Baby Skins

It's time to gear up for the big game! (Feb 7th)
You know, the one where the commercials are way better than the featured event.
(So sorry to offend you sports fanatics.)

To be brutally honest, I don't even know which teams are playing in the Super Bowl.
I can't pretend. I can't fake that I care about that 1st down.
I can't fake that I feel bad about walking in front of the TV.
I know my place in this whole debacle...

in the kitchen.

One thing I know will be appreciated, is if I smile pretty as I deliver some Baby Potato Skins.


These babies are tasty.

Start with baby red potatoes. Cuz I'm in love with reds and I like the bite-sized ones.
Scrub those babies because they came from the dirt, you know.
Bake at 400 until they're done. About 40 min.

While they're in the oven you can work on your other ingredients.
Cook the bacon. Crispy, but not over done because they will get broiled again.
Cut the green onions.
Grate the cheese.
And if you want to put your sour cream in this thing-a-ma-jig, then you can.

After they're done. Let them cool long enough for you to handle them.
Cut them in half, and scoop out the majority of the potato with a spoon. Leave about 1/4 inch on the skin.
Now pop them in the oven on broil for a couple minutes.
We're just giving them a head start on crispiness.

Now they're ready to be loaded with flavor!
Sprinkle a little Garlic Salt on them.
Stuff with cheese, bacon and onion.
I made a royal mess here.
loaded up

Now you need to throw them in to broil for about 5 more minutes... Until they are crisped to your liking.
Don't let any charcoal sneak onto your babies. Do watch with that oven light.

Now, do a dollop of Daisy. (Add some sour cream with a thing-a-ma-jig, or a spoon)


Now they are ready to serve with a smile.
Just make sure not to interrupt any of the commercials.

Primary Tidbits

I currently serve in the Primary at my church. This is the organization for the kids ages 3-11.
I love it, love it, love it!

I often do a project or two, or ten, relating to to Primary.
I can't begin to tell you how many times I've searched the internet for ideas and
I thought it was about time I share/ recycle the ones I am using.

First up was some new binder covers for the teachers and leaders.
Very simple. I used the "hello teacher" digital kit from house of 3 for the kids.
The rest was just a few blocks of color. Sorry about the smudge, for privacy reasons.
binder covers
Next up, I planned the annual "meet your teacher breakfast" activity.
These are the reminder handouts. I like to make them into necklaces so they won't lose
them before they get home and show them to their parents.

breakfast tag

While they were arriving, they colored a paper doll of them and their teacher.
The theme was that their teachers are here to serve them, so they did.
Each class had a table and their teacher was their waiter/waitress.
They took their order from this little menu.

For the rest of the activity, they broke up into classes and did some get-to know things.
Then we returned and played a relay game. In the game they had to carry balloons on a
huge serving tray across the gym into a trash bin.
The balloons flew off if they went too fast or if they didn't balance the tray. It was crazy but the kids loved it.

Here is this year's new spotlight gift. Each week we spotlight a child and learn more about them.
We wrapped up a miniature flashlight (from oriental trading) and put on this little poem.
They get this little token to take home after they are featured.
I can't take credit for the idea, but I still wanted to pass it along.

We recently had our "great to be eight" fireside and I thought these cupcakes turned out cute.
They were a collaborative effort and this cupcake stand I got at Costco really made them fabulous!

I also made these little baptism memory books for the kids. Again I used digital elements from house of 3.
For the content, I copied it. I just made it into a small book instead of printing it on regular paper.
In the back there is a pocket for their little bookmark and things.
baptism book

Homemade Pizza Season / How to be a RAD Mom!

At my house, it is homemade pizza season.
In other words, its cold enough that I can run my oven at 475 for a while.

We love to make all kinds of pizza, meat lovers, hawaiian, veggie, cheese,
margarita, sausage, and how about supreme....
close up

I use the word "homemade" loosely because 90 % of the time I buy the dough at my grocery store.
It is made fresh daily and I can make 2 crusts (medium size) for $1.49. Saves a step so I can focus on my toppings.

What I've learned about pizza, I have learned from my mother-in-law,
the internet, and good old trial and error.

These are some tips that work well for me.

