Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Roasted Red Potatoes

I'm always looking for a good vegetable can really spice up a dinner more than a plain bowl of beans or corn. I happened upon this recipe on and it has been a favorite ever since. Everyone we have made it for raves. And it's so easy, you'll have time to make a yummy dessert, too.

Roasted Red Potatoes

2 lbs. small red potatoes, cut in pieces
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika

In a small roasting pan, toss the potatoes in oil. Arrange potatoes in pan with cut side down. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and paprika on the top. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 25 minutes until potatoes are tender inside and undersides are crusty brown.

**And ladies, I'm having a hard time believing that so few of my bloggy friends out there want to win some gorgeous earrings...leave a comment here to get your name in the strings attached!**

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tres Jolie Earring Giveaway

Last year, some great friends of ours purchased a jewelry company that sold exclusively in Norstrom stores. Although you can still get pieces at The Rack, this gorgeous jewelry collection is also available in other stores now and online here. Très Jolie jewelry is hand crafted from the highest quality materials including Crystallized Swarovski Elements, Bali Sterling Silver and the most beautiful semi-precious stones from around the world.

Laguna Beach Classic Bracelet

Austin Classic Double Twist Bracelet

Bali Silver raindrop Post Earrings

And now, on to the good stuff! Tres Jolie is offering this gorgeous set of Bali Silver hoop earrings (they regularly retail for $58.90) as a giveaway this week to one of my lucky blog readers. All you need to do is leave a comment between now and Friday night and we will announce the lucky winner on Saturday morning. But want another chance to win?? Link to this post on your blog, let me know about it, and we'll give you another entry. As always, if you don't have a blog, are private, or your profile is not enabled on Blogger, please leave an email address so we can contact you if you win.

And as if that's not enough, just in time for Mother's Day, Tres Jolie is offering an additional 10% off any purchase for my readers. Just enter the code Amber10 at checkout to adjust your total to show your discount.

Good luck!!

**UPDATED!! The link to Tres Jolie's website was broken, but I think it is up and running now. Go check out all of their great stuff after you enter the giveaway!**

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cruel, Cruel Mother Nature

Tony spent some time working on the yard today and in the process found two little bunny nests. We're not so happy about it, but the kids were thrilled. After dinner, Tony took the kids out to see the little baby bunnies in the nests. They had just come back inside and were looking out the porch door when a big crow came swooping down and snagged one of the baby rabbits and flew off with it.

Tony explained that it was all part of nature.

Sam felt much, much differently.

And so the boy who loves all things tiger/lion/cheetah/crocodile has had a mighty change of heart.

He just came downstairs and told Tony:

Sam: "Dad? Herbivores are awesome."

Tony: "Really? What about carnivores??"

Sam: "Carnivores are evil pests."

I guess Sam will be trading his Cougarman costume back in for Zebraman.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Martie said...

Amber, I never enter these things, but I cannot help myself this time. I've seen your stuff first-hand, and it's perfect. Thank you for the opportunity!

Well, you got lucky this time, Martie!! Shoot me an email at amberntmac(at)hotmail(dot)com with your address and I'll get it in the mail!

And for all of you out there who wanted to know about the pattern, it is from a book by Nancy Halverson called "Forget Me Not" that was published back in 1997 and which I can't seem to find online anymore (sorry!!). It was originally a calender wall quilt that detailed the birthdays of the month in a block next to the cute little quilted images. I just made them into individual quilts. I also redesigned March and December to make them a little less tedious. If you click here it will take you to Nancy Halverson's site...she has some amazing books and patterns that are similar to what I did here.

And for those of you who didn't win (or chose not to enter), you'll want to check back in on Monday. I'll give you a hint: giveaway. I'll give you another hint: jewelry. That's right, some friends of mine own a jewelry store and are offering a GORGEOUS set of earrings as a giveaway. So we'll see you Monday!!

Put Down the Phone...

...if you're tempted to call CPS after seeing this sad, sad picture of our little man. He fell on the edge of the fireplace today while we were doing a visiting teaching visit thus ensuring two black eyes and a cut on his nose and right eye. But just because he did it to himself doesn't make me feel any less sorry for him.

Hence the puff blanket, the favorite chair, the chocolate milkshake and Little Einsteins.


**Today is the last day to enter the Handmade Gift Giveaway. We'll be drawing for a winner after Survivor tonight which will be 8:00 Central Time. So check back for the winner and another HUGE something that you'll want to get in on...**

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Grateful Glimpse

It was such a gorgeous afternoon that the kids and I decided to sit out on the front porch and eat our dinner while we waited for Tony to get home from work. The big kids were riding their scooter and drawing on the driveway when Josh walked up to me and handed me this.

