So many projects, so little time.

When I was in high school, I loved to sew. I had an awesome Home Economics teacher who always made time for me after school to "mentor" me in the subject and provide me with endless ideas and advice. For a while, I did several projects and really began to strengthen my skills. After graduation, I went to college and didn't do much sewing, or any at all really. When I got married, I continually said I wanted to relearn, but working full-time and going to school doesn't really allow for a lot of free time.

Well, now that I am on a "Master's vacation" and have a bit of time on my hands while the hubs works on his newest certificate, I decided to try and pick it up again. I had planned to start small, a pillow or a blanket, maybe. You know, something with straight lines. (hehe) Apparently, that wasn't good enough. ;-)

In the next month, I need to make three costumes:

One of these:

One of these:

And of course, who doesn't need one of these??

So much for starting small.
I guess I better get moving! 
Wish me luck, I'll be sure to post as I {hopefully} make progress. 


Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup

With the arrival of the first cool weekend of the season, it was fiiiinally time to make our {absolute} favorite soup! I have made several alterations to make this soup a bit healthier..now it the Ultimate Fall Meal! I know it is hard to believe, but this baby is so filling you won't need to make anything else except a loaf of yummy bread to dip!

** Before I give you the recipe, I want to quickly mention something...before I made this soup, I had never used fresh ginger before. I went to the store, didn't know where to look, what it looked like or how to select a piece. Since I'm sure there are others out there in a similar position, I just wanted to address the "ginger issue" so everyone can enjoy this one! **

Meet, Ginger Root:

 I got this baby at Shoprite, near the other root veggies, many of which you will use in this recipe. I usually look for the tiniest piece I can find, approximately 1.5-2 inches long. To use it, you have to first wash it, then using a veggie peeler, remove all the "skin" to reveal a yellowish color. Chop off all the knobbies (technical term) and you're good to go. (If you are intimidated by this particular piece of produce or can't find a good piece at the store, go for the ground ginger, it works too!)

Ok, moving on...

Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup

Here's what you need to start:
1.5 lb carrots
1 lb parsnip
1 lg onion,
6 Tbsp butter, I used light butter
3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1.5 inches ginger root
8 cups chicken (or veggie for a vegetarian soup) broth
sour cream 
chives for garnish

(The broth is not pictured here because my super hubs was at the store for the second time that day picking it up for his scatter-brained wife. I'm losing it.  And I'm pretty sure I'm too young for that, so I'm not sure what to think...hehe) Anyway...

So here's what you need to do:

1) Pre-heat your oven to 350. 
2) Chop the carrots and parsnips into quarters, slice the onion, and mince the ginger root. Layer all of these in a roasting pan. Dot veggies with pads of butter then sprinkle with brown sugar.

 3) Pour in 2 cups of chicken broth and cover with foil.

4) Bake for 2 hours. 

At this point in the recipe, the authors tell you that while the veggies are cooking, you can spend time helping your children with their homework. How sweet of them! Well, since it was Saturday and I do not have children, I spent my two hours doing laundry and watching King of Queens with SP. How will you spend your two hours??

5) Remove veggies from oven and {carefully} transfer them to a large sauce pan or soup pot. Add the remaining chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 
If not, no worries- use a regular blender and puree in batches. Oh, and this is where I stopped taking pictures because I totally forgot. Sorry!**

6)  In batches, puree soup, pouring it into a new bowl. When everything is a beautiful, even orange, return it to the pot and heat through. Garnish with sour cream and chives if desired.

Serve hot with lots of tasty bread, OR in an awesome bread bowl. 

Try it, it's really, really yummy and fairly healthy too!
Let me know if you like it, I'd love to hear from you! 


LOFT inspired pearl necklace

If I had to choose one store to go on a shopping spree it would be Ann Taylor Loft. Hands down. I love absolutely everything in this store, except the prices. However, they have an awesome clearance section and run frequent sales on in-season items, making it my very favorite store. 

Last time I was there, I saw a necklace that I just fell in love with! However, it's price tag was not what I hoped it would be, so it was not allowed to come home with me. *sad face* SP said that it was silly to be disappointed when I could easily make something similar. He has so much faith in me and is constantly challenging me to try new things. What a great hubby! (Though just the fact that he puts up with all my crazy crafting is pretty sweet!)

