Saturday, September 29, 2012

Santa Fe Corn Soup

It is raining at my house this morning and I love it. I am so glad the weather is finally changing. With October around the corner we are gearing up for some holiday fun at our house. I pulled out all four tubs of Halloween decorations (Yes 4!) and we started first with my oldest son's room. He has pumpkin lights hanging and creepy critters flying through the air. Hopefully, this weekend we will get the rest of the house done and I will share with you some pictures of our transformed house. We are in the middle of sooo many Halloween projects right now. I can't wait to share!
In the meantime, it is cooling off enough for "soup weather." This is one of my favorite recipes for soup besides my Sausage Potato Soup that is a family hit as well. I think the secret is the frozen corn. I love that you don't even have to defrost it.


3 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cups butter or margarine
2 cups milk
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp canned green chiles, rinsed and diced
1 cup cubed cooked chicken
1 cup grated cheese
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
Garnish: Fresh oregano or cilantro and tortilla chips


1. Combine frozen corn and chicken broth in blender or food processor and puree. (The mixture will be thick)

2. In 3 quart saucepan combine butter or margarine and corn mixture and simmer slowly 5 minutes, stirring to keep corn from sticking to bottom of pan. Add milk, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to boil.

3. Reduce heat, and add green chiles and chicken. Simmer 5 minutes.

4. Remove soup from heat and add cheese and baking soda (to prevent curdling). Stir until melted.

5. To serve, ladle soup into 6 bowls. Top with tomatoes (I was out) and garnish with tortilla triangles and fresh oregano or cilantro.

6. Enjoy!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done. for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I don't know how many of you have experimented with planting bulbs before, but it brings back very fond memories for me. Bulbs can be used inside or outside to give a splash of color to an ordinary day. When I was a child, my grandfather would send me an amaryllis bulb every year before Christmas. He lived in Florida and I lived in Texas. We would plant them at the same time in a pot indoors, and then measure them once a week to see whose was growing the fastest. It was a fun contest and it was a clever way to keep in touch.

Bulbs are not just for garden gurus. If I could grow them as a child, you can grow them too. Bulbs are extremely simple plants that require low maintenance. Last November I was cruising through Tractor Supply and noticed all of their bulbs were reduced. It was late in the season, but I picked up a bag anyways. I planted them out front in about 15 minutes thinking they would probably not make it this year. With the minimal rain we received in November, they shot up their beautiful green blades from the dirt and blossomed into gorgeous flowers. This year I am planning to plant some more earlier to landscape my yard.

I would love to landscape my whole yard in fact. Have you heard of Curbside Chaos. They gave away a $5000 yard makeover. I would be in heaven. I went to their online tool at In the bottom left hand corner of the screen you can select your zone and see which bulbs are best for your region. One of my favorites came up...daffodils.



You can also watch the video where Taniya Nayak works with the winner of the makeover Ruth. Her backyard is beautifully transformed. Help support community efforts by putting the hashtag #Curbside Chaos. Bulbs, Dig, Drop, Done will donate $1 for every share.


You may also visit to learn more. Check out my favorite, Marcy the Super Mom, who shares her ideas for easy bulb planting. She looks like she just walked off the movie set of Desperate Housewives in her cute attire and immaculate yard. If only...

Meet Marcy the Empty Nester

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Spooktacular Jokes for Dinner

I quickly discovered that my kids really love dinner table activities and games. I enjoy that they are willing to sit at the dinner table with their Dad and me and eat and talk. I plan to continue this habit. My oldest is four, and he is recently appreciating the humor of jokes. He loves it when he can understand the punch line. I looked around for some easy to understand Halloween themed jokes and found these great Halloween Jokes for Kids. I copied a ton of these great ideas and printed them out, folded them up, and put them in this cute jar.

Here are a few fun examples...
What did the skeleton order for dinner?
Spare ribs 
What do goblins mail home on vacation?
Ghost Cards
What do baby ghosts wear on their feet?
What is a ghosts favorite piece of clothing?
 Who did the ghost invite to his party?
Anyone he could dig up

This project did not cost me a dime. It was all made with supplies I already had at home. Cheap projects are the best!


Jar ( I used an old glass salsa jar)
Scrap book paper
Fake spider
Printed Jokes

I tried out the jar at dinner tonight. My boys were so anxious to finish their meal just to get to the jokes!! The jokes would be fun in lunch boxes for kids that can already read. We will have to wait another two years for that at our house.