And then promptly reached for a new one. Because as we all know, the first bite of donut is the only good bite. And mommies will always be there to eat what's left over so that their children can have the best part. And for just a brief moment holding that donut with the mouse bite out of it, bathed in the sunshine of early evening, I was reminded of what it truly means to be a mother. And I am grateful for the glimpse.

**There is still time to get in on the Handmade Gift Giveaway.**

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Handmade Gift Giveaway

It's giveaway time!

Several months ago, I took the challenge to make and send a homemade gift to the first five people to comment on my post. Well, these gifts went out last week. But the fun news is that I made an extra SIXTH set to offer as a giveaway! So if you would like a chance to win this mini-hanger and set of twelve quilted wall hangings, one for each month of the year to display in your home, please leave a comment here before Thursday night. A winner will randomly be selected on Friday morning. If you have a private blog or your profile is not available through blogger, please leave your email address in your comment.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

She Dreamed A Dream...

I've already posted today, but I had to share this. I'm not sure how many of you have already heard of Susan Boyle. But I found this great clip of her performance on Britains Got Talent and just had to share. Seriously, just take a moment and check it out. you won't be sorry.

I have always LOVED this song, and now I love it even more. I even think I like Simon a little more now, too.

A Bit of Semi-Nude Almond Joy

First of all, y'alls get your mind out of the gutter.

These are actually my take on my friend Jessica's recipe for Naked Almond Joy Cookies. I love almond, and honestly Jessica, I tried them without chocolate and well, I just couldn't do it. So I drizzled a little dark chocolate on the top. I hope we can still be friends.

Naked Almond Joy (Naked meaning, in theory, there's no chocolate coating)

4 egg whites
2/3 cup Splenda for baking
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
(I actually used 1/4 tsp. almond extract and 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups flaked coconut
raw almonds for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat baking pan with cooking spray. Whip egg whites until stiff. Add Splenda, vanilla, and salt. Beat until peaks form. Fold in coconut. Spoon onto baking sheet. Place almonds on top. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until brown. Let cool before eating.

In addition, I melted a Hershey's Special Dark chocolate bar in a double boiler and drizzled it over the cookies and allowed it to harden again.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pottery Barn Envy

Ever since my mom and I redecorated our downstairs guest suite, I have been on the look-out for a great, shabby chic dresser to go in the room. My mom, who stays in the guest suite occasionally, suggested it would be nice to have a place to unpack a little...make it feel more like home. And after looking around I found one I really liked. In my Pottery Barn catalog. For $799. Plus $50 shipping. Because heaven forbid they actually have it in stock at my Pottery Barn in town. Sheesh.

About 3 weeks ago, Anna and I had a few minutes and were perusing our favorite antique warehouse in town. And we found this really cool dresser. But I didn't want to buy it until I talked to Tony about it. (He unfortunately seems to notice new pieces of large furniture.) But before I got a chance, I got a coupon in the mail for the very antique warehouse where we had found the dresser. So I went back and bought it. For all of $65. I brought it home, gave it a good rubdown with a magic eraser, and added Target clearance pewter knobs. Not exactly Pottery Barn, but not too bad.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Keepin' Them Safe

I know, I know, I said I was taking the weekend off, but I had an experience with Sam today that I had to make sure I got down for posterity.

As background, one of the first things they go over in Cub Scouts is ways to be safe...on the computer, from abuse by Scout leaders, family members, and how to avoid being approached by strangers and what to do if you ARE approached by a stranger. Of course, sitting in the safety of our kitchen, Sam passed with flying colors.

I was out running errands this morning and when I turned the last corner towards my house, I saw Sam playing in the yard. I pulled over right to the curb, rolled down my window and in my best bad-guy voice asked Sam:

Me in bad-guy voice: "Hey. Would you like a piece of candy, little boy?"

Sam: "Yeah!"

Me in my shocked mama voice: "SAM!! What are you SUPPOSED to say?"

Sam: "Oh, sorry. Can I have some candy, please?"

Apparently, more practice is in order. Or I need to practice my bad-guy voice.

Friday, April 10, 2009

"E" is for Easter Eggs and Elephants

We spent the morning during Josh's nap dyeing our Easter eggs! The big kids really got into it and enjoyed the chance to do most of the steps themselves. We are very happy with the way they turned out...I just had to take a picture of them in my favorite antique compote dish before putting them back in the fridge for the Easter Bunny to find and hide. Our Easter Bunny comes on Saturday morning...a tradition we started with Sam so that Sunday is all about the real meaning of Easter.

