Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!

TRicK - oR - TrEaT !!

What activities do you participate in to celebrate Halloween??

My favorite activity is crafting special decor!  I was hoping to share my Happy Halloween wreath with you last week, but I will be thankful I can share it with you today... on Halloween!  The wreath is hand made by yours truely. It is indeed one of my favorite creations!

Thirty Handmade Days 


I am celebrating the return of our laptop and the blessing that my photos were able to be retrieved, backed up, and are viewable!!  So, so, so very thankful!  I took time today and went back and viewed the photos of my precious son when he was born and special family events that I documented.  My heart is so happy that I still can view the images from those special moments in time.
Restoring the rest of the laptop is a work in progress.  Today's success story is connecting to the network, installing anti-virus software and accessing the internet. Wahoo!

Friday, October 26, 2012

hard drive gone bad

Good evening! I come to you via my husband's iPad to give a quick update regarding my lack of blog posts this week. Is the following task on your "to do" list: Back up photos and documents from computer. (?) If it is, DO IT NOW!!!  I am currently waiting to hear from my computer repair man regarding my 20k photos and if they were successfully retrieved following the failure of the hard drive on our 2year old hp laptop. Let me tell you of the heartache I've experienced the last week while in waiting. It is nothing I wish on anyone. I made the goal to take at least one photo of our son everyday of his life...and that is just a glimpse of the memories stored in on my computer. Now, I do have some photos stored on an external hard drive but the last time we went to back them up the external hard drive did not have enough space left (and hearing I have 20,000 photos I understand how it got full so fast!) so many are only on the computer.  I am very hopeful the files are readable and usable!
I must admit that a week without a computer has really been an eye-opening experience! I have not been on Pinterest for a week and I'm still alive and functioning...and was even able to craft and cook without consulting a pin! I have spent more time with my husband and realized I need to close the laptop more when I have it back in my possession to invest in relationships. I have realized that Facebook is overrated and those I truly care about make personal phone calls! (Although I do love looking at photos & keeping up with random happenings!) I do miss posting on the blog and of course I had some fun things planned to share with you-so as soon as I get my photos back...I will get a posting!
So, thank you for your understanding and patience! Please continue to visit the blog as I will return as soon as I'm able!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

favorite cookies

My little love has recently demonstrated a joy in the kitchen and wants to help
momma cook and bake.  I must make him his own little man apron!

It was a rainy fall day here in Michigan on Friday; perfect for staying inside and baking!  My husband has been begging requesting me to make his favorite pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies the last few weeks.  Then, I had a friend from MOPS contact me for the recipe as I shared the cookies with my table last year.  And so I started to feel the need to make the scrumptious cookies...I just knew that once they were mixed up in our home they were going to be a great temptation to eat them all...quickly! I finally gave in and little love and I spent the morning in the kitchen measuring, stirring, taste testing and baking cookies!  They are by far the best pumpkin cookies we have ever enjoyed and are loved year-round in our home!  If you want the recipe, you can click on the link to my blog post: Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies published last fall.  I'll admit that a large portion of the dough never even has the opportunity to make it into the stove as it is enjoyed by the spoonful right from the bowl in the fridge.  I told you they are a huge temptation...but oh, so good!

Don't they look amazingly delicious??  They are!  Go print the recipe and try them as soon as possible!

Friday, October 19, 2012

{gift giving} hot pink zebra tie shirt

Today I would like to share the shirt I made for my dear friend's daughter.  I mentioned the shirt in my weekend recap post and promised to share the final product.  I initially began making tie onesies for my little love and then started to sell them in my store.
{Click on the photo to go to my etsy store listing}

My friend knew that I made and sold tie onesies and inquired if I had considered making them for older children.  Her daughter had purchased a shirt with a tie on it from a retail store and unfortunately grew out of it and had to pass it down to her sister.  My friend had been on a search for a new tie shirt in her daughter's size but was unsuccessful.  When we were invited to the birthday party of my friend's daughter, the idea of the tie shirt resurfaced.  I created a tie from black and hot pink zebra print cuddle cotton fabric and placed it on a black long-sleeved shirt.  I created a different style tie than the style featured on the onesies. The new look is a loose-fitted tie hanging on a slant from the collar. This shirt totally fits the style of my friend's daughter and I was so excited to give it to her as a gift for her 10th birthday!


