Word Photo Ornament

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Holidays are the best time for crafting.  I love the excuse to come up with cute decorations to make our house festive.  I have been trying to find ways to commemorate our travels, and decided to come up with some travel ornaments for our Christmas Tree.  That way every year when we set up the tree it is a walk down memory lane.  A few years ago I made an ornament with sand from Maui, so this time I decided to make a word photo ornament to remember Rome.

Handmade travel christmas ornament made from a vacation photo

Starting out I gathered my supplies.  In this case I used:

  • Mod Podge
  • Craft paints
  • Word letters
  • Photograph
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Paint brushes
  • Ribbon
  • Glue gun

Handmade travel ornament for Christmas

Step one, paint the wooden letters any desired color.  You only have toy focus on coating the back and edges, being that you will be gluing the photo to the front of the letters.  Allow to dry thoroughly.

Making a DIY christmas word ornament

Next, trace the letters face side down onto the photo you wan to use.

Making a christmas ornament- travel memories

Remember that everything is backwards so you will want to have the letters in the correct order to have the image correct when finished.

DIY christmas "word" ornament

Carefully cut out each letter.

Christmas ornaments -travel memories

Match the letter with the wooden version

Handmade travel christmas ornament

Paint in some mod podge to each letter and adhere the photo.

DIY christmas Rome ornament

Allow to sit and dry so that the photo does not slide off the wooden letter.

Handmade travel Christmas ornaments

Thoroughly coat each letter with coat of mod podge on the front and back to fully seal on the photo to the letter.  Also to dry completely.

DIY christmas word ornament

One dry, it is time to glue the letters together.  For this step, I flipped the letters upside down and arranged as desired.

Handmade travel christmas ornament made from a vacation photo-Rome

Next I took the glue gun and applied a dollop of hot glue to the seams of each letter to adhere them together.

Christmas ornament- travel memories

In order to hang the ornament on the tree I dug around my ribbon supply and found a brown ribbon to use. I tied a bow in the middle of the ribbon.

Handmade travel ornament

I then glued each end of the ribbon to the back of the word ornament.

DIY christmas ornament

Allow to dry and hang on the Christmas tree.  Now each year when we add this ornament to the tree we will remember our time in Rome.  I will be working on more travel ornaments and hope to share them soon.  Have you made any DIY ornaments lately?

DIY christmas ornament made from a photo


Breakfast Egg Muffins

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If you are anything like me when working, you tend to skip breakfast most mornings in an attempt to hurry out the door for the day. I go through phases of being good and making smoothies, and they fall off the wagon when I neglect to prep one week.  I found a fantastic idea on Pinterest: egg muffins.  They can be made with whatever ingredient you like to put in a scramble or omelet.  I opted to go traditional on my first attempt and when for bell pepper, ham and cheese.  A new option for breakfast on the go!

Yummy breakfast egg muffins recipe

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup of chopped ham
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • salt & pepper

Ham, cheese & bell pepper egg muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a small skillet in cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the bell peppers and onions.  Sauté for a couple minutes until slightly softened.

Yummy breakfast egg muffins

Add ham to the pan.  Continue sautéing for a few more minutes until ham is slightly browned and vegetables are softened to desired consistency.

Ham, bell pepper & cheese protein breakfast egg muffins

In a small bowl, whisk eggs with salt and pepper.

Breakfast egg muffins

You can also add the milk at this time if desired.

Ham, bell pepper & cheese egg muffins

Add the ham and veggies mixture to the eggs along with the shredded cheese.  Stir together.

Ham, bell pepper & cheese breakfast egg muffins

Coat the muffin tin with cooking spray.  Pour the egg mixture into each muffin, filling it about 3/4 of the way full.  These will expand as they cook so make sure ot not overfill each egg muffin. Top with a little more cheese if desired.

Ham, cheese & bell pepper breakfast egg muffins

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Use a toothpick to make sure the egg muffins are solid throughout.  Remove from the tin and enjoy!  I wrapped them individually in foil and took them to work as a great healthy way to start the day.

Breakfast egg muffins recipe


Easy Crockpot Apple Butter Recipe

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Have you ever walked into the kitchen while someone is cooking apple butter or applesauce?  It is heavenly!  When my sister brought me a big box of apples from the family farm, I knew right away that I wanted to make a simple apple butter in my crockpot.  Apples are naturally sweet, so all you will need for this recipe is a lot of apples, cinnamon and some water.  Seriously, it is that simple.

