Two Sides of A Coin

My husband and I wanted a place to share our projects...I do crafting (e.g. cards, sewing, etc...), household projects, and parties for kids. My husband makes toy trucks, household projects (e.g. closet redesign), and helps with party decorations and games. While he's a professional contractor, we do this for fun. We both cook, but I am more likely to try new and different recipes. We'll be trying out Pinterest items and reporting back.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Halloween Pot Pie....Batty and Catty

So I just realized that I didn't post all our meals from two weeks ago.  As I've mentioned still new at this, so I am trying to figure out what works best for us.

Chicken Pot Pie is something I don't make often, but we enjoy.  I looked up two different recipes from Pinterest and then developed my own...Pot Pie  and Halloween Pot Pie

Halloween Pot Pie


  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 sauteed chicken breasts
  • 1 bag of frozen vegetables
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 prepared pie crusts 


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray oil a saute pan. Add the onion and saute 3 minutes. Sprinkle onion with the flour and cook 2 minutes. Add the frozen vegetables and cream of chicken soup. Turn heat to medium high; cook 2 to 3 minutes, until sauce thickens. Add the chicken, salt and pepper to taste; mix.
2. Spoon the mixture into [ie pan lined with prepared pie crust.
3. Roll out the top crust and cut out shapes with Halloween cookie cutters.  Brush with some of the egg yolk.
4. Cook for 12 minutes. (Review your pie crust directions - use whatever time and temperature information that is provided.) Serve.

Cook the chicken breasts

Cook everything on stovetop until it is soft and thick.

Use cookie cutters (dipped in flour) - made bats and cats.
Add the top and dust lightly with butter.

Be careful that the edges don't burn. Ours were a little dark.  But it comes out pretty cool.

Overall, we gave this a 4 out of 5 stars.  We'll be making this again!  Enjoy.

Anyone have any tweaks they do to their potpie, which might put ours up to a 5 star?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Salsa Chicken (Our Mexican Chili)

Another Meal from Pinterest.  This recipe sounded good.  But my DH has a low tolerance for spice, so I had some concern.

The original recipe is from another blog and looked great.  But, I always have to tweak it.  I had the cream of chicken soup, but I accidentally used it another recipe the night before!!  Yikes!  Next time, I should post-it note a special ingredient so it doesn't get used.


1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can vegetarian broth (100% fat free - this is almost all I buy)
1 cup salsa (I had 1/2 container of the Newman's Own Black Bean & Corn Salsa Medium & 1/2 container of Pace Medium Salsa)
1 package taco seasoning
1 bag frozen corn
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)


1. Put chicken, broth, frozen corn, black beans, and salsa in slow cooker.
2. Sprinkle taco seasoning over everything.
3. Cook on low for 6 hours.

It was a little more like chili.  But we loved it.  We served it with Tostitos Baked Scoops.

5 out of 5 stars from us. 

My DH actually said it was the best chicken chilli recipe we have ever made.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Broccoli Cheese Rice Cups

I found this Cheddar Broccoli Rice Cup recipe on Pinterest. The original recipe sounded great for us - some veggies, but otherwise I thought we had everything else in our cupboard.  So I picked up some fresh broccoli and started making it one night.

And I didn't doublecheck my recipe. And I didn't actually have all the ingredients.  So here is my twist on the recipe. No chicken broth and no ranch dressing.  So I improvised.

My Mexican Cheese Broccoli Rice Cups


1 cup quick-cooking rice, like Minute Rice
1.5 cup vegetarian broth
10-oz chopped broccoli, steamed and excess water squeezed out
3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese, divided

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


1. Prepare rice as directed on package, substituting stock for water.  Place cooked rice in a large bowl and let cool slightly.
2. Add the remaining ingredients, using only 1/2 cup of the cheese, and stir until combined.
3. Fill eight well-greased muffin cups and top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
4. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until tops are lightly browned and edges are starting to get crispy.

Final Product

Our Review - Honestly mine were a little watery in comparison.  I will actually probably try this again and use the ingredients from the original poster.  It was good, but sort of weirdly "breakfasty" - with rice. 

So it's gets 3 out of 5 stars from us.


Monday, September 24, 2012

A Successful Robot Birthday Party

The birthday boy declared the robot birthday party a success.  Everything went great.  Below are some pictures and some tips on what I learned.  You can see the prep in my last post.

Be sure the bean bag toss can be moved.  You need to measure it for transport.  Our bean bag toss game will fold down flat, but my DH made it so it also could slide in whole to his truck bed.  He also made it so it can lay flat (like cornhole) with the image correctly displayed or stand up with the image displayed.

And make sure you put a backdrop or stopper behind a game like this. We lost a beanbag somehow in the nest of plants behind the game.  The kids loved this.  We line up by height, shortest goes first and they have to take steps away depending on their age. So the two year old is two feet away, etc...  And we awarded 2 points for going through the top hole and 1 point for going through the bottom.  Some kids went multiple times.

