Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Creating Holiday Memories. Craft Ideas Galore.

I am getting my craftiness back, which is a great thing. For many years I have been doing the standard "holiday shopping." I have been doing a lot of thinking about what this holiday season is all about. Came to a conclusion, I or our family, needed to get back to the what the basics. It might have to do with being a one income family and also digging deep and finding myself again. To me this holiday season is about being genuine. Giving a gift because I want or desire too. Giving a gift which then creates long lasting memories.

What is important? Memories or money?

This year, I am going to start a tradition of heart warming, long lasting, treasured,  gift giving. This means it is time to find the crafty part of my brain again. Find the bin of paints, ribbon, stamps and card stalk, then scan my collection of cool website, blogs and DIY sites and get going.

Who is with me?

Make your own holiday treats. Click on photo

I found some great starting places which I am sure will get you motivated. Look through, find a favorite, tell me about it, post your finished product on my Helpful Sister page. We are going to make this holiday filled with gratitude and life long lasting memories, all tied up in a hand-printed ornament or a popsicle Christmas Tree. 

First off, crafts for those little people to create from Happy Hooligans . Give them the tools then allow them to do whatever they want with it. 

What about this site, Everything Etsy which lays out 101 ornament ideas? Nothing like finding everything in one place. This is one example. An old puzzle piece used as a gift tag or ornament. So cute. 

or get more ideas here at Red Thread DIY. I think you might have enough to get started after looking at these. 

I love this idea. A footprint Christmas Tree from Craft Rookie Blog. Scroll a little bit to see it. There are not any instructions but I think I will figure it out. 

Martha always has to be included in any holiday crafting. Learn how to use any cookie cutters you no longer put to work and make an ornament. 

Another favorite is making hand-print Ornaments from Home Made Grits Blog. A few basic ingredients, a hand or foot pressed into your mold and poof your own little special gift. 

Those canvas prints get pretty pricey so Better Homes and Gardens made a DIY just for you. Why not make them yourself?

Was this year filled with big moment, like a new job, new house, graduation? Make it last with these great ideas from In My Own Style

Lastly but not the least. This super adorable hand print ball ornament from A Sort a Fairy Tale Blog.

Finally, what do you do with your stuff for the next craft hour, day or weekend? Store it with these ideas from Crafty Storage.

Well, did you find anything you liked? I hope so. Come find me on Facebook or Twitter. Share with me what you did. I am so excited to get going on my own crafty gifts. 

Happy Holidays to you and your family. Enjoy all the memories you have made this year. Cherish them. 

The Helpful Sister

Creating Holiday Memories. Craft Ideas Galore.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Christmas Tree is Speaking

Every year, families around the world, put up a Christmas tree. Each tree is different. Each family has their own tradition, their own way of decorating. Take a look at this tree and the two precious girls sitting in front of it. This tree was put up to celebrate them and when it comes down, it could quite possibly change their lives. 

Why do you think this tree is so important to these two little girls? 

Well, the youngest, Harper, has a rare genetic disorder, CDKL5. This disorder effects less than 300 worldwide. Children suffer from intense seizures, sensory issues, gastrointestinal difficulties, visual impairment, scoliosis, along with severely delayed developmental growth.

This tree is hugely important to them. When it comes down, December, 31, 2011, the project Harper is waiting to get started, needs to be fully funded. This project is funded through the Children Hospital of Boston and you can read more about it here

The project must have $40,000 before December 31st, 2011. 

But how can this be done? 

Not everyone can give to the project but some can give $5, some $100 and it all adds up. Some can not give money, but you can give your time. Share her story. Maybe a local business would like to give to her cause. Just maybe her story will reach someone, in this world, who can help.

Here is how a little goes a long way. 

31+ days to raise $40,000= $1290 a day
1290 a day= 1000 people a day giving $1.29
                   or   100 people a day giving $12.90
                   or   10 people a day giving $129.00

Why would you want to share Harper's story? Why would give your hard earned money to a cause that does not affect you? What makes this cause one to follow and help out?

It is truly simple. If your heart wants to act, then follow your heart. If not, then at least share her story and her cause on your page and let others make the same decision. 

Watch this video to see how sweet this little girl truly is. 

Life is worth living and worth living with an open heart/mind and a grateful soul. This child was put here to make a difference. She is here to help others just like her not suffer from seizures anymore. Yes, you might not be a part of the research,or know someone who suffers from seizures or even have $5 to spare. Do one thing while reading this, listen to your heart and go from there. 

