Saturday, September 23, 2017

Happy Scrapbook Page

I decided to do the other September sketch challenge over at Stick It Down. Because why not? The more you enter, the better your chances of winning! So here's what I came up with for the two-page sketch challenge:

I used my new American Crafts Jen Hadfield Home + Made collection. It is very family themed, which was perfect for these pictures of my daughter with her grandparents.

I used foam stickers to make the hearts pop off the page, and I layered washi tape and a paper strip over the patterned paper.

The title was easy because it was a Thickers sentiment, so all I had to do was stick it down. And the golden flower was one of the embellishments from the collection, as was the journaling tag. I thought the words "Grateful Hearts" was appropriate, especially now, because my mom passed away a few months ago, so we were definitely grateful that my parents were able to come and visit for my daughter's first birthday party earlier this year.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Power Bowl Challenge

So this month I started participating in a 21-day Power Bowl Challenge through Healthy Habits Happy Moms. It's a free challenge, and it's all about committing to eating one healthy, balanced power bowl meal a day.

Just one. That's it.

(And if you can't get one in every day, like me, well, that's fine, too. The point is, you are doing SOMETHING.)

The HHHM ladies supply you with the recipes and shopping lists. You just have to go out and buy the ingredients and make the power bowls. You can make them in advance, store them in mason jars, and eat them throughout the week. And if you're not feeling any of the recipes that week, HHHM says to totally feel free to come up with your own power bowl recipes.

So far, I've done a chicken strawberry salad power bowl and a greek chicken power bowl. I have to admit, I thought I was going to have to grab take-out on my first day eating one of these because I really didn't have high hopes that it would be good.

But it was!

And I like that this is NOT a diet. It's just a simple and easy way to get some healthy meals into your breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

If you want to sign up, you still can! Just go here!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Take 2 Scrapbook Page

I discovered a new scrapbook challenge site! It's called Stick it Down, and they have three challenges per month: a card sketch challenge, a single-page sketch challenge, and a two-page sketch challenge. You can enter all three challenges if you want, and each entry is a chance at being a guest designer or winning a prize pack!

So here is my take on the single-page sketch challenge!

For this one, I used up old Sassafras Lass papers and sticker embellishments, plus some American Crafts Thickers and a feather rub-on that was in my stash.

I cut the circles using my Creative Memories cutting system.

And I used the thick side of my dual-tip acid-free pink pen to outline the picture because I felt like it needed something a little extra to help it pop.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Quick 2-Page Scrapbook Layouts

I have been trying to spend time every day to get at least one scrapbook layout done. So the other day I sat down, opened up Pinterest, and was all ready to start scrolling through my Scrapbook/Cards board for a seven-picture two-pager that I could scraplift when what did I see right there on my Pinterest home page?

A seven-picture two-page scrapbook layout.

And then the next day when I sat down to scrapbook a six-picture two-page layout, what did I see right there on my Pinterest home page? You guessed it!

How did Pinterest know just what I was looking for to make my scrapbook endeavors so much easier and less time consuming?

Here's the first one. For this one, I used a first birthday kit that I put together several months ago during a Michael's run. The papers are Recollections, which seems to be the only paper brand that Michael's carries. I can't remember who makes the dimensional stickers. The green ribbon is from my stash.

I also threw in some of the sparkly stickers from the clearance kit I put together a few weeks ago because some of the colors were similar. You can see the hearts below.

And now here is the second two-pager that I made.

I was all excited about having cake smash photos, but of course, I have the kid who doesn't start eating table foods until she's 15 months. Also, she had an ear infection on her birthday.

This layout used up some extra paper and embellishments from the clearance kit, some old Target $1 spot letter stickers, some of the 1st birthday stickers, and a glittery orange sticker embellishment that had been in my stash and stood in for ribbon.

You can see both of the original scrapbook pages in my Scrapbook/Cards Pinterest board and get a lot more inspiration there, too!

And if you were wondering, yes, I decided to extend the baby's third first year album by four extra pages so that I could include all of her first birthday. It was the right thing to do!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Twinkie Tradition Scrapbook Page

Sharing a layout that I made for The ScrapRoom September JumpStart Sketch Challenge! The challenge ends on September 30, so if you want to play along, you still have time. And you don't have to be a subscriber to The ScrapRoom kit club. (I'm not.)

For this layout, I used grey cardstock as the base, and then added a border of black-and-white washi tape. Inside that border, I put sleeping cloud-patterned paper from Recollections with solid black cardstock right behind the two pictures, plus heart patterned paper from the American Crafts Jen Hatfield collection.

