Occasionally Crafty

April 25, 2017

Skinny Baked Mac 'n' Cheese

Life sure gets busy, doesn't it?

My kids are in school all day.  But once they get home, our life is a whirlwind of homework, piano lessons, dance lessons, baseball practice, Cub Scouts, church activities, and more.

More often than I'd care to admit, dinner is thrown together at the last minute, or we resort to a drive-through window of a restaurant near our destination.

So, when I have a "night off" where everyone is home and I have time to breathe, I want to make my family a fun, nutritious dinner.

My kids absolutely adore mac 'n' cheese from the blue box.  What kid doesn't?  But I wanted something my husband and I could enjoy with our kids that tastes great and is better for us.
I put together a lightened up version of homemade Baked Mac 'N' Cheese.

December 5, 2016

Rudolph Nose Treats and Printable Gift Tags

*Hey all- I'm not back from my blogging break yet, but wanted to share some old posts I shared on other blogs last year.  I hope you're enjoying them!*

Make some easy and delicious treats for your holiday gifts this year.  These are the perfect easy treats for friends, family, teachers, neighbors, and more!

My little treat idea is nothing new. You’ve probably made a version of it yourself.  But if you haven’t, you are seriously missing out.  These are the EASIEST treats to make, and almost everyone loves them!
I call my version Rudolph Nose Treats, and that’s because the finished product looks a little like a snout with a red nose on it.  It’s perfect for the holidays.
You will need the following:
  • Square Pretzels (I use Snyder’s)- although regular ones will work too.
  • 1 bag of Rolos®
  • Red M&M’s® ( I buy the holiday mix and pick the red ones out)
To make these, preheat your oven to 250 degrees and simply place your pretzels on a cookie sheet.  I use my Silpat to line the sheet, but parchment paper works too.
Place an unwrapped Rolo® on top of each pretzel.  Try to center it.  One bag of Rolos® makes between 45-55 treats.
Put your pretzels into the oven for 3-4 minutes, until the caramel has begin to soften and sink.
While still warm, press a red M&M®, “M” side down, into the center of your Rolo®.  Push it down slightly so the caramel squishes into the pretzel.
Let cool in the fridge until firm.
Now- package these up for your friends or neighbors using a a cute bowl or cup, some plastic wrap, and my free printable Reindeer Treat Tags.

You’ve got an easy gift that took very little time, and looks great.  Whoever gets these will think they’re won-deer-ful (sorry, couldn’t help myself!)
Thanks for stopping by today.  I’d love to see you over on my blog, where I’m getting ready for Christmas with some fun Christmas Decor ideas for your Kitchen

Merry Christmas, all!

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund this blog so I can keep bringing you fun new craft projects to try at home!
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November 30, 2016

Printed Burlap Christmas Tree Sign

*Hey all- I'm not back from my blogging break yet, but I'm sharing some old posts I shared on other blogs last year.  I hope you enjoy them!*

Print your favorite printable sign on Burlap for a whole new look!

I just discovered the most brilliant invention of my crafting life.  I was at the store, and I saw LAMINATED BURLAP!

(Okay so I might be overstating it a little by calling it the most brilliant invention).  But seriously folks, I love printing on burlap, but I rarely do it.

Why?  Because you have to cut the burlap, then iron the burlap.  You have to clean up the frayed ends, then iron on freezer paper.  Only then can you print on the burlap.

But now- I can just throw one of these sheets into the photo tray of my printer, laminated side down, and voila!  I have printed burlap.

To showcase this brilliant invention, I took a shape from the Silhouette design store (which you can purchase here) and made it into a printable.

Note- you do NOT have to own a Silhouette to download and use their software, Silhouette Studio.  I use it a lot just to make printable art- no cutting needed.  If you love to make your own printables, why not give it a try?

I filled my words and shapes with colors, and made the cut lines transparent.   You can either save it as a PDF or just print it right from Studio.  

If you're not comfortable making your own, I have made it into a PDF for you to download for a short time.  Download and print yours here.

To print: follow directions for your printer for photo printing.  I loaded mine into the rear photo tray, and in the print menu, selected paper size as 8x10 and paper as "Glossy Photo Paper".  Then I clicked print and the laminate burlap worked perfectly!

To finish it off, you can either back it in a frame with Christmas scrapbook paper, or you can use a mat to give it a more formal look.  

I kind of love them both, so I'm not sure which way I'll go.

This is a super way to display your favorite printable and give it a more rustic feel!

What will you use laminated burlap for?
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November 16, 2016

Christmas Carol Wood Slice Plaque

*Hey all, I'm not back from my blogging break yet, but I am sharing old posts from last year that I shared on other websites.  I hope you'll find them and enjoy them!* 

Bring some antiqued Christmas sheet music into your decor with this beautiful Christmas Wood Slice Plaque!

Use Christmas Carols in your Christmas Decor with this Christmas Sheet Music Wood Slice Plaque!

Hi everyone!  

I am a musician when I'm not blogging, and I have a special place in my heart for Christmas Carols!  There are so many fun ways to use them in your Christmas decor, too.
For this project, you'll need the following supplies:

  • Wood Slice (I got mine at Michael's with a 40% off coupon- making it under $4)
  • Printable Sheet Music or old sheet music from a book
  • Mod Podge/Brush
  • Merry and Bright Laser Wood Cutout (also from Michael's)
  • Gold Paint/Brush
  • Gold Glitter
  • Hot Glue/Glue Gun

Make a Wood Slice Christmas Carol Plaque

1.  Cut your Christmas sheet music into strips and trim to fit on your wood slice.  It took a little playing around with mine to get it how I would like it.

