Month: January 2015

My husband is not a fan of chicken. It all stems back to time he spent on an itty bitty base during the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It’s been several years since then, but he still gives me dirty looks if chicken is on the menu. Which makes me getting a Ronco Rotisserie for Christmas one year amusing.  It also means anytime I find a chicken dish he does like, it’s a keeper-AND this recipe is a keeper.

Easy Chicken & Dumplings

  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chicken seasoning
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 celery ribs diced
  • small bag frozen peas
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, flattened and cut into strip pieces

Directions

  1. In a small bowl combine paprika, pepper, garlic powder, and chicken seasoning. Coat chicken breasts with seasonings and then place in slow cooker.
  2. In a frying pan on medium heat melt 2 TBSP butter and soften onions and cellery.
  3. Add wine, soup, onion, celery, remaining 2 TBSP butter, and peas to the slow cooker. Fill with enough chicken broth to cover the mixture.
  4. Cover crock and cook for 6 hours on low. Cook on high another 2 hours. About 1 hour before serving, place the strips of biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

Servings: 8 

Yield: 8 servings

Book Review: Fool’s Assassin (The Fitz and The Fool Trilogy #1), by: Robin Hobb

I give this book four out of five stars for elegance of prose and the deep connection Hobb manifests between the reader and her characters. Hobb’s writing is such quality, her work is a guaranteed elegant and complex read after any binge on diluted romantic nonsense. In my opinion Hobb’s work is some of the best the Fantasy genre has to offer in modern day. She showcases the beauty and wonder of a fictitious place while providing a character driven story that is moving, heart felt, and relatable to anyone.

The Rain Wilds Chronicles are the only other books by Hobb’s that I previously read. I was able to navigate this book without issue. While I’m guessing I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read the Farseer, Tawny Man, or Assassins series.

Hobb’s pacing drives me a little batty at times, I get a little antsy by the word count and time in between scenes that move the action of her plot’s forward. Hobb tends to loiter over events or things that do not drive the story. I understand it, these do produce greater depth of emotion and character. I just don’t think she needs them, Hobb can develop a character in one paragraph the likes of which other authors could not replicate in an entire novel. So I see these long scenes as very long dog trails that go nowhere and tend to sound repetitious. But they are so lovely, I forgive Hobb’s indulgence in extraneous detail.

What I struggled with most was Fitz never piecing together or comprehending his youngest daughters gifts. This undermined his intelligence and discredited the intellect and abilities his legacy is suppose to espouse. He knew his daughter had dreams like the fool did. One of her dreams came true, and he could see how profoundly changed she was when it happened. The fool was talking about finding his “son”. How did none of this discovery get explored when Fitz and the Fool were having these impossibly long conversations when the Fool was at deaths door? That annoyed me, Fitz could have figured this out and still had Hobb’s desired ending to this book.

I read this as an audio book and the narrator, Elliot Hill, was exceptional.

I’m looking forward to the 2nd book in this series, Fool’s Quest which is rumored to release in August 2015.

 

Week 9 from my Project Life Album 2014

  • Cards: “Maggie Holmes Edition” Core Kit by: Project Life
  • Embellishments: “Granny’s Kitchen” doily by: Sei; Button Brad, and button by: Reflections; “Dear Daisy” brad tops by: Heidi Grace Designs; Paper Butterfly by: Michaels
  • Markers: Ranger Distress Markers by Tim Holtz in Broken China and Picked Raspberry
  • Adhesive: Glue Dots and 3M ATG

I have a thing for Owl’s and when Close to My Heart came out with their Lollydoodle line, I wanted ALL of it. I got out my new Cricut Explore this weekend and set to cutting some fun Owl things to make a few Layouts.

The nice thing about the Cricut Explore is you can design a layout and use any image in your library. The bad thing about this-you can use any image in your library and forget which ones you used!

  • Paper and stickers used: Lollydoodle which includes the following colored card stock: Cotton Candy, Twilight, Pear, Colonial White, and Slate by: Close To My Heart
  • Cricut Cartridges: Strait From the Nest, Hoot & Holler, and Artbooking
  • Adhesive: ATG by 3M; Foam Squares by: 3L; Mini Glue Dots

  • Paper and stickers used:  Lollydoodle which includes the following colored card stock: Cotton Candy, Twilight, Pear, Colonial White, and Slate by: Close To My Heart
  • Embellishments: Silver Shimmer Trim by: Close To My Heart; Ribbon Grey from Michael’s
  • Stamps: “Comments” and “Lollydoodle Card Maker Workshop” by Close to My Heart
  • Ink: Slate and Smoothie by: Close To My Heart
  • Cricut Cartridges: Strait From the Nest, Hoot & Holler, and Artbooking
  • Adhesive: ATG by 3M; Foam Squares by: 3L; Mini Glue Dots

 

I had a great time playing with the bright colors in the Close to My Heart Lollydoodle kit. It has  owls, I have a thing for owls, so I ordered everything Lollydoodle I could. These 6″x 6″ cards can be made with or without heat embossing the owls. I stamped the Owls in a color ink and then stamped over them in clear embossing ink and used a satin pearl embossing powder with flecks of blue.

