Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Love for Chalkboard Paint

I don't know what my obsession is for creative ideas that involve chalkboard paint but I am always drawn to these sort of projects!  So, while having dinner at our friends house the other night, I walked by her pantry and loved what I saw!  She had taken a can of chalkboard paint and added a unique and creative touch to the front of the pantry door.  (Thank you Jodie for your inspiration and sharing your adorable project!)

The uses are endless!  You can use this chalkboard door for grocery lists, chores the kiddos need to do, love notes to the family, or simply decorate with a wreath and let it be simple and darling!  What an easy do-it-yourself project to take on one afternoon during naptime!  Just get out some painters tape, a brush, and a can of chalkboard paint.  While painting, you can daydream about all of the cute sayings, Bible verses, and lists you will write on your new and improved door!  Please share any other ideas you have for chalkboard paint...like I said, I can't get enough of them!
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

100 and Counting...

This past July I embarked on this blogging adventure and began "Sweetheart Moments" with very little knowledge of what I was doing or what this journey would look like!  What I did know is that I love decorating, I love organizing, I love planning family celebrations and special traditions, and I love sharing ideas with other mommies and women!  And this blog began...

My goal was to reach at least 100 followers by the end of this year to prove to myself that people were really reading what I was writing!  Thanks to all of you, that goal was reached and I have over 100 followers and friends and the blog is still growing! 

I hope as this new year begins that you enjoy reading my ideas, tips, and postings on decorating, organizing, recipes, and family fun!  Thank you for reading, thank you for commenting, thank you for sharing own tips, and above all thank you for your encouragement.  You are the reason this blog is so much fun and I enjoy sharing all of my creative and helpful finds! 
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Breakfast Planning!

On my agenda today...planning out breakfast for the upcoming holiday mornings!  I have decided that on Christmas Eve morning I will be making cinnamon rolls, because who doesn't love a warm cinnamon roll with a glass of milk or a mug of hot chocolate? 

The next day is Christmas.  I love having an easy and delicous meal that can be prepared ahead of time and warmed up that morning.  So, this year will be my yummy Country House Breakfast Casserole!  Here's the recipe...

2 or 3 T. butter
1 cup croutons
3/4 cup shredded cheddar
5 or 6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup cooked ham, cubed

Melt butter in 8 by 8 glass baking dish.  Add croutons and toss to coat.  Sprinkle cheese on top of croutons.  In a large bowl, beats eggs, milk, and dry mustard.  Pour egg mixture over croutons and cheese.  Sprinkle on cubed ham.  Cover with plastic wrap and refgrigerate overnight. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Let casserole stand at room temperature while oven heats.  Bake for 40 minutes, until eggs are set.  Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.  Add peppers, onions, or anything else you desire!  Can be frozen and microwaved later too!

And the day after Christmas will continue the presents and festivities in our home.  So, another delicious favorite that can be prepared ahead of time and then popped into the oven is a stuffed french toast!  Here's the recipe for this one...

8 eggs
1 1/2 cups lowfat milk
1 cup real maple syrup
1 loaf french toast bread
8 oz. Neufchatel cheese (cream cheese)
1/4 cup butter
2 T. powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the bread slices, sides touching, in a single layer in a greased 9x13 dish. Slice or spread about 1/8" layer of cheese on top of the bread. Top with another 1" layer of fresh cut bread cubes.  In a bowl, mix eggs, milk and 1/2 cup of syrup. Pour over bread cubes. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Let pan sit in refrigerator overnight. In the morning, bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Heat the butter and 1/2 cup syrup in a pot and drizzle over the squares of stuffed french toast on plates. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve!  Delicious with chicken apple sausage!
Now it's off the the grocery store I go for all of the ingredients and I can check this off my to-do list!  Happy Holiday planning!

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cupcake Birthday Party

I am sorry that I have not written any new posts this week...but I have a wonderful reason why!  I was busy planning and organizing my baby girl's 1st birthday party!  What a wonderful day it was.  The theme was "Cupcakes" and the colors were pink, red, and black.  I had personlized invitations made through someone on etsy...darling!  And then I had fun dreaming up lots of fun touches to make this party really memorable.  I hired a local music lady to do some singing with the kiddos and we called it "The Cupcake Kitchen Band" where the kiddos could sing and play along.  So much fun!

I made lots of handmade decorations from happy birthday banners, to cupcake toppers, to food labels, to big photos all over the walls.  It was darling.  And the tablecloths, ribbon, and balloons made it look that much more festive!

