spell out the word NOEL.  I'm pretty sure most of the people there didn't "get" my craft, but I love it.  I know you guys in bloggy world will love it too!  Here's a glimpse of it drying on the table.  (I had to come up with a craft for my un-crafty sister.  That's the "Joy" sign at the top of the picture.)

(not the best picture of it)

I chose four pieces of Christmas scrapbook paper that matched and traced the letters on.  I applied them to the letters with Mod Podge.  Some people think I should have covered the sides of the letters with paper or paint.  I liked that they still had the "rustic" sort of look to them.  The paper had that sort of rustic look too, so it all fit.

After I had the papers attached, I used sand paper and sanded down the edges.  This got rid of any overlap, but also left a nice white edge to "distress".  I used regular brown ink for the distressing because the distressing ink I bought was too light.  I then covered the letters with a layer of Mod Podge to seal it.

Next, I embellished the letters with buttons, ribbons, flowers, glitter paint and jewels.  I think they turned out fabulous. 

I wasn't sure where I was going to put this project, I just knew I wanted to do it.  I had thought I was going to put it on the entertainment center, but it just didn't look right with everything else on there.  I put them on the stairs and love how it looks.

Here's a closer look...

the distressing...

the jewels...

it's hard to see, but I added glitter to the word Noel

 more jewels...
 and more glitter...




Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thankful Tree

On Wednesday, Little Man and I sat down to make an art project incorporating what he is thankful for.

I wanted to use something different besides the same old construction paper we've been using.  I decided to make the tree out of cardboard.  We have more than enough cardboard at work, so before G (dad) took the trash to the street I snagged myself some.

I drew a bare tree to the best of my ability.  I also then cut it out.  This turned out to be a bit challenging in parts because I didn't look at the back when I was drawing.  The exact part where I was having to cut out the narrow branches is the exact part that had two layers of cardboard.  Nice.

It still turned out alright... only a few blisters on my fingers. :)

I printed off a few leaf patterns from the internet, traced them, and cut them out.
(Little Man isn't able to cut on the lines yet.  C'mon.  He's 3)

It was still very much his project though.  He gave me his list of things he was thankful for and even told me which leaf to write the item on.  I kind of felt bad that I wrote "Nana" on the smallest leaf.  I tried using a big leaf, but he was set on the little guys.  Hope she wasn't offended! :)

He painted the tree brown with a sponge.

Then he put glue on the leafs and put "parkles" on them.
We did one color at a time.  Yellow leaves got gold glitter, red leaves got red glitter, green leaves got green glitter and the rest remained plain.

 (There are no pictures of the glittering process because I had to make sure he didn't spill the entire bottle!)

Here is the tree trunk all painted. 

I love how the sponge added depth and dimension and some places are thicker brown than others.

Next, we glued all the leaves on the tree.
I made a little sign and hung it on the fridge.
The leaf placement isn't perfect, but it's Little Man's tree!

Isn't it beautiful?

Wanna know what my favorite leaf is?

He even said it a few times.  I had to keep telling him I already wrote it.
LOVE that kid! :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Twistable slick stix

Ok, I love these.  If you have little ones that like to color, you should totally check them out.  They are so fun.  Just beware of the surface the kids are coloring on.  If they go off the page, you don't want this stuff on a nice table or counter.  It would probably wash off, but still.....

Friday, November 27, 2009

Oh how I love thee... (2)

....let me count the ways.

#2 I love that Michael balances me out.  When I am being loud and extroverted, he is being my quiet support.  When I am being shy or quiet, he takes over the extroverted position.  When I am having a bad day, he is quick to pick me up.  He is cool, calm and collected when I am emotional or hyped up.  He is rational and cautious when I want to make a quick and emotional decision.  On the other hand, he helps me be more spontaneous and adventurous when I am wanting to be cautious or drag my feet.  He is my perfect match.

