Friday, September 30, 2016

Herb Focaccia Bread

Artisan type breads are so delicious and popular right now, and I have been experimenting!   Here is another simple recipe that uses your bread machine's dough setting.  Its delicious and savory to accompany an autumn soup or make an ordinary school lunch sandwich extra special.   Enjoy!

Herb Focaccia

1 1/4 Cups Water (warm)
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp. Olive Oil
2 1/4 tsp.  Italian herbs, fresh or dried (basil, oregano, chive, thyme, etc.)
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
3 Cups + 3 Tbsp. Bread  Flour
1 1/2 tsp.  Yeast

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3/4 tsp.  Salt
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh or dried Herbs

Place all ingredients in order listed in bread machine at dough setting.  When finished, roll and stretch into a circle shape- folding your edges under.  Place on a baking sheet and allow to rise for about 45 minutes or double its size.   Mix ingredients for your topping and set aside.  With a little oil on your fingers, press indentations into your dough about 1/2 inch deep and 1 inch apart all over the top.  Drizzle topping over the holes.  Place in preheated 450 degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes or golden.   

{print this recipe here}

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ribbon Tea Towels

I don't know about you, but where I live Fall has definitely arrived! The mornings and evenings are cooler, my kids wear jackets to school, and I even broke out sweaters over the weekend. I love it! May be it's because of the cooler weather or because I can't wait to decorate for the upcoming holidays, but I decided to "make" some new Fallish kitchen towels. Some of my current towels are pretty tattered after years of use. There really isn't anything to this craft and it can be completed in one sit down session!

You'll need some tea towels. I bought mine at the local craft store. Two towels came in one package. Also, you'll need lots and lots of ribbon. Because it's Fall, I decided to go with warm colors. However, you can do any ribbon color you choose. These towels would make great gifts for a bridal shower or house warming party using their home colors.

Measure out your ribbon so you have extra on either end of the tea towel. Pin your ribbon to the towel.

With the excess ribbon, fold over to the back of the towel by tucking the ends in. Pin the back side.

Then, with your sewing machine, sew your ribbon on to the towel. That's it! Like I said, simple and cute! Happy Fall!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Apples Chalkboard Sign

I wanted to add a little sign out by my front door for Fall.
And try out a new painting technique.
So I combined the two into this fun little apples chalkboard sign.
I'm using a piece of 5 1/2" wide fence wood.
I cut an 18" piece and
sanded it like crazy 'cause this wood is rough. 
Paint the front and sides with craft acrylic Americana Santa Red.
Not precise strokes, you can leave some of the red showing through.

I applied some vinyl letters to the board.
You can find sticker letters at your local craft store to use too.
Paint a coat of red over the letter edges, towards the sides of the letters
to try to seal that edge and avoid the next color of paint seeping under the letters. 

I covered the whole thing with white chalk paint.
When it is almost dry (slightly tacky)
peal off the letters.

Let it dry and sand the edges by hand to let some of that red show through.
Take a cup and trace a circle after the "S".
Fill in your circle with chalk paint.

After the chalk paint is completely dry,
rub some chalk over your circle,
(to "season the chalk board")
and then erase.

Love this little board.
And the paint technique, I'll be using that again--great for adding lettering and I like how the red comse through after sanding the white.

 I'm thinking my kids might have some fun with this little sign too.
That little chalkboard is hard to resist ;)

It's out by my front door for Fall decor.

You can find the instructions for making the Pumpkins Board {here}

Bringing the Fall farm stand right to our front porch!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Homemade Cinnamon Bread

This bread is as good as it looks!  My kids like it for a yummy after school treat; or, it also makes delicious toast in the morning or french toast too!  

Cinnamon Bread

Sugar 1/4 Cup
Cinnamon 1/2 Tbsp.
Milk 1 Cup (warm)
Butter 2 Tbsp. (room temp.)
Large Egg (room temp.)
Salt 1 tsp.
Sugar 1 Tbsp.
Bread Flour 3 1/2 Cups
Yeast 2 1/4 tsp.

In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon and set aside.  Place remained ingredients, in order listed, in your bread machine.  Select your dough setting on your bread machine and allow to mix and rise.  Once done, take dough out and roll out into a large 1 inch rectangle.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture all over the top and roll up like a cinnamon roll.  Place seam side down into your bread pan and allow to rise in a dry warm place for about 45 minutes.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Enjoy!!

You can find a printable version of this recipe {here}

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Refresh and Revamp Kid Lunches-6 meal plans

School is in full swing.
Are your kids tired of the same ol' school lunches yet?
Mine are wanting something different and healthier options. 
Don't get me wrong, they also want a little treat in their lunch too, 
so I usually include a little something sweet. 
I also have teens and tweens who are looking for 
"cool" things for lunch.  
I've got a few ideas that just might fit the bill.
Pull out your lunch box or brown paper bag
and lets eat lunch!

This is a win with my teens.
They love my Turkey Wraps.
Something different from a sandwich and
there are so many options for the filling.
They go for turkey, cucumber, tomato, sprouts,lettuce and the "secret spread".

I'll put some yogurt in the freezer overnight.
Then pull out to pack in their lunch in the morning and
by noon it has thawed out but, is still cool for eating. 
Pack up some granola to go with it. 
(don't forget a plastic spoon! :0)
I really love using these little plastic cups with lids for lunch items.
They come in different sizes and are perfect for the fruit and granola.
Instead of regular pretzels, try pretzel thins, they are addicting!
Finally, for our sweet-- mini shortbread cookies.
Three fit in a snack size bag.

