Monday, January 31, 2011

Stitched Valentine's Cards

It's almost Valentine's Day!

Who wants to make some super cute and easy Valentine's?

I saw these a few years back *I think* in Parents magazine, but, alas, I could not find it on the web to provide a link. I had stored the idea in my memory for a time when my oldest child would be old enough to help. I may have jumped the gun a bit--at 3 1/2 years, she still couldn't quite do it, but we had fun together anyway. And they turned out super cute. I was going to line the insides with scrapbook paper, but she wanted to draw on the insides, so I let her. She had a great time drawing pictures of her relatives and writing her name. :)

So, ready to make some?

Step 1: Gather Supplies

The supplies are pretty basic: yarn, cardstock, a needle big enough to pull the yarn, and a heart (see below for the template I used).

Step 2: Punch holes

Step 3: "Sew" your yarn in


Click here for heart template. OK, template isn't working. Can't fix it. Just email us and we'll send it to you. :)

Hope you are all having fun getting ready for Valentine's Day.


Here's where we love to link up. :)

Here's one of our reader's St. Patrick's Day version. :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What's for Dinner?


Bacon and Egg Pasta

Sweet and Sour Kabobs

Green Chicken Tortilla Soup



Teriyaki Chicken

Valentine's Cookies: Linzer Heart Cookies

These cookies are not only adorable but super delicious! I love them.

What is a Linzer Cookie you might ask? Well, I headed over to the Joy of Baking history page and learned a bit of history on these delightful little cookies.

These cookies have the same ingredients as the famous Linzertorte which originates in Austria. It is believed that the Linzertorte originated in the City of Linz, where written recipes began to appear in the early 1700s. Traditionally this torte consisted of a crust made with flour, ground nuts (traditionally almonds), sugar, egg yolks, spices and lemon zest that was filled with preserves (traditionally black currant) and then topped with a lattice crust.

The same is true of Linzer Cookies. Here, two cookies are sandwiched together with a layer of preserves. The top cookie, dusted with confectioners sugar, has a cutout so the preserves are visible. I've seen them a lot at Christmas time, but these fun Valentine's version looks very festive.

Anyway, the cookies are very cute and truly yummy--this recipe has a nicely complex mixture of lemon and spice that is just scrumptious. You should make some. They won't disappoint.

I used the recipe from Diana's Dessert--have you ever been to her site? It is so fun!

Happy baking!


Here's where we're linking up.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Black Beans and Mango Salad

I love this salad because its fresh, delicious, and all those colors look so good!

1 can black beans (15 oz.)
2 cups mango, diced
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 avacado, diced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil

combine all ingredients 
serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Friday, January 28, 2011

EASY (and adorable) VALENTINES!

After sending these valentines out last year, Jaime and I had quite a few people ask us how we made them. So we thought we'd share!

 The first trick is to use your adorable children.

When I started these I had an image in my mind of a handsome little boy with a dashing smile, perfectly holding a big red valentine's heart.

Then this is how our photo shoot went...
 And I decided a more candid shot would be better. Much better.
So, when you're trying to get your kids to cooperate, remember that they really are cutest when they're being themselves. (Not that you could convince them otherwise).

After taking a hundred pictures we chose one or two to use.
I put the pictures in photoshop and used the paint bucket tool to fill in most of the background.
Then I used the paint brush tool to touch it up. Make sure to use a soft edge around the kids so they don't have the 'cut-out' look quite as bad.
Add bubble shapes if you want them and a little type.
(You could also just put a fun colored sheet or blanket behind them and then all you'd need is the type.)

You can go online and print these as a 4x6 picture or a postcard at Walmart or wherever, or if you don't want to worry about stamps and mailing, just attatch them to an email. (If you're like me, you'll probably plan on printing them and end-up emailing them last minute. But hey, at least you'll have that option!)

Happy Valentines Making!

Here's where we like to link-up.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Organize kid memorabilia

So, if you've got kids then you've got stuff. Lots of it. Well, I recently decided what I was going to do with all the little kiddy papers I wanted to save (first watercolor, cute drawings, and later, important projects and papers).

File folder boxes!

I got these snazzy ones at Target the other day.

Aren't they cute? They are the cutest and cheapest ones I've seen in stores or online. Perfect!

Perfect. Then when they get older and have their own families and homes and want their stuff, I can say "here's your box." :)


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Best Banana Bread Ever

I happen to have, in my possession, the best banana bread recipe ever. EVER. I know this to be true because years and years ago I was on a quest to find said recipe. I have tried many different banana bread recipes over the years, but this one is the clear winner. Everyone who tries it agrees.

And yes, that is a lemon you see in that picture there. I believe that to be the key ingredient to creating the Best Banana Bread ever--lemon zest.

