Tuesday, September 30, 2008

30th Celebration, Part 1.

Friday, September 26th was my 30th Birthday. I wasn't looking forward to it until a few days before. My husband did a lot to make the day wonderful and he even made the celebration last until Saturday (which will be part 2).

Friday morning I woke up to a path of rose petals from our bedroom down the hall to the kitchen. Our apartment is nice enough but I am looking forward to buying a house when our lease is up. Anyway, here's a picture of the path....

.....to the kitchen where he had left a few of my presents. Last winter my favorite pair of boots were ruined so he bought me some cute new ones as well as some delcious chocolates.

Along with the presents, Ben left this note:

While at work, Ben had my favorite flower - gerbera daisies - sent to me. Aren't they lovely?

I left work a little early and so did Ben. When he walked through the door he was holding these:
More flowers! He thought that I would leave the work flowers at work and wanted me to have some at home as well. However, I couldn't leave my beautiful flowers at work where I wouldn't be enjoying them for two whole days. I brought them home.
We then went out to dinner and then on to my sister Angie's house for cake. It wouldn't be a complete birthday without spending some time with my precious niece, Abby.

Here's Abby grabbing her feet and doing the splits. Isn't she adorable?

The cupcake cake created by Angie.

I was more interested in watching Abby watch the cake than blowing out my candles. Go figure.

I love this picture. It totally looks as though she's holding the camera herself and taking a sassy picture for her facebook profile! I really hope she doesn't grow up that fast though.

Yes, I'm a mean aunt who tempts her infant niece with chocolate and icing.

But she's happy when she eats her healthy cereal!

Still hungry. Stocking feet don't taste that good but it sure is nice to be flexible!

Noses taste better than feet! Especially Mom's nose!

More flowers! These are from my Aunt Cathy.

All the flowers together. Such a happy kitchen table!

All in all it was a very happy birthday. Saturday was also a celebratory day and I'll be posting pictures from that later.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why I shouldn't make cards when I can't sleep

I was sick with a terrible cold for nearly two weeks. I'm finally over it, but it seems I have a new surge of energy. And last night was the worst so far. I couldn't fall asleep and after trying for an hour I got out of bed and started to make cards. That was a bad idea. Even though I had the physical energy, the mental capacity to recognize what looks good and what doesn't was obviously sleeping quite deeply.

Anyway, here are the results of my insomnia:

This one actually isn't so bad. I feel like it's missing something. Maybe the chocolate chip mat should have been larger? I don't like the placement of the ribbon either. Oh well. I still think the brayered sky turned out quite nicely and that's why I feel alright with posting it here.

Okay, next is the ugliest of the two....I wanted to try the punched flower technique that was in the Stampin' Success magazine but I just couldn't get the colors and layout right. By 1:45 a.m. I decided just to finish the darn thing and accept that it's ugly but it's a start. I'll be trying this again for sure, and it will look BETTER! That is my challenge.

the card still needs some sort of sentiment but I'm not going to worry about it right now.

My other challenge is to actually make a card without chocolate chip in it! It's a nearly impossible challenge.

Oh, and I finally fell asleep at 2:30 this morning. Surprisingly, I still have a fair amount of energy. I wonder how long it will last?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Weekend Projects

On Saturday I had my friends Casey and Kym come over to play with stamps and paper. Together we made a quick card- one I had already made for a co-workers birthday. I love the new pocket silhouettes stamp set! I am sad, however, that soft sky has retired. I absolutely love that color. I tried and tried to get the happy birthday to stamp on straight but it just didn't happen and I've lost my stamp-a-ma-jig! Here's the card:

We also made a bag-in-a-box. You can find a wonderful tutorial here. I was all out of my bashful blue ribbon, which I think would look a lot better. Once I get some more I'll replace the chocolate chip ribbon.

Lastly, on my own I attempted this backpack. I feel as though it's missing something...more embellishments, perhaps? Anyway, here it is. You can find the tutorial here.

