Friday, December 31, 2010

When you dip, I dip...we dip

We are preparing to ring in the New Year with some friends tonight. We usually all play games, laugh and talk alot and eat some really good food. Speaking of food, we are in charge of an appetizer and I knew the perfect one. I made this for Christmas and it seemed to be a big hit.

2 pkg cream cheese; softened
1pkg shredded sharp cheddar cheese
about 4 Tbsp of diced red pepper
a dash or two of ground cayenne pepper
a dash of regular pepper
a dash of salt
Sliced almonds


Dice your red pepper

Beat the cream cheese and the cheddar cheese in a small bowl.

Add the remaining ingredient, except for the nuts and mix until it is well incorporated.

At this point you can shape the mixture into a fun "cheese ball" or you can put it in a pretty bowl. For traveling purposes I put ours into a bowl. Add the almonds to the top and refrigerate for a couple hours. When ready, serve with crackers. I find that Wheat Thins are awesome with this but The Hubs likes Ritz. It could be that he doesn't care for Wheat Thins. :) Anyway try out a few options and find works best for you.

In addition to the dip, I am bringing some bubbly that I bought for our Annual Holiday Party. We never opened it so I thought what other better occassion than New Years. I'm not a champagne aficionado so I hope it is good-wish me luck! I might try to find, if I don't run out of time, some fun garnish or additions for the drink to make it a bit more festive.

Happy New Year Everyone! Thanks for a fantastic 2010 and thanks for stopping by, checking out the blog and for all your wonderful comments. This wouldn't be any fun without the support of you. Be safe tonight and I will see you in 2011!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! We pray for hope, love and most of all peace to you and all your loved ones.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Christmas Craft

Well hello there. It's been awhile, I know and I am sorry. This year the season crept up quickly and before I knew it I was completely out of time. On top of that I had to go in for surgery on Monday morning. I am out of surgery and doing very well and I managed to spend an entire two days on the couch, sitting on my duff and doing nothing. It about killed me. ;)

So this afternoon I got up, slowly of course so not to hurt the knee, and finished up one of my Christmas crafts. Last week I spray painted this hope sign...

I picked a caramel latte color. It's a very muted and gorgeous gold. Perfect for *Sparkle and Shimmer* theme this year.

I gave it about 3 coats of paint and then let it dry for an entire day.
Then this afternoon, when I just couldn't stand sitting around for another minute, I decided to add a little sparkle to my sign.

I grabbed my Modge Podge and some white glitter. I added a bit of Modge Podge to the sign in a couple areas and then saturated it with glitter.

I love how the glitter catches the light and makes it shine. May your Holiday season be filled with Hope and Joy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Battle of the Christmas Trees

So for many years there has been this unspoken "battle" of sorts with our Christmas trees. You may remember my post last year about the hive inducing, psychotic tree of The Hub's.

Well this year I think I have turned a new leaf. I figured if you can't beat him (and I can't!) then join him. So here is our massive 9 foot plus tree in our "sitting area". I like to say we have a sitting area but really in all honesty it's a space when you walk in that has 1 chair. :) 

See that piece of wood...curious?!?! I will get to that soon. So The Hubs has his normal ornaments he puts out year after year. I only took a couple shots to show you but they are definitely 'eclectic'.

This year since I can't beat him (and truthfully I don't want to) I decided to pick him up a few more lovelies for his tree. I found the football and the softball at Michaels for a buck! Score!

Oh yes, this was one of my purchases also...a Homer Santa scarfing down donuts. Classic! The lady behind the counter probably thought I was nuts.

Now on to the reason for the braces. You see this year, I waved my white flag and joined in on the decorating schizophrenia. Now in years past I may have had evil thoughts of the tree suddenly igniting in flames or a tornado ripping through and sucking the tree up but this year...this year I was totally on board. No evil thoughts whatsoever. Then the worse possible thing happened; once we were finished decorating and marveling at the wonderous sight, {cue loud ominous music} the tree crashed to the floor!!! Side note: I'm not sure what the deal is with the font on this one section. Crazy!

It broke several ornaments, including the beloved and coveted 8 ball. My heart sank. This was The Hubs tree and he is a man of tradition, even if it is a bit wacky at times, so I knew he was upset. We picked up the pieces, temporarily braced the tree to the wall (above pic) and put boards underneath as added support. It's a bit funky junky but it works.

