Saturday, December 29, 2012

Awesome Dill Pickle Dip

Have you ever had those dill pickle, cream cheese and dried beef roll-ups? We love them! In fact, my brother makes them for almost every family get-together! But, if you have ever made them, then you know that they are a pain in the butt to put together! I have the solution! I tried this dip a few months ago and fell instantly in love. It was the roll-up in a dip form and it wasn't messy or a ton of work (unlike the roll-ups!). This is a perfect addition to your New Years Eve parties, football game parties or family gatherings!

Here's the easy recipe:

Dill Pickle Dip

8 oz cream cheese (I use the light)
1 c sour cream (I use the light)
1 tsp onion onion powder
1 tsp parsley
3/4 c dill pickle spears--drained, finely chopped (about 6)
5 oz. dried beef--finely chopped

Combine cream cheese, sour cream and seasonings in bowl. Beat until smooth. Stir in pickles and beef. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Serve with crackers.

I put the dip and crackers in the new two-tier server I made from a Target plate and bowl and served it up at Christmas at my parents. The only thing I took home was the server! 

Here's to a fantastic 2013!


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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is just around the corner and my house is ready to celebrate! This is another time of year to stop and think about all the things you are thankful for. Even though I have been laid up on the couch for the last two weeks, I can still find many things to be thankful for.
  • My family--they have really helped me over the last 2 weeks, especially my husband.
  • My friends--for checking in on me and making me dinner and delicious bread.
  • My dog--for hanging out with me and making sure I'm all good.
  • My blog fans--thank you for helping me make this a reality! 
I hope you take some time over the Holidays to discover the things you are most thankful for. I'll check in with you after the Christmas! Thank you again for visiting my blog and sharing it with others.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Painted Tumblers

Pinterest leads me to be inspired again! I've been on Pinterest for a long time, pinned over 2,600 pins! And, I actually enjoy recreating the items I've pinned! I've also discovered new and wonderful blogs because of it too!
This crafty project was something I pinned over 6 weeks ago. The title of the Pin was Easy Anthropologie Confetti Tumblers

With Christmas approaching, I knew I wanted to try these! I was at Target one day and in their Dollar Section (love!!), they had the tumblers! So I picked up two. And then I was at the Dollar Tree store and BAM! they had tumblers too! 
Next, I needed to figure out the colors I wanted to paint the tumblers. I figured I would gift two sets of tumblers. On my next visit to Michael's I bought a few different colors of the enamel paint. I wanted to do metallic colors and bright colors (I used Marta Stewart Enamel Craft Paints).

This project began when my girlfriends came to visit in November. We started crafting around Midnight ( was that kind of night and we may have had a few HIGHKICKS, too!). We worked on the metallic colors--with silver, gold and bronze. We used Q-tips to apply the paint in a sporadic manner.

It was really that simple. After a week or two, I went back and added more painted confetti. Love how they turned out and I hope the recipients like them too!

So, what do you think? Do you go on Pinterest? Have you ever made anything you've pinned?

Have a great day!


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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tasty Tuesday--Christmas Goodies

Well, it's only a week until Christmas! Seriously, where does the time go? This weekend, the kids and I put together our annual Christmas goodies for our neighbors. This is a tradition that was passed on to me from my mom. We would spend days making homemade cookies and then share them with those close to us. What a great gesture. Plus, it gives you extra bonding time with the kiddos!
This year I went for simple. I had foot surgery last week and I'm being forced to sit with my leg elevated most of the day. For those that know me personally, this is extremely tough to do! I managed to prepare most of these goodies in advance, only preparing two of them over the weekend.
Here is what we included this year:
1. Thin Mint Bark
2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark
3. Chicago Style Chex Mix
4. Brownie covered Peppermint Oreo's
5. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
6. Nutella Rice Krispy Treats

To find the recipes, just click on the name above and it will direct you to the sites where I found the recipes. In the Thin Mint Bark recipe, I used the Andes Mint Baking Bits instead of the Mint Chocolate Chips suggested. The only one I created myself was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark. This actually came from a fan suggestion on my Facebook page--and I'm glad she made it! It's so simple to put together and takes no time to prepare. For the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark I took the rest of the package of chocolate graham crackers I used for the Thin Mint Bark. You put these on a tin foil lined jelly roll pan sprayed with cooking spray. Next, sprinkle half a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Chips and half a bag of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips evenly over the graham crackers. Put in a 325 degree oven for 3-4 minutes. Take out of the oven and use the tip of a knife to cut through it, spreading it over the graham crackers. Place in freezer for up to an hour and break into pieces.

