Friday, January 8, 2010

FREE poster calendar from Shutterfly!

Enjoy a free 16x20 calendar poster from Shutterfly when you check out and use code FREECALENDAR. Offer ends January 17th. Taxes, shipping and handling charges will apply (mine was $5.12 to Utah).

You don't already have to be a Shutterfly member, either. I only joined to get the free calendar.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Macaroni Grill Copy Cat Recipes: Parmesan Crusted Sole (with Lemon Beurre Blanc) Orzo and Spinach, and Rosemary Bread

My husband, Scott, LOVES Macaroni Grill's Parmesan Crusted Sole so much that when they pulled it off the menu a few years back he unwaveringly pouted until they brought it back just recently. We decided that in case they take it back off the menu again, we must learn how to make it ourselves!

I pulled a few different recipes online and experimented with them a little to get it just right. I really love this recipe because it introduces some new ingredients to the typical kitchen, which is fun for my toddler son who gets excited to taste new things while I'm cooking.

Because these recipes have so many steps, I recommend having someone be your assistant/sous chef along the way as it can be pretty complicated. Scott was a jet set business man when we met, so he never cooked anything, eating out constantly, but we have really grown to love cooking together in the kitchen. This recipe is so much fun to partner up with someone, and the end result is awesome!

Rosemary Bread:

You will be amazed at how easy this bread is!


1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rosemary
1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
Dash of black pepper


Place yeast, sugar and water in large bowl, stir lightly, and allow mixture to become bubbly.

Mix in 1 T butter, salt, and 2 cups flour.

Add one tablespoon of the fresh chopped rosemary.

Knead for about 10 minutes by hand about 5 minutes until well mixed. Add more flour if necessary. Lightly coat a bowl, put dough in it and cover with a towel. Let dough rise in a warm place for one hour until doubled.

Punch down dough and divide in half. Let dough rest about 5 minutes.

Spray baking pan or cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Shape the dough into 2 small rounded oval loaves.

Sprinkle remaining 1 Tablespoon of rosemary over the loaves and press lightly into the surface.

Let loaves rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Carefully remove from oven, brush with some of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt (if desired).

Dipping oil for bread:

Mix one part olive oil with one part balsamic vinegar. Add a dash of black pepper.

Parmesan Crusted Sole (with Lemon Beurre Blanc)

Adapted from this recipe.


4 Sole fillets - 6-8 oz. (If the fillets are smaller, you can use 8 instead of 4)
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons fresh parsley - minced
1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup flour
3 eggs
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup Lemon beurre blanc (See recipe below.)


In a food processor blend panko, parmesan and parsley until fine. Transfer to a shallow pan. In a separate pan whip eggs and milk until well combined. In a third pan place the flour.

Take the sole fillets and season with salt, pepper and powdered garlic. Dredge sole in flour, then egg wash and finally in the parmesan/panko mix. Pat the parmesan and panko into the sole until the mix sticks to the fish.

In a large sauté pan heat butter and olive oil until hot. Carefully place sole in the pan and shake the pan to make sure the fish doesn’t stick. When sole is golden brown, flip over and continue to cook. When sole is done (120° F internally), transfer to plate and top with lemon beurre blanc.

Lemon Beurre Blanc

Yields 1 cup

1 cup white wine
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon shallots, minced
4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/4 lb butter – unsalted, chilled, cut into cubes
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

In a sauce pan over medium high heat, combine wine, vinegar and shallots. Reduce until almost a syrup consistency. Add cream and continue to cook reducing by half. Turn the heat to low and add butter cubes 2 at a time while stirring until all the butter is added and sauce is a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

Note: If the butter is not chilled it will not incorporate into the sauce. Also if the wine mixture is not reduced far enough the sauce will be runny.

Orzo and Spinach


4 ounces julienne-shredded fresh spinach
1/2 small julienne-cut radicchio
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup sun-dried tomato packed in oil, julienne cut
2 tablespoons capers
3 tablespoons sliced kalamata olives
4 ounces orzo pasta, uncooked
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Juice and zest of one small lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


Cook orzo according to directions on box, about 9 minutes or until al dente.

Heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic and stir, making sure to not let the garlic brown. Add the zest and lemon juice. Toss in the spinach and radicchio and cook until just wilted.

Remove from heat and add orzo. Mix. Sprinkle with cheese once it is on the plate.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sweeter Sweater Giveaway

One of my good friends just started a business making adorable sweaters.

She felts reclaimed wool to make fun original sweaters, caplets, vests and hair accessories. The little details are amazing and all done by hand with wool roving.

The items in her shop,, are incredible and worth looking into.

This week she is doing a giveaway on her blog. If you would like a chance to enter visit her blog at

Friday, June 5, 2009

Jello Monoprints

I'm always trying to find ways to keep the kids busy over the summer. Here are a few kid friendly projects I've been saving for a rainy day.

Jello Monoprints

I am really excited to try this project with my kids. They love to get their hands dirty so this seems perfect. The idea comes from crafter Jessica Willson and the blog. Jessica has step by step instructions on how kids can create monoprints with Jello. {link}

Linoleum Prints

I remember making linoleum prints in high school but never thought about how much fun it would be to do with the kids. If you're interested check out The Long Thread's tutorial. Its not nearly as complicated as I remember. {link}

Felted Beads

This project looks great, is simple enough for toddlers, not to mention fun for older kids. Just think of all the bracelets and necklaces your kids will make with these beads! They could be busy working for hours. What more could you ask for?{link}

I hope you enjoy these projects! Oh and If you need to whip up a few aprons to cover your cuties while you craft, you should try these. {link}

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Easy Friendship Bracelets

My daughter had to make what seemed like a million friendship bracelets to sell on market day at school. They had to be quick and easy because we only had a few days notice. So we used the twist method, added a bead and voila!

Here is how you can make your own.
(click on any image to see a larger version)


Craft or embroidery thread in various colors
Super Glue
A large eye needle
Medium sized beads with a large hole (one for each bracelet)
A ruler

Step 1: Measure and Cut the Thread

Cut a 26 inch length of 3 to 5 colors of thread. We made a medium child's size bracelet you should adjust this length if you want to make the bracelet larger or smaller.

Step 2: Tie a Knot

Tie all the strands together with a square knot at one end. Leave a 3 to 4 inch tail to make it easier to thread the bead later.

Step 3: Twist

Have someone hold the knotted end while you twist the threads together.

If you are doing it by yourself you can pin the knotted end to your pants, a beading board, or even hold it with your toe.

Keep twisting until it is tight.

Step 4: Fold and Tie

Place your finger in the center of the thread and fold it in half.

Pull the sides straight and remove your finger. The two sides of the bracelet will twist together.

Tie the unknotted end to the knotted end. Make sure your bracelet doesn't untwist while you are doing this. You may need someone to help you. Make sure the knot is tight.

Step 5: Add the Bead

You should now have two sets of tails at the knotted end of the bracelet. Take one set and thread it through the eye of the needle.

Slip the bead on the needle and over the threads. If you can't get the bead over an entire set of threads do as many as you can and let the extra hang down with the other set.

Remove the needle and tie the two sets of tails together securing the bead. You may want to double knot it.

Put a dab of super glue on the knot to keep it from coming undone. When the glue is dry trim the ends.

All Finished

Your bracelet is done! To wear it simply slip the bead through the twist at the opposite end.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Write it down.

Okay, so I have a confession to make. As a historian I totally tell people that they need to write their stories down. . .usually go as far as saying please write it in your own writing. I usually say that because as an archivist I want to see writing samples, it is fun and can tell a lot about a person through their samples by way of grammar and spelling and such. Besides writing styles are always fun to look at. . .

My confession is as follows, I don't write in a paper journal. Now, with that said, I do write in a journal online that is private, but there is an option to have it published in a book. I stumbled across the site while I was perusing facebook. It is the best thing that ever happened to me because I can't write very long without pain in my hands. So as I have gotten older (this makes me sound really old but I'm not I am 27 and have fibromyalgia) I have accepted the fact that sometimes these things have to be done in other ways, and my other way is typing. Whatever way you need, keep a record of your life, others will be thankful to know you through your writing.

My favorite site for writing is here. I also know other people who keep a blog and print out each entry they write. The options are endless!!! SO get pen and paper, or your computer or even a sketch book and start writing or creating!

