Sunday, January 29, 2012

Wine Cork Wreath

So I found this wreath on Pinterest a while back and loved it. Upon reading the fine print (aka directions), I discovered that it required 180 wine corks. There was no way that I would be making this any time in the next few years and for my short patience, that was not okay.
Well low and behold, we took a trip to San Fran and NAPA at the end of December (oh my goodness...missing this trip so much! It was SO fun!) and Napa just happens to have lots of wine corks (who would've ever guessed!?).
Who would ask for wine corks at fancy wineries? Oh I would and I did tell them that I wanted them for a craft too. Those kind people filled up bags for in I had to ship them back to us because there was no room in my suitcase (we carried on, I am so low maintenance....)
We made it back to Houston before the shipment did, but once we received it, I went to work on my wreath.
You will need:
a 12" straw wreath (oh my goodness these are so cheap!)
glue gun and glue sticks
180ish wine corks
floral wire

1- Remove the plastic from the wreath and use the floral wire to create a loop around the wreath with enough slack for hanging.
2- Sort out the corks. Any corks that you have a lot of you, you will want to use for the base layer. I tried to hold back all of the really cool looking/pretty corks for the top layer. I wanted it to be a good variety.
3- Line up the corks in a neat row around the inside and all around the front part of the wreath that will be seen. Use two dots of glue on each cork. Do not put any corks on the back side of the wreath as it will be hanging on the wall and will need to lay flat.

4- After the bottom layer is covered, start randomly laying the corks on the wreath. Super easy!

And I found the perfect place for it above the pass through into our dining room.

Now to figure out what to do with the rest of those corks. I'm sure pinterest might have an idea or two..

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sandwiches (And a soup)

Apparently all that you get from me now is recipes...I have been doing a little crafting too, but have not gotten around to photographing, so you get food. Hope you're hungry! : )
The first is a recipe I made in hopes of creating cold weather...think dancing to have rain. Unfortunately this did not work and its been like 80 degrees, no bueno. Our food on the other hand was bueno, a twist on the traditional grilled cheese and tomato soup.
Avocado Grilled Cheese and Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Avocado Grilled Cheese
*Not going to insult you by typing out an actual recipe here. Butter the bottom piece and put it butter side down on the skillet. Place slices of mozarella, on top place a layer of pepperoni followed by a layer of avocado and the top piece of buttered bread. Cook just like a typical grilled cheese.

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup
*Such a great soup and it made SO much! We had to freeze some of the extra.
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

1. Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
3. About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper. Add additional basil and oregano if needed (the slow cooker does a number on spices and they get bland over time, so don't be afraid to always season to taste at the end).
4. Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.

Today after church I remembered that I had some brie left over from a recipe last week and then found a granny smith apple, so I found this recipe
Oven-Toasted Brie, Ham and Apple Sandwich

*serves 4 (I just made it for me, so I obviously used only 1/4 of the ingredients)
1 large baguette (about 1 lb.), cut into 4 pieces (I just made one sandwich and didn't have a baguette, so I used regular bread)
7 oz. brie, most of the rind trimmed off and thinly sliced (trim and slice the brie while it's cold)
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1-1/2 medium Granny Smith apples, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges (about 1-1/2 cups)
3/4 lb. ham steak, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 Tbs. whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Split the baguette pieces lengthwise, open them up like a book, and top one side with the brie. Set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and bake until the cheese melts and the bread lightly browns, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cook, tossing every minute or so, until they start to soften and brown in places, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ham and cook, gently tossing, until it warms. Remove from the heat and gently toss with the mustard, honey, and thyme until the ham and apples are evenly coated. Using tongs, distribute the ham mixture into the warm pieces of baguette, secure with 2 toothpicks, cut in half, and serve. Yum!

We did go to a bday party of a friend of Cody's last night. We played BINGO and then rode go-carts. Did I mention it was his 29th birthday? Who said getting older was no was so fun!

PS I did not win. Every time that I play BINGO, I am absolutely convinced that I am going to win and then someone yells BINGO and dashes my hopes and dreams. Well that might be a little dramatic...

This should have gone on a post last week, but here is Carolina, Lauren and I in our lovely Houston finisher shirts. 2 half marathons and 1 full marathon! Go us! Now onto the Woodlands half in March!

