Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope that you all have a safe and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

more ornaments

It would only allow me to add 5 pictures on the last post. Here are the rest. I also made boxes for them from Christmas cards from a program that the library I work at offered.


I had someone order 8 ornaments for Christmas. . Here they are the final painted products pictured below

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! I'm thankful for so much. I'm thankful for all my friends and family, for my cats, my dogs, my job, the roof over my head, the food on our table and so much more. What are you thankful for?

Whenever I think of Thanksgiving, this song always pops into my head

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

I have tried this recipe before and really enjoyed it. This time I made a few changes. I found this recipe in the Trim The Fat with Alpine Lace Cheeses.

1 3/4 cups fat free sour cream (used regular, not fat free)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup minced cilantro (put a little pinch in because one family member doesn't like cilantro)
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno chili pepper (left out)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (left out)
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3 X 1-inch strips
1 teaspoon minced garlic (left out)
8 flour tortillas (8 inch)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Alpine Lace reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese (used any kind of cheese)
1 cup bottled chunky salsa (medium or hot)
1 small ripe tomato, chopped (left out)
sprigs of cilantro (optional) (left out)

1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 13 X 9 X 3-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, green onions, cilantro, jalapeno pepper and cumin.
3. Spray a large nonstick skillet with the cooking spray, pour in the oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and garlic and saute for 4 minutes or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a fork. (this time around I did it on a forman grill instead of the pan with garlic. I tried it step 3's way the last time and enjoyed it more.)
4. divide the chicken strips among the 8 tortillas, placing them down the center of the tortillas. Top with the sour cream mixture, then roll them up and place them, seam side down, in the baking dish.
5. Sprinkle with the cheese, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Spoon the salsa in a strip down the center and sprinkle the salsa with the tomato. Garnish with the sprigs of cilantro, if you wish. Serve hot!
makes 8 servings

I made a packet of spanish rice to go with it and made a good dinner. Tastes good and will be doing this recipe again.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Double-cheese ziti with bacon, s'mores cupcakes and marshmallow frosting

Today I tried 2 different recipes. One was called Double-cheese ziti with bacon found in one of those small leaflet like recipe books called Tasteofhome Best Loved Casseroles Recipe Cards (with something about displaying until December 8, 2009).

1 package (16 ounces) ziti or small tube pasta
3 cups (24 ounces) 4% cottage cheese
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, divided (only used 1/2 cup butter)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (I just used regular pepper since I didn't mind black specks)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3 cups half-and-half cream
1 cup milk
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup crumbled cooked bacon, divided (only made 4 slices, 3 inside and 1 on top)
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs (didn't add this)

1. cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, place cottage cheese in a food processor; cover and process until smooth. set aside.
2. in a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic salt until smooth. Gradually add cream and milk. Bring to a boil: cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
3. drain macaroni; transfer to a large bowl (make sure it's a very big bowl, I thought I'd used one big enough but needed something bigger. had a tough time tossing). Add the cheddar cheese, white sauce and 3/4 cup bacon; toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 13-in. X 9-in. baking dish. (Dish will be full.) Melt remaining butter. Add bread crumbs; toss to coat. Sprinkle over casserole.
4. bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining bacon. Bake 5 minutes longer or until bubbly.

This recipe was pretty good. I feel that the bacon helped to make this dish even tho I'm not a big fan of bacon. I will be making it again since everyone in my family enjoyed it.

I also tried a recipe called S'mores Cupcakes that I found in the book called Cupcakes! from the Cake mix Doctor by Anne Byrn. I have a lot of cake mixes and I volunteer my time and a cake (or cupcake) helping out at PADS (people who provide food, a place to sleep, etc for the homeless).

