Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving and DIY Wreath #2

First off, CONGRATULATIONS Natasha! Natasha is a friend from high school who got engaged this weekend! How exciting!!!!!! And her ring is just stunning.

As promised, I have a treat for you. I know it is a bit late for this Thanksgiving, but it is always a win for next year. This tradition has been in my family as long as I can remember, Turkeys. I know, everyone has turkey on Thanksgiving... but not everyone has these turkeys. Here is what you'll need:
  • Frosting (we always use vanilla, but I imagine chocolate would work too)
  • Ginger snap cookies (store bought is fine, then they're all the same size)
  • Candy corn
  • Red Hots
  • Chocolate covered cherries or something of the like. Typically you want to keep the shape pretty consistent. I know Cub Foods sells these strange candies that have vanilla, orange, cherry... filling, we've used those before too.

I don't have any pictures of the process, but it is pretty self explanatory from the final product. So here it is, folks. Turkey.

You can tell which ones my 8 year old cousin made. Essentially you are using the frosting as glue. We typically start with a dab of frosting on the chocolate and place that on the cookie just about in the middle. Next, put the two pieces of candy corn on the other cookie (again, just about in the middle). Put a dab on the back of the candy corn cookie and set the chocolate piece on the candy corn gently making sure the cookie is sitting on that last dab of frosting. Finally, place the red hot (the head) on the top middle of the piece of chocolate... VOILA!
Simple treat that doesn't usually make it past the prayer.

Now, on to decorating. It is basically a law in my family that Christmas decorating doesn't happen until after Thanksgiving. I took full advantage of that yesterday and did a bit of shopping and decorating. Unfortunately the tree pictures will have to be sometime tomorrow or Wednesday as getting a tree yesterday didn't exactly pan out. Oh well! Here is what we have (keep in mind this is our first house so more decorations will follow in years to come... this is our start):


I know it doesn't look like much, but my home smells like cinnamon and pine and even the little touches get me excited for Christmas. I have one piece I omitted to show because I will be posting about it soon. More of a sentimental piece. You'll see.

Last night after decorating, I made a wreath then Tyler's friend Scott came over to watch The Walking Dead (which just had their mid-season finale which I am completely satisfied with... it was a fantastic finale if I've ever seen one...) and play marbles. The board is kind of cool and I am begging my husband to make one. It is a lot like the game Sorry!.

The wreath was a bit simpler than the last one. Here is what I did:

You'll need:

  • Wreath frame (I used a discounted decoration-less wreath)
  • Small and large embellishments (I used red flowers and pine cones)
  • Hot glue
  • Spray glitter
  • Patience (for some of the pieces, you have to hold the darn thing while the glue dries... be patient, glue dries fast.
1. Gather your supplies


2. Glue on your large embellishments. I made the mistake of starting with the small ones and some got hidden. Not a huge deal, but this is your project, do it how you wish!
When you purchase these small pieces, make sure to separate them if necessary... otherwise they just look like little globs.
3. Glue on flowers (again, I recommend doing this first)

4. Glue on Pine cones. This is the part that requires patience. Hold the cone so it doesn't fall off and make a mess.
5. Spray with glitter. This was not fun but adds so much to the final outcome. It gets messy so I recommend doing it outside. Here is the final product!
6. For wrapping, I recommend using wreath storage. That way no damage occurs. Here is how that looks:

Merry Christmas someone!!! I understand you may be busy and DIY is not as easy as getting one... I can make you one! If you like this wreath, the one I made here, or you want one made special, just shoot me an e-mail and we can discuss style, colors, etc... my e-mail is tmknott611@gmail.com.

Have a WONDERFUL week!!

27 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS!

Melissa

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Food Friday (Sunday): Chex Mix

Ok, I know I already posted today, but I just realized I missed Food Friday too!! (MY GOSH!) So today I thought I would do Food Sunday to make up for it. The biggest hit (for my family) for appetizers was the Chex Mix so I thought I would share it with you. I found it here and it is AMAZING! Follow the recipe exactly and maybe double it because it'll go fast!

You will need:

3 cups Corn Chex® cereal
3 cups Rice Chex® cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex® cereal
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup bite-size pretzels
1 cup garlic-flavor bite-size bagel chips or regular-size bagel chips, broken into 1-inch pieces
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Finally, get one BIG roasting pan. It'll make your life MUCH easier than mine : ).
  • Gather your supplies
  • In large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.
  • Oven Directions Heat oven to 250°F. In large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside. In ungreased large roasting pan, melt butter in oven. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in cereal mixture until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container.
After baking, make sure to spread out to dry.
 Happy cooking!!!

