Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I live in one of those neighborhoods where kids come from all over to trick or treat.  It is safe for the kids but there are way too many trick or treaters!  I get a big bag of candy, pass it out and when it's gone, it's gone.  First come, first serve. 

Some trick or treaters are just more special than others.   These don't just get the usual candy from the big bag.  They get something intended just for them.

My sweet grandaughter is one of those special trick or treaters (and ok, I admit sometimes my college kids get special treats too!).  I probably won't see her on Halloween in her indian outfit so I gave her a treat beforehand.

I ran across this cute mummy idea.  It's a perfect treat for kids who aren't old enough yet for candy.  And, no, I don't want to be the first grandparent to give her candy!

The original project used white electrical tape, but I used cloth sports tape.  Aren't mummies wrapped in cloth?   It was a little wide, so I just tore it down the middle to make 2 strips.

Remove the straw from the juice box and wrap pieces of the tape around the juice box.  Leave the area where the straw goes uncovered.

Attach the wiggly eyes with glue.   Attach the straw to the back of the box with tape.  Cover the area where the straw goes with a piece of tape that can be lifted up.

Cute, huh?  I thought so!

Do you have special trick or treaters?
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Drunk Chicks

"Drunk Chicks". 

That's what the Bassman called this Sweet As Pie Cooking Club selection when I told him we were having Peach Whiskey Barbecue Chicken for dinner.  I wasn't expecting that comment and just had to laugh and tell you about it!

This was another recipe that I could convert to a crock pot version which is perfect for when evenings are busy.  The version on the PW website is slightly different than the one in the book, but only slightly.  I had read the one on the website before I went to the grocery store so I didn't pick up any fresh peaches and wasn't going back to get them! 

Brown the chicks.

Saute the onion.  This is the best smelling part!  Now the whole house smells yummy!

Stir in the remainder of the drunken ingredients.

Pile it all in the crock pot.

Add a shake or 12 of hot sauce.  This is in the variations section of the recipe in the cookbook.

Cook on High for about 4-5 hours.  Serve over mash potatoes.

It's good, I was wishing I had some crusty bread to get up all that yummy sauce!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

PW Chicken Spaghetti

This dish is the third dish of my PW marathon cooking day.   

It really was a full cooking day because I had put the chicken in the crock pot to cook overnight.  I am not a real big fan of dishes that need to be cooked and then baked.  I was either really in a cooking mood that day or a gluten for punishment by making the dough for the Pecan Pie AND a dish that had to be cooked twice!

This Chicken Spaghetti was for the college kids who were going to be home while I wasn't :(.   Yes they could have just eaten out, but I don't like them to do that all the time and our bank account doesn't like it either!  Plus, I wanted to send some leftovers back with them.

With the onion, bell pepper, cream soups, chicken and lots of cheese you can disguise that whole wheat pasta that you have been hiding on the shelf.  I like the whole grain pastas, but my family doesn't.  In this dish, you couldn't really tell it was whole grain and it made the dish slightly healthier (but only slightly)!

It makes a BIG casserole dish full!  More than the stated 6-8 servings.  Perfect for a bunch of hungry kids and some leftovers too.

Whew, I'm wiped out!  I may not cook again until Thanksgiving! 


Saturday, October 27, 2012

DIY Angry Birds Costume

Over the years, I've enjoyed DIYing costumes as opposed to buying the packaged kind.  The kids also enjoy it when the adults dress up.  It's just fun for everyone!

Cruella Deville and Elwood

Thing 1 and Thing 2 were simple to make and we had so much with it. 

Of course, I was Thing 1 :)  and have you ever seen Thing 2 with a  beard?  Ha ha!

Thing 1 and Thing 2
So that brings us to this year's popular Angry Birds!

I used my Thing 1 hat. 

To make the hat you will need:

a toboggan hat in the color of your choice
a feather boa in the color of your choice
safety pins or needle and thread

I happen to find a toboggan at Target that was just the perfect teal color!  The boa came from Hancock's Fabrics, but you can get these at Hobby Lobby, Walmart, or other dollar store type places.

Attach the boa to the hat using the pins or tack it with needle and thread.   I chose safety pins because I could adjust them easily if needed.  Since the toboggan stretches, put it on your head every now and then as you are pinning to get the best boa coverage.  It isn't necessary to cover the hat solid with the boa since the feathers fluff a little.  Just wrap it around, I used one boa spaced out between rounds to cover the hat.  The boa has thread ends, so just tuck those under the feathers so they don't show.

