Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Project Post 17: Flip Book

Since this is the last day of January, it's probably time to get out of the Christmas frame of mind. Now, I took down my decorations on December 26th, but I left up all my Christmas cards to enjoy them a little longer. So, I must confess that just up until a couple of days ago, the wall in our kitchen still boasted this:

And there were a lot more on a vertical swivel display on my island, too. Oops! Now they're down, packed neatly away and stored, and the chalkboard is free to display non-Christmas messages.

After I got married and way before we had a little one running around, I thought it would be a good idea to scrapbook my Christmas cards every year (also back when I had an abundance of free time in the morning and evening). It was a good idea, but now it's just a little unrealistic, and living in a small house makes me stingy with storage. I don't necessarily love the thought of having 4 bulky scrapbooks of cards (and counting) just because I enjoy looking through them from time to time. Plus, I had a complete album of 2008 cards, a partial album of 2009 cards, and 2.5 years of incomplete albums that were eating away at me to complete. So, I decided to get rid of the album idea and go with the little flip-book-on-key-rings idea floating around Pinterest. I didn't even pin a picture of it on one of my boards (as far as I remember), but I've seen dozens of them floating around.

Last night I finally got around to putting it together. I love finishing a task that gets clutter off my counters, island, table, etc. And this one did it, so it is a very rewarding craft. Here are the details:

{Punched two holes in each card, made a little cover for front & back, secured with two scrapbook/key rings}
{This takes up WAY less space :)}
{Detail shot of inside - cards arranged by year}
{Detail shot}
(Note - this really only works for picture cards, which are really all I keep each year. It would be impossible to do this with regular greeting-style cards I think)

Monday, January 30, 2012

I Have a Uniform...Oops!


Unfortunately, I often get into a clothing rut. Maybe posting about it will cause me to stop wearing the same thing over and over so often (if I know several people I interact with regularly see this). I start wearing something I'm comfortable in (mentally and physically) and 6 months later, I realize that there's an 80% chance that if you've seen me in the last 6 months, you've seen me in this outfit (or a close variation of it)...oops. I asked Tyler a few weeks ago if he noticed that I basically wear the same outfit all the time, and he said "yeah, or at least a similar one." That's just not the kind of thing he notices folks - it must be bad. Consider this my vow to change it up a bit...for my family's sake.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Bacon-Wrapped Chicken

Lots of food posts lately...next week I'll move away from food and concentrate on other things:)

I pinned this last week on Pinterest, and made it last night. Much like the girl who originally posted it
(here), I am a sucker for foods that have a hint of sweetness. It was easy to throw together, and an unexpected delicious little dinner (I make a lot of things from Pinterest, and if they turn out just "ok," they don't make it to the blog).

4 chicken breasts cut into thirds (about 12 pieces)
Salt & Pepper
Garlic Powder
Chili Powder
Brown Sugar

Sprinkle S&P, Garlic pwd, & chili pwd on chicken to season it. Wrap each piece with a piece of bacon. Roll each piece in brown sugar. Place them in a glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes. *If your strips are small, don't cook quite 40 minutes. If they are larger, you might want to bake the whole time.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Last night, Tyler got home early and the weather was beautiful so we hopped in the car and drove to the playground for some play time before we fired up the grill for dinner. The sun went down and it got cold pretty fast, so we didn't have a long time out there, but plenty of time to try all the slides several times :)

I did grab my camera on the way out the door, but we got to the park and my card wasn't in it. So we got some great high-quality phone pictures instead...

This is new construction of a park with a playground and splash pad that they are building very close to our house. That means this spring when it warms up, we will be able to walk here and play. Levi has already spotted the slide...it looks like a good one!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Brisket Tacos {Again}

I posted about brisket (or shredded beef) tacos a while back (view post here), but I just linked to a specific recipe that I used, because I copied it almost exactly. Since then, I have made these tacos a few times, and I've tweeked the recipe to our tastes to come up with what I consider a very good taco recipe (a little more work than your average slow-cooker recipe, but totally worth it). I thought I would share it, since I never even typed out the recipe for you in the previous post.

I still based my tacos off of this recipe, but have adapted it quite a bit.

2 to 2.5 lbs boneless chuck roast (I get the "lean")
2 T olive oil
1 tsp chili pwd (heaping)
1/2 tsp cumin (heaping)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (heaping)
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (heaping)
1 1/4 C beef stock
2 T tomato paste
1 med onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Tortillas, taco toppings

Heat oil in large skillet. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin, paprika, & pepper. Rub mixture into the beef evenly. Once oil is hot, place meat in and sear it on both sides. Leaving the skillet on the heat, transfer the meat to the crock pot. 
Add beef stock to skillet, scraping up anything on the bottom. Add tomato paste and whisk mixture. Sprinkle some red pepper in (optional). Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer a few minutes until sauce thickens up.
Add diced onion and garlic on top of beef in crock pot. Pour sauce over everything. Cook on low 6-8 hours (I always cook 6 hours only). When it's ready, take a couple of forks and it will shred very easily.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rice Krispie Treats

I saw this post yesterday and it inspired me to make these salted brown butter rice krispie treats. I have an unspoken (I guess now it is spoken) goal for 2012 to conquer things I have never made before. I am talking simple things that most people don't even give a second thought - for example, last week I bought some pre-seasoned chicken quarters in the meat department at our grocery store. They looked good, they were a good price, so I snatched them for dinner. I realized when I got home that I have never just baked chicken. I've baked chicken in casseroles and other ways, but never just the chicken, so I did it and now it's not on the list. Yesterday after seeing that post, I wanted to make these because I've never made rice krispie treats. So far that's two things conquered...hopefully I can keep this up:)

Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats, seen here, originally here

1 stick of unsalted butter
1/4 tsp course sea salt (heaping)
6 cups Rice Krispies
1 10oz bag marshmallows

Spray your pan with nonstick cooking spray (I used an 8"x8" but will probably do bigger next time to get them thinner).
Melt butter in a large pan over medium/low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.
Remove from heat, add marshmallows. Stir until they are melted - you may have to return to low heat. Add cereal and salt and mix together. Spread out into pan and press it in evenly. Let cool and cut apart.

I really liked the little something extra that the sea salt added. I'll definitely be making these treats again!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


To anyone who follows me on Instagram or Facebook, sorry for the double/triple dose of pictures you're getting here.

The last two weeks/weekends have been packed full of family fun (my apologies for the cheesy alliteration). We have watched a lot of basketball (my 6'5" baby brother is a senior in HS and is on fire on the court, which is fun!), celebrated two parents' birthdays and a friend's first birthday, and taken Levi to have a little fun in between.

Here are a few snapshots:

{Pointing at the sharks during an aquarium visit}
{Watching all the fish}
{Watching the sharks with Aunt Taylor - we got there right at feeding time}
{Levi, mom, Aunt Al, Hunter @ Harmony House for lunch}
{Kiddos - Levi, Janna, Hunter}
{Dad's birthday cupcakes}
{One of his more sensitive gifts}
{Dad's birthday party - notice the Elvis card - he shares the King's birthday}
{Paul & Allie}
{Dad and Mom}
{Visiting the playground in Grandad and Bon Bon's neighborhood}


{Not happy to stop for a picture}
{On a mission}

{...almost there!}
{Pure bliss!}

{The boy loves the slide}

{Aaaand again!}
{oh the anticipation}
{Celebrating Bon Bon's birthday - my phone flash is messed up/forgot my camera :( }

{Grananna asked them to sing to her for her birthday, too}
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