Dec 31, 2013

Top Ten Recipes of 2013

Time for the yearly post recap.

2013 was a big year for recipes. You the reader (and also the pinner...lots of love to Pinterest), really seemed to like the recipes posted here on Just Another Day in Paradise. In fact, that is two years in a row that the majority of the top ten most viewed posts are recipes. I always contemplate changing over into a recipe blog after I compile these lists. However, I just love the sewing projects, DIY, holiday, party, and all the other lifestyle aspects of this blog too much to say goodbye to them. So for now I will continue to be a general lifestyle blog.

I would love your input though, so feel free to let me know what you think.

As I was compiling my Top Ten Posts list for 2013, I realized I might need to do two lists. A recipe list and a project list, since like I just said, I also like all that projecting stuff.

Today, though we will stick to the recipes.

So here for your and pinning (aka feel free to pin the heck out of these recipes) delight are the Top Ten Recipes of 2013 from Just Another Day in Paradise starting at number 10...

Drum roll please...

Are you hungry now? 

I am.

Did you notice the love for the slow cooker? I really need to dedicate more time to Slow Cooker Saturday don't I? I promise I will, just for you.

I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who reads this blog. 
Thanks for sharing and pinning what you read.
 I appreciate it just so stinkin' much!

Dec 30, 2013

Our Christmas Fancies and Merry Christmas

We had a lovely Christmas full of family, childlike excitement, love, giggles, and quiet moments of reflection on the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I had planned to wish you a Merry Christmas a little sooner than December 30th, but we were happily wrapped up in Christmas festivities (Not to mention not-so-happily experiencing momentary illness...which by the way, did it seem like almost everyone you knew had some form of illness around Christmas?).

So here it is several days after and I am hoping you all had a very Merry Christmas.

One of my favorite days leading up to Christmas is Christmas Sunday, i.e. the Sunday just before Christmas. The absolute best is when Christmas falls on a Sunday. I love celebrating the birth of Christ through sacred hymns and inspirational messages of His birth and life. I love that we dress up just a tad bit fancier than normal. I love that the congregation is busting with visiting family and friends, even if they aren't ours.

I just love it all.

This year, I didn't really get the boys anything new to wear to church, specific for Christmas anyway. I pulled together a few things we already had that looked fancy and "Christmasy".

My wardrobe rummaging explains how this precious little Christmas lumberjack look came to be.

My blue-eyed handsome boy is still just a tad too small for a suit. However, he happily wore this black and red flannel with a black paisley tie I made for the boys two Christmases ago.

The other boys all wore their normal Sunday suits, spruced up with a bit of red in their ties.

It is killing me with how old Oldest is starting to look!

Middle, my stoic handsome one as always.

Then there is Little, always photogenic and always too cute for his own good.

We didn't have mistletoe, but that didn't keep us from smooching it up in front of the Christmas tree. Oldest got it all on camera.

This particular Christmas Sunday, we were miraculously ready quite a bit early for church. So that means I got to snap a lot of pictures...okay, as many as my rowdy boys would allow.

A Christmas hug for dad.

A cute little Christmas "cheese".

A little extra pose, which he came up with all by himself.

I really feel blessed to have this family of boys. I am lucky to be the lone lady amongst all these gentlemen.

I hope you had a warm and wonderful holiday season, and that you continue to feel that warmth into the New Year.

Dec 23, 2013

DIY Photo Wrapping Paper

Here is a quick and fun DIY Photo Wrapping Paper. Some homemade wrapping paper perfect for all those Project Handmade Christmas Presents.

The perfect wrapping paper for gifts for those doting, cheek-pinching grandparents. The only problem arises in them not wanting to tear the paper to open the presents.

This paper is so much fun AND it is unbelievably easy to make.

I used PicMonkey to create my main image.

Once you are in PicMonkey, you hover over the Design menu at the top. All of these canvas options will open up.

I used the 8x10 canvas.

Then I used my very "favoritist" (totally a word) feature in PicMonkey. The "Your Own" overlay options. Here you can overlay your own photos and images. I used this feature all the time. Last year I used it to make a grandparent gift. I made the grandmas Personalized Notepads.

I opened photo after photo. I changed sizes on some. I changed angles. I basically just slapped them all on there in collage type fashion.

Then I saved it to the computer. After I saved it, I opened it once again in PicMonkey. Then I changed the photo from color to black and white.

Once the image was saved, I saved it to a thumb drive and took myself over to Staples. I got an engineer print in 24"x36" for under $4.00.

Your wrapping paper will look a little something like this...with your own babies sweet faces all over it.

All that is left is to wrap up those grandparent presents up.

Then wait for the squeals of "oohs and ahhs". They will come. I promise.

Dec 21, 2013

York Peppermint Patty Fudge {3 ingredients}

Have you already made and delivered your neighbor gift?

Uh, I have not. That is right, not made or delivered. Nada.


I mean, don't get me wrong, I have made plenty of sugary delights. However, none of them have been for the specific intent of giving to neighbors.

My goal is Sunday.

If you are like me and are short on time but still want to do something, what could be easier or faster than 3 ingredient York Peppermint Patty Fudge?

Not much. Putting a bow on a bag of chocolate chips maybe, which I would happily accept. Yum.

Anywho, I digress.