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


We are ranch dressing people. As in our go-to salad dressing is ranch. Ranch is a creamy dressing. Creamy dressings are not necessarily the healthiest, ergo a problem. Cody found this recipe for a new salad dressing that we both really like. You can make it at home with ingredients that you already have so it is fresh! I thought I'd share :)

Honey Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette



1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

salt and pepper to taste


Whisk balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tortilla Roll ups and Bite-size Baked Brie

One of our sweet kindergarten para-professionals retired this past week = sad day for Yeager kinder! However, we wanted to celebrate her and the impact she has made on our lives and the kids lives. I found two new recipes to contribute to the celebration (no pictures though..I'm not sure how that happened):
1. Tortilla Roll ups


    • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    • 1 package dry ranch dressing mix
    • 1/2 cup red bell peppers, minced
    • 1/2 cup celery, minced
    • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
    • 1/4 cup olives, sliced (optional)
    • deli ham or deli turkey or deli roast beef
    • 4 10-inch flour tortillas


  1. In a mixing bowl beat softened cream cheese and ranch dressing mix until smooth.
  2. Add red pepper, celery, onions, and olives (if using), mix well.
  3. Spread about 3/4 cups on each tortilla.
  4. Roll up tightly and wrap in plastic wrap.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
2. Bite-sized Baked Brie

From Joy the Baker

makes 24 squares

2 sheets puff pastry, thawed but still cold

1/2 wedge of brie, cold

1/3 cup cherry jam (or any flavor you fancy!)

1 large egg, beaten

splash of milk

All-butter, store bought puff pastry usually comes frozen and folded into thirds. We’re going to use these folded thirds to our advantage. Cut the puff pastry into thirds along the creases. Cut each panel into four pieces. They’ll be 2 1/4-inch tall and 3-inches wide. One sheet of puff pastry will yield 12 rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half. You’ll have 24 little rectangles that will create 12 little rectangle pockets.

Combine beaten egg and splash of milk. Brush 12 of the small rectangles with egg wash. If you’d like to make brie bites on sticks, now is the time! Place a popsicle stick halfway up the puff pastry and press in gently. Place a small sliver of brie (rind and all) on top of the egg wash (and stick). Top with about 1/2 teaspoon of cherry jam. Take another square of puff pastry and press between your fingers to make the rectangle slightly bigger. Place puff pastry on top of the cheese and jam. Use a fork to press the edges together. The egg wash will act as a glue. Make sure to seal the edges well by crimping with the fork.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place prepared brie bites on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with a touch of coarsely ground sea salt. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Brie bites are best served warm, but are also delicious at room temperature.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

I have come across quite a few good recipes on Pinterest. I have made this one twice now and LOVE these mini cinnamon rolls. They are a great, quick breakfast, especially for company. Mom and I made these Monday morning along with some piggies as a way to refuel from the race weekend. : )

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients (makes 16 mini cinnamon rolls)

  • 1-8oz tube crescent roll dough
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • cinnamon
  • brown sugar
  • For the maple icing:
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon skim milk
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven according to crescent roll dough package directions. Layout half the dough (4 triangles) and pinch all the seams together. Flip over and pinch the seams on the back side together too.
  • Using a rolling pin, smooth the seams and roll the dough into a square about 1/4″ thick. Brush with half the butter, and sprinkle with as much cinnamon and brown sugar as you want. Roll into a log and cut into 8 pieces.
  • Place mini cinnamon rolls into a non-stick sprayed mini muffin tin. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the other half of the crescent roll dough. Bake according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile whisk together maple syrup and milk in a bowl. Add in powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Houston (Half) Marathon

I have run quite a few half marathons. After this past weekend, the exact number is 7. I have run in Surfside, Dallas, Galveston, New Orleans, Las Colinas, and San Antonio but had not yet run in Houston. Well, I decided this year to try the half in Houston and I loved it! Look at the sweet sign one of the kinder moms made and had my kids sign! Love them!

Saturday, Carolina and I headed down to George R. Brown. We picked up our packets, explored the expo and then got to watch the end of the Olympic marathon trials! So cool! We saw Meb Keflezighi, Ryan Hall and Abdi Abdirahman clench spots on the Olympic team for the men and Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher claim spots for the women. What an amazing thing to watch!!

Later that day, my mom came into town and we did a little shopping, attended a wedding shower and went to see New Year's Eve (such a good movie!) before eating a pasta dinner and calling it an early night.

Sunday we were up by 4:45 (no lie..) and headed out to meet Carolina to drive downtown. Carolina and I before our 5th half marathon together.

This was a HUGE race, but was so well organized! I loved getting to see all of the fun signs and the crowd support was amazing! It definitely made a difference in my running. As did the perfect weather conditions. I beat my previous times and finished in 1:50:25 (which beat my last race in San Antonio, that was a hot and hard race for me, by 8 minutes!).
I'm on the far right just about the cross the finish line
My official time said 1:50:25..I either started my watch too early or stopped it too late

After finishing the race, Abdi Abdirahman (remember the 3rd place finisher in the Olympic trials) moseyed by in his official Olympic team jacket, so we chased him down for a picture! : ) (Yes that is a starbucks in my hand. I was so jealous of all of the spectators that had starbucks along the way, so I had to get one right after we my Skinny Vanilla Lattes!)

