Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pinspiring Friday (Halloween edition)

   Pinterest has been a great source this fall for Halloween craft ideas and recipes. Tim and I had a really fun day today working on several craft projects that I discovered on Pinterest. I've never really been much of a crafty person, but a lot of the ideas on the website are fairly simple and I'm really happy with the results. We created three craft projects and I also made a recipe. 
     Today we worked on carving/decorating our pumpkins for Halloween. The first craft we did was a Martha Stewart project called Drac-o-lanterns. The craft involves carving a mouth hole in a small pumpkin and then fitting it with plastic vampire teeth. 
    We had a really good time making these and they turned out so cute. We used orange pumpkins instead of the white gourds used in the example. And instead of red map tacks, I used black stick pins from my sewing kit because they stand out better. Mine is on the left and Tim's is on the right. 
Little pumpkins, big teeth.
The little guys look so cute decorating our front porch railing.
If they weren't so cute, these pumpkins would be very scary.
     The next pumpkin craft we did was to paint candy-corn pumpkins. We used painter's tape to separate each of our pumpkins into thirds and spray-painted the bottom third yellow and the top third white, leaving the middle third orange. They look really cute, but not as pretty as the ones in the original picture. 
     Tim was nice enough to help me a lot with this one. He did most of the painting and then helped scrape off the excess from where the paint dripped underneath the painter's tape. It was a really simple craft, but they look great.
Here's my very helpful husband spray-painting the pumpkins.
Here's the final product!
     The final art project of the day involved Owen. I found a craft idea on Pinterest where a woman painted her daughter's feet white and placed them on a black canvas upside down to look like ghosts. Then she labeled it with the words "Happy Halloween" and hung it with an orange ribbon. 
     I thought it looked like a really cute idea and one that we could decorate with every year as a way of remembering how little Owen's feet used to be. It was a really fun project to do and not a very hard one. Owen did really well with us painting his foot, though he is very ticklish. To make the artwork, I bought a plain canvas at Michael's and painted it black. Then we dipped Owen's right foot in white paint and used it to place three "ghosts" on the canvas. Then I used gold glitter alphabet stickers to spell out "Happy Halloween!"
This was the best picture I could get before Owen tried to eat it.
     One of the best recipes I've found on Pinterest so far is one for Caramel-Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies. I made them for the first time last week with my cousin Johanna. We made about two dozen cookies and our family ate the majority of them in one night. 
     Tim and I are going to a party tomorrow to watch the Georgia-Florida game so I decided to make the cookies again to take with us. They are flavored with Alpine brand powdered apple cider mix and stuffed with Kraft caramels. Fresh out of the oven, the caramel is warm and gooey and the cookies taste just like a caramel apple. 
These are the first batch of cookies that I made. So good!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tasty Thursday

     I am back home in Washington and ready to start making some homemade meals so I can get back to eating healthier. I ate out a ton when we were in Georgia since I had to get my Chick-Fil-A and Zaxby's fix while I was in the south. Plus, my mom and I spent Monday morning making Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls from scratch. And they were divine. Oh mercy. Just to give you an idea of how decadent these are, I think the phrase, "Can you melt a stick of butter?" was uttered at least four times. 
     So here is what we'll be eating this week. It's a mixture of few brand new recipes, a couple old favorites, and a new favorite. I can't wait to get back into my kitchen!

Thursday: Leftover chili. This is some leftover chili that I left for Tim to eat while I was out of town. He never finished everything that I had planned for him to have for dinners, so we'll eat it tonight.
Friday: Chicken rollatini stuffed with zucchini and mozzarella. I made this the week before I went to visit my family in Georgia. It was such a yummy recipe and so cheap to make. I had most of the ingredients on hand already, so I just had to buy chicken, zucchini and mozzarella cheese. And because the recipe uses chicken cutlets, I had my butcher at Albertson's cut them fresh for me and got three for just $2.15. What a  way to still be able to eat meat, but not have to spend a fortune!
Saturday: Crock pot turkey white bean pumpkin chili. This is a recipe from one of my favorite blogs to find new recipes, Skinnytaste. I mentioned it the week before I went to Georgia. This recipe seems very easy and I just love anything I can do in the crock pot. It frees up time for me to spend with my two favorite boys. The recipe uses pumpkin puree, but the blogger says that you can't really taste it, but it adds an extra vegetable to the meal. 
Sunday: Chicken and rice pot pie. This is a recipe that I got out of a magazine a couple years ago. I can't remember what magazine I found it in and I copied the recipe into my recipe book, so I don't even have the page I ripped out of the magazine. The recipe doesn't have a crust like most pot pies and uses rice in the pot pie mixture instead. I add some fresh thyme to the recipe and it is so warm and delicious.
Monday: Beef stew with paprika. This is a wonderful Pioneer Woman recipe. It calls for beer, but I don't use it because I don't like the taste. It will be a great Halloween night dinner. I can throw everything together in about 10 minutes and let it simmer for a few hours while we hand out candy to the neighborhood kiddos. We're really excited about Halloween this year for two reasons: No. 1, it's Owen's first Halloween, and No. 2, it's also the first time we've ever celebrated Halloween at home handing out candy to kids. Hopefully, people actually Trick or Treat out here. We have plenty of kids in our neighborhood, so maybe we won't be stuck with a bunch of leftover candy at the end of the night. And just in case we do, I've only been buying the good stuff. No yucky Mary Janes at the Rumely's house.
Tuesday: Leftovers of the beef stew. 
Wednesday: French onion beef roast. I have a beef roast in the freezer and have decided that this is what I will make with it. The recipe is very easy to make in my slow cooker and tastes wonderful. We will have it over white rice and with green beans or some other vegetable.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Our little pumpkin