The banner and whirlygigs were great.  We ended up changing the ribbon out on the day of the party on the banner because I had used raffia, which just wouldn't hold up in the wind.  The curling ribbon was much better.

After the party, I kept the Happy Birthday part and turned this part with his name into a mini banner for his room. He seemed excited by that idea.
The whirly gigs were put on the front porch and around the yard.  They added just an extra touch of color.  I took the robot paper from Paper Source and cut out the individual robots for these, rather than stamping.

We set up the Create a Robot station and tried to be very careful to keep the magnets back from the edge. We also warned the parents about the magnets - we wanted to be careful that they weren't swallowed. 

Create a Robot station.


I thought I had plenty of supplies.  But, some items were more popular than others.  I glued everything to magnets.  I then set them up on cookie sheets, so the kids could see what was available.

So, there were feathers for wings or hair (or whatever the kid decided) and multi-colored pipe cleaners.  I also took apart an old keyboard and glued different letters and some of the word buttons onto magnets. The flat round items were mostly beer bottle caps. I kept the glue gun in the kitchen and extra parts available. I ended up mostly repairing parts that separated from the magnets and makeing more pipe cleaner pieces.

Some examples for the kids to see.  These were done with a glue gun, not magnets.

Another example I made for them.  This one was made using all magnets, just like they had.

The kids made a variety of robots.   And they kept coming back either tweaking their design or asking to make a second one.

We didn't focus too much on the food.   The mom had the kids help make chocolate dipped marshmallows and pretzel rods.  I did make signs.  The marshmallows and pretzels dipped in chocolate were called "Welding Rods."  We called chips - "Memory Chips."  We had some pasta salad we called "Nuts & Bolts."   We labeled the cooler of drinks as "Machine Oil." 

My BFF (the mom of the birthday boy) made these great favor bags.  She made coloring books for the bags, printable from here.  She included a small box of crayons and glow-in-the-dark bracelets. 

So a great day was had by all.  The birthday boy was happy and that is what it is all about.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Robot Birthday Party Prep

My best friend's son requested a robot birthday party.  As I have mentioned, I do love theme parties, so I totally took over most of the crafting and party planning.  Just trying to help my BFF out by pulling the theme together so it really stands out.  Her son is great kid and I think he'll get a real kick out of all the details.

The party is tomorrow, so I just wanted to show you some of the items we made.  I'll take more pictures of it all set up and post those later this weekend.

So what did I make?

Robot Birthday Banner

Stamped & Embossed
First, I made a robot birthday banner.  I traced "nut" shapes (really hexagons) onto blue paper.  I used the robot stamp from Paper Source to mark the beginning and end of the banner.  I used silver ink and embossed them with glitter just to give it a little pizazz. 
Then I cut red stripes to put across each nut and glued them in place. I varied the placement to add visual appeal.  Then, I cut out Happy Birthday Aaron in silver sticky back foam. 

I learned from my last banner making experience to put the holes closer to the top of each individual nut.

I strung it together with black curling ribbon.  I'll post a photo tomorrow of it hanging up.

Robot Decorations

I made some robots for decorations.  I took random pieces of metal laying and starting hot-gluing them to tin cans.

The hair at the top is wind chime pipes, the eyes are beer bottle caps, the arms are little screws with nuts attached, and the rest is random other pieces of metal.

Robot Bean Bag Toss Game

Then, we needed a game.  We decided I should make a robot bean bag toss game.  DH (Dear Husband) was instrumental here - built the board so it can used over and over.  It will stand up on it's on and it can be placed like corn hole or stood up, depending on what I paint on it.  

He will cut out the holes for the tossing part.  Advice if you decide to try this - cut the holes first and work your design around the holes.  Especially if you plan to use the same board over and over with different designs.  You want the holes centered.

I then used a projector to pencil in a robot design.  Once it was penciled in, I used black paint to outline it.
 And yes, I am painting it while watching TV in my pajamas!

He came out pretty adorable.  The holes will show in the next post.

Party Activity - Make their own Robots

We also decided that one of our activities at the party will be for the kids to make their own robots.  I saw this on Pinterest and it came out pretty well.  We'll see how the kids do tomorrow.

I asked my DH and every I knew for random extra metal parts that they had around their homes.  Amazing how fast some of them gave me items. 

Then, I sorted them out.  I had to figure out what would work best for the kids.  I got small magnets (about 3/4 inches across) at Walmart and began gluing them onto the different objects.

I took an old cookie sheet and starting placing the items on there.

I took beer bottle caps and glued magnets on the back. I also used metal wire thread to make curly lashes for some of the robots.  The can with the pipe cleaners sticking out the top is an example for the kids.

Utensil Holders

And finally, I used my stamps and extra paper just to decorate some cans to use for utensils or some of the food.  I glued strips around the cans and cut out the individual robots after I stamped them.

I promise to show the results tomorrow.  I hope you enjoyed this.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Halloween season is starting...First Crafts Done

I wanted to get a jump on our Halloween crafts this year. It is my favorite time of the year and we are hosting a Halloween Party. 

