This blog is about stamping, scrapbooking, food, writing, painting & family. Sweet pieces by me.
Author: Charlene Becker
I'm 46, wait what? Not sure how that happened... But the best thing about it is that I have a 9 year old son and a 7 year old daughter. Besides loving on them, I love to share my love of Cooking & Stamping with all of you. I also have a love for writing, painting, photography, travel, dining, and creative adventures!
If you’re not, now is a great time to sign up! Or if you are, but your membership is expiring, this is a great time to renew!
The VIP program is a chance to earn shopping credit on your purchases while getting access to exclusive product and perks! Pay $35 and get $15 in VIP Credit when you sign up! (yearly membership)
What perks you say? Perks such as this Flower Shop Card Kit! This is an exclusive kit for only VIP customers!
The VIP Flower Shop Card Box comes with materials for creating and storing 15 beautiful cards. With pre-printed card bases, envelopes, an exclusive stamp set, stamping block, and mini ink pad all included, the only thing you need to add is your favorite adhesive! With a variety of interchangeable stamp sentiments, this kit makes it easy to whip up the perfect card for all kinds of occasions. Store your completed cards in the eye-catching box where they’ll be ready for you when you need them.
Get your exclusive kit and card box before supplies run out!!
Here are some FREEmeal planning tools I have made for you to make life easier in the kitchen! Each weekly meal plan is 7 days and has recipes for 7 dinners. (and maybe some bonus desserts!) Also, I planned the meals so the ingredients that you are shopping for can be used for 2 or more of the recipes! These recipes are taken straight from the Pampered Chef Recipe collection and are tested for goodness. 🙂
I also took the liberty of making a SHOPPING LIST for you….WHAT?! I mean, I hear ya, one of the worst things about cooking is that you have to SHOP for what you need amiright?! Just pull up the shopping list when you are ready to shop. Then pull up the Meal Plan Menu and follow the link to the Pampered Chef Recipe* to cook!
I hope you enjoy this help with Menu Planning! Happy Cooking! xoxo
Hello stamping and scrapbooking friends! I’m so excited about some super cute new products by Close to My heart! Now that the holidays and cooler weather are nearing, I was thrilled to see CTMH come out with their new collection called Pumpkin Spice and the Halloween line called Boo Crew. They also have a new Slimline Celebration collection to celebrate National Stamping Month (NSM) in October. I’ll share each of the collections, some links and photos! Be sure to pop on back to my site to see some adorable projects and cards using these products.
First up is Boo Crew. So cute for scrapbook pages, mini albums, or treat bags! Speaking of treat bags, I am working on some cute smarties candy treat holders that are adorable…video coming soon! You can also join in on the workshop once you purchase your kit. Just go to the event page on CTMH’s Facebook page HERE. This event will be on October 12th.
Boo Crew Paper Packet & Sticker Sheet
Check out these cute ghost sequins that match!
Of course we have cardstock to match in Nectarine, Ballerina, Black, and Wild Berry. This cardstock is perfect for greetings cards and scrapbook pages. Remember, it has a lighter side, and a dark side!
Here is the CTMH video of the entire Boo Crew collection:
Next up is Pumpkin Spice! I don’t know about you, but we had a long summer here in Colorado, so I’m ready for boots, sweaters, firepits, hot chocolate, and pumpkin spice everything! 😉 You can join in to watch the Facebook live event using either the Cardmaking or the Scrapbooking kit, or both! The cardmaking one is on October 19th, and the scrapbooking one is on October 26th. These are free, live events, and there are usually giveaways!
The matching stamps and thin cuts are also adorable!
Here is the CTMH walkthrough video of the Pumpkin Spice collection:
Lastly, there is the whole Slimline collection! I’m in love with all of these and I just ordered the Fishy Greetings and the Circle Cluster Thin Cuts. As soon as I get my products I’ll create and post some creations with them!
Check out the CTMH video with the entire Slimline collection:
You can get the entire Slimline collection on sale now! Save 20% when you purchase the whole set in either the Slimline Celebration Product Bundle or the Slimline Celebration Workshop kit! The workshop kit also includes cardstock, sparkles, and cards and envelopes to give you supplies for creating a set of 12 slimline cards featuring these fun stamps and die-cuts. Complete the workshop together with us during a FREE virtual event that will be held on the Close To My Heart Facebook page on Friday, September 24. Anyone can join in, it’s free, and there will be a replay available!
Sorry this post was long, but I haven’t been on in a while and there’s so many new holiday products! Stay tuned for new cards and new videos soon using all of these new products! Be sure to follow my page so you don’t miss any posts!
My goal this year is to blog/post more! Everything I stamp, make, craft! I hope to stick with this plan, gain more followers and build my community of crafting friends. I’d love to grow my team within Close to My Heart. ❤
So today I’m sharing a cute Valentine’s card I made using a Petite Perk stamp, I like you a waffle lot. These are stamps demonstrators use as giveaways or incentives. I stamped it twice, then stamped the words. I used a past Mix-In design paper that has the same yellow as the cardstock (Canary I think). I also used the acrylic hearts, which are still available! CTMH also has pink hearts, stars, beach theme, arrows, and Disney “theme” acrylic shapes.
People. You need to try this soup. The cold weather hasn’t left us completely so I must strongly encourage you to make this because you won’t regret it! I found a recipe on Pinterest and tweaked it to make a quick, delicious Pozole that tastes like it was simmering for hours. Please try it, and use up your leftover carnitas! (Or shredded chicken!)
