3 Months of Waiting..

Let me start by saying… Laura, Morgan, and I reunite in 1 week!!  It’s going to be a weekend full of fun, crafts, and laughter.  I cannot wait!

So,  my sweet Husband bought me a Silhouette Cameo for my birthday.  Three months later and i’m happy to say… I FINALLY OPENED THE BOX!!  Yes, I know this is sad.  I’m so excited to take my non-crafty self and create some fun things.  With Laura’s help, of course.  She’s a pro, seriously!

Today was the day I decided to start.  I’ve pinned my fair share of Silhouette projects, but decided to create something I’ve been wanting for awhile.  Since moving to KY, Daniel (the Hubby) and I have done lots of new and exciting things that i’ve wanted to document.  However, i’m not exactly the scrap-booking type.  So, I decided to make a “Been There, Done That!” box.  This box will hold all the special memories (or pieces of paper) that I don’t want to throw away.

First, I went to Micheal’s because I had a giftcard (teacher perk) only to realize their Silhouette items were all 30% off!  YES!!  I immediately started texting Laura to decide what the “must haves” were.  I left with a roll of black vinyl, transfer paper, a scraper, and a shadow box.. which was also 50% off.  Oh, and Micheal’s gives a teacher discount! :)  I do believe this was a successful trip.

Next, I came home… AND OPENED THE BOX! (This is the moment where you give me a clap or something.)  I was presently surprised at how easily the machine sets up.  Once I set up the machine, I immediately opened Silhouette Studio to decide what I wanted it to look like.  My machine came with a $25 credit to the store and I purchased the monthly subscription so I get $25 credit every month for super cheap.  This subscription was also on sale for 72 hours.  ANOTHER SCORE!  So I have $50 this month to play around with.  I chose a cute wreath like border and a fun font for this project.  Then, it was time to start creating.

Once I picked out my font and border I immediately realized… Uh…. I’m not sure what to do now.  Luckily, Laura was a text away and told me exactly how to separate the borders I had purchased and of course approved the design.

image3image2

Of course, she made a quick jab at the fact that i’d had this awesome machine for 3 months, but hadn’t used it.🙂

The rest was a piece of cake.  I added the words then went to put in my piece of vinyl to get the project going.  Then, it happened… I pressed CUT.  I was so excited until I realized the machine was acting like it was cutting, but the blade wasn’t actually cutting the vinyl.  I quickly discovered the importance of putting the blade in the machine.  Wah, Wah, Wah!  I fixed the blade and wallah! I had my first vinyl cut!  Yay!

Next, I pealed off the part of vinyl I didn’t need and this is what I was left with!

image4

Put a little transfer paper on top and I was ready to put the vinyl on the shadow box.

image5

Here’s the final product!

image1http___signatures.mylivesignature.com_54493_145_1DB92FC283E6C6347223CFEFA2E146F7

DSC_2542

Wine Tasting Party Fun!

So my friend and I decided to throw a wine tasting party. We decided that when we go out to dinner, we never know what wine we are going to like so we never order it, we go for our usual margarita or diet coke and rum, which doesn’t always go with the meal we are having. So we decided to throw a party with some other girls. The plan was, everyone bring a bottle of wine, her and I will make the food, and we will have a girls night. And we did just that. It turned out to be a whole lot of fun! So I’m going to tell you how easy it was to plan this wine tasting party! Anybody can do it.

We started by planning all of the food, all the décor and from there it just seemed to work so easily. Pinterest is your best friend when it comes to knowing what cheeses to pair with your wine. We went for white, black and gold color scheme, and found some really cute stuff at Hobby Lobby!

DSC_2553

DSC_2539

DSC_2547 As you can see this is a pretty simple set up. My friend already had the white serving pieces, we found these cute wine bags at a local store, which I’m sure you could find online very easily. We decided to use chalkboard paper in order to write down which foods went with what type of wine. We went to the dollar tree and bought dollar wine glasses in order to use chalkboard spray paint for the bottoms of the glasses and everyone got to write their names on them with chalk when they arrived. And lastly I found these free printable wine tasting scorecards on Pinterest, we printed them on cardstock, and got mini clipboards to clip them to for everyone to score their wine!  Wine Tasting Scorecard If you open this link there is a PDF of the scorecard when you scroll down!

