Simplify Home Holiday Decor

Changing my home decor for holidays has never been top on my priority list.  Bringing out all the bins, then a few weeks later putting everything away again.  Somehow my spring stuff would still be up in October, and Christmas decor wasn't put away until Valentine's.  Valentine's was always skipped over, St. Patrick's was a blur, and here we are again at Spring!

This year I've created a new way to keep the seasonal decorations simple enough for even me to follow through.  My kids love it, I love it, even my hubby has had a few nice (although somewhat prompted) comments.  

So here's what was up in my entry from April-mid June....
(notice that my kids are all holding daisies in the picture--so cute!)

And this is what is gracing the walls of my entry right now....

A few family treasures from previous 4th of July activities make a quick and easy shadowbox display.

Once Independence Day  is over, I'll just switch the StoryBoard out for another one.  (I'm thinking a summer backyard beach themed.) The other 2 StoryBoards from Spring and July 4th will be stored in a 12X12 scrapbook paper box until their turn comes around again next year.  

For someone like me that isn't a pure natural when it comes to decorating, this is the perfect solution! 

What kind of items would you put into a July 4th shadowbox?


Mmm-Mmm Mondays: Red, White, and Blue Kabobs

Thank you to Whitney over at SistersStuff for this fun and easy 4th of July recipe.  I just had to try it with my kids to see if it was as easy as she said it was. 

Not only was it super easy, it was also fast and FUN!  So all 3 criteria were met for it to have a permanent home in my recipe book. 

So maybe ours didn't turn out as pretty as theirs, but they tasted 
just as yummy!

I had to change a few things on the Sisters Stuff recipe.  For the original CLICK HERE.

white almond bark
red/blue decorator's sugar
large marshmallows

Melt almond bark in microwave about 1 minute, then stir.  Dip marshmallows and fruit into melted almond bark, then dip again in sugar crystals.  Allow to cool and thread onto skewers with blueberries and strawberries.  

If you have a great 4th of July recipe, don't be shy!  Link to it in your comments below.  We'd love to try it!


A Womb with a View: Baby Shadowbox

Announcing the arrival of my new nephew!! 
 I wanted to share with you the ShadowCase shadowbox we put together for him a few weeks ago.  Now we can finally add in a picture of him with a little more detail than just a little glimpse on an ultrasound.  Is that a foot?  Or an arm?  Oh wait, I see now!  It's a little.....hee hee!!
We used the "David Storyboard" from the ShadowCase collection and the Dreamy Bluebird Accessory Set to attach sweet little crocheted booties and matted photos of the ultrasound. Other keepsakes were attached with 3-D adhesive dots (I love those things--they are so useful!)


We added a little inking around the edges to give the photos a finished look.

Ready and waiting for the grand arrival!  
What a fun keepsake shadowbox that can showcase all his memories as he grows.


Tell Your Shadowbox Story: Racing to the Finish Line

One of our reader's had this to say about her latest ShadowCase project...

"I used this ShadowCase to show some bib numbers and medals my husband has collected. The case was perfect for these because they’re too thick to fit in a regular picture frame and too heavy for a paper scrapbook layout. From Grandpa’s military medals to the special blanket that my son drags around with him every day – I can think of so many ways to combine my scrapbooking with the special and treasured items in my life." 

Thanks so much for sharing your shadowbox layout with us.  We love to hear from our friends in the ShadowCase world!


Showcasing Memories with a Photo Canvas Collage

I am always excited to find new ideas to share with you.  It is awe-inspiring how many creative women are out there in the Blogosphere, bringing us new and exciting ideas everyday.  One of my recent favorites are these canvas photo collages from Simply Sara.  Anything with Mod Podge is magic for me, so this definitely fits into my world.  I hope it will fit into yours, too!

Photo Canvas Collages

Ever since getting a digital camera I have been terrible at printing pictures.
And by terrible I mean, I only print them if I get a frame and need a picture to put in it.
And even then, it usually takes me months to get my butt into walmart to get them developed.

Well, I decided that we really needed to showcase our pictures more and so I decided to make some canvas collages.
(thanks to my cousin Chelly for the inspiration!)

Wanna see how?

Step one: Print your pictures.
Now, I know I am always a step behind in the technology dept. but did you know that you can actually email your pictures in to walmart and pick them up less than an hour later. This is very exciting news, people! (maybe now I'll print more pictures...)

Step two: Paint your canvas. I decided to paint mine this brown/taupish color. I wanted something neutral that would work anywhere in the house. (I just used Folk Art acrylic paint #472 Mushroom), but you can go crazy with whatever paint color you want.
Oh, and I only painted the sides. The rest will be covered up with pictures.

