Wrapping up 2013 in Jewelry

I really didn't want to end this year with yet another food post. Instead, let me leave you with some eye candy. . .my favorite pieces made each month this year.













Honorable mention (since it's not completed jewelry)

I definitely like the direction this year has taken me and I'm looking forward to many more creative endeavors in 2014. Here's hoping you are too!

Happy New Year Y'all!!

The Last Menu of the Year

While I'm a huge fan of the holiday season: the gatherings, the merriment, the giving, the good food, and the celebration; I'm always ready for it to come to an end simply because of the way it gets my eating schedule off. And by off, I mean that I need to stop eating all of the things with total lack of portion control. With a new year almost upon us and a new set of goals pending, I'm looking forward to eating a little more healthy and regimented. It'll be a lot easier once 'the holidays' are over! For now, here's what I'm hoping we'll consume.

Breakfasts: Oatmeal/cheese grits, Smoothies, Cheese omelets, French Toast, Scrambled eggs w/toast (all w/fruit)

Lunches: Cheese quesidillas, Tuna Noodles, Cheese pizza (from freezer), PB&J, Sesame noodles, Soup w/grilled cheese, Leftovers (all will have fruit and/or veggies on the side)

Ham steaks w/Black-eyed peas & Spinach Salad
Guiltless Cheesy Mac (1/2 recipe)
Pan-cooked chicken cutlets w/Boiled red potatoes & Green Beans

Doesn't that sound heavenly!? I'm linking up this menu for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Recipe Review

Baked black bean Mexican spaghetti squash: I added soy crumbles and onions to this with some homemade taco seasoning. The casserole smelled DIVINE, tasted good (a little spicy), but there was just something about the texture that was off. I'm still trying to find my spaghetti squash mojo. I'm wondering if I had pressed out some of the liquid from the squash if it would have been a little better. I don't think I'll make this exact recipe again.

Italian chicken soup: This was AMAZING! It made enough for me to bag up and freeze two additional meals. We've actually already eaten one of them. I will definitely make it again.

Tempeh and brocolini stir fry: This was pretty tasty. I ended up using regular broccoli. I'll admit that we're still getting used to tempeh, but we enjoyed it overall. I may make this again.

I hate that most of my posts lately have been about food, but I guess that's the one constant I can guarantee. In fact, most of my gifts from my family were food-related (cookbooks, a mortar and pestle, and a cutting board). However, I'm not exactly keen on my year ending with a blog post on food, so I may post again later today. I hope you understand. And, if I don't get to it. . .I hope you have a WONDERFUL New Year!! Wising you all the best for 2014 and beyond!

Christmas Table Favors (and the Candy Cane Legend)

I am fortunate enough to be an advisor for the International Order of Rainbow for Girls (a Masonic Girls Organization). We recently had our state-level Christmas party and (because of the position I currently hold) I needed to have favors for the party. Me being me, I knew I wanted to make as many of them as I could.

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, or Tumblr you might have gotten a glimpse of what I made for this event.
These are basic peppermint sticks dipped in melted chocolate and rolled in festive Sprinkles

I combined the dipped peppermint sticks with several other fun items to make goodie bags.
The bags are simply closed with Christmas washi tape.

In each baggie were two zip-top jewelry bags. One bag contained two chocolate-dipped, sprinkle coated pretzels and the other held one of the peppermint sticks. The Merry Christmas labels were printed onto cardstock and attached to the baggies with a staple.

These tiny stained glass coloring books and markers from Oriental Trading Company were also included in the bags.

Lastly, I threw in a little more candy and some holiday stickers. (oops, that fancy penguin's upside down!. . .the top hat makes him fancy, obviously.)

I wanted to be sure to give each of the girls that attended a little something special as well, so I made up another set of little baggies as pedicure kits.

They're just a small bottle of nail polish and a set of pedicure tools, but the label is what makes it for me. I found the "For Your MistleTOES" labels via The Crafting Chicks.

Favors were also made for the devotional breakfast. This time I went a little more simple with baggies of homemade hot cocoa mix (with marshmallows), a printed Candy Cane Legend bookmark, and some candy canes.

I don't recall exactly which cocoa mix I used, but you can simply find one by searching for 'homemade hot cocoa mix' on the internet. I topped the cocoa with another homemade label that included the instructions.  The Candy Cane Legend bookmarks were found HERE on Scribd. To add a little more pizazz to them once they were printed, I punched a hole at the top, stuck on a clear reinforcer, and tied a bit of red ribbon to it (though green would have been nice too.)

I also read some information about the Candy Cane Legend to the girls. It's a legend that I just really love so I thought I'd share with you what I shared with them.
I’ve used this Legend many times because there’s just something so innocent about a candy cane, yet it is packed with meaning. You’ve probably heard me or someone else tell this legend before, but it’s still hard to find a consistent story about where the candy cane derived. Some stories say that in 18th century Europe public displays of Christianity were forbidden so a candy-maker used the candy cane to covertly display his love for the Lord. Another story is that the first maker of the candy cane was in Indiana. Yet another story is that a Choirmaster in 1670 Germany gave hooked candy sticks to his young members of the choir to keep them quiet during the service. In all of the stories I found, the symbolism of the candy cane remains the same: 
**The hooked shape is a symbol of a shepherd’s hook to remind us that Jesus is our shepherd and we are his flock. When turned upside down, the cane becomes a “J” for Jesus’ name.
**It is a hard candy to remind us that Jesus is the rock of our salvation.
**It begins as a pure white to represent the virgin birth and the sinless nature of Jesus.
**The stripes on the candy cane also have meaning. Most often, the candy has one main stripe and three smaller ones. The large one represents the blood shed on the cross for our sins. And the smaller three are the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
**Even the flavor of the candy is symbolic. The peppermint is similar to Hyssop which was used for purification and sacrifice just as Jesus sacrificed His life for ours. 
Unfortunately over time the real story of the Candy cane has been hard to find and its meaning all but lost in the busy-ness of the season. It has become nothing more than a piece of candy. However, you now know what it truly means and can share it with others. For when you share a piece of a candy cane, you are sharing Jesus with a friend.

