Thursday, May 31, 2012

We're taking a trip

                                                        image courtesy: L'affiche Moderne

Payton is about to start kindergarten in the fall but first I need something to keep her occupied this summer. We are going to visit all of the continents and do some fun activities, all from the comfort of home.

As soon as we get back from California, we will be jumping right in and spending a week on each continent. 

Our tentative schedule is:
                                  week of June 25th - Africa with stops in Egypt, Morocco, Tanzania & Madagascar
                                  week of July 2nd - North America with stops in The U.S. Costa Rica & Mexico
                                  week of July 9th - Europe with stops in Germany, Italy, the UK & the Netherlands
                                  week of July 16th - South America with stops in Brazil, Argentina & Paraguay
                                  week of July 23rd - Australia with a stop in New Zealand
                                  week of July 30th - Asia with stops in India, Japan & Russia

I made Payton a passport using printables I found online. I used this cover (printed only page 1 at 85%) and paired it with these pages for the inside (printed full size, trimmed and cut in half, then folded down the middle. Staple all of the layers together.)

I found a paper mache suitcase measuring 8 1/2" x 11 1/2" at Hobby Lobby (about $7 with your 40% off coupon) and found some vintage travel posters online. Payton will be modge podge-ing the posters to the suitcase after I trim them down. 

Each Friday I will post the stops for the following week with the craft, recipe, movie, coloring sheet, etc. that we will be using. Feel free to deviate from our plan to fit your "travels" into your summer schedule. I hope you will all leave comments and links to your personal blogs if you are participating. Also, please don't forget to "LIKE" WestsideABQFamily on Facebook. I'll be posting over there about this and other activities we will be doing and I'd hate for anyone to miss out on some summery goodness.  

We are going all around the world this summer! Not literally, unfortunately, but close.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Twist on Margie's Enchiladas

A few weeks ago Ms. Margie Romney-Aslett posted her recipe for Chicken Sour Cream Enchiladas - YUM! But when I saw the recipe, I already had a pork tenderloin in the crock pot. So what's a girl to do but improvise!

1 large can of Cream of Chicken Soup - I used a small can cheddar cheese soup
1 large can of Green Chili Enchilada Sauce - same
1 large container of Sour Cream, {24 oz} - I used a small container
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, or a Mexican Mix - same
1 large can of diced green chili's - same
1 large can of sliced black olives. - same
1 cup salsa - I used homemade but only because I made a huge batch a few days prior
1 large onion diced. - same
4-6 cooked chicken breasts. {cubed} - Pulled Pork from the crock pot
roll in flour tortillas
put the extra sauce on top add another cup of grated cheese on top.
cover with Tin Foil and bake at 350 degrees until bubbling.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chicken Rollatini via Skinny Taste

From Gina over at SkinnyTaste. If you don't have this woman on your blogroll you are seriously missing out!

Go visit Gina's blog for the recipe. Blogging rules must be abided ;)

Altaira's Lasagna

Everyone has their fave lasagna recipe. This one is my own recipe. I combined a few different things I like from various lasagnas I have had over the years.

1# ground beef
28oz. can Hunt's crushed tomatoes
half red onion, finely chopped
4 gloves garlic
1 jar Ragu Mama's Special spaghetti sauce
3 scallions, finely chopped
8oz. light sour cream
8oz. cream cheese
small container Ricotta cheese
small bag shredded Mozzarella
9 lasagna noodles - cooked per package directions

1. Preheat oven to 350* Start a pot of water to boiling, cook noodles per package directions.
2. In a large skillet, combine ground beef, onion and garlic. Saute until beef is browned, scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan. Add can crushed tomatoes and jar of sauce. Stir to combine and continue cooking over low heat until you are ready to layer everything.
3. Combine scallions, sour cream, cream cheese, and ricotta in a bowl.
4. Spray a 9x13 with nonstick spray. Add a small amount of the sauce and move it around to cover the bottom. Layer noodles, cheese mixture, mozzarella, and sauce. Repeat until the ingredients are used up. Tent with foil and cook 25-30 minutes until bubbling. Sprinkle with any remaining cheese and let it rest before serving.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Making lists

Every Friday morning I sit at our table and decide what we are gonna be eating for the week. Now, for anyone that has ever met my husband, you know that he will not go meatless. Bob is a meat and potatoes kinda guy. I'm not that kinda girl. Meat isn't a big issue for me. I can live with or without it. Bob won't and can't - he is very lean.

At the first of each month Mom and I do a great big Costco meat run. Everything gets divvied up and frozen. So when I sit down to make a list, I know that we always have chicken breast, ground beef and steak on hand. When I make the list I try not to overdo it on one type of meat. If I plan to use any other type of meat, I pick it up from the market that week.

Disclaimer: I am not a couponer. I don't base my meals by what is on sale. I buy what I know my family will eat. Because to me, no matter how on sale something might be, if we won't eat it there is no point in buying it.

