Friday, June 1, 2012

June Scrapbooking Deals!

Hey all!

Some of you know that I am a consultant for Close to My Heart While I don't usually send out a mass message advertising monthly deals, I have a lofty sales goal this month that I need help reaching. Check out these great deals!!

To view a catalog, click here.

Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge only $85!! This cartridge is pretty much the only one I use, and I use it every single time I make cards or scrapbook. It has over 700 images...which is why I use it so much-it has everything you need! PLUS, the cartridge comes with THREE stamp sets (the stamp sets alone are over $45 value)! Email or facebook me to find out how you can get it for $14 off the retail price!
Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge plus THREE stamp sets!

June is Stampaganza month!  For every 2 stamp sets you purchase, you will get one of equal or lesser value) absolutely FREE! Stamps range in price from $6.95 for the A sets to $17.95 for E sets. There are so many great sets, how will you choose?!?!

 Stamp of the month: For every $50 you spend, you can get this adorable stamp set for only $5! I can't wait to get mine, I think it is so cute!

Please let me know if you have any questions at all or if I can help you place an order! You can order directly from my website:   Send me an email or contact me via facebook, I am happy to help! Thanks!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Miscellaneous Monday

Trying something new to start the week...Miscellaneous Monday...a few random thoughts that are not necessarily related to anything else. Let's see how it goes!

*I am having a wedding crash. It's like a sugar crash, only with my sister's wedding. I feel crabby and tearful, and I am extremely tired as the time difference has thoroughly jacked my internal sleep schedule. Really ready for some good sleep and vacation in Mexico.

*Java is acting crazy...I think his dog sitter must have slipped him a tranquilizer or switched him with another dog. He has done nothing but sleep all day. It's amazing.

*Graham and I did a photo shoot with our friend Rachel ( before we left for St. Louis and the pictures turned out SO GOOD. I will post some when I get the cd. It is hard not to brag about how adorbs Java is, particularly in these pics!

*I am really over self-obsessed people. REALLY over them.

*It seems I have forgotten how to differentiate between the caps lock key and the shift key. I have had to re-type a million things today-annoying!

*When we get back from vacay, I am determined to get back to meal planning. And I have some new recipes to try that I will blog about. Excited for that.

*The state of Washington says that the G6 is worth$7200. I paid $6k for it TWO YEARS AGO and if we sell for anything less than $7200, we get fined on the difference. We have had it listed for $5400 for 2 weeks and still haven't sold it.  Pray it sells soon!

*I have an opportunity in the works...that is hush-hush right now, but it is something I am super excited for and excited to share it with you all...look for the big announcement in July...(and no, I am not pregnant!!!!)

Have a great week!

Friday, May 4, 2012

The weekend of Andy

The main reason for my trip to STL in April was to celebrate my sister! She is getting married (in TWO WEEKS!) to her boyfriend of eight years. That is not a typo. In addition to working on wedding stuff while at my mom's during the week, I also co-hosted a bachelorette party and bridal shower. Here are some pics of the invitation I made for the Bachelorette Party:

The front (most products are from Close To My Heart)

The quote on the right reads, "If love is blind, then why is lingerie so popular?" I ordered the 'bikini' stamp off of etsy.     
These were the invites for the shower, again-ordered off of Etsy:
We did an "Around the Clock" shower, which was fun theme that was easy to work with.
For the shower favors, I made and canned caramel sauce (for ice cream). We used two different recipes because the first recipe got very grainy as it cooled. The second recipe was much smoother and you can make it here. It is from my favorite website for Real/Whole foods....Heavenly Homemakers. I ordered the labels off of is a close up.

I THINK that is all the pics I have of details...for now. There will be more AFTER the stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Look at these cute kids!

One of the reasons that I planned my last trip to STL for the specific dates that I did was to see my brand new "niece," Anna! Anna's big sister, Olivia, is my goddaughter and I adore her, so the fact that there was now TWO little girls to love on...wild horses couldn't drag me away from these two.
Anna is the first (and ONLY) baby to ever have a diaper explosion ON the changing table (sans diaper). I bet I have changed over a thousand diapers in my day, and she gets the award for that one. Ah...memories...
Yikes. Anna doesn't seem to be loving this!

I miss her!
My "roommate" and I bonding over cereal.

Definitely one of the best parts of my trip was all the time I got to spend with these two and of course their mom (and my bff)! And their dad. (Don't want Greg to feel left out). Is there anything better than holding a 4-week old baby girl? I think not!

