Saturday, March 26, 2016



There are so many wonderful ideas out there now on Pinterest and blog sites to help us find ways to keep the real meaning of Easter and other holidays in our gifts.  I used a free printable from this site Jelly Bean Prayer Printable and it worked great but there are also numerous links to free printables of this on Pinterest if you just do a search for "Jelly Bean Prayer".  I, as usual, used a Silhouette cut file for the Jelly Bean Bag wrapper.  I used the Megan Hardy file:  Jelly Bean Wrapper and used all different colors of Close To My Heart two sided Fundamentals Cardstock. I love this textured card stock as it has a shiny solid side and a smooth pattern side that you can mix and match. Sometimes I use a plastic film for windows in projects but this time I simply adhered a zip lock baggy of Jelly beans inside and tied the bag.  Super easy!  Happy Easter and let us all be reminded of all we have been given because of the ultimate sacrifice! Jesus is the reason for the season!


Thursday, March 24, 2016



I have used so many different lip balm characters for a variety of holidays and I never get tired of them!  One reason I love them so much is that they are fast, easy and still a cute home made gift that kids love.  These are easy to describe and find as they are all Lori Whitlock cut files from Silhouette. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016



I love making scrapbooking layouts but am not much for making cards!  I am not sure if it's a patience things or if I just simply don't have enough time.  I needed some thank you cards for a recent event so I called on my favorite Silhouette designer Lori Whitlock for some help making it quick and painless.  I chose her A2 Ornate Sliding Card and used my favorite Close To My Heart card stock and pattern papers.  Cardstock:  Juniper, Glacier, Honey and Flaxen.  Pattern Paper:  Georgie.  I love how the card slides in out and out of it's pocket and creates the title on the front of the card.  A special thank you for special people in my life!



EASTER TREAT BOX: Bunny Window Box


So many cute Easter crafts and so little time!  I love this little bunny window treat box and especially the little bunny "butt" on the back! So cute!  I used the Silhouette cutting file : Bunny Display Box by Nilmara Quintela.  I used Close To My Heart pattern papers:  Zoe (both sides) and Georgie.  I added Close To My Heart thick twine in poppy, glacier blue and pixie.  I added a little cotton to the bunny tails!  A special little box for "Somebunny" special!!


EASTER TREAT BOX: Hatching Chick


Sharing some cute little Easter treat boxes today of a sweet hatching chick.  I used a Sweet Afton Silhouette Cut file named:  Hatching Chick Box.  I used Close To My Heart cardstock :  honey, goldrush and white daisy.  I used Close To My Heart pattern paper:  Zoe.
Happy Easter...."eggspecially" for you!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

ST. PATRICKS DAY: Pot of Gold Window Treat Box


We love to celebrate St. Patrick's day with a traditional meal of corn beef brisket and cabbage!  I usually try to make some kind of little treat for St. Patrick's day and this year I decided little pots of gold would be fun using Rolo Chocolates in gold foil wrappers.  
I used the Silhouette cut file "Oval Window Treat Bag" by Lisa Norris at Pretty Paper Graphics.  I cut the oval decoration out of gold silhouette paper.  I added the "Lucky You" title off of the "Lucky You Mini Theme" silhouette cut file by Echo Park Paper also in gold silhouette paper and lastly I pirated the pot off of "Pot of gold and rainbow box" by Sweet Afton.  I just used the "pot" portion of her cut file.  For the "window" I used a piece of transparency film.

Don't forget the yummy part...the chocolates!

I added these rainbow licorice treat bags on this post as well as I used these for co-worker gifts this St. Patrick's day.  I have some awesome co-workers that I feel LUCKY to work with!  I needed something quick and easy because I was very short on time and I have made these rainbow treat bags before (see blog post for St. Patrick's Day treats) but this time I used a free printable for the bottom.  The free printable and other cute ones can be found at Thirtyhandmadedays along with other cute and FREE printables!
May your days be many and your troubles be few. May all God's blessings descend upon you. May peace be within you and may your heart be strong. May you find what your seeking wherever you roam.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

EASTER TREAT BAGS: You're My Favorite "PEEP"!

EASTER TREAT BAGS:  My Favorite Peep

Once again I fly my Lori Whitlock fan club banner when the holidays roll around!  I used her "Treat Bag Topper:  Easter" Silhouette Cut file to make these cute little Easter "tweet" bags for my favorite little "Peeps"!  I also used a cut file by Kolette Hall for the saying.  I used Silhouette pens for "You're my favorite" and then cut out the "peep" banner.   Enjoy!



