29 December 2013

Violet VoxBox

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!  I sure did, but it went so fast with it falling in the middle of the week this year.  I received an early gift this year from Influenster with my 2nd VoxBox.

Goody Athletique Headband
I'm a big headband girl, especially during the weekends.  I have been known to just throw on a headband in the morning & I'm ready to go.  I love how soft this headband is and that it stays in place all day without sliding or needing to be adjusted.  It was a little wide for me, but otherwise it was great!

Sally Hansen New Triple Shine Polish
I was very excited to receive polish in this VoxBox as I love to paint my toes - even in the winter.  The color I received was Statemint - which was a minty green spring-y color.  I decided to give it a try on a snowy, cold Wisconsin day.  I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the coverage, as it needed two coats.  However, it has stayed on really well with no fading or chipping.

This was the product I was most excited to try.  I have always wanted to give SoyJoy a try, especially when trying to eat better.  I received the Dark Chocolate Cherry flavor.  It was not good.  The bar was very dry and I think the combination of Dark Chocolate with the cherry left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Montagne Jeunesse Clay Spas
I did not try this, I have very sensitive skin and am very weary when trying new facial products.  I gave this one away to my brother's girfriend.

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak
When I was opening my #VoxBox and trying to take a picture, my husband grabbed this and asked if he could try it first!  We both have fairly oily hair, so I don't think it was meant to use in the morning when you haven't showered.  I think a better use would be after a long day at work to freshen up before going out with your girlfriends.

All in all, it was really fun to try these new products & share with you my thoughts!

*I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.*

03 December 2013

I even dream of fabric!

I recently decided that I need to make a quilt for a Chrsitmas gift. Since I'm far behind, I feel like I'm in a rush to get it done in time. Good thing this Wintergreen line for Moda is soooo pretty, I don't even mind dreaming about it :)

01 December 2013

Santa's Little Helper

Well my Christmas Quilt top is finished! Tomorrow off to be quilted. Good thing I had this little helper the past couple days. He is quite the cute one if I do say so myself!

27 October 2013

Slow Cooker Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup

Cool, crisp, fall days are soup time to me!  And inspired after a weekend visit back home to my parents' farm, I decided to make some Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup in my slow-cooker.

Love the beautiful colors on my way "up north"

Start with all of your ingredients (I like to prep as much as I can the night before, so I can throw everything in the slow cooker before I go to work in the morning).  Since I don't like the fuss around with bones, I use boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Another one of my favorite things to use is homemade chicken broth.  That's whats in the jars on the right.  I make a big batch of it and freeze for whenever I need some.  (By the way, these are my last two jars so I'm going to have to make a batch of that soon too!).  

I put the chicken on the bottom and LIBERALLY sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Since I'm using a homemade stock with no added salt, I use quite a bit of salt & pepper at this step.  If you are using the canned broth, I'd back off on the salt since those tend to have it already added.  Then I sprinkle with Thyme, Parsley, and Turmeric (a trick I learned from Pioneer Woman to give the soup that nice golden color).  Add your broth, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.  

When I get home, I put on a pot of water & boil the egg noodles on the stove.  While those are cooking, pull the chicken breasts out, shred with two forks, and drop back into the broth.  Add the cooked noodles and serve.   

Slow Cooker Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2-3 whole carrots
2 stalks of celery 
1/2 medium onion
4 cups of chicken broth
2 tsp of Parsley Flakes
1/2 tsp of Turmeric
1/2 tsp of Thyme
1 pkg of Egg Noodles

24 October 2013

My Etsy Shop - MyMeller!

I'm super excited to announce the opening of my shop on Etsy!  As a lover of fabric, this is something I've wanted to do for a long time.  Stop by & check out the items that I've got so far,  I just received the High Street Collection from Moda - which is so fun & pretty, I couldn't wait to share!  And keep checking back - more coming soon as I get things set up!

My Shop


I am so excited for this line! Isn't it beautiful?? :)
Moda High Street - by Lily Ashbury

14 October 2013

You CAN go home again

This weekend I made the beautiful drive up north to my parents house.  Something about that area just feels like home.  I love the smells, the hills, and in the fall you can't beat the colors!

And of course the animals!
These guys came up to me to say hi
My Dad & his new Bull Tommy

18 September 2013

Liebster Award - a little late!

Today I saw a post that Polka Dots and Paisley was nominated for a Liebster Award.  It made me remember that a million years ago I got an email saying something about this, way before I really knew what it meant.  Since I hope there isn't a statute of limitations, I figured its better late than never!

Jeanette & Leigh over at Crafty in Crosby nominated me.  They are cool mother-daughter bloggers who seem to have a love for Halloween!  Isn't that the funnest holiday to decorate for anyway?  Here are some of their cool posts!  

And one non-Halloween idea that I thought was awesome!  

So go check these gals out!  Anyway, back to the Liebster :)  A little more about what this award is, for those who like me had no idea! 

The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome. 

 The rules I received about accepting the award are:        
  1. Post about your win on you blog
  2. Link back to the blogger who presented you with the award and follow their blog.
  3. Copy and paste the award button to your blog (you can right-click on the Liebster label from my page, save it to your computer, then save to your blog.)
  4. Present The Liebster Award to 5 blogs that have fewer than 200 followers that you think deserves to be recognized.
  5. Let them know by leaving them a comment on their blog.
  6. Please share 5 random facts about yourself.
As you can see this is an exciting honor, to both give and receive.  And now some random facts about me:  
1. I LOVE the color pink. Love it. Almost to a scary ridiculous level.  Almost... :)  
2. Even though I can be quite girly, I also have a bit of a tom-boy in me. I like to learn about cars, love watching baseball, and when I was a little girl my favorite toys were my baby-dolls and Spider-man. 
3. I cannot tell the difference between bitter and sour. It drives my husband crazy, and as soon as we think I've got it, I try to give an example and he just shakes his head because I've got it wrong again! I might be a lost cause on this one.  
4. I saw Polka Dots & Paisley went through her purse, so I thought I'd copy her lead & let you know whats in my purse too!  I keep buying bigger & bigger purses, and it seems like I am always running out of room. I've got my wallet, my iPhone, tylenol, advil, IceBreakers mints, gum, Pepto, tampon, Benedryl, pink headphones, lipstick, lipbalm, chapstick, mini golf score card, a spoon, car keys, house keys, 2 alcohol hand wipes, almonds, sunglasses, 5 pens, a Tootsie pop, and an eye glasses cloth. 
5. My husband & I are that couple that has multiple nicknames for each other.  Some of them include Brain, Earthworm, Monkey, JuiceBox, and no I am not going to tell you who is who!  

Now to the part where I get to nominate 5 other blogs for the award!  
1. Jenny @ CreativelyBlooming
2. Ali @ Crafty WI Mama
3. Kayla @ Home Coming MN
4. Paula @ SewyStuff
5. Glory @ AnythingOnMyMindPR

15 September 2013

It's Apple Time

Its fall and here in Wisconsin, that means it's apple time!  I was recently a recipient of a bag of apples from the apple tree in my brother's yard.  With the fall-like weather and the Packers playing football today, it was a great day to bake with all of these lovely apples.

The first thing I made was this delicious Fall Apple Crisp.

Fall Apple Crisp
8 cups of apples cored and sliced
3/4 cup of sugar
1 TBS flour
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking spice
1/4 cup of water

1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup quick oats
1 stick of melted butter

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Peel & slice apples and lay in the bottom of a 9x13 greased pan.  Mix together 3/4 cup of sugar, 1TBS flour, 1/2 tsp and 1/2 tsp baking spice.  (If you don't have baking spice, just double the amount of cinnamon).  Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the apples. Slowly pour water over top of cinnamon/sugar mixture.  (If you're apples seem to be juicy, skip this step)

To make the crisp, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, brown sugar, oats, and melted butter.  I find it easiest to mix the topping by hand.  Evenly sprinkle over the apples.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Let cool for the crisp to set.  Serve with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Since there were still quite a few apples left and I was still in the baking mood, I also whipped up some Apple Bran Muffins.  These are a healthy snack and freeze great.  I made a batch and then froze most of them in batches of two.  That way if we want a treat, we can just grab two out of the freezer, microwave, and enjoy.

I still have more apples, what next? What is your favorite thing to make with apples?

More the Merrier Monday

12 September 2013

Cheese Please!

I'm super excited to receive my first VoxBox from Influenster!  They couldn't have sent me a better one - Sargento Cheese!!

And we all know that this Wisconsin girl loves her cheese! In fact, Sargento is made right here in the Dairy State, and is our favorite brand of cheese. Don't believe me? Check out the meat & cheese drawer of our fridge!!

I'm a snacker during the day, and I like to find something high in protein which doesn't spike my blood sugar.  Along with a couple crackers, these cheese snacks are the perfect afternoon snack!  They keep me satisfied until dinner, without that sugar crash and at only 80 calories - are a great option when watching your weight.

Snack Break at the Office
I chose the Colby-Jack snacks but they are also available in other flavors such as Sharp Cheddar, PepperJack, and of course Mozzarella String Cheese - which is always fun no matter what your age!

And right now, through September 23rd you can enter to win Free Cheese Snacks for a year - just go to http://www.sargento.com/whatsnew/choose-cheese-and-win/ , build your favorite snack with Sargento cheese, and enter to win!

**I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.**

02 September 2013

Pillow Cases for a Good Cause

I'm super excited to share with you what I've been working on this Labor Day Weekend.  Arrow Sewing Cabinets is hosting a pillowcase drive for Conkerr Cancer in Madison, and I've been making pillow cases!   I've seen a few of these drives around in the past, so when I saw this one I knew I wanted to participate.

