Archive | January, 2009

Creative Fridays: Chair re-do & real life

30 Jan

About 8 years ago I discovered an unexpected decorating resource: JCPenney.com. It kind of flies under the radar. I have bought quite a few pieces of furniture through them. You DO have to put the furniture together, but it’s usually pretty easy assembly.
A few years ago I bought a couple of chairs to go at the head and foot of my kitchen table. I liked that they were upholstered, although I didn’t really care for the off-white, generic fabric that they came with. I was planning to recover them right away. Well, three years (or so) later, they are still the off-white material, although now they also have the bonus stains and spills that come with children who love to sit in that comfy spot.So the other day I decided to get rid of those gross cushions. I found a shower curtain in a bright, paisley print (I am a sucker for paisley) with a sturdy material at WalMart. I got out my trusty, extra-strong staple gun and went to work!

After reattaching the cushions on to the chairs, I attached some coordinating ribbon and voila! A brand new look! I think they bring a little Spring sunshine into the kitchen!

Now that we’re done being crafty, let’s talk about real life. My friend Sarah over at Clover Lane has a great post today about our love/hate realtionship with blogging. Go on over and check it out. While I love blogging and love the people I have met, it does take up time and add stress to my life. While I am checking on blogs or writing mine, I am feeling guilty for not spending time with my kids or cleaning my house. And, while we’re keeping it real, I have two questions for you:

  1. Are you the only one who takes the toilet paper up to the bathrooms?
  2. Are you the only one who actually changes the toilet paper rolls????

Arghhhh!!!!! Now I am going to stop blogging and go spend some time with my 4 year old!!!


Have a Fun Friday!
–Jen

Tasty Tidbits Thursday: Grandma’s Pierogies

29 Jan

We grew up far away from any family. Once a year we would pile in the station wagon for the annual summer 20-hour trip to see our relatives.

It was such an adventure and so much fun to see our cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents. We spent many summers running around in the desert heat catching grasshoppers and running through the sprinklers. Eating toasted bologna sandwiches on hot summer afternoons and KFC in the park with all of the extended family under huge shade trees. 

  My grandma S. was a very petite, beautiful redhead. She was always very stylish and loved to wear jewelry and high heels. Once, she came up to visit me at college and my roommate whispered to me “she has on the cutest belt! I want it!”. She also had a great sense of humor and was a wonderful baker.

One of my most vivid memories of my Grandma S. is going over to her brick house and sitting in her kitchen while she made pierogies. I loved the smell of the butter and onions — heavenly!

Each New Years Eve I make them in memory of her.

Here is the recipe if you want to make some this year: Grandma’s Potato Pierogies Ingredients:

  • 12 potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, divided
  • 3 teaspoons milk, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 1/2 (8 ounce) containers cottage cheese
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • oil for frying
  • sliced green onions

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare dough by combining 1 egg, 1 tablespoon cream cheese, 1 teaspoon milk and 1/2 cup flour. Once all the flour has been worked in, add another 1/2 cup flour, 1 tablespoon cream cheese and 1 teaspoon milk. When the dough is well blended, add 1 egg, 1 tablespoon cream cheese and another 1/2 cup flour; mix well. Finally, add the remaining egg, 1 teaspoon milk and 1/2 cup flour. If dough is too dry, add a little more milk; if too wet, add more flour.
  3. On a well floured surface, roll out 1/4 of the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a glass, muffin cutter, or any rounded surface, cut out circles of dough. Flour both sides of the circle and set aside in a single layer on wax paper. Repeat process with remaining dough.
  4. Mash the potatoes with the cottage cheese, salt and butter. Place a spoonful of the filling slightly below the center of a circle of dough. Fold the dough over and seal edges with fingertips. Use enough filling so that you have to stretch the dough over it, but not so much that it squeezes out when sealed.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in pierogies, a few at a time. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they float to the top; drain.
  6. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry boiled pierogies in butter and onions until crispy.
What family recipes do you like to make?
Have a tasty Thursday! –Jen

Favorite Thing Wednesday: Goodbye to old and new friends

29 Jan

I love it when the mail comes and there is a shiny new magazine waiting for me. I’ve cut down on a lot of my subscriptions, even some of my old stand-bys have gone like Better Homes and Gardens. But I have a few that I really love.
One of my favorite magazines has been Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion. My mom got me a subscription when it first came out and I’ve been taking it ever since.

