Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Salad

Two things you should know:

1. I've heard great things about The Pioneer Woman but have never gone to the site.

2. It's been FOREVER since I've made chicken salad.

This is where Jill Cornell comes in. The recipe she's sharing with us comes from The Pioneer Woman and is for chicken salad. I love chicken salad and Jill "love, love, love[s]" this recipe. Her advice: add candied pecans or almonds on top. Is your mouth watering yet?

Here is the link to the Pioneer Woman recipe. Did I follow it exactly? No. I'm too cheap to buy a fryer chicken. Did I match the measurements exactly? No. I eyeballed it. Did it still taste delicious? Oh yeah. I really like the sour cream and mayo mixture because it makes a nice thick coating for the chicken. I also liked the addition of brown sugar to the mixture. I think next time I'll add a little bit more.

Eat on a toasted whole wheat English muffin and enjoy!

Thanks to Jill for sharing this recipe with us and for being a part of Cook Scrap Craft this week. If you haven't already, go check out Jill's blog and gallery to help jumpstart your creative mojo this weekend. I'd love for you to share in the comments how Jill has inspired you!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Inspiration from Jill!

It was hard to pick a layout from Jill to scraplift for this week. Like I said on Tuesday, EVERY layout she does is genius. She should really publish all of her layouts in one book so that I could carry them around with me wherever I go and marvel at how amazingly talented Jill is. But I finally did pick one. Just one! And I'm going to share it with you today. This is a two-pager, which, for some reason, I don't do many of these days. I really should get back into that.

Here is Jill's layout:

I just loved the journaling along the side of the pictures with the word "adventure" breaking it up.

And here is mine:

Aren't you inspired? You can find this layout and more in Jill's gallery or at her blog, Blessed Scrapper. Let Jill's work inspire you and then link up what you've done in the comments section below so we can all see! Then come back on Saturday for a fun and delicious weekend lunch, or dinner, meal.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Getting Scrappy With... Jill Cornell!

click here to see this in Jill's gallery
What can I say about Jill Cornell? Her scrapbook work is AWESOME (and her twin daughters are adorable) and every layout that I see from Jill I immediately want to scraplift. Every. Single. One. Jill has been on design teams for GCD Studios, Noel Mignon, and Midnight Rooster, and she did freelance designs for The Scrappy Gourmet. You can find all of Jill's work at her blog, Blessed Scrapper, and in her gallery. But before you check out her stuff, learn a little bit more about Jill below.

What are your favorite scrapbook manufacturers? 
I LOVE so many! My all-time favorite is Melissa Frances - just love her shabby, feminine products! I also love GCD Studios, Crate Paper, American Crafts and Jenni Bowlin.

When did you start scrapping?
I started scrapbooking seven years ago when I got married.

How has your style evolved over the years? 
I have always been a lover of all things girly so my style has developed into shabby chic (inking, painting, distressing and sewing). I love a homespun touch on my projects!

How often do you scrap about yourself? 
Now that I have twin daughters, I occasionally make it into my layouts. I focus mainly on scrapbooking them but try to get myself and my husband in there too.

With twin girls, when do you find time to scrap?
I have a scrapbook studio and do the majority of my scrapbooking at night after my girls go to bed. Sometimes, I sneak in a little scrapbooking while they nap.

Do you have a favorite technique that you use on layouts or something that you think of as your signature?
I almost always use my sewing machine on my projects. I love the extra texture it adds and it's a simple way to add details.

click here to see this in Jill's gallery
I love the way stitching looks on a layout, but I don't have a sewing machine! Where do you keep yours? What does your scrap area look like?
I have a large table for my work surface with a TV and DVD player so I can watch my favorite shows and movies. I keep my most-used tools right on my work surface. Patterned paper and cardstock are organized in Cropper Hopper holders by manufacturer and color, respectively. I organize all embellishments by color in plastic drawers on shelves above my work surface. Ribbon is sorted by color in large Ziploc bags. My sewing machine and Cricut are on a table next to my work surface.

I need to take some tips from you on organizing my supplies. Last question - why do you scrapbook?
I love scrapbooking because it allows me to be a storyteller. Who else will be able to tell my family’s story but me? Scrapbooking is also my creative outlet. I relish this time because I am able to lose myself in my work and escape the realities of being a busy wife and mother for just a little bit.

