May 27, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Now, normally, you wouldn't call this soup weather here in Southern California today... but it has been significantly "cooler" in the evenings this week, so I thought I could push it and try for our favorite soup just one last time before we retire to salads for the summer.

Last fall, I decided that I wanted to make Chicken Tortilla soup but didn't have a recipe, so I looked up recipes online... However, none fit all of the categories of what I wanted in this meal. First, I needed it to be a crock pot meal. Second, it really needed to be delicious! And third, I didnt want to have to use several dishes (pans, etc.) to create the whole meal. So I just picked at each of the recipes that sounded good and took what I liked from each... Here is the result for those of you that asked -- I just love how easy it is and for the most part you will usually have most of the Ingredients on hand/in the pantry!

Please let me know if you try it out and how you like it!

INGREDIENTS:

3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (uncooked)
4- 6 Cups Chicken Broth*
1 Tsp Salt & Pepper
1 Tsp Ground Cumin (I usually do a heaping Tsp for added spice, add 1/2 Tsp if doing 6 C Broth)
1 Can Black Beans (drained)
1 Can (or 14 oz. Frozen) Corn
1 Can 1 Small Can chopped Green Chili Peppers
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (undrained)
1 Small Onion Diced (set aside for after soup cooked)
**Any other veggies you want to add... I usually add green beans as well)
Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese
Salsa for added Spice
Crushed Tortilla Chips
Cilantro to top it off!

-----------------------------------

1. Spray bottom of your Crock Pot with Pam/Cooking Spray and lay all 3 Chicken Breasts flat in the Pot.

2. Drain Black Beans and spread over the top of the Chicken (this is important to keep the heat in the Chicken)

3. Layer Black Beans with all other veggies in order they are listed, leaving the Diced Onions for after the soup is done cooking.

4. Pour in Chicken Broth and add Salt, Pepper and Ground Cumin.

5. Set Crock Pot on Low (for 6-8 hours) or High (for 3-4 hours)

6. After it is done cooking, use two forks to shred the chicken (you can take it out of the Pot if need be).

7. Dice Onions and stir into the soup.

8. Serve with Shredded Cheese, Crushed Tortilla Chips, Cilantro and Salsa if you like.


* I add two cups of Chicken Broth and another can or two of veggies if I am cooking for 6 people versus 4.

May 26, 2009

Embroidery Floss Class


This week's Scrap or Dare color challenge really got me! I ended up really loving the combo and decided to use them to create an upcoming class using CTMH Embroidery Floss. I dont have this class on the calendar yet, however, if any of you are interested in holding this class in your home with your friends, don't hesitate to ask! I will be happy to teach you and your friends how to use our embroidery floss as a simple and fun technique to make your cards and layouts have that extra something.


I really loved the Playful Petals stamp set as soon as I set my eyes on it! Haven't played with it for awhile so I decided to use it as the stamp set for these cards. It is actually a pretty versatile set once you think about it. I have seen people use it for bee wings, all sorts of flowers (like the tulip, I created here), as the flame on a candle and even a dragonfly! Hope these cards will inspire you all to find new ways to use this stamp set and to play along in this week's Scrap or Dare challenge :)

RECIPE:

Colors: Watermelon, Sweet Leaf, Crystal Blue (out of Breeze paper), White Daisy and Black

Embellishments: CTMH Button, Sweet Leaf Ribbon Rounds, Brad, Paper Flower, Foam Squares, and CTMH Embroidery Floss.

Stamps:

Playful Petals (C1288)
True Happiness (D1365) -- Sentiment
With Love (D184) -- Sentiment & Leaf
Annotations -- 'Thank You' Stem

Scrap or Dare #4!

Last week's winner was chosen at Random.org..... AND THE WINNER IS: IONA!!!! Thanks for playing, Iona! Send me your address for your goodies to Ames33@gmail.com :)

This week's inspirational photo comes from an article in Associated Content about Home Decor. I really wanted this week's Scrap or Dare to challenge you to use a different combo that you wouldnt normally think of putting together... So, I hope this works! **Next week I am going to start a three week series of masculine colors for the upcoming Father's Day!

