A busy mom balancing life and making sure to live it to its fullest

BOO Banner October 25, 2010

Filed under: Crafts,Uncategorized — craftybalancing @ 9:50 PM

Sunday, October 24, 2010

So I’ve been planning on making one of these pendant banners for a while now and just haven’t gotten around to it:) Luckily for me when I went to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) a few weeks ago they had one all ready and organized for us to do together. They had all the burlap fabric cut and ready for us to craft. Each triangle is 10″ long from top to tip and is 9″ across the top. We had different stencils for the lettering to choose from and some black paint. I ended up talking with the other moms for to long and didn’t get to finish my banner at MOPS. All I was able to do was paint the lettering on but it made for a fun project to finish during HB’s nap time.

The amazing MOPS leadership team provided us with a piece of twine and I used my hot glue gun to fold over the top edge to attach the pendant to the twine (make sure to keep an eye on the order of your letters. One mom ended up with “OOB” instead of Boo :))

Because I already had the hot glue gun out I decided to dress up my banner and add a cute little flower. I originally got the tutorial for this type of fabric rose from Vanessa over at V and Co who by the way has a ton of AMAZING tutorials.

The rose that Vanessa makes in the tutorial is for a ring but I wanted to make this one a little bit bigger. I took a 1″ by 15″ piece of fabric and fold one end in half and glue it and then fold it again and glue it.

Start to twist your fabric around the folded and glued end and keep going around gluing as you go to keep it all in place.

Vanessa’s instructions and pictures are more detailed but you end up with this adorable little fabric flower

I used a stamping technique that I do on all the cards I make and added some black paint to the edges of the pendants to give it a little more for the eye.

Here is the finished project!
I tried hanging it in different areas and it ended up in my entry way on my newish burn orange curtains that I LOVE!
I have purchased a ton of burlap so far this year so even if I had gotten the fabric on my own this would have been an easy inexpensive project. I might take some burlap that I already have and make another one that says “FALL” or “THANKFUL” or something that I can keep up through Thanksgiving.

Dining Room Envy

Filed under: Uncategorized — craftybalancing @ 9:49 PM

Thursday, October 21, 2010

OK, so maybe its house envy of most of the houses I walk into. We bought our house as a foreclosure knowing that it was going to need some work. We love the location, layout, the pool, size of the yard, and the neighborhood. We also have a lot that we don’t like about the house but at this point it is all aesthetic things. I would absolutely love to run out and do everything that is currently on the checklist in my head, but that is just not going to happen. It is our goal to never get into debt again so until we save up the cash I have to learn patience. I am admittedly someone who has a million things going on at all times and a million more that I’m organizing in my head. I tend to flit from one task to the next and in the end get everything done, (in my head it makes complete sense) but during the process you would think I’m just scatterbrained.

With that lengthy explanation out of the way I have decided that I need to pick one room at a time to work on. The current room that I am working on is the dinning room. We have sold our old dinning room table which was beautiful but didn’t really suit our needs and purchased one on craigslist. I have been working like crazy to get it refinished (will be posting pics and the process soon) and am almost done. I do still like the color of the walls in our kitchen/dining room so I’m going to keep them the same but here are the things I do want to do.

  • First things first I need to finish the table and chairs so we can eat as a family again
  • I still need to find a dinning bench for our table and paint it to match
  • Curtains really make a room for me. I desperately want some that aren’t all that expensive from Ikea and I’ll need the hardware to hang them
  • I would love to find a hutch of some sort for the room. I have no problems refinishing it and I have found some pieces at an antique store that would be perfect.
  • I am debating (I will post pictures and get your wonderful opinions soon) about changing what I have hanging on my walls in the dining room.

So that’s it for the dining room. Its not a huge list but it does all require that I be patient and budget as I go. Now that I am officially shopping for Christmas I’ll be doing some prioritizing.


