Thursday, June 30, 2011

OOooh, I've got mail!

These past few weeks have been AWESOME to me for giveaways. Last week (I think, I've been traveling and so busy my weeks are getting away from me) I received three fantastic giveaways that I had won.

First I received a set of Bummas Eco-friendly cloth baby wipes from Bridget at Being Frugal and Making it Work. These are great, they currently reside right next to my changing table near the wipes for a final "pat down" to try to steer clear of diaper rash. So far... LOVE THEM!

On the same day that I got the Bummas package, I got ANOTHER package in the mail. It was Megan, of Fairly Fabulous's giveaway for an adorable stitched placemat from Momma's Itch to Stitch store on etsy. My daughter is on a tea party kick so this was the perfect gift for her!

And then LASTLY, I won Ginger, from Ginger Snap Crafts, 's giveaway of a USA Block set! SCORE! It amazingly got here before the 4th, and it is a killer addition to my (somewhat cluttered) entryway "mantle".

How I LOVE giveaways! Oh, let me clarify.... how I love WINNING giveaways :) It's so fun.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Mom Meal {slightly crafty}

I posted the other day my Tortellini Au Gratin recipe (go check it out, YUM!). I mentioned that I made a third for one of the new mom's in my mom group. Well... I decided to make the meal a little cuter.

The other day I saw over on The Busy Budgeting Mama her "Gifting Meals Printables and Packaging" post and I thought it was the cutest dern thing EVER! So when it came to my day to "gift a meal" to one of the fellow moms, I headed to photoshop (after making the dinner) to make a label!. I completely stole borrowed her wording, because it sounded nice, and I used one of Sprik Space's fantastic free printables for the background.

I printed it out on normal paper and using large clear packaging tape to attach it to the meal.

I am totally doing these labels for all future "New Mom Meals"!! Next time I will start in advance and try to make some cute cookie bag toppers and some other fun stuff!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Blog Tutorial: How to resize buttons

 One of the blogs I follow did a post on what she should do to de-clutter her page. You know how it goes, you do some crafty things and you submit them to parties and FINALLY one gets featured (heck yeah!! Makes you feel good huh?). So you proudly add their button to YOUR page so everyone else knows that someone out there thinks your project(s) rock!

The problem comes in when you (are blessed to) get a few more... and they are different sizes, and they are big, and truth be told, it tends to clutter up your page. Instead of removing them and essentially throwing the "award" or "feature" back in said awarder or featurer... why not make them a little smaller and more uniform.
That's what I did; look at the right-hand column of my blog under "Friends".

So I'm going to explain this as best as I know how... but if it doesn't work... go ahead and drop me and email with the code you are struggling with and I'll see what I can do. The following buttons are the same exact size originally, I just used HTML code to resize them to 90 pixels (left), 100 pixels (middle), and the original size 150 pixles (right).

We will be working in the "Edit HTML" tab at the top of your new blog post.

Go get the code for the button you want to add to your page. I'll use my button as an example:

Moore Babies

Here is the code for the link - go ahead and paste in the button code where ever you want it on your blog; remember this goes in the HTML code, not the rich-text editor: (don't get scared... I'm about to try to explain what this all means)

There is also USUALLY code to center the button... lets just get rid of that now. If we are trying to align all of our buttons we do not need to worry about centering individual buttons.

These links have 2 parts to them:
1. The part of the code which links the button back to their blog. Look at the picture below. We do NOT want to change anything in here. HTML is very finicky, even one quote or slash or tag out of order will mess it up.
Click to enlarge
2. The part of the code that displays the image of the button. This code is between "<img ... " and "/>". THIS is where we do our magic.
Click to enlarge

The image code has a few attributes:
src - the location where the image resides; photobucket, webshots, etc; the web location is surrounded by double quotes.
Click to enlarge

border - I prefer my buttons to not show a border so I set them to 0.
If a button does not have code for a border, you can add the following code in AFTER your src open and close quotes: * it doesn't HAVE to go after the src, anywhere between "<img ... " and " />" is fine, I just find it is easier to always add to the end. *
Click to enlarge

size - THIS is what we are going to change to make our buttons look uniform. Buttons are typically made 150 pixels by 150 pixels, but this is not always the case which is why out buttons sometimes don't "fit". So to add in the size attribute type in the following AFTER your src open and close quotes (and after border if you added that in there).
width="150" height="150".

