Buddy the Elf Christmas Party

We had a Christmas party last weekend and it was a blast! I especially had fun decorating and incorporating a Buddy the Elf theme. That is my favorite holiday movie! For the dessert table I had a cake with candy canes on top to imitate the 7 levels of the candy cane forest, chocolate peppermint bark, snowflake gumdrops, marshmallows, petite tree cakes, and sugar cookies.

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Dessert Table

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Peppermint bark, homemade snowflake gumdrops, & marshmallows

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We served Coconut Vanilla Bellini’s for a Christmas cocktail. The cup rims are coated in red and green sugar.

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I printed off quotes from the movie and set them around the party

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Coffee station with coffee quote: “You did it! Congratulations! World’s Best Cup of Coffee. Great job everybody!”

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Table Setting: I found a very cute book of Christmas scrapbook papers. I used these as place mats and every setting had a different design.

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Centerpiece: Pine cone filled basket and 2 large mason jars filled with cranberries and ice. (Secret: that’s not real ice. It’s water and plastic wrap)

Such a fun party! We served Olive Garden lasagna, bread sticks, and salad for dinner. For the entertainment portion of the party we played “Minute to Win it” games and Holiday Family Feud.

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November Craft Kit

November’s Paper Pumpkin by Stampin’ Up came with LOTS of stuff!

They give you some suggestions for how to make some cute fall cards like this:

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With it being just a few days away from Thanksgiving, I decided to make place cards with them for our bible study dinner.

With so many different papers, stamps, and embellishments I decided to make each one a little different. On the inside I wrote that I was thankful for their friendship and then something about them I was thankful for.

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If you enjoy doing some crafty stuff, but don’t always have craft supplies on hand, these boxes are perfect! They supply you with everything you need, and the papers are already cut out for you. The only thing you need is glue. I use a glue pen like this one:

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You can find these at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or even order it off Amazon.

 

To learn more about Stampin’ Up you can go to my Aunt’s page @

http://www.stampwithjoy.stampinup.net/

 

 

Chicken and Noodles (Crockpot)

The weather is getting colder, to my dismay. Right around this time I start wondering why I don’t live in Florida.palmtrees

But, I do enjoy curling up in my comfy clothes under a blanket with a plate of something warm and delicious. So here is something warm and delicious 🙂 Chicken and noodles with tender carrots and celery.

I cooked a couple of chicken breasts in the crock pot the day before, then shredded and stuck it in the fridge for this recipe the next day. Super simple.

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Shredded using my stand mixer

You could also pick up a rotisserie chicken. Better yet, Costco sells rotisserie chicken already picked off the bones and packaged for you.

So I cut up my carrots and celery firstIMG_1996

Then I put 3 Tablespoons of dried minced onion. Next time I will cut up a fresh onion. I didn’t really taste onion at all with the dried. I added my pre-cooked shredded chicken and organic chicken stock.

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And for the noodles I used Grandma’s Noodles found in the frozen section. You’ll want them to be thawed enough that you can pull the noodles apart when adding them in. I just sprinkled salt and pepper but next time I’ll kick it up a notch and add in some more spices. Rosemary, thyme, garlic, whatever suits your fancy 🙂

Cook that on low for about 5 hours (different crock pots vary of course). And by dinnertime you’ll be happily warming up with some chicken and noodles.

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Chicken & Noodles

 Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded (or in bite sized pieces)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut
  • 5 celery stocks, chopped up
  • 32-40 oz chicken stock/broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 package Grandma’s Noodles (11 oz)
  • Spices (salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Put it all in the crock pot and let cook on low for approximately 5 hours. Yields 5-6 servings.

Paper Pumpkin Craft Kit

I love the look and care that goes into homemade crafts and gifts. But sometimes what you thought was going to be a pretty simple craft, turns out to be not so simple. The nice thing about craft kits is that most or all of the materials are provided for you. There’s ideas and instructions too. My aunt is a Stampin’ Up demonstrator and their craft kit is called “Paper Pumpkin”. I was pretty excited when it came in the mail, wrapped all pretty in tissue paper 🙂

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Paper Pumpkin by Stampin’ Up

 I opened it up to find out what the month’s craft entailed

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Halloween Treat Bags!

There were both paper instructions and a YouTube link to a how-to video. Both were very helpful! All I had to add was some candy.

