Monday, February 23, 2015

Quick Craft to Provide Inspiration on a Cold Winter Day

This winter has been filled with freezing temperatures and quite a bit of snow. As the short cold days drag on, I am focusing on how cozy the evenings spent by the crackling fire with family can be and I am also trying to remind us that  spring is just around the corner. To help me with this task I did a did a quick craft this morning.
I had purchased a plastic plate charger at a craft store a few months ago with this project in mind. I painted the rim of the charger with some paint that I had sitting in my supply and once it was dry, I painted the center of the charger with 2 coats of chalkboard paint. Once dry, I seasoned surface by rubbing the black paint with chalk before writing an inspiring little phrase. I then had the new chalkboard waiting in the kitchen with a reminder that sunnier days will be here soon. I placed it near a warm pot of tea and some fresh cookies for when my family arrived home. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Real Moms Making Real Money Blogging at Home In Their Pajamas by Stephanie O'Dea

     For this month's book review I would like to discuss an e-book that I recently completed reading. It is called Real Moms Making Real Money Blogging At Home In Their Pajamas by Stephanie O'Dea. It is the first volume in what will be the Mommy Blogger Next Door series. Stephanie is a New York Times best selling author and also blogs at A Year of Slow Cooking at as well as at stephanieo'
In 2008, this stay at home mom made a New Year's resolution to use her slow cooker every day and then write about it on line. This resolution resulted in a successful blog, and that success has lead to a multitude of other opportunities for her. As a result, she is now writing this current series to share with others what she learned along the way. Since the author is female, and the mother of young children, she chose to use the term "mommy blogger", but she stresses that the information contained in the book can be utilized by anyone, regardless of their gender, employment status or stage in life.
     I am a fan of Stephanie's blog, and I wish I had had one of her recipes warming in my slow cooker on the day I received this book, as I really didn't want to put it down to prepare dinner. Although it is an easy and quick read, it contains many wonderful suggestions and ideas to help a novice blogger enter this rapidly growing on line community. Unlike some other books I have read on this subject, Stephanie shows you that it is possible to enter the blogging world without investing any money. Her down to earth  writing style makes you feel like you are chatting with an old friend who is mentoring you through the process of starting a new endeavor. Her personal stories and real life examples are shared with warmth and a sense of humor, and help to take some of the mystery and confusion out of  starting a blog. In addition to ways you can generate an income from blogging, the book addresses the topics of developing a brand, social media, time management and ethics. It is a great resource for beginning bloggers (like myself), but it also contains nuggets that even established bloggers can benefit from. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and feel that it will be a resource that I will turn to again and again as I continue with my new hobby,  perhaps even turning it into a business in the future. I look forward to reading the next volume in this series as soon as it becomes available.
     Full Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book at no cost, but the opinions expressed here are my own and were unsolicited.    


Friday, February 13, 2015

Sausage and Bow Ties with Creamy Tomato Sauce

A family friend gave us this recipe recently and I thought I would share it with you today. It is tasty and filling and great to have on a cold winter day.

Sausage and Bow Ties with Creamy Tomato Sauce


8 ounces of bow tie pasta
3/4 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
3/4 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed                 
1 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (divided)

Brown and crumble the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it is cooked through. Drain any fat away.

Add  the drained tomatoes, and spices to the sausage and stir well. Add the cream to the mixture and bring to a slight boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer uncovered for approximately 10 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened.

Meanwhile, cook the bow ties al dente per the instructions on the pasta box and drain well.

When the sauce has thickened, remove the skillet from heat and add the cooked pasta and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and stir well.

Sprinkle a little more grated cheese on top before  serving and have some available for your family to add to their individual dishes as desired.

Linking With:
Between Naps On The Porch

Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine's Day Glitter Snow Globe

 Today I want to share a simple craft that you can either make
 with  your children, or make it on your own and surprise them with it later. I think it would be fun to have it at their breakfast place setting when they wake up on Valentine's Day.

For this project you will need:        
-Some plastic heart shaped cookie cutters
-Mason jar or other jar with a screw on lid
-Liquid glycerin
-Glitter in the color of your choice (I used pink and red)
-Washi tape or other item to decorate your jar lid
-Hot glue gun and glue sticks

I started by gluing three plastic heart shaped cookie cutters together and then gluing them to the lid of a mason jar.

I used a pink and red polka dot pattern washi tape to cover and decorate the lid rim.

To help assure that the finished snow globe would be water tight, I glued the mason jar lid to the rim.

Fill your jar with water, but be sure to allow some space so that it can later be shaken to cause the glitter to swirl around inside the snow globe.

Add a small amount of the liquid glycerin to the water and as much glitter as you would like. The glycerin is optional, but it allows the glitter to stay suspended in the water for a while without immediately sinking to the bottom of the jar. Then tightly screw the lid on, and get ready to see the smiles it will bring to your children's faces.

This is a quick and inexpensive project that can add a little sparkle to these long winter days while letting someone you love know they hold a special place in your heart!