Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Still Here

Hey there! just a quick note to let you know I am still here... but my role for today has changed from blogger to nurse. Hubby is pretty sick at the moment, so I'm staying home today to make sure we don't need to take him to the Dr later on. So do not fear! Many wonderful post are on their way... but hubby comes first :)

Have a great day and keep those wonderful posts coming on your blog... Although I can't take time to write mine out today, I still have time to sneak in and read yours:)

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Happy Earth Day everyone!

How does one celebrate earth day, by the way? Since I don't think there are egg hunts, presents under the tree and turkey dinners to mark this celebration I do believe that shall make up my own traditions!

After reading the "How to celebrate earth day section" here, I think the only thing I can do is recycle {I'd show you my uber-fancy system.... a paper bag, but I wouldn't want you to be jealous}. There's planting a tree {but it's raining out, and there is no room for a tree in the garden} riding my bike { does a stationary bike count?} crafting with your kids {don't know that my canine child would by up for that} and wearing green or brown {now that I can do!}

No photoshop - all colors of nature!

So I am making up my own earth day celebration... by planting seeds for my tomato plants, in recycled egg cartons. Enviromentaly conscious, since I'm reusing the cartons and I am planting a future small tree.. ok, so it's really a tomato bush/plant. But for today , I'll pretend I'm planting tomato trees.

From the garden last year.

As I shared in this post, hubby and I have great plans for our back yard this year. It is time to make it more enjoyable and pleasing to the eye. And part of that will include improving the landscape, so that it is easier to maintain and has room for a few small veggie plants.

These were so sweet... even the pup ate a few!

It may not be much, but a small step here and there to improve the outdoors, "live off the land" with our tomatoes, and recycle in our home is a start.

So I am wondering, are you celebrating earth day today?

All photos taken by yours truly.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Cover Up

As disappointed as I was to not be able to share this post with you yesterday, I had a very yummy reason for getting home to late to post. These:

Authentic Mexican Tamales.

A sweet friend taught me how to make them yesterday, and in exchange I taught her how to make my chicken salad. And then in between dishes we munched on the biggest strawberries I had ever seen! {Kicking myself for not taking a picture} It was the yummiest kitchen swap yet! By the way, don't ya just love this red plate? This would be so much fun to celebrate someone's birthday, accomplishments, anniversary, graduation, etc. It was a Boutique {Goodwill} purchase - $2.99, 30% off! Yippie for coupons!

OK, on to the post!

A little while ago I posted this photo of my most recent purchase: old baseballs. They had seen better days... which is why I am sure they ended up at the Fancy Store {aka: Goodwill Outlet.} Since our weekend trip when we stopped by a Christmas shop, I had several ideas for decorating foam covered balls rolling around in my head {haha... just re-read this. keeping the pun! ha!} The only problem is that those foam balls can be expensive!


So as I walked past the toy bins that day on my way to the housewares, it hit me. Why not use these baseballs in place of the expensive styrofoam balls from the crafts store? And since everything at the Fancy Store is by the pound, they wouldn't be more than $1-$2 right?
All three were 49 Cents!
Hello Awesomeness!

Before smoothing out the bumps...
After I gave them a good cleaning with disinfectant wipes, I decided to cover one in burlap {which I found out makes me sneeze like crazy! Note to self: craft with burlap outdoors.}

I honestly didn't think this one would work out well, so there are no step by step pics. But I was so wrong! I love it with all my little heart! All I did was cut a piece of burlap that would wrap around the middle, slightly overlapping and long enough to cover each exposed end.

After gluing the center ring, I cut tall triangles from the remaining fabric one at a time and then glued the tip of each down, again slightly overlapping. Does that make sense? You can kinda see the triangle shapes... but they blend real well once the whole ball is covered

I decided to finish this one off with a bit of chocolate brown satin ribbon. I love the contrast of the satin and burlap... and now that I see this pic close up, I need to pick some hot glue goobers off that bow!

Then my super crafty mom suggested that I cover one of then in a gingham/check fabric. I didn't have any one hand, but it sounded like a good excuse to take a trip to the fabric store and snoop around! :)

I thought about covering it the same way I did the burlap ball, but then thought it would be kinda fun to do strips of fabric and have the checks overlap eachother in a random pattern. It was a little messy to make, but probably the easiest.

I cut strips just over 1 inch wide that would wrap around the entire ball. It took 6 total. Then I mod podged one strip at a time, overlaping them slightly, and ending each strip on the same and. once each strip was smoothes out as best could be, I mod podged the whole thing with non glossy mod podge and let it dry. It is like a solid rock casing!