One of my favorite ideas was the party favors.  I found boxes of cupcake mix at the store and snatched up 20 of them for all of our little guests.  Then I got spatulas to put on top of the boxes.  With some cute ribbon and an adorable tag that read "Thanks for making Isabella's birthday so sweet!" it was wonderful!  The kids loved taking them home and will be able to do some baking with mom and dad!

I had cupcakes for everyone for dessert of course.  And I made one large cupcake for the birthday girl.  The cutest part of the celebration was watching her dive in to that cake!  She was covered with crumbs and frosting.  We had to hose her off in the kitchen sink after all that yummy fun. 

I also made a cupcake station for all of the kiddos to decorate their own cupcakes.  I filled cupcake tins with sprinkles, M&M's and more!  They loved this!  I also had a cupcake pinata for the little guests.  It was the kind where you pull a string and one of the strings releases the whole bottom and the candy falls out.  They scrambled everywhere filling up their baggies with candy. 

And I had lots of other fun touches all around the house...jars of sweet treats, photos, pink and red decorations, and the list goes on.  One of the most special parts of the party is the "First Year DVD Slideshow" I like to do for each child.  It brings tears to your eyes to see how quickly the time has gone by and how fast they grow up!

When I throw a party, I love to go all out!  It takes me weeks to plan, days to set up, a couple of hours to enjoy the party, and then hours to clean up.  But it's worth it...we have some wonderful memories!
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas

I still have some holiday shopping to finish up, but as my list gets shorter...I have decided to take a few more items off of the shopping list and replace them with some handmade gifts!  I think friends enjoy getting something sweet and thoughtful at Christmas because it's different and it's from the heart!  So, I have a collection of ideas for you.  Take your pick, get crafty, and of course, share your own idea if you have one...

Holiday Baked Goods
Who doesn't love a plate of fresh baked goodies delivered to their door during the winter?  Whip out your favorite cookie recipe or do a search on google for something sweet.  To complete this delicous gift, add a cute holiday plate or cookie tin and it's ready to give.  Sometimes the packaging can make all of the difference!

Frozen and Re-Heat Entrees and Casseroles
With the busy schedules we all have during the holidays, wouldn't it be nice for someone else to plan a meal for you?  So, why not do this for someone else!  These meals can be easy and delicous or gourmet...if you have the time.  Again, add an oven safe glass dish to make the gift last for years to come!  Check this link for some yummy ideas on meals you can make and freeze and deliver to friends!

Cookies in a Jar
I love these!  There's something about a glass jar and being able to see all of the delicious ingredients layered up inside.  They look cute but are fun to put to use.  I would love to receive cookies in a jar to make with my kiddos.  Add a cute ribbon and tag and your gift is done!  Check out this link for a variety of ideas on what to put inside your cookie jar!

Holiday Gift Baskets
I love themes!  Maybe it's the teacher in me.  But buy a basket and decide on a theme to fill that basket with...icecream toppings, spaghetti dinner, movie night, spa day, and the list goes on.  Have fun shopping for odds and ends that fit in with your theme and get creative putting it all together!  What an easy and crafty gift idea for friends!

Mug of Goodies for the Coffee Lover
Find a holiday mug and have fun filling it with some delicous goodies.  Make some homemade biscotti, create some chocolate dipped spoons, and add your favorite coffee to the mug.  Voila...the gift is finished!  And your coffee loving friends will appreciate it.

Chalkboard Plates and Platters
Okay, I saved one of the best for last!  If any friends of my friends are reading this, don't be surprised if this is what you get for Christmas!  Take a cute platter or plate, and add a creative touch with some chalkboard paint.  Your friends will love writing their menus inside it, a greeting, or holiday wish!
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Merry SITSmas!

For all of you blogging mommies out here...you are probably very aware of the fantastic blog called "The Secret is in the Sauce" or SITS for short!  It connects us to new and various blogs out there and helps spread some comment love.  And with Christmas just around the corner, it's the time of year to share a family photo or Christmas card and some wishes for the new year.  So here we go...you get a sneak peek at the photos we chose from for our Christmas card and more!!

What a wonderful time of year to reflect on the old and focus on the new!  I am so thankful for all of the many blessings in my life...my amazing husband, my two beautiful children, my cozy home, my perfect teaching job with the best friend and teaching partner ever, the most wonderful friends a girl could ask for, and so much more!  And as I look ahead to next year, what's on the wish list...possibly a new home, maybe another little bundle of joy, more fun times with friends, and whatever other blessings God has in store for us.  Happy holidays to you and I wish you all the best for 2010!

