Crazy Weekend, Weekly Menu, and Recipe Review

This weekend was the official kickoff to summer in the US as Monday was Memorial Day; a day we remember those who served and died in service to our country. It was a three-day weekend for most of us, and I spent it busy!

Friday I helped one of my best friends move.
Fortunately, she had movers so there wasn't much for us to do. But, moral support and all that. . .
 As I live in the direction of the beaches, I got stuck in traffic for over an hour with everyone else that was beach-bound for the weekend. At that point I started to run out of gas and had to just turn around, go to my mom's, and wait for the traffic to subside. No fun!

Much of Saturday was also spent working as we went back into Mobile to help my parents paint our old house that needs to sell.
Going West into Mobile there wasn't much traffic at all

We made it back to our side of Mobile Bay just in time to hang out with some friends at a bar-be-que and then went to check out another friend's new bar, Plow in Fairhope. It's awesome!
The crew working at Plow Saturday night. Great bunch of guys!

After all that, Sunday was slow moving for us. We did make a run by the hardware store on our way down to the beach. Waiting until Sunday afternoon meant that we didn't get much of the traffic. The weather and water was perfect when we finally made it down there. Ahhhhhh.
The water was so clear we could see fish and eagle rays without a problem.

On Monday, we took care of some tasks around the house. That meant another trip to the hardware store (wire for me!).
I got the galvanized on Sunday and the copper Monday. It's some seriously huge gauge!

We ended the day by grilling up a healthy meal (there was some chicken involved too, but these veggies were so pretty!)
There's mushrooms, squash, zucchini, orange bell pepper, onion, and garlic - all marinated. It was delicious.

We've got a shortened work week, but still plenty of busy-ness ahead. As such, the menu is a little scarce.

Breakfasts: Smoothies, Cereal, Toast w/avocado, Omelets, Blueberry waffles

Lunches: Soup & grilled cheese, Leftovers, Simple sesame noodles, bean burritoes, PB&J, Tuna Noodles, Cheese quesidillas

Grilled Chicken and veggie kabobs
Soup (from freezer)
Peanut butter tofu quinoa bowl with veggies (I'm making this one up and will report back)
Homemade pizza w/salad

Recipe Review

Bowtie lasagna: This was SUPER easy and such a great recipe to add your own spin to. I personally added some diced onion with the ground beef. Pat absolutely loved this, and I found it pretty tasty too.

Baked sesame tofu sticks with PB, tahini, and ginger sauce: These turned out really well. I like how firm they came out and can see using them in other recipes. I messed up the sauce as I tried to use PB2 powder instead of natural Peanut Butter. So it was a little runny no matter what I tried to add to make it work. That was my own fault and not that of the recipe though. I will definitely make these again.

Now to jump on the rest of the to do list and get on with the week. Here's hoping your week is treating you well!

Bead Table Wednesday on 30 Word Thursday (Let's Do This)

Chaos from one end to the other,
Supplies strewn haphazardly;
Like a mad scientist searching for the answer,
A toddler exploring,
Or perhaps I was robbed
Nope, I was creating.
The premise of 30 Words Thursday is simple...

Take an image.
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Share it on Erin's Treasure's Found blog.

Bead Table Wednesday is similarly simple. Created by Heather Powers of Humblebeads, she only asks that you share a picture of what's on your bead table each Wednesday. (My picture was taken yesterday.)

(Despite being a little late.) 

Happy Delays to My Meal Plan and Recipe Review

Yesterday's events caused all kinds of delays to my usual routine, but I didn't mind at all. It was a day of celebrations for sure.

First, I got the honor of being one of the first friends/family to welcome baby Karoline into the world.
Unfortunately, this picture was taken through the blinds and criss-cross glass of the nursery window, but it was still a great view!

Then, I watched the sun go down as Julia and the Fairhope Class of 2014 set off as members of the 'real' world.
It was a beautiful sight and poetic in some respect.

So who cares if today is a day of playing catch up. It was definitely worth it!

Here's the menu I would have posted yesterday.