Slow cooker apple butter recipe, a taste of fall

Pealing and cutting apples is made easy of you own an apple pealer.  They are really affordable, this one that I use, the VICTORIO Apple Pealer, was under $20 and well worth it!  It peals, cores and spiral slices the apples in one quick twist of the handle.

Apple Butter

Once your apples are all prepared, toss them into a crockpot.

Slow cooker apple butter recipe

Next add a 1/4 cup of water and sprinkle with a generous covering of cinnamon.  Turn the crockpot on low and cook for 2 hours.

Making apple butter

Grab your hand blender, (I use my Cuisinart Immersion Hand Blender) and puree the apples.  What you have now is delicious applesauce.

Apple butter crockpot recipe

Cover and continue cooking for another 6 hours or until reduced to about half the volume in the crockpot.

Fall apple butter recipe in the crockpot

You can enjoy immediately or can to enjoy later.  I opted to can our since it made enough slowly eat over toast throughout the year.  An easy way to love the taste of fall!

Fall apple butter recipe


Salted Caramel Pear Tart

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When your family owns a farm with tons of pear trees, you are always looking for new ways to use those pears during the fall.  While this season we lost about 75% of the pears due to a late freeze, in past years I would get multiple boxes of pears every time I saw my family in September and am always looking for good recipes.

Fall pears.  Perfect for pear tarts!

Last season, I decided to try out a dessert recipe.  After looking around Pinterest, I found this fun recipe for salted caramel pear tarts from Vikalinka.  And man, did they turn out yummy and look extremely gourmet and professional!

Delicious Salted Caramel Pear Tart Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet Puff Pastry
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 Pears
  • 6 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
  • 6 Teaspoons Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Coarse Sea Salt
  • Flour

Salted caramel pear tart recipe

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F to bake these salted caramel pear tarts.  Using defrosted puff pastry, begin rolling out one sheet to be approximately 1/4″ in thickness on a sheet of wax paper or another non-stick surface.  Use flour to keep from sticking to the rolling pin.

Homemade salted caramel pear tarts

Cut the puff pastry into 6 even squares.  The recipe I followed called for 8 squares, but based on the larger size of my pears I only made 6.  Next cut an “L”  shape into 2 opposite corners about 1/2″ from the edge, but don’t cut all the way to keep it attached. Grab each of the loose cut corners of the pastry, crossing them over each other and lay flat on the opposite side.  Hopefully the picture below helps explain better.  The process is really easy, just hard to explain in writing.

How to make salted caramel pear tarts

Repeat with the remaining pastry squares and brush with egg an place in the refrigerator to chill until baking time.

Making salted caramel pear tarts

Prepare the pears next.  Peal each pear, cut in half and remove center of seeds.  Slice each half as seen below.

Making pear tarts

Place a sliced pear half into the middle of each pull pastry square.  Sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and heavy whipping cream.  Finish off with a pinch of course sea salt on each salted caramel pear tart.

Yummy Pear Tart Recipe

Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes or until pastry is golden and pears and delightfully softened. The magic of the oven turns the sugar and cream into a decadent carmel…AMAZING!

Homemade pear tart recipe

Enjoy your salted caramel pear tarts and you don’e even have to admit how simple they really were to make.

Delicious Pear Tart Recipe

Eat them quickly, as they start to get soggy over time and are best fresh out of the oven.  Made in fun pear recipes lately?  I am still in a fall mood and love dreaming of a brisk fall afternoon with the house filled with the sweet smell of salted caramel tarts in the oven.

Delicious Salted Caramel Pear Tart Recipe - simple and fantasic


Mealtime Monday: Gluten Free Beef Stew over Mashed Potatoes

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I know it is mid July and close to 100 degrees most days right now, but I can’t help start planning for fall.  While I love the heat and love summer, there is something special about the feeling of fall.  All the bounty of the garden flowing in, the warm home cooked meals, and planning for the holidays.  I have already started researching my Halloween decor of this upcoming October….it is never too early to start diy-ing decorations right?  So, in the spirt of dreaming of fall, here is my recipe for gluten free beef stew.

Fall cooking beef stew over mashed potatoes.  Gluten Free.

Ingredients:

Stew:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons gluten free flour
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef broth
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 Tablespoons worcestershire

Mashed Potatoes:
6 russet potatoes
4 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Gluten Free Beef Stew recipe

Starting with prep, chop up your carrots and onions.  Set aside.

Beef Stew

Mix together your gluten free flour, salt and pepper.  Toss in cubed meat.  You can save money at the grocery store by picking out a roast and asking the butcher to cube it for you instead of buying cubed meat.

