Sunday, October 30, 2016

Peace Be Still


I haven't always been at peace with my self, soul, or life. I would say for most of my life I haven't felt that empowering peace. Until recently I have felt that peace that comes in the stillness of the quiet times in my life.

This world is not a peaceful place, It's never going to be, so Peace needs to start in your heart, and let it expand to your family, and then to the world, I think that is what Peace Be Still is all about, when your heart is healed, and ready to be at peace with your life, you can be still, and realize how amazing this world can be. Only then can you feel that joy that comes from living, only then you can start to share that peace with your family. Family First right?

I came to this conclusion by pondering about Christ's ministry, and example. He calmed and healed every one that he loved. Because Christ's disciples needed to be healed, or comforted because they believed in him. It sounds simple and it is simple, to have your heart healed, and comforted, to find that peace that we hear so often is to believe and come to our savior with a believing heart

That sound easy enough right? This is what I did/do to help me get the stillness part of peace in my life. For me it's internal and very much about my soul.

1. Never be too busy to read scriptures with real intent, or  meditation if you meditate. The point is to clear your mind and soul and not worry about a thing. Which then leads me too Morning Pages

2. Morning Pages, I started writing three pages a day of long hand, I call it my life saver. It's simple: you write three pages of what ever comes to mind, you don't read them after, you just write, if you can't think of anything to write, you start writing words to lyrics, or scriptures, or a poem, it helps get your brain to relax. If you do have things to ponder this is a great place for your thoughts to go. write it, don't let any one to read it, if you do want to go back and read it, let it sit for a couple days or weeks then go back and reread it, the whole point of this life changing experience, is that this is a place for your thoughts to go, your deepest desire's in life, a place you can vent about your family, when no one else wants to hear about it. Write till you get to the other side of the problem.

3. I am grateful for the blessings I have,  I write them out, I talk about it with me kids, it's not like a big thing, sometimes I will say I am so grateful that we have caramel apples to share with each other, or I am so grateful the sun is shining today because I need the sunshine today in my life. paying attention and having a grateful attitude towards life helps bring more peace into your life. 

4.Don't compare! We are all made differently, none is alike or should we be. So why is it that we compare? Looking around and realizing what our potential is, is more productive than looking at what other people can do. This will help you have peace in your heart. Once I stopped  comparing myself to others, my life has became a lot more peaceful. 

5. Music, when all else fails, listen to uplifting music, and sort our your thoughts and feelings. I love listening to the Piano Guys, classical music or hymns. I find that lyrics can really distract my thoughts. Listen to anything that can help you sort out your thoughts and feelings. I am a true believer that if you don't sort out your thoughts and feelings, those thoughts and feelings will rule you, if you don't like a thought or a feeling get to the root of it by pondering!

 Here's to having a peaceful time during the stressful holiday season! We are doing better than we think! 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Watercolor cards with Silhouette Mint stamp

I decided it was time to play with my Silhouette Mint that I got for Christmas, I really like it, I hope to use more material soon, but for now I made just enough stamps to keep me busy!

I wanted a water color affect for my cards this month with Verve Stamp's blog challenge, here is the color scheme to work with, it was super fun!



I was going for a funky fun look for these cards, The colors I choose were bright from 

You will not be able to find these stamps, I designed them with a Silhouette Mint, However you could find some files on the Silhouette Design Store that are similar.

Watercolor can be it's own unique feel so this is what I came up with:


This was a wet onto dry technique

This is my water color version of Bokeh effect, it was a ton of fun to paint, and easy.  I just used different flat size brushes. 


I was able to come up with these cards with the help of Craftsy, in their Water Color Card Class, and Wild Card Techniques. Very good classes if you are wanting to do some fun cards!

Luminous Watercolor With Kateri Ewing From Craftsy


If you are looking to understand how color works with watercolor, this is the class.

 If you are new to watercolor, and need a way to understand how to mix color, this class is for you! 

