Saturday, December 29, 2012

{Healthy Eating} - Mini Ham & Cheese Quinoa Cups

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas.  But did you overindulge in cookies and now what something healthy?  Then I recommend checking out these yummy mini ham and cheese quinoa cups from Iowa Girl Eats.

Don't be fooled by their mini size.  They are packed with all things good for you.

See you next year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

{Handmade Christmas} Felt Ornaments

Every year, I host a cookie exchange.  In addition to exchanging cookies and catching up with friends, we make an ornament.  This year, the conversation was about how many of these parties we had had.  I wasn't quite sure so afterwards, I decided to check out my tree and count all the ornaments that had been made at one of our cookie exchange/ornament making parties.  Here are the ornaments from the previous years:

That makes the 2012 party #9.  Next year will be the 10th annual party.  Maybe I should do something special.  But wait, in 2010 we had to cancel the party due to a huge snowstorm.  {I believe we got something like 20 inches of snow and the Metrodome roof collapsed.}  So does that count?  I say it does and I have the ornament to prove it.  :-)

But before I worry about the 10th annual party, let's check out the ornament we made this year.  Some years it is easier than others for me to pick out an ornament to make.  I have to keep in mind how long it will take to make and how much it will cost {I provide all the supplies for everyone.}  This year, I decided on felt ornaments which were inspired by The D.I.Y. Dreamer.  I always make several samples to help inspire my friends. 
I used cookie cutters as the patterns for the ornaments and that worked out really well.  All the embellishments and the floss I already had on hand.  I had some felt but I did pick up some more colors for the party.  

And of course, I always make an ornament with my friends at the party.

Everybody had a good time, got some yummy cookies, and made another ornament to add to their Christmas tree.  

Merry Christmas everyone!

I am sharing at these parties.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

{Homemade is Better} - Crispix/Chex Mix

Last weekend, I hosted my annual Cookie Exchange/Ornament Making Party.  It is so fun getting together with friends, catching up with them, and sharing yummy cookies.  Every year, I make one of my favorite snacks for us to enjoy while we catch up - Crispix/Chex Mix.  Everyone loves it and to me it really isn't the holidays until I whip up a batch of this.

Here's how I made it:

{Missing from the class photo - Worcestershire sauce}
6 cups Crispix cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup Goldfish pretzels
1 cup pita chips
6 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and pita chips in large microwavable bowl.  Set aside.  In small bowl, microwave butter until melted.  Stir in seasonings.  Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.

Microwave uncovered on High 6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes.  Spread on paper towels to cool.

I like to store mine in a pretty Christmas tin.

Oh, and about that cookie exchange - I made these super great white chocolate peppermint M&M cookies from Annie's Eats.

If I were you, I'd immediately run out to Target and get the white chocolate peppermint M&M's {available only at Target} and make a batch of these cookies.

I'm sharing this at these parties.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

{Handmade Christmas} Pinecone Ornaments

I love making Christmas ornaments and am always looking for new ideas.  I found this one in the December-January 2012 issue of Country Woman.

I'd actually seen these elsewhere but without instructions.  I thought they looked complicated but they really aren't.  And once you get the paper cut, it goes pretty fast.  I just put a Hallmark Channel movie on and away I went.

Here's how I made them:


  • Paper Trimmer
  • 12-inch square scrapbook paper
  • Bone folder or sturdy plastic knife
  • Styrofoam egg
  • 3/4 inch applique pins
  • Ribbon
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Artifical leaves/flower berry pick
  • Thimble (optional)

With paper trimmer, cut scrapbook paper into 1 inch by 2 inch rectangles.  Along one length of each rectangle, fold in opposite corners to form a triangle.  Use the bone folder to make all folds lie flat.

On narrow end of of Styrofoam egg, pin the short points of four triangles to the center (seam side facing inward), forming a square.  Pin each remaining long point of the four triangles smoothly against the egg.  Stagger remaining rows.  Put triangles side by side with long points slightly overlapping.  Pin only the long points to the egg.  Leave short points anging free.  Short points of the triangles should align with the joining seams of the previous row.  Continue pinning rows until about 1-inch square of egg shows at the top.

