Monday, January 31, 2011

Getting Caught Up -Christmas


 **Warning - Picture Heavy**
So, I have not been great about blogging lately.  This is primarily because we have had one thing after another in this house.  We have all passed around the stomach flu and bronchitis non-stop since before Christmas.  Matt has a cold, however I think this may be the end - or at least I hope.
When I originally started this blog, the whole point was to chronicle all of the craft projects I do and other fun stuff.  I have also found that it will be a great way to chronicle what we do, since I write nothing down.  So, I figured I might want to get cracking/caught up and there is no better time than Christmas Eve to start.
Christmas Eve was a bit different for us this year.  Having been sick for the week before, I did not do any baking.  Fortunately my Mom came to the rescue and bought lots of cookie trays:)  I made Jamielyn's Taco Soup for dinner, along with bread and salad.
 When we got back from Church, Eleanor put some of the reindeer food Santa gave her in our front yard.  I sadly did not get any pictures...it was a bit too cold.  I did get a picture of her before heading out, she was so fascinated with the food that she would not look at me!




Christmas day started for us around 6:30, which is sadly what time it starts each day...if not earlier!




Santa was quite generous to Eleanor as were her Nana and PopPop - being the only granchild and adoring your grandparents gives you incredible pull!  My parents spent the day with us.  Eleanor LOVES to help me bake and Santa must have known this, because he brought her some of her own measuring spoons and cups, along with spatulas and mixing spoons.  After dinner Eleanor helped me make the Apple Crisp - this basically turned into me giving her some of the extra ingredients so she could make her own mixture.



And then she fell off the chair and hit her head on the windowsill...

The humor in that is that Eleanor has had a goose egg every Christmas since she was 1.5!  Hopefully next year will be better:)  All in all, it was a wonderful Christmas.  Illness prevented me from finishing lots of gifts, fortunately nobody cared.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Loving Decor

*Disclaimer - my living room is not lilac, the walls are a taupe, I just cannot get the lighting right with my camera*
I do not know about you, however I have really taken to decorating for Valentine's Day over the last few years.  One of the main reasons is that I LOVE decorating for Christmas, however when it comes down I am always so disappointed - everything looks bare.  Well, I have tried decorating for winter however that is not working for me.  So, Valentine's Day has become quite a hit at our house!  The funny thing is, Matt and I never actually celebrate Valentine's Day:)
I know many people have done their version of the Pottery Barn Love wall hanging.  Well, the design is not my style, however I did like the overall idea.  Inspired by ideas I have seen on many blogs, here is what I did
 I bought the letters at JoAnn along with the scrapbook paper.  I traced the letters onto the paper, cut it out, and then just ModPodged the paper on.
I also knew I wanted something on the other side of our window.  I bought 4 extra sheets of the scrapbook paper and then searched for some 12x12 pieces of wood.  JoAnn wanted $5 for each which seemed a bit silly to me.  So, I headed to my local Lowes and found Steve and Casey - my favorite 2 guys in the lumber department.  They helped me find at 2x2 piece of wood  for $1.97 and they cut it into 4 12"square pieces.  I decided to leave my little tabletop tree out and picked up some hearts to decorate it.  I think we may start decorating this for each season/holiday.

 Here is the finished look, notice somebody was able to poke her little head in the picture.  I am very happy with how this has turned out.  As you can tell, the window on this wall is higher up.  This makes putting things up on each side a bit tricky.  I never want it too high but the window is high.  I am not sure this is the best angle, however I really like the way it turned out.
 Ever since Christmas when my husband gave me my Silhouette, I have been wanting to do some of these blocks.  Once again I hit up Steve and Casey to cut up a 2x4 for me.  God bless their patience, the cut a 96" piece up into 4" pieces for me!  I then spray painted the blocks (in the basement, which caused a marital "discussion" later), cut out the letters with my Silhouette, and then ModPodged them.  Truth be told, I am not thrilled with this.  The letters are much smaller than I wanted them.  I am still getting used to the Silhouette, however when I tried going up to the next size, the M would not fit.  Overall I like the idea so I will just mess with it for Spring and Easter. 
 I am almost finished with the fireplace mantel and will post when I am done.  I am linking up today to one of my favorite blogs Funky Polka Dot Giraffe, Thanks so much for stopping by!

Pastitsio

I am a little late, however I am linking up to the Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime today.  I have found numerous variations over time, however this is the one that I prefer.
 
In a large skillet, brown 
1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
drain and add
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup beef broth
1/8 tsp cinnamon
bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer covered for 30 min

Cook, according to directions
8oz dried penne
drain and toss with
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp butter
set aside

In a small saucepan, melt
2 Tbsp butter
over medium heat, stir in
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
until smooth, gradually add
1 1/2 cup milk
Cook until bubbly, slowly stir into 
2 eggs, slightly beaten
set aside

Divide 1 cup romano or parmesan cheese into thirds.

Coat a 3 quart baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread half of pasta mixture in dish, top with all of the meat sauce, cover with 1/3 of the cheese.  Top with the remaining pasta and 1/3 of the cheese; pour cream sauce over all and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.  

Bake, covered, at 350 for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean.  

This is a popular meal in our house and can easily be halved.  The leftovers reheat wonderfully and it can easily be made in advanced.