I thought I knew a thing or two about mixing, yes I know that if you want a secondary color you add the primary colors, and mix until you get it right? Not so... and she explains why, and even with in the first couple lessons you can feel confident in your color choices to match just about any color you see. This class is seriously one of the best classes I have bought, and really enjoyed the content.


I love color, I am more of a natural artist, I like painting organic natural things, but not in a realistic fashion, that's where color comes in and is so important to me. So I needed some help with my color mixing. Kateri was the key to my understanding

Kateri mentions that her pallet is like an old pair of jeans that you feel very comfortable in, I finally feel that way about my Watercolor pallet. I have a 16 well pallet, and 8 wells are primary colors, (2 reds 2 magenta's, 3 yellow's 2 blues, a Dioxide Purple, paynes grey, and a sienna for those natural colors that I love. (although she say's you only need a warm and cool color for each primary, I find it easier at times to use the other colors, especially when I am in the moment and I don't want to mix a color up.

This class has helped me save money on watercolor's, I thought that I would need every shade, every color under the sun to help me become a better painter, and that isn't true, what helps you become a better water-colorist is using minimal color's, and let the pure pigment mix with other's pure pigment. Keeping it Simple is key when you use watercolor, so you don't get mud.

Kateri explains color harmony well, since I have taken this class, I have had other artist's tell me that my color harmony is amazing! I just smile, if only they knew how simple it can be!

This class is very technique based, so if you'r looking for a tutorial on how to paint a flower like in Kristy Rice class, or a landscape in Angela Fehr class, you will be disappointed. This class is all about color, she does share her way of painting a pear, and a leaf, which I enjoyed painting, but the bulk of this class is about how to utilize color in watercolor to it's best potential.

I have used her insights and knowledge  with every piece I have painted since then. I think that this class is a gem for all water-colorist's that want to take their art to the next level, Mine sure did!

For fun, (an artist's date) I did a leaf sketched, and then painted in the leaves, here is an example of only using 3 colors, a warm yellow, red, and blue. I was pleased with how my leaves turned out! Keeping it super simple!

Cheek out Kateri's Class, she also has classes on Drawing that seems like a great tool to have as a water-colorist!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Soft and Subtle card for the Fusion Card Challange




I really like the idea of using watercolor for most projects, although it's very trendy right now, I have used it to add just a tint of color here and there for cards. Here is the Fusion card challenge



I wanted to make a fall, elegant card for weddings, or a thinking of you card, Here's how it was created:

I used DCWV  Crisp White paper stack from Michaels (seriously best paper stack you can get right now) I used the shimmer paper for the back ground,

Then I sketched with a Marvy Gold pen with my Silhouette, here is one of the flowers, then cut out the sketched flowers. I designed the flowers to add shape and texture to the card. play around with different sizes to see what works for you.
I let the gold image of the flowers sit for a day before I added some watercolor to it. That way it gives time for the ink to cure on the page.

I used Kuretake Gansia Tambi watercolor, pink and orange. I also painted the base of the card in the same pigment/water ratio.  I put a ribbon on one, and a sentiment and ribbon on the other and called it good!

I really like how the gold and the shimmer paper work well together. It was a fast easy card. I got the inspiration from Craftsy's Fresh eyes on your card making materials.


Rolled painted pumpkins







I love paint, color, and texture this project incorporates all of those art elements! This kid's art project is really a fun one, that can involve most every one in the family. My toddler liked splattering the paint onto the white butcher paper, while my Pk and elementary children enjoyed making the pumpkins.

lay out a big piece of white butcher paper, I use about 3 feet. Let the kids paint however they want, with the sponge rollers, I just used orange paint, that way they didn't mix anything.

While the paint was drying, I made a couple of simple pumpkin stencils that they traced onto the butcher paper,  so the two older children could cut out the pumpkin.

I did use my Silhouette cameo for the face shapes, but you could cut them out by hand. I let them decide what kind of pumpkin face they wanted, it was fun to see them be so creative!

