Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Pose Scrapbook Page

I was going through my drawer of Basic Grey papers and realized that I had several papers and sticker sheets from the same Basic Grey collections! So I decided to make scrapbook layouts using the coordinating pieces. I can't remember which collection the stuff on this layout came from. Needless to say, the collection is old and no longer being sold.

This is a page from my brother- and sister-in-law's wedding last summer. I saw this hammock where the bride and groom were having their pictures done, and I convinced my other sister-in-law and my other brother-in-law's girlfriend at the time to pose with me on the hammock.

Some of the elements on this layout are not Basic Grey. The large green letters are American Crafts Thickers. The frame around the photo was just something from my stash. But I like how all the different pieces came together on this one layout.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Turkey, Arugula, and Goat Cheese Paninis - August Pinterest Challenge

The month of August is almost over with, but I'm still working my way through my August Pinterest Challenge list! Today I'm sharing a recipe for Turkey, Arugula, and Goat Cheese Paninis from Fitness magazine.

I was initially going to make this for lunch, but because it's kind of healthy and my husband is always asking me to make healthier dinners (apparently, he thinks red meat is bad for you - WHAT?), I decided to make these paninis for dinner one night!

It's just bread, deli turkey, arugula, crumbled goat cheese, and molasses. Okay, specifically it was supposed to be pomegranate molasses, but I don't know what kind of fancy-schmancy store sells that. Not my grocery store! So we settled for regular molasses.

Honestly, I would leave out the molasses. These sandwiches would b just fine on their own without it. Maybe it's the brand of molasses I bought, but I always thought molasses was supposed to be kind of sweet, no? This wasn't.

But I haven't had goat cheese since before I was pregnant, so it felt good to have it again now! I love goat cheese!

Also, you don't have to have a panini press to make paninis. We just used our George Foreman grill! (Make sure to spray it down with cooking spray first or your bread will stick. I learned this the hard way.)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Open House Scrapbook Page

Growing up in the St. Louis area, I'm still surprised when I discover that there are places there I've never been to! The Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site was one of those places. And I got to visit there last summer with my parents.

These are the pictures I took of Grant's home. I found just the right papers in an old Colorbok paper pad that I've had in my stash for a couple years. The letter stickers and journaling spot came from the paper pad, too.

I also had some pearl brads in my stash that I thought fit the old-timey, traditional theme of the pictures and the papers.

If you're in the St. Louis area and you are going to Grant's Farm, consider taking a jaunt over to Grant's home, too!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Firework Scrapbook Page

Lately I've been showing a lot of scrapbook pages that were pre-made - I put together the page minus pictures, and then added pictures later once I had some that fit. And that's the case again with today's scrapbook page!

Here's the baby on the 4th of July! I have no idea where I got these papers. I think it was a cheapo themed page kit, maybe from the $1 spot at Target? All I know is that I purchased them a long time ago, and I've had this pre-made page in my stash for almost as long. It's just been rare that we take pictures on the 4th of July, and even rarer that I've had vertical photos. (I'm working on that!!)

So when I thought about how to scrapbook these pictures of the baby, I was so excited to remember that this pre-made page was waiting for me! I added the red background paper around the bottom two photos. Originally, this was a one-picture page. And I added the blue sparkly letters for the title. Those are from Recollections.

But other than that... this whole pre-made page thing is really making scrapbooking easier for me these days. A little work back then has really paid off now!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Roasted Smashed Potatoes - August Pinterest Challenge

"Those potatoes were amazing!"

That's what my husband said after dinner the other night in which I served up Roasted Smashed Potatoes as a side dish to our baked fish. 

And I have to second his sentiments. These were pretty awesome! 

It's just red potatoes that you bake, smash, season, and bake some more. I bought a 1.5-pound bag of small red potatoes. You're supposed to smash them with a potato masher, but I didn't have one of those, so I just used a juice glass. 

The skin on these was crispy. The seasoning of salt, pepper, and thyme was just perfect. And who doesn't like roasted potatoes? 

