Friday, December 31, 2010

Easy Dips for your New Years Eve Party

I'd thought I would join Elizabeth from Twelve Crafts today in sharing some of my favorite dips for your New Years Eve party.

Fruit Dip
My mom always made this when I was a kid and it is delicious!
8 Ounces of cream cheese
Small jar of marshmallow cream
Blend together and serve with fresh fruit

Apple Dip
8 ounces of cream cheese
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
blend and then serve with apples

Seven Layer Bean Dip
Refried beans 
Sour Cream, 8 oz
Taco seasoning packet
Avocados
Olives
Cheese 
Tomatoes
Green Onions
To see how to serve this one, go here for the original post.


Heath Dip- This is my favorite dip of all time!

1 block cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 bag Heath or Skor bits


Mix and serve with fresh fruit. You can view the original post on this dip, here. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

WotW: Too much stuff? Freecycle it!

In the post-Christmas haze, do you find yourself feeling buried? Perhaps by all of the surplus STUFF you have now that the holiday spoils are no longer hidden away but instead are unwrapped and underfoot?

Instead of loading up the dumpster and sending the stuff-that's-still-good-but-we-don't-need/want-anymore to the landfill, find it a new home through The Freecycle Network.



Freecycle is a combination of "free" and "recycle" (which I'm sure you figured out) and is a worldwide network of people keeping useful stuff out of landfills. Local groups are run by local volunteers and joining up is completely free.

Find a local group (or two or three) by going to freecycle.org and entering your town or another town near you. Click on the area/city from the list to be taken to the main page for that group.

To join the group, you'll either join a Yahoo Group or join a group right on Freecycle: Some groups are still using Yahoo Groups, but many groups (including the three closest groups to me) have switched to groups hosted right on the Freecycle site. If the group is still hosted with Yahoo, you'll see the Yahoo group address on the main page and go there to join. If the group is hosted with Freecycle, you'll just see a Sign Up/Login button.

Once you've joined, you'll be able to see and add to the posts for that Freecycle group, as well as subscribe to receive email updates. Each group can set their own rules/guidelines/courtesies, but all groups should have the same four post labels:

OFFER: an item that you have that you no longer want and are willing to give to someone
TAKEN: the item up for grabs has found a new home

WANTED: an item that you are seeking that someone might have and be willing to give to you
RECEIVED: the item that you sought is in your possession

Keep in mind that Freecycle is mainly for OFFERs, not for WANTEDs. I was shocked at the number of "wanted" posts in my local groups, and had to set up a "delete these" filter in my Gmail account to keep my inbox from being filled with oodles of "wanted" posts. (I choose to get an email for every post in each group I have joined, but you can choose to get a daily or weekly digest instead if you prefer.)

To post an offer, just log in to the group and... post. Depending on the settings chosen by the local administrator, posts may be limited to a certain number of characters or you may be able to add a photo of the item.

Now to answer some questions you might have (in the opinion and experience of yours truly):


1. So... does Freecycle actually work to keep things out of landfills and get them out of my house/garage?

Yes! The success of your local group depends completely on your local members, however -- some area groups thrive while others just don't. And some things aren't destined to be saved -- I see lots of posts for non-working TVs or other items that "might work with some loving attention" -- and some of those things probably don't find a home through Freecycle. But other items are definitely meant to be saved and loved by someone else.

For example, my husband and I had two old bicycles that we weren't using. They definitely needed some work -- new brakes, new tires, etc -- but otherwise were still usable bikes. I posted them on Freecycle and within minutes (literally! less than 5 minutes) I had a local woman setting up an appointment to come pick up the bikes. I had no less than 20 other people interested, too.

2. How do people pick up the item I post?

Generally, they just come pick it up. Now, be smart about this: a stranger is coming to your house. You may want to just leave the item on the porch or somewhere visible. If they are coming to your door, make sure that someone else is home. Or you can arrange to meet and/or drop the item somewhere neutral and public, like the library or grocery store (just be sure that the item actually gets picked up).


