Christmas {baking}...

Well, I don't know if you can really call it BAKING!...but you do use the oven for a few minutes!  ;)  I had been wanting to make some faux turtles with pretzles, rolos and pecans.  I really wasn't looking forward to unwrapping 40 rolos but I was going to.  Then I saw these Rolo minis at Target and thought, hmm...wonder if these would work.  They are already unwrapped and ready to go! 

You start out by lining a pan with parchment paper.  Lay out your mini twist pretzels and place a Rolo on top of each one.   Then place in a 350 degree oven for 3-5 minutes. 

Take them out of the oven and press a pecan half on top.  This will flatten out the Rolo onto the pretzel.  Let cool and store in an airtight container.  {Don't eat them all at once!  ;)}

Here are a few more of my favorite holiday treats that require very little {baking}...microwave peanut brittle, lazy man's toffee and cinnamon sugar pretzels.  Yummo!


Christmas card photos {displayed}...

Decorating the new house for Christmas was fun because I got to start from scratch basically, finding new homes for all my holiday goodness.  It was a good chance for me to weed through some of it and pick out my favorites.  Even though we have more space in this house, it seems I have less surfaces to display things on.  Which I am fine with...less is more, right!  

One thing I had to figure out was where to display Christmas card photos as they come in the mail.  I had always hung a card holder from a shelf before, but the shelf is now being used in my closet so.....

Remember the frame redo I did for my craft space.  Well since that space is open into the living room, I thought the frame would be the perfect place to display the photos!

So I cleaned off what was hanging there and started displaying the photos as they came in!  Love it!

To make it a little more festive I took some red and white striped washi tape and covered some of my mini clothes pins.  This was super simple to do and I love what it adds to the displayed cards! 

How do you display your Christmas cards?


stocking stuffers...

Since we are just over a week away from Christmas I thought it might be fun to share a few of my favorite things right now that would be good ideas for stocking stuffers...or teacher, friend gifts, etc...

If you are a paper crafter, you have probably heard about washi tape....well it really is awesome!  You can use it for all kinds of things, and it is super easy to use!....just pull, rip or cut and apply!  I used it to make some wall decor for my craft room.  Who wouldn't love some of that for their stash?!  How about this chevron kind in all the yummy colors!

Washi Tape Trendy Tape -  Chevron Decorative Trendy Paper Packaging Tape - 10 yards -
Another one of my loves is chapstick!  I always have several tubes within reach wherever I am.  My current favorite is Nivea... A Kiss of Smoothness.  
A Kiss of Smoothness Hydrating Lip Care SPF 4, SPF 4
Essie Nail Polish is another thing that I love.  It is fun trying out different shades!  Saw this Winter collection of mini polishes at Ulta the other day and thought I heard it calling my name.  ;)  Also found it here on Amazon

Scarves are another thing that I don't think I could ever have too many of.  They are affordable and add so much to an outfit.  Love the pattern on this one...and the price is right!

Infinity Circle double loop Scarf print sheer  classic

What are your favorite stocking stuffer gift ideas?  I would love to hear!


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ pot roast, mashed potatoes, green beans
Tuesday ~ chili, pb sandwiches, fruit
Wednesday ~ pasta, salad, bread
Thursday ~ meatball stew, toasted cheese, fruit
Friday ~ honey cococut salmon, rice, corn

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


preschool {christmas} activities...

We have been in full swing Christmas mode at preschool for the past 2 weeks!!!  Here are a few of the Christmas activities we have been doing in class...

Size sequencing with triangles to make a Christmas tree...

Sorting pom poms and jingle bells by color using bamboo tongs...

Decorating a small Christmas tree with a variety of ornaments {I added small candy canes and bells in with the present ornaments}...

Christmas card puzzle {I simply cut the front off a Christmas card and then cut it into several pieces.  I outlined where the pieces go to make it a little easier for the kids to put it back together}...

Pom pom Christmas tree {the kiddos use their little pincher fingers to pick up the pom poms and place them on the green/gold dots}...

