Random Ramblings: January 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016

HOMEMADE CROCK POT MACARONI AND CHEESE


This entire week the kids have all been really sick.  NO FUN at all.  They missed school and I am hoping that this weekend will finally be the last few days they have needed to be on the mend.  

So when I was writing the grocery shopping list this week I was trying to think of something different for a weekend day lunch.  Since the weekdays are so busy with school and sports and after school clubs, and Jacob working 45 minutes from home the weekdays are sometimes just a blur.  So it is so nice to be able to stay home and relax on the weekends and spend some family time together.  


So this week when I was thinking of ideas for the list macaroni and cheese came to mind since it is a good comfort food, especially when you are not feeling good.  I like mine cheesy and creamy, not dry and bland.  
I have never made homemade mac and cheese before, not on the stove, in the oven and especially not in the crock pot. I figured it couldn't be that hard, but still did a little recipe scoping on pinterest and the internet and I think I came up with a really good one.

It cooked so fast in the crock pot, I started it after breakfast and it was ready by lunch time.





Here is what you need.  

INGREDIENTS
  • 16 oz. box of macaroni noodles
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cans of evaporated milk
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 16 oz block of velveeta cheese - cut into cubes
  • 1 stick of butter
DIRECTIONS 
  1. Cook macaroni and then drain.
  2. While the macaroni is cooking turn the crock pot to low so it can start heating up.
  3. As soon as the macaroni is done and drained add it to the crockpot.
  4. Add the butter - slice it up to add smaller chunks 
  5. Mix the butter in. Since the macaroni is hot it will melt the butter right away.
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.
  7. Cook on low for about 2 hours - stirring from time to time.
Once mine was all done I did not want the cheese to burn so I just turned the crock pot to warm until we ate it.  



It was so good and creamy.  So good. The kids loved it.  It was so easy to make too.  I think this will become a regular for us.  

This would be a great dish for pot lucks and family get togethers.  It cooks so fast in the crockpot, and easy to travel with as well.  

Have you ever made mac and cheese in the crock pot before?  

Let me know if you try this dish and how it came out. 

~NICOLE

Thursday, January 21, 2016

PROJECT LIFE 2016 - WEEK 3

PROJECT LIFE ` WEEK 3:  LEFT SIDE

  • Title card from the CLEMENTINE EDITION
  • Filler card from the CATHY ZIELSKE VALUE KIT
  • Journaling cards from the NEUTRAL PACK


~Pudding pops on the weekend
~New Sport for little Jacob - Hockey




PROJECT LIFE - WEEK 3 : RIGHT SIDE


  • Journaling cards from the NEUTRAL PACK


~New signs for Chloe's room and a bake shop back in CA.
~A powerball ticket - which we did not win
~Caleb with his bike, he rides it everyday
~Daddy and Chloe snuggle time
~ Our neighbor had hip surgery so we left a Welcome Home banner on their garage
~The boys asleep on Chloe's bed when we woke up one morning.
~Chloe is loving learning to read


How is your Project Life coming along this year?  I would love to see some of your pages too!

~NICOLE

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

YOUTH HOCKEY

It is a new year, so a new sport for Little Jacob.  This next semester his school is offering Hockey.  
Just like basketball everyone that comes out will make the team, and depending on how many kids come depends on how many teams they will be able to form.  


He had two days of "tryouts" and there were enough kids to be able to form 3 teams.  So those teams will play each other each week until the champion team is decided.  

He did really good with the puck and stick coordination.
The puck and the stick are both just plastic so I am not as scared as I would be if it was anything more than that.  :)

The second day of tryouts he asked if he could try the goaly position.  The pads were as big as him, it was quite funny.  But he did really good in that position, so we will see what he gets to play, or if they take turns.  

He found out the other day which team he is going to be on, His coach is going to be the same coach he had for basketball, and he really liked her so he is really excited.  

I have never watched a real hockey game before , nor do I know anything about it.  So I am excited to see him get out there and once again try his hardest at a new sport.  

Let's go Jacob!

~NICOLE

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

CHLOE IS 6


Today we celebrated this sweet girl turning 6.  I really can't believe that she is 6, I just don't know where the time has gone.  
She is full of sass and attitude, but also so much sweetness.  I can't imagine our lives without her, or any of the kids for that matter.  