Aaaaaand that's another thing crossed off my August Pinterest Challenge list!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Forever You & Me Scrapbook Page

I've got another scrapbook layout to share with you. This one literally took me two minutes to put together. Why? Because the page was pre-made! All I had to do was stick on the picture I wanted and I was done!

The papers and stickers on this were all part of a paper pad kit that I purchased WAY back in 2006! As I got down to the final couple of pieces in it, I just started putting pages together minus any pictures just so I could use up as much of the kit as I could and then get rid of the rest. This pre-made page has been in my stash for SO long! I'm glad I finally had a picture that fit! This picture is me and my husband at a wedding last June. Babies Junior was also in this picture - we just didn't know it yet!

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Mad Woman Upstairs - Book Club

Catherine Lowell's The Mad Woman Upstairs was my book club's pick for August. A book club member discovered it when it was recommended to her through her Kindle. Because we had read Jane Eyre several months ago and because we were looking for something light to read for summer, we decided that a fictional book about the last surviving descendant of the Bronte family sounded like a good choice.

Here's a basic synopsis:
Samantha Whipple is the last remaining descendant of the Bronte family on her father's side. Her father has died. Her mother lives in Paris. And Samantha is now a student at Oxford's Old College where she is doing everything she can to avoid talking about the Brontes. But there is speculation that a "vast Bronte estate" exists and that Samantha, much like her late father, is hiding it from the public. Samantha knows she has an inheritance from her father, but she doesn't know what it is! And he's sent her on a scavenger hunt of sorts to find it.
So Samantha is our main character, and then you've got a vengeful old man named Sir John who thinks Samantha really does know about the "vast Bronte estate", and then you've also got Samantha's tutor at school who is all broody and hunky (much like Mr. Rochester?) and wants to help Samantha without crossing inappropriate lines.

What did I think of the book? It took me awhile to get into. But once Samantha started getting clues from her dad, the book took on more of a Da Vinci Code quality, minus people getting killed, and I liked the unraveling of mysteries. It also made me curious just how much of the information Lowell included about the Brontes was real and how much she just made up to create a good story for this novel. Lowell was an English major at Stanford, so I'm guessing she studied the Brontes extensively, hence her ability and interest in writing a novel about them?

What did my book club think of this book? Well, only three of us showed up, and only two of the three read the book. But the two of us that did read the book had a good discussion about it! The other woman liked the book, saying that it was a fast read (she read it in one day!) and that she liked how it echoed Jane Eyre without being a complete re-telling of Jane Eyre. She, too, wished that an afterword had been included with the book giving us a little more backstory as to how the author came to write about this. I think it's safe to say that we would recommend this book to other book clubs.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Lantern Lights Part 2 Scrapbook Page

And here is the second part of the three-page layout for the pictures from the Lantern Festival. If you missed the first two pages, check them out here.

I had used photo pocket pages for the first two layouts, but I didn't do that with this third page because I wouldn't have been able to fill in the backside of a photo pocket page using whatever pictures were coming next. That's always the downside of the photo pocket pages!

The patterned paper is Sassafras Lass, and it's the same paper that I used for the title on the first page of this layout. The green background paper is Basic Grey. The journaling spot is also Sassafras Lass, and the butterfly was just something from my stash. I just liked that it gave some dimension to this layout. It's pretty!

I had so much fun taking pictures at the Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. If they do it again, you should definitely go!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cleaning Your Pillows (Or Replacing Them) - August Pinterest Challenge

I had every intention of cleaning and drying our pillows because, let's be honest, it hasn't been done since I bought our pillows a couple years ago. So I turned to this tutorial from My Frugal Adventures, and the very first thing you're supposed to do before you even start the cleaning process is determine if your pillows are worth the time it will take to clean. Meaning, should you just replace the pillows outright?

How do you do that? Well, if your pillows are crazy flat like ours were, that might be a good indication.

But for more proof, fold your pillow in half. If it flips back open, then it's alright and you should continue with the cleaning process. But if it stays flipped, it's a dud. Get rid of it!

Guess what our pillows did?

Not good.