Monday Menu 10/18/10

Filed under: Menu's,Uncategorized — craftybalancing @ 9:48 PM

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Menu 10/18/10

I’m actually really excited at how the menu came together this week…I love to cook and eat so it should be a good week for me 🙂

Monday– Crock pot BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, grilled veggies
The BBQ is really easy you just need 1 pork loin and 1-2 jars of your favorite sauce. Put the pork in the crock pot on high for about 5 hours, flipping occasionally, shred when you can. Turn to low and add BBQ for one more hour.

Tuesday– Olive Garden Chicken Alfredo with salad

I got A Treasury of Top Secret Recipes cook book about ten years ago and this is one of my favorite recipes in it.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add 2 cups heavy cream, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until thick.

At the same time cook pasta according to instructions on the box.

When the sauce is thick enough add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

I always grill a couple of chicken breasts to cut up and serve on top of it.

Wednesday-Chicken Divan, Italian Bread

Thursday– I have MOPS this week and our table is in charge of food so for that I’m making egg and sausage casserole and zucchini bread to take with me.  For Dinner I am making Beef taco’s, spanish rice and salad

FridaySlow cooker beef stroganoff

I add some salt, pepper and garlic to this recipe. I also double the sauce but keep the cream cheese and the Worcestershire amounts the same. Reduce the cook time to 5-6 hour on low. Add a dollup of sour cream when you add the cream cheese. I will add a bullion cube and half a packet of onion soup mix 🙂

Saturday-Cinnamon Vanilla French toast, eggs, and piggies (sausage links)

Sunday– Creamy Chicken and rice soup and rolls
This is a new recipe for me. I found it clipped out of a magazine but I’m not sure which one.

1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons butter or stick of margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups cooked long grain rice
1 cup cubed cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine, optional

In large saucepan, saute the carrot, onion and celery in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in broth. Add the rice, chicken, salt, pepper and garlic powder; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer or 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the milk, lemon juice and wine if desired. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until heated through.

Should be easy 🙂

I am also going to bake almond bread this week 🙂 My mister likes to take it to work for breakfast.


TP Pumpkins

Filed under: Crafts,Uncategorized — craftybalancing @ 9:45 PM

Friday, October 15, 2010

Aren’t these cute! I have always wanted to make these and this is the first year I’ve gotten around to it.

These super easy and inexpensive pumpkins are actually called TP (toilet paper) pumpkins. I have seen these done with several variations but my favorite tutorial is from Alisa over at The Sweet Life. I actually did these on a day when Aubree had a half day from school and one of her little girlfriends came over. The girls wanted to help, so two of these are their handiwork. I am in a burlap fetish right now so I’m going to get some more burlap to make a couple more because I think the stairs look a little empty with these three.

Happy crafting!




Filed under: Recipies,Uncategorized — craftybalancing @ 9:44 PM

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I don’t know about you but I am loving anything pumpkin flavored this year. I am trying and experimenting with new pumpkin recipes almost daily. Aubree and HB are loving my new experiments and are enjoying the results. Here is one of my favorites.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 and 2/3 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Mix these ingredients in a bowl and set aside

2 large eggs
1 cup of plain pumpkin (I used Libby’s)
1/2 cup of melted butter
1 cup of milk chocolate chips

Mix these ingredients into a separate bowl and then mix the dry ingredients in with wet ingredients.

Spoon into muffin pan. I used 1/4 cup for each muffin and it made 15 muffins.

Bake 350 for 30 minutes

Let cool and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe that you have to make every fall?


Monday Menu 10/11/10

Filed under: Menu's,Uncategorized — craftybalancing @ 9:43 PM

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Good Monday everyone!

I am getting more and more into the fall mood and my menu is definitely reflecting it :). Did anyone else try the baked potato soup from last week? It was delicious and will definitely be in my rotation again!