Anyway, that's it for today. I'll be playing around with some more 3-d projects because I have a demo swap coming up as well as the Holiday Stamp Camp!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Card for Casey

Sunday, September 14th was my dear friend Casey's birthday. I was super sick with a cold so I wasn't able to attend the party at her house. However, I sent my husband to drop off her present and this card. I used a technique that I saw at this website. The card is a little more simple than I would want to make, but hey, I was sick. We do the best we can, right?

A deliciously easy dessert

When my old roommate, Nisha, came to our house for dinner with her boyfriend Tim, she made this delectable dessert. When she told me how she did it and how easy it was, I couldn't wait to try it out on my own in one of the numerous variations. Here's the recipe:

Ice Cream Pie

1qt ice cream, softened (Nisha used chocolate, I used vanilla)
Candy or cookies of choice (Nisha used grasshopper cookies, I used peanut butter cups)
1 graham cracker pie crust

Mix cookies/candy in with the softened ice cream. Save some to garnish the top. Pour into graham cracker crust and freeze for 1-2 hours.

So easy! So delicious! I forgot to take a picture before Ben and I cut into it last night but here are some pictures of the pie!

Not as pretty as it would have looked if it weren't cut into. But Ben and I really enjoyed the pieces we ate together! Yumm!

A slice of the pie! Seriously, this couldn't be easier and the options are ENDLESS!

Good Books

This is a great book. I was a bit nervous starting it, afraid it would be a sort of fluffy cotton-candy sort of book. I was wrong. Although it does have a bunch of teenage girls fighting to become a princess, it is about much more than that. Miri, the main character, is a strong, smart and has a wonderful sense of humor. She is a wonderful role model for young girls who read this book as she tries to build relationships with her family, her friends and those in her community.

I've really enjoyed Shannon Hale's writing. This is the second book I've read of hers (the first was Austenland which is not nearly as lovely and deep as this book, but still fun) and I can't wait to read more of her books.

Another super cute book is Ida B by Katherine Hannigan. Ida's youthful imagination had me laughing out loud many times. She talks to the nature around her, and they talk back:

Some people might stop me right there and say, "Ida B, you could wait for eternity and a day and you're not going to hear one of those trees talking to you, let alone a brook. Trees don't have mouths and they don't speak, and you might want to take yourself to the doctor's and get a very thorough check-up real soon."

And after I took a minute to give my patience and forbearance a chance to recover my mouth from the rudeness that was itching to jump out of it, I would just say this: "There's more than one way to tell each other things, and there's more than one way to listen, too. And if you've never heard a tree telling you something, then I'd say you don't really know how to listen just yet. But I'd be happy to give you a few pointers sometime" (8-9).

Things aren't all humor and conversations with Ida B. The trees tell her of trouble on the horizon and when it comes and threatens to destroy the life she's grown to love, she strives to save it. Not necessarily in the best way, but she learns and grows from it. I absolutely loved this book and recommend it highly.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What a weekend!

Things did not go as planned last weekend. I thought my holiday mini preorder would have arrived on Friday or Saturday but it didn't arrive until yesterday (Monday)! I was frantically trying to get my swaps done for a for a demo meeting and didn't have the time I wanted to be creative with it. The result is more plain and simple but as my friend Casey reminded me, that's the point- to Keep It Simple, Silly (aka KISS). And hey, if it's simple it will more easily be demonstrated in classes which is the point in demo swaps. Here's the swap:

It uses the new stamp set Season of Friendship which I fell n love with the first moment I saw it! The set is very versatile because it comes with different stamps for each season. Our swap assignment was to create a card for one of the upcoming holidays- Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas. I figured there wouldn't be many Thanksgiving cards and hopefully that will be the case.

Supplies: Season of Friendship stamp set; chocolate chip and more mustard cardstock; chocolate chip, more mustard and really rust ink. All Stampin' Up! products.

