Thursday, February 24, 2011

Organization is the key

I am back to cleaning and organizing. It felt like I was sick, then I was busy and my weekly projects began piling up on me. This past week, I was able to work on my list of 52 and get a few done.

Organizing Junkie, has a plan for 52 weeks to a clutter-free, organized home. She encourages folks to break down their organizing projects into 52 weekly mini-projects. My first round was the bedroom closet. Then I worked on the hall closet and now we can close it completely.

This week I have a space of containerized (real word I promise) dog stuff. Also, a series of bookshelves that are finally weeded out and tidy grace my bookcase. And finally, the bottom shelf in the pantry which has been my dishtowel nemesis, has been conquered. I went to Target to buy suitable containers for the supplies and I purged a great deal. I am finally accepting that in my life I need things that are functional as well as beautiful. I am also accepting that I cannot keep every gift I have ever been given... that requires a larger home and more containers. :)

Here are some after pictures of my organizing successes. You may be asking where are the before pictures. Are you crazy? Do you think I am honestly going to show off what a slob I am?! No way! But I will show off my new happy little corners of clean.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tis the Season

The season for making Christmas cards that is. Thanks again to Jingle Belles and Sparkle's blog for giving me inspiration. They also gave me guidelines which is really good for me as I am totally a rule follower.

So, the goal was to use a sketch. Actually, to use a special sketch that both Jingle Belles and Sketchy Thursdays teamed up to create. Like it gets any better than that. Then, Sparkle Smith gave her Christmas card challenge and it was a color challenge. Sparkle's Christmas challenge encouraged us to use, dark and light blue, silver and white. So, with a sketch and a color pallet, it was pretty much easy living. I even got to use up the rest of my Bo Bunny Christmas paper from last season. Let's hear it for scraps! And great challenges!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Treats in the Mail

Oh how I love to get treats in the mail! Yippee Skippee! I just got my new Apron Strings Smaller than a Breadbox kit in the mail. Those of you who belong to a kit club understand the joy of getting a whole new box of possibilities. The most fun about this kit is... it contains October Afternoon paper.

Confession time: I have a slight obsession (need serious therapy) with October Afternoon. The two lines I would say that I hoard the most are October Afternoon and Sassafrass Lass. Judge not folks, I know there are a few of you out there who are closet hoarders. Perhaps your fix is Basic Grey or Graphic 45. But we can all relate to the desire to find the perfect pictures, perfect story for this our favorite paper.

So, in trying to use up stash, clean out supplies and get over hoarding problem, I have devised a plan. I am using this October Afternoon Modern Homemaker line on two super cool home binders for family Christmas gifts. Shh, don't tell. A home binder is simply a binder with important numbers, chore list, favorite recipes and anything else you might need to create household order. The Flylady has one and several magazines sell options for one. But my sister who is the single mother to a four year old is getting a handmade one from yours truly. Yep, that is how much I love my sister, I am wasting... I mean using October Afternoon paper on her. :)

I promise to show you the results when I am finished. Thanks for letting me using this post as group therapy for paper hoarding!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What to do with leftover brisket...

So, we are in the fortunate position of having left over brisket. After throwing it into the the crockpot with some carrots and parsnips, it came out yummy! But we had about pound that could not be taken up with lunches. Gee, too bad, right?

Tonight, I decided to go mexican. Into the pot went the following: canned tomatoes with green chiles, cooked rice (1 cup), frozen corn (1 cup), taco seasoning (1/4 cup) and several shakes of hot sauce. After it cooked through, I added shredded brisket and mixed together. We served it with tortillas.

Nothing like tasty leftovers to make a great night.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Scrapping again

I am working on a lot of pictures that have been sitting around for awhile. These are some of my favorite pictures. This is Gillian helping me make pizza dough. She is a riot. She put on her Disney Princess apron, rolled up her sleeves and informed me that, "ingredients are very important, Aunt Jana."

This is some scrap paper that I have been holding onto. Not sure I am convinced I like the way it wound up, but I can live with it. The sketch came from Sketchy Thursdays. Thanks to them for the fabulous inspiration.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A no-red Christmas card

The dogs have been walked and fed. The bathroom and kitchen have been cleaned, and there is a brisket happily cooking in the crockpot. It is finally time for some crafting.

Thanks to Jingle Belles, I am working on my Christmas cards. This weeks challenge is a Christmas card without any RED. It was so hard! I adore red. I try to sneak red into everything I do. In fact, I just got some cute red and white polka dotted ruffle ribbon. So, this took some thinking.

Luckily, I got a new stamp set from Stampin' Up. This is the Loads of Love set. I used some paper from the Graphic 45 Christmas Past Collection. This is the Letters to Santa sheet. Lastly, I used a set of lined post-it notes. All in all, I am happy with the result and cannot wait to try another one. Thanks Jingle Belles for getting me outside my comfort zone!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cleaning out the stuff

I have been working hard at cleaning out my scrapbooking supplies and making this place more livable. In the course of organizing and purging, I found some stamped images that I never got around to coloring or using. It was time.

