Stewart, that is. I thought I’d start a new blog full of recipes, crafts, and just stuff I’m interested in or have found useful. I’m not the craftiest person. I’m not the best cook. But I do have lots to say and now you all can partake. But let’s face it, I’m no Martha.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Coconut Shrimp

If you’re needing a little something Tropical in your life… especially with all of this freezing cold weather… THESE are to DIE FOR!! I made these last night for dinner and we SCARFED them up. They can be a little tedious but well worth all the effort. They tasted better then any coconut shrimp I’ve found at a restaurant.



  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup  chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 24 shrimp
  • 3 cups oil for frying
  1. In medium bowl, combine egg, 1/2 cup flour, beer and baking powder. Place 1/4 cup flour and coconut in two separate bowls.
  2. Hold shrimp by tail, and dredge in flour, shaking off excess flour. Dip in egg/beer batter; allow excess to drip off. Roll shrimp in coconut, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) in a deep-fryer.
  3. Fry shrimp in batches: cook, turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Using tongs, remove shrimp to paper towels to drain. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.
*Originally the recipe called for beer but I changed it chicken broth because we NEVER have beer on hand. Go figure. But I didn’t have either last night. So I used 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup milk to make my batter. They turned out so good!*
* The other thing I added was a little more spice. Cayenne pepper, Garlic Powder and some salt. Make sure you used sweetened coconut flakes so you have the sweetness you’re looking for. Enjoy!!*

*After I dipped the shrimp in the batter and the coconut mixture I put the shrimp in the freezer for 15 minutes.*

Found at

Sugar Coated Pecans

The past couple of years Christian’s mom has given us a big bag of pecans. This year we made a family night of cracking and shelling them. So I had this HUGE bowl of pecans that I wasn’t sure what to do with. I found this recipe and it got 5 stars and over 1,000 reviews. So I knew I couldn’t go wrong. The second thing I did was read all the reviews and see what changes were made. I’ve incorporated those changes into this recipe. I have them baking in my oven as we speak. It just snowed (again!) so it’s a perfect day to stay home and make a special treat.


Recipe Yield 1 pound

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp water 
  • 1 pound pecan halves
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Grease one baking sheet.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whip together the egg white and water until frothy. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Add pecans to egg whites, stir to coat the nuts evenly. Remove the nuts, and toss them in the sugar mixture until coated. Spread the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes.

*A couple of other things. I increased the cinnamon just a little bit. And ALSO… I used gallon sized zip lock bags instead of bowls to do the mixing. It made it really fast to coat evenly and clean up was a cinch!*

Found at

Sunday, November 28, 2010

~It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year~

We started (and mostly finished) our Christmas decorating yesterday. It was so much fun, the kids had a blast, and it puts me in the best mood. It’s funny how a little thing like decorations can change a person’s mood about their house. And just in time… I was feeling a little bored with how it looked. Here’s how it turned out…

My mom hand made all of our stockings. She is mucho talented.


IMG_0073   IMG_0071

*The Santa was made by my Grandma… the kids love to come downstairs and see this big  jolly guy.*

My DEAR SWEET Grandma sent me 4 houses this year for Christmas. Not only are they gorgeous, but their Thomas Kinkade… who I LOVE. These houses are so intricate and detailed. The kids love them, now if I could get a certain 2 year old to keep his hands off.



*They even have little tiny people.*


IMG_0039 Can you tell we have little girls in our home that rule our house… and not to mention our tree?!

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I made this… Do you love it? The website is posted below this post. So go take a peek!


A HUGE THANK YOU to my parents for giving me this mirror. They were going to Craigslist it… but I begged and they caved. Christian hung it up… along with the wreath and our plaque. He had his work cut out for him today. He’s the best!

I LOVE the gold frame for Christmas cause it matches the other gold accents around the house right now. After Christmas?… We’ll see.IMG_0076 
I finally found a place for this bad boy. I feel like LOTS of people have similar things, but I love it and treasure it. I don’t think you can read it in this picture but it says “Families are Forever” under the Simpson name. If you’ve never made one, I highly recommend it. I made mine


Christmas Crafts

(Quick Shout-Out to my girl Lindsay who I’m “stealing” both of these craft idea’s from. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. )

Here are two fast and easy crafts. My friend Lindsay found this great website where you can make an Ornament Wreath. It only consists of a wire hanger, ~80 ornament balls, and ribbon. I made mine this weekend and it turned our FANTASTIC! It was fast and so fun. My girls had a blast helping me too. Here’s how mine turned out, and here’s where to find it! (Thanks Lindsay for being so crafty!)