We also have done paint chip coloring matching using the red & green.  Next week we will add threading white and red pony beads on a pipe cleaner and using clothes pins to hang mini stockings on a string.  I also hope to make some peppermint playdough for the kiddos to have fun manipulating!!!

What fun hands on activities have you had success with?


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ taquitos, burritos, chips & cheese, fruit
Tuesday ~ crock pot pork chops, rice, salad
Wednesday ~ scrambled eggs, bagels, sausage
Thursday ~ pot roast, mashed potatoes, green beans
Friday ~ chicken parmesan, salad, bread, corn

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


Christmas time is here....

We were driving in the car the other day and listening to Christmas songs on the radio.  I don't remember what the song was but it said something like "Christmas time is here or it's Christmas time...."   Little Bit then said "It TOTALLY is Christmas time!"....LOL!  I chuckled to myself.  This time of year is special...and a time to be celebrated.  We love to do extra special things to help ring in the season. 

Last year I put together this advent calendar for Little Bit and she loved it.  She was so excited to get up everyday and pick a card to see what was on the agenda for that day.  This year we are winging it a little more.  I still want to have fun activities to do together but didn't but up the advent calendar. 

The past couple years I have seen the lego advent calendars and thought they would be fun when Little Bit got older.  Well I saw a good deal on this Smurf one and decided to try it out this year.  The only problem is it's not here yet.  So we will start a few days late on that one but I don't think she will mind playing catch up.  She loves building!

I also wrapped all of our Christmas books and have them in a basket by the tree.  Little Bit can unwrap one each day til Christmas and we will read the story together.  This is something that I have worked over the last couple years accumulating books.  We still don't have 25 yet, about 18 I think, but I know we will pick up a few more before the season is over and we can read our favorites twice if need be!  A few places we have found reasonably priced Christmas books in the past are...Scholastic book orders {they always have a few selections for only $1!}, local library book sales, Goodwill, and clearance sales after Christmas.  I got the hardback of Llama, Llama Holiday Drama for a steal at Target 2 years ago!!!...love that series!

Pinterest is another great place to find ideas to do over the holidays.  I just came across this spot the difference printable that Little Bit and I can do today!

What traditions or plans do you have for celebrating this holiday season?!


Chili Cornbread Casserole...

I was looking for something to do with some leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and I was going to put it in a big pot of chili but decided to make this instead.  I have made it before without the turkey so feel free to omit that if you don't have any on hand.  The hubs and I really enjoyed it!

            photo by TheFrenchKitchen

1 can chili or 2-3 cups leftover chili {enough to cover the bottom of an 8x8 pan}
1 cup shredded turkey {leftover from Thanksgiving!}
1 package cornbread mix
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/3 cup shredded cheese

Coat an 8x8 pan with non-stick spray.  Spread chili in bottom of pan.  Top with shredded turkey if desired.  Combine cornbread mix, egg, milk, corn and cheese.  Spread the cornbread mixture over the top.  Bake in 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. 


Dasani drops review...

Time for another product review!!!  This time Meijer sent me a fun little package from Dasani.  The box contained 4 different bottles of Dasani Drops flavor enhancers.  Dasani Drops is a liquid flavor enhancer you can use to add delicious fruit flavor and sweetness to your water anytime, anywhere.  Flavors included to try were Strawberry Kiwi, Mixed Berry, Pink Lemonade and Pineapple Coconut. 

My hubby is all about flavored water so he was ready to crack these babies open as soon as I took them out of the box.  He loves Pineapple Coconut so that was the first one we tried.  The flavor was great!  I could close my eyes and imagine myself on a beach somewhere!  ;)  All the flavors were good but that one was our favorite.  I can definitely see us buying these in the future.  We even gave some to our friends to try and they really liked the flavors as well.

The only downside we found is with how the drops come out.  The instructions are to add drops to your water.  Well, they don't come out in drops.  They come out in a stream as you sqeeze.  So you have to just get out a measuring spoon, or wing it.  We usually just wing it and it turns out ok.  You just might need to add some shake, taste and then add more if it needs it. 

I'm thinking these would be great to take to Disney!...or anywhere for that matter.  They are small enough to fit in your purse or even pocket and can spruce up your plain old water.  Have you tried these yet or think you might? 

Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ ranch chicken fries, mozz sticks, fruit
Tuesday ~ pasta, salad, garlic bread
Wednesday ~ turkey chili, pb sandwiches, fruit {using leftover turkey from thanksgiving!}
Thursday ~ chicken & dumplings, mashed potatoes, fruit
Friday ~ pizza night!

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you all have a wonderful time with family and friends over the holiday!  I am so thankful to be spending time with loved ones and eating yummy food!  ;)


new tree!

Man it sure has been awhile since I have blogged....sorry if you've missed me...lol!  Life just gets busy and I haven't put a high priority on blogging.  I do miss it sometimes though...it's a good creative outlet.  So to jump back in I thought I would show you what has been keeping me busy lately.

We knew moving into our new house that come Christmas time we would need a new tree....due to the 11 foot ceilings in our living room.  So we have been on the lookout for a 9 foot tree that we like.  After exhausting all the stores in town we went online and found this one at Sears...
It is a pre-lit Frasier Fir....I love that it is real looking, without the mess {or smell} of a real tree.  Sorry but I am not a fan of pine smell. 

Next we knew we would need more ornaments...so another search began.  We ended up going with pink, green and teal assorted balls and bell shaped ornaments from Wal-mart. They were a great deal and add some great color to the tree!  I used our existing snowman ornament collection too.  But I wanted to add a few more new ones.  AND you know that I love owls...so I was super excited when I found these at Target...

They were the perfect colors to coordinate with our new "bright" ornaments.  So our snowman collection is becoming an owl and snowman collection!  ;)

I know we haven't gotten through Thanksgiving yet, but we go out of town to be with our families and I just like to get a jump start on getting the tree ready for the Christmas season! 

Do you have your tree up yet?  What kind of color/ornament theme to you use? 


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ scrambled eggs, sausage, bagels, fruit
Tuesday ~ chicken patties, tater tots, salad
Wednesday ~ spaghetti dinner at prek program
Thursday ~ meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread
Friday ~ dinner on the go...

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


happy halloween...

My little butterfly is all ready to collect some treats!
Hope you have a fun and safe night if you are out trick or treating tonight!


costume parade...

I wanted to add something to my entry way mirror to "fall it up" a bit!  So I got out pics of Little Bit in her costumes over the years and hung them on some twine using mini clothespins. 

I added some leaves in between the pics and I just love how it turned out!!!

age 1...giraffe, age 2...pirate...

age 3...Jessie the yodeling cowgirl, age 4...owl!

coming soon...age 5...beautiful butterfly! ;)


{budget} butterfly birthday...

Little Bit's requests for her birthday "party" were for it to be a butterfly theme and to get together and play with some friends.  Well, at the time we had a dirt yard and nothing fun to play with in our yard.  Plus it is so hard to schedule things on the weekends and evenings with all the sports and family things going on.  So we planned an after school get together at the park!
We love having park parties.  All I did was provide a simple snack and party favor and we just let the kids play. 
I wanted to have an easy snack for the kiddos and tried to think of something butterflyish.  I found these pretzels at Aldi and they were butterfly shaped enough {if you use your imagination!} so we went with those.  {Plus they were safe for our friends with allergies.}

I also picked up a box of Aldi version capri suns. 

And you can't have a good birthday party without sending your guests home with some favors, right?!  So this is what I came up with...
I used some Market Pantry fruit snacks from Target, squeezed them together in the center and wrapped pipe cleaners around them to make butterflies!

We also found these butterfly blowers at the Dollar Tree!  The kids had a blast with them!  Also from the Dollar Tree I got some butterfly birthday napkins to serve the snack on. 

So for under $10 we were able to have a butterflyrific birthday!!!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ scrambled eggs, pancake on a stick, fruit
Tuesday ~ crock pot chicken fajitas, beans, corn
Wednesday ~ ravioli, salad, bread
Thursday ~ honey coconut salmon, green beans, rice
Friday ~ pork roast, mashed potatoes, salad, bread

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


{fall} is here!