3. What are the rules?

While each local group can set certain standards, in general, Freecyclers are asked to follow these rules and courtesies (full list here):
  • Keep it free, legal, and appropriate for all ages. This means no alcohol or other restricted substances, no firearms, no trading (this for that).
  • Choose one recipient for the item. It doesn't matter who or how you choose, but a free-for-all "it's on the porch" isn't a very popular pick-up option because no one wants to go out of their way to pick up something that may or may not be available. 
  • Be nice. This means being polite in your posts and in your replies, as well as being courteous both about setting up a pick-up time and in actually showing up for the arranged time. Rudeness is always rude, and typically even more so when it's online rudeness.
4. Anything else I should know?

I think that about covers it, but if you have more questions, feel free to leave me a comment or check out the Freecycle FAQs.  You can also find The Freecycle Network on Facebook.

Merry Freecycling and a Happy New Year!



Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of one squirmy boy and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotWjust Lu.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays- Guacamole with a little kick

This is the best guacamole. I have always thought that guacamole was a little bland, until we started making it like this. This guacamole has a kick to it, not so much that your mouth is on fire after you eat it but just enough that it makes its presence known. It is delicious, my two-year-old can't stop eating it. I don't know if that means that the guacamole is really good or if my two-year-old is just weird. :)

You will need:
Three Avocados, I used medium sized ones, with the skins and pits removed
1.5 JalapeƱos, seeded and finely chopped (make sure to seed them, or your guacamole will be SUPER hot. If you want a hotter guacamole add more, if you want it less spicy, add less.)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1/4 of an onion finely chopped
salt

Add all of the ingredients into a food processor and chop until a smooth creamy consistency. Salt to taste. Enjoy with these, because they are delicious too!

4 Years Ago Today, I Married My Best Friend

 Four years ago today, I made the best decision of my life. We have had some crazy adventures together in these years.
 We went to school together, we stayed up late helping each other write papers. We worked at a newspaper where he was my boss for awhile (no, that is not how I got my job.) He followed me around on countless photo shoots, carrying my camera bag, when I was first starting out because I was too scared to go by myself.
 We graduated college together, were blessed with our daughter. We moved to the Texas/Mexico border. He started teaching middle school, a field completely unrelated to his degree. We have had some crazy moments. More than once he had to convince me to finish my degree and more than once I had to convince him that he could make it as a teacher. We have helped each other through hard times and laughed through the good times. I have never felt so lucky. Happy 4th Anniversary Sweetheart!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to take a moment and say, Merry Christmas from our family to yours. I hope you had a wonderful and Happy Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

This movie makes me love Christmas Eve so much



It is my favorite day of the year. Why? Because I get to sing this song to my husband all day and drive him crazy. When we got up this morning, he was already trying to get away from it. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WotW: Free calls for the holidays!

Happy Wednesday-before-Christmas! I hope you are all ready for the holiday season and relaxing instead of frantically pulling loose ends together... like I am. :)

If you'll be making Christmas calls to grandparents or other relatives, don't worry about the phone bill -- use Google to make the calls for FREE!


Yup, using your Gmail account, local and long-distance calls within the US and Canada are completely free, and international call rates are competitively priced: see the price chart here. And you can also receive calls in Gmail if you've set up a Google Voice account. (We'll talk more about Google Voice in the new year :).

Free calling in Gmail was introduced back in August, but the Google team just announced this week that they'll keep it free through 2011. If you like it or think you'll like it, use it! I mean, it's free. You can save on your long-distance bill or still make calls if you're over your minutes on your cell phone plan.

To get started, you (and your computer) must have the audio capabilities to place a phone call, such as a microphone. One of the microphone-headphone headsets would work too, but then you'll look like a telemarketer. :)

Once you are audio-ready, go to google.com/voice and install the Google Voice and Video Setup. It just takes a minute and a browser re-start, and then you're ready to chat!