 If you are ever looking for a custom made item, please contact me as I love new projects and the opportunity to make your vision a reality! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I am thankful for my gift of creativity.  God has blessed me with the opportunity to use my creativity in many ways and I am so blessed. From creating curriculum and activities for my Kindergarten classroom, decor for my wedding, gifts for friends, teaching classes at JoAnn Fabric & Craft Store, making items for family members, preserving photo memories, selling my work on etsy, and documenting my journey here on my blog.   It brings me such joy to create and share my gift! My best days are ones that include creating something.  What do your best days include?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

{MWW} Enchilada Soup

The change of seasons and the cooler weather is an invitation for soup to find its way onto the menu in our home.  I must admit that I am picky regarding the soups I consume, but this Enchilada Soup gets a gold star from me! I hope that you will be inspired to make this soup and that it will provide comfort and warmth on a blustery fall or winter day!

This is another tried-and-true recipe from my Pillsbury slow cooker cook book.  Read below for recipe directions and my commentary from preparing the meal for my family.

Pillsbury photo documentation of meal:

 Enchilada Soup

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Start to Finish:  7 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6
 {directly taken from the Pillsbury Slow Cooker book I own}
2 cups Progresso chicken broth (from 32oz carton)
1 can (19oz) Old El Paso mild or hot enchilada sauce
1 can (4.5oz) Old El Paso chopped mild green chiles
1 package (20oz) bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed
1 can (15oz) Progresso black beans, drained, rinsed
1 bag (12oz) Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers Niblets frozen corn, thawed, drained
Shredded Mexican cheese blend, if desired
Chopped fresh cilantro, if desired
Crushed tortilla chips, if desired

My commentary regarding the ingredients:
I substituted the chicken for some turkey breast fillets I needed to use up.  I still used chicken broth with turkey as the meat.  It tasted just fine.  I always purchase the cheapest brand so our chicken broth was Meijer and not Progresso, our corn was from a Green Giant can and our black beans were not Progresso.  Fear not, it all tasted the same!  I did however purchase Old El Paso brand for the mild enchilada sauce and mild green chiles.  I failed to read the amount correctly to realize I needed 19oz so one of my cans was a 10pz can of green enchilada sauce I had in the pantry and one was a 10oz can of regular red enchilada sauce I purchased. I did not use cilantro but definitely added cheese and chips...and sour cream!
 {directly taken from the Pillsbury Slow Cooker book I own.  All photos below were taken by me in the preparation process.}

Spray 4-5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.  In cooker, mix broth, enchilada sauce and chiles.  Place chicken into enchilada sauce mixture; spoon sauce over chicken.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting for 7 to 8 hours.

Remove chicken from cooker with slotted spoon.  
Stir beans and corn into mixture in cooker. 
Increase heat setting to High. Cover; cook 5 to 10 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, shred chicken by pulling apart with 2 forks; return to cooker.
Cook until thoroughly heated.

Top each serving with cheese, cilantro and tortilla chips.
My commentary regarding the directions:
I did not alter the directions given.  I can confess that the slow cooker remained on the High setting for a couple hours following dinner while we ran some errands and the juice cooked off and we are now serving the left overs as burritos! So, whatever form you choose to serve this meal in - enjoy!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

What do you see in me?