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Appetizer: Meatballs

I am a huge fan of holiday parties that include a couple of warm appetizers.  Chips and dips, crackers and cheese, and other munchies are great...but a warm appetizer adds such a delcious touch!  One of my easy and "go-to" warm appetizer ideas is meatballs!  They are yummy, easy, and always get eaten up!  So, I am going to share a couple of great appetizer meatball recipes with you and please pass along one of yours, if you have one.  Happy Holidays!

Sweet and Tangy Meatballs
1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Vinegar
3/4 cup BBQ Sauce
3 tsp. Dijon Mustard
3 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 Bag Frozen Meatballs (usually around 2 lbs.)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients, except meatballs in a saucepan to heat up and dissolve sugar. Meanwhile, place meatballs in a 13x9 inch baking dish. When sugar is dissolved, pour heated sauce over the meatballs and cover the baking dish with foil. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until heated through. Serve right away, or put it in your crock pot on low until the party starts!

Hot and Tangy Meatballs
1bottle chili sauce
1 can jellied cranberry sauce
1 bag frozen meatballs (about 2 lbs.)

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring chili sauce and jellied cranberry sauce to a boil. Continue cooking at a simmer, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Place frozen meatballs into crockpot and pour sauce over. Cook on low 4 to 5 hours or high 2 to 3 hours.  So easy and delicious!
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Friday, December 4, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

I can't say it enough...I love the holidays!!  I do!  And as soon as Thanksgiving was done and the guests were out the door, I sifted through our storage area and grabbed some of the Christmas decoration bins!  I didn't actually start decorating until the next day, but taking all of my giant bins out from under the stairs is half the battle.  I am not kidding when I say that I have over a dozen large storage bins and at least half a dozen trees.  Only two trees are big with a variety of ornaments.  The rest are clustered here and there around the house.  This past weekend was filled with Christmas carols, hot chocolate, and lots of decorating.  Every year I seem to go a bit of a different route when decorating for Christmas.  I used to take photos to remember where to put every single decoration but then realized that I don't want to put items in the exact same spot each year.  I love moving things and changing things!

So this year, my theme seemed to be a bit more simplified and if I had to use two words to describe my decorating style this Christmas, those two words would be RED and BERRIES!  Everywhere you look I have sprigs of berries, clusters of berries, garlands of berries, candles with berries!  And my favorite color to decorate our home with is red.  So, the holidays are the perfect time to go crazy with this vibrant and joyful color.  Enough talking, take a peek at some of the photos I have taken!  The decorating is not done yet but we're off to a wonderful start and I am in the Christmas mood.

Thanks for visiting my Christmas holiday tour (I'm on tour with the Nester and the Christmas Home Tour and also seen on Tip Junkie).  I hope you enjoy decorating your home for Christmas and may this month be filled with family, friends, and love!  Happy holidays!
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Creative Christmas Card Displays

It's only a matter of days until that first Christmas card arrives in the mail and it's time to decide what to do with the beautiful cards!  Each year I keep my holiday cards in a cute basket and have fun shuffling through them again and again.  My little guy also loves to take the basket and curl up on the couch to browse through them.  It's one of his favorite holiday activities!  This year I was thinking of making a cute display for the Christmas cards where they will become an actual part of the decorating scheme and out for all to see!

This first idea is from Martha Stewart and I love it!  Fill a floral bucket with stones to make it stable and collect some branches and berry sprigs.  Arrange the branches in the bucket and you're ready for those Christmas cards to arrive in the mail.  With ribbon and tape you can attach the cards from the branches.  How cute is that!

The next idea involves ribbon and clothespins...even easier!  Find a spot to hang ribbon or twine from one end to the other.  Have a basket of clothespins ready for the cards and attach them to the ribbon one by one.  If you want to get a bit more crafty...paint the clothespins or add some cute embellishments!  This would look darling along the mantel or across a large window.  Check out Home and Country for more detailed instructions.  Loving it!

One more suggestion is to choose a favorite ribbon and hang them in varying lengths from a door, the stairs, or on a wall.  The Christmas cards will be attached along the ribbons for everyone to see.  Super easy and very cute!  Now I just need to decide how I want to display our holiday cards this year...so many darling ideas out there. 
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