Monday, October 26, 2009

Cheddar Chicken Chowder

Cheddar Chicken Chowder
Originally published by "Cooking Light"
Passed on to me from my friend, Karen!

2 bacon slices (I actually cooked the whole package at once in the pan, and what didn't fit in the pan I put in the oven, who cooks bacon 2 slices at a time??)
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced red pepper (I omited this, my family would pass out if they saw red in their chowder)
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 1/2 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth (I measured, it's about 2 cans)
1 3/4 cups diced peeled red potatoes (used Russet and I didn't peel them)
2 1/4 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups low fat milk
3/4 cups shredded cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

1. Cook bacon in a dutch oven over med. heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, crumble. (try your best not to eat it while crumbling!) Set aside the bacon. Add chicken, onion, bell pepper and garlic to pan drippings, saute' 5 minutes. Add broth and potato, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoe is tender. Add corn, stir well.

2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Place flour in a bowl. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended; add to the soup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in the cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Top with bacon (if you or your children haven't eaten all of it yet!:)

PS. This SMELLS wonderful! Can't wait to pull it out for dinner!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

TURN IT OFF & hold it!!!

I have learned so much over the last year or so from various blogs that I frequent. There is a common thread among most of what I'm reading....natural! Some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen are those where the subject is completely oblivious to a camera anywhere close. Since most of my pictures have people in them, I have really tried to be more transparent with the camera. The number one best trick I have learned is to TURN THE FLASH OFF!!! Granted there are some instances where it must be used. But, most of the time it will not be missed. Even indoorsHere are some pics that were taken indoors without a flash. I really love natural lighting, even if it isn't the greatest!

This is a picture that was taken indoors at a museum. Virtually no light anywhere, so the flash was used. We look a bit on the illuminated side but if we didn't use the flash then you wouldn't have known we were standing in front of the chocolate exhibit...(and we don't want to forget that wonderful day!!).
Last but not least, one more parting piece of advice...hold your breath. I have no idea where I read that. But, I got it from somewhere and I do it all the time now. Especially when I'm taking indoor pictures with low light. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries to get the picture without too much fuzziness. But, it has helped considerably. It really does help! Even if you don't have a fancy SLR, you CAN take great pictures!

Live Today.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Write now!!!!

I am sure, like me, you have probably wondered if what we are going through as a country is similar to what our grandparents faced. While we might not be experiencing it quite like they did, the feelings are the same. When we lose our job and wonder how we are going to feed our families those are the same emotions that our grandparents and parents faced. When we see businesses close their doors and friends pack up and move away, I am sure it feels exactly the same. But pondering on all of this actually gives me hope. They made it! They struggled and found new ways of doing things. They were handed the same empty plate and found a way to carry on. And in doing so, they raised a family with values, morals and a strong sense of togetherness.

February 3rd, 2004 my grandparents were going to celebrate their 59th anniversary. As a family, all 50 of us did an album for them. It was an album created by ALL of us. It was very important for everyone to share their thoughts and wonderful memories in their own pictures and in their own handwriting! I actually did several pages of grandpa and grandpa and the story of their life. Then the rest of the family did pages that I added to the album.

My grandparents had 6 children. So, I actually mailed 12x12 sheets to all the kids and asked them to write a letter to their mom and dad and maybe add a few pictures if they wanted. Beautiful does not even come close to describing how these pages turned out!This is my mom's page.
And not only did the 6 kids get involved but all the grandkids did a page. I actually got carried away and did several pages. I had lots of stories to tell! The point is, don't wait! Those wonderful stories are so very close to never being remembered! If you have family members that remember the "good ole days". Start asking them questions and write them down or record them and transcribe them later.
The book that I did really isn't all that fancy. I actually used the computer to write down my grandparents story and used lots vintage stuff. It didn't take all that long. With everyone contributing something it turned out to be a treasured keepsake. After it was finished, many in the family wanted copies of it. So, we took it to Kinko's and made some copies. The copies actually turned out pretty good too! :)
While you are busy remembering your families' stories, maybe find out a little more about those who have already walked the long road of life.
Live Today!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

keeping it real....