Just log in to your Gmail or iGoogle account and click Call Phone -- it's the first option in your normal IM chat list.

 That will pop up the dial pad where you'll simply dial the number and click call.  (Except for me since I can't find my microphone... you won't see that message about a proper audio setup :)

Easy, eh? If you do happen to run into trouble, check out the help topics here.

Merry Christmas!



Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of one squirmy boy and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays- Potato Chowder

This delicious and simple soup, is a recipe I picked up from my friend Lorene while we were still in college. Both of us were young, married, poor college students without a lot of time or money on our hands. This recipe met our requirements of being easy and affordable. We make it slightly differently, you can view her posting of this recipe here. 


3 cups potatoes, cut into cubes ( I usually do more than this. I like my soup to be kind of chunky) 
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
1 cup milk
1 cup cubed ham. You can find this usually close to the lunch meat or by the big hams. It is a package of ham cut into little cubes. You can also use leftover ham that you have cut up or use sliced up deli ham. I prefer the little chunks.1 TBSP paprika

salt and pepper to taste


Place your cubed potatoes in a large pan. Cover the potatoes with just enough water that the potatoes don't poke out, even if some boils out during the cooking process. Cook your potatoes until tender. Reduce the heat and DO NOT DRAIN. Add the onion powder, cream of chicken, sour cream and milk. Mix well. Add the ham and paprika and then allow to heat through but watch it to make sure it doesn't boil. Serve with French bread or rolls. Delicious!! This is the perfect soup for warming yourself up during the cold time of year. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cute and Easy Family/neighbor Gift

Have your ever had a Pizookie from BJ's restaurant? There are several restaurant that have similar items on their menu too. It is basically a cookie, baked in its on dish, served hot with a scoop of ice cream on top. It is one of my favorite desserts, but since we don't make it to BJ's often, I stated making them at home. I had small casserole dishes that I inherited from something or another and would make cookies in those. It is a favorite treat of our and I wanted to share our favorite treat with some of the families at our church for Christmas.

I found these cute little baking dishes at the dollar store. Yes! The dollar store. I was a little wary of anything from the dollar store and so I tested them out and the worked great, they are even from a pretty good company! You can use any small baking dish, ramekin or whatever else you can find, as long as it is meant to withstand the heat of the oven. I then bundled two of the dishes with a cookie mix and added ribbon to keep it together. Super simple and relatively affordable depending on how many you are planning on giving out.

How about you? Did you give out any neighbor gifts this year?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tutorial: Wooden Spoon Reindeer Ornament

Remember our little spoon snowman? Well, he needed a buddy, so enter in our little reindeer!

You will need:
One of those little ice cream spoons
Brown paint
A black Sharpie
Three small brown buttons
A small piece of ribbon
The tinniest red pom-pom you can find
A brown pipe cleaner
Cord

Paint your little spoon, brown. When it is dried, tie a little bow with your ribbon and glue over the part where the spoon narrows. Glue your three buttons down his front, and then add his face using the pom-pom as the nose. Cut small lengths of the pipe cleaner. Two about .5 inch to a full inch long. Glue them on the back to give him his antlers. Make a loop with your cord and hot glue both ends to the back of the spoon. If you want  you can glue two short (about a quarter inch) segments at the top of the forehead, you could also use a small amount of brown felt, if that is easier.

Can you believe how close Christmas is? I am not ready! Pause time so I can catch up!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How to make e-mail Christmas cards and add some Christmas spirit to your photos using Picnik

Have you guys been over to Picnik yet? Trust me, if you haven't you are missing out.

First, I am going to show you how to make an Christmas card that you can e-mail all of your friends. Upload your picture, like we talked about in past Picnik segments. Then go to the create menu, this month the Christmas effects are in the featured category, so it should be the first thing that pops up under the create menu.

