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Friday, February 26, 2010

Good Food Friday = Yummy

I love to try new recipes, so the other night my 8-year-old and I made this one and absolutely LOVED it.  I had already put it all away before I realized my pictures didn't turn out, so this one is courtesy of Pillsbury.

Chicken-Prosciutto Lasagna
Doesn't that look scrumptious.  It is!  There's a lot of chopping involved, which I love, so get yourself a great knife and have some fun!  Here's the recipe for you - also courtesy of Pillsbury (here).

Chicken-Proscuitto Lasagna
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1/4 lb. prosciutto, chopped
1 (16-oz.) jar Parmesan and mozzarella cheese pasta sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 medium red and/or yellow bell peppers, chopped
1 (15-oz.) can Italian-style tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded fontina cheese
1 oz. (1/4 cup) shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Cook noodles as directed on package. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken and onion; cook 6 to 8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center, stirring occasionally. Stir in prosciutto, pasta sauce and 2 tablespoons of the basil; mix well. Set aside.
3. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add bell peppers; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato sauce. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in parsley and remaining 2 tablespoons basil.
4. Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture evenly in bottom of sprayed baking dish. Top with 4 cooked noodles, overlapping as necessary. Top with about half of tomato mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the fontina cheese. Layer half of remaining chicken mixture, 4 noodles, remaining tomato mixture and remaining 1 cup fontina cheese. Top with remaining 4 noodles, remaining chicken mixture and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil.
5. Bake covered at 350°F. for 45 minutes.
6. Uncover baking dish; bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly and thoroughly heated. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Add 1/2 cup water to tomato mixture. Bake covered at 375°F. for 45 minutes. Continue as directed above.

Enjoy! :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nothing says thank you like a QP freebie

Hooray for Thank You Thursday!  I love taking some time every day to think of what I'm thankful for and sharing some of those gratitudes with my bloggy friends once a week.  Of course, as soon as I start typing, my mind completely goes blank and I can't remember a single thing I was going to say.  Does that happen to anyone else?  So while I'm thinking, let me show you a fun sneak peek.
Doesn't that look amazing?  Believe me, you WANT to get your hands on this kit!  It's a collab by Marni Designs and  Designs by Anja J, and it's FABULOUS!  It's called Color Me Happy, and it really is very colorful and very happy.  You will love it!

That reminds me of one of my gratitudes today.  A big thank you to March for including me in her CT.  It is so fun to work with such a fun designer!  I love the other fun ladies on the CT, and of course it's a blast to work with her awesome kits!  She has a kit in her store that is one of the very first ones she ever made - it was for a design challenge.  I made a few pages with it and offered one as a QP here.  Today I'm offering another one as a QP just to say thanks to you for visiting today.  Here's my page:

And here's the download link.  I left the title on so you can use it to scrap one of your silly pictures, too.  I love that her shirt says "boys are like so whatever" - so perfect for this page. lol!

My other big gratitude today is for 4 identical blankets my hubby's grandma gave the girls for Christmas a few years ago. 
My youngest adopted them as her own blankies, and oh my goodness it's nice to have 4 favorite blankies.  We keep one in the car, one in her bed, and two roam the house.  One can be in the wash or even lost without all the trauma that usually goes along with missing the favorite blankie.  I think that's going to be my stand-by baby shower gift from now on -- four identical blankets.  It's one of the best baby secrets I know!

Please, oh, please leave me a little note if you download, or even if you didn't because you hated it, I think I'd like to know that, too.  And don't forget to tell me what you're thankful for today!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Word Art Wednesday

Starting out with a little reminder.  Remember Be Mine by Marni Designs?
There are only a few days left to get a great discount on this fun kit with this coupon code:
It's only good through February, so head on over to her store right now and get a great deal on this fabulous kit!  While you're there, you may want to snag her newest kit, Peaceful
Isn't that gorgeous?  She's offering this beautiful kit for only $2.50.  What a steal!  Here's another page I made with it.
You can go to the gallery to read the journaling.  And finally, now that you've made it through all of that, here's the freebie for today for scrapping your cute little thumb suckers.
Here's the download link.  Remember to leave some love if you like it either here or at 4shared if you download, and especially let me know if you use it!  I'd love to see what you do with my creations!  And while we're talking about freebies, March of Marni Designs has a freebie template on the Brownie Scraps blog.  She makes fabulous templates!  In fact, my Tasty Thumb LO was made with one of her templates.  So go check out her template and you'll find another fun treat - a 50% off coupon for one of her awesome kits!  Go now!  (After you leave some love, of course.)  And I'll see you back here tomorrow for Thank You Thursday.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday Tips and a Freebie