Thank you to the Artful parent, her blog and her book has helped me play more with my kids, more so than ever before! She is really talented!

Alex's website (where I got the foam rollers) also has some cute Halloween activities that would be fun to do for some easy decorations! Here is the link  Happy Haunting!




Craftsy Class's on sale starting Friday Oct. 28-31



Yay! So get your wishlist loaded up with Craftsy classes, then Friday morning you can buy them and enjoy some Crafty time! 


Click here for the sale!!!

You can go here for all the Craftsy class reviews that I have done, They are all so unique and the teachers are really fantastic! 

Here are some of my classes on my wishlist:


Lovely Layered Cards, from top to bottom



Heavenly Cookies (for all those cookie exchanges that goes on during the Baking season.)

Classic Pies Made Easy (I enjoy making them!)


So don't wait, sales like these haven't been this good since early summer! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Carole Bloom's Bittersweet Chocolate-Salted Caramel Truffles

All photographs from this post were photographed by Lisa Christensen at CouponSahmIAm.



You know those recipes that you see and wonder, yeah right, the recipe makes it look easy. Well this recipe really was that way for me. The real title should be Amazing Truffles that any one can make! or Just Double the Recipe Truffle's, They were so good that I only gave away half of them to family, and I kept the rest for my husband and I.

In Carole Bloom's cookbook Intensely Chocolate comes this great gem of easy candy making. No mold, or candy thermometer required, (my kind of recipe.) As always I have to give a shout out to Craftsy, for introducing me to a talented pastry cheif, Carole Bloom!

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon of light corn syrup
3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream, NO Substitute
2 ounces of unsalted butter (1/2 stick, another reason to double the recipe)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, I used Vanilla Bean Paste (totally worth it)
1/2 teaspoon kosher, or fleur de sel or other fine grained finishing salt. (I used Kosher salt.)
3.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 70-72% cocoa, (I used Zoet premium Belgian Chocolate from Hy-Vee.) chopped fine. To be real, I got distracted with my children, and only some how managed to put in half the bar, it was really tasty and it was enough chocolate for me. Zoet, Chocolate is really a great deal for the money, I really like the taste, better than baking chocolate!

How I made them:

Add the sugar and the water into a 3-4 quart pot, don't go with a small pot, you will make a mess! Once you swish (don't stir,) the water and sugar together in a large 3-4 quart pot, add the corn syrup. Let it get hot and bubbly, you want the mixture to turn to a light amber color. Once the mixture starts bubbling, take a pastry brush with clean water, and brush around the sides where sugar wants to crystallize, do that twice. The mixture should start to turn amber color about 7 minutes, keep watch, it turns really fast, and you can't save it from getting a burnt taste.

while the sugar mixture is heating up, heat up the heavy whipping cream, in a small sauce pan. (don't scald it) Once the sugar mixture is at a perfect lighter amber color, add the hot heavy whipping cream together, be prepared to see it bubble up. stir, untill it's incoporated, Then add the rest of the ingredients, starting with the unsalted butter, make sure it's good and melted before adding the other things in, paying attention that your chopped chocolate is all melted together. That's it for the truffle part.

Now you can store the truffle sauce in a covered container in the fridge, for up to two weeks (just another reason to double.) I chilled mine for over night, and the next morning I made the truffles you want the sauce to be cold and pliable.

Shaping the truffles was easy: take a small 1-inch diameter round scoop and scoop out the chocolate, I did one at a time, I wanted them to be shaped in a ball, not a half circle dome, so I rolled them into my hand, the scoop is there to get the same size of ball every time. then I rolled them in cocoa, but you could dip them into your choice of tempered chocolate if you wanted too. Then lay them on a sheet, chill them for at least 15 minutes before serving.  They should keep in your fridge for about 2 weeks covered, or in the freezer for up to 3 months in a freezer safe container.




