Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Happy birthday cards (silhouette craft).

Unfortunately, I think I mis-addressed this card, resulting in it never being received. Shucks.
I made a few more birthday cards, and a Valentine's day card last month using the Silhouette. I'm getting more comfortable using it, and there's less error in my trial and error process now. These 3 designs are all pretty simple, so I'll just give you a quick rundown of how I made them. I have a box of blank 4.25" by 5.5" cards and envelopes, so I use those as the base when I am making cards to mail.

For the first card (above), I simply chose a font I liked, and laid it out with the balloons. I put a rounded rectangle that was slightly smaller than my card around the design, and then I cut it out. I glued the design to the front of the card, then colored in the balloons with colored pencils. Easy and cute.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Liebster award time (blogging news).

I must apologize for being so quiet on the blog this past week. For some reason I have felt rather uninspired to write. I have a few posts in drafts, but I haven't been able to muster the motivation to finish them. We've been rather busy in real life, with a trip to LA, and then having family stay with us for a few days. Additionally, I've been having exhausting dreams about going on epic adventures, and I wake up feeling like I've been running around all night (although, in a way, I enjoy them, as they are like watching exciting adventure movies). The next few weeks will also be quite busy, but I will try to stay more up-to-date on blogging (although I'm not making any promises).

Last week I was nominated for a Liebster award by the lovely Shandy from Aprons 'n Pearls! Liebster is German for sweetheart, darling, and beloved (and boyfriend, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that that's not what the award means). This is a fun way to get to know new bloggers, and to share a little bit about yourself. Here are the rules (I copied these verbatim from Shandy):

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wanderlust (treasury Tuesday).

There's just one treasury to share this time, but it's a beautiful one! This travel inspired collection is full of amazing maps used in many creative ways. Enjoy!


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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Crockpot Mexican lasagna (recipe).

This is an adaptation of a recipe that my mom used to make when I was younger (actually, I think she still makes it, I just haven't had the chance to eat her version in many years). Of course, since she's a vegetarian, her version doesn't have meat in it, and she makes it in the oven instead of the crock pot, but the idea is the same. I made this last week when I was trying to figure out what to do with all of the corn tortillas and beans that I had bought on my last shopping trip. At the time, I couldn't remember what my mom called the dish, so I couldn't find a recipe online. I decided to make one up as I went along. I'm happy to say that it came out delicious.

This is a very hearty dish, and this recipe makes a lot. It makes delicious leftovers, and I was happy to eat this for lunch for several days after making it. It's also quite versatile, I used steak, but you could easily substitute pork, chicken, ground beef, ground turkey, or even leave the meat out. You could also throw more veggies in (I think corn would be a great addition). Use whatever size tortillas you have on hand (you would even use flour tortillas), just make sure there's a complete layer each time. Think of this recipe as a basic outline for you to add your own twist to!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My childhood neighborhood (writer's workshop).

When I read the prompts for the writer's workshop last weekend, I immediately knew I would do number 1) What do you miss most about your childhood neighborhood? I grew up way out in the country in upstate New York; we were way out in the sticks, the backwoods, the middle of nowhere (but it wasn't Podunk, that was a few towns over). As a kid, especially a teenager, I longed to live in a city, but now that I look back on it I miss being in the country.

I spent my childhood running through the forests, splashing in creaks, playing with bugs, climbing trees, swimming in ponds, rolling in the grass, and so on. I spent my childhood outside, in nature. Whenever I go back home, I am stunned by how beautiful the Fingerlakes area is (of course I only go back in the summer). I love living in a city now, and there are many conveniences that I would have a hard time giving up, but I still miss the wild things.

This little cabin is where I lived for the first few years of my life. It still stands on my father's land, but no one has lived there for at least 10 years now. It's rustic (very rustic), but it's so cute too. When we lived there, the land around it was cleared, but these saplings have grown up over the years.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Coconut orange pineapple smoothie (recipe).

I've been making and drinking so many smoothies lately. One of my main pregnancy cravings has been smoothies, and it's a craving that I am happy to indulge in (especially since I got a new blender for Christmas!). I've been experimenting with flavors, and I recently started throwing a handful of coconut in with the fruit. It provides a fantastic tropical burst of flavor to the drink.

This recipe makes a fairly thin smoothie; simply use less juice if you want it to be thicker. I always use frozen fruit because it thickens the smoothie without having to add ice (plus it's so convenient). If you are using unfrozen pineapple, you should add a few ice cubes to the mix. This tropical smoothie brings a little bit of summer in anytime of the year.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Saint Patrick's Day roundup (recipe and printables).