Monday– Crispy Potato Quiche (I love the fund raiser cookbooks that churches and local groups put together. This recipe is from a cookbook made in my mister’s home town of Pella Iowa)

Tuesday-Chicken with onions and cheese and salad (crock pot meal)

Wednesday– Corn Chowder and cheese rolls

Thursday– Pene Alla Betsy (from my PW cookbook that my wonderful sister got me for my birthday)

Friday– Going out with my mom’s group to a local BBQ restaurant

Saturday– Homeade pizza for movie night (Aubree loves to help make pizza’s)

Sunday– Eating at a friends house

Crispy Potato Quiche

1 (24 oz) pkg. frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
1 cup shredded hot pepper cheese
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
1 cup diced, cooked ham
3/4 cup half and half
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. chopped green onions

Press thawed hash browns between paper towels to remove moisture. Press hash browns onto sides and bottom of greased 10″ pie pan, forming a crust and raised edge. Brush crust with melted butter or margarine, making certain to brush top edges

Bake at 425 for 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle cheese, ham, and onion over bottom of crust. Beat half and half, eggs and salt and pour over cheese and ham. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serves 6

Joan Klyn

We have always done our family movie nights on Sundays. I am trying something new and moving it up to Saturday this week. It is Aubree’s turn to pick which movie we watch, combining that with making homemade pizza should make for a fun filled night!


Monday Menu

Filed under: Menu's,Uncategorized — craftybalancing @ 9:41 PM

Sunday, October 3, 2010

So, I thought I would start off the week sharing an easy way to save money.

I grew up watching my mom create menu’s for us and naturally picked up on her process. I have learned since having my own family that it is not only a way to not be wondering what to cook each night, but it also saves me money to create our own menu. If I run to the store for one item I usually end up coming out with three or four items (usually unnecessary items :)). I try very hard to sit down over the weekend to create a menu for the week and on Monday I will do all of my grocery shopping for the week.

I will start off by grabbing a couple of my favorite cook books (which change from week to week), my recipe box, a couple of cooking magazines and two notepads. I also will get on the computer frequently to find new ideas.

One notepad is used to keep track of the meals for each day. I will have my calendar out so that I know what is going on for each of the days that week. For example if I know that Aubree has a softball game I will make sure to put an easy meal or a crock pot meal on that day to save me the stress later.

The next notepad is for writing down the items that I will need to get from the grocery store. I hate to forget one or two things and to have to run back to the store so I will write down what I need to buy for each meal as soon as I add it to the menu. I have tried using an app on my phone to keep track of everything but just decided that the old fashion method is just easier.
When picking out meals I try to mix it up. I will put some crock pot meals, some grilling, some casseroles, at least one meatless, and I try not to make the same type of meal two days in a row. I am constantly collecting new recipes and I love to try each of them.

So I thought it would be fun to share my menu with you for this week and some recipes 🙂

Monday– French Dip Sandwiches and French Fries
Tuesday– Baked Potato Soup (I got this from MyBlessedLife) and homemade bread (of course its in my bread maker…I’m not June Cleaver:))
Wednesday– Darn Good Pasta, crescent rolls and salad. I’m not sure where this recipe came from originally but its very yummy!
ThursdayFamous Pork Chops and Salad
Friday– Salsa Chicken taco’s with tortilla chips
Saturday– Eating out…I have to plan these things out!
SundayNancy’s chicken in pastry puff with grilled veggies
Darn Good Pasta
8 oz uncooked pene or bowtie pasta
2 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound chicken breast cut up
1/4 cup Gallo pinot grigio (I tend to use whatever white wine I have around or have done without it all together if I don’t have any)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 jar (10 oz) Alfredo sauce
3/4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil drained
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
*cook pasta
*In large skillet over medium, shallots and garlic in olive oil for 30 seconds.
*Add chicken for 3 minutes, add wine, basil, and parsley for 1 minute.
*Combine in bowl pasta, chicken mixture, Alfredo, tomatoes, milk, 1/4 cup of cheese, and pepper
* Spoon into baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese.
*Cook at 350 degrees covered for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake additional 10-15 minutes.
If I don’t have wine I will add some chicken broth
I tend to put frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot all day and use shredded chicken when I cook.
Family meals are very important to me. I love my memories of sitting around the table with my parents and three sisters growing up. I know that as our kids get older and into more activities its going to be harder to get everyone to sit down at once so I am enjoying it while they are young. I am trying very hard to treasure each and every stage that they are in at the minute and not be living in the past or rushing them to the next stage.