I plan to make this for some Christmas presents/goodies but instead of rolling them all in cocoa I will roll some of them in nuts, and powder sugar! You could do sprinkles or praline, they would present well with all four different coatings! I can't wait to make some for the Christmas season! Thank you Carole Bloom for your talented chocolate recipes!




Monday, October 24, 2016

Snazaroo Face Painting


Don't want to spend $20 bucks on a costume, why not face paint? Snazaroo makes it insanely simple for any one to face paint, it's super easy, they give you lots of step by step instructions and the paint is easy to blend, which makes it easy to cover up mistakes.

So my toddler son wont wear a costume this year, so I am hoping that I can paint his face like an animal. Let's hope he can let me do that!

I just thought I would post this great idea, it's very more economical, and you can then have face paint for other events, like birthday's school functions, you get the idea!

Non Messy Window art



Ok, so there is a bit of prep work on the mamma side of things for this project, cut out in black construction paper the negative images, shown in the picture is a picture of a pumpkin that I cut out with my silhouette, but you could easily do shapes, leaves, a pumpkin face, the sky's the limit.

I then let my son chose what color of tissue paper, and make him tear the tissue paper up, that was his favorite thing to do when creating this project. Remember that less is more when it comes to art projects, so I only gave him a little bit of tissue paper, Like 1/4 of a sheet of tissue paper.

Cut a piece of clear contact paper (not white, or with patterns, you want clear contact paper.) to the size that you want the finished size, I did 5x5, it worked well!

Lay down the black pieces of what ever you cut out first, then have your child place the torn up tissue paper on the sticky side of the contact paper, once done, tape it to the window and you have a really cool stain glass look, if you want a cleaner look, trim the lose and stray tissue paper, I thought it looked clean enough, so I didn't, but if your ocd like I am and it drives you crazy, you can always trim it to the way you like. This craft is a good one for toddler's too, I would pre cut, or tear the tissue paper for the toddler.

This is one of my go to crafts when I want some extra color in my house! I use this craft idea for all the seasons on the year, some times when we have rose pedals I will use those instead of tissue paper, for a spring/summer craft, but you could easily do this with a Christmas Tree shape, or star, the possibilities are endless, and a really a good trade off for how it looks!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Superman Lunch

A Superman lunch I can be proud of! I have been dreaming of doing this lunch for a while. I needed an outlet today so I painted a bit, and after feeling better about creating something, my thoughts turned to a Superman Lunch for E, So I did and it was so much fun to make it and eat this Superman lunch with my boys! 

I started it with Grilled cheese, nothing fancy, but for a 4 year old this was awesome! I used the stencil that came with the cookbook to make the Superman shield I sprinkled cinnamon over the stencil, and then placed it onto the sandwich! (use any other reddish/brownish ground spice that your kids wouldn't mind the taste of, my kids don't like spicy things.) 

Then I shredded some Carrots, I let him plunge the carrots down with the plunger to my food processor, he liked watching the carrots turn to shreds. I think it's important to let children help in the kitchen because it gives them a sense of where their food came from. I was grasping at straws to get him to eat any vegetables, I was reverting to veggie straws, that didn't really have much veggies in them. So after telling them that they give Super Man X-Ray vision, he was good to eat it, Seriously he at the whole thing! Thank you Downtown BookWorks for changing the world of veggies for my son.



Superman X-Ray vision Carrots, (My style)

2 cups or shredded carrots, (makes about 4 servings)
Ranch dressing (enough to coat all the carrots to your liking.)

Mix the carrots and the ranch dressing together, then add Croutons, or crackers to garnish











I got to say, I love this cook book, if you have a tradition to give a book to your children for Christmas,  give them a cookbook, you can't go wrong, I have been doing this for the past two Christmas's and I have had so much fun cooking in the kitchen with my Kids.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

To Be Joyful in any circumstance

I recently posted my story, it's a bit exciting, and scary, I feel vulnerable, and yet exhilarated! so cheek it out here.


