Monday, November 29, 2010

freezer cooking

When I had my second child 4.5 years ago, I wondered how I would ever get anything done . . . especially things like cooking. I wanted to continue to cook healthy and not break the bank either. So, I asked my husand to get me a freezer for the garage . . . I had one two days later that he purchased off of Craigslist. I started doubling recipes whenever I cooked so that I could stockpile meals in the freezer. I just used my own recipes . . . I didn't realized there were books out there dealing with this very topic . . . until recently.

My neighbor and I got together yesterday and made 32 meals in 3.25 hours. We each took home 16 meals. We didn't make 16 different recipes, we made 7 different recipes. This is what my freezer looked like after I stocked it . . . and I still have room for more!

What I am most excited about is that I have meals to get me through the month of December . . . which means I will have more time to spend baking cookies with my kids, wrapping gifts and doing Christmas stuff! The other great thing about freezer cooking is that I always have a meal on hand if someone I know is in need.

Here are a couple of books I recently discovered that are so helpful in getting you started in the process of buying in bulk and cooking a months worth of meals in a day:

The Everything Meals for a Month Cookbook
This book talks about bulk cooking and has recipes organized by type and servings for 4-18, with all the measurements broken down for you.
Once a Month Cooking Family Favorites
This book is broken down into cycles. You choose a cycle that you like and the book gives you the shopping list and recipes for that cycle. Really easy! This book even has a gluten-free cycle.

Do you make freezer meals? Have any favorite recipes or books? Leave me a comment or if you have a recipe link from your blog, please share!

I am working on some new layouts that I will be sharing soon . . . well, soon is a relative term . . . but my deadline is in two weeks, so it will be before then! Have a great Monday!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy turkey day and an ella thanksgiving sale!

Our quick, easy and free turkeys! We made these a few days ago after a long walk--collecting leaves is so much fun!

I can't leave this little guy out . . . he got really into the walking too!

Check out this fantastic ELLA Thanksgiving sale! They are deeply discounting their ebooks by packaging them in "bundles." The great part is that once you buy a bundle (or two or three), you can leave a comment to win a bundle! And if you win, they will refund your purchase. They even have their latest ebook, Double Page Design packaged in one of the bundles. Happy shopping!

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends/family!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Two more calendar kits have been released today at Green Tangerines . . . one of them mine, the month of July.
You can buy the one page format for your calendar for $6, or for $8, buy the full kit so you can add it to your album later!
Yes, those are hand-stitched fireworks. The tags include a little stamping, faux stitching and glossy accents.

Wanna be in on a little e-mail secret . . . Green Tangerines is starting their Black Friday sale TONIGHT from 5-9pm! Tools, Bazzill and a special paper section will see some great discounts! I have an out-of-town friend and her family coming to visit for Thanksgiving . . . you can be sure I'll be taking her there tonight!

Have a great day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

a weekend to remember

My husband and I have been married for 10 years. We have a good marriage. He is an amazing dad and he is a huge helper to me. But there are always things we both need to work on in our marriage. Sometimes it's hard to stop and take the time to deal with them when life is busy . . . especially when little tikes are invovled. This past weekend we carved out some time and attended a marriage conference that was visiting our area called A Weekend to Remember. Our marriage was not in trouble, the conference was not a big counseling session, it was just a place to learn more about making our marriage the best that it can be--after all, God designed marriage and wants us to have a great one, right?!

If you are feeling like you could use a tune up, feel like your marriage is headed into the "danger zone" or just want to spend a lot of time laughing with your spouse, the team at Family Life does an incredible job of connecting with people. The speakers are hilarious, the videos make you laugh till your sides hurt and they have a way of connecting with both men and women that is amazing. My husband does not like to sit through classes or lengthy talks (I don't think most men do) and he made it through! (They schedule a lot of breaks and time to work on "projects" with your spouse.)

I'm not a spokesperson for this group, just an attender who loved the time they gave me to talk with my husband about fun things and about hard things and to grow together. They even have special break out sessions for engaged couples. And you can attend for only $159--so cheap for what they give you. Check them out if you are interested and see when they are coming to a city near you!

That's all from me for now . . . sorry, a pictureless post.  A picture next time, I promise! Have a great Monday morning!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Saturday she lost her big front tooth . . . this picture was taken on Sunday.

Now she looks like this . . . the second front tooth is hanging on by a thread. I just want to tie a string to it and the other end to a door knob! Did anyone ever actually do that? That was always the story I remember hearing when I was a kid.

