Minecraft LAN Party

With 4 boys in the house, it was inevitable that the Minecraft craze would surface. My oldest boys are also very interested in computers. I suggested back in February that we should host a LAN party for the Minecraft, they of course were all into it. Circumstances being what they were, we couldn’t seem to find a good time to host it. I was thinking it would be a great cold weather event, since they would be inside the whole time. Winter ended, spring came and went, and before we knew it we were in the middle of summer. Realizing that the crazy was slowly waning for the older kids, we finally picked a date and started making plans. As it turns out, the wait was worth it. When I had the idea, there was relatively little online or on Pinterest that was related to Minecraft partying. In July, however, there was a plethora of related ideas.

To check out my Minecraft LAN party board go here.

We tried quite a few of the ideas we found. Many items were made/printed at home.

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Thread Organizer

I recently started sewing (again) and have been trying to collect all of the various sewing paraphernalia into one location. While I do not have a designated sewing room right now, I have an open space that I am using. My spools of thread were being housed in a container that also held my pins and bobbins. This required untangling every time I needed to pull something out. I went on a Pinterest hunt to find a solution.

Organizer #1 – but this still left free floating spools that would not really be organizied.

Organizer #2 – is very cute, but small and much more ornate than my personal style.

Organizer #3 – I really loved. It needs to be mounted to a wall, and I wanted something that was portable since my sewing table is. It also seemed above my skill level.

Organizer #4 – Another that I really liked, but again, needs to be mounted and level shelves are way over my skill level.

The one I went with:

Organizer #5 and the actual directions are found here on Ucreate. I choose this one for several reasons. I knew I could tackle it with limited help from my hubby. Supplies were easy to come by. It can just lean against the wall in whatever area I am working. The spools and bobbins were able to be stacked together. The design is simple and matches my style.

I started with an unfinished shelf from Lowe’s. Mine measures 36″x16″. As we did not have any stain in our house, I picked up a can Rust•oleum wood stain in the color Kona. I did not sand the wood before starting. I shook the stain, used a piece of clean T-shirt, and just rubbed it on.

 photo IMG_2731_wm_zps110431ee.jpg
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Getting back into the swing

Wow, it’s been almost a year since I’ve touched my blog! I’ve been thinking about it. I really enjoyed tracking what we ate and what we thought of each recipe. Documenting the various parties that we put together. It created a nice little summary of our lives. When my Grandfather got the blood clot, I took over the responsibility of driving him to doctor’s visits and hospitals, just so he had someone with him. I can say I greatly enjoyed the extra time I got to spend with him. The boys really enjoyed seeing him more too. However, it also threw off what little routine I had going.

Now he’s doing better and is routinely being monitored, so I only need to check in with him now and again to make sure he’s feeling well and field the doctor’s calls because he can’t hear them on the phone. 

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Mexican Pork Roast

Mexican Pork Roast



Hubby fixed this for us, he says it was very simple to make. The roast just fell apart when we pulled it from the crockpot. I had jalapeño peppers in the freezer, which was good, he doesn’t really like chopping veggies.

  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 boneless pork shoulder butt roast (3 pounds)

In a large skillet, saute the onions, carrots and jalapeños in oil for 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker; add water and broth.

In a small bowl, combine the coriander, salt, cumin, oregano and pepper; rub over roast. Cut roast in half; place in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat is tender.

Transfer roast and vegetables to a serving platter; keep warm. Strain cooking juices and skim fat. Pour into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. Serve with roast and vegetables.

Yield: 8 servings
Source: Taste of Home

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Chocolate Mint Crisps

Chocolate Mint Crisps


  • 1½ cups packed brown sugar
  • ¾ cup butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons plus 11/2 teaspoons water
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips  3 ounces German sweet chocolate, 2 ounces semi sweet chocolate bar, 7 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages (4.67 ounces each) mint Andes candies

In a heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and water. Cook and stir over low heat until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in chocolate chips until melted.

Transfer to a bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes. With mixer on high speed, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to chocolate mixture, beating on low until blended. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Roll dough into 1-in. balls. Place 3 in. apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes or until edges are set and tops are puffed and cracked (cookies will become crisp after cooling).

Makes 4 dozen
Source : Country Woman Christmas Annual 2003

These were a little more involved than the cookies I normally make. I’m a drop cookie kinda girl. The thought of (1) cooking the sugar, (2) mixing the batter, (3) chilling for 8 hours, (4) rolling into balls, and finally (5) spreading with chocolate is a little more daunting than I look for. The original recipe called for the semi-sweet chocolate chips. While that would have been great, after I had already started I came to realize I didn’t have any. See, semi-sweet are not my favorite and I oft times will buy milk chocolate instead. I was afraid that these were meant to be a richer more adult cookie and the milk chocolate alone wouldn’t cut it. Fortunately, I had a little stash of baker’s chocolate in my pantry and found the German chocolate and semi-sweet bar in there. It couldn’t hurt, could it? The original also thought this recipe would make 6½ dozen. My experience has told me that I never get as many cookies as they tell me I will. I even used a cookie scoop so each cookie would be a uniform size. My cookie scoop must be bigger than 1″.

