Random Ramblings: July 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I have had the same IKEA curtains up in our family room since right after we moved into this house 2 years ago. I liked them, but they were not my favorite.  But I figured they would just have to do until I found the ones I wanted.
But that was the problem, I never have found "the ones".  I also switched the colors in the family room once or twice.  Actually when we moved in I went with the tans and blacks with touches of teal and green. But I soon got tired of the teal and green.  So I decided to just go with the tans and blacks in that room.  Even though the walls are painted green, it isn't a bold bright green and looks better than white.

So last week I went to Joanns to use my huge assortment of coupons in my new add.  I didn't find much, just some fabric for a dress for Chloe.  Then I started looking around a little more.  I came across this black and tan fabric that I instantly fell in love with.  I knew that this was "the one" for curtains.  So I bought the last 5 yards they had on the one bolt and used my 50% off coupon on it, making it around $25.00. I have looked at several curtains and rarely can I find 2 panels for that price.  

So I brought it home and washed it right away.  I then just cut it in half length wise and hemmed all 4 sides of the panels.  

When I was at Joanns I also bought some clip hooks for the curtains, becuase I have always liked the look of the hooks, and they were on sale for 40% off too.  

So after I hemmed all 4 sides, I clipped it up and hung them.  Walah, easy peasy curtains.  

On a side note, I measured the length of the curtains with the wall and curtain rod before I washed the fabric, and they were from ceiling to floor.  Now after I washed them and only hemmed them a quarter of an inch on each side, they shrunk so much.
At first I was upset that they were so short now, but in the end I do like them.  I like that they are up off the floor. Something differnt and doesn't look like it will just collect dirt and dust on the floor. 

The old curtains were just white messy IKEA curtains, so they didn't add much to the window.  After hanging up the curtains it reminded me how much curtains add to a room.
I love them so much and am very pleased with how they came out, even in all thier shorty glory.  

Now I have a long growing list of curtains to make for all the rooms in the entire house.  I have a grand idea for the tall tall windows in the dining and living room.  Hopefully I can get to those next, and real soon.  

~N I C O L E 

Saturday, July 28, 2012


I thought in honor of it being my birthday on Thursday, I thought that I would do a fun little post of some of my favorite things right now.  

1. My NIKDON D3100 I love my camera so very much.  It is an extension of my arm most of the time.  It give me the ability to do something that I love so very much and have such a passion for. If something happened to this baby, I would honestly cry.   

2. PROJECT LIFE - a fun and super simple way to record our everyday happenings.
I took this little quote off the website.

Project Life is a solution-based approach to scrapbooking that was created to simplify the process in order to allow you more time to enjoy life! It requires no glue, no scissors, no tools, and no skills of any kind. The design of our products takes the guess work out of layout design so that you can focus on recording your everyday moments through your photos and journaling. The simple design is stylish and makes it possible for you to complete more pages in less time. "

I have been bad this year about adding my pictures right away to our album, but I am still keeping up with my picture a day.  They got in all kinds of new designs for the page protectors and I am going to order them so I have it all set up for next year.  This year is just pictures, but next year I will be able to include memorabilia and fun stuff as well.  I can't wait. 

You can see where I keep up with my photo a day pictures HERE. I call ours {mantooth365}

I just got my first rotary blade and OH EM GEE!!  I love it so much. It has forever changed the way I will cut fabric.  Im so in love.  Dear rotary tool where have you been all my sewing life...  Never will I go back again to regular scissors.

4. DIET PEPSI is my drink of choice.  

5. WORDS WITH FRIENDS I love a good challenging game of Words With Friends.  If you have it downloaded on your phone you can find me under username nicolem7.  Look me up and start a game with me.  

7. SILHOUETTE CAMEO - now this is one that I don't actually have this exact one, but it is on its way to me.  I have the silhouette SD . They are basically the same thing, except the Cameo cuts on paper 12x12 size.  I will be ordering my new one hopefully next week.  I am selling the old one to go towards the price of my new one too. 

8. AMAZON.COM Not that I actually shop all that much online, but when I do it is always amazon that I check first.  You can get just what you are looking for at a great price with alot of options and low to free shipping.  I am really loving amazon right now for the fact that I can get my silhouette with free shipping and they have a great starter set and also all of my new project life stuff is right here on amazon.  

