Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm trying...

really, I am. I had such grand plans of spending the last couple of days catching up on blog reading and such. Then, a couple of nights ago, when I went to post to my own blog, my computer froze up. I've never had that problem with that Mac. Ever. I went to reboot it, and it immediately went to the dreaded DOS screen. And, according to the Geek Squad member who delivered the death sentence: there was no hope in reviving my poor little friend. So, I'm coming at you live from my brand spanking-new Mac. And, of course, I'm about $1500 poorer. I think every appliance in my house got together and went on strike. I can't tell you how many things we have had to replace since Bryan came home. And, of course, that s**t storm started right after we spent the money to purchase this:

Yup, the search for our second vehicle finally ended. This is our brand-new-to-us 2003 Jeep Cherokee. We are a definitely a Jeep family. This was originally supposed to be Bryan's vehicle. But, thanks to the tinted windows and more spacious backseat, he graciously gave the Cherokee to me, and took my old Liberty. Thank you, honey...I LOVE my car! And, the kids are so much happier in their roomier, less sunny seating area. I just wish we weren't having to spend all this money at once. It always seems to work out that way, though...doesn't it?

No to mention the fact that we just spent a wad on our weekend vacation to Raleigh. It wasn't much, but we needed the break. Plus, we had quite the successful garage sale last Saturday, and made over $200. We had already decided to spend whatever we made on a weekend getaway. We already had some extra money saved up, and a rough plan in mind. We headed to Raleigh late Saturday afternoon, and checked in at the Hampton Inn by the mall. After we got settled, we headed straight off to the new Urban Outfitters. The purpose was to find some new clothes for Bryan. He needed (and definitely deserved) them. I can't tell you how hard it was not to buy the entire home furnishings section out! I'm extremely proud of myself, though. These guys were pretty much the only things that made it into our cart that were for me:

The most perfect little set of owl salt & pepper our kitchen's colors no less! After some more shopping at Build-A-Bear for the kids and Williams-Sonoma for some Mother's Day goodies, we headed to The Cheesecake Factory for a LOVELY dinner. I had remembered my camera, but forgot the memory card. Typical. So, I have no pictures of the most delish apple pie caramel apples we found at the candy factory across the street. After they were safely secured in our tummies, we returned to the hotel for a wonderful night's sleep. If you've never stayed at a Hampton Inn, I have to recommend it. They have the BEST mattresses...seriously. I keep meaning to ask them what kind of mattresses they have because I SO want one at home. But, I forget every time we stay there.

Anyway, we got up the next morning and went to my favorite flea market at the Raleigh State Fair Grounds. Unfortunately much rain was in the forecast, so a lot of the vendors weren't there. But, we still managed to score some nice finds. I have to say, this was the best piece of the day:

It is a tin tile that came from the side of an old restaurant in San Francisco's China Town. The restaurant was being demolished, and the dealer managed to get her hands on 5 of these tiles. They sold like hot cakes, and we got the LAST one! The dealer guesstimated that it was from about the 1930's or 40's. Once I figure out how to fasten some hangers to it, it will adorn one of the walls in Bryan's game room. We also scored some scrap iron wall hooks in the shape of Mermaids (for a special relative's Christmas gift), some iron shelf hangers, some scrap iron stars that I transformed into candle holders and an AMAZING old kitchen scale that was still perfectly calibrated! I found lots of other amazing things but, hey, we were on a tight budget. So, I guess there's always next time.

We've had quite the busy week. We also had a BBQ for some of Bryan's friends that just came home from this deployment. I think they were the last group, and we thought the deserved a proper welcome. I made homemade potato salad and baked beans. Bryan manned the BBQ to cook up some yummy burgers and hot dogs. And, for dessert...this:

Buttermilk Pound Cake. Another Paula Deen success. Seriously, does this woman have a recipe that ISN'T perfect?!? I think not. I had this old family recipe for pound cake that never turned out. My mom and I think that our relative tried to sabotage any efforts to reproduce her delicious cake. Every time either one of us tried it, it came out of the pan like a lead weight. Yuck. But, this new recipe? Pure perfection. I served it up with some fresh strawberries and whipped cream to a few delighted guests!

Well, speaking of food...I am going to get my rear in gear and head on out for some fresh sushi with the hubs...child-free no less! Yay! When we get home tonight, I plan on getting caught up on some more blog reading. I only managed to get caught up on this lovely girl's blog before my computer so sadly passed away. I'll be back for more bloggage tonight after a belly full of raw fish and rice!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Back to reality...

What a busy week it has been! But, sadly, all good things have to come to an end. Bryan went back to work yesterday, and I have been trying to play catch-up like a mad woman! Tomorrow has been officially designated as "Blog Reading Catch-Up Day." So, I promise to be back with some blog love for all of you wonderful ladies tomorrow. That is, after I go to my "Marriage Enhancement" course. It's a lovely little class organized by the military to remind those that aren't smart enough to figure it out on their own not to beat their wives, yell at their children, kill themselves, etc., etc. Unfortunately, we are required to attend, and it looks like it will be eating up the majority of my morning. But, hey, at least we don't have to attend the "Single And Loving It" class required for all of the single soldiers. I can't wait to hear what that is all about. Our roommate has to attend it, so I'm sure I will hear all about it tomorrow.

Yes, I said "roommate." We have a house guest for the next 3 weeks. He is getting ready to move to another post, and couldn't stand being stuck in the barracks with his alcoholic roommate any longer. So, we took him in for the next few weeks. I don't mind. He's a super nice guy, and he's really good with the kids. He also helps me clean...I'm hoping he can teach Bryan how to do the same. Tee hee!

We also had another unexpected guest pay us a visit this weekend:

Isn't she adorable?!? Bryan found her huddled against our fence while he was mowing the lawn. He actually almost ran over her with the mower. There have been a lot of stray cats and dogs in our neighborhood recently, and we were afraid that her mom might have met with an untimely death, and that she might be next. So, we took her into the backyard, and made a little home for her for the night. She was gone by morning, but keeps returning every night. She must feel safe in our yard. She's so stinkin' cute!

Last weekend...lots of fun! We had a little Mexican Fiesta on Saturday for our neighbors, and a few of Bryan's friends that had just returned from the same deployment. Unfortunately, I was too busy cooking to bring out the camera. And, of course, I am kicking myself for that now. Oh, well. I'm sure there will be MANY more parties in the future. We love to entertain! And, I stumbled across THE BEST recipe for chicken enchiladas! I don't like enchiladas at all. I made them because they were easy enough, and the made A LOT. But, I tried one, and I'm HOOKED! I had a few other guests say that they never like enchiladas either, but had already scarfed down 3 or 4 of these! So, big kudos to Paula Deen! I have to say that I have never made a recipe of hers that I didn't love, and the enchiladas were no exception! I'll post the recipe at the end of this blog, so you all can try it out. You might want to cut the recipe in half if you're just making it for a small family dinner...unless you want left-overs for a week!

So, Saturday was fun...then came Sunday. And, this:

Somehow, I managed to put my hand through one of my grandmother's antique serving dishes. I don't know what happened...I went to grab it, and it just broke. My hand went in, and I ended up with the nastiest gash EVER. I don't do blood, and I nearly passed out. Trust me, you don't want to see what is under that bandage. But, at least Bryan's combat emergency medical training finally came in handy. After I sat clutching my hand in a blood-drenched towel over the bath tub and crying my eyes out for about 30 minutes, I finally let him look at it. It needed stitches. Duh. Had you seen what was coming out of that wound, you would have known it needed stitches as well. Problem is...the military hospital isn't the best at seeing someone for something so trivial as, oh, some stitches, in anything resembling a timely manner. So what did I end up with instead? A good wound flushing, and some butterfly stitches...from my husband. He tells me with this gleen of excitement in his eyes, "I can get my combat emergency kit, and actually stitch it for you." Um, no thanks honey...I'm good on that. It's healing nicely, but will have a substantially larger scar than it would have had I actually had stitches. Oh, well. It's just my hand. I'm not that vain. Of course, it put me out of commission for a couple of days. I had wanted to blog a couple of days ago, but the hand just wasn't that mobile yet. Thank God it isn't kit time over at Label Tulip. I would have been in a real bind. I can't even pick the kids up without causing the wound to open back up. So, I've spent the last couple of days with Bryan at work so that he can help with the kids. Fun.

It didn't stop me from making this tasty dish today, though.

Homemade clam chowder. Bryan's favorite. And, he actually ate it...without one single complaint. Maybe he isn't so ungrateful after all. This soup is one of my specialties. It's delish, but takes about 2 1/2 hours to make. So, it's one of those special treats. But, OH SO worth it!

Bryan has been busy spending our money since he has been back. So, I'll be back tomorrow with pictures of all of our fun new purchases tomorrow. This weekend is my turn to spend, though. That is, assuming that we make some money at our yard sale on Friday and Saturday. I have TONS of stuff to get rid of. If things go well, we will be spending Sunday at my favorite flea market in Raleigh followed by dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Wish me luck!

Without further ado...Paula Deen's recipe for Enchiladas de Pollo:

4 Lg boneless, skinless chicken breasts, roasted or boiled, meat shredded
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, at room temp
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup
2 (4 oz) cans diced green chilies, with juice
6 green onions, chopped, including green tops
20-24 flour tortillas (7" diameter)
2 (10 oz) cans enchilada sauce *I actually used 3 cans*
2 C (1/2 lb) grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 C (1 lb) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and salsa for garnish

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spray (2) 13"x9" casserole dishes w/ vegetable cooking spray. Combine chicken, cream cheese, soup, chilies and green onions. Spoon 2 Tbs of mixture into each tortilla and roll up. Pour a small amount of enchilada sauce on the bottom of each casserole dish and tilt the dish so that the sauce covers the bottom. Place the enchiladas side by side on top of the sauce. When all of the enchiladas have been rolled and placed in the dishes, take the remaining enchilada sauce and pour it over the top of the enchiladas. Combines the cheeses and sprinkle evenly over the casseroles. Cover the dishes w/ foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more. To serve, cut between the enchiladas and serve from the dish. Have bowls of sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and salsa for garnish.

***Don't make the entire recipe too far ahead of cooking...they will get soggy. Instead, make just the filling, and put it in the fridge to shill. Then, assemble the enchiladas about an hour before cooking them.***


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Not a happy girl...

Well, due to some unforseen events around here yesterday, I was unable to get on the internet to post the full views of my projects for this month's Label Tulip goodies. So, here you go...

A 5x7 altered canvas. I'm going to be making one of these for each of our family members. So, stay tuned for next month's kit to show off the next featured family members mug turned home-decor.

We had a large piece of cork in the main kit. Rather than using it on a LO, I decided to make my own corkboard for the door to Luka's room. The tacks are made from the mini chipboard coasters from SEI. Using Diamond Glaze, I attached the flat-backed glass pebbles on top of the coasters. Then, with a hot glue gun, I attached a tack to the back. Voila! Cute thumb tacks, and a message board to boot!

Our challenge this month was to do a LO about spring. Spring, to me, means the planting of flowers. I love gardening, and it is second only to my love for this scrapbooking hobby. I find gardening incredibly relaxing, and rewarding. All of those pictures are of flowers from my yard.

This is my lift of our guest designer this month, Robyn Werlich. I loved her original LO, but my version wasn't what I had envisioned. Totally not my best work. The LO itself was a difficult style for me to duplicate. So, mine is a really loose interpretation. I picked up more on the colors, and small details from the original. Inside of the handmade file folder, are a list of Hazel's favorite things at her current age.

This was my fave LO that I did out of the bunch. Every month, I am really pleased with what I turned in. Then, I see what all of the other Tulip Girls have done, and am totally blown away. Boy, do I work is nothing in comparison. Anyway, I have another LO and a card that I will upload later today or tomorrow.

And now, on to the not-so-scrappy things in life...
I swear, this house is ruled by Murphy's Law...whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. We spent all day yesterday car shopping...don't ask. I hate car shopping. Hate with a capital "H!" I really want to get something smaller than our old Jeep due to the INSANELY high gas prices. And, of course, we can't afford a brand-new car. So, trying to find something used that still isn't ridiculously over-priced or doesn't have 50,000+ miles on it is next to impossible. I really can't believe how much money they sell cars for. You would think with the state of the current economy and the inflated gas prices, that you would be able to get a killer deal on a vehicle right now. Not so much. And, Bryan doesn't seem to get the whole gas prices/smaller car thing. He is hell-bent on getting a truck. He doesn't want to drive a car. Blah, blah, blah. Thus, a large argument ensues, and we went home car-less. Then, I spent the rest of the evening kicking myself for not saving more money during this deployment. Coulda', shoulda', woulda'...right? Money truly is the root of all evil.

Not to mention the fact that, now, we also have the added bonus of having to buy a new bed frame since ours collapsed yesterday. Get your minds out of the gutter! Bryan has a bad habit of hopping his happy butt onto the foot of the bed really hard when he sits to put his shoes on or take them off. I guess that butt of his just slammed down a little too hard, because when he went to put his shoes on yesterday...BAM! There went the bed. Lovely.

And, I have come to the conclusion that I have a house full of the most ungrateful people on earth. You would think that after spending the last 15 months eating frozen food, my kids would be a little more appreciative of a home-cooked meal. Or, my husband, that has spent the last 15 months eating unrecognizable slop from a tray, would be thankful for something cooked at home. Au contraire. I made my dad's recipe for homemade chili, and a jalapeno cornbread mix from Williams-Sonoma for dinner last night. That chili has never had anything but rave reviews...especially from Bryan. He was the one that asked for it, in fact. But, I spent the entire meal listening to Hazel complain that the chili was "too spicy." And, Bryan complain that the chili wasn't spicy enough, but the cornbread was way too spicy. I did tone down the "hotness" because the kids don't do spicy like that, but I thought the chili was really good. I didn't even enjoy my meal, though. I ended up trashing the rest of the huge pot of chili, and more than half a pan of cornbread. I hope that the 3 of them enjoy eating soup and sandwiches...that they make themselves...because that's all they're going to be eating for the next couple of weeks. I give up.

Not a happy girl, am I. The fact that I have a raging case of PMS probably isn't helping anything along. But, I just popped some Benadryl because my allergies are relentless this year. So, I'm going to enjoy some peaceful sleep that is, hopefully, free from dreams of dwindling bank accounts, car lots and whiners.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Show and tell time...

Lots of exciting things to share today! How about we start with some peeks from my April Label Tulip kit. I loved this of the best EVER! Be there tomorrow night at 6pm PST for the full reveal!

Wanted to give a quick shout-out to the fabulous Peata for featuring my "The Crew" mini-book I made for Red Velvet Kit Club as her fave mini-book of the week on her blog. Thanks so much, girl! You totally made my week!

I am also so stoked to have signed up for Teresa McFayden's e-zine Casa Bella. It promises to be packed with 12 home decor projects to spruce up your house for the spring. I subscribed to Teresa's Christmas e-zine, and it was fabulous! You should definitely head on over, and register from some inspiration delivered directly to your inbox. I promise, you won't be disappointed.

I also scored a copy of this book. I love the whole flea market experience, and I'm hoping that it will give me some brilliant new home decor ideas. And, Bryan has a little bit of a problem envisioning what I want to do with things when I originally purchase all of my "junk." He's usually amazed with the end result, but doubts it throughout the whole preparation process. I hope that this book will help him get a better mental picture from the get-go. I'll let you know what I think of it after I get it in my hot little hands!

Also, from that post I did way back with the Easter photos... I promised a little RAK for the person that gal that came up with the best title/journaling for that funny little photo of Hazel. So, Jenn're the winner! Your title was too cute, and I plan on using it once I get around to actually scrapping that photo. Thanks so much! In return, I have a nice little stash of some new Love, Elsie goodies to send you. Just e-mail me your address at, and I'll pop them in the mail to you! As for a couple of other RAK's, I'm working on those in the next few days, and will be back with more info on that tomorrow.

Well, Bryan made it home safely last night...after one flight cancellation, and about 5 delays. That 2:30 am flight got cancelled. But, I arrived to pick him up at the scheduled 7:30 pm flight last night. Yeah...that flight ended up showing up around 10:30, and the guys didn't even make it into the building from the tarmac until after 11! We got to spend about 10 minutes with him before they made him go to work to check in his weapons. Then, we sat around until about 1 am waiting for him to get everything turned in. Finally, around 2 am, we arrived home. Needless to say, it was a loooong day yesterday, and was even longer today. Ugh. I'm off to get some much-needed rest. And, I'll be back with more to share tomorrow...including the full reveal of my Label Tulip goodies! Later gators!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


That's what it's been around here lately. C.R.A.Z.Y. I feel like a chicken running around with my head cut off. Bryan should be home on Sunday at 2:30 in the morning. Lovely. Could the army pick a more awful time? Let me tell you how excited I am about having to drag my kids down to post in the middle of the night. Don't get me wrong...I'm thrilled beyond words that my hubs will finally be home. But, seriously...2:30 am? Ugh.

