Thursday, June 28, 2012


Every mother's worst nightmare!  Those little buggers that infest and are guaranteed to make me paranoid for the rest of my life.  Yes, I mean LICE!!!!  Let me give you a little background first.  About 14 months ago I had the ill conceived idea to cut my hair in a very short inverted bob.  Since then I have been growing it out, regretting that decision.  So after 14 months of not stepping into a hair salon, I decided that yesterday would finally be the day I do something I had been thinking about for years - give my extremely curly hair a brazilian blow out.  I was SO excited.  I spent three hours in the salon with various people primping and prodding me.  When I was all done, I had the long, silky, straight hair I had always dreamed of and was MUCH lighter in the wallet.

Within the hour I was sitting in the parking lot at my younger son's camp waiting for it to be dismissal time.  I was admiring my new hair in the mirror when I noticed some little whitish dots on my hairs.  It couldn't be lice, I mean I had spent all that time with people examining my head all morning.  Surely if I had lice SOMEONE would have noticed???!!!  I decided to have the camp director check my head for me.  I have known her for years and knew that as an educator, she must know what lice really looks like.  Sure enough, she said those dreadful words, "yep, it's lice."  I ran and got my son from his classroom and had her check his head - more lice!  And in an hour when the big kid got off his camp but, I knew I'd find lice there too.

Now, as much of a pain in the ass lice is - having to clean yourselves and all your belongings - I had an additional issue.  That pin straight hair I had spent so much time and money getting was not supposed to be wet for 48 hours!!!  I called the salon to let them know and the hairdressers response was not, "Oh, of course get treated and I will fix whatever damage you incur on the house.  I can't believe I didn't notice it when I spent 3 hours on your scalp!"  No, her response was, "Well you better not get it wet for two days!  Waiting with the lice isn't going to kill you."  ARE YOU KIDDING ME????  Of course I wasn't going to let it fester for two more days!!!

As far as treating the family, I took the easy way out.  I phoned a company called Hair Whisperers to come out and for $95/hr delouse us with a no return for 14 days guarantee.

So now I'm at home, almost 24 hrs later, still trying to put all our pillows, blankets, clothes, towels,and stuffed animals in the dryer to make sure I've killed those suckers.  Thankfully, my hair seems to have held up from the oils and the washing less than 12 hours after being straightened.  And, of course, I still feel itchy all over (even though I wasn't felling itchy before I knew I had the lice!).

I guess this is one of those parenting rights of passage.  I could have done without this one though!


Monday, June 25, 2012

iPhone Photos.....To Scrap or Not to Scrap?

The days of lugging around your camera are gone.  These days most pictures I snap are with my iPhone.  I will say though that the quality of the picture is definitely not the same as that of a regular point and shoot digital Apple people can fight me on that one, LOL! 

As a scrapbooker, I try to make sure I slip my small camera in my diaper bag or purse for those on to go moments.  However, there are those rare occasions when the first thing you grab is your phone.

So fellow you scrap those phone pics?   

I ran into this dilemma recently when I came across a photo in my Photo Stream that I had forgotten about. I really wanted to scrap this picture because of the meaning behind it.  Take a look for yourself.

There is a bit of a back story to this picture and I have decided that to me the sentiment of the photo is worth more than the quality of the picture. 

As a guest designer for the website Inspired to Scrap, I will be using this photo in one of my class examples for the July Sketch Class.  Since I can't share my layout until the actual sketch is released you will have to wait to see the layout and read the story.  I promise to post that as soon as I can!

So, how do you handle those phone photos?  Take a moment and post a comment letting us know how you deal or don't deal with them.  For me this one was a definite keeper!

And don't forget to join the sketch class over at Inspired to Scrap!  Class starts July 1st with a Pre-Class Sketch on June 28th!!!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Meal Plan Sunday 6/24

After all the traveling by my husband and the family over the past couple weeks, I'm looking forward to a "normal" week!  This morning I checked pinterest, my coupons, and my recipe collection to decide what we will be dining on for the week.  

Today, my hubby, an excellent cook in his own right (I know, I'm lucky!) said that he wold make his chicken parm over pasta.  For tomorrow, I decided to try a new recipe I found on pinterest called Salsa Chicken and serve it over rice.  It is a slow cooker recipe, which is perfect for a hot summer day because I won't be heating up the house with the oven or the cooktop!

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts 
1 can cream of chicken soup 
1 cup salsa 
1 package taco seasoning
1 cup sour cream 
shredded cheddar, black beans and scallion, for serving (optional)

Put chicken, soup, and salsa in slow cooker. Sprinkle taco seasoning over everything. Cook on low for 6 hours. If shredding the chicken, pull the breasts out and shred; return back to slow cooker. Stir in sour cream and heat just until everything is combined.