I was really hoping to find some cursive letters so that I could spell out "tradition", but I didn't have anything like that in my stash. Instead, I used American Crafts Thickers and some old Making Memories mini letters to do the title.

I also used up the last two first birthday 3-D stickers on this layout. They worked with these photos because one photo is of me on my first birthday in 1984, and the other photo is of my daughter's first birthday. We tried recreating my photo with my daughter. It sort of worked. (She did not like the Twinkie, by the way.)

Thanks for looking!

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Tale of Two Pumpkin Breads

It's fall, y'all! And in my quest to make everything on my Fall Pinterest board, I tried two new pumpkin recipes. (Note: I did not make these gluten-free because my husband refuses to eat anything pumpkin-flavored. He is weird.)

The first one was your standard pumpkin bread recipe. The original pin was from A Kitchen Addiction who adapted it from Nancy Creative who adapted it from a cookbook. I used the Nancy Creative version minus the buttercream frosting because the baby woke up from her nap so I didn't have time to make it.

You guys, this pumpkin bread tastes JUST LIKE STARBUCKS PUMPKIN BREAD.

In fact, I think the next time I make it, I want to add toasted pumpkin seeds on top just like they do at Starbucks.

The next pumpkin recipe I tried was a bit fancier and maybe a bit healthier. It's Paleo Pumpkin Coffee Cake from Jay's Baking Me Crazy.

Surprisingly, I had all of the ingredients in my pantry already thanks to a gluten-free cake that my sister-in-law made at my mother-in-law's house, and then my mother-in-law gave all the ingredients to me.

It tasted very much like pumpkin pie with a coffee cake crumble topping. Not at all what I was expecting but not bad. While I think I prefer the classic taste of the pumpkin bread, at least with this coffee "cake", I can feel a little better about eating it knowing that it's paleo and sort of healthy.

So that's three things this month that I've made containing pumpkin. I am well on my way to enjoying this wonderful flavor of fall, and we haven't even reached the first day of fall yet!

Friday, September 15, 2017

My Guests Scrapbook Page

Can I make a confession? I am really struggling with where to put my daughter's first birthday party pictures. Do I add extra pages to her third first-year album (yes, third) or do I just put them all in our regular scrapbook album? I feel like they should go in her album and that it would be weird if they were omitted, but that album is already kind of stuffed and I'm not sure how many more pages I can fit.

Scrapbooker struggles, right?

Here is a page that I am definitely putting in her album. It's pictures of all the guests who came to her party. We were very lucky to be able to have the whole family attend.

If you saw my Instagram Story from a few weeks ago, then you saw my "store check" at Michael's where I purchased the papers and embellishments for this layout on sale! Don't you just love those pineapples?

I used my Spellbinders machine to cut out the circles, and the gold letters are American Crafts Thickers. I didn't have any "E"s left, so I had to turn a "3" around and pretend it was a cursive capital "E".

Scrapbooker struggles.

A lot of the embellishments on this were actually planner stickers that were on clearance, but the colors and design (pineapples!) fit so well with the papers that I had picked out. I'm so glad that I was able to easily (and cheaply) put together this page.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sweet Scrapbook Page

It's a new month and that means there are new scrapbook challenges! I have no idea how many I'll get to participate in this month. Last month I made the top 3 over at Lasting Memories Layout Challenges. Woo hoo!

I didn't win any of the August challenges at Stuck?! Sketches, but I'm going to try again. Here is my layout based on the September 1 sketch challenge.

This was Daphne's 12-month professional photo. It was the only photo where she wasn't crying.

I found these papers at Michael's awhile back, and they were on clearance. I liked that they a) had colors that went well together and b) fit perfectly for my kid because I sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" to her all the time. The word and polka dot papers are Recollections, but I don't know who makes the black and the shiny pink paper.

I also had a "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" embellishment in my stash. It was a sticker embellishment from a girly sticker pack that I had purchased awhile back. I tied the pink ribbon and used a glue dot to adhere it to the page. I like that it mimicked the big bow on Daphne's dress. (And it was a great way to use up the last of this pink ribbon.)

The 12-month sticker came from the same sticker pack as the "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" sticker, and the March banner sticker is old Echo Park, I believe. I'm not sure where the clock folder came from. But it was all in my stash! 

And the "sweet" title is American Crafts Hannah Thickers, part of the Homestead collection that I received as a giveaway prize.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, September 11, 2017

She's Still There - Book Review

Sometimes being a mom takes it all out of you. Everything. Including yourself.

