Saturday, January 29, 2011


This past week did not go according to plan. That is the nicer way to put it. It started out with a very sick kid that ended up having to go to the hospital and was ultimately diagnosed with pneumonia. That was a very scary thing. Never had to deal with that illness with any of my 4 kids before! Talk about scary. I had visions in my head of going in to check on him and finding no breathing. Turns out that I made the decision to take him in at just the right time. The doctor told me that his illness could have taken a turn for the worse very quickly. And here I just thought he was having a particularly bad allergy attack. ANYWAY, I am very thankful for the steroids and the kill-any-bacteria antibiotics that were prescribed and for our nebulizer. All lifesavers. He is now safely on the road to recovery. We are not out of the woods yet, but at least we can rest a little easier. I will just be watching him until the yuckiness is completely gone.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Free corkboard!

A friend of ours came over from Hanford to give us an estimate on getting our bathroom floors replaced (he is a contractor) and had just done a project for a friend and had some fabulous leftover corkboard type material. He asked if I could use it and I said yes, of course. I would be crazy not to take it!! There were two good sized pieces, so I gave one to my 8 year old (Sophie) and the other one to my 14 year old (Abby.) My 8 year old was feeling kinda creative this past weekend so we pulled out one of the pieces and got to decorating. I did giant bubble letters which I became somewhat of an expert at in junior high and high school. lol. I think I did all my signatures that way, just for fun. Sooooo, we used my Stampin'Up markers and colored in the letters and then that didn't seem to be enough so we glittered them too. Very appropriate for  my lover-of-bling daughter. I think it turned out really cute. We are still waiting for the last little bits of glue to dry and then we will move on to making some sort of pushpins with covers. I am thinking of breaking out the polymer clay and making some cute little hearts or something. We shall see. Those are for another day...

Thank you Loren for the cork. You can be sure it is being put to some good use. We appreciate it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Really yummy bread pudding I made for MOPS group

    •    Tomorrow morning is MOPS group meeting. I am excited to go because I missed the last couple of meetings. It just so happens that it is also my table's turn to bring breakfast. I chose to make this bread pudding because it was a big hit the last time I brought it. Came home with a totally cleaned out casserole dish. VERY easy and very yummy. I have made this for Christmas morning before but substituted eggnog for one of the cups of milk. Super good too. I will try to remember to post a picture when it comes out of the oven. But for now, it rests in the refrigerator until the morning. And now, so will I...


      **Update** Well would you look at that! I remembered the photo. Yay! Kinda looks like a pile of mush, if you ask me. Good thing it doesn't TASTE like a pile of mush or we all would have been in trouble. As suspected, it came home 93% empty. I ate the other 7% for lunch a few minutes ago, minus the sauce. I am a happy camper. :) 

      Avila Bread Pudding 

      8 eggs

      3 cups milk

      2 tbsp. coffee creamer, flavor of your choice (I used vanilla caramel by Coffee Mate)

      3/4 cup sugar

      1/4 teaspoon salt

      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

      1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

      2 teaspoon vanilla extract

      8 cups soft bread cubes

    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1-2/3 cups cold water
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


    In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add milk to the eggs along with sugar, spices and vanilla.

    Add bread cubes to large baking dish. Carefully pour egg mixture over bread cubes, making sure all cubes are submerged by the custard. Cover with foil and refrigerate 8 hours or up to 24

    Bake in preheated 350 oven for 50-60 minutes or until knife inserted near edge, comes out clean.

    Meanwhile, for sauce, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Stir in water until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter, vanilla and nutmeg. Serve with warm pudding.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


     It is always a nice thing to be able to DECIDE to be in the snow. Something I am sure my east coast friends wish they could say. But, living in central California, we don't get it except for every 50 years or so. It has only happened once in my lifetime. Bummer, if you ask me. I like having snow around. Of course, I would probably feel differently if I had to shovel it from my driveway just to get in my car to go get milk or something. That doesn't sound like fun at all. Nonetheless, my family and my extended family met up near the giant sequoias to play and sled and make snowmen (see photo above- the effort of my 8 year old. Cute.) Even though we go every year or so, it never gets old. I hope that my kids will remember what fun we had up there. PLUS, they had the opportunity to throw snowballs at their dad and he had the opportunity to pretend that he was upset about it and then to retaliate. Haha! Funny to watch, that is for sure. Overall, a great day and a nice little trip for our long MLK weekend. :)

Still haven't finished my card for tonight's stamp gathering. I am not sure what I am waiting for. I need some focused inspiration NOW or I will run out of time. Not a good thing. We shall see if the cardmaking fairy will visit my house this morning. Let's hope...

Friday, January 14, 2011

My baby's birthday

Days like tomorrow are hard for me. My fabulous oldest daughter is turning 14. I seriously cannot believe how time flies. It is kind of amazing actually. I just wanted to say how proud I am of her and the awesome young lady she is. I grow more proud of her every day. She is intelligent, beautiful, funny, kind, thoughtful, strong and sure of herself. All great qualities that I always dreamed my daughter would have. It is such a joy to have her in our lives. I am so blessed to be her mother and we are ALL blessed to have her here on this planet with us. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stuff I made today

I was asked to make this as a gift for a friend who wanted to commemorate a special memory. It is kind of cool when I get "commissioned" to make special projects. I get super energized and had it completed in about 2 hours. It reminded me of the old days when I used to do country crafts all the time. Kind of comforting to know that I can still pull out  my skills if I need to. ;-) I think it turned out really cute. I had to get creative with the base. Shhhh, don't tell anyone... It is a candle jar top turned upside down. Can you tell? lol. I didn't have to go to the craft store or anything. All the supplies were in the house already. Yay! Thrifty crafting yet again. My favorite kind, without at doubt! I hope that it serves the recipient well.

