Monday, January 31, 2011


We were given this blank wooden "Welcome" plaque as a gift for Christmas a few years ago and I FINALLY got around to painting it! Not too shabby if I do say so myself!

Merry Christmas

I decided to make a REAL Christmas wreath this year. I took the pieces Russ cut off of our real pine tree and wrapped them around a wreath frame. It took FOREVER. And my hands were ridiculously sticky and sore by the end. Then I wrapped a cute ribbon around it, made a gigantic bow and stuck some random Christmasy items into it. I think it turned out okay. This year I'm leaning towards fake pine branches so I can keep it for next year...
Christmas plaque... I think this one is fairly self explanatory! :)

Feeling Sick?

Chicken Noodle Soup
  • 1 3 ½ - 4 lbs. chicken, cut up or 2 ½ lbs. Chicken pieces (if using pre-cooked chicken, add 3 chicken bouillon cubes + 1 Tbsp. butter)
  • 8 c. water
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Soy sauce
  • ½ c. chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Black pepper
  • ½ tsp. Oregano, crushed
  • ½ tsp. Basil, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 c. chopped carrot (2 medium)
  • 1 c. chopped celery (2 stalks)
  • 2 c. dried egg noodles
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley or ½ tsp. Dried parsley
  1. In a large pot combine first 11 ingredients. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered about 1 ½ hours or until chicken is tender.
  2. Remove chicken from broth. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Discard bones and skin. Cut into bite-size pieces; set aside. 
  3. Discard bay leaf. Skim fat from broth.
  4. Bring broth to boiling. Stir in carrot and celery. Simmer, covered, about 5 mins. 
  5. Stir in noodles. Simmer, covered, about 5 mins more or until noodles are tender but still firm. 
  6. Stir in chicken and parsley; heat through.

      Happy Halloween!

      To find the crochet patterns I used and many more just go here! :)

      Toiletries Bag

      When I was getting ready to go to India I wanted a really good toiletries bag to bring my stuff in. I couldn't find anything I liked so Russ and I ended up working together to design and create our own. It has a few little pockets on the outside for things like face wipes, hand sanitizer pads, make-up, and etc. It also has dividers that you can pull out and change direction a little bit in order to change the size of each section. I like to separate my toothbrush from my face wash and whatnot, so the dividers were very useful! Although, Mabe next time I'll just put in a ton of velcro strips so I have plenty of options... Plus it would be way easier than buttons! Anyway, here's a picture of the "design" and the finished product...

      Cheese please!

      • 1 clove garlic, halved
      • 1/2 cup butter
      • 1/2 cup flour
      • 3 cups whole milk
      • 1 cup apple juice
      • 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
      • 1 cup grated **other cheese
      • 1 tsp. salt
      • 1/4 tsp. pepper
      • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
      • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
      • Optional:  1/2 cup chopped green onion, 1/2 cup grated carrot
      • Toasted French bread cubes
      • Sliced and cooked Kielbasa sausage
      • Steamed broccoli
      • Fried potatoes
      • Fried or steamed squash
      • Peppers
      1. Rub the cut-side of the garlic sections on the inside of your fondue pot, throw the garlic away and set the pot aside.
      2. In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium low heat.  Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until bubbly--about 3-4 minutes. 
      3. Stir in the liquids, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. 
      4. As soon as it starts to bubble and is starting to thicken, reduce the heat to low and stir for a few more minutes until it has thickened nicely. 
      5. Stir in the cheese and keep stirring until the cheese has melted.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients. 
      6. Pour into your fondue pot and keep warm.
      **other cheese. This can be whatever cheese you want! Some of our favorites are:
      • 3/4 c. smoked Gouda + 1/4 c. swiss
      • 3/4 c. swiss + 1/4 c. fresh Parmesan
      • 3/4 c. pepper cheese + 1/4 c. garlic cheese (Tilamook cheeses)
      • 3/4 c. pepper jack + 1/4 c. Parmesan
      • 1 c. swiss
      • 1 c. parmesan

        AMAZING cookies

        Melt Away Heavenly Pieces
        Source: Jessica LeBaron
        • 1/2 lb butter
        • 3/4 cup cornstarch
        • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
        • 1 cup flour
        • 1 tsp vanilla
        1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Blend the ingredients together in a bowl.  Cover the bowl and chill all the way through.
        2. Break off pieces and roll to about the size of a large marble. Place on cookie sheet.  They don't spread much so you can put them fairly close together.
        3. Bake for 12 minutes until lightly brown.
        4. Cool.  The cookies can be frozen at this point for consumption at another time.
        Cream Cheese Frosting
        •  8 oz cream cheese, softened
        • 1 cup powdered sugar
        • 1 tsp vanilla
        • food coloring(optional)
        1. Use a hand mixer to combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. If making more than one color, divide into separate bowls.  Add food coloring to make the desired color(s).
        1. Put frosting into ziplock bags and trim the corner. Apply frosting generously to cookies. These may be frosted the day before serving and stored in the refrigerator.

