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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Pasta Salad

We served this at my son's birthday bbq and it got rave reviews.  We are now asked to bring this whenever we do potlucks with our friends.  It's actually my little sister's recipe that I took and ran with.  She's thinking about going into culinary arts when she starts college next year.  I'd say she's off to a fantastic start!  Used with her permission.  And then embellished!


2 12oz packages of garden rotini (the colored curly noodles) although you really could use any noodles
1 bottle of Kraft Light Zesty Italian Dressing (I don't know the exact size, but the big bottle)
4-5 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 Bell Pepper (Your choice of color)
1 8oz package of finely shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cans of olives sliced (3 cans of pre-sliced olives)
You can, of course, add any other ingredients you wish (broccoli, cauliflower, cheese chunks, ect)
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  When tender, drain and run under cold water.  Combine the pasta, tomatoes, pepper and olives.  Mix well.  Stir in the cheese and Italian dressing.  Hold back just enough cheese to sprinkle on top for a garnish.  Serve immediately or let set in the refrigerator overnight.  Enjoy!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday Soiree: Game Night Part 2

So, I know I've posted about a game night party before.  BUT... It's so easy to throw together and they are always so much fun.  Now, if you absolutely hate playing games maybe this isn't the get together you are looking for.  But, these work out so well for us.  My husband and I have moved to a new state in the last 6 months and are still trying to build up a new friend circle here.  Game Night is a great way to get to know other people. 

So, here's the part 2 of game night.  Last time I suggested board and card games this time... Wii games!  I know not everyone has a Wii, but for those of us that do this works out fantastic.  If you only have a few remotes, take turns.  Wii games are fun to watch too!  One of our favorites is Wii Sports Resort.  There are a ton of options and we can always find something that everyone is ok with.  And it gets you up off the sofa!  Of course, since you worked up a sweat it's absolutely ok to eat all those calories back onto those hips by ending the night with hot fudge sundaes.  Have Fun!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fanciful Friday: Car Seat Strap Covers

So, my little man has recently moved from a rear-facing to a forward-facing car seat.  He LOVES it.  But, seriously, who wouldn't?!?  Staring at the seat back every time you go anywhere in the car... BORING!!!  Well, with his new car seat the straps look like they dig into his poor little chubby neck.  So, car seat straps to the rescue.  Now, we had one pair that we used on his infant carrier, but we invested in 2 car seats (one for our car and one for my mom's car).  The strap covers we had before came from Wal-Mart and were a whopping $4.  Unfortunately, that was at a Wal-Mart in Idaho and I couldn't find any here.  So, I decided to just make them.  And it meant I got to cross it off My To-Do List.  Yay!

First, I cut two identical sized pieces of fabric.  If I were to do this again, I would make them about and inch or two longer.  That's what I get for being too lazy to measure I guess.  Then I pinned them to hem, allowing an 1/8" seam.  Hmm, maybe my subconscious knew they were too short from the very beginning...?  If you make them longer, you can allow for a bigger seam.  Then, I hemmed all the long sides.  Iron the seams and short edges of the fabric flat.  It makes it a lot easier to put on the Velcro if the fabric will lay smoothly.

Next, fold the short edges of the fabric in 1/4" to 1/2".  Use a strip of Stitch Witchery to "glue" the fabric in place.  I hadn't used Stitch Witchery in so long I forgot how awesome it is, definitely something I won't be without in my sewing supplies ever again... but I digress.  If you've never used it before just follow the package instructions.  It's pretty simple.  However, I will reiterate to place a paper towel between you fabric and your iron.  You don't want to get glue on your iron!

Next, take a strip of Velcro, cut to size, and pin it on top of one of the raw edges that you just glued down.  I prefer Velcro with an adhesive back, it seems to help it stay in place while I'm sewing better than just pinning it.  I stitched around the edges of the Velcro, although you could just use some heat and bond if you want a no-sew solution.  And, since your raw edge is underneath the Velcro, it wont fray.  For the other side where the Velcro won't cover the raw edge, I just did a quick seam to help hold it together before I sewed the Velcro down.  