A few years ago, while our men went to the Priesthood Session of General Conference, my sister and I got together and made "eyeball cupckaes". She had the idea that we should start a tradition for the women in the family to get together and do some sort of craft/activity while the men are away being edified. We didn't do anything last year but after attending SU!'s convention I knew I wanted to be sure to get together this next conference. There were quite a few awesome holiday ideas but a fair number of them are not cost-appropriate. There is one project, by Carrie Cudney, that might work. She purchased a glass plate at walmart and created paper "discs" for each holiday. You change these discs when the new holiday is coming up. The plate at walmart was on sale for $1 (regularly $1.50) so I'm thinking each of my sisters can create a simple yet darling project that is good for every holiday for under $5 (my best guess). How awesome is that? This is what I created late Friday night. It's not my favorite and it may not be what we actually do, but it has potential nonetheless.

Here's another picture, close up of the skyline:

This used a few retired things: the pumpkin patch spectrum ink pad and the spooky skyline wheel. There is a new wheel in the holiday mini which could work really well (makes me wish I had ordered it and I still might!) and you can create a similar sky effect with ink pads, a brayer and some sponges.

My goal was to also create a disc for Thanksgiving and Christmas for my sisters to see and decide if it's something they would like to make. Hopefully I can find time to create some more Wednesday night.

One of the highlights of the weekend was having my old roommate, Nisha and her boyfriend, Tim over for dinner. I made Thai Peanut Chicken, a recipe I received from my sister. When my sister, Angie, made it for Ben and I it was absolutely delicious and I craved it for weeks afterward. I still haven't mastered it (which is silly because it really isn't that difficult of a recipe) but even still it is amazing. Here's the recipe:

Thai Peanut Chicken

1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup oil (I use olive, but any will do)
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/8 cup soy sauce

1 lb chicken, cubed
3/4 cup carrots
3/4 cup onion, diced
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp peanut butter
8 oz angel hair pasta
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Garnishments- optional

Mix ingredients for dressing. Use 1/4 cup to marinate the chicken and marinate 3 hours.

Cook chicken. Drain of excess liquid and brown the meat. Cook vegetables until tender. Add to chicken. Add honey, peanut butter and red pepper flakes to remaining dressing. Cook Pasta. Mix everything together. Garnish with cilantro and peanuts as well as squeeze lime juice over the dish, if desired.

Yummy! The peanut sauce is to die for!

Thats all for now! Take Care!

Friday, September 5, 2008

It was a success!

Ben and I really liked the recipe we made last night. Next time, however, we are going to make our own pizza dough and pizza sauce. Last night I used store bought simply to save time. The next time we make it we will use the dough to make calzones instead of the ring. The ring could be pretty (even though mine wasn't) but calzones are just as fun and pretty. Now I'm going to try to insert a picture of the finished product. Well, just a slice of it anyway.....

Yay! It worked. Anyway, I know it looks somewhat like a slug but it tastes really good. And all that spinach is good for you! "I'm strong to the fin-ich cause I eats me spinach!"

If you're looking for the recipe, it's on the pampered chef website.

Be prepared for another post this weekend in which I will share the books I've read recently and LOVED as well as some crafts. Currently I'm creating something for a sisters night next month during the priesthood session of general conference as well as some holiday projects for our Holiday Stamp Camp on Saturday Nov 1st. Pictures of those should be posted soon. Hooray!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm a reader, a baker and a paper craft maker!

Well, I've jumped on the blogging bandwagon. I've absolutely loved reading the blogs of my friends and have hated saying "no" when asked if I have a blog. Now I can say "YES" (which is much more fun to say)!

As of right now this blog will be my way to share my three passions: books, food and crafts. The latter made almost exclusively with Stampin' Up! products. I'm a demonstrator and you can check out that business webpage here.

In the meantime, keep a lookout for book suggestions, delectable recipes and fun creative projects! Tonight I will be making a Pampered Chef recipe - stuffed spinach and sausage roll - and reading Pulitzer Prize winning 1776. Have a great night!