My dad came in to see his girls, grandbabies and even the son-in-laws. What a wonderful time we had. The time I get to spend with my mom and dad is precious, it doesn't get to happen often enough. Many times in the past, we have found ourselves taking lots of "posed" shots. Ever since I started Project 365, I have been thinking twice about the pictures that truly capture our lives. I mentally decided to take more pictures of dad and the kids without them even knowing I had a camera in my hand. I didn't want to say, "look up here". I wanted the lense to capture their expressions and the bonding.When I look at the pictures I have, I can hear the laughs and the conversations. I can even smell the delicious food we ate at Chang's...

Another evening we were driving and R and D were having a nice father-son conversation. I don't even remember what they were talking about. What I do remember is D having his hand up explaining something and R instinctively placing his in his daddy's. I have never grabbed my camera so fast. Thank heavens it was sitting right next to me in my purse...(love the point and shoots for that!)
This is a picture that I would never EVER try to create. The fact that it was such a natural thing is what makes it priceless to me!

Last but not least..wanted to share something I did for my P365. We all have days that seem endless. The list of things to do is mind boggling. Most of the things on my lists aren't even life changing. But, they are still part of my life and things that are important to my family. Here is a card that went straight into my book back on July 24th.
Needless to say I couldn't even fit it onto a 4x6 card. So, I took a piece of 12x12 cardstock (mine happend to be lined to resemble notebook paper) and trimmed it down to 4x12. Journaled and embellished it. Then I folded it vertically 2 times so it would fit into my 4x6 slot. Now I will always remember the little things that added up to be a very full day!

Live today!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How Old Am I???

Today as the kids and I were driving, I had a strange moment. I couldn't remember how old I was. Honest. I was sitting at a stop sign and I don't even remember the thought process of why it was important for me to remember. But, I turned to H and said, "How old am I?" At the same time I was counting from my birth year to present, doing the math. I was actually relieved to realize I was still 33. I think I was expecting to be a bit older. That was a really strange feeling. Whew! I've still got several months before I turn 34. I felt like I was given a sip from the fountain of youth. I can handle 33! I guess the older we get the less we actually have to disclose our age. Wouldn't it be cool to kind of pick which age we would like to pause at. And then when we get to 60 or so start keeping track again. Becase I hear you can get some great deals with a senior discount.
Our summer has slowed down considerably. I should be grateful for this "down" time. I did finally finish H's school page, now on to R's. But my master list of things I HAVE to get done this summer is just about finished.
1. clean the siding on the house (check)
2. restain the deck (check)
3. clean out the garage (check)
4. paint furniture on the deck (check)
and a few others that are tragically boring...(check)

So, here I am. My children don't want to go anywhere. They simply want to be at home, which I can understand. But, being a person ALWAYS in motion, this not going anywhere is starting to do strange things to me. I have to shake myself and remember that school will start all too soon and life will dramatically change. So, here's to slowing down and soaking it all in..ALL of it.

Live Today!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


This game has become a cornerstone of our evening routine. We have REALLY loved going to bed later and sleeping in. Poor D, he has to get up when the rest of us are knocked out! But, we have spent several nights now all piled on our bed trying to outwit each other in UNO! So fun! I think everyone has won except R. He hasn't figured out the right time to use those wild cards. He'll get it soon enough. This is my picture for today. Some of the pictures I use are "fixed up" and some are not. This is one that I kept pretty raw, except I did deepen the contrast. I like the fact that it is a little blurry. I LOVE the golden hue above H's head!
Live Today!
P.S. Today Becky Higgins posted a "life story" PDF for you to print out and fill in. It's so cute! I have saved it in my "to do" folder and want to do this. GoHERE.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Too busy summering

I have my kids' school book pages all laid out in my studio. I have been trying to work on them now for about 2 weeks. So far, I have totaled about 1 hour since then. I also have ALL of June's 365 pictures in a folder, ready to be uploaded to Shutterfly, and I have about 20 story cards to make to go with them. But, I decided the time I get to spend with my kiddies and wonderful friends and family takes front seat these days. While I do try to do a little bit of documenting every day, I once read some words that basically said this, "Spend more time making your memories than you do documenting them." So, that is what I'm doing! :) Everything has a season, right? This is a picture of some wonderful people we have gotten to make some wonderful memories with!!!
Live Today!

