Book Journaling Page

I have created a book journaling page. I was inspired by a book journal that I saw at Books A Million in which you record each book you read, along with some details and your thoughts. However, it seemed to have some very un-useful areas and lacked sufficient space to record your thoughts about the book. So I decided to design my own page that had more of what I thought a book lover would enjoy. It also has the added benefit of being VERY useful in homeschooling! You can download any of the files for FREE at my TeachersPayTeachers store HERE. (There is also a Vocabulary tracker and a lent/borrowed record sheet)

My Teachers Pay Teachers Store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Christina-Paulsen

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Angora Mittens

I am (used to be) an avid knitter. This past year, I’ve found that my hands don’t like to knit as much as my heart does. So, I’ve had to find new ways of satisfying myangora1 creative side. Recently, I’ve begun to discover the wonderful world up-cycling/recycling an item into a new purpose. I’ve seen a ton of ideas on pinterest but settled on making mittens out of old sweaters. This turns out to be a very economical craft, as there are old sweaters EVERYWHERE! lol. And what better item to make with the approach of winter. I made these GORGEOUS mittens out of a recycled angora (and something else) sweater. I lined them with new fleece and found a super sparkling button for the cuff. I think these look so wintery!


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My Grandson turns 1!

My adorable grandbaby turns 1 this month and I wanted to make him a special birthday card to go in his keepsake box. His mama has chosen a Pirate theme for his birthday, so that’s what Ijackcardslant
went with. 🙂

I just started getting in to card making last month when I bought my first personal cutting machine; a cricut explore. This thing is AMAZING! I could have NEVER done anything like this card without it. Here is a list of what I used to create this card:

  • The ship from the Pirate Foxes file at Kadoodle Bug designs (duplicate the anchor and resize one for the inside of the card)
  • Wave Card from the Cricut Wildcard 2 image set (subscribers: #M36C5B)
  • Card Stock in:  teal,  light blue, red, black, dark brown, light brown or tan, grey and white
  • One sheet of Glitz  Happy Travels World scrapbooking paper (HT3708)
  • Inks: Memento Dew Drops in Rhubarb Stalk, Potters Clay, Paris Dusk and London Fog
  • Inks: Craftsmart Dye ink Pad in Chocolate Brown (I used A LOT of this color)
  • Cricut Design Space Subscriber images: Arrrg!, happy birthday, shark (print then cut), pirate flag (print then cut), label tag x2 (for layering)
  • Medical guaze (cut two small pieces and ink them with grey and black and add them anywhere for embellishments)
  • Jewelry Findings (for anchor)
  • Red Gems for embellishment
  • White Gel Pen
  • Pop Dots to add dimention to various pieces

I had so much fun making this card, I can hardly wait to start another one. lol. Luckily for me though, Christmas is right around the corner … so off I go! Have a wonderful day and thanks for reading my post! 🙂

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Three-Cheese Beef Pasta Shells

This is one of my families all-time favorite dinners. Although it does take a bit of prep-work, it’s ALWAYS a crowd pleaser! I’ve served this at family reunions and for dinner guests and am alwaysbeefshells asked for the recipe. AND, these heat up wonderfully as a left-over the next day!

Ingredients

  • 20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 pound ground beef (it’s also great to sub half with italian sausage)
  • Any Pasta Sauce (I use chunky or a six cheese)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 8-oz container chive and onion cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded italian cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Cook and drain pasta shells as directed on package.
  2. In a large skillet, cook ground beef over medium-high heat 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked; drain.
  3. Cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  4. Make Pasta Sauce. Add water to sauce. Pour 1 cup of pasta sauce mixture in bottom of ungreased 13×9 baking dish.
  5. In large bowl, mix cheese spread, 1 cup Italian cheese, parmesan cheese, egg and cooked ground beef.
  6. Spoon heaping tablespoons mixture into each shell.
  7. Arrange stuffed shells over sauce in baking dish.
  8. Pour remaining sauce over top, covering shells completely.
  9. Cover with foil and cook 40-45 minutes or until bubbly and cheese filling is set.
  10. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 10 more minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve!
Recipe Stock Photo

Recipe Stock Photo

How I manage my home improvements.