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Reese’s Pieces in a bag with string

It was very easy to put together and a cute way to give out Halloween treats. Also, how cool is that straw?! Ta-Da! The finished product:

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Treat Bag with “You’re So Sweet” tag

My fringe didn’t turn out as curly as in the picture. But I still think its cute 😉

Things I loved about this Paper Pumpkin Craft Kit:

  • It came with 15 different stamps to choose from!
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  • Ink pad was included
  • The tags were pre-cut and had holes punched in them so I just had to glue and string it through
  • There was a video! Written instructions is all fine and dandy but I really do need a step by step visual
  • There was a thick piece of pre-cut card stock to fit in the bottom of the bag. This made the bag stand up well and was easier to work with

I will be getting another one this month that I will also share with you! Here is a link to my aunt’s Stampin Up page if you’d like to learn more about them and other projects you can do:

http://www.stampwithjoy.stampinup.net/

Fall Porch

Fall is coming very soon. Maybe too soon. But I’m starting to be okay with that after seeing the fall decor at all the stores. I went to Home Depot for paint and came home with an extra item:

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So cute! Hanging this on my door  got me in the mood for some more porch decorating. I’ve had these 2 black lanterns laying around my house for a while now. So I filled them with leftover fall leaves, berries, and pumpkins I had from last year. Then added some burlap.

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Here’s the porch so far:

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The sign in the flower pot says, “Come In My Pretties” (Target dollar section find). I’m sure I’ll add more but this has got me started. I have visions of some hay, pumpkins, maybe a wheelbarrow. So many ideas out there! Here’s a few of my favorites:

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If you have chairs on your porch, adding fall pillows would be an easy way to decorate! http://www.homedit.com/10-diy-burlap-fall-decorations/

Get your fall decorating juices flowing! And if a pumpkin spice latte will help, I’m not going to stop you 🙂

Products I Love ❤ Organic & GMO Free

Recently my husband and I have decided we should really be more aware of what we are eating and putting into/onto our bodies. More information and research is being done everyday about the products we buy. I didn’t realize before exactly how harmful items could be to me because of the ingredients in them. Luckily, many other people are catching on and companies are realizing that it’s in their best interest to make more products for health conscious people. So as we are going through this journey of finding things that are organic, GMO free, etc. etc., I have begun to find products that I really like/enjoy. Here are a few of them:

Snacks

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From left to right we have:
1) Simply Balanced Granola Bars – You can find Simply Balanced brand items at Target. They have a wide variety of foods such as snacks, drinks, honey, frozen items, and tea. Some are organic, some are not.

2) Annie’s Snack Mix – Annie’s brand items can be found at both Target and King Soopers (local grocery store). They have a variety of snack crackers and fruit snacks, pasta, granola bars, and frozen foods. Some items have the USDA organic stamp, some do not. I usually only purchase the items that do have it. What does the stamp mean? The USDA organic seal verifies that the product has 95% or more certified organic content. You can read more about it here:

http://learn.eartheasy.com/2013/04/certified-organic-what-does-it-mean/

3) Bark Thins – I love chocolate and always will. So I don’t feel so bad when I eat these because they are non-GMO and the ingredients are fair trade certified.

4) Food Should Taste Good Blue Corn Chips – They were giving bags of these to the 5k Bubble Run participants and I fell in love with them the moment I ate one. They’re tortilla chips but they don’t even need salsa! I just eat them by themselves. The main ingredients are organic blue corn, sunflower oil, brown rice flour, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and Quinoa. Found them at King Soopers.

5) Kirkland Salsa – I’m a chips and salsa gal. Love it! This is one of my favorite salsas and it bears the USDA organic stamp of approval 🙂 Costco offers a lot of great organic and non-GMO items. It was also the only place I could find organic frozen chicken breasts.

6) Honest Kids Juice  Pouches – The boys I nanny love their juice boxes and this is what I usually get for them. Found at Target and King Soopers.

7) Below is Simple Truth Organic Italian Soda. My husband and I love this stuff! Particularly the Coconut Lime flavor. Simple Truth is a King Soopers brand that makes many different items that are usually very good.
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Food/Cooking

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8) Kirkland Organic Coconut Oil – As I’m sure you’ve probably already heard, coconut oil has many many uses. For cooking you can substitute it in for butter, oils, and eggs, to thicken sauces without using dairy, to saute, coffee flavoring, add in your smoothies, non-stick greaser, and cast iron seasoning.

9) Cascadian Farm Cereal – They offer a variety of good tasting cereals (with the USDA organic seal) like Graham Crunch, Fruitful O’s, Cinnamon Crunch, Multi Grain Squares, and more. They also make granola bars, frozen foods, fruit spreads, and juice. I buy this brand at King Soopers. I haven’t looked for it in other stores.

10) Avocado Oil – Found this at Costco and the great thing about it is that the smoking point is around 500 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be used in place of olive oil.

11) Earth Balance Buttery Spread – I use this for my toast, breads, and sometimes in my cooking. It is a great alternative for people who are dairy free.