 

  • Paper:  Lollydoodle which includes the colored card stock in Cotton Candy, Twilight, Pear, Colonial White, Smoothie, and Slate; Elements Paper in Cotton Candy
  • Embellishments: Silver Shimmer Trim, Lollydoodle Glitter Gems, and Glitter Gems in Flamingo by: Close To My Heart; Ribbon Pink by: American Crafts; Jewel Brad by: Reflections; Punch by: EK Success
  • Stamps: “Lollydoodle Card Maker Workshop”, “Oodles of Doodles”, and “Owl’s Seasons & Nature”, and “Just to Say” all by: Close To My Heart
  • Ink: Slate, Twilight, Pear, and Cotton Candy by: Close To My Heart; Clear Embossing Ink by: Clear snap
  • Blue Satin Embossing Powder by: Stampworks
  • Cricut Cartridges: Artiste, Art Philosophy, Strait From the Nest
  • Adhesive: ATG by: 3M; Foam Squares by: 3L; Mini Glue Dots; Create a Sticker permanent by: Xyron, Glue Pen by: Close to My Heart.

I think my all time favorite cold weather food is Beef Barley Soup. This is a great 8-10 hour cook on low crock-pot meal you can start in the morning and have waiting for you at dinner time. You can brown the meat and onions, and package this as a freezer-crock meal so long as you omit adding water until it is ready to go in the crock-pot.

Beef Barley Soup

  • 2-3 lbs chuck roast (cut into 2 inch chunks and discarding any large bits of fat)
  • 2 cups carrots diced
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • 1 lg onion diced
  • ¼ cup dried parsley
  • ½ cup uncooked barley
  • beef broth cubes for 6 cups
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 TBSP ketchup

Cut chuck roast into 2 inch chunks and brown remove from pan. Soften onions and celery in pan the roast was browned in. Add to crock pot and add carrots, parsley, uncooked barley, beef broth cubes, salt, bay leaf, ketchup, and six cups of water.

If preparing from freezer: thaw bag in fridge. Place contents of bag in crockpot add 6 cups water.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours, high for 4-6 hours. Serves 8

The first snowman built by the kids this winter. I used the new release “This is January” from Southern Serenity available at Scrapstacks. “Collecting Moments: December” by Pixelily and available at Gingerscraps.

Book Review: The Longing (Age of Faith #5), by: Tamara Leigh

This is my favorite book in the Age of Faith Series. Days after completing the read I find myself dwelling on it and what a wonderful story it is. I might even read it again someday, and for this reason I give it five out of five stars.

What I loved about this book:
1) The characters, I enjoyed how clearly defined the good, the bad, and everyone in-between was presented. I adored the strength and perseverance of Judas and Susanna. It was a pleasure to get better acquainted with the man Everand who has been a bit of an enigma through this series.

2) The family connection and how lovingly Leigh renders them is one of her strengths as an author. My favorite moments were when Everard confers with Garr when he can’t sleep; the comfort Everard provides Judas after being attacked in the woods; and the way Susanna and Judas each plotted and made attempts to see one another late at night.

3) The romance, what is it about unrequited love that gets me every time? Susanna’s been in love with Everard since she was a girl, and poor Everard hasn’t been in love for so long he doesn’t know if what he’s feeling is love or atonement. There was a slow build to their connection. It was lovely how Susanna became plagued by the realization that knowing Everard as an adult only made her infatuation worse than when she was a girl.

The title of this book is perfect. It fits a love story that is more about longing for someone you care about and less about a lustful longing. This is a stand alone book you could read without reading the first four books in the Age of Faith series.

As a paper crafter with almost twenty years experience, I’m pretty certain if there is a scrapbooking adhesive out there I have owned it or used it in some capacity. I have a variety of different paper crafting adhesives in my craft room. I’m going to pull them out and discuss the types, the pro’s and con’s of each, and the most common uses for them.

Quick disclaimer on photo preservation: This article covers a variety of adhesives for scrapbooking and general paper crafting. I would like to mention that most of what is available in the paper crafting section of craft stores is archival, however not all adhesives are photo safe. If you are preserving photos I do not recommend using the following: Rubber Cement, Glue, Glue Sticks, and Foam tape. While most of these are popular for being inexpensive, some contain acids that will damage and degrade photos over time, and others will damage photos by warping or seeping through the paper.