The first item on the side is called 'Send a Greeting.' Click on it and your holiday card options will pop up, like the box below.
Select the card you want. If you pick a card with multiple photos, those blank photos will show with an upload button that you can use to complete your card. Right under the card preview, there are different color option for each card. So you can make the same card in a few different colors.
Hit next and it will allow you to write in the main message of your card. Then click next.
This screen will allow you to put the email of your recipients and a message. Then you can send your greeting straight from Picnik!

Don't need to send a Christmas card but you still want to have some Christmas picture fun? Check out the rest of the featured Christmas effects. Many of them are free to use on your photos and download. Remember any feature that says premium needs a membership to be able to use it.
You can add Santa hats. Just use the simple scaling tools to re size your hats to the right size after you add them to your photos. You can add a hat just by clicking on it. Then click and drag the hat to move it around. If you are not into Santa hats you can winterize your photo. As in the picture below, it will make the blues and shadows stand out in your photos.
You can also add a sprinkling of snowfall. With the snow option, just select snow and how much snow you would like on your photo. Hit apply and you are good to go.
You can also add a snowflake border, this one is a premium feature, but an extremely pretty one.
So go ahead, play around with the Christmas features and make sure to give somebody in your family Rudolph's nose this Christmas. :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WotW: Portable North Pole - Santa's watching!

Happy Wednesday! We've hit crunch time -- only TEN days until Christmas! Ten days to finish your gift list. Ten days of surviving the Mom-It's-almost-Christmas-and-I-want-that phase... If your kids (or some grownups you know) need a little extra reminder that Santa is still watching and that list of his isn't set in stone, try the Portable North Pole.

Using the Portable North Pole, you can create a personalized message from Santa, including your child's page in Santa's book, their Christmas wish, and if they've been good or not this year.  The Portable North Pole includes so many options that every message is sure to be unique!


The only disappointment with the Portable North Pole is that you can't embed the video to put it in a blog or webpage -- you can share it using a direct link, via email or on Facebook or Twitter, though. To see an example message that I put together for our lovely Debra, click here.

To get started, just go to http://www.portablenorthpole.tv. (They also have an iPhone app.)

You'll select whether the recipient is a toddler, a child (3+), or an adult, and enter their name, gender, relationship to you.

Then comes the fun part: you choose what Santa tells the recipient in their personalized message! This is where all the option are. Santa can commend the recipient for a good year, chastise them for a poor year, or even tell them they've done well but need to do better (which is really probably the most accurate, right?). Children even have the option of visiting one of Santa's top-secret workshops: the reindeer training center, the elves' secret quarters ice hall, or the Santa message center.

You further personalize the video with several pictures (optional), depending on your other choices.

Then you finish up by adding a few final details and a delivery email address, previewing the video, and sharing the video. There's also a (free) option of becoming a member of PNP so that you can see all of your videos in one place.

Need some other online Santa entertainment?

Chat with Santa at http://www.santabot.com.


 Explore Santa's village at http://www.claus.com


And, of course, visit http://www.northpole.com to explore another of Santa's village and send Santa a letter, play games in the elves workshop, or track Santa's itinerary on Christmas Eve, courtesy of NORAD.

Merry Christmas!



Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of one squirmy boy and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays- Pie Crust

You will need:
1 and 1/4 cups flour (plus some extra for rolling)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) of COLD butter
2 - 4 tablespoons of iced water

Mix together the flour, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into pieces and then add to the mixture. Mix until there are just some pea-sized butter pieces left. Add the water a little at a time until the dough will stay together when it is squeezed together. I almost always add all four tablespoons but you may not need to. Press your dough out until it is in about 1 inch thick. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, although you can refrigerate for up to 72 hours. Roll out on a floured surface until about 13 -14 inch circle. Roll over the pie plate and cut off the excess. This recipe makes one crust. If you need a top and a bottom crust, you will need to double it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Rock N' Roll Christmas Tree

 This year, I wanted a themed Christmas tree. I wanted the look of the tree to come together with a central theme. My husband is quite a good guitar player/teacher, and I wanted something he would like too. So I went with Rock N' Roll. Here are the ornaments that I made.
 Floating guitar, I love that this one. It actually dangles inside the ornament.
 Rock N' Roll and guitar pick ornaments.