Monday, April 30, 2012

PSA: Flying Etiquette

I have been wanting to write about flying etiquette ever since I started this blog, and somehow I always block out my flying experiences by the time I sit down to put thoughts to paper. I realize that many people fly once or twice a year, or even less in this stellar for those of you who have forgotten the rules of flying or just need a general brush up in how to not be a moron, here are a few tips.

1) Follow the airline rules. Yeah, I know they suck. But when they say you get one personal item and a small carry-on, that means TWO items. Not three. Certainly not four. Let's use the guy directly in front of me in the security line as an example. He had a wheelie suitcase, a garment bag, and a briefcase. How many items is that? Correct, that is three. How many hands did he have? Two. This dude was like watching a train wreck, but I'll get to that in a minute. He got yelled at by the TSA and had to shove his garment bag into his suitcase because he refused to check it. I bet that shirt is going to come out on the other side looking less than stellar. All because the dude didn't want to spend an additional $20 and 10 minutes to check his bag. Ass.

2) Move. As in, your butt. At any given point, more than 100 people are trying to get through security, so this is not the time to monkey around. Again, I'll use the guy from above as an example. (This guy was really helpful in my blog inspiration today!) First, he had all of the aforementioned "items", plus he took FOUR plastic bins. I had two, and would have had one but the surprisingly friendly TSA guy asked me to put the iPad in its own case. Fair enough. So this dude takes his four bins, puts them on the table and proceeds to NOT MOVE. I mean, he is emptying his pockets, which contained an iPhone, earbuds, wallet, keys, chapstick, and no less than $6 in CHANGE. Best part - he didn't put all of that change in a small bowl, he just dumped it in the big bin. The TSA finally hollers at him to move it already, and his first bin FINALLY goes through only to immediately be rejected because it contains (yup) liquids, gels, and foams in the form of toiletries. Those get tossed after he spends awhile digging them out. That suitcase gets sent through, then his briefcase goes through and gets sent back...and a bottle of water gets pulled out and tossed. At this point, the TSA lady loses it and starts yelling at him. She was unnecessarily harsh to the guy, but he was beyond ridiculous. Did he just wake up this morning, empty some drawers into his bags and say, "I think I am going to get on a plane today"? Be considerate of others and know that if you move quickly, you are helping others move quickly and it is a much less painful experience for all involved.

3) You are not special. Nope. No one cares what you do or who you are in real life. Right now, if you are in row 6 and they are only boarding rows 15-25 - sit down. Don't start a line 30 minutes before actual boarding and create a massive bottleneck. Annoying.
P.S. I have caught two flights where I was literally the last person to board - they were shutting the door behind me, and guess what? My seat was still in the exact place it was supposed to be.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Door decs

Since the majority of the people that read this live halfway across the country, I thought I would show you what you would see if you came a knocking on our door:

A close up of the flowers I made-from scratch!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Crockpot Chicken

Last week I was researching the best way to cook a whole chicken, as I had not had a lot of luck in the past with the conventional oven method (pretty sure I had salmonella for about 10 days last July). I found an article about how to cook a chicken in the crockpot...and then how to make your own homemade stock from said chicken. Easy peasy-and the chicken was super moist and the broth about a hundred times better than store bought! Here is how I did it:

1. Buy a whole chicken (preferably free-range and organic). Put it in the crockpot for 7 hours on low. Don't add any water, but you can add s&p, paprika, or whatever other spices you like. I just did it up plain as I wanted the freedom to use the chicken however I deemed necessary for future meals.

2. After the 7 hour mark, pull the chicken out (carefully as the meat all wants to fall off the bone), let cool enough to handle. There should be about 1-2 inches of chicken juices left in the crockpot. As you debone the chicken, throw the skin and the bones back into the crockpot. (I cut or broke the smaller bones to get out as much of the good marrow into the broth as possible). Add 5 cups of water. Throw in a carrot, some celery, some onions...whatever you have laying around. Set the crockpot on low overnight (I did ten hours).

3. Wake up to a glorious smelling house. YUMMY! Strain all the veggies/bones/skins out and put the broth into your (freezer safe) containers. I used mason jars and got FIVE pints out of this batch! Let them cool completely, skim and discard fat off top-put the lids on and pop them in the freezer. Here is what my finished product looked like:

Look at the color! 

I used my first jar of chicken broth last night and it was SO GOOD-I really noticed a difference in flavor!
So, with the crockpot chicken, on the first day I made my mom's chicken pot of our faves! I froze the rest of the shredded chicken (about 3 cups). Last night I pulled out about 1 1/2 cups to make delicious Chicken and White Bean enchiladas...oh they were so good, and I found the recipe on but you can link up to it here
Looking for other ways to use crockpot chicken? Try a fellow BGHS Alum's recipe for chicken salad here.
Happy cooking!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

St. Patty's traditions-old and new

St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite food days of the year. Can you guess why? Corned beef, of course! I l-o-v-e corned beef. Def one of my top 5 all time favorite foods. Luckily, hubs is completely on board so he encourages the twice yearly consumption (the other day being new years day). This also had its downside as he makes me share the leftovers. Boo. Anywho. This year I served organic cabbage (steamed lightly) and the. most. amazing. whole wheat Guinness bread. OMGosh. This is amazingly delicious and I highly recommend you plan to make this ASAP.