Thanks so much for being a part of Cook Scrap Craft this week, Jill! 

Don't forget to check out Jill's blog and gallery. And come back Thursday for more inspiration from Jill.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Favorite Pastime

I made this layout for a challenge at These Are a Few of My Favorite Things. The challenge is to make a layout of your favorite past Favorite Things challenge. There is a long list of the past challenges to choose from, and I went with a more recent past challenge: Favorite Pastime.

I had wanted to do the Favorite Pastime challenge the first-time around but I just never got around to doing it. So when I saw this new challenge, I knew it was my second chance.

I created this layout using items from my April Counterfeit Kit (you can still participate in the Counterfeit Kit challenge, too). My favorite pastime is coming home from work, sitting down to eat dinner, and watching a favorite TV show with my husband. It's kind of a ritual. Usually we watch the previous night's episode of The Daily Show or a Parenthood episode, although now we have finally gotten caught up with Parenthood. So we may have to find a new TV show to Netflix or watch on Hulu Plus. What's your favorite pastime?

You have until Thursday, April 28 to participate in the Fave Things challenge. Good luck! And Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Going to Florida Gluten-Free Part 5

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
What can I say about Universal Studios? Not the coolest park. When I was a kid, it seemed like there was more to do. There was an Alfred Hitchcock show. Nickelodeon Studios used to be there (it's not a Blue Man Group theater). But compared to the other parks, Universal Studios just isn't as thrilling.

Shrek 4-D is fun. Revenge of the Mummy is a pretty scary ride. That was my favorite. Men in Black is a cute and fun ride. We didn't ride The Simpsons Ride because the wait time was too long. Disaster wasn't running for some reason. And the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit? I hated it. It was so painful for my head. The seat backs have no padding but your head gets banged around the whole ride. It didn't seem to phase my husband, but if you easily get migraines (like me) perhaps you should watch everybody's bags while they ride. I know that's what I'll be doing next time.

Is it easy to do Universal Studios in three hours? Oh yeah. And when you leave at noon, where will you go? First Watch! This breakfast, brunch, and lunch restaurant is located about 10-15 minutes away from Universal in a shopping plaza. If you go to the First Watch website, there is information on what menu items are gluten-free. There is a lot that you can get. My husband likes the Far West Omelet with breakfast potatoes but no English muffin. (One time the waitress gave him fruit instead of an English Muffin, but that doesn't happen every time.) Delicious!

And that's it! That's Florida gluten-free! Hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Going to Florida Gluten-Free Part 4

at Hollywood Studios
If you have children, don't attempt to do three Disney parks in one day. We had one-day Park Hopper tickets and we wanted to make the most of that one day. Here are some of the highlights:

Animal Kingdom
You HAVE to ride Expedition Everest. It is really fun and scary. You go backwards! In the dark! And there is a yeti!

Hollywood Studios
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is fun but we had a better queue experience at the ride in California. The workers in California were more into their characters than the workers in Florida.

The Studio Backlot Tour shows you how movies make special effects and puts volunteers and you in different scenarios. You also get to see movie props and learn some Disney history.

gluten-free turkey club at Studio Catering Co.
The American Idol Experience was actually pretty cool. It's a show, set up just like American Idol. Earlier in the day, visitors to the park can audition to be a contestant on one of the day's several shows. At each show, three contestants sing and then the audience votes on who should be the winner. The winners of each show come back that night for a finale show and the audience votes again for the winner. The winner of the finale show gets a golden ticket, which means they go front of the line at any American Idol audition in the country. If anyone remembers Aaron from last season, that kid was one of the American Idol Experience winners and he made it to the top 5 on American Idol, so that's pretty cool. We attended one of the daily shows and the three contestants were good, but we didn't go back for the finale.

At Hollywood Studios we ate at the Studio Catering Co. How did we know what restaurants had gluten-free food? We emailed Disney ( and they sent us a TON of info, including gluten-free menus from the restaurants that served gluten-free food. At Studio Catering, Mike had a turkey club sandwich on an Ener-G Foods bun. Instead of fries, he got apple slices. The manager came out to help when we were ordering and made the sandwich herself.