     Saturday we went to the Country Mercantile in Pasco to visit the pumpkin patch and pick out our Halloween pumpkins. The mercantile is a really neat place. The closest thing I can compare it to from where we're from is Washington Farms, but it's way bigger. They sell a lot of fresh produce and they make their own candies and chocolates and jams and jellies and ice cream and salsa and all sorts of other things. They have a huge pumpkin patch, a large pyramid of hay bales for kids to climb all over, a corn maze, a mini maze made of hay bales for small children, a petting zoo, carnival rides, and much more. We had so much fun.
    To start off with, we checked out the store and tried samples of kettlecorn, dips, and other treats. Then we hitched a ride on the hayride out to the pumpkin patch. Owen was very excited.
Our precious pumpkin.
At first we couldn't get any good pictures because Owen was too concentrated on playing in the dirt. What a boy...
Can you spot the cutest pumpkin in the patch?
What are all these orange things?
A photo with Mommy in it? That almost never happens!
My handsome boys.
Owen says, "This is the one I want!"
A photo of all three of us! Yay!

In the corn maze. Owen says, "Where are we?
I'm corn-fused..." (That was a Tim joke, BTW)
Just awakened from a snooze and a little out of it still. 
Playing in the hay.
Having fun in the straw.
Throwing the straw around is the most fun! It's the little things in life...

Not a fan of the goat. And the reindeer made him cry.
Going west in a covered wagon! Get along mule, giddyup giddyup! (And yes, I did just quote the fifth grade play-bonus points for those who can comment with the next line of the song!)
    We picked out three larger pumpkins and three small pumpkins all for less than $12. What a deal! We'll post again once we're done carving them. I have some clever ideas I found on Pinterest. If you follow me on there, don't give it away! 
     FYI, the blog will be pretty barren of new posts for the next couple weeks while I am out of town. But rest assured, we will have much and more to post about after our trip home and as Halloween gets closer. We tried on Owen's monkey costume the other night after it was delivered and let me tell you, it does not disappoint!  Thanks again for your votes. You definitely helped us make the best choice. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Splish splash, Owen's taking a bath

     Now that Owen is sitting well on his own, he can now begin playing in the bathtub. He has two rubber duckies (a pirate and a sailor) and loves to munch on them while he's being bathed. This week, he had his very first bubble bath and what resulted made for some pretty adorable photos. Check them out.
What is this fluffy white stuff?
Splashing in the water is fun.
Rocking the bubble mohawk.
Bubble beard...
Owen would like to thank his mom and dad for the strategic bubble placement so he doesn't have to be embarrassed by these photos when he's older.
The poor rubber ducky never stood a chance...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pinspiring Friday!

     Have you heard about Pinterest? It's been around for a while, but I just found it and am currently addicted to the website. Pinterest is a site where you can bookmark interesting things you find on the Internet for easy reference later. You can bookmark images of recipes, craft ideas, photographs, fashion, quotes, wedding stuff, baby stuff, etc. Then you categorize the images onto different boards like "Recipes to Try" or "Home Decor" or whatever you want to call it. You can also "follow" friends to see what they think is interesting and then repin those ideas to your own boards if you like them too. Here is a picture of my boards.
     Below is a picture of what I see when I log onto Pinterest. All those photos are "pins" that my friends have saved to their profiles. If I like something I see on this page, I can click on the picture and repin it to one of my own boards. Then someone who follows me can pin it to theirs and it keeps happening over and over again. It's interesting to see what becomes really popular.
     So I've really been enjoying Pinterest for finding new recipes and craft ideas and stuff for Owen and all that, but I'm trying to challenge myself to actually do something with them. So "Pinspiring Friday" is part of that. I don't plan to do it every Friday, but I will post the results whenever I try something I found on Pinterest. In the future I will also try to post photos of my creations along with the original photos from Pinterest.  
     Recently, I started with some of my recipes from Pinterest. I have made three recipes. The first was a complete failure. I found a recipe for an at-home knock-off of the seasonal Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (so yummy, but so expensive). It's originally from a blog called Love Veggies and Yoga. Anyway, I made the recipe at home, but found that it had too much spice in it and was overpowering. It tasted nothing like the real thing. 
    I was willing to give Pinterest a second chance (it wasn't its fault after all), so when my Tuesday morning Bible study group planned a bruncheon the other day and asked me to provide dessert, I knew just where I would search for a recipe! I chose a peanut butter cheeseball (made with cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and brown sugar). It was easy to make for the most part, though forming it into a ball proved to be pretty tricky. I served it with green apple slices and graham crackers. It tasted fantastic (yes, I cheated on my no-sugar diet just this once) and the ladies from my Bible study loved it. Score 1 for Pinterest!
Lastly, I made us dinner using a recipe from Pinterest. I found it by searching for pins with the words "slow cooker." The slow cooker Bajio chicken I made earlier this week was found in a pin that linked to a website full of slow cooker ideas. It turned out really well and was super easy to make. 
     So those are some of my recent Pinterest finds. I have several Halloween/Fall craft ideas that I am interested in trying soon so maybe I will post about those if I have time to do them when I get back from Georgia. What's got you (P)inspired?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tasty Thursday

