Thursday, February 26, 2015

Easy Pork Fajitas

I love Mexican food! It's probably my 2nd favorite behind Italian (give me pasta and some wine and I am one HAPPY girl!!).  And when you throw a margarita in the mix, it's food time bliss. Mmmmmm....

Well I made some easy pork fajitas the other night that were pretty darn tasty. We didn't have margaritas (bummer) - but it was still a yummy meal.  I didn't initially think about sharing the recipe so I forgot to take many photos until it was all cooked up. But I'll share what I've got and the recipe as it was so easy (made it in the slow cooker) and flavorful.

You take a boneless pork loin roast (about 2 to 3 pound roast) and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of fajita seasoning all over it. You can find packets of that seasoning usually where you find the taco shells and other Mexican staples in the grocery store. If you have a smaller roast use a little less seasoning. Pour a cup of your favorite salsa all over the top too. Then cover and cook on low 8-10 hours like you would for a pulled pork. You don't need to add any water. The salsa simmers down and you have a nice tasty sauce left in the bottom. I know you see peppers in the photo - we'll get to those in a minute.


When the pork is all done and tender take it out and shred it with 2 forks. Sorry for weird magenta glow - I think my shirt was reflecting in the forks. Lol  Place the pork back in the slow cooker and you can go one of the 2 ways next. Either take a bag of frozen stir-fry bell peppers and onions that have been thawed and throw them in. Put the cooker on high and cook another 30 minutes. Or you can do what I did which was to slice up some red, orange, & yellow bell peppers and 1/2 an onion and saute them in a pan with a little oil and more fajita seasoning for about 5 minutes and then throw them in the slow cooker and cook a little longer until everything is heated through well.


Then just warm some flour tortillas in the oven and place your pork and peppers and onions in the middle. Add a little sour cream, guacamole and some shredded Mexican style cheese and you're good to go. Pretty easy but really yummy.


I make my guacamole by mashing up avocado (about 3) and squeeze the juice of one lime over the top. Add a little minced garlic, chopped cilantro and salt & pepper to taste. Then I like to add a little dollop of sour cream to blend into the guacamole to make it even creamier. Chill for an hour and Ole!


** On a side note - thank you so much to those of you entering the journal give-away as I so badly want to give back to you lovely friends with some fun goodies! If you haven't entered yet please feel free to click on the link and do so! 


One other note: I'm going to have a busy weekend ahead so I may not be able to do some posting for a few days. I will be back soon though! Wishing you all a blessed weekend ahead. xo 


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Journal Give-Away!

I know I'm still so new to blogging, but I have been loving every minute of it!  I loved reading the blogs of others before I ever decided to take the plunge and start one of my own.  I wasn't sure if it would be something I could do, and I was so worried no one would be interested in it - but here I am on my 102nd post and feel like I'm going strong and with a lot of support!


I love the creative outlet my blog provides me: whether it be thinking up a post or sharing my paper crafts, a recipe or a scrapbook page. But what I love most of all is the connections and friendships I have made through blogland.  I can't thank you enough for the wonderful support during your visits - and sweet comments. They mean so much to me!! So I wanted to give back a little with this:


I am continuing work on an "embellished journal" that I would like to give to one of you wonderful people out there. I'm also including this colorful dual tip marker set. But wait there's more! Lol  What's not pictured is the candy I also plan to include and a fun Spring item as well. I have a friend that recently opened a special little store in my town and I plan to pick up a little spring goodie or decoration of some kind from there to throw in too.


I love a fresh new journal to write down my thoughts. I think journals are also nice to doodle and draw in , write down memories in, or even keep special photos in....kind of like a mini scrapbook! Well I decided to take a plain journal and embellish it a little bit to make it even more special as something from me to you. Here's a closer peek at just a few of the pages:

the cover was plain with just the polka dot fabric prior and I glued on a few romantic spring embellishments

many of the pages I just left alone - lots of room for your own journaling, but some pages here and there I added some fun little surprises (glued on, doodled on, or stickers I stuck on)
wouldn't it be fun to pull up this little pocket tag and add a special photo or message?
even a little dedication page in the front so you'll remember where the journal came from & when

I will be finishing up the embellished pages (& grabbing the additional prize goodies) over this next week and will draw a name next Wednesday March 4th and I will announce the winner by next Friday. At first I was afraid to do a give-away as I thought, "what if no one participates?" - but even if I only have one person to give it too I will be so happy! I just want to give thanks in some way for how grateful I am to be part of blogland. 


