Around Here: Success and not quite success in the kitchen

I love trying new recipes.

This is new for me as I used to be very hesitant to do that. If I went to the trouble of cooking something (and I was hungry) I wanted guaranteed success. I wanted to know my time, effort and ingredients were going to reward me with yumminess to enjoy.

I don’t know when this changed – maybe when I started baking more (years ago) or when – but it has changed indeed.

Now, it is fun to start with a base recipe as an “inspiration” for me and get in the kitchen and try to come up with something totally new for us to try.

Sometimes that yields delicious results.  Sometimes disasters. And sometimes things are just “meh” – they’re edible, they’re not terrible, but they aren’t necessarily things I’d repeat without some major reworking.

Yesterday was one of those days. I had this craving for some cheese tortellini in a vegetable soup. I had no set recipe in mind, but I knew what I wanted taste-wise.


I ran out to the store in the morning after taking the girls to school because tortellini is not something I normally stock in my pantry.  After my dash to get supplies, I decided to try doing things in the slow cooker rather than on the stovetop.

So, in everything went… Chicken broth, some stewed tomatoes, a bag of frozen “Italian” veggies (which translates to zucchini, squash, bell peppers, onions, carrots, butter beans), some other random veggies that I had in the freezer (like some shredded spinach) a bouillon cube, some garlic, copious amounts of Italian seasoning, etc.

It simmered and bubbled all afternoon.  When it was close to time to eat I cooked the tortellini in a pot of simmering water. I wasn’t sure if the girls would like the soup or the tortellini so I figured I would not mix the two unless they chose to.

I also grilled some chicken strips I had marinated in balsamic vinaigrette to serve in the soup or alongside with a salad if the soup was a bust.

I have to say, I’m glad I did that.

The soup turned out to be one of those “meh” kind of meals. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, either.  Sadly, the best part of it were the tortellini (and they were store bought so they shouldn’t have been the tastiest part as far as I was concerned)

SuperMan and I ate it.  The Big Girl said “NO” and the Little One ate the tortellini out of the soup and nothing else.

Oh well.

These type of nights I’m grateful for Velveeta Mac & Cheese and instant pancakes (yes, I serve those things, just not very often!)  At least I know everyone had something to eat for dinner – even if it wasn’t what I had planned.

Big Girl said it was the “weirdest dinner ever” because she ate grilled chicken with pancakes.

We also tried a new dessert, which, if you follow me on Facebook you saw the link to yesterday. It was about the same in terms of our liking it.  It wasn’t bad, but I probably wouldn’t make it again.


It reminded me of the lava fields in Hawaii.

Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

And it was only one meal…

However, I didn’t satisfy my craving for the soup I had in mind.  I may try something again one day (maybe a minestrone base?) but I’ll have to wait until the kids forget about last night’s experimental dinner first. Smile

Project Life Tuesday ~ 26 June

Hello and welcome to Project Life Tuesday!

If you are stopping by from The Mom Creative, welcome & thanks for clicking over! If you are not, you might want to click over there when you’re done here for some more great Project Life inspiration! The Mom Creative

I’m using the Clementine Edition of the Project Life kit offered by Becky Higgins, supplemented by some digital extras and using up the random bits I have from twelve-plus years of scrapbooking. Some weeks are more digital than others and some weeks are full of frills and furbelows. It just depends on my mood.

I haven’t posted in a while (3 weeks!) because I got behind on my album – have been so busy catching up on other things since my work trip that scrapbooking took a backseat to, well, life.

I did get to spend some time this past weekend getting a little bit caught up. Still have two weeks to do, but I feel much less panicked about how much I have to do. I was quickly reaching that critical juncture of “do I even continue?” and I really didn’t want to go there. So, I feel rather proud of myself for jumping back on the wagon.

I finished my January – June album this weekend. I had decided that I needed to split it up into two volumes way back in March or April when I saw how thick the album already was. Thankfully, I had two of the same type of album already so there was no additional expenditure necessary and everything ties in nicely.


I made a cute little card to put in the last pocket so that folks would know to continue on –

the story is not over

I used some of the digital Project Life paper and just added my text on top. Isn’t it cute?

