Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pin Inspiration 11/01

I can't believe November is finally here!

Turkeys, leaves, and crisp air, planning for the big holiday meals and all the decorating...I'm so excited for it all!

This week we had more than 120 link ups! Let's try to top that this week. I love the projects each week and as usual, it was difficult to pick features.

The whole cake pop thing is beyond my skill level...but the Pint Sized Baker offers up some tips on how to overcome that.

Little Lady Bird created a project that captured my Little Miss' attention. A castle made out of box. Super cute recycling!

I'm a huge fan of Asian food. It's usually very healthy and I almost always have the ingredients on hand. The Jazzy Gourmet offered up a unique twist on one of my favorites...and created a Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai!

If you were featured, grab our button!

Before we link up the party, please follow the hosts: Jane, Marilyn and Micki.

♥ Please visit at least two other links and leave some comment love! 
♥If you love comments, make sure you have captcha/word verification turned off!
♥Please don't link up your etsy store or giveaway.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chili for a Chilly Halloween

A note for my readers about Iron Chef Mom...due to Hurricane Sandy, we are postponing Iron Chef Mom this week. It will be back next week and we will be doing our CINNAMON recipes. So get them ready!

Hey gang...We are getting ready for Halloween and I'm going crazy making changes to the costumes.

Normally, we don't have to bundle up for trick or treating but this year...plans have changed thanks to a huge cold front. We're talking down in the 30s! Definitely not something I was prepared for, considering Danger Girl's costume was supposed to be a sundress pattern!


In addition to the costumes, we've carved our pumpkins....

Dressed up in some terrific costumes

Weeping Angel
Candy Corn Fairy
The Tardis

And, headed off to the Trunk n Treat at church with a pot full of Chili...the leftovers will be saved for Halloween night and served over baked potatoes.

No Bean Chili

2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 lbs ground beef
4 oz chili starter kit (with masa flour)
1 small onion, diced
2 small jalapenos, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
32 oz container beef stock
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 C V8 juice

Preheat a stock pot. Brown beef and drain. Add in jalapeno,  onion and green pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes until veggies are tender. Stir in beef stock, tomatoes, V8 and 2 T chili spice mix. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for an hour. Combine masa flower from kit and 1/2 C water. Stir in to chili and simmer 3-4 more minutes until it begins to thicken.

Linked up at:

Whimsy Wednesday **  Wow Us Wednesday ** The Creative spark ** Work It Wednesday ** Back 4 Seconds ** Create & Share **Whatever Goes **Transformation Thursday ** Link it Up Thursday ** House of Hepworths **

Monday, October 29, 2012

Home sweet Home!

I am very glad to be back home again! Even though I was gone only a few days, it was the longest I've ever been away from my family without kids. In fact, it was the very first trip I've taken alone since becoming a mom...and The Boy is 15 1/2! So,'s been awhile.

The trip was part of a training seminar for a new company I'm working for during the holidays. For those new to the blog, every Christmas I am one of Santa's Helpers and take photos of kids and Santa at the mall. I really love my job and have a blast every season. New company this year and I'm really excited to be working for them. The trip to Chicago didn't hurt things!

I overcame a huge phobia on this trip: Flying.

I hate hate hate it. Terrified of it, in fact. For good reason. This happened near my home when I was in high school. Since the mid 90s, I had flown all of two times...and this trip made three!

This time, I was fairly calm (I'm not sure my flying companions would have agreed LOL but it was better than before) and I think I might be able to get on a plane again sometime in the next decade (maybe sooner.)

How did this happen?

Prayer. Honest to goodness, the only way I got through the flights was by praying. On the way home, I was seated next to a pastor from a different denomination but we exchanged great stories and it really helped to calm my nerves.

Enough of my flight trauma...let's talk food.

We were fortunate to eat at Harry Caray's for our meals.

It has a reputation for a reason.

Check out that MUFFULETTA! It was freaking huge. Like freakishly huge. I didn't even touch the fries. I'd been graving olive spread, so this was exactly what my tummy required.


Eggplant Parm. Heavenly. Really. I make it at home, but it's always better when someone else makes it.

I forgot to take a picture of my authentic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. Apparently there's some sort of debate between which of two places has better pizza. We ate at Gino's Best. Pizza. Ever.