So last night, right before I put the kids to bed I had the idea to fill her room with balloons so when she woke up it would be a fun surprise.  
So I dug through a box in the closet and found our party supply stuff, and pulled out the bag of balloons of all shapes and colors.  (Yes I have some heart shaped balloons in that bag as well).  

I realized we had a bunch from her Doc McStuffin party last year left over and they matched her room, so daddy and I just blew up those ones.  
We spent a few minutes blowing them up and then threw them all in her room.  

However my idea didn't work so great, because she has been sick and came into our room at 4am and never even saw the balloons until I took her into her room after she got up.  But she was still excited they were there, so it was still a win. 


Luckily daddy didn't have to go in quite as early this morning so she got to open all her gifts from us, brothers, and some others that came in the mail, and some that were left here for her from other family memnbers.  

We got her an Easy Bake Oven, and brothers got her a necklace and earring set that are a "C".  

She also got a few outfits and  a Target gift Card. She also got $10 in the mail the other day too.  

So after daddy left I made them donuts for breakfast, and hashbrowns.  Topped with chocolate icing and sprinkles of course.  

We also made her first batch of mini (and I mean really mini) chocolate chip cookies in her new oven.  



She wasn't feeling good at all still but she did want to do some painting.  So I set her up that the table and let her go to town.  And oh did she.  She had paint all over her shirt, the table and the back of her neck.. ya who knows lol.  


We did run to Walmart and get all of the sickies some more medicine and while we were there we picked up some frozen pizza for lunch since that is one of her favorites.  
Then we had burritos for dinner since that is her other favorite.  That is all this girl ever wants, is pizza or burritos. Silly girl.  I think she would eat Taco Bell everyday if we let her.  


Then before I made dinner she insisted she was going to help me make her cake and decorate it.  She had requested a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and chocolate sprinkles.  Ok her wish was my command.  
So we made the cake and then let it cool while I made dinner, and we ate.  We iced it and she helped put the letters and sprinkles on.  




We sang to her she blew out her candles.  Now I know she wasn't feeling good becuase she only ate about 2 bites of her burrito for dinner and didn't even eat her cake. She only ate the hard candy letter off her piece and that was it.  
The cake was really good -very chocolaty that is for sure.  

I love Timehop and now the Memories feature that Facebook does.  
This was something I had shared in the years past and I was able to create this little collage of her turning 3, 4, 5 and now 6.  She no longer has a baby face that is for sure.  She even looks more mature to me from just last year.  


I put her to bed tonight, still not feeling great so we will see how she feels in the morning.  I hate when they are sick.  

HAPPY 6TH BIRTHDAY CHLOE!!!

~NICOLE

Monday, January 18, 2016

PROJECT LIFE 2016 - WEEK 2

WEEK 2- LEFT SIDE
  • Title card is from the AQUA EDITION.
  • Filler card is also from the AQUA EDITION.  
  • All journaling cards are from the NEUTRAL CARDS pack and I am planning on using white through out the entire album.  
~This week started with some football watching.  We all put on our Miami Dolphins gear and I made a big batch of nachos while we watched the game.
~Back To School for the kids after 2 weeks off for Christmas Break.
~Caleb has been such a big helper with chores lately.  
~ A little couponing.  


WEEK 2- RIGHT SIDE

~ Snowy nights call for late start at school.  So I got breakfast served to me in bed by the boys.
~ Worked on a sign for Chloe's room.
~ Lots of snow this week.
~ Homemade playdough
~ Saturday morning cookie making.

~NICOLE

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

HOME MADE PLAY-DOUGH


The other day we were at Walmart and Chloe had been begging for play-dough. 
I thought ok, she really wants some Ill find a cheap little pack and get her some.
Ugh let me just start with asking you this, have you seen the prices of play-dough lately?  I was blown away at how much it cost!  So I told her I would get her one tub and we could build her collection.
Nope that is not what she wanted, and then the boys started asking for expensive toys.
Which then all resulted in me saying no to all toys since a cheap toy was not what they wanted, despite the fact that Christmas just past.  
Which then resulted in Chloe having a complete melt down from the store all the way home.  She rarely has melt downs quite like these, so I did feel bad, but she needed to learn that she doesn't get something everytime we go to the store. I also felt like she needed to learn that just because she threw a huge fit will not get her what she is asking for.
So we made it home, and she calmed down I think once she realized we were not going back to the store.
I text Jacob and told him all about it.  So when he got home from work he suggested that we look up how to make home made play-dough.  BRILLIANT daddy!

