Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Four Favorite Domestic Blogs

Every week I find myself looking at some crafting/decorating/sewing/cooking blogs and wishing I had the time to do more of this stuff in my own home. Even though I can't possibly accomplish it all they give me inspiration, ideas and great visuals and instructions on how to do such things.
Today I want to share with you my Four Favorite Domestic blogs in no particular order!






Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special















1.  Donna at Funky Junk Interiors takes "Trash to Treasure" to a whole new level!

There isn't anything that she can't turn into something beautiful.  If you have never check her out I highly recommend it. 

On Saturday's she hosts a linky event where other bloggers link up their projects. 




make it wear it










2.  Andrea at The Train to Crazy can sew like nobodies business!  How she has the time with 4 little ones I am not sure but I do love looking at all the beautiful clothing she creates.

On Thursday's she hosts a linky event where other bloggers can link up what they have been making to wear.


















3.  Maryann at Domestically Speaking offers an array of recipes, crafts and redecorating.

On Wednesday's she hosts a linky party for bloggers who have created something using paint called The Power of Paint.




Photobucket


4. Becky at Mrs. Bettie Rocker posts some of the most scrumptious looking recipes! This mommy of 2 little guys puts me to shame with all her cooking, not to mention that every recipe she posts makes me want to try it.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hearty Sausage and Spinach Soup

Yesterday was a nice chilly fall day so I decided to make a nice hearty soup. This was a new recipe of course I changed it a bit to fit what I had on hand.

Hearty Sausage and Spinach Soup; adapted from Jackie's Sausage Soup

 I started by browning 1/2 lb of ground hot sausage.  I got this on markdown at Kroger and it is made by a local butcher.

Because this sausage has plenty of added spice I opted to leave out the extra spice called for in the recipe including the onions and peppers.

After browning I opted to leave the sausage grease in the pan instead of draining.

In this second picture you can definitely see the glistening sheen of the sausage grease!

Next I added 2 cups of homemade chicken stock as well as 2 cans of Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic, Basil and Oregano.

Next came a box of Green Giant Chopped Spinach that I had thawed and drained.



The only way I can get my family to eat spinach is when it is cooked into something yummy or if it is raw baby spinach.  No one in this house likes your basic cooked spinach.


At this point I added a few cups of water to bring the liquid up much higher in the pot.






Since I didn't have Orzo I contemplated for a bit on what to replace it with.  At first I thought I would use another small pasta, then I thought about replacing it with rice however my final decision was to replace it with 2 cans of black beans rinsed and drained.

I turned the temperature to low and simmered for about 3 hours.




We ate it with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of shredded cheese mixed in.  We also had nice warm biscuits.  

Everyone enjoyed it, you honestly could not even taste the spinach flavor.  It was very hearty and it fed us for dinner with enough leftover for a couple lunches.


You can check out the original recipe here.  I am sure it would be delicious as is.  Plus if you check out the reviews there are several other adapatations to this recipe.






Linked to: Finding Fabulous, A Vision to Remember, Tatertots and Jello, Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Emeri and Jonah's Fall 2010 Photo Shoot

Things are almost back to normal around here! After being sick for almost 3 weeks I am feeling about 85% back to my old self. This cough/cold/congestion got a hold of me and just didn't want to let go. My husband and mom both think that I actually had something more serious like Bronchitis of Pneumonia and should have went to the Dr., but I didn't and it has almost completely went away.

Now I am starting to try and get my house cleaned back up and I just started cooking again over the last couple days. My family have been sports and lived on sandwiches, canned soup, mac & cheese, cold cereal and such while I was sick. Tonight I am planning on making a Sausage and Spinach soup for dinner and will post the recipe later tonight or in the morning.

Hopefully I will be ready to get back to my kitchen next week. It would be my luck to get really sick just after going and buying a bunch of supplies. Anyway, I don't think I am quite ready to breath in any strong fumes yet.

Now to get to the importance of this post! On the 9th of this month, the 2nd day of my sickness, a good friend of mine did a Fall Photo Shoot with Emeri and Jonah. We have always had pictures made a Sears or JcPenney and I was really just looking for something different! Since fall is my very favorite season I wanted outdoor fall pictures. Here are my favorites!
























































































































































This is just a few of the pictures she took!  I went ahead and printed all of the pics taken in 4X6 so I could make an album with them.  Now I just have to order 8X10's for the wall portraits.

So which are your favorites?  :)




Linked to: Finer Things Friday

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ashworth College Offers Highschool Courses Online



This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ashworth College. All opinions are 100% mine.


Thankfully we have never had any issues with our daughters who are in 7th and 9th grade.  They are great students and make excellent grades.  However there have been several times I have thought about homeschooling but have never felt like it was something I could keep up with.  So what would I do Emeri wasn't doing well in highschool?  Would I have the capacity to teach her at home?  I am honestly not sure of my abilities however I know that thee are other options.


Ashworth College provides all the accredited program that your child needs to succeed.  Our children can actually take High School Online classes right in their home.  Research shows that the tuition at Ashworth is 50%  less than the average accredited online school and the tuition includes all course materials and books.  The offer zero interest financing and unlike other programs at Ashworth College you are guaranteed to graduate without student loan debt.