Thank you Eddie Ross for being such a creative genius!

The second cute craft I’m also loving! Lindsay (once again) found this little gem. I haven’t personally done this specific craft but I have all the materials rearing to go! 

Here’s Lindsay’s…

Don’t you just LOVE the way the light shines through them? Like little Halo’s. Love it! Beyonce would be proud.

Projects-6 Projects-5

HERE’S where you can find it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I’ve been a little M.I.A. lately … but for good reason though. I am in charge of a newsletter that our family contributes and then combines together quarterly. This year I’m up to bat as the “editor” (I use that term loosely). During the holiday’s I thought it would be a good idea to put some of our favorite Holiday recipes together into one. So I’ve been busy with that and finally finished the compilation and sent it off to my husband for him to print off for me.

The OTHER thing. The other HUGE thing that I’ve been up to are … well… more hats. I had a crazy idea last Monday that I wanted to make hats for all of my nieces and nephews this Christmas. It’s an inexpensive, yet time consuming idea. It may seem doable to most people. However I have been blessed with 26 nieces and nephews. Which is really fun for out kids to get together and play. It’s like a big party all the time. Not so much fun when you decide to take on a monster project like this. Luckily for me and my obsession I’ve already made 12 hats (minus the flowers which I’ll add later). I just started the boys hats now and are happy how they’re turning out. It’s the colors that I’m worried about. We have half NC State fans in our family. And a few UNC fans. If I make the wrong color hat for the wrong kid… I might have a family feud on my hands.

Here’s how they’ve turned out thus far…

The hats with ribbons can have the ribbon traded out for a flower. It just weaves between X stitches but looks equally as cute with a flower attached. This time around I’m going to put hair clips on the back of the flowers so they can be used as wanted. I think the light pink hats with the chocolate ribbons are my favorites. The yarn is a little daintier but not as easy to work with (in my opinion). The other will be warmer though.

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My 1 boy hat. It’s obviously NC State colors and was easy to make. It’s been a little harder to gauge the size of the nephews hats. The girls are easier for me to eyeball. Especially since I can try them out on their heads. I’d rather them turn out too big than too small so they can grow into them.


If you’re anything like me you like your house to smell good. Not the Lysol-I’ve-Cleaned-All-Day kind of smell though. I’m talking- YUMMY- walk in and BAM! cinnamon… or BAM! vanilla. I’m also a sucker for Yankee Candles. However, I can walk in and blow $30-$40 just on candles. Ridiculous! Some AWESOME alternatives that I’ve found throughout the years are the Febreze Candles. They don’t have a waxy smell when they burn, and they’re larger then the Glade. The Holiday’s are the perfect time to pick up some of those great housewarming scents too. I have found 3 that are my favorites so far…

Cinnamon Sugar & Homecinnamon_sugar_home_candle_hero


Pumpkin Harvest & Fall

Winter Evening and Warmth *my favorite so far*

I also recently bought an Airwick Candle. I’ve never tried their candles before. All I know is one of the Lavender smells makes me want to throw up… so this is a leap of faith in my opinion. I had a coupon and it was on sale. I’ll let you know how it works out. In case you’re curious it’s called …



I found an UNBELIEVABLY EASY dinner that the whole family loved. My kids like Andy’s Hot Fries. They’re really spicy and they can sit and eat an entire bag from start to finish without a single drink. So I was able to tell them that this dinner tastes like Hot Fries. It worked! Even my 2-year-old loves it and has had more for leftovers. SUCCESS!! (If your kids aren’t big into spicy, I would try this recipe with BBQ sauce instead. But this is excellent for a party for adults too.

buffaloe sandwich
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (17.5 fluid ounce) bottle buffalo wing sauce, divided
  • 1 package dry ranch salad dressing mix
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 hoagie rolls, split lengthwise
  1. Place the chicken breasts into a slow cooker, and pour in 3/4 of the wing sauce and the ranch dressing mix. Cover, and cook on Low for 6 to 7 hours.
  2. Once the chicken has cooked, add the butter, and shred the meat finely with two forks. Pile the meat onto the hoagie rolls, and splash with the remaining buffalo wing sauce to serve.