And, seriously, has anybody else seen the adorable new Martha Stewart punches?? I can't seem to find them anywhere online, but I found this elephant at my local Michaels. The little ear poking out is too cute and so perfect for little baby boys cards and tags.

I'm taking a few days off to enjoy the Easter season with my family. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bunny Ramekin Visiting Teaching Gifts

Whenever I get out to Utah, one of my must make stops is Tai Pan. It is very hit or miss...sometimes I can't find a thing and sometimes my cart isn't big enough. But this last trip in January, I did find these cute bunny ramekins. I bought a few and squirreled them away for my April visiting teaching gifts. I simply filled them with mini chocolate treats, wrapped them in cellophane and added a tag with this wonderful quote by Elder Robert D. Hales on it:

“Jesus Christ is the Light of the Atonement fulfilled in the Garden of Gethsemane and on Golgotha, who took upon Himself the sins of the world, that all mankind may obtain eternal salvation. He is the Light of the empty tomb. He is my Light, my Redeemer, my Savior—and yours.”

I love the Easter season and am so grateful for the wonderful reminder of it's true beginning.

Monday, April 6, 2009

It's Terrific to be TWO!

Today is Joshua's birthday. But because Megan was up for the weekend, we celebrated last night so she could be here. He LOVED blowing out the candles so much we actually lit them and he blew them out a couple of times. And then he'd clap for himself. Yeah, he's humble that way.

He is the light in our world. He is alternately a delight and a terror. He is stubborn and opinionated. He is loving and sweet. And he is all ours.

I was going through some baby pictures of the boys the other day and was again amazed at how much they looked alike as toddlers. All but for the cowlick. Josh has this outrageously cute cowlick on the left side of his forehead. It's hard to miss and the perfect place to kiss.

And so, our sweet Joshua, here are a few of the things that you like to do now as you turn two!!

*You pretty much run the family. Everything we do and don't do revolves around you.

*You take one crazy long nap in the morning and go to bed every night at 6:30. Although you're somewhat flexible, you don't like to vary much from this routine.

*You love your puff blankets and (much to the dismay of your mother), your binky. But only in your bed.

*You jabber in your own language, but know lots of words, animal sounds and noises, and will mimic anything.

*You can spot an airplane from miles away. Trips to base are wrought with excitement for you.

*You have always, and still are very liberal with your sweet baby kisses.

*We're not sure how, but you subsist on Nutra Grain bars, milk, popcorn, strawberries and bananas. With the occasional peanut butter sandwich thrown in for good measure.

*You hate being messy and sticky. You are my only child to care VERY MUCH if your nose is running.

These are just a few. We love you Josh. We're so glad you are part of our family!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Miss Karin!

So, last night at dinner Anna turns to me and tells me that her preschool teacher (Miss Karin) was celebrating her birthday on Monday and she wanted to make her a birthday present. And since next week is our Spring Break, we had to make it an easy and speedy one for it to be ready on Friday. Luckily, I had some simple frames left over from a camp craft project my mom did one year. These are actually just made out of particle board and could be substituted with any flat wooden craft frame...just drill the holes into the frame. We painted, cut the patterned paper to size, Mod Podged the paper to the front, threaded the ribbon around the frame, and added the flower...Anna picked it all out herself. And because we don't have a picture of just Anna and Miss Karin, Anna drew one for her. The picture is held in place by the ribbon cutting across the corners in the back of the frame.

Needless to say, Miss Karin was thrilled.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Getting My Veggies

This is my take on the candy carrots that I seem to be seeing everywhere this Easter season. I've done them a couple of times and love to give them as gifts (they'd be great visiting teaching gifts). I love that my local Target sells Jelly Belly jellybeans by flavor so I just mixed up all the orange ones to give it a little variance in color. Next, I cut some 12" x 12" green paper in about 1/4" strips. Take a handful and staple them near the bottom. Then I crimp them between my fingers. Fill your 12" icing bag (from my local Hobby Lobby) with the candy, put the stapled side of the paper strips down the middle of the candy, and tie off the top of the Jelly Bellys with a ribbon. I like to crinkle up the paper to make it look like carrot greens. SO MUCH cuter than the ones you buy at the store and actually, less expensive. Just remember that you don't need as many Jelly Bellys as you think you can always cut some off the top of your icing bag if you don't get enough.