Wednesday, November 26, 2008

last minute turkey treats

Thanksgiving is literally just around the corner. In almost exactly 24 hours we'll be having my husband's side of the family over and hosting our first Thanksgiving at our house! I'm very excited because I love to host (it gives me an excuse to do some fun, creative things) and I think it will be fun to watch the cousins play together, and enjoy some time with family. On Saturday, we'll also be hosting dinner and family time with my sister and brother and their families. My parents are in Alaska, so we'll definitely be missing them (hi mom and dad!) for Thanksgiving, but they'll be "home" soon!

I thought I would try to squeeze in one last fun project before the big feast tomorrow. This idea had been in the back of my head for awhile ever since I saw it on Make and Takes (You have to go check this blog out! Marie has so many great ideas and many of them are meant to be creative with your kids.) Have I mentioned yet that I'm pretty good at borrowing ideas? I borrowed some ideas for a few of my October projects, too.

It wasn't until Monday that I got the necessary supplies to create these little turkeys and then finally this morning we went to work creating some turkey treats. This was one of the traditions I wanted to add to our Thanksgiving this year (along with the other two that I shared about here). I tried to keep things simple this year (no, really I did) since I am heavily involved in my local MOPS group and also working on building my photo card business. However, I still wanted to make the most of this holiday and celebrate being thankful, and of course adding a little bit of fun into it, too!

So, here's the fun...
**For a better explanation than what I'm about to give you, go here where Marie from Make and Takes shared her turkey treat idea. You'll have to scroll down about halfway to find it.

Make a batch of rice krispie treats using Cocoa Krispies. After they cool for a few minutes, grease up your hands with cooking spray and form into balls. Gather together candies (we used Mike & Ikes, candy corn, mini M & M's, and Fruit Loops) and you'll need some toothpicks. Oh, and don't forget to take lots of pictures of your little ones enjoying building their creation. (As you will see, I did plenty of that!)

Enough with the pictures...let's get to work, mom!

Using candy corn, make the turkey's beak. (I used the end of a spoon to make a hole so Mikayla could put the "beaks" in.)

Now find some eyes (mini M & M's). This was a good lesson in matching colors since she had to find two of the same kind. See, I'm even using my teaching skills!

For the feathers, poke 5-6 toothpicks into the rice krispy. I had Mikayla use Fruit Loops to make the feathers. Also a good lesson in sorting colors. I also used candy corn as feathers, but found that they didn't stay in quite as good as with the Fruit Loops on the toothpicks.

And this is what Austin did with his Fruit Loops...

Death by toothpicks. Yikes! I was busy doing something and came back to this. I'm thinking Mikayla wanted to give her turkey acupuncture or something.

Voila! Turkey treats! Cute huh?

I decided to wrap these little turkeys up and give them to our guests tomorrow for a take home treat.

Just remember you don't always have to come up with your own ideas to be called creative. You can still be creative by borrowing something you see. It's just a matter of doing it. I think that's one of the reasons why I have loved blogging so much. I am keeping myself accountable for making the most out of daily life while I stay home with my kids...both in creativity and productivity.

OK, enough fun for now. Time to get back to dusting and figuring out how to cook this darn turkey for tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy this time with your family and friends...

a special touch for the Thanksgiving table

I've been looking for a way that I might be able to spruce up each place setting at our Thanksgiving table (nothing like waiting until the last minute, huh?). There have been many different ideas that I have been inspired by, but there wasn't anything that I felt like I could pull off without too much work and too much money. I'm a pretty simple girl who likes to decorate and be creative, but I'm not one to go overboard. Our Thanksgiving is going to be a little bit smaller this year with 6 adults, and 4 children under the age of 4 years. I didn't need to do anything extravagant...just something to give the table some extra pizzazz!

I finally decided on what I wanted to do, but needed to find a few things first. I was on a hunt for some small fall decor pieces. Um, that's almost impossible since every store is decked out head to toe in Christmas. What's Fall anyway?

Thankfully, as I was standing in line to check out at Michael's craft store (with no fall items in hand mind you), I looked up and saw this pre-made wreath at 80% off. It didn't catch my attention to actually use as a wreath because it looked a little disheveled (when the cashier took it down, some of the leaves and berries fell off). Anyway, I thought I could take all the pieces off and use them for other for my table settings. Plus, now I have an empty wreath to use for future craftiness! We'll see what comes of that!

I didn't bother buying cloth napkins. Less laundry, right? I thought I could pull off a simple (but still cute) look with nice paper napkins. I used the large white ones from IKEA (a package of 100 for $2.99...a whole lot cheaper than cloth!)