Step three: Lay your pictures out on your canvas and play around with them until you like how it looks. I decided to do three canvas because I am crazy and couldn't decided which pictures to use and which ones not to. It's like trying to decide which kid you love best. It just can't be done.
So, I made two black and white canvas and one color one... and I love them all the same :D

Step four: cut those babies up so that you have lots of fun different shapes and sizes.

Step five: (muy importante!!) take a picture of your pictures, so that you can reference it when it's time to glue!

Step six: Mod Podge baby!

Cover your canvas and the back of each picture in mod podge.
Once all your pictures are on, apply a coat of mod podge over the entire thing.
Let it dry and add another coat.

Step Seven
: Enjoy! Super easy right? My kids have had so much fun looking at them, and our baby girl especially loves pointing to the different pictures and telling me who she sees. "Papa" "Daddy" "Mommy".... so cute!

Oh, one last thing, find a wall and hang these babies up.

I found the perfect place for the color one to live... but with the black and white ones I have yet to find just the right spot...

That's right Chris, a fun night of holding these babies up while I decide where they look good awaits you!
Aren't you excited?!
This makes you want to come home right now doesn't it?!

Happy canvas collage making everyone!


Mmm-Mmm Mondays: Phil the Crockpot with Delicious Turkey

Summer is officially here, which means I start avoiding heat like the plague--this includes a hot kitchen from baking in my oven.  So my two favorite ways to keep my family fed between June and September are
 1.  Grilling outside (which my husband or son usually take the reins on)  OR

 2.  Pulling out my trusty cooking side-kick, "Phil" the Crockpot.  He's such a part of our family, my kids actually named him!

One of our favorite recipes Phil the CP helps us make for dinner is a Cranberry Turkey Roast, yummy for Thanksgiving, even tastier for a Father's Day feast, but absolutely to die for when my 9-yr-old makes it without any help from me!  Seriously, with only 3 ingredients it is pretty hard to mess this one up.

Cranberry Turkey Roast
1 16 oz. can cranberry sauce
1 envelope onion soup mix
3-4 lb. boneless turkey breast

Mix cranberry sauce and onion soup mix together in slow cooker, place turkey roast on top.  Cook on low 8-10 hours or on high 4-5 hours.  

It is hard to believe that something so simple can 
taste so delicious!


Father's Day Thoughts

I can't imagine my life without my husband of 15 years and my father of.....I'm not telling you how many years this guy has stuck with me!  Thank you for everything you both have taught me and your examples of love and patience (especially with my hair-brained ideas)! I know that most likely neither of you will ever read this post, but yet I feel your support everyday as I try to chase this dream of owning and running my own business.  I love you both!


Today to show our appreciation for my awesome husband, my kids and I set up a "Relaxation Station" complete with recliner, snacks, favorite drinks, remotes, Wii controller, and a pillow for a nap. And amazingly, we actually stayed out of his way for a few hours so that he could enjoy it. It was probably the best gift we have ever given Daddy!


Tell Your Shadowbox Story: Happily Ever After

My turn, my turn, my turn!  After letting my readers show off some of their ShadowCases, I thought it was about time that I posted one of my all-time favorites from my home.

Generations of happy couples in my family smile at us from behind the glass. Everyday it reminds me of how blessed I am.  Although some of these loved ones have now passed on, the memories will always be a part of my life and the lives of my children!

I used the Modern ShadowCase Kit with black and white photos (re-printed, not the originals!) matted on patterned scrapbook paper.

My favorite part is this finishing touch on the outside of the glass.  Just like in scrapbooking, I love a great ShadowCase title!

Some people might say I'm obsessed with shadowboxes.....I guess I'd have to agree!



Ruth's Gardening Forum: I'm Having a Petunia Party!

When I was younger I disliked petunias-a lot!  I don't know if you can actually hate a certain flower, but I saw them everywhere and said, "Why does everyone put those ugly flowers all over the place?"

Now that I have my own garden, I have gained a love and even respect for this hearty and beautiful bloom.  For an aspiring green thumb like me, they are the perfect match! So I invited some of my favorite petunias (Patty, Penelope, Priscilla, Pam Percy, and their second cousins) to come over and stay for the summer in my garden this year.  I hope they enjoy their accommodations!

I realize now why I love these plants so much--Petunias are like the faithful friends in our lives!
  • They come in many shapes and sizes
  • They have every shade of color
  • They can weather wind, cold, hot sun, and the storms of life!
  • They flourish when they hang out with other petunias ;o)
  • The effort you put into the relationship is the reward that comes back to you in abundance!

