Friday, December 30, 2016

As Long As Daddy Is Around Scrapbook Page

The full title of this one is "As Long As Daddy is Around Uncle Mark is Okay". That's because the poor baby did NOT like being held by her Uncle Mark.

But she tolerated him well enough when her daddy was by her side. She's so funny.

I used up some of the last bits of a paper pad that I've had in my stash for awhile. The blue letter stickers are Recollections and the small yellow letter stickers are October Afternoon.

I don't know where I got the heart map pin embellishment, but I somehow have a whole sheet of them in my embellishment stash, and they really seem to go with so much!

The "family" and "precious" word stickers are also from that same paper pad. And so are the circle stickers that are around them. I used my Spellbinders Grand Calibur to cut the picture and cardstock behind it into circles.

And yes, I took a picture of the baby crying. You have to remember these times, too, right?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Our Chubby Little Pumpkin Scrapbook Page

These pictures were taken three months ago, and it's like looking back at a different baby! How is the 6-month-old in these pictures now a 9-month-old with a whole lot more hair??? She still sucks her thumb like that when she's tired, though.

These pages were made by mom for my baby bib scrapbook. She gave me coordinating colored cardstock, and I used that to back the photos before adhering them to the pages.

It's amazing how much time flies. I'm almost glad that I'm behind in my scrapbooking because it give me a chance to reminisce while I scrapbook.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Meal Plan Monday - December 26

Happy birthday to me! That's right. Today I turn 33! We are having my traditional birthday dinner of meatballs with rice and green beans.

And that's about all I can tell you. I actually meal planned through Wednesday of this week because I didn't want to be going out to the grocery store around the holidays. So, tomorrow is leftovers (or getting takeout with my parents) and Wednesday is shepherd's pie.

After that, I have no idea. I'll just hit the grocery store on Thursday and see what's on sale!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and happy new year!

Friday, December 23, 2016

In Such Good Company - Review

Fans of Carol Burnett will really like her latest book In Such Good Company. This book is a chronicle of the 11 years that The Carol Burnett Show was on the air.

Last year, there was an infomercial for The Carol Burnett Show DVDs. All of the episodes in their full length, and Carol herself watched all of them and, I think, signed a few copies or did something special for the DVD release. Well, I think she also ended up writing this book.

This book takes you through the show's beginnings (and a little bit of Carol's beginnings, although I think she's already covered that in her other books) and gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at all that fun "in the sandbox". To write this book, Carol said she re-watched all of the episodes, and from that, she writes about her favorite Q&As with the audience, her favorite sketches, the favorite characters she played, her favorite guest stars, etc. There are stories in here that you may have never heard, unless you're a hardcore fan. And there are a few screenshots sprinkled throughout so that, as Carol says it, you can see the chemistry between the actors when they were performing.

What I thought was really interesting was the schedule for the show. They were hardly in the studio! Seemed like a dream schedule and not one you would see EVER in today's film and television industry.

What I didn't like so much was Carol's rehashing of certain sketches word for word. There's something MUCH different about someone telling you, "Here's how the sketch went" and actually watching it for yourself. I really wished that I could just watch the episodes or the sketches along with Carol, like watch the DVDs with Carol's commentary over it. Because I'm sure that these sketches she's printing word for word in the book are HILARIOUS when you see them. But the "funny" is kind of lacking when you're just reading the words on the page.

I think this book would be a great addition to the DVD release (if it's still available) for a fan of The Carol Burnett Show.

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Card Wall Tree

So remember how last year I decorated clothespins with glitter so that I could make my Christmas card "garland" on my mantel a little more festive?

Well, this year, I REALLY pared down my holiday decorations and there is no Christmas card mantel "garland".

Instead, I decided to do something that I've seen numerous people do before: make a Christmas tree on my wall and "hang" Christmas cards from the tree.

I don't know what everybody else uses for their trees, but I happened to have FrogTape (green painter's tape) in my kitchen pantry because I use it for EVERYTHING. Yes, painting, of course. But I also use it to label containers of food, the organizational bins in my bathroom closet, etc. It doesn't peel off like masking tape or Scotch tape, which seems to be a problem for me, and it's easy to remove.

Like from a wall.

We have these big framed sections on the walls in our dining room/living room, so I figured the biggest one would be the perfect canvas for this. I just made a triangle shape out of the FrogTape, and then I tear off a small piece of the FrogTape to "hang" the Christmas cards.