I'm not positive I'll have time to post again before Christmas, so let me go ahead and wish you a most magical and blessed Holiday however you choose to celebrate it!

Just a Quick Menu Plan

Once again, I've gotten behind. Since publishing the Creative Spark Glossi I've done nothing but try to catch back up. I'm totally not there yet. For today, I'm just going to quickly share this week's menu (which should have been done yesterday) and then try to move on down my to-do list. As well, it's not a massive menu as we've got a busy week ahead. I hope you understand.

Breakfasts: Smoothies, Cereal/grits/oatmeal, muffins

Lunches: Cheese quesidillas, tuna noodles, cheese pizza (from freezer) w/salad, PB&J, grilled cheese w/soup

Spaghetti w/salad

I'm linking this up at I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday (even if it is Tuesday).

Recipe Review
(for the few recipes we ate last week)

Pasta with mushrooms: I love, love, love this recipe. The mix of the touch of Parmesan and cream and the truffle oil make it decadent without getting too rich. Yum!

Thai chicken tacos: These were really tasty and pretty easy to make overall. I will possibly make them again.

And that's it for now folks! I hope the winter and the holidays are treating you well, and I hope to pop back in soon (but the way things have been going I can't make any promises right now.) Enjoy yourselves!

ZnetShows' Creative Spark Glossi for Winter 13-14

The last few weeks I've been preoccupied with creating another issue of Creative Spark for ZnetShows. It was a ton of work, but getting to feature the fabulous designers of the ZnetShows Team is definitely worth it. Inside Creative Spark is all kinds of beautiful pearl inspiration, some tutorials, peeks into creative spaces (including my own), and so much more. You should definitely go take a look.

ZnetShows is also having a giveaway for simply sharing the Glossi. Information about the giveaway is on the ZnetShows Blog.

Tidbits and Bobbins

I know I've been a bit absent here lately and I feel like all I've had to share was what I am eating. I do apologize. I've been really busy on a project and can't seem to focus on much else. While relaxing a little this morning, I've been going through my neglected blog feeds. Since I don't have much of my own stuff to share with you, I figured I could at least share some of the other online bits that caught my eye. (Many of these are Christmas related so I apologize to those of you who don't celebrate the holiday.)




So that's what's caught my eye so far. . .and now it's time to get back to my busy-ness. 
Thanks for bearing with me. 

Menu and What-not

So much for getting back on track. If you are in the US and celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope it was a good one. If you aren't/don't I hope last week was good for you. Now, I hope that covers everyone.

Moving on. . My eating and exercise habits of late have been quite horrendous. As such, I'm feeling all kinds of flabby. That's really not so great as we enter the season of food. So, last night I pulled the below out and plan on using them AND the MyFitnessPal app/program to get serious again about losing some of this excess poundage.
My exercise routine options
I even got up early this morning to do some yoga. Yay me! Of course, along with exercise, I need to make sure I'm eating right/better. I know the MyFitnessPal will help me keep track of the calories. So, that's somewhat of a relief. I'll try to be sure to watch my portions and snack healthy. Here's most of what I'll be eating this week.

Breakfasts: Smoothies, Cereal, Raspberry parfaits, Ham & egg sandwiches, PB&J muffins (from a cookbook)

Lunches: (options) Ham sandwiches, Pita cheese pizzas, Tuna noodles, PB&J, Bean burritos, Cheese pizza (from freezer), Leftovers, or Soup and grilled cheese

Veggie burgers (w/fixins') w/sweet potato fries
Tofu stir fry w/veggie potstickers
Thai chicken tacos w/mixed steamed veggies

I'm linking up my meal plan at Menu Plan Monday on I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Recipe Review

Fancy mac-n-cheese (w/mushrooms): I made this without the meat. This was a repeat and was awesome as always.

Lemon-thyme chicken with sauteed veggies:  We really liked the chicken. I liked the simplicity of the flavors and the whole dish really. I left out the tomatoes for the sake of Pat. The vegetables were great to me, but Pat thought they were a little overcooked. I'll reduce the cooking time the next time I make this.

Pad thai soup: I've made this before and loved it then. I loved it just as much this time too. I doubled the recipe and have frozen the leftovers. This recipe comes together SO QUICKLY. I will make it again for sure.

Whole wheat waffles: I used white whole wheat flour and really enjoyed the texture of it in these waffles. I was only able to get about 5 waffles out of this recipe and not the 8 the recipe says. I'll likely use this again.

So that's it for me today. I would love to hear your tips, recipes, and exercise routines to stay thinner this time of year. Thanks for swinging.

Bead Box 18 - Reveal

 Hey y'all! I'm popping in to share the completed jewelry pieces that came out of Bead Box 18 . I've actually already stocked an...