A Good Gift Idea...

 Today I'm featuring the work of my friend Jami from Scrappy Chic.  She does amazing shabby sheek projects in almost any form.  I love so many of her ideas, you must check out her blog.

One of my favorite items that Jami does are these pre-made scrap books.  This is one I got for my preggo sis-in-law.  At the time the sex & name of the baby, so this one is generic.  Still so cute!
She makes these one out of paper lunch bags.  So adorable.

 The lunch bag pages make for these great little pockets to hold keepsakes & memories.
 She even fills the pockets with these cute little cards for you to write down thoughts, memories, etc.
This is how the pages look, all you need to do is add the pictures.  Perfect for the time-crunched & scrap book challenged like me.
I had her make this one for my son JoJo- notice the initials.
Here's what it can look like with the pictures inserted.
Here's the book I got for my daughter Danica.
This kind is a little bigger & is made out of cardstock rather than paper bags.
At the back is that cute pocket stuffed with memory/milestone cards.  So pretty & girlie.  These pre-made scrapbooks are the perfect baby shower gift.
Here is some other stuff I've had Jami make for me.  My awesomely huge & cute recipe box.  A perfect Mother's Day gift.
My calendar.  Love this because I don't mind having it on the wall in my kitchen.  It's not embarrassing like the free ones you get from the farm equipment guys.  Plus, I ordered it in September & had her make it from then through 2011- so custom.
I love that it has the general colors & idea for that month, but not the generic iconic symbols that most calendars have.  These would make great birthday gifts.
scrappy chic
So, if you need a little gift for someone (yourself included) or you want some home decor inspiration check out Jami's blog for some ideas or to contact her for custom made items.

Beauty Secrets

Okay, so they're really not secrets, but rather things I love.  You may want to try a few.  First off is this new trick I read about to really cleanse one's hair.  Out on the ranch we have hard well water.  While it taste delicious it does leave my hair heavy & limp.  I read in one of my magazines to add one teaspoon of baking soda to your shampoo & then wash your hair as normal.  I tried it & it worked beautifully.  Much better than expensive hair cleansers & cheaper too.

Second up is my eyeshadow.  This is one of the cheapest eye shadows you can find.  I got mine at Wal Mart.  I love the colors & I generally put it on with my fingers- I really like that for some reason.  The lid closes magnetically & it has a mirror.  Cheap & good, I like that.

Bare Minerals makeup is my favorite!  My Mom got me some a couple years ago & now I'm hooked.  But it needs to be the Bare Minerals name brand stuff to work really great.  I've tried the knock offs & they don't even compare.  I especially love the mineral veil, makes my skin look so smooth.

Pumice stone.  Must have, I use it every time I shower all year long.  Dry skin just grosses me out- I hate the feeling.  I need my feet to be smooth & moisturized at all times.
Last but not least is Burt's Bees Day Cream.  I love all Burt's Bees stuff, by the way, but I really like the stuff that makes my skin look better.  This is great for all those wrinkle prone spots.  Plus it's all natural so you can feel good and safe about using it.  I also LOVE the container.  Aesthetics are big for me so they totally sold me on the jar itself.  I think I would buy this just to look at the pretty jar everyday, it's just a plus that I also like the product.
Have a beautiful day!

BBQ Beef Hash

This one super easy but very filling dinner.  It's also super fast to make & you will have everything in your pantry already.  Make some homemade biscuits to accompany it & your meal is complete (& has all the food groups except fruit, you're on your own with that one).  This is a good hearty meat & potatoes meal that you can prepare in a flash.

Here's the skinny:

BBQ Beef Hash
1 lb ground beef/elk/deer
1 cup sliced carrots
1 can green beans
4 medium potatoes
1/2 medium onion diced
1/2 green pepper diced
6 Tbls butter
Salt & pepper
BBQ sauce

Cook ground beef and set aside.  Cut potatoes into one inch pieces (like homefries).  Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in large pan, add onion & green pepper.  Cook for 4 minutes.  Add remaining butter an allow to melt, then add the potatoes.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Fry potatoes until they are cooked through & have a little crispiness to them (you may need to add more butter or vegetable oil to achieve this & keep them from sticking to the pan).  Meanwhile blanch carrots so they are tender but not  falling apart.  Mix beef, carrots, beans, & potatoes together in the pan.  Then add your favorite BBQ sauce until everything is coated.  I like to make my own BBQ sauce, but you can use any BBQ sauce you like.  Dish up while hot & enjoy!