Even my tween will ask for a salad on occasion.
Pack up your favorite lettuce and veggie mix.
Add a cup of dressing and a cup or bag of fruit.

I added in a Pizza Bite or two,
with extra marinara for dipping.
These mini pizza bite calzones are some of her favorites.
I'll make a batch and individually bag up and freeze some.
Then it is easy to grab in the morning for the lunch box.
Add in a little frosted brownie.

Another crowd pleaser are taquitos.
You can make up some of Kristin's Taquitos
or I'll buy some from Costco that are great too.
Add a cup of Mexican Rice.
You can always make a
larger batch of what you are having for dinner (like this rice)
and use some of it for lunch the next day.

Add some fresh veggies and dip, 
along with some salsa.
For a different dessert, 
try some cinnamon sugar crisps. 
Just butter a tortilla, sprinkle with a cinnamon/sugar mixture and 
broil in the oven until it is crispy.
Let cool and slice.  Yum!

 Every once in awhile one of my kids wants a PB &J.
Changing things up by making it on Naan bread.
We like using homemade strawberry freezer jam.  
Kristin has some delicious homemade jam recipes {here}{here}{here} and {here}.

Cutie oranges are great for school lunches.
Try some different veggies for dipping.
Baked chips and a homemade cookie.
You can't go wrong with Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Next time you make a batch. Freeze some to pull out for lunches.
Put it way back in the freezer or they'll be gone!

 How about little cracker sandwiches. 
Add your meat, or pepperoni and cheese.

Veggies and this time hummus. Switch up your dips.
Sliced apples and for dessert, your favorite popcorn.
I happen to be diggin' on this flavored popcorn right now. 

Last up, pasta salad.
This is one of their favorites for lunch.
When it's sports season, 
I pack two lunches-
one for noon and another with an ice pack to eat
after school on their way to the sporting event.
Pasta salad is just the ticket for a pre or post game meal.

Pita chips and hummus are a great addition to this lunch.
For dessert a trail mix of nuts, fruit and chocolate chips.

Hope this gives you a few ideas on how to restyle and refresh your school lunches.
Your kids will love the change up in their mid-day meal.
What do you have in your lunch sack?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Halloween Pictures

Here's a fun way to preserve some family history while decorating your home - framing Halloween pictures from years past. Years ago my mother-in-law made this cute devil's costume for my husband. Since then, all three of our boys have worn this very same costume and I thought it would be amusing to frame these pictures side by side.

Our family has enjoyed looking at the costume through the years and I've heard plenty of comments relating to who looks like who and disbelief that they've worn such an old costume :) I also decided to frame side by side pictures of my daughter and I both dressed as 50s girls. Again, it is fun to see the resemblance and how times have changed!

 I'm excited to use these frames to decorate our home for Halloween next month. I hope this idea may just be the inspiration you need to frame some family pictures -- no matter how old the photos are!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

It's Fall Y'all! Use this Printable in 3 easy crafts

It's been raining here the past couple of days.
Cloudy and the temperatures have dropped a bit...
It's Fall Y'all!
To celebrate, I've made this fun phrase into a printable.
And we've got 3 different craft ideas to display it.

First up, print and frame.

Choose your own scrap book paper to print off the logo link below:

Then cut down to fit in a 5x7 or 8x10 frame.
Simple and fast!

Craft 2: transfer the logo to a chunky block of wood.
Cut a 2x4 into 4 1/2" pieces.
I painted the front with Americana Marigold craft acrylic paint.
Sand the edges and stain just the edges and back with wood stain.
I transferred the printable PDF file into my Silhouette to cut the phrase in vinyl.
It looks so cute!

Don't have a vinyl cutter, no problem.
Print off the logo and transfer to your block with carbon paper.
Then color in the letters with a black Sharpee or paint pen.
You can find step by step instructions for this technique {here}.

Last up: I had to use some heat transfer vinyl. 
I've really gotten into using it lately--so fun.
I really wanted to make a dish towel with the phrase.

There are some good tutorials on YouTube on using this type of vinyl.
Just iron right on.

You could also transfer the logo on your towel with the carbon paper
and then using fabric paint, paint in the letters.
Which ever method you use, 
enjoy the printable.

And welcome in Fall with a little something new to display in your home!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Dry Erase Board

My kindergartener came home the other day with lined writing paper inside a sheet protector. With a dry erase marker, he is able to practice his letter strokes over and over again without wasting a stack of paper. The sheet protector acts like a dry erase board. I thought, "What a great idea! Such a smart teacher!" I've seen this done before, but what came next completely blew my mind. My daughter had the idea to put a plain white piece of computer paper inside a sheet protector to use as a drawing pad. Now, she is able to draw pictures over and over again. I thought, "This is genius! What a smarty!" A slew of ideas then came to mind. For example, instead of bringing a pile of papers to church for my kids to draw on or a stack of coloring books for long car rides, I now only need one piece of paper per child. This new method will save space, trees, money, and my sanity. No need to pack piles of papers, notebooks, coloring books, etc. Plus, my kids think it's so fun! May be you already know of this idea, but honestly, I was beside myself. . . just one piece of paper for endless hours of drawing. What?! I thought I'd pass it along in case there is one person out there who like me is new to this coloring revolution :)

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