Sunday, October 23, 2016

Crafty: Cards and a Halloween Cat Swag!

Hello, my peeps!  Welcome back!

Today's post is just a few items I made in the past couple weeks. You can click on the pictures to see the original, larger size.

This card was commissioned by my co-worker, friend, and fellow wine connoisseur Julie. Her neighbor was moving to Venice Beach, FL and she asked for a going away card. This might be my most favorite card. I loved stamping it, coloring it, and designing the little sign post. I even looked up the mileage from Auburn to Venice Beach.

Car, Luggage & Phrase: Beautiful Ride stamp set from Stampin' Up (retired)
Fence: Halloween Scene Framelit from Stampin' Up (Current 2016-17 Holiday Catalog!)
Background: Happy Home from Stampin' Up (retired)
Ink & Paper: Don't remember. Stuff I've got laying around.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  

This is the card I made for the last Stampin' Up workshop at Teresa's house. 

White background: Some embossing folder. I have a bazillion. And it was cut out using a framelit I got from SpellBinders years ago. They don't make it any more. :(
Flowers: Botanical Builder framelits from Stampin' Up (Current 2016-17 Annual Catalog)
Other Stuff: It's just other stuff. I don't know where it came from. My house???

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  

This wreath is all Peggy's fault! One afternoon on break, Peggster was checking out wreaths on Etsy. There were a number of them that cost a lot of money. One in particular didn't look too special, but it had a $220 price tag! Of course, I immediately opened my mouth and said, "I could make that!" So, I tried. I won't lie. My wreath is not as nice as the ones on Etsy. But it's not bad! Especially since it only cost me about $6. Most of the items are from the clearance rack or the Dollar Store. It's a lot more colorful and sparkly than the pictures shows. This thing was a byotch to photograph!

Skeleton: Dug it up in my backyard. What a find! (aka Dollar Tree)
Crow: They're a dime a dozen in this town! Especially at the Dollar Tree.
Hat: China! Seriously, I order my mini hats directly from China. I cannot find anyone that makes or sells them in the US. If they do, they're already decorated and cost about $20. Furgit it!
Pumpkins, ribbon, wreath: craft store clearance racks
Boo!: My mother. She gave me a beat-up clearance rack Halloween decoration with the intention that I could pilfer it for parts. And oh, I have! There's some black flowers on this thing (that you can't friggin' see) that also came from the decoration.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  

Yesterday, I hung out with my friend Teena and her mother Sharon. Like me, Sharon is a Halloween freak and a serious crafter. I thought we'd just be drinking wine and checking out all the really cool Halloween decorations Sharon has. To my surprise, I was told we'd be making a Halloween swag. 

I gathered up everything I thought I might need.

As usual, I went overboard. But surprise! Surprise! I used something from each of these boxes. The ribbon, tulle, bobbles, bats, and balls all came from these boxes. There are some black mesh bows on the swag which came from Sharon, along with that fabulous cat face. As soon as she showed it to me, I knew I had to have it! KITTY! 

Sharon also shared her wire and the base to make the swag. She even took pity on me and made the bow at the top. In return, I let her take whatever she wanted of mine, including the large spool of pink ribbon that both she and Teena fell in love with. (I'm pretty sure I have another one around here somewhere.) Crafters love to share! The finished product is the ultimate goal, after all. :)

So, that's it for this week! Happy Crafting!


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Crafty: World Card Making Day!

Today is World Card Making Day! Bet you didn't know that was a thing!

Am I making cards today? Probably not. Got too many other things to do. Shows to watch. Cats to pet. Toilets to pee in. My schedule is full! So is my bladder.

Anyhoo, here's some cards I made in the past couple weeks to share with you.

This is a beauty! The background is made using cardstock, ink, and a large stamp.