Since I felt a little under the weather today, I colored! It was strangely comforting, like an artistic chicken noodle soup! Quite nice. I love the image of these two little girls but could not come up with a good plan for them. The only thing to do was to head over to the Mojo Monday folks and get a great sketch idea. Next, I hit my scrap draw. I am going through a lot of older paper. Paper that I like and have finally found a use for.

These cards look like Gillian cards to me. Gillian just turned four, as in this week, just turned four. She loves people, she loves to be creative and would probably just love to have some fun cards to send to her Grandpa and her "bestest Rita."

So thanks to the Stamping Bella group for the fun stamp, and thanks to the Mojo Monday folks for the fun sketch!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Getting the flock out of here

Years and years ago, I purchased flocking material to give my scrapbooks and cards some fun, velvety texture. And of course, it has stayed in the package until now. I also had some fun kid cutouts I got in an old kit from a friend a few years ago. Today, I am proud to say, they were all used!!

Thanks to Jingle Belles Christmas challenge, I pulled out the goodies! Their theme was "Baby, it's cold outside." They were encouraging felt, mittens, warm, etc. What is warmer and cozier than velvet flocking? Maybe some hot chocolate, but it is so hard to get cocoa on a card!

A few Christmas cards down, already I am feeling organized!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A California MIlestone

Since we have been living in Los Angeles, I have heard all about the food truck craze. There are food trucks everywhere. Originally, the L.A. food truck was primarily the taco truck. At this time, the food truck world has expanded. And until today, I had not sampled from this fun, food craze. Thankfully, hanging out in Abbot Kinney on Sunday afternoon allows you more than some great people watching. I snagged lunch at the Dim Sum truck! What did I have you ask? Oh, just the loaded mashed potato dumpling. Think potato, bacon, chives and cheese, wrapped up in a won-ton wrapper and fried. Oh yeah, that's what I am talking about!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Final San Francisco Layout

I needed a layout that focused more on journaling. There was so much to say about our San Francisco trip and I had to get it all down. Unfortunately, I cannot bear to scrap a page without a picture, so I had to put together a layout giving me enough space for journaling and still have a picture that represents the foggy city. That layout is scraplifted from an old Creating Keepsakes magazine. And I got to use up a lot of my old scraps and old kit pieces. Yeah!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Soup Night!

Thanks to a fabulous friend of mine, I have a tasty recipe for taco soup. It is full of protein and lycopene. Lycopene, a good for you nutrient, found in tomatoes. Like most recipes, I played with it until it fit the needs of our family. It called for 1 lb of ground sirloin and mexican style canned tomatoes, but I like ground turkey and only had Rotelle tomatoes with green chiles on hand.

- 1lb ground turkey
- 4 cans of Rotelle tomatoes with green chiles
- 1 can of black beans
- 1 can of chili beans
- 1 C of frozen corn kernels
- 1 packet of taco seasoning
- 1 packet of ranch dip seasoning
- 2 T of minced onion

1. Brown ground turkey in large stockpot. Add minced onion and cook through until turkey is no longer pink. Break up turkey with spoon.
2. Add taco seasoning and ranch seasoning.
3. Add in canned tomatoes, canned beans and corn.
4. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
5. If you want to be really decadent, add a handful of shredded cheddar to the bowl.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hello February

January has flown by and now February is here in full force. One of my goals for 2011 was to stick with my plan to make one to two Christmas cards every week until December. I decided that I would give myself the month of January off, but come February, I would work like a fiend.

To get me through this abbreviated year of cardmaking are several sites. There is Jingle Belles that will have challenges weekly. And Sparkle Creations also has weekly Christmas challenges. Plenty of inspiration to keep me going. But today, I started with an idea and some scraps. Love to be able to pull out some Christmas scraps and finish a card.

Gearing up for Christmas, here we go!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Granola in the morning

Many years ago, I was given a fabulous cookbook called More with Less. I have used it time and again, but the first recipe I began using regularly was one for granola. Since the time of the first granola experiment, I have made adjustments, changes and a few alterations. And as such, I now have a granola that meets the needs of our family. This is the recipe that I make once a week. It goes great with Greek yogurt and a cup of berries.

- 4C of oats (old fashioned)
-1C ground almonds
-1C shredded coconut
- 1/2C sesame seeds
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp Pumpkin pie seasoning
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2/3 C agave nectar
- 1/3C oil
-1 T vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. First, I ground the almonds using my grinder.
2. Add the oats, coconut, sesame seeds, salt, pie seasoning and cinnamon. Mix well.
3. Mix together, the agave nectar, oil and vanilla.
4. Pour into the oat mixture and mix.
5. Pour onto a baking sheet and put in oven.
6. Bake for 11 minutes. Stir and put back in the oven.
7. Bake another 11 minutes. Add 5 minutes if you want it really crunchy.
8. Let cool, break up and put in airtight container.

Note: We use agave nectar as a way of cutting down on sugar. Feel free to use honey if that is what you like. Also, use whatever pie spice you like, I started out with Apple pie spice and moved onto to pumpkin because it was what I had one day. Lastly, use whatever kind of oil you have. I sometimes use coconut or grapeseed for fun. Feel free to add dried fruit when you add the spices. Enjoy