Time is flying by this year, and holidays keep sneaking up on me! I have done absolutely nothing to prepare for St. Pat's this year (unless making potatoes au gratin last night counts...). If I'm lucky, I'll remember to wear green on the 17th, so that no one pinches me. Here are a few of my earlier Irish themed posts:

Slainte means cheers. You can find this printable here.
Another Irish blessing; you can find this printable here.
Finally, one of my favorite potato recipes. This is an upstate NY dish that was invented by the Irish salt miners. The recipe is here.
 Someday I will become organized enough to have holiday crafts and recipes done far enough ahead of time to share with you (well, maybe). For now, I hope you enjoy these goodies from the past year.


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Friday, March 8, 2013

Cheddar chive biscuits (recipe).

I love biscuits; flaky, buttery, and they work with every meal! I made these to go with soup for dinner, and we had a few leftover to enjoy with breakfast the next morning. This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's Barefood Contessa Family Style cookbook. I don't use my cookbooks enough, but the few things I have made from this cookbook have been fabulous (and the pictures are drool worthy).

The original recipe didn't involve cheese, but I've been on a cheese kick lately (who am I kidding, I'm on a permanent cheese kick). Ina Garten's biscuits are rolled out and cut into rounds, but drop biscuits are much easier and faster. I made these in the food processor, so the dough came together in just a few minutes. You could also make these with a mixer, or even by hand. The only thing I would change is to make a double batch next time so that we would have twice as many to enjoy.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Green, and blue, and pink for spring (treasury Tuesday).

Lots of treasuries to share this week. I did something a little different this time, instead of putting the link to the treasury in the title underneath, I made the pictures into links. Let me know how you like it.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cheese coin crackers (recipe).

This is another recipe from Cook's Country magazine (they've never steered me wrong). I first made these over the holidays to bring to a Christmas party (a few people thought they were sugar cookies at first, I'd recommend labeling them to avoid a strange taste bud surprise). They were a huge hit, and I ended up not having any left to take pictures of. When my mom was here earlier this month, I talked her into making up a batch for the baby shower, and this time I made sure to snap some photos before they were all gone.

This recipe makes about 5 dozen cheese coins (perfect for a party), but if you want to make fewer you can freeze the extra dough (for up to one month). The original recipe calls for cheddar cheese, but we substituted pepper jack which gave them a lovely little kick of spice. The dough is mixed entirely in the food processor, so this comes together very quickly.

Friday, March 1, 2013

February instagrams (photography).

February was a busy month for us. My mom and step-dad were out to visit, we had our baby shower, we found out the gender of the baby (on Valentine's day!), and we both had birthdays. Whew! That's a lot to pack into a short month. Next month Matt's brother and sister-in-law will be in SoCal, and we are looking forward to seeing them! You can follow me on Instagram at MdoubleMcrafts

Even though the weather was a little grey and cool (compared to what we're used to), it was much warmer and sunnier than upstate NY at this time of year, so my mom and step-dad wanted to spend as much time as possible outside. We took a wonderful afternoon hike at Torey Pines through the trails, and then down to the beach.

On Saturday, our friends Adriane and Rhys threw a small baby shower for us (it was early for a shower, but we wanted to do it while my parents were out here). One of the activities involved tying all of our wrists together with a long piece of string; then we cut the string between our wrists, so that everyone has a small string bracelet that they keep on. Whenever anyone notices the bracelet, they send positive thoughts to the baby.

Matt's mom stayed in San Diego after the baby shower, and the next day we all went to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The cool weather meant the animals were all quite active. It did start raining at the very end of our visit, but we were all ready to head home at that point anyways. There was a sweet little baby elephant who kept nuzzling in underneath his mom.

On Valentine's Day we finally got to see our baby on the ultrasound. I can't think of a better way to spend Valentine's! We are expecting a precious little baby boy on July 19th. That evening we went out for a delicious dinner, and I talked Matt into ordering the lobster so that I could sneak a few bites of it. I got him to wear the bib too, so that he could be sure to get the full experience.

Later in the month we had some beautiful warm (almost hot) weather and blue skies. I have to get at least one picture of the beach in every month. These stunning white flowers are blooming on trees all over the city. After a quick google search, I believe it is an evergreen pear.

Matt brought me these beautiful tulips to surprise me one day. Tulips are such cheerful harbingers of spring.

This sweet puppy belongs to the family I nanny for; he is an 18 month old weimaraner who thinks he's another one of the kids. The seagulls were staring us down while we had a little picnic by the ocean. I love the way the sun halos the adult one.

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