In other news, the 12 weeks of Christmas Calendar kit is in full swing at Green Tangerines! I helped in the designing of the calendar pages again this year and one of my layouts was released yesterday along with another page. We are releasing two months per week this year so that you can get them done early if you are sending them off at gifts. Another new thing, you have the option to pay $2 extra to get the double page kit if you would rather not use them as calendar pages and just want a pre-planned two-page kit!

Here is my simple layout that is up for sale this week:
As a single page for the calendar (I'm the month of June).

As a double page for your album.

Check out the other pages on their blog! Go here--you'll have to scroll through the posts to view the past 3 weeks. Only 2 weeks left to go!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

the patch

I created this layout last month for Green Tangerines Fall Retreat. All of the women received this layout along with many other treats! I made it fairly simple so that even the beginner scrapbooker could feel a sense of accomplishment. To make the vine, twist a thick piece of ribbon in random directions and adhere with glue dots along the way; then add leaves. This is an Allison Davis sketch.

The pumpkin was my favorite part of this layout. Last year, Kristina Werner, created a fabulous pumpkin card which I duplicated here on my layout. You can download her template for the pumpkin here. The only difference is that her template is larger, I reduced the size for my layout. She even has a video tutorial on how to make the pumpkin--she  has great stuff!

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, November 12, 2010

celebrate friendship with ella friends

If this is your first time stopping by, don't be shy, check out the ELLA ebook I am giving away . . . comment on this past post by Sunday at 7pm PST for your chance to win!

Today, my ELLA friends and I are hosting a blog hop all about friendship. What is a blog hop you say? It's a chance to check out other gals creative blogs and have fun picking up a few ideas revolving around friendship. Come on, it will be fun! (Links are at the end of this post.)

Who are your "go to" girls? Everyone needs them. They lift us up when we are down and celebrate with us when times are good. Two years ago my favorite scrapbook store, Green Tangerines, held a "Designer's Challenge" on friendship. First up, we had to create a snapshot of seven important friends we'd had throughout our lifetime. I picked friends from high school to present day. The above pictures were all recent pictures (2 years ago recent) that I asked my friends to email me.

Most of the product was from Making Memories and of course a little American Crafts ribbon. I know I saw this "patchwork" idea in a magazine . . . no idea which one. Today I don't love the messy paint that I did in the background, but it does show a trend of the time!

I pulled this quote out of one of my many quote books . . . and I still love it today! Isn't this what friendship is all about?

After we made the title page for our friendship album, we had to highlight each gal in our life and answer some random questions about that particular friendship. I made one layout for each friend . . . but this layout was my favorite. I was completely in love with this line from October Afternoon. I did this layout right after this picture was taken 2 years ago at my 10-year college reunion in Minnesota. One month after this picture was taken of my friend Sarah and I, she and her husband were hit by a drunk driver. She had major injuries including a fractured skull--she almost died.  It made me remember to be thankful for the times I have with my friends . . . life is short. Send one of your friends an encouragement card today! : )

I love looking back in my albums and seeing what I was into at the time. This layout was done shortly after I had gotten into handstitching on my pages. I still do it today and love it! Though I don't do it on every page . . . a bit too time consuming with three kids running around.

Rumor has it that some of these girls are doing giveaways on their blogs as well . . . you'll have to hop around to find which ones! Good luck!

I'll end with one of my favorite verses in the Bible.
"I thank my God every time I remember you." Philippians 1:3.
What friend are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

frames within a frame

If you missed it, be sure and comment on my previous post to win Ella's latest ebook, Journaling That Matters. You have until Sunday at 7pm PST.

This is one of the projects I had my parents helping me with when they were here last month. It was inspired (or copied) by this post on Becky Higgins website. If you want to see more in depth details about how to mount the photos, her post does a great job describing it. I used "Picture Hanging Strips" at her suggestion--so easy! I will never go back to nails and a hammer!

This adventure was not without flaws . . . below is our step by step process.
Step 1: Put blue tape up where you think you want your frame to be . . . I left it there for a couple of weeks so that I could "live" with it for a while.

Step 2: Actually there are two steps here, just forgot to take a picture of one. Using a chalk line, chalk where the inside of the frame will be. Using a stencil (I got mine from Michael's with a coupon!), carefully and lightly adhere white stencil paint (it's a little thicker than regular acrylic paint). This is a slow and tedious process, be patient. My first stencil on the wall turned out horrible! The paint bled under because I had put too much on and pressed too hard. I quickly grabbed a wash cloth while the paint was still wet and was able to wipe it all off. My walls are textured which makes it easy for this to happen.