So last night, I made two small crafts.  

Project 1 - Small Halloween Banner

One idea came from a banner on Pinterest.  It connected to a blog which said you could make fancy looking banners using cupcake lines.  So, I traced some hexagonal shapes and small circles from red paper.

Then I took some cupcake liners I had and tried to flatten them. They didn't look very good.  So I used some wavy scissors to make the edges more interesting.

I glued the little red circles into the middle of the cupcake liners.  I glued the liners to the hexagonal shapes.

Then, I had to find a font I liked - found this Trinigan Font, which was a free download.  I made the word BOO 125 point in Microsoft Word.  I put two spaces between each word to make it easier to cut them out.

I printed the letters out, cut them out, and then used a pencil to trace over them.  This made an impression on the red paper and I colored it in with a black pen.

But that was too hard to read.

So, out came my trusty paintbrush and black paint.  Let everything dry and they look good.

I still have to find some ribbon to hang it up.

And here's what the final looked like.

Project 2 - Googly Cups for the Halloween Party

This one's pretty simple.  Buy a bag of crazy, multi-sized googly eyes.  Glue them on. Restack for party. Could not be easier and honestly, they look pretty fun!!
Glue googly eyes onto the purple cups.  And they still stack.

If you are having a Halloween party (or just want to dress up some cups for fun, I highly recommend the googly eye!

Anyone doing other fun projects with googly eyes?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Pinterest Failure...We tried and it was lost...

So, I saw this cool Halloween decoration on Pinterest.  I thought I could make these glowing eyes.  Supposedly, it was pretty interesting.  The end result had me yelling "PinFail"  - this website is one of my favorites to see how things turn out. 

We planned on camping, so I thought it would a perfect craft to try out in the woods.  Lots less ambient lighting, so it should be easier to see.  Oh how I was wrong.

We took an empty paper towel holder. I cut out some eyes with an exacto knife.  And then I took these glow bracelets that I got cheap at Michael's.  They are great because they are like $1 for 16 bracelets.  Unfortunately, they have about a 30% fail rate.  So, once I got two working well, I taped them inside the paper towel roll.  No luck.  Couldn't see anything.  It was lost in the dark - couldn't make out the eyes at all. I tried adjusting the angle and still had zero luck.

Night 2 - I attempted to close off the ends with duct tape and put five bracelets inside.  Still no luck.
I am going to make one final attempt using a real glow stick (but I have to buy one first).  Then, I will try cutting a glow stick open and pouring it inside the tube.

Maybe I will luck out.  But honestly, it's a PinFail for me so far.

Anyone else have any luck?  Any advice on what else I could try?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Our Menu this week - It's Pinteresting!!

This was our menu...I apologize.  We decided to go out to dinner for DH's birthday, so it's thrown everything off.

We skipped the rice cups -- maybe Thursday. We made Tuesday's meal tonight and I'll try to get it blogged soon

So, we shopped at Costco and Giant today to get ready for this week's meals.  We have decided on the following menu:

Monday (Husband's birthday) - Turkey Burgers and Baked Broccoli Cheddar Rice Cups
Tuesday - Chicken Pot Pie - A cross of two different recipes.. Pot Pie ; Halloween Pot Pie
Wednesday - Mexican Chicken (Crock Pot Version)
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Dinner Out!!

We'll post pics as we make them!!

Venison and Roasted Veggies - An Easy Stand-By

This week, I was busy at work, so I pretty much asked my husband to deal with dinner.  That means alot of meat typically.  But, I did make my favorite vegetable side dish the first night and we heated that up for the next few meals.

I probably make this roasted vegetable dish at least two to three times a month...depending on what's available as far as vegetables.

Roasted Vegetable Dish

Ingredients (Can Vary, typically:)
Green and Red Peppers (not mixed in - Hubby is not a fan)
(And sometimes....parnsips, beets, turnips, leeks, or sweet potatoes -- it's great for introducing a new vegetable to my husband)

Olive Oil

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  
  2. Chop everything up in about 1 inch or so size.
  3. Mix on a long baking dish.
  4. Yummy!
  5. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.  Check that the carrots are soft.

A few months ago, we got a venison backstrap from my dad.  While I am an animal lover, I have no problem with consuming venison from a licensed, sanctioned hunt.  I have seen the devastation that is caused by an unculled herd of deer (they really suffer).  So if you're not a meat fan, stop reading now.

My husband cut them basically into Filet Mignon. We wrapped them in bacon and tried three different kinds of marinades. We secured them with toothpicks and distributed them into different Ziploc bags.  And we had venison five out of seven nights (a little more than I prefer).

First and most important, add a little oil to a sauce pan.  Venison is remarkably low in fat.  Then, sear the steaks - this will keep them from getting dried on when you grill them.  Grill them for about seven minutes on each side.

This A1 New York Steakhouse sauce is really good.  We enjoyed it.

Here's what they look like after they were grilled.  (I prefer my meat well-done.)  It was yummy!