I mention that I suffer from Seconal Depression, and it's October so for me it's starting and I can feel it in my mind and body, seriously I wold love to know why, in October it starts, and the peak of this depression is in January, then it subsided in April! Yay, 6 months of crazy! Sorry, it's not crazy, just a different feeling that I can feel, and I don't like it one bit.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints we are encouraged  to be joyful in any circumstance,  Our October General Conference  multiple talks or sermons are about feeling joyful: here, here, and here (all in the Sunday Morning Conference) Elder Holland's Like a Broken Vessel is one of the best talks that I have cried through and felt like one of my prayers were answered.

So how do I handle the start of the Seasonal Depression? Here is my top ten list of ways to help Seasonal Depression, SAD:

1. READ IN THE SCRIPTURES.  There is great power that comes from heaven when we read from the bible, or other scriptures. If reading "isn't your thing" watch bible video's.

2. Positive thinking helps. I'm not talking about, I look good today, or what I call fluff thinking, although it can help. I am talking about positive energy. the more positive thoughts you put out to the universe, the more positive energy you will get back, then attract more positive energy from others.  For an example, I tell my self before I wake up my kids in the morning that they are awesome and they are going to do awesome things today. Think of it as perspective, and then see what happens. Go here for a more in depth about this positive thinking thing 

3. Cheek out the Artist's Way book, it has changed my life! (more on this in sooner than later post.)

4. Exercise, until you feel different, for me If I walk/ jog for 30 minutes my endorphin's kick in and I feel better for it. Bonus points if you are able to get out side and get some sunshine!

5. Own up to it, for a very long time I would hide behind seasonal depression, and just feel blah, That didn't help, so I own up that this is an issue for me and let every one know that seasonal depression happens to me. I will sometimes say Yes, I don't want to do anything because it's January and it's hard for me to want to. That doesn't sound lazy, I mean really who wants to do much in January anyways right?

6. Take extra vitamins especially Vitamin D, There has been research examining the relationship of vitamin D to seasonal effective disorder (SAD), schizophrenia, and depression. go Here for this article here and here to learn more about Vitamin D and how nutrition can help with Depression. I had to talk to my husband, (pharmacist) and tell the doctor to get a lab drawn to see if I had a Vitamin D deficiency, I did, it was super really low (like I was only getting 10% of what my body needed.) Most insurance doesn't pay for this lab work any more, I just buy over the counter vitamin D at the pharmacy I double up in October-April, talk to your pharmacist, they will lead you in the right direction. 

7.  This is one that I have helped me the most, but for some reason it's the hardest, it sounds simple, Pay attention, or more simply stated: look at the world around you in the here and now. For some reason when I am able to just focus on the here and now, my perspective changes for the better. some of my favorite memories were made from me focusing on the here and now. Yes life is tough, but if your able to give your child 20 minutes of your time and focus on them, you will feel different and better for it. This simple exercise will transform your life. 

8. Talk with friends, family, and most importantly loved ones. Just talk, I have a friend that lives across the state, so we don't get to see each other on a regular basis.  There have been times that I will call her at 1pm in the afternoon when I feel like I don't want to do anything at all. I will say, so I am calling you because I need motivation to..... clean, or pick up my daughter from school, it sounds horrible I know, but sometimes you need motivation and it's not coming,IT'S OKAY To have a friend that can talk with you, it's just a simple chat, nothing to deep or too long, but to have some one else to talk to is a blessing. Lord know's I needed a friend like this!

9. Taking time for your self. I wake up early in the morning to do my thing. Sometimes it's water color, or paper crafting, or blogging. carve time out for you, find time to do something that you like to do, and do it alone! for me I need at lest two 2 hour sessions of me time every week, usually it's in the art's. TV doesn't count, doing something with your hands, or making you think helps.

10. Last but not lest, Be kind to your self, tell your self, Self, you are awesome, and you will do awesome things ( a lot like positive thinking) but there have been times in my life that I have said over and over to my self (because I just felt like a horrible person,) I am a Child of God, I am made to be awesome, I am a child of God, I am made to be Awesome., I am a Child of God, I am made to be awesome! those horrible feelings I felt about my self went a way, and I was able to do the things I was meant to do.  So find an affirmation that suits you to help those feelings of inadequacy go away. The Artist's way book has a bunch, I will hope to post more about this sooner than later also! 