Cinderella's castle at night
Magic Kingdom
Carousel of Progress - I love this stupid old ride, but chances are your husband probably won't.

We Fast Passed Splash Mountain to cut down on the wait time. Fast Pass is free to use at Disney, so use it!

For dinner we ate at Pecos Bill. Again, the manager came over to help as we ordered. My husband's hamburger on an Ener-G Foods bun and fries (which have their own cooker) was prepared by one person and brought out to us. The manager at Pecos Bill was knowledgeable about what my husband could and couldn't eat, which we really appreciated.

Because we were there at night, we got to see Cinderella's castle all lit up. It looked really cool. That's always a sight to see. The castle at Disney Land doesn't hold a candle to this one.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Max on Life - Book Review

I've never read a Max Lucado book. I take that back. I think I read He Chose the Nails a long time ago, but I honestly can't remember. So Max on Life is either the second or first Max Lucado book that I've read. And I really enjoyed it.

A few weeks ago I reviewed a book that was filled with faith-based questions, and that book had left me lukewarm. Max on Life is similar to that book in that there are questions about faith, Jesus, and Christianity, but they are answered by Max Lucado, and the questions are a little more relevant.

The book is divided into sections: Hope, Hurt, Help, Him/Her, Home, Haves/Have-Nots, and Hereafter. The questions in each section are based on actual questions that people have asked Max Lucado during his time traveling for his books and speaking around the world. Lucado decided to compile the answers to all these questions into one book.

There was a lot that I liked about this book (and still some things that I don't like, but I'm a more liberal Christian than Lucado), such as what he has to say about how Christians should treat women who have abortions:

And in all situations we must extend mercy. Many women who choose abortions are lost, scared, humiliated, guilt ridden, angry at themselves, alone. In some cases they were raped or violated. They don't need more condemnation, just clarification and compassion.

Look for ways to be a source of kindness. God is in the business of turning our mistakes into moments of grace. (p.62)

I can't stress enough how some Christians are so quick to condemn others when that is not at all how Jesus acted or wanted his followers to act. And though I don't agree with all of what Lucado has to say about Christians and gay people, I do agree with this:

Were Jesus to come face-to-face with a homosexual, what would he say? What would he do? Though the New Testament contains no such conversation, we do know how he would act.

He would express his love. As he did with Zacchaeus, he might go to his home. As with the Samaritan woman, he might sit with her in the shade of a well. As he did with Matthew, Jesus might offer a personal invitation. The exact words he would use, we don't know. But of their sentiment, we have no doubt. Jesus loves his gay children. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. This includes homosexuality. He made them, came for them, and died for them. And he would tell them so. (p.132)

There are also less controversial topics about worrying, praying, finances in marriage, and what we do in Heaven. If you have a question, chances are Lucado answers it in this book. And you'll want to read his answers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Going to Florida Gluten-Free Part 3

Islands of Adventure is home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you are planning a trip to this theme park and want to see the Harry Potter section of the park, check out for tips on how to do it right. If you don't get to the park early enough, like before the park opens, you either won't be able to get into The Wizarding World until later in the afternoon or at all. The section of the park gets that crowded.

We showed up an hour before the park opened and stood in line at the ticket turnstiles. As soon as we were let in (15 minutes early) we headed straight for Harry Potter. We were so early that our wait for The Forbidden Forest ride, which takes you through Hogwarts as you wait in line, took about 20 minutes. When we got off of the ride, the wait time was 90 minutes. We rode the next two rides back to back with minimal waiting time. Then I stood in line for Butterbeer (which I'm pretty sure was mainly just a $10 glass of cream soda), we looked around Hogsmeade, and left that section of the park. We didn't go into any of the stores mainly because I wasn't planning on buying an overpriced wand, nor did I want to stand in line for 45 minutes just to get inside Ollivander's.

Hogsmeade - do you see all the people?
A tip for riding the other rides at Islands of Adventure: single rider line. My husband and I cut our wait time down significantly for Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls. Sure we didn't ride together (on The Hulk we were on the same car but two rows apart) but IT SAVED US TIME.

