Friday, August 15, 2014

Wedding Card

When my granny died I inherited a lot of her craft supplies. I had been wanting to use them for a project and one thing she made a lot of was cards. Since my brother and Amy got married I decided I wanted to make the card I gave them. I was able to use a lot of my new supplies and it was more personal. 

I used a lot of creative memories supplies. The wedding dress sticker I actually got at a garage sale many years ago for $0.30. I picked it up thinking someday I would use it and I was right. I love getting good deals on things!

Overall, I like how my first card turned out and I am excited to try making more. I plan on trying to do my own Christmas cards this year so I need to practice so they will be perfect. I may even try making some birthday cards, thank you cards, and basic congratulations cards so I will have them on hand for any last minute things.

Hope you all are having a fabulous week. What kinds of cards have you all made before? Does anyone have any suggestions for themes or techniques on making future cards?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cheesy Harvest Potatoes - Dairy Free

This is a recipe that I got from my mom. She had made these over the weekend which I mentioned in my most recent weekly rehash. Hers where not lactose free but I was up to the challenge of converting them to fit my diet while still keeping their deliciousness intact. I feel that I was successful. My boyfriend even requested some to take for lunch tomorrow and he hates leftovers... so they must be good! Here is how to make them:


Cream of Chicken Sauce (makes abut 2 cups)

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cups almond milk
  • 6 Tbls all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp basil
  • 32 oz bag frozen hash browns
  • 2 cups GoVeggie Cheddar Shreds
  • 1 cup Tuffuti's Better Than Sour Cream
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance butter - melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 medium onion - diced
  • 6 Tbls Earth Balance butter - melted
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 sleeve ritz crackers - crushed
  1. Combine chicken broth and 1/4 cup almond milk in saucepan. Bring to a boil.
  2. Whisk together in separate bowl spices, flour, and remaining almond milk for the sauce. 
  3. Slowly pour flour mixture into saucepan, whisking continuously. Turn heat down and simmer while whisking for 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. In large bowl, combine casserole ingredients and pour into 9x13 pan. Cover pan with foil.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  6. Combine butter, bread crumbs, and crackers. Remove foil from pan and pour topping onto casserole. Return to oven uncovered and bake for additional 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, let cool, and serve!

These potatoes are easy to make and taste just as good as leftovers. There are also so many options to change the dish up. Next time I would like to try adding bacon or ham. I think both of those would be delicious. Hope you all enjoy and let me know what you think!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekly Rehash 8/11/14

Hello everyone! I hope you have all had a wonderful week. I decided to keep this week pretty low key and did not do a whole lot of anything. I had to go back to work since my vacation was over. It is always difficult getting back in the groove after being off for a while but I managed. On Friday I woke up and decided to make a last minute trip back to visit my parents. I was originally just going to relax all weekend but my grandma and aunt were only going to be in town for two more days before heading back to Arizona and I really wanted to see them off. When I arrived in Fort Wayne, I was surprised to find a lot of my extended family had decided to visit too. It was nice seeing everybody and my mom made some BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and cheesy harvest potatoes. They were delicious. However, I forgot to take a picture of them. Sad day.

Everyone decided to sit outside since it was such a nice day. We all love my parents back yard, even our dog :).
Here Ellie is again trying to find critters that like to hide under the deck. 
On Saturday my sister had her car wash fundraiser for the band. The Homestead Marching Band has a yearly fundraiser where they wash cars for free and collect donations. She had washed my car earlier that week as a part of the fundraiser and now they were going to wash cars at four major locations. I remember when I participated in the car wash. It was always a lot of fun and its nice that the band always makes everyone feel like they are a part of something. They always like to say that they are one giant family.

This is an old picture from when I was in the band and doing the car wash. I hope my sister had just as much fun as I did.
Later that night we ordered pizza and I tried the Lactade once again. It worked pretty well but I definitely could not eat a bowl of ice cream or a glass of milk with it. I think it works for me only if I eat stuff like cheese which has a lower lactose content. We then watched the movie Warm Bodies which I thought was fun, quirky, and really cute. I love zombie movies and this was a fun take on the common zombie tale.

Along, with all of those things I went shopping with my mom and sister for some new clothes. I picked out some things for work and even got a nice grandma sweater to wear around the apartment. My dad laughed and said it was perfect for me to wear while working on my current knitting project (which you can see a glimpse of down below). Everyone likes to say I like anything old lady... which is a very accurate statement :).