So I hopped on over to Kohl's because I had a coupon. (When do I never NOT have a Kohl's coupon?) And I found some really plush microfiber and hypo-allergenic pillows on sale for $4.99.

Ahhhhh it feels so good to have nice new pillows! And it forced me to finally change our sheets. Win win!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lantern Lights Part 1 Scrapbook Page

So last summer I went to the Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. I wrote more about it in this blog post last year, but I'm just now getting around to scrapping the pictures I took at the event.

I had SO many pictures! It was very hard to decide which ones to print, and then I needed an easy way to get all of them scrapped! So once I narrowed down my pictures, I busted out the photo pocket pages to create these two layouts using horizontal 4x6 pictures.

Those glittery blue sticker letters are Recollections brand. And the paper is old Sassafras Lass papers. I liked the colors on the paper, which I thought reflected all the color of the Lantern Festival.

The back of the paper had these colorful flower sketches on them, which I also thought fit well with the Lantern Festival because there were (as you can see from the photos) light-up flowers within the show!

So, this is "part 1" because I still had several vertical photos that I just couldn't leave out. So I'm in the process of finishing up a solo page for the last four photos that won't use any photo pockets. It'll just be a regular page, but it will still use the same patterned paper so that all three of these pages are tied together. I'll share it with you soon!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Grocery Bag Holder - August Pinterest Challenge

This might have gotten done a lot earlier if people hadn't kept throwing away my empty Clorox Wipes containers!!

So, here it is: a grocery bag holder.

I don't know about you, but I always re-use plastic grocery bags as trash bags for our bathroom trashcans. Grocery bags are the perfect size for the smaller cans! But if you're like me, then you're stash of grocery bags might look something like this:

Never fear! The internet is here with multiple tutorials on how to take an empty Clorox Wipes container (or Lysol Wipes container, if you use that brand) and fill it up with your grocery bags. I followed this tutorial from Tatertots and Jello.

I did everything except embellish my container because, well, I just didn't have time or care to do so. But you can totally get on board with that if you want!

I like this because you get to re-use two things that would otherwise just get thrown away. And it clears up a cabinet that is overflowing with grocery bags.

And this crosses yet another thing off of my Pinterest Challenge list!

Monday, August 15, 2016

I Had a Good Day at BEA Scrapbook Page

I didn't get to go to Book Expo America this year, but I did get to relive my experience there last year when I put together this scrapbook page.

You know when you have paper in your stash that you think is cute so you don't throw it away but you honestly have no idea when you'll ever use it?

Yeah, that was this October Afternoon paper for me. But then I realized that this book-themed paper would be just perfect for scrapping about a book-themed convention!

I made the pocket at the bottom left of the page to hold the author autographs I received. The "I Had a Good Day at BEA" circle is actually a sticker I got at the show. And above that is part of my BEA badge. Next to that is a picture from that time when I met Christie Brinkley!

My daughter is going to look through my scrapbooks and think that mommy had some pretty sweet adventures before she was born. "But who is Christie Brinkley?" she'll ask.

If you've never been to BEA before, check out this post on why you should totally go!

Friday, August 12, 2016

For Better or For Kids - Book Review

If you're married and you've got kids, then you'll probably want to read this book!

Authors Patrick and Ruth Schwenk have written a book that is for all those busy, harried, exhausted, child-centric couples who have forgotten to take time for themselves, who are missing a spark from their marriages, and who desperately want to get it back!

This is a book that, as the tagline says, is "a vow to love your spouse with kids in the house".

It's all about embracing the chaos! You've got to work together, parent together, and find the time together to focus on just the two of you. Life will get hard. Life will get busy. But you will live through it! It's nothing that you can't handle TOGETHER.

As a new mom, my husband and I have very baby-centered lives, and I think that's the way it should be for right now. But as our daughter gets older, this book will be kept in a prominent place on my bookshelf as a resource and reminder to not get so caught up in the craziness of multiple schedules, financial strain, work, and whatever else comes our way. We have to remember to take time for just the two of us.