Inspiration from the Christmas shop!
For the last basball, I really wanted to replicate this christmas ornament that I had seen at a year round Christmas shop durring one of our vacations. After a bunch of trips to several craft stores, I could not find sparkly circles that did not cost an arm and a leg. I though about bagging the idea, then I remembered my small round scrapbooking punch. Could it really be that simple? I hit the scrapbook isle and picked out two sheets of a somewhat stiff chocolate brown. It wasn't quite as heavy as cardstock, and the stiffness helped make the little circles stand out.

I went home and punched circles till my little thumb thought it was going to fall off {Note to self: have big, strong, handsome hubby help punch circles for the larger size ball next time :) heehee!}

Then while looking at the inspiration photo, I hot glued one circle completely down - this was the bottom, center. NOTE: Every other circle after that first one was only glued on the top. That way the bottom stuck out giving it that fish scale, pine cone look.

Then I spaced each circle so that it just touched the next. For the next row, I left a tiny space between each circle. Not every row came out perfect, so to keep the funky seam on the same side, I drew little arrows so I could end on the same side every time.

Opps! That one needed replacing.

Some rows felt like they were all messed up, but then I would wrap around the next row and not even be able to tell where it went wrong on the previous row. It ended up being much more forgiving than I expected. And the best part? If a circle got in too low or too high, I just ripped it out and slipped in another. Easy Peasy!

It took about 45 min to 1 hour to puch, glue, rip off a few circles and talk on the phone for a bit. Totally worth every second of relaxing craft time and the beautiful result.

And yes I know it looks like a pine cone in brown. I was thinking about matching the rustic, neutral colors of the other balls... but my next baseball makeover will be a much more colorful one :)

Here they are in all their glory!

April 15th was a grand opening for a local Goodwill, and this lovely apothecary-like jar was $2.99, 50% off. Perfect for my repurposed baseballs!

The detail on the lid is just lovely!

For the next ones, I think I'll try ribbon, a sparkly "pine cone, " and sheet music.

What would you cover a baseball with?

All photos taken by yours truly.
Linking to Kimba's DIY, Today's Creative Blog, Blue Cricket DesignWFMW, and the Girl Creative. Join the Party!

Monday, April 19, 2010

the mostest-amazingest-talented-never-makes-the-same-recipe-twice-and-they-all taste-great-cook

Edited to add: Blogger is making the spaceing all wonky on this post. Sorry! I can't seem to fix it - anyone else having troubles too? So it may look like jumbled mess, but just read on through, it really is a great post :)

Today's post is a wonderful Q&A with a dear friend "G" -the mostest-amazingest-talented-never-makes-the-same-recipe-twice-and-they-all taste-great-cook. He was the one who made the Death by Chocolate that I recreated in this post. Two words about that dessert: EASY and HEAVENLY!

After posting the death by chocolate recipe, I asked my friend if he would be willing to do a guest post for us in Q&A form. And so today I am so thrilled to share some cooking inspiration and a simple, yummy recipe for broccoli salad from "G", who is a wonderful example of hospitality and a great cook!

One of his meals htat I was blessed to taste: tangy chicken, fresh rosemary sweet potatoes and potatoes, broccoli salad, and a death by chocolate {not pictured}. It was SO good!

When did you start cooking?

I started cooking in my Sophomore year of HS, when my Mom went back to work and was getting tired of my Dad's atempts of dinner; pancakes, eggs, toasted cheese/tomato soup. All good in their own ways, but NOT all the time.

Why is it important to open our homes and invite people to share a meal {simple or elegant} with us?
I'm a one-on-one person and believe it or not....am shy in nature! In large settings when/where I don't know folks, it is hard for me, so I bring them to my place where it is warm and inviting for both of us. All conversations begin/end around food.
 Why do you think that fellowship and connections are made deeper around the dinner table?
I think folks are more "at home" in a home setting, so easier to open up and share. The more they are in a person's home, the more comfortable they feel and so open up and share their reals selves, as I do too.
 How do go about planning a meal for company? Are there certain staples that you always try to include?
Once I decide who I want to have come, then I ask if they have likes or dislikes and/or food allergies. I want their entire experience to be good. Myself, I hate going someplace and having something I hate, but with good manners, choke it down. When I entertain, the majority of the menu is/are new recipes. I have been cooking along enough, I know what sounds good together. My menus always include; main dish, salad, fruit, bread, dessert PLUS drinks before and after. Important to have a full course, as folks today don't take the time to have an entire meal.
 What are a few tips to make a simple meal look special – like it took hours to prepare?
100% it is all in the presentation. For example, if a cake falls or is a bit brown, then extra frosting or extra dusting of powder sugar, or fresh flowers. What dish/platter it is served on makes a difference too. Food is visual, so you want it to "look" good enough to eat. If it taste good, then you have a double whammie! lol
 What has been your all time favorite dish to make in the summer?
Honestly, I don't have a summer/winter/spring/fall dish. I'm not bound by seasons, if I find a interesting soup and it is summer, then I make it, Also, if I find an interesting "summer" salad in the winter, then I make that too.