So that's why I love Chrystal Evans Hurst's book She's Still There. It's about getting yourself back. And not just any you. The girl you used to be.

Remember those big dreams you had? Remember what you always said you were going to do? Find those dreams and goals again. Find that girl again.

But this book isn't just for moms. It's for any woman - mom, wife, single, working, etc. We all have traveled down roads and gotten sidetracked by detours and drifts. No matter where you are in life, you've probably found yourself thinking, "Is this really where I thought I'd end up?"

Hurst says it is possible to get back on track, and you just need a little help from this book and the Lord.

At the end of every chapter, there are questions for reflection, and what I want to do is answer those questions through scrapbooking. I've been wanting to add to my Book of Me, and I think that using my scrapbook pages as journaling for these questions will be a nice way for me to get creative while reflecting. But you can certainly do it however you want, and I would really encourage you to read this book with your book club or Bible study.

For a more in-depth analysis of yourself, head to the back of the book. There's a personal assessment that aims to help you identify your gifts, abilities, and passions while changing your perspective.

It doesn't matter how you got off track. It doesn't matter how long you've been off track. Just read this book and learn how to get yourself back.

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.”

Friday, September 8, 2017

Try Try Again Scrapbook Page

Do you guys have any scrapbooking or crafting books? I am in the process of cleaning up and organizing my scrap room (with the hopes of painting it and revamping it soon), and I recently placed all of my crafty books on a shelf. I was so surprised at how many I had. 

And, of course, you can guess how often I use them. NEVER!

I rely on Pinterest or scrapbookers via social media to inspire me, but I have so much inspiration right there in the pages of these books. So for this layout, I scraplifted a design from an Archiver's inspiration book that belonged to my mom.

It looks like a pretty basic layout, which is not something I normally do. So I was glad that I was able to do something outside of my norm for this page. And it all came together so easily, too!

The patterned paper is old Sassafras Lass, all of the letter stickers are October Afternoon, and the number 2 stickers were just something else from my stash.

I got SO lucky that I found letter stickers with all of the letters I needed. I just love using the mini alphas, don't you? And they fit perfectly for the smaller title before the larger title on this.

And if you're wondering, yes, these are pictures of the baby attempting to eat Cheerios. To think that we were so concerned about her not eating table food, and now she eats pretty much everything. We are so relieved.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Sheet Pan Turkey Sausage and Vegetables

I take no credit for this recipe. I didn't have to change a thing to make it gluten-free. I just made it. And it was delicious!

It's the very yummy Sheet Pan Turkey Sausage and Vegetables from Averie Cooks. I found it recently on Pinterest and just knew I had to make it sooner rather than later.

It's basically turkey sausage (the fully cooked kind, like from Butterball), sweet potato, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and whatever other veggies you want to throw on there. Zucchini was in the original recipe, but I just wasn't feeling it, so I left it out. I think my sheet pan was fully loaded without one.

Mix it all together with canola oil and lots of seasoning, roast it in the oven, and you're good to go.

And yes, we gave brussels sprouts another chance. Thumbs up this time!

With the sweet potatoes and other roasted veggies, I feel like this is a very fall-ish dinner. I also feel like it would be a great dinner to make with vegetables collected from your local farmer's market.

And it was baby-approved! My kid actually ate some of the turkey sausage and sweet potatoes. Not so much on the veggies, but we're working on it.

This recipe is a keeper! Thanks to Averie Cooks for the wonderful recipe. Make this one stat!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Doodlebug Scrapbook Page

Here are some pictures of the baby playing with and wearing some of her 1st birthday presents! They were gifts from Grandma and Grandpa, so I took pictures of her with them so that the grandparents could see her with them.

Sorry that it's a little blurry. It's not for a challenge, so it doesn't matter! I used my Lea France scrapbook stencil to make this. It was a great way to get five pictures on one page.

All of the papers and embellishments on this are from an old Crate Paper collection. I purchased them at T.J. Maxx a long time ago and am still using up everything! (I'm almost done. T.J. Maxx better get some scrapbook stuff in their stores. The last couple times I've gone in, there has been nothing.)

I love how some of the embellishments are raised, giving this layout some nice dimension.

Oh, and the letters are American Crafts Thickers. (Duh!)

Thanks for looking!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Turkey Chili

If Starbucks says it, then it's true. September 1 is truly the beginning of the fall season because it heralds the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Be still my heart.