So, since I am catching up, the pages I have to share are from Memorial Day week –


Sorry that one is so blurry. I could not get it focused for the life of me. I don’t know why. The good news is that the rest are clear and crisp. I decided to use a red and teal theme this week and the inserts and photos seemed to fit nicely with that little idea.


and some close ups of the left page:


I made a pennant with some scraps of paper and some twine that I had from a Studio Calico kit.


The Memorial Day insert was a freebie I downloaded.


I also used some washi tape (with little teal hearts) and one scrap of paper that had a pinkish tinge to it and red grid lines. I cut that sucker up and used every single scrap – decorated plain grid journal cards and made a journal card (with washi tape on it) as well. I love that about this project – that I can use even the smallest bits of scraps – makes me feel frugal. (wink wink)

The right page:


Washi tape on the picture to add journaling:


LOVE the picture of Big Girl with the water hose. She looks so ferocious!


My last little scrap of grid paper being put to good use –


And as soon as I finished taking pictures, the girls grabbed the album and went through again – from January to June. I love that. I love that they love to look back and remember and that I’m capturing those memories for them.img_1668

That’s why we do this, isn’t it?

I’ll be back with more as soon as I find time to do another week’s worth of pages!

Thanks for stopping by!

9:15 am

It’s 9:15 on a Thursday morning. The first Thursday of the summer vacation for the girls.  Angelina came stumbling downstairs about thirty minutes ago, complaining that Daddy woke her up when he got up and that is why she slept so late. I find this funny because it’s really only about fifteen minutes later than she has been waking up all week, but to her it must seem like a major upset to her schedule.  Mary is still crashed upstairs, falling into the sleep patterns that teens seem to have – stay up late, sleep even later. I’ll go wake her in just a little while – I’m trying not to let her sleep past 9:30 simply because it means she is up so much later at night when she does (and then I’m up that much later!)


I’ll lure her into wakefulness with some of the chocolate muffins I have baking in the oven. It is one of their favorite breakfast treats and I’ve been making muffins every morning this week – lemon poppy seed, berry, chocolate, etc. They love them right out of the oven, when they are so steamy that you can hardly eat them and the berries and chocolate chips are just gooey goodness in your mouth.


I’m sitting in my office at my desk, have already read through the emails that came in last night while I was sleeping. Most are just ones where I have been copied on the message and require no action. There are a few that I’ll have to tackle with some action, but right now I’m just not ready for that.  So, I’m sipping my second cup of Earl Grey and half paying attention to the Live! with Kelly Ripa show.  Kristin Stewart is on and I wonder, as I look at her, when she will change her makeup and hair style so that she doesn’t still look like Bella Swan. 


My office is rather a shambles – I have all sorts of papers scattered about and things are upside down as I make piles of things to take with me on my trip next week – things to take to Mom, things to remember to take to HQ.  The suitcase is 80% packed with my work clothes and I still need to pack the non-work clothes that I’ll need for the layover at Mom’s before and after the HQ trip.  Have yet to begin to pack the girls’ clothes although I am hopeful Mary Beth will take care of hers and Angelina’s should be quick and easy – toss in some shorts, tops and bathing suits and she’s good to go.

I’m getting a little, well, stressed is not really the right word and anxious sounds negative – so I’m not sure how to describe the feeling – about the trip. I am getting that half-here, half-there type of mindset. I remember living this way years ago when I was traveling a lot for work – part of my mind is in the present moment and part of my mind is already on the trip, anticipating things that will occur and trying to be sure I’ve planned/prepared/packed for those potentials. It’s a little stressful and makes me feel disconnected, in a way, from my family, but it is also the way I have learned to make sure that my trip is not any more stressful than it has to be – by trying to be prepared for as much as I can ahead of time. Now, I just have the added challenge of taking care of the family as well – preparing for their needs while I’m gone as well as my own. (as I type this I’m making a mental note to double-check that all the bills are paid and nothing is due while I’m gone.)

The weather is cool outside right now – has not warmed up yet for the day, although it is supposed to be another scorcher. I’ve just reset the thermostat to 75, which is where I try to keep it all day long. I usually have to turn it down at night when Rob gets home as he likes it a little cooler (we all do) when we sleep.  There’s supposed to be rain coming in and cooling things off but today the temps are supposed to be in the 90’s. I wish the pool was open and I could take the girls this afternoon, but they are repairing tiles and Angelina has her ballet recital rehearsal at 4:00 today.