DSC_2544DSC_2541

The major part was deciding what wine we wanted to contribute and what foods we were going to make! We are both foodies and we were so excited to get on Pinterest and find recipes to cook. So I’m going to give you a few of my favorites here. The Bruschetta is amazing! I found it here. (Bruschetta) But I then added the spices from this recipe (Bruschetta #2) to add more flavor. We had amazing Caprese skewers. Which included little cocktail tooth picks with mozzarella balls, a leaf of basil, and a cherry tomato on the end. Topped with balsamic glaze! Guys they were so yummy and easy! And we had a cheese platter with a few different cheeses, pepperoni and salami. Can you say YUM?!

DSC_2549

DSC_2551

DSC_2548

Last favorite was the triple chocolate cheesecake. And the picture I got of it turned out blurry and too dark. :o( But that’s okay! I’ve only attempted cheesecakes a few times and this one was by far the easiest. And everyone loved it! Triple Chcoolate Cheesecake Try it out and let me know what you think!

Overall this party was so much fun, we went through the wines one by one alternating between reds and whites. Everyone had a great time. And I got to do it with a friend that has become very special to me since being out of college. Her and I met at church, we had moved away from all of our close friends and we were both in a time where we were desperate to make friends close to where we lived. God had perfect timing for it all and I’m so thankful she’s a part of my life now.

image2

What’s a party without a selfie! So we had to capture a picture of ourselves (a few) because we had a blast preparing everything together and seeing the end result of a fun and successful party! Happy wine tasting out there!

Morgan 2

 

DIY String Art

DSC_0012This week, I used string art to make a simple décor item for our apartment. I love looking at Pinterest at how creative some people are with string art! I decided to just to something simple to start off with, so I’m going to give you a step-by-step of how I made a string art “P.”

 

Supplies I used:

Wood plaque, nails, string, chalk paint.

DSC_0962

I got the chalk paint and nails at Walmart and the wood plaque and string at Michael’s Craft Store. Overall, it cost me about $28. I also used some antiquing glaze (that I got at Lowe’s a while back for about $8) to give it a special look. Some additional supplies you might want are a piece of chalk or pencil, foam roller, soft bristle craft brush, and an old rag.

Step 1: Sketch out your design and block out the nail placement

I used a piece of chalk to sketch out my design. I drew lightly on the wood, and used a damp cloth to erase the chalkDSC_0970 when I messed up. You don’t want to get the wood too wet though, so erase sparingly. It’s okay if you don’t erase all mistakes; you will be painting over it anyway. Once I was happy with my design, I went ahead and put the nails in lightly around the edge of my design, just enough to block out the spacing and placement. I spaced the nails apart about 1/4″ and used about 49 nails total. Step 1 took about 15 minutes.

 

Step 2: Remove nails and add paint & glaze

I removed the nails, then used a foam roller to apply the chalk paint. I did 2 coats, letting it dry completely between each coat. Since I used the foam roller, the coats weren’t very thick and dried pretty quickly. It only took me about 30 minutes for both coats. Once the second coat dried, I added the antiquing glaze. I used a soft bristle craft brush to paint the antiquing glaze over the entire plaque, including the sides. After quickly covering the entire plaque, I took my old rag and wiped away the antiquing glaze. This will remove the majority of it, but the glaze that enters the cracks and crevices of the wood will stay, dirtying up the paint a little, giving off a worn, antique look. This took an additional 10 minutes.

DSC_0975   DSC_0992

 

Step 3: Add the nailsDSC_0991

After the glaze dried, I was able to put the nails back in the plaque. The holes I made earlier were visible through the paint, so this step was really easy. I left about 1/4″ of each nail sticking out of the plaque. This took about 10 minutes.

 

Step 4. Add the string

This step took about 20 minutes, but will vary depending on how much string is added. I didn’t want my string to look too thick, so it didn’t take me as long as it probably could have. I bough several colors of string, but decided just to use gray, aqua blue, and yellow. I started with the gray and tied it around one of the corner nails, knotting it several times. Once secure, I started winding the string around the nail heads throughout the design. I didn’t use a pattern or anything, just weaved it around each nail head several times. Once I thought I had used the gray thoroughly, I tied the string off around a different corner nail and trimmed the excess, then carefully pushed the string down on the nails to make room for the next color. I repeated this with the blue, then yellow, then the gray again, making sure to weave differently each time, until I liked they way it looked.

DSC_0998 DSC_0999 DSC_0001 DSC_0008

DSC_0999 DSC_0002

Step 5: Admire your masterpiece!

It was that easy! Enjoy making your own string art!

