Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tonight's Big Plan

I know almost everyone has seen the 'freezer' cooking floating around Pinterest.  If you haven't it is really a neat concept.  You plan out all your dinner's for a certain time frame (most are up to a month);  then you go shopping for all that food!

Whoa; that's a lot of food!  With any big project, there has to be a lot of planning involved. For me, the easist way is to gather all my recipes and dump all the ingrediants in a word file.  I sort based on grown, packaged, and meat then I just total.   For instance I have three reciepes that call for a pound of ground beef, I know I'll need three pounds of it total.

I try to search for local specials on my bulk items. Try and true, I normally end up going to Costco for my meat.  In the future, I am hoping to buy a cow from the butcher and freeze it, but that's quite an upfront investment.

Today, I am going to be shopping and cooking for fourteen dinners - or two weeks of meals.  I'm also going to incorp lunches by separating out sides to portions for easy throw together in the morning.  Honestly, I have a lot of faith - I'm just a bit nervous about spending HOURS in the kitchen cooking non-stop. 

So here's to this working.  I'll post late tonight or early tomorrow morning on how this worked out.  My bonus to you, I'll post all the recipes I use and update you on the flavor and how well it worked out for our family of three.
Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ocean/Mermaid Birthday Party

As you know, I have a wonderful little one, Olivia.  We did her birthday last year mermaid themed as she requested.  There are few things I love more than planning and hosting parties.  Of course the big FOUR was no different and thankfully I had help from two great friends to pull this off the night before the guests arrived.

First things first, was choosing the color scheme.  Now underwater seems simple enough but remember when choosing your colors there are a TON of varities out there. 

Try to buy everything a big bulk at one store to avoid dismay when you notice the greens don't match.  This party was focused mainly on blue and green with pink as the accent but we had fun with many other color bursts too.

Streamers and ballons were the main decor in the party but these fun fish were really cool.  All the streamers were cut to look like seaweed.  Ballons were used to look like bubbles so it really felt like you were under water and sea creatures.  It didn't photograph well, but let me tell you - we had non-stop compliments!

Of course we had to use treasure chests and fish nets to finish the experiance.

Watch out for the jellyfish!

Of course the project you don't plan is the biggest hit, SAND!  I ended up turning the coffee table into a full on play area.  Used a plastic table cloth and found a ton of neat shells (antique store of all places), left over mardi beads, and sand (clearance at target in the flower area)

A requirement at all our birthday parties, the birthday girl is in perfect character!  I found this adorable mermaid costume at Ebay for barely $20! (this is the picture of the sale ad, I didn't have a non blurry shot of Olivia in it)

We all know is isn't a party without some food!  I used blue easter basket stuffers to cover the table and help with the water effect.  It was perfect because the after easter special was barely .10 cents a bag.

My favorite was the cake, which tasted even better than it looked and yes, those are candy seashells!

After the party we gave away a ton of wonderful treats to our friends which included chocolate treasure ship coins, ballons, jewels, and bubbles!

I hope this inspires your next party in some way!

Dog Treats - Natural

I have three wonderful mutts...ok well they are actually all pure bred AKCs but that just happened to be fate.  I give them less credit than an inbred backwoods mutt but I love them all the same. 

We have six year old Kelso, a registered Jack Russell Terrorist...who we found out later should actually be a Parson Russell Terrier.  They changed the rules and failed to tell me, thanks?

I personally believe he's the cutest dog, um ever.

Next we have Zoey, a pure 2 year old German Shepherd female who is the largest GSD female I've EVER seen.  We picked her up off Craigslist from a family  who could no longer keep her. (I believe foreclosure)  I chose Zoey for Jakob (my boyfriend) and I truly believe she has helped him leaps and bounds with his PTSD; she's very loving.

