Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Happy Thursday! We're so close to the weekend and I'm excited for it as it's supposed to be pretty mild and lovely here! Hoping to soak up some good sunshine and probably do some cooking on the grill.

But today I want to share a yummy recipe I made the other day in my slow cooker. I can't remember where I found the recipe - I know it was online somewhere, but I just typed it up myself and don't have the reference anymore. It was easy and really flavorful. Sweet and sour is always so yummy with it's sweet and tang that go together so well. 

It's so easy as you just mix together some yummy things like green peppers (I threw some orange peppers in there too) and water chestnuts and onion and pineapple. I took this photo before I added the pineapple, so just imagine it with some lovely pineapple tidbits in there too.

Then just throw some frozen meatballs in your slow cooker. Top with the pineapple and veggies and sweet and sour mixture and cook on low 6-8 hours. Make up some rice (I like basmati) and top it with this flavorful dish and dinner is served! 

28 oz package of frozen meatballs
15 oz can of pineapple tidbits, drained (I kept & used some of the juice)
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, cut into chunks
8 oz can sliced water chestnuts
½ c. ketchup
½ c. brown sugar
½ cup apple cider vinegar (or white)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. soy sauce

Place meatballs in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over meatballs. Cook on low 6-8 hours. I like to serve mine over basmati rice. I also like to top with some cashews for crunch.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wednesday Wonder

Last Night & This Morning

Last  night after it had been gray and rainy on & off most of the day - the glorious sun came out. I love when that happens. The bay was as still and reflective as a mirror. Birds were singing their late day songs. Calm peaceful prayerful ME time.

Then this morning I picked up my Mother-in-law and we were admiring her lovely tulips finally coming out to say hello. Love their cheerful little faces, just starting to open. Spring = fresh beginnings. xo

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Handmade Baptism Gown

It seems lately on Tuesdays I enjoy sharing something scrapbooking or crafting. Well today I thought I'd show a layout from when my daughter was baptized as her gown was extra special - with an extra special story.

Here is one page that was separate than the full layout - as I did 3 pages total in her baby scrapbook. I had been going through some things the other day and I came across her gown which I have packaged up to save for when she may want to hand it down to her potential kiddos. So it reminded me that I had scrapbooked about it in her book and the special way her gown came to be.

Here's my beautiful Mom (I often call her my Mumsy) and she had taken up knitting and crocheting just a few years before this time period. She loved it for many years (now it's hard on her back) and she became quite good at it! She offered to make Annie a handmade gown, bonnet, booties & blanket for her special day.  I was so touched and of course accepted and off we went to do some shopping!

Love this photo of big brother Aaron being so sweet with his baby Sis.

So when Mom and I went shopping she had me pick out the yarn and embellishments. It's hard to see from the photos but the yarn had almost shiny threading running through it - so it kind of sparkled. And I picked out pretty rosette kind of ribbon for the bonnet and bodice. I also picked out rose buttons for up by her neck. 

That day was also special, as we celebrated this sacrament in a different church than ours for a beautiful reason.  I named my daughter after my Grandma Anne with whom I was always very close. She was too frail to travel so we brought the baptism to her and my family's church there. She was very moved by it all- it was such an amazing and holy day!

You can see my sweet Gram in the upper right of this scrapped page proudly holding up her namesake. 

When I was looking for materials to do these pages I loved the cross background paper I found - and then I saw this sticker and thought it was so perfect as it looks  like Annie's beautiful gown!

Here's the full layout of these pages and the wonderful memories of baptism for our beautiful Anne Julia.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday

Hello All and Happy Monday!  It was such a fun girl weekend around here and I took off the weekend from a lot of social media and it was really quite nice. My Boys were gone for a hockey tourney and my daughter & I stayed behind and my Mom came over for a girlie sleepover weekend. It was great - lots of gabbing and quality time. Saturday we went shopping at the "big mall" as Annie calls it, went out for lunch, went to church, rented a movie and snuggled in with pizza. Sunday we played games with Annie, I grilled out on the deck in the sunshine and we ate lunch out there and took Annie & her friend to the park. Just one of those perfect, relaxing, unplugged weekends. Now I'm ready for the week ahead!


 Sunny and mild and we have a great forecast of almost 60* and sun all day today. Hooray!!


Maple pecan oatmeal and coffee.