COLORS: Breeze, Watermelon, Citrus Leaf OR Sweet Leaf and White Daisy

**My colors refer to the Close To My Heart colors. Feel free to use whichever colors you have on hand!**

To participate simply create a project using these colors and post it on your blog or a public forum. Then return to my blog to link your project through Mr. Linky! It is super easy!! I hope you all have fun creating! I will post my creation soon!


May 25, 2009

Feeding Giraffes!



Today I got to do something that I have always dreamt of doing! (Dont laugh at me!) I GOT TO FEED THE GIRAFFES!

My loving husband took me to the Santa Barbara Zoo to feed the giraffes and it was so wonderful! If you haven't guessed by my excitement, my favorite animal is the Giraffe. Such magnificent creatures and so sweet too! They have such long tongues that are pretty scratchy too! But it was so amazing to feel like I was his friend for awhile :)

When I asked Garrett what his favorite part of the day was (yes, I know, such a mom kind of question!!), he simply replied "watching you with the giraffes." I am so blessed to have a hubby that really enjoys seeing me happy. It was a good day. All of the other animals were just beautiful and then we went to the Wharf for dinner to end our fun day. Hope you enjoy the photos!

Dutch Festival 09

Remember how in my last post I mentioned that I have never really been that patriotic in life? Well, now that I think about it... I have been more proud of the fact that I am half Dutch Indonesian! This weekend, we joined my family at the Annual Dutch Festival in Long Beach. Now, many of you may be saying, 'how can you be both Dutch AND Indonesian?' A brief explanation follows :)

Way back in time, Indonesia was ruled by the Dutch (from the 1800s up to the point that my Grandparents were married and starting their family -- late 1940s!). I am not exact on the date/years, however soon after my Grandparents were married, the Dutch gave Indonesia their independence and allowed them to then choose their nationality... they could stay in Indonesia and be citizens there or go to Holland and become a Dutch citizen there. My Grandparents took my mother (and I think my Aunt Maureen had been born then too) to Holland where they then became Dutch Indonesians. ((MOM, please correct any parts that I may have mixed up :)

It was very cool to hear this story from my mom, that this is also why they speak Dutch versus Indonesian. I think it is very important that we know these things about where we came from. After my Grandfather passed away last December I have been more inclined to read about what his experience would have been like growing up in Indonesia. It is very interesting to read what the Dutch did to keep rule over Indonsia (what they are calling colonialism)... I also know that my grandparents were both in a labor camp while the Japanese were there in the 40s... a horrible experience, I am sure. I always wanted to hear more about it from them when I was younger but didnt really know how to ask... my Grandma was reluctant to share.

Anyhow, thank you for taking the time to learn alittle about this part of my life that I am so proud of. I look forward to learning more about it all so that I can share with my future children, as well. Here is a slideshow of our fun time at the Dutch Festival (by the way, the FOOD is the main attraction at these things... sometimes you dont get a lot of these dishes but once a year at these gatherings!! -- it was all very delicious and as you can see, even my part Polish husband agrees that it is better than Borscht!!!)


May 23, 2009

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Now, I have never really been that patriotic... up until the time that I am now an adult living my own life and realizing what is going on in the world. I came across this organization called Cards For Heros that sends not only cards of encouragement and appreciation but also blank cards that the troops can write on and then send home to their loved ones. I have been wanting to get involved in something similar lately, so I am excited to have found such a great cause and organization!

This weekend Cards for Heroes is holding a Blog Hop, in which you "hop" over to several different blogs of those who are participating by creating special cards in honor of the troops! You hop from each blog to check out each of the cards and projects created by these talented ladies (I hope to participate in this next year!). If you would like to check it out, just click RIGHT HERE and it will take you to where you can get started :)

I decided to create a VERY simple card in honor of this Memorial Day weekend and will create several more to send in to Cards for Heroes. If any of you are interested in donating cards please go HERE OR even money to ship a box over ($11.95/box) please go HERE.