Vitamins, Supplements, and Soap:

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GNLD/NeoLife is a company that makes high quality products. They’re GMO free, gluten free, organic, etc.

12) The Pro Vitality Vitamin packs contain 4 vitamins in each individual pack for the day. The Tre-en-en is for optimizing cellular nutrition and enhancing energy. The Carotenoid Complex protects cells and optimizes your immunity. The Omega-3 Salmon Oil Plus balances and regulates your cells and the Essential Vitamin & Mineral Complex nourishes your cells. It bridges the gap prevalent in many of today’s diets and supports digestion.

13) Green – this liquid cleaning concentrate thoroughly and gently dissolves dirt. The uses are endless! It can be used as an organic fruit and vegetable cleaner, shampoo, body wash, hand wash, clothing soap (for hand washing), pet bathing, and cleaning cuts. It also eliminates strong odors from onions, fish, meat, and animals. We keep one in the shower and one in the kitchen.

14) NeoLife Shake – Love this stuff! I am not a protein shake drinker. Blek! However, I don’t mind these at all. I usually add a banana, and make it with milk and a little bit of ice.  It comes out smooth and creamy. These make me feel so good. They’re a great start to your day as breakfast or an afternoon boost. It’s a rich source of protein with 18g per serving, contains 22 amino acids, rich source of fiber with 5g per serving, and contains no artificial sweeteners, colors, or preservatives.

This company has many other products. If you’d like to learn more about GNLD/Neolife products don’t hesitate to email me at perk4308@gmail.com with questions. Many people with health problems have found a wonderful solution in NeoLife.

Beauty:

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From the left:

15) Primal Pit Paste – Not the loveliest of names but man does this stuff work! Best deodorant I’ve ever used. It’s all organic and of course aluminum free. It seems like a small jar but it will last you a while. All my friends that have tried this also love it. They have great scents to choose from like Jasmine, Coconut Lime, Lavender, and Spice. They also carry a non-scented one. Best price will be through their website and they’re always offering coupon codes.

http://primalpitpaste.com/

16) Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion – Great lotion that really heals my dry hands. I have a dry hand problem but this stuff keeps a handle on it. Alba Botanica also offers sunscreens, body wash, hair products, etc.

17) Coconut Oil – I’ve used coconut oil as a mouth wash, face and body moisturizer, topical stress reliever, and make-up remover. I’ve read you can also use it as a make-up brush cleaner, hair detangler, lip balm, shaving cream (whip it first), sunburn soother, bath booster, and the list goes on and on.

Household Products:

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18) I am currently using Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap, surface cleaner, hand soap, and lotion. These cleaners are earth friendly, and made with plant-derived ingredients and essential oil. They also work great!

19) Method is another household cleaner I use. This Antibac spray for the bathroom is wonderful! My favorite part? It’s such a nice smell! It doesn’t smell like burning chemicals. So the bathroom actually smells nice AND clean.

20) NeoLife also offers cleaning products and laundry soap. The Super 10 multi purpose cleaner is great! My husband used it to clean the shower the other day and said it was awesome. If you’re interested in Neolife, again just shoot me an email! I’ll answer any questions you have.

I hope I’ve helped you out and/or given you some new products to try that you’ll end up loving! I don’t get any money from these companies for recommending them. I just know that its nice to have some suggestions when looking for healthy options 🙂 Feel free to chime in on organic products you love too in the comments below!

Country BBQ Pork Ribs (crockpot)

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BBQ Pork Ribs

Country pork ribs go on sale a lot. So you can get a lot of them for a good price and then freeze them for future meals. My go to recipe for these are throwing them in the crock pot with sliced onions, BBQ sauce, and some spices. They come out tender and delicious! You can use any BBQ sauce you like. I’ve used Sweet Baby Ray’s and Famous Dave’s.

Put the onion slices and garlic salt on the bottom of the crock pot

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Then place the pork ribs on top

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Pour the bottle of BBQ sauce over the ribs

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Sprinkle oregano and chile powder over that and cook on low 6 hours

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Add a side of potatoes or mac n cheese with a steamed veggie and you’ve got yourself a country comfort meal 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Country Pork Ribs (2 lbs)
  • 1/2 an onion
  • garlic salt (about 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 bottle of BBQ sauce (18-20 oz)
  • Oregano (about 1 tsp)
  • Chile powder (amount depends on how spicy you’d like them. I’m not a fan of spicy so I just do a light sprinkling)

Directions:

  1. Put the onion slices on the bottom of the crock pot and sprinkle garlic salt on top.
  2. Place the ribs on top and pour on the bottle of BBQ sauce.
  3. Sprinkle oregano and chile powder and cook on low 6-8 hours.