I took two different colored leaves, placed them on the white napkin (with the side corners folded in) and placed the silverware on top.

Then I added some berries and wrapped up the bottom and tied with a gingham ribbon (which I just so happened to find on clearance...score!)

I wanted to also have placecards at each table setting, but then I thought I could just add a little tag with our names and call it good. I think it turned out pretty cute. I'm going to set these on top of each plate around the table. The rest of the table will probably look pretty simple since it will mostly be full of food and almost half of the guests will be kids anyway.

I even made little silverware settings for the kiddos.

And, now they're all ready to go!

Simple and cute works for me!

Find out what works for others at Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

tackle it tuesday - making room for the turkey!

Warning: Lots of talk about cleaning ahead!!

I'm busy prepping the house for guests coming on Thursday for a Thanksgiving feast and also this weekend for some more fun family time. Today's job was to get the kitchen cleaned up, not just the quick swipe of the kitchen counters, but the washing down the cupboards, cleaning off the top of the refrigerator, deep cleaning of the inside of the refrigerator to make room for the turkey, of course! Please keep in mind that for this week's Tackle it Tuesday, I would have much rather been doing the fun crafty stuff, like making placecards for the Thanksgiving table, or starting on some Christmas projects, but the "priority list" just kept screaming in my ear and so I said, "fine" (with dragging of feet, mind you).

I'm pretty good at starting a project and then as I continue along, little things get added into the mix, turning into a much bigger project. (Case in point: my closet tackle) Today, I started out just kind of straightening up things, like this here little area that always has piles of stuff...

To make it a little more functional and less of a place to just dump stuff, I found a basket and pen holder and weeded out all of the junk mail, coupons, and other stuff hanging around. I don't really know why things tend to pile up so much. I'm pretty good at having places for everything. Maybe it's some kind of rebellion I have against organizing. Don't worry, it doesn't last long...I wouldn't be able to handle it.

From here I moved onto the refrigerator. I straightened up the magnets on the side and front of the fridge and then wiped the outside down. I even took a rag to the top of the refrigerator. Well, hello my dust bunny friends!

Then, came the inside of the refrigerator. I had just gone shopping and threw my groceries inside in an effort to just get them in the fridge. Well, in order for our 20-pound turkey to fit, I had to do a little reorganizing. And, in true Heidi fashion, I couldn't just do it a little, so I ended up deep cleaning and threw out some stuff that had been hanging out in the back of the fridge. I was going to make a list of all the things I threw away, but then I realized I didn't need to get that personal.

see our little turkey down there?
it fits nicely, don't you think?

After the fridge and the purging, I moved onto clearing off the counters and wiping them down. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something on the outside of one of the cupboards. So guess what, my friends? Yes, that's right. I ended up wiping down every cupboard. That's how I work, folks. I'm pretty good at getting distracted.

So, finally after all of that, I finished the countertops and was about ready to move onto the oven when...bummer, my son needed me. Gotta tend to the kids, you know? So, needless to say I didn't get to the inside of the oven, which I would have really liked to have done. Really, I would have. It's not that bad, so if I don't get to it oh well, the turkey will still taste great!

And in an effort to show off all of my hard work (and to prove to my husband that the kitchen did look clean at one point today), here are some final pictures of the cleanliness...

Bring on the turkey!! Let's get some use out of this clean kitchen.

Oh, and by the way, no one is allowed in the kitchen until Thursday.

Seriously, they aren't.

For more Tuesday Tacklers, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Or if you want to see more of my Tackle it Tuesday obsessive before and after shots, come on over here.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I'm so lucky.

For so many things.

To start out with, I've been blessed with growing up in a loving, Christian home surrounded by family everywhere I look. It's the best feeling. The best way to grow up.

And friends? I have an abundance! I have some of the best friends who encourage, and have made me a stronger and better human being.

And, of course, there's this amazing man who swept me off my feet. How thankful I am that the Lord saved him just for me! I can't imagine my life without him by my side.

There aren't enough words to express the thankfulness I have for my beautiful children. Just thinking about this gift I have been given brings me to tears. How could I be so lucky? They are my reason for loving life even more.

Thankfulness comes in all sorts of forms and shapes. There's that deep thankfulness that you can't deny that there is a God that has given you these things. And there's a sweet thankfulness of all the little things that make life just a little easier and more enjoyable.