And, also, how the heck are we in September already?

Don't get me wrong. I love fall. Fall is my favorite season. Crisp, cool air. The changing colors of the leaves. All the different fall activities, from corn mazes to pumpkin patches. And, of course, eating and drinking all things pumpkin. But this year has gone by so quickly. I almost have an 18-month-old!

I also have a Pumpkin Pinterest Board with lots of recipes involving pumpkin and other fall-like ingredients. You should totally check it out. I know I am! This fall, I'm making it my goal to actually make some of the stuff that I've pinned in that board. I want to enjoy it all and get into the spirit of the season!

So I started with this: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Turkey Chili.

The original recipe is called Pumpkin Chili, and it comes from Fitness magazine. It's a healthier chili recipe that uses black beans, bulgur, tomatoes, and pumpkin puree. I changed it up for two reasons. 1. I needed it to be gluten-free, so instead of using bulgur in the chili, I used millet. 2. I can't do chili without meat, so I added in one pound of ground turkey.

Because I had to cook the turkey first, it took a little bit longer than 30 minutes to make, but I think it was well worth it. I mean, I enjoyed it, my husband enjoyed it (he had seconds), and even the baby ate it!

The flavor is a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet. It's not too overpowering of either one. I was a little worried about adding in an adobo pepper because it seemed like that would make this chili too spicy, but it really didn't!

We served ours with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt on top and some Tostito's Cantina Thin and Crispy chips on the side. I really like those chips because they are nice and light, and just perfectly salted. They aren't as heavy as traditional Tostito's.

Anyway, that's our introduction into the fall season! What's yours?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Lovin' Spoonful Scrapbook Page

Lest you think you'd be getting a break from scrapbook pages, I've got yet another one to share with you! This one is for the August 13 Tic Tac Toe challenge at The Studio Challenges. (You still have until September 10 to play along.)

The challenge was to choose one row (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) from the Tic Tac Toe grid and use the three elements listed. So I chose: flair, two types of alpha, and the color blue. As you can see, there is a lot of blue on this page.

I don't know which one qualifies for "flair", but I've got October Afternoon buttons, ribbon, and American Crafts arrow brads on here. I figure one of them will count toward that!

And my two alphas are both from American Crafts! I got lucky finding two different sets of alphas that had all the letters I needed.

Check out my Instagram story today (8/30/17) to see more about how I picked the supplies and put everything together!

Thanks for looking!

Monday, August 28, 2017

What to See at the Secaucus GFAF Expo + TICKET GIVEAWAY

Fall is almost here and so is the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo in Secaucus, NJ! I'm an official blogger for the Expo again, which means I get to attend for free, and I'm super excited about going again. 

Where else can you find more than 100 brands offering gluten-free and allergen-free products all in one place? Where else can you sample before you buy, get discounts, and take home coupons? Where else can you attend classes about how to eat gluten-free and ask Celiac experts whatever questions you may have?

It's all here at the Meadowlands Exhibition Center in Secaucus, NJ, October 14 and 15, 2017! Hours are 10 to 4 on Saturday, and 10 to 3 on Sunday.

Tickets are available now to purchase! Just click here and enter in one of these codes to receive a discount on your ticket purchase:

30% off with code EARLYBIRD (through 9/13/17)
20% off with code ADVANCE (through 10/13/17)

Or stay tuned to the end of this post for your chance to win a free ticket!

Of course, there are some new exhibitors who I am excited to check out (Ethel's Baking Co, Go Veggie Foods, Hummus is Life, and Manini's to name a few), but there are always some returning exhibitors who I look forward to visiting every year.

Below is a list of some of my favorites. This is a good list if you're newly gluten-free and looking for some tried-and-true products, or if it's your first time to the GFAF Expo and you don't know where to start.

Udi's Gluten Free - Udi's is one of the main sponsors of the Expo, so head over and show the sponsor some love. In return, you'll get to sample Udi's products, including their amazing gluten-free bread. They also share space with Glutino, who is another one of the main sponsors, so you'll get to sample some gluten-free snack foods, too.

Against the Grain - This company has the best gluten-free baguettes. We actually have one in our freezer right now. It's a freezer staple for us. (And their pizza crusts are good, too.) I don't remember seeing Against the Grain at past Expos, so I'm really excited to see them there this year.

Maddalena's - One of the things I love about the Expo is that it's a chance for local companies to interact with the gluten-free and allergen-free community. Maddalena's is no exception. This is a New Jersey-based company, and they've been attending the Expo for as long as I've been going! The cheesecake here is amazing. You have to sample some and then buy a slice as your show snack.