Back to the York Peppermint Patty Fudge.

Three ingredients is all you will need.

You simply melt 2 cups (1 package) of dark chocolate chips and 6 York peppermint patties in a microwave safe bowl. Melt for a minute. Stir. Then melt in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth.

While the chocolate is melting, break up the other peppermint patties into smaller pieces.

Stir in 1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk to the melted chocolate. Fold in peppermint patty pieces.

Pour into an 8x8 lightly sprayed baking dish.

Let it set up for a few hours in a cold a fridge, or in this case, my garage.

Cut up.

Eat or give away or eat AND give away.

I printed these free holiday gift tags from Paper Crave.

I taped them onto cardstock tags with washi tape.

I assembled the fudge in these window cupcake boxes, which I am kind of obsessed with.

Tied it closed with some ric rac and the gift tag.

All ready.

All done with gifts?

Well, nothing says you can't make some for yourself.


Happy Holiday Eating!

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Dec 19, 2013

Project Homemade Christmas Present: Baby Doll Basket {from MADE pattern}

This might be my favorite present that I made this year. I know I said that about my Avengers Hand Puppets too. A tough race going on here with Project Handmade Christmas Present.

Seriously though, between the fact that I hardly ever get to sew for girls AND how unbelievably cute this fox flannel is, I think this project just barely beat out the Avengers.

When I first saw the pattern for this Baby Doll Basket by Dana from MADE, I kind of died and it was one of those rare times that I was immediately a little sad there are no little girls around these here parts.

I was sad that I had no reason to buy the pattern.

Then I was all like, "Wait! Uh, I have nieces and it is almost Christmas!"

Then I did a happy jig.

Then I bought the pattern.

Be prepared, there is more jig dancing to follow.

I found the fox flannel and this pink houndstooth flannel at JoAnn's. More jigging done here. Yup, right there in the store.

I was a little nervous to start the project. While I am not a sewing novice, I am HORRIBLE at following patterns. They get me all anxious and my tummy goes all wackadoo. I seriously get so worried I am going to mess everything lovely fabric in particular.

Oh, I was worried for nothing. Dana makes this pattern so clean and easy to follow. The pattern is easy to print and put together. The pictures that follow along with the written instruction are crisp and amazing (as her photos always are).

In no time, I had a finished project that made me clap and giggle...and yes do another jig. Cutest little Baby Doll Basket ever.

Before I shipped it off to one of my nieces, I wanted to snap some pictures of it. Surprise, surprise.

Funny thing. I don't really have any baby dolls at my house. That made taking pictures a little difficult. Upon searching, I found my old Cabbage Patch doll. Perfect. Oh wait, she has no clothes, and I figured it would be all new levels of crazy if I sewed this doll clothes just for a photo shoot.

Then I found the only real dolls we have around here. The plastic, muscled-out, not messing around, save the world type dolls.

He was not altogether pleased with the idea of going into a froo froo bed, not matter how comfortable I told him it was.

Then this sweet puppy volunteered.

He was feeling pretty tired and was really hoping for a cozy place to sleep.

So I tucked him in all cozy. Whispered, "good night" and then snapped some pictures.

Perfect. Thanks Puppy! (Look for a past Project Handmade Christmas Present starring this puppy HERE.)

I can't say enough about how awesome this pattern was. I am SO happy I bought it. I am excited to make more. Dana has done such a great job with this pattern and it is a great price. I highly recommend going and purchasing this. No one is paying me or reimbursing me to say this. I honestly just love it and think you all should own it.

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Dec 17, 2013

Country Christmas Gift wrapping

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Fa La La La La, La La La La...

Uh, yeah I know I totally just combined two different Christmas songs. I am a rebel like that.

Really I am just so excited about all this gift wrapping that I am giddy beyond all normalcy and reason.

Well, I guess I should clarify, I am giddy with the results. Wrapping presents is a tad bit tedious, at least for me. Maybe some of you frolic around happily with a tubes of wrapping paper, a multitude of  gifts, and rolls of scotch tape.

However, I do my frolicking after the presents are wrapped and all pretty like under the tree.

Keeping it real moment- I do not wrap all fancy every year. Some years I am slapping paper on presents in a frenzied fashion on Christmas Eve Eve...other wise known as two days before Christmas. No extra bows. No tags. Just names written the outside of the paper. My boys love their gifts either way.

So when I do the extra frills, fabric, and lace it is just an added bonus for the year.

This year just happens to be that added bonus year.

Since I was already a little country and gingham obsessed this Christmas, I decided my gift wrap this year should just play follow the leader and tag a long.

Besides the paper, every little extra bit was gathered from my already quite hoarder-level stash.

Now if you are not a hoarder, all of these supplies are super easy to find and are cheap. A woohoo!

After grabbing some brown craft paper, red craft paper, and a fun coordinating print paper or two, I gathered a few things from the stash I mentioned.


Different kinds of labels.

Bits and Pieces. (PS the paper doilies are my new favorite packing bit)

All together and they make a perfectly delicious Country Christmas gift wrapping.

Now I can admire all the least until a curious little 20 month old wants to know what is the deal with all those paper tags.

Eh, and then I am still gonna admire it. Grubby toddler fingerprints on a Christmas package makes it even better.

Merry Christmas!

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