DSC_0010

 

blog signature

The Dreaded “D” Word

Let me preface this blog post by asking one question, “Is there anyone out there that likes the big D word?” Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded word DIET.   Ugh.. just that word is enough to put anyone in a bad mood. Well, like everyone else, I’m on board the D train, too. As I look back a few years to high school and college, I think.. Man, I sure had it good great. I could basically eat and drink anything and everything and not have to worry about it one bit. Then came graduation and marriage and the dreaded “D” word finally came into my vocabulary. I continued to eat and drink whatever I wanted. Insert bad eating habit #1 here: I LOVE MEXICAN FOOD… like I could eat it everyday and I honestly think my life would be better because of it. Insert bad drinking habit #1 here: I love coca-cola. I can drink coca-cola all day long everyday and again.. my life would be a little better. Until I realized it wasn’t exactly “better,” at least not for my body. My metabolism had officially played catch up long enough that I was actually going to have to put forth effort to look and feel good. I hated the way I started to feel and the way my body was changing… WHY IS MY BODY CHANGING????? Well, that’s just life for yah I suppose. So… here are a few things I’ve found that work. For starters, my girl Morg is an Advocare distributor. If you’ve never heard of Advocare- stop what you’re doing right now… like seriously, right this second and look it up. It’s basically been my go-to life-changer and something I’ve found very helpful and beneficial to my journey with the big “D.” While I contribute my success to Advocare products, it’s also been a lifestyle change. Yes, that means I can’t eat Mexican food everyday and I don’t drink Coca-Cola anymore.   While I thought my life might as well just end there… it didn’t. I noticed I started to feel better and even look better. Here are a few recipes I’ve really enjoyed because let’s be real.. You can only eat so much tuna and so many yummy hamburgers salads. First off, my sweet husband has a ridiculously fast metabolism.  Lucky duck.  Therefore, he’s been super sweet and encouraging while i’m on this journey.  So sweet that he voluntarily made this yummy salmon and ate it with me. Here’s what you’ll need.

  • Salmon (I bought ours fresh at Kroger)
  • Mrs. Dash no salt seasonings.  I think I used lemon pepper and garlic & herb
  • A little “no salt” salt
  • Lemon
  • Whatever veggie you like.. we chose asparagus this time.

Put your veggie down first.  Throw your salmon on top.  Add your spices and lemon.  And BOOM.. it’s ready for the grill. Here’s another yummy treat i’ve enjoyed.  The hubby chose not to partake in this one.🙂 Cauliflower Mash (My healthy version of mashed potatoes) Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1-2 heads of cauliflower (I used one)
  • A little “no salt” salt

Steam the cauliflower (I used microwave steam bags).  Put the steamed cauliflower in your food processor (I used my Ninja) with a little “no salt” and let it go until it’s the consistency of mashed potatoes.  It was so yummy with my almond crusted chicken from a few nights ago. Let me know your Advocare success stories and other yummy recipes I should try. http___signatures.mylivesignature.com_54493_145_1DB92FC283E6C6347223CFEFA2E146F7

Pinterest Triumps and Disasters

So how many times have you looked up recipes on Pinterest and thought ‘OMG! That looks so good! I bet I could do that!’? And you try it and you spent hours on it and it was a complete fail! Or, maybe it wasn’t! Maybe it took 30 minutes and it was absolutely amazing. But then there’s all that time you took looking up the recipes, then you had to go to the grocery store to get all the ingredients, come back home, and take the time making it, and it may or may not turn out good. It can be tricky!

Well, I’m here to help (a little). I hope! I regularly try recipes from Pinterest and I always wish I could share with people what one was a complete fail, don’t even take the time to try it or….what was so easy to make, and such a crowd pleaser. We are always having good friends over that don’t mind to test out my Pinterest meals, or going to church life groups, or even just testing them out on your hubby.  I’ve decided that once every quarter I will share with everyone what I’ve tried and give my ratings on the recipe. Maybe it will help! I sure hope so.  So here goes!

The recipes I’ve tried lately have been fairly successful so I have decided to share my three favorites that I’ve tried lately. Two sides and a dessert! No, I didn’t post pictures, because my pictures don’t even look close to the ones on the blogs I took these from. You can see how yummy they look via the links I’ve included in here! :o)

Mac-n-Chz Please!

If anybody knows me they know I love mac-n-chz! I especially love Panera’s mac-n-chz. If you haven’t tried it, stop what you are doing and go do it now! It’s amazing. So I randomly “Pinterested” and found a copycat recipe for Panera’s mac-n-chz and it is sooooooooo good.  Pinterest TRIUMPH right here! Here’s the link to the recipe. CopyCat Panera MacnChz  I hope you love it as much as I do! Here’s my general rating/rundown on this recipe: fairly easy, prep time is short, cook time isn’t long, makes a ton, so you can eat on it for a few days. I’m very critical of mac-n-chz, I’ll eat the cheap kind, especially when I just need some right then, but I absolutely love gourmet style and this is gourmet style that I believe would be easy even for someone who doesn’t cook a lot.