And, Ta-Da!  You've made a pair of cute, simple car seat strap covers!  Easy peasy, right?  Just a side note... These are not padded.  My little boy still has a lot of his baby fat in his face and the padded set we have sometimes seemed to squash his face when it was getting close to needing to readjust his straps.  If you want a set of padded covers Serena at Nap Time Crafts has an awesome tutorial on how to do that.  She's got a lot of other cool stuff too, so if you don't know her blog yet I highly suggest you check it out!  Have fun!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday: Lover's Lotto

I got my project from last week finished.  YAY!  So, it didn't quite happen the way I expected it to, but life has a pretty big learning curve.  I'll just chalk it up to that.  Ok, enough yammering.

This week's Thoughtful Thursday was inspired by my last trip to the intimate apparel shop and Artmind Blog.  She has an awesome tutorial up about how to make a scratch off Lotto Ticket.  She used her scratch offs as promotion in her Etsy shop.  What a cool idea... I'm thinking about something like this once it gets a little closer to the holidays.  Anyway, I took the scratch off idea and applied it to my little notion of LOVER'S LOTTO.  Now I've seen similar things like these in intimate apparel and specialty stores, but they are always so darn expensive and you get to use them once!  Or if you're cheap, like us, you scratch them all off and then get to pick the "new" prize or an old one.  But FREE is one of my very favorite words and when I discovered this tute... Let's just say my mind started running, and Lover's Lotto was the first place it went (it helped that I had previously been trying to think up a good Thoughtful Thursday).  So, here we go:

How to make scratch off Lotto Tickets:

Metallic Acrylic Paint (preferably silver)
Paint Brush
Clear Contact Paper
Liquid Dish Soap

* Ok, here is where I admit that due to confusion on my part (slightly confusing wording) and technical difficulties with my computer (the photos weren't showing up on the tutorial) I used liquid dish soap instead of laundry detergent, like the tutorial.  It seems to have worked just fine, though.  So, take your pick I guess.

On the computer (or by hand) make up your lottery cards.  I did mine in Photoshop, but you could just as well do it in Word or even Paint.  You could use little pictures instead of words, but I found the words easier than trying to find clip art for everything I needed.  Then print out your cards onto cardstock.

Cover the printed side of the cards with clear contact paper.  I wasn't as dedicated to getting all the bubbles and creases out as I might should've been.  They still function just fine, but for aesthetic's sake I might should have spent a little more time on that.

Mix your acrylic paint with your soap.  I did about half and half.  The tutorial suggested 1 part soap to 2 parts paint.  I didn't want to use a whole ton of paint though.  Paint over the area you want to be scratched off.  It took me about three coats to get it covered so that you couldn't see the words underneath.  I only did the soap mixture on the first layer.  The other two were strictly paint.  The only problem I had with the dish soap (and I don't know if this problem occurs with the laundry soap or not) but when I added my second and third coats, the dish soap made the paint soften up again.  I had to dab the paint on, rather than sweep it on.  Let the paint dry between each coat.

Set aside and let dry for about 12 hours.  Give them to your Honey, pull them out on your next date night, or add the "Spicy Lover's Lotto" tickets to your bedroom fun routine.  Happy loving!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Hawaiian Haystacks

Today's Tasty Tuesday is a favorite of my little family:  Hawaiian Haystacks.  I love these because they are so easy, yet everyone can make their own just the way they want them.


Diced, cooked chicken
Pineapple tidbits
Diced tomatoes
Shredded coconut
Chopped green peppers
Cooked Rice
Chopped celery
Chicken gravy (recipe below)

Put each ingredient in its own little container.  You only need enough of each for your family.  For my family of 2 1/2 (the baby doesn't eat as much...) I usually do 2 cups of dry rice and that's plenty.  Think of it kinda like tacos.  Use quantities similar to your taco toppings.  This also makes great leftovers.  I keep my extra rice and gravy separate though (my husband mixes them) so they don't get soggy.


1 can Cream of Chicken Soup (don't mix with the can directions)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp minced garlic

Mix all together in a sauce pan and let it warm on the stove.  