Love this CTMH line of colorful paper!  It is perfect for Spring or Easter.  I had fun creating the layouts and in a few weeks we will be snapping lots of pictures to fill them up when we celebrate! Penelope is available in the current CTMH Seasonal Expressions catalog until April.  Happy Easter, Happy Spring, Happy, Happy Everything!

Sunday, March 6, 2016



Moist, yummy and healthy!

I have been away from the blog for a bit....due to real life.  After a month of essentially being away from home due to birth (Welcome our new Granddaughter) and death (The sad loss of my Mother) I am trying to find some sense of normalcy (Whatever that is???) by cooking and cleaning.  While away to my  Daughter's house helping for several weeks with the new baby and at my Father's farm with my family dealing with our loss, I found myself doing what I always do:  feeding those I love while eating unhealthily myself. I baked and cooked all kinds of things delicious but unhealthy in an attempt to show my love.  I always think, why do I do this?  Why is it so hard to cook and bake in a healthy way for others?  I convince myself that they NEED and DESIRE all of that fat and sugar to know I care.  Surely, our health and the health of others should mean so much more to us to preserve, especially in the circumstances of a death looming over us as a reminder to take care of ourselves.  No one I love NEEDS extra sugar and fat! They need to take care of themselves and be taken care of so they are around longer to enjoy and be enjoyed. Right?  Right!!  So today, I dug out a few of my tried and true "being healthy" recipes and made myself a vow to be better at being uncompromising.  Just because it's company...or family...or a special occasion (sad or happy) doesn't mean it can't be healthy!
The creamy buckwheat cereal combined with the nuts and coconut sugar give this recipe that yummy sweet crunch on top that we all love.


  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups coconut flour (or any flour blend you like)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup tapioca or coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup creamy buckwheat cereal
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  1. Make the bread: Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease two 9-in loaf pans. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat sugar, oil, yogurt, milk, eggs, banana, and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Gently fold flour mixture until batter is just combined. Scrape batter into prepared pans and set aside for a moment.
  3. Make the streusel: In a medium bowl, combine all streusel ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over two banana bread batters, gently pressing crumbs into batter to adhere.
  4. Bake banana bread at 350F 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool bread completely in pans on a wire cooling rack. I baked mine for less as I used larger pans instead of loaf pans.

CROCK POT CHICKEN MARSALA: Calorie Conscious Comfort Food


A sunny 70 degree day in early March is probably not the best day to post a "comfort food" recipe!  However, I put supper in the crock pot this morning before I realized what a beautiful, amazing day it was going to be!  While supper was cooking away, I spent the morning in the sun cleaning off our porch, mats and doing a little raking.  Usually at this time we are shoveling snow!  What I love about this recipe is that it is very easy, very basic clean ingredients but appears to be smothered in an unhealthy gravy...the secret's not!
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • sea salt and pepper to taste (I used about ½ teaspoon of each)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup organic fat free chicken broth
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup cornstarch ***I use 1 or so teaspoons Xanthan gum-see my notes about's not as crazy as it sounds!
  • fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  1. Lightly greasy your slow cooker with nonstick spray.  I use crock pot liner bags. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Top chicken with garlic, mushrooms, and chicken broth.  Cover and cook for 5-6 hours on low.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer chicken to a plate. Whisk together water and cornstarch or Xanthan gum til dissolved, then pour into slow cooker and stir.
  4. Add chicken back to slow cooker, switch heat to high, cover and cook another 20-30 minutes until sauce is thickened. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with parsley and serve over the rice of your choice. 
Let's talk about Xanthan gum!  When I first started learning about cooking and baking in a healthier, cleaner way I resisted!!  I did NOT want to cook with weird ingredients that I couldn't pronounce or couldn't find locally or easily.  I have learned that it's really NO BIG DEAL! It's just another item that you get used to using and it's a choice you make to be healthier.  Right on the label of Xanthan Gum it says that the name appears to come right out of a cheesy Sci Fi movie but Xanthan Gum is actually a widely used all natural thickening agent.  It is awesome because it takes only a little to go a long ways! It prevents oil separation and keeps solids like your spices suspended while making the sauces smooth and not adding anything "bad" to your dishes! It works great in sweet sauces like rhubarb or strawberry crunch, in baking and cooking.   So get over your fear of the Sci Fi name and just try it!