1. Invest in the pizza stone. I use a pampered chef one.
When I broke one, I tried 2 other cheaper ones, NOT the same!
I'm back to a pampered chef one. I'm sure there's other nice ones out there too.
2. Make sure the oven is hot enough. 450/475/500. We want a crispy crust for sure!
Depending on how your oven cooks. In our old house I did 500, but my new oven cooks a little hotter.
3. Preheat your stone with the oven. The stone stays in the oven the whole time!
4. Prepare the pizza on a pizza peel.
Cover it with corn meal first, and then open the hot oven and slide it onto the hot stone.
When it's done, remove it by sliding that peel under it and transferring it to your cutting board.
Then you can start your next pizza on that peel.
5. Have fun. It is so fun to make "made-to-order" pizza with guests.
Just set out a ton of toppings and let people personalize it.
Or let your kids do it. We did this at my kids' birthday parties.
Pizza is just plain fun for any occasion.

Now if you want your kids to call you RAD.... go for a stuffed crust!
It is so easy and my kids like it even more than letter-shaped pancakes. (Hard to beat)

step 1-4

Step 1- Roll out your dough.
Step 2- Place mozzarella cheese around the edge.
(you can cut cheese sticks in half vertically, then horizontally or cut it off a block)
Step 3- Fold over and press down with your thumb.
Step 4- Top it with whatever you want. Most kids would be happy with just cheese.

stuffed crust

Now granted this isn't that impressive to us, but to a 10 and under crowd, it is mind blowing.
They giggle, laugh, eat the crust first, giggle, make a mess, show their friends, laugh.
Amazing that it is that entertaining, but to my kids, it is.

And... they called me rad!
Which makes me pause and think, is the word rad coming back, or have they learned it from me?

Speaking of rad, I have some totally radical news! Kathryn had her baby today!
A sweet baby boy weighed in at 8 pounds, 14 ounces.
Both are doing well and we are all thankful for his safe arrival.

Quilting for Dummies

Serious seamstresses or quilters, skip ahead to the next post. I know I don't deserve to be on the same internet as you. But, I want to give courage and hope to those who think they can't sew or quilt. With the ability to sew straight lines, iron and check the internet for tips, you can do it too! I didn't use a pattern for this baby quilt. I bought 1/2 yard of 4 fabrics I liked and 2 yards for the back.


This quilt is for my Bro and Sis in law who are due with their first baby on the exact same day as I am due with my sixth. I am so excited for an awesome couple who are smart, fun and in for the life changing experience we call parenthood. They put headphones on her belly and play music for their fetus. I'm pretty sure my baby will be born with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder since all he hears are kids fighting and saying it wasn't their fault. Maybe I should stop sewing and go make them declare a truce. Happy quilting!

Ode to Cellophane Bags

I use them for everything. Buy them by the hundreds. It's all the presentation I can muster.

The printed cellophane bags are cute but that would require runnning to the store for each occasion which is my least favorite thing to do.

I buy the clear bags at our local Floral Supply Store. They come in 3 sizes, literally in a 100 count. I try to keep all three sizes stocked. Here are just some of the many uses.



I let the three little kids pick out whatever they wanted at Oriental Trading Company. Then, got out my Cellophane Bags, printed up a little tag and used the fold over and staple method to hide the fact that I just opened the box that arrived on my door. I used the small bags for the Baby Bottle Pops, Medium for the Fun Dip and the ring pops were already in a bag so I just stapled the tag on top.

Birthday Treats


Apparently I had more energy then and added a piece of patterned paper and flower to these tags, but same idea. Candy + bag + tag = easy and cute birthday favor.

Teacher Treats


My older kids are in middle school and high school which makes Teacher gifts hard and expensive times 12 but I want to give their hardworking teachers a little something. Candy, cookies, whatever go into my cellophane bags and off to school. If the cookies are a little bigger they stack and look very snazzy.

I wish I had more pictures because I have used these for baby showers, handouts at church, neighbor gifts, etc. times a billion.

Two of my Cleaning Friends

Let me introduce you to my friend, bar keepers friend.
bar keepers

I discovered this product when I was trying to get my all-clads clean.

Now, please understand that I love my all-clads as much as a girl can love pots and pans.
Maybe because Martha, Gordon, Mario... all the greats use them..... and it makes me feel great.
It makes me feel like I'm practicing for kitchen stadium (iron chef America).

None the less, after 2 years of use and a whole lot of love, they were looking a little sad.
There were little yellowish specks of sticky stuff that would not come off with all of
the soap, elbow grease and dishwashers in the world.
So I found online that this product was recommended for stainless steel all-clads.

Here's the extreme makeover...
all clads
They are like new. Beautiful and Clean.