All you have to do to be entered is leave me a comment (between today and next Wednesday) about what you love about reading another person's blog or about blogging yourself. You don't need to have your own blog to be part of the give-away.  I will write down all of the entries and have my daughter draw a winner. I may have some extra goodies by the time I'm done so I may draw a runner up too!  Then you will just need to share an address with me if you win so I'm able to ship the prizes to you! I will give you my email address where you will be able to send it privately.  Good luck and check in next week to see if you've won!


**on a side note I just wanted to let Sandra at Diary of a SAHM know how much we loved her handmade goodies!! Everything is so beautifully made (& those wash cloths work great!!) But my daughter has taken over the blanket and claimed it as hers and refuses to share! Lol


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday Garden Party: Sun & Snow

Well the weather is behaving a little nicer today, but I guess it won't last and supposed to dip in temp again by later today.  It's a lovely sunny 22 degrees so around here it's a perfect day for a stroll around the back hill and fairy garden (not below zero today...yet - woo hoo!)

As you can see our bay is still quite frozen and under a layer of snow yet. The sun is shining so pretty through the tree branches and making such interesting shadows.


Lots of white yet, but it goes so nicely with that blue sky doesn't it?  Everything still sleeping underneath that snow. I can't wait until Spring wakes it all back up!!


Here's Felix. He's tucked in so snuggly under his blanket of snow. He watches over my daughter's fairy garden outside her bedroom window.


Here is Felix in a view through my daughter's bedroom window last Spring. Although we didn't really have Spring the past 2 years....just went from Winter right to Summer. Two years ago I remember lilacs still in bloom over our 4th of July celebrations as everything bloomed so late. The harsh winters really took a toll on our barberry bushes too and they just won't seem to come back. We're going to give this garden area and others around our house a whole new clean up and look this Spring (as it's sounds like we may actually have Spring this year!)



Back to the reality of our snow covered world though.


Sweet little Ruby loves it outside in every season!


The railings and the benches still have their pretty snow sleeves on too. I love that it almost looks like a ruffle pattern.


Dreaming on what's to come but enjoying the beauty of the now. Linking up for a Tuesday Garden Party.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Monday - yes another week is upon us! I have a busy one ahead, how about you?  Might as well jump right in so here goes...


Another nice chilly one today! Ugh!! We had a wind chill advisory last night as it was supposed to hit -20 to -30F  with the wind chill and regular temperature of -12F - BBRRRR. I think it is supposed to get above zero today but with wind chill will still feel below zero. Guess I won't be packing away my parka any time soon. Lol 



Some nice HOT coffee and a bowl of granola cereal with fresh berries.



All I see is COLD and I just stare at it with a scowl and keep dreaming on my early Spring that I know WILL HAPPEN!!! At least the sun is shining right now.



Listening to the quiet of my house. My guys are already on to their day but my daughter is still sleeping and all is nice, quiet and peaceful. Great way to start my day, do my devotional and some planning for the week.


I feel very unmotivated. Did you ever see the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray where he lives the same day over and over? I swear that's what I feel like I do sometimes. There are those dishes again (too tired to load last night), and the pile of laundry that never seems to shrink. There's my kiddos' items scattered here and there. I wake up each day and hope they magically won't be there -but yes I am living my day of chores over and over again. Anyone relate? Lol 


The above mentioned chores of course. Probably bundle up and get groceries and run some errands if my mom-in-law is up for it.


Still magazines winning out, but my lovely pile of books are waiting for me. However, I did get a few fun books at the library when we checked out some books for my daughter recently. They're more browsing books (cottage decorating, gardening, jewelry making) but they are books I am enjoying currently.



I guess it's more of that Groundhog Day stuff in that I have the usual shows to catch up on - Grantchester, & Downton Abbey. I did watch the Oscars last night. I thought it was really good and I love seeing all of the fashions. The music performances by John Legend and Lady Gaga were both so beautiful and moving. And when Julie Andrews came out after Gaga sang the Sound of Music songs - it was the best!  I finally saw Paddington (so cute!!) but I haven't seen many of the Oscar nominated movies.  I see that the Good Wife comes back this week - yay! (winking at you Carrie at Anniehow!)