Stepped out on the deck - sunshine and birdies singing away! Lots more green just starting to bud all over - won't be long now and we'll have actual leaves on the trees!! Lol  I always love when that happens as our backyard is a hill right on the bay and really like our own little island. And once the leaves come in we don't even see our neighbors across the water - it feels like our own private paradise! Love love love!!!


Petting Ruby, daydreaming out the window at the sunshine and trying to gather my plans for the day. I have kind of a busy week ahead - a lot of appointments and things and just trying to decide what the plans are for each day. Also, trying to decide which nights I'll cook for the in-laws and what the menus will be and what I need to grab at the grocery store. Getting my daughter's lunch made for school and making sure her backpack is all packed up. Usual Monday morning stuff.


Not to bad. Pretty tidy. Need to do more laundry (as always) and some picking up. Just feels so bright and sunny and ready to begin the day!


Grocery store with my mom-in-law. Then we'll do some lunch and play outside with Ruby today and maybe go for a walk - enjoy time on the deck. Good sunny day stuff!  


Nothing new to report here. When we were shopping at the mall this weekend I did pick up a couple more magazines (just what I need - NOT!) - so more of that in my future. 


Need to catch up on Good Wife  and Outlander and a few cooking shows. 


I'm thinking of one easy meal for in-laws (soup and sandwich or sloppy joes or something like that) for one of the meals and may try a new recipe for their other meal. My daughter has been requesting homemade lemon blueberry pancakes I haven't made in a long time - so we'll see if I get to those or not for breakfast for dinner night this week. 


 Same old - nothing new to report here: still scrapbook catch up.


I'm thinking for the in-law night I may make a new slow cooker recipe I have for sweet and sour meatballs over rice. It has a lot of flavors they would like - and it's always fun to try something new.


Something I always do when I make my grocery list is divide it up by areas. So on my piece of paper I write AISLES, DAIRY, MEAT, PRODUCE, FROZEN, BREAD and leave room under each and just write in the things I need depending on what department of the grocery store I find them. Maybe everyone does this, but thought I'd share in case it's new for someone and might make it easier. It's so nice when I'm thinking of ingredients I put into a dish and I just write each ingredient I need under the heading it goes under.


photo I took from our dock this weekend - ducks in the sunset


I'm linking with Sandra from Diary of a SAHM for Happy Homemaker Monday

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Scraptastic Saturday:Summer Berry Poke Cake

Today I need to dedicate this post to my dear blogger friend Alison, as I've been promising to show her what a poke cake is for a while now. Well, today is finally the day Alison! For Scraptastic Saturday I'm sharing:

What's nice about poke cakes is that they're so versatile. You can change them up just by using different flavored cake mixes, jellos or puddings. For this cake I made a basic white cake (nice and light made with egg whites).

Once the cake is finished baking take a wooden spoon (or can even take tines of a fork) and poke holes all over the top. Thus, "poke cake".  No rhyme or reason here - just poke away!

Then take whichever flavor gelatin mix you like (I used strawberry - but for berry poke cake any berry flavor will do) and pour boiling water & a little cold water until it's dissolved and pour over the holes of the cake.

You see how the gelatin then goes down into all the holes and crevices and colors and flavors the cake. Let it cool for at least an hour - then you can frost. I used basic white frosting, but you could also use cool whip as a topping.  Or other nice variations could be mixing some flavored yogurt into the cool whip topping and having a fluffy flavored icing. I haven't tried this but sounds so fun for kids - is to use kool aid powder mix to mix into the cool whip and flavor it and that would definitely change the color of the topping too! So imagine for Christmas you could use cherry gelatin, then use lime kool aid to make green icing and top with cherries! Possibilities are endless! As you see I liked topping mine with fresh berries (in the first photo).  What a light & perfect cake for summer, don't you think? Here's Jello brands' recipe for poke cake:

You can also use pudding mix to flavor and fill the poke cake as well. 

If you go on my pinterest link I think I have several different pudding poke cakes pinned if you'd like to check out more ideas. I'm linking with Scrapality for Scraptastic Saturday.



Friday, April 24, 2015

Five on Friday:Annie's 5 School Loves

Happy Friday!!

My daughter Annie is helping me share my 5 things today. As many of you know I've been catching up on my scrapbooking. Well I was going through my daughter's school years album the other day and came across this page from her 2nd grade school year. 

love that alphabet cardstock - isn't it cute?

And you can see that for this page I had an embellishment that allowed her to write her top 5 things she loves about school.  So here they are:

Always makes school more enjoyable.