Friday, August 20, 2010

Fanciful Friday: Baby Quilt

It's been a while since I actually made this.  Just over a year, actually.  But I am so proud of it, I had to share.  Mostly I'm so proud due to the fact that I did everything for this project in two days, without quilt frames, while I was 7 1/2 months pregnant!  It also has given me the incentive to declare that I want to make a quilt for each of my babies.  Notice, I said declare.  Whether I will still have the time and ability to do so has yet to be seen.

I fell in love with this quilt panel and was rather adamant that I get to make a blanket for the baby with it.  My husband, being the smart man he is, knew not to argue too much with his crazy and hormonal pregnant wife.  This was not a fight he chose to take on.  Smart man.  I'd have done it while he was gone on his three week Army training.

I did triple layer the batting.  I believe it was Mountain Mist Brand... but that's about all I remember, sorry.  I got it at Jo-Ann.  I wanted to have a super fluffy quilt.  And I am so glad I did that many layers, it's the padding in his crib.  Crib mattresses are the most uncomfortable things ever!  Yes, I have slept on one within the past year.  Definitely prefer my memory foam!  Sorry, I digress.  The flannel backing was long enough that I just folded the edges over the top, tucked the unfinished edge down so it would get caught in the seam and made that my binding.  It's worked out quite well, no problems to speak of.

I measured out my ties.  I did them 4" apart.  There is one set that it really close to the edge... If I had measured it out prior I probably would have tried to adjust my ties a little, due to my OCD.  But, by the time I was that far along with my project, I didn't care enough to bother.

See how puffy?  That's what three layers of batting will do...

Click to enlarge.  You'll get a visual of what I'm talking about with the binding.

Keep the ties on the back fairly short... safety first and all.

Linked to these:
Lucky Star Lane
Today's Creative Blog
Sugar Bee's Take a Look Tuesday
Letting the Creative Juices Flow
Anything Related
Garden Party Tuesday
Topsy Turvy Tuesdays
Make It Yours 
Show and Tell
Whatever Goes Wednesday
Show Us What You're Working With
Creative Therapy Session
Penny Pinching Party

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday: Candy Gram

What I had originally planned for today's Thoughtful Thursday didn't pan out... maybe next week... so instead I decided to feature an idea that works for SOO many occasions: Candy Grams.  Who doesn't love getting a candy gram?  My hubby and I did this shortly after we got married for a date night.  I purchased about 20 candy bars and poster board beforehand.  For our date we took turns picking a candy until they were all gone.  We then had to take our candies and write a love note with them.  It was a ton of fun and something we still laugh about.  You can do it as a date night or on a smaller scale with few candies and just a love note for your spouse.  Have Fun!  Be Silly!  That's what makes it memorable.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Mint Chocolate Brownies

Today's Tasty Tuesday is a recipe that... is a "Krista Original".  Yeah, that's just a fancy way of saying I made it up.  But, it did turn out pretty yummy, if I do say so myself (and I do).  Mint and chocolate...???  Are you prepared for some heavenly goodness??

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 tsp vanilla (less to taste if desired)
6 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp peppermint or mint extract
3 Tbsp chocolate syrup

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and soda.  Mix.  Add butter (I stick my butter in the microwave until it's soft enough to easily mix with everything else.  Sometimes it melts completely... I haven't noticed any quality issues and it's a lot easier to mix this way.  Maybe there is someone out there that knows better than I do; but until I'm told otherwise, I'll just keep up my 'cheating' ways.)  Mix in the rest of the ingredients, except the chocolate syrup.  Stir or mix with a mixer until it is smooth.  Bake in a 9"x13" pan at 350degrees for 15-18 mins.  I top it with a powdered sugar icing and Andes mint chips (found in the baking aisle).  Then I drizzle the chocolate syrup on top.

These brownies are very rich, but they rock a mean treat at a Christmas party.  And I'm just a fan of chocolate mint... so they always rock my world.  Hope you enjoy.  If you do try them, I'd love to know what you think.    