Friday, July 10, 2009


Tim Holtz is an amazing creator of all kinds of scrapbook products that I REALLY want to try!! This is one of them... This is actually part of a set of rubber stamps. He's got tons more that he is launching!

If you are interested at all at seeing some of his stuff, go HERE. He has some really fun demo's on his website, He does alot of grunging and has a different perspective (I guess since he is a guy maybe?). It isn't your normal pink flowery girlie stuff! :)

Live Today!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 2 of Class

Wow! Jessica Sprague is breaking it way down and making it so easy! This is what I learned in Day 2.. I didn't realize that the term "brush" actually means like a "stamp". Brush is the digital version, stamp is the "real" version that is made of rubber and goes with ink! Wowee! Didn't realize that there was so much you could do with those things! Oh and here's another something I did with some brushes. So easy and so much fun!! Can't wait until tomorrow...actually I could do day 3 right now seeing that tomorrow is here. But, I think I'll save that for when I wake up all tired from staying up most of the night playing!
Live Today!

Monday, July 6, 2009


WOWEEE!! I am having way too much fun now! If you have been wanting to learn more about digital frames and how to add them to your photos, TODAY IS YOUR LUCKY DAY!!! And I am not a big "luck" kind of gal, but this is FABULOUS! Jessica Sprague Right now this class is $45. I signed up for it about a week ago and somehow I got it free. So, if you don't want to pay the $45 maybe bookmark her sight or better yet sign up to become a member of her site and maybe she'll send you upcoming class info. Regardless, I just took my first "class" and learned something very valuable that has been eluding me for quite awhile. Her classes are designed to be accessed at your convenience so that you can go back over it as many times as you want! PS. If you are my sister, I will be sharing some info. that we were just talking about this weekend...Horrah for sisters! :) Look at what I just did after my 10 minute class... And this is my 365 POTD (picture of the day!:)
I opened up my picture in Photoshop Elements and added a layering mask, a frame and added text. Took me about a minute to do! :)

More to come very very excited!
Live Today!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Portable Pancakes

My picture for today is of the Eggo Waffles Pancake box. I haven't even taken the picture yet (don't have the pancakes in my house right now...long story). But, it's a story worth remembering! My sweet little girl has always LOVED pancakes. So, when we started planning menus for the beach, pancakes were way up on the list. However, I told her that we weren't going to do ANY fancy cooking. I mean pouring hot oil into a pan and actually mixing up batter is FANCY! :) So, she goes, "mom, let's just buy some portable pancakes." At first I was not following, so she explained, "you know the frozen kind you can take anywhere"....portable. I thought that was such a very interesting angle on the whole frozen food. It does have a more sophisticated ring to it...portable pancake!
Anyway...don't want to forget that. Since I don't have the box, I wrote that whole story and the DATE on a ripped out piece of notebook paper. I stuck it in my album where the picture will go so I will remember to get that picture. (truth be told I'll probably have to jot down another note and stick it on the frige so I'll remember). Whatever works for you, do it! Remember all the stories, especially the everyday ones that are so very unique!

Since I don't have the picture of the portable pancakes..I thought I'd leave you a parting shot. My mom, sister and I have started this tradition of taking a yearly self portrait session on a random park bench. This year was no different. We found our park bench, laughed hysterically at nothing and everything and have some great pictures to prove it. This is my picture for June 12th
OK...couldn't resist, here are a few more from our park bench photo session.