As this week of Thanksgiving begins, it's only fitting to give thanks for the things you have been blessed with. May you pause, at least for a moment, and give thanks to The One who has given you this life.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

muffin tin monday & making a menu

For today's Muffin Tin Monday the theme was food the kids are thankful for (in other words...their favorites!) Last Monday, we had some friends over for lunch and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to let them all participate in Muffin Tin Monday and really, who doesn't like a good English muffin pizza?! I decided to put all of the yummy toppings in the muffin tin and let the kids create their own pizzas. I know this is a favorite of my daughter's and I think it was a favorite for her little friends, too, because a couple of them even had seconds!

the best view of our muffin tin...
I didn't get a good ariel picture before the kids started to get to work!

the kids hard at work creating pizza masterpieces
(it felt a little strange without a certain extra special Smith Family...)

the finished product!
I love how different they all look

Head on over to Her Cup Overfloweth for more of Muffin Tin Monday and to see what other kids have on their list of favorite foods!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The last time I got my act together to plan a menu for the week, it was such a breeze of a week with stress free dinner preparation! I loved how nice it was to know exactly what I was going to make in the morning, and by prep time the meat was defrosted, all ingredients were on hand and I just put it all together. I'm notorious for deciding what to have for dinner at the 4:00 time of the day...only to realize that I don't have all the ingredients I need! So, why, you might ask, have I not started doing this menu planning thing more consistently since it helps the week run more smoothly? I'm asking myself that same question!

I'm kind of cheating in a way participating in this week's Menu Plan Monday over at The Org Junkie. It's a short week with all of the festivities of Thanksgiving, but I know that the first part of the week will be a bit busy preparing for our guests coming over, so I thought why not get my act together this week and get planning since I'm already in that mode of thinking!

Monday - Chicken Tortilla Soup (Monday night swim lesson night...crockpot meal!!)
This is a delightfully yummy soup that fills you up and tastes great with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream on top. Enjoy it with some tortilla chips. I would read the reviews on the link to make the recipe even better (which is what I did to make up my "own version") and I suggest using cooked chicken instead of canned chicken (personal preference).
Tuesday - Shrimp Scampi (this is one of those recipes that I've tweaked quite a bit, so there's no real link, but I've linked you to a list of Shrimp Scampis that you could try; I use defrosted shrimp meat to make it extra easy!)
This is the hubby's favorite dish, so why not treat him to a little lovin' on a Tuesday night?
Wednesday - I foresee myself quite busy with preparation for Thursday's guests, so I'm calling on our good friend Papa Murphy's
Thursday - We welcome our guests for a traditional Thanksgiving feast. Thank goodness they're bringing some of the food!! (Wish me luck with the turkey...yikes!)
Friday - turkey & cheese sandwiches
Saturday - serving up lasagna with more guests coming to visit
Sunday - here come the leftovers!!

See, I told you I was kind of cheating. I only had to really "plan" 2 days, but at least I have thought the week through and now I'm ready to conquer dinnertime (among all the other "to do's" on the list!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

who me?

Last night's dinner...

So, do I get the mother and wife of the year award or what??

Although I may never get that highly coveted award (that's for sure!), I did get my first blog award given to me by Lynz over at The Miles Family. Lynz is a mother of three and soon to be four! I found her blog when I first started blogging this last summer and because of her love for her family, I continue to enjoy checking in on her. She is a woman who is all about family and has a passion for teaching her children about all of the blessings in life. I commend her on raising her family in such a way. Thanks, Lynz, for always being one of the first to leave a comment and for honoring my blogging efforts with this award. I do appreciate the kind words and thoughtful blogger gift!

The rules for this award are...
1. Pick ten people and pass this award to them.
2. Then contact them and let them know you have chosen them and their blog for the award.
3. Also link back to the person who gave you this award.

I chose to pick 10 bloggers who I don't know personally. (I hope my friends already know that I am their biggest fan.) The ten blogs I chose (in no particular order) are blogs that I have found great inspiration from to further my passion for creativity.

1. Buzzings of a Queen Bee
2. Her Cup Overfloweth
3. Joy's Hope
4. Just a Girl
5. Make and Takes
6. Little Birdie Secrets
7. Just for Fun
8. Flip Flops & Applesauce
9. Skip to My Lou
10. My Insanity

Please go check out these amazingly creative blogs.

And be sure to tell them I sent you...

fun find friday - snowflakes are falling!

I started Fun Find Fridays when I was posting my creative thoughts on my other blog, but in the midst of merging, I skipped last Friday. I still thought it would be fun to continue with Fun Find Fridays here at Blue Eyed Blessings as often as I can.