I am so grateful for the fabulous, faithful friends in my life.  You have been there for me in so many different seasons, ups and downs, good times and bad.  You are like these beautiful blossoms, adding light and beauty to my world!  Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

 Have any of you planted petunias in 
your flower beds?


Mmm-Mmm Mondays: Dutch Oven Chuckwagon Bread

Getting your kids to eat wheat bread is not always an easy task.  We tried this recipe while camping, and the bread was eaten up in 10 minutes flat!  No kidding!  We also love this recipe because you can add in raisins, pumpkin, chopped apples, or even chocolate chips to change the flavor a bit. Hearty Dutch Oven flavor inside and homemade jam on top--we're in heaven!

Quick Chuckwagon Wheat Bread
1 egg beaten 
2 c. buttermilk   
3 T. molasses or honey
1 1/2 T. butter, melted
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 c. raisins

Combine egg, buttermilk, molasses and melted butter.  Mix dry ingredients separately, then add to egg mixture. Stir in raisins and spoon batter into 2 greased loaf pans.  Bake in 12" Dutch oven at 400 deg for one hour.
from "Log Cabin Dutch Oven"  by Colleen Sloan


Tell Your Story: Birthday Boy!!

One of our reader's recently sent in this great ShadowCase display she designed for her little boy's 2nd birthday.  We really love how she put in some of his favorite toys--vroom, vroom!

His baby photo nestled in a part of his blankie was also a sweet touch. She used the "Dreamy Bluebird" pins and clips accessory set to attach the keepsakes to the "David" Storyboard.

What a wonderful way to preserve those precious years of a child's life!
Thank you so much for sharing it with us!


Ruth's Gardening Forum: The Pansies say "Thank You!"

Dear Friends,
Last week we learned how to preserve and dry my precious pansies in only 2 minutes.  What you all don't know, is that I got on a major card-making-kick as soon as I saw those lovely pansies lying there.  I am not crafty by nature, but somehow their little faces just begged to cheer up a neighbor by saying "Thank You" in the form of a card. 

Who knew that you could pick the flowers, press and dry them, make a card, and deliver it all in under an hour?  Don't believe me?  Here's how I did it....


              Take some of these....

...And some of this....


                     Now do this....

.....And this....

...And you've got it!!


Mmm-mmm Monday: Honey Pork Chops on the BBQ

These are not your average pork chops!  One of the reasons we love this recipe is because it is also a great freezer meal.  So triple the recipe, put 2/3 of it into freezer zip-loc bags, and you'll have a couple nights off later in the month!

Honey Pork Chops

6 boneless pork chops
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. soy sauce
Dash of pepper

Place all ingredients except pork chops in blender and mix thoroughly. Place pork chops into sauce, let marinade in refrigerator until ready to grill.  This recipe can also be put into a baking dish and baked at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hours. 

To Freeze:  Place remaining pork chops and sauce into zip-loc freezer bags and seal securely.  Can be frozen up to 3 months.

recipe courtesy of one of our favorite cookbooks "Don't Panic-- Dinner's in the Freezer"


Ruth's Gardening Forum: Today I Microwaved a Pansy!

Dear Friends,
As predicted, some of my sweet little pansies are already drooping.  I needed an easy way to preserve them, so decided that pressing them would be best.  The traditional way to press is under a stack of books (which I have an abundance of) then return a few weeks later to pull out the finished product.  Knowing myself, I would forget and find them 10 years later!

For all of us in a fast-paced world, microwave pressing method is another option to consider (as I learned on  It is very simple to do, and you only need a few household items. I especially loved how the pansies kept their bright colors, even throughout the drying process!

You will need:  
Paper towels
4 pieces corrugated cardboard
4 large rubber bands

Step 1:  Make a sandwich starting with 2 pieces of cardboard on bottom, next place one paper towel, lay pansies face down on it, place another paper towel on top of them, followed by 2 more pieces of cardboard.

Step 2:Wrap rubber bands around the entire package and place in microwave.


Step 3: Cook on low-medium power for 1 minute, then turn over and cook for another 30 seconds.   Allow the "sandwich" to cool, open it carefully and peel pansies off of the paper towel.  Store in a box in a cool, dry area.

Preserved and ready for that special touch to your next card or scrapbook page!


Summer Yummers!!

Starting in June, every Monday will be "Mmm-Mmm Monday".  We will feature our readers' favorite Summer BBQ recipes, so dig through your recipe box and send us your yummiest!  To submit your tasty creation, just email it to us at  If you've got a photo to go with it--even better!!  We're positively drooling at the possibilities!

With Mmm-mmm Memories in Mind,
Ruth and Rose