     So today marks less than one week until I will be visiting family in Georgia. I’m very excited to be going home to see our family (both my parents and in-laws live in the same town). Owen has a lot of new tricks to show off and we need to restock his closet since he’s moving up in clothing sizes. (Haha!) Unfortunately, my husband will not be joining us on this trip, but I am so grateful that he was willing to let us go since it will mean he has to spend a week away from Owen (and me). Don’t worry too much about him though because I made sure to stock the freezer full of meals for him to eat while I’m gone. That way he won’t have to revert back to his college days of eating frozen pizza and boxed meals. In case you’re wondering, for dinner next week Tim will be eating: spaghetti, chili, Italian drip beef sandwiches, Dr. Pepper shredded pork sandwiches, taco meatloaf, Italian chicken soup, and macaroni and cheese. But if you wanted to give him a call and check in on him while I’m gone, I’m sure he’d appreciate it. Dinners last week went really well. I pretty much made four things and we ate a lot of leftovers. It has actually been a pretty great system. Here are my reviews for last week’s new recipes.

This meal was super easy to put together. I think it took me approximately 5 minutes after I shredded the rotisserie chicken. Then I put it in the oven and we took a walk as a family. After returning home, I threw together a salad and had dinner on the table in minutes. It’s not the most exciting meal ever, but it was pretty tasty and filling.

This soup was really great. And the recipe makes a ton! We ate the soup for two dinners and at least three lunches and still have two quarts stored away in the freezer. I did make several additions to the recipe and in the future would make some changes from the way Pioneer Woman cooks it. For one, I used less than a whole chicken and had plenty of meat, and I also added kidney beans, carrots, and spinach to the soup for some extra veggies. I also halved the amount of cream (at least) that she included in the recipe. I love Pioneer Woman, but she is seriously addicted to heavy cream. She may have to join HCAA (heavy cream-aholics anonymous).

I’m still not having a whole lot of luck with cooking chicken breasts in the slow cooker. They always end up being a little dry. Still, the seasonings were nice. Once again, I changed up the recipe a little bit by using medium salsa and a larger can of green chiles to up the spiciness factor. I highly recommend doing this because otherwise the meat would probably be a little too sweet and needs some spicy to balance out the flavor.

And moving on to this week...

Thursday: Leftover slow cooker Bajio chicken served in baked tortilla bowls with lots of romaine lettuce, black beans, salsa, avocado (for me), and cheese (for the Mister.)
Friday: Chicken curry with coconut milk. This is a recipe from a new site that my friend Katie told me about called Skinny Taste. The blogger makes healthier versions of many common recipes without “[sacrificing] any of the flavor that can be found in their full-fat origins.” (We’ll see…) This recipe seems really interesting and Tim and I both love the taste of curry.
Saturday: Taco soup. This is a recipe that I’ve made before from a blog called For the Love of Cooking. It’s a wonderful cool weather soup and will make plenty for us to have for leftovers the following night.
Sunday: Taco soup leftovers.
Monday: Chicken rollatini stuffed with zucchini and mozzarella. This is another interesting recipe from the Skinny Taste blog. We will probably eat it with a little marinara sauce and a side salad or maybe some steamed broccoli.
Tuesday: I will probably heat up one of the quarts of leftover Italian chicken soup from last week because we will be busy making sure that everything is packed and ready for us to go the airport super early the next day. Also, I can spend more time with my hubby and less time cooking and cleaning up the kitchen.

Halloween costume choice!

Drumroll please.....

Thanks to everyone who voiced their opinion. Monkey was the overwhelming favorite. So stay tuned later this month to see the cutest monkey ever!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Halloween costume opinions?

     Owen is obviously too young to understand Halloween and could care less about having a costume. But... and this is a big but (haha), babies in Halloween costumes are so cute. And my kid is extra cute, ergo he must have a Halloween costume. Plus, with a boy, I need to take advantage of the ability to control his Halloween costume choices before he gets to that age where he wants to dress as a zombie or a serial killer or whatever other grody thing that boys like to dress as for Halloween.
     Anyway, Tim and I have been scouring the Internet for Halloween costumes for Owen and we are having a hard time deciding. So we've decided to ask our blog followers and friends for their opinion. Here are some of the candidates. Let us know if you like one of them or if you have any other suggestions.

Costume No. 1: Baby Monkey (ironic, 'cause he hates bananas)
Costume No. 2: Baby Lion
Maybe with Daddy or Mommy as the lion-tamer?
Costume No. 3: Baby Lobster
With Daddy as a chef?