Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Foodie Tutorial Tryout: Chicken Broccoli Bread Braid

Have you seen all of the braided stuffed bread deliciousness happening on Pinterest lately?? I'm not quite sure why, but I'm loving this idea. Delicious carb goodness, no? It's just cool to me that people came up with the idea to shove whatever they want to eat inside bread and then bake it all together. Plus, the braids are pretty!

I keep finding new ideas to try out.
 (Links are to original websites with recipes!)

There's the Ham Breakfast Braid... no longer must I shovel my omlette on my toast and have my husband look at me like I'm crazy!

The Taco Bread Braid... which uses cream cheese. Could be fabulous.

 There's Braided Spaghetti... no need for extra garlic bread! NOM!

And finally, the one that looked really good to me.

 The Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Braid. Because when you put cheese and brocolli together, magic happens. 

So I had to try that one first. Verdict? DELICIOUS. I must now try ALL THE BRAIDS.

I did fiddle the above recipe a bit. I made it even better. Ha. Instead of mayo (blech!) I used ranch. I also used an Italian herb mix instead of just rosemary and put fresh Parmesan cheese and minced garlic in my egg wash. 

So you'll notice I didn't braid my bread. Two reasons.
 1) I had a toddler who was beating my leg with her plastic spoon. It's her way of saying "Feed me!!!" Even though she had just eaten blueberries, string cheese, and some pasta noodles. When there is food about, Sage Muffin will sniff it out and demand a bite. Apparently, I was starving her by making her wait 30 minutes between meals.
2) Whoever said that doing these braids with crescent roll dough was easy must have been entirely too optimistic. The perforations in the doll did not simply "press together." Also, it took two rolls of that stuff. I don't know how anyone could have enough dough using one roll to lay ingredients on and then braid. In the future, I'll use a bread dough.

One other thing I did and you should too. Buy pre-cooked, shredded chicken in the deli section of your grocery store. Because seriously, who has time to cook chicken, shred it, and THEN make dinner!? Not me.

It made a huge loaf and it was soooooo good. Braided (sort of) Breaded Chickeny Cheesy Broccoli goodness. I've also made the Spaghetti Braid, but gave it away as a meal for a family, so I haven't taste tested that one yet. Maybe for next week. I've also heard that if wrapped in foil and plastic wrap correctly, these freeze very well. 

I'm participating in my first freezer food exchange next month and I think this will be one of the three dishes I use. Is it weird I'm excited to do a food exchange? School is only a month away, so I need to start stocking pre-made, easy food now so that my kids don't end up eating hot dogs every night for dinner. 

Let me know if you come across any other braided recipes! I'm obsessed! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Crochet Puppets are quite possibly the best thing ever.

Lily Bean

I had this great idea earlier in the summer. Crochet. Puppets. 
Despite my ever growing crochet skills, I hadn't quite made the brain jump to make this idea work out. I tried about five different times.
Too big. 
Too small.
Mouth is too weird. 
And so on. Picky, picky.
Finally, I figured it out. A big part of that was due to this wonderful pattern from Stitch 11. I searched for hours trying to find a pattern just like this one. So then I tried it and that huge help to me led to these adorable little friends!


I kind of took the snake puppet idea and ran with it. These two puppets were for some of my friends of the shorter nature. A pair of 6 year old twins who were very particular when placing their orders. Twin #1 requested a blue and green puppet with an orange hat. Twin#2 requested a pink and purple puppet with yellow hair. I think I did pretty good. Aside from the basic idea of Stitch 11's pattern, the rest of the puppet such as the hat, eyes, hair and tongues were all my own. I even added eyelashes to the girl puppet! 

I wanted to also try playing around with crochet letters, and I had a lot of fun doing that part! 

crocheted letters of their first names... cute!

The first letter of their name on their puppets was the icing on the cake for the twins. I was so cool for doing that part. There are some great letter tutorials out there and pattern diagrams, if you are interested. Each letter took less than 5 minutes to make and look how personalized of a detail it is! 

Lily and Sage were my product testers. About thirty seconds in to testing, I got the approval. I had to immediately promise Lily that I would make her a girl puppet. And a dragon. And a fish, because Sage likes fish. 