The tree bring life to whoever looks at it, it is marvelous, beautiful and amazing. This too is Harper. She and the project just need a little help (whether it be your voice or by giving any amount) before December 31st, 2010. 

You can stay connected with Harper:


Linda Jacobson
The Helpful Sister

A Christmas Tree is SpeakingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Recipe Lineup #3 End of November and Beginning of December

Are your taste buds getting back to normal after Thanksgiving? If you had leftovers, what are you doing with them? This weeks lineup has a variety of dishes for you to take a gander at, with a few that can use some of those leftovers in the fridge. 

Like pizza? Enjoy the pizza rolls. 
Like salad? Enjoy the warm Autumn Salad. 
Are you a Mac & Cheese connoisseur? Take a dabble in this crock pot recipe I found. 
Enjoy and see you next week. 

Recipe Lineup #3, 
Week November 28- December 2

Meal #1 

 I wish I could whip up dough like my Mom, but until then.  I will be using the pizza dough from Trade Joes or make your own. Most likely will find some organic pasta sauce to use as well. 

Meal #2

Perfect soup for those leftovers and it will warm your belly. 

Meal #3
Orange Chicken (Crock Pot) with
Roasted Beets 

These two might work great together. You will get your orange fix. If you don't enjoy beets, sorry. I love them and they are so in season right now. Feel free to use something else that you might enjoy. Do share what you use.

Meal #4

The Pioneer Woman has an incredible blog for all things LIFE. Her story is one that is inspiring as well. I found this recipe a midst many others, that I will be using in the future. She also has her own show. Have you seen it?

Meal #5
Crock Pot Mac & Cheese with your favorite Salad

This is going to be worth trying. Can you say tasty? 

Meal #6

Another Quinoa recipe which I am excited to try. A salad with walnuts, sweet apples and blue cheese to round it out. 

Must Try Recipes

Oven Baked Parmesan Seasoned Fries

Happy end of November and a happy start to December. This month is going to go fast. Cheers to you as you round out your year. Did you accomplish everything you wanted too? What do you want to finish before December 31st? Dream big and then go for it. 

Next week will come fast. See you then.


The Helpful Sister

Recipe Lineup #3 End of November and Beginning of DecemberSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Week #2

Recipe Lineup #2 for the week of November 19-25

With Thanksgiving coming up this week, I am planning for my family some recipes that will be on the lighter and fun side. Plus, for some reason I am wanting to mimic some of my favorites from some local restaurants in town (and talented blogger Kristin from Iowa Girl Eats). You will see the pattern. This is our FIRST Thanksgiving just us four, so I am trying out some new recipes to see what might work within our own tradition and taste buds.

Meal #1
This recipe is easy to follow and involves some chopping but I think it will be super yummy. I have not tried this recipe yet but I have ate at Chipolte. I will be using a rotisserie chicken. Might but it in the crock pot for a while to gain some flavor.

Meal #2

This will be third time making this dish and oh it is so delicious. I have made a few changes. 

  • Ground Turkey instead of chicken (1 lb just does not feed 2 adults and 2 small kids, 1.5+ will get you some lunch leftovers)
  • Celery instead of water chestnuts (never been a fan)
  • Grama's Sweet Chili Sauce (Whole Foods or Amazon) instead of Chili Garlic Sauce
  •  Raw Cashews (Trader Joes) instead of Peanuts (only because we always have cashews and never peanuts)
  • Bragg's Liquid Amino's instead of Soy Sauce. 
This sounds refreshing and a great mix for Autumn. I am going to look at just using my Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar instead of the Sherry. Anyone used Sherry Vinegar before? Can you do without?

Meal #3
I am going to make this in my crock pot and low and see what happens. I am going to pair this with some homemade garlic bread (my own recipe) and a salad. Sounds different and it is going to warm us up, it gets down right chili in Vegas. I will be using, as you might of guessed ground turkey. Yes, it is right before Thanksgiving but ground turkey is nothing like a roasted big bird. 

Helpful Sister Garlic Bread (optional)
1 loaf of bread
Half or 1 stick of butter
1-3 tbsp Olive Oil
1-3 cloves of garlic (depending on your love of garlic)

Heat over to 350. Get out baking sheet and cover with foil. 
1 fresh loaf of french bread or your favorite type of bread. Cut to whatever size you prefer. Melt butter on stove or microwave, add in olive oil (eye ball it or by your taste)  Take oil off stove. Dice up garlic, and basil and add to oil. Spread on bread. Bake until bread is warm. If you want it more browned on top, then turn on broiler to low and watch it like a hawk. 