24 paper liners for cupcake pans (2 1/2 inch size)
7 whole graham crackers, coarsely chopped
1 cup sour cream
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain German Chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 cup milk chocolate chips
Marshmallow Frosting (after S'mores cupcake directions in this post)
2 Hershey's Milk chocolate bars, broken into 24 small pieces, for garnish

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pan aside.
2. Place 1 scant tablespoon of chopped graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of each liner. Set these aside. Reserve the remaining graham cracker crumbs for garnish. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the sour cream for the frosting.
3. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, remaining sour cream, water, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look thick and well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, making sure they are well distributed throughout the batter. Spoon or scoop 1/4 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it 2/3rds of the way full. (you will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any.) Place the pans in the oven.
4. bake the cupcakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 19-22 minutes. Remove the pans for the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners, life the cupcakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips. Place them on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before frosting.
5. meanwhile, prepare the Marshmallow Frosting.
6. Carefully remove the liner from each cupcake, taking care that the graham cracker crumbs don't fall off, before you frost them. Place a heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and swirl to spread it out with a short metal spatula or spoon, taking care to cover the tops completely. Garnish with the reserved coarsely chopped graham crackers and a piece of milk chocolate. The cupcakes are ready to serve.

Marshmallow Frosting
1 jar (13 ounces) marshmallow creme
3 tablespoons regular or reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. remove the lid from glass jar of marshmallow creme and place the jar in the microwave on high power for 45 seconds. (not sure if that might have been too long because mine overflowed but mine was also in a plastic jar) With a small rubber spatula, scrape the creme out of the jar and into a mixing bowl. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract. With an electric mixer, beat the mixture on medium speed until the frosting is fluffy and well blended, 1 minute.
2. Use to frost any chocolate cupcakes of your choice.

The cupcakes are real rich. I feel like you'll have to have a cup of milk handy/on the side. The frosting didn't turn out the be what I thought it would be like. I'm not sure if I added too much vanilla or sour cream was too warm but the frosting didn't seem right. These cupcakes smelled exactly like S'mores. I also made little changes here and there (very tiny chocolate pieces for garnish, no wire rake, kept cupcake liners on, etc.). Overall, was a good recipe and I'd probably make it again some time.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Free Ebooks

today only!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!

what is Halloween without. .

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hops and other things going on that sound like fun

If anyone is interested, there are a bunch of hops going on right now. I am not part of them but like to share with others when some are going on because I'm always happy to win something from doing them.

The Spooktacular Giveaway Hop from October 24th to October 31st with over 450 blogs participating.

The Wicked After Dark Blog Hop from October 24th to November 1st with 220 blogs participating.

The YA Mythology Giveaway Hop from October 26 to November 4 with 93 blogs participating.

The Fall in Love Blog Hop from November 1 to the 9th with 40 blogs participating.

A Naughty or Nice Christmas Card Exchange that sounds like fun. Can sign up until November 30th

Enjoy and have fun.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

One Ornament done this year so far

So I paint animals onto ornaments. Here's one that a relative wanted me to do for her to give as a gift to her friend. I still have to spray it with a sealer but I'm happy with it. I always doubt myself tho. I hope that they like it. .

Sunday, August 26, 2012


I am experimenting on the blog background, coloring and such. Give your input at any time as I will keep making changes.


I have been on 2 vacations this year. One was to Country Thunder in Wisconsin where this was the first time that I was able to attend the whole concert. The second one was to the Authors After Dark Convention in New Orleans, LA. I try to do one book thing a year which is usually my vacation. This year the book thing was just the open book signing for Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Chicago (about an hour drive away from me).

Now the Authors after Dark convention was actually a prize that I won from the Simply Ali blog when she was having her birthday bash. It was a long drive and an awesome time. The best convention that I have attended yet.


So much has happened since the beginning of this year. I haven't been on much but am planning on trying to get back on more. I have been reading and trying to keep track of the books that I have read.

Books read:

Wonder- TBR
The invention of Hugo Cabret- TBR
Bone Crossed - TBR and series
Master of the Mountain
the Hunger games- TBR
Silver Borne- TBR and series
Suddenly Wolf
Suddenly Wolf 2
Emma's Education
Sweet Captivation
Wild Fascination
Keen Inclination
Hot Inspiration
Mikayla's Family
Justice -TBR and Series
Brawn - TBR and Series
Wrath- TBR and Series
A Prideless Man
Catching Mr. Right
Mate Dance
Saving Valor
Out of my Mind
War Horse
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda- TBR
The Familiars
Panther's Prey
The Bartimaeus Trilogy book 1 - TBR and Series
Breaking Dawn - TBR and Series
River Marked- TBR and Series
Blood Hound- TBR and Series
Winter of the Wolf
Hour of the Lion
Make Me Sir- TBR and Series
Lean on Me- TBR and Series
Breaking Free - TBR and Series
Tiger- TBR and Series
Shadow of the Dragon
Tied with a bow
Educating Aphrodite
Mastiff - TBR and Series
The Fault in our Stars
From Baghdad with Love - TBR and DBS
The Merzetti Effect
Pegasus and the Flame
The One and only Ivan- TBR
The Rowan- DBS
Fifty Shades of Grey- TBR
Colter's Promise- TBR and Series
Acquainted with the Night
To Command and Collar - TBR and Series
Bear Meets Girl- TBR and Series
Wolfsbane- TBR
Fierce Radiance
Doms of Dark Haven
The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group
The Bartimaeus Trilogy Book 2 The Golem's Eye- TBR and Series
Dark Elves Taken -TBR and DBS
Dark elves Salvation-TBR and DBS
Dark Elves Mastered -TBR and DBS
Dark Elves Dissent -TBR and DBS

Hopefully I'll post more regularly and not post such a long list. I have been keeping up with some of my challenges but not as much as I'd like to be. I'm working on the Dusty Bookshelf Challenge, the TBR challenge and the Series Challenge. The goal weight challenge, the artsy challenge, the bake and cook challenge and the read and review challenge have all gone out the window. I have a new job on top of my old job and find myself working 7 days a week without too much time to work on the challenges that have gone out the window.
for the series challenge, I have caught up/finished the Twilight series, the Mercedes Thompson series, Shelly Laurenston's Pride series, and many more.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

author after dark

A while back I won registration to authors after dark. It is in New Orleanss,LA. Guess where I'm at? :) yes, I am currently in New Orleans! This was a big step for me. Right now I am in a panel for historical romances with Beth Williamson, Sandy Sullivan and other authors. Will blog and tweet throughout the event.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!!

When I think of Mother's Day this is the song that pops into my head. . Happy Mother's day to all the mothers out there! I will hopefully post an updated post in one of the coming days. . .

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lent and question

So Lent begins tomorrow (unless you started yesterday). Do you celebrate Lent? What are you giving up or do you do something different?

I'm starting tomorrow and I plan on giving up reading and the purchasing of anything that isn't a need. I have already started giving up sugar/sweets/junk food and will continue through Lent and further. I'm also planning on trying to do something more each day. i.e. walk the dogs everyday, exercise everyday, set a goal for myself everyday, etc. something like that.

Question for everyone. Would you consider audiobooks reading? I am planning on giving up reading . . would that mean that I give up listening to audiobooks too?

any ideas? want to share?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pepper Jack Cheesy Mac

Ok everyone. . you will have to bear with me as I get into the swing of things. Eventually I should be able to remember to take pictures of the recipe that I choose in steps but I forgot to do it this time. and it's been over 2 weeks. . sorry.

This recipe was the first time that I've tried this. I got it in an email earlier on today and I thought that it sounded good so I made it for dinner tonight. The recipe:

Pepper Jack Cheesy Mac

2 cups (8 oz.) dry elbow macaroni
2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Pepper Jack cheese, divided
1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 cup broken tortilla chips (your choice of color)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)


PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Lightly grease 2 1/2-quart casserole dish.

COOK macaroni in large saucepan according to package directions; drain. Return to saucepan.

ADD cheddar cheese, 1 1/2 cups Pepper Jack cheese, evaporated milk and black pepper to macaroni; stir until combined. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Combine remaining 1/2 cup Pepper Jack cheese, tortilla chips and red pepper flakes in small bowl. Sprinkle over top. Cover tightly with foil.

BAKE for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake for an additional 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

*copied from website http://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/144036/Pepper-Jack-Cheesy-Mac/detail.aspx?cmp=EM_VBB_eJAN_009 (link is also provided when you click on the Pepper Jack Cheesy Mac above the ingredients)

My picture of how mine turned out

Now everyone in my family ate it and enjoyed it. I did make a couple of changes by using reduced fat cheddar cheese and using the cheaper priced (Jewel Osco) evaporated milk. I stuck with the lower amounts on the few that they gave choices. I also kept it in longer without the foil because it didn't seem to be browning. . . I would suggest not doing that because it did make it a little dry (but not too much).