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

As it’s getting into summer time and we all are trying to look good in our bathing suits, I went out searching for better ways to eat and how to cook healthier foods. I love sweet potato fries, but frying them just turns them into an unhealthy treat. So I set out to find a way to bake them and make sure they had some flava flav when I went to eat them. I found this recipe that I actually liked a lot. Sweet Potato Fries This is also another fairly easy side dish to throw with a turkey burger or a grilled chicken breast. These babies have tons of flavor, the best part was most of these spices I had on hand. I used extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil and they turned out good. I will say the most challenging part is taking the time to sit and peel and cut the sweet potatoes, I didn’t really find that to be a lot of fun, but that’s just part of it sometimes. Good thing is the cook time is only about 30 minutes, so it doesn’t take long until it’s ready to eat up! That’s always a plus! I think this is also an easy recipe for the non-cookers as well.

Yummy go-to Dessert!!!!

So a couple of weeks back I was sitting at home, wondering what I was going to take to my church life group. Everyone brings a dish each time we meet and we always have a theme, this week’s theme was family favorites. By that point I was sitting there thinking, ‘I’ve already brought all the family favorites! What am I going to take?’ So I just decided I would look something up on Pinterest. Based on the email responses from everyone in our group, nobody was bringing a dessert and I have a serious sweet tooth. So that’s it! I’ll look up a dessert. So I began my search and I ran across this gem! Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate Blondies So here it is, I will admit, this was kind of a fail for me. My caramel turned out runny, what did I do wrong?! I read the instructions and I know enough about cooking to generally tell if something is in my range of skills, and this was totally in my set of cooking skills! Why is this happening to me! So I took the dessert anyways. I disclaimed to them all it was a Pinterest Flop, I didn’t think it would taste bad, but the presentation was all wrong and it wasn’t setting right. So it was devoured in like 10 minutes. Everyone told me they were never listening to me call something a fail again.

This just bothered me though. It wasn’t right. I was supposed to be able to cut them into solid bars. The caramel was all wrong and runny and didn’t thicken up. I want them to look like the blog’s picture darn it! So, I went home and thought ‘I will try it again next weekend for my mom when I cook her dinner for mother’s day’. So I did. This time, I got on Amazon and bought the Silicone Baking Pan I was going to do it just like the instructions said (last time I just used a glass pan and lined it with aluminum foil, which still worked okay). I redid the recipe going line by line on the list of things to do. I first thought that I didn’t let the brownie cool enough before I put the salted caramel on it and that’s why the caramel was so runny and just seeped into the brownie instead of being a layer on top of the brownie. Nope….that wasn’t entirely it. For some reason when I was reading the instructions I was telling myself to melt the butter before adding it to the sugar and syrup. During my second attempt at the caramel, I made it exactly the same, drizzled it on, still runny and just seeped into the brownies. I was so frustrated! The brownie itself was delicious! And the batter tastes pretty yummy too! ;o) But why is my caramel not getting thick? After failing yet again I reread the instructions one more time, what am I missing? It didn’t say anything about melting the butter, but for some reason I was melting the butter before putting it into the sugar and syrup mixture. I tried the caramel one more time! If this doesn’t work then I have no idea what I’m doing wrong. This time I didn’t melt the stick of butter before adding it to the syrup and sugar mixture and I forgot my whipping cream and didn’t get to add that into it and the caramel turned out thicker and yummy. So I drizzled that on top of the already seeped in caramel brownie. Then I melted a big Hershey’s dark chocolate bar and put it on top, it all came about quite nicely, and then I tasted it. And was disappointed. WAAAAY too much caramel! Not just caramel, salted caramel. But the good news is I think I finally mastered!

So lessons learned, the silicone pan was cheap and way easier than using the glass dish, don’t melt the butter before adding it to the rest of the caramel instructions, if you forget the whipping cream too, that’s alright, don’t add two layers of caramel to the brownies when you mess up the first try just redo it until the caramel is the thicker consistency. This recipe really isn’t hard until you start with the caramel; the brownie and chocolate on top are super easy. So really if you don’t like the caramel part, just leave it out. Super rich and delicious!

Clearly caramel making isn’t my strong point, but I’m going to get better at it.  This is going to be a new go-to dessert for how easy it is to make the brownie and how yummy the brownie is. All things aside, if I don’t master the caramel the rest is still good! If you try any of these recipes please give me your feedback! I’d love to know how well you liked them!