As I said, I haven't made this recipe before but it gets good reviews so I'm hopeful!!  I'll let you know how it comes out in the comments of this post.  On Tuesday, the hubby will be out at a dinner meeting so it will be breakfast for dinner for me and the kids.  Wednesday will be slow cooker beef and broccoli, Thursday will be pizza night, and Friday will be burgers on the grill with corn and a caprese salad.

Happy eating everyone!  Let us know what's in your meal plan for the week!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

What Happens in Vegas...

Was a big disappointment!!!  Howdy, folks!  I just got back from 3 hot days in Las Vegas with the family.  We planned this trip surrounding me attending the Creating Keepsakes Convention. This is the first time Creating Keepsakes has held a convention in Las Vegas.  I figured with Nevada's relative proximity to Utah, the scrapbooking capitol of the United States, there would be scores of vendors and I would be so glad for my giant mommy car as I packed all my loot to take home.  Boy was I wrong!!!

There were so few vendors there, I couldn't even find things to buy!  On the top of my "To Purchase" list was an ATG Gun.

I figured finding this, being a favorite scrapbook adhesive, would not be a problem and I would be able to get it at a great price.  No one had it!!!

I also wanted to stock up on paper for the upcoming sketch class over at but there were only 4-5 booth's that had paper and the pickings were slim.  I had my photos all ready to match up to paper and I was only able to get paper for one layout - this adorable On the Go collection from Bo Bunny that will be perfect for my Touch-a-Truck pics.

The last on my list was some dorky, matching scrapbook t-shirts for Deborah and I to wear when we head to the convention in PA in July.  It was a no go on that one too.

So I'm keeping my finger's crossed that the PA convention is a better attended event.  In the meanwhile, I am off to my LSS this week to stock up on paper!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

BBQ Meatballs....Yum!

I have been in the mood for meatloaf for weeks.  Last night I was determined to finally make that meatloaf. Only problem was I was out of most of the key know the recipe you find on the back of the Lipton Onion Soup Mix box? Yeah, I was out of nearly everything including the soup mix!  No eggs, no bread crumbs, no soup mix.  I suppose I was lucky I had the ground beef in the freezer!

Then I remembered that I had watched the Pioneer Woman make these yummy looking BBQ meatballs for her church potluck with oats and milk.  No eggs or bread crumbs required! Yay!

For those of you that follow Ree aka The Pioneer Woman, you know that her food is not for the faint of heart.  I'm willing to bet she could have a "Butter Throwdown" with Paula Deen and it would be a tie!

While I did end up making some slight modifications to the recipe, here is Ree's original recipe:

Pioneer Woman's BBQ Meatballs
Serves 6

1 ½ pound Ground Beef
3/4 cups Oats
1 cup Milk
3 Tablespoons Very Finely Minced Onion
1 ½ teaspoon Salt
Plenty Of Ground Black Pepper, to taste

1 cup All-Purpose Flour (coating For Frozen Meatballs)
Canola Oil

1 cup Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Tablespoons Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
4 Tablespoons (to 6 Tablespoons) Onion
1 dash Tabasco

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into medium-small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place sheet in freezer for five minutes. After 5 minutes, remove meatballs from freezer and immediately dredge in unseasoned flour. Brown meatballs in canola oil until just brown. Place into a baking dish. Combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or crusty French bread.

So of course I had to modify the recipe somehow to make it my own, right? Well, I didn't have an onion so I used that dried minced onion stuff in a jar.  Worked just fine.  And the step about rolling and freezing and dredging and frying? Yeah, I left that out too.  I just baked them in the oven with the sauce poured on top.  I figured that since I was already using 97% lean ground beef that what ever drippings there were wouldn't kill us.  I also had more like 1 3/4 pounds of ground beef so I just added oats and milk to make sure the consistency of the mixture was right.

Like Ree says in her original recipe these are more of a comfort food meatball not an Italian meatball so I chose to serve them over mashed potatoes.  Except I didn't make them from scratch or anything.....I used a box of potato granules!!!!! The horror!  

And in case any of you are wondering my kids actually prefer the potatoes from the box because they think I took the extra time to actually peel the potatoes and that must mean I love them a little extra that day.  :-)

It's been a while since I tried out a new meatball recipe and this one is definitely a keeper!  I might even double the sauce next time since we all seemed to wipe up the remaining sauce from our plates with our fake mashed potatoes! It was that good!  It didn't exactly cure my meatloaf craving but I'll work on that soon! LOL

Hope you enjoy this recipe too!