Beef Stew recipe for fall

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven pot.  Add your flour coated beef cubes.

Fall recipe beef stew

Sauté beef for about 2-3 minutes, browning on all sides.  Make sure to move frequently to not burn.

Fall cooking beef stew

Remove meat from pan and set aside.  It will not be cooked through, just browned on the outside.

Cooking beef stew

Add onions, carrots and garlic to the pan.  Sauté for 5 minutes, scraping up the bits of meat into the vegetables.

Cooking beef stew over mashed potatoes

Add the browned meat, wine, broth, thyme, bay leaves and worcestershire to the pan. Simmer on low for   about 2 hours to soften the vegetables and thicken the broth.  While you are waiting, you can make your mashed potatoes.

Beef Stew recipe.  Serve over mashed potatoes

Serve over the mashed potatoes and enjoy.  I can’t wait for fall to actually be here to start enjoying delicious meals like this!

Fall cooking beef stew over mashed potatoes.  Gluten Free.


Strawberry Lime Summer Lemonade Cocktail

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Summertime, the livin’ is easy…especially when you have this fresh summer cocktail in hand!  Last summer we had a value pack of strawberries in the fridge on a friday night and I decided to experiment to make myself a delicious summer drink.  Lo and behold I no idea it would become my favorite summer sipper, the strawberry lime lemonade cocktail.

Summer Cocktail- Strawberry Lime Spritzer

Summer Strawberry Lime Vodka Lemonade Cocktail Recipe

3 strawberries
2 ounces vodka
1 sugar cube
1/2 lime, juiced
4 ounces lemonade
Splash of ginger ale

Step 1: Wash and slice 2-3 fresh strawberries.

Summer Cocktail- Strawberry Lime Vodka

Step 2: Muddle your strawberries in a tall glass along with 1-2 shots of vodka (depending in your preference of strength), and 1 sugar cube (optional). Don’t have a muddler?  I recommend getting a nice stainless steel option, like this Cocktail Muddler & Mixing Spoon for under $10 on Amazon.

Muddled summer cocktail

Strawberry Lemonade Cocktail

Step 3: Juice 1/2 lime into the cocktail.  Add lemonade and a splash of ginger ale for a sparkle.  Sip and enjoy!

Summer Cocktail- Strawberry Lime Spritzer

Now grab your drink and get outdoors!  For Alex’s birthday last year I bought and painted a couple corn hole boards, so we get to enjoy a fresh cocktail in the backyard playing a quick game.  I have been experimenting with using blueberries now too and find them to be a great addition to summer drinks.  What fresh fruit cocktails have you enjoyed on these hot summer nights?


Mealtime Monday: Pork Lo Mein

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Happy Monday!  I am back on the cooking spree and wanted to get around to sharing weekly recipes again.  To start out, here is an easy weekday recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff for Pork Lo Mein.  The original recipe called for bagged veggies, but I opted to chop up some fresh ones instead.  Even with adding a little prep time to chop up the extra veggies, this is a good fast weekday meal to try out.

Pork lo mein recipe

Ingredients (for 2-4 servings):

  • 1/2 pound pork tenderloin
  • 2-3 cups mixed vegetables (I did broccoli, carrots, snow peas & zucchini)
  • 8 ounce Teriyaki marinade ( I used Kikkoman Marinade & Baste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Angel Hair Pasta

Easy pork lo mein recipe

Cut up your veggies, cube the pork loin and gather the other 3 ingredient.  Simple and quick prep.

Easy pork lo mein ingredients

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.

Making pork lo mein

Meanwhile, toss the cubes of pork into a skillet over medium heat.

Making pork lo mein at home

Stir around occasionally to brown, approximately 5 minutes.

Cooking pork lo mein

Add in the veggies once the meat is partially cooked.

Cooking pork lo mein at home

Continue sautéing until the meat is cooked through the the veggies are softened.

Easy pork lo mein for dinner

Once cooked, add in the sauce, ginger and water.  Stir around to incorporate and heat up for about 2 minutes.

Pork lo mein for dinner

Stir saucy meat mixture into the cooked pasta and enjoy your pork lo mein.  Simple and easy menu item for a weeknight meal.

Pork lo mein


Dream Craft Rooms

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I’m dreaming of a bright craft room…(to the tune of White Christmas).  Who has not wished for a space dedicated to their hobbies.  A bright, clean, beautiful place that is all theirs.  A meticulously organized space with a place for everything and a place to sit and breath in inspiration.  OK, maybe that is a bit over the top, but a clean & organized half of a guest room sounds pretty nice!