Flower: Stampin' Up Flourish Thinlit
Saying: Stampin' Up Banners for You & Bunch of Banners Framelits
Background Cardstock & Ink: Stampin' Up Emerald Envy (2016-2018 In Color)
Background stamp: Stampin' Up Floral Background Stamp (retired item)

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

This is a Sophia the First card. I had no idea who Sophia the First was, so I googled it. I now know way too much about this little Disney princess. Waaaay too much. I started to ask questions, like, what happened to her Dad? How did he die? Were there witnesses? It's very suspicious. And I'm pretty sure that amulet is a euphemism for the heroin addiction in America.

The card was commissioned by my daughter Abby.
You have a daughter???
Chillax. She's a co-worker who sort of adopted herself to me.
The card is for her niece Madeleine. Yes. Madeleine. The name is misspelled and the typo was totally not my fault.
Nice going, Aunt Abby.
Next time Aebiegaile needs a card, I'm going to stick in extra E's all over the place... just in case.

Cutout: Some retired nestabilities framelit set from Sizzix I've had for years
Image: Totally swiped off the internet. Come at me, Disney!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

This card was inspired by another card I saw on the internet. I'd put a link to it here, but I'm feeling lazy. Besides, I changed enough elements that it's not an exact copy. I like it. Much better in person. This picture really sucks.

Background: Houndstooth embossing folder
Swirl: Stampin' Up Swirly Scribbles Thinlit
Saying: Stampin' Up Itty Bitty Banners & Bitty Banner Framelit
Pumpkin: Stampin' Up - 5 Large Oval punches (retired), leaf from Bird Builder (retired)
Twine: Something I found on the floor of my house???

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Ah, now this is nice. We learned to make this card at a card party. It was taught to us by our lovely Stampin' Up Rep Jessica Brigden. As a thanks, here is a free plug...

Flower: Stampin' Up Thoughtful Branches Bundle (August 2016 Special)
Ink and Paper : Um, I don't remember. I like to have a drink or two when I craft. 
Sounds like you have a problem.
It's not a problem! 
That's what all addicts say.
I can stop crafting whenever I want!

Here's one for my card making homies...

Happy World Card Making Day! 

XOX Steph

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Food: White Bean Turkey Chili-Soup

I cooked and we lived to tell about it!  I know!  It's really exciting, right?  So exciting that I decided to share it with you.  The recipe came from Tastefully Simple's blog and I slightly modified it for what I had on hand.  It was super easy and soooooo good.

White Bean Turkey Chili-Soup

1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup Tastefully Simple Wahoo! Chili seasoning
1-1/2 teaspoons Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic
2 cans black beans
1 4 ounce can jalapenos, chopped
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup light sour cream

1.  In a large pan, cook turkey, chili seasoning, and garlic garlic.  Usually about 10 minutes.
2.  Stir in beans, jalapenos, and chicken broth.  Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.  Stir in sour cream.  Simmer 5 more minutes.
4.  Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches.  Become a cooking superstar.

This serves 6.  In my house it's only 4.  But we eat it as a meal with a sammy.

The original recipe is simple called "soup."  I think of it more as a chili.  Either way, it's awesome. The recipe also called for great northern beans and fire-roasted green chiles.  I love black beans and have a lot of cans in the cupboard, so that's what I used.  The jalapeno swap-out was because that's also what I had.  Either way, this recipe was so good.

CLICK HERE to view the original recipe on Tastefully Simple's blog.  Subscribe to it while you're there.  That's how I saw this delicious recipe.
CLICK HERE to order Tastefully Simple products through my cute hubby's website.

* Disclaimer: Neither Tastefully Simple nor my cute hubby commissioned this post.  I am a big fan (no fat pun intended) of TS products.  Being kitchen-challenged, TS makes it easy for me to look like an awesome cook!  Plus, we found last week during a test run that our furnace was broken.  Drewbie fixed it, saving us a huge repair bill.  He's my hero and he deserves a little advertising for his little side business.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

5-Day Juicing Challenge : The Aftermath

Drew, Stacey, and Stephanie's 5-Day Juicing Challenge Post-Game Show

I'm glad to report that all three juicers are doing quite well. We all took it easy on the food Saturday. No one had any issues. It was back to normal. Sort of...