I didn't always love the way the book was set up. You've got two people writing together and switching perspectives multiple times throughout each chapter. So as you're reading, you'll see "I (Patrick) did this..." and then "I (Rachel) was very upset that..." And I just wish there was a better way to denote who was talking or have them both "talk" together.

But with discussion questions throughout the book for you and your spouse to go over together, I think this book would be a great choice for a couples Bible study!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> 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.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Let's Go for a Walk! - Dog Scrapbook Page

Many years ago, I had a dog-themed scrapbook kit. And in order to use up the last few bits of it, I pre-made a couple pages with the intent to add pictures whenever I had them. It was a great idea, except one of those pre-made pages has been in my scrapbook stash ever since just waiting for the right photos to come along.

And now is finally the time!

These are my dog "sisters". I took this picture in May 2015 when I was visiting my parents for a long weekend. It's the only picture I took of the dogs during that trip, and this page was just right for a single picture. I simply put the picture on a solid orange cardstock background and then adhered that to the page. 

And voila! A scrapbook page done and something else out of my stash!

Feels good!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Nail Polish Apothecary Jar - Pinterest Challenge

This is probably the easiest thing that was pinned to my August Pinterest Challenge board. So why did it take me so long to get it done??

All I had to do was put my nail polish in an apothecary jar.

I have several glass containers on my bathroom counter for holding various toiletries. I used to keep all of my nail stuff in a zippered pouch, which was working great, but I loved the idea of all the colors of my nail polish bunched together inside the glass apothecary jar.

The apothecary jar came as part of a set that I purchased from Oriental Trading Company earlier this year to complete a different Pinterest craft! Check out more info on that here!

I also wanted to talk about my new favorite polish right now: Zori from Julep.

I redeemed some Jules (reward points through the Julep Maven program) for a free Julep Maven box, and the Zori color was one of the polishes in the box. It looked a little too bold, a little too purple for my fingernails. (I'm supposed to wear more toned-down colors for work.) But I decided to try it anyway. And I was pleasantly surprised! The color, as labeled on the bottle, is sheer. So it's actually not as bold as you'd expect. Plus, it's got glitter in it, and I was always told that glitter in polish makes it adhere to your nail better.

Maybe it was having a baby, I'm not sure, but I've recently gotten MUCH better at giving myself manicures. Any other moms out there experience this?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Gluten-Free Mozzarella Sticks: August Pinterest Challenge

When something on Pinterest doesn't go right for me, I usually don't share it with you on the blog. Why share with you something that I wouldn't recommend? But in honor of the Pinterest Challenge I'm doing, I'm going to share with you photographic evidence that I've completed the things I said I would.

So, dear readers, behold: gluten-free mozzarella sticks. 

Kind of a #pinterestfail.

I'm sure the original recipe is just fine. Maybe it was the gluten-free flour. Maybe it was the addition of parmesan cheese. Maybe it was the gluten-free bread crumbs and the fact that I didn't add in the panko because, well, panko isn't gluten-free.

Whatever it was, these mozzarella sticks just didn't turn out as tasty as I hoped. 

They were VERY easy to put together. I mean it's just string cheese dipped in flour, egg, and a bread crumb mixture, and then baked in the oven. But as someone who is OBSESSED with mozzarella sticks, these were not satisfying to my tastebuds.

But now I know! And I don't have to see this on my Pinterest boards and think, "Boy, I sure would like to make that." Done and done.

Friday, August 5, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Scrapbook Page: August Pinterest Challenge

Alright, kids! It is only a few days into the month of August, and I've already completed one thing off of my August Pinterest Challenge list. If you missed the post from a few days ago, I'm trying to do one thing in almost all of my Pinterest boards this month. I'm tired of pinning and not doing!

Who wants to join me??

I've had this scrapbook sketch from Got Sketch? pinned for quite some time, and I finally decided it was time to turn it into an actual scrapbook layout. I had just the pictures for it, too!

I found a lovely St. Patrick's Day-themed paper pack from Doodlebug Designs to complete this layout of baby's first St. Patrick's Day! (She was born just in time!) It was a whole big kit that came with the patterned paper, letter stickers, brads, sequins, and embellishments. I thought about trying to put together my own St. Patty's kit, but the Doodlebug Designs Essentials Kit was a whole lot easier!