Getting Ready for the Holidays

This is a sponsored post, I am a Kmart Layaway blogger, though all opinions are my own.

As we quickly approach the end of the year, it always seems to be one big holiday after another. I always feel like September through December is the shortest time of the year. I am such a planner when it comes to Christmas time. I am "that person" that buys gifts year round when I spy the perfect gift for someone. Then I really ramp up my shopping skills in October, in order to find time and money to check off everyone on the list. Have you purchased any holiday gifts yet? I have the perfect solution. Kmart is offering free layaway! It is a win win situation. You can get ahead on your holiday shopping, and have time to pay off the presents before Christmas arrives.

I feel like so many people have credit cards these days that many stores don't provide layaway anymore. Ten years ago I could walk in any store and request layaway. Now it seems like I can find the perfect gift at a store, only to come to find out they do not have layaway as an option. If they do, it seems like the list of restrictions is a mile long. Who wants to pay interest on a credit card, when you can opt for free layaway with Kmart instead. You may wonder why Kmart is different from other retailers such as Walmart, Best Buy, and ToysRUs...

Kmart Free Layaway Grid 09_12.jpg

This grid speaks for itself. It means I can buy any price item I want, place it on layaway year round, and it applies to a broad range of merchandise. Here are a few things at the top of my list!

1. I would start with a trampoline for my boys.


2. Then I would by some new tools for my husband.

Craftsman 17191 19.2-volt C3 Cordless Drill/Driver at

3. And possibly a little something for myself...


Now the best part...Kmart's Big Layaway Giveaway. Kmart is having a huge Layaway Giveaway from 9/9/12-11/17/12. There will be one winner per store per week. That is a LOT of WINNERS! You could easily be the next one. Shop online or go to your nearest store to begin you holiday shopping. Shop early and save a lot!

BLG_Logo_Horizontal.jpg (3 documents, 3 total pages)


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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cardboard Tow Mater

We had a really busy weekend as usual. I throw my husband a golf tournament every year for his birthday party. This year I incorporated a fund raiser for his cousin that was recently paralyzed. Our turn out was amazing with 44 players. The tournament was yesterday, and I am always exhausted the next day from the preparation, play, and excitement.
Therefore, today I spent most of the morning on the couch watching Cars with my sons. A while back we made a cardboard McQueen. While watching the movie, we were inspired to make Tow Mater.
Here he is!!
I am going to attempt to explain how to make our version of cardboard Mater. He would be sooo cute for a birthday party or a drive in movie theme where each child brings their own car to watch an outdoor movie.

I started by cutting the two long flaps on top at an angle to form the windshield. Once I cut one side, I always use that piece of cardboard as a template to make the other side exactly the same.

I also cut off the "back" short flap and used it as my "roof" behind the windshield. Then I taped up the windshield and made a few more cuts as noted above.

Here is what yours should look like at this point. I always use this color of tape because I have found it is the easiest to paint over. Make sure you smooth the tape out as much as possible.

I made a few more cuts to make the "bed of the truck" and then we all began painting. I was brave and we did it over the kitchen tile. My husband gave me that "LOOK".
We used cut up sponges to paint it on so it would have a rough texture over the brown cardboard, and so it would be less messy for the kids to paint. My little one helped paint for at least 30 minutes. He giggled away as he sponged paint on.

The next step was to cut slits and insert some cardboard mirrors on Tow Mater. I also sponged a little blue paint on each side.

I added some eyes, another box on the front, some Tow Mater style teeth, his open hood, and some tin foil on the side mirrors.

I spray painted some plates brown and hot glued them on the sides. Oh yes, and I painted Tow Mater in white.

I hope I didn't miss any steps. My plan was for the pictures to give directions. I hope they are self explanatory.

I didn't put a hook on the back yet because I am sure the kids will tear it out in two seconds! For now, they are tickled pink with their very own life size cardboard Tow Mater!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Couple Engagement Photo Ideas... Country Style

I like to do some photography on the side for friends. My theory is...if you have a talent to share... you should. I am not wonderful at photography, but I get better every time I try. I generally don't charge anything, because it reminds me of the old time country living. (At least my imagination of it) Neighbors just helped neighbors because it was the right thing to do. I feel the same way about my blog.  I really just love to spread the joy of crafting.
Recently, I did these country style engagement photos for some friends. Here are a few of my favorites of the special couple.
I named this photo His and Hers. When they showed up with all of their clothes and a pile of boots I began to laugh. Apparently, they have more at home. I knew we had to capture their boot collection immediately. This is one of my favorite photos!!