Before leaving to head back home after a nice weekend visit with family, me, my sister, and my mom decided to watch Austenland. I had been wanting to see it for a while now and it seemed like the perfect girls movie. We all really liked it and found ourselves laughing during most of it. The characters were a bit silly but that is what made the movie so much fun. 

Overall, I think it was nice having a calm, lazy week. Let me know how your own week was in the comments below!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Easy Chicken Fajitas

These chicken fajitas were super easy to make. I have been growing a garden on my patio and I had planted a green bell pepper plant in May. While it did not do as well as I had been hoping I did get one bell pepper out of it so far. I quickly snatched it off the stem and looked for a recipe that I could incorporate it into. My first thought was fajitas. My mom made these all the time when I was growing up but I had not made them since moving out on my own. I decided that now was the time to do it. This recipe makes enough for 2 people.

  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • dash pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Dairy free sour cream (I used Toffuti's Better than Sour Cream)
  • Lactose free cheese (I used GoVeggie Cheddar Flavored Shreds)
  • Tortillas
  • 3 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
  1. Cut chicken breast into thin pieces about 2-4 inches in length.
  2. Cut bell pepper into thin strips. Chop onion into small pieces.
  3. Pour water, spices, onion, bell pepper and chicken into plastic bag. Close bag and mix ingredients around so that everything is covered. Let sit for 10-15 minutes in the fridge.
  4. Pour extra virgin olive oil into bottom of pan and heat on medium heat. Pour all ingredients from bag into the pan. Cook until chicken is cooked through and golden brown on both sides. 
  5. Heat tortillas in microwave or on the stove top just until heated. Spread sour cream in middle of tortillas and place chicken mixture on top.
  6. Fold tortillas over and enjoy!

These were really good and I will be adding them to my list of meals to make regularly. I also love it because I can add anything I want to them. I can add tomatoes or other vegetables to easily switch things up. Hope you all enjoy!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

DIY Tumbler

As many of you know my brother got married this weekend. Everything ended up turning out really well and all of the family had a lot of fun. The thing I love about weddings is that it is like a large family reunion. My family is very large and they live all over the place so it is hard to see everyone on a regular basis. We will have had 11 weddings in the last 10 years and sometimes that is the only time we get to see everybody. 

One thing I really wanted to do was make something for my sister-in-law, Amy. I am always making things for people and I wanted to do something that would welcome her to the family. Since she would be taking on a new last name I wanted to incorporate that into her present. Amy is also a graduate student so I thought maybe a drink tumbler would be something she could use. I found a double walled drink tumbler so she could put either cold drinks or hot drinks in it for when she is on campus. Here is how I did it:


  • Drink tumbler from Hobby Lobby - $4.00
  • Black self-adhesive vinyl - $3.00 
  • Ribbon - $1.00
  • Craft knife - free
  • Cutting mat - free
  • Computer with printer and paper - free
  • Heart punch - free
  • Tape - free
  1. Open a word document and pick a font you like. Type the letter you need and make it large. I did a "G" and used the font "Mardian". Print it onto a piece of paper.
  2. Tape the letter to your vinyl sheet and lay on your cutting mat.
    The "G" is not cut out yet in this picture. You will actually just cut through the paper and vinyl at the same time.
  3. Use your craft knife to cut out the letter. (Some people have used their Silhouette or Cricut but I do not have one of these so this was the method I used.)
  4. Next, cut out little hearts with your heart punch.
  5. The vinyl is self-adhesive so you can just peel the backing off and stick it to the drink tumbler where you want everything. 
  6. Tie the ribbon around the straw, fill your cup up with your favorite drink and enjoy!

I wanted to make something personal for Amy and I really like how it turned out. Hopefully she will find many excuses to use it when she starts her classes back up this fall!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Weekly Rehash 8/4/14

Once again I have had quite the busy week! This weekend was the big day for my brother so final wedding preparations took first priority. Because of this I took some time off from work and only worked one day this week. After work I decided to head to see my parents in Fort Wayne before going to Chicago for the wedding. My tomato plant was producing tons of tomatoes so I picked some to bring to my mom. She was very surprised and we ended up using them on the pizza we made for dinner that night.

The second day I was visiting with my parents we decided to go see my aunt in Warsaw. My grandma who lives in Arizona was staying with her until the wedding and we all wanted to see her. It was also my cousin's birthday so we did a little celebration for him while we were all there. I always love seeing my extended family and this was no exception.