As you can see, instead of doing squares alongside the pictures, I used a hexagon punch that my mom gave me. And those hearts inside the pink hexagons are actually felt brads. I put the journaling inside the clouds underneath the rainbow.

Thanks for looking! What else will I cross off my Pinterest Challenge list next?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Pinterest Challenge

Do you spend all your time pinning things on Pinterest but not actually DOING any of the things you've pinned?

Yeah, that's me.

In the past I've tried to make an effort to actually do some of the things that I've pinned, whether that was my crafty month during this year's National Craft Month or just adding new recipes to our weekly menus. But there are so many more pins that I need to actually DO, so I'm going to try and make August a Pinterest Challenge month: complete one pin from all of my 49 Pinterest boards.

(How the heck do I have 49 Pinterest boards?????)

Okay, so some of my Pinterest boards I won't be able to do: Kids' Parties (our kid isn't having a party any time soon), Books (it's just a board where I post my book reviews), and Photos (there are only 3 things pinned in there). But I'm going to try for all the others!

So, here are the links of the stuff I'm going to try to complete. I hope that by sharing this with you guys it will hold me accountable:

1. Mini Shepherd Pot Pies

2. Craft Room Makeover - Work Station

3. Put together THIS outfit

4. Bedroom Art

5. Nail Polish Apothecary Jar

6. Grocery Bag Container

7. Artwork for Baby's Room

8. No Heat Curls

9. Dining Room Wall Art

10. T-shirt Blanket

11. Fridge Organizer

12. Go-to Snack Center

13. Golden Girls Valentines!

14. Buy this book pillow (If it's still available...)

15. Googly Eyes Halloween Picture Frame

16. Healthy and Delicious Pumpkin Bread

17. Twix Cookies

18. Gluten-Free Mozzarella Sticks

19. Read Tips for Sleep Training Baby

20. Summer Gift Idea

21. How to Clean &; Dry Your Pillows

22. Book Holiday Tree

22. Turkey, Arugula, and Goat Cheese Panini

23. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Popsicles

24. Create a scrapbook layout based on this sketch

25. Gluten-free Chocolate Donuts with Cookie Dough Frosting

26. Buy this T-shirt Display Frame

27. Fruit and Herb-Flavored Water

28. No-Bake S'mores Protein Bars

29. Roasted Smashed Potatoes

30. Chai Tai

31. Do a Mario Batali Food Tour in Greenwich Village

32. Read "Marketing for Introverts"

33. Breakfast Pizza

34. Create Blessing Bags for homeless people in NYC

35. Valentine's Day mason jar craft

36. Get a head start on Easter cards for 2017

37. Turn tea cups into candles

Monday, August 1, 2016

In Memory of Bread - Review

There have been a lot of books written about Celiac disease, most from a scientific perspective, not many from a personal perspective. But in Paul Graham's memoir In Memory of Bread, he recounts what it was like to live 30+ years as a gluten eater and then suddenly be told that the food and beverages he loved so much were killing him.

Beer and bread were what Graham missed the most, and he goes on a quest to find decent GF substitutes, only to ask that without the gluten - the ingredients that make bread "bread" and beer "beer" - can either truly be called "bread" or "beer"?

Graham and his wife are pretty lucky, a fact he readily admits. While they don't live in an area where GF products are available in abundance, they do have the means to belong to a CSA and get farm-fresh veggies and meats for cooking and eating REAL, naturally gluten-free food. Not everyone with Celiac disease has that luxury. Not every with Celiac disease, I'm sure, can afford the processed GF food substitutes. And that's really sad. If it's not enough to have to give up some of your favorite foods, try paying $8 for a substitute that really doesn't taste the same.

As the wife of someone with Celiac, I hope Graham's book opens people's eyes to this autoimmune disease and just how difficult it is to continue eating and enjoying food in the same way. There's no way that anyone willingly goes gluten-free.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.