Breakfast: 2 eggs, baked hash browns (instead of pan fried), 3 sausage links (instead of 5), 1 slice of Ezekiel toast with cashew butter (instead of 2 sourdough with gobs of butter)

Lunch: Turkey burger with cheese without the roll and a spinach salad with orange, walnuts, and vidalia dressing (instead of a bacon burger and mac-n-cheese)
Incidently, the turkey burger is a Tastefully Simple recipe and it is fantastic!

Dinner: Smoked salmon on a spring green salad with mustard vinaigrette (instead of a monster grilled 3-cheese sandwich and fries)
Before today, I never would have ordered this. But something in me said, "You want this." So I got it and it was fantastic!!! The initial smell of the greens made me tense up (juicing PTSD?), but I ended up loving this salad so much.

Our "We did it!" dinner at Americana Winery.
Surprisingly, we ordered healthy and couldn't even finish it.
Well, we finished the wine. That wasn't a problem.

We also got to enjoy The Delta Mike Shaw Band. 
Great show!

Commonly Asked Questions
Q.  Why did you do decide to do this?
A.  A couple of years ago, Stacey watched a documentary called "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead." She was so impressed by it that Drew & I also watched it. It's about Joe Cross' journey across America for 60-days with nothing but juice and a film crew. Along the way, Joe shared the story of many other people who tried juicing as a way to become healthier. It was fun, informative, and extremely motivating. You can watch it on Netflix. I highly recommend it, even if you're not interested in juicing. Joe is very charismatic and funny and he has an Australian accent that, quite frankly, I can listen to all day.
Ever since then, we'd talked about trying a juicing diet. When the 5-day challenge showed up in my email inbox, I shared it with my fellow future juicers and we all declared, "Let's do this! It's only 5 days. How hard can it be?" Famous last words.

Q.  Did you make up the recipes yourself?
A.  No. As part of the challenge, I purchased a book that came with a menu and recipes. I think the book was something like $9.

Q. Did you do this with a blender or juicer?
A. Juicer. It was all a juicer. I have a Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Pro Juice Extractor. It's a real trooper! I will continue to use my juicer for lemons and limes. I'm always buying too many, never using them, then throwing them away when they go bad. Instead, I juice them, freeze the juice in ice cube trays, and then keeping the cubes in a baggie in the freezer. When I need juice for cooking, I just pop out a cube or two!
Plus, freshly juiced fruit (without those dang veggies!) tastes so much better than store-bought fruit juice. I'm seriously thinking about getting a bunch of apples and juicing-freezing them too so I don't have to core-peel them for my smoothies. Anything to make eating healthy easier!

Like a baby with a poopy diaper,
no matter how neat you are this is a messy, messy job.

Q. What is the worst juice?
A. By far, it's sweet potatoes. The aftertaste will follow you around for days. Just horrifying. Beets and chard are a super-close second. If I never eat them ever again, I'll be a happy fatty.

Q.  Weren’t you hungry?
A.  Always. I’m hardly ever NOT hungry and that did not change doing this challenge. It just made it much more painful that I couldn’t eat something. Yes, I could drink more juice, or hot tea, or water, or (if I’m really desperate) coconut water, but it won’t change the fact that I wanted to eat something.

Q.  What about protein?
A.  There is some protein in fruits and veggies.  It’s not a concern unless you juice for more than 15 days.

Q.  That’s a lot of vegetables. Weren’t you worried about gas?
A.  Was I worried about gas the day I wrecked the chinese buffet like Godzilla on Tokyo? Yes, but I did it anyway. (And before you complain, I do know that Tokyo’s in Japan not China. But since the food on that buffet wasn’t really Chinese, I don’t really feel a need to try and make a geographically accurate joke.)
     But to answer your question more appropriately… No. I didn’t experience any gas above and beyond what I normally expel. Probably less, actually.

If you're worried about your own gas, ask Santa for some Shreddies!