Click to enlarge

For my blog, my column of buttons are actually 90, by 90, so I typed in:
width="90" height="90"

If a button is not a perfect square, this code WILL force it to be a perfect square and therefore will distort it.

Now I tried to make it easy to follow for non-computer minds... but no matter how long I have been a stay at home mom, I still have a technical mind. So if you would like me to clarify anything, or just help you out... feel free to drop me an email!

Good luck!!

Linking up: Creating my way to Success, The Girl Creative, CRAFT, Sarahndipities

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wood or Silverware? Happy Anniversary to us!

5 years, 2 kids, and 1 year long deployment later... we are still going strong!!
Apparently the traditional and modern gifts for a 5 year wedding anniversary are Wood or Silverware.... hmmm. How about neither :) Hubby and I went out to dinner last night to Ocean Prime and it was A-Mazing!! It didn't hurt that we had a $100 gift certificate too (which we used plus some!). I highly recommend that place. We got the Tuna Tartar and crab cake appetizers, split the lobster bisque, and then I had scallops and hubby had a Filet Mignon. Loved it!

Tonight is going to be homemade pizza night (with homemade dough, wish us luck) with the kids, then watching our wedding video! In case you were curious about our fantabulous day 5 years ago at my parents house up in GA on the lake.... enjoy:

getting ready

My girls!

We are at the church!

Do you? I do!

(favorite picture ever!)

Entering the reception

Best cakes ever!
AND THEN it was time to PARTY!

The Clemson crew!

The girls

The guys

Running through sparklers on our way to the....

... false getaway by boat :)
Thank you for reliving my wonderful day with me!! Have a great one!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Recipe::. Tortellini Au Gratin

I posted my Italian Mac n Cheese recipe before, which is a family favorite/new baby meal.... but I have to let you know that hubby likes this recipe (Tortellini Au Gratin) even better than the Italian Mac n Cheese. It. Is. Awesome!

I doubled this recipe and then split it in thirds; I froze third, gave third to one of the new moms in my mom group, and kept the last third for dinner.

I (of course) didn't take pictures of my "process" but it's pretty easy. At the end of the meal hubby was raving about it and I asked him "is it blog post worthy?" and he said, "OH YEAH!!". So here you go...

Tortellini Au Gratin
One pound mild or hot Italian sausage

4 tablespoons or more, chopped onion
20-ounce package fresh cheese-filled tortellini (OR half tortellini and half penne... the tortellini is expensive if you are making a lot)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups whipping cream OR half cream/half 2% evaporated milk
1-1/2 cups canned chicken broth
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, divided
¼ cup purchased or homemade pesto
4-ounce jar diced pimiento or roasted peppers, drained
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons fine, dry breadcrumbs

Remove and discard casing from sausage. Cook sausage in a medium skillet until mostly browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion, cook 3-4 minutes, add garlic and cook an additional minute. Drain well; set aside.

Cook tortellini according to package directions (subtract one minute from time listed Drain well. Set tortellini aside. In a medium bowl, combine whipping cream, chicken broth, ½ cup Parmesan, ¼ cup parsley, pesto, pimiento, and pepper. Add sausage mixture and tortellini to whipping cream mixture; stir to combine.

Place tortellini mixture in a 2-quart baking dish which has been coated with PAM. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Combine breadcrumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons minced parsley, and remaining ¼ cup Parmesan; sprinkle over tortellini. Bake an additional 5 minutes until lightly browned.


PS... this was dessert! I SLAVED over this... jk. It's Publix cookies (shhhhh) and mint chocolate chip ice cream. I nuked it for about 20 seconds so it was soft and then I scooped ice cream on a cookie. Then I wrapped it in plastic wrap and using my fingers, squished the ice cream and cookie to make a sandwhich. Voila.

Linking up: Remodelaholic, Naptime Crafters, Ladybird Ln, Young & Crafty, Jessica NDesigns, Creating my way to Success, The Girl Creative, CRAFT, Remodelaholic, Running with Glitter, Sarahndipities, Not just a Housewife

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I hate "learning experiences"...

