Create your dreams every day...

Create your dreams every day...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Window...

This is one of Marley's favorite spots in the house. She loves to look out the window and watch for something to fuss at. She might see another dog across the street, birds flying from tree to tree, deer strolling through the yard, or squirrels scurrying around looking for food. She also watches for a familiar car when she knows one of us should be returning home for the day. I don't know why she thinks she is in charge of the front yard. It's like she thinks she has been promoted to "yard police." This room also happens to be where all of my crafting/scrapbooking goes on. So, if I'm doing something at my desk she stays in the room with me. She's like my shadow, following at my heels at all times. Seriously, if I walk into the kitchen to get something to drink-she has to go with me.
I have to admit, this is one of my favorite rooms, too. And I like the big window, probably for the same reason Marley does. It lets a lot of natural light into the room and I enjoy looking out into the front yard. In fact, if I can't see out I get very claustrophobic...Side note-that's one reason why I can't join the other teachers in the teacher's lounge for lunch---there are NO windows!
The window also sits close to the floor, it's easy for her to park herself on the sill and hang out. 
She can police the front yard and the inside of the house, all at the same time!

Funny story- look closely at her back. She looks really dirty, doesn't she? I don't usually let her look that bad before taking her to the Spa to get cleaned up, night not too long after she came home from being all fancied up I was trying to open a bottle of flavored balsamic vinegar. It had a cork in it and I couldn't get it loosened up, so I gave it to hubby to open for me. Remember, I told you Marley likes to follow me like she's my shadow. So, of course she was parked right at my feet. When the cork finally let loose, hubby wasn't quite prepared for it to open and he accidentally slung the bottle around and the dark, sticky, syrupy vinegar went everywhere! The rug was easy to clean, just throw it in the washer, no problem. But Marley, not so easy. It stuck on her like glue. Poor thing, guess I should be calling to make her an appointment soon:-)

Another post will be coming soon highlighting a new project I have been working on, can't wait to show you--it was so much fun.....and easy, too!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Comfort Food...

When the weather is windy and chilly outside, I want to be cozy and warm inside. Yesterday was one of those days. And, to help keep me warm--a hot bowl of potato soup with all the fixins sounded so good. I'm not sure why, but when I was younger I didn't care for potato soup at all. I never ate it when I was younger, but I love it now! I found a delicious, cheesy recipe on Pinterest. I think it is my new favorite Potato Soup recipe!
You can find the recipe here. I didn't add the Tabasco sauce that the recipe called for, since I don't care much for spicy foods. I did make sure to make a big pot full so I would have plenty to put in the
freezer for another meal.
If you like potato soup, you will love this recipe--especially if you like cheesy potato soup!
Now, if you will excuse me--dinner is calling my name. Yum...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Freezer Meals...A Productive Day

Yesterday I had a very productive day in the kitchen. And, it was a lot of fun. I get a lot of satisfaction out of having tasty, healthy, prepared foods in the freezer. It's easy to put something yummy in the crock pot in the mornings to cook while I am at work, or I can choose a meal from the freezer when I get home to simply heat up for a quick dinner. I'm usually so worn out by the end of the workday, if I don't have something planned and easy to cook, I find myself relying on take-out or fast foods way too often. I really prefer having a healthier and less expensive alternative...

One of my all time faves to keep in the freezer are smoothies. They are so easy to put together, and they're nutritious and delish all at the same time! I always have frozen fruit in large bags in the freezer to have available when I can't get tasty in-season fruit. Here's a pic of what I had on hand this time around.

They are so easy to grab out of the freezer and eat on the way to school.
I put them in Styrofoam cups and then cover the tops with a piece of foil.
It's so easy to switch up the flavors by using different combos of fruit.
Here they are ready for the freezer. They don't last long around my house, either.
A recipe I'm trying for the first time is "Delicious Salmon" from the All Recipes App I have on my phone. We bought both salmon and tilapia the last time we went to Sam's. I'm not crazy about fish, but since it is so healthy to eat, I decided to try a couple of new recipes.
The salmon has a teriyaki sauce that it marinates in and I can't wait to try it. 

