Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Recipe of the Week #28-Taco Stuffed Shells

Taco Stuffed Shells
1 lb beef
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 (14 oz) pkg cream cheese
12 large pasta shells
1 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monteray Jack cheese
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup sour cream

Brown beef. Add taco seasonings and prepare according to package directions. Add cream cheese. Cover and simmer until cheese is melted.
Set aside and allow to fully cool.
While beef is cooking, cook pasta shells.
Pour salsa in bottom of 9"x13" dish. Stuff each shell with meat mixture. Place shells in baking dish and cover the tops of shells with taco sauce.
Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle chips and cheese on top. Bake another 15 minutes. Top with sour cream and green onions.

This is a great recipe. You might be thinking, pasta with taco meat?! Take my word for it- it works!

You can see in the photo that I added jalapeno and garden salsa peppers to my hubby's shells.

I got this recipe from BlogChef.net.

Thanks for stopping by and God bless.

Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Using Old Spools as Photo Holders

     Hi Everybody! I have a cute and easy use for old wooden spools-
as a photo display.

I found this idea here with the wooden spools, but I thought why not take it one step further and cover the spools with pattern paper. . .

See how you just slip a photo into the slit and voila!

I have a large old jar full of spools on display on my fireplace hearth. (As my eleven year old likes to point out, I do love old stuff!)

All I did was create a slit in the side using a miter saw-

like this.

The spool holds a photo beautifully.
Then I covered this spool with a piece of map.

This one is covered with part of an old book page.
And this one is covered with sheet music.
Notice how I have it holding a gift card. What a great gift idea- once the gift card is removed, the spool becomes a photo holder!
I made a bunch of these last Christmas for work and church gifts. If you plan to do this, I suggest you plan to do the sawing over several nights as my hands got pretty tired after sawing several spools.

While I was making these, it dawned on me that with a piece of handwriting paper, the spool then becomes school-themed which means it would make a great teacher appreciation gift!

Thanks for stopping by and God bless.

Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10

This post is linked to Making the World Cuter Monday, Skip to My Lou and

Today's Creative Blog
shabby creek cottage

Friday, July 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Ethan!

Today, this delightful boy turns 11 years old.

Eleven years ago today, two weeks before my due date, I woke up knowing that I would be giving birth that day. Seven hours later, I was holding a precious, tiny bundle in my arms. He had a cowlick on the right side of his forehead, a tiny button nose, and he was ready to eat right away. He was perfect. I was in love.

For the first year of his life, he had a quiet personality, prone to bouts of crying for no reason. And he looked like an angel- a very well-fed angel. He was very loving and gave everybody big wet kisses. He loved music and would dance in rhythm to whatever music was playing. He would play with his plastic blocks, but instead of building with them, he would use one as a bat and one as a ball and whack them all over the living room. It was really quite impressive that he had such good timing for a baby.

Right before he turned one, he turned into quite a character!  He loved catching his older brother in a headlock with his big meaty thighs. He loved to throw things. He loved to wrestle. He loved to eat and thought he had to eat whenever anybody else was eating. He really loved balls and monkeys.

There were times he gave me a hard time and I would get so frustrated, but now I look back at them with a smile. Like when he was one and he decided that he no longer liked to sit in water for his bath. So I had to put a stool in the tub for him to sit on so that only his feet would be in the water. Or when he was three and needed to wear jeans to preschool on the first cool day of fall. I put them on him and he said, "These shorts are too long." It took quite a bit of convincing him to wear them. Or when he started kindergarten and informed me that it was not the place for him- that he'd rather stay home with me.

I remember him getting so upset with me because I wouldn't strap him to our plastic basketball goal with a rocket and shoot him in the air. I remember finding a bird wing in the boys' playroom. I remember getting poked with a plastic sword through the head rest in the car. I remember not being fast enough to pick up his gum that had fallen to the floor in a store before he had it back in his mouth. I remember watching him swan dive onto the floor at McDonalds instead of jumping to his feet.

The stories are endless. The memories are priceless. I am so blessed to call this boy my son.
Happy Birthday Ethan! I love you to the moon and back.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thrifty Thursday #27

     Hey Guys! I have got some cute stuff to show you today. . . I made a quick stop at the thrift stores on my way to get groceries. No, the thrift stores aren't actually on the way to Wal-mart, but my boys were behaving and I had some extra time, so I made the detour.:)
I fell in love with this little yellow bowl for fifty cents. It will be cute to put toppings in when we have tacos for dinner. 
Then, a little farther down the counter, I found this yellow and white bowl (I put the small yellow bowl inside for the photo) for $.75. It will be a good cereal bowl. My mother-in-law always had cute mismatched bowls like this; they make me think of her.

I couldn't pass up these three crocheted circles. I put a quarter next to them so you could see what size they are. I plan to put them on a cover of a scrapbook- they'll add a little homemade touch.

I'll be homeschooling my boys this year (with K12 online public school). We needed more binders, so I picked these up for a quarter apiece. They've hardly been used. I'll wipe them clean with a Clorox wipe and they'll be good as new.

This is the best purchase today- a beautiful, colorful crocheted blanket in awesome shape for only $4!
I feel like I should pick up handmade blankets when I find them; somebody put a lot of time and heart into them.
The checker at the thrift store somehow forgot to charge me for this. I was down the road when I realized it, so I turned around to take it back and pay. I wouldn't have felt right using it without paying for it! 

I found this old beauty in the "Free" box. I have plans for this. . .stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by and God bless.

