Monday, May 24, 2010

thinking like a scrapbooker, volleyball, and stuffed shells

I just recently completed a challenge for the If It's Groovy Design Team. I can't show you the layout until it's posted over there, but it made me realize how much my ideas about taking photos have changed since I've become a scrapbooker. I'm just not taking pictures to look at later. I'm capturing moments. I'm freezing feelings. I'm telling a story. I'm turning the ordinary into extraordinary. It's the expression on a face. It's the sprinkles on the whipped cream. It's the sparkle on the shoes. It's the messiness of a room. I zoom in. I pan out. I look at all of the components of the environment and wonder "what a great scrapbook page" that will be. Yes, sometimes the photos still turn out crummy, but I don't always delete them. Crummy photos can still become non-crummy layouts. Show me one. Send me your fabulous layout that has a crummy photo. I'll show you mine soon.

This is the week 42 Lift-a Fiskateer layout. I pop-dotted some of the volleyballs. Sport layouts are a great time to give some "movement" to your page.

Last week, when I got to spend the morning with my new niece, Reina, I had a special request from my brother and sister in-law for...

1 box jumbo pasta shells (there are about 40 shells in a box)
28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
15 oz. can of Italian style tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves minced
1# ground beef, browned and broken up

1 # ricotta cheese
8 oz. shredded mozarella
1/2 C grated parmesan
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp parsley flakes
2 C fresh spinach, chopped fine

Boil water and cook shells. Drain. Brown meat and drain. Make sauce with tomatoes, sauce, and garlic. You can add additional spices to your taste. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Stir ground beef into sauce. Mix all of the ingredients for your stuffing in a large bowl. Stuff each shell with a spoonful of "stuffing" and lay in a greased 9x13 pan. Pour sauce over shells, and gently mix to coat. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Monday, May 17, 2010

a cupcake, chocolate, and a baby

The most important news first...I'm an aunt! Reina Kathlynne was born on May 12th. She came to visit yesterday and she is ADORABLE and now well-loved by her older cousins, aunt, and uncle. My husband felt the need to limit my time holding the baby (in case I would get that "feeling"). Maybe he had a good idea...

I used my Fiskars cupcake template to make a birthday card. This one I made for my brother's birthday in February, but now I'm making another one for a different brother.
The outside of the card says:"We baked cupcakes for your birthday"
The inside says: "They were delicious" (Hee-hee, sisters never stop picking on their brothers).

Last week's recipe of Macaroni and Cheese (ala Noodles and Company) received 6 thumbs up from our family. It was not as good as Noodles, but it was smooth and creamy and delicious!

Friday was Scrap Club and I was the "hostess". These brownies were scrum-diddly-umptious!

1 box of German Chocolate cake mix
¾ C butter, softened
1 C chopped pecans
2/3 C evaporated milk (5 oz can)
1 C chocolate chips
14 oz package of caramels

Mix (with hands), dry cake mix, butter, nuts, and 1/3 C of milk. Spread ½ of mixture in a greased 9x13 pan. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

When it comes out of the oven, immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.

Melt all of the unwrapped caramels and rest of milk in microwave, 30-60 seconds at a time until you can mix well. Spread melted mixtures over chocolate chips. Crumble reserved cake mixture over the top. Return to oven for 15-18 minutes.

Cut into bars when cool.

Monday, May 10, 2010

shadows, crowning, and Mac N cheese

"Shadows" is the theme for this month over at "If Its Groovy". That Groovy Deb has me scrapping out of my usual chronological order for this one. I found a great picture from this winter when we were all skating over at a friends' pond. I stamped the paper with silver metallic ink, and used glitter paper to shadow box the bottom title.

The month of May is a month for Mary. Luke got the honor of crowning Mary at a prayer service this morning. He looks so handsome (and grown up) in his fancy clothes.

Monday means a recipe. I'm trying this one tonight. My kids love Noodles and Company macaroni and here will be our attempt. A friend found this on the internet.

Mac and Cheese (Noodles and Co. style)
1 # elbow noodles
1/4 C butter
1/4 C flour
3 C half and half
1/2 tsp salt
3 C shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (or Colby Jack)

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, making a roux. Gradually stir in half and half, whisking until thickened. Stir in salt. Remove from heat. add cheese, stir until cheese melts. Pour sauce over noodles as you serve it. Top with more shredded cheese.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

birthdays, sunshine, and tea

I have 3 recent layouts to show you today...maybe they can inspire you to get some scrapping done.
The first one comes from a Fiskateer challenge. Groovy Deb organizes the "Lift a Fiskateer" challenge each week. We are inspired by other Fiskateers to take a spin on their layout from the gallery. This one came from Fiskateer Carlee. I went a little doodle crazy-which I don't do enough. It's fun! I am also showing off my new EK border punch-it's so cute.

Layout number 2 does double duty. It is sketch #198 from Scrapbook Challenges (I showed you the sketch on my May 3rd post) and the Scrapping the Music challenge from last week. If you haven't visited Scrapping the Music yet, go there to be inspired. Each week, a song's lyrics become the inspiration for pages. This week, the song is The Rainbow Connection (by Kermit the Frog). It's difficult to see in the photo, but I "popped" some of the flowers that I cut out from the patterned paper. I LOVE layouts that let me use a bunch of photos!

Layout number 3 is the Lift a Fiskateer challenge from last week. Lots of blue here, and lots of pattern paper...but keeping them all in the same color group seems to make it cohesive.

Feeling inspired? Show me your efforts and you may get featured here!

Monday, May 3, 2010

rainbows, crescent rolls, and a sketch

Two recipes today since I missed one last Monday (this will make Jennifer happy).
It is not a celebration at our house, unless there is Jello. Rainbow Jello is a favorite. And if you are going to be home for about 6's totally worth it.


4 boxes of Jello (6 oz size) in any flavors (I used raspberry, lime, lemon, and orange)
1 small carton of sour cream

Mix first flavor of Jello with 1 cup boiling water and stir well for at least 2 minutes. Add 1 cup cold water, stirring until Jello is completly dissolved. Divide Jello liquid in half and set one half aside. To other half, add 2 TBSP of sour cream and stir in with a whisk. Pour into a 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Place in refridgerator to set for 45 minutes. Then, pour same flavored plain Jello on top. Let set for 45 minutes. Repeat with each flavor until rainbow is complete.

2 packages of crescent rolls (in the tube)
16 oz. of plain cream cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp cinnamon
(optional: rind and juice of 1 lemon)

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Press 1 package of crescent rolls into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Beat cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, vanilla, and egg yolk (save the egg white) (also add rind and juice of 1 lemon if you would like) until smooth. Spread over pressed rolls. Place other package of crescent rolls on top of the cream cheese mixture (I try to smooth out and connnect the "stitches" before placing it). Brush top of rolls with egg white. Mix cinnamon and 1/2 C sugar together and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cut into bars when cool. Keep refrigerated.

Lastly, here is the sketch of the week at Scrapbook Challenges.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

National Scrapbook Day, a sketch, and a celebration

National Scrapbook Day was May 1st. My participation was limited as we were celebrating Luke's First Communion, but I did get to join the fun a little bit. Here is a Fiskateer Challenge Sketch from Allison Davis...

And here is my version... the left page is turned clock-wise to accomodate my horizontal photos.

And, here is our handsome boy...extra holy on this day.

I'll be back tomorrow with 2 (yes, count them 2) recipes from our celebration.