Typically, I use a piece of printer paper and divide it into thirds lengthwise - one column each for the meals, produce and everything else. I do this so that I don't forget what I'm supposed to be making with everything. Vegetables are purchased from Smith's - because I like their produce better than the stuff at Wal-mart and because I pick up a gift card to Lowe's every week to get the gas discount. Everything else is typically from Wal-mart (I save $2 a can just on our coffee! How can the price of coffee differ so much from one store to the next?!)

So here is what my lists look like. I included pictures from 2 weeks in a row so you can see the rollover of meals. When I scan future lists, I will omit the items on my list that are just for our family, so that you can print them out and have room to add your own items.
       Meals                                       Wal-mart                                       Smith's

    Meals                                          Smith's                                       Wal-mart

Also of importance, I think, would be that I don't cook with any specialty pots or pans except one. I own a Deep Covered Baker from the Pampered Chef - I love it. It is the pot that comes to the rescue when you forgot to pull something out for dinner. It is like a crock-pot on steroids. Don't get me wrong, I love my Crock-Pot, but sometimes you kinda sorta forget all about dinner and that's where the Covered Baker comes in. You can throw frozen meats in there and it will cook just the same as thawed.

When you see our menus, they are good for 7 days. I plan for 6 meals because I know that somewhere during the week there will be leftovers. No meal is assigned a specific day to keep things flexible. I try to plan a few easy meals for days that I really do not feel like cooking. And if I don't wind up making a meal because there are extra leftovers of something else, I roll that meal to the next week's list since I already have the ingredients for it. Every family has different pantry items but ours are typically for spaghetti, bean burritos and King Ranch casserole - easy meals.

Every grocery list has staples.
Mine are :
                From Wal-mart: milk, cereal, eggs, lunch meat, tortillas, crushed tomatoes, rice,
                and El Pato Jalapeno Salsa                  
                From Smith's: raisins, bananas, apples, onion, bell pepper, garlic, zucchini, squash, and pork
                tenderloin (I get mine from Smith's because they tend to be a bit smaller and separately wrapped)

You can make just about any dish with onion, bell pepper and garlic on hand - just sayin'.

So there you have it. I hope that by making the process a little easier you will all start stepping out of the dinner rut and start trying new things! I will do a rash of recipe posts over the next few days so that you will know how to make everything. And so, as Ms.Paula Deen would say "Best Dishes to ya'll"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Card Making Fool!

I've been a card making fool lately! With Savvy's Birthday Thank you cards and Jameson's Baby Shower Thank you cards and well overdue swaps to mail out, It's been a little crazy. 
I'm happy to say that they're all made and now just need to be written and mailed.
I'm loving the effect of stamping and dry embossing over it to make it look almost like fabric.
The technique has been around for awhile, but it's always nice to revisit and revamp on techniques that may have gotten put in the back of the card box.
If you're new to the technique, I'll have a photo tutorial later this week on it. :)

 3 cards, same technique, can you tell that I'm loving it! :)

Savannah's Birthday theme was Up, Up and Away, hence the hot air balloon. The invitation looked similar to the Thank you note, lots of pink and yellow, chevron and polka dots and of course Ms. Rhonna Farrer's Spring Circus Digi Printables. I had cute goodies made for my girls party, but it rained and the party was at the park, so the photo op had to take a backseat. One of these days I'll get up to hanging everything in some trees and making the most of the fabulously decorated handmade hot air balloons and decor.

Sweet and Simple Happy Birthday

This is a different color combo but, I tried it and I ended up liking it. That's what crafting is all about right? Trying new things and seeing what works.

I made a Birthday Card like this and wanted to keep a sample of the design for myself. Love it!

Time for Tea!! I'm loving my new Framelits dies!! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


When Payton was about a year old, I caught an episode of Martha Stewart showcasing Etsy. Etsy was brand new back then. People were becoming increasingly disgruntled with Ebay and creatives needed a dedicated marketplace. The rest, as they say, is history.

On that episode, Emily Martin of The Black Apple, was sharing her famous Black Apple Dolls. sooo cute!


I didn't sew back then, well let me correct that - I knew how to sew thank you Grandma Donna but didn't have a sewing machine. So when the pattern was released on Martha's website, I saved it - for a very long time!

Fast forward to 2010 and my first attempt - with matching dress of course.


Lilly - the doll- is still around. A little dirty and her arm is coming out of the seam, but loved, very loved. Payton went through a phase of taking her everywhere. The matching dress was a favorite all that summer, and eventually got a long sleeve t-shirt and leggings added so she could still wear it through the winter - because she needed to wear the "Lilly dress."

This past winter, I busted out the pattern again. And made about 20 dolls for friends and family. I still have some piles of cut fabrics. I love these dolls because they take very little fabric and are quick to whip up. I have some sketches of alterations I'd like to make to the pattern: different dress options, a way to attach hair accessories, cute shoes, stockings. Someday I'll revisit this pattern - probly this holiday season. There are a new batch of little girls that are going to need lovies.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Paper/Fabric Embossing Technique

I'm sure it has a better name, somewhere over the rainbow, but that's what I'll be calling it. It's not a new technique. I didn't come up with it, but I love it and have been using it often! I think it's super fab and hope you do too! You'll need a Sizzix Big Shot and the Stampin' Up! Square Lattice Embossing Folder. I'm sure you could use other embossing folders but there's just something about this one that's perfect!! If you do try the technique, I would of course LOVE to hear from you and see what you've made. :)

 I die cut a piece of Vanilla cardstock (Top Note die, one of our favs!) and randomly stamped various colors and images all over. A hint of pink, blue and brown. You know me, vintage-y!!  