Sage muffin

I have since started on Lily's list of puppets and I'll post more pictures of those later! I think these are my new favorite thing to crochet. I know, I know, I always say that. But look at these happy faces! There was no counting stitches, no worrying about perfection. These puppets are more charming because they aren't perfect. I think we all need a little less perfect in our life.

Now Lily is wanting a puppet show. She wants a stage and chairs and of course, an audience! So if you randomly get invited to a puppet show and the invitation is in crayon, you'll know where it came from! 

If you are interested in a pattern for the hat, eyes, hair, etc. please let me know. I can write those up if someone needs them! Also, for yarn buffs: I used Lily  Sugar and Creme 100% cotton yarn (you can guess why I picked this yarn I bet). These puppets can go on adventures and get wet and go in the wash. I wanted them played with after all! The colors I used were: Hot Blue, Hot Green, Grape, Hot Orange, Hot Pink, and Sunshine. Lot's of hotness up in here...

I loved making these and I am so proud of how they turned out! I just can't seem to stay away from making toys. Although, husbandy face even mentioned that he wants one of these puppets. HA!

If you use my puppet idea, please make sure to thank Stitch 11 for her pattern and also to link back here to my blog! I would love to see how you come up with some adornments and puppet friends! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

30 Days Makeup Free.


Monday, July 8th, 2013.

That's my 30 day NO MAKEUP anniversary.

No face powder. No mascara. No blush (not that I ever wore it). No. Makeup.

I guess it was an unconscious decision to try this out. I have nothing against makeup. It's fun, it makes me feel pretty, it's quite often sparkly.

It's also a way for me to think bad thoughts about myself. Those sneaky, pesky "I can't leave the house because I haven't got makeup on!" thoughts. The kind of thoughts that make me think I'm ugly when I look in the mirror because my makeup is messed up or because I haven't put it on for the day. That's just not mmmkay with me. I didn't want to feel like I HAD to wear it anymore. When you HAVE to do something, it's no longer fun. It's something you're required to do. It's a pressure on your chest that makes your heart beat a little faster. It's an excess that we've come to believe is a necessity.

Over the past year, I've worn less makeup. That's a pretty dramatic shift for me. I used to wear tons of eyeliner. I used to wear foundation AND powder AND bronzer. I used to put on eye shadow in three different shades and then put glitter on top of that. I did do exactly that the last time I wore makeup. I had on more makeup than ever. I was in a wedding line and had my makeup professionally done.... it was fun... but I felt like I was wearing 10 pounds of crud (beautiful crud!!) on my face. I didn't like it.

The day after the wedding, I couldn't bear to put on makeup again.

The week after, I still couldn't do it.

Two weeks later, I stopped carrying my makeup bag with me everywhere I went.

Three weeks passed, I didn't even think about putting on makeup as part of "getting ready."

Now a month later, and I'm pretty much okay with idea of saving makeup for special occasions. For the days when I want to play with makeup. Night out on the town or feeling sassy? Add a little mascara, sure. Going to the grocery store? Fuhgetaboutit.

I have no idea if this is something I should be proud about. I'm always fighting a war against negative thoughts. They tend to creep in on me if I don't actively work on stopping them. Body image is something we all struggle with, so you can easily guess that's a sore spot for me. Letting go of the mascara is an experiment I'm trying out to see if I can be happy with the naked face I see in the mirror.

It seems to be working.

Anyone else ditching the face powder? Loving it or hating it? I'm thinking the best part is that it's been so damn hot and if I was wearing it, I'd be sweating it off anyway. ;)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Moose Babies.

Summer is in full swing at my house. What about your's?

We have had water days and play dates and kid crafts and movie nights.....Going, going, going! It's so much fun to be busy when it revolves around your kids and stuff you want to do. I've read 15 books already this summer. I've crocheted every single day. I've painted with my kids and done science experiments. It's so much fun! I've got my Super Mom cape on and I'm swinging it with some serious sass. 

Yesterday, we had an opportunity that is currently holding #1 in the list of our adventures. We road tripped to see twin baby moose, play with chickens, and stare at some gorgeous scenery. The kiddos were in heaven. I must admit, I was pretty over the moon as well.

The Grand Tetons

Aren't the Grand Tetons beautiful? Sometimes I feel like, "Crap. I live in Idaho." Then I see mountains or landscapes like this and I'm like, "YEAH. I LIVE IN IDAHO!!!" Which undoubtedly makes me a redneck of some sort. I'm learning to live with that.

