Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Extravaganza!

Submitted by Linda
Look at my cute friends in their costumes!
Yesterday was our Kindergarten Halloween Extravaganza, including a Halloween Brunch and a walk to a "pumpkin patch" where we took pictures of each student and the kids each were able to choose a pumpkin to take home. Back at school, we snapped this picture of our Kindergarten team of teachers wearing our "kindergarten super hero" costumes.
What a fun day!

Happy Haunting!

Submitted by Linda
Several weeks ago, I started working on some Halloween tags, using Scary Skeleton. I like how cute this 'bone pile' looks.
This was a lot of cutting. Thank goodness for my 'snips' scissors.
I finished my tags a week or so later.
Here is the final product!These are all packed up and ready to go!
All the supplies are Stampin' Up, except for the contraband brads on the bottom left of the tags.

Happy Haunting, everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy 17th Birthday, Nick!

Submitted by Linda
So for Nick's 17th birthday, he decided to take advantage of Disney's free birthday admission! I was so glad he invited his brother to go with him (it's amazing how much better they get along when one doesn't live at home!).
He also invited his friends Janelle and Allan to go too!
Eating fresh ears of ....candy corn!

N is for Nick.....
When our boys were little, we had annual passes to Disneyland, and I always teased them about having a picture taken with a princess. Well, today, finally he was forced into it!
I was not with them today at the "Happiest Place on Earth", but I couldn't resist posting Nick's photos. As the completely biased mother, I think he makes a really cute Prince Charming!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quick and Easy Dinner

Submitted by Michelle
I was recently watching Giada De Laurentis on Food TV and she was whipping up some easy weekday meals. One involved spinach, tomatoes, cheese and pasta. It looked fantastic and simple, but I knew I would need a little protein in the recipe in order for it to please my meat eating husband. So here is my take on Giada's Fusilli with Spinach and Asiago Cheese.

I started with a big pot of boiling water and added a generous amount of salt. This dish comes together very quickly. The longest thing to cook is the pasta so get that going straight away. I used penne pasta because that is what I had on hand.
While the pasta cooked I fried the pancetta in a little bit of olive oil. Pancetta can be cooked until it is crispy, much like American bacon, but in this recipe I left it more on the tender side.
When the pancetta was cooked to my desired doneness, I removed it from the pan and added in 4 cloves of chopped garlic. I sauted the garlic for about 1 minute and then added all the spinach.
Normally I would add salt at this point, but since pancetta is extremely salty I did not need to add any extra.
Once the spinach cooked down, I added the pancetta back in, along with the tomatoes.
I let the tomatoes cook for about 3 minutes and then added a little white wine (about 1/2 cup). You could use chicken stock if you don't have wine in the house. I also added black pepper and some freshly chopped oregano that I had on hand. Because this dish is so fresh tasting, I wouldn't add dried herbs. So, if you don't have fresh herbs on hand, just skip 'em.
When the pasta was cooked (about 9 minutes) I drained it and then mixed everything together in the pot that I boiled the pasta in. I also added 1 cup of grated Asiago cheese and 1 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
The end result was a healthy and filling dinner that David and I loved.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

APU Homecoming 2009!

Submitted by Linda
This past weekend was APU's homecoming weekend, which is one of Craig's biggest events of the year. I was excited to go this year, because I am an alum, but also am a mom of a freshman!

This year, I opted out of the typical APU shirt, and ordered a custom glitzy shirt and here it is! The picture doesn't do it justice - but people loved it. I used the same gal I used earlier in the fall for my new school shirts. Click here for more info.
Here I am with Tommy and my niece Kari, who is also a student, getting in line for the In-n-Out Burger Truck!
Here's Craig and his brother, Jon, with Tommy and his buddy Jake. I think it's cute that Craig and Jon opted to wear the same APU shirts!
I didn't see too many of my classmates this year, but I always like going, especially to show support for all of Craig's hard work. Plus, who can resist an In-n-Out Burger?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

