[DIY] Christmas Card Hanger

So I’ve been spending way too much time some quality time reading DIY blogs and poking around on Pinterest that I thought I should join this DIY blogging party that seems to be going on. So here I go!

With an attempt to be resourceful this Christmas I have decided to get creative with stuff I already have. When I came upon this at craft idea at Pintererst I thought to myself, “I can totally make that!…hmm, now what can I use?” I began pulling apart craft bins and going through my art supplies, and came up with a plan.

Here’s what I pulled out:

  • 1 large piece of sturdy cardboard (not that corrugated stuff)
  • scrap-booking cutting board
  • scrap-booking glue tape
  • scrap-booking exact o knife
  • craft paint (I used red, black, and ivory)
  • printout of your text on card stock paper
  • wired ribbon
  • twist ties
  • 2 paintbrushes
  • hot glue gun
  • hanging hook (I used a small “Command” hook)
  • a bunch of clothes pins

...yes I did this on top of my washing machine

Step 1:
Cut your cardboard to the size you want and paint it. I painted my red with a drop of black to give it a textured look (don’t mix completely). I had to paint a few coats so I made sure the black streaks showed up on the top coat, and not necessarily the bottom coats.

Step 2:
Print and cut your text from the card stock paper. I used white paper with a grayed outline of the text for easy cutting. Make sure you have a firm protected surface for cutting. I used another piece of the cardboard.

See? It's a mess!

Step 3:
Paint text. I used the same piece of cardboard that I used for the cutting. Make sure your letters don’t dry and stick to the cardboard. I pained in one spot and then moved them to dry.

Step 4:
Glue text to painted board. I used scrap-booking glue tape, but you could use whatever works for you. I was actually hoping to use spray glue, but I didn’t have any.

Step 5:
Tie your ribbon.

  • Make 4 loops holding firmly in the center (Loop 1 on left, Loop 1 on right, twist and repeat).
  • Tie the center together tightly using a twist tie.
  • Using the long end of the ribbon loop it back over to make center of bow. This will hide your twist tie.
  • Turn bow around in your hand, and twist ribbon tail 360 degrees. Pinch tightly.
  • Secure with another twist tie.
  • You will need to cut another piece of ribbon and secure it on separately.
Step 6:
Secure the bow to the back of the board at the top and the bottom of both ribbon tails with a hot glue gun.
And voila! There you have it!
Now all I need is some sweet Christmas cards.

the dance…

It’s cliché to say that “life is a dance”. But as I sit and ponder life this morning I can’t help but realize that is so true.

There are days that the dance is perfect. The perfect music with the perfect rhythm. The perfect ambiance with the scenery and mood just right. The perfect gown and a glow on my face. I’m dancing with the perfect dance lead; everything smooth and each step sure.

Then there are days that the dance feels a little off beat. The music sounds unfamiliar and the rhythm is hard to catch. The ambiance, well…the ambiance seems to be lacking. The gown feels more like an unsure fit, and I’m sure my face looks more like I just ate a sour lemon. The steps feel different; I’m not familiar with this dance. I contemplate the dance. Will I get it right, in the right timing?

Change can be difficult; it can be awkward changing rhythms in life. I sometimes think I would rather keep dancing the familiar dance. It’s comfortable. It’s familiar. It’s certain. Thinking, “I can settle for this; a bit of status quo feels just fine with me.”

Although all that may be true, I sure don’t want to find myself dancing alone or not dancing at all because I am unwilling to follow the rhythm of change.

It is in times of change that I am challenged to make sure I am closest to my Dance Leader. I may not be out twirling about like I did before when I knew my steps and rhythm. In this new season I may need to be dancing a waltz with arms locked with His, eyes focused on His, feet unwavering staying in perfect step, and His hand holding my back strong. Soon I will catch the new rhythm.

No matter the season of the dance the perfect Dance Lead remains. As clumsy and uncertain as I may feel I want to make sure I remain a submissive dance partner and I allow the Dance Lead to lead.