Here's a funny story for you.
Sometime during my college years, I took a spiritual gifts test.  The results didn't surprise me.  I know that I have leadership abilities.  That is what I was strongest in.  The one thing that did surprise me was how low my lowest score was.  My top three results were in the high 20's.  The list started to taper down into the teens.  It stopped somewhere around 14 or 15.  Then dropped dramatically to a 3.  A 3!  Thats a huge difference.  Do you know what I scored a 3 in?  Mercy.  Yep.  That's right.  I have none.  The pastors that were leading the group were discussing the gifts, sorting us all out by our strengths and talking about it all.  One of them said that leaders generally don't have mercy (phew! I thought I was defective!), and people strong in mercy generally aren't good leaders.  Then he said that those two types of people generally end up together in marriage.

Soon after that, my aunt was teasing my cousin about a boy she was dating.  She said she couldn't figure out why my cousin always married the criers.  I told her it was because my cousin wasn't a crier in the least.  My aunt said she had recently realized the same thing.  We discussed the spiritual gifts test and what I had learned.  (My cousins are a lot like me.)  I knew she was praying for my future husband and I told her that I would like to request that she pray for Mr. Mercy.  We all got a kick out of it, but it sort of turned into a long running family joke from that point on.  (Later, I told her that I wanted to upgrade to Dr. Mercy! :)

Michael IS my Mr. Mercy.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for:

A job I love
My family
My true friends
A beautiful home
The ability to give to others
Paid off cars that run well
A church I can finally call home
Generous people
Good health
Little Man
God's Grace
The ability to "keep it real"
Financial freedom
My country 
A solid marriage
People who take the time to know who I really am
The public library :)


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pumpkin Fluff

Brace yourselves..........

I am about to share with you a little piece of heaven.  Can you handle it?  I hope so.

I found this recipe on one of the Weight Watchers online boards when I was a member.  It is like a pumpkin mousse of sorts.  If you love pumpkin, then you will love this.  (low calorie or not!)  It's so simple too!

Here's what you'll need:

8 oz Cool Whip Lite (thawed)
1 package instant sugar free/fat free vanilla pudding
16 oz. Pure Pumpkin
(Did you know there was recently a shortage on this stuff?  So glad it's back in stores!)
1 cup skim milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

That's it!  You just throw it all in a bowl and mix it together.  I prefer to use a hand held mixer, but it would work just as well with a whisk or spatula.

It looks a little something like this

Yep, I could eat the whole bowl.  I make this numerous time around the holiday season, but truly it would be good year round.

Thoughts:  I use only about a 1/2 tsp of the pumpkin pie spice.  I like it, but 1 1/2 tsp is just too much for me.  My boss puts this in a graham cracker crust and calls it pumpkin chiffon pie.  Little man LOVES it.  I've also heard of people just sprinkling a graham cracker on top of it.  It makes about 4 cups.  1/2 cup=2 pts, 1 c=4 pts.  Yummy yum yum!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fruit Loop Turkey

Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  Can you believe it?  I kind of feel like it just snuck up on me.  Anyway, that means some sort of Thanksgiving craft with Little Man.  I decided to stick with the textured theme.  Here's what we did.

(NOTE: Sorry for not having more pictures.  My camera is having issues and erased some that were taken mid project.  It just might be time for a new camera!)

I took some fruit loops and sorted them out on these paper plates.

Little Man loves to trace his hands.  He has me do it all the time for him as well.  He was pretty excited when I told him he was going to trace his Crocs.

He did a pretty good job for a 3 year old.  The retracing was my fault because I was trying to get the picture because the first one got eaten.  Then he started to add feet and "write".

Next, we glued the body to a paper plate.  Then I drew dividing lines to make the leaves.  He put glue on one section at a time and put the fruit loops on.  (Darn eaten photos)

Little Man glued on the beak and wattle.  He added eyes with a marker.

The finished product....

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bubble Up Enchilada

About a year ago I signed up to do Weight Watchers online.  It went alright until the holidays hit (last year).  It was all downhill from there.  But while I was a part of the online group, I gathered many recipes to help me.  Some I made and some I just stashed away.  Cuz that's what I do.  Hoard recipes.  Anyway... I came across a recipe called Bubble Up Pizza that everyone was raving about.  I made it and thought it was alright.  Then I started seeing many variations of this meal.  One of those variations is the Bubble Up Enchilada.  I hoarded sent myself an email with the recipe, but that's as far as I got.  Recently I came across a site that had posted the Bubble Up Enchilada recipe again.  I figured it was time to give it a try.