Monday, June 18, 2012

It's Summer Salad Time!

During the winter I am all about sticking to a meal plan and making sure that the meals I serve are carefully thought out and shopped for.  I plan and prep and it seems like some days are spent entirely in the kitchen or grocery store..

Once the warm weather hits I tend to throw caution to the wind and meal planning goes out the back door so to speak.  The days are longer and spent outside by the pool, so during the summer my fridge and freezer are stocked with burgers and hot dogs, steaks and boneless chicken breasts.  After being cooped up inside during the winter there is nothing better than throwing something on the grill and dining al fresco!

I have tons of "salads" in my repertoire from pasta to veggie to cold noodle to spinach....the list goes on and on.  And each summer there tends to be one salad that becomes our favorite and winds up in our weekly rotation.  

Last summer it was this Tangy Southwest Pasta Salad that I came up with.  My family loves anything with a Southwest or Mexican flair to it so I knew this one would be a hit.  I'm pretty sure I made this at least once a week last summer!

We actually had this last night when we grilled burgers and hot dogs for Father's Day. I also made a super yummy Cucumber Salad (I'll post that recipe later on) and between the 5 of us the bowl was pretty much half gone.  I'd say that's a winner in our house!

Here's the recipe:

Tangy Southwest Pasta Salad
Serves 10-12

1 lb. wheel shaped pasta, cooked and drained
2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained (or 1 can works fine too!)
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 small jalapeño pepper with seeds removed, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar (I use the equivalent of a sugar substitute)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, corn, peppers and black beans. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper. Pour over pasta mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Doesn't this look yummy???

There you have it, a super easy southwest inspired pasta salad.  Hopefully, you will find time to work this recipe into your meal rotation.

It is important to note that when cutting the jalapeño pepper you should either wear gloves or wash your hands very well before touching your eyes.  Trust me on this burns!  Also, the heat of the pepper is in the seeds so be sure to remove them to avoid something super hot.

So, my meal plan for this summer is to keep the fridge and freezer stocked with plenty of stuff to grill and lots of fresh veggies on hand to whip up a salad or two each week.  Ah.....the lazy days of summer!!!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Meal Plan Sunday

Normally, Sunday is my day to meal plan for the upcoming week and to go shopping for all the necessary ingredients.  Sunday is a good day to do your meal plan, because you can make your plan around the coupons you find in the Sunday paper!  This, however, is not a normal Sunday or a normal upcoming week.  The hubby is traveling for work through Wednesday and then on Thursday I leave for the Creating Keepsakes Convention in Las Vegas!!  (Look forward to live reports from there later this week!)  So the only real cooking I will be doing this week is on Wednesday.  

Until Wednesday, the kids and I will be mostly dining from my freezer stash (the importance of a freezer stash to be discussed in an upcoming post!)  To welcome my hubby home on Wednesday, I will make his current favorite meal - Mango Peach Shredded Beef Tacos!  This is an amazingly easy, slow cooker recipe that I came up with through trial and error.

Slow Cooker Mango Peach Shredded Beef (for tacos)
Serves 4-6

2-3 lb. tri tip roast (trimmed of most fat)
1 pkg. low sodium taco seasoning
2 (14 oz.) containers Mango Peach Salsa

Place trimmed roast in the slow cooker.  Season with package of taco seasoning.  Pour containers of salsa over the roast.  Cook on high for 6.5 hrs or on low for 10.5 hrs.  After cooking, shred the beef with two forks and pour sauce from the crock pot over the meat to serve.

I serve this beef with all the regular taco accompaniments - hard or soft taco shells, cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, guacamole, and sour cream.  I use Santa Barbara brand mango peach salsa but if that is not available in your area, Target sells a mango peach salsa in their Market Pantry brand.  It can be found in the produce department refrigerator section.

I hope your family enjoys this recipe as mine does! 


Friday, June 15, 2012

A Little Bit of Bling! (Or Maybe A Lot?)

After scrapping for boys for over 10 years I was excited to FINALLY scrap those girly pics! 

During the last sketch class at Inspired to Scrap there was a sketch that I knew I had the perfect photos for.  It used a combination of two large photos and a bunch of smaller ones.  

The photos in question were taken by a fellow scrapper at a dinner during a scrapbooking retreat in July of 2010.  Hailey, who was only 5 months old at the time, and I had stopped by to catch up with everyone.  I love the expressions that were captured in these photos and I don't think I have ever used so much bling on a layout EVER!  Can you ever have too much bling? 