Why do you never repeat a recipe?
There are endless recipes out there - why be tied down with limits?
{and may I add that he even tries out new recipes when having company over! the courage that man has!}

Are there any tried and true family favorites that you will repeat? {…and no, we won’t hound you for the recipes hee hee!}
Yes, I have several family recipes such as: Lynda Grassle yeast rolls (called that, as that is the lady who gave Mom the recipe), Lemon Squares (required at all family gatherings), Mississippi Mud (chocolate brownies), Toll House Brownies, and Daigle Taco Salad. Daigle family recipes, I don't give out.
 If there was one tip you could give to beginner cooks, what would it be?
Two tips: 1) Don't be afraid to try something new and 2) set a nice table with what you have. You can always build on it. Yard sales and/or garage sales are good places to find old platters, bowls, linen, etc.
{also, he recently asked me to add this tip: make sure to not mix up the salt and sugar. He made this mistake early on in the cooking years and instead of a cake, came out with a salt lick!}
And even though he said he would not share a prized family recipe, he did cave in and share a family favorite: broccoli salad. I hope you try it out:
Broccoli Salad
1 large head of broccoli - flowerette/raw

1/2c raisins

1/4c red onion choppped

1/2 jar bacon bits
3/4c peanuts
1c mayo
1/2c sugar
2T oil
Mix well and toss to coat.
Note from "G": make fresh the day whenever possible. Keeps the broccoli and onion fresh and crunchy.

Easy and soooo tasty. I know. I was there and tasted it :) yum!

Thanks "G" for giving us some inspiration for the kitchen!
Looking forward to the next guest post.

How have you used food to impact someone's life? {{and I don't mean impact their thighs and waist line! ha!}} Do you enjoy having friends and family join around your table for food and fellowship?

All photos taken by yours truly.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Radio Giveaway

Can it really be Thursday again? My word, this week has flown by...
which is great since it has been a very busy week....
but bad news for the dishes and laundry that piled up in the meantime!

Oh well, laundry and dishes are patient... they will {unfortunatly} wait for me till later on tonight!

Frame for my music corner.

So in the meantime, I thought it would be fun to show you a simple project for a giveaway that was inspired by my music corner frame. {here}

Thanks to a dear friend for putting a fancy frame around the photos he took that day :)

One of several things that I do at my job is to co-host a radio program every Sunday morning. It is so much fun to take calls and get to talk to people that you have never seen before! We pray for them, listen to their stories of triumphs, and sometime giveaway a gift or two. Usually we give away things like Cds and tickets to local events.

But the other day it dawned on me that it is sometimes difficult to find inspirational home decor pieces that don't cost an arm and a leg! And if you're not one to enjoy crafts or don't have time to craft, you will very likely end up paying more than you wanted or just not grace the walls of your home with lovely words of encouragment at all.

So I decided to take a 5x7 frame that was in the closet waiting for a future project and turn it into a scripture frame that would soon grace the home of one of our faithful listeners. The day of the giveaway was Easter Sunday, and we asked the listeners to call in and share one way that they would celebrate this special day.

The response was wonderful! Here are just a few of their ideas:

~ Read the Easter story with my whole family
~ Go to church with my family
~ Invite my neighbor for dinner so that she can be with a family today.
~ Tell someone about Christ's redeeming love before the day is over.

The quote was inspired by a chalkboard made by Aunt Ruthie {click here to see}.

Since there was such great interest in the inspirational frame, I decided to make 4 more to giveaway the next four weeks. Can I even tell you how excited I am to be able to bless someone's life with a little touch of beauty?

Since our main audience is Spanish speaking, the quote was in Spanish :)

The quote reads:
"I have gone to my Father's house to prepare a special place for you, and I'll be back soon to pick you up.
I love you,

So today I am asking for your ideas... would you share a verse, saying or memorable quote that has been a blessing to you? If you were to win one of these frames, what would you like for it to say? What simple words would inspire you? At least one {or maybe all four} of the frames will have one of these suggestions on it... and in that way, you too are a part of this blessing!

All photos taken by yours truly... except for the one I'm in :) That one was taken by a dear friend.
And since you know I love me a good party, I'm linking up to Life as Lori for some blogging fun!