Now for the mask.  I wanted something that was easy to take off, yet will stay on my face.  (I don't ask for much, huh?) 

For the mask you will need:

Sunglass frames (lense removed, I got mine from the Dollar Tree)
card stock or craft foam
yellow felt
tape or hot glue
black Sharpie

Below is the drawing I did to cut out the shapes.  I used card stock for the white part, red foam for the red cheek part and yellow felt.  These are just items I had on hand, but the felt did work well for the beak so it would adjust to my nose when I put the mask on! 

Looking at Angry Bird images on the internet, my eyes may be a tad large in relation to the beak, but I was going for drama!  That can be adjusted easily by trimming down the size of the eye with a pair of scissors.

I taped each piece on the backside.  The tape can be adjusted as you fit it on the glasses and on your face.  When it's all together it can be hot glued, but my tape was sticking just fine so I left it as is.  

Using the black Sharpie, highlight the edges.

If only I could split into 3 like the game...

Have a safe Halloween!

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Friday, October 26, 2012

PW Pecan Pie

Next dish on my PW marathon cooking day is this Pecan Pie.  

Dealing with dough is not the most fun thing, but since Pecan Pie is the Bassman's favorite I'd like to step above the store bought crust.

The crust recipe actually makes 3 crusts.  So I still have 2 in the freezer for when I'm in the mood to play with dough again!

It rolled out pretty easily.

But it tears easily when I put in the pan and needs to be smoothed and pinched together. 

Please don't critique my pie ruffle.  I work with it for a few minutes then move on.  Let's be real, it will taste the same as a perfect ruffle, I'm sure!  :)

Add lots of pecans!  Yum!

Add the pie mixture.

Then bake at 350.  I think this took about an hour.  I kept checking on it but lost count of the total time.

It looks good, doesn't it?   I wish I knew, but I don't because I gave it away.   Good thing I have 2 other crusts in the freezer so we can try one for ourselves one day!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

There's something strange in the neighborhood...

Who you gonna call? 

It's really spooky around here!

See what I mean?

These ghostly images are just down the street from my house!  

My cell phone camera was all I had with me to snap a photo of them before they vanish. 

They look like they are in their element billowing in the fall breeze with a spot of light on them and shadows surrounding them.

I played with the image in Picasa using different ghoul-y looking effects.  Now just print the black and white ghouly versions and add them to the Halloween decor.   DIY Halloween decor!

I enjoy looking at all the fall and Halloween outdoor vignettes that people display in their yards. 

Is it getting strange in your neighborhood?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Out of my comfort zone

A few months ago I agreed to help lead a new young adult Sunday school class.  After spending more than 10 years in children's ministry, this is way outside my comfort zone!  I can lead on a first grade level, but lead adults?   Children are so eager, adults can be so reserved.

They say that young adults age 20-40 these days want God and a spirit filled life, but are not interested in church as it is today.  How do they worship if not with other believers?  I don't know.

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my story with the new class.  That's what we're called to do, God put the opportunity there so I told them about it.  It's not a story of surviving hopeless addiction or abuse or anything like that.  It is a story of how God worked in my life.  It is a story of how, if one finds themselves in a situation where the decisions they make aren't working out, God is ALWAYS there for us and will lead our decisions.  We just have to be willing to let Him lead and have faith in his leadership.  AND realize that we are not perfect.  We do make mistakes and He DOES forgive us.

There are currently 3-6 people attending this class.  Pray for me and this group of young adults.

It's exciting, yet so out of my comfort zone!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

PW Beer Braised Beef with Onions Crockpot Style

This dish was the beginning of a Pioneer Woman marathon day of cooking.  We are always accusing our 20 year olds of burning the candle at both ends, but we are guilty of it, too!

On the day of my upholstery class...the day before we leave at 6 am on a road trip so I need to pack...the same day I want to make a home baked gift to take on the trip...the day before my daughters will be home for the weekend and I won't be :(  I made this Beer Braised Beef with Onions.  It was great in the crockpot.   I'm a little behind on my Sweet As Pie Cooking Club recipes, this is one of our October selections.

I used fresh thyme from my herb pots and dried rosemary.   I used this same process for rosemary, thyme and oregano so I'm hoping to have enough dried herbs from these plants to last through the winter.

After braising the meat and veges according to the recipe, I just layered the ingredients in the crockpot the same way PW did in the dutch oven.  I used lite beer since that's what we had on hand.  The beef needed to be done by dinner time, I turned the crockpot on High and cooked it until the meat pulled apart easily with a fork.  Serve with mashed potatoes. 