So I am sure there are lots of other ideas that has helped you, or some one you love battle this SAD disorder. I would love to hear what helps, I think with depression, it's a paradox, we feel lonely, and yet we need to be social. 










Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Paper medallions Pumpkins

I love decorating pumpkins, I mean creating pumpkins.... Here is an easy way to create some cute pumpkins, TwoPaperDivas has a great tutorial on this, and the file to make them!


Creating the medallions are super easy on the silhouette, and the Design store has tons of different medallions to choose from. I used the medallions from the snowflake I made. (just resized it to fit my needs.)


Monday, October 17, 2016

Sweet and Simple Cards

I got two quick and easy cards, both cards were inspired by Craftsy's Fresh Eyes on your Card Making Supplies with Miriam Prantner. (I had fun with the two cards,) very similar and different! it's always amazing to me how you can create a beautiful hand made card with just a few RIGHT ingredients!




Making this card was easy, the hardest part was cutting out the star stencil, then inking it. I thought a nice layered sentiment with some gems made this look like a nice graduation card. The ink is one hue of Yellow ink, but I changed how saturated the ink was in spots. 

For this card, the paper is the star, and the simple white die cuts that I used from the Silhouette design Store, I added some pink gems, and then some decorative tape at the bottom to anchor the image a bit. I really enjoy sweet and simple cards like these! 

Super Hero Plastic Man Lunch




My son loves not eating his food his mother makes for him... so I have to be creative with his lunch.  So I got him this cookbook  DC Super Hero Cookbook  while reading it together we found this recipe! Seriously best idea ever, you can turn ordinary food into a super hero, or a monster, call it what you will with those Wilton's candy Eyeballs!

So easy, if you want to add some vegetables to this you can put pizza sauce under the cheese, I just let him sprinkle cheese on the garlic bread, and baked it, then we added the candy eyeballs. Done!

So you could totally do this and call it mummy bread  for Halloween!

If you love the Idea of this cookbook you can find it at Amazon Totally worth the $13.98 of you have super hero fans in your house. I should note, that at the back of the cookbook it has stencils that you could scan in and use over and over again. along with cut out's of all the DC Characters that you could use to decorate food with too.. i'm excited to do a Batman, Superman birthday party!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

3d paper snow flake By Jami Lane Design



So I had a craft weekend all to my self last weekend and I was able to just play.  I thought making a snow flake decoration for Christmas was a fun project to play with,  I am glad, they really turned out neat! I was able to cut this out on a Silhouette Portrait, and they were about 8x8, so bigger than they look, I will hang them up,  they are to big for a gift tag, or to be an ornament.




These snowflakes were fun to make, I made three all together and although it was a fun and easy project, I felt like it was a time consuming project, it took me about 2-3 hours to complete all three of them.

For the whole tutorial go here Jami did a great job designing this file. I can't wait to post pictures of what they will look like as Christmas decorations,

I used a white, blue, and glitter/silver card stock. and used hot glue to glue it all together! If you know a bit about me, I am not brand name specific, so the white and glitter card stock came from DCWV in their Crisp Luxury White collection  from Micheal's Hot buy, and the blue Card stock came from Bazil Basics at Tuesday Mornings

total price was about $3 for all three. (not to bad!)

I am a huge fan of Jamie Lane designs, I have a lot of her 3d flowers that I love to cut out for bouquets.  If you get a chance to buy some files from her it's well worth the money!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Sale on Craft items!!!



Craftsy is at it again!

If you are looking for some candy melts, they are on sale here 

It's the season for more making! The changing colors call for new projects, and we want to help you start the season with all the supplies you need. *This promotion ends Sunday, October 16, at 11:59 pm MT. 