On Friday we started the drive to Chicago. My sister is about to go into high school and she decided she wanted to do marching band (It seems like just yesterday that I was in the band). She is so into it that she did not want to miss a second of band camp so we let her go for two hours in the morning and then picked her up to start the long drive... and I mean long. There was a lot of construction and traffic on the way. The trip took us a little over 5 hours when the GPS told us 4. It could have been much worse though. My aunt who was only 20 minutes behind us at the start of the trip ended up taking over 7 hours because there was a bad accident on the highway with a flipped semi-truck. Good thing we left when we did or we would have completely missed the wedding rehearsal!

This was taken right before senior night with my sister. Now she is going to be the one in the uniform! I cannot believe how time flies.
The dinner was at Lou Malnati's, a restaurant that served Chicago style deep dish pizzas. It was really good but unfortunately I could not get any of the main meal without dairy so I ate very little of it. They did however make my dessert dairy-free upon request. The service was exceptional and everyone seemed to enjoy the food.

My sister, Shaina, and the maid of honor, Alyssa.
After being stuck in several situations this week where I was unable to get dairy-free options, I decided to take the plunge and look for some Lactaid in stores. I found some and decided to use it at the wedding because I knew it was going to be impossible to avoid the dairy there also. I will need to try it a few more times before I can truly say it works but so far it seems to have really helped with all the lactose. For example, I was able to eat most of the cheesy potatoes and the only problem I had was some mild nausea which is very good for what normally happens. I still had some discomfort but the Lactaid was amazing since every item on my plate had dairy and there was no way for me to avoid it. I am still going to stick to my lactose-free diet as much as possible but the Lactaid pills will be perfect for tricky situations such as this. 

Finally, the day had come for the wedding and everyone was up bright and early to prepare. Me and my sister did our hair and headed to meet up with the other bridesmaids and the bride. Tons of pictures were taken and the ceremony went very well. Amy looked beautiful and they both looked very happy. Everyone had a lot of fun dancing and Amy and Dan were able to book a room at the hotel for everyone to hang out at after.

The bride waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Riding in the limo after the ceremony. We were on our way to the park for some more pictures.
I had a lot of fun at the wedding and cannot wait to see all of the wonderful photos the photographer took. The food was delicious and my brother even had a cookie bar because he loves them so much. I thought it was a really clever idea.

Sorry about the grainy photo. The room was really dark for all the dancing but I really wanted to show off the cookies :)

I hope everyone had an amazing week. I know I will be spending a few days relaxing and recovering!

Friday, August 1, 2014

30 before 30

Recently I have been seeing bucket lists all over the place. Many years ago I made my own ultimate bucket list and while there are still many things not completed, I have been able to check a lot of them off. I learned how to swing dance, was in the archery and fencing clubs in college, and visited Mexico which gave me the opportunity to see some amazing wonders.

While I have had a lot of interesting adventures I don't want to stop quite yet! A recent version of the bucket list I have been seeing is the 30 before 30. One fabulous blog I read A Joyful Kind of Life has her own list and this gave me inspiration to come up with my own. I still have a little over 5 years so this list should be doable. There are so many opportunities in life and I don't want to miss out on anything so without further ado here is my very own 30 before 30!

1. Visit New York and see a Broadway play.
2. Re-learn how to make amazing cheesecake using lactose-free ingredients.
3. Turn my craft room into my own personal oasis.
4. Dye my hair a crazy color.
5. Take a girls-only trip.
6. Run a 10K.
7. Be completely debt free.
8. Attend a blogging conference.
9. Get my CCRN.
10. Get three more medical certifications.
11. Visit 5 different states.
12. Adopt a dog from a shelter.
13. Make my own quilt.
14. Become sufficient in self-defense.
15. Travel to Europe.
16. Visit 2 other countries.
17. Buy a house.
18. Re-design my blog layout.
19. Get married
20. Go to a Renaissance festival.
21. Attend a masquerade ball.
22. Improve my posture.
23. Submit something to PostSecret.
24. Attend a fashion show.
25. Go on a weekend vacation by myself.
26. Learn a new type of dance.
27. Join postcrossing and/or bookcrossing
28. Go on a haunted tour.
29. Participate in Nanorimo.
30. Take a class on Craftsy.

I will be updating this post whenever I complete one of the items. I am also planning on writing more information about each thing once it is completed. I will be taking lots of pictures to help document this journey and hopefully all of you will be inspired to come up with your own bucket list.What other things have you always wanted to do in life? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Taco Pie

I love Mexican food! I will eat it whether it is authentic or Americanized. In high school I had my lunch planned out around the Mexican line and ate nachos at least once a week. Probably not the healthiest decision I ever made but boy was it good!