Melissa

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Husband!

For those of you who are unaware, I have a husband. A husband who I am completely, totally, and unconditionally in love with. Today we celebrate his birthday!

See this picture? It is the first picture I ever took of Tyler and it was with my old school flip phone camera. My excuse was that I needed it for caller ID when in reality I took it so I could show off this cute boy who I was talking to with all of my friends.
This is the 5th birthday I have had the honor of celebrating with Tyler and I thought this would be the perfect time to mention some of the details of what makes this man amazing. There are far too many things to talk about (which begs the question, does blogspot have a character limit in posts??).

One of the first pictures I have with Tyler. This was at my high school graduation almost 4 years before we got married. Where did the time go...
He is funny. You will laugh not only at his jokes, but at how hard he laughs at them! He has a smile that is contagious and immediately inspires you to laugh back. So even if the joke he is telling is rude or offensive, you just can't help but to laugh! Most of the time I am the butt of his joke and even though it irks me at the time, his smile makes it all OK.

2010 fishing trip on Lake Michigan. This is an annual thing that we get to do. So fortunate to have family that invites us to come around.
Tyler is passionate. Whether it is athletics, hunting, family, or anything really, he is passionate and pours his heart and soul into it. It's inspiring really.

My hunting husband... I love him.

Tyler is athletic. We (as you know) play volleyball together and granted his height is a key factor in his amazing-ness, he gets to everything. He plays baseball with the Raymond Rockets, basketball, softball, and volleyball for both co-ed and men's league. This man is always on the go.

I never knew how much somebody could love a sport. He is an amazing baseball player!!


He is a family man. He will do anything for his mom. He goes out of his way to make sure that she is happy and content. She is always doing so much for her kids so he likes to give back to her to show his appreciation. He loves his family and he is willing to spend time and do anything for my family too.

2009 on Lake Michigan. Isn't he handsome????


He is perfectly happy just staying in on a Saturday night to play cards or sit in and watch a movie.

Camping in 2010 just the two of us. He is not the type of guy that has to be around all of his friends all the time to have fun. We are happy just the two of us.
Tyler has so many amazing features but my favorite is that he loves me with every part of him. He is a devoted and dedicated husband who does everything in his power to make me happy and spend time with me. He (as I mentioned) is a family man, and his transition to our own, new family in these past 5 months has been seamless. Like we were destined to start our own family together. I am grateful I found him. I am fascinated by him. I am in awe of him. And I am in love with him.



I love him. Irrevocably, unconditionally, and invariably. Happy birthday handsome husband.

Yay for 27!!!

(One lucky lady) Melissa

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Food Friday: Scotcharoos

Food Friday: On Fridays I will share recipes that I have recently discovered, or recipes that I have been using for years. Fridays mean weekend and weekend means extra time for cooking! So give these recipes a try and let me know how you like it!! TGIF!

Scotcharoos are a loved treat in this family. My grandmother-in-law LuAnn makes them for just about every occasion and they fly out of the pan. Now I didn't get the recipe from her (I got it from AllRecipes.com) but with the craving I have been having for these delicious treats, I couldn't pass up making them for my party last night. (Gotta have an excuse, right?) Ok. Maybe not, but Y-U-M!

Here is what you need:
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 6 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
Step 1: Gather your supplies:

Step 2: In a large pot, mix together corn syrup, sugar, and peanut butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring until peanut butter melts. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in crisp rice cereal. 

Ok, so I didn't get any pictures of this step because WOW! The mixture boils really REALLY fast and I was making Chex Mix at the same time. Yikes!

Step 3: Transfer mixture into a well buttered 9x13 inch pan. With your hands well buttered, pat it down into pan. I don't believe you have to butter your hands. The oils in the peanut butter make it so the mixture doesn't stick. It's easier this way : )

Yummmm...
Step 4: In a medium saucepan, over medium low heat, melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips until smooth. Spread over top of bars and let bars cool. 
Step 5: Cut into squares and serve! 