I just so happened to do a little early Christmas shopping on Sunday for a couple of hours (thanks to the husband for watching the kiddos!) and I found this beautiful plate for the holidays. It caught my eye right away and then I tried to justify buying it (it wasn't that expensive, but the thoughts of did I really need it crept in). Then I thought about who I could give it to as a gift. But, the lady at the register talked me out of that idea through our conversation and told me that I should keep it for myself! So, I think I'm going to be a little selfish and do just that. Too bad there was only one left...I would have picked up another for someone else who I thought would love it, too!

the plate is actually larger than the picture makes it out to be...
it's more like a serving platter
and it was only $9.99 at Tuesday Morning

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

crackers are a boy's best friend

Our little man's favorite snack?


Hands down.

And, of course, three crackers taste better than one.

Check out more fun pics at 5 Minutes for Mom's Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

works for me wednesday - themed baby shower gifts

Recently I was invited to a baby shower for a friend of mine who was having her first baby. I was so excited to do some shopping for her little guy and since this was her first I didn't have to be on the hunt for just "practical" things like diapers and wipes. I could do a little splurging because she and her husband were starting from scratch. Many of my friends are on their second or third child, so lately the theme has been "get them what they need". Which, let's be honest, isn't as fun as getting them something a little less practical. I try to get a few things off their registry and then add some other goodies that I think they might like. Since I'm a sucker for themes and I really enjoying giving gifts in a basket or container, I usually go the themed route. Works for me!

I wish I had taken more pictures throughout the years for samples of things I could recreate, but here are a couple I have to share. The first gift is the one I recently gave. The second gift is one I gave over 2 years ago to a friend who was having her second. (I kind of feel like my gift wrapping abilities has gotten much cuter over the years.)

Bath Tub Basket
2 bath tub toys (off the registry), set of washcloths, lotion,
baby bath wash, 2 Baby Einstein washcloth puppets

Changing Table Necessities Basket
wipes, lotion, change of outfit, diaper rash cream, baby powder,
toy for distraction, changing table pad (off the registry)

I thought I would share some other themed baby shower gift ideas...

First Aid Basket
first aid kit
electrical outlet covers
finger nail clippers
door locks
infant Tylenol
gas drops

Bath Tub Basket (more ideas that can be added to the gift basket pictured above)
hair comb and brush
hooded towel
rubber duck (with or without thermometer)

Clothing Accessories Basket
hand mittens

Feeding Time Basket
bottle nipples
bottle cleaner
bottle warmer

Nursery Theme Basket (you can even find out the theme or colors of the baby's room)
baby lamp
outlet covers
crib bedding

Books in Basket
Check out this cute "basket of books" idea over at Buzzings of a Queen Bee that works as a themed baby shower gift, too.

Giving a themed baby shower gift basket always shows that your gift was chosen with extra care and attention. Remember you can be as elaborate as you want or as simple as you want. You don't have to spend a lot of money to make a good impression!

If you have any other themed baby shower gift ideas, I'd love for you to share!

For more of Works for Me Wednesday, head on over to Rocks in My Dryer.

man, that girl can sing!

About two months ago my husband surprised me with 2 tickets to the Carrie Underwood concert here in Portland. (He had picked up on a couple of my subtle hints that I had dished out in passing...what a man!) Here's today's confession: I am a HUGE fan of Carrie Underwood. I often get lost in her music and have her entire CD memorized!

Last night was the much anticipated concert, so hubby and I found a babysitter and we headed out for a night out. Because of time, we stopped by Baja Fresh for a quick bite to eat and then headed to the Rose Garden. I had been a little anxious about leaving the kiddos with our first non-family/non-friend babysitter, but the anxiousness went away as the night progressed.

Carrie was headlining and Little Big Town was opening. We found it a little funny that a group who had been together for 10 years was opening for someone who no one knew about 4 years ago. She's THAT good! Little Big Town did a great job, but the minute Carrie came on stage, I was hooked! Her voice is incredible and her stage presence keeps you entertained. I cried, laughed, sang, (dare I say danced?!) to the music and was lost for the next 2 hours. Her performance is summed up with one word: AMAZING!

Of course, I came away wishing that I was a country superstar, but only for a second because then I realized how much I couldn't wait to come home to my sweet babies. Instead, I'll just keep turning Carrie's music up and singing along with her...and that will suit me just fine!

Monday, November 17, 2008

muffin tin monday - the grace edition

Clockwise: veggie puffs, mini-star shaped cheese sandwich bites, mini fruit roll up, cottage cheese, sandwich bites, & peaches

This week's Muffin Tin Monday theme was fruits, dips, and spreads. And, as you can see I didn't quite follow the theme! Oops! I didn't realize it until I sent my Muffin Tin to Michelle at Her Cup Overfloweth and then she kindly reminded me, but she was nice enough to let me participate this week anyway! Thanks, Michelle! If you know me well, you know that I'm kicking myself right now because I didn't follow the directions! Oh well, I guess I can give myself a little bit of grace since on most days I'm on top of this kind of thing. OK, letting it go...