 I centered my whole tree in between one of my husband's guitars and our keyboard to give it more of a music feel.
 I did buy a set of guitar ornaments from Oriental Trading and instead of wrapping the tree in a garland, it is wrapped in patch cables. Which means my husband has an entire month of just playing his acoustic guitars since I stole the cables to his electrics but maybe for next year, he will just decide to let me have those cables and buy new ones. I can dream right?
I filled in the gaps with brown and gold Christmas ornaments. I love the way it turned out, although it is missing a star. My husband was going to make me an origami star out of sheet music but I am having a hard time finding directions that are good enough to follow.

Did you theme your Christmas tree this year?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tutorial :Wooden Spoon Snowman

Do you remember those little wooden spoons that came with the small cups of ice cream? Here is a way to turn that spoon into something beautiful.

You will need:
wooden spoon
white paint
markers
small button
scrap of fabric
piece of cord

Paint your spoon white. After it dries, color in the face and hat of the snowman. Hot glue your small buttons on the snowman's front and tie the small scrap of fabric around his neck. You can also hot glue a small button at the top of the hat. Place a dab of glue on the scarf to keep it on. Hot glue a loop of cord on the back to be able to hang your creation on the tree. It would be really fun to let your kids decorate their snowmen and then hang them on the tree.

Can you believe how fast Christmas is coming? When I was a kid, it seemed like Christmas would never come and now it seems like it is coming too fast!

handmade projects

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tutorial: Melted Snowman Ornament

Have you seen those little snowman piece miniatures at the craft store? This is the perfect thing to use them for. My wonderful Aunt Nancy, is just about as creative as someone can be. Her specialty is Christmas ornaments and I grew up looking forward to her next creation. I have a soft spot that is hard to explain for melted snowman so this idea was perfect for me.

You will need:
wax paper
hot glue
two black seed beads (for eyes)
scrap of fabric (for scarf)
the bottom part of a leaf (small enough to be arms)
top hat and carrot miniatures
cord

Lay out your wax paper and make a puddle of hot glue on it. Add your pieces to the glue before it sets. Take a piece of cord and make a loop, pressing the ends into the top part of your ornament. Let the glue dry COMPLETELY and then peel off of the paper. Hang on your tree!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WotW: Feed me... a full or partial feed?

Happy Wednesday and welcome to the final Feed Me segment (for realsies this time :). You can catch up on the previous 5 segments here:
Today we'll wrap up by talking about your feed, the one that contains all of your posts, the one that you may or may not burn using Feedburner. One very important aspect of your feed is one that you may not have thought about much: publishing a full or partial feed. 

Say what? Yes, you can publish a partial feed that contains only *part* of each of your posts, so that readers have to come visit your site to read the full feed. Or, you can publish a full feed that contains your full post -- every word you write delivered straight to your readers' feed readers.

So which should you choose? As with many things, the answer depends on you and what you want from your blog and readers. Both options have their pros and cons:

PARTIAL FEED
pro: Readers must click over to your blog, which gives you a higher hit count in your Blogger stats and more exposure for your actual blog: the sponsors, the comments section, the sidebar information, the design, etc.

con: Readers MUST click over to your blog, which means it's both a choice and more work for readers... which means they might not actually make the extra click.

FULL FEED
pro: Your full post is delivered to your readers' feed readers automatically, encouraging readers to actually, you know, read what you've written.

con: Your full post is delivered to your readers' feed readers automatically, potentially deflating your hit count and also, possibly, comments and exposure for sponsors.

From those pros and cons, you draw a conclusion such as this: "So you're telling me that to get hits and comments and exposure for my sponsors, I should publish only a partial feed...right?"

To quote the good Reverend Lovejoy... short answer: yes with an if; long answer: no with a but.