We packaged them up in kraft boxes I got in the Dollar Section at Target or round plastic containers I got during the after Christmas sale at Walmart last year. I included a little tag to let them know the contents, tied a ribbon and then the kids delivered!

Here are some pictures of my creations. 

If you love Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies, you will really enjoy this easy treat!

 So easy and tasty! This is for those chocolate and peanut butter fans!

I've made this recipe many times and it is always a crowd pleaser! Try this soon!

I've made these several times with great success! Don't over bake AND make sure you run a plastic knife around them as soon as they come out of the oven!

These come together so quickly and are great for those that love to eat raw cookie dough! Except these don't have eggs in them so no need to worry about getting sick! These are best kept in the freezer!

I finally got around to making these and I'm so glad I did. Any Nutella fans will really enjoy this twist on your typical Rice Krispy Treats!

So, do you bake treats and deliver to your friends and neighbors? What are your favorites? You can find more of my favorites on my Pinterest board.
Come on over and join me! 

Thanks for visiting Tasty Tuesday!


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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Homemade Christmas--Customized Photo Board

I've got another easy, customizable Christmas gift you can give to one of your favorite people. Many months ago I purchased these boards from Pick Your Plum (check out this daily site if you haven't already--such cute things!) and I have been waiting for a creative way to use them. When I visited a craft fair this fall, I saw photo boards with sayings on them and it struck me--that is what I would do with my boards--with my own twist of course!

I spray painted the boards with flat black spray paint and sanded the edges. Next I picked out a scrapbook paper that I liked and that coordinated with the saying that I was putting on the photo board. I applied a layer of Modge Podge on the board before applying the paper. Then I sanded the paper to give it rough edges. For this gift, I used copper glitter words that I bought at Michael's. I adhered them to the scrapbook paper with Modge Podge and let dry. Then I added some decorative flowers to give it a little extra touch. I added the photo corners on the little blocks so the recipient could add her favorite photos.

I loved how super simple this was, but so personal. I gave this to one of my dearest friends I met in college and still remain very close to. She is a great friend and I wanted to let her know that she was one of my Forever Friends.

Have a great day!



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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tasty Tuesday--Taco Bake

Are you ready for another recipe that is easy to prepare and one that the whole family will enjoy? I've got it right here! We just had this on Sunday and the kiddos ate it right up! I've made it a few times before, in fact, it has a 4 star rating from the family! See, when we try a new recipe (usually weekly), each family member gives it a star rating--5 being the best (and make it every day!). If the rating falls below a 3, I won't make it again OR I will get input on how to make it better. This original recipe came from the Kraft Magazine.

Taco Bake

1 pkg Kraft Deluxe Mac & Cheese Dinner
1 lb hamburger
1 pkg taco seasoning (or 2 Tbls of your own)
3/4 c water
3/4 c sour cream (I use light)
1 1/2 c shredded cheese (I use the co-jack or Mexican blend)
Crushed Tortilla Chips
Toppings: lettuce, tomato, salsa, black olives, etc.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare mac & cheese as directed on package. Meanwhile, brown meat, add taco seasoning and water to the meat; simmer for 5 minutes. Stir sour cream into prepared dinner. Spoon 1/2 of mac & cheese into lightly sprayed 8x8 baking dish; layer with the meat. Top with 1 cup of shredded cheese and remaining mac & cheese. Cover and bake 15 minutes. Top with crushed tortilla chips and 1/2 c cheese. Bake uncovered for 5 mintues. Serve with your favorite taco toppings!

So cheesy, so yummy! Enjoy!


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Monday, December 10, 2012

Homemade Holiday's--Chalkboard Painted Wine Glasses

Can you believe Christmas is only two weeks away? Are you finished shopping yet? I'm almost done--infact, I'm just wrapping up a few crafty projects from my Homemade Holiday gifts. Today's feature is an easy, personal gift you can give to a wine connoisseur in your life. 