If your child is having trouble in highschool, can't keep up or is being bullied check out Ashworth College Featured by National Education Report . I would rather have my child graduate highschool in a safe and loving environment than to fail.  If you would like some more information visit the Ashworth Video Gallery .




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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Homemade Mac and Cheese Florentine




I made this meal before I got sick which was a couple weeks ago, also I took the pic on my cellphone so it isn't very good.

I followed Alton Browns recipe for the Homemade Mac and Cheese however I did not do the topping.  Plus I didn't have all of his ingredients so below is what I actually used.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 1 box frozen spinach thawed and drained

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes.
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix then add the thawed and drained spinach and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish.  Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

This was soooo delicious!  It made a fabulous mac and cheese but better yet it got my family to eat spinach.  :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Working Out at Home: What is Your Favorite Program?

Lately I have been seriously thinking about what I need to do to get myself back into better health.  Over the years I have done many things to keep fit, going to the gym, working out at home and going to weight loss clubs.  However the past few years I haven't stuck with anything I have started.  I need to lose some weight and get healthier but I don't want to spend a fortune either.  I would love to do something at home because I know in the long run it will save a lot of money.

Because it has been quite a long while since I have done any serious exercising I need to slowly work my way into it building my strength up as I go.  The Slim in 6 is a holistic workout that is eay to follow and great for an introduction back into a workout regimen.  It takes 6 weeks to complete and should have me ready to move onto something more complicated.

The PX90 or P90X is something I have heard a lot about but am nowhere in the shape to do it yet.  It features yoga, kenpo, stretching, resistance training and cardio.  It sounds like an amazing workout and everybody seems to be doing from Ashton Kutcher and Cheryl Crow to a lot of my family and friends.

Another possibility for me is Body Gospel by Donna Richardson. This workout is a Christian approach to treating your body like the temple that God created.  I have to admit that aspect alone interests me.  It features resistance training, cardio, stretch, circuit and muscle conditioning but the main foundation of the workout is God.

 Off the top of my head the slim in 6 and the Body Gospel look the most appealing to me at the shape I am in now.  I think P90X would be awesome however I am pretty positive that I would not have the strength or stamina to do it yet.  Have any of you used any of the above workouts?  Were they too easy, too hard, or were they just right for you?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fort Massac Trip and The Cough has Taken Over

















I have been sick!  13 days ago I started having a tiny cough, annoying but nothing big.  For several days this cough got a little worse and a little worse and by day 5 I was down right sick.  My only symptoms have been a terrible cough, congestion and wheezing however this has been enough to drive me crazy!

I have been on a diet of chicken soup, hot tea and juice plus taking Mucinex in the day and a prescription cough medicine at bed time.  Every day it seems to get a little better but it just won't let go.

So I haven't been cooking, I haven't been crafting, I haven't even hardly left the house.

Sunday however my girls wanted to go to Fort Massac in Metropolis Illinois.  This is a family tradition that has gone on since I was a very little girl.  So I decided I could handle going.  Well let's just say it was way too much for me!  Emeri and Jonah had a great time, I spent most of my time sitting in the shade or the car.

Here are a few pics of the trip!

The girls and their cousins.


















All the kids again!























Jonah and C.



















Emeri.



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Trying out Picnik: Some Before and After Photos

Normally when taking a picture for a blog post I use my so/so camera or my cell phone to take the pic then edit with Gimp or Photobucket and leave it at that.  I am not really what you call photographically inclined!  However recently Emeri was telling me I should try out Picnik, so I figured why not.

So my nephews were over and I had taken some pictures of them on my cell phone and figured I would see what Picnik was all about.

Here is C before and after:

                                                

Next we have C, Emeri and J:













K before and after:













and finally my favorite, J before and after:














I will definitely be using Picnik more often.  There are still tons of effects I haven't even tried yet.




Of course Picnik is free as well as Photobucket and Gimp, however Gimp has to be dowloaded.

What type of photo editing software do you use? 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pear Recipe: Spiced Honey Pear Bread




















I had these poor little guys and knew they were about to reach certain death.  I hated to just throw them out so I decided to find a recipe for them.  I had made some pear bread (with canned pears) back in June but I thought I would try a new recipe.  We did really like the other recipe but I just like to try out new things.  :)

So I came across Amanda's recipe for Honey Pear Bread.   It looked great although I didn't have quite everything on hand so here is my adapted version.  I also halved the recipe and only made one loaf.


Spiced Honey Pear Bread
1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon baking powder
1/2  teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 medium pears, peeled, cored and diced (what I had left after removing the bad spots)


Preheat oven to 350

I confess that I am kinda a lazy cook and I pretty much put everything in the bowl and mix by hand.  Of course I left the fruit until the end.  If you want to see Amanda's instructions you can check them out here.

Then I greased my glass bread pan and baked in the oven for about 50 minutes.

Remove from pan, let it cool, then slice and enjoy.

My version is not very sweet, just sweet enough.  When making recipes I usually make an effort to change them to make them healthier for us and the kids.  For more healty recipes for kids Click Here!

Everyone really loved it and it was gone by the next morning after breakfast.  :)