Get your craft on Thurs.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Planning the Landscape

Wahoo!!! Back to blogging and loving it :)
It has been a wonderful busy 7 days, and over the next week, I'll be catching you up on all the happenings here at "too Blessed to Stress."

First of all, I should explain that last Monday was hubby and my 7th anniversary! {love ya babe!} We had a wonderful evening spent with family. It was a great celebration!

But since we couldn't find time in the schedule to get away from work {not even for an overnight getaway near by} we decided to spend our evenings that week together doing what ever suited our fancy - just NO work allowed! It was great fun! The only other requirement was to only do things together... and so I took a break from blogging to meet our treaty agreements.

I know that hubby totally would have let me blog and not cared one bit, but I wanted to hold up my end of the deal since he was taking time away from extra work projects to be with me. As a dear friend told me in her congratulation email, "Make him feel like he's #1!" And you know what? It was so great to just spend time looking after my sweetheart, talking, and going all the places we never get to during a regular work week.

See that brownish slab? That was the previous patio, and half of it was a ginormous step!

One of the things we did was get a jump start on our summer plans for the backyard. Last year we were blessed to have a friend use our patio as his "practice ground" for learning how to stamp concrete patios. The previous "patio" was no more than a slab of cement that wouldn't even fit one round table with two chairs comfortably.
Not conducive to our backyard entertaining desires!

My feet after sweeping off the first layer of color!

After several months of waiting, prepping, and planning, the new patio was poured, stamped, colored to look like slate/flagstone, and sealed. Just in time for one get-together before the rain came. So you can imagine how antsy we are to get out there this year and really enjoy the backyard for a whole summer.

Patio waiting for sealer... just begging for comfy furniture and a house full of company!

And if I could have you all over for a get-together I totally would! Time to start wispering to your hubby those two sweet words..... "road trip!"

As part of our anniversary celebration, we went to a local nursery to scout out ideas for new plants and flowers and dream about the big ticket items like a fancy arch, pergola and ginormous leaf fountain.

Every year we go to the nursery to plan and come away with great ideas that are all too easily forgotten, but this year we wised up and went in with a game plan.

After making a drawing of the yard with {pretty much, alomost, completely} exact dimensions, we wandered around with a notebook full of ideas, taking pictures of the plants and then a close up of their names and prices.

Not only did it save me from having to scribble down a bunch of illegible chicken scratch trying not to forget the name, cost, and color, it was a great way to visualize where everything would go once we were standing in the backyard later that day.

So simple! Why had we never thought of that before?

Do you have a tip {or two or three} for summer backyard planning and gardening that you could share? Are you landscaping this year? Planting a veggie garden? Enjoying the neighbor's yard? :) Share below... I always love new ideas from my wonderful readers!

All photos taken by yours truly.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Odds and Ends

So even though I am waiting till Monday to reveal the results of my cryptic message from yesterday, I though you might like a little preview of all the feathering that has been going on here at the "too Blessed to Stress" nest.

~ This $5.99 purchase {that just about killed my back} got a little makeover and is now full of all sorts of lovely treasures.

~ The Office makeover is done!!! Woo hoo!!!!! Major happy dance over here! {Miss. Kitschalicious, care to join me? :) haha!} The big reveal will be next week.

~ My laundry room is being redecorated as well. Although I'm not sure it will be ready for a full reveal this next week, I will share a few projects hubby and I made. Stay tuned!

Edited to add: hubby pointed out that some people might think that this is him, but this is actually our good friend who will be sharing his cooking tips and yummy recipes next week.  

~ There is a wonderful guest post coming up from a dear friend of mine who is an awesome cook... and it will include recipes! And chocolate...mmmm!

~ There will be another 7 day giveaway in April here at "too Blessed to Stress" so get ready to join in on the fun!!!

~ Oh and guess what? I received a wonderful gift from sweet Debbi from Diamond Grove. It's beautiful and everywhere I go people can't believe she made it from.... paper! Curious? You'll love it too!

Since I have so many wonderful ideas rolling around this little brain of mine, {and no jokes about my brain being all empty... even if it is!} I will not be posting this Saturday or Sunday. But as I told a dear friend, on Monday I'll be back with posting furry!

Hope you'll be inspired with the upcoming flood of crafting posts, memory making ideas, be challenged to live for today, and as always enjoy all sorts of ideas for making our house into a home.

So have a wonderful weekend, make some fun memories with your loved ones, and take a moment or two to craft... I can't wait to see what you were up to over the weekend!

All photos taken by yours truly.