Did I measure my tree before putting the FrogTape on the wall? No. I eyeballed it. Because that's just how I roll. But if you want yours to be JUST. SO. then you better break out measuring tape, I guess.

As you can see in the above picture, the baby is super impressed.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Meal Plan Monday - December 19

Happy holidays! We've got one more week until Christmas hits, and here's what we're eating:

Sunday: fettuccine alfredo and Chebe cheese buns (Stay tuned for more on the cheese buns!)

Monday: pepperoni puffs

Tuesday: Gorton's Tilapia, rice, and corn

Wednesday: praline chicken

Thursday: grilled cheese and tomato soup

Friday: lasagna

Saturday: Christmas Eve!

Sunday: Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Monte Cristo-Style Chef Salad

So I first made this salad LAST YEAR based on the Monte Cristo-Style Chef Salad recipe that was in an issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray. (I think the magazine changed its name and is now Rachael Ray Everyday?) At the time, I took a picture of my salad and placed it against a picture of the salad from the magazine, and then shared it on Instagram. And wouldn't you know, my Instagram photo made it into one of the next issues of the Rachael Ray magazine!

A photo posted by Laurie (@cookscrapcraft) on

But I guess I never posted about this recipe on the blog! Oversight!

And I actually didn't make this recipe again until last week! I'm not sure why it took me so long to get back to it. Yes, it's gluten-free! But maybe it's because I like it more than my husband. He's not a fan of hard-boiled eggs.

The dressing is really easy to whip up. I left out the shallots and just whisked the apple cider vinegar with the maple syrup and dijon mustard in a saucepan that had been heating up on medium heat for a few minutes.

You can also put chives and pickle slices on top, but I didn't have any chives this time and I don't like the sliced butter pickles. I'm more of a sweet gherkins girl myself. Also, I needed to use more baby spinach. Don't know why I was so stingy this time!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December Daily Sneak Peeks

I talked two weeks ago about doing a December Daily album, and today I thought I'd share with you some of the pages that I worked on in advance. No pictures yet. I don't even have the whole album totally together, but I've got all the paper and embellishments on!

The patterned paper came from a Christmas paper pad that had been in my stash for a very long time. I just did one piece of paper for each page of my mini chipboard album.

The embellishments were extras from my stash. I've been hanging on to them for awhile now, and it was time for them to go!

And I just used some solid color cardstock from my stash to round everything out. Now I'm ready to go for my pictures! I just need to take them and print them!

How far along are you with your December Daily? What strategy are you using to get it done? Share in the comments!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Meal Plan Monday - December 12

So we ate really well last week! And I'm hoping that can continue through this week. There's one new thing on the menu, and then we're basically just using up stuff we have in the pantry and freezer for everything else.

Here's what's on the menu:

Sunday - cheesy baked ravioli

Monday - creamy white bean and bacon soup (New!)

Tuesday - tacos

Wednesday - hamburger stroganoff

Thursday - leftovers

Friday - turkey burgers and fries

Saturday - on our own

Friday, December 9, 2016

Favorite Freezer Staples

There's nothing better than wondering what's for dinner and opening up the freezer to find just what you need. That's why we like to keep our freezer stocked with a few essentials that are perfect for quick weeknight meals, and some can even be used as a main dish or a side dish. The freezer is for more than just ice!

Here are the staples that we always keep in our freezer:

1. Ore-Ida Steak Fries
Or Crinkle Fries. I prefer the Crinkle Fries, but my husband likes the Steak Fries. Whichever one we end up getting, these are a wonderful accompaniment to the chicken tenders listed above or the turkey burgers listed below. We cook them in our toaster oven and it works great.

2. Perdue Simply Smart Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders
Frequently, our grocery store puts these babies on sale, and I always make sure to grab a bag. These are great and very quick to cook up if you need something easy on a weeknight.

3. Against the Grain gluten-free baguettes
These are kind of expensive (I've never seen a coupon), but it really is my favorite gluten-free baguette. We like baking up half of one baguette to accompany pasta, but sometimes we cut one baguette into two halves and use them for Gluten-free French Bread Pizza.

4. Jennie-O Turkey Burgers
This one is another that is rather expensive, but you get a lot of turkey burger patties in one box, so it lasts you through several meals. And sometimes you can find coupons for Jennie-O products at We cook these up on our George Foreman grill. Doesn't take very long and tastes good.