I’ll have to get prepared for that little excursion – making sure that the skirt on her costume is pinned in place and getting her all dolled up and ready to go in time. That should prove interesting since I have conference calls right up until the time we have to leave. Thankfully, she is getting more self-sufficient and Mary Beth is big enough to help her, too.  I can’t wait to see the dance and to snap pictures of the rehearsal.  Recitals are Saturday and Sunday and then we will be finished with all of our obligations for the summer.  Then it will be time to relax and enjoy (in between work, that is)

So, what are you up to this morning?

Project Life Tuesday: 22 May 12

The Mom Creative

Hello and welcome to Project Life Tuesday!

If you are stopping by from The Mom Creative, welcome & thanks for clicking over! If you are not, you might want to click over there when you’re done here for some more great Project Life inspiration!

I’m using the Clementine Edition of the Project Life kitoffered by Becky Higgins, supplemented by some digital extras and using up the random bits I have from twelve-plus years of scrapbooking. Some weeks are more digital than others and some weeks are full of frills and furbelows. It just depends on my mood.

The past week was hectic with the end-of-the-year activities for school, lots of work projects and a sick big girl and mommy. Sigh.

Some of the pages are still in progress – I need to add some journaling but I just ran out of steam when I was working on them the other day. I hope to finish them this weekend.

Anyway, hope you enjoy!

Here’s the two-page spread, which is actually four, because I used an insert, too. (you can click on any picture to see it larger)




and a close up:


You can barely see it, but I included my grocery list in one of the pockets this week.

The front of the insert:img_1550

close up:img_1557

and the back is from Sunday’s baptism – both girls were baptized together… I haven’t yet journaled about it – I need some time to process & reflect before I put something there.img_1559

I love the picture of the four of us together. Don’t get many of those.img_1544

and the right page: (which also needs some journaling)img_1560

That’s it for this week!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Project Life Tuesday 15 May 12 (or the best laid plans)

I have had my blog writer program open for three days – three days in which I’ve been PLANNING to write a post. And, somehow, life got in the way.The Mom Creative

Which seems to be happening a lot lately.

Like with my Project Life album.

I sat down to work on it and realized I was THREE WEEKS behind.

Talk about overwhelming. and confusing. and daunting.

I don’t want that to happen again. It was not much fun trying to sort everything out and figure out what happened when.  Thankfully, I have everything written down in the family calendar so it was a little easier.  And, I finally decided that it really didn’t matter if the pictures from one week were on a page with pictures from another. Twenty years from now I doubt we will care which week we went to the eye doctor.  Right?

Anyway, sit back and get comfy – I have a LOT to share this week:


Lots of inserts – samples of schoolwork, smaller pocket pages for the extra pictures…



new car shopping!

And a closeup of the text messages with my brother:




another close up – I grabbed the logo from the web because I forgot to get a business card to add to the page.

4-23-12-3 copy

Moving on to the next week:


Love the cartoon – so true about life Smile


another insert:


Field Day – I may go back and do a digital page on these pictures after things calm down around here – not sure yet.


And,finally, Mother’s Day weekend!


If you made it this far, thanks for stopping by!

I have made a vow to myself I won’t get that far behind again – too hard to get motivated to catch up. It would’ve been so easy to just quit, but I’m glad I made myself sit down and do the pages – I feel so much better being caught up!

Project Life Tuesday ~ 24 April 12

Hello and welcome to Project Life Tuesday!

The Mom CreativeIf you are stopping by from The Mom Creative, welcome & thanks for clicking over! If you are not, you might want to click over there when you’re done here for some more great Project Life inspiration!

I’m using the Clementine Edition of the Project Life kit offered by Becky Higgins, supplemented by some digital extras and using up the random bits I have from twelve-plus years of scrapbooking. Some weeks are more digital than others and some weeks are full of frills and furbelows. It just depends on my mood.

This week is a little more digital – with the exception of some old Creative Memories’ Black & White paper and some red ribbon for a punch of color. Since it was a rainy, gloomy week last week, I went with black & white for the major color scheme.img_1471

(remember to click on any image to see it larger)

Here are a few close ups:img_1472

This was the back of the page from last week and it had six 6×4 pockets. I realized this only after I’d cut my 3×4 pictures and rounded the corners, but I think it looks OK. It matches the other page, at least.