9. YOSHI restaurant .  We don't go often, in fact we have only been about 3 times but it is so good and very reasonably priced as well.  I love that you can add sushi rolls to their lunch specials for just a few dollars or less.  Jacob said he is going to take me out to lunch here maybe next week. I am really craving one of their crunchy rolls.  Yum just talking about it makes my mouth water. 
( I found this picture online, btw )

10. NETFLIX - We turned off our cable service last year and now we only watch netflix. I have to say that there may  be once or twice when I have missed the actual tv, but that was really only for the news.  But otherwise I so do not miss tv.  I love our netflix. I love getting those red envelopes in the mail.  Most of the time I forget to move a movie to the top of the movie queue so when they come it is a little suprise.
We have a wii in our master bedroom, in the family room downstairs, Ryan has an xbox in his room and marcus can watch it on the computer in his room.  So pretty much every room except the 3 littles ones room can watch netflix.  We also have the laptop that we can watch it anywhere we go with it and also on my smartphone we can watch netflix as well.  Who can do that with their cable tv.

11. IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE BOOKS - I have always loved these books and now so do my children.  I love that little Jacob can now read them to me and the other kids at bedtime.  They all love all of these books so much.  We have all of them, except for one I believe. So I think that will be the book the kids will be getting for Christmas this year.  

12.  QUAKER SNACKS - I really didn't think I would like these but I have to say they are SO GOOD.  The blackberry pomegranate are the best snack EVER.  I usually put enough in a small bag to equal out the calories (like 100 calories or 110 I believe) so I can just grab the bag and go.  

These are just a few of my favorite things right now.  The list is always ever growing.  

What are some of your favorite things?  

~ N I C O L E 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


A few weeks ago I came across a blog called Iowa Girl Eats
She made a mini version of a cinnamon roll, using cresent rolls.  YUM.  With the flaky softness from the cresent rolls and the yummy cinnamon and icing I just had to try these.  

Follow along as I show you how I made them.  

** Preheat oven to the temperature the cresent rolls say to use **

1. Take out the cresent rolls and pinch 4 triangles together to form a  rectangle.  (this will be half of the can) .
Make sure you pinch all the seems together on both sides.  

2. Paint the entire surface with melted butter. 

3. Cover with cinnamon

4. Sprinkle with sugar.  Here I used 2 - 3 packets of Truvia, a sugar substitute.  The original recipe called for brown sugar, but I didn't have any so I used Truvia.
And you could use regualar sugar here as well if you liked. 

5. Roll into a long cylinder like this.  

6. Slice them into little mini cinnamon rolls. I cut the entire roll in half, then cut each of those in half and then each of those sections in half again. So I got about 8 rolls out of each roll.    I first sprayed the mini muffin pan with non stick spray and then layed one roll into each spot.  
Bake according to the directions on the cresent roll package.  I kept a close eye on mine since they are so small I didn't want them to burn. 

7. While they are still warm add a simple icing to the top and let it soak and melt into the rolls.  

8. Take them out and let them finish cooling on a rack.  

9. Eat one yourself, because you will literally watch them disappear right before your eyes from the plate once your kids find out you made these.  

I did manage to grab a couple and try this fun idea on them.
I added a little Torani raspberry syrup to some of the icing and add to a few.  YUM.  Very sweet, but since they are bite size it wasn't too overwhelming.  

This is the syrup I used.  

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o 

1-8oz tube crescent roll dough
2 Tablespoons butter
sugar or truvia

For the icing:
1 tblspn milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar
added option Truvia raspberry syrup

 These were so good, but they sure didn't last long at all.  Next time I am definately going to make a few batches.  These would be great to freeze and then you can pull out  a few to heat up for the kids.  

Do you have a cinnamon roll recipe you love?  Id love to hear what it is.  

~N I C O L E 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


 Homemade fruit snacks...  WHAT??? 

As soon as I saw this recipe on pinterest I KNEW I had to try it at least once.
I always have jello around the house so all I had to get was the unflavored gelatin.  And box that I bought had 4 pouches in it so it would make 2 batches of fruit snacks.  We always love the red ones in the packs of fruit snacks so that is what we wanted to try first.  This flavor was strawberry. 

Now first I must give credit for where I found this recipe.  I found it on pinterest that led me to Six Sisters Stuff .  It is a neat little blog with a ton of recipes. 

Now on to the so simple recipe.

. . . . . .

J E L L O fruit snacks

Ingredients:1 (3 oz) package gelatin, any flavor
2 (.25 oz) envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/3 c. water

Directions:Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Pour into molds and allow to set at least 20 minutes.

On a side note : I had to let ours sit for about an hour for them to come out easier.  Then I used a toothpick to help pry them out of the little ice cube trays.  They were pretty sticky at that moment and by the next morning they were not that sticky at all. I stored them in a tupperware over night.