I truly do appreciate all who dedicate their lives to providing a safe and free country for us to live in. Please know that you are not forgotten and you will always be appreciated! May God bless you all and your families.

Raspberry Suite Color Challenge #7


I have been wanting to participate in Dawn McVey's Raspberry Suite Color Challenge for quite some time now but I always get there too late! haha, its ok because this time I checked every day since Wednesday (when the last one was closed) and have been determined to complete the challenge. I am especially excited about this color combo!

I also combined this color challenge with Amy R's Sketch Challenge for this Friday. I dont know if I used all the right embellishments, because it didnt quite turn out the way that I wanted it to... I think next time I would put the Sweet Leaf Cardstock behind the Patterned paper... all of the cardstock is in the center and there is no detail in the center and leaves this random blank space!! Bad planning on my part :/ The goal was to get a cute little girl's Birthday card out of it and I doubt any little girl that receives it will be disappointed haha... Im just a perfectionist! And there is nothing I can do about it now.

RECIPE:

Colors: Orchid Bouquet, New England Ivy and Sweet Leaf.

Embellishments: New England Ivy Buttons, Clear Sparkles (on party hat) and Colonial White Ribbon Rounds

Stamps:
Life's a Jungle (D1285)
Star Struck (D1237) **for the birthday hat**

May 22, 2009

Time to Scrap!

Last weekend I had a crop from 10 am to 10 pm and let me tell you... I got A LOT done! Considering that it usually takes me about two hours per layout and we had lunch and dinner in between (both of which, I prepared!)... I think that this is a great turn out. I knocked out a total of 6 two page layouts! And I think that calls for a big WOO HOO!

Here is a little slideshow of all of my layouts... a couple are incomplete without the title, but for some reason I had trouble with it that day... we will see what I come up with :) Enjoy!

** I apologize that the photos are not so great... I did take them in daylight but still a little blur on the images... one day i will have a better camera for these things :)


May 19, 2009

Scrap or Dare #3!


This weeks Scrap or Dare inspirational photo comes from a wonderful little shop on Etsy called Boojiboo. They have the cutest aprons you could ever find! I recently just purchased one and decided that I would choose one for this week's inspiration :)

COLORS:

Ocean, Sweet Leaf, Chocolate and Colonial White


**My colors refer to the Close To My Heart colors. Feel free to use whichever colors you have on hand!**

To participate simply create a project using these colors and post it on your blog or a public forum. Then return to my blog to link your project through Mr. Linky! It is super easy!! I hope you all have fun creating and this week THERE WILL BE A PRIZE for a winner that is selected at random :) Please post by next Monday to be included in the drawing!


















One of my new favorite stamp sets is Treetops, it makes for a sweet card! I can never resist using the tiny sentiment "Life is Good" along with the cards I make with this set, it is just so sweet looking!

Stamp Sets Used:
Treetops (C1368)
Spot on Backgrounds (D1280)

Embellishments: Buttons and Brads


May 18, 2009

Color Chef Challenge #6

Everyone knows that my favorite color is GREEN! This weeks Color Chef Challenge was Green, Dark Green and White... couldnt resist! Oh! and I just bought Martha Stewart's mini butterfly punch and have recently become addicted to hand stitching small details onto my projects...So here is my cute card.

**I am still deciding what to use for the butterfly bodies... thinkin Rhinstones? Let me know what you think!**

COLORS: Sweet Leaf, Clover Meadow and White Daisy

I used my paper piercer to make the swirl design and then hand stitched with white embroidery floss. I love the dimension you get with this quick and easy embellishment!

Lemonade Stand Award :)

Christina (...the Sassy Scrapper!) sent me this award today and I am so honored! Thanks, Christina! It is so awesome that we as artists are able to share our passion and artwork with one another and inspire each other. If you haven't seen Christina's blog before, check it out by clicking :::RIGHT HERE:::



The Lemonade Stand Award!