Sadly, I could not find a photo of the necklace I saw, but this one is very similar...

I searched through my stash, found a few items, and here's what I came up with. I like it, but maybe a thicker bow? I was also thinking of braiding the three strands...thoughts?  

Thanks for visiting!
Come again soon! :-)


Chocolate Fondue Birthdays!

This weekend I was able to celebrate a few birthdays with friends, which was a really nice (surprise) treat! We decided to go to The Melting Pot for dessert, since none of us had ever been there. Well, what an awesome place!! They had an overwhelming selection of chocolate fondue, but we managed to narrow it down to two....Bananas Foster (white chocolate with caramel and sliced bananas) and dark chocolate with a shot of Kahlua. Y.U.M. 

When they brought the chocolate to the table, they lit it on fire to caramelize the top...

The birthday girls! (I just love their faces in this one!)

Then, once the chocolate was ready, they brought out a few trays of fun things like marshmallows, fruit, and cakes of all kinds. Clearly they should rename this place Heaven

The scrumptious plate of dip-ables...AH-mazing. 

We had a really great night catching up, since it has been sooo long since we have seen one another.  

Birthday's are fun :-) 


Chicken Asparagus Pie

I. Love. Asparagus.

I mean, come on! It's yummy and cute! ;-)

This is an awesome recipe. So good, in fact, that in the past I have made it twice in two weeks (a rarity for my menu). I changed a few things from the original recipe, such as swapped chicken for turkey, sherry for wine, etc. The wine was good, but one day I didn't have any on hand, tried it with the sherry and it was better! You can also use frozen asparagus (thaw it first) making this a great all-year-round kind of dish. Try it, you'll like it!

Chicken Asparagus Pie
(Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker)


3 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup fat free half-and-half
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
8-10 stalks (stalks? shoots? spears?) of asparagus
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 Tbsp cooking Sherry
1 can reduced fat crescent rolls


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion in butter, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in flour; cook until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Gradually add half-and-half, salt and pepper. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat; stir in chicken, asparagus, mushrooms and sherry.
  2. Separate dough into 8 triangles. Place dough in ungreased 9-inch pie plate in spoke pattern, with narrow tips overlapping rim of plate about 3 inches. Press dough in side and bottom to form crust. Spoon chicken mixture evenly over dough. Bring tips of dough over filling to meet in center; do not overlap.
  3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. 

Mmm, can't wait for lunch tomorrow. What am I having? You guessed it, leftovers! :-)


Silhouette-Hand in Hand

I have wanted to put together a craft blog for some time now, thanks to the inspiration I got from following Disney on Ruffles and Stuff. If you haven't already, you need to visit her and her adorable little girl to see all that they have done! She is so talented and I hope she decides to post again!! 

A few months ago, I saw this tutorial on her page and wanted to try it out for a little girl in our church. I found a sweet profile shot of this little cutie and made a little wall hanging for her bedroom. It worked so well, (though I didn't remember to take a picture!! grrr!) that I went a bit silhouette crazy! You can ask SP, there were scraps of black paper and half cut pictures all over my craft table for days! (Ok, ok...maybe more than just on my craft table. hehe)

At some point, I became bored of traditional I found this adorable photo of KHo and her bf, and decided it was the perfect photo to attempt a more difficult silhouette. 

And here's how it came out...

KHo looks a bit like Mulan, but hey, I'm learning! :-) 

"Love is walking hand in hand." - Charles M. Schulz


A Farewell to Summer

As a final farewell to Summer 2010, I thought I would share my very favorite summer meal! 

When SP and I first got married, I decided that I would make the first few months of our marriage a culinary adventure by throwing all recipes to the side and making what felt right. Well...the moral of this story is threefold:  

1) You win some. You lose some. 
2) If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again.
3) Pizza or Chinese?  

This particular dish, however, is truly a gem. I have served it to many a guest and it is always a hit! SP calls them Summer Fajitas because they are a nice light meal and taste great with fresh veggies from the farmers' market! (You can make them with frozen veggies too if you want to share the love with the other 3 seasons!) 