Breakfasts: Smoothies, Cinnamon bread, Cereal, Omelets, Blueberry pancakes

Lunches: Leftovers, Simple sesame noodles, Bean burritoes, Tuna Noodles, PB&J, Cheese quesidillas, Soup and grilled cheese

Baked sesame tofu sticks w/steamed broccoli & quinoa mix
Vegetarian taco soup
Homemade pizza w/salad
Grilled chicken and veggie skewers


Recipe Review

Mushroom and Onion Shells and Cheese: This was basically a version of one of the Pioneer Woman's recipes that I've made in the past. I guess I didn't realize that. Let me go ahead and say that I didn't use some of the more expensive cheese but instead used chaddar, parm, goat, and a little mozz to make this mac and cheese dish. It was delicious and I could have kept on eating it, but I made myself stop. I will make this again (either this version or the one from PW.)

Sticky Orange Tofu Bowl: This was very yummy and a great new way (for us) to eat tofu. The cashews and syrup caramelized a little, making it toffee-like hard to eat, but it was yummy. We really enjoyed it. I'll be making this again.

Pasta with Mushrooms: I've made this several times and love it every time I make it. I cannot get enough. Yum!

Lemon Garlic Orzo Soup: This was really simple and pretty tasty. I was actually just looking for a way to use up some orzo I had on hand. I'm not sure if I'll make it again as it wasn't very filling, though it might be perfect for later in summer. We'll see.

Roasted Chickpeas: I added these to a spinach salad and we liked them okay. I like that they are pretty customizable to your tastes. I'll probably try making these again sometime.

Chicken, Potato, and Carrot Pie: I've made this previously, and we really liked it. So, I went for it again. As before, it  was well-received. All the leftovers were even eaten. The biggest issue I had with it was getting the pie crust out of the pan it came in without it crumbling to pieces. Otherwise, it was fabulous and will be made again.

Now, does anyone have a good recipe for roasted zucchini and squash that doesn't make it turn to water/mush? Please share!

Oh! And Congratulations to my friends who had so much to celebrate yesterday!

My Materials for the ZnetShows Summer Challenge

~If you haven't signed up for my GIVEAWAY, you totally should. Just go visit my 1000th post and leave a comment.~

Now that I'm FINALLY starting to get things/tasks squared away in the craft room/business department, I can get back to the fun part of being a jewelry designer - designing jewelry! Right now, I've got these Cultured Sea Glass Beads from spread across my workspace.

I'm working on their summer challenge of designing a day and an evening piece with the cultured sea glass. We were given the freedom to choose two of the many sea glass colors and were also sent an exciting array of other colors. I chose the Smoky Quartz and Opaque Blue Opal (below, though the opal blue just isn't coming through in my photos.)
I've got quite a few ideas rolling around, but nothing really solid yet. That's probably what I get for taking so long of a break from creating - inspiration overload. Now it's back to staring at these beauties and dreaming of what I can make them become. Shoot, maybe I can even get something made soon.

Milestone Blog Post GIVEAWAY

I'm throwing caution to the wind, breaking my routine, and doing away with my weekly menu plan post (for this week) because THIS post is SPECIAL!

It's my ONE THOUSANDTH Crafty Hope blog post!! Seriously y'all, how crazy is that? In honor of this momentous occasion, I'm having a GIVEAWAY!

It's a bit of a destash really that I pulled together quickly this morning, but it's a whole lot of stuff! (I'm giving my exclamation points a workout today for sure.) I'll admit that the pictures aren't great as I bagged almost everything up, but I think you'll get the idea. (Clicking on the pictures should bring up a larger image.)
There's a baggie of a bunch of buttons and button cards, one with some miscellaneous charms and pendants (a few artisan made), one that has shabby tags that I made, one of some deconstructed jewelry from the thrift store, and one of some large beads.
I pulled one or more bead type from each of the color-sorted drawers in my bead cabinet so there's a full spectrum of beads. These are mostly the more neutral ones.
I can't even begin to say what all in in the one above but let me try: a couple bags of clear acrylic beads, some mother of pearl charms/beads, glass beads, wood beads, ceramic beads, stone beads, double hole dominoes, and pastel glass pearls.
This set is a bit brighter with some glass beads, stone beads, cultured sea glass, glass pearls, chandelier crystals, wood beads, a couple pendants I made, and a few Industrial Chic pieces.
That's all I've gathered for the giveaway for now, but there is a good chance I'll continue to add to it. I'll admit that it's not all super-quality stuff, but it's not just a bunch of junk either - there are some treasures in there. Mostly, it's stuff I've had for a while and just don't know to do with it. I'm trying to fit in all into one of those small flat-rate boxes, but I'm not sure it's going to work.
So, I'll just see how big it gets by the time the giveaway period has ended. I'm guessing you want the deets. Here goes: simply leave a comment on this post by the end of June 1st and I'll pick a winner (randomly) from the comments on Monday, June 2nd. Please make sure your e-mail is included in your comment. Of course, I'd LOVE IT if you'd make sure you're a fan of my Facebook page and/or following me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. (links are all on the right sidebar.) But, that won't get you any more chances. I'm trying to keep it quick and easy!