One little after thought is that an "entry" doesn't have to be grandios or verbose, just write what you feel, and even if it is a sentence or two, it will be worth while. It will also become easier over time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Our Family Embarks on a Garden

So, I've have never had a green thumb. Far from it. I took Horticulture with Mr. Sonnichsen back in 7th grade at good ol' Orville Wright Jr. High, but I couldn't really get anything to grow in my row. Or at least not that I remember.

So, when I heard that Gordon Wells Jr. was going to be teaching a home gardening class this year in our Stake, my ears perked up. I thought - hey - I'll attend and see what I can pick up. The 6 week course was great, and I learned quite a bit in that time. And now it's the start of April, and it's time to begin the Spring Garden.

At this point I'm still not as prepared as I'd like to be. I bought almost everything I need and cleared out the garden area. The Halls across the way let me borrow their rototiller and it worked like a charm! The ground is very soft and loamy, which is great. Now, I just need to put some fertilizer in and rototill it over again.

Brother Wells states that I can just take 3 cups of 16-16-8 fertilizer and 1 cup of ironite and mix it together, and then sprinkle it all over the plot of land and rototill that in. I will be trying this. I also tried getting some elemental Sulfur from Highland Gardens, but they did not sell it. They said to go to IFA to get it, so I'll see if I can do that this weekend.

BTW - with the size of the sacks of fertilizer they gave me, that stuff is going to last FOREVER.

Anyway, as I was at Highland Gardens, they took me past some apple trees, and showed me a grafted Granny Smith, Fuji, and Golden Delicious apple tree. I was thoroughly impressed and thought about grabbing it to replace the dead one in the front yard (so sad...I know...but I had no idea how to spray). I'll be tearing that tree out and figuring out what to do with the spot in the yard. However, Laurie reminded me that fruit trees in the front yard decrease the home's value (people seem to dislike all that messy fruit falling on the sidewalk and driveway), so I found a spot in the backyard that I think will do very nicely. It's got good drainage, good sunlight, and will serve our neighbors well too, as I put it right by our common fence. Of course, I may not see much in the way of fruit this year, but I was glad to learn to plant a tree for the first time.

I also started some seeds today - Peas (Little Marvel), Spinach (Bloomsdale Longstanding), Swiss Chard (Lucullus), and Lettuce (Parris Island Cos). I have them sitting upstairs in a South-facing window.

Wish me luck! Hopefully these babies will take!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Inexpensive Photo Books

You know how Photo Books are all the rage right now? I don't mean the old-school photo albums where you print out your 4"x6" pics and slip them into little plastic sleeves. I'm talking about the "design-how-you-want-it, professional layout, hardcover-bound with customized pictures and text" photo books. I get emails to make them dirt cheap from Shutterfly, Kodakgallery and Snapfish. Even Wal-green's sends me emails touting their photo book wares.

But I've never seen them for less than they're presently going for at ArtsCow, where an 8"x8" 30-page photo book is only $11.99 plus you get free shipping! My only regret is I didn't log in to check out their latest promotions earlier, because this price is only good through February 18 using any one of the following coupon codes at checkout:


You'll need to sign up for ArtsCow if you don't already have an account and upload your photos. Download ArtsCow's photo book software (very quick and easy to use), design your book, and enter one of the checkout codes listed above on the Billing & Shipping info page. It's so simple!

Don't have time to create a 30-page photo book in only a week but think a 20-page book is doable? Use coupon code PBS699 at checkout instead to get a 20-page photo book for only $6.99 plus free shipping. And new ArtsCow members also get an automatic credit for 1200 free prints
just for signing up!

I've loved everything I've purchased from ArtsCow so far, especially my new shopping bag. It's no longer on sale, but it makes such an excellent reusable grocery bag that I'm going to make another if I see a coupon code for it again.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Giveaway?

Not too long ago we had a giveaway for the success choice planner.  If you really wanted one and and didn't win you have another chance.  It is one of many items in a giveaway going on at Mormon Mommy Blogs (click here)!  Good Luck!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Confessions of a digital scrapper:

The truth is I've only been digitally scrapbooking for about a year now and the other truth is, I'm addicted.