I spent this past weekend kid-free up with my girls in Atlantic City for a bachelorette party (and I'm still recovering if you want to know the truth). To say we had a blast would be an understatement. So anyway, being the "crafty-wanna-be" that I am, I decided she needed some fun shirts. Since I have an embroidery machine I said, "I'm going to embroider her a tank top that says 'bachelorette'". Easy enough, right? So I run to target and get the tank top and I get to my computer to set up the text.

I went with the Tinkertoy font; a font that I got for free and digitized myself using my 5D Embroidery Software. As I've said before, I am a novice at both embroidering and especially digitizing, but I thought I was pretty good at digitizing fonts. I mean, it's pretty simple. Click the "new font" button and follow the steps. So I create the project file on the computer with my Tinkertoy font about 1 inch tall, and head over to my mother-in-laws house (which is where the machine lives).

I get the girls upstairs, situated and I get started embroidering. About 10 minutes in I take a look and I realize that I'm only only like the 'c' (of Bachelorette)... which means this is taking FOR.EV.ER. Also, it looks like the shirt is kind of being pulled from back. But overall it didn't look too bad:

It wasn't until I was done embroidering the shirt and it was un-hooped that I saw how THICK the stitches were on the back.
I mean they are REALLY thick; thicker on the back than on the front... which is just wrong.

So I take it into 'my embroidery store' (aka the sewing place we bought it from and where I take all of my "what in the world did I do wrong" questions). So I walk in and say, "Ok... what in the world did I do wrong here? Is it the wrong kind of shirt?". No. It was operator error.

When digitizing, I always forget that the LOWER the Satin Density, the closer together the stitches are and the thicker they are. And since I apparently had a density of 5, and I used smaller letters, voila... REALLY thick stitches. (In my mind lower density means less dense.... not so much).

So 2 lessons learned here:
First - Always check the density... and it's always BACKWARDS of what I think.
And Second (something they tell me to do everytime I go in there with a screw up) always do a test run.... which I HATE to do. I only have so much time at my mother-in-laws with the kids happy, I don't want to waste my precious time on a practice run. Bleh.

I also did another tank top using iron on letters (which I LOVE)... she's the youngest of us 3 musketeers... so thus the 2nd shirt:

Linking up: A Bowl full of Lemons, Homework

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pizza Night #8: My first calzone!

Hubby was still out playing army, but potty training was completed (for the most part), so I determined to go ahead and make "actual" pizza again (no more english muffin pizzas). So I decided to make a calzone!

I have NEVER made a calzone before, so I head over over to google and typed in "how to make a calzone" (clever huh?). Apparently, it's not that hard although the ONE tip that I'm probably glad that I followed was to cut a slit in the top. It didn't happen to me, but I read about a few calzone explosions from skipping that step.

I gathered my ingredients (and my little helpers)
Publix pizza dough, separated into two {relatively} equal pieces
pepperoni (I figured for my first calzone I'd stick with simple... although I would love a spinach mushroom one!)
Pizza sauce (Ragu left over from last week)

The Calzone Process:
1. Lightly oil the baking pan
2. On a lightly floured surface, Charlotte and I set out to roll toss somehow manage to get the dough into 2 decent circles.

3. Once that was completed, we started on the ricotta cheese. I read that you should put the cheese near the center, not too close to the edge so it doesn't leak out (makes sense); I think mine was a LITTLE bit to centered. I had a lot of dough at the edges post baking, but oh well. Anyway, spread a few spoons fulls of ricotta onto each circle.

4. Next came the pepperoni & the mozzarella cheese (Jillie liked the pepperoni).
PS - I had to run to google again at this point to see if Calzones have pizza sauce IN them... apparently they traditionally do not, but are served WITH sauce. Check.

5. Folded over to dough to make the calzones and pinched the edges. I then went over the edges with a fork to make it extra tight.

6. Place on the greased baking dish (I put some corn meal down too) and brush tops of  calzones with oil. Then cut a few slits in the top.

7. Bake at 425* for 20-30 minutes until golden.
Yeah, that's one mamajamma calzone!

I am definitely going to make calzones again with more cheese and fillings!

Pizza (and movie) Night # 8: Success!!
Movie: Incredibles

Linking up: Remodelaholic, Keeping it Simple, Little rays of Sunshine, Running with Glitter, A Bowl full of Lemons, Homework, Blackberryvine, Sew Much Ado, My Girlish Whims, Momnivores Dilema, JessicaNDesigns

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