Finally, we have Miss Lola, a six month old German Shepherd.  Oh how we love our Christmas addition Lola.  Also a CraigsList dog, but she came from a neglected home.  Left outside in freezing weather for hours and on a chain, we literally spent weeks working her neck muscles to avoid lifelong damage, I thank the lord the owner knew her life was bad and we got her.  Olivia (my 4y/o daughter) loves this dog more than anything else; partners in crime!

(compliments to Jennifer Magee Photography for this great picture)

So now you know my critters - who I LOVE to bake healthy doggy treats for as often as possible. 

It's a great bonding experience for the family; everyone gets involved.  Our batches included simple household items and we had a blast using IKEA forest themed cookie cutters.  Here's the recipe:

Peanut Buttered Bacon Treats

3 cups of flour
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1 cup of water
2 tbsp veggie oil
Bacon Bits - garnishments

Preheat your oven to 350.  Dump all ingredients in a bowl and mix until sticky, then knead your dough into a moist ball.  Flatten with a rolling pin and cut shapes.  Bake for 20 mins.  When cooling add bacon bits as you desire!

*Note these will not rise and will only appear a little different in color than when you started.
I couldn't help but crack up at the squirrels!

I used the leftover and cleaned lunch meat containers for gift wrapping. Threw in some leftover colored napkins and quickly summed the recipe for other owners to try as well.  Since our block has four doggy friends and my family (a literal mile radius from home) has another five, we chose to share our first batch with them!  Rave reviews by all breeds. 

It wasn't easy escaping the kitchen to deliver.

As far as storage goes, keep these sealed in the fridge and figure they will last up to two weeks.  Depending on the size of your cookie cutters and dough thickness, you can get at least 24 treats out of one batch.  I prefer making them at home because it's easy and I don't worry about what my critters are eating.

Enjoy and I'd love to see pics of how yours turned out!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Craft Fail

As I prepare to launch my first postings of things that I've tried, I have to give a shout out.  Anyone who has ever tried a new meal idea, a craft, or really tried anything new knows one thing.  It may not turn out how you expect.  The newest Internet laugh is a great site called CraftFail.

Where you can gather together and laugh at all those crafts that for whatever reason, just didnt' work.


I would have guessed the first few placements would have keyed off this was going down the wrong road.  Maybe you could have your kids cut out some Thanksgiving turkeys I guess?

This poor Elmo never had a chance; make sure your kids don't look!  I feel like I should call NCIS or something...

This personally fits me - I live off coffee and without it, all my crafts would look like this.

I can't stop laughing at some of the others, such as the famous cookie monster fails and others.  I'm not the most crafty person or even the best homemaker.  However, I will tell you if it's totally attainable in the local mom's kitchen/craft room. 

Wish me luck folks.   I promise to post the good and the bad.

I finally did it!

I have wanted to start a blog, for well...ever.  Many of my friends and family have wanted me to start one but for some reason I would find an excuse.  Truthfully, I didn't know what to blog about other than my daily life and I couldn't imagine someone wanting to read my life.  Well my theme has finally appeared.  A few months ago, I found out about an amazing site: Pinterest. 

I'm sure most of you have heard about this amazing place.  If you hadn't, you're missing out on the best site since you could get mail at AOL. 

Ok - better stuff has come along since then, but you catch my level of excitement.  Quick explanation of the know how you are surfing the Internet and bam! you find the most amazing site ever.  You find great ideas for crafts, food, parties and it's amazing.  That site leads you to another and another and another, all the while you are filling up your favorites list.  When the weekend arrives you are simply thrilled to try out these ideas.  Then you spend hours searching your crazed level of wording convention - only to find you've lost what you wanted to find.  Pinterest - it allows you to organize everything by pictures via hyperlinks. 

This has STREAMLINED my life and allowed me to cook new meals and try things I would have never thought of - even if they were totally simple. 

So the blog, is about all these amazing things I am finding and my reviews of them.  Hopefully all these creative juices will help me create new pins for others to try.

Enjoy and WELCOME!