So we made 6 batches of home made play-dough that night and it was such a hit.  Even the boys played with it for a few days.  
It was SO easy to make too and took us not much time to make all these.  


Here is how you make it :

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 CUP FLOUR
1/4 CUP SALT

FOOD COLORING
1 CUP WARM WATER

HOW TO :

1. In a bowl mix flour and salt. ( Caleb got right in there with his hands and mixed it up)


2. In a bowl add warm water and add desired amount of food coloring.  The more food coloring you add the darker and brighter the play-dough will be.  MIX WELL.
3. Pour water/food coloring mix into the flour.  
4. Now kneed it.  Keep kneeding it until the flour is all mixed in and it is not sticky on your hands.  If it is still a little sticky add a tiny bit of flour at a time until it is no longer sticky.  

DONE.  It is that simple.  The kids had fun mixing it up too. 







Have you ever made home made play-dough?  After they were done playing we stored it in just regular zip lock bags.  Chloe took all the cookie cutters from the kitchen and was having a good time making all kinds of shapes with the play-dough .

~NICOLE

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2016- A LAYOUT







Hello and Happy 2016 to you and your family.  I hope everyone is having a great start to the new year. 
Today I wanted to share a layout with you that is representing my new year. 
I am over on the LAYOUT-A-WEEK blog sharing this layout too. 



I started with a photo of my family.  My husband and my three kiddos.  My printer was running low on colored ink so I printed it it black and white.  I made it a square because I just liked it that way.  A little different from a traditional  4x6.  So then I went to my scrap closet and stood there looking at my paper collection.  I haven't bought new scrapbook paper in a long time, but I need to get moving on using it up too before I then decide I don't like the paper anymore and need to get rid of it all and buy new stuff lol. 

So I pulled out some stuff and sat down at my desk.  I knew already that I wanted to turquoise and grey colors on my layout but some of the other stuff I had pulled out for the background just weren't making me jump up and down.  So I grabbed this dark grey textured cadstock, which I loved the best so far.  But there was just something still I thought it needed. 
So I spritzed it a few times with some white craft spray and made sure it got a few big globs and set it aside to dry.

While it was drying I decided that my layout would just be those exact colors, the turquoise and greys.  I dug through all my stash drawers and found coordinating papers and embelishments. 

I knew I had to use the turqouise patterened paper with the cameras on it.  It was meant to be since the picture of us was my actually taking a "selfie" of us.  So then I found the small strip I had of the cursive black and white alphabet.  So I knew that the black and white would go perfect with the color theme I already had going on.  And it was just a scrap piece and already cut down to a great size. 







I wanted my focus to be on my title (besides the photo) so I wanted it to be large.  I also wanted it to really stand out, so I framed the 2016 in a thin border.  I cut the border out in white and the actual numbers I cut in a silver metallic cardstock.  I used theXyron Creative Station to adhere those to my page. 

What I like to do for my layouts is start with the basics.  I cut just a thick strip of the camera paper and attached it to the grey cardstock.  Then I attached the alphabet paper just below it.  I knew that is where I wanted my photo, so I laid it there but didn't attach it just in case I wanted to move it around just a bit. 

So once I start with those basics then I go through my drawers to find matching things that I can add to my layout. The tag to the right that said twenty in the exact right colors was perfect, except it said thirteen on it.  So to solve that I just trimmed off the word thirteen and added some silver numbers at the end to make it a perfect fit for my layout.

 I found a pocket card that said make a wish, which I thought was perfect for a layout about the New Year.  I found the Arizona tag, and although it does not match my layout, it has meaning to my family.  We just moved to Arizona 5 months ago and we are starting the new year here.  So I like the small pop of color it gives and also what it represents to our family. 

I instantly fell in love with the glittery silver frame and decided to frame my journaling inside there.  I found some tags that matched and of course some washi tape.  I glued everything down and then added some extra little enamel dots and silver heart stickers to complete my page. 






I think the layout really represents so much about our family with the color theme, the Arizona tag, our photo (which we are all wearing our Miami Dolphins gear), and a bit of sparkle too. 

I hope you enjoy and I am looking forward to sharing more layouts with you this year.