*We add ranch on top. You can make this more sandwich style by adding cheese, tomato, pickles, or lettuce. Whatever sounds good to you.*

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Simple 6 Pocket Bag

During the week Better Homes and Gardens sends me emails on how to be more creative. Some of it’s kind of weird but every once in awhile you come across a fun little project that is inexpensive and fun. As soon as I saw this bag I thought it was really cute. Granted, I don’t own a sewing machine and I keep forgetting to steal my mom’s when we go and visit… so I haven’t made this little gem yet. However, I thought I’d pass it along anyways.  It’s a perfect church bag to throw together for your kids or it would make a fun little spring bag depending on the fabric you use. If you’re anything like me, it’ll take you until spring to complete it.


What You'll Need

  • 1/4 yard blue print (straps)
  • 2/3 yard blue-and-green print (pockets)
  • 2  10-1/4-x-14-1/4-inch rectangles thin, firm batting
  • 1 yard green print (lining)

Finished Bag

  • 8 x 10 x 4 inches
  • Quantities are for 44/45-inch-wide, 100% cotton fabrics.
  • Measurements include 1/4-inch seam allowances.
  • Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Cut Your Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order.

From blue print, cut:
  2  4-x-34-1/2-inch strips

From blue-and-green print, cut:
  2  14-1/2-x-16-1/2-inch rectangles

From green print, cut:
  2  14-1/2-x-20-1/2-inch rectangles

How to Make It

Assemble Straps

  1. Fold a blue print 4-x-34-1/2-inch strip in half lengthwise with wrong side inside; press.
  2. Open and fold long edges into center; press. Refold in half and press. Topstitch 1/8 inch from outer edges to make a strap.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make a second strap. 

Assemble Bag Units

  1. Fold one blue-and-green print 14-1/2-x-16-1/2-inch rectangle in half lengthwise with wrong side inside to make an 8-1/4-x-14-1/2-inch pocket rectangle; press. Repeat with remaining blue-and-green print rectangle to make a second pocket rectangle.
  2. Referring to Diagram 2, with right sides together, layer a green print 14-1/2-x-20-1/2-inch lining rectangle and a pocket rectangle. Place a 10-1/4-x-14-1/2-inch batting rectangle under the layered pieces; pin all layers together.
  3. Referring to Diagram 2, pin ends of a strap to the bottom edge of layered pieces, leaving 4 inches between strap edges.
  4. Place a pin on each side of strap 10 1/4 inches from bottom edge. Beginning at bottom edge of layered pieces, topstitch one side of strap up to the pin marking 10 1/4 inches; remove pin, sew across strap, and topstitch back down to bottom edge. Repeat with remaining side of strap to complete one bag unit.
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 to make a second bag unit.

Layer Bag Units

6. Layer bag units' with right sides together; pin. Pin loose portion of straps in place to prevent catching them in stitching. Join units around all edges, leaving a 5-inch opening at top center for turning (Diagram 3). Press seams open. 

Finish Bag

7. To shape flat bottom for bag, at one corner match bottom seam line to side seam line, creating a flattened triangle (Diagram 4). Measuring 2 inches from point of triangle, draw a 4-inch-long line across triangle. Sew on drawn line. Trim excess fabric. Repeat with remaining bottom corner of bag, and both corners of green print lining.
8. Turn bag right side out through opening and finger-press seams. Slip-stitch lining opening closed. Insert lining into bag.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fast Dinner – St. Louis Style Ravioli

These are super fast, super unhealthy, and super good.  How can you wrong!?


  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/2 (25 ounce) package frozen cheese ravioli, thawed
  • 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  1. Combine milk and egg in a small bowl. Place breadcrumbs and if desired, salt in a shallow bowl. Dip ravioli in milk mixture, and coat with breadcrumbs.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat marinara sauce over medium heat until bubbling. Reduce the heat to simmer.
  3. In a large heavy pan, pour oil to depth of 2 inches. Heat oil over medium heat until a small amount of breading sizzles and turns brown. Fry ravioli, a few at a time, 1 minute on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately with hot marinara sauce.

We use homemade pizza sauce and it’s more like mini pizza’s. They cool fast so serve these immediately! Enjoy!