Thanks for playing along and GOOD LUCK!

30 Words: Beach Bliss

Feet crusted in white sand,
Salt drying on skin,
Bright rays bouncing off the waves,
An afternoon with friends;
As spring becomes summer –
There will be more of this bliss.
The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...

Take an image.
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Share it on Erin's Treasure's Found blog.

Bead Table Wednesday: Slightly Boring

Despite getting much accomplished over the last several weeks, I still haven't quite caught up with all I want to do. As such, I haven't made the plunge back into creative mode yet, so my desk currently looks like this.
My bullet journal (to do list), a tape measure (to aid in writing product descriptions), and my cultured sea glass that arrived last week for ZnetShows' summer challenge (I'll show those babies off in detail a little later) are all scattered across the surface. By my standards, the main task that needs to be finished is the writing of those product descriptions, and there are only five that need to be done at the moment. I should be able to knock those out by tomorrow. After that, I'm looking forward to scattering a mess of creativity all over the table. Deciding where to start will likely be the hardest part.

Share your Bead Table Wednesday at Heather's Humblebeads Blog. I am definitely looking for some inspiration of where to start tomorrow!

Menu Plan

How is it possible that motivation, inspiration, and drive all dip and peak throughout a month, week, day? Last week, coming off vacation, I was all GO GO GO. This week, I already feel like I'm having to kick myself in the booty or bribe myself to get through each task. It's not just me is it? Today I've been to a blogger meeting, altered a piece of jewelry for a possible sale, and started the laundry. However, I feel like I'm dragging butt to get anything really accomplished. Case in point, I STILL haven't posted my menu for the week. Not yet anyway. I keep glancing at my to do list like it's going to change or something. It hasn't. So here's to maybe checking off an item on my list.

Breakfasts: (all with fruit sides) Smoothies, Cereal, Oatmeal/grits, Omelets, Muffins

Lunches: (all with fruit/veggies on the side) Leftovers, Simple sesame noodles, Turkey sandwiches, Tuna noodles, PB&J, Soup w/grilled cheese

Mexican hand pies (from freezer) (link and recipe review here) w/corn

I'm linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday (Tuesday).

And now I can check that off the list and see if my motivation is hiding under the couch. . .but that first requires getting up out of this chair. Dang.

You'll Like This

Way back when I started blogging (ages ago), I shared bunches of links to just some of the cool stuff I found on the internet. In fact, I shared so many links that I had daily themes as to what I shared. (Seriously, check out April 2008. It's full of linky goodness.) Somehow, I let those posts fall to the wayside. I want to bring my link-sharing back. . . kinda. Now, I promise I won't be doing this daily like I used to. And, I can't promise that I'll even post links weekly. I just want to make sure you get to see some of the awesome, inspiring, and helpful things I find. {{If you're going to Pin or Tumble or share these yourself in some way, PLEASE make sure you go to the original source and do so!!}}

This collection of slightly creepy, but stunning photos is simply called Bothers Grimm's Homeland. Here's just one of them.
Brothers Grimm's Homeland by Killian Schoenberger
For something a little lighter, here's 10 Light & Fresh Spring Dips from TheKitchn
10 Light & Fresh Dips for Spring Snacking from TheKitchn
Isn't this colorful boho bracelet from Three Trees just dreamy?
Colorful Boho Bracelet, Tribal Jewelry by ThreeTrees
How fun is this light up paper mache garland? Too cute, right? And, looks easy enough.
Paper Mache Lit Garland from Oh Happy Day
I'm swooning over these Rustic Polymer Clay Beads/Headpins. I might just have to break down and get them for myself.
Rustic Polymer Clay Beads/Headpins from BeadsByEarthTones
For my geeky girl side, this image that includes each of the first and last lines of each Harry Potter book is just too awesome.
First and Last Lines: Harry Potter from Slow Robot

I suppose that's plenty enough Internet awesome for one Friday. I'll keep my eyes open for lots more! Have a happy day.

Winding down the 100DayProject

I awoke the other day with many thoughts about the 100 Day project and decided to jot them down here to share with you. Some of the bits I g...