A light and wonderful salad, I am hoping. I always see the darn pomegranates and wish I could use them. I stay clear of them, because they take time to get the fruit out. I am opting for the containers of fruit this time. Saving time is what it is all about. 

Meal #4 
Thanksgiving Ideas (Martha really has some great ones)


(I take the sugar out of the pancake recipe)




Week #2 is in the books. Happy Thanksgiving week or really year. What are you most grateful or thankful for? Will you be sharing your home this holiday or getting to help out at someone else's? What ever you make or where ever you go, enjoy the moments you share with those you are surrounded by. Memories are what last the most (as I remember my amazing Grandmother) 

Happy Thanksgiving and many blessings to you and your family.

Remember you can share your thoughts on the recipes, what you liked, did not like on the Helpful Recipe Facebook Group

The Helpfulsister

Week #2SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekly Recipe Lineup Nov 14-19

Every week, I sit down and begin my search for delicious, nutritious meals for the week to come. I do not have a lot of time to grocery shop, so as a family we go every weekend and buy all we need for the week. It takes 2 hours sometimes to get my shopping list/menu together. Also, with one income household, I have found that our dollar goes farther when I purchase groceries for exactly what I need throughout the week. 

So why are you reading about recipes and menus? A  friend of mine suggested I post my recipes I have found for YOU. Maybe you will find one or maybe you will like all of them. Maybe this will save you some time/ a lot of time. Maybe this will get you back in the kitchen and having family meals together. Whatever this weekly post does for you, I just hope it helps in sort of way.

Here is what you will see (work in progress so things can always change)

  • 2-3 living/raw foods recipes on the menu. Living foods offer the best nutrients which are highly soluble and are the easiest for your body to digest.
  • We are a family that does not eat red meat. So there will be some items mainly fish, turkey and some chicken. However, email me if you want me to search for something you might be wanting to make that includes red meat!
  • These are 98% of recipes I have NOT tried. So please give me feedback on what you thought by either coming back to the blog, emailing me or posting on my Facebook page. Also, if you liked the recipe, tell the owner. All posts will have a link directly to where I originally found it. So share the love.

I would like to make this a weekly newsletter but until then you can simply email me and ask to be added to "Recipe Lineup." Your email will never be used for anything other than the weekly recipe lineup.

Share with your friends and maybe they will enjoy the recipes and save some time along the way.

Happy Meal Planning~

Meal #1 

Steamed Potatoes (feel free to use thyme instead of parley)
SALAD (#30)
Grown Up Salad

Meal #2

Stuffed Red Peppers 
Jicama Mint Salad (#9)

Meal #3

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad 
note: I have since made this and it is delicious. Might even make it to our Thanksgiving menu. Feel free to pair something you like with it or try one of the "Must Try Add-on" below. 

Meal #4

Spaghetti Squash w/ chili

Meal #5

Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup
note: I have since made this as well. Winner. Have some rolls on hand or some of your favorite cheese to melt on it. 


1 Tbsp Canola or Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion, finely diced
2 Ribs Celery, finely diced
1 Red Pepper, finely diced
1 Large Sweet Potato, cut into ¼" cubes
2 Tbsp Fresh Minced Garlic
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 cup French Lentils
½ cup Quinoa
6 cups Vegetable Stock

Add all ingredients to crock pot and stir well. Cover and cook on medium heat for 6 hours, or until lentils and potatoes soften.
Read more:http://skinnycrockpot.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=veganvegetarian&action=display&thread=69#ixzz1dSzdvAS2

Must Try Add-Ons

Yes I know it is getting cold, but we live in Vegas and my young boys still have 2-4 small popsicles a day. 

Tutti Fruit-ti Chocolate Popsicles 
note: I am going to blend till smooth to make a smoothie but then save the rest in popsicle molds for kids snack.

Peanut Butter Smoothie

Lemon Cranberry Bars

note: I have since made these too! I cut out half the sugar in the crust and did not use Vanilla. We use Pristine Vanilla Agave nectar as our sweetener. They were yummy.  Link to recipe: http://bit.ly/sOPzPZ

Open Faced Bread Snacks

Superfood Brownie Bites

Autumn Chopped Salad

That's all for this week. Look for another post either on Friday or Saturdays. I have not yet figured out how I am going to work this into my schedule yet.

Enjoy and please share your experiences with the recipes. I will be trying them with you. If you get something out of it, share with a friend and have them sign up too. I am enjoying putting this together and want others to benefit as well.

Many Thanks,

Weekly Recipe Lineup Nov 14-19SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend