Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange

Linda over at Craftaholics Anonymous is hosting a Handmade Gift Exchange.  Basically, you get matched up with another person and then you exchange handmade gifts.  The last time she hosted an exchange she had over 400 participants!  That's insane!  This is the first time I've seen something like this and I am super excited to be participating!

I am super excited about this, and also nervous.  I am not a 'crafter' by any means.  My 'talents', at this point, are limited to beginner quilting and sewing.  I'm going to do my best to make something great, but let's be realistic, it's not going to be epic.

The other side of this, is that I'm super excited about the handmade gift that I'm going to get!

Go here for more details about the exchange. You have until June 6th to sign up, and then your gift must be in the mail by June 30th.

Oh man, I'm excited.

Head on over to register now!  

Are you going to register? What are you going to make?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week 141

With me being sick for most of last week, meal planning and grocery shopping was a bit of a challenge.  But we made it work.  Only one carry-over from last week.

At this point, this upcoming week looks pretty good.  Not too busy, which I love.  We are looking forward to a family wedding on Saturday (Yay Kim & Josh!) So excited, I LOVE weddings.

So here's what our menu looks like this week:

Monday: Chinese Chicken Stirfry (carry-over, recipe to follow)
Tuesday: Pasta with Italian Gigi Sauce (recipe to follow)
Wednesday: Beef Teriyaki Stirfry
Thursday: Slow Cooker Chili (I know we just had this one a few weeks ago, but when the hubby requests, I make it happen)

Here's hoping that I actually make everything on this menu!

As always, linking to Org Junkie.  Check her out for a TON of dinner idea's.

Happy Menu Planning!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Recipe: Fettuccine Alfredo

This recipe is one of my all-time favorites that my mom passed down to me.  Up until she showed me this recipe, anytime I made Fettuccine Alfredo it came from a jar, always thinking that home-made was far too difficult.

It's not.  It has to be one of the easiest recipes ever.

Like some of my other recipes, I don't have this one written down.  It's one of those 'little bit a this, little bit a that' recipes that you know like the back of your hand.  But, for the sake of good alfredo sauce, I will put it in print.

Please keep in mind that my measurements are approximate (with the exception of the whipped cream) and can be adjusted to your taste.


500 ml Whipped Cream
5 cloves of crushed garlic (I'm a garlic lover, so I always use lots)
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste (which to me means a few shakes of each)
Two decent sized handfuls of Fettuccine (no idea how to measure fettuccine)


Fill a pot of water for your fettuccine bring to a boil, and cook pasta as directed on the package.

(The sauce takes as long as the pasta takes to cook, thats how you know the sauce is done.)

I turn the water on to boil when I start the sauce.

Put olive oil and garlic into a medium sized pot and brown the garlic.  

Once the garlic is slightly browned, dump in the container of whipped cream and top with nutmeg and salt & pepper.  Mix well.

Bring the whipped cream to a boil, and then reduce heat and let simmer.  You basically want a gentle boil/simmer.  This reduces the whipped cream and makes it all thick and creamy - so yummy!

Stir constantly to avoid it burning to the bottom of the pot.

Once the pasta is cooked, the sauce should be nice and thick, about the consistency of pudding.

Add the sauce to the drained pasta, mix and add Parmesan Cheese as desired.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Bad post title, I know.  But I couldn't think of anything else!


Once we completed our new dining room set, a wine rack/glass holder thingy that we have looked out of place, and I didn't like it anymore.

It looked heavy and awkward, and I wanted a change.

My husband scoured Craigslist and found this:

Apologies for the poor picture quality, my husband took it on his iPhone.  

Now, the picture we saw on Craigslist looked like it was in much better shape than it actually was, it also looked like it was real wood, but it isn't.  Serves me right not asking enough questions before buying it!

Oh well, we both feel we over-paid ($60) but we are both happy with the way it turned out.

My husband did his thing: sanded, minor repairs,  primed, painted and put on new hardware.  He's so talented.


Unfortunately, the doors didn't go back on the way they were supposed to, but you don't really notice it too bad.  The photo makes it look worse than it is.

Not too sure what I'm going to put in it yet, most likely my China, but for now its just random stuff.

I like the way it looks in the corner there.  It's a lot lighter looking, and is more practical storage-wise.

Yay for having a husband that can refinish stuff!!

I take absolutely no credit for this project, aside for saying that I wanted it painted white.  

My husband is amazing, and talented, and amazing.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week 140

It's a holiday here in BC today, so no work for me! Yay!  I love stat holidays, and wish there were more of them.

I'm sick too, which totally sucks on a long weekend! My husband and I chose to cut our trip to Harrison Hot Springs short so that I could come home and sleep in our own bed... such a wonderful man.

Here's what we're doing this week:

Monday: nothing planned, something outta the cupboard
Tuesday: Veggie & Pesto Pasta (carried over from last week)
Wednesday: BBQ'd Burgers
Thursday: Chinese Chicken Stirfry (recipe to follow)

Wel, that's the plan anyways.  We'll see how I'm feeling.

Happy Menu Planning!

Linking up with Org Junkie.  Head over there for some great dinner idea's!

Friday, May 20, 2011

I Love Fabric. Period.

I often look at fabric online.  I love looking at it, imagining what I can do with it, looking at it.  But I was nervous about buying fabric without being able to feel it.

I follow the blog Prudent Baby, and it seems like those super crafty ladies buy all of their fabric off of Fabricworm.com.  I figured, they do it, and they like the fabric once they get it, so maybe I should give it a try.

So I did.

I thought of a couple of projects that I wanted to do, and started browsing.  I find that choosing fabric for a quilt, is one of the most stressful parts of the process.  Don't ask me why, I don't know why I find it stressful, I just do.  Finding fabrics that coordinate, and that I won't hate in a week could have something to do with it.

When I started browsing I looked at fabric bundles.  This was a great way for me to not get stressed out about choosing coordinating fabrics.  All I had to do was make sure I liked the fabrics that were in the bundle.

I chose three bundles, two I had plans for, and the third, I just really liked.

Jenean Morrison, Silent Cinema ($38.00 CAD)

I am totally loving the yellow/gray color combo right now.  I really want to re-do our bedroom with yellow and gray.  Alas, this fabric is not designated for our bedroom.  It is designated for a quilt that I will be making for                              .  I can't tell!  They might be reading!  But they probably aren't, but maybe, just to be safe.

The Quilted Fish, Sugar and Spice ($31.50)

I see a couple of baby girl quilts in this fabric bundles future!

Khristian A. Howell, Theory Seaside ($36.00)

I just liked this bundle, pure and simple.  No idea what I'm going to use it for.  I'll probably just look at it for a long time.

Actually, I will probably just look at all of this fabric for a long time.

I heart fabric.  And Fabricworm. 

Go there.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Can't Keep Putting This Off Forever...

I am terrible at goal-setting.  If I ever do set goals, I rarely, if ever, meet them.  

This post is my attempt at goal-setting and eventually, meeting them.  I'm hoping that the accountability of blogging about this, will force me into finishing these 'projects'.

Project #1: Re-Organize My Closet

Because it looks like this:

This may not look that bad, but it used to look so nice.... all organized and pretty.

This shelf has just become a mess of junk.  I hate it! Yet I keep adding to it everyday.  It shouldn't look like this. Ever.

I have got to find a better way to store all my scarves.  Originally I had them all folded and stacked all pretty, it looked like a rainbow.  Trouble with that was, I was always too lazy to fold them all up again.  Hence, the above photo.

To Do:
  • Purge clothes (I do this about every six months, if I can't remember the last time I wore it, or it doesn't fit anymore - it's gonzo)
  • Find better storage solution for my scarves and purses
  • Clear out the 'junk' shelf and use it for a purpose

Project 2: Re-Organize Basement Storage

Even just thinking of tackling this is overwhelming!  We had this space in the basement that was too small to really be of any use to us, until we bought these fantastic shelves from Costco and decided to use the space as a pantry/storage area.  It started organized, and then stuff just kept getting put there.

View from the bottom of the stairs, looking to the right. Oh, and that is our upright freezer on the left.  Best thing ever!

A closer view of the shelves on the left hand side of the room. Notice all the stuff on the floor... I hate that!

The shelf on the right. Again, crap on the ground!

The view, in all it's cluttered glory.  It makes my chest all tight and anxiety-ey when I look at this.

Side note: thats my laundry room at the end of the hall.  It's so plain and boring.  I have a strong desire to make it pretty.  I'm sure it'll get done... eventually.

To Do:
  • Purge junk.  Get stuff together for a garage sale.
  • Create designated area's 
  • Put stuff together for garage sale

Project #3: Re-Organize The Kitchen

Sigh, the kitchen.  I have re-organized my kitchen three times since we moved into this house, and the last time I did it, I totally mucked it up.  Enough so that my husband comments on it almost every time he opens a  cupboard.

Here is the evidence:

This picture doesn't look too bad.  I absolutely love opening a cupboard and seeing all my Tupperware smiling at me.  The cupboard on the left is a mess, a little bit of everything is thrown in there, and it's too packed.  Why the cupboard on the left doesn't work, will make sense when you see the next photo.

I have no idea what I was thinking when I decided to put all the spices, sauces and random canned goods all put together on a deep shelf.  Oh, I remember, I was thinking, I'll put all the things that I don't use on a regular basis towards the back.  Made sense at the time, until I needed to use one of the items at the back.  It was a HUGE pain in the rear.  It just makes no sense.  And my China doesn't belong there, in amongst non-perishables.

Look at that.  Ridiculous.

When I look at this picture, I see wasted space.  I know that I can fit my China in this cupboard, somehow.  This cupboard can be used way more efficiently.

This is the cupboard in our island/bar thingy.  It also houses Jasper's food, which is why I was unable to get a shot of it with out him sniffing it out.  This cupboard is so crammed with random stuff, it makes it very difficult to get a pups food.  We've got candles, table cloths, platters and plates.  I don't like it, not one bit.  It didn't use to be this way.

To Do:
  • Empty out every cupboard in question
  • Decide if I want to purge any 'houseware' item, and put it with garage sale items
  • Put it all back into the cupboards, but in a smarter, more efficient way
Oh my goodness,  this is a long post, and an overwhelming one.  Seeing it all laid out like this.  It's OK, I can do this.  I know I will feel so much better once this is all taken care of.  I also know that by the time I'm finish these projects, there will be more to do.  It's never ending, isn't it?

As I complete a project I will post about it.   Hopefully you won't have to wait to long to see it!

Do you have any projects on the go?  Been putting anything off?  What is something that you have been dreading tackling? (Mine would be the basement storage!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Recipe: Broccoli & Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

I am a HUGE pasta fan.  If I could, I would eat pasta every night for dinner.

This recipe is one that I found difficult to write down as I didn't start with a recipe.  I just threw stuff in the frying pan and made changes as I went.   That being said, this portions in this recipe are more of a guideline than a strict rule.  It all depends how much garlic, broccoli and tomatoes you and your family like.

This is a go-to pasta recipe for me, the ingredients (with the exception of the broccoli) are all things I keep on hand.  It is also super quick.

Start to finish, it's on the table in about half an hour.

Broccoli & Sun Dried Tomato Pasta


·                 4 – 6 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
·      1 -2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
·      1 C. Sun Dried Tomatoes
·      2 Tbsp Olive Oil (use oil from Sun Dried Tomato Jar)
·      4 C. Bow-Tie Pasta
·      Parmesan Cheese


Turn water on to boil, and add pasta.  Cook as directed.

Heat oil and crushed garlic in a skillet until brown. 

Add broccoli florets and sundried tomatoes.  Sautee in skillet until pasta is cooked.

Add parmesan cheese to the skillet,  then add the pasta and mix it up.

Serve with more parmesan cheese !

Let me know what you think once you try it!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week 139

Well, last week was interesting.  We had two new recipes (Ham & Potato Casserole & Cheeseburger Pasta) on the menu.  Let me just say, I'm sure that there are many people that like these recipes, but my husband and I aren't one of them.  I was pretty excited when I was preparing both recipes, but they just missed the mark.  We both enjoyed the potato portion of the casserole, but felt there was too much ham and ended up being quite salty.  The pasta seemed to be missing something... don't know what that could be, but it fell a little flat.

When I asked my husband if these recipes were 'make again' recipes, he said 'I don't think so'.

I tried!  And I will keep trying new recipes, just not this week.

I planned this menu plan and work and didn't have access to my links, so this week, all old favorites.

Here we go!

Monday: Fettucine Alfredo (recipe to follow)
Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie (from M & M Meats)
Wednesday: Vegetable & Pesto Pasta (recipe to follow)
Thursday: I'm out with a friend, so hubby is fending for himself

I'm linking up this post with Org Junkie, as always.  Check our Laura's site for tons of meal ideas!

Happy Menu Planning!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chili

Most of the recipes that are in my usual line up of meals, I unfortunately don't have links for, or I didn't find them online, therefore there aren't links for them. So I decided that I would start to post some of them so that I could link back to them in the future.  Sounds like a good idea to me!

I found this recipe online somewhere, and made a few modifications to it along the way.  My modifications are in pink.

Slow Cooker Chili

·      1 1/2 pounds ground beef (500g both ground beef & mild Italian sausage,  sprinkled garlic powder while cooking)
·      1 large onion, chopped
·      2 cloves garlic, minced (6 cloves)
·      1 (10.75 ounce) can Campbell's® Condensed Tomato Soup (Regular or 25% Less Sodium)
·      1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes (2 cans Western Family garlic & olive oil diced tomatoes)
·      1/2 cup water
·      2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
·      1/4 cup chili powder (less than ¼ cup)
·      2 teaspoons ground cumin
       1 tbsp basil
       1 tbsp parsley

Cook the beef in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it's well browned, stirring often. Pour off any fat.

Stir the beef, onion, garlic, soup, tomatoes, water, beans, chili powder and cumin in a 3 1/2-quart slow cooker.

Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours.

The portions in pink are the changes that I made to the recipe.  I serve this chili with garlic bread, so yummy.

This recipe also freezes really well.

If you try it, let me know what you think.  I would love to hear how it turned out and if you made and changes to the recipe!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week 138

I made a decision last week to take some time to peruse some of the other 'link-ups' from the Org Junkie Menu Plan Monday Linky party, and I am SO glad I did.  I perused a bunch of the links and found seven new recipes that I am super excited to try them all!  

I am going to try to incorporate at least two new recipes a week, so we'll see how that goes.  I will do my best to let you know how the new recipes turn out.  I'm also going to try to to post some of the recipes for items that I don't have links to. 

Our meal planning worked out really well last week.  The waffles didn't end up happening as the hubbie when to his moms on Tuesday night when I was out for dinner and he ended up having left overs of his favorite meal.  Lucky guy.

Here's whats going on this week:

Monday: Waffles! 
Tuesday: Ham & Potato Casserole (This is a new one)
Wednesday: BBQ'd Hamburgers
Thursday: Cheeseburger Pasta (Another new one...)

I'm always a little nervous trying out new recipes.  There's a fear that they won't turn out good, or that they will take forever to make and it'll be time for bed by the time it's ready.  But I'm sure that it'll be ok.  I'm confident. Sort of.

What's on your menu this week? Are you trying any new recipe's? 

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie.  Take some time and look through all the links, you may find some wonderful new recipes!

Happy Menu Planning!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Organizing My Shoes.

Before I went on holidays, I told you I would share my shoe storage solution.  Even though I have had this 'solution' for a few months now, I was inspired to share when Jen over at I Heart Organizing started doing a challenge to purge and organize.

Here are the problems that I had to tackle when it came to shoe storage:

  • our house is an older house so there isn't a large entry closet to store my shoes in
  • dog fur, dog fur, dog fur

That last one is the biggest problem.  Prior to my current system, I stored my shoes on a shoe rack at the bottom of our bedroom closet.  I liked this option because when I opened my closet I got to see my pretty shoes all in a row. I didn't, however, enjoy having to dump all the dog fur out of my shoes before I put them on in the morning.  As much as I liked seeing them in all their pretty-ness, I absolutely despised having to dump balls of fur out of them before I put them on.

And because I think shoes are pretty, here's a glamour shot:

I thought of all the places that I had left to store stuff in, and under the bed was at the top of the list.

I headed to Walmart and bought an under the bed storage container similar to this, and after purging a few pairs of shoes, I was able to fit them all in.

Ta da!

I love how this neatly tucks away under the bed, and best of all, it keeps all the dog fur out!  So now when I go and choose my shoes in the morning, I just grab and go! No dumping fur for me anymore!

Yay for organizing solutions!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Etsy.... Sigh...

If you would have asked me a few months ago if I'd heard of Etsy, I would have said 'Bless you!'

I heard about Etsy through one of my favorite blogs Our Humble A(Bowe)d.  It appears that Amanda has an Etsy addiction.  She has gotten some beautiful stuff from Etsy.

So, when my husband and I were talking about what to do on the big wall in our dining room, my first thought was Etsy

We have a pretty big wall to fill, so whatever we were going to do, needed to be on the larger side.  We started with a pretty blank slate.

You can get pretty much anything you can imagine on Etsy, so I had to narrow down my search.  We knew we wanted to have some kind of art.  I started to peruse all of the art, and further narrowed my search to strictly photography.

I found a wonderful photography 'shop' called Slight Clutter.  The artist, Katya Horner, is extremely talented and has some absolutely beautiful photo's.

I ended up buying three 12 x 12 prints from her 'Passionate Earth' series.  I love Fall (or Autumn as some people call it) and these photos reminded me of my favorite season and warmed my heart.

We bought these photo's for only $25 each (we got them on sale!) and decided to use IKEA Versirum frames in white.

Here's a look at the photo's we bought:


'Passionate Earth'

'Rose Petals'

I think that these photo's bring a nice pop of color to our room.

View from the Kitchen

View from the front Hallway

View of all three

Also, as an unexpected surprise, Katya also included this beautiful print for free!!:
'Another Day, Another Fairytale'
Not too sure what I'm going to do with this one yet, but it will definitely look beautiful where ever it goes!

I am sooooo happy with the end result.  My dining room finally feels 'finished', and I love it!

I also have a new love... and it's name is Etsy. Sigh....

Monday, May 2, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week 137

Being on holidays always makes me look forward to all the good food that I can make when I get home, and this trip was no exception.  While Cuba has beautiful beaches and wonderful people, the food was far from fantastic. By the time our trip was over, I was looking forward to coming home and eating good meals!

Last week was a bit of a gong show with getting back from Cuba on Monday and then getting thrust back into life the next day, so I'm looking forward to the 'normalcy' of this week.

Here's what our menu looks like this week:

Monday: Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta (we didn't end up eating this before we went away, I've got new broccoli now though, don't worry)
Tuesday: I'm out for dinner with a friend, so the hubby is fending for himself
Wednesday: Homemade Waffles (I kept smelling waffles in Cuba so was craving them the whole time!)
Thursday: Slow Cooker Chili (I found an awesome recipe online that I have modified and it is now my favorite Chili of all time.  If you want a copy of the recipe, send me an email!)

I'm really going to try to branch out recipe wise and try some new stuff.  I tend to recycle favorite recipes, but now that I'm typing them out online, I don't want to keep seeing repeats!  It'll be a challenge for me.

As always (I know this is only the second time, whatever) I am linking up with Laura at Org Junkie for her weekly Menu Plan Monday 'link party'.  I will definitely be checking up some of the other links for recipe idea's!

Have an awesome week and happy Menu Planning!