weekend recap

Hello, hello!
Hope your Monday has started out well.  Little love is resting and it is a beautiful thing!
Did you have an enjoyable weekend?  I thought I would take some time today and share details on what our weekend consisted of.  I know I don't always share the details of our day to day here it is!
The weather is Michigan was pretty cruddy - wet and damp both days.  However, any weekend when daddy is off work is like sunshine pouring in to little love and me!  As I mentioned on Friday, our weekend started out unexpectedly early with the arrival of daddy off work.  We took a trip to the mall as we purchased a winter coat for little love and unfortunately the cashier forgot to take the 'ink' security tag off.  So, thankfully we didn't need the coat this week and we got that taken care of. Little love was thrilled to be at the mall and even got to visit the dogs at the pet store twice upon request! What a lucky guy!
Friday evening I got to paint pottery with my MOPS table and our 'sister' table.  It was a great time and I am so excited to share my platter with you when it is done!  My inspiration came from my blog header and it turned out so great!
Saturday little love and I took daddy to a Music & Movement session at the library.  Due to daddy's work schedule, he has been unable to accompany us in the past.  We had a fun morning introducing daddy to one of little love's favorite places.  And daddy even sang and did the finger plays! {which was no surprise at all since he is the biggest kid I know!} Saturday evening we attended the birthday party for our good friends' daughter.  Stay tuned for a separate post on her gift - a hot pink and black tie shirt.  It was a huge hit!
Sunday we journeyed to church - a.k.a. the place where little love gets a sticker and plays.  That is his description anyways!  I was a tad jealous of him as they told us he got to go into the kid's large group session today. What a big boy!  I am sure he loved every second of the music and teaching. We enjoyed lunch at bd's mongolian bbq for lunch as daddy needed to use his birthday voucher for a free stir fry...yum!  No complaints here as we love their food!
Sunday evening concluded our hunt for snow boots for our little love.  I do hope that since we are prepared for snow that we will not have any on the ground for a long time!  One can hope, right?  Following our boot hunt, we really needed to eat dinner as we were past our regular dinner time and our little love gets a bit feisty when hungry. We knew it would be a bad idea to continue home so we decided to go to Longhorn Steakhouse.  Neither myself or my husband had ever dined there and we probably never will again if we have the choice.  We learned to be truthful when they ask how your food is.  The waiter even gathered that I was just picking at my pork chop and I told him I didn't like it.  It was not flavorful; no juice and way too salty. They offered to cook something different but with the little guy we knew we didn't have time to wait for another round of meat.  So we declined and asked for our bill.  I don't think that we expected the meal to be removed from our bill but it was...and we were thankful. 
And that my friends, is our weekend in a nut shell....and a lllooonnnnggg nutshell at that!
Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 12, 2012

I love today!!

Top reasons I love today:
the sun is shining - little love did not scream while we went grocery shopping - i talked to special friends - i got to craft during nap time - the fall foilage makes me smile - my husband just called to say he got off work early {which is unheard of!} - i am having a mom's night out tonight and we are painting pottery - God is showing us direction for our future - i feel happy

May you feel God's love today and look for the beauty in your life! 

a good laugh...

...brought to you by Pinterest.  Oh, so true!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

a beautiful fall day!

What a beautiful sunny fall day in Michigan!  Okay, so the weather was only 43degrees at 10am...but it looks so beautiful from inside the house!  I am just in awe, this fall especially, of the outstanding handiwork of God's beautiful creation.  The tree leaves are so breathtaking; the rich reds and oranges! I love it!  I love it so much that I created the tile {documented in the photos above} for my etsy store.  I'd be honored to have you visit my store and check out my creations! And when you're done looking - go out and enjoy this beautiful day!

friendships & mentors

This week God has reminded me of the value of friendships and mentors.  We are called to be in community with one another - to love, support, encourage, serve and grow together.  I am thankful for and blessed to have individuals in my life that fulfill those roles.  I also give thanks for those individuals that I am able to pour into in the same way.  Praising God that He gives us opportunities to use our gifts, talents and life-story to influence the life of another.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

{MWW} Sweet-and-Sour Pork

Today I am sharing a recipe for Sweet-and-Sour Pork from my Pillsbury Slow Cooker book. 
This meal has been given the 'thumbs up' and made the way into our regular meal rotation.
I hope you'll make it and enjoy it too!

Pillsbury photo documentation of this meal:


My photo documentation of this meal:

Continue to read below for my tutorial and commentary on preparing this meal.