We have an old barn with a flag painted on it at our house. It dates back at least 100 years. The rustic barn wood provided a great back drop for their sweet innocence.

My friend John really wanted to incorporate his guitar in their engagement photos. I struggled at first to pose them, and then it just became natural.

Props can be hard sometimes, but they are also a great way to incorporate a couple's personality.

I always have couples send me some pictures of ideas they have seen and admire. It gives me a sense of what they are looking for in their own photo shoot and a sense of their style. The photo above was inspired by a picture the couple emailed me.

We ended up at our next door neighbors house with some of their cool tractors.

Miss Sassy britches was perfect for these pictures.

I feel like she belongs on the set of Dukes of Hazard. (One of my all time favorite shows for the record)

Photography tip: Slant the background horizon a bit to add some interest.

And...don't forget to just have some fun with the pictures. Capture the moment!

These two brought their old school belts from middle school and we did some cute shots of their leather tooled belts.

John mentioned while we were doing their engagement photo shoot that he always loved a girl with a "big wrench" in her hands. I started laughing and dreamed up this playful photograph.

When a couples smiles get worn out, it is the photographers job to bring them back. Just ask the couple to frown...and they will almost always start laughing and smiling after an attempt.

Another idea is to ask your couple to say sweet nothings where you can't hear it. One or more will almost always start laughing within seconds. There is something special about a good secret.

I hope this helps. I have at least 100 more photos. They were having so much fun taking pictures together, we went until the sun set.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Personalized Fabric Clock

Have you ever found the perfect theme for a room, and then realized you have nothing to match it? My cousin picked out the cutest camouflage print bedding for her little boy, and then had trouble matching it with any other camo design to fit the room. However, she had an extra curtain left over, and that was all I needed to make this clock to match! You can personalize any themed clock this way.
I started with a see through clock. I picked it up for $5 at the store. I see similar clocks at Walmart and Target on a regular basis.

Next, I cut out her cute camo fabric to fit on the back. I had to leave a hole in the middle to accommodate the battery pack on the back. I painted a very thick layer of modge podge on the back of the glass and carefully laid the camo fabric down. I pushed from the center of the clock out to smooth the fabric out as much as possible. I then applied a thick layer of modge podge on the back and smoothed it out some more with my fingers.

I set it off to dry and it looked like this when it was done...
It was a quick and easy gift to make. The whole project took me about 20 minutes. Just imagine the possibilities of what some cute fabric can do to spice up your room!
How is school going for your kids? My oldest son started Pre-K at his childcare facility this week. I was suprised at how worried he was to have new teachers and kids in his class. The first day he came home and told me how awful it was. With some further questioning, I found out he did all kinds of fun activities. They painted, played outside, sang songs, played with cars and trucks, etc. The next morning when he was headed off to school I asked if I could come with him. He started giggling. I explained to him that school sounded like much more fun then my work, and that I wanted to see the transportation cabinet that hid all the trucks and cars. He was so busy convincing me I was not allowed to go because I was not 4, that he ran right into school. Once in a while, a little "jealousy" goes a long way. When he arrived home that night, he bragged about all the fun things he was able to do at Pre-K that day. It is funny how a change of perspective can go a looong way!! Thank goodness!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fiesta Chicken Tacos (Crock pot Style)

I know most of you have kids starting back to school, and the dinner rush in the evening has begun again. I love crock pot meals during the school year, to speed up the evening process. I feel like we run in the door, rush through dinner, baths, packing lunches, bedtime, and it all starts over again. My mom passed on this delicious recipe she heard on the evening news. They had named it Baseball Chicken. All you have to do is throw the ingredients in your crock pot in the morning, and return to a delicious smelling home, with dinner minutes from ready to serve. It was an instant winner.

4 chicken breasts
2 cans Rotel
1 package taco seasoning
1 stick butter
1. Place chicken breasts in crock pot. Pour taco seasoning and 2 cans of Rotel to cover.
2. Place stick of butter on top.
3. Cook on high for 4 hours.
4. Remove chicken breasts and shred or cut into pieces. Return to crock pot on warm.
5. Serve with slotted spoon to drain juices. Combine in tacos with your favorite ingredients.
6. Enjoy!

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