Now that I am trying to stick to a very strict lactose-free diet, my options concerning Mexican food is pretty sparse. Everything has cheese or sour cream which means I cannot eat it. My solution is to make more at home with my own special lactose-free ingredients. This recipe is delicious, easy, and everything is lactose-free... a major win in my book! Here is how to make it:

  • 1 pkg crescent roll sheet
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cups GoVeggie cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup GoVeggie Mexican cheese
  • 1 cup Dairy-free sour cream
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • Corn chips
  • Lettuce
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Lay crescent roll sheet in 10 inch pie pan and spread evenly along the bottom and up the sides to make crust. Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. While crust is cooking brown ground beef in skillet over medium heat. Pour in taco seasoning and water. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until thickened. Set aside.
  4. Pour cooked and seasoned meat into pie pan on top of crescent roll crust.
  5. Next, spread sour cream evenly on top of meat. Then, add a layer of tomatoes.
  6. Top the meat with cheese and corn chips.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Top with lettuce and serve.

You can also put the sour cream and tomatoes on top after it is done cooking instead of inside the dish if you would rather have it as a cold topping. The beauty of this recipe is that it is so easy to change to your own preference. I have also made this with Doritos which are really good but that was many years ago when I wasn't trying to stay lactose-free. If going lactose-free is not a concern of yours Doritos can be a good way to change it up. Hope you all enjoy!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekly Rehash 7/28/14

So many things have been going on in my life lately which made this week very busy. Last weekend I went to my cousin’s bridal shower and bachelorette party. They came up with some really clever games for the bridal shower and I had a lot of fun seeing all of the gifts she received. Afterwards we went laser tagging and I didn’t do too bad. Of course it may have helped that the bride was forced to wear all white making her an easy target causing the children to go for her instead of me… However, I’m going to pretend it was my mad skills ;).

We are all looking tough and ready to kick some butt!
While I was home visiting, my mom gave me this awesome mug. It will be well used this coming fall when I get cravings for pumpkin lattes. Us night shifters need our caffeine!

During the week some of my family came in from Arizona and I finally got to meet two of my new cousins. My aunt and uncle have been foster parents for a couple of years and finally realized their dream of becoming permanent parents in December of this year. They adopted two of their foster kids and they are just adorable. They had two other foster kids with them too and they were all a lot of fun. I think fostering children requires a special type of person and I think they both do an amazing job.

Another thing that happened this week was my green bell pepper plant actually produced a bell pepper! I have been trying my hand at gardening and it is nice when you get rewarded for all your hard work. I quickly picked it off the plant and incorporated it into some delicious fajitas… the recipe for those will be on the blog soon!

And finally, to finish off my incredibly busy week of work, family and travel I attended my future sister-in-laws bachelorette party. We started off the night dressed as Disney princesses. I was Aurora/Sleeping Beauty, which fits perfectly since I have blonde hair and sometimes it feels like all I do is sleep! We went bowling so my sister who is just starting high school could join in on the fun. Later we went to Howl at the Moon which is a fun downtown bar with a live band. The party was a nice way to end a busy week and there will be lots more coming this next week too. I still cannot believe my brother will be getting married in less than a week. It is crazy how time flies!

My sister made the flower headband and hair clip. Each princess got a different one that went with our outfits. We also wore tutus in various colors to coordinate with the princess we chose.
How did all of you spend this week? Did anyone do anything fun or interesting? I would love to hear about it in the comments section below! 

Saturday, July 26, 2014


For many of our family gatherings my aunt will make this easy Manicotti. It feeds a lot of people and is really simple to make. I converted it to a lactose-free version and added some of my own personal touches. Here is the recipe so you can make your very own!

  • 1 box manicotti shells
  • 1 large jar pasta sauce
  • 1 cup Toffuti Better than Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/4 cup GoVeggie Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 cup GoVeggie Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. Heat pasta sauce in medium sauce pan over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Set aside.
  3. Combine cheeses, egg, spinach, and spices together. Stuff uncooked manicotti shells with mixture.
  4. Place shells in pan and cover completely with hot pasta sauce. Make sure all the shells are completely covered.
  5. Seal tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

This recipe is easy and delicious. Pair it with some homemade garlic bread and you are ready to go! It is perfect for potlucks and family gatherings. The prep time is minimal and no one will guess that this dish is lactose free. My kind of meal! Do any of you have a perfect dish you use when attending potlucks or family functions? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

He Said, She Said Bridal Shower Game

Looking for a bridal shower game that takes a fun look at the bride and groom? Look no further than "He Said, She Said"!

