Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Blog Makeover!

Paint Speckled Pawprints has received a total blog makeover and is looking pretty snazzy, all thanks to my friend, Kate, at her very own Katelyn Brooke Designs!


I met Kate during my senior year of high school; I had a pretty relaxed photojournalism class, so I'd pop over to the next-door art class to visit my best friend, Rachel.  During each one of these visits, I couldn't help but notice that Kate, one of Rachel's table mates, was a fabulous artist.  Oil, pastels, watercolors... it seemed like there wasn't anything that Kate couldn't do.

About two years ago, I stumbled upon Kate's personal blog, Stripes and Polka Dots.  I loved her honest, carefree, fun, yet sophisticated accounts of life, college, and wedding planning.  Kate has since created her own blog design business, called Katelyn Brooke Designs.  She is incredibly easy to work with, is full of ideas, and her creativity and coding skills are stellar.  She offers full custom blog designs and a la carte items for Blogger and WordPress platforms at reasonable and affordable prices.  If you're serious about blogging and would like to have your own blog makeover, please be sure to check out her portfolio!  Here are a couple of my favorite designs of hers:




In addition to Katelyn Brooke Designs and Stripes and Polka Dots, Kate authors her own art blog, called Sketch and Wash.  All three of these blogs are equally brilliant, personal, and beautiful.  Kate's fun, quirky, and selfless personality totally shows through each one of her posts.  Be sure to check them out!

Kate's a total gem, and I cannot thank her enough for all of the work that she's done for me.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spring Tulip Wreath

We had several unseasonably warm days this February (which coincidentally were promptly followed by a massive snow storm).  When Michael's had a 40 percent off sale on bunches of tulips that particular weekend, I knew that I had to create a spring wreath to celebrate!

I started with a cheap grapevine wreath and wrapped a pipe stem cleaner around the top of it to serve as a hanger.


I then snipped all of the purple, white, and yellow tulips (along with their leaves) off of their stems, and began glue-gunning them to the wreath.


And continued this process around the wreath in the same direction, trying to make it appear as full as possible.


That's it!  One day soon, I need to learn how to make bows.  This will work for now.


The first thing that my husband said when he saw it was, "It's a LSU wreath."  We're not the biggest fans of the LSU Tigers.  I smacked him.


There you have it!  A simple tulip wreath, which is ready for spring.  



You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDittle DattleDIY Home Sweet Home,  Everything Under the MoonGet Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeThe Graphics FairyMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsRunning with GlitterSew Can DoSew Happy GeekSkip to My LouToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: All Thingz RelatedA Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyFunky Polka Dot Giraffe,  I'm Topsy TurvyThe Kurtz CornerMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNatural NestersNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee Crafts,  Sweet Little GalsTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleThrifty DecoratingYesterday on TuesdayFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFinding FabulousFingerprints on the FridgeHappy-Go-LuckyMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeOne Artsy MamaPerfectly ImperfectSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: Embellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesNifty Thrifty Things

Happy 2nd Birthday, Crash!

Today is my puppy's second birthday.


As most of you pet owners out there, your dogs are more than just... dogs.  They are your kids and are a part of your family.  Our little family wouldn't be as special as it is now without Crash.


Crash is a total goofball.  He thinks he's a cat and loves to hang out on the backs of couches.


We find him in the strangest places and positions.



Nothing makes him happier than ice cubes, breakfast, dinner, sticks, and plenty of Nylabones.  


He is fast.  


His catching skills are... endearing.




He loves to get into trouble.


He doesn't like baths.  


Or hats.


Crash idolizes his brothers and sisters, Zubrus, Marshall, Lily, and Bella (not pictured).


He's also the best snuggle buddy.


And he sure knows how to melt your heart.


Happy birthday to my little Crash Test Puppy, Crash Potato, Crash Bandicoot, Crashus Clay, Crashers.  I wish I could tell you how much joy and laughter you have brought into our lives.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dinner of the Week: Chicken Pot Pie

This week, I'm going to share with you one of my favorite, easy, "go to" recipes.  Chicken pot pie is my ultimate comfort food, and this is a dish that I often make on cold nights, rainy nights, or sit-at-home-and-watch-a-movie nights.  I honestly can't remember where I first stumbled upon this recipe, but I've tweaked it so much over the years that I'm not even sure how true it is the the original.

This recipe is very versatile, too; you can add whatever vegetables you want, eliminate the cheese if you're health-conscious, or add more or less of any of the ingredients.  I don't think you could ever go wrong.  I've tried this recipe vegetarian before, and it tastes just as great as it does with chicken.  I've also tried it with turkey to help get rid of Thanksgiving leftovers.