Since we moved into our new house 2 years ago, I have been planning to design a functional room for both crafting and guests.  After many hours of daydreaming and browsing Pinterest for inspiration (follow my Home Decor – Craft Room board for more ideas), I am finally ready to pull the trigger and make this space pretty and functional.  As I am busy behind the scenes here making this transformation take place, here are a few of the rooms I used for inspiration:

homeoffice-1

Sabrina at Pink Little Notebook nailed it with her simple, clean look in her office reveal.  I am really loving the white furniture and that gorgeous blue countertop.  Her room is organized and bright and serene enough to get deep in thought or craft mode.  I will need a bit more storage area in my design however to stash aware all the goodies I tend to horde.

OfficeMakeover1

Besides storage, lots of countertop to work on is a huge priority for me too.  Erin at Strawberry MomCakes is inspiring me to consider a corner desk in my space to use the L shape as an advance for additional countertop space.  Once again she went with crisp, clean and white as well and I love it!

Final-Pegboard-447x680

I just love this pegboard the Abby from Just A Girl and Her Blog created.  You can check out the process here, and click around to see her awesome craft room makeover.  Abby is quickly becoming one of my top bloggers to follow as I love her style, craftiness and blogging advice.  I definitely want to incorporate a pegboard in my craft room for beautiful organization of tools.

sewing+machine+9

Another pegboard I love is from Claire at Heart Handmade UK, especially the coral color.  I am planning on either coral or teal as the accent color in my crafting space, and maybe a little of each.  I love the way the color pops against the white furniture and the corner desk is perfect for my room too.

Now it is time to stop dreaming and start doing.  Back to work on making my dream space a reality.   Please stop by and follow my Craft Room board on Pinterest for more of my favorite craft room ideas and inspirations!


Ikea Hack: Decoupage Table Top into Art

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Ikea Hack - Lack table to wall artSo remember that Ikea hack decoupage coffee table we used to have in the living room of our apartment?  It was created and blogged about way back when I first started this blog over 3 years ago now.  Crazy how time flies!!  If you have forgotten it looked like this: Photo Decoupage Coffe Table I love this table and love being able to look back on all those memories each day, but with the new house and trying to start investing in “grown-up” furniture, it was time to say goodbye to this $30 table.  Before the move I just could not let go and did not want to see our faces thrown in the trash along with the table and voiced this to my husband.  Out of the blue he speaks up with a “Why don’t you just take of the legs and keep the top as an art piece?”  Genius. Ikea Hack- table turned wall art Goodbye coffee table, hello beautiful and personalized entry way art! Ikea Hack - Lack table to wall art

For this simple Ikea hack of an Ikea hack, we removed the legs from the table.  Next, we purchased a frame hanging kit.  We used two eyelet screws and heavy duty hanging wire.

Ikea table turned wall art, love this idea!

I screwed in the eyelets about 9 inches from the top and 6 inches in from the edges.  To get them started used a screwdriver and screw to create a lead hole.  Then I grunted and man handled the eyelet screw into place.

Ikea hack- Table turned art

Next I measured out the correct length of hanging wire to attach to the eyelets.

Ikea hack

Thread the wire through each eyelet and wrap to secure.

Ikea table turned wall art- Ikea hack

Now it is time to pick the wall and hang the art!

Ikea Hack - Table to Wall Art

A simple update to keep this Ikea Hack alive and well in our home.  I love how it looks hanging in our entry way and I am so happy it did not end up in a landfill somewhere!


Cookie Dough Truffles

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Looking for a simple but fun dessert idea?  You should try making Bakerella’s Cookie Dough Truffles.  I made these cute little cookie dough truffles for a 4th of July party last year and they were a hit!  I mean, who does not love cookie dough dipped in a chocolate coating?!?  YUM!

Cookie dough truffles cake pops

Let’s get this party started, all you need is:

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
chocolate candy coating
Large toothpicks or other type of stick

Grab a bowl and and electric mixer. Whip the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, or about 3 minutes. Next, mix in the milk and vanilla.  Add flour and salt and mix on low until combined and then fold in chocolate chips.

Cookie dough truffles recipe

Chill dough for about 30 minutes to make more firm.  Roll the dough into bite size balls.

Cookie dough truffles

Pop in the sticks and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.  Be careful not to freeze for too long or the balls will be too cold and will crack the coating.

Cookie dough truffle cake pops

Melt your chocolate coating and dip each ball to throughly coat.  If out in the sun, the balls will start to melt and get really messy.  Chill until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

Cookie dough truffles cake pops