I thought the red ribbon tied in nicely to the red on the radar and the red tail lights from the rainy day picture.img_1474

a close-up of the journaling. Loving the Cathy Zielske journaling cards. I made the border dark grey to go with my color scheme.

Right side page: (sorry for the glare)


My favorite cookies – SuperMan brought some home for me. Love to nibble on some with some green tea at night while we watch TV.img_1476

And the cat has moved back in the house because the doggies have taken over her garage – at least until the back yard is de-flea-ed and the rain lets up.

and then there is my dismay over gas prices. I figured it was worthy of documenting – img_1477

and my current magazine loves & Big Girl’s multi-tasking…

Moving on to Saturday when the pups tried (vainly) to get into the house for a visit.


That’s it from around here. I’m not participating in the Week in the Life project (maybe one day) but I have been taking lots of pictures and it’s only Tuesday! Yay, me!

Thanks for stopping by!

Project Life Tuesday ~ 10 April 12

The Mom CreativeHello and welcome to Project Life Tuesday!

If you are stopping by from The Mom Creative, welcome & thanks for clicking over!

If you are not, you might want to click over there when you’re done here for some more great Project Life inspiration!

This past week was Spring Break for the girls – I had thought I’d have a ton of pictures for this week, but the girls and I ended up staying home and we had a relatively quiet week. I worked, they relaxed and played outside and we just enjoyed ourselves as best we can – and I didn’t worry about taking lots of pictures. I just enjoyed my kids.

I managed to fill my pages, though. They are simple with mostly digital embellishments this week. I like the on-again/off-again decorating trend I have. The simpler pages balance out the more elaborate pages of other weeks. And I don’t feel so pressured to make everything fancy-schmancy if I don’t want to. Which is one of the things that I love so much about Project Life.

My pictures were printed at home and I forgot to turn off the borders on my print job. I wasn’t going to waste more ink to reprint them, so this batch has borders. Not sure I like it, but it’s not a big enough deal to go back and reprint – at least not yet. I may order prints next week and if I do I’ll reprint them then.


Here are this week’s pages: (remember to click on any picture to see it larger)


Left side page:


That’s an Ali Edwards freebie for the page title – and I added a little brad that I dug up in my stash. The journal card has some buttons from my stash that I stuck on for a little color. I used Ali Edwards’ days from Designer Digitals. I just cut the words out of the frames and added them to the photos.

Some close-ups:imgp4185


I love the little swirls I added to the picture of Little Bit riding her bike. I have no idea where they came from (they were in my “freebie” folder) but I think that it adds a great touch to the picture.


One more close-up that I love.


Moving over to the Right side:imgp4182

Close ups:



And the journaling for the week is a Cathy Zielske journaling card:


That’s it for me this week!

Thanks for stopping by!

I hope I have some more craftiness to share with you later in the week.

Project Life Tuesday: 1.10.12

Well, I’m off to a great start this year. I spent a good part of Saturday finishing the unfinished journaling in my 2011 Project Life album and ordered the Oct/Nov/Dec prints to finish up the album.  That’ll be next weekend’s project – to put those in and get the project wrapped up.

I also began my 2012 Project Life album. I have been so inspired by all the PL posts I’ve read and photos of other people’s albums.  As I mentioned last week, I was a little undecided as to how I was going to approach this year’s scrapbooking.  After reading the posts and looking at my past PL albums, I decided that was the way to go. So, I ordered the Clementine core kit and will use the leftover page protectors I have from the last two years until I run out of those. I also found a 12×12 three-ring album in my stash, so things are pretty well set at this point.


^^ My album and all my new PL supplies in one place, ready to go. ^^

I decided that I’m going to approach this PL album as any other “regular” scrapbook.  One of the blogs I read mentioned that she approaches each pocket on a pocket page as an individual mini scrapbook page – and that she works to coordinate the pockets on a page, but tries to be creative with each pocket. That had sparks going off in my brain. THAT is what I’ve been missing so far – I have felt like my albums were very basic – functional and served a purpose, but I’ve missed the creativity of “traditional” scrapbooking.

So, I made a trip to Archiver’s on Friday with a friend and picked up a few extras to use to embellish and step outside the core PL kit.  I’m also planning to use some of the overlays and templates that Ali Edwards & Cathy Zielske have on Designer Digitals to add a little more flair to my pages.