I love to cook and try new recipes, if it fails, oh well, don’t give up. The first time I ever tried to make gravy for breakfast I royally screwed it up! It turned into a mound of gunk really. Just a big white pile of blob! I was so embarrassed, I have since gotten better at gravy and I’m so glad I didn’t give up on it. The fun part of cooking is learning new things and continuing until you’re successful. There is great reward in working in the kitchen and having a finished product that tastes yummy.

If you ever try any of these great recipes or have similar ones you’d like to share, let me know in the comments section. Happy cooking!

Morgan 2

Emotions Felt While Reading Gone Girl

My husband and I just finished reading listening to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I am one of those people who has to read the book before watching the movie. The book just gives so much more detail about the environments and situations than the movie is able to, and I’m able to pick up on subtle glances and body language in the movie and connect it to the details from the book. Hunter has been begging me for over a month to read the book so we could watch the movie. I am the world’s slowest reader.

Growing up, I used to love to read. I would fly through books. Then came college. Required reading. Yuck. By the time I finished Graduate School, I was so sick of reading. I am slowly relearning the joys of reading for pleasure, but it takes me a while to finish anything. It took me an entire year to finish Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which I really enjoyed. It’s not that I find these books boring, but it’s just that I don’t have devote a lot of time to read.  I purchased Gone Girl for my Nook before the movie was released, but started reading another book first (which of course I am still working on). I definitely cannot read two books at one time. It’s just too much for my brain to handle. I start blending in details from both books, and before you know it, Harry Potter is fighting the Volturi.

Hunter and I made the drive home for Mother’s Day this past weekend. Home for me is Memphis, Tennessee, and home for him is Jonesboro, Arkansas. The drive is about 5.5 hours to Memphis; tack on another 1.5 hours for Memphis to Jonesboro. The drive can get pretty boring if you do it enough, which we do, so I thought this trip would be a great opportunity to borrow an audio book version of Gone Girl from the library. This was a great idea, and I can confidently say we won’t make another long trip without an audio book  It took us the entire drive there and back plus two nights of just sitting on the couch, listening, to finish the book, and we are both really looking forward to watching the movie, which I think we are going to try to rent tonight. Throughout the time we invested in this book, there were a lot of different feels. Here are 10 emotions I went through while listening to Gone Girl:

  1. Confused: What is the truth and what are the lies? Why are there so many lies? What is happening right now? Is this really happening right now?!
  2. Empathetic: What a sad situation. I feel so sorry for___. Why can’t people just leave ___ alone?
  3. Skeptical: This is getting weird. Something is not right here.
  4. Aware: Oh, I totally know what’s going on. I can predict where this is going.
  5. Shocked: I did not see this coming. Maybe this isn’t as predictable as I thought.
  6. Smug: Ha! Karma! Serves you right.
  7. Doubtful: Okay, this can’t really be happening. This is crazy. This IS crazy, right?
  8. Repulsed: What?! Wait…what?! WHO WOULD DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT?! This is DEFINITELY crazy.
  9. Disturbed: It’s sad how realistic this is. This whole book isn’t too much of a stretch. I’m sure there are people out there who do this. Scary thought.
  10. AmazedGillian Flynn is a genius. I can’t believe it ended like this. Why did it have to end at all? 

Needless to say, the book was a roller coaster, but one I look forward to riding reading again. I am also queuing up more of Gillian Flynn’s books. Next on my book list: Sharp Objects.

Have you read/watched/listened to Gone Girl? Leave a comment and let me know what emotions you felt.

blog signature

Meet Laura

Hey y’all! I’m Laura, but known to most of my friends as LK.  I live in Georgia and work at a university as a coordinator for student involvement and leadership program.  My job is to help students find their connection to campus through student organizations as well as help student develop leadership skills that they can use after graduation. I could bore you with details of research that proves student success is positively correlated to student involvement on campus, but I won’t…yet.😉  I literally have the best job in the entire world.

When I’m not saving lives, one college student at a time, I am spending time with my super cute husband Hunter (we’re newlyweds!), binge watching shows on Netflix, trying (and failing) to bake something yummy, or (my personal favorite) making a mess of the apartment by crafting! That’s right, I’m a crafter. I love to paint, make decorative pillows, and re-purpose things, and I am currently trying to teach myself graphic design. You’ll see plenty of my work here on the blog, I’m sure.

If you’re interested in: food, crafts, exercise, faith, victories, challenges, and more, then this is the blog for you. Join us as we maintain our long distance friendship and Find a Purpose for these curve balls life throws our way.

blog signature