I love that my girls pick hand-made over store bought.  I am proud when they are excited to try some thing new.  I am filled with joy to watch them create with their hands.  I am thankful that they love and appreciate the little things in life, or as Jade calls them “the details.”

Sometimes though, as life gets stressful and busy I find myself a little less thankful.  Wishing and asking if those store bought packs of v-day cards would do.  The answer of course is NO.  I should have known better.

We have -

One afternoon, 2 excited girls, 5 homework assignments and an essay

We needed -

70 handmade Valentine treats and 2 happy girls 

 

 

All I can say is thank goodness for chocolate!

 

Rain got to work making heart chocolates in batches in between home work and filling out the tags.  Jade made a double batch of cookies and punched out heart tags while working on her essay.  I wasn’t sure they would make it in time, but the girls did a great job!  The night ended with hugs, smiles and a house that smelled like cookies.   

Sometimes the easy way is nothing more than easy. 

Rewards however, come with a bit of effort.

A little project, with a happy thought.

To remind me that it is the little moments that make life so special.

Just a quick little project because I can ;)

Made with one of my girls old shirts and scraps from a pair of cut offs.  I opted for three layers for better insulation.  No buttons or velcro made it a bit annoying to sew at the end, but so much more user friendly.  I think it came out looking really cute, especially the back. 

 

It was a gift for my Mom.  She loves it! 

And yes, I still make things for my Mom.

A little bit of joy, from my garden to you!

Hope your day is as wonderfully amazing as you deserve!

This is love at first bite.  Very filling and oh so good :)  Hope you enjoy!

Italian Sausage Melt

Prep Time:  20 min

Total Time:  50 min

Makes:  8 servings, 1 cup each

2 ½ cups Bisquick Mix

½ cup butter, softened

4 Tbs. very hot water

1 lb. bulk spicy Italian pork sausage

½ cup chopped bell pepper

1-16oz. jar Alfredo pasta sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)

4 Tbs.  Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half

4 Tbs. fresh basil leaves, cut into strips

HEAT oven to 400°F.  Lightly spray bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick, butter and very hot water until dough forms.  Press dough in bottom of pan.

COOK sausage and bell pepper in skillet over med-high heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain. 

SPREAD Sausage mix over crust.  Spread pasta sauce over sausage.  Sprinkle with cheeses.

BAKE 25 to 30 minutes or until it is bubbly around the edges and cheese is lightly browned.  Sprinkle tomatoes and basil over top.

I came across this post on facebook by my dear friend Cody, and thought I would share.

We hear the saying “We will never forget” a lot this time of year, but what is it exactly that we are swearing not to forget? The tragedy? The sacrifice of people who made a difference? To be more vigilant? All of the above? I feel like the one thing most worthremembering is the one thing most people seemed to forget the fastest, which was the unity we all felt that day. For one day, a week at most, the divisions between us all disappeared. It didn’t matter if you were rich or poor, cop or street thug, baptist or catholic, white or black, we were all one, all united under a single concept: American. There was even unity between other countries and ours, united behind the concepts of good and humanity.  So maybe today, when you’re hearing “We will never forget” everywhere and seeing it on bumper stickers, remember also the Unity and what it felt like for that brief moment in time to be free of all the walls between us. Maybe even imagine a future where every day is like that, where people change from “ours is the right way” or “a better way” to “ours is merely another way, for we are all one.” :)
 
Love, Magic and Laughter, 

 

 

I just had to share this really cute tutorial I found today on SwirlyThoughts.  She shows how to make padded envelopes using reclaimed materials. 

It is such a wonderful idea.  So many possibilities!

I have been been doing a lot of playing around with magazines lately.  I saved a rather large stash from the trash at work last week.  So as you can imagine there has been lots of cutting, folding, rolling and gluing (non-toxic) going on.  Needless to say, it has been an interesting challenge coming up with different ways to reuse them all.

For the most part I have had great luck in making jewelry out of them.  Earrings, bracelets and beads have all been fun.  I’ll post about them later though. 

Today however, I am very pleased with a tea wallet that I made.  I love my tea, and always have a bag or two in my purse or pocket.  Christy’s Creations had a great Tea Wallet Tutorial that I thought might be a fun way to reuse the magazines.  The image I chose was a little small, but I love how it came out. 

Surprisingly durable and very cute.  I have been taking it to work all week, and absolutely love it.

I am so happy about all the rain we have been getting lately.  It isn’t much, but I am looking forward to seeing green (not brown) hills again this spring.  Despite my personal gratitude for the rain, it can be hard to keep spirits up in a constant gray.

I wanted to do something bright and cheery today to perk up everyone here.  That did not want to work today, My Love is at work and the little ones are painting.  So the best thing to do on a day like this is cook something special.  These are great to snack on, bring to parties or just eat. 

 

Antipasto LoafAntipasto Loaf

Prep Time: 25 min
Total Time: 1 hr 25 min
Makes: 25 servings, one slice each

1 French bread baguette (12 oz.)
1 tub (8 oz.) Cream Cheese Spread
3 Tbsp. pesto
1/2 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup drained marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 cups baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

CUT baguette lengthwise in half. Remove soft insides from both bread halves.
MIX cream cheese spread and pesto; spread evenly onto insides of bread shells. Fill evenly with tomatoes, artichokes, Parmesan cheese and spinach.
REASSEMBLE baguette; wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Cut into 25 slices to serve.

 
Spinach Phyllo Roll-UpsMake-Ahead Spinach Phyllo Roll-Ups

Prep Time: 30 min
Total Time: 55 min
Makes: 5 logs, 6 slices each or 30 servings, 1 slice each

1 egg, lightly beaten
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
1 cup Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese
1 tub (8 oz.) Garden Vegetable Light Cream Cheese Spread
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
15 sheets frozen phyllo sheets (14×9 inch), thawed
1/3 cup butter, melted

MIX egg, spinach, feta cheese, cream cheese spread and onions until well blended. Set aside.
PLACE 1 of the phyllo sheets on a clean work surface. Brush lightly with butter. Top with 2 more phyllo sheets, brushing more of the remaining butter between each layer. Place remaining phyllo between sheets of plastic wrap; set aside.
SPREAD 1/5 of the spinach mixture along 1 of the short sides of the phyllo stack; fold in both long sides, then roll up, starting at 1 of the short sides to make a log. Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets and spinach mixture to make 4 more logs. Brush with remaining butter. To prevent phyllo from cracking, score logs at 1-inch intervals. Place in large freezer-weight resealable plastic bags or wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
FREEZE up to 3 months. When ready to bake, remove desired number of logs from freezer. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, several hours or overnight until thawed. Place on baking sheet. Bake in preheated 375°F-oven for 25 min. or until golden brown. Cool 5 min.; place on cutting board. Cut each log into 6 slices with serrated knife to serve.

 

I hope you enjoy and have a happy and inspiring day!

I came across this great utensil holder project made from paper bags, over at  Machine d’amour

All you need is a paper bag, some vinyl and a sewing machine.  It is really quite simple.  Check out her instructions here.

This would also work great with magazine pages and left over paper scraps. 

I have some extra vinyl laying around, maybe the girls and I will make some pretty placemats for when it’s warm enough to eat outside again.  :)

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