My favorite issue came in December (little did I know that it would be the last). If you haven’t seen it, it features Amy Butler – I just love her fabrics. Her home is so wonderful. The best part was Amy included some free printable instructions on how to make some of the projects in her home. I went on Mary Engelbreit’s site to look at past issues, and all of the content has been taken off!
Luckily, you can still access the projects through Amy butler’s site. I’m not sure how long they will be available, but here is the link if you want to print any of them out for next Christmas. I love the wooden signs and whimsical trees.

A year ago, Martha Stewart ended her Blueprint magazine. This was a magazine that I also subscribed to and I loved it. It was like Martha Stewart with an edge. My favorite issue was the December 2007 issue – which also turned out to be the last one. It had the cutest pink-themed Christmas decorations. My favorite was a wreath made out of pink paper butterflies.

(you can still download these wrapping papers on Martha’s Blueline blog)

I found out that Martha Stewart has a blog called Bluelines which is continuing Blueprint’s style. You can find the recipes and some of the information from the Blueprint issues as well as new content. So that is good news!
This year, while sitting in the orthodontist’s waiting room, I discovered Cottage Living. What a cute magazine! I love the cottage style and was excited to get a subscription only to discover that it too has been canceled.

On a happier note, I WON something!Creative Kismet had a Birds of a Feather Exchange this month where everyone who wanted to could make 5 little birds to exchange plus another to give away on their blog. I wanted to join the exchange, but I was a little intimidated so I didn’t. I left a comment at a few of the participants and today I found out that I won the cutest one from Ambrella — Cultivating Magic. She is a really creative girl from Italy. I will post a picture of it when it comes. So exciting!

What magazines do you love?

Have a wonderful day!
–Jen

27 Jan

While I was on my vay-cay, I was tagged for a couple of games

The first was by Kasey of All That Is Good. If you haven’t been to her blog, you should go. She is just the cutest girl. I love her Fashion Fridays and she just got the cutest haircut too!

So, here’s the dealy-o:

1. I choose the 4th folder where I store my pictures on the computer.
2. Select the 4th picture in the folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same.
5. No cheating (cropping, editing, etc.)

Here’s the fourth picture in my fourth folder:

This was taken last summer. My oldest son was going to a ballroom dance camp and needed some nice shoes. What an ordeal! Have you ever tried taking a 14 year old boy shopping…for shoes???? And size 13 shoes at that! Oh, the pain! The torture! And, I’m not talking about his pain and torture — I mean mine (and Jeff’s)!!! lol. We finally found him some dashing shoes and he had a great time a the dance camp with his friend and cousin. I think he’s going again this summer…

Now, I tag:

  1. Chrissy at Come Ye Ladds and Lasses
  2. Jamie at The Murray Fam
  3. Sarah at Clover Lane
  4. Miranda (Duckie) at A Duck In Her Pond

The other game I was tagged for was from Candy, a really creative girl I just got to know recently.

Here are the rules of this tag game:

1. Link to the person who tagged you (as I did just now with Candy).
2. Mention the rules.
3. Tell 6 things about yourself.
4. Tag 6 other bloggers by linking to them.
5. Go to each person’s blog and leave them a comment to let them know they’ve been tagged.
This is kind of a fun way to get to know people. So here goes:

  1. My favorite color is black. I know kind of weird. As I child I painted my arms black with paint because it looks pretty.
  2. I love spicy foods — especially mexican food (I could live on chips and salsa).
  3. I am cold all the time and should probably live in Arizona or Hawaii.
  4. I love a good bargain. I’m always on the lookout for a great deal!
  5. I don’t love to cook, but I’m working on having more enthusiasm after finding so many great food blogs — very inspiring!
  6. I am allergic to grass – which I found out in September when my face ballooned up and I looked like a freak of nature.

Ok, here are my picks for this game. I hope you will play!

  1. Carrie from Carrie’s Little World
  2. April from Straight From The Heart
  3. Marie from A Year From Oak Cottage
  4. Amber from {aeFilkins}
  5. Connie from The Young and the Relentless
  6. Karen from Life at the Polka Dot House

If you haven’t checked out these blogs, you should! They are all wonderful and inspiring!!!
Thanks for tagging me for these games Candy and Kasey!