Fudge Puddles

I haven’t made these yet… but I fully intend to SOON! What a Family Home Evening snack or something to bring to a party. So many different ways to dress these up too!

fudge puddles

Recipe Yield 4 dozen

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pecan halves
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. Cream butter, peanut butter and white and brown sugars. Mix in egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir the flour mixture into creamed mixture. Shape the dough into 48 balls, 1 inch each. Place each ball in one compartment of a mini muffin tin.
  4. For filling, put chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir in milk and vanilla, mix well.
  5. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and immediately make wells in the center of each using a melon baller. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Then carefully remove to wire racks. Using a measuring cup fill each shell with the chocolate mixture. Top with a pecan half.

Other topping ides:
mini M&M’s
toffee chips
any of your favorite candies!

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread

This is one of THE BEST pumpkin bread recipes. Lots of spices which warms your home with a fragrance that is to die for! This recipe makes 2 loaves or a TON of muffins.
pumpkin bread
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

I found this recipe at Allrecipes.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


As many of you may remember, I tried crocheting 2 years ago. It was a terrible, horrible experience. I was pregnant with my 3rd baby and I thought I kick it old school by making him a blanket. It turned out to be the size of an square oven mitt. I threw it away (in the outside garbage, that’s how disgusted I was) and bagged up all of my crocheting materials and never looked back. UNTIL NOW!! My husband is constantly telling me to find a hobby which is hard for me since I don’t play sports (stop laughing) and the only things I’m good at are playing piano and making jokes. So I branched out. I enjoy reading. I enjoy baking (not so much cooking… there IS a difference). And now I enjoy CROCHETING!!  I have to admit I raveled and unraveled my yarn about a gazillion times. Christian at one point made the comment, “You look really OLD right now.” And I worked long hours on my projects that my hands and fingers would start cramping and my elbows would get stiff. It baffles me how old ladies can do this for so long when I’m feeling pre-arthritic as we speak. However, I have conquered and accomplished something I’m SUPER proud of.  I started off with hats thinking that was the easiest way to go (especially since the thought of making blankets put a bad taste in my mouth). After feeling confident in that area I moved on to other things. It’s really easy to find free patterns online and if you’re feeling discouraged, always know there is a sweet old lady on YOUTUBE who is more then happy to hold your hand and show you how to create the right stitches. The trick is getting your tension right so your project doesn’t turn into a hat that would only fit a newborn (unless that’s the goal, of course.)

Here is one of the first hats I made. Kalea’s not a fan of the dark grey but I love it. I told her she doesn’t have to be covered head-to-toe in pink. She doesn’t agree. The grey yarn is thick so it was really fast to make. It’s really thick which will keep her noggin warm at the bus stop in the mornings. I thought about making my own similar to this one, but I’m pretty sure the flower will make me look 10 years old which is a deal breaker for me.

Mia’s hat is the exact same pattern just with a thinner yarn. They both look so different, but cute on such cute girls!
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The latest project that I just finished is this baby shower gift that I gave to an awesome chick and her unborn babe. The hat… easy. The booties… easy (once I got the hang of it). The blanket… uh… apparently blankets are my Achilles Heel. The pattern I found online was so cute I wanted to try it. Plus the lady said this blanket was fast to make. She SAID it was a 3 hour project. IT TOOK ME 3 DAYS. 3 days people. But it turned out so adorable and it was well worth the time and practice.

{Similar to Mia’s but much much smaller}


{The booties were confusing at first. I made 2 right booties on accident along with too much pink and not enough white on one of them. But EVENTUALLY mastered it.}


It’s called a Bubbles Baby Blanket. This little bit probably took me 4 hours…



{Here is the finished product. The pattern didn’t have any kind of edging but I wanted to make it look a little more girly.}


Here is the finished product. I was really nervous when she opened my gift. I’d never MADE a baby shower gift before and was kind of out of my element about it. However, I’m really pleased how it turned out.

Here are a few other websites where I’ve found really cute projects for kids and adults.
Ava Hat (toddler size)

Berroco Hat (adult women’s)
Flapper Hat (adult women’s)
Black and White Mary Janes (baby/toddler)
Slouchy Hat (adult women’s)
Ruffled Mary Janes (baby/toddler)


Soooo…. this is kind of my own personal way of making life a little easier. There are times I use a recipe or find something cool and then I never {EVER} can find it again. If I blog about it… there is less of a chance that it will disappear from off the face of the earth. Plus… there are times when I’m at in a funk and need a new recipe or need something new to do. So I know if I feel that way… then you guys probably do too.  This is just my way of sharing. So you’re welcome.