The rules of this award:

*comment on this blog
*cut and paste the award logo and use it on your own blog
*nominate 5 to 10 blogs you feel show great attitude and gratitude
*link to your nominees within your blog post
*comment on their blogs to let them know they received the award
*link back to the person who gave you the award to show your appreciation


And the award goes to...

Kelly Jo

Beth

Katie R

Tiffany

Sandra

All of these ladies are extremely talented and creative... they make my day brighter with their wonderful and sweet posts and ideas. Thank you girls!I also want to say "Thanks!" to all of you who have been following my blog and leaving me all of your wonderful comments :) Keep on creating!

May 15, 2009

Silhouette Wedding Guestbook

This weekend, a bunch of people from our church have gathered together to throw a wedding for a young couple, Shane and Vicky. It has been awesome to see God bring together so many different talents and abilities to get everything together for tomorrow! I created them this cute little guestbook for the wedding. The CTMH Silhouette paper pack worked perfectly since they are sticking with neutral colors for the wedding. I just love how it turned out! I found the perfect font on Dafont.com and used that for the word "Guests" on each of the pages to sign. It is a smaller wedding (in my opinion) of less than 100 Guests, so this left me room for several pages in between with photos of the cute couple. All of the pages for signing are very simple. I covered the pages the 3 Ring Binder (from CTMH) with pattered papers and printed up the lines on Colonial White cardstock and cut it down to 4.5 x 6" to go in the center. I just stamped different flourishes on one side of the page in Bamboo for added design.

Rather than posting all of the photos to take up the whole blog, I have created a Slideshow for you to see all of the photos. Enjoy!




RECIPE:

MY CREATIONS THREE RING BINDER (Z1141)

Paper: CTMH - Silhouette

Colors: Black, White Daisy, Colonial White and Bamboo

Embellishments: CTMH Rub-Ons, brads, eyelets and misc. ribbons

Stamps: Playful Flourishes (on "Guest" pages in Bamboo)




I decided to keep it simple since people will be signing it! Thanks for looking!



May 11, 2009

Scrap or Dare #2
















First of all, I want to thank Iona, for being the one and only participant in my first challenge last week! haha Here is to hoping that more of you might be more interested in this week's Scrap or Dare. I am going to change a few things up this week though, so pay attention!

Scrap or Dare will now include color suggestions to go along with the inspiration photo. Please note that I will be using Close To My Heart ink color names as a reference, however you can use any colors that may be similar on your project. Originally, I didnt want to post colors in order to keep from hindering any inspirations that you might have without them. However, I desire to promote CTMH colors since they are the loves of my life! (shh... dont tell the DH)

So please do play along and simply post a link to your project (not your whole blog, please) at the bottom of this post on Mr. Linky. If you have any Questions please dont hesitate to ask!

Happy Scrap or Daring!


This week's inspiration photo comes from the World Market (again... love that place!). The photo is of three beautifully bright embroidered pillows. I fell in love with the summery feeling they give off.

The card I created follows in that summer theme and I cant wait to see what everyone else comes up with!

Stamp Sets Used:

Treetops (C1368)
You're A Hoot (C1362)









Happy Together Layout

**DID YOU MISS THE CTMH BLOG HOP?? Go here to get started! Links at bottom of her post -- Erin Herring's Blog


This coming Saturday, May 16th is my National Scrapbooking Day Celebration (wasnt able to do this on the actual day!). We will be cropping from 10am till 10pm and I am excited to give them all of their goodies, including the all new Summer Idea Book, A goodie bag filled with fun stuff from the new IB and this beautiful two page layout! I hope they love everything they get and that we all have a blast! We always do!


RECIPE:

Layout from Reflections p. 43

Paper: Bella

Colors: Smokey Plum, Olive, Desert Sand, Hollyhock and Creme Brulee

Stamps: Blooming Flourishes (D1263)

Embellishments: Misc. Green Grosgrain Ribbon and Dimensional Elements Monograms "HAPPY"

My favorite part about this Layout is the Title at the bottom. I used Desert Sand to sponge the color onto the DE Monogram letters. Honestly, I have always shied away from using the Dimensional Elements and other chipboard accessories, just because of the time you have to put into covering them with papers... but now that CTMH offers these in plain white (versus the usual chipboard color -- like cardboard!) I can easily get it to match my layouts without too much time.