I lifted the recipe from, a really fun whole foods cooking blog that I follow. Here is the recipe this chick uses, but it looks like she snagged it from

Guinness Bread

1 cup regular rolled oats, plus extra to sprinkle on top
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
12 ounce bottle Guinness ( its a stout beer)
Preheat oven to 425. Grease an 8 inch pan (I used my cast iron skillet). Mix together dry ingredients. In a seperate bowl combine wet ingredients  Pour the flour mixture into the beer mixture and stir just until mixed. Pour the batter into the baking pan and sprinkle the top with oats.
Bake at 425 for about 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 20-25 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the bread cool in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Source:

I followed this recipe verbatim. And guess what happened? A large portion of the cake ended up on the 'floor' of the oven and actually burst into flames. PANIC ATTACK ensued. (a moment of silence for all of the deliciousness that was diminished to ashes...). Next time (and there wil be a next time!), I will bake in a regular loaf pan. It would probably even work as muffins, but the baking time would have to be adjusted.

I love trying new recipes, and hubs and I def agree-add this one to the yearly traditional St. Patty's Day meal!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Crafty Tuesday

I have been a busy little bee lately in the crafting department. Invites for sis's BP, her shower, making her guestbook, working on my own cards, baby project for my new "niece" Anna Elise (can't wait to meet you little miss!) and creating a few gifts for sis along the way. I can't show some of the stuff until after her wedding, but for now-here are some cards I have made:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The cutest thing since sliced bread...

at least, WE think so! :)

Java loves to crawl on our backs, shoulders, necks...he is a climber and a snuggler! I love to curl up to read a book with him tucked into my side! He is SO PRESH. And he is a really, REALLY good dog. I don't want to say it too loudly...but...he is pretty much potty-trained, and has been for about 10 days now (he has been home with us for 3 weeks). He knows the routine, he sleeps through the night, he doesn't destroy the house or tear stuff far, the biggest issue we have with him is his nipping when we are playing. He has his first (of 6) obedience classes starting next week, so we are hoping to learn how to get him to stop with that. Otherwise, we are pretty darn happy with our little addition!
If he knew how much publicity he was getting on this blog, he would be digging it-he is an attention hog, for sure!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Keeping it REAL

I have been putting a post together in my head regarding the food choices that hubs and I make and our philosophy on food. We are very passionate about the 90/10 rule (eat REAL food 90% of the time, and for the other 10%-leave it open to eating in restaurants, people's homes, etc.), as well as a balanced diet high in protein. We eat a lot of grass-fed beef, organic/free-range chicken/eggs, wild fish (never farmed...I just threw up in my mouth a little thinking about salmon force-fed corn and soy...barf!), whole grains, organic fruit (in moderation), loads of organic veggies, raw dairy when we can get it-organic full fat when we can't. I love to bake but have cut back on that tremendously-and when I do, it is with coconut flour, coconut oil, and the good ingredients I listed above (use sucanat, maple syrup (from Gpa V's farm!) or raw honey for sweetener. Any who...I came across this blog post today from one of my most favorite sites for recipes-Heavenly Homemakers, and felt that they did a better job summing up my thoughts that I could. Check it out and let me know your thoughts!!

REAL here!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pinterest Recipes

Today, I want to share some recipes that I have made off of Pinterest. For those of you that have Pinterest, you can check out my board titled "Recipes I have tried," but for those of you who don't (MMF and MOM!) here are the links to the recipes as well as my critics review.
Thai coconut Curry Shrimp-you find the recipe here. This was delicious and a nice change of pace from the usual, although it was slightly spicy. Next time I will only use about 1/2 T. of red curry paste.

Mongolian Beef-YUMMY! Even better than what you can find at most restaurants, IMHO. Find the recipe here.

Creamy Mushroom and Roasted cauliflower soup. A great way to use up some delicious organic mushrooms and cauliflower from our organic produce co-op. This is a great comfort food dish, and a chunk of crusty bread would be a great accompaniment! Check it out!

