Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gift Idea Wednesdays: Scissors Pocket

*Yes, that is my fridge. You can totally see the reflection of my trash can, too.

Eeek! Only 24 days until Christmas. It's like totally advent time, people.

This gift idea is super easy and so functional. I cannot take credit for it, though. A lady at my Mom's work named Debbie has an aunt who makes them and sells them with proceeds going to the animal shelter (love that!). So my Mom bought one and gave it to me. I did not think I would get much use out of it.

Um, I was wrong.

First and last time I'll say that (only sort of kidding).

I love my little scissors pocket :) No more tearing packages with my teeth or looking frantically through drawers for my scissors. I literally use this every day.

All you need to make it is a cute pot holder, a glue gun and some magnet strips.

It's pretty self explanatory.

I was thinking about what kind of person would need a gift like this. My first thought was people who cook. But really this could be for:

*Bachelors to open bags of chips
*Kids to do crafts
*People who clip coupons
*Avid shoppers to cut tags of their new stuff
*Hair cutting people
*Other people who need to cut stuff

Gosh, the list goes on and on...

You don't even need to keep it on the fridge. You could keep it on any magnetic surface.

Ok, well. Make it.

You could also pick up a pair of scissors from the dollar store or for $1.99 at Hobby Lobby.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up and a Rustic Christmas Wreath

Hi all! Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend ;)
Mine was full of good stuff.

Wednesday we celebrated my husband's birthday with tequila and a giant, sequined purple sombrero at our favorite Mexican restaurant (he'd kill me if I posted the pic of him, so just use your imagination).

Thursday, my mom and I did the Turkey Trot, a 4 mile course.

Then we had some turkey and stuff.

Friday we did a super fun crafty get together with my awesome cousins. I'll get to that later in the post.

I ate a bunch of these babies:

So good. But so naughty...

Ok, I also decided I needed a wreath.

So, I thought I'd share that with you:

Here's what I did to make this super easy decor (took about 20 minutes or less).

*Ok, so you need a wreath form (I used pipe insulation from Lowe's that I got for $1.92--awesome idea from The Penny Parlor)

*You also need some burlap. Maybe like a yard, but I'll get to that.

*Some wreath bling. I used frosty cranberries and some decorative potpourri stuff.

*Also, a sewing machine and hot glue gun (not pictured).

1. Get your wreath form ready. Cut it. I didn't really need to do this because I just took the tape of my pipe insulation that I had in a wreath form. This will make it like a hundred times easier to put the burlap on.

2. Lay out your burlap. If you have cats, they will sit on it. Distract them with something shiny and continue on.

3. Ok, so I cut one long strip (3 yards long-but I trimmed off about a foot, so you do the math. It is not my forte). My strip was 10 inches wide.

4. Fold the strip vertically, or "hot dog" style. Sew along the strip. Is this confusing? I'm going to draw a diagram.

Ok, I hope that is helpful.

5. Now you have a long burlap tube. Put it on your wreath form, tape your wreath for back together and scrunch the burlap.

6. Hot glue whatever pretties you want to put on your wreath and hang :)

What? That was too easy.

At our crafty get together, two of my cousin's made some pretty awesome wreaths that I wanted to share with you.

Rachel wrapped burlap strips overlapping around the whole wreath, then hot glued some ornaments and cranberries and added red and gold ribbon. Love it!

Chelsea got super crafty and wrapped the wreath in green and red felt, made some felt ruffles and added some strands of felt Christmas lights.

Both of these wreaths were made using pipe insulation, too.

Ok, this post was really long! I hope it inspired you to make a crafty wreath for your home.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fabulous Fall Fridays: Stealthy Shells & Cheese

Mac and cheese is like the ultimate comfort food. It's gooey, cheesy and puts you in a carb coma, if consumed in mass quantities.

Well, this dish is a twist on an old classic that will give you all the comforts of the original along with a serving of veggies.

I highly doubt anyone will pause from shoveling this in their face to say they taste something funny in this yummy side dish.

Stealthy Shells and Cheese

1 12 oz bag of medium shells pasta (the bag that says 3-4 servings)
3/4 can of pureed butternut squash (or 1 1/2 cups of homemade puree)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded swiss (or mozzarella) cheese
2 tbsp butter
1/4-1/2 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil noodles per the package instructions and drain. Add in all the other junk and stir it up.

And now for the close up.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gift Idea Wednesdays: Felt Ornaments

There are seriously only 31 days until Christmas. Don't panic-I got some cute gift ideas coming your way ;)

I love giving little bags of treats to people for Christmas. Last year, along with some candy bark and cookies, I attached a cute felt ornament to each treat bag.

An ornament on its own is a nice gift to give people-that way, they always think of you when they hang it on their tree.