You can also make single serving pot pies by using squares of puff pastries instead of unbaked pie crusts, and placing the pot pie into small ramekins.  Freeze the leftover ramekins and put them individually into the oven whenever you feel like it.

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients: 
- 1 package chicken (tenderloins or breasts)
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 carrots
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen corn
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Dried oregano, basil, rosemary (or whatever you have on hand)
- Your favorite chicken seasoning
- 1 package of two unbaked pie crusts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Take the pie crusts out of the refrigerator and place on a countertop.  

Fill a medium to large saucepan up halfway with cool water, and place it over medium heat.  Wash and clean the chicken, then pat dry.  Douse the chicken with your favorite chicken seasoning.


Add the chicken to the pot, leave it, fuhgeddaboudit, and turn to the other prep work.

  
Meanwhile, chop up the celery, carrots, and whatever other veggies you have available.  Pour the frozen peas and corn into a microwaveable bowl, fill the bowl up approximately 1/3 of the way with water, and then place it in the microwave for five minutes.


In a large mixing bowl, add a handful of each kind of cheese, along with the cans of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup.  Mix well.  Add all of the veggies and liberally sprinkle oregano, basil, rosemary, or whatever other spices you have on hand into the bowl.  I usually add a little heat by including red pepper flakes.  Mix again.

Once the chicken is cooked (approximately 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken), drain and place on a cutting board.  Chop up the chicken into cubes.  Add the chicken to the bowl of veggies and stir well.


Take a large, deep casserole dish and either butter the sides and bottom of the dish or lightly coat it with cooking spray.  Unroll one of the pie crusts and lay it on the bottom of the dish.  As shown below, it doesn't have to look pretty.


Add the chicken / veggie mixture to the casserole dish.


Unroll the second pie crust and place it on top of the mixture, folding the extra pieces underneath the crust.  Slit the top crust three times to allow the pot pie to breathe.  Top with thin slices of butter.


Place the casserole dish into the oven and bake on 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  

Once done, the pot pie will be hot and bubbly.  The crust is always perfectly flaky and the contents are piping hot.  I recommend serving it in a bowl, as it's pretty soupy at first.  Enjoy!


My husband and my brother absolutely love this dish.  They always get the biggest smile on their faces whenever I say that I'm going to make it.  It also tastes great, if not better, for leftovers.  I hope you like it, too!




You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDittle DattleDIY Home Sweet Home,  Everything Under the MoonGet Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeThe Graphics FairyMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsRunning with GlitterSew Can DoSew Happy GeekSkip to My LouToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: All Thingz RelatedA Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyFunky Polka Dot Giraffe,  I'm Topsy TurvyThe Kurtz CornerMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNatural NestersNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee Crafts,  Sweet Little GalsTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleThrifty DecoratingYesterday on TuesdayFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFinding FabulousFingerprints on the FridgeHappy-Go-LuckyMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeOne Artsy MamaPerfectly ImperfectSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: Embellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesNifty Thrifty Things

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wedding Nostalgia, Part IV: Reception

The first segment, second segment, and third segment of this series may be found here!

Evan and I, as well as the majority of our wedding party and guests, are alumni from Virginia Tech.  At the beginning of every Hokie football game, Lane Stadium erupts with a roar of the screams and yells of 60,000 fans jumping to Metallica's Enter Sandman.  At the climax of the song's 30-second intro, the team runs onto the field... kind of like this:


True to Hokie form, of course we were going to enter our wedding reception in the same fashion, jumping to Enter Sandman.  

© Jonathan Taylor Photography
© Jonathan Taylor Photography 
© Jonathan Taylor Photography 
© Jonathan Taylor Photography 
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
Afterward, there was dinner and toasts by my best friend, Rachel, and Evan's best friend, Sweede.

© Jonathan Taylor Photography
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
First dances.

© Jonathan Taylor Photography
© Jonathan Taylor Photography 
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
And a whole lot of dancing, smiling, singing, goofing around, and having the time of our lives.

© Jonathan Taylor Photography
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
© Jonathan Taylor Photography 
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
© Jonathan Taylor Photography 
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
One of my best friends, Brandon, sung Sinatra's Come Fly with Me as his toast and wedding gift.

© Jonathan Taylor Photography 
© Jonathan Taylor Photography 
© Jonathan Taylor Photography 
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
© Jonathan Taylor Photography 
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
The part that I will always remember the most was the final song.  There were only about 20 guests left; our closest group of family and friends.  We danced to Green Day's Good Riddance (Time of Your Life), which is a very special song for Evan, my brother, mom, and I.  I'll never forget the smiles on everyone's faces, the laughter, the tears, and the love that was in that room at that very moment.  

It was the best night of my life.

©2012 Blog design by Katelyn Brooke Designs