I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:4
This post is linked to Apron Thrift Girl and
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I Heart Nap Time

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Layout of the Week #22- Using Ephemera As the Background of Your Layout

        How many times do you have pamphlets, maps, or menus from an outing that you would like to use on a layout but you just don't know how? Take a look at this.This week we're stepping out of the box by using a piece of ephemera for our layout background.
For this layout, I had a 12"x 23" piece of card stock with the Houston Texans logo on it. It was supposed to be fan-folded to make a noisemaker. My son and my dad brought me one thinking I could scrapbook on it.
I thought it would make a cool background for a layout.

To make a layout like this, you'll need:
a large piece of ephemera- a map, playbill, pamphlet, menu or anything else large enough to use for a layout (it will work even if it isn't quite 12"x12")
1 piece of 8 1/2"x11" card stock for the photo mats
letter stickers for the title (I used part of the parking ticket for my title)
4 photos

First, trim your background to 12"x12" (or slightly smaller depending on the size of your ephemera). Then mat each photo on card stock. I used white card stock and left a larger border at the bottom so my photos would look like Polaroids. 

Place your photos from top to bottom in a diamond shape.

Place the title in the upper right hand corner and the journaling in the lower left corner. And you're done!
Feel free to shift your page elements to allow your ephemera to show through on the background.
Now, wasn't that easier than you thought it would be?
(Notice that I even included a game ticket behind the bottom photo.)

Here is another example- on this layout I used part of the packaging from the fireworks we bought. From the moment I saw this piece of the packaging, I knew I had to somehow include it on a layout! Because it was busy, I trimmed it to cover 2/3 of my card stock. Then I placed my journaling on a tag behind the bottom right photo and placed my title across my photos.

Here is a mini album I made using a zoo map as the pages.

The map was folded in half, then I adhered 2 pieces of chipboard covered with pattern paper on the ends for a cover. 
The book then pulls open and has accordian pages.The map is able to be seen as the background for each page. I added photos from the zoo trip.
Then the book closes up along the folds of the map.

     Thanks for stopping by and God bless.

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct,
love, faith, and purity show yourself an example of those who believe.
1 Tim. 4:12

This post is linked to 52 Mantles and Embracing Change.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Recipe of the Week #27 - Chocolate Chip Pie

Chocolate Chip Pie
1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie shell
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)
1 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees . In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in flour, sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Spoon into pie shell.

Bake for 55-60 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

This was one of the easiest pies I've ever made. Everybody in the house loved it- definetly a repeat recipe!

I found this recipe here.

Thanks for stopping by and God bless.
This post is linked to Making the World Cuter.

Be on the alert, stand firm in  the faith, act like men, be strong.
Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Cor. 16:13-14

Monday, July 23, 2012

Embroidery Hoop Photo Display

     I can't believe July is almost over- yipes! This summer is flying by! Speaking of summer, if you have photos from your summer outings, here's a quick and easy display you can make out of an embroidery hoop and some clothes pins.
I got my embroidery hoop at a yard sale. Whenever I see one at a yard sale or thrift store, I pick it up. You just never know when you'll need one:)
Anyway, to make this, you need 10-12 clothespins. I covered mine with decorative scrapbook paper. Then I used a glue gun and spaced them out on the hoop. You need to alternate which direction they are facing- the first one faces out, the second one faces in, the third one faces out, and so on. That way you'll have enough room to place your photos.
I glued flowers to a couple of the clothes pins.
To make a hanger, you just use a long piece of ribbon. Center it over the pin of the hoop.

I made this one for me. I think I'll hang it in the front entry with photos and love notes.
I don't have a spot to show off recent photos. This will work just fine for that.

Here's one I made for a friend's birthday.

This would be a cute way to show off birthday cards or Christmas cards. It would make a wonderful grandparent or teacher gift. It could also be an inspiration board.
What else could you use this for?. . .

Thanks so much for stopping by and God bless.

And we know that all things work together for good to those
who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 9:28

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Tutorial for Incredibly Easy Mini Album

     Happy Friday, my craft-loving friends! Today I'm going to show you how to make a simple, but very cute, mini scrapbook album. I love mini albums and I love envelopes- this tutorial combines the two.
All you need is
one 9"x12" envelope 
three pieces of double sided pattern paper
twine or ribbon 
an anywhere hole punch (or Cropadile 2)

Start by folding the envelope in half- this will be the cover of the album. To strenghten it, you can place 2 pieces of 5 3/4"x 8 3/4" chipboard inside the envelope on either side of the fold. Avoid the fold or the book won't close well. I cut up a cereal box for my chipboard.
Then seal the envelope.
Decide which piece of pattern paper that you want on the cover. Trim to fit. The paper I used already had the tags along the left side.  I just added the title and a couple of embellishments.

Cut the other two pieces of pattern paper to 8 3/4" x 11 1/2". Fold in half. Center on the envelopes and use your Cropadile or hole punch to make 2 holes on the fold. You can either hole punch them all at once or measure, mark, and punch them separately- whichever you are more comfortable with.

Then use your ribbon or twine to bind the pages in the envelope cover. Tie so that the bow is on the outside fold. (See top photo).

This will give you an album with 5 two-page layouts.

There's lots of room for photos.

Adhere your photos then embellish.

Didn't I tell you it was easy?

You can use the other half of the pattern paper left over from the front and place it on the back cover.

So, what do you think? Cute and easy, huh?

Thanks for stopping by and God bless.

Your word I have treasured in my heart that I might not sin against You.
Psalm 119:11

This post is linked to At the Picket Fence and