I managed to bring home my pizza leftovers in my carry on bag. And I didn't share once I got home. I'm a bad mom.

Our last night in Chicago, our group got the brilliant idea to head in to the city.

Now, I've lived in the Seattle area and when I was a kid, I lived near Denver. But neither prepared me for the SIZE of Chicago. The city I live in now has 208,000 people. I felt like a country mouse visiting the city.

Crazy tourists...

So...around 830, we decided to take the train into the city. . . to an amazing place called Portillo's.

There we had real Chicago hot dogs. And I'm here to report that the ones from Sonic taste exactly like what I ordered (sorry!) I also got the chocolate cake and shared strawberry shortcake. seriously, I may never need to eat again. The strawberry shortcake was like eating summer. I loved it so much better than the chocolate cake.

Have you ever overcome a fear? And what was the best food you've ever eaten?

linked up at:

Tuesday Confessional **  Cowgirl Up ** Open Call **

Friday, October 26, 2012

quick halloween craftiness

This is a pre-programmed post. That is to say, I wrote this very late at night when I realized I wasn't going to have any content over the weekend and panicked. Right now, I'm freezing my southern hiney off in Chicago.

You see, when I left home, it was in the mid to low 80s. Perfectly normal for this time of year.

Chicago? The day time high is our overnight low.

I didn't pack my winter coat (because really, this 50 degree weather is our winter) and I'm hoping I won't die freeze on the mad dash from the airport shuttle to the hotel. Really, I'm not cut out for cold weather.

So today, I'm bringing you a random assortment of Halloween projects that seemed to ridiculously easy to blog about...but were nonetheless cute.

The skeleton is from some dollar store Halloween garland. I picked up a $1 casket from Michaels and painted it black.

I know. I'm oohhh sooo creative. Hold your applause.

This one was actually kind of cute and did take more time.  If you remember this wreath,  I wrapped the old frame with fabric. Made a few fabric flowers and glued on the flower petals I didn't use in the other wreath. Next, I got really creative and hot glued on foam letters I recycles from last year's Halloween wreath catastrophe.

Much better, right?

And what about this one:

A box covered in burlap and cheap fake leaves glued on. Oh yes, and that's Josie photobombing.

The box holds school socks. 

And there you have it...a non post with non exciting projects...and one cute kitty.

linked up at:

tater tots and jello

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Another Pin Inspiration Party!

I'm going to miss looking at all your great projects until after the weekend. I'm going to a training seminar in Chicago for three days! Three days with no kids, no husband...I'm not sure what I'm going to do (probably panic and call him 50 times a day.) And when I get back, I'll be ready to start my seasonal job with Santa! My favorite time of the year!

Meanwhile I'm contemplating my CINNAMON inspired recipe for Iron Chef get your recipes ready, too. 

Now, on to our Pininspiration...
Today, our hostess is Jane!

Hey there Dollies!
Ready to Pin'inspire?
Ready to be Pin'inspired?
Didn't you just love last week's party?
I know, I say this too often but you all are amazing!
I Should Be Mopping The Floor created this awesome dump cake.

Second Chance To Dream has given me a kick in the butt to make my front porch as lovely as hers.

And Chantilly Charm made me feel better about raiding my neighbour's trash and turning things into my treasures with her

So what have you been up to?
We'd love to see...
A couple of things to keep in mind;
Please follow your hostesses

Visit your fellow partiers and leave a lovely comment, it makes everyone's day when you give a bit of blog love.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Caramels

Welcome to another round of

 This week our hostess is Lemons for LuLu and our secret ingredient is CARAMEL. Head over to Lemons for Lulu and link up your fabulous recipes featuring caramel, then come back on the weekend to vote for your favorite. Maybe one of you will be crowned the next Iron Chef Mom!

Last week, I planned to make these Pumpkin Caramels for our pumpkin feature.  I never got around to it, so this week, I decided to take the plunge. I made a few no pumpkin seeds. Not because I have any dislike for them. No, it's because every time I make them, the kids eat them first.

I pretty much was forced in to ignoring the candy thermometer. Every time I put the candy thermometer in, it was registering soft ball stage. Basically...broken. I had to get out my handy Better Homes & Gardens book to look up the old fashioned cold water method for testing candy.