For me, the more I can do for free is always a goal so I'm going to tell you some ways and tips for cheap/free digital scrapbooking.

I began with a free trial of photoshop and a tutorial. But lets back up a bit first. Before you begin downloading photoshop I recommend downloading and extracting some free digi scrap kits from places such as:
shabby princess

A quick google for "free digital scrapbooking" will bring up a ton.

If you do see a kit and you love it but it isn't free remember that you can use it as much as you like - and you don't have to worry about ruining a piece you've already glued down when you realise it's upside down or in the wrong place ;) I've not yet bought a kit and have far too much too pick from - atleast it isn't bogging up my craft cupboard though, right?

I organise my kits in folders by renaming the folder to the kit name and I delete the zip file and catalogue page that comes with most kits to save room - and so my husband doesn't get upset when the hard drive is full :D

Get to know what files you have and think of the photographs you have to use with them so you can make the most of your 30 day photoshop trial.

Download your free trial of photoshop and follow this video tutorial from Shabby Princess and you'll easily have your first layout completed. I watched and followed along with the tutorial twice and was on my way after that.

With the skills you learn from digital scrapbooking you can make baby announcements, invitations, Christmas cards and learn to edit your own photographs the way professionals do.

Pair your new hobby with Artscow and you've got cheap printing and gift ideas!
For completely free and easy digital scrapbooking check out scrapblog.
Or for bit of a twist on digital scrapbooking make some emailable ones at Smilebox.

Make 2009 a year of capturing and preserving memories. Organise your photo files into year>month>day/occassion files so nostalgia is a simple click away and easier to share.

Good luck and Happy New Year!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Safe Drugs during Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding

My pediatrician's office got a new nurse last month and I recently called to see if there were cold medicines I can take while nursing my baby that were off-limits during pregnancy. This new nurse happened to be on-call that morning and told me about, a website I can use any time to check the effects various drugs have on pregnancy and the milk produced by nursing mothers, and whether or not said drugs and effects are considered safe by the FDA.

From the website:
" is a complete database of worldwide medications (generic& trade) providing information on the drugs' indications, fetal risk, breastfeeding risk, during pregnancy, according to the FDA."

I recommend double-checking with your ob or pediatrician about newer drugs because the website's list of drugs has not been updated since October, 2006 and an email I sent requesting a recent update has gone unanswered. So far, every drug about which I've asked my pediatrician has been in line with the site's recommendations, so it does provide good general guidelines.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mistletoe Kissing Ball

This Mistletoe Kissing Ball is my own adaptation from a Martha Stewart creation. Though it's similar, the biggest difference really is that I made mine on a budget, choosing denim leaves instead of Dupioni silk, etc. saving quite a lot of money. (Estimated cost: 48.00 for the materials for six balls, $8.00 per ball.)

These mistletoe balls are especially perfect for hostess gifts for all of the many parties you are visiting this holiday season. They do take a little time and since it's already last minute and they are very detailed (but they are terribly gorgeous!)... so, craft! Craft like the wind!

Materials Needed:

4" styrofoam ball
Silver spray paint
Cup hook
Craft glue
12 Miniature pine cones with floral wire tied at the bottom (to attach to ball)
Silver glitter
White glitter
Miniature ornaments or 2 Beaded branches (I purchased discounted champagne-colored beaded twigs from Michael's Craft, marked down to $.59/each)
Wire cutters
1/4 yard light green denim
Floral pins (with white pearlescent heads)
Floral tape
Decorative ribbon in the color of your choice (for hanging)


Begin by spray painting silver your styrofoam ball and cup hook. Allow to dry according to directions on paint can. Attach hook to ball using craft glue.

Prepare pine cones by dotting the edges with craft glue and sprinkling with silver glitter. After they dry, attach each one to the ball at random with glue on attached wire.

Pinecones attached to painted styrofoam ball.

Prepare miniature ornaments. If you purchased a beaded branch, remove beads using wire cutters, and allowing for at least one inch of wire to attach to ball. Separate beads evenly into two separate piles. Leave one pile plain, while glittering the second pile of beads.

Beaded branch in a champagne color, purchased from Michael's Crafts.