These were fairly inexpensive too. I went to Target (love!) and bought a 4-pack of red wine glasses. Bought some chalkboard spray paint (you can also use the kind you brush on) and a chalk pen. I taped off the wine glass and stem and just painted the base. I used 2 coats of chalkboard paint for each glass--waiting for it to dry completely in between coats. Next, I wrote a saying on the base of each glass and adorned each of them with a shiny gem that I hot glued on.

I was so pleased with how they turned out and I think the recipient will love them to. What do you think?

Have a great week!


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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Homemade Christmas--Cookbook Binder

I've got a simple gift solution for a cook in your life! I actually made this a few years ago for a friend's birthday, but it makes a great Christmas gift too. She mentioned to me once that she has lots of recipes to try, but doesn't have anywhere to put them! AHA! I've got a solution! This was easy to put together and I customized it to her families tastes. I used my computer and cricut, but you could totally use stickers and chipboard to get a similar look.


3-ring binder (2 inch or larger)
Photo corners
3-ring plastic sleeves
Recipe cards

First I printed out all the cookbook catagories in a font that I likes for the tabs of the dividers. I glued them onto two different coordinating scrapbook papers (red and blue were used here!) before I attached them over the tabs.

Next, I added scrapbook paper to the dividers to make them look pretty--again, using red and blue. I printed out the category name on white cardstock and glued into onto the scrapbook paper (I also used a sponge and an ink pad and shaded the edges, just to add another element). I used a scroll from one of my Cricut cartridges and attached it to the top of each category page.
Then, I added colored paper with 2 recipe cards on each page, using the clear photo corners to keep them in place. I also added several clear plastic sleeves that she could add recipe clippings into.

For the cover, I use my Cricut to cut out the letters and attached them to a coordinating piece of scrapbook paper, attached a cute little ribbon and I was done!
This project took me about an hour and a half to make! I am really happy with the result and I believe my friend loves it--which is the best part!

I think it's special to give friends and family homemade gifts--it's a way for you to express your gratitude, almost like giving a little bit of yourself to them, too. Wait until you see what else I've been up too!

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

10 Fun Elf on the Shelf Ideas!

Elf on the Shelf is a huge trend right now. We’ve been doing Elf for about 3 years—what fun! Our Elf Kris comes to visit us as soon as our Christmas tree is put up! Our Elf Kris gets a little mischievous while we are sleeping—which is all part of the fun. The kids get so excited to find Kris each morning and see what kind of trouble he got into or where he is hiding! Today, I’m sharing some ideas we did last year and a few pictures from this year. My friend Becky also sent me some pictures of their Elf too! Maybe you will get some ideas for your Elf! 
Here is Becky's Elf Mistletoe having a snowball fight! What fun!

 Mistletoe did a snow angel in some coconut. We did this too, but we used sugar. Either way, the kids thought it was funny!

Mistletoe went fishing!

Look at the campfire and marshmallow roasting going on! I love the burnt tips of the marshmallows!

 Here is Mistletoe on a date with Barbie! They are drinking out of the syrup bottle!

Here is our Elf Kris--he brought the kids donuts and had some "Elf" sized donuts too! (those are Cheerios with sprinkles)

Kris was silly here, he drew horns and funny faces on the kids' pictures! (this is probably my favorite one from last year--the kids laughed every time they walked by!)

Kris curled up in Carson's tent, so he decided to read to him. He brought this into school and they posted in the Library!

Kris joined us this year by playing with Carson's football trading cards.

On the second day, Kris tried to go sledding! Unfortunately, when we got home from school/work, he was off his sled and laying on the stairs! Carson was so upset and worried that he might not be able to fly back to Santa!

Have you done something clever? Share your ideas or send me your pictures! And if you have small children and don’t have the Elf on the Shelf, consider starting this fun tradition with your family. You’ll be glad you did!

Thanks for stopping by!


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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tasty Tuesday--BBQ Wings

IT'S TUESDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
I've got a great recipe feature for you today! This is one of my families favorites. In fact, after we had these on Sunday, my daughter said that these might just pass by my ribs as her new favorite! They are simple to put together and can be baked/broiled in the oven or put on the grill. We always do ours on the grill--but keep a close eye on them because they can flare up and then you will have crispy, burnt wings! (I know, believe me!)
You can even make these ahead of time and put them in the crock pot--take them tailgating or to a picnic! Perfect for Super Bowl parties, too! Just make sure you have plenty of napkins handy!