These felt ornaments are fun to make and you can kind of take them in different directions by adding your own "flair."

Here's a handy guideline of supplies I used to make these three:

The snowman is definitely my favorite-he's just so darling :)

The tree is a new one I just came up with. It's a bit of a nod to the movie a tree within a tree. Mind boggling stuff.

Anyways, to find the shape of your desired ornament, do a Google image search for "snowman outline" or "gingerbread ornament shape."

These would be fun to make while you are waiting on the turkey to cook!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Last Minute Thanksgiving Side Dish

I don't know if everyone's Thanksgiving veggies are like ours--I mean, I'm from the South and all. But pretty much all vegetable side dishes this time of year are full of heavy cream sauces or loaded down with cheese.

I like to contribute a simple, but delicious veggie side dish as an alternative to all the heavy side dishes.

This is pretty quick to throw together and the flavors are fantastic.

Roasted Brussels and Sweet Potatoes
an original Renee recipe :)

1 bushel of brussels sprouts
half of a red onion
1 medium-large sweet potato
Olive oil
Seasoning salt

Peel and cube your sweet potato and toss in a bowl. Slice your onion thinly and add to the bowl. Wash and halve your brussels and toss them in, too. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle seasoning salt (I used my own spice blend) and toss around. Pour the contents of the bowl on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray and roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the veggies are a lovely golden brown.

Don't let the idea of brussels sprouts throw you off-roasting them makes them super awesome. I never liked them before, but now I roast them all the time!

Make this-your waistline will thank you ;)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fabulous Fall Fridays: Mini Layered Pumpkin Pies

I have not been making many desserts lately. It is out of character for me.

I'm kind of on a meal plan in hopes that jeans won't feel so dang tight.

So forgive me for the lack of sweet recipes.

This teeny dessert is so yummy and good for people watching their waistlines ;)

You can make it with all full-fat/sugar stuff if you want, but I promise you, nobody will be able to tell the difference.

Would I lie to you?

No. I would not.

Ok, so here's how I made this yummy dessert.

Skinny Mini Layered Pumpkin Pies in a Jar*

8 oz canning jars (or you could make these in wine glasses-that'd be cute)
Prepared vanilla pudding (I used sugar free, fat free french vanilla)
Pumpkin fluff (recipe to follow)
Crushed up gingersnap cookies
Caramel sundae syrup (I used sugar free)

Layer all this stuff in a jar.

Pretty simple instructions.

Top with caramel + nuts.

Pumpkin Fluff
adapted from a vague memory of a WW recipe

Cool Whip (I used fat free)
1/2 can pumpkin puree
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp dry vanilla pudding mix
1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Mix it up in the Cool Whip container. Save it in the fridge for dipping cookies or fruit or to replace regular Cool Whip in or on other recipes. Or just to eat with a spoon. 'Cuz it's yummy.

*I just made two of these "pies," but you could probably make 6-8 with this recipe.

Also, I got another bloggy award this week.

Kelley at The Grant Life gave me this Tell Me About Yourself Award.

The rules for this award are:

1.I must tell 7 things about myself
2.I pass this on to 15 other bloggers

1. I have 2 cats who are totally my children. I have now turned into a cat lady, it’s true.

2. I have a BA in English Lit that I am totally not using in my paper pushing job.

3. It is a rare occasion when a day goes by where I don’t eat popcorn.

4. I am the world’s slowest texter. I don’t know why. I’m fast at typing…

5. I am like seriously addicted to Pinterest. I have lost hours. Hours, people!

6. My favorite time of day is early morning. I love drinking coffee and enjoying the peacefulness of the beginning of the day.

7. I love clearance shopping, especially at Target.

Ok, so those are my things about me.

Does anyone else feel like these bloggy awards are kind of like chain letters?
Well, I’m going to pass this to 15 other bloggers, but don’t feel pressured to continue the “chain.” Life will go on if you do not force 15 other people to participate.

Here's some great blogs that I am passing the award on to (participation is totally optional):

Regardless of if these other bloggers choose to join in the fun of this award thingy, they are all awesome blogs and you should go check them out!

Gift Idea Wednesdays: 5 Minute Arm Warmers

Ok everyone, there are only 38 days left until Christmas. Time to get crackin' on some homemade gifts.

Here's a super quick craft that will make a great gift for all the fashionistas and hipsters in your family. In fact, it was so easy, I thought maybe I was doing it wrong...

Arm warmers-YAY!

Do you have old sweaters laying around that you haven't gotten around to throwing away? Yeah, me neither. I had to hit the Salvation Army family store for this gem:

It's pretty cute, but there are holes in it and it fits weird. So I'm gonna cut it up.