Last night for family night, we had a really fun activity.  Some families like to hike mountains, some like to camp in the  mountains.  Well, we decided to tackle a mountain, too... this one:
I know, I know, what am I doing blogging when I have mountains like that in my living room?  I really should have had one of the kids stand next to it so you could really get an idea of the size.  I'm surprised anyone in the house had clothes left in their drawers to wear when this many were piled on the couch waiting to be folded.  It would have taken me all day of folding, while watching a few of my favorite movies -- really not such a bad way to spend a day.  But instead, we gathered our gaggle of girls and got it all folded and put away in less than an hour.  Even all the socks from this mountain and the mismatched sock basket got mated and deposited into the correct drawers in that time.  I wish I would have remembered to take an after shot when half of the living room floor was full of piles.  I did make some chocolate cupcakes to sweeten the night, and so I could feel better about myself as a mother. 

So here's my off-topic question today for off-topic Tuesday, how do you handle chores in your house?  Obviously I could use a lot of improvement in this area of my life, so give me some pointers.  I don't necessarily need to live in a museum, but we probably shouldn't have mountains of unfolded laundry taking up all of our seating space.  To get things started, I'll share a tip of my own.  One thing we do well is morning jobs.  The kids have their morning routine that they do pretty well, and part of it is one little job.  We keep track of whose turn it is with this adorable job chart. 
I just love how happy they look to do their jobs!  The circle of heads rotates, and when we first started it they were so excited to see where their head was pointing that morning.  I always love the start of a new gimmick.  Now it's lost some of its novelty, but it's still working.  What I love most about it is that it keeps on working without me having to do much of anything.  We've tried many, many chore charts in the 10+ years I've been a mom, and sometimes they're so complicated they take more time than they're worth.  This one is simple and effective.

I would really love to hear your tips.  How do you handle the chores in your house?  Or do you do it all yourself?  How do you do that without getting upset with the people who are making all the messes?  I went to a class once where a lady was teaching about this subject and said we need to remember when we're cleaning our teenagers' rooms again that we're doing it because we love them.  I'm sorry, but I don't believe in cleaning my teenagers' rooms and I think it would be more loving of me to teach them how to work for themselves.  Of course, I don't have a teenager yet, so it's easy for me to say that now... 

Leave me a comment and tell me what you think, offer a tip, or just mock me for that mountain of laundry I made my family fold for family night. (It was my husband's idea, by the way... He was probably tired of searching through the pile for matching socks every morning.)  I changed the settings so it's easier to leave a comment now - no code word to type, no pop-up boxes, no excuses.  :)  Make sure you leave me a way to contact you, and here's what I'll give you in return... the template for my chore chart!  
Yay for templates!  It's in .psd format in layers so all you have to do is insert your pictures and print it out.  Just make sure you use really happy pictures of your kids so they think doing their chores makes them happy! :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Freebie Friday

This week has been crazy!  So we're making today Freebie Friday.  Yay for freebies!  Today is the release of a new kit by Marni Designs called Peaceful.  Remember the sneak peak?  Well, here's the full preview.  Isn't it fabulous?
It's in her store today for only $2.50!  Click --> here <-- to check it out.  Here's a page I made with it.
So to go along with this great kit, I made this Peace word art pack.  These are for PU/S4H use only.
You can download them here, and I'd love to see what you do with them!  I'll be back later to show you what I did with them.  Have a great day!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sneak Peek and Me Time!

Good morning!  (It's still morning here for 17 more minutes.)  I hope you're enjoying your President's Day after a wonderful Valentine's Day weekend.  I just wanted to show you this sneak peek before we get into Me Time -- and I know you all can't wait for more time dedicated to me! ;)  This is Marni Designs' latest kit, Peaceful, and it will be in her store on Friday.  Don't you love the colors?  Me too!  I'll have a coordinating freebie later this week for you. :D
Now for Me-Time Monday, here are 5 random facts about me, in no particular order.

1.  Disneyland is my favorite place in the world, followed closely behind by Disney World.  Those might reverse order if I lived closer to the East coast than the West.

2.  I am addicted to cookbooks.  Nope, not the food I make with them -- actually purchasing, receiving, or otherwise acquiring cookbooks.  I have a huge collection and get a high every time I get a new one.  It's a little bit ridiculous.
Addicted (linked to gallery for credits)

3.  I listen to Christmas music year-round.  You can never have too much Christmas cheer! :D

4.  I'm 5' 11" and have been tall my entire life - and I LOVE it!  I used to walk down the halls in junior high and be able to see over everyone's heads.  It was strange as I got older to have everyone catch up and not be towering over the crowds anymore.