Ways to use the Dimensional Elements (page 96 of the Idea Book):

1. Sponge a matching color all over it ** as shown.
2. Sponge around the edges, leaving the white in the center for a faded look.
3. Stamp over the top (this is especially easy with our Background Stamps!)
4. Paint over the top
5. Cover with Patterned Paper
6. Stamp on the edges with random stamps (i.e. a small flower or swirl off the edge of the DE)
7. Cover with Prisma Glitter
8. Roll the Rubber Brayer over the top with matching color.

Why I love Southern California!

We had a weekend full of sunshine for all of our Mother's Day plans, it was such a blessing!

Saturday we started the day off by cheering on our nephew, Tyson, at his baseball game and then our whole family took off to the Ventura Pier for a lunch by the beach. Though it was a bit overcast when we got there, by the time we starting walking up the pier and around the beach, the skies cleared and the sun was shining! It felt amazingly good to have the sun's warmth on my skin. We ended the day at Golden Spoon for some yummy frozen yogurt :)

Sunday we drove out to the San Diego area to Garrett's Nana's home. It was nice to get to see both of his Grandma's and mom to celebrate. Lisa prepared a delicious brunch as usual and we all just got to spend some time together. The sun was shining and Garrett, his sister Holly and I got to take a small walk around the neighborhood. It is a beautiful area and we even were able to observe a snake crossing the road! It was creepy but they are pretty majestic creatures, if I dont say so myself! The flowers were gleaming in the sunshine, it was perfect!

We have so many photos from this weekend that I decided to place em into a Slideshow... so stick around and enjoy the show :)

May 06, 2009

Easy, Cute Stationary Gift Sets!

**DID YOU MISS THE CTMH BLOG HOP?? Go here to get started! Links at bottom of her post -- Erin Herring's Blog



First of all, let me start by saying, NO! I dont have a lot of time on my hands (all the time, haha)... for now, I do, only because I was recently laid off. Sometimes I look at some of these ladies wonderful projects and wonder how they do it with so little time in the day and a lot to do (and I dont even have children yet!). But let me tell you, I am loving this time to create. It is a blessing from the Lord! I am taking advantage of it this week, because I know that in time, I will need to find another job and not to mention the fact that there are other rather important things that I could fill my time with beside papercrafting... though I love it so!

All that said :) I found this amazing template for this adorable (and easy!) stationary holder and immediately had to have it! I purchased it for $5.00 HERE at Papertrey Ink. They have plenty of other cute templates that I look forward to trying out soon, but for now I am sticking to this one. The first one took me an hour and a half just because I needed to figure it out and make it perfect... then for the next three, it just flew! I could do one in under an hour! So here you go.... a cute, easy, quick and cheap gift that people will love!


Set #1

Paper: CTMH May Constant Campaign -- Tickled Pink!

Colors: Blush, Crystal Blue, White Daisy & Sweet Leaf





Set #2

Paper: CTMH -- Unforgettable

Colors: Desert Sand, Tulip, Sorbet & Tulip







Set #3

Paper: CTMH -- Emporium

Colors: Cocoa, Crystal Blue, Sweet Leaf, Buttercup & Vineyard Berry







Set #4 and #5

Paper: CTMH -- Boom Di Ada

Colors: Hollyhock, Sweet Leaf, Buttercup, Barn Red & Autumn Terracotta






Set # 6

Paper: CTMH -- Silhouette

Colors: Black, Colonial White, Bamboo and White Daisy




STAMPS USED:
Believe Lowercase (C1190)
Dream Wishes (D1331)
Star Struck (D1237)


Embellishments Used: American Crafts grosgrain ribbon and CTMH Pewter Brads and Edge Anchors.