Finally, our dessert! Salted Caramel Pretzel bark. I made this for a party I hosted a few weeks ago, and to say it was a hit, well...that would be an understatement! The recipe is not correct though...the butter/sugar mixture needs to be boiled for 7 minutes, not 3, in order for it to properly harden when set. Make it yourself, it's super easy-see for yourself here!

And that, ladies and gents, are just a few of the recipes I have tried off of Pinterest. I saw someone's FB status the other day-look at the 3rd recipe I have tried from Pinterest. Really? 3? Amateur. As of today, I have made 31 recipes off of Pinterest. 31! The 'unhealthy' stuff I have made for parties or to take to church, or delivered to new moms in the area, and the healthy stuff for me and G. Some have been flops, but others (like the four I shared today) were awesome!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Snow? In Seattle? Whaaaatttt?

Mom says that lots of people have been asking how we survived the snow/ice storm that attacked the Pacific Northwest last week. We did fine, and were lucky to not lose electricity, unlike some areas of the state where people have been without power for 6 days! Graham worked from home 3.5 out of 5 days last week, and the only time I left the house from Sunday morning until Friday evening was on foot. The roads weren't horrible (we have certainly experienced worse!), however neither one of us wanted to deal with Seattle-ites who aren't used to driving in this stuff. We got about 3 inches on Sun-Mon, most of which melted Tues, then another 3-4 inches on Wed, and then about 1/2-3/4 in of ice on Thursday. Of course the ice was the worst, and the scariest. People were freaking out, but you know what freaked out MORE? Trees. There were trees snapping and falling over and crashing into houses and blocking roads ALL OVER THE PLACE. Even the trees couldn't deal with the extreme weather. Here are some pics that we took (sorry there aren't more...I am bad at taking pics!)
the beginning...

3 hours later.

It all melted (more or less) by Sunday morning...back to rain this week :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Here he is!

Our puppy-at about 3 weeks old! We get him on Feb 18!

That's a face only a mother could love :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 ... Goals?

To follow up from the last post about the highlights of 2011, now I am going to talk about some things that I (or we) would like to accomplish in 2012.

-expanding our getting a puppy! If you remember back, I posted about whether or not to get a dog, and we have decided to go for it! We finally made contact with a Boston Terrier breeder south of Portland, OR and our little boy Boston Terrier was born the week of Christmas. We are supposed to get him at the end of February, however the owner has been incommunicado...looks like I am going to have to break down and call her, as much as I would rather just use email to work out all the deets!

-Continuing to go green/organic/crunchy...whatever you want to call it. In 2011, we switched to non-toxic and/or homemade household cleaners, homemade laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent, and non-toxic, crap-free body lotions/cleansers/shampoos/etc. In 2012, we are already going shampoo-free (read more about that here), the oil cleansing method (I know you want to read this as well), making our own soap (look for a future post about this-my ingredients are en route and I am hoping to make my first batch this weekend), reducing and reusing, using only stainless steel, ceramic, and glass in the kitchen (teflon=POISON). We have also joined an organic produce co-op...LOVE this already. For a small price, we get a variety box of organic produce that I pick up at a neighbor's house. It is great because it forces us to try new things-last week I made collard greens for the first time and this week we will be getting kale. I have made smoothies and salads with kale before, but want to try a new recipe this time around.

-Read more books. I read a lot already, but right now I have about 15 books stacked in the guest room. Gotta get to it!

-Give more to our church. Build our church family. Join the church! Build our personal relationship with Christ. Continue our current volunteering efforts. Spend time every day reading the bible. Pray with my husband every night. Talk to others about Jesus.

-Take a real vacation.

-And lastly-be more organized, live more clutter-free, so life can be focused on relationships-relationship with God, with each other, and with our loved ones.

A BLESSED 2012 to you all!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Oh yeah...hey there!

So yeah. It's been awhile. We've been busy. But-I am back! And determined that I will be a better blogger in 2012!

For this post, I want to reflect a little on 2011. One of the blogs I follow ( posted a list of questions to help this process along. I won't bore you with all 20, but instead will pick out a few and discuss those. And...GO.

-What was the single best thing that happened this year?
Without a doubt, marrying my perfect match-May 28, 2011. Didn't love my wedding day...but I do love being married!

Look at that handsome fella!

-What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Definitely finding a new church in Seattle. Both of us were NOT looking forward to the process, but feel incredibly blessed to have quickly found a church that is a great fit for us, where we have found an amazing group of friends to surround ourselves with.

-What were the best books you read this year?
I read so much, but here are a few I can remember:

Current fave:
also a great blog at   

Highly recommend.

I am really bad at remembering book titles. Maybe I should work on that is 2012.

I think that is all I am going to tackle for now. Next post will either be more of these, or talking about goals for 2012. I'll sleep on it.