My Favorite BBQ Sauce
1 onion diced
3 Tbls butter
2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup molasses
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup whiskey

Melt butter in sauce pan.  Add diced onion & cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients & allow to simmer stirring often for at least 10 minutes.  Taste it & add more salt or sugar as desired.  It you like things a little spicy add some chili powder.  So good you could eat it by the spoonful, but I suggest using it as a topping.

More Sunrise, Moonset

I know I've already done a post with this theme, but it happened again this morning.  And of course I had to capture it on film.  It's just so rare & such a short time of the year that one gets to experience this.  So I had to share it with you.  As always I looked out my front door & saw this.

And then I looked behind the house & saw this.  I did not Photoshop these at all, they are straight from the camera.  So beautiful, God did a pretty good job creating this world.  Photographing the moon is a challenge.  I need to get better at it.  Love to hear your tips on moon photography if you got 'em?

I'll be posting a few more things today, but thought I'd get this to ya' first thing.

To Everything There is a Season

I'm dedicating this post to my sis-in-law Booba who has had a rough past week.  To her & anyone who is going through a tough spell remember- it's seasonal.  That means is will pass, it will end, it is only temporary.  Keep your eyes on what is eternal and recognize that everything works in seasons.

Ecclesiastes 3

 To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
      A time to be born, 
And a time to die; 
      A time to plant, 
And a time to pluck what is planted; 
  A time to kill, 
And a time to heal; 
      A time to break down, 
And a time to build up; 
     A time to weep, 
And a time to laugh; 
      A time to mourn, 
And a time to dance; 
      A time to cast away stones, 
And a time to gather stones; 
      A time to embrace, 
And a time to refrain from embracing; 
      A time to gain, 
And a time to lose; 
      A time to keep, 
And a time to throw away; 
      A time to tear, 
And a time to sew; 
      A time to keep silence, 
And a time to speak; 
      A time to love, 
And a time to hate; 
      A time of war, 
And a time of peace.

This video is a little cheesy, but I wanted to have the song available, so just listen instead :) 

The Right Way to Make Fried Chicken

When I was growing up almost every Sunday my Mom made fried chicken for dinner.  Thus began my love for fried chicken... or fried anything for that matter- except okra, even fried that stuff is sick!  I've had many, and I mean many, trial & error runs with frying chicken.  So today I thought I would share with you the right way (a.k.a My Way) of frying chicken, & technically this is called "Pan Fried Chicken".  

First either buy a fryer already cut up or cut up a whole chicken yourself.  Just make sure the skin stays on.  You could do this without the skin, but remember I'm showing you the "right" way.  I like to brine my chicken for the whole day before I cook it.  Makes it so moist & yummy.  Just plop your chicken into some salt water, cover with plastic wrap & set in the fridge until your ready to cook.  (If you're in a hurry & need to skip this step just lightly salt both sides of the chicken before coating & cooking it.)  

Now pull your chicken out of the brine & pat it dry with paper towels.  In a shallow dish mix flour, salt, pepper, & garlic powder.  Amounts will vary on how much chicken your making (parts: 2 cups flour, 1 Tbls salt, 2 tsp pepper, 2 tsp garlic powder).  In another shallow dish beat 3 eggs &1/4 cup half & half.  Now for the fun part, you're gonna get messy...

Coat the chicken in the flour mixture.
Then coat it in the egg mixture.
Now back to the flour mixture for a final coating.
Set it in a pan with about one inch of hot oil (make sure the oil is preheated & ready to go, or you'll have soggy chicken).  Cook over medium heat.
Turn chicken over when it looks like this or about 8 minutes & cook other side until brown.

Now enjoy the crispy, salty, moist chicken you deserve!

