Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekend Surprise: Finally Broke Out My Christmas Present (Teri)

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For Christmas I was given money to buy my own present, I bought myself a Cricut Expressions machine. I know, I know, how could I wait this long to use it…..I’ll sum it up for you in two words overwhelming intimidation. I was scared to use it, not because I didn’t know if I could figure it out, but because there are so many things to do with it, and frankly I didn’t know where to start.

Let me start my story by telling you what a fabulous deal I got on my Cricut. I went shopping with my wonderful Mom, the day after Thanksgiving. Walmart had it in their ad for $188 including two cartridges. What an awesome deal, since the machine normally retails for about $350, and the cartridges that came with mine retail for about $25 each. I figured Walmart would be a zoo, and I probably wouldn’t get a machine, but a local craft store had them for $199 with two cartridges, so I decided to go there. Better yet, when I got there the lines weren’t horrible, and they met Wally’s price, $188! Aren’t you turning green with envy at what an awesome steal I got?

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I decided that I would start with something really simple, and cheap so as to limit the intimidation factor. I don’t have any Valentine’s decorations at all, so I thought I’d make me one. I had this frame on hand and so I cut this cute heart out of scrapbook paper I already had, and mounted it on more paper I already had using Mod Podge, I let that dry and coated the whole thing again with Mod Podge, let it dry and put it in the frame and voile there you have my first Valentine’s Day Decor (and the world's longest run on sentence). For free!!! Can’t beat that. If any of you have any fabulous suggestions about overcoming my intimidation and overwhelmedness (I know it’s a made up word, but it perfectly describes how I feel) with my Cricut, please give them to me!

Looking at these pictures I realize that my wall hanging needs some work. I am going to put a colored ribbon on the tall ivory candle, any other suggestions?

This post linked to the Frugalicious Friday party at Finding Fabulous and Market Yourself Monday at Sumo's Sweet Stuff and Motivated Monday at Shimmer and Tulle and Get Your Craft On at Today's Creative Blog

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Feature Friday: Tales of a shared womb and shared quirks

Note: This color is Micki and this color is Teri

You know how everyone has their little quirks. Well we have several of the same quirks (as each other) ......go figure.

We don't like our food to touch on our plates (Micki's mother-in-law gave her separate plates when she first became a part of the family). And don't even think about putting hot food and cold food on the same plate (my mother-in-law used to set out a separate salad plate just for me and my brother-in-law, because of this). And we don't like jello salad (or anything fruity) on the same plate as a green salad. We used to not use the same fork for the main meal and dessert or the same cup twice, but we have gotten over that (speak for yourself, I still like a clean fork for dessert).

We both rub our feet together to go to sleep (it's a comfort thing. I remember when we went to girls camp in the summer and had slick sleeping bags, it used to drive people crazy because they could hear our feet scratching the inside of our bags).

We both have irrational fear of bridges. So if any of you have seen the bridge they are building by the Hoover Dam, you will know we are terrified to think we might have to eventually drive over it(oh, I WON'T be driving over it, I will take the other way). Mine is more a fear of heights in general, I once fell down flat on my stomach riding a ferry over to Vancouver Island because the captain blew the whistle and it scared me because I was on the third deck up.

We both have Asthma that was diagnosed when we were adults.

When we were about eleven they were doing a research study at the local university on twins. We participated and even our brain waves (or lack of them) were identical. It was so much fun!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Guest Day Thursday: Shannon the seamstress (Micki)

My sister in law, Shannon, is a wonderful seamstress. Before getting her job outside the home, she sewed for a living. She makes anything from bags, to shopping cart covers, to beautiful outfits for little girls. She is one of the most talented people I know. We are just beginner crafters compared to a lot of the people we know. Here are some pics of some of her beautiful work:
A darling purse she made for herself

Cart Covers (the second one even has a matching diaper bag):

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What’s Cookin’ Wednesday: A Crumby Dessert (Teri)

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When my brother-in-law and his wife came down for dinner for my hubby’s birthday this weekend, she made these cake bon bons, and they were to die for good! The original recipe is from Betty Crocker, we changed it a tiny bit. Here’s the recipe step by step as I made them with my kids. If you don’t want the complete pictorial, scroll to the bottom of this post and see the Valentine’s version that my kids and I made!