There are so many variations to be discovered for this recipe, so have fun with it! I usually use what I have on hand, which makes it so simple!


1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced 
1/2 onion, sliced
Approx. 3 cups fresh veggies, if using frozen, thaw first
(This time, I used broccoli, red pepper and squash, but asparagus, zucchini, and carrots are great too!)
1-2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
1/8-1/4c Teriyaki sauce (low-sodium)
1-2 Tbsp Soy sauce (low-sodium) 
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
sour cream 
mozzarella cheese, shredded

Tortillas or rice to serve. 

1) In a large pan, brown chicken in oil over medium heat, approx. 3-5 minutes. While chicken is cooking, chop all veggies, leaving them slightly larger than bite-sized. Add to chicken. 

2) To taste, add sauces and vinegars. I have given the approximate amount that I use, but you will need to keep tasting it to be sure it is not too salty from the soy and teriyaki sauces.

3) Reduce heat and cover, letting it simmer until veggies are tender, stirring frequently. 

4) Serve in a tortilla with sour cream and shredded mozzarella cheese, or over rice if desired. 


As a last tribute to Summer 2010, here are a few photo highlights of what we did:

KHo graduated from college, here she is posing like the little mermaid. :-)

In May we went to Chicago for a family wedding! 
This is Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor, or The Bean, as it is lovingly nicknamed. 

In July, I went on my first mission trip outside of the U.S.

We spent the 4th of July on the lake with my family watching fireworks. It was awesome!

In August, we went to Martha's Vineyard.

My first Rascal Flatts concert!

A sunny drive over to Sunflower Field.

Summer, you were fantastic.
Thank you for everything. 
See you next year!

Welcome back, Autumn. 
We missed you.


A time to organize

Well, it's official: I cannot resist a bargain. 

I went to the Library and they have a little shelf in the corner with all the books you can purchase for next to nothing. Usually, the books are so old, smelly, and pretty much falling apart that it is not hard to walk away...but sometimes you can find a real gem! Well friends, today was a day for treasures. The lovely ladies at the Library put together a box of old magazines for $.25 each. {{ Score! }} I was super excited, maybe more excited than I should have been...SP's first words when I walked in the door with all these beauties were "Oh no. We just cleaned off the table."  :-)   He knows me so well. 

So now the question is: How do I turn this....

into something functional/organized/pretty? 

I used to have my beautiful inspiration board...

{  I made her out of cardboard and a magenta curtain. Isn't she sassy with the beads?! }

but now she is hanging in the laundry room with the rest of my crafting supplies since I don't have a sewing room right now. So how does a girl keep her ideas straight without an inspiration board?! I'm so lost! 

So in the spirit of crafting, I decided that I had to give one last sigh of despair and find something new to take her place. 

( It's not you, it's me. I just need some time. It will only be for a while, I still love you! )  

So far, this is what I have come up with. 

I found a cute purple binder with lots of colored card stock and I am going to cut out the pictures that I like and categorize them by crafts, recipes, sewing, etc. That way, I can flip through and see all my inspirations and not be so overwhelmed by all I want to do! I found an old photo album with these great self-adhesive pages (I did not like them for my photos, but I think they will work well for this)

 Now, just to make it happen...


Once Upon a Bouquet

This is the story of a girl who adores books and loves shopping...two reasons why she should never (ever) be allowed to visit a book sale...at least not in the near future. ;-)

As I unpacked our books during our most recent move, I noticed many titles I had purchased at book sales thinking I would read them (or just because I loved the $.25  price tag), but never got around to actually reading a single one. I put together a box to be donated, a box for a few teacher friends, and the rest went into my craft bin to collect dust for future projects.

The book used in this project, however, I actually read...I just didn't like it, so it seemed like an ideal candidate for my latest experiment. I think this book should feel honored to have such a position on the shelf. The envy of all its friends, I'm sure.

Wanna try?!

Here's what you need:

- A few pages of a book (you may want to make sure that all the words are appropriate for display)
- Glass Vase (I found mine at A.C. Moore for less than $1) 
- Mod Podge and brush

The first thing I did was tear my paper into smaller pieces. I used my hands because I like the way the jagged edges look, rather than the straight lines of scissors. 