2.  Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge onto the wood slice, then carefully smooth your sheet music strips on top.  Don't worry if it bubbles.  You can use a credit card or scraper to smooth them down as it dries.  The wrinkles give it character :)

3.  Apply another coat of Mod Podge on top of your sheet music.  Since I printed mine with an inkjet printer, the Mod Podge kind of smeared some of the ink and made it look old and worn- which I loved!

4.  Paint your wood cutout with gold paint.  Mine took two coats.  After painting your LAST coat, IMMEDIATELY apply glitter all over the design before the paint dries.  I literally dumped and spread a whole tube of glitter on this! Make sure you do this on newspaper or something to catch the excess glitter to reuse.  By doing it this way, most of the glitter will stay locked in as the paint dries.

5.  Let dry, then shake to remove excess glitter.  If desired, spray your cutout with a sealer to help keep the glitter in place even more.
6.  Hot glue your wood cutout onto your wood slice.
7.  Display your creation on a small easel or prop up on a shelf.  This adds a fun sparkly touch to your Christmas decor!

I hope you loved this project as much as I do!  Click to see some of my other glittery Christmas projects, like my Glittered Reindeer Sled

and this Wooden "Just BeClaus" Sign!

Happy Holidays!
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November 2, 2016

Fall Printable with Mini Banner

*Hey all- I'm not back from my blogging break, but I am sharing some posts I didn't publish on my blog last year, hoping you'll find them somehow and check them out!  I hope you're doing awesome!

Fall Printable Mini Banner

I think banners and buntings are pretty much the cutest thing ever, so I’ve created a fun one for fall just for you!
Download your free fall printable here.
Download your mini banners here (with “Fall” and blank)
Print your fall printable and trim to fit your frame.

Fall Mini Banner PrintableInsert it into the frame and secure the back.
Print out your mini banner, then cut each shape out.
Fall Mini Bunting

Use hot glue to adhere your banner to baker’s twine, yarn, or even thread.  Drape your banner across the top of your frame.  I like to put mine just to the side a bit.
Fall Printable and Mini Banner

That’s it!  Now you have a cute decoration for fall.  Use this idea to dress up any plain framed quote or picture.
Thanks for stopping by today! 

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund this blog so I can keep bringing you fun new craft projects to try at home!
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June 24, 2016

When It's Time To Move On: Saying Goodbye to Blogging

Have you ever felt something drifting away from you?

I consider it a blessing to experience this feeling often in my life.

Once in college, my boyfriend told me that he loved me (over the phone, but that's beside the point).
I knew when he said it that I didn't feel the same way, but I was scared to let go of the one real relationship I had ever had.  But then, things started changing.  Being with him just didn't "feel right" any more.  

It's hard to explain- but I knew it was time to move on.

When I graduated college, I became a high school band teacher.  It was sincerely fulfilling a dream!  For five years I taught high school and loved it.  Shortly after I began teaching, I met my future husband, and we were married.  After he finished school, we decided the time was right for us to start our family.  As I became pregnant, I began to look forward to being a mom the same way I had dreamed of being a teacher.  I knew it was time to move on to the next phase of my life and become a stay-at-home mom.  

It's hard to define- but it was time to move on.

I could name many such experiences throughout my life.  I am a religious person, so I believe that it is a little bit of personal inspiration, or feeling the Holy Spirit guide me along my path in life to what I'm supposed to be doing.  Call it that or women's intuition or what have you, I know each of us can feel something that guides us to where we need to be.

All that to say- I'm starting to feel blogging drifting away from me.  I started this blog six years ago, and I've enjoyed doing it.  I put in many hours to create, photograph, edit, and promote blog posts for you.

I thought that this last year, now that all of my kids were in school, I would dedicate myself full time to the blog and bring about some serious growth and great projects.  Instead, I felt drawn to do other things, like work on family history, beautify my home (without having to take pictures of it), and volunteer at the school with my kids.  

We have also decided to move.  We are moving out of our home in a week, renting a vacation home for a few weeks, then moving across the country to Iowa.   We have been so, so busy getting ready that I've hardly had time to do anything else.

I feel myself pulled in another direction.  I'm not sure what that direction is.  Perhaps I will renew my teaching certificate and go back to the classroom.  Maybe I will spend more time volunteering in the school and community.  I just know that blogging is not where I need to be spending my time right now.

I don't know if this is a permanent break, or a temporary one.  So, I will be keeping my blog up for you to find inspiration from.  I want you to be able to find my old projects and recipes again.  But I won't be posting for awhile.  Or longer. 

 It's hard to explain why.  It's just time.  It just feels right. 

Thank you for being my loyal readers over the years, however long you've been with me.  Check out my very first project here!  (So fun and yikes! I've learned a lot since then!)

Everything I've made here has been not only for me and my family, but for you and yours.  

Keep making beautiful things!  

June 15, 2016

Dr. Seuss Kids Craft: Paper Plate Fish Bowl

Hi everyone!

I'm thrilled to be a guest today for the Mother Hen Series over on Crafting Chicks, featuring Dr. Seuss books this week!

My kids love to paint, and honestly, I usually don't want them to because it makes a big mess.  Summer is the perfect time to do things I otherwise wouldn't let them do, so we put together a fun idea for the book One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

Click over to Crafting Chicks for the full tutorial.

Have a great week!

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