And get this, this recipe is even healthier than most recipes. And it's better tasting. What more could we want? Well, without further ado, here is how you too can create the best banana bread ever.
Mix shortening or butter with sugar and your lemon zest.

Add your eggs, vanilla and all your dry ingredients then mix well. Then add some pecans or walnuts and stir them in. Pop it in the oven and wait for the delicious aroma to fill your house.

You won't be dissapointed.

Here's the recipe:

1/3 c. shortening or butter
2/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 ¼ c. mashed ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
2 eggs
1 ½ c. flour (I always do half whole-wheat with great results)
2 ¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ c. wheat germ

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour an 8 ½- x 4 ½ -inch loaf pan.
2. Beat the shortening with the sugar and lemon rind until the mixture is light and fluffy.
3. Add the mashed bananas and eggs and mix well.
4. To the above mixture, add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and wheat germ. Stir the dry ingredients together to mix, and then blend into the wet ingredients quickly and evenly.
5. Spoon into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes.
6. Let the brad cool in the pan about 5 minutes, then un-mold onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: Wheat germ is so good for you and has a nice, lightly nutty flavor. You buy it in the hot cereal section and it comes in a glass bottle. If you don’t have any, I have substituted oatmeal and the bread turns out fine.

Note #2: My sister-in-law, Emily's sister Becka, plops banana bread batter onto cookie sheets and bakes them--voila, awesome banana cookies for the kiddos. Much less messy than giving them a slice of bread too. It also works great cooked as muffins.


Here's where we like to link-up.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wildflowers & Whimsy Guest Post

Hi everyone! Today we wanted to let you get to know another great blog out there. Here's April to tell you all about herself. :)

Hi!  I'm April from  Wildflowers & WhimsyI am so excited to be swapping with Emily & Jaime today! I love their blog, and I am super excited about their What's For Dinner post!  I can't wait to start using that!  I am horrible at planning meals! 

So, a little bit about me....I am a wife and mommy to two sweet little boys and one very outspoken little girl...all 4 years and under.  I plan on homeschooling, but since they aren't of school age yet, I spend a lot of time sewing and crafting, and they spend a lot of time, ehem, "helping".   Which basically means they pulled the thread out of my sewing maching when I wasn't looking or like the time I left my scissors out by accident and Sophie cut up part of a dress I was working on...seriously, I was out of the room for two minutes!  How do they get into these things so quickly?!?

My husband travels a lot for work which means it's typically just me and three young crafts and blogging have kept me sane.

My blog is fairly new, and so far, I have mostly posted about crafts, but this year, I started a linky party called Sew Crafty Saturday and I also do a post called Window Shoppin' Wednesday where I pick one of my favorite etsy shops each week and do a spotlight on it...this is free so if any of you have an etsy shop you would like me to feature be sure to email me so I can check it out!  I would also like to start posting free sewing patterns  because eventually when my kids are older I would like to maybe make and sell my own patterns and I figure it would be good practice and a nice way to get input on what people want out of patterns...or who knows, maybe by then I'll live at the beach and I'll just keep doing it for free because I am too busy hanging out on the beach to run a business... : )  that would be pretty nice...

Anyway, here are some of my readers' favorites....

These were for a friend's dog...we don't have one  :(

I also do a lot of sewing for my local fabric shop, so I try to write reviews of the patterns and include tips on areas where I had trouble.

Like with this Princess Bella Dress...

I also made it to the Top 8 in Project Toddler Runway on Shwin & Shwin!  Unfortunately, I got voted out this week, but I had a blast!  The entry that got me in was my Cranberry Dress...

This was my project for last week. I called it Sweet Grace because it made me think of Grace Kelly. I will be sharing a tutorial on how to make the feather skirt sometime this soon as I can get someone to take some pics of me making one! I think it is a fabulous photo prop! And I am seriously considering listing them in my etsy shop!  It was just so fun to make!

And I just have to share one more pic with you before I go.  I recently made my nanny's wedding dress (btw~when I say Nanny I mean godmother!  I am not a SAHM with a nanny as one lady thought....but a girl can dream...hehe!).  It was such an honor to have her trust me for something so important.  The satin was a little difficult to work with especially considering it was my first time, but I really enjoyed making it, and I think it turned out lovely....

I hope you'll stop by my blog, and I love discovering new blogs, so make sure you leave me a comment so I can hop over and visit your corner of blogland!  I also have an awesome giveaway going on for a handmade fabric covered photo album!  It is super adorable and I hope you'll drop by and enter!  The give away will stay open until Friday evening. 
Once again, ladies, thanks so much for swapping with me!  It's been fun!♥

Thanks April!
We love getting to know all these creative people out there and seeing everyone's talents. That Petti Tutu really is amazingly cute. :)

Lots of love,