More Halloween Fun

submitted by Michelle
Though not as cute as Scary Skelly, I do love the little doggie chomping on the skeleton's leg, and the sentiment is perfect for my latest Halloween craft. Can you guess what I made?
Gum wrappers!!! Too cute, right?
They are super simple to put together. You need gum, of course. I chose Trident Sweet and Sour. I think the kids in my life are going to love the flavors. You also need cardstock cut to 6 1/4" X 4 1/4" and coordinating DSP cut to 6" X 4". I adhered the DSP to the cardstock and then scored it at 2 1/4", 2 1/2", 5", and 5 1/4". Fold on the scored lines and sticky strip the whole thing together and you've got yourself a gum wrapper! Decorate accordingly and staple a little piece of ribbon to the edge of the gum packet so it can easily be pulled out.
Give away to your favorite child or adult!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Crock Pot Pleaser #2: Pulled Pork Tacos

Submitted by Linda
I got so much nice feedback on my last crockpot post, that I decided to share another winner. I've made various versions of pulled pork, and really, you can't go wrong. But this recipe is ALL RIGHT! After I made it for my family, I had some friends who stopped by, and I made everyone taste it! People were wowed and impressed. I can't take credit, though. This recipe was shared with me by one of our stamp-clubbers, Laurie.

Do not be scared by the jam in the ingredient list. The men in my life don't like sweet meat dishes, but the balance of sweet and zippy in this recipe is perfect (I just don't tell them what's in it!). Also, don't be alarmed by the jalapenos either. Just be careful to chop them with plastic gloves on, or wash your hands when you're done. You don't want to scratch your face or rub your eyes while chopping jalapenos- trust me on this one!

The other bonus about this recipe is it's cost. I bought this pork shoulder roast a few weeks back at Stater's for 89 cents a pound. The entire roast was just under $3.00!!!
Here's the recipe:

Pulled Pork Tacos

Ingredients:
2 -2 1/2 pound pork shoulder roast
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. cumin, ground
1/2 C. apricot jam/preserves (I use the whole jar - and this last time I used peach)
2 jalapenos, sliced into rings and seeded
1 red onion, roughly chopped

8 flour or corn tortillas
fresh cilantro
lime, cut into wedges

Directions:
Cook in crockpot on low for up to 10 hours. (After it's mostly done, I like to shred it up, and put it back in the crockpot, so that all the meat is coated in the zippy tangy glaze).
OR
Wrap in foil and bake in a 300* oven for 4 hours.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cute, Cheap & Healthy Halloween Treat


Submitted by Michelle

Linda and I were crafting fools over the weekend. It seems like any time we are together we get much accomplished. We were both on a mission to finish our Halloween projects and we even had time to squeeze in a little Christmas, too!

One thing Linda and I love to do when we are together is peruse the aisles of Michael's craft store and the Dollar Spot at Target. Though we didn't make it to Miguel's (as I like to call it) we did stop in to Target at 9:30 PM on Friday night. I was delighted to find packs of Halloween pencils! 6 pencils for a dollar is a bargain in my book, so I snatched up a few packs and we headed back to Linda's house to make cute holders for them.

With the assistance of Lord Google I quickly found a template for a pencil holder online and I was ready to go. I used up more of my 2 year old Halloween designer paper - yay! - and now I have a cute and healthy treat for my nieces, nephew and other little friends.
DIRECTIONS:
*Start with a piece of DSP cut at 8 1/2" X 3 1/2".
*Score LONG side at 1/2 "and 2 1/2".
*Turn and score one SHORT side at 2".
*Cut off the little scored rectangle and cut to where the score-line intersection is to make the flap.

I used Sticky Strip to adhere the holder together and I also crimped the bottom for a nice, finished off touch.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Puppy Chow (aka Muddy Buddies)

Submitted by Linda
I'm almost embarrassed to post a recipe that has been around for years (in fact, I remember making this for Nick's 2nd birthday in '93), especially since this recipe seems to always be printed on the back of the Chex cereal box. But it is such a sure winner, especially with kids of all ages.