But as I kept reading the label, I found even more uses.
It is the best on my stainless steel sink! I can do my hair in the sparkling reflection.
It cleaned my tile grout to a level of white I haven't seen since I moved in.
It also cleaned the hard water spots off the drain stopper and chrome fixtures in my bathroom sinks.
I haven't tried, but it is supposed to remove rust too.

This product has been around since 1882 and I just found out about it. I've been living under a rock!
Just in case you have been too, you can find it at Target.

One more bottle of cleaning love before I sign off.
Resolve Deep Clean Powder. The best! (not just any old resolve, the powder)

I have a lot of fairly light carpet in my house.
People often ask if I just got it cleaned but I rarely do.
I spot clean as needed with this stuff.
For about a year, this disappeared off the store shelves.
After I used up my reserve, I tried a few other products. None were the same.
It really does work for spots and high traffic areas.

Cleaning has continued to be my current "project." Just wanted to share.

I am going to the cleaning party at Thrifty Decor Chick.

I just love these organizers!

So what is it about January that makes me want to be more organized/ clean?

Is it the fact that I just put away the holiday decor and realized I'm behind on deep cleaning?
Is it the because all of the organizing stuff goes on sale in January?
Is it because there are no holidays to distract me from the dirt that waits for me?
Is it because of New Year's Resolutions?

Well whatever the reason, I've got the bug.

I just wanted to share my new favorite drawer organizers...

The brand is Home Logic. I got them at Target.

I love them because they are clear,
they come in a bazillion sizes (so you can make all different configurations),
and because they stack up, allowing you to use the depth of your drawers as well.

So here's the before and after.


The before isn't that bad because it is part of my daughter's Saturday jobs to spruce up their bathroom drawers.
It doesn't get too bad when it is maintained. But the old ones just shifted and fell over when we used the drawer,
plus they didn't come in very many sizes.

This separated all of the different kids of hair stuff and that makes it much more functional
as now I don't have to dig through the bands and barrettes every morning.

In the kids' bathroom they have 3 drawers that are huge bottomless pits.
I'm excited that I can fill the bottom layer up with "less often used" stuff and then put layers on top.
drawere 2

Here's an example of how they stack. I only need a second layer in a couple spots,
but I like knowing that I can just stack away if I want to!

I can just imagine how beautiful these would make every drawer in my house,
but I could buy dining chairs with that kind of investment.

Am I the only weirdo that dreams of beautiful clear organizers?

Don't tell me if I am.

I'm linking to the cleaning party at Thrifty Decor Chick.

Monkeying Around

So, if you want some inexpensive art for your kids' room and don't care that you aren't an artist check out this project.

Materials used:
3 Canvases (these are 16X20 that I got on sale for $2.50 each)
Acrylic paint
Some paintbrushes that didn't have too much dried paint on them


I just flat out found these two little guys on my baby's room quilt and used a pencil to sketch them on the canvas. Get a good eraser, you'll need it. I did two coats of each part of the monkeys so it was a more even look. It helped that they were very basic, cartoonlike. But, I also did canvases above my girls' bed which I copied from their bedding, too. You can kind of see them here.


The bedding has polka dots on the border and after the monkey's were done they needed a little something so I added the polka dots. Here is the crib and bedding, waiting for something on the wall above, maybe baby's name or hang the quilt. Waiting for some drapes.


So, the nursery's not done but the monkey pictures are. Baby steps.

Linking to blue cricket design, today's creative blog, domestically speaking, the girl creative and A Soft Place to Land.

Black Beauty

Here's the story of a lonely dining room. Beige, empty, colorless, sad.
{Not pictured here. There is nothing to picture.}

This room is my new priority. I have been "thinking" of what table I wanted in here for a year or so.
I can never buckle down on big decisions like this.

I was set on round. I wanted this 60" round form pottery barn for a long time. I was trying to save up.

Then I had an idea that my husband should do a built-in on the bare wall, so I needed to go a little smaller.
Oval. So I was looking at things like this from For sure more budget friendly.

Then I was thinking, is there a way I can do this for even cheaper? I've seen some cool Craigslist make-overs.
Then, a revelation came as I ran into
She had a similar style table that she painted black herself.
She was going for the look of the same "aris" table from pottery barn.
We were kindred spirits on the same mission, only she was smarter.

So I went on a Craigslist hunt to find the style table I wanted.

It was my first experience with Craigslist and I wasn't a fan at first.
Apparently it is first come first serve and I found this out the hard way. Twice.
Finally, I found this baby.


It was pretty good quality, seated 6 and had the potential to become my black beauty.
I was so grateful that Lisa from was willing to answer my questions and
gave me great advice from what paint she used, to how many coats, to what brush/roller to use.

