Freezer Meal Extravaganza

While Reid was out of town, I decided to make a bunch of freezer meals to prepare for the baby! It will be nice to pull these things out this fall once we are “on our own” in caring for 2 kids. I’m pretty impressed with how much I made, I gotta say!  Here is what I ended up with…(and the groceries for all of this was under $100-not too shabby!)
20 bean and beef burritos
1 pizza dough crust
sloppy joe/meat sauce
cream cheese chicken casserole
stuffed shells casserole
white chicken chili
The burritos, cream cheese casserole and stuffed shells all came from my friend Katie. Here are those recipes if you are interested!
Brown Bag Burritos 

2 lb. ground beef
2 cans refried beans (I make my own)
1 1/3 c. enchilada sauce
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. minced onion
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
3 c. shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend, whatever)
green chilis
20 flour tortillas (burrito-size)Brown ground beef; drain.  Add remaining ingredients (except tortillas).  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Heat 3-4 tortillas at a time.  Spoon 1/4 c. beef mixture down the side of each tortilla. 

Roll up.  Wrap each burrito in a paper towel, then wrap in foil. 
Refrigerate or freeze.  I like to pack them in the tortilla ziplock bag.
When ready to eat, remove foil and microwave for about a minute.  The paper towel keeps the burritos moist.  If you don’t use a microwave, skip the paper towel and just wrap in foil.  Then heat burritos in the oven with foil.  For a sit down meal they are nice topped with lettuce, cheese, salsa, and sour cream.  If you’re eating on the run, though, just grab and go!

Alysia’s Stuffed Shells

1 package jumbo shells
1 large Prego spaghetti sauce or 2 bottles of another brand
1-2 lbs hamburger
1-2 garlic cloves
White or yellow onion chopped
1 8 oz. bag shredded mozzarella
1 c or MORE of parmesan cheese
¼ c. Italian bread crumbs
2 eggs
* maybe could add spinach
Salt, pepper, and parsley to taste 
1. Preheat to 350
2. Boil jumbo shells until cooked. Drain and set aside to cool.
3. Mince garlic and chop onion, then sauté in a little olive oil. Add hamburger and cook    then let cool a bit.
4. In a bowl mix mozzarella, bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
5. Mix in hamburger and then add 2 eggs
6. Pour a little bit of spaghetti sauce into 9×13 dish. 
7. Stuff shells with meat/cheese mix and place in dish. 
8. Pour sauce over shells until covered and sprinkle with parmesan.
9. Bake for 30 minutes.

Cream Cheese Chicken Casserole 
Chicken Fryer (or a bunch of chicken breasts) 
2 cans Cream of chicken 
Sm onion 
8 oz. cream cheese 
2 c. milk 
1 c. small shell pasta – uncooked 
1⁄2 – 1 stick of butter 
 Bread Crumbs 
1. Preheat to 350 
2. Boil chicken – remove bones and cut into bite size pieces 
3. Mix soup, onion, cream cheese (cut into small cubes), milk, pasta, and chicken 
4. Put into greased 9 x 13 pan 
5. Mix butter and bread crumbs and sprinkle on top (if freezing wait until baking to add) 
6. Bake for 1 Hour (check it at about 50 minutes) 
The meat sauce is one of my dad’s recipes. It works great over spaghetti or for sloppy joes!
Dad’s Meat Sauce

2 lb ground beef
1 chopped onion
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of tomato soup
salt/pepper to taste
1 can mushroom pieces
2 Tbs chili powder
Brown the hamburger and onion, drain. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve over spaghetti or buns. 
This white chicken chili is probably the recipe I make most often. It’s so easy and delicious and everyone always likes it! I have made it so many times and changed the recipe so much–this is how we like it!

White Chicken Chili

4 cups cooked chicken breast – diced or shredded (I actually put it in the blender or food processor sometimes)
1 cup chopped onion
1 tbs minced garlic
3 cups chicken broth (or more if you like it more soupy)
2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp cumin
2 cans great northern white beans
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can chopped green chilis
 1 cup corn (optional)
Saute onion and garlic in butter. Combine all ingredients in a large soup pot and simmer for 1 hour. Serve with crushed tortilla chips, sour cream and grated cheese on top!