I had the perfect fun Dr. Seuss fabric and whipped up these two cases using the "hot dog" method.  Have you guys ever done this?  Its super quick & easy!

In fact I had so much fun making those, that I wanted to make some more. :)  Since they stated they were specifically looking for sports themed pillowcases, I headed off to Joann's to look for more fabric.  I found some generic looking baseball fabric, which was ok...but not spectacular. And then while I was waiting in line at the cutting table, I just happened to see the PERFECT fabric!  What's better then the Wisconsin Badgers?!?  Not much, well maybe besides the Packers :)  So I tossed the baseball fabric & made two Badgers pillowcases as well!
They will be on their way tomorrow, I hope they are able to bring someone as much joy to use them, as it was for me to make them!

Happy Monday #19 - Happy Labor Day

Have a Happy Labor Day Monday!
~ Melissa

25 August 2013

Carter Quilt

I have a confession to make....my dog is SPOILED!  It didn't start off this way, when we first got him I had all types of ideas of being tough (no dogs on the furniture, no sleeping in our bed), yeah those lasted 2 seconds & this little face melted my heart!
Carter at 9 weeks
More recently, in the past few months he has discovered, he likes to crawl under the blankets with us in bed.  So as any sewing mama would do, I made him his very own quilt!  Now I understand he will still probably want to be under OUR covers, but I already had this cute fabric  :)

I just cut squares of each of the fabrics, some I had more yardage than others, and layed them all out.  The top was the easy part. However, as I mentioned in my My First "Real" Quilt post, I haven't really made "real" quilts before.  I've done plenty of sewing projects and made quite a few rag quilts, but the whole basting/quilting/binding concept I hadn't been brave enough to try.  Even the baby quilt I made, I had someone else quilt & bind it for me.

Since I didn't think Carter would be too picky, I thought I'd give it a shot.  I quilted just simple diagonals, and because I'm lazy I didn't do the opposite way to make Xs.  Is this a problem do you think?   Then to bind, I followed this AWESOME tutorial at Cluck Cluck Sew http://www.cluckclucksew.com/2013/01/machine-binding-tutorial.html

I was going to take some pics of the finished quilt outside, but when I came into the living room Mr C was all curled up.  So I thought I'd check if he liked it.

Yup, looks like he approves!!

20 August 2013

Farmers Market Finds

Every Saturday downtown there is a Farmers Market.  We don't go every week, but now that its getting later in the summer & there are so many delicious foods in season now - we stopped over there this week.

Not sure exactly what kind of flowers these were, something with Strawberry in the name. I can totally see where they get that :) 

Has anybody had these before? For only $2 we had to get some!  I think we're going to slice them & put them on the grill brushed with a little olive oil.



And of course, we're in Wisconsin after all - CHEESE CURDS!  They are squeeky fresh!  
We had a great morning at the Farmers Market!  We also picked up a giant green pepper for $1, some fresh blackberries, and my hubby had to get some Baklava!  Is there a local Farmers Market by you? What is your go-to that you have to pick up when you're there?

10 August 2013

Easy Natural Towel Refresher

This summer I've noticed that our towels have been getting a musty smell.  They seem fine right out of the wash, but as soon as they get wet again -- yuck!  I've especially noticed it on our kitchen towels, I think because they are used more often??  Since I have colored towels I can't run them through the wash with bleach, so I was really excited when I ran across this idea on Pinterest!  I am a big fan of using natural cleaners, I hate using harsh chemicals (as you can also see in this post about how I clean my coffee pot).  So I had to give this a try!

Gather up your towels.

Put them in the washer on the setting with HOT water with 1 cup of white vinegar only (no detergent in this step).  I used the Quick Wash setting because I was a little worried about having my towels be in the wash for 54 minutes with vinegar on them!

When  that cycle is finished, sprinkle the towels with baking soda.  Then run them through another cycle.  Again with HOT water, but this time also use your detergent.

Promptly remove the towels from the washer and transfer to the dryer and dry on the highest setting.  Fresh out of the dryer they smelled great (and no hint of vinegar either).  The true test has been once they got wet, and I have to say I am very impressed.  We have been using our towels all week, and that smell has not come back!  Plus I think the cycle of vinegar and baking soda also helped my washing machine not get that funk smell that so many front-loaders tend to get.

06 August 2013

Happy Monday .. a Day Late

Since I'm late this week, I figured a video was in order.
And it doesn't get much better than a baby elephant playing in a swimming pool!  Isn't this the cutest thing ever?  Sure did make me smile :)


20 July 2013

Baby Brittanys!!

I can't believe its been so long since I've written anything.  I have been super busy all summer, but have still been checking in with the blogs I follow once in a while.  I just had to share these two little sweeties that my parents got!!  They are Brittany pups!

Baby Billy

Miss Betsy