 Fold over ribbon to form a hanging loop.  Pin ribbon ends to center of open area on top of egg.  Secure with hot glue.  Using a needle nose plier/wire cutter, make a hole in egg to insert your pick (shorten the pick to a half inch or so.)  With glue gun, add your pick to the hole you just created.  Hang on your Christmas tree!

 I made six of these cute pinecone ornaments - one for myself and the others as gifts for family and a friend.  {I had already mailed the one to my friend which is why there are only five in the photographs.}  Of course, deciding which one I wanted to keep for myself was hard, but this one is going on my tree.

There are so many fun papers to pick from.  I even got a little fancy and made one with stripes.  It was a little tricking getting the folding just right and the pinning straight.  {Never mind figuring out how to cut the paper the right way!}  I think it turned out pretty great even with that added degree of difficulty.

 I can't wait to give these as gifts!

I'll be sharing this tutorial at these parties.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas Mantel

So, I finally got around to decorating my house for Christmas today.  I think I've become the Queen of Procrastination since Thanksgiving.  If it wasn't for the Cookie Exchange party I hosted this afternoon, who knows when I would have gotten it done this year.

The basis for my mantel is pretty much the same every year but this year I tweaked it just a little and I am pleased as punch with how it looks.  So pleased that I decided to share it with you.

The focal point is my ornament wreath which I made several years ago.

I found a box of glass ornaments in my closet while I was getting my decorations out.  I'm not sure why I had them - one ornament was missing.  I bet that ornament is somewhere in a craft project.  I figured I could find a place for them somewhere and sure enough I did.  I placed one in each candleholder.  I think it is super festive and love this addition.

Somehow this year it seems like I have more Christmas balls than in past years {not counting those new ones I found in the closet.}  How does that happen?  Did they multiply this summer?  So I needed something else to display them in and came across this vase in the cupboard.  {I think it's for an orchid or some other flower with a bulb.  Whatever it is, I never use it.}  Looks pretty nice I think.

I declare it officially the holiday season now that I have done my decorating.  Thanks for checking out my mantel.

52 Mantels

Saturday, December 1, 2012

{Confidential} - December Project Board

Wow, it's December already.  I better get busy because most of this list is for Christmas.

{Not So Confidential} - November in Review

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.  I sure did.  I spent the long weekend at my parents.  Every morning I would go for a walk with their dog, Sasha.  Saturday morning I spied this bald eagle.  Perhaps he was waiting for his breakfast?

{What I made} Craft Projects

{What I made} Yummy Eats

{#FMSphotoaday} Favorite

16. The view from my window...good morning #nothingtoseehere #fmsphotoaday

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hipster Pouch

Do you remember fanny packs?  I do.  In fact I use to have a couple of them.  Earlier this spring while out for a walk with no pockets to hold my phone and keys, I wished I still had one of those fanny packs.  I remember exactly the one I wished I had - tan with a velcro flap and a slim profile.  I had made it as a 4-H project.  When I got home from the walk I dug in my box of purses and bags hoping I still had it.  But I did not.  So I decided I would make myself one.

But then spring turned into summer and I still didn't have a fanny pack.  One weekend while visiting my parents, my mom showed me one of her latest magazines she had picked up - Simple Quilts & Sewing #125 - which had instructions to make a hipster pouch.  This was exactly what I wanted to make for myself.  Maybe not having any instructions to follow was what was keeping me from making the fanny pack so I borrowed the magazine from my mom.

But then summer turned into fall and I still didn't have a fanny pack.  Now the days of good walking weather are quickly diminishing.  It almost seemed pointless to bother with this project now but my mom wanted her magazine back.  So, on the first Saturday in November while watching a football game, I made myself this hipster pouch.

It was such a quick project that I'm kicking myself now for not taking an afternoon sooner to just make it.

Yesterday we had a record high temperature (69 degrees) so I took this bad boy out for a walk.

Although I would like it to be just a smidge bigger, it worked well and I'm happy I finally got around to making it.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend and have a great week!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

{Handmade Christmas} Ornament Wreath

I was in Macy's the other day and they were playing Christmas music.  I LOVE Christmas music but I think it shouldn't be played until the day after Thanksgiving.  {Okay, maybe Thanksgiving night is fine.}

Now, if you are like me and love making things for Christmas - decorations, cookies, presents, etc. - it is best to get started early.  And that is what I did last weekend.  Using ornaments I purchased on sale after Christmas a couple of years ago, I made this beautiful and easy ornament wreath.