For lunch we left the park to eat at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville on Universal's Citywalk, which is just outside both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. Margaritaville has a separate gluten-free menu, and Mike had a hamburger on a gluten-free bun and fries. I had a crab cake sandwich, which was a little bland but still pretty good.

me and the flying car
There is a restaurant within Islands of Adventure (Thunder Falls Terrace) that serves gluten-free food, but we didn't try it out. And FYI, Butterbeer is NOT gluten-free because the whipped topping is made where flour is used and you can't get it without the whipped topping because it is against trademark to serve it that way. Although, I don't recall any whipped topping on my Butterbeer. There was a foam on top of it, but it wasn't a whipped topping. Still, my husband didn't take any chances (not like he really cared whether or not he had Butterbeer). But if you want to experience gluten-free Butterbeer at home, check out this recipe I found from My Bakingdom. I've never heard of imitation butter before, but if it means I can make my own Butterbeer and drink it out of my awesome souvenir glass, then I will find imitation butter! (McCormick imitation stuff appears to be all gluten-free.)

Up next...DISNEY!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Going to Florida Gluten-Free Part 2

me and flamingos at Busch Gardens
Newsflash: Sometimes Florida gets hit by severe thunderstorms. But we didn't let the bad weather ruin our second day. The plan was to pack a lunch and drive down to Tampa to do Busch Gardens. We waited until the severe thunderstorm warning expired before leaving the hotel. By the time we got to Busch Gardens (which is kind of in a sketchy area) the rain had stopped and it was lunchtime. Oh, and the park was empty. So empty in fact that we got to park in the preferred lot. There are perks to rain!

No gluten-free eats at Busch Gardens, hence the packed lunch. We ate before going into the park.

There are some cool rides at Busch Gardens, but you can't bring loose items (purses, glasses, etc.) onto them. There are lockers at each of the rides and for 50 cents you can store your stuff while you ride. We did one locker and rode three rides, then went back and got our stuff before moving to another section of the park and renting a locker at one of the rides there.

Montu was a fun (and smooth) ride. Gwazi and Kumba were cool rides, too. You will get SOAKED on the Congo River Rapids, so only ride it if it is sunny and hot outside. There is a new roller coaster opening up at the end of May called Cheetah Hunt. Part of the park was under construction because of it and we were able to see some of the new coaster on our safari train ride.

After Busch Gardens we drove to St. Petersburg for a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game. But before the game we stopped at Maggiano's for some gluten-free pasta. Maggiano's is a chain restaurant that offers family style dining as well as individual plates. They don't have a specific gluten-free menu but all you have to do is tell the server you are gluten-free and he will be able to help you. Everything is made from scratch in-house so there are no weird ingredients. My husband got chicken parm with corn pasta and no breading on the chicken. If you tolerate gluten, might I suggest the four-cheese ravioli? So good. And it's under the Buy One Get One Free section of the menu. I'm not kidding. For $12 I got ravioli and a take-home container of another pasta of my choice (fettucini alfredo), which I ate for dinner the next night. (Another reason to have a cooler in your car and a fridge in your hotel room.)

Gluten Free Ballpark Favorites at Tropicana Field
We got to the Rays game at Tropicana Field with full stomachs, but that didn't stop us from sampling the food at the Gluten-Free Ballpark Favorites stand inside the stadium. Before leaving at the end of the 6th inning (the Rays were losing), my husband got a gluten-free hot dog on a tapioca flour bun. He said it was good. The stand also serves gluten-free beer, so if you find yourself at a Rays game, you can still nosh on classic baseball food. (Other baseball stadiums, such as Yankee Stadium and Busch Stadium, are also offering gluten-free items.)

Up next... going to Hogwarts, Animal Kingdom, and more!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Going to Florida Gluten-Free Part 1

Kennedy Space Center Rocket Garden
I'm going to highlight for you some of the places we visited in Florida and some of the places we ate at while we were there.

First off, if you have a connecting flight and there is a Five Guys at the airport and you are gluten-free, go eat at Five Guys. The Washington-Dulles airport has two Five Guys (one in the B terminal and one in the A terminal) and, with the exception of the bun, everything is gluten-free. That includes the fries. The burgers are delicious, even when you are eating one without the bun.

Now, once you are in Florida, what do you plan to do? I've been to Florida numerous times. My family went to Disney World on vacation all the time when I was a kid, and we did all the surrounding theme parks and beaches. You'd think there would be nothing left for me to see, but you would be wrong. I'd never been to the Kennedy Space Center, so my husband and I made that our first stop on our Florida vacation.