A little paint…

…goes a long way! Like I mentioned earlier, most of my “before” pictures got erased, but I will still show you the “after” ones! Here are some of the things I have spruced up with paint. The above picture is a cool shelf from an antique store that was bright orange. Not sure what it’s original purpose was, but it makes a cute bookshelf in the nursery! We just spray painted it a glossy white. So easy!
I’ve also been looking for a little wooden doll highchair for Lula, but was not willing to spend much money. I found this one at a garage sale for $5! It was an ugly blue and brown, so again I just spray painted it a nice glossy white and it’s adorable. 
And lastly, I DO have the “before” pictures of my childhood headboard. It’s a lovely oak early 90’s look, isn’t it? 
After sanding it and 1 coat of primer plus 4 coats of yellow paint, it looks super cute as Lula’s “big girl bed”! (Yes, we have stuffed pillows next to the wall because we are still a little paranoid about Lula falling out of bed or getting stuck)

Vintage Sheets

I recently participated in a vintage sheet exchange.  I sent off 44 fat quarters of a few vintage sheets that I cut up and in return got 44 different fat quarters.  Above are a few of my favorites. I have no idea what I will do with these, but I’m sure they will find their way into projects here and there. I was honestly a little disappointed with some of the sheets that I received.  Ugly polyester sheets from 1992 are NOT vintage in my opinion, but I will get over it and cherish the 1960’s beauties that I did receive! I will be sure to keep everyone updated on what I do with my new vintage fabric!!

Lula is Two!

We celebrated Lula’s 2nd birthday this past weekend with a day at the zoo and a birthday party in the park!
Her birthday morning started out like this:
But she soon changed her attitude when she got her birthday donut
 On Saturday night, we had a great doggie-themed party with Lula’s cousins at the park! Here is her cake:
Her adorable outfit was made by my mom!
Lula’s felt birthday crown was made by her Aunt Kodie! So cute! The “2” is velcro and so it can be replaced with a 3 next year!
We even had a dog pinata for everyone to hit. However, it was a little traumatic for Lula to see everyone beating her favorite animal. Mom and Dad didn’t quite think that one through. Oops.
Happy 2nd birthday sweet Lula!

Cheap and Easy Curtains

I made the easiest curtains ever for Lula’s room.  I just had to share the tutorial.  Enjoy!!

 Everyone who tells me they can’t sew things like curtains needs to make these, there is barely any sewing required! They probably cost under $10 total, which is also a big plus!

Here is what you need:
1 twin flat sheet (if you get them from Walmart they are only $5 and come in lots of colors!)
6 yards of ball fringe (optional…you could make plain curtains without the frills)
Sewing machine
First, you  need to cut the sheet in half length-wise.  I chose to rip it. Yes, ripping fabric is actually a great way if you have a large piece. It also guarantees to be perfectly straight because it tears right along the weave of the fabric.  Just fold it in half, cut through any seams and then rip away!
Then, you need to fold over the ripped edge (about 1/4 inch) and iron.
Fold again 1/4 inch and iron.
Sew along the folded edge.
Now, you need to make the top part of the curtain casing for the curtain rod.  I did the bottom of the sheet (the smaller already sewn seam) and just folded it over about 2 inches and ironed.
Now, just sew along, close to the open edge to create a casing for the curtain rod. Of course you will do all of these steps to both curtain pieces.
Now, pin on the ball fringe on the outside of the curtain edges and sew down.  
And you are done!! 
They look so cute with some coordinating tie backs:

To learn how to make these equally simple tie backs, here is my tutorial

Storage Solution

We are still trying to put together our office in the front living room since Lula is moving into the former office space.  Since we don’t want things to look super cluttered, we have been trying to come up with a way to store mail and bills while still looking organized.  I found these baskets at Michaels for $6, and thought they would look great hanging on the wall for storage.  I also hung a family picture and plan to do a few more things to pull the space together. I will post pictures of the finished product hopefully soon!

DIY Lamp Makeover

Even though I have been slow to post, I have been going crazy with projects.  My goal is to get Lula’s room finished by her birthday (which is on Friday!!) so that she has 6 weeks to adjust to a big girl bed and different room before the baby takes over he old one! That is assuming the baby does not come early! 
It’s been a bit difficult to get an entire room ready with basically every single item in the room a DIY project while 8 months pregnant with your husband out of town for 6 weeks, but I have lots of incredible friends (and my mother) that have helped me along the way!
This is the first of many projects–a super cute lamp! I took some before pictures of a lot of my projects and they all got mysteriously erased from my camera. I almost cried. This lamp was one of those pictures. The before picture along with step by step picture instructions were erased. So, we will make due.  The lamp was a dark brown, so I spray painted that section white. The lampshade was a cream color.
For this project you will need:
hot glue gun
bias tape
1/4 yard of fabric
spray adhesive
First (these were the pictures that got erased, so just use your imagination!)..cut the fabric to fit around the shade, leaving it a good 6 inches wider just in case. 
Next, you are just going to carefully align it with the lampshade and use the spray adhesive to attach.  I did this in little tiny sections, really smoothing out the fabric to make it look really professional with no bumps. Follow the directions on your spray adhesive.
Next, turn under the edge and hot glue down to make a seam as shown:
This seam can just be the backside of the lampshade.
Then, trim and wrap the edges to the inside of the lampshade, and attach with a bead of hot glue.  When done, it will look like this on the inside:
I wanted a more finished look for the top of my shade, so I got some bias tape and hot glued it along the raw edge of fabric:
You could skip this step, but I think it really made it look more finished and less “homemade”
And you are done!!
You can see a sneak peek of Lula’s wall color behind the lamp!