First put the sweater on your arms and mark the length that you want for the warmers. I put the sleeves a little over my hands and marked it before it reached my elbow. Then cut the sleeves off the sweater. Mark where you want your thumb to go and either use scissors or a seam ripper to tear a thumb sized hole along the seam.

Then if the sweater doesn't seem like it will fray, you are done. But I did a hem on the part of the sleeve closest to my elbow just in case.

If the arms are too big (like if you are making it for a kid, or something), rip along the whole seam, turn it inside out on a small arm and pin to take it in. Then sew along where you pinned. Easy peasy ;)

Cool-I love quick and easy crafts!

It was a little hard to take pictures of these on my own, so I enlisted the help of my husband.

I guess I was hamming it up a little...there may have been some voguing and possible robot dance moves involved.

Make these!

They rock.

My arms are super warm right now.

This craft was inspired by

Also, check out some other gift ideas on my pinterest board.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hot Toddy Cocktail

How many of us women have gone to work sick? Seriously, probably all of us. We know the world does not stop just because we have a throat tickle.

Men, though, are the biggest babies when they are sick! That's why you have to make them a special drink like this.

This hot toddy uses tea to soothe, honey to coat scratchy throats, and alcohol to intoxicate.

It's not medicinal, technically, but I swear it makes a sicky feel better.

Here's the stuff you need to make it:

Hot Toddy
recipe from

2-3 tbsp Jack Daniel's Honey (or brandy or rum)
squirt of lemon juice
tea bag
1 tbsp honey
1 cup hot water

Heat 1 cup of water in the microwave. In your serving mug put whiskey, honey, lemon and tea bag. Pour the water over all that stuff and let it steep for 2-3 minutes.

Serve to a sick dude in your life with a side of cough drops and tissues.

This is actually a great, relaxing cocktail even if you are not sick!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bracelet Fun, An Award, and (of course) A Soup

I have 3 super excellent things to share with you on this Monday.

First, remember my jersey headband? Well, I threw it on my arm today for a later workout and it makes a darling bracelet.

Ignore this unflattering shot of my arm and focus on the wrist, people.

It reminds me of this awesome jersey bracelet over at V and Co.

Secondly, I was given this award from Mrs. Fox's Sweets. It's called the Liebster Award and here's a little about it:

The Criteria: The Liebster Blog Award is meant to showcase bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers. This is all done in the spirit of pay-it-forward.

The Rules: You must mention and link to the person who awarded you with Liebster, and mention 5 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers who you think worthy of the Liebster!

Here are 5 blogs that I have chosen to receive the Liebster Blog Award:

These blogs are awesome and the writers have great talent for entertaining. So go check them out!

And finally, I made soup this weekend. Nothing new for me.

I swear I'm not turning this into a soup blog. Is there such a thing? I'll Google it later.

Here's the recipe if you are obsessed with soup like I am.

Lightened Up Broccoli Cheese Soup
Adapted from Dashing Dish


1 (24 oz) package frozen broccoli in cheese sauce (located in the frozen vegetable section, I used the kind by Green Giant)
1 steamer bag frozen broccoli florets
½ onion, chopped
½ bag baby carrots, chopped
½ bag celery, chopped
Box chicken broth (or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
*Optional: sprinkled cheese as topping

Spray your soup pot with non-stick spray, add your onions, carrots and celery and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add in both frozen broccoli and broth and heat to boiling. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Season to taste.

I enjoyed my bowl with a bacon grilled cheese-so yum!

Ok, have a great week, everyone!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fabulous Fall Fridays: Apple Crumble Pie for One

Happy Veterans’ Day, everyone! Thanks to all the service men and women who have bravely served for our country.

What dish is more American than apple pie? Don’t answer that. I’m sure this must be the most quintessential dish to represent our country.

It is also super appropriate for the autumn season.

So make it.

You probably have all the stuff in your house.

Just do it.

Apple Crumble Pie for One

1 medium apple (or two small apples)
Squirt of lemon juice
4 tbsp brown sugar, divided
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 tbsp quick or old fashioned oats
2 tbsp Smart Balance butter, cut into tiny pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 8 oz oven safe ramekin with non-stick cooking spray.

Peel and cut your apple. Toss it in a bowl with 2 tbsp of brown sugar, squirt of lemon juice and sprinkle of cinnamon. Place the apple slices in the ramekin.

Stir together the flour, 2 remaining tbsp of brown sugar, oats and butter and top the apples with this mixture.

Bake for 30-45 minutes until the top is golden and apples are bubbly.

Serve with ice cream and a drizzle of caramel syrup if desired.

This pie is perfect for people trying to eat healthier, because it is single serve and really good for you. But it is also really satisfying with a cruncy, oat-y topping and warm, gooey baked apples.