These finally got completed. Remember I mentioned the fabric hearts that I was working on?? Well here they are. The funny thing about them is that they were actually sewn by my 3 youngest children. I had started working on the hand sewing and one by one, they came over and asked if they could help. Since I am totally NOT a perfectionist (good things come from freedom) and since these were only for our own use, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to teach them how to whip-stitch and let the inevitable imperfections happen. They were so cute sitting at the kitchen table sewing together. My 11, 8 and 6 year olds can now officially mark off "learn to sew" from their bucket lists. So... another cute project completed.

I have a stamp party next Tuesday night and I need to get busy designing a project for that. It will most likely be the next post I make. But, you never know!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another frame and a candle-ish project

So I decided that I liked the other frame idea so much that I would make another one. I also really like the scrapbook paper that I got and had to figure out something to do with it. I am pretty happy with the results. I don't know if you can tell but it has little adhesive backed pearls on the edge of the red heart and dotting the "i" in mine. I love making these frames and they couldn't be any cheaper. Dollar store frames and 50% off scrapbook paper??!! How can you go wrong. I feel like making something similar for every holiday. I think I will probably take the main elements off the frames when I am done and add them to scrapbook pages. I just have to remember to actually take some pictures on Valentines day. (I don't usually do that, but should!)

The other project doesn't even really feel like a project to me. All I did was add some letters that I cut out with my Cricut die cutter and added some glitter to a heart and attached it. Tada! All done. I used the crystals that I had purchased at the dollar store and a votive and ribbon that I already had. Total project cost was $2. Though it is really difficult to see the red glittered heart which, in my opinion, is the cutest part.  I may try taking them out and seeing how it looks without them.

Last night I cut out several hearts out of the fabrics I bought and sewed and stuffed them. I just have to hand sew them closed and am planning on adding them to a wire cake stand I have. Should be done with that one by the end of the day and then I have another project planned for the metal tin that I have. I will check in again when that one is complete. :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Project #1 - The LOVE frame

Here is the first of several projects I have planned for the next couple of days. It is funny how things work out. I hadn't planned on doing anything like what I ended up with. That creative bug is a tricky one. I am pretty happy with it though. Glad I decided to glitter the letters. It just needed a little bling. And let's face it, what doesn't benefit from that? My husband is totally making fun of me because apparently, I too am covered in glitter. I guess I really get into my crafts. (Haha. What crafter DOESN'T?!) Ok. On to the next one...

Hobby Lobby AGAIN?!

I was trolling the internet for inspiration again, found a ton and said to myself, "self! put your creativity to work and make something, instead of drooling over everyone else's stuff!" So after putting in my time doing household maintenance stuff, (it IS Saturday, the pre-scheduled day for cleaning drudgery) and dragged my fabulous husband to hunt for supplies. I always find good stuff to embellish at Dollar Tree, so we started there. Found a tin planter basket, tissue paper, some red small pillar candles, some glittered hearts on a stick with some fakey roses (have no definite plans for these,) some cheap alterable picture frames, a glass planter and some red crystal gems. I quickly rushed through that store to get to my new favorite home away from home (aside from Target,) Hobby Lobby. I got some assorted red fabrics, polyfill, red glitter, Valentiney scrapbook paper, a bunch of ribbon, a large pillar candle, red paint and a glittered heart wreath.  I saw a bunch of stuff that I thought was cute today, so I am curious to see what I will end up with. I will post the results as soon as I am satisfied. :)

Pico De Gallo Salsa

I was totally in the mood for some salsa. Maybe I was craving the vitamin c from the tomatoes. Not sure. But it seemed like a good enough excuse to make some so I went for it. I love my salsa recipe. It is the result of many batches and adjustments to get it to where my whole family will eat it. That is a huge accomplishment, because, (in case you have missed this fact,) salsa is made of tomatoes and tomatoes are a vegetable. Avila children tend not to prefer the red things too much unless they are squished into ketchup. That is, unless they are found cut up all cute and put in mom's salsa and served with white corn tortilla chips on the side. I suggest you try some next time you get a craving. Yummy. (But I may be biased.)

Jen's Pico De Gallo Salsa

5 lg tomatoes, seeded, sliced and diced
1 small white onion, sliced and finely diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno (or more to taste) seeded, sliced and chopped finely
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground oregano
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Splenda (or sugar if I'm feeling all naughty) ;-)

Mix up all the ingredients in a medium bowl, allow to sit in refrigerator for about an hour and then serve. REALLY yummy with chips but even better when you save some to put on tostadas or tacos or whatever else you use salsa for. Tada. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Now what??

I have really been loving (envying) all of those wonderful crafty blogs out there that showcase so much talent and so much creativity and I thought, I really want to get in on all of that fun. But the question is, what do I do next. Valentine's Day is around the corner so I am thinking I should get started on some goodies for that special occasion. My kids love to get handmade cards and candy. Seems like a logical starting point. Soooooo, wish me luck. I will be sure to post the results and who knows... maybe something else in the mean time. Have a great weekend!
Powered by Blogger.