BBQ Wings

1 pkg Chicken Wings (mine were the Jumbo Fresh Package, I think there were about 12-15 wings in the package)
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 c soy sauce
1 c water
1/4 c. butter
1 tsp. dry mustard

Melt butter in medium sauce pan. Add all ingredients in except wings. Bring sauce to a boil. Place wings in a container large enough so they lay in a single layer. Pour sauce over wings. Marinate 10 hours or so (overnight is good, too!). 
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes on one side and 45 minutes on the other side. OR grill until cooked through--turning often and watching carefully so they don't burn. Baste with your favorite BBQ sauce.


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Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Cheer, Introducing The HIGHKICK

Boy oh boy!!! I hope this week goes better than last week. After I week I had last week, I could have really used this beverage! I created this beverage concoction awhile ago. Not sure how it came about, but it's delicious! Whether its a hot day outside and you need a tasty refreshment or you are chillin' with your girlfriends--this makes the perfect companion! The drink went nameless for quite some time, but after a weekend trip with my college Sorority sisters a few years ago, the name struck me--my best friend Jen suggested something to do with "highkicks" because I was known to do highkicks in college (never was a cheerleader, but proud to say that I still can!) and I knew that had to be the name--simple and easy to remember and a tribute to my good 'ole college days! So, without further ado...introducing a great new Holiday Cheer to add to your spread this year:


Diet Cranberry Sierra Mist
Bacardi Razz Rum

Drop some ice in a pretty glass. Pour the Diet Cranberry Sierra Mist in, leaving an inch or so on top and then add a shot or a shot and a half of the Bacardi Razz. Stir. Enjoy!

I served up this tasty beverage when my college friends visited back in November. This is a picture of Micki telling Rina that is "REALLY IS THAT GOOD!" 
Now, I can't be responsible for anyone's actions after drinking this beverage. It didn't get its name because it causes you to do HIGHKICKS, but it may make you believe you can! (lol)

Hope you have a great week!


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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Painted Homemade Ornaments--Easy Gift Idea!

With the holidays quickly approaching, the kids and I worked on a special gift idea. I’ve made the cinnamon applesauce ornaments in the past but I was anxious to try something new! Both recipes are fairly easy and use ingredients you most likely have on hand. The directions are simple too, so little hands can help! Both of my kiddos had fun stamping, painting and decorating their ornaments.

We tried two different recipes—both turned out equally well, so I can’t recommend one over the other according to the appearance. If you want the “easiest” recipe—that would be the salt dough recipe (#1)—this one doesn’t require using the stove top and cooling, you simply mix up, roll out, cut and decorate. If you want crisp white ornaments, I’d go with the clay-type recipe (#2)—this would be good if you decided not to paint or decorate and wanted a clean and simple look.

Here are the two recipes:

Salt Dough Ornaments (#1)
2 c. flour
1 c. salt
1 c. luke warm water

Combine ingredients in large bowl and mix together until the dough forms. Lightly flour the surface and roll out to about ¼ inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to make the shape. Use a straw to make the hole for the ribbon to hang the ornament. We used craft paint and stamps to decorate our ornaments, but you can leave them undecorated too. Once you make all your ornaments, you can allow them to air dry or bake them at a low setting (200 degrees) for 30-60 minutes, rotating after 15 minutes and checking to make sure they do not start to brown. After they are cool and dry, spray with a clear coating spray to preserve the ornament. Tie a string and hang!

Clay Ornaments (#2)
½ c. corn starch
1 c. baking soda
¾ c. water

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and heat over med-low heat. Keep stirring until it forms a mushy dough, similar to mashed potatoes. Once that consistency is formed, place dough on a surface to cool (we put it on a cutting board). Once cool, roll dough out to about ¼ inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to make the shape. Use a straw to make the hole for the ribbon to hang the ornament. We used craft paint and stamps to decorate our ornaments, but you can leave them undecorated too. Once you make all your ornaments, bake them at a low setting (200 degrees) for 30-60 minutes, rotating after 15 minutes and checking to make sure they do not start to brown. After they are cool and dry, spray with a clear coating spray to preserve the ornament. Tie a string and hang!

Have fun making these with your kids—we sure did! (We even had a neighbor friend come over and join us!)

I've featured this project over at check it out!


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