The kids loved them and they were not that bad at all.  Now they did not make a ton of them at all and I only had one ice cube tray like this so to make a bunch at once would definately take some time.  And for the cost of it, it might be cheaper to just buy a box of 10 at Winco for $1.09.   But it was fun to try and we might do them again. The kids want to try orange flavor. 

Who knew there were so many other uses for jello, other than traditional jello. 

Have you used jello for anything else before? 

~N I C O L E

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Some time ago I bought this clock from a yard sale.  It was only $4.00 ( I think)  maybe it was only $3.00.  Either way still a good price.  I loved the look of the clock, but I wasn't so fond of the silver rim it had.  So I thought there had to be some way to take it apart and spray paint it.
It was so easy to take apart. I unscrewed the tiny screws on the back and just pulled off the silver rim. 

After that I took out the silver rim and spray painted it black.  I chose glossy black since the cream part had mostly a shine to it as well. 
Look at that reflection in the silver rim.  No likey!  

After the painted dried I just put it all back together and walah, like a brand new clock.  I loved it before, but I love it SO MUCH more with the rim painted black.  

I love the little seconds counter on the clock.  Love that added little detail.
This clock was the entire inspiration for the new look of our downstairs bathroom.  I am in the midst of changing the colors and moving some stuff around.  I took down most of the wallpaper border and moved a big black cabinet in there.  I need to paint, as soon as I figure out what color I want to paint....  But more on that later.  

Tomorrow we are off to get little Jacobs cast off at Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles.  I am so excited to see his foot.  He will be out of all his casts now and gets his new foot brace tomorrow too.
I know he is going to be sore for sometime since it will be the first time he will be actually walking on his foot since his surgery.  If you want to read his story, you can read it HERE .  

I really need to get working on updating my project life pictures too...  I swear there is NEVER enough hours in a day. Maybe I should look into sleeping even less...  :)  

~ N I C O L E 

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I swear this isn't just a food and photography blog.  I do actually do other crafy things.  It just seems that I don't do them as often as I cook and take pictures lately.
But I am here today to share a little dress I sewed in no time for miss Chloe.
I had this black butterfly fabric since last summer.  As soon as I saw it I fell in love with it and was going to make her a pillowcase dress last year with it, but never got around to it.  So I was happy to pull it out this summer and make her a dress.
I actually didn't quite make a pillowcase dress but threw this dress together with no real plan in mind.  

I took a chunck of fabric and sewed it end to end so that I had a big loop I guess you could call it.
Then I had some stretchy ribbing on hand in black so I sewed it together into a big loop as well.  Then I pinned the butterfly fabric onto the ribbing.  I had to gather it as I pinned it since the butterfly loop was bigger than the solid black ribbing.  I sewed that in place once I got it all pinned.
I then sewed a hem on the dress to the length I wanted.
I then decided it needed straps.  So I took some pink ribbing I had on hand and made some straps and sewed those up and attatched them to the black part of the dress.
I don't have any other detail pictures of the process unfortunately.  It was one of those sit and just sew and it came together so quick I didn't even have time to think about pictures kind of dresses.  
Her straps were a little big on her so I did have to fold those over and shorten them. You can see here that I forgot to trim the straps after I sewed them too.  Hey it happens.  

It was such a quick and easy dress to sew together and I just love it on her.  Nice and light for the summertime too.  
I have some other dresses I want to make, so it looks like a trip to the fabric store is in my real immediate future this week.  

Have you sewn any summer dresses lately?

~N I C O L E 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


We have this alot.  It is so easy and quick and the entire family LOVES it. 

It started one Easter when I was at my grandmas house.  She made the normal dinner, but then since she can never seem to make just a little also heated up some left over casserole and set that out as well.  It was so good and I asked her for the recipe.  She said oh its so simple its on the back of the stove top stuffing box. 
You can find their version HERE

But I do mine a bit different.  Ill share their recipe and tell you how we do ours. 


1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken ( I use about 3 boxes )
1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces ( I  cook and then shred ours and use about 6 lbs. )
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup ( I use a large can or 4 small cans )
1/3 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream ( I use whatever brand )
1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, green beans, peas), thawed, drained ( I don't add any veggies )


Heat oven to 400ºF. Prepare stuffing as directed on package. ( I don't prepare or cook the stuffing ahead.  We just moisten it with water or chicken broth.  Enough to just moisten all of it and set aside for later)
Mix remaining ingredients in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with stuffing.
( Layer chicken then soup mixture then stuffing )
Bake 30 min. or until chicken is done. ( I cook mine usually about an hour covered with foil and then about 15 - 20 minutes uncovered )


. . . . . . . .
I cook our chicken FIRST.  I always do for casseroles.  I just feel it is safer so we know the chicken is cooked.  And I usually cook my chicken then shred it up for the casserole. 