Isn’t it gorgeous? Okay, enough chatting, here is the recipe:
30 Minute Amazing Pozole
2 T canola or vegetable oil
2 T flour
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped small dice
1/2 T Chili powder (more if you like it spicy)
1/2 can tomato paste (if you don’t have it, sub in marinara or tomato sauce!)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne powder (if you really like heat, I did not use it)
1 tsp salt
2 cups water
3 cups chicken broth (I use water and chicken bouillon)
15 oz can hominy
2 cups leftover carnitas (shredded pork or use shredded chicken)
Handful of cilantro
Cacique queso fresca or Cotija cheese
In a soup pot, heat oil over medium high heat and add your diced onions. Sauté until soft and translucent. Add a pinch of salt. Add the flour with the chili powder and saute for a couple more minutes continuously stirring.
Add the 2 cups of water, tomato paste, garlic powder, cumin, and salt. Stir to combine. I also squeezed in 1 lime wedge, just because! Let mixture thicken slightly, then add the chicken broth, shredded meat and hominy (drained). Cook for another 10 minutes or so until heated through.
Serve topped with rough chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of queso fresca.
*if you like heat or spice, you can add more chili powder, cayenne or diced chiles.
Hope you give it a try! Let me know if you do and what you think!
Hello everyone!!I’ve been hearing a lot lately about people writing letters to themselves. You can open it up a year from now or 5 years from now or even 10 years from now. The letter should be something uplifting for your older self. Something you think you might need to hear at that time. I wish I could write a letter to my younger self and have my younger self read it and learn from my older self, but I just haven’t found a way to do that yet. 😉 So until then, this will have to do. I think I know what my older self will need to hear in a year so I’ll try for something like this…Dear Charlene,Read this when you are 45.So here you are, 45 years old and you’re wondering where the time has gone. Please don’t sell yourself short. You have accomplished so much in your lifetime more than you know even though it doesn’t seem like you have. You have lived in 5 states, been married 3 X, divorced twice,have a beautiful 8 year old and a beautiful 6 year old. By now you probably have your real estate license, and you’re helping your husband run a business. It might be starting out slow or you could already be very successful, but what you need to realize is that you are already successful. Having and caring for your children is a success. Providing for them is a success. Taking care of your husband and your family is a success. People need to realize that we need to celebrate the small successes and realize that is what matters in this life. You might also be working a full-time job and that could be taking away from the family. Just remember it’s temporary. Nothing lasts forever. You might be missing your family as well. Just know that they are always thinking of you, and always pulling for you and in your corner. Even though it might not seem like it at times. Be strong.Hopefully the business is booming, and you are looking for your forever home. As soon as you get this forever home I think you should get a puppy. Or even a kitty. Animals fill a void nothing else can. I know there is an empty spot in your heart that Hunny has left. She was the best dog ever. I know you are skeptical if you will find a pet that is as special as she was, but I know you will because most dogs and cats are pretty special. God will be looking out for you and he will match you with one that needs a home just as much as you want to give one to him or her.I’m pretty sure you also went back to school, most likely for general education. Keep your eye on the prize and realize that this is something you were always meant to do. Teaching others, guiding them, inspiring them to do their very best and becoming who they need to be. This is how you will make a difference in the world.Be the change you want to see.I have to go now spend time with your 7 year son and your 5 year daughter. I think some Play-Doh is on the agenda. Remember they are only little for a little while. Enjoy them and their sweetness and innocence.Love your 44 year old self!CharleneI encourage you all to write letters to your future self encourage them, and congratulate them. This life is pretty tough but we should be easy on ourselves, always. Xoxo
Here is how I made this awesome, beautiful copycat version of Macaroni Grill’s Pasta Pomodoro. This dish only has 5 ingredients! It would be amazing and very impressive for a date night. Pair this with a simple salad like a Cesar and some crusty french bread and you just can’t top it. A nice Chianti or red wine would pair nicely with this rich, red sauce. It’s my go to pasta dish when I want something quick and semi healthy! 😉
So here we go:
4-6 fresh tomatoes, chopped (I used 4 small campari tomatoes and 1 heirloom)
2 Tablespoons of fresh garlic, chopped (or less if you’re not a fan)
1 small bunch of fresh basil, chiffonade
1/4 cup of your favorite marinara or tomato sauce
1/2 – 1 pound Angel Hair Pasta
Other pantry ingredients: good olive oil, kosher salt or any sea salt
Start a pot of boiling water for the pasta and while that’s going, start on your sauce.
Start with your pan on medium heat and add about 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil. Also add the garlic at this time and WATCH it. Stir often and watch it soften for just about a minute or less. You do NOT want to brown it. Browned garlic is bitter and not good.
The garlic will infuse the oil and it will make this dish YUM! After about 30 seconds to 1 minute swirling the garlic around, add the tomatoes. You can stir occasionally. We are just trying to infuse the tomatoes with the garlic oil and break them down a little so they are soft and flavorful.
After about 5 -8 minutes you can add the marinara/tomato sauce. This helps the sauce to have a richer flavor. If the tomatoes look like they are drying quickly, turn your heat down and add the sauce sooner. I personally LOVE the Victoria Trading Company Marinara Sauce Old World Style. This is an AMAZING sauce! If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it! Here’s a picture:
After adding the sauce, you can add 1/2 of the basil so those flavors can meld together. Add the pasta to your boiling water and after about 7 minutes it should be al dente. Use tongs to add the pasta to your sauce and toss. Also at this point you can taste your sauce to see if it needs any salt. Top and mix with the rest of the fresh basil. (Optional: add some fresh grated Parmesan or pass it at the table) – I don’t think it needs it, but hey, if you like it that way, go for it!
Serve with your side of salad and a warm french bread! This is also a terrific side dish for Chicken Marsala or Chicken Piccata.
This takes me back to when my sister and I would go to the Macaroni Grill for lunches and get the 1/2 and 1/2. I think my recipe is pretty darn close to the real thing!
I hope you enjoy it and please give me a shoutout or comment if you try it!