Two other tips: 

The recipe calls for good maple syrup. Step away from the Mrs. Butterworths. Save her for pancake. This recipe needs the GOOD stuff. The stuff your best friend brought back from her trip to upstate New York. The stuff you don't actually allow your family to use on pancakes because it's too expensive for them to drown their breakfast in.

And this:

That would be my plastic spoon. Do NOT let this happen to you. When making candy always use a wooden spoon. Four packs can be found at that big W box store for 88 cents.

Pumpkin Caramels
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cups light corn syrup
1/3 cup good maple syrup
1/4 cup of water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in chunks
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon sea salt

  1. Line the bottom and the sides of an 8-in square glass pan with parchment. Butter the parchment on the sides of the pan. (don't skip this. Even if you use waxed paper, you still need to butter the pan)
  2. In a saucepan, combine heavy cream, pumpkin puree and spices. Heat on low, making sure not to boil or scald. As soon as it is warm, turn off the heat and set aside.
  3. In a second heavy bottomed pan, with sides at least 4 inches high, combine the sugar, both syrups and water. Stir until the sugars are melted, Then let it boil until it reaches 244 degrees (the soft ball point on a candy thermometer). Slowly add the cream and pumpkin mixture, and slowly bring this mixture back up to 240 degrees as registered on a on a candy thermometer. This should take close to 30 minutes. Watch carefully and stir it  frequently once it hits 230 degrees to keep it from burning at the bottom of the pan.
  4. As soon as it reaches the 240, pull it off the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Stir vigorously so that butter is fully incorporated.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Let cool 30 minutes and sprinkle the salt over the top. Let the caramels fully set (at least 2 hours) before using a hot knife to cut them into 1-inch squares and wrapping them individually in waxed paper.

linked up at:
Iron Chef Mom **  Show Me What You Got ** Tuesday Treasures ** Open Call **project queen ** Cowgirl Up ** Take a Look Tuesday ** Crafty Confessions ** Too Cute Tuesday ** Whimsy Wednesday **Homemade By You ** Creative Spark ** Wednesday Whatsits **Back 4 Seconds ** Handy Man, Crafty Woman ** Create and Share ** Show me what ya got ** Work It Wednesday ** House of Hepworths ** Link it Up thursdays **Creative Thursday **

Saturday, October 20, 2012

TARDIS costume

When I was a kid, Doctor Who was something you secretly watched on PBS. I would have never admitted a fascination with the Doctor.

My kids? It's a completely different story.

Leelee is completely obsessed and wanted to be the TARDIS for Halloween. She found something on pinterest and asked me to make something similar.

I did my best...

And thanks to a wonderful tutorial for transferring print on to fabric, I was able to do this:

So what do you think? Does she look happy about the costume?

Linked up:

Busy Mondays **  Mop it Up Mondays **Creative me ** Motivate Me mondays ** Metamorphosis Monday **The Gunny Sack ** More the Merrier ** Show Me What You Got ** Tuesday Treasures ** Open Call ** project queen **Cowgirl Up ** Take a Look Tuesday **Crafty Confessions ** Too Cute Tuesday **Whimsy Wednesday ** Homemade By You ** Wednesday Whatsits ** Create and Share ** Show me what ya got **Creative Juice **House of Hepworths **Link it Up Thursday **

Friday, October 19, 2012

Caught in a web

Halloween decorations are in full swing here!

Many of the houses with big porches in our neighborhood and decorating with giant spiders and webbing. It makes some of the houses look even more creepy and haunted than usual.

Naturally, we had to take the spider and webs up a notch from what the neighbors are doing...

Here's a view from the street

Why yes, I do have a giant Cat in the Hat on my porch...

Making my cocoon was a cinch. I cut up a length of scrap fabric about 5 ft long and sewed up three of the four sides. Next, I began stuffing it with whatever I could find...tissue paper, grocery bags, scrap fabric...until it had some bulk. I used string to tie off the head area and another length to make the waist.

The tricky part was really figuring out how to hang it on the one nail that was already there! I don't like climbing ladders on my rickety old porch. I had to use a coat hanger and pray I could reach!

And my itsy bitsy spider climbed up his captured prey...

This creepy little guy was really easy to put together. Its a ball of black Halloween mesh from the dollar store, black fabric and 8 bendy straws. 