In the end, these turned out well. I took them along to a dinner with the extended family. I came home with none. Zip, zero, zilch! Good thing they didn’t all fit on the platter! I have a secret stash here at home.

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Alphabet Beef Soup

Stelline Beef Soup


Alphabet Beef Soup

This was super easy to put together. Originally it called for alphabet noodles, but I saw these star shaped noodles and thought the kids would like them. Really a fuss free dinner. Should it be made again, I need to double the recipe.

  • ½ pound sirloin steak
  • 1 16 oz can Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 16 oz package frozen mixed vegetables
  • ½ cup uncooked stelline noodles (tiny stars)

Cut meat into small cubes. In slow cooker, combine meat, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, bouillon and vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until meat is tender. Turn control to high. Add noodles. Cover and cook on high for 15 to 20 minutes or until noodles are cooked.

Makes 6 servings
Source : Busy Mom’s Low-fat Cookbook

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Pasta with Tomato Blue Cheese Sauce

Pasta with Tomato Blue Cheese Sauce


Schmiford Images: Food Images &emdash; wm_PastaTomatoBlueCheeseSauce_7487
This made a TON! We used thin spaghetti and 2 (14.5 oz) cans of diced tomatoes, one was petite diced. I did not add any half and half to thin, as it was already not as thick as I would have liked. This is easy enough for the kids to make and very filling for a meatless dish.

  • 1-½ lb. thin spaghetti
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes, one petite, one not, drained
  • Dash Of Sugar
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, To Taste
  • ¾ cups Crumbled Blue Cheese
  • ¾ cups Heavy Cream
  • 4 cups Baby Spinach
  • Half-and-Half, for thinning
  • Extra Blue Cheese Crumbles, For Garnish
Cook pasta according to package instructions.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add minced garlic and cook for a minute. Pour in drained tomatoes. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to low. Stir in crumbled blue cheese. Add cream and stir, then a little splash of half-and-half if sauce is too thick. Cook for a minute or two, tasting and adding more seasonings as needed.
At the very, very, very last minute. toss in spinach. Immediately toss in the cooked and drained pasta. Serve immediately!

Makes 6+ servings

Source : The Pioneer Woman

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Oven Barbecued Beef Brisket

Oven Barbecued Beef Brisket


Oven Barbecued Beef Brisket

My hubby prepared this Wednesday night and we put it in the fridge to eat the next day. The house smelled delicious while it was baking. The taste overall was very scrumptious. The meat I purchased was fattier than I like, and was much more expensive than we typically spend on 1 meal. Which is why we went with 2 pounds instead of the 4 pounds the recipe called for.


  • 2 lbs. beef brisket
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup water
Preheat oven to 325ºF .
Sprinkle both sides of brisket with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place in a large covered roasting pan.
Cook covered with water at 325ºF  allowing 1 hour per pound.
Before last hour of cooking, remove brisket and slice. Return slices to pan and add barbecue sauce mixed with water. Cover meat with sauce, cover, and cook 1 hour longer.

Makes 8 (well I guess 4) servings

Source : Allrecipes.com

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Potato Chowder

Potato Chowder


Potato Chowder
This recipe was easy enough to fix, but there wasn’t a whole lot of flavor. It did make a very creamy soup and would be easy to doctor up. Interestingly, I have another recipe in my collection that is identical to this one with the addition of onion, bacon, and chives. That would certain help with the flavor, I think. Also, this is a healthy version, so not salt, sometimes potatoes just need salt.

  • 8 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth, reduced sodium
  • 1 can creamof chicken soup, healthy request
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
In slow cooker, combine potatoes, chicken broth, chicken soup and pepper.
Cover and cook on Low 8 – 10 hours, or until potatoes are tender.
Add cream cheese, stirring until well blended.
Heat until cheese melts and soup is hot throughout.

Makes 12 servings
Source : Kitchenmonki.com

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Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika

Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika


Beef Stew Beer Paprika
This was simple to prepare. It is a nice winter stew. We used Loose Cannon Heavy Seas Winter Storm ESB for the beer. Instead of fresh carrots, I used frozen carrot slices, about 4 cups. Russet potatoes are slightly large potatoes, so I cut those up into bite size pieces. I did not need to add any additional water.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 1 whole yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 4 cups frozen chopped carrots
  • 4 russet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups water, additional, as needed
Heat oil and butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Brown beef (in 2 batches if needed) and remove to plate. Set aside.
Add diced onions to the pot. Stir and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until softened, then add garlic for 1 minute. Pour in beef and beef stock, then add Worcestershire, paprika, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add beef back into pot. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for  1 ½ to 2 hours.
Add carrots and potatoes, then cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. (If stew gets dry, just add a cup of hot water at a time to replenish the liquid.) Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Makes 6 servings
Source : kitchenmonki.com

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