This is definitely for the meat and taters men (and women, too) in your life.  It is easy and we both loved it! 

I think I'll have some leftovers again tonight.  Yum!

Monday, October 22, 2012

When Vintage Stinks

Sometimes vintage just stinks.  You know that musty old smell!   

I finally finished my fall mantel and it has that "vintage" smell.   That window frame was left out in the weather so it smells old and musty.   Note to self: don't leave the weathered vintage items out in the weather, even if you like the weathered look :)!

That linen orb got a do over and I like this version much better!  It's scrapbook paper and Modge Podge covering the ball.

My favorite out of three repurposed wine bottles, made it to the mantel (the other 2 might end up in the recycle bin!). 

The leaf drawing is one that my daughter did in elementary school.  One day I have got to get it framed!

Sharing at:

Leaves for Leontien

Athens, Alabama

Athens, Alabama

Norfork, Arkansas

Somewhere, Arkansas
Mountain Home, Arkansas

Blue Ridge, Georgia

Blue Ridge, Georgia

God, the colors in the leaves can't compare to the perfect colors in Heaven!  Wrap your arms around this couple daily so they may feel Your loving embrace.  Amen.

You can read about this tribute here:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jack's Place

Such a creative use of pallets down the street from my house.

Sharing at Friday's Fences

Sand Sculptures

The talent of people who can do this amazes me. 

This is the sand sculpture contest at the 2012 National Shrimp Festival.  I don't know who won, I admire them all for trying!

This is my favorite and I didn't get all the turtles in the photo!

Oops, didn't take time to get all of this guy in my cell phone camera view.  Sorry about that sea turtle!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I am the woman at the well

Life is what happens when you're making plans, right?  I've been busy cooking and crafting and taking pictures and reading blogs and getting ideas for my next project and before I knew it this post took the back seat.  That happens too often!  I get busy and don't take the time to talk to people and get to know them much less talk about faith.  Faith and God are sometimes hard to talk about.  What do you say?  What will they say?  So I'll share some things here that happen to me at the well and hopefully you can relate too. 

I am the woman at the well.  My past is not perfect.   I wouldn't say that I am an outcast in today's society nor am I famous (ya'll know I'm not, ha ha!).  I am just regular old me.  And just like the woman in the Bible (John 4:1-26), He knows everything about me.

When I invited God in my heart at age 12, I didn't really understand what it meant.  I felt His presence, it felt good, it felt right, but I didn't understand it.  There's so much more to it than the way it felt!  I didn't know what to do with what I had either.  As time goes on, through high school and college I knew and loved the Lord but did little to keep myself close to him.  I proceeded to live my own life.

After ten years of marriage, I learned I was pregnant with another man's child (twins to be exact!).  I was the one with the stable job and he was beginning to have health issues.  With my husband aware of the situation, I broke the news to the man I was in love with and I stayed in the marriage for a couple of years. 

As time went on, the burden and weight of my decision were too much!  Even if their father disowned us and I had to raise my daughters by myself, I knew that staying in this situation wasn't the right thing to do.  But what do I do?  Look at all the people I have to talk to to set things straight.  What do I say, what will they say?  It no longer mattered, I was so tired of the decision I had made, I couldn't care what anyone thought.  I had already hurt the two people closest to me.  I had to take the next step...to the altar.

I turned it ALL over to Him.  He is the one and only Guide.  He saw me through this mess of a situation I had created for myself!  God calmed me when I was anxious or when I talked about this.  I discussed it with confidence in the future.  It was the truth!  I also prayed for my ex and God calmed my concerns over leaving him and his health issues.  As soon as the girls were old enough to understand, I explained it to them. 

I am the woman at the well, He knows all about me.  Just like the woman at the well in the Bible, when I was thirsty, at my lowest point and needing Him, He gave me water that would last a lifetime!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Butternut Squash Challenge #2

I'm moving on with my self-imposed butternut squash challenge

For this round I chose The Hungry Girl's Butternut Squash Fries.

Peel the squash and cut it into "french fry" shapes.  Toss with some salt and lay them out on a baking pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Bake at 425 turning once until they are crisp on the outside and softened on the inside.  For mine, this took about 30 minutes (15 minutes on each side.)

According to her recipe, the one pound squash, ie the entire pan of squash fries has about 200 calories.

I was cooking for myself so I ate them all!

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 Ms. enPlace
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