~NICOLE

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

PROJECT LIFE 2016 - WEEK 1

It is that time of year again.  To start my Project Life album.
Year after year I have great intentions of finishing my album, and much to my dismay, I have yet to complete an album.  :(
However, I have changed my plan of attack for this coming year.
My used to be plan was always to take at least one photo each day with my big camera, then download them onto my computer and then sit down once a week (or month) and sort them to which photos I wanted to use for each days entry.  Then if there was 2 or 3 photos from each day I liked, I had to decided which ones to use big and which ones to use in the small pockets, and then cram 2 or 3 days journaling on to one small 3x4 journaling card.  Sometimes it was stressful trying to figure it all out.  

So my new plan of attack for this year makes it so much simpler.  I am going to use the Project Life App right on my iphone.  I have not wanted to a digital version before because I really do like the hands on part of it all, but I must confess I love the ease of how fast the daily entry comes together.  

I usually take a bath most nights before bed to just unwind and relax.  I made my title page, and my entire first week's spread in one night just while relaxing in the bath.  There is no way I could get anything like that accomplished doing a regular paper version.  And honestly, as much as I LOVE my big camera, I do now take 90% of our daily lives pictures right on my cell phone, so it just makes so much sense to do it this way for 2016.  

And here is another thing I am super excited about.  Usually another issue I have with a paper version of Project Life is if I am out of ink in my printer, I have to order my prints.  I love Costco prints the most for quality and price.  We aren't Costco members at this exact moment, so that wouldn't work.  Then if I do have ink, printing that many photos uses up cost of ink and photo paper and they are not the best quality of prints on my cheap photo paper.  With the Project Life app I can have them printed right from there.  For a 12x12 sized print it is only $1.99.  Yes that is it, and the shipping is a flat rate of only $5 no matter what you order.  So if I order once a month the layouts plus shipping I am spending less than $15 a month and they are delivered right to my door.  What is not to love about that?
With the app it makes it so easy to make collages of my pictures too, to just add a collage of multiple photos for one day.  Because some days our story is more than just one photo.

I was excited at first when I decided to approach my 2016 but once I really got started on it, I was thrilled.  It is so quick and easy and I think I might, just actually might be able to complete my album in the year it is actually happening.  GO ME! 

So let me share a little of my pages with you.  


This is my title page.  Oh and another great thing I love about doing this through my Project Life App is how easy it is to mix and match the kits.  To buy an individual paper kit runs about $30 with no coupons.  I only have 3 kits that I only ever bought on sale or with a coupon.  But then you are limited to just one kit (which I liked not mixing my paper kits, I liked everything to match and coordinate), but to buy a kit in the App runs no more than $1.99.  WHOA!!  
So with that, I only do have a few kits at the moment, and that is fine because I also decided to take a different approach to my cards in my album this year too.  I am just going to go with more of a color them vs a matching kit theme.  So blacks and whites, greys and of course turqouise/teals.  All my journaling cards are just going to be all white with black writing.  I think the white cards will make all the colored cards blend together nicely.

For my title page, I just took some photos I had from this past year and added them in.  I saved the Everyday Life card on to my phone and then opened it in my picframe app I opened it and wrote hello 2016 and saved it again and then used that for one spot in the title page.  I just added one journaling card and wrote the Mantooth Family on it and added one more designed card that matched.  Simple and I love the way it came out.

Here is the left side of week 1.  I like to start my weeks on Sundays, so I started the Sunday right before January 1.  This is just always how I have done it and it works, I like having the entire week on a layout.
Here is the right side of Week 1.  See how easy it is to add some collages in there for a daily entry.  No sweat at all, simple and I love the extra photos it gives me on a layout.  I love the uniformed look of the white journaling cards with the black writing and always the same font.  It is just a font in the Project Life App, that is most similar to my own handwriting.  

Well this post turned out much longer than I anticipated, but once I got started talking about how excited I am for this years approach to my Project Life I couldn't stop talking about it.  :)  

How are you approaching your Project Life album this year?  Do you still do paper or have you attempted to do it digitally?  I would love to see some of your layouts too.  

Happy Documenting.  

~NICOLE

Friday, January 1, 2016

HAPPY 2016!!!



How was your 2015?  If yours was anything like mine, it was full of many things.

There was lots of laughs and lots of tears for us in 2015.  There was so much change in our lives this year too.  Like no year we have ever had before that is for sure.

I have some goals for myself and my etsy shop that I have been writing down in my new GET TO WORK BOOK planner that I got for Christmas.  So I will share some of my goals with you later.

But for now I just want to wish everyone a very HAPPY NEW YEAR.  May the new year bring you many blessings.

~NICOLE