Now I've promised to not say exactly where, when, or why, but I can tell you that there are some people out in the world who have gone above and beyond to take care of these babies. They took in these little twins after the mama moose was found dead. Doesn't that just tug on the heart strings? They're caring for them until the moose can be taken to new homes.

Baby moose adorables! 

We didn't actually pet these little babies, but Lily did get pretty close to one in the barn. The lamb in the picture kept following her around. Lily was in heaven running around after goats, lambs, ducks, and chickens. She'll be revving on this for weeks. 

Lily with Moose and Lamb.

Sage Muffin spent some time sitting on the fence and making animal noises. She's almost got chickens and sheep down. 

Sage Muffin and G-Gma.

Lily and Sage were also able to feed some chickens. Sage "bock bocked" and would chase after them. Lily kept throwing out crumbs and jumping back like she was going to get eaten. Hehe. Side note: I freaking love chickens. I want a coop. I want smelly little fluff balls that I can name and walk around the yard. Makes no sense to me either, but I really, really want chickens someday.


I wasn't able to get a picture of both of the moose in one picture. Opportunity lost. All in all, a fantastic family fun filled night. Now we've got the fourth of July tomorrow... one of Lily's favorite holidays. I expect to eat too much, get sunburned, and get cranky at the fireworks going off at 2 in the morning like I do every blessed year. Happy fourth of July!!! 


Liebster Award -- Woot!

I've been nominated for the Liebster Award by my lovely friend Heather at The Pink Lab. Thanks lady! I feel all special!

So my random 11 facts:

1. I read 10,000 pages worth of fiction and non-fiction last month. Bibliomania. I has it.

2. I have a dog who is half hairless. Seriously, she's half Chihuahua and half Chinese Crested. She looks like she's wearing a sweater with holes in it. My husband thinks she's either a unicorn or a chupacabra in disguise.

3. I can quote most every episode of That 70's Show by heart.

4. I love looking at shoes, but I hate wearing them.

5. My dreadlocks are turning four years old in 23 days. Yes. I celebrate their birthday. They've taken a lot of work!

6. I have participated in Artist trading card swaps and my cards have been sent to 30 different countries and 42 out of the 50 states.

7. I want to write a novel, but inspiration hasn't hit me yet.

8. My plan is to have my doctorate by the time I'm 40 and become a crusty history professor.

9. I love the weird and strange in life. I have a growing collection of oddities and recently got to help articulate a cat skeleton.

10. My girls, Lily and Sage, are named after plants. Any future children will have plant names too.

11. My obsession with yarn is growing constantly and I am hopefully going to learn to spin my own yarn this summer.

The 11 questions from Heather's blog:

1) Whats your favorite TV show?

I have two: That 70's Show and Bones. 

2) Whats your favorite activity to do with your family? 

Movie night with snuggly time and too much popcorn.

3) When did you start blogging?

Last year. It's been touch and go, but I'm working on more go.

4) Whats your most visited website?

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest, but in my defense, I do actually cook/craft/crochet a lot of the things I pin.

5) Favorite Animal?


6) How many kids do you have and do you want more?

I have two girls (thank goodness!) and I am considering more. 

7) Favorite book?

There is no possible way I can pick just one favorite. I love the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop and anything Shakespeare and the Dan Brown novels and that doesn't even touch on my non-fiction favorites. Again. Book nerd. 

8) What is your favorite thing to do with alone time?

Crochet. Blog. Take a book into a bubble bath and wallow in the quiet.

9) Whats you favorite vacation spot?

Oregon coast, so far. There's a lot of vacations I have planned. 

10) Favorite app. on your phone?

I have Facebook, Pinterest, and Gmail on my phone. There's not room for anymore.

11) What do you most enjoy about blogging?

Sharing my photos and projects with the world because I'm super proud of these things!

Blogs I nominate:

My 11 questions for you:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. Where is one place you have always wanted to go?
3. What was your worst cooking disaster?
4. Best thing on the internet?
5. Favorite family activity?
6. What's your best crafty creation?
7. Just how cool are you? :)
8. What book should I read? 
9. If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
10. Sugar or salt?
11. What do you do when you're up late and can't sleep?

Thanks for the nomination and I hope you have the time to join in on the fun!
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