Live Today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Simple as ABC

Wow! What a wonderful start to our summer! It finally feels like summer! My picture from June 17th looks like this....we have had LOTS of rain. Wonderful for my plants and flowers. Not so fun for 2 kiddies who want to get in their pool and play! But, thankfully it has warmed up!

OK. I had an idea. I have gotten a wee bit behind in my 365 project. Still taking pictures, but have gotten a bit behind in my journaling cards. So...I had a brainstorm. I'm going to do my summer pictures a little different. The ABC's of summer will be showcased for a little while. Assigning a letter to the various activities we are doing this summer. I will probably still take lots of pictures and maybe even do a little "traditional 365" in there too. But, this takes a little pressure off.
Still keeping the date associated with the picture and still taking pictures of our everyday life.
Except now it's just a bit more to the point. Nothing fancy. Just life. I did the editing in Photoshop. Just created a couple of layers. Reduced the opacity for the main letters to about 54% and moved the remaining journaling around until it looked OK. I'm not into perfect these days. Just into doing it!

I want to remember this summer, but I don't want to spend so much time worrying about HOW I'm going to remember it (picture taking, journaling, keeping up with documenting it!)
Have fun.

Live Today!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Family and everyday life

Here is a page that I recently did of my precious family. I got an opportunity to go home, just me! It was nice, we kind of reverted back about 20 years or so..eating Whataburger in the car and sight seeing (well dad and Brett did sight seeing while the girls sat on a bench.)
This is the picture I used for March 25th. Don't forget to document your morning routine. You might think that it will be like this FOREVER, but it won't! I just wish I would have done this type of scrapbooking when my kids were babies! Wouldn't that be fun to go back and read???

Live Today!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Mothers Day

Wow! How wonderful Mother's Day is. A day to remember how much we are blessed to have family! I was reminded how much I have to be thankful for; happy and healthy children, a wonderful husband who provides for us and the ability to enjoy spending time together! We planted my peony bush, went fishing and watched one of my favorite series,"Cranford". It was a very relaxing day. I already have my journaling card filled out and it is waiting for me to print this picture to go with it. But, I will wait a couple of weeks. (It saves on shipping to print in batches!)
This is what I came up with to store my 12x12 6 up page protectors. I got so tired of seeing them stacked in no rhyme or reason. This is an express box from the post office. Yes! I thought about using it to ship something to someone, but then decided to use priority and just happened to have this left over. So...if you are THINKING of shipping something to someone, pick this up JUST IN CASE! And then you can just cover it and use it to store your 12x12 stuff. It is like 13x14 or something like that so 12x12 products fit PERFECT! I buy my page protectors at They almost always have their scrapbook stuff 20% off. I use We R Memory Keepers. $7.95 will buy you 25 heavy duty page protectors. Very reasonable!
Live Today!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Creative Process

Like you, my creative process is constantly changing. Sometimes up, sometimes down, sometimes nothing. Regardless I keep on going. Just bought Kelly Rae Roberts' book, "Taking Flight". Love. She is a mixed media artist who actually uses lots of scrapbooking products in her work. Last night I was just dying to try this is what I came up with. I didn't even bother trying to make it perfect or do it "right". I just started. And I'm proud of the fact that I did something new and out of my normal comfort zone. (that's the essence of the book.) far as my "365" Project. Yes, I do take pictures every week. Taking the pictures is the first step. Once I take the pictures, I create a journaling card for that picture pretty quick so I don't forget details. (I keep some premade 4x6 cards of various colors in my studio to save time). So, I might have several cards in my album with no pictures to go with them...yet. I upload my pictures to Shutterfly in batches. Most of the time I do a couple of months worth at a time. I don't print every picture from every day or occasion. If I take 12 pictures of one "event" I might print 1 or 2 (or sometimes more) pictures for that day.
This is what May 5th looked like I have my journaling card and pictures to go along with that day. I actually had a couple of more pictures that go with this card and they continued on the back side of the page so the back looks like this.
The 3 pictures at the top are continued from the previous page and the 3 cards on the bottom are waiting for me to print off the pictures to go with them. This system actually helps me remember which pictures I want to print off. They are all important to me, but I don't print out everything!
This is May 5th waiting for pictures of our turtles...
This is a page from April. I try to use my children's handwriting as much as possible. R wrote down his recipe and so I just glued that on my journaling card added a few more details and I was stress, no pictures stuffed in a box somewhere in hopes of scrappin' them later. I do have my layouts mixed in there. If I get inspired, I'll make a whole page and just stick them in. I try to keep the order chronological by date.
(The layout to the left IS upside down...) My albums are very eclectic looking. I don't mind though. It's all part of the process! :)