^^ Some of the new goodies I got from Archiver’s ^^

I’m pleased with the results so far.

My cover pages are inspired by Cathy’s – (her post is here)


And this first week of January warranted two two-page spreads because I wanted to tell the story of the hike.  I may yet change it and put a 6×12 page in there so I have more room for journaling and photos as I felt like I was having to truncate my story to fit it into the 4×6 slot.


But, overall, I am very pleased with what I’ve done so far.  And very excited to get going. My plan is to print my photos at home (unless there is a great sale somewhere) and maybe use a little of the Project Life digital supplies, too.


I’ll be sharing pages here (I hope) weekly – my plan is to work on the previous week’s pages each Saturday night.

December Daily/Journal Your Christmas

I’m not quite sure what to call my December album. It’s not really Journal Your Christmas (I didn’t follow the quotes to the “t”) and it most definitely isn’t a December Daily in the true sense of that – I didn’t take pictures every day – some days I took a lot and some I didn’t take any.

Regardless, it captures our December and that is what matters most to me.

I have not (yet) finished, but I thought I’d share some more pages with you.

I’m hoping to finish this weekend.  I have a lot of pictures/stories left to capture but I am anxious to get it completed and put away for the year. Ready to move on to other things!

Anyway, here’s a quick sample of some of the pages.

Cover page:

2011 Christmas Album - Page 001

2011 Christmas Album - Page 003

2011 Christmas Album - Page 004

2011 Christmas Album - Page 006

2011 Christmas Album - Page 007

2011 Christmas Album - Page 008

2011 Christmas Album - Page 009

You can see some of the other pages here. I’m hoping to post them on Flickr soon so they will all be in one place.

Journal Your Christmas – are you in?

If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time – at least a year, anyway – you know that I have a yearly project that I do to capture our memories of Christmastime…

Journal your Christmas online scrapbooking class

It’s a self-paced class offered by Shimelle on her website and is an online class which consists of daily email prompts and suggestions for creating your own scrapbook or journal to capture your holiday memories.

The first year I participated (2009) I created a combination of traditional and digital pages – here are some examples:


Cover of the album & first pageIMGP1658_edited-1

One of the prompts was to capture the weather:IMGP1659_edited-1

And here are a few digital pages I did:Let There Be Light

You can view more of these pages over on my flickr pages.

And the second year (2010) are here –

JYC2010 - Page 001

JYC2010 - Page 002JYC2010 - Page 005JYC2010 - Page 006JYC2010 - Page 011

They are digital – which I liked because I could keep up with the prompts more easily.  I also used my blog to write a lot of what I would later put in my journal as I took the time to do the actual scrapbooking.

Looking back at the pages, I am getting really excited about getting started on this project again. I am going to start scouring the digital scrapbooking websites to find a good kit that has some pretty pages and embellishments to use.  I think this year I will print the whole thing as a bound book (last year I printed the pages and slipped them into page protectors just in case I wanted to add anything that was last minute and non-digital content).

One of the things I like about Shimelle’s class is that, while the prompts are similar from year to year, I have found that my albums are so different each year. Depending on what is going on in our lives, with the kids and our friends and family, and what traditions or memories are resonating with me for the year.

This year, I’m hoping to get the girls more involved – maybe let them do some of the journaling and capturing their thoughts about the holidays.

There are quite a few other holiday scrapbooking projects – December Daily (Ali Edwards), 12 Days of Christmas (Big Picture Classes), etc. – but I find that Shimelle’s seems to inspire me the most.  I love the fact that her prompts are not simply scrapbook-focused prompts. I can journal, write a blog post, take pictures, whatever. If that is all I do, I’ve still captured the story. If I decide to take it further and make a scrapbook out of it, then that is even better, but it’s not necessary.

I also like the self-paced aspect. I don’t feel like I HAVE to do something every day… I can do as I have time and am inspired. Both years, I’ve found that I tended to do two or three pages at once and then nothing for a few days. But you couldn’t tell when the project was finished because the prompts are so diverse.

So, what are you going to do this year? Anything?  How will you capture your family’s holiday memories past and present?

I’ll be sharing my progress over the next month or so – if you are doing a holiday memory project, I’d love to see what you’re working on, too! Post your blog link in the comments and if I have enough, maybe we’ll start a weekly link up to share!