5. Ground Beef, Chicken Breasts, etc.
Any time that bulk meat is on sale, we buy it. We then open the package it comes in and separate it into multiple Ziploc freezer bags. For ground beef, we try to divvy up a three-pound package into three freezer bags with one pound of ground beef in each. And for chicken, I try to do two chicken breasts per freezer bag. Meat and poultry keep great in the freezer, and even though buying the larger portions can be expensive, you're getting more than one meal out of it, so it does end up being worth it in the end. Plus, our grocery store is always having sales on the bulk meat.

What do you guys keep in your freezer?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Raising an Original - Book Review

Whether you've got one kid (like me) or eight kids (like the author of the book Raising an Original), you probably want to raise your kids right.

Whatever "right" means.

And there's the rub. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting.

Each kid is different and unique and so needs a different and unique approach to how he or she is raised. But how do you determine just what kind of approach will work for your kid?

Read Julie Lyles Carr's book Raising an Original! This mother, blogger, public speaker, nonprofit founder, and psychologist gives you the guidelines you need to figure out just what makes your kid special and how you as a parent can help to bring forth that God-given specialness instead of hinder it.

And there are plenty of ways that parents can hinder their kids originality. You might not even know you're doing some of these things, but Carr will call you out on it in this book!

The book includes a little quiz to help you determine which of four personalities your child has (The Director, The Inspirer, The Steadfast, and The Curator), and you can even take the quiz yourself to find out what kind of personality you have. If you and your kid have clashing personalities, this book will help you understand how to NOT make them clash.

This book is all about helping parents realize that they can't make their kids be someone they're not. That the ultimate goal isn't necessarily to raise a child to make a lot of money or be famous or have a prestigious career. The ultimate goal is just to help your child thrive being himself or herself, no matter what that means for their future. The ultimate goal is to see each of your children for who they really are and help them live their lives with the courage to be original.

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.”

Monday, December 5, 2016

Meal Plan Monday - December 5

I recently reorganized our recipe binder and was reminded of some really great recipes that we haven't had in awhile. So that's what this week is devoted to. Here's what we're bringing back to the meal plan:

Sunday: Sausage Alfredo Skillet

Monday: Loaded Baked Potato Skins

Tuesday: Sloppy Joes

Wednesday: Monte Cristo Chef's Salad (Apparently, I've never blogged about the time we made this salad. I'll have to remedy that!)

Thursday: Pasta Carbonara

Friday: Chicken Cordon Blue Paninis

Saturday: Cheesy Baked Ravioli

Thursday, December 1, 2016

3 Tips for Doing a December Daily

Is it December Daily time already? Hard to believe that we're in the last month of 2016, but it's true. I plan on doing a December Daily album again this year, and I've got all my supplies ready to go.

I've been doing a December Daily since 2011, and each year I feel like I have a different technique when it comes to getting it done. I always try to adhere to a few basic rules, though. I find that it just makes everything go a little smoother.

1. Pick out your album now
It doesn't have to be a specific December Daily album. Any old album will do. You can probably find ones on sale at TJ Maxx, Marshall's, or Big Lots. Don't forget the scrapbook aisle at Walmart. They always have inexpensive supplies. I actually found a great Recollections chipboard album at Michael's for $4.99! (Binder ring chipboard albums make it really easy to add in Christmas cards that you receive because you can just punch holes in your cards and insert them as regular pages!)

I found this Recollections chipboard album at Michael's for $4.99!

2. Lay out your pages ahead of time
This doesn't always happen in my busy life, but in the past when I've done this, it has been a lifesaver! It will require you to have your papers and embellishments already picked out. If you have scrap paper and leftover embellishments from last year's holiday scrapbook pages, then this would be a perfect opportunity to use those up. (That's what I'm doing!) December Daily albums are generally smaller albums, so you don't need full-sized paper.

A December Daily album is a great way to use up the Christmas scraps from last year's Christmas scrapbook pages!

3. Don't Stress About Taking a Picture Every Day
Not every day is going to be a day where something holiday-themed happens. And that's okay. The album is more about quickly jotting down the holiday memories that happen throughout the month. So if you have a holiday cookie exchange on a Monday but then don't go ice skating with the kids until Friday, don't sweat it! The holidays are already a stressful time. The December Daily doesn't have to be part of that!

My very first DD! I do them differently each year!