5.  I'm not a big fan of breakfast food for breakfast, but I LOVE it for dinner.  On Saturday night, when I raced home from the store to watch NBA All-Star Saturday night, my neighbor was unloading his groceries at the same time and showed me the huge slab of beef he was making for Valentine's day. Seriously, this thing was HUGE. He was pretty excited about the amazing meal he was going to prepare. He is an amazing chef, so I thought it sounded amazing, too. I told him we were having scrambled eggs and he audibly scoffed and said, "Because that's the only thing he (my husband) can make???" When I told him no, we just thought it sounded good, he looked at me like I had lost my mind. LOL! He was probably picturing some nasty egg accident on a dirty paper plate, but it was nothing like that. We made a super delicious "brincher" (breafast food for late lunch/early dinner) -- biscuits with sausage gravy, eggs, bacon, hash browns, fruit with homemade whipped cream, OJ, and sparkling cider. Maybe not everyone's idea of a special V-day meal, but oh my, it was yummy. Definitely not as fancy as my neighbor's side of cow, but oh so tasty.

Now I want to hear a random fact about you!  And make sure you take some time today for a little pampering.  It is Me Time Monday, afterall.

Friday, February 12, 2010


It's Good Food Friday!  Yay!  Even digi-scrappers have to put down the mouse at some point and nourish ourselves.  We need energy for all that scrapping, right?  So today, in honor of Valentine's weekend, I'm going to share a recipe with you that your Valentine is sure to love - even your love handles will perk right up at the thought...  Did you catch that we're not going for health here?  Okay, just so long as we're clear. 

Heart Attack Potatoes
I honestly don't remember what these potatoes were named the first time I stumbled across the recipe.  They were an instant hit and also instantly renamed.  I really think these could give you a heart attack - one, because they're so good, but two, because they are SO NOT good for you.  But there's a vegetable underneath all that fat and yummy goodness, which makes them the perfect side dish for your special V-day meals.  So here goes...

Heart Attack Potatoes
8 large red potatoes
1 c ranch dressing
1 c sour cream
1 c cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 c crumbled cooked bacon
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. Cut potatoes into quarters. Place in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes; drain well. (Mine took longer than 8 minutes.) Meanwhile, combine salad dressing, sour cream, 1/2 c cheese and bacon in a large bowl. Add potatoes and salt; stir well. Spoon potato and bacon mixture into a medium baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake potatoes until bubbly, about 20 minutes.
So go ahead and make these for your valentine.  They're SO yummy.  And if they do give you a heart attack, at least you'll die happy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thank You Thursday

I'm big on New Year's Resolutions.  You see, I figured out the secret - for me, anyway.  There's no magic switch that flips when the ball drops and makes you magically perfect at something you weren't perfect at the day before!  I used to set resolutions like "I'm going to do this special thing every single day without fail for the entire year."  I would start out great January 1, January 2, maybe even January 3, but by the time January 4 and January 5 rolled around, I was was reminded how perfect I am not and would already miss a day.  Since I had failed, I would think "better luck next year" and go back to my old, slothful ways.  But now that I realized there's no magic switch, I do things a little differently.  My resolutions are my goal of where I want to be by the end of the year.  So instead of being perfect every day, I work on creating new good habits and getting rid of bad ones so by the end of the year I'm a better person - at least in that one area.  Yay me!  I actually set 50 resolutions this year.  Ridiculous?  Well, maybe, but I figure with 50 resolutions I'll succeed in at least a few of them. 

Since this year is 2010, I set twenty resolutions having to do with ten -- like have 10 family sports days, 10 mother-daughter dates, 10 parties, etc.  One of those twenty-ten resolutions was to think of 10 gratitudes daily.  I know, I know I just said I don't do daily goals.  I try not to miss any days, but I don't have to be perfect, so when I miss a day I don't give up and wait to try again next year, I just keep going and trying to do a little better.  Anyway...  It's really been great for me to think of 10 things I'm thankful for every day.  It helps me notice the little things.  They don't have to be completely different things with no repeats every day of the year, but I don't repeat the same list over and over.  So today I decided to share just a few of my Gratitudes with you and hopefully you'll share some with me, too.  What do you want to say "thank you" for today?

#1 - and this is a big one - I'd like to say thank you to my cute husband for being such an amazing dad.  Our kids are so lucky to have him, and so am I.