Overall, this is a very good recipe and I will be making this again in the future.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Year of Challenges

This year is going to be the year of challenges for me. I'm going to challenge myself more than I have in the past and (hopefully) succeed on these challenges. The blog that started me on this decision is I am a Reader, Not a Writer that led me to the Dusty Bookshelf Challenge.
Challenge #1

The details:
Here are the steps for this challenge:

1. Write a blog post with a list of all those books that are literally or figuratively sitting on your shelf that you’ve been meaning to read for a while. You can pick books that you bought and haven’t read or books that you’ve just been waiting to read for a long time. Feel free to use the badge I made at the top of this post.

2. Pick a level

~Pixie Dust – Read 0-5 books

~Dust Bunny – Read 5-10 books

~Cobwebs – Read 10-15 books

~Grungy – Read 20+ books

EXTRA CREDIT-Say how long that book has been sitting on your shelf!

3. Link your blog post where you are doing the challenge at the bottom of this post (with the blue button) and then enter the giveaway!

I am going to sign up for the Grungy level. I own a TON of books that aren't only on bookshelves but in boxes, bags and so much more. We moved into this house in 2002 and since then I've kept collecting books and haven't gotten around to reading them all. This is encouraging me to get my butt in gear and read them.

Now the Dusty Bookshelf blog led me to another blog that led me to

Challenge #2

I consider this a lot like the Dusty Bookshelf challenge. The TBR Reading Challenge
The Details:
Challenge guidelines:

This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!
Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)
You can move up levels, but no moving down.
Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.
If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL.
You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

I'm going to start by shooting for the A Sweet Kiss level (since it says that you can move up but not down) but we'll see as we go.

Challenge #3

Read-n-Review I'm challenging myself to review every book that I read in 2012. This is probably going to be one of the harder ones since I don't review much and need more practice.

Challenge #4

Finishing the Series
The Details:
Here are the rules guidelines.

1) All books that are part of a continuing series qualify (i.e. Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, James Patterson's Alex Cross, etc. etc.)

2) It doesn't matter if you have 1 or 10 books in a series to complete it, it qualifies (i.e. if you only need to read one more Sookie Stackhouse book to complete the goal, that's fine) The goal is to complete a series from wherever you are up to until the last published book.

3) The qualification period is January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012. Books must be read during this time frame to count.

4) Take the button above and post about it. Use the Mr. Linky below to sign up, but make sure you link it directly to your post about this challenge.

5) If you don't have a blog, that's fine. Just leave a comment to sign up and tell us what you are reading.

6) Any format of book counts - audio, ebook, etc.

7) You should choose the series you want to finish before the challenge begins, but it isn't necessary. It's fine to change series during the year - as long as you complete whichever series it is.

8) Choose a level....

Level 1 - Complete 1 series.
Level 2 - Complete 2 series.
Level 3 - Complete 3 or more series.

I'm going to shoot for level 3. I have a lot of series that I need to finish.
1. Twilight series (books 3 and 4)
2. Mercedes Thompson series (books 4, 5, 6, etc.)
3. The Cat Star Chronicles (book 5 which I just started last night and was in my TBR pile)

Now the rest of these challenges are personal challenges.
Challenge #5
Reach my goal weight. Last year I lost a total of 21 pounds. I'm hoping to lose about the same this year. I'm going to challenge myself to exercise more and really shoot to lose that weight.

Challenge #6
Get organized and become less of a hoarder. I think that I started becoming less of a hoarder last year but I am not organized and have so much more to do.

Challenge #7
Bake and Cook more. I'm going to try and shoot for baking or cooking something NEW once every 2 weeks (I want to shoot for once a week but I'm not sure how that's going to work out).

Challenge #8
Do and/or finish something artsy once a month. It could be something small like painting, fabric work, working on my never ending latch hook, etc.

Those are my goals so far for this year. I might add ones to it or not. The last 4 I'm considering doing a sign up for like the others that I'm signing up for but I'm not too sure how to do it or I might just explore online and see if they have sign ups for them already and add them later.

Care to join me on shooting for any of these challenges?