Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's Spring! Right?

I think in other parts of the country, it's spring. Up here, we've still got snow and it's close to zero at night. I think the high the past couple of days has been 30 degrees. BRRRR.

I am soooo ready for spring to get here.

To bring a little spring into the house, I made a quick and easy little project today. Remember the blocks I did for Valentine's Day? Well, they were cut from a 2x4 and were only three of like 10-12 blocks ( I can't remember how many are left out in the garage).

I didn't want to do Easter specific blocks, so I decided on a spring theme.

April showers bring May flowers. Get it? I thought I was being pretty clever.

I started by sanding down the rough edges of the blocks. (This was done in the nice, cool garage. With my jacket on.)

Then, I brought them in and put them on my work surface. (Also known as a flattened out Bud Light box on my kitchen island. Oh, how I dream of the day when I have my craft room!)

Next, I painted them Antique White (cream) with craft paint. I put two coats on two sides, and three coats on the sides I was going to put the decorations on.  I didn't bother painting the bottoms.  In between coats of paint, I cut out shapes using my Silhouette and scrapbook paper that I already had.  The equals sign was a little puny to begin with, so I decided to layer  two  different kinds of paper to make it.

(I'm still learning how to use my Silhouette and I know I'm not using it in the most efficient way, but practice makes perfect right?)

Next, I put on the umbrella, equal sign and flowers with Mod Podge.  About half way through, I decided the sides needed a little bit of detail as well, so I used my Fiskars straight cutter and cut squares to fit the other two sides of the blocks and Mod Podged them on as well. (Is Mod Podged a word? Hmmm.)

At this point, they still looked like the could use a little something, so I used a distressing ink and just rubbed the ink pad on the edges and wiped it off with a paper towel. 

Here are my lovelies, on the window sill with my awesome Celtic scentsy warmer (Green Tea and Cactus is the current scent. Loverly). And of course, a bunch of snow is in the background.  I've been changing the order of the blocks every time I walk by. Right now, the umbrella and equals sign are swapped.  I'm sure I'll change them again tomorrow.

Linking up with:

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pork Loin Two Ways

I don't know if we invented it, but boy did we (ok, Sparky, my husband) come up with a great way to prepare a pork loin!

It's so simple, I don't even have any pictures. (That could also be because I just thought of doing this post while I was making supper tonight, not when we had the pork loin.)

Place pork loin in a crockpot
Wrap in bacon
Turn crockpot to low and go to work and let cook for 8+ hours

That's it. And let me tell you, it's WONDERFUL. The smoky flavor of the bacon infuses the pork and the bacon grease keeps it nice and moist. Serve with whatever side you'd like.

We had quite a bit of the pork loin left over, and it was so tender that it was pretty much shredded already. I could've just poured a bottle of Jack Daniels BBQ sauce on it and had pulled pork sandwiches, but I was feeling like Mexican.

Pork enchiladas, hear we come!

This recipe is adapted from the recipe on the can of Old El Paso Mild Green Chile Enchilada Sauce. (I tried to find the recipe on their website, but had no luck.)

Creamy Pork and Chile Enchiladas
2 C cooked, shredded pork
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, cut into cubes
6 whole wheat tortillas
2 cans (10oz) green chile enchilada sauce
1 can (4.5oz) chopped green chiles
2 C shredded cheddar cheese (The orignal recipe called for 3/4 C cheese, really? The cheesier the better I say!)

1. Heat oven to 400. Spray 13x9 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In a non-stick skillet (love my Rachael Ray's!), warm pork through. Stir in green chiles and cream cheese. Cook until blended.
3. Spoon pork filling into tortillas, place seam side down in baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce over entire pan. Top with cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

To go along with our yummy enchiladas, I threw together onions, peppers, sweet corn kernals, and black beans in a pan and cooked 'em up.

I love mine with a little light sour cream and avocado. (I could eat avocado with a spoon, all by itself. Oh wait, I do actually do that.)

As Backpack from Dora the Explorer would say, "Delicioso!"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Better late than never St. Patrick's Day Crafty Crafts

We've had a tough month around our house, but hopefully things will start looking up in the coming weeks! Thanks for being patient and sticking with me!

I did manage to get a couple of little St. Patrick's Day decorations made. I love St. Patrick's Day. My ancestors are Irish and it was always a big deal around our house. My husband, who is a teensy-tiny bit Irish, also loves the holiday. I think mainly because of the green beer, but I have to admit, I like that part too.

So, without further is what I came up with for St. Patricks' Day.  My inspiration was partially from what I did for Valentine's Day as well as a couple of posts that I've seen over the past month or so. (I want to apologize for the great bloggers that had a couple of  these ideas. I thought I'd bookmarked them so I could link to them, but can't find them now. If you remember seeing them, please comment with the link!)

Super easy! I drew a couple of lines for the bouquet. Then, I used my Silhouette to cut out a bunch of hearts and used double-stick tape to attach them. After that, I drew a bow with a silver paint pen and added some fake rhinestones from Hobby Lobby. I had all the paper, so only had to buy the rhinestones with were a couple of bucks for a bunch! I think I might put this in frame and keep it up year round.

For the candle, I took off the Valentines ribbon, used my Silhouette to cut out shamrocks in different colors and sizes and used double stick tape to attach them. I see great things in this candle's future. It's so versatile!

I used this little bucket for Valentine's Day too. This time, I took the dead plant out of it and turned the BE MINE to the back. (We weren't home for a while and it didn't make it.)  I used my Silhouette (again, sensing a theme here?) to cut the shamrock out of vinyl and added a fake little ball plant thing I got at Hobby Lobby for 50% off. I think I paid $1.50 for it. I had everything else on hand, so this little gem was cheap!

This was probably the easiest of them all. I used Microsoft Word and a bunch of different fonts and greens. I did have to look up Gaelic words online for some of them. Then, I printed it off at home on plain old copy paper and stuck it in a $3.00 frame from Wal-Mart.

This is my little corner shelf where everything is at.  It's become my theme shelf.

The other little vignette I created was super easy as well.

I found a font I liked in Microsoft Word and cut it out with my Silhouette along with one of the shamrocks I'd printed earlier.  I'd had some fake stems from a few years back that I threw into a little white vase I'd gotten from my husband's grandparent's house. I have three and love them.  So, again these were both free. Woo hoo!

We are making a lot of progress on the new house, so look for posts on that coming soon too!