Put him together by creating a big ball of black fabric. I had some left over from another project. Stretch out the bendy straws and cut a piece of black fabric a bit larger than the size of the straw. Using a hot glue gun, glue the straw into the fabric. I folded the fabric in half and glued the sides of the fabric together. This will make the legs look bigger and a bit hairier than if you wrapped the fabric around. The last step is to just glue the legs on.

Easy peasy!

linked up at:

 Tater Tots & Jello **Keep Calm & Link Up ** Happy Hour Friday **Frugalicious Friday **Anything Goes **Cheerios & Lattes **Create & Inspire **It's Overflowing **Sunday Scoop ** Busy Mondays ** Debbie Doos ** Mop it Up Mondays **Creative me ** Motivate Me Mondays ** Metamorphosis Monday **The Gunny Sack ** More the Merrier **Show Me What You Got ** Open Call ** Cowgirl Up ** Take a Look Tuesday **Wednesday Whatsits **Creative Juice ** House of Hepworths **

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pin Inspiration

Good evening lovely 
friends stopping in..
Hope things are well and your week has been amazing so far!
Welcome to another creative and inspiring evening of 
♥♥♥♥;Pin'Inspirational Thursdays♥♥♥♥♥
Thanks to all who linked last week!
SO much to see! Here are some favorites!
*Don't forget to enter my giveaway today*
Book Page Pumpkin
2Book Page Pumpkins ~ Fall Festive Decor! 
Totally digging these amazing 
sweets for halloween! LOVE them!! 
~Via Pint Sized Baker ~ So cuute!!
Yummmmmmy~ Via Endy Daniel
A 1st For Me ~ Smokey Meat 
& Oyster Mushroom Sandwich!
Need A Fun Date Night Idea?!?! DIY
Fun Date Night Scratch Off's Via Sewing Barefoot
Absolutely festive and beautiful! 
Halloween Crackers Via Art Club Blog
How LOVELY Are These Features..? 
Thanks SO much for all the amazing and inspiring links!
Are you ready to create and show off your own today..??
Little Teenie Party Rules To Please Observe
+ Please link your great projects - AS MANY AS YOU WANT!!
+ Please do follow myself and wonderful co-hosts Micki&  Jane
+ Do snag a button if you are featured / spread the word...
Please link to an exact post so we can indulge in your featured creativity...
+ Tell a friend so they can join on in and be pin'inspired with us!
+Turning off word verification encourages others 
to comment on your wonderful projects.
Wishing You A HAPPY WEEK!!
MarilynJane & Micki....


Monday, October 15, 2012

Salted Chocolate Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Welcome to another round of Iron Chef Mom! Our hostess this week is Kristi from I Should Be Mopping the Floor and our secret ingredient? Pumpkin!

Like many of my kitchen exploits, I start to make one thing and end up in a completely different direction. As soon as I cut in to the pumpkin to roast it for my recipe, the kids were begging me to roast the pumpkin seeds.

And I couldn't just do the regular seeds with a bit of salt...I wanted chocolate. 

So I mixed up a batch of this delicious topping and tossed my seeds. Then roasted in a 350 oven for 20 minutes.

Super yummy. Fast...and dare I say...healthy? It's a quick fix for those times when you want something crunchy, but sweet. Too bad pumpkins aren't available year round for this, right?

My kids are pretty happy we have four pumpkins on the porch awaiting carving... And more of these

Salted Chocolate Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Seeds from one pumpkin, guts removed but not perfectly clean. 
1 T sea salt
2 T sugar
2 T cocoa powder

Mix together in a bowl. The pumpkin seeds should be moist. This will help the flavors to stick better. Spread on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Roast in 350 oven for about 20 minutes, until they begin to pop in the oven. Cool completely.

Don't forget to link up your pumpkin recipe at the Iron Chef Mom link party!

linked up at:

 Iron Chef Mom **Show Me what you got ** project queen ** cowgirl up ** Tuesday Treasures ** Too Cute Tuesday **Tuesday Confessional ** Open Call **Whimsy WEdnesday ** Wow Us WEdnesday ** Homemade By You ** Create and Share ** Back 4 Seconds **Wildly Original ** Your Creative Time Out ** House of Hepworths ** Blog STalking Thursday **creative thursday **Fabulous Friday ** Keep Calm & Link Up ** Fantabulous Friday ** Kitchen Fun with my 3 sons **Tater Tots & Jello ** cheerios & Lattes **Foodie Friday **