Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Extent of My Halloween Decorations

So--usually I don't decorate for Halloween--accept for the requisite carving pumpkin extravaganza--then I have a few jack-o-lanterns--but that is where it has always stopped.  Mainly because I don't really like to store a whole bunch of decorations that I then have to rotate with the stuff I normally have out.  AND I don't really like all the cluttery nick-knack kind of stuff anyways--I'm more of a minimalist. 

ANYHOO--this year is different.

I had a few different days with bored children (thanks to our teachers declaring a LID day--which means no school for the kids)--and so we decided to make some Halloween crafts.

So here is what we came up with.

Day 1:  Landon (4) and I did this SCARY SPIDER craft for his "Preschool"
(I put that in quotes because Landon wants to go to school SO BADLY--but he has a late birthday--so he will do preschool next year.  So for now--we try and do some fun things at home).

Day 2: LID day plus I was babysitting a friends little guy--AND OF COURSE IT WAS RAINING OUT--so we had 5 bored little bodies in our tiny little house.  So I went to THIS site and found some Halloween craft ideas to do with kids.  And we made these:

The Batmobile:
(Get it--bat-mobile...?)

AND we made scary ghosts which we hung outside on our porch.
(They are kind of blowy in the wind--so it was hard to get a picture of them all facing the right way!)

And then Day 3--we decided it was time for our pumpkin carving extravaganza.  To be honest--and don't faint or hate me for revealing this--I don't really like carving pumpkins.  I don't know if it is because of the mess of it all--or the fact that I am not super great at it--or that you waste a bunch of pumpkin that you spent good money for.  Whatever the reason--it is just not my favorite thing to do.

So I was ECSTATIC to come across THIS post where Lindsey gave us the most FANTASTIC IDEAS and PATTERNS to decorate the MOST DARLING PUMPKINS EVER!!! 

We still had one die hard little lady that would not even dream about NOT carving a pumpkin this year.  So we had one "Carved" pumpkin and two "Decorated" pumpkins:



That's better.

Some close ups--Skeleton Pumpkin: 

Pirate Pumpkin: 

And our "Traditional--Carved" pumpkin. 
(Love the background models!)

Ok--so you can't do this with the "decorated pumpkins":

...or this:

But I absolutely LOVED how they all turned out. 

And I love them even more with cute boys next to them.

(I especially love how my little guy is folding his arms so nicely--after ripping off and apart the pirates hat!  Just as if to say, "See--I'm not going to touch it any more!")

We have already made big plans for next years DECORATED pumpkins...and maybe a few other hand crafted decorations. 

We'll see.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Too Many Shoes To Know What To Do

We have an entry way where that two doorways share.  Its not super big--so there is not enough space for any sort of bench or table.  And because of the two doors and our NO SHOES IN THE HOUSE policy--the entry way looks like this ALL THE TIME:
(This picture was kind of mild actually because three of the six people that live in this house were gone when I took this picture--taking their shoes with them).

But you get the idea.

So I have been at a loss for a remedy to this situation for almost 8 years.
UNTIL I went to my friends DOLLAR THRIFT STORE and found this:

Its just a simple little wooden rack--nothing too special.  But for only a dollar--it was the right size and the right price to try it out.

So here it is again before getting a new coat of paint:
(Does anyone know what the little wood pieces that sit on each row are for?  I have NO IDEA!) 

And here it is after 1 and 1/2 cans of paint later--And a special thank you to my awesome neighbor Kim--who just happened to have the 1/2 of a can of the identical paint when my 1 can wasn't enough!!!  Thank goodness she is as much into spray paint as I am--I can always rely on her to help me out in that department!

It is a small change--but with big results.

Now all the shoes go onto the little rack and it instantly cleans and declutters this once messy and cluttery space!

AHHHH.  Much better.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

SAMM--Chicken Pockets

Wow--the weeks are flying by and it is again time to link up to my Sista's SAMM party.

Today's recipe is a fun one...CHICKEN POCKETS.
It could also be called LEFTOVER POCKETS--as the leftovers in my fridge usually dictate what goes into these babies.

The basic recipe is as follows:

some chicken (cooked and cut up into pieces)
1 pkg cream cheese
a handful of craisins
a handful of chopped nuts (I like pecans, almonds or walnuts)
2 tubes of biscuits

This time I had leftover breaded chicken strips--so in the bowl they go.

I also had some leftover brown rice:

My favorite part of the recipe:

Add the cream cheese and nuts and mix it all together till it looks like this:

Roll out the biscuits like this:

Place a dob of stuff on each one and either fold it on top of itself and seal the edges--or place another rolled biscuit on top and seal the edges.

Next--bake them according to the package directions on the biscuit packaging (until they start to turn golden brown).

Make a simple sauce:
1 can cream soup (again--I use cream of chicken--but for those who don't mind the fungus--you can use mushroom)
Salt and Pepper
Milk till you reach desired thickness

(SORRY--it got too hectic around dinner for me to take a picture of the finished product.) 
Just imagine it plated beautifully with the sauce drizzled perfectly over the pockets and served next to some elegant looking steamed vegetables...this is--of course--not how we served it--our version was plopped onto plates next to some canned corn or something like that.

ANYHOO--These are really yummy and easy AND a great way to disguise use up leftovers.

Some other fun Pocket variations are:
Broccoli and cheese
Pepperoni and cheese (like a pizza pocket)
Turkey and stuffing (leftover from Thanksgiving maybe?)

Pretty much any leftovers will do.  Shhh don't tell.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What We Wore

I know my posts have been few and far between as of late.  The main reason is that I have been playing and having a ball with MY LIL SISTER MICHELLE--as she was in town for a week!!!!