So I went through these simple steps in one Saturday!
I sanded

I painted

i love

It is not too far from my original plans, but it is 1/9 of the cost of the pottery barn one
and 1/4 the cost of the target one. (I'm including shipping)
So I think I'm going to call myself a "frugalista." I've always liked that word.

The good news is that there is hope for my lonely dining room.

dining room

The bad news is that there is still a long way to go.
Next item of business, chairs. I'm thinking about these from Pier 1.
Then there needs to be some color somewhere, then the hubs needs to build my dream shelves.

It is a start and I'm excited about that. No promises on when it will all be finished.
I am indecisive, you know.

I'm linking to: thrifty decor chick, blue cricket design, Between Naps on the Porch, Twice Remembered, A Soft Place to Land, domestically speaking and today's creative blog.

Quilts of 2009

I finally gave Kathryn her quilt so now I can finally show you!

I know you quilters out there are not impressed with my simple stripes, but I just wanted to try one this way.

The exciting news is that my mother-in-law recently got a quilting machine, so I got to use it!
I used to have to go out of town to rent time on a machine.
Now it is closer and more fun to learn from her, the quilting expert.


{Here's the sentimental stuff. My mom made a quilt, or two for each grandchild (1-4).
When she passed away, we made a commitment to each other to make a quilt
for each other's baby in honor of her. Every child needs at least one special blankie, right?
I had never made a quilt before, but now I had a reason to learn.
I have made 3 now for her babies and she has made 2 for mine.}

Look closer!
Do you see the little wiener dogs. Well, their family recently got one.
So this fabric screamed "PERFECT."
I can just picture the little tike in 2 years carrying around his blankie and playing with his dog.
Plus, I really liked the colors. Orange, brown, blue. So boyish, and so the colors of the nursery.

kass' quilt

I did 2 other quilts earlier this year. I think I'm getting simpler and simpler. I am drawn to simple lines.
Plus I am not good at intricate quilting. That is the real story.

This is a quilt I made for my sister-in-law. It was the first time I did just plain squares.


I made this quilt in February for my friend and neighbor, Leah.
Oh man, this sock monkey fabric was enough to make me go bananas.
(I know my humor is very clever).
I actually had to plan her whole baby shower around the sock monkey thing.


Here's the deal with my dough

This is my system. When I make a batch of cookies, I rarely want to bake up all of them.
So I cook what I need, then use my cookie scoop to make a little dough ball,
put them in zip-locs, and freeze them.
in bags

I almost always have a little dough in the freezer.
That way, when there is a scrapbook party, game night, or something that I need to bring a treat to,
I just pop some in the oven. I set them out for 5 min or so, but they really don't even need to thaw at all.
They cook up just the same. And I can cook up just the amount that I want.

So when there's a night when the hubs and I need a little something sweet, we can cook up just a few.
They are much better warm anyway and no big mess.
frozen cookie dough

This has worked for chocolate cookies and peanut butter cookies,
but they aren't so much a staple in my freezer.
Chocolate chip is my family's fave, and luckily not mine, so I don't eat the dough.
Sometimes when I don't use all my sugar cookie dough, I freeze some too.
Not in a ball, but in a big loaf, wrapped in lots of saran. It has to thaw before I can roll it out.

Disregard if this is old news to you. But if its not, welcome to warm cookies on demand.

Time Flies

It is true what they say...

TIme flies when you're having fun.


I really am having fun, enjoying my life, my family, my projects and sharing them with you. (Whoever may be looking???)


So here's the new year's sugar cookie making session!
I saw these snow globe cookies on Martha and with my daughter's love for snow globes,
I knew we would have to try this.
Only Christmas is over, so we made a slightly different scene in our snow globes.

I made some clocks striking midnight, some countdown cookies, lots of snow globes, and then the genius friend was making these with said that this shape would also make a cute gum ball machine cookie. (I cut the shape from a paper template I downloaded off Martha's site. I don't have a cookie cuter like this.) I don't know what I'll ever need a gum ball machine cookie for, but when I do, I will know how to make them. My huge sprinkles did the trick.


And the girls would not eat their works of art until I took a picture of them.
They love it when their creations make the blog!

new year's cookies

So, I'm ready to kick this new year off with something exciting, like Kass having her baby any minute now!
I can't wait to meet my new nephew.

I'm looking forward to the rejuvenation, organization and motivation that a new year brings!
Happy New Year!
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