        Last Book LIST

        1. The Giving Tree ***
            by Shel Silverstein

        2. Mockingjay ****1/2
            by Suzanne Collins

        3. To Kill a Mockingbird *****
            by Lee Harper

        4. The Magician's Nephew ****
            The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe ****
            The Horse and His Boy **** 1/2
            Prince Caspian ****
            The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" ****
            The Silver Chair ****
            The Last Battle *****
            by C.S. Lewis
        11. Leven Thumps and the Ruins of Alder ****
            by Obert Skye
        12. Peter and the Star Catchers ****
            Peter and the Shadow Thieves ****
            by Dave Barry
        This is a super cute series about Peter Pan and how he really came to be. I have thoroughly enjoyed it thus far. :)

        13. The Book Thief`*****
            by Markus Zusak

        14. Speak **** 1/2
            by Laurie Halse Anderson
        15. The Lovely Bones **1/2
            by Alice Sebold 
        **NOTE: This book had more sex in it than expected. And there was really nothing redeeming about it... It's just depressing. I felt like it didn't ever really wrap things up. Eh, it was okay. Just watch the movie. You'll get the gist. And it's actually got a good feeling at the end. Sort of. :)

        16. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ***
            by Seth Grahame-Smith
        17. The Princess Bride ****1/2
            by William Goldman

        Doomsday Cartoon

        Keep in the Heat!

        My door mat/stop things to keep the heat in the apartment. I filled stockings with rice and then just sewed some cute fabric into the shape I wanted and put the rice filled panty-hose inside! :)

        Everything is Illuminated

        Everything is Illuminated ****1/2
        We just watched this movie, starring Elijah Wood and some other actors who did a great job. Elijah wood plays a young Jewish man whose grandparents came to America during WWII. His grandmother gives him a photo of his Grandfather holding a woman he has never seen before and tells him that his grandfather would have wanted him to have it. She tells him that the woman in the picture is the reason that grandfather made it to America. He decides to go to Ukraine and see if he can find her, to thank her for everything. He hires a tour guide and a translator. The movie is the story of what happens as they search for this woman. It was powerful, a reminder that our forebears often went through things we may never understand. We experienced the whole spectrum of emotion, from laughing to sad, to sentimental and nostalgic. There was some cursing, which is why we gave it a 4.5 stars and not 5, but even then the cursing was by the Ukrainian who couldn't speak english very well, often making it more humorous than offensive. It was good, we finished it feeling very good. Very well made.

        Even More Books

        1. Enchantment ****
        by Orson Scott Card

        2. Tisha: The Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaskan Wilderness ****
        by Robert Specht
        3. Jane Eyre ****1/2
        by Charlotte Bronte
        4. The Nanny Diaries ***
        by Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus
        5. The Great Divorce ***1/2
        by C.S. Lewis

        6. Leven Thumps and the Eyes of Want ****
            Leven Thumps and the Wrath of Ezra ***1/2
        by Obert Skye
        8. The Lightning Thief ****
            The Sea of Monsters ***1/2
            The Titan's Curse ****
            The Battle of the Labyrinth ****
            The Last Olympian ****
        by Rick Riordan
        13. Among the Hidden ***1/2
        by Margaret Peterson Haddix

        14. Magician: Apprentice ***1/2
        by Raymond E. Feist

        15.  Lost in a Good Book ***1/2
        by Jasper Fford
        16. Boys Life ****1/2
        by Robert McCammon

        This is one of the few ways I've truly enjoyed pork chops!

        Baked Pork Chops
        • 6 pork chops
        • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
        • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
        • 2 eggs, beaten
        • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
        • 2 cups italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
        • 4 tablespoons olive oil
        • 1 (10.75) ounce can of cream of mushroom soup
        • 1/2 cup milk
        • 1/3 cup white wine (we replaced this with apple cider, yum!)
        1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
        2. Rinse pork chops, pat dry, and season with garlic powder and seasoning salt to taste. Place the beaten eggs in a small bowl. Dredge the pork chops lightly in flous, dip in the egg, and coat liberally with bread crumbs.
        3. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the pork chops 5 minutes per side, or until the breading appears well browned. Transfer the chops to a 9x13 inch baking dish and cover with foil.
        4. Bake in the preheated over for 1 hour (it only took ours about a half hour). While baking, combine the cream of mushroom soup, milk, and wine/cider in a medium mixing bowl. After the pork chops have baked for 30-60 mins, cover them with the soup mixture. Replace foil and bake for another 30 minutes.