Q.  Isn’t it expensive?
A.  It can be. Drew and I had been eating a lot of take-out, so it was only slightly more expensive than what we normally spend every week. Drew and I don’t have a lot of other extraneous expenses (ie. fantasy league fees, campers, monthly video game fees, self-indulgent mini-me wallet gobblers), so we decided it was a minor expense to invest in our health.
Plus, all of the pulp went into our neighbors compost pile. There was very little that was wasted. This coming week might be our smallest trash day ever.

Q.  What do you do after the five days?
A.  Whatever you damn well want! The 5-day challenge is really just a chance to cleanse your body and give you a reboot to start over with better habits. Will it work? Doubt it. I’m not sure if I did this for five years that I’d stop craving burgers and beer.
     However, Drew and I do have a plan in place to eat healthier. More veggies, less carbs. I’ll start making spinach and fruit smoothies again in the morning. Salads for lunch. Healthier dinners and less take-out.
     Although it’ll be hard not to want a Cali Chicken Panini from the Downtown Deli. I crave those everyday. As my co-workers at lunch can tell you. By day five, I know they were dying to scream at me, "Oh, just go eat a damn sandwich!"

Q.  Do you regret it?
A.  Not that it’s over! I know for the blog posts things are a little exaggerated (a trait that runs in the family), but it's not overexaggerated. I really did hate it so much. I really did sing to my drinks. During the last lunch, I hummed and rocked in my chair. Bonny had this look of fear that I was going to spew my juice across the table on her.

Not sure if I should call a priest or Domino's.

Q. Then why didn't you just quit?
A. Are you kidding? Writing these blog posts have been so much fun! I like to hear that people enjoyed them. Plus, it's something interesting to talk about. And if nothing else, I’ll have an experience to write about in a book someday. A book that will probably never get published. Maybe I should do a 5-day novel writing challenge! Haha! No.
We were all well aware of how terrible we were going to feel for the first few days. It was explained in great detail how this works. What we didn't get was the burst of energy by day four or the cravings for more vegetables by day five. Why? I think it's because all the goodness was overshadowed by one glaringly huge fact... the juices tasted awful. This was something we were not expecting. It seems like everyone else in the challenge raved about them and we were the only ones that hated it. Or maybe all the haters suffered in silence (for a change).
If the juices had been to our liking, this experience would have been far more enjoyable but not nearly as entertaining.

Q. Did you get anything good out of this?
A. Oh yeah. I do feel a bit lighter. I don't mean skinnier. I mean lighter. Not sluggishly full of junk food. And doing this as a group was definitely way better than going it alone. Being able to bitch, piss, and moan with other people going through the same awful experience is, in some weird way, nice.
My favorite thing was being in the kitchen with Drew. Washing, chopping, and juicing our fruits and veggies together was fun. Mostly. I was pretty miserable one night. But we got our process down to a science. I will actually miss that. Any other time we've tried to work together in the kitchen has been a disaster.
It's also nice to accomplish something I set out to do. Announcing it on the blog helped about a billion percent. We were all bound by the people reading and watching. That put a lot of pressure on us not to quit.

Q.  What’s next?
A. Juice porn.
"Beet me."
From Fifty Shades of Green

I don’t know, actually. Challenging yourself to do something outside of your comfort zone for five days is hard, but it’s not impossible. It’s not even a long time. It just felt like it. I expect to try more 5-day challenges. I don't want to get too boring.

Q.  Ok. We all want to know. How much weight did you lose?
A.  I didn't do the challenge to lose weight. I really didn't. I did it to give myself a kick-start on building better eating habits. Something to help clear out some of the delicious but unhealthy foods I'd eaten all summer long. As a way to--
Four pounds. Ok? It was four pounds. Jeez. It was only 5-days. What were you expecting?

Thank you all for reading and being our fans.
It was perfectly awful and you helped make it fun.

XOX Steph

Friday, September 16, 2016

5-Day Juicing Challenge : Day Five

The continuing adventures of Drew, Stacey, and Stephanie’s 5-Day Juicing Challenge

This morning’s check in:
Drew: But there’s bagels. Baaaagels. *waaaaaah*
Stacey: Let’s get this the *bleep* over with.
Steph: I got some sleep. I feel pretty good. (I should probably keep that news to myself.)