I grew up hearing one of my pastors always say, “put your little hand in God’s big hand”. Of course that always need be the case, but ever so much more in rhythm’s of change.

A Time for Everything…

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die;a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

[recipe] pesto stuffed salmon

You’ve been asking…so here it is.

I really wouldn’t classify myself as someone who knows how to cook. I just know how to follow a recipe. I’m a rule follower my nature so that helps me get along just great with recipes. If I didn’t have a recipe I would cry and order take out.

So for all of you recipe followers this is for you.

Pesto

2-3 Cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped
2 C Fresh Basil
1/3 C Pine Nuts, toasted
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/2 C Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4 C Kalamata Olives, pitted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Toast pine nuts for about 5 minutes. Watch so they don’t burn. Leave oven preheated for salmon.

Combine garlic, basil, pine nuts, and olive oil in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Stir in Parmesan and olives.

Salmon

4 (5 oz.) Salmon Fillets
1/2 C Dry White Wine
Salt & Pepper

Fillet salmon lengthwise leaving the two sides attached. Open and fill with pesto mixture and lay top side of salmon back down. Salt and pepper to taste. Place salmon fillets into a shallow baking dish and pour white wine around the fillets. Make sure the fillets are not touching. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how thick your meat is. Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes. Set oven to broil and put salmon back in for 3 minutes.

Salad

Baby Romaine
Cherry Tomatoes
Blue Cheese or Feta
Drizzle of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

You can really use any sort of salad mix that you like. Caesar salad would go great with this. I’m sure my choice of dressing and cheese is a culinary faux pas with pesto and salmon, but it worked for me.

And I found these little cute guys at my grocery store just recently. They are uber yummy and add that healthy color to your diet. Great for snacking on too!

…and voila. Enjoy!

 

[recipe] Moroccan Chicken with Cabbage

This is one of my families favorite dishes, and it’s super easy to make. Unfortunately I have never measured the seasonings out so just season to your liking. If you would like another side dish with this, roasted potatoes are a great choice (I’ll post that below).

Chicken Dish
1 lb. Chicken Breast (bone in or boneless)
1/2 bottle Kraft Light House Italian Dressing
2 tsp. Garlic, crushed
1 can Diced Tomatoes (or 4 fresh)
Cinnamon
Tarragon
Ground Cumin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an oven safe pan, sauté chicken in Italian dressing and garlic until chicken is cooked through. Pour tomatoes over chicken and generously dust the top of chicken with spices. Cook covered for 45 minutes. Remove lid and cook an extra 15 minutes.

Cabbage
1 head Cabbage
1 lg. purple onion
1T Olive Oil
Adobo Seasoning
Mrs. Dash

Slice cabbage and onion as thin as you can.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet and cook cabbage and onion until cooked through and has the crunch or (no crunch) you want. I like mine pretty well done. Season with Adobo and Mrs. Dash as it reduces to your liking.

Nutrition for Sauce (about 1/4 cup):
Calories:  41, Fat: 2, Sat. Fat: <0.5, Chol: 0, Sodium: 339, Carb: 4, Fiber: <0.5, Protein: <0.5

You will have to figure your chicken out separate it varies by type.

Just a quick way I prepare my roasted potatoes. Boil little red potatoes. Let cool. Seasoning cookie sheet with olive oil. Place potatoes on like cookies, and mash with the bottom of a glass. Brush olive oil on top and sprinkle with kosher salt and rosemary. Bake for the last 15 minutes of chicken cook time. Once chicken is removed from oven, turn broiler on and broil potatoes for a few minutes until they crisp up on the top.

i rock…

I close my eyes to take in every moment there is to behold in the darkness of the room.