I used the tilapia in a "Cilantro Fish Tilapia" recipe I got from a friend. It's used for fish tacos, that's something I haven't tried before either, but it sure looks good...

The burritos I put together were a combination of 3 different recipes I have used before. I actually didn't even use a recipe for this go-round...I just started throwing ingredients together.

I used ground beef, brown rice, black beans, and some taco seasoning...mixed it all together and spooned it on a flour tortilla...
...added some grated cheese, rolled it up...
...wrapped each one in wax paper, and placed them in a freezer baggie. Since they are wrapped separately, we can take however many we want at a time out of the freezer. They warm up nicely in the microwave, unless you want it a bit crispier--then you can heat it up in the oven.
Next on the menu are Italian Meatballs. This is another recipe I just throw together...
I used ground beef, egg, milk, onion, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, and Italian bread crumbs. I've used these in spaghetti and also cooked them with a mushroom gravy...both are scrumptious!
I use my cookie scoop to form the meatballs and freeze them on a tray for a couple of hours before placing them in a freezer bag. That way I can take out how ever many I want at a time. I never know how many will be eating dinner at my house on any given night, so that allows me to take out 4 or 12, easily.

The last item I put in the freezer was bacon. That may sound fairly simple, and it is...but, I don't like the mess of frying bacon, so I cook it in the oven. I bought a 3 pound package of thick slice bacon, and I like to have it ready to eat so I don't have to mess with the cooking/clean up each time I want it. I just layered the cooked bacon on sheets of wax paper, and then slide them into a freezer bag...again---I can take out exactly what I want without having to thaw the entire package.
And... that's where I stopped for the day. 

I took my hubby out to dinner for his birthday at Red Lobster (his choice). We stopped for ice cream at Sonic, then we came home and watched a movie. I know, you can tell we aren't big party animals! Happy Birthday to Roger! Now I'm off to scrap a bit before going to bed.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Productive Weekend...

I had plans this weekend to get my scrap table refreshed with a new coat of paint. I had hubby help me move it to the kitchen on Friday night so I could get started. I knew it would need a couple of coats and I wanted it put back together before I had to go to work on Monday morning. You can see the dark red that was the original color, along with the mars and scratches it inherited over several years of scrapping and crafting. The turquoise color looks lighter here with just one coat of paint. It's actually the same color that I used last summer to paint my dining room chairs. You can see a bit of the chair in the lower left of the pic.

Here it is the next day with two coats of paint...looking much better.

I also painted a couple of bulletin boards and a few frames that had the same dark red color as the table...and as I get everything put back into my scrap room, the brighter color makes me happy!

I promise it won't look this organized for long.

Another thing I wanted to get done this weekend was to make a pound cake. It's one of my favorite sweets. I've tried several recipes over the years and don't ever seem to stick with the same one for more than 2 or 3
times before I see another recipe I want to try. They've all been good and tasty, I just like to try new recipes. This one I found on Pinterest, and it was yummy!

I think adding the fruit is a nice touch, don't you? It makes the entire plate seem more healthy. Now, off to work on some layouts and try out my newly brightened space...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Snow Days Ending...

 I love snow days...
This photo was actually snapped a couple of days ago, but my yard still looks like this--and it is still COLD...I'm definitely not a winter type of gal! When the weather looks like this outside, I can think of every excuse in the book to stay inside where it is warm and cozy.

Of course, I can't sit still, so-------what's a girl to do? I found plenty of projects to work on while I was home...I'm always dangerous with an available can of paint (because remember, I'm not going out in the cold weather to purchase any!) I've been gradually adding more turquoise colors in my house over the past year, and I decided to use up some of that left over paint.

My sis made this for me quite a few years back out of an old window, and I just love it. I have it hanging above my fireplace...I decided to spruce it up a bit with the new paint color. You can see the navy blue color that was originally on it.

I love the way it looks-it really helps lighten and brighten the mood in the living room.

I've had extra time in the kitchen too, and that makes me happy.
I had a lot of fun making this Indian Flatbread, and it was really 
yummy. It's very versatile. You could use it as bread for your sandwich, use it for Indian Tacos, warm it up to go with your dinner, or if you've already had a full meal and just need a late night snack...