September 16, 2016 - Day Five

After yesterday's disaster, I got a lot of much needed sleep last night. The work stress is no longer an issue (well, until something else goes wrong). I'm excited about today because IT'S THE LAST DAY!

To make it fun, I told Drew I'm going to sing to my juices. In my own particular style.

L. to R. Breakfast, Coconut Water, Lunch, Break, Dinner, Evening
(Missing: Dignity)

Breakfast: Red Cabbage, Carrots, Oranges, Sweet Potatoes

Mid-Morning Bathroom Discovery:

Morning Snack: Coconut Water
Uhhhhhhhh, due to a technical glich, I did not have Coconut Water today. I gave my last Peach & Mango to Julie, who agreed that it wasn't very palatable. I didn't go back to the store for more. I'll just add some True Orange flavoring to my water and pretend it sucks.

I drink a gallon of water at work every day.
Sometimes I like a little diversity.

Lunch: Kale, Apples, Cucumbers, Pears, Ginger
Dumpa dumpa dumpa dumpa, dumpa dumpa dumpa dumpa, ba-dump.
"I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can... so I can... blah dee blah dee you command a raise. Something... and something... and something else. DON'T MISS THE FLAN WITH THE GUY IN SHADES OF YORE!"
Does anyone have a damn clue what he's saying in that song?? Oh well. Doesn't matter. it was a great song and God bless you, Corey Hart. You are missed.
He's not dead. You're thinking of Corey Haim.
Oh. Well, God bless him. And the other Corey too.

Afternoon Snack: Same as breakfast

Juicing is Metal!!!
Said no one. Ever.

Post Afternoon Snack: Pain killers???
Oh, why not? We've come this far, aspirin. Let's finish this together!

Dinner: Same as lunch
Sung in the style of Lawrence Welk...
"I want to bleep you like an animal. I want to feel you on the inside..."
I really say bleep too instead of fuck. It's much funner.
I think Trent Reznor would be honored. Well, Trent Reznor now. Trent Reznor circa 1994 would juice my head and force Fred Durst to drink it.

Evening Snack: Grapefruit, Apples, Limes, Romaine, Cucumbers
God bless you, Freddie Mercury. God bless you, apples and lemons and celery and cucumbers.
But not you sweet potatoes. You can eff right off!!

Day Five: Damage Report, Sponsored by 'Yo Mama
Me - I'm going to bed and I'm not getting up until I can eat some eggs and toast.
Drew - I lost five pounds! That's nice.
Stacey - Anyone want a BLEEEEEEPing juicer?!

Or is it????
Screw you. This is the end.
Oh, ok.
Except for the Post-Game Show... STAY TUNED!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

5-Day Juicing Challenge : Day Four

The continuing adventures of Drew, Stacey, and Stephanie’s 5-Day Juicing Challenge

This morning’s check in:
Stacey: Bleep bleep bleep-bleep, bleeeeeeeep.
Drew: Are you ok?
Steph: I haven’t slept. I have a headache. What planet are we on?

September 15, 2016 - Day Four-Hundred and Forty Two of Our Self-Imposed Inprisonment

It seems like years since this horror began. Time has no meaning anymore. I can only trudge on and pray for salvation. Preferably in the form of a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon, cheese, and chipolte mayo with a side of bbq baked beans, macaroni salad, and a tall IPA.

Breakfast: Cauliflower, Celery, Pears, Ginger, Cucumber
The guards have arrived with this morning's drink. It looks and smells like celery consomme. It tastes like death.

Mid-Morning Bathroom Discovery:

Morning Snack: Coconut Water
The orange-flavored snack I used to find comparable to toilet water is now oddly sweet and refreshing. Could my taste-buds be conforming out of a need to survive? Or maybe - just maybe - it's like coffee and beer. Drink enough of it and eventually you become an addict a connoisseur.

For fear of my own sanity and the safety of those around me, I have removed myself from the workplace. I now hide in my home, waiting for the visions to pass. Visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. Baked sugar plums in a port wine sauce dressed in caramel shrouds with chocolate glaze taunt me like whores in a whorehouse that's filled with... whores... or something. "Yes! I would like a scoop of french vanilla ice cream on top. Thank you very much."