Here's how you can make one too:

floral foam wreath form
roll of wide ribbon
strong craft wire
hot glue gun and lots of glue sticks
ornaments in various sizes

Cover wreath form with ribbon.  Every few wraps secure ribbon in place with hot glue.  Wrap wire around wreath and twist into a loop for hanging.

Hot glue the largest ornaments around the outside edge of wreath.  Be sure to work on a flat surface in order to keep the ornaments flat so the wreath will sit flush against the wall when hung.

Hot glue the medium sized ornaments onto the top of wreath.

Lastly, fill in the wreath with the smallest ornaments.

Hang your ornament wreath and enjoy!

My wreath is available for sale in my Etsy shop along with other Christmas items.  Be sure to check them out.

I am sharing this tutorial at these great parties.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

{Healthy Eating} - Vegetable Quinoa Soup

I have had a really productive weekend - I can cross three things off my project list!  I had hoped to share one with you this weekend but it has been very gray and dreary so I have not taken any pictures yet.

Gray and dreary weather is good for one thing though - eating soup.  I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share with you a delicious soup I made last weekend.  This  Vegetable Quinoa Soup is from Two Peas & Their Pod.  I knew I had to make this when I saw that all the vegetables in it - onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, yellow squash, green beans and tomatoes - are vegetables that I like.  {That doesn't happen to often.}  The addition of quinoa is a nice bonus too, making this a super healthy soup.

You can get the recipe here.  Have a great week!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

{Confidential} - November Project Board

Okay - it's time to get serious in the craft room.  The list is getting longer and the holidays are getting closer.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

{Not So Confidential} - October in Review

Goodbye October.  Goodbye walks in the park with beautiful scenery like this:

Hyland Lake Park Reserve
{What I made} Craft Projects

{What I made} Yummy Eats
Last month I joined the fun that is the Fat Mum Slim Photo a day challenge.  While I haven't managed yet to complete a whole month of the challenge, I love playing along when I can and putting my creative hat on.  I post my photos on Instagram and would love to have some followers {I'm lynnbodensteiner}  I'll follow back.  Here is my favorite from October:

20. 4 o'clock #lateasusual

Sunday, October 28, 2012

{Popsicle of the Month} - Root Beer Float Pops

Never mind that this weekend the temperatures are only in the forties and that it snowed on Thursday {it didn't stick though because the ground isn't cold.}  Last Sunday it was a spectacular 70 degrees.  So, before fall turns into winter I made these super easy and wonderfully yummy popsicles.

I recommend planning ahead when making these popsicles because you will want to use flat root beer so open a can the day before and leave in the refrigerator.

Root Beer Float Pops
Vanilla Ice Cream
Cold, Flat Root Beer
Using a spoon, loosely fill your popsicle molds with small scoops of ice cream.  Pour the root beer into the molds and fill to the top.  Insert sticks into molds and freeze until firm.

I am sharing this simply delicious treat at these parties.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

{Healthy Eating} - Turkey Sloppy Janes with Oven Fries

I am trying to keep potato chips and french fries out of my diet.  So far, so good.  But these oven fries are an exception.  They are easy to make, tasty, and dare I say it - healthy.

Here's how I make them:
Cut potatoes into matchsticks.  Soak the potatoes in cold water for 20 or so minutes.  Dry the potatoes and place in a bowl.  Toss with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread in single layer on foil lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  Then enjoy!

I recently made oven fries along with these Turkey Sloppy Janes {recipe from Whole Foods Market} and some mixed greens.

{Disclaimer: I don't typically eat my sandwiches on hot dog buns.  But I had hot dog buns so that is what I ate.  I do however have a funny story about a potluck, sloppy joes and hot dog buns.  That is for another day though.}

The turkey sloppy janes are packed with veggies {are dates a fruit or veggie - I think fruit} and lean ground turkey.  Yum - very delicious and healthy.