Here is what I came up with for the sketch class:

I love how the colors of the paper and the flowers coordinate perfectly with Hailey's outfit! Some how I always manage to have just the right paper, LOL! And the bling just adds the right amount of sparkle to the layout to capture the light bouncing off her eyes in the photos.

See, you can never have too much bling!!!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Pinterest Obsession

I'll admit it, I'm a Pinterest addict!  I started pinning about 8 months ago because I am one who likes to jump on a craze.  In the beginning, I didn't really understand the appeal or how Pinterest was going to benefit my life in any way.  Fast forward to now and I don't know how I ever lived without it!  I pin all sorts of stuff, from gift and craft ideas to home decorating and books that interest me.  But where Pinterest has really changed my life is in the ares of scrapbooking and cooking!  I have gotten way more layout ideas and sketches then I ever had from my scrapbook magazine subscriptions and the recipe ides are practically endless!  And I'm not trying to brag, but I actually make the things I pin!

For example:
I was working on a "recipe" scrapbook layout challenge on the amazing web site  I immediately went to my pinterest board to find a layout design that fit the bill.  I came up with a layout that was pinned from the Creative Memories blog ( and I was able to adapt it to fit my needs and the supplies I had on hand.  I finally created this:

Scraplifting is ok folks!!  As long as you give credit where credit is due, you can scraplift those amazing layouts you see on Pinteret - no guilt required! 


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Divine Pasta Dish!

Besides scrapbooking, one of my passions is cooking.  We recently underwent a huge kitchen   renovation and I wasn't able to even boil water for like 8 weeks!!! Now that I am cooking again I figured I would share one of my most favorite pasta dishes.  My family loves it too. This recipe is from The Pioneer Woman and her Penne a la Betsy ROCKS!  We actually call it Punk Ass Pasta in my house!

Here is the recipe:

Penne a la Betsy

1 lb. shrimp
¾ lb. penne pasta
3 tbsp. butter, divided
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine (or chicken broth)
1 (8 oz.) can plain tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh parsley
Fresh basil leaves
Salt & Pepper
Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, while water heats and pasta cooks, make the sauce. Melt 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a few minutes, until opaque. Remove to a plate to let cool. Heat 2 tbsp. butter and 2 tbsp. olive oil in the skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally. While the onion and garlic are cooking, chop the shrimp into small, bite-sized pieces. Add the wine (or chicken broth) to the pan and allow to reduce for a few minutes. Chiffonade the basil leaves and set aside. Stir in tomato sauce. Add the heavy cream and stir well to combine. Add shrimp back to the skillet and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the parsley and basil and mix well.  Drain pasta and return to pot. Add the sauce to the pot and stir well to combine. Serve.
This is the most awesome pasta dish ever! I have made a few adjustments to the recipe like using crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce and using fat-free half & half instead of the heavy cream. I also use a full pound of penne for my family of 5 and there was still plenty of sauce. YUM!  Try this when you are in the mood for something divine!



First, A Proper Introduction

Who is the Deb in Hil 'n Deb?

Like many of you, I started scrapbooking after being invited to a Creative Memories home class and buying the whole kit and caboodle! I’ve been scrapping now for over 13 years, including some time as a Creative Memories consultant, and while my style has evolved my focus remains capturing the memories in the photos I take. Using my education in design, my goal is to create fun and innovative layouts.

In 2001, I traded in my master’s degree for a hooded sweatshirt and yoga pants and I am now a stay at home mom to three kids ages 13, 10 and 2. When not juggling carpools and planning PTO events, I like to spend time in the kitchen trying out new recipes and of course – scrapping!

I am a collector….okay, hoarder, of all things paper because you never know when you will need that one piece of paper to create the perfect layout. I love using sketches as an inspiration for my layouts and I am excited to be a Guest Designer for the months of June and July at Inspired to Scrap! 

Inspired to Scrap offers great sketch classes to help inspire you to get more pages done. Some of my creations will be featured during July's class. Check out the blog and join the forum at --- hope to see you there!!! 


And the Hil...

I'm another scrapper who started at a Creative Memories workshop.  A good friend of mine was a consultant and now, 13 years later, she no longer scraps but I am an addict!  I love looking back at my early albums and seeing how my style has changed.

In 2006 I was finally able to create those adorable baby layouts I coveted when I gave birth to the first of my two sons, ages 6 and 2.  Now I have the career I always wanted - stay at home mom!

My love of cooking has grown dramatically since being married because my husband opened my palate and I no longer have a diet consisting of macaroni and ketchup!  In the past year I have taken up meal planning.

I hope you'll find what we have to say fun and informative!