As I rock my sweet Lovie to sleep I pull her chubby fingers to my lips to feel the smoothness of her skin. I find myself trying to embrace this intimate moment in the deepest part of me so that I can stuff it way deep into my memory so I will never forget the smooth touch of her skin, and this genuine contentment I have while holding her close. I feel her fingers flex and squeeze mine as if it’s her last bit of energy she can muster to fight her inevitable sleep. I chuckle with a sentimental tear (I admit I am a mushy gushy sap).

Rock, rock, rock…I continue to rock her slowly and sweetly to sleep, and begin to reflect on the day we had together. It started rough with the fussing that comes with the pain of new teeth coming in, but then I begin to smile in the still darkness of her room as I see in my mind’s eye that glittery sparkle she gets in her eye and that grin that stretches ear to ear with her mouth wide open as she giggles with a scream as she expresses her excitement to see her mommy coming to shower her with kisses.

Continuing on in my reflection, I chuckle at the sound of each “mmm” she hums with her satisfaction of each bite of her dinner. I ponder her amusement with her older brother, and the squeals of joy that burst from her belly when he comes to play.

Despite my own tired eyes, I rock and I smile longing for this moment to linger on.

Now resting on my shoulder, as she nods off to sleep with quick shallow breaths, I squeeze her tightly whispering my love to her. I then take a deep breath as I let go of this cherished moment and I lay her to bed. I leave the room praying I will never forget this moment. Sleep well my Lovie.

I am so blessed! Thank you God for blessing me with such a sweet Lovie!

Still…

It seems like my mind is always on the run…

My actions and behaviors soon follow those racing thoughts…

All day long I dream of being still…

Still with a quiet cup of coffee. Still with my husband enjoying a good conversation. Still with my children playing and laughing with nothing to worry about. Just still enjoying the very moment I’m in.

Although it seems that the things that are most important to me get lost in the shuffle of my racing thoughts and behaviors.

I want to find a way to quiet my thoughts that dictate my marathon days and find a way to do those things that are most important to me. It comes down to a decision, followed by an action…an action to be still!


This is my first time participating with The Gypsy Mama and her Five Minute Fridays. I’ll admit I was a little intimidated by just giving 5 minutes to writing because I am a new blogger, but today’s word was appropriate for me. I hope this type of writing will help me write what is truly on my heart in the future.

[recipe] Sun-Dried Tomato Artichoke Chicken With Arugula Mushroom Salad

I’m always trying to find good healthy recipes, and came across this one that we absolutely love. I just made this dish last Monday, and it was better than I remembered. The dish has an earthy flavor that is balanced with hints of tang and sweetness. Each flavor is beautifully married with each other. ENJOY!


Sun-Dried Tomato Artichoke Chicken

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces
1/4 cup flour (I omitted this)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup white wine (I substituted chicken broth)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 (14-oz) can quartered artichoke hearts (drained)
1/3 cup julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat large saute pan on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Place flour and chicken in large zip-loc bag; seal and shake to coat. Place oil in pan then add chicken; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Stir in wine. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 2-3 minutes or until liquid is slightly reduced.
  3. Sprinkle lemon juice over chicken; stir in remaining ingredients (except thyme and cheese) and cover; cook 2-3 minutes or until chicken is 165°F. Remove pan from heat; stir in thyme and sprinkle with cheese. Serve.
CALORIES (per 1/4 recipe) 430kcal; FAT 19g; CHOL 125mg; SODIUM 340mg; CARB 14g; FIBER 2g; PROTEIN 44g; VIT A 8%; VIT C 25%; CALC 8%; IRON 15%

Arugula Mushroom Salad

Ingredients:
1 red bell pepper
8 oz. baby portabella mushrooms
1 bag baby arugula leaves (4-5 oz.)
1/3 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 cup goddess dressing (I use Annie’s brand)

Chop red bell pepper and baby portabella and toss all ingredients together.

CALORIES (per 1/4 recipe) 170kcal; FAT 14g; CHOL 0mg; SODIUM 190mg; CARB 8g; FIBER 3g; PROTEIN 4g; VIT A 35%; VIT C 70%; CALC 8%; IRON 8%