Tape Runners: One of the most common forms of adhesive, they consist of a running adhesive contained and distributed through a mechanical device. Some tape runners are refillable, and some are disposable. The adhesives deposited vary. Some have little dots of adhesive, some a continuous line, and others deposit little strips or squares. Most function well at adhering paper and photos. Not all can hold together dimensional paper projects or heavy weight card stock.

 

My tape runner of choice is the 3M Advanced Tape Glider (ATG). I haven’t found a paper project yet that this baby can’t handle. Developed for professional framers, I like the archival quality of the tape, the strength of the adhesive, and the price of refills. For the same price of an average tape runner (13 yards), each ATG refill (36 yards) gives me almost triple the quantity. I generally buy my refills in bulk from framingsupplies-shop.com. They sell the pink ATG with two refills for $24.95, and refill packs of the 908 Gold ATG refill for $4.70/ea. If you are armed with a coupon at Michaels, JoAnn’s, or Hobby Lobby you can usually purchase one of these or its refill for a comparable or better price.

Photo Tabs: Little squares of double sided tape that is sold in a flat package with sheets, on a roll in a box, or in a tape runner. These are designed specifically to affix photos to paper, and I suggest only using these for that purpose. They can be used for other paper projects, however using them to hold layers of heavy weight paper or certain specialty papers will not work or may only hold temporarily. I also do not recommend using these to secure together corners or edges of dimensional paper projects.

Photo Corners: Small triangular pockets that fit to the edge of a photo and secure to paper. These have been around for a long time and the newer ones are nice because adhesive is not applied directly to a photograph. They can be found in the more traditional paper form and come in black, white, and tan. They are also sold in a clear plastic form, and can be found in various sizes. I like the traditional ones because they act as an embellishment, and I’ve even used them on cards. The plastic photo corners I use with older photographs and also on pages holding large professional photographs. They are a great way of mounting a photo you might choose to remove from a layout at a later date.

Glue Dot’s: Just as their name says, these are little dots of glue and are a very versatile adhesive for paper crafting. They are sold in a flat package with sheets, on a roll in a box or table stand container, or in a tape runner. They come in various sizes in both width and height. Some brands even have various strength dots. I consider these the best adhesive for dimensional paper projects, working with specialty paper, and affixing dimensional embellishments. I usually carry at least two sizes of glue dots in my crop bag. I love glue dots because I can buy them in flat packs that fit nicely in my crop bag.

Glue: There are several paper crafting glues on the market, and most come in bottles. Glue is typically used for dimensional paper projects, adhering chipboard, or as a topcoat laminate. While I have known a few scrapbookers who only use archival safe glue for constructing the paper portion of their layouts. If you are a beginning scrapbooker I do not recommend using glue on your layouts. It’s messy, you usually need some form of brush to apply it evenly, and once something is glued together, it is nearly impossible to take it apart. My glue of choice is Club Scrap’s Bookbinding glue. I also really like Close to My Heart’s Liquid Glass.

Glue Sticks: Glue in a semi solid state and usually sold in round application tube. While inexpensive, glue sticks are my least favorite form of adhesive. It’s easy to over apply this adhesive, which causes lumps, paper warping, and seepage. This is not a good adhesive for dimensional projects, photo mounting, or layering of heavy weight paper. Once dry this adhesive has also been known to dry, crack and flake off. If I were to use a glue stick, it would only be in the construction of a small paper project like a card.

Glue Pens: A pen or marker containing liquid glue. These are better than glue sticks because they allow for more control over the amount of glue applied. These are great for adhering intricate and fine detail die cuts. The larger marker sized glue pens can be good on layered paper projects. These are not recommended for adhering photos or the construction of dimensional paper projects. I keep a Close to My Heart Bonding Memories Glue Pen in my crop bag for adhering intricate die cuts.

Foam Mounting Tape: A double-sided adhesive that is 1/8 inch thick and sold in small dots, small squares, or on a continuous roll. These are a nice way to add dimension to a project and are most commonly used to “pop-up” an embellishment. I do not recommend using these to directly adhere a photo to paper because not all foam tapes are made with photo safe adhesive. I usually carry a roll of 3L’s Foam Mounting Tape in my crop bag. It allows me to customize my tape width and the adhesive they use is high quality.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope this article was helpful. If you’re a long time paper crafter what’s you adhesive of choice and why?

Week 8 from my Project Life Album 2014

  • Card: Project Life “Cut and Paste Edition Dear Lizzy” by: Amy Tangerine
  • Embellishments: “Hello Forever” wood veneers by: Studio Calico; “Snow” wood veneers by: American Crafts; Calendar Ticket by: 7 Gypsies; Yellow Washi Tape by Studio Calico; Pink Arrow Clip by: American Crafts
  • Markers: Ranger Distress Markers by Tim Holtz in Worn Lipstick and Riper Persimmon
  • Adhesive: Glue Dots and 3M ATG