I waited a few days before I set up my tree, afterall I didn't want my tree to rub it in his tree's face (metaphorically speaking since trees don't have faces). This year I decided on a **Sparkle and Shimmer** theme. Everything gold, silver, glittered or metallic.

Dollar Tree find! Two tubes for $1.00 each; can't beat that! Especially when you suffer from decorating ADD and insist on changing your "theme" every year.

I had these ornaments from a few years ago so basically free since I didn't purchase them this year :) That's perfectly acceptable logic, right?

This garland I got at the Dollar Tree last year. I bought two bundles. It's gorg! Fake and plastic but still gorg!

This garland I have had for many, many years. I never opened it and used it. I think I got it at Michaels.

The bow was from Hobby Lobby (yah! shout out to Hob Lob. I big pink puffy heart you). I had a gift card so it was FREE for me but if I paid out of pocket for it I think it would have been 50% off of $8.99. 

I love poinsettias and these I bought at Michaels for $2.99 for the bunch. I clipped off most of the stem and stuffed them into 'holes' in the tree. Below is the finished product...

The garland looks like jewelry draped on the tree. It's so beautiful, especially at night. My tree looks like it might go out dancing or to a fancy know, if trees did that sort of thing. :)

I hope you are enjoying your seasonal decorating as much as we are.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gratitude Attitude

Well Happy Thanksgiving everyone! What a beautiful day...the ground is covered in snow, we are blessed to have friends and family that love us and the company we keep.

This year I have so much to be thankful for.
  • I have an outstanding man who loves me unconditionally ( I attribute this to his amazing parents) 
  • We have a beautiful and warm home
  • Our pantry and fridge are full of food
  • We have good health and are able to take care of others in their time of need
  • I have an opportunity to go back to school and do something I love every day
  • Our friends and family; the time we get to spend with each and everyone we hold dear
  • I get to go to work every day, be challenged and contribute to our home and life
"Develop and attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that evey step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation."
~Brian Tracy 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giveaway over at TDC!!!


image from Thrifty Decor Chick

You are not going to want to miss this one, I can guarantee that! Sarah over at Thrifty Decor Chick is giving away an amazing deal. You are given 5 separate entries to enter to win a Silhouette.

What is a Silhouette you ask?!?! It's only the most amazing, the most fantabulous handy tool for ANY crafter. Head on over to her site here and check it out!! While you are there poke around; Sarah is pretty darn amazing and super hilarious.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


It's getting to be that time of year...the time when the snow starts to fly and the ground stays frozen. We have been prepping our home, one project at a time or two if they are easy.

Each year, as homeowners, we know what needs to be done without making a list but there are also other items and/or tasks that require a list, at least for me-I would lose my head if it weren't attached. So I made the list and even included the items I know we will do year after year by habit. I find that crossing items off the list is cathartic and well, for me, the more I cross off the better I feel so I include everything. I know that this sounds silly, see aforementioned items that don't require a list, but this process works for me. :)

Our list included blowing out the sprinkler system. The Hubs did this one evening after work. He hooked up his compressor to the valves and let it rip. This is also a great time to pick up any yard debris. We had plenty from the construction of the shop but for most this is just leaves, twigs and the occasional piece of garbage.

Halloween night we knew we would have the dog with us so it was the perfect time to finally get rid of all the spiders. A couple weeks leading to this event I must have killed at least 10 creepy crawlers. Blech!

Also on the list was stocking the pantry. Since it is that time of year where there are more friend and family get togethers I like to be sure I have plenty of items on hand to whip up something at a moments notice. I restock all of my baking items; the sugar, brown sugar, flour and spices. I also make sure we have plenty of rice, beans, pasta, soups and vino (very important) on hand as well.

This is also a great time to take another look at the pantry and reorganize if you need to. I definitely need to so I will take my cluttered pantry and make it more efficient. You can check out my last post here.

Now for the fun part...winterizing the home is not just about the "chores" we must do to prepare for winter but also making the home more "winter" friendly. I do so by bringing out my candles and lighting them more frequently.

Also I put out warm, fuzzy throw blankets to take the chill off on a cold night. I think it overall warms the house and makes it inviting.