Des Moines Area passes I swear by

I (my family) have been members to the Science Center, Blank Park Zoo, and AdventureLand for three years/seasons. A main reason is because of my husbands work schedule it's not always easy to go on one big vacation, so we get passes to do family things.  Here's some of the perks and reasons I love having passes, or memberships:

Science Center of Iowa



I love their exhibits, and the imax theater.  On Wednesday you can get a half off Imax admission in the afternoon to see an Imax documentary, For members it's like $2.50 for an Imax movie This is also available to nonmembers too! but I think it's  (It's worth seeing every movie they have)  I like that I can bring in my own lunch and not have to buy food from the Sci Cafe, however it does seem that every time we are there I use my membership to get %10 off from the Sci Cafe because I am always forgetting something (aka pop.) The science center is my go to place on a cold winter's day, or on a hot summer day. I much prefer to go during the winter months and for me with two small kids at home and one in Elementary it's worth it!

Our favorite thing to do there is the Small discoveries, and what we call the lego rocket room, we spend all day in those two rooms. they have big blocks, a bubble area to make huge life size bubbles, a pretend kitchen where you can cook your own food, a food market area for children, a ball run. Up stairs is where you could find all the big kid, and more toddler things to do, they have balls that float on air, rockets you make and launch, a lego race way, and a huge ball wall that is amazing!

I have often met friends at the Science Center, which is a great place for an indoor playdate!


Blank Park Zoo


I love Blank Park Zoo for the chance to get out of my house and walk around and see animals with my children. It's a beautiful zoo. I love it for small kids, it's a perfect place to go for 3 hours and then leave. Our favorite part is always the fish feeding and the Sea Lions. I always leave feeling like it was a good time, For my boys is like an adventure playground! Everything is a new adventure even if it's been the 10th time we have visited the zoo this year.




Adventureland

Yes I take my three kiddo's and their cousins (6 kids totally with just me) and yes I am exhausted by the end of the day.... But totally 100% worth it! I got a secret about Adventureland..... It's not that bad in June on a Tuesday and Wednesday. So we spend most of our early vacation break at Adventureland. There have been times that we have had the wave pool to our selves because no one goes to adventureland in June... Seriously what's up with that?

Yes the water park is where we spend most of our time at Adventureland. We use the family bathrooms to change and usually we don't have to wait to long to change, they have 3 family bathrooms that I know off.  I have yet to buy a pool pass to our local pool, since Adventureland is really the only place that my kids wants to go and on a good day I can drive and get there in 15 Minutes.

Summer is hot, and if you know where your going, you can be in the shade about 75% of the time, there were only a couple days this summer that we went to Adventureland that It was to hot and unbearable.

I really do love their rides, I just really love the water park Adventure Bay more!

I also love that they discount their season tickets in December for Christmas Presents, it makes worth your money to get your pass in December, If you go to Adventureland 3 times it pays for it's self, and Parking is included!

I hope that this blog post helps you see the value in some of these passes. By far these three places are the places I have made lots of memories with my family and friends and I am grateful for the chance to use them!

My Favorite Trail Mix

Your looking at it! and yes, its only 3 ingredients! mixed nuts (I like to buy two cans of nuts at a time at Sams Club a lightly salted peanuts and a can of mixed nuts.) Raisins, and your choice of M&M's  my mix isn't a science but it can seem like it. I first mix the two cans of nuts together, then keep one can of the mix mixed nuts for later. Then add the raisins to the mix mixed nuts, get the raisins coated in the salty nut powder, then add the M&M's I use about the same ratio to raisins to M&M's. Sometimes i like to use peanut butter, or peanut or plain M&M's. I use this all the time for on the go snacks with those little glad or ziplock containers that hold 1/2 cup. I reuse them often for this purpose.