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday: Date Night Jar

I seem to always have grandiose ideas and dreams for date night.  And I'm always disappointed because I'm not in a situation to always make them come to fruition.  So, for my back up plan when I realize "It's Thursday and I still don't have anything planned!" I came up with The Date Night Jar.  I found some things I want to do around our area or other ideas that would be fairly easy to pull together.  I typed them up, printed them out and cut them apart.  Then I folded them and put all my strips in an empty Mason jar (which, of course, I cutesy-ied up).  Then I let my hubby choose one on Thursday night or Friday morning (or if I forget, I just pick one).  Usually, I don't let him see it... build a little suspense and anticipation... but sometimes I do.  Your call.  Then I plan it and bam, date night is good to go!  See how easy that was!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: BBQ Chicken

This recipe is used every year at the Manti, Utah Mormon Miracle Pageant.  They usually marinade turkey in it instead of chicken (turkey is a little bit more delish, but it's also more expensive).  We like it so much that we do chicken because it's more affordable, although turkey is a great treat when we find it on sale.  Even our friend who only recently added meat to his diet will finish an entire piece, usually he only eats about half the amount of meat that the other adults eat.  Enough anticipation already!


1 cup soy sauce
2 cups 7-up
1 cup oil
1 tsp. horseradish
1 tsp. garlic salt
chicken or turkey

Mix marinade ingredients together.  Add your choice of meat.  Set in fridge and stir every few hours.  It's best if you marinade them overnight, but we've done them for only a few hours and they are still yummy.  Cook over the grill.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Today kicks off the start of my Monday posts.  If you would like a quick, easy and fun family home evening THIS is the place for you! 

Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Start of Mormon Mondays

This blog isn't meant to have a religious focus.  While my faith may pop through now and again (it is a big part of my life, after all) I try not to overwhelm others with it.  If you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or anyone who is interested in wholesome family nights, you may find MY OTHER BLOG of interest.  I fully encourage anyone who is even the least bit interested to check it out  If you are interested or just have questions about the LDS church, check out THIS WEBSITE.  It will give basic information and a way to request more, should you choose to do so.  I am willing to answer questions, but I don't know everything.  I'll do my best, but that's all I can promise.

As I mentioned, I have decided to incorporate my other endeavor into this site as well.  I'm trying to organize my life... at least my online life.  =]  Monday posts will all happen on  I will post a short, quick message on this blog as a reminder, but all the good stuff will be HERE.  Thanks and Enjoy!  Or Ill see you again on Tuesday!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Saturday Soiree: Train Birthday Party

My cute little boy just turned one last week and we had a train birthday party for him.  Now, there aren't many people that remember very much about when they were one... so, honestly, this was more of a get together for the adults and an excuse for me to make a cake (or two...)!  We didn't do a big fancy to-do or anything, just grilled burgers, hot dogs, and chicken.  P.S.  The chicken will be the next Tasty Tuesday and it is TO DIE FOR!  Just a sneak peek.  Anyway, we had salads (potato, fruit and pasta), a veggie tray and corn on the cob.  It was yummy!

The Invites:  I designed and cut out steam engine shapes that I then proceeded to decorate with construction paper.  They turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself.  Then I cut out enough "raffle tickets" for each engine and made up a train ticket with all the party information on it.

The train engines weren't all exactly the same, but you get the idea.  The tickets I put all the info on.  Convenient for me, we just happen to live on a railroad themed road name.  Sorry for all the white outs on the invites... but this is the internet and there are some crazies out there!

The prep:  Mostly the prep was getting all the food bought and ready for dinner.  I did make a cute little banner... that I forgot to put up.  But I'll show it to you anyway.  I did spend the time to make it, so I guess I may as well show it off a bit.

 I also made some railroad crossing arms out of poster board.  I had intended to make some yellow RR crossing signs... but I ran out of time.  I was just working with nap time after all, and the little cutie was cutting them a little shorter than normal last week.  Of course, I used balloons too.  I also had the intention of putting up streamers... but ran out of time for that as well.

The cake was also a big part of the prep and since I had some issues with my fondant it went A LOT slower than I had hoped.  Oh well, live and learn, yeah?  Another super cute idea I had that didn't materialize: cute train-shaped sandwiches.  Make the sandwich and then use a cookie cutter to get the shape you want.  Adorable.

I also found this super cute wooden train at Michael's.  I will eventually stain it, but I didn't feel like I needed to add that stress to my plate too.  Best part:  I got if for more than 50% off!  Score!  I mean Woo-Woo!