We went to mile 22 to support our friends Lauren (who rocked the full marathon in 4:03!!)
and Warren
and ended up seeing even more people we knew to cheer on. What amazing runners they are!! I cannot imagine (nor do I have any desire to find out) how hard those last 13.1 miles are!

We were starving at that point, so we drove around looking for a place to eat lunch and happened upon District 7 Grill where we enjoyed a wonderful brunch of egg sandwiches, migas and waffles..we had to refuel. : )

And to top off the great weekend, I'm off from school today due to MLKJ!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Days Until Sign

Prior to Christmas, my team had a party with a gift exchange. Our limit was only $15, so I started brainstorming something good to bring. This is what I came up with.

A days until sign, flower pot covered in leopard print duct tape, magazine, bubble bath and nail polish. Both of the "crafts" of the gift are super easy, quick and inexpensive.

Days Until Sign
*Piece of wood cut to 30 inch length (I can't remember what the width was though..just eyeball it)
*Chalkboard Spray paint
*White paint

Directions (I made mine slightly different from this tutorial)
1. Have your handsome husband cut the piece of wood to the desired size.
2. Sand the piece of wood then apply a coat of primer paint. Once the primer paint dries, apply 2 coats of chalkboard spray paint. Allow to dry for 24 hours.
3. Prime board by rubbing chalk across, then erase.
4. I used white paint and just free handed the words days until....however, I would recommend either using stencils, stickers or a silhouette letters.
You're finished! SO easy and you probably have most of the necessary items to make the board in your house (I didn't have to buy a thing for this one).

For the flower pot (this doesn't really even need a tutorial)
*Flower pot of desired size
*One roll of patterned duct tape

*Apply duct tape vertically to the flower pots in pieces that are long enough to cover from the lip inside of the flower pot to the bottom. You will have to slightly overlap to make sure that it is completely covered.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Letter Photo Art

Remember the "joy" letters that I made as part of our Christmas decor? The reason that I made these letters was that I had accidentally broken out the glass on 3 frames while attempting to make another craft. Well this is the other craft. At the beginning of December, I came across this tutorial on Shanty2Chic. I ended up making these name boards for our house, both sets of parents and both sets of Cody's grandparents.

You will need:
*Frames (enough for the letters in the last name...I found these at the dollar store)
*Spray Paint
*Wood big enough to fit the frames (and a kind husband to cut the wood for you)
*Sand Paper
*Paper to print out your letters from this website
*Hot Glue...or really wood or gorilla hot glue did not keep the frames on...

You will need to:
1. Spray paint frames

2. While they are drying, check out the FREE letter pictures on this website to decide which are the favorites of your name. Print and place into frames when they are dry.
3. Cut the boards to fit the frames (or kindly ask your husband to), then sand and paint boards. I used a cabinet roller to paint the boards and that made it super easy.

4. Once all paint has dried (add hangers at this point if the letter art is to be hung on the wall), put a little wood glue/gorilla glue on the corners of each frame and place them onto the wooden board. (I tried hot glue and just kept losing frames...after they were already wrapped, so use wood or gorilla glue!)

So easy!

Ours is hung above the breakfast bar in the kitchen. It brings in the Garden Sage color onto that wall since it is white : )

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Everywhere you look, there's a heart and a hand to hold on to..

Full House anyone? That was one of my FAVORITE shows!
On Friday morning we left Napa and headed towards San Francisco. We took a detour to the Muir Redwoods. It was a winding road to get there, but so worth it once we did. It was beautiful! A great opportunity to walk around and admire God's handiwork.

Afterwards, we headed into San Fran via Sausalito to find our wonderful little apartment that was literally a block from Ghiradelli square. (I used airbnb to find the apartment. Let me know if you are headed that way and I will share the listing). We unpacked, then walked down to fisherman's wharf to find lunch. We ate clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls at one of many places that offered these. Yum!

Afterwards, we wandered over to Pier 39 to see the sea lions and checked out the shops on the pier. That was packed!

That night, we walked over to Chinatown and found, wait for it -- a Chinese food restaurant for dinner.

We also headed back to Ghiradelli Square to do a little chocolate shopping. They gave us a sample of the peppermint bark squares and they were so good!

The next morning, Cody and I got up and ran from our apartment to the marina. Running in other cities is quite possibly my favorite way of sight seeing. We got to see the rolling streets, the golden gate and the beach.

That day we went to Alcatraz,

Ate In-N-Out burgers

Walked down to do a little NYE dinner shopping at Trader Joe's

Saw the Painted Ladies (think Full House) and went down winding Lombard Street (no pics though..couldn't quite figure out what mode to use on the camera at night...)

Picked up some crabs down at Fisherman's Wharf and bread from Boudin bakery and rang in the new year with a great big dinner and fireworks that we could hear but only see on tv : )

This was exactly the break that we needed! We got out of Texas, had a chance to see some new places and we relaxed! So thankful for this trip!