Movie Review: True Grit

Last night my honey & I got to go to a movie & dinner (in that order, I love late night dinners... makes me feel real cosmopolitan).  We went & saw True Grit, and I loved it!  Never mind that I'm a complete sucker for westerns- this movie was great.  I highly recommend it, but don't take your youngins because it still is a western & people need to die in westerns.  Especially bad guys, lots of bad guys have to die in a good western.
Now I am a big fan of the original True Grit starring John Wayne as well.  So I suggest you see both.  Other than having the same story line it is like watching two different movies.  The old one is a great 1960's western with classic John Wayne swagger & line delivery.  The new one is written by the Coen Brothers & has great one liners & dark humor (I have to say I laughed a lot at not generally so laughable situations) and all the actors were amazing- especially Matt Damon, he's handsome & a stinkin' good actor.  So take a night to sit in & curl up with a good western done two different ways... you won't be sorry.

Now I feel compelled to read the book.  But I'm currently reading a book & I'm a quarter of the way through & it's taken me 3 months to get there.  So I'll let you know how reading True Grit goes, but don't hold your breath.


Do, do, do Looking Out My Back Door... & the Front Door Too

This was the view out my back door this morning.  See the green little UFO?  I always knew we weren't the only ones in space!  Just kidding, there was just a spec of moisture on my lens... this is not where I'm going with this.

Anyway... Full moon nights are amazing in the country.  Nothing like in town where nights are always lit up.  Normally in the country when the sun goes down you are engulfed in darkness.  You can't see past the 30 foot range of the porch lights.  But when there's a full moon you can see everything; the mountains, every tree, any critter that scurrying along.  It's a whole different world when there's a full moon out here.  It's an experience I wish everyone could have.

Well then I turned around & looked out the front door & saw this.

It was awesome to see these two different sides of the world at once.

I'm so happy that it's starting to get light before 8:30am, makes getting up a little easier.


A Day in the Life of Me

And that's pretty much it in a nutshell.

Lunch Hour

A while back (when we still lived in town) my husband came home for lunch.  I had planned to make him a sandwich but was too busy feeding kids & getting them down for a nap when he arrived.  He couldn't wait any longer so he decided to make his own sandwich.  And this is what he did...

No, your're seeing it right folks!  Turkey, Little Smokies & American cheese sandwiched between two bagel thins.

 I'm not squeamish, but when he ate it I gaged a little.  Then I thought, maybe I should be packing him a lunch on a daily basis.  If this is the result of him fending for himself maybe I really should intervene.  There's not even any mayo or mustard on that thing, much less veggies.  And Little Smokies, come on!

So what do you do?  Do you pack your husband a homemade lunch everyday?  Or does he walk out the door with a few bucks that he'll spend at Taco Bell for his rations?  How about your kids, what do they do?  No spouse or kids- what's your lunch time routine?  I'm curious what ya'll do for lunch so let me know in the comments section below.

Happy lunch hour!

Try This... You Won't Regret It

The other night I decided to make banana bread.  I was feeling risky so I wavered from my ol' standby recipe & looked for a new one.  I officially have found my new fav way of making banana bread.  You need to try it!  Its so yummy, and light, and has good texture, and a great crust, and, the best part, it makes a ton of bread.  My family has been eating it for a couple of days now at breakfast, second breakfasties, snack, bedtime snack... you get the idea.  Make sure to have a warm piece right out of the oven and slather it in butter.  So, do yourself a favor and whip up some of this banana bread... you won't regret it.

*I added 2 teaspoons of Vanilla, because that's just the way I do it.
**My bunt pan is currently in storage so I used 2 bread pans instead, worked great.
***This would make a ton of mini loaves, which make great gifts, especially for me ;)

Bathroom Decor

We all do it, take the little free soaps from the hotel.  What the heck, they're free, might as well nab them!  While you and I will bring home just the soaps provided in the bathroom my my Dad will bring home a bag full.  He's addictive to hotel toiletries.  He even will track down the maid in the hallway & ask here for a bunch of shampoos & soaps.  He doesn't need it, or even really use it, but he likes free stuff.

Therefore, here at the ranch we have bucket fulls (I'm not exaggerating) of hotel toiletries from around the U.S.A.  Being the resourceful gal I am I put these free soaps to use.

All you need to perk up your bathroom is a bunch of free soaps & a glass jar.  I like the pure look of this one.  It's so clean & country.  I used an old pickle jar for this one, 100% free decor.

Just changing the hue of the soap changes the feel.  This one is much stronger & earthy.

And this one has a great spa like feel.  I love spa like bathrooms, makes me feel clean & luxurious.

So grab all those little extra soaps you've got piled up & stick them into a glass jar.  You'll perk up your bathroom & put those freebies to work.