Have a Nice Night!
–Jen

Back to Reality…and the winner of my Island Giveaway is…

27 Jan

We left the hotel last night and said goodbye to Paradise…..

Our plane took off at 1 AM this morning and landed at 7 AM. I found out that turbulence is normal for this time of year. So I tried not to think about dying…too much.
We came back to this — 15-degrees:


But it was all worthwhile, when I was greeted with this:


And now on to the winner of the Island Giveaway! I took all of your wonderful comments, numbered them, added another entry if you had added something about the contest in your blog and then added all of my followers. Here’s the random number:
Congratulations to Suzanne at Southern Inspiration. She has the most wonderful blog about everyday life and some great decorating and bargain shopping tips. Woo-hoo!

For everyone who made a comment, thank you so much!!! I love having these giveaways and I am sure I’ll be having another one soon! I love reading you comments and coming over to your blogs and saying hi. I have met so many wonderful, beautiful people through this blogging world and I love getting to know you!

Have a hopeful day!
–Jen

A Simple Woman’s Daybook: January 26th, 2009

26 Jan


For today, January 26th, 2009

Outside my window: I can hear the sounds of workers unloading some things and people laughing as they go to their cars. The sun is out, the birds are chirping. The sun is coming through the window into our hotel room and it is a beautiful day here.

I am thinking: I am thinking what a wonderful trip we have had. It has been so nice to get away together and reconnect. It’s hard to find time for just each other in the daily grind of life. With four kids, Jeff’s busy travel schedule and all the craziness. We have had so much fun just being together!

I am thankful for: I am so thankful for our families which have helped out with the kids so we could get away for this trip. It is so wonderful to have our families close and it is such a blessing to have them in our lives.

From the kitchen: Nothing! We have been eating the most delicious seafood. A couple of nights ago we went to dinner with some of our friends who just happened to be here at the same time. What a coincidence!

We had the most delicious meal:

And for desert – chocolate molten lava cake:

And speaking of food, we stopped in at the local McDonald’s to get a drink. They have some funny local dishes they serve:

SPAM platter!Special Tropical Drinks

I am wearing: I am wearing my workout clothes from going walking with Jeff.

I am going: We are going to change into our suits and go snorkeling. It’s our last day here so we are cramming everything in that we can. After we go snorkeling we are going to come backj to the hotel room and put our traveling clothes on and then go over and visit the hotel where we stayed on our honeymoon. And the look for some souvenirs. Then off to the airport **sigh**.

I am reading: Oh my goodness, I have read SOOO many books while laying by the pool. That’s my favorite thing to do. I am starting a new set of books called “The Glass Books of The Dream Eaters” by Gordon Dalquist. I think it’s a kind of mystery series set in the 1800’s.I’ll let you know if they are any good!

I am hoping: I am excited to see my kids. I have missed them. I am hoping the airplane ride is not too turbulent. We sat right by the wing on the flight over and it was scary with the turbulence and I could see the wing bouncing around…

One of my favorite things: Last night we got dressed up and had a wonderful dinner. After dinner, we went out on the beach. We took off our shoes, Jeff rolled up his pantlegs and we walked in the waves in the dark. The stars were shining down on us and we could hear the waves lapping on the shore. The sunsets here are so beautiful. Here is one I want to share with you:


Thank you for all of your kind comments and sweet support! My Island Giveaway ends tonight. If you haven’t signed up, leave a comment on the post below!!!

To see more Simple Woman Daybook entries, click here.

Aloha!
–Jen

Welcome to my Island Giveaway!

23 Jan
{Jeff and I this morning on our morning walk (sorry no makeup) — we saw some whales!}
Welcome to my Island Giveaway!

We walked around the town of Lahaina last night. I searched high and low for some cute things for my giveaway.

Here’s what I found:
{Brown Kukui Nut Earrings and Necklace}
{Hawaiian Flower decal to put on your car window}
{Macademia Caramel Cluster candy — YUM}

Here’s how to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this entry — that will enter you once.
  • If you want to be entered a second time, post something about the giveaway on your blog (if you have one) and then leave me a second comment telling me you have.
  • If you want a third entry, add yourself to my followers.

The giveaway ends Monday night at midnight (Mountain Standard Time). I will post the winner on Tuesday.

Good luck!!!
–Jen