I've been bustin' my a** with house cleaning, and kit magic. I've been deep-cleaning one room a day for the last week, and I'm almost done. Now, if I can just keep it that way until Sunday. In between all of that, chasing two kids around, and house-breaking a dog, I have found time to work with my Label Tulip kit. This month is AMAZING. I mean...WOW! I had to have all of the add-ons, myself. I think this is my fave kit of all-time...ever...from any kit company. I have never made so much from one kit, and I still have stuff left to work with. My mojo is just loving all the goodies from this one! And, I should have some sneaks to share Saturday or Sunday.

So, yesterday was my anniversary. Rather than sitting at home, moping, I went out to The Olive Garden with my friend, Heidi. Yum. I hadn't had Olive Garden in forever. I love their salad and breadsticks. I could make a meal out of that alone. But, the Chicken Parmigiana was wonderful too. All in all...not a bad anniversary, considering that my husband was nowhere to be seen.

I am so behind on everything blog, RAK and internet related. I promise to be catching up soon. I owe e-mails, RAK's, and blog readings to A LOT of you. I promise to be catching up in the next couple of weeks. I haven't forgotten any of you. mean it when I say things have been nuts lately.

So, peeks this weekend. Be here or be, well, not here. But, there will be some eye candy for you when you return. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a recent picture of Sake. She has proven to be the BEST addition to this family. Love her to bits!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Red Velvet Deliciousness

So...I've been absent for the last couple of days. But, trust me, it was for good reason. I was spending a lot of time working on my projects for my Guest DT spot over at Red Velvet Kit Club. So, no more waiting! Here we go...

First off, a mini-book that I created as a gift for Bryan when he comes home. Here's the book:

And, here's the story:

Every time we visit my husband's old home (and friends) in Spokane, WA, he is always camera-crazy with the friend pics. Although, Bryan would be the first to admit he doesn't weild a camera with much success. So, I took all of his not-so-perfect pics of his friends, and put them into a nice little book for him to enjoy. I crafted it to look sort of like a cross between a yearbook, and a class notebook...using a combination of the Bam Pop set and the various ephemera from the kit. Each one of his friends has their own page, and a corresponding "character" from the Bam Pop yearbook photo paper. Their names were all done in the Sass alpha, and framed in the diecut Bam Pop frames. Then, I took transparencies, stamped with painted
bubble wrap, and mounted the Bam Pop yearbook photo on top with photo corners. If you flip the transparency over, you see a yearbook-ish type description of each friend (written on various graph and notebook papers included in the kit), along with the real-life photo of each person. Being in the military, and so far away from his friends, my husband misses them dearly. I hope this little book will be a nice reminder of who he misses from back home.

Now, if you made it through that little rambling, here's a quick card that I made for Bryan for our anniversary:

A LO about our new fur-baby, Sake:

And, a little LO about Luka at one year old. The little notebook paper insert pulls out to reveal more journaling about all of his accomplishments up to this point.

So, in addition to the Red Velvet busy-ness, I hadn't really felt like bloggin because it has been a rather crappy week. Hazel had her 4 year old check-up, and got 5 vaccines. They ended up making her sick (on top of her already TERRIBLE allergies), so it has been a fun week playing "Nurse Mom." Then, I got awoken yesterday at 7:30 am by the phone ringing. It was Bryan calling. They pushed back his return date by about 4 days. That might not seem like much, but when you're husband's been gone for 15 months, every last day before he comes home seems like an eternity! Plus, he has never been home for our anniversary. Ever. And, he was supposed to come home ON our anniversary. Not anymore. I guess that was the most upsetting part. On the bright side, it gives me more time to get the house all ready to go, and to bang out my Label Tulip projects before he comes home. Well, I have tons to do this weekend, so i had better get a move on. Happy Friday!