Live Today!

P.S. This post looks extrememly off kilter because I'm trying different ways to upload my pictures...I want them to be clear and big. But, some of them look way too big and some not so clear. I'm working on that detail..:)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mostly journaling

This is my very first journal that I received on my 14th birthday. I will be 34 in October, so I have been journaling for almost 20 years. This is my very first entry. I love to look back and see what I was thinking 20 years ago. More importantly, my children might find some amusement in looking at these later on in life.

I have read so many stories about how people react when they find out that there is a possibility that they might not be able to tell their children how much they love them or what they thought about life! I find it very interesting that when you don't have lots of time, you aren't worried about "things" just want your family to know how much you love them! I am so thankful that I have a spot reserved for them. Pictures are great and I really think that they will always love the scrapbooks...But, in my journals I talk about all kinds of things.

My journals are ongoing letters to my children. (I keep a journal for me and one for each of my children) I don't write in them every day or every week even. Sometimes I will go for a month or two and not write anything. Or sometimes I'll write in them several times in a week. Sometimes a couple of sentences, sometimes a couple of pages. Just depends on what is on my mind. I try to write down the cute things they are doing and saying at any given time. I also try to talk about values and things that I hold close to my heart.

Never EVER think that you don't have anything to say. If you are breathing oxygen right now, you have something to say. I dare you to just start writing. It doesn't have to make sense and you don't even have to be "interesting". Just start. Buy a journal at Target or Wal-Mart, open the book, put the date on the top line and just start writing. You really will shock yourself at how easy it is and how much you will enjoy it once you start. And think of it as a gift to your family.

This is my trunk that lives at the foot of our bed. This is a peak at all the journals I have kept over the last 20 years or so...

On another journaling note....I have taken the "Project 365" challenge. This is where I got so many ideas on how I want to scrapbook from now on. I don't want to forget our everyday life that is so wonderful and worth remembering. If you want to see where it all originated go HERE.
This is my picture for today. My husband is doing such a wonderful job of getting our little yard to go from dirt and drab to beautiful and green.

Your life is worth remembering....ALL of it!
Live Today!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Art is good for the soul!

Inspiration comes from many places. I find LOTS of inspiration from original work from others. I love to see what people can create and different ways to use various mediums of paint and paper. Kelly Rae has a very unique way of mixing the two. I love her shop on etsy. You can find it here...
Kelly Rae Etsy

Live Today. Dawn

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Be You

I found this on one of the blogs I go to daily. Melody Ross is a woman who achieved great success at a VERY young age in the scrapbook industry. However, her life turned upside down when her husband was in a surfing accident that caused brain damage. She is no longer a millionaire, she lost just about everything. She has been full circle to say the least. Yet, she keeps on going and has gotten back up and is still in the game of life. She just has a very inspirational story. Here is her blog if you are interested..
Melody Ross

And just for fun I'm going to share another one of my favorite blog sites. Her name is Kelly Rae Roberts. She was a social worker for many years, but then kind of stumbled upon her God given gift..painting with mixed media. I LOVE her work.Kelly Rae website. She has written a book and also has an etsy shop.Kelly Rae's etsy. I want one of everything she has!

Live Today and just be YOU!