This game was really simple to make and everyone had a lot of fun. It helps friends and family get to know the bride and groom a little better and provides a lot of laughs. All you need to do is come up with some questions to ask the bride or groom. Make sure to ask them separately and write down their answers. Mix them up on a sheet of paper and have bridal shower attendees guess "who said what".

Sample Questions:

  • If you could be any superhero who would you be?
  • If you could live anywhere in the world where would you choose?
  • How many kids do you want?
  • What is the craziest thing you have ever done with your future spouse?
  • What was the worst date you and your future spouse ever went on?
  • When you think of school you think _______.
  • If you could describe your future spouse with three words what would they be?
  • If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have one thing what would it be?
Coming up with questions for the bride and groom to answer is a good starting point. If you know both of them really well and one of them uses a common phrase frequently you can include that also. Be creative with your questions. I know that my brother and his fiance surprised me with some of their answers. Many of them were very funny and had us all laughing.

Once you have all of their answers, eliminate any elements that would give it away such as using he or she and put the answers in quotes. For example, if the groom says he would want to be batman if he could be any superhero then put: "If I could be any superhero in the world, I would want to be batman". Be creative and remember to have fun!

Here is a free blank template to use for your own bridal shower!

He Said She Said Download (pdf)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

One thing I really love about summers is the abundance of fresh fruit. There are so many choices and I have been wanting to find more ways of incorporating them into my diet. Here is a delicious smoothie that is easy to make and full of good nutrition!


  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/4 cup spinach
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 6 Tbls water
  • 6 Tbls unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbls sugar
  1. Pour all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and fully combined.

This recipe is simple to make and is the perfect size for one person. I have one of the original NutriBullets which allows me to blend and drink from the same cup. I plan on making many more smoothies this summer and this one was definite hit.

What other smoothies have you all made? What kinds of ingredients do you like to add to yours? Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Superhero Desk Chair

My boyfriend has a serious obsession with superheros and Marvel comics is displayed everywhere in his office. Artwork he finds at comic cons line the walls and he has a fairly large collection of superhero figurines. One of his degrees is in film and he proudly shows this anywhere he can.

One thing his office was lacking was a nice office chair. I debated getting him a big leather one but when I had the opportunity to inherit an old office chair from my Granny's house I took it and decided to give him something more unique. Here is how I did it:

  • Office chair of choice
  • 3 yards Marvel fabric
  • 1 yard black fabric
  • Staple gun
  • Sewing machine
  • Seam ripper
  • Staple remover
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Black paint
  • Polyurethane
  • Plaster of Paris
  1. First, you will need to disassemble the chair. Unscrew the arms and set aside. Also, unscrew the bottom rolling portion. You should now have two separate cushions (the back portion and the part you sit on).
  2. Take the fabric off of the chair by pulling all of the staples out. Use a seam ripper to detach the pieces from each other. These will be used as the pattern pieces for the new fabric.
  3. The back of this chair had a nail strip attaching the fabric to the back so be careful and remove this part and set aside.
  4. Lay out the fabric and use old fabric as pattern pieces. The black fabric will be on the sides and the Marvel fabric will be the main portion of each cushion. Cut out your fabric.
  5. Next, place the fabric on the cushions right side down.
  6. Pin the pieces together so that you form a new cover for each cushion. You want it to be somewhat tight so that the fabric will be taut once it is all stapled down.
  7. Remove new fabric cover from cushion and sew along where you have pined it.
  8. Flip inside out and place over cushion. Pull fabric taut and staple to the wood underneath. You will be reattaching everything like it was when you took the old fabric off the chair originally.
  9. The next part that needs to be done is painting the wood parts. I decided to use chalk paint so that I would not have to sand everything before-hand. Mix 1/3 cup plaster of Paris, 1/3 cup water, and 1 cup paint. Paint all surfaces and let dry in-between coats. I ended up doing three coats to make sure everything was covered.
  10. Once it is dry, cover with a coat of polyurethane. I did not use wax because I wanted it to have more of a shine and have a smoother finish. I only did one coat but you can do several if you want more protection.
  11. When everything is done drying you can reattach the cushions and start using your brand-new, one of a kind chair!

I love how it looks in my boyfriend's office and he has already been sitting in it. It is much better than a folding chair and fits his personality perfectly! What kinds of personalized items have you made recently? Hope you enjoy and let me know what you all think!