 You could warm it up and add some yummy honey to go with it...
Oh my gosh! It was so delish! I'm sure I'll be baking this 
recipe again in the near future.

Another consumer of my time is scrapping. 
Here's my 2nd page of the new year.
It's an older pic of G and M, but I don't necessarily always scrap in chronological order...and I certainly enjoy having 2 cute photogenic grandsons as my layout subjects.

Tomorrow will be "back to business" as I head back to school. A three day week will make it go by very quickly. We still have so much to accomplish this year before April---I hope my students are ready to buckle down and hit the books! 

...Create Your Dreams Everyday...I Do!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Scrapping, Cooking, & Reading...

I made a commitment to join Ali Edwards in her year long "One Little Word" workshop for 2014. It sounds like a very enlightening/fun project, and so far I'm enjoying the process. You can read more about it here. I chose "prosper" as my word to focus on for the year. The first two pages in my 2014 album are dedicated to the thinking process of what prosper means to me, and where I would like it to lead me. It's all about mindful thinking and being more intentional in your life-lessons I hope to gain from. Here are my first two pages:

It looks like a lot of writing, but most of the monthly prompts are project oriented. The first month, as you get comfortable with your word, is more about really thinking about what you would like to see evolve for yourself during the process. It involves some soul-searching...I'm incorporating this project with my so they will both be in the same album. I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store for me and my family!

Another thing I have really enjoyed while being on break is reading. I got a Barnes & Noble gift card from my hubby for Christmas, and of course I've already spent it, plus more!! Here's the newest Amy Tan book I'm reading:
...and I also scored two new cookbooks to go with my new Kitchenaide mixer, and I got sale prices on all 3 books, score!
I think I'll have to start taking some of my baked goodies to school to put in the teacher's lounge, or feed them to my students. I so enjoy being in the kitchen baking or mixing up something new, but I certainly don't need all of the calories.
I can happily report I have been headache free for 4 days in a row! That is such a husband (and a few close friends) are probably the only ones to really know how they have affected me in the last year--and bless their hearts for putting up with me. I'm getting back my energy and feeling so much better. Yeah for modern medicine!

I'm off to meet Jamie and Joel for dinner. They are in Tulsa for the weekend for a family wedding. They didn't bring the boys, I will miss them dearly, but we can have a real grown-up visit!

Happy Weekend to all!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year...

It's been a great day for me. It seems like the first time in forever that I woke up without a migraine, and I haven't had a headache all day, woohoo! I had been having more and more debilitating migraines this past year, and I was absolutely ready to throw in the towel. Thankfully, a new doctor and some new tests found what we figured was probably causing the problem. I have degenerative discs in my neck and spine-and not just kinda-but very much so...My physician thought I might benefit from steroid injections in my neck, not exactly something I wanted to do, but I was willing to try almost anything because the pain has been so great. Migraines and middle school students are not a good mix, so I needed to do something. So, fast forward to yesterday-hubby took me in to have the pain management physician give me the injections. After we got home I started feeling a headache creeping in...I was so disappointed, but thought maybe I was dehydrated since I couldn't drink my usual glass of water when I got up that morning. I decided to take a nap to see if that would help. In a couple of hours I woke up with a horrible migraine, so I had to take meds and lay around the rest of the evening. I didn't even get to enjoy my yearly glass of champagne to celebrate the new year...I did manage to stay up until midnight, though. The doctor told us it could take 2-3 days, or even up to 10 days to see if the injections offered any relief. I've decided I'm going to take today as a great sign-a sign that I will have fewer migraines this year. And, I loved getting to spend  New Year's Day without a headache, able to do some of the things I really enjoy, especially when we are out of school and I have extra time at home.
I was so excited to try out my new mixer and pasta cutter that I spent the day in the kitchen baking apple cake and fresh pasta. I'm happy to report that they were both a big success.

I think I need to invest in a drying rack for my pasta--I didn't have anywhere else to put it!
I also got my first layout of the new year completed today...from pictures I took of the ice a couple of weeks ago. It felt so good to have some creative time today. I hope I get to do the same thing tomorrow. I'm thinking it would smell really good to have some fresh bread baking in the oven...
          I want to wish everyone a joyous and happy New Year!

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