YES, you should publish a partial feed if you are only worried about hit counts, sponsors, and comments, and if you are willing to possibly lose a few readers over it. In forums across the web (such as this one), the response is pretty much unanimous: full feed or bust. NOT subscribing to an otherwise quality feed because it only offers a partial feed is very common; many readers who read primarily through a feed reader find partial feeds to be just plain annoying.

NO, you shouldn't publish only a partial feed because of the risk of losing (or just never gaining) readers, as noted above, but you should definitely encourage readers to visit, comment, and support your sponsors with the actual content of your full feed.

Encourage your readers to subscribe to your feed by posting meaningful and relevant content regularly. It's better to post high-quality content less often than to post drivel once a day just for the sake of posting every day.

Drivel drives readers to unsubscribe or just mentally skip your blog in their reader line-up (speaking from my own experience). Decide what's relevant and meaningful to you (and thence presumably to your readers) by determining your core values (and reviewing the other PR & Your Blog material can't hurt either).

Encourage your readers to support your sponsors by including a sponsor on individual posts. A little thumbnail/button and "this post sponsored by" is perfect -- exposure for your sponsors without being annoying for readers. Hopefully if you have sponsors, you actually like their products, so you can also reference them and their products when it's appropriate and relevant to your topic. Too much name-dropping is annoying, but a name dropped in the right place is information. And information is power. :)

Encourage your readers to visit by referencing and linking to other relevant posts or features of your blog in your posts, such as a similar project or a post on a similar or related topic. The link is important -- don't make your readers visit to scrounge around your blog looking for a post that you just casually mentioned. Take a second and do the legwork to find the correct direct link to what you are referencing.

When your readers do visit, welcome them to an inviting blog-home -- keep your font(s) and posts readable, your sidebars short and uncluttered, and your navigation easy-to-use.

Encourage your readers to comment by giving them easy opportunities to give you feedback -- ask a question or seek an opinion. (However, you probably want to limit how many questions you ask and opinions you solicit, however, at the risk of becoming a needy must-have-validation type blogger.)

Most importantly, however, encourage your readers to comment by being yourself. Include meaningful insights to your personality without engaging in blogger TMI (too much information) -- we usually don't need to know the intimate inner workings of your life, but write and share experiences that let us know who you are and what makes you tick because, odds are, we are just like you in one way or another. The blogs I follow and compulsively comment on are the blog written by women who are real and engaging and make me laugh or say, "Hey, I do that too!"

Part of being yourself and being an engaging blogger is responding to comments. Connecting with readers through comments (both on your blog and theirs) is fantastic, but connecting individually with readers through email is fantastic -- and that's how most bloggy friendships begin! Subscribe to your comments via email (I'll teach you how soon if you don't already) and respond to meaningful comments. You don't necessarily have to respond to every comment (although that's nice if you can), but respond to the comments that make you smile or laugh or just make your heart warm, as well as responding to the comments that require a response (such as questions).

Now that you've thought about full vs. partial feed, you can change (if necessary) your Blogger blog's feed accordingly. While you're logged in to Blogger, go to your blog's Settings tab and click Site Feed. From the Allow Blog Feeds drop-down menu, select either Full, Short, Until Jump Break, or None:
  • Full includes your entire post (minus embedded HTML widgets, as noted below). Recommended by yours truly. :)
  • Short includes the first 400 (approximately) characters.
  • Until Jump Break includes everything until your manually-inserted jump break. (This is a new feature, as far as I know, and one that I will be investigating and reporting on for use on my loooong tutorials. You can learn more about jump breaks here.)
  • None includes... nothing. :)