So here you go...

You will need:
1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (4 oz) can sliced black olives, drained
1 can reduced fat refrigerator BISCUITS
(notice mine are cresent rolls--more on that in a bit)
1 1/4 cups Shredded Weight Watchers Mexican Cheese

NOTES: Ok, so I went to the store and I needed both reduced fat biscuits AND reduced fat crescent rolls.  Unfortunately, the store I went to do not have the reduced fat biscuits.  I figured I'd just pick up the biscuits at another store, another time.  Later in the week I went to make this recipe and didn't even think about the fact that I needed the biscuits.  I started taking pictures...crescent rolls and all.  It wasn't until I was half way through that I realized I had the wrong thing.  Oh well.  That's life right?  Some things don't turn out.  Some things turn out better.  Some things people quickly hide under the rug for no one to see.  Well, you know me.  I'm a keep it real kind of girl.  So here I am... posting on my blog for all the world to see... that I messed up the recipe.  It turned out OK though. :)
Also, I just used reduced fat Sargento cheese instead of WW cheese.  I also added onions.  You can add or take away whatever you want.

The steps:

Preheat the oven to 350*.
Brown the ground beef (drain if needed).

Mix in a can of enchilada sauce, tomato sauce, and can of black olives.  (Plus onions if you choose)

Cut the biscuits into fourths and stir them into the meat mixture.
Here's where I noticed I had a problem.  Because crescent rolls don't "cut into fourths", I just cut them and then rolled them up a little to resemble the size of a biscuit fourth.  You do what you gotta do! :)

They will start to get a little gooey, so don't keep them in there that long.  Just long enough to be covered by the sauce.

Then you just dump it all in a greased casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Take the casserole out of the oven and sprinkle with the cheese.  Obviously if you are not concerned about the calories or "points" you could use the entire 2 cup bag of cheese instead of 1 1/4 cups.
Bake an additional 10 minutes to let the cheese melt.
Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.

It is 8 servings at 6 points a serving.  However, men (or women not so concerned about weight) could eat at least 2 pieces as one serving.  It reheats well and I've even heard it freezes well.

I didn't think it tasted too far off from the Bubble Up Pizza.  I also didn't think it tasted too much like an "enchilada".  I don't know if tomato sauce was used instead of more enchilada sauce to help keep the points low or what.  I may consider putting more enchilada sauce in next time.  Either way, it was still good.  I served it with a salad and sugar free jello.  The true test is whether or not Michael liked it, and he asked for seconds!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I want to be her......

For some time now I've been hearing about "couponing".  I'm not talking about just clipping a coupon here or there... I'm talking about being a serious couponer.  These people buy 4 or 5 Sunday papers a week if it's filled with good coupons.  They go to 3 or 4 stores to get the best deals.  I've heard you really have to take advantage of places like Walgreens and CVS.  I have all the info in my head.  I Michael even went out and bought a binder with those little baseball card protector pages.  I use the coupons.  I read the websites.  I try to stick to a budget.  However, I just don't have the time it takes right now to get into it hard core.  However, this video makes me want to rethink all that.  Check it out!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Craft Day!!!

I've had the last two days off and have gotten a lot done.  I am completely finished with my Christmas shopping, I have all I need to finish up a few Christmas crafts, I went grocery shopping, and I even cleaned up a little bit.  I decided a few days ago that since I knew Michael was going to be working today, my day was going to be filled with crafting.  It's gonna look a little something like this............

I am going to remain in my pajamas all day...

Drinking lots of Diet Coke

And using things like...




 and this...

(please excuse my chewed up thumb.  thanks)

And I'll probably have a little bit of this playing in the background just for fun...

Don't you wish you know all that I was making?  I can't wait to get started!!  You'll have to stay tuned to check out all of the finished products.

Happy Saturday!