I do NOT put the vegetables in ours.  Just never have. 

We add lemon juice to ours.  This helps the sour cream from becoming curdled and nasty.  We add ALOT of lemon juice which gives it a nice tangyness to the dish. 

We do not prepare the stuffing.  We just moisten it with chicken broth or water and set aside.  DO NOT cook it. 

We double or triple ours when we make it. 
. . . . . . . .

First thing you do is moisten the stuffing.  If you don't have chicken broth on hand, water works just as good.  I usually use water, but this time just happened to have some broth on hand. 
After you put just enough liquid to moisten all the stuffing just set it aside. 

A tip I learned from PINTEREST (where else, right? ). 
If you take warm chicken and put the chicken breasts into your mixer it will shred them up perfectly. 
And what do you know, it works perfectly. No more burning your fingers on hot chicken. 

This is about 5.5 - 6 pounds of chicken shredded up and put into the bottom of the pan. 

Mixture of sour cream and cream of chicken soup (and here is where we add the lemon juice). If I have it on hand I will sprinkle in some lemon pepper as well. 

Spread the mixture right over the chicken.

Make sure it is covered completely.

Top with the moistened stuffing.  Cover and cook until heated all the way through. I will usually cover and cook for about an hour.  Then I will uncover it let the stuffing get a bit toasty on the edges. 

Take out of the oven and serve hot.  Be careful it is usually very hot. 

I always make this with mashed potatoes.  We will either have a veggie or a salad with it too. 

It is equally as good the next day heated up too. 

Have you made your own version of this recipe before?  What is your favorite casserole recipe? 

~ N I C O L E

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

{ FROZEN SMORES } recipe

First thing first I want to wish everyone a
The recipe I am sharing with you today would be a great one for 4th of  July.

Several weeks ago we were at my sister in laws for dinner.  After dinner she gave the kids ice cream  and pulled out these for the adults.  I wasn't going to taste them since really I can't have them ( I am diabetic) but I just couldn't resist a few bites.  And let me tell you I am glad I did, they did not disappoint at all.
So I just had to have the recipe. I knew these would be a hit at our house as well.  Maybe even for birthday parties, or just because kind of treats.
I am thinking next time I will make several batches and then stick them all in a gallon sized baggy to store in the freezer.  Then they would be handy for when you want to pull them out.  One or several.

Let me show you how to make them, and I will share the recipe with you as well. 

Here are all the ingredients  you will need.

<< First step which I forgot to take a picture of is mix a .3 oz box of instant chocolate pudding according to the directions on the box. Then mix that with half a tub of cool whip.  I stuck it in the fridge after that while I worked on the rest of the stuff >>

1. Mix the butter and smoshed up graham crackers.  Microwave until the butter is melted.  
Notice they don't have to be graham cracker dust, chunks are just fine.
After the butter is melted, mix it up well until all the crackers are covered.  

2.  Layer the mix in each of the lined cupcake spot. Take something that fits on top and smoosh the mix down a bit to form the crust.  

3. Mix the chocolate chips and whipping cream and melt them in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Once mixed up well put a spot on each crust.

4.  Place some marshmellows on top of the chocolate mixture.  

5.  Top with the pudding/cool whip mixture.  

Place in the freezer until firm.
Once you are ready to serve just take them out of the freezer and let them sit for a minute.  This makes them much easier to get out of the muffin tin holes.  Or if you want it right away, just take a butter knife and it will help you pop it out of the spot immediately.

Then enjoy.
They are pretty darn good!

Here is the full recipe.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . 


1/3 cup butter
1 package of graham crackers (9 sheets)
1/2 cup MINI chocolate chips
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 small box (.3 oz) instant chocolate pudding
cool whip

1.  Mix pudding according to the directions on the box.  Mix with half a tub of cool whip.  Stick in the refigerator until you are ready to use it. 
2.  Mix melted butter and smooshed graham crackers and place in bottom of each lined muffin cup.
3.  Mix chocolate chips and whipping cream and microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir until well combined.  Place on top of each graham cracker crust. 
4.  Sprinkle each cup with marshmellows.
5.  Top with pudding/cool whip mixture.  Give the muffin pan a few taps on the  bottom so the pudding mix with kind of seep through the marshmellows.  
6.  Place in freezer.
7.  Either eat them all or transfer them into a large zip lock baggy and store them in the freezer.  

Man they are so good.  Let me know if you try them, and what you think.
Or if you have another version similar to these I'd love to see your recipe too.  

~N I C O L E