Last weekend, after homecoming, Nick's group ended up here for the "after-party". With the help of another mom, I had a spread of chips and dip, candy, rice krispie treats, and so on. The favorite snack by far was the big bowl of puppy chow.

My conclusion is that any recipe that can stand the test of time (and be made in 15 minutes) is blog-worthy.

Here is the recipe, courtesy of the Rice Chex Box!

Muddy Buddies/Puppy Chow

Ingredients:
9 Cups any Chex cereal (we like Rice Chex)
1 C. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C. peanut butter
1/4 C. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
Directions:
1. Into a large bowl measure cereal and set aside.
2. In 1 quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute, stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2 gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy Fall Y'all -- From La Quinta

Submitted by Michelle

For several years I have admired Linda's grapevine and twinkle lights around her front door, so much so that I HAD to have my own this year. One problem: I'm not as crafty or as patient as her when it comes to home decor. Thankfully, I have a friend in La Quinta who can fill in that gap for me. Her name is Monica and her son, Noah, was in my kinder class last year. Monica has amazing taste and style but likes to do things on a shoe-string budget, which suits me just fine. I enlisted her help to decorate my house for fall and this is what she came up with.

The front walkway is fantastic, especially at dusk when the twinkle lights turn on. (David has them on a timer!) I tried very hard to get a photo but was unable to capture it so you'll just have to imagine soft, white lights peeking out from the grapevine and leaves.
In my front entryway Monica add her touch to make the mirror and table look festive for fall.
She also convinced me that I needed a mirror over my fireplace. We found a beautiful one at Kirkland Home for only $18.00!! I wanted grapevine and twinkle lights on the mantle so Monica made that dream come true for me and David put at timer on the lights so they come on automatically each evening at 5:00 PM. Notice how the silk flower arrangement on the mantle matches the arrangement on the table in the foyer. Monica made them both.
David and I have an armoire in our living room that houses our TV and other audio equipment. On top, Monica added a wire pumpkin and a candle (also from Kirkland home), the photo David and I had taken when we got engaged 12 years go, and an urn with some balls and pumpkins that Monica glittered by hand.
I think it all looks great and I love having the house feel so cozy and festive. Monica has promised to transform my decorations for Christmas once the Autumn season comes to an end. I can't wait to see what she has in store for my home.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Boo!

Submitted by Michelle

On Saturday my friend Carrie came over to stamp with me. We had a great time working on our individual projects, chatting and listening to music. Carrie recently purchased the Twick or Tweet stamp set from the Stampin' Up! Holiday Mini Catalog and I couldn't resist the pumpkin witch. I used it to create a 3 X 3 card, a regular sized card and a tag. And holding true to my "use up the old" mantra I made use of Tangerine Tango card stock and 2 year old Halloween designer paper!

If you're like me and you can't resist the pumpkin witch, check out the Holiday Mini catalog on my Stampin' Up! website.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Annual Oak Glen Outing

Submitted by Linda
My niece Tiffany always organizes a Wallace family outing to Oak Glen in the Fall. My husband and his siblings grew up in Cherry Valley, where their father was a rancher. They have fond childhood memories of the apple orchards, particularly here at Parrish Ranch.
Look at these beauties!!
Nothing says "Fall" like a big pile o' pumpkins.
I have never been good at snapping a self portrait (like all the teenagers do) but I took this one today, and I think we look pretty cute!
We went up the road a bit to Los Rios Ranch, where we set up our picnic in this beautiful landscape- and they guys and kids started a football game.
One special treat today was seeing this huge flock of geese flying south. The picture doesn't do it justice (I just aimed my camera up, and this is what I got). There were hundreds of them, way up high, flying in beautiful formations.
An impromptu picture of our group!
The weather was perfect, and we are thankful for time with our family!