Sweet-and-Sour Pork 

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Start to Finish: 5 hours
Servings: 4

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 boneless pork shoulder blade roast (2 lb)
1 jar (10oz) sweet-and-sour sauce
1/2 cup Progresso chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
I used Meijer brand chicken broth from a carton
1 can (20oz) pineapple chunks in juice, drained
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directly from my Pillsbury Slow Cooker Cook Book

In 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. 
Add pork roast; cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until browned.

Spray 3.5 to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. 

Into cooker, pour sweet-and-sour sauce.
Add pork, broth and pineapple.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours.

About 15minutes before serving, in small bowl, mix water and cornstarch until smooth.
Remove pork from cooker; place on cutting board or serving platter. 
Stir cornstarch mixture into liquid in cooker.
Return pork to cooker.
Increase heat setting to High. 
Cover; cook 10minutes longer or until sauce has slight thickened.

Cut pork into slices; serve with sauce.

My commentary on directions:
I do know if spraying the slow cooker is advantageous or not.  Mine still browns and gets icky.  If you try and cook it for a short time period on the High setting, you will dry out the meat.  Plan accordingly to cook on Low for 4.5 hrs.  Be sure to cook the full 10minutes on High after adding the cornstarch or it will have a weird texture.  We serve our pork with rice.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Marathon Motivation

Congratulations to all individuals who completed the Chicago Marathon! Do you know anyone who ran in the Chicago Marathon on Sunday?  I have quite a few individuals near and dear to my heart that were victorious in completing the 26.2 miles!  Each individual I personally know who competed in the event were not running for their own good but for the good of others.  Below I have highlighted each organization that my friends represented in the Chicago Marathon to educate and inspire you. Have you ever considered the possibility of partnering with an organization committed to changing lives through the venue of endurance events?  I can guarantee your life will be changed!
Click on the images below to view the website of each organization.

My friend, Dan, ran the Marathon as a commitment to THE HALL STEPS FOUNDATION. 
Founded in late 2009 by professional runners Ryan and Sara Hall, The Hall Steps Foundation is a non-profit movement to fight global poverty through better health. Our goal is to build a community and provide each member an opportunity to take their own STEPS toward relieving suffering and helping the poor rise out of poverty. We are a lifestyle philanthropy that encourages our supporters to make a personal commitment to their own health and wellness, using that as a catalyst to ignite change and make a difference in the lives of others.

If you have followed my "Journey with Jordan" posts you have been introduced to Team In Training with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Jordan's mother, Andrea completed the Chicago Marathon on Sunday with Jordan's two brothers, Wes and Kyle.  It was a celebratory race honoring the milestone of Jordan being 5 years out of treatment and 'cured'!

The video below showcases Jordan's journey of life. Jordan was one of the special speakers at this year's Team In Training Pasta Dinner Saturday evening before the race.  It is an incredible blessing for my husband, my sister and myself to be featured in a few of the photos.  We are truly inspired by this amazing family and their story.

Team World Vision

 Our church, NorthRidge, partnered with Team World Vision and had 250+ individuals commit to participate in the Chicago Marathon and fundraise to bring clean water to Zambia, Africa.  The team goal was to raise $500,000 and they achieved it and then an addition $30,000 beyond their initial goal!!! The money raised will bring clean water to 10,000 people and make a positive influence on the generations to come.  Yeah God!  I personally know some of the team members and I admire the devotion and discipline they exemplified throughout their training.  Just as I mentioned above; they made a commitment to change the lives of others and through it all, their life changed as well.

 Pastor Sean, who officiated my wedding, ran the Chicago Marathon as a commitment to Share Your Soles
 Share Your Soles began after Mona Purdy traveled through Central America and discovered that the people did not have protective wear for their feet. She committed to collecting shoes and since that day, Share Your Soles has donated over tens of thousands shoes. Share Your Soles is not affiliated with any government, church, political group or other organization. We do not claim to know the causes of poverty throughout the world. We only know it exists, and we do what we can to help. We are a growing group of people who think it's all pretty simple: by giving whatever you can, maybe just an hour or two each month, it's easy to become involved and change the world.  They believe "We can't walk in their shoes...let them walk in ours."  

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