Bake a yellow cake according to package directions and let cool for 15 min (you could use chocolate, but these are really rich as it is). Then crumble. This is why my hubby calls this a "crumby" dessert.

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Stir in a full container of chocolate frosting.

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Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours until able to form into balls (we used a small scoop to make ours, they were a little large, but we got more than that recipe said we would, so go figure).

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Freeze for half an hour, Melt chocolate chips in a microwave until they are melted enough to dip bon bons into (we used the equivalent to a bag of chocolate chips, although we did part of ours dark chocolate and part milk chocolate). This is where we deviated from the recipe, it called for candy coating, which I guess is essentially white chocolate and regular chocolate, although I’m not sure. Dip bon bons in melted chocolate and touch to favorite toppings. After all are dipped, return to fridge until chocolate is set. Serve!

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Tip: Did you know you could toast coconut in the microwave in under 2 minutes? I didn’t, but I found directions online. Put it on a plate spread out, cook in 15 to 30 second intervals stirring in between. I started out with two 30 second intervals and then two 15 second intervals and ended up with gorgeous toasted coconut. When it first comes out of the microwave it will still seem soft and wet, but as it cools it becomes that chewy nutty texture of toasted coconut. This was all of our favorite topping on the bon bons!

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I thought these would make great Valentine treats for teachers or sweethearts or whoever. You could package them up in sweet little boxes.

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If you look really closely at the pink and white ones, you will see they are micro hearts. Cute huh!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Tadpole Tuesday: Kids in the Kitchen (Teri)

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We have been working really hard lately to eat out less. So far we have gone from eating out about 5-7 times a week (I know *gasp*) to once maybe twice a week. I know awesome huh? Better yet, we are all cooking more. As part of that, I have been having my daughter who is almost 12 cook once a week. She plans what she will cook and I put it on the menu for a day I’m not working and can help her. She LOVES to cook, and especially bake (she is in the kitchen working on the recipe I will be posting tomorrow right now). For Christmas a couple of her gifts were cooking themed, and she got measuring cups and spoons in her stocking. So what have I found that is easy for her to use, and that she loves you ask?

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My son also likes to help, but at six, sometimes it’s mostly just a fun activity (for them anyway) than it is actual help.

For Christmas my daughter got Paula Deen’s Cooking for the Luchbox Set. It’s fabulous for kids (and beginning cooks) because not only are the recipes simple, but there are illustrations to boot! The recipes are given step by step, which is annoying to me as a more experienced cook but awesome for her.

My daughter also got the Perfect Brownie Pan. I know you are holding your sides and laughing (and would be laughing even harder if you knew that her brother gave her a Snuggie). It’s so fun for her though, and the brownies (from a mix so far is all) turn out great and in perfect proportion to each other.

Micki has been working with her daughter (if you read this post, you will know she is almost 12 as well) on cooking as well. Her daughter’s favorite food is tacos, so that’s the first thing Micki taught her to make. Now, I realize you are going, how hard are tacos? But there are a lot of beginning skills to be learned by making tacos. She does everything including chopping all the veges. She may have a Perfect Brownie Pan coming her way someday soon!

Is there anything out there that you love for the budding chef (or the experienced on as well)? We would love to hear about it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mystery Monday: Slump

Micki and I were talking about what to post today. As you notice there is no picture. We have both been in a craft slump. Not for the lack of desire or projects on our list, just for lack of time to get anything done. I have a couple of projects in the works, hopefully I’ll be able to post later this week, and Micki is busy getting ready for our next craft extravaganza at her mother-in-laws (it’s in mid March, lets hope you don’t have to wait until then to see a new project from us). So the mystery today is :

What projects are you working on, since we don’t have any to share?