I know, I know...it's been here for a few weeks now, but it took me a little while to get decorated.   It is fun going through my decor, finding places to put everything in the new house.  One of my favorite places to decorate is our living room fireplace.  I just love our new white fireplace!  Things just seem to pop on it!  I also love the turquoise from my day to day decor mixed in with the orange! 

I also love this new ladder shelf we added in the living room.  It has lots of space to add cute bits of goodness! 

Little Bit and I made this fingerprint tree last year and I was glad to have a new place to display it! 

What are your favorite places to decorate for fall or just decorating in general?

Linking up with:
Organize and Decorate Everything


Dinner at {Chefs de France}...

Well, things are starting to get back to normal around here.  We got back from Disney last Sunday and got right back to our work and school routine.  We all felt blah for a few days with sinus stuff.  Then we were busy with a subdivision garage sale and landscaping our bare yard over this past weekend.  Getting everything planted is a slow process due to the fact that our yard is mostly clay...not fun digging material!  {but the hubs is doing a great job!}  So I'm back to the blog and thought I would give you a peak into our Disney trip over a few posts, so here we go...

This was our third year in a row at Disney and we haven't tried many restaurants other than quick service and the San Angel Inn in Mexico at Epcot.  So this year we decided to try some new things.  We had reservations at Chefs de France at Epcot.  This is where Remy the mouse from the movie Ratatouille makes his appearance.

He is under a covered platter and wheeled around on a cart to each table while you are dining.  Once at your table the cover is removed from the platter and a man interacts with you and Remy moves and makes little motions with his hands.  It was pretty cute!  Little Bit enjoyed seeing him...as we had just watched the movie {a few times!} before we came to Disney.  

This was my meal....Lasagnes de legumes du soleil a l'huile d'olive au thym {aka...vegetable lasagna}.  It doesn't look it from the picture but it was very yummy!

We had finished our meal and were about to leave when our waitress came over to the table with about 5 or 6 others singing Happy Birthday in french to Little Bit!  We were all a bit shocked but thrilled at this fun experience! 

She got a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a candle in it!  She gobbled that up pretty quick!  ;)

This was definitely a successful and very fun dining experience and would recommend Chefs de France to anyone planning a trip to Disney!


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ pot roast, salad, apple slices, bread
Tuesday ~ scrambled eggs, bagels, sausage
Wednesday ~ honey coconut salmon, green beans, rice
Thursday ~ BBQ pork sandwiches, chips, fruit
Friday ~ chicken & mushroom soup (trying a tweaked version in the crockpot!), bread

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


happy birthday princess!

My Little Bit is 5 today!!!  These last five years have gone by so fast.  I can't believe how big she is getting and what a sweet little lady she is becoming.  I love you precious girl!


{autograph} book

We are enjoying fun times at Disney World this week!   One of Little Bit's favorite things to do is get characters names!  ;)  We used the same book for the last 2 trips, so I figured it was time for a new one...

I wanted one that was a decent size, big enough to include 4x6 pics in it but small enough to fit in my purse.  I also thought spiral bound would be good.  In my head I was thinking drawing book because it would have blank pages and be spiral bound.  Well I didn't realize there were so many different options.  I ended up choosing a mixed media notebook.  I liked the thickness of the paper in this one and knew I could easily alter it up!

I just added some cardstock, Mickey head and some letter stickers.  Then I took a ribbon and tied one end to a sharpie and the other to the book!  Happy signing characters!!!

Have you been to Disney?  What are your favorite things to do there? 


project {life}...weeks 18-21

I'm still playing catch up with my scrapbooking.  I'm loving my new craft room, it's just that not much scrapbooking is getting done in there yet.  I'm trying to get a new routine figured out now that school has started...slowly but surely!

In the meantime here are some pages I had done before the move...

 Our house went on the market this week, we sold a couch, got a new one and got new dishes!

 This week brought several showings already, Mother's Day and Mark ran his first 5K!!!

Little Bit did a Mother's Day recital for me!  ;)  It was so cute, she drew her dance moves and then preformed them for us!!!  I love this girl!

 My sister graduated from 8th grade this week, Gracie's last soccer game and last day of school!

Our 1st week of summer!...lots of outside time!