Step 3: This is my dad getting ready to sauder the hole he made in my water pipe that runs inside the wall. Tim and my dad used a stud finder to find all the studs . . . only problem was one of the "studs" was a water pipe. The first screw into the wall hit it and I had water spraying across the room. I think my dad just wanted to be able to play with fire and play hero to the rescue. HA! If you are wondering why we are screwing this frame to the wall--it is WAY to heavy to hang, especially with a toddler that can jump up on the couch and pull on it. That hole in my wall is now hidden underneath the frame . . . not sure what we'll do if we ever sell this house!

Step 4: This was actually Step 3, but I had already finished editing the photos . . . take cute picture of kids lying down inside the frame. This frame was painted before we hung it on the wall. We then had to fill the holes with filler, sand and repaint.

Here is another view of it "in the room."
I had trouble getting a great picture of it straight on because of the light issue I have on either side! Hopefully you get the idea. I originally wanted to do a more distressed looking frame like my friend Kristen did here. I was going for a darker look, but I just couldn't get it to look right. She gives a great description of how to get the distressed look. I ended up using a chocolate paint that went with the dark wood in this room. The frames match my white built-in bookcases.

Please be sure and share if you attempt anything along these lines, I'd love to see! And thanks to my dad for building this frame for me. I forgot to mention, the frame is made out of casing--the part you see on top--attached to a piece of MDF wood (to make it thicker). We got both from a crown molding store--simple and CHEAP! (Thanks for the tip, Amber!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

faith scrapbooking

I'm excited to share with you what my Ella friends (Jenni and Keshet) and I have been working on! We were asked to tackle the topic of talking about faith in our layouts. This statement could mean many things to you at first glance and Jenni did a wonderful job tackling the different angles you can take with this topic. Check out the full post on Ella's blog here. You can also stop by Jenni and Keshet's personal blogs to see more of their cute stuff!

I contributed two faith related layouts. First up, do you talk about life's trials in your albums? For many this may be a topic that is easily passed over because we want to remember all of the good times or we only have time to scrapbook the holidays, birthdays, etc. For me, scrapping a difficult time in my life is very theraputic. Writing about it helps me get all of my feelings out and somehow makes me feel better. And since I'm sharing it here on my blog, my hope is that someone else who may be in the midst of a difficult circumstance can come away encouraged and feel a little more hopeful. Sometimes it's nice just to know you are not the only one out there dealing with stuff, isn't it?

The journaling deals with my health stuff and how it has impacted our family over the last four years. If you are interested in reading it, you just have to double click on it.

I used this sketch from the PageMaps blog. Becky Fleck's sketches are always a treat to work with!

Next, I put together a layout documenting the prayers I frequently pray for my little guy. I want him to know how important the prayers of a parent are and how much he means to us.

Some of you may recognize these products from Becky Higgins Baby Kit, which by the way, you can still get your hands on. I ordered this kit a couple years back thinking I would never have time to scrapbook once I had a third child--I was in panic mode at the time. I will say, it has made things easier . . . I am getting his one year book done quickly (when I take the time to work on it that is . . . there is always new product that is calling my name first!)

This is one of the page protectors that came with the kit--16 dividers. This made it easy to put individual prayers in boxes.

You might notice that I put some of my letter stickers, rub-ons and embellishments on the outside of my page protector. I did this to give my layout a more connected and cohesive look.

If you ever struggle with how to pray for your child or wonder if you are leaving some important things out . . . I highly recommend the book The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. She gives you very specific things to pray for your child and Bible verses to go along with your prayers. Some of them are things that I simply forget to pray for my child. But when I go through this book (frequently) I am reminded--love that!

Be sure and check out the Ella blog today to see the other gals work. And stop back here sometime next week for an Ella giveaway--you will WANT this one!

Monday, November 1, 2010

after the sugar rush

The pig, the farmer and the cow . . . seemed appropriate after our past year with various animals.

The farmer who didn't take an afternoon nap, but somehow made it through the evening.

The pig who rolled around in the sty to get her face all "muddy."

The cow who loves to smile sweetly for the camera.

The farmer who quickly caught on to how this trick-or-treating thing works . . . though he never found out what was inside the wrappers!