And to finish off, just a few little tips for optimizing your posts for reading in a feed reader:
  • If you decide that you must use a short (partial) feed -- make those first 400 characters count!! That's your sales pitch and it has to be well-written and pertinent if you're going to "hook" readers so they make the effort to come visit your blog and read the rest of the post. 
  • Whether you use a full or partial feed, give your posts meaningful and descriptive titles, as much as possible. For a fun blog or post, fun titles are great and, well, fun, but for more informational blogs/posts (such as tutorials and recipes), write a more descriptive blog title. The title both helps your readers determine if they want to open the post in their feed readers and helps them search for the post later, either in their readers or on your blog.
  • If possible, include a relevant picture early on in your posts to be the thumbnail your readers will see in their feed readers. If the post is about your awesome new {insert toy here}, include a picture of that first and the cute-picture-just-for-the-sake-of-cute later on (if at all :). Ironic that I give this advice in a perfectly pictureless post? ;)
  • If you embed an HTML widget (such as an embedded PDF, linky party, or other extra-special function), reference it in your writing and include a text link to the same content. The awesomeness of the embedding won't show up in a feed reader, so you can both inform your reader that it's available (they won't know if you don't tell them because they can't see it!) and save your readers a click by giving them the link to the site to download the PDF or join the linky party. 
  • And last but definitely not least... subscribe to your own feed. Then you'll know if your feed stops publishing or some other problem occurs, as well as what is or isn't making the feed-reader cut in terms of text styling, images, and embedded widgets. I know I mentioned this already here, but I'm nothing if not a broken record, right? :)

And this brings us to the conclusion of Feed Me month(ish). What did you think? Useful information? Confused and still scratching your head? Too much? Too little? Let me know how I did... or how I could have done better. :)

I'm headed back to the throes of Santa's workshop, so until next week,




Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of one squirmy boy and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The best chicken wrap.... ever! - Tasty Tuesdays

These are seriously the best wraps I have ever had. We made them for dinner and then promptly made them again about an hour later. They are so good. I hope you enjoy!

You will need: 
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 Tbsp.  Italian Dressing
1/2 cup  Barbecue Sauce, divided into 1/4 cup portions
4   flour tortillas
1 cup shredded cheese
1 Tomato, diced

Brush the chicken with the dressing. Grill on each side until done or about 6 to 7 minutes. Brush with half of the barbecue  sauce for the last part of the grilling. Then cut into strips. Place the rest of the sauce in the middle of the tortillas. Top with the chicken, cheese and tomatoes. Roll up. Grill in a pan until golden brown on each side, about 8ish minutes. You can grill these on the grill but I just use a pan on the stove.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tutorial: Christmas Tree Ornament made from Pasta

This ornament is as simple as they come. It is fairly easy to put together and people love that it is made out of pasta.

You will need:
Wagon Wheel Pasta
Tiny Bells
Spray paint
Hot Glue
Cord to hang the ornament with

Spray paint your wagon wheels green and bells red. Glue the wheels into a pyramid, with one extra on the bottom to act as a trunk. Glue the bells over the center hole in each wheel except the trunk wheel. Add a cord to the top and hang on the tree. I love this little guy. What kind of ornaments are you making for your tree this year?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tutorial: Block Christmas Joy Sign

Did you participate in Craftaholics Anonymous' Homemade Gift Exchange? I did this year and this is one of the creations that I sent my swap partner. My middle name is Joy, so Christmas decorations with the word Joy in them have a special place in my heart.

You will need:
Black Ribbon
A wood block (mine is 7 inches by 3 inches)
scrapbook paper
black paper
Mod Podge
paint

I first sanded and painted my block. I made two, one green and one red but I HATED how bright the red ended up being so I ditched that one and just focused on the green one. I then measured and added a piece of scrapbook paper to the block with Mod Podge. The paper was slightly smaller then the block itself. I cut this cute Joy using my Silhouette, but you could stencil a word such a Joy, Peace onto paper and then cut it out. I then Mod Podge the black letters on top of the other scrapbook paper. I tied a bow and then glue it to the top of the block in three different point.

I am trying to find ways to do cute crafts without using vinyl and this was attempt number 1. I like it, but then again, I love decor with the word Joy in it. :)