Our hotel in Lake Buena Vista (Quality Inn & Suites) was right near Disney World and Universal Studios and only an hour away from the Kennedy Space Center. (Our hotel was also in a prime restaurant spot, but more on that later.)

FYI: If you are a teacher or member of the military, you can get discounted tickets. That's what we did.

Space Shuttle Endeavor from the back
Upon arriving, you enter the visitor's center, which has a Rocket Garden, play areas for kids, and two IMAX theaters. The main attraction is the 90-minute to 2-hour tour. A shuttle bus takes you over to where the real NASA magic happens. First you go to an observatory deck to see the two space shuttle launch pads. When we were there, the space shuttle Endeavor was set up but we couldn't see it very well because it's back was toward us. The second tour stop is the Saturn V building where you watch a cool movie about the start of the U.S. space program, see the back-up shuttle for Apollo 8, touch a moon rock, and essentially marvel at how anyone was able to figure out just how to get anything up into space.

Unfortunately, Kennedy Space Center food venues are not gluten-free. However, the center does allow reentry, so just get your hand stamped at the exit, go out to your car, grab your cooler of food, and sit at the picnic tables in front of the bus parking lot. When you're done eating, you just go back to the main entrance (you'll have to go through security again), show them your stamped hand and you're back in! That's what we did and it saved us a lot of money on food.

inside the Saturn V building
For dinner, we lucked out. There was every restaurant imaginable near our hotel, including ones I haven't seen in years, such as Shoney's and Ponderosa. For non-gluten eaters, the array of restaurants is perfect. We ate at UNO, which offers gluten-free pizza and a delicious regular deep dish pizza. We love that place!

Our hotel room also had a full kitchenette, which made it possible for us to buy and store gluten-free breakfast and lunch items. The hotel also offered a free hot breakfast every morning and the yogurt they had out said "gluten-free" right on the packaging. The hotel probably didn't even know it, but I thought that was great because our first morning there, we hadn't gone to Walmart to get my husband's cereal yet and so he ate two cups of the yogurt.

Up next... Busch Gardens, gluten-free baseball, Islands of Adventure, and more!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

15 questions

No matter what mood I'm in, I can always go for a:  piece of chocolate. ALWAYS.

My favorite go-to outfit would have to be: jeans and a T-shirt, socks and sneakers (my husband doesn't like it that I call them tennis shoes - "You're not playing tennis!" he says)

A good source of inspiration is:

I am so glad my parents taught me: how to cook, how to do laundry, how to use WD-40, and other basic life essentials

A song I like to dance to is: "Telephone" by Lady Gaga

I wish everyone knew about: how hard teachers work in and out of the classroom

The best thing in my makeup bag is: Burt's Bees lip balm - it doesn't irritate my lips or skin

My dream spring break vacation spot is: Spring break is all about fun, so I'm going to say DOLLYWOOD!!!!!!!!!!!

This may be a surprise, but I am passionate about: Scrapbooking, but you already knew that...

A favorite book that changed me for the better: Half the Sky

One of my pet peeves is: People who walk slowly down the sidewalk. MOVE!

My favorite daily ritual would have to be: checking Google Reader. People need to update their stuff more!

I am trying to be better at: thinking positively

The most recent rad thing I found online was: I don't know if it is rad or not, but... My Carry Potty

I can't live without: doing fun stuff with my husband whenever we can

Friday, April 1, 2011

Christmas Card Love

I've posted before about Jingle Belles, a Christmas card-making challenge blog, but I'm going to post again because the kind ladies who run the blog chose my latest Christmas card as one of the featured cards for the week. Head on over to the Jingle Belles blog to check it out and the other great cards that were made for the challenge. The challenge was "holly and ivy/poinsettias/mistletoe/holiday foliage" and luckily I had just the stickers in my Christmas sticker stash. So I whipped them out, found some scraps, and got to work on a simple card. I left a space on my card for the family picture, so the card is only halfway complete, but I'm hoping to get a good "family picture" of my husband and me soon!

While you are visiting the Jingle Belles blog, check out the past challenges (and the new one, which should go up soon) for Christmas card inspiration!