A given for my little social Gal.

Also a given for my very active Gal! And who doesn't love the playground?

So proud of this - my Girl loves math & science!!

Always good to appreciate the arts! 

I think all of these would remain true for her today as she is finishing 3rd grade as well.  I just thought it was cute to look back upon and it happened to be 5 things - well that's just perfect for a Friday post, right?

I'm linking with Amy from Love Made My Home for Five on Friday.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Flavors of Spring/Summer

Well even though weather here has been less cooperative, I'm still thinking lots of Spring thoughts.  And so today I thought I'd share some of the flavors I'm dreaming on for the season.

First of all, check out these little beauties!:

I found this recipe at Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and I just love her fun recipes! She makes so many wonderful sweets and many are easy like this - which started with a cake mix! And you can see how pretty they turned out too! I actually made these last summer & these photos were from then - who knew I'd start a blog to share them! Lol They were so soft and yummy & full of the flavors of a banana split - doesn't get more summer than that, does it?

Next, I need to share this wonderful olive oil place that I was introduced to by a friend - and I'm now in love!

This place was so fun! It's a place local (across the lake) to where I live and they had all kinds of spigot containers filled with all different flavors of fresh olive oils and vinegars. They had little tasting cups by each one so you could try them too. They would get fresh shipments in regularly. They had some bottles pre-filled and if not they would take them and fill them right in front of you out of the big containers.  It was wildly fun to taste all the different flavors - mind you just a baby sip of each. I used this lemon olive oil the other night to roast with asparagus. I simply drizzled the fresh asparagus with this olive oil and sprinkled it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (I didn't have fresh garlic on hand), and little bit of shredded parmesan cheese and tossed it all together. Roasted it in a 400* oven for about 15-20 minutes and when it was done I squeezed some fresh lemon juice over it and more parmesan. Best side dish ever! And just imagine it grilled!

I also picked up some peach vinegar and some aged (15 years) balsamic vinegar. The balsamic is so good and is thick like syrup. I can just imagine using it for marinades to grill meat this summer and in many balsamic salad dressings:

This is a salad off of my pinterest board that I have titled "salads" - and wouldn't it be so wonderful with good aged balsamic!?! You can see the link to my pinterest in the right hand column and if you go on my salad board you can get a direct link to this recipe.

And the peach vinegar just tastes like summer and I plan to use that in fruit salad and make a vinaigrette with some honey and fresh mint as well - maybe a squirt of lime. MMmmmm!! And even use it in a marinade for grilling chicken and then use it to make a fresh peach salsa to go over the top. OH my mind is spinning with possibilities! 

Here are a few more salads that I "pinned" off of pinterest:

Again, feel free to click on my pinterest board in right column for link to all of these recipes

 I sure hope this post inspires you to think fresh Spring & Summer flavors too!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday Wonder


PS: it snowed a little shortly after I took this pic. Come back Spring weather!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quilt Scrapbook Pages

I began scrapbooking about 12 years ago. It started as something I wanted to try because I had great photos from a trip I had taken to Europe and wanted to put them together nicely in an album. At that time I was working with a gal who was big into it and told me I should go with her to one of her scrapbook classes she attended regularly. Well I did go with her and the rest is history! I fell in love with scrapbooking and never looked back.

When I went to that first class I talked my mom-in-law into going with me. She has always been more like a best friend, and 2nd Mom, than just a mother-in-law to me. She fell in love with scrapbooking too and for many years it was something we loved to do together. When my kiddos were little I would often bring my scrapbooking to her house and we would work on pages while taking breaks to dance to the Wiggles. LOL They are some of my favorite memories with her. My MIL has completed many beautiful heritage and family albums, not to mention a through-the-years album for each of her sons. 

I'm so happy she agreed to see what scrapbooking was about and we have those precious albums she created... as now with her Alzheimer's she is to a point where she can no longer focus or scrapbook anymore. It absolutely breaks my heart and I miss that special time with her. But the great thing about scrapbooking is that those treasured albums remain. 

When we went to regular classes it was so fun because our consultant would have a new page ideas each time. So she would give us the basic template to work with but we would work with our own papers and colors and do it our way. One of the times we worked on quilt looking pages, where she showed us how to take square and triangle shapes and put them together- much the way you would put together the shapes to form a pattern on a quilt. I have my MIL's version from the album she made for my hubby:

She did a center square and then triangles one way around each edge of the square, and then the other triangles to form the star shape. I love the "stitches" she put on with marker. She then made & cut out her own paper needle (too cute) and put real thread through it. The photos were several different family and relative photos all through the years and she came up with the title "stitched into time".  Notice my adorable red head hubby down in the bottom right with the smiley face t-shirt - with my mother & father-in-law and brother-in-law.