Popped it in the Square Lattice Embossing Folder and ran it through the Big Shot.
Et Voila! Texture!!!

Sponging, it definitely needed sponging, in brown.

I added a strip of lace border, a greeting, some punched flower and pearl embellies. Delightful!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Everyday Crafting

"Everyday I'm shufflin'....." song lyrics that popped into my head just now haha

So much has been going on lately! And I can't wait to catch you up on all of it.

Payton was in pre-k this past year and her little graduation party was last week. Unfortunately, we didn't have a Room Mom this past year. But with the end of the year fast approaching, I felt our teachers needed a big thank you. So, you know me, I whipped up some super cute "just sending a Hello" cards and some equally cute contact cards and got to work contacting parents and setting up our class gift.

I ran card blanks through the printer for the sentiment ("Hello" font is peach sundress. Thank you Shelley from HofS for introducing me to that one!) And then used Dear Lizzy washi tape for the pennant flag. I also made myself some contact cards. Different than a traditional business card, contact cards (sometimes called Mommy Cards) are less formal and well that's about the only difference. haha I used the same font and color schemes and then ran the cards through my BigKick with the Stampin' Up! Topnote die and sliced them in half - perfect card size!

And then Payton's teacher asked me if I would be so kind as to make sashes for all of the kids for their little graduation ceremony. Sure. She said that last year the sashes were made of paper and pinned on but that it didn't go well. So, me being the overachieving - pack it all on my plate - kinda mom, decided to freezer paper stencil all 23 kids' names onto scarves with the year they will eventually graduate high school on the other end. Yup, I'm that mom - and our daughter isn't even in real school yet. OY!


And then, because I think they are the cutest trend right now, I made the kids a photobooth and props.

I purchased the largest foam board I could find from Hobby Lobby for $5.99. I lightly marked all of the center points and then sketched the shape I wanted. I cut out one corner first and then used that piece as a template for the other corners. The props were a mix of dress up hats from our playroom and mustaches and glasses I cut out on the Cricut. The kids had a blast and even got some of their parents involved. Ms.Paula, one of our teachers, couldn't resist.

And now I am elbows deep in pink tulle and butterflies, making party hats and chandeliers for a special little girl's 5th birthday party this weekend. Pictures to come!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Happy Mother's Day to all of you fabulous Mamas out there!
We had a fantastic day at my moms. Potluck Brunch - nuff said - let me tell you, the ladies in my family can cook!! My belly is still happy! :) I whipped up some sweet little gifts for the ladies that I love. I made sure the wrapping was fantastic too. I think it's so special when someone falls in love with a gift before it's even opened. We had friends of the family there too and they both have grandkids so I made sure to make them a little sussie*. (*That's an Amy-ism for surprise.) For these little books, I covered coasters with paper and attached folded paper inside to create pages. You heard correctly, coasters!! They're easy to cover and fit wallet size pics perfectly.
I hope you're inspired!  

 This one is for Susan to put her grandson's photos in. I'm working on my boy inspiration since I'm gearing up for Jameson's scrapbook layouts. Trying not to go too frilly. Wish me luck!

 The wrapping. Love the green and white twine bow. Twine makes me happy!
 For Marlene's pics of her and her granddaughter Anna. Very girly!
 For my Aunt Beverly. LOVE the blue and white!

 For my cousin Deanna to put pics of her and her daughter Sophie in.
I think a little hot pink tulle was in order for the wrapping, girly much? YES!!

The one I created for my Grandma is the one that I made for my class last month. I printed pics that were taken at Christmas of each individual grouped family. She loved it so much!
The gift I made my Mom was also from my class (the standing album) I added LOTS of pics that we've taken since Christmas, not all posed, snapshots and such. She LOVED it!!
I don't always print out pics for the gifts that I give people because I like for them to personalize them with their favorites.

 My sister Vanessa, Mom, Grandma, Me and Savannah.
 Me and my sweet little sugaroo. These pics will be used in Daddy's Father's Day Mini Book that I've gotta get a move on making. I'm trying to be ahead of the curve since we'll have our sweet boy within the next few weeks. :) Yeah, Weeks!!
 LOVE her in the black and white polka dots!
My Mom and her grandgirl. They love each other so much! I'm so happy that we're closer to family so we can share these special moments together. I hope your day was amazing! Smooches, Amy

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Vintage Cones

We've been busy chicks! There are some fun and crafty posts in the works for the blog but for now I wanted to get some pics up of projects that are made and mailed and just not posted yet. I made these Vintage Cones for a friend of mine that hosts several Ladies Teas throughout the year. I had made some awhile back for her but, she needed more (sounds like a fun party) and thankfully since I don't throw much away as far as scraps of paper, I had just enough of the coordinating paper to whip these out. Simple and Sweet! They'll be filled and given as Thank You gifts. LOVE them!!