        2012 ***1/2
        Okay. This movie is ridiculously cheesy and predictable. But somehow, it is a lot of fun. It really does have fantastic special effects. The plot and story line are enjoyable, although like I said, cheesy and sometimes painful... It has pretty good characters that are solid and relate-able. Other than the repeat airplane scene (3 times!!) it is a fun flick. :) At least we enjoyed it. :)

        Cell Phone Case

        Home-made cell phone case I made for my little sister! :)

        I kind of made it up based on a pattern I found online. It isn't my best, but it turned out okay. Sorry I don't have a pattern to share!

        Just Another Comfort Food

        Garlic Mashed Potatoes 


        • 3 medium baking potatoes peeled and coarsely chopped
        • 1 teaspoon salt
        • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
        • 1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
        • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
        • 1 tablespoon (or more) whole milk, at room temperature or warmed
        • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


        1. In a medium saucepan, cook the potatoes in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan.
        2. Add the butter, sour cream and garlic. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or the back of a fork until the ingredients are blended. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the potatoes are the desired consistency. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.

          A Few More Books

          1. The Count of Monte Cristo  ****1/2
          by Alexandre Dumas
          2. The Actor and the Housewife ***1/2
          by Shannon Hale

          3. Forest Born ***1/2
          by Shannon Hale

          4. Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret ***1/2
          by Obert Skye

          Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

          Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs ****
          Based on the book? I think not! But! This movie is surprisingly clever. It is cute and funny. I would definitely suggest it!
          "lick, lick, lick, lick, lick... Steve!"

          Some More Books

          1. Confessions of a Shopaholic ***
          by Sophie Kinsella
          2. Austenland ****
          by Shannon Hale

          3. Sarah's Key *****
          by Tatiana de Rosnay

          4. Boneshaker ****
          by Cherie Priest
          5. Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo ***
          by Obert Skye

          6. Naked **
          by David Sedaris
          *Note: This book started out hilarious. But the last couple of chapters got very crude and kind of inappropriate... Which caused me to lose interest.
          7. Travels with Charlie: In Search of America ***
          by John Steinbeck

          8. The Princess Tales ***
              For Biddle's Sake
              Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep
              The Fairy's Mistake
              The Princess Test
              The Fairy's Return
          by Gail Carson Levine
          14. The Two Princesses of Bamare ****
          by Gail Carson Levine
          15. Ever ****
          by Gail Carson Levine

          Crocheted Ice Cream Cone

          Crocheted ice cream cone chap stick holder! I made this for my mom a couple of years ago and she apparently LOVES it! I was impressed with how well it turned out :)

          If you want the pattern you can check it out here!

          Yummy Dark Bread

          Outback Steakhouse Bushman Bread

          • 3 packages dry yeast (or 2 T + 3/4 tsp)
          • 1/2 cup warm water
          • 1 tablespoon sugar
          • 1 cup warm water
          • 1/2 cup dark molasses
          • 1 tablespoon salt
          • 2 tablespoons oil
          • 2 cups rye flour
          • 2 1/2 -3 cups bread flour


          1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
          2. Soften yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.
          3. Stir in the sugar and let stand 6 minutes or until it’s bubbly.
          4. In large mixing bowl combine the yeast/water combo above along with 1 cup warm water with molasses, salt, oil and rye flour.
          5. Mix this until it makes a nice smooth batter.
          6. Work in the bread flour until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. It should be very pliable and elastic.
          7. Knead the dough for a few minutes and then let it rise in a greased bowl until it’s doubled.
          8. Punch the dough down and shape into 2 large round loaves
          9. Placed the loaves a few inches apart on a greased and cornmeal dusted cookie sheet. Sprinkle a bit of the cornmeal over the top of the loaves as well.
          10. Let loaves rise in a warm place until doubled.
          11. Bake loaves at 375 for about 30 minutes or until the crust makes hollow sound when tapped.
          12. This bread is supposed to freeze very well.

            If you ever try one of our recipes we would love to hear your feedback! Let us know if you like them or if you make any changes! We love comments! :)


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