I served this muffin tin last week on a day when I was feeling a little down in the dumps. Somehow, I snapped myself out of it (even it be for just a bit) and decided to have some fun with lunch. One of Mikayla's favorite songs these days is Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, so I thought it would be fun to cut her cheese sandwich into mini star shapes. I put the muffin tin in front of her and she started singing the song! It was too perfect...

This week Muffin Tin Monday is guest hosted by Sandy at Just For Fun. Go check out those who actually did follow the directions, and you will get some great ideas on dips and spreads to serve for lunch!

(Muffin Tin Monday is usually hosted by
Michelle at Her Cup Overfloweth. Next week's theme is food your children are thankful for...their favorites!)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

it's a merge...

I'm in the midst of a merge of my two blogs right now. You'll probably find duplicate posts both here at Blue Eyed Blessings and at HB Creative Design for awhile until I get everything straightened out, but I have spent the evening fixing links and making sure I have the posts I want transferred to this site. I decided that it was just too much pressure (that I put on myself, of course!) to try and maintain two separate blogs, so I've decided to do most of my blogging here and keep my other one for my photo card business. It will take me a little bit to get things the way I want them to look, but in the end I think this will suit me better. This way I don't feel like I have to post two times a day, just once! You'll get a mix of my creative juices and a little dose of my sweet babes.

Oh, and guess what I added to my Christmas list! A blog makeover!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

making some traditions - Thanksgiving style

Did I seriously go 3 days without posting? I guess you could say, I needed more hours in my days this week!

Here are a couple of little Thanksgiving projects that I've been working on and finally finished.

Thankful Tree
I was first inspired by something I saw in a Paper Crafting for kids magazine, but it required just a bit more "craftiness" than I could dish out, so when I saw this cute version, I went from there!

I used some weeping willow branches I've had for a very long time and use as my every day decorations. They seemed too perfect (and easy) to not use for this project.

For Thursday's 100 Days to Christmas challenge, we were challenged to stop and take a moment to truly honor this holiday and give thanks to the things that we have been blessed with. Tonight after we finished eating, my husband and I wrote down things that we were thankful for on each leaf and then I hung them on the "tree".

Earlier in the day, while I worked on my project Tayla worked on her project by coloring her own leaves. We even used glitter! I know, I felt somewhat daring...still in control, mind you, but daring nonetheless. She told me some things that she was thankful for and so these are on our refrigerator to remind us of that.

Cornucopia of Thanks
After I saw this cute inspiration, I used this idea for our local MOPS group November craft (I am the Creative Activities Leader). I made a sample for each of the tables, so now I have 6 of these that I have decided to use for some decor at my Thanksgiving table. Yes, I am hosting this year! I'm super excited since this will be our first one (but no so much with the whole turkey thing) I plan on hanging these on the back of each of my guests chairs with a little treat inside (sorry, Kristen, if I spoiled the surprise for you!). You can also use it as a holder for all the things that you are thankful for by writing them on slips of paper and putting them inside.

We were encouraged by our speaker at this month's MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting to choose just 1 or 2 traditions to include as part of your Thanksgiving holiday each year. For this year, these are the 2 that I will be using! (Oh, and maybe one more that just sounds like too much fun not to do!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

works for me wednesday - teddy bear biscuits

I've been trying a little bit harder these days to do more with my kids and less on my "to do" list. Trust me, that's extremely hard for a task oriented person like me! But they deserve a little bit more time with their mommy who isn't distracted by other things, so I'm trying!

Today I had such a fun time giggling with my 1-year old son while my daughter napped. He was being such a goofball and it was probably my favorite part of the day! Works for me!

My daughter loves to help me cook, so this is a fun way for me to spend some one on one time with her. Last week, for one of our dinners we had the Impossibly Easy Ham & Swiss Pie. I wanted to make something to go with it and so I looked online to my favorite recipe site, All Recipes, and found the oh so cute Teddy Bear Biscuits. This was perfect! While dinner was in the oven, we went to town making some cute teddy bears to eat with dinner. Mikayla enjoyed this special time with me and I loved it, too! Works for me!

Mikayla creating teddy bears using refrigerated biscuits
spreading egg onto the teddy bears
shaking cinnamon and sugar onto the teddy bears
look what I did, mommy!
she was so proud to show daddy what she made

Spending time with my kids and having fun making dinner is what works for me!

To see what works for others, check out Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer.

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