Still trying to finalize my meal plan. I made some easy pork fajitas this past weekend that were really yummy! I'll try to share that recipe this week (although I didn't take very many photos as I kind of forgot that I might want to share the recipe). I'm thinking I'm going to make a lasagna pasta dish we like with salad and garlic bread. Browsing some other ideas I have yet to decide upon.



I worked on my give-away journal this past weekend and plan to finish it up soon. I will share a peek of it and the details of the give-away this week. 



I'm not sure if I'll be making anything new this week. I have a busy one ahead so will probably stick to tried and true (& easy!).


I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. – Maya Angelou.

I'm linking with Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy Homemaker Monday.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Scraptastic Saturday: Embellished Wood Letter

I'm linking with Scrapality for Scraptastic Saturday and want to share with you today my most recent little craft project.

I had purchased this wood letter a while back with the intent of doing something for my daughter Annie's room. I came across it the other day and knew just how I wanted to embellish it!



At first I thought about painting the letter - but I liked the natural almost craft paper brown look to it. My daughter's room has a Paris theme to it and is done in black, white, and hot pink. She has some Eiffel tower hangings and objects around her room already and I knew I didn't want to go obvious Paris on the "A".  I wanted something that was sweet and had a kind of romantic French feel to it. I dug around and found this pretty lace I had and glued that on.  I took a piece of hot pink card stock paper and cut part of it with shears and tore the other part. Then I took some chalk colored pencils I had and drew on the hearts and smudged around them a bit with a really dark pink and a white pencil. Then glued that strip over the lace. Added some white fabric letter stickers for my daughter's name. And the icing on the cake was a lovely romantic red rose sticker on the top. Voila!

Don't you love her Barbie pink hockey trophy?

For now the letter is resting among some other fun items on the top shelf of her desk. She's always moving things around so goodness knows how long it will remain there! She loved it though and it was sure fun surprising her with it.

Scraptastic Saturday Featuredsm


Friday, February 20, 2015

Five on Friday: Paintings

Today I'm doing my first link up with my friend Amy for Five on Friday. My five things today are 5 of my favorite paintings in my home.  My hubby and I have loved a relatively local artist from Minnesota that was an art professor at a university not far from us. He's an amazing watercolor artist and has had his artwork featured as illustrations in several books. You can read about him here. His name is Cheng-Khee Chee and we have been collecting his artwork since before we were married. I think we have about 10 (unless I'm missing any) of his watercolors signed by him and framed and hanging in our home. I'm limited on time so I took some quick photos of my top 5 and I even removed some from the walls to try to take a photo without the glare...however they're all framed in glass and there was still some reflecting (you might spot me in some of them- LOL) - so please excuse all of that and try to enjoy the beauty of the paintings. Here they are:

This one with roses we received as a wedding gift from friends and hangs above the sofa in our family/tv room
This one on our mantle is of a cathedral in St. Paul, MN that my hubby and I both love. We have visited that cathedral several times because it's so beautiful and have even gone to mass there once!
This is one of our most recent Chee purchases. We needed a painting for in our back hallway where we're finishing our renovation. I loved this one for it's gorgeous colors and also because my late Grandma, whom I was very close to,  loved hummingbirds so much and fed them all summer every year. It makes me think of her.
This was our very first Chee purchase and one of my all time favorites. It hangs in our bedroom and is called "sleigh ride". It's just so soothing in color and fun in spirit. Love it!!
The last one had to be a tie because I love both of these beauties so much. They're both of Fall scenes. The one on the left is some folks hiking in an Autumn woods and the one on the right is chickadees on sunflowers. My favorite season and 2 of my favorite paintings.

Thanks to Amy for hosting and letting me share my favorite art work from an amazing artist!! I've leave you with a little video I shot of my backyard today that is kind of pretty as a picture. Happy weekend to All. xo


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Continental Stroganoff

This is a favorite recipe that has been in my family for a long time. I think my parents got the recipe from a friend of theirs when I was a child. I remember this being a special recipe that my folks would often make when we would have company over for dinner.  It's a beef stroganoff recipe, but when it was given to them it was called "continental stroganoff" and that is what is on my recipe card from them so that is what I put on the card for Annie's cookbook.  It's a very creamy and flavorful stroganoff - with the little hit of cooking sherry or red wine and sour cream at the end after it's cooked through.  We love it over egg noodles and all I can say is YUMMY!!