Another alternative is to use crasins instead of raisins, I do this if Crasins are cheaper than raisins and instead of M&M's you could use Reses Pieces, this is really good around the fall season.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Lisa's easy Chicken noddle soup with Reames frozen noodles



Chicken noodle soup is so darn easy to make, seriously, it's crazy easy I call this the cheater way since my kids don't love spice. This is my method:

buy a turkey/chicken when it's super cheap, roast it, shred it, freeze it. (this is the hard part.)

Now onto the soup:

Add 6 cups of broth, or make your own (I make my own here is how)

Add dehydrated celery, (I buy celery like once a year when it's on sale, to dehydrate it, to put it into soups.) or chop up 1 cup of fresh celery.

Boil, the broth/water mixture, If you buy store bought broth, don't add too much water. I would add like 1 cup of water for the noddles.The hard part about knowing how much water to add is then boiling down the water for the taste.

 Once it's boiling, add 1 cup frozen cut carrots, and frozen noddles I like Reames frozen noodles let it boil for about 10 minutes

Add the thawed chicken or turkey about two cups, (remember you already have it shredded and froze it when it was super cheap.) My price point is about $1/lb for poultry

For the spices, I love mixes that are all ready done for you. If you are going for that real classic recipe by all means measure out each ingredient, I don't have time for that, so I use parsley and Italian seasoning, with a bay leaf. Remember that green spices have antioxidant in them, so the more you can get away with the better. So I use about 2 table spoons of parsley and about 2 Tablespoons of Italian seasoning. I didn't need to add salt, but you can.

Let that simmer for a bit, (I do about an hour) and your soup is done. like If you have all the prepwork done before hand it's super easy!

I have also used a thickener to make the broth more hearty, by adding about 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream to the broth at the end before I let the soup simmer. (that's really good too.)

Here is the original recipe that isn't tweaked by me!
http://www.marzettikitchens.com/kitchens/recipes/detail/109/classic-chicken-noodle-soup-recipe


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Caramel Teacher Gifts


Remember about a month ago I posted about a Craftsy Class on making Caramel? Yup, I have since made two batches of Caramel, and I can't get enough of the caramel! Seriously I have given them away to about 20+ people and they all are amazed at how good the caramels are, and one of my friends have said that the caramels taste like those expensive ones you get at Hallmark. It's that good. It should be, Carole Bloom, a well known cook book author is the instructor of the class. cheek her out.

The recipe is very simple, which I like, the only thing that I would note is that Caramel is all about the timing, so be careful that you don't over cook the caramel!  YOU HAVE TO USE VANILLA BEAN PASTE! the Vanilla bean past makes the caramel! and it might be worth ordering the wrappers on amazon, I have cut out the wax paper sheets 4x4 and it took like 20 mins to get the caramel cut and wrapped the caramels.





Caramels

Yield: 64 candies 
 1¾ cups (350 g) granulated sugar
 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
 ¼ cup (85 g) honey
 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
 ¼ teaspoon sea salt
 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste
 Unflavored oil, such as canola or safflower

Method 1. Line an 8-inch (20-cm) baking pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick baking spray.

2. Place the sugar, cream, and honey in a 3-quart (2.8-l) heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Stir for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar. As the mixture cooks, run a damp pastry brush around the edges of the mixture to dissolve any stray sugar crystals and prevent the sugar from crystallizing. Do this two times.

 3. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Place a candy thermometer in the pan and cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until it registers 250 F (120 C).

 4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter until it melts. Add the salt and vanilla bean paste and stir in thoroughly.

 5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Place the pan on a rack, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool to room temperature.

 6. Rub the blade of a large chef’s knife and a cutting board with oil. Remove the candy from the pan by lifting out the foil. Invert the candy onto the cutting board and peel off the foil.

 7. Trim off any ragged edges, then cut the candy into 1-inch (2.5-cm) squares, cutting 8 rows in each direction. Immediately wrap each caramel in waxed caramel papers.

 8. The caramels will keep at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

I like little treat bags to bag them up, I get the treat bags after the season for next year so I always have them for the next year.

This recipe will be something I make every year for gifts!