Next on my list is tackling my closet. The picture below is not of my closet-I wish! What I like to do is stash away my spring/summer clothes and make room for the heavy, bulky sweaters and coats. I don't know about you but I certainly do not have enough room in the closet to store all seasons at once.

Better Homes and Gardens

There are still several items on the do to list; for instance, change the batteries in the smoke detectors, put mulch on flower beds, put the patio furniture away and wrap it up, change light bulbs but for now I am feeling pretty good about crossing off items on the list.

Once it is all finished I can focus on Christmas and all that it entails. :) I can't wait!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Caramel Apples; The Sequel

Oh yah, it's that time of year that I have been waiting for. I am going to be the comeback kid and I am taking no prisoners. Muaaahhahha!

Last year I attempted to make caramel dipped apples with several fun toppings and EVEN my own caramel sauce. It was a colossal failure; I mean I was in full on meltdown mode because what seemed relatively easy (it's not like I was building a rocket or making a new chemical compound) turned into a disaster! You can read all about it here.

This year will be different; it has to be, right!?!?!

 First I washed the apples to get them clean and then dried them off.

Then I put the sticks in the middle and put them in the "hot tub". I boiled them for only about 20 seconds each, just enough to get the 'shiny' off of them. As you can see from the below picture it totally worked.

Ha ha, stupid caramel! I win this year; this is for sure going to work.

 I prepared my M&M's (even in Fall colors, how cute is that?!) while I waited for my caramel pieces to melt down into velvety smooth caramel sauce. Also there was a bit of water at the tops where the sticks were inserted so I laid the apples on their side to dry completely.

Mmmm, caramel. Just 1 package of store bought caramels and 2 Tbsp of milk. It started to come together nicely.

Almost there; I am so excited at this point and confident that they are going to rock! But then just as I had hoped wouldn't happen, I dipped the apples in the caramel and then in the topping and put them on the wax paper and the caramel that had M&M's on it started to slide off.

I mean it was still a step up from last years complete and utter train wreck but darn it I wanted to knock everyone's socks off with my caramel apples this year. The Hubs stepped in and tried to rig something together with a bowl and my cooling rack, and it sort of worked, but now it was sliding the other way because of how they are facing.
We rushed them into the fridge; I can't even believe I took a picture of the inside of my fridge but I needed to have something for you folks to look at that was related to this post. I wish I could get one of those color blocked, high pitch squealing "this is a test...only a test" type things you see on the TV but unfortunatley I was fresh out. :) This is what you get folks--I picture of my funky junk apples and the inside of my fridge. Aren't you lucky! ;)

Every now and then when you opened the fridge you could hear a *plink* from the topping falling from the apples.
Not quite the disaster as last year but still not what I had intended. I have decided that I am going to leave this project to the pro's. Besides I am a really good cook and baker and make fabulous other treats that everyone loves so I am bidding farewell to Caramel Apples; peace out, apples!

What am I going to do with the apples that are in the fridge you ask...well the kiddo's will each get one because I am sure they don't care what they look like and the others, well I'm not sure yet. Maybe the trash, maybe to work...who knows.

I'm also bidding ya'll farewell for now because I need to get ready for trick or treating with the family.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall candle holders

I told you about these simple candle holders here. I made these babies in about 7 minutes, if that, and right before the in-laws showed up for dinner. Way super easy!

First I had three tall glass holders from the Dollar Tree. CHEAP!!

Then I cut up one of my burlap sacks from last Spring into three strips. Mine are about 2-2 1/2 inches wide but you can create yours however wide you would like.

First I positioned the burlap on the glass holder where I wanted, did a thin strip of hot glue on the burlap and pressed it to the holder. Then I did another thin strip of hot glue on the other end and pressed it to the the other end of burlap.

Then as you can see, I took some faux leaves I have in my craft box and put a thin dollop of hot glue on the backside and pressed it to the front of the burlap wrapped candle holder.

I put a tealight in each and voila! I love eating by candle light; it gives every ordinary meal a little oomph and makes it special.

I think it still needs a little somethin-somethin to jazz it up just a tad. I might go out and get coffee beans to fill the jar a bit and place the tealight on top. I believe it will give it that extra texture and color it's lacking.

So how about you, do you love to eat by candlelight? Have you made any special candleholders or centerpieces lately? Do share; I love to hear about all the wonderful creations people make.