I will tell you about the party later, time to celebrate Friday with work. Then we are heading to the cities for the weekend for my mom's purse party and for our friend to take some pictures of us for our Christmas card!! So excited.


HAPPY WEEKEND!

(One VERY happy wife) Melissa

Friday, November 11, 2011

Food Friday - Smothered Chicken

This is a recipe that my dad invented WAY back in the day. He is a pretty amazing chef! Here is what you need:

For two people (multiply as needed for the number of people you are serving):

Two large chicken breasts
2 slices of Munster cheese
One package of small button mushrooms
One medium sweet onion
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to *350. Grill chicken breast until cooked through. While meat is cooking, saute mushrooms and onions with butter in a medium sauce pan. Place on top of the cooked chicken and top with Munster cheese.  Place in the oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melty and bubbly. Serve with potatoes and vegetables. I recommend baked potato topped with cheese, sour cream, and bacon pieces and a side of broccoli. Yum!

I don't have any pictures because I haven't made it in a while, but I will work on getting more.

Have a great weekend!

TGIF!!!

Melissa

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

DIY Christmas

I have said it before and I'll say it again (only because I am so SO so excited)... I am having a Do-It-Yourself Christmas this year (for the most part). If there were more hours in a day or more days in a week, I could totally make everyone's gift. Unfortunately we are stuck with 24 and 7. Darn. In any case. You have seen the wreath, heard I am making something for my look-alike (which I can't share until 12/26) and now (drum roll please) a painting. Painting is "easy"!

I decided that it is perfectly appropriate to give someone a Christmas decoration for Christmas (hence the wreath) which is why I thought I would keep right on truckin'. Here is what I did:

First: GRAB YOUR SUPPLIES!!! There is nothing worse than running all over the house looking for your supplies while you are trying to get a project done (if you haven't noticed, I do this for cooking too). I have: my collection of brushes, a canvas, a painting tray, and my paints. Grab water too if you need to re-use brushes!!

ALWAYS paint your background first. I used acrylic paints so when the background is dry you can paint right over it. There is nothing worse than having to trace the picture you just made while trying so hard not to wreck it. Do the background first. : )


Painting with texture can be TOUGH so I recorded myself doing it just so you could see how easy it is. Instead of brushing the paint on, just dab it!




This is the final product. White, red, black, blue, and orange paint made this beautiful picture.

Are YOU making any of your Christmas presents this year? My sister's is my favorite so I sure hope she likes it!!!

Happy Tuesday

Melissa

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Would YOU Park on a Hill?

I have always wondered: what does it take to be a good parent? Not only that, but do I have what it takes? Parenting is hard. It (like most things) has it's ups and downs (I imagine anyway as I have never had children). Let me tell you a story.



When I was born, my parents didn't have a ton of money. By not having a ton, I mean they had little to none. They (as my dad says) had no intention of having children even though my mom wanted them badly. They got stuck with Carl (as some would say 'Woopsie!') so they decided to have another because he would be lonely as an only child. Surprise! You get a two-fer! I could be wrong, but I believe they got married when my mom was 19 and dad was 21 and when they did, they had their wedding at the local Methodist church and the reception in my grandma and grandpa Grupp's back yard with a handful of people and pork-chops on the grill. That isn't exactly what Tyler and I had. In fact, it is JUST the opposite. We had between 300 and 400 people and although yes, we had our wedding at the local Methodist church like my parents, our reception was held at a golf course with a catered meal and a dance that went until early morning. I know, I know. The times have changed. But even if they hadn't, I know our reception would have been just as amazing as it was because our parents wouldn't have had it any other way. They did everything in their power to make it the best memory. Why? Because they are willing to "park on a hill".



This "park on a hill" analogy goes way back to the penniless times of the Grupps. My parents knew we were strapped for cash, but they did everything they could to keep us oblivious to that fact. I remember thinking many times "we're RICH"! One of the memories of these 'rich' times was when my mom and dad were helping Becca and I celebrate our 5th or 6th (somewhere in there) birthdays. We had this AMAZING party with about 10 friends. Want to know what the theme was? "Movie Theater". They put in a movie (VHS of course), popped pop corn (air popped of course), and bought some soda and candy. There was a catch, we had to BUY all of the treats! And no, they weren't so strapped that they actually took money from us children (well in a way they did) but they gave us Monopoly money!! Yes folks, my birthday was amazing because my parents opened up a board game. It was such a treat to be able to handle money at that young age. For the first time in our lives, we were in charge. Happy birthday to us!!