And here is how it looks on the inside all put together! LOVE IT!


I created these for some of the very special women in my life, using their first intial for the stationary. The cards are VERY simple -- I just stamped their initial with the circle stamp in the different colors of the paper pack... same with the back of the envelope! There are 10 cards and envelopes, you could probably fit no more than 12 on each side. I cant even tell you how much fun I had creating these, and I know they are all going to very loving homes... just a couple more to make tomorrow!

Happy Creating!

May 04, 2009

Scrap or Dare #1!

**DID YOU MISS THE CTMH BLOG HOP?? Go here to get started! Links at bottom of her post -- Erin Herring's Blog



I have been having such a blast doing Kelli Jo's color challenges that I have decided to try one out for myself. If you are interested in joining me, I would love to have you! Details are below :)

SCRAP OR DARE


-- A new Scrap or Dare inspirational photo will be uploaded to my blog every Tuesday.
-- Dare to be inspired by the photo/object and create something a little out of the box from the norm. It doesnt have to be crazy (unless you want to!!) but just dare yourself to open up to new things, new techniques, embellishments, stamps or products.
-- I will not post any specific colors as this dare is to be inspired and to do whatever the photo evokes you to.
-- Use Mr. Linky down at the end of this post to enter your project. Mr. Linky is super easy to use - all you need is your name and the link to your project!
-- Please do me the favor of simply linking directly to the project, not your entire blog.
-- Feel free to enter your project at any time, even if we have moved on to the next week's Dare!

THIS WEEK'S DARE!

This week's Scrap or Dare comes from World Market online. It is a gorgeous ceramic vase that features a bright color palette on a black base. I went with this vase in honor of Cinco De Mayo! Enjoy and here is my creation!

























As soon as I saw this vase, it reminded me of this beautiful and fun paper I had gotten in my kit from Scarlet Lime; it is from the Socialite Gala line from Paper Trunk. The bright colors and black were perfect for some fun photos of my last birthday party! I sponged Citrus Leaf (CTMH ink) onto a large B from my chipboard letters and then stamped "birthday girl!" in black to make it pop. I also had some white fabric brads that were perfectly random for this layout. Very fun times! Sorry the photos arent so great, it was midnight but I really wanted to get them on here :)




A Gift for a Special Grandma

**DID YOU MISS THE CTMH BLOG HOP?? Go here to get started! Links at bottom of her post -- Erin Herring's Blog


This Friday was my Grandma's birthday and I wanted to give her something special. I know I need to spend more time with her... sometimes I feel she gets the short end of the stick because my other Grandma has Alzheimer's and we are with her more to take care of her. This year, she made it really easy to find something special to create for her, she pretty much just told me (without knowing it)! Last time we were all together as a family, we took a photo of her with all of her children, another with all of her grandchildren and then with her great-grandchildren. She wanted to have them up in her house but didnt know how to do it with the little space that she has. So I created this for her!

She already had the 8x10s printed up so I had to work with that size... I used the CTMH Key To My Heart paper pack to create three 12x10 photo mattes. Then my hubby helped me use three page protectors (cut to size) to hold them in, we punched two holes on the top and bottom of all page protectors & added the layouts. We then took some grosgrain ribbon to weave in and out and hold them together.

I didnt have time to take a nice photo of the finished project before we gave it to her (because we ran out of time before the party and had to finish it at the party!!), but here are the photo mattes pre-photo and completion. The recipe is below for those of you interested in products used. My Grandma is a very godly woman who never fails to shine for the Lord, so I couldnt help but put the verse Proverbs 31:30 "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." We truly are blessed to have her a part of our lives and I really want to try to make her know that more often.

RECIPE:

Paper: Key To My Heart (CTMH Constant Campaign in Jan.)

Colors: Tulip, Sorbet, Juniper and Desert Sand

Embellishments: CTMH Chipboard letters - sponged with Tulip, Bronze brads, Big Pinks Flower, Misc. flowers and buttons.
 

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