Lunch: Lemon, Apples, Cucumbers, Celery, Parsley
Fruits and vegetables that I once called my friends have turned on me. The only thing more foul than their taste is their odor. To paraphrase the immortal words of General Jason Countryman, leader of the Bacon Brigade and a proud warrior of the Fried Pickle Revolution... "Celery. You are dead to me."

I think Drew and the celery are conspiring against me!

Afternoon Snack: More of that breakfast atrocity
I attempted to drink down the juice that hell hath wrought upon me and ended up making a terrifying dash to the restroom facilities. I made it in time to toss it all into the toilet, including what was left in the cup. Oddly enough, it looks the same in the toilet no matter which direction it came out of me from. That's not a good sign. I should warn the others. Light the warning beacons of Gondor! Or maybe send a text. I'm sure a text is fine.

Post Afternoon Snack: A crate of Tums.
A nice pause from the napalm diet.

Dinner: More of that barely tolerable concoction from lunch
If you listen closely, you can hear a Jimmy Buffett song. 
No wait. That's my stomach.

Evening Snack: Pineapple, Sweet Potato, Celery, Lemon, Lime
I'm scared.

Day Four: Damage Report, Sponsored by Zoloft.
Me - "Can we sleep now, Mommy? Can we sleep and dream of Denny's?"
Drew - Screaming out from the bathroom in his own personal hell, "This is getting annoying!"
Stacey - Still bleeping.



5-Day Juicing Challenge : Day Three

The continuing adventures of Drew, Stacey, and Stephanie’s 5-Day Juicing Challenge

This morning’s check in:

Stacey: Bleh.
Drew: Meh.
Steph: Is this seriously only day three???

September 14, 2016 - Day Three

Breakfast: Apples, Red Cabbage, Grapes, Romaine
I might have used too many grapes, because I could only taste the grape juice. So naturally, I liked it. Stacey hated it. She accused me of using wine instead. I didn’t!!

Today's cuisine. Just ready to wreak havoc on my digestive system.

Mid-Morning Bathroom Discovery:
“Will I ever stop pooping? I’m only drinking juice and I’m still pooping. I either had a magnificent amount of poop stored in my intestines before I started this, or my body is a filtering machine! How is it turning liquid into poop??? Fascinating.”

Morning Snack: Coconut Water
The orange-flavored coconut water is starting to grow on me. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m starting to like it or it’s just a matter of perspective. At least it’s not peach & mango flavored.

Lunch: Lemon, Apples, Romaine, Cucumber, Chard
Today’s lunch juice was meant to remind me that this challenge still kinda sucks. I’d apparently been enjoying yesterday and this morning’s juices too much because this is by far the most horrible thing I’ve tasted to date. I choked it down and my stomach said, “Are you for real?” I begged it to find understanding in the situation. I said, “If you keep this down, I will make it up to you.” I promised to buy it a beer on Saturday. It worked. The juice stayed down.

Afternoon Snack: More of that breakfast yumminess
My snack is the only reason I made it through lunch. I giggled with delight and hugged my drink bottle. “It’s grapes and cabbage! Yippy!!!” It’s like a slice of heaven today.

Post Afternoon Snack: The entire bottle of Ibuprofen and Excedrin Migraine
The more, the merrier.
*** In all honesty, the headache is from work, not the juicing. I'm stressing out pretty bad over here.

Dinner: More of that crap from lunch
Kill me!!! Please!!! This is hell!!!!!!

Three days ago. We were so happy and young then. So full of optimism.

Evening Snack: Oranges, Beets, Sweet Potato
Oh, who cares anymore. I mean, seriously. There’s only so many combinations of this stuff I can drink. This one burned my throat! WTF????

Day Three: Damage Report, Sponsored by Tums
Me - Crying.
Stacey - Bleep bleep bleeeeeeeeeep.
Drew - Only two more days. Honey, put down the knife.