I had different kinds of photos and theme and so I went a different route:

I used these adorable photos of my son when he was 2 years and playing in his little pool. I wanted to go with bright and summery colors so I used bright yellow and "water" looking paper.  It's so fun to look back at these pages because they were taken at our first house, where we lived for many years, and it brings back so many memories. And that's what scrapping is all about!

I chose to do 4 separate squares and then place my triangles in a pattern around them to do the quilted star.  My kiddo obviously really liked his chocolate ice cream popsicle that day! Ha!

Here's the full layout all together. Such fun memories that remind me of how fast time flies...

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a lovely weekend. It was a more quiet and productive one here - as in housework...such fun!! (not) And lots of hockey as both of my kiddos are starting their summer season (yep it's year round around here folks!).  Today feels like one of those sleepy Mondays. I woke up later than usual and I hate that scrambling feeling that comes from that. So I was rushing around this AM and now finally getting to this post a bit later than usual - but I'm ready now so let's go! 


  Cold and gray! Boo!! It rained a lot yesterday & may rain more today too. This whole week is supposed to be colder - only in the 40's. However, extended forecast shows it getting nicer again by next week, so one gray rainy week helps the flowers grow, right?


1/2 a cinnamon raisin whole wheat english muffin with  little peanut butter & jelly and some strawberries. Coffee with hazelnut creamer.


I see tiny sprinkles, gray sky and clouds. Kind of dark and dreary and is NOT helping me wake up!! 


Sitting with my MIL. We're watching a morning news show and visiting now and then and sipping our coffee.  We were playing tug of war with Ruby and her chewie rope.  She loves that! Lol


I have dishes left from last night - sometimes I just can't get myself to do dishes when I have loads 2 or 3 times in one day and just save them for the next day cuz I'm sick of them!! (even with a dishwasher). I made the in-laws a nice stuffed pork chop dinner last night and just didn't feel like loading the dishes so there they are.


Everything else is pretty tidy. I will throw in some laundry too. I've been trying to cut down calorie-wise more as I have been really good with my fitbit and working out -but trying to get better with meals. MIL and I will have a nice big salad with grilled chicken for lunch and then get out and about and run some errands I saved for today.  


Still nothing exciting here - a bit of Outlander, mostly magazines at the moment. It was so nice last week I just spent a lot of down time outside. This cold week will probably drive me to get reading more - I hope.


I got my Outlander and Call the Midwife in this weekend. I still need to catch up on Game of Thrones and some food network shows. No Good Wife this week. 


Another busy week - especially with hockey so keeping it easy. Making pork chops for the hubby & I, as due to hockey last night we did a lighter dinner and only made pork chops for the in-laws. So will be doing wild rice stuffing pork chops, scalloped potatoes and a green veggie salad this week for us. Then will do tacos one night for us and in-laws and make your own french bread pizzas (kiddos love) and salads another night. Will be making summer berry poke cake this week - did you hear that Alison?? Lol  Will keep you posted on that recipe. 


 Catching up on travel scrapbook yet and was looking through by daughter's school years album and need to catch up there too....and both kiddos folders with artwork, awards etc. I have another fun project planned for the future but haven't gotten to it yet. Hopefully next week or 2.


Nothing specific - although the flavor of poke cake I'm making I haven't made before - so I guess that's new.


Nothing new but I did find a couple articles about the apple cider vinegar for weight loss I was talking about last week.  One by a physician said the acidity in it does burn fat and you could put a teaspoon of it in a glass of water to drink before meals. But then another physician had an article from the Mayo Clinic (highly reputable famous hospital here in the States for my English friends) and she said it most likely doesn't burn fat - or not enough to make a real difference and that too much vinegar could irritate your throat with all that acidity and it can mess with some medications - like diuretics. So I guess the verdict is really out and I'll leave it up to you if you think it's worth taking or not. I still may try it for a while, or if nothing else will keep drinking a big glass of water before meals. 

enjoying the sunset with Ruby in our backyard


The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with and everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness."

Jeremiah 31:3

I'm linking with Sandra from Diary of a SAHM for Happy Homemaker Monday.