Where the real "parking on a hill" story comes into play (yes I know, I am rambling) is around the same time where they had the choice to get a new car battery or they could take us to the fair that was in town. They had to choose because until next week, they only had money for one. They chose the fair. And when the guy at the gate said "please park over there, sir", my dad replied with "can I park up there on that hill? I have a bad battery and need to let it roll to start". I never knew it back then, I had no idea what they were talking about! But we went to the fair, and we had a BLAST!

Mom with her kids and nieces (from left to right) Cousin Mariah, Becca, Cousin Amanda, me, and Carl. This might not be the fair from the picture (or maybe it is) but look at our family (minus dad who was likely behind the camera). We are so lucky.


This post nearly brings  me to tears. Maybe because it is 7:30 and I have already been up for two hours including one long trip to the grocery store. Or maybe because until my teen years, I was oblivious. Completely oblivious to what my thank-you's meant and what my parents were doing for us kids. Parenting is about understanding that every day creates a memory. All of these seemingly miniscule events really add up! I remember most every birthday. Every vacation. Every hug and kiss goodnight. Why? Because my parent's went out of their way to make every minute memorable. My parent's sacrificed so much so that we would have these memories. I can't thank them enough. Thanks, mom and dad. LOVE YOU!

That being said, would you park on a hill for your kids?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Melissa

Friday, November 4, 2011

Food Friday - Chicken Pot Pie

I love chicken pot pie, so when I saw this recipe on AllRecipes.com, I jumped at the chance to make it. Tyler loved it!!! Leftovers are great too. I am going to warn you though, this recipe makes two pies worth, not one. But you CAN freeze the second one if you don't want to cook it right away.

You will need:

  • 2 cups diced peeled potatoes
  • 1 3/4 cups sliced carrots
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup butte
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 cup frozen peas (Hannah)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  •   2 pastries for a 9 inch double crust pie
The most time consuming part was cooking the chicken. Otherwise it took about 20 minutes to make!

Step 1: Prepare your ingredients and preheat oven to 425*.

Step 2: Put potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.

Step 3: Saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, thyme and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened (it only took about 1.5 minutes for me. be sure to remove from heat RIGHT away or it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan). Add the chicken, peas, corn, potatoes and carrots; remove from the heat. 

Step 4: Line 9-in. pie plate with bottom pastry; trim even with edge of plate. Fill pastry shell with chicken mixture. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pies. Cut slits or decorative cutouts in pastry. Place over filling; trim, seal and flute edges. Now I am no chef so I don't have a clue how to flute the edges. This is the best I could do.


Step 5: Bake one potpie at 425 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Cover and freeze remaining potpie for up to 3 months. 

It looked so good that we just dug right in and I forgot to take a picture. This is what it looks like (thank goodness AllRecipes.com has pictures!!!

One thing we maybe would have done differently is added garlic to the chicken when we cooked it. Just to add a bit of extra flavor.

Good luck! Let me know if you try this one!

Melissa

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

DIY: Christmas Wreath

I may have mentioned this once before, but I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!! Anybody regardless of whether or not you are creative (I am leaning more towards the 'knott' side myself... ha ha, bad joke) can do this project. It is simple, fun, and easy!

Here is what you will need for the Christmas Wreath:

Styrofoam wreath setting
Garland/Snazzy wreath decor
Mini ornaments
Hot glue/hot glue gun
Tacky glue
Ribbon
Spray glitter

Before I start with the steps, I to have to say, I l.o.v.e spray glitter. It is amazing. Messy, but amazing.

Step 1: Gather materials

Step 2: Wrap foam ring with ribbon to make it more sturdy and to cover the awful green color.

It takes quite a while, but use about a strip of tacky glue on every wrap of ribbon to ensure it holds on tight.

Step 3: Hot glue on the large embellishment first to get it set and even.

Be careful not to burn your fingers like I did.
Step 4: Hot glue the remaining (smaller) embellishments to the wreath.

Try to make sure not to get hot glue on the sides, might not want that showing.
Step 5: Spray with glitter and you are finished!! This is what mine looked like.



You know it is pretty when the first thing your husband says as he walks in the door is "I'm impressed!"! More Christmas projects to come, gifts and decorations!!

Happy Wednesday!!

Melissa


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