Wire cutters and plain beads removed from branch, leaving a one-inch wire stem.

To glitter the beads, first coat each bead with a thin layer of craft glue using a dot of glue placed on the tip of your finger. Roll in a bowl of white glitter and set aside for at least an hour to dry.

Glittered beads using craft glue and white glitter.

Once both groups of beads are ready, coat their wires in craft glue and attach at random to the styrofoam ball until almost completely covered (leaving a few small holes is fine).

Ball with beads and pine cones attached.

To create the leaves, first draw a leaf on a piece of paper, about one inch tall. Cut your denim fabric into strips and layer four at a time. Use clips to keep them from coming apart while cutting. Holding your template in place, carefully cut around template through all four layers. Each ball will require about 40 leaves, or to your liking.

Use a floral pin as the mistletoe berry. Use 1-3 pins for every two leaves. Wrap together using floral tape. (Pull floral tape taut to activate its glue to keep it in place). Randomly place mistletoe into ball, coating the floral pins with glue first.

Mistletoe leaves made from denim. Place two leaves together, secure with pin (left). Wrap bottom with floral tape (right).

Cut ribbon to desired length and tie with a bow at the top. Attach to cup hook on ball.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Great deal on 'All You' magazine

Cheryl Hinton is a Southern Living at HOME consultant that has a current deal right now where you can purchase a 2-year subscription to the popular All You magazine for only $19.95. 'All You' is only available for purchase in Wal-Mart stores, and the shelf price is more than $2. Cheryl is able to get us 24 issues for only 83¢ each! I am passing along this information with her permission.

Cheryl has set up a way to place your orders online with a credit card. If you'd prefer, she can also call you directly to place your order over the phone. You can pay via credit card or personal check over the phone

To order online:
Click HERE.
Type 40776 into the Product Search box
Click "All You personal subscription"
Click "How to Purchase"
Enter "Kim J" into the Hostess Name boxes
Click the first name link to access Kim's December 15 party
Type 40776 into the Product Search box again
Click "All You personal subscription"
Click "Select this Item"
On same page, click on the "Finalize and submit your order" link
Your subtotal should be $19.95. If it's more than that, double-check the number of subscriptions in your cart.
Click "Continue to Checkout"

Fill in your personal information and follow the directions for payment. Make sure to use your MAILING address. The confirmation statement about items being shipped to the hostess only applies to PRODUCTS, and NOT MAGAZINES. There is no additional charge for the magazine to be delivered directly to your home. The $10 charge mentioned is only for the direct shipment of products. **PLEASE do not check that box!**

If you wish to purchase a Gift Subscription, just place an order using the name and address of the person you are buying the subscription for. You can then use your credit card information to pay for it.

Cheryl has made herself available to answer your questions or address any problems you encounter during the ordering process. Her contact information follows, or you can fill out and submit this simple form.

Cheryl Hinton
Independent Consultant
Southern Living at Home

~Cheryl just emailed me and said the ALL You deal will be going on after the first of the year. I will post again in January with updated 'party information' if you'd like. Thanks!~

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hipster Holiday Music

If you're one of those types that greatly dislikes the same old Christmas songs year in and year out, we have just the suggestion for you!

Enter Pandora!

If you haven't heard yet, is a free online service that allows you to listen to specific genres you enjoy. You simply enter in your favorite band as a "station", and it generates an endless play list of suggested similar artists, so your favorites, along with some new bands you may not have heard of yet are being played.

For Christmas, we suggest entering in "Sufjan Stevens (holiday)" as a new station... it's hip, young, and unique Christmas music from bands like Relient K, Jars of Clay, and of course Sufjan Stevens!

Just in case you needed a break from your mom's Christmas music...

(Thanks, Jamie!)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Eggnog Pancakes

This delightful and delicious recipe has just the right amount of eggnog and a healthy dose of Christmas cheer! Excellent topped with a bit of butter and maple syrup!


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cup eggnog
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk, add until desired consistency


In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine eggnog, oil, and egg.

Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients into well. Whisk together. Add milk until you reach your desired consistency and mix.

Cook on griddle or stove top until the middle is cooked through.

Search The Hip Homemaker