Banza - Chickpea pasta? Yes, it really is good! Make sure you sample some of the pasta they cook up, and take advantage of Expo-only sales here!

Garden Lites - When I first tried these veggie-rific muffins, I couldn't believe that they were gluten-free and packed with veggies. Read my review of them from a few years ago here. There will be samples at the show, and you will want to try them. The chocolate ones are my favorite.

Brazi Bites - I can make my own gluten-free Brazilian cheese buns, but Brazi Bites makes it so much easier. These are really good. Stop by and sample some.

Ronzoni - I was so happy when companies like Barilla and Ronzoni started making gluten-free pasta. This stuff is so good, and it's not that expensive! I like to stock up on Ronzoni whenever it's on sale at ShopRite. Last year, Ronzoni had a fun pasta photo booth with samples, so I'm anxious to see what they cook up this year.

Smart Flour Foods - When it's lunchtime, get in line at the Smart Flour Foods booth to sample some of their delicious gluten-free pizza. It's seriously yummy! And I like that it's easy to find at ShopRite and doesn't cost too much.

The Rachel Way Food Pantry - The Expo does have non-food exhibitors, too. One of those is The Rachel Way Food Pantry. This food pantry, located in Plymouth Meeting, PA, offers a way for low-income families to receive the allergen-free food they need. (Because it's not cheap going gluten-free!) I got to talk with the founders last year, and they were really nice. This is a really great service that they offer! Check them out!

That's just a short list to get you started! My only other advice? Don't get so caught up in visiting the exhibitors that you miss out on the great classes held throughout the day. Check the class schedule in advance and keep an eye on your watch so you don't miss the ones you want to attend!

By now you're probably wondering, "What about this ticket giveaway?" Oh yeah!

I have five free tickets to give away! Enter using the Rafflecopter below, and the five lucky winners will receive a code to enter on the ticketing page. Each code is good for one free adult single day pass. Good luck and see you there!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Sweet Snuggles Scrapbook Page

There's no break in the scrapbooking! Last night I got another one done for the zoo animals challenge at Lasting Memories. To satisfy this challenge, I used a sticker of a monkey on my page!

And here's the complete layout. These are pictures that I found in my mom's photo stash, and I had no idea they existed! So I brought them home and decided to scrap them.

This gave me a chance to use up some baby sticker embellishments from Echo Park that I hadn't used when I was scrapping all of the baby pictures I had. The title is a vellum embellishment from something that my mother-in-law gave me, and the green ribbon (yes, ribbon!) was in my stash. The patterned paper was also from my mother-in-law, and I thought the colors of it were perfect for baby pictures.

I did a pull-out journaling tag, which I haven't done in forever. And on it, I journaled about what that first week with the baby was like. Suffice it to say, it was hard.

Because I scrapped these pictures more than a year after they were taken, I didn't really have space to put them in my regular scrapbook, so I decided to put it in my Book of Me, an album that has been sorely neglected. The last time I added to it was May 2015!

So I'm glad that I was able to add this page to it. I feel like my journaling was very honest, and that's what a Book of Me is supposed to be about. So years from now when my daughter looks through it to try to "understand mommy", she'll get to see what my experience was like.

Do you do a Book of Me? 

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Fred's Friend Scrapbook Page

Here's my scrapbook layout for the August 15th sketch over at Stuck?! Sketches. The challenge was to create a layout based on the sketch. I had just the perfect pictures for this one.

These are pictures of the baby with Flat Freddy, the St. Louis Cardinals version of Flat Stanley. Daphne used to love playing with this thing!

For this one, I decided to make a border of baseballs going down the diagonal line. Because I didn't have any baseball embellishments, I had to make my own. So I used my Creative Memories circle cutter to make two different sizes of circles from white cardstock (smallest circle template with red and green blades) and then I drew red lines on the circles to make them look like baseballs.

(You may have seen me talk about this in my Instagram Story from yesterday!)

The patterned paper is old American Crafts, while the red cardstock is from Recollections. The black cardstock is from a paper pad that I bought at Michael's a few weeks ago. Can't recall who makes it.

And the glittery red letters are also Recollections. Those were a great deal. If you see them in Michael's, snatch them up. You get a lot of letters!

Also, does anyone have tips for writing with white pens? I always find it so difficult to get the ink to come out smoothly.

Thanks for looking! Hope you can play along with the challenge, too!