We bought our house, pretty much site-unseen, about 15 years ago. We lived in Colorado at the time and my Husbeasts company was opening a new store only about an hour from where my parents lived in Arkansas. We bought our place for the porch and the backyard … the house just came with it. lol. We wanted a very nice place for our girls to be able to play outside, we wanted it close to Husbeasts work, near a grocery store, close to the school and on a public transit line. (just in case) Those have always been our criteria for our sense of safety. Well, as with anything, you have to make sacrifices somewhere. Ours came in the form of having to put on a new roof ourselves, removing old landscaping, settling for a VERY outdated kitchen with vinyl flooring that had pieces missing. lol. BUT, I did get beautiful, ORIGINAL crown molding, a fire-place, original weighted sash windows, attached garage and a floor furnace and window AC’s instead of central heat and air. *side note here: If you’ve never had a floor furnace, you’re missing out! My utility bills are 1/3 that of central heat/air AND my floor furnace works when there’s no power. So no worries about freezing to death! Down side to that though, in the summer, all the doors in the house have to remain open so that air can circulate. Anyway, over the years I’ve been able to do little bits and pieces of repairs and/or remodeling as I could. But since our kids are getting older (one is moved out with a family of her own now), we find ourselves with a bit more resources AND time. So, I try to pick a room to redo about every other year. I few years ago, I was able to gut the kitchen and get almost all new cabinets, new counter top, a new sink and a great paint job. But the flooring had to suffer and stay the same. lol

 
FINALLY though, this past year, I was able to get all new flooring in the kitchen AND add an entire room to the kitchen with new flooring to match! I got a new side by side refrigerator, a new chest freezer, a large pantry, a bar/island that overlooks the main living/TV room with even MORE cabinets, and a smaller pantry with space for the microwave which freed up more counter space! I also redecorated my kitchen with matching accent pieces and plants and even though I could get new pots and pans, I just can’t seem to make up my mind yet on what I want. Life of a Libra! lol Here are my project pages I did when picking out colors, flooring and appliances for the kitchen and addition.

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I have a household binder that I use to organize most everything I do and I especially LOVE my project pages. I know I could use pinterest but I’m a hands on type of girl and I love taking my binder with me when I’m looking at paint swatches or going thrift shopping for unique items. My project for the coming year is my dinning room and front living room. I pretty much love my dinning room as it is. Some years ago, I painted it a lovely (and risky) green with bright white accents. I literally had to stare at the open paint can for two whole days before I could make that first brush stroke. It was so far out of what I would normally choose! But, I absolutely FELL. IN. LOVE with the color once it was on the walls! The dinning room is the central room in our house and the place where we gather the most. I love that this room is lively with it’s green and white-painted walls full of family photos. There are three entrances to this room, plus two very large windows. This year, I want to install nearly floor to ceiling cabinetry on both sides of the windows with bench seating in between. I have hardwood floors that I want painted a soft chocolate and I want to move the dining table and chairs to the right of the room.

Here is my crude drawing of what I want around the windows in the dining room.

windowseatAnd this is my project page that goes along with my drawing. I use my projects pages for paint chips, printouts of pieces I may want to add, furniture, shopping lists, websites, prices, dimensions and a list of things I want to accomplish for that room.

diningroomI wont go in to it right now, but I’ve already started working on the project page for my front living room. This is the room you are in when you enter the house and the dinning room is seen from this room through a large double door opening. I want to add french doors to this opening so that the two rooms are more defined. The front living room also has the fireplace and is where we tend to stay when having company. The larger living room that is in the back of the house has the entire entertainment center and is more of a ‘man cave’ than a visiting room. Well, guess I DID go into it a little bit after all! lol. Anyway, project pages are a great way to stay focused and organized with big projects. 🙂 Poor Husbeast though, he gets all the work and I get all the fun of designing it! lol

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Freezing Apple Pie filling.

With the abundance of apples right now, it’s a great idea to find as many ways as possible to preserve them for the winter/summer months. I don’t have my own fruit tree, so I make sure I catchpie8 them on sale and stock up! This week, I got Granny Smith apples for .63 cents a pound! There are many ways to preserve apples and since I’ve already dehydrated about 30 pounds of Ginger Golds, these granny smith apples are THE perfect apple for pie filling. You can also can the filling, but I didn’t have any quart jars or lids on hand and didn’t want to add to the cost of getting the apples for such a great deal by going and getting the jars. So, I googled around and finally found a recipe that looked like it had all the components I was looking for. I don’t remember where this came from, or even if it’s the original from where I got it. Who knows, BUT .. I do know that once I mixed up this filling, I just about died from the WONDERFUL SMELL. lol.

HERE’s the recipe, or you can find the same page in the Recipes menu to the right. 🙂 Happy preserving!!

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Make your own dehydrator clean sheets.

If you have a dehydrator and need additional clean sheets for sticky foods, you can make your own for MUCH less than purchasing more. I made two today to add to the two I already had that came with the dehydrator. It was super simple and CHEAP. The plastic canvas can be found at Hobby Lobby for $2.19, use their 40% coupon they have EVERY week and get it for $1.31. Just trace your store bought one onto the canvas and cut it out, wash and use it just like the original one.

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