Then put a coat of Mod Podge on your vase, working one side at a time so it doesn't dry before you can get the paper on. 

Begin to stick papers all over the vase, until all the glass is covered. I stopped taking pictures at this point because my hands were sticky  :-)  When the vase is covered, put another coat of Mod Podge over the papers to seal them together. Let it dry. 

Look what you made! Fun, huh??  Next time I want to use a little distressing ink to make it look a bit vintage.

Hope you like it!

Thanks for visiting!


Burberry, I mean Birthday Day cake

My Mom. 

Anyone that knows her will tell you that she is one amazing lady.  She is patient, kind, loving, and oh so funny when she is in a silly mood. I am so lucky to have her and hope to one day be half as good of a mother as she is! 

So for Mom's special day, I decided I wanted to make her a cake that is a little out of the ordinary. I tried to think of what my mom loves more than anything (aside from her family, that is) and the first thing I thought of was her 4th baby...

Well, I'm certainly not talented enough to make a Patrick cake...plus, it could never be as cute! Instead, I thought I would make a Burberry cake. Mom really likes the Burberry pattern, so I decided to make a purse with a few accessories. 

Here's what I came up with. 

(I'm still learning, so be kind!)

You like it? I think it's pretty cute, no? The cake is dark chocolate with a hazelnut cream filling. 

Super Yum.

These pictures are not wonderful...the cake did turn out a bit more green than tan...but not quite as green as it seems here. (Try, try again...right?!)

Mom liked her accessories though...

Hehehe, Happy Birthday to a wonderful Mother and friend. Love you lots! 

Thanks for stopping by! 


Every hike needs cookie dough balls

Labor Day weekend has come and gone, which means that it is almost Autumn! I cannot wait for the beautiful leaves, crisp air and warm soups! I'm trying to stay "in the now" and enjoy the last few weeks of summer weather and longer days, but it's so hard with things like pumpkin muffins and gingerbread lattes so close I can smell them! Our weekend was packed with family, fun, and a surprising amount of relaxation. I {heart} three day weekends! 

Saturday we went for a fabulous hike with SP's family. (This is a photo of my SIL and her BF)

Sunday, my family came over for a tasty picnic and a few rounds of "Kubb" 

(Thanks to my In-laws for lending us the game!)                          (Photo: Colorado Kubb)

Since I was playing hostess, I only have a few pictures, but this one is too adorable not to share. I heard some noises in my bedroom and when I went to see what it was, I found a giggling Avra "hiding" on my bed. My mom said she looked like that scene from ET. So cute. 

Ok, ok, I know what you're thinking..."Enough talking, you promised cookies!  

Remember when your mom/grandma made chocolate chip cookies and let you have just a little bite of the dough? It was SO yummy, but you couldn't have any more because "it has raw egg in it that will make you sick, sweetie." I remember that it was always the sleepover dream to make a big bowl of cookie dough and eat it with a spoon. Mmmm. 

Well, the day has come when men, women, and children can stuff themselves with uncooked dough without a passing thought of Salmonella! Hooray! These little balls of deliciousness are seriously phenomenal. SP and my little bro both declared them to be the single best dessert I have ever made. Well then, if that is not enough incentive for you to run into the kitchen and whip up a batch right now, I don't know what is! 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

(By Love and Olive Oil, adapted by Wingledings)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
dark chocolate for coating
Beat butter and sugars and in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt and mix on low speed (or by hand) until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.
Cover and chill in freezer until firm enough to pick up.
Form dough into 1″ balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Place sheets in freezer and let chill for 30 minutes.
Place dark chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and cook for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until melted. Using a toothpick, dip cookie balls into chocolate to cover. Twist toothpick to remove any excess coating, and return to waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Chill until set. Don't worry about storage, you won't need it! 

Though I loved this recipe, I cannot help but think there may be a better one out there. I'm interested in trying one from the Food Network...I'm sure SP wouldn't mind being my taste-tester again. It's a hard job, but someone has to do it! ;-)
Thanks for visiting!