Make sure you have any other supplies you'll need... such as: plates, cups, utensils, and the like.  Not fun to have people show up and realize you don't have anything to feed them on.  Also, not fun doing dishes for 20 people later... I didn't forget them for this party... but I have forgotten them in the past.  Not Fun!
Clean up was pretty simple.  Pop the balloons and discard, take down tables and chairs, put away food, take down RR arms (and set aside to take a picture of later because it was dark when you did the clean up phase...).  Ta-Da!  All done!  One successful birthday party down, 17ish more to go... for this kid anyway.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Fanciful Friday: I Kiss Better Than I Cook

I found this quote shortly after we got married and LOVED it. Mostly because it was so dang true! My cooking skills were not something to be desired... by anyone. They have since improved with much thanks to and help from my wonderful husband, so don't be afraid to try any of the Tasty Tuesday recipes. They all have my husband's personal stamp of approval. This quote has a different meaning to us now... it just means that not only has my cooking improved, we're even better kissers now too. =]

Anyway, I wanted to display this quote in our kitchen but wasn't exactly sure where. My husband liked the quote too and to put it where I had initially thought was great for me and my vertically challenged self, but not so much for my much taller husband. It ended up above our kitchen sink. The perfect spot for both of us to enjoy it.

If you would like one of your very own to enjoy as well, check out my ETSY store. I also do custom vinyl wall decals... if you're interested.  Your wish is my command!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday: Steamy Love Notes

My hubby and I do this all the time... and I even put off cleaning the mirror because I love stepping out of the shower and seeing the notes that have been written up previously. We've all done this at some point and time... writing on the steamy mirror. A fogged window works well too... once it gets colder outside. What better way to keep that love life steamy than with a hot love note? So, while your lover is taking their next shower sneak in and spice it up. They'll have a smile on their face as soon as they notice. Promise.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Delicious Cake

I enjoy baking.  Like, if I actually enjoyed everything I made in the kitchen, we'd all be 500 lbs.  Not a good thing for my one year old...  So, on birthdays, I tend to go all out.  I even make my own cake, because I enjoy it.  I have a go-to cake recipe.  It's amazing.  I love that it's not super sweet, so by the time you put the frosting and any icing on, you're not experiencing sugar overload.  It's perfect.


1 c white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 c white flour
3/4 c milk
1/2 butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
6 tbs cocoa (optional)

Grease a 9x9" pan. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cream sugar and butter. Beat in eggs. Add vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Stir in milk until batter is smooth. Pour into pan.

Bake 30-40 mins. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.

**You can also add 1 tsp of any flavor extract (lemon, orange, coconut, banana, ect) for different flavors. I made both a vanilla version of the cake (by omitting the cocoa) and a chocolate version.  The top and bottom layers were chocolate and the middle vanilla.  Both were delish! Enjoy!

Hoo Are You?

Ok, I found this neat little "get to know you" linky party.  Sometimes I see things on a blog and go "Wow, who is this person?  That is such a cool idea.  Wish I could get to know them a little better..."  Hmm... problem solved. 

This week's questions are:
1, What are some of your favorite summer activities?
2. What is your favorite flower?
3. What is your favorite meal of the day?
4. How much time do you spend on the computer each day?
5. Do you have any pets?

My answers follow:
1)  I love being outside.  But not when it's super hot.  Evenings are my favorite.  I like to travel.  The beach is one of my favorite places on Earth.  I like to take my little boy outside and watch him run around.  He's so full of energy and curiosity... and he LOVES to get dirty.  It's fun to see the world through the eyes of a toddler.  And I love going on motorcycle rides with my hubby.  Going to the lake is a fave, so is ATV-ing.
 2) Calla Lilies.  I like all lilies, but Calla are my favorites.
3) Dinner.  Especially when the hubby grills.  Yummy!
4) Far, far too much.  Especially now that I've got this blog up and running.  The blog itself doesn't take all the much time.  It's joining the linky parties... because there's so much cool stuff and I spend hours and hours looking at it all!
5) Before we moved we had an aquarium with about 15 fish in it... but, sadly, we had to give it away.  And there isn't room to replace it right now.   

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