Now, maybe to most of you--you think "Oh, that's nice" but that would be the understatement of the world!

  My sister and I are close.  I mean SUPER close.  We are like MEGA SUPER CLOSE.  We are the best of friends.  We love each other SOOOOOO MUCH!  We have the BEST TIMES together!  (Ok--you get the idea).  But that darn girl lives a million miles away from me--so I rarely get to see her or her family. 

So when she came to town for A WEEK (and I still think it should have been two!!!) I DROP EVERYTHING and try and spend EVERY WAKING MOMENT with her.  So I can soak her all up and try to stock up on my Michelle time--cause I know it will be a while till we will see each other again (sob).

ANYWAYS--one of the fun things my sis does on HER BLOG--is that she participates in THE PLEATED POPPIES--WHAT I WORE WEDNESDAY.  (For those of you who don't know what this is--a bunch of gals document what they wore every day of the week and show everybody.  It is a fun way to get fashion ideas and it is a super big motivator to dress cute and get out of your jammies everyday.)

So while Michelle was here--we primped and posed everyday to bring you What We Wore--Sisters Edition.  It was super fun to do together.  I always save my cutest clothes to wear when I am with her--because as you will see--she is SO CUTE.  And I really mean she is just too adorable for words.  I aspire to be half as cute as she is.  (And I am noticing by the pictures that I also need to aspire to be half as photogenic as she is--as I am making a funny face in many of them.)

ANYHOO--You must go check us out (and I guess I really am telling you to check us out--wink wink) over HERE at her blog. 

You have to go to her blog to see the pictures because I was a geek and didn't have my camera ready half the time.  But here is a sneak peak of the two of us:  (and by the way--she is literally a SIZE NOTHING--a TEENY TINY--ZIP--ZERO (and I still love her anyways).  So I am not really a giant as it might appear in a lot of the pictures!)

So go see the REST of our pictures and then report back and let me know what you think of What We Wore!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Come and See Me Over at Remodelaholic

What a fun surprise to find another one of my projects was featured today on Remodelaholic!!  I love that place!  You can spend HOURS--and I mean HOURS people--on her blog (so I've heard--I would never do that...)

This is the project you can see over there today!
(Sorry I can't upload any pictures at the moment--as Blogger apparently is doing "Maintenance.")

So everybody RUN--do not walk--over to Remoelaholic RIGHT NOW!!

Thanks Cassity!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

SAMM--Pork Chop Casserole

I am a day late writing this post as SAMM (Share a Meal MONDAY)--is on a Monday--and here it is already Tuesday.  Oh well--better late then never right?

So my meal for this week is another one from my Mother in Law--a lot of my favorite recipes come from her.  Luv that lady!

Pork Chop Casserole
4 pork chops (browned)
3/4 c rice
1 med onion chopped
1 10 oz can consomme
Pinch of thyme and marjoram
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the pork chops.  Pour the uncooked rice, onions and consomme with seasonings mixed in-- in a casserole dish.  Lay the chops on top.  Bake uncovered at 350 for 1 hour or until the rice is cooked.

This is what it will look like when it is all done and yummy--I stirred up the rice here to see if it was done--so it looks a little disheveled.
This is SUPER YUMMY--and really easy.  The hardest part is waiting for it to cook while your house is smelling heavenly!!

So I am linking it up HERE--and you should too--its not too late!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Under Construction Cake and YW in Excellence

I am a leader in our Young Women's program in our church.  So I get to work with the youth and I LOVE IT!!!! 
A couple weeks ago we had a special evening for the girls and their parents--it is called Young Women's in Excellence.  It is a time to honor the girls and all the wonderful things that they are doing. 

This year we chose our theme to be:
"Under Construction"
Meaning that we are all here on earth under construction--trying to build ourselves and mould ourselves into the person that our Father in Heaven wants us to be.  And to become like Him.

While looking for things to decorate with--another leader found these awesome little construction trucks--and one of the girls painted them up.

Everyone decided that they would look SO GREAT on a cake.  So we started brainstorming about construction cakes.  One of the girls said "We should put a Temple built out of sugar cubes on the cake too!"  (A Temple is a special building of worship in the LDS Church and we just recently had one built near us in Vancouver, Canada--so everyone--including the girls, are SUPER excited to have one so near!  If you want to know more about Temples please visit THIS SITE)

So with those ideas I took the challenge to build a cake with the cars and a temple for our special night.
So here are a few pictures of the Temple construction:

Building Supplies:

Laying the corner stones on my cardboard foundation:

Building the walls:

Front of the Temple:

Laying another piece of cardboard on top of the walls to hold up the roof. 
Top View:

Front view:

With roof and spire on:

Its supposed to look like this:

Of course it isn't perfect--but I didn't think it turned out too bad for working with sugar cubes!

Here is the cake.  I made two cake mixes in my jelly roll pans and layered them with frosting in the middle.  Then covered the whole thing with green frosting and green coconut--to look like grass.  Then I put a dirt road in using crushed up Oreo cookies.

Then comes the heavy machinery--didn't she do a great job painting them?

And here is the finished temple site.

Digging dirt to complete the road:

Hauling stones for the temple:

Oh yeah--and I made the little cones out of orange dots:

So while I was making the cake--the other ladies were decorating the room.  And I only snapped a few pictures!  It was AWESOME!!!

Each girl got to where a hard hat in the value colors:

Our fearless leader:

Awesome signs:

The whole crew:

Some more yummy treats one of the girls made:

Some fun paint buckets of goodies that the girls got to take home:

And the cake right before we ate it:

It was a great night and one that I hope the girls remember for a long time.
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