You start out browning steak in butter (yes please), then adding your flour and making a basic roux but with the onion soup added there's tons of flavor. Add your mushrooms too....I always use whole mushrooms by the way (I don't think I put that on the card). Then you add in your milk and make the creamy gravy. What's not to love?? Here's the recipe:

Another recipe card done for Annie's cookbook!!
Here's a closer view of the recipe:


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Weigh in: pinterest recipe & family time

I keep using Wednesday's as my weigh in or "check-in" time with myself to see how I'm doing with the resolutions and goals I've set for myself this year. So here's my weigh in for this week:

One of my goals was taking more time for my scrapbooking and crafts (basically me time)....and included in that was finally making or creating at least some of the things I pin on pinterest. I pin many many things (those of you who have and enjoy pinterest know what I mean) - but have probably only utilized a few of the actual "pinned" ideas. I truly love pinterest. It's a guilty pleasure that I could indulge in for hours if I let myself. However, I'm a busy Mom and I don't (I couldn't handle the guilt afterward!!) - but yet the "pins" do add up. 

So I've started going back and looking at some of them more seriously and making a some of those things. The valentine bars I made recently, for example,  were inspired by Christmas bars pinned to my pinterest "sweet treats" category. I have a link to my pinterest in the side bar, by the way, if you would like to follow me and check out all of those pins!  So here is another recent recipe pin I made and want to share with you as it was quite yummy!


First you brown your well seasoned salted chicken


Then you make a yummy creamy honey Dijon mustard sauce (recipe will be below) and top the chicken with it. Then add fresh sliced mushrooms and yummy bacon.


Top with Colby jack cheese and bake for 20 minutes.  Delish! Here's the full recipe:


Another goal I had was more quality family time. Recently we were gone for more sports this past weekend and took time to hang out as a family and do some antique shopping. My hubby and I both like a lot of vintage and antique things and have our own collections. We've been passing that love down to our kiddos so they're starting to appreciate the beauty of antiques as well. During our little shopping trip I found a couple of treasures:

I'm obsessed with embroidered linens, table cloths and doilies and all of those kinds of lovely goodies. I loved this purple and lavender runner that was singing a song of Spring to me! (**can you spot the valentine decoration I made from another post recently?)


I also grabbed this old McCoy planter. I love the red bird in the middle of it! I collect depression era Weller and Roseville pottery, but I love a lot of McCoy pieces as well. Especially any vintage pottery with a nature theme to fit in with the north woods feel in my home. (check out the additional bonus peek at the few valentines decorations I have - including my new sparkly heart banner I put on our mantle)


That's my weigh in this week.  I'm curious now - do any of you use pinterest and if so do you create from your pins very often?


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday Garden Party: Spring Layout

Feeling in that garden party mood today so linking with all the lovely gardeners at Tuesday Garden Party, even though it looks like this outside my window right now:

I know I should quit wishing for it to come so soon. I know where I live. I know the rules around here. The earliest we might get some tastes of Spring is later next month.  So I will "slow my roll" as they say and instead I enjoy gazing upon photos or scrapbook layouts of Spring time and flowers and dream of the garden and growing things.  First though, I'm also helping my cabin fever with some flowers in my kitchen window right now.  Here, please stop and smell the roses:


I think the pretty coral plant is a kalanchoe maybe? Not sure...

This was a fun layout to do because I love all the bright Springy colors and look at my mom-in-law's tulips - don't they look wonderful?


Here's the other side of the layout and I really love this one as I had this giant flower paper for a back-drop and it was so big and round that it inspired me to cut out all the photos of my daughter in circles to place inside the big circle.

Ah- love these pictures of her enjoying the springtime: blowing bubbles, riding her scooter, and just skipping along enjoying the beautiful outdoors. I love how on each page I have nice realistic 3-D daffodil flower stickers. And don't forget the sweet dragon fly sticker and his little path I drew as he's flying away.


I need to plant some new flowering shrubs this year - any input on a favorite that you like to grow in your garden??