#2 - Orthodontists.  Strange thing to be thankful for?  Maybe.  But my cute little 10 year old has some funky crooked teeth, and she got BRACES on Tuesday.  Yay, yay, yay!!!  I'm grateful there's a way to fix her teeth so she'll feel better about herself.  She'll be starting junior high soon, and we all know what a horrible place that can be...

#3 - I'm thankful for this little nut.   
She's by far my hardest, hardest kid, but she's also the one who cracks me up daily and melts me with her cute little baby talk and funny baby ways.  She's only 1, but she's the size of a 3 year old.  She's incredibly smart - smart enough, in fact, to figure out how to destroy everything in our house in just a moment's time.  She's a little chatter box and has the funniest way of saying things.  She's an aspiring couch potato and even wakes me up in the middle of the night asking to watch cartoons.  She's determined to prove she can thrive on a diet of Trix yogurt and fruit snacks.  She was my most difficult pregnancy, most difficult labor and delivery, most difficult postpartum recovery, most difficult to figure out feeding, most difficult to figure out sleep, etc. but I wouldn't trade her for the world.

I have oh so many more things I am grateful for, but we'd be here all day, and I'd really love to hear from you!  So don't forget to leave a comment and tell me what you're grateful for today.  Remember to come back every week for Thank You Thursday 'cuz it's always good to take some time to be grateful!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Be Mine word art

Hello bloggy internet friends!  How much do you love speed scraps?  If you're like me, you like them a lot, a lot!  So I thought you'd also like it a lot, a lot if I shared with you the schedule of speed scraps the Brownie Supremes are putting on this month at Brownie Scraps.  The first one was on Saturday, but there are FOUR MORE this month - including one tonight!  Yay for speed scraps!
And now, it's Word Art Wednesday, so I made a cute little word art to go with this fun kit by Marni Designs that just came out a few days ago.
You can also use it for the "Cherry On Top" challenge at Brownie Scraps which you can find here.
You can download the png file here.  Please remember it's for personal use only.  I would love to see what you do with it!  Leave me a comment with a link to where you posted your page or send me an email.  The whole kit is so much fun to play with!  You can use this coupon for the month of February to get $2 off!

How cute is that little love bird?  I'm telling you, this is a super cute kit!  Hop on over here and check it out!  Don't forget your coupon code!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chunky Bling

Welcome to our first Off-Topic Tuesday!  We all have interests other than scrapping, right?  Personally, I like finding great stuff on the internet and wishing it was mine.  So I was avoiding work yesterday and stumbled across this fun site – which is a pretty cool find in and of itself – when lo and behold, I was introduced to the amazing site that is Chunky Bling.  Have you seen these?

I want this band

with this face.

How cute is that?  I just know this would be my new favorite watch if I had one. I am seriously coveting right now.  You should make your way over there right now and find your new favorite watch, too.  There's really cute bracelets, rings, and necklaces, too.  Anyone up for a virtual party?

Oh, and while we’re off-topic, if any one knows where I can find baby-proof sunglasses, you’ll be my new best friend. My little almost 2-year-old monster cutie breaks every pair I ever buy. She actually broke THREE pairs on our vacation to Disneyland last month (only two of them were mine). I’m kinda tired of squinting when I drive.

One more off-topic request before you go.  My cousin is in a contest to win a free newborn photo shoot.  She's due in a few weeks with what is sure to be an ADORABLE baby girl.  So if you have a minute, please hop over here and vote for Kate Cupps.  Thanks so much!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Arizona Sweetheart

Good morning, Internets! Today is the very first “Me Time Monday” at AZ Sweetheart Scraps. ‘Cuz really, who doesn’t want to hear all about me?? Today I’m going to tell you the little story about where AZ Sweetheart Scraps came from.

Once upon a time when I was in fourth grade, the mandatory grade school curriculum required us to study the great state of Arizona. That’s when I first learned that Arizona had a nickname I had never imagined! I knew all about the Grand Canyon, which was up to that point our only claim to fame – or so I thought.  Did you know that Arizona officially became a state on Valentine's Day?  When I was in jr. high and thought I was oh so clever, I used to wish everyone a happy Arizona Statehood Day instead of Valentine's Day.  Oh my, yes, was I clever!  Anyway, that's how Arizona earned it's little-known nickname of the Sweetheart State.  It was also the 48th state to be admitted to the union, followed by Alaska 47 years later, so it was called the Baby State for awhile, but I didn't want to be AZ Baby Scraps.

So back to our story...  Several years later that 4th grader had grown up (or so she thought) and was off to college.  It was there that she met a boy and fell fast and hard for that boy.  She tried to charm him one day with her obscure knowledge of Arizona state nicknames.  The boy was charmed, oh yes he was.  And from then on he called her his Arizona Sweetheart.

Touching story, eh?  I also thought you might like to see what’s in store on this little blog. I’m an obsessive planner and organizer, so naturally I have a schedule all ready (and the next few blog posts just waiting to be posted and read by you!). I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, so this isn’t set in stone, and let's face it, I'm a woman and therefore change my mind frequently – but here’s what I have in mind for the near future.

Monday = Me Time Monday – cuz who doesn’t love to hear all about me, me, ME?
Tuesday = Off-Topic Tuesday – fun finds out in the internets that have nothing to do with scrapping
Wednesday = Word Art Wednesday – fun freebies that may or may not coordinate with fun kits
Thursday = Thank You Thursday – what are you grateful for?
Friday = Good Food Friday – even scrappers have to eat sometimes
Saturday/Sunday = Weekend Inspiration – great LOs from around digiland

Doesn’t that sound fun? I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this, my friends! (You’re reading my blog, so that officially makes us friends now. YAY! Why don’t you become a follower and make it even MORE official?) I am seriously coveting the cute, cute find I’ll be sharing with you tomorrow, and your mouth will water when you see what I have in store for you on Friday. I’m hungry just thinking about it!

While the spotlight is still on me, I want to show you a few cute LOs I did this weekend.  Well, actually it's two versions of the same LO and I need some advice.

I did this one first, but after I had finished it and looked at it again it seemed like the focus is less on Lauren and more on her dad.  Is it just me, or do you agree?
So then I did this one, and the focus is definitely on Lauren now.  Do we like it?  Which one is your favorite?

I used this beautiful kit by Marni Designs called Perfect Day. 
It's a wedding kit, but I thought it was perfect for these baptism day photos, too!  I made this into a freebie QP you can download here.  If you want to pick up the whole beautiful kit, you can find it here.  And don't forget you only have until the end of the month to use that great coupon for Be Mine.  If you *did* forget, you can go here to remember.

That's it for today, but while it's still Me Time Monday, remember to take some me time and do something for yourself today, just for fun!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Inspiration Weekend and a CT call

Brownie Scraps is my digi-scrapping home.  I love it!  They're having a CT call through Feb. 13, so if you're looking for a great team on a fun site, apply now!

Wouldn't it be lovely if there was nothing else to do on weekends and we could just sit around scrapping?  Well, in honor of that dream, every weekend here at AZ Sweetheart Scraps is going to be *Inspiration Weekend*.  I'm going to showcase some of my favorite LOs from galleries all over digiland.  There are many, many galleries full of hundreds of great LOs, and I just have this one little blog, so this will just be a small sampling of some of the great work that's out there.  All LOs will be linked to galleries so you can visit for credits and to leave some love.  And please do head on over and leave them some love, because who doesn't love to hear how adorable their LOs are?  I know I do!!  You may need to register to view and comment in the galleries.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Beginnings, New Kit!

Hello, digi-scrappers! I’m starting a brand new adventure, so it seemed like time for a brand new blog! My name is Melanie.  I started digi-scrapping 1 year ago and it quickly became an addiction. My first few attempts were pretty embarrassing, but since then I’ve improved a bit. Lol! I met my husband in college and got married when we were way too young but didn’t know it. Now over a decade later we have 5 adorable little girls who are the subjects of most of my scrapping. My favorite digi-scrapping home is Brownie Scraps – no matter how many other sites and forums I join, Brownie Scraps is the one that feels like home. Come on over and join in the fun!  I was recently invited to my first 2 CTs in the same weekend! I won’t be able to officially join one of them for several more months, so for now I’ve started out on my very first CT for Marni Designs and I’m loving it! March has a very fun and unique style of designing, and her kits are a blast to work with. Let me show you what I’ve been working on.

March just released this fab kit today:  Be Mine

and here is what I've been doing with it...

Forever Love (click link to go to gallery and read the journaling)

This kit is so fun!  You can click on the preview to head over to the store where you'll find it for $6... or use this coupon to get $2 off through the month of February!  How's that for a deal?  (Clicking on the coupon will take you to the store.)

Come back on Wednesday for a coordinating word art freebie! In fact, come back every Wednesday for a word art freebie – it’s Word Art Wednesday! This is going to be a fun adventure, so come back often and join in the fun!