Monday, September 29, 2014

Build A Book Challenge And A Prize

Welcome to The Cherry On Top!

I entered the Build A Book challenge from The Scrapbooking Studio.  We had a couple of weeks to finish 20 pages for a scrapbook.  I did our most recent trip to Spain.  I used all kits from one designer in hopes of giving my album a cohesive feel and I also used the same font throughout the book as well.  I chose A-Manda Creation, not only because she's an artist at The Studio, but her kits are really full, awesome, quality kits that are very well thought out, too.  

I think this would be a great cover for my album.  It's the view from our apartment balcony.  Don't ya just love the way the sea and sky match the kit?!  I ended up using the Americana kit a lot.  Although, the intended theme is Fourth Of July, you can see that it works for anything.  I love that!


For my first double layout, I went with a really fun, bright Water Park kit from A-Manda Creation.  These colours are choice and the ellies are perfect.

 Water Park

 Water Park

In the beginning of the challenge, I wasn't doing double layouts and I found I was getting a little behind until I thought of going double.  Hehehe...It worked great and I do prefer to have my side by side pages match for in the album.

For the next three layouts, I went back to the Americana kit. Towards the end I was panicking that I wouldn't get enough pictures in my album.  I took care of that really fast, but I still would like so many more in there.


This climb the boys did was insane.  I am so glad I didn't go!  They do not have any safety measures going up this huge rock and at any point in time, my boys could have tumbled down to their deaths.  My GOODNESS!!!  I still hate to think about it.  Not a lot of people venture all the way to the top.  Apparently, coming back down is a lot worse.

Here we are having at the pool.  Looks like he's sucking it in a bit as well as showing off his diving skills!  Hehehe...



The layout above is pretty unique.  I really wanted these pictures in the album.  JJ's amazing climb to the top of this rope thing and Liam's reluctance to reach the top.  Hehehe...He is so lazy!  Hehehe...

The next couple of layouts, I used the kit, Cache Me.  It's a collection of fabulous small kits that all coordinate with each other and have a lovely, natural outdoorsy theme.  Check out all of this fabulous texture and warmth in this kit.  I really like it!

You can never get a perfect picture, right?!  Each shot has someone not doing what they are supposed to! Hehehe...

 Cache Me

For this layout, I'm sporting my brand new dress I bought on the boardwalk.  It covered up my protruding belly.  Hehehe...  Those berries are in the kit, but not as such.  I used a graphics effect to give them a little bit more of a summer feel to go with my page.  The word art was another freebie from The Studio.

 Cache Me

Keeping with this gorgeous kit and going big on a really nice photo of me and my boy.  Ya just can't get enough cuddling in one day, can ya?  I used some folded ribbon under and around my frame to make it stand out from the like coloured background paper.  I kept the softer, summery colours from the kit for this one.

 Cache Me
I was lucky enough to work with some kits that were not even released yet.  Giving the folks at The Studio a chance to see a new kit before the rest of the digital world.  This one was one of them.  Carve Up Some Fun is still not out in the store, but will be on October 10th.  Obviously, it's a Fall themed kit, but once again, I pulled out the fun, bright colours that went perfectly with my Spain photos.  The elements as well.  No problem.

"Vriendje" is friend in Dutch.  The bird came to visit twice, everyday.  JJ called him his, "Vriendje".  He would shout so loud, "VRIENDJE!" then wrap his arms around himself and swivel.  It was so darn cute.  He would light up like a Christmas tree when his friend came to visit. "Moeten we echt weg? means, Do we really have to leave.

 Carve Up Some Fun

Another new kit I got to work with was Fall Frolic.  The orange representing the sun and the blue the sea and sky, made it also a great match for this album.  My hubby dared me to post a picture in my bathing suit.  Hehehe...

 Fall Frolic

We found this awesome, little carnival down the street from our apartment.  We took the kids there three times which, according to them, was not nearly enough.  They loved it there so much and I took a ton of fun photos documenting those unending smiles and laughs.  I've never seen them this happy and it still brings a smile to see the pictures. I've got a bunch more on my phone, but don't know how to get them on to my computer.  Hehehe...


This double layout is made with the kit 2014.  A New Year's Eve themed kit.  Can't ya tell?!  NO!!!


Take a look at these smiles!  Totally awesome!  That's the thing with Autism.  These kids are either elated or totally ticked.  There is not a lot in-between.  I kept with the bright and fun colours, but used another new kit and that's Plum Perfect, isn't it?!  Hehehe...

 plum perfect

 plum perfect

A-Manda Creation really knows how to choose her colour palettes.  How about these next few layouts.  They are not the same kit, but they will look nice side by side.  This first one is from Pretty As A Peacock.  I used a couple of the prompts that The Studio was giving away in hopes of keeping us motivated to finish this daunting task.  It worked!

 Pretty As A Peacock

Liam's smile was a bit scary there!  Hehehe...

I used Blue Berry Patch for the next layout because the colours matched my photos really nicely.  Once again, the elements were so NOT themie, that I could even use them in a fun boy's layout.

 blue Berry Patch

Below, is how we started the trip off.  Leaving Belgium and traveling south through France via Paris. One of the lovely stops to fill up and pee.  Just as expected!  Yuck! 

Is this kit not gorgeous?!  Fancy Free is also relatively new and man, is it up my alley!  I love purple and pink.  This blue green is totally making it pop as well as the splash of red.  I love this kit and this layout!

Once again, I used the free word art that The Studio provided.  They had all kinds of word art and templates for those on the challenge.  Nice, eh?

 Fancy Free

That's different!  I wanted to show a variety of scrappy styles as well as use a lot of kits.  The kit is Super Teacher.  I thought it went great with the graffiti, so I stuck with an urban touch to my layout.  I have no idea how my hubby could be so relaxed in a Parisian traffic jam!  How about $2 for a liter of gas!

 Super Teacher

My last layout here is created with the kit, Perk Up.  A coffee themed kit.  Look how awesome that golden colour goes with our beer!  Hehehe...See me there?  My laptop, an ice cold beer in an ice cold mug...IN SPAIN!!!  These things are my most favourite things about Spain.  Sun, food and family.  What a trip?!

 perk Up

Now, you know I would never have you come all of the way over here to check out this insanely long blog without giving you something in return.  Thanks to my gal, Amanda.  I've made up some encouraging word art for you that you can use to start your album.  Just do it!  You know, every time you look through it, all of those memories will come flooding in and you'll smile and get warm fuzzies.  Do'cha love those?!

 Free Download

Enjoy your freebie and thanks for hanging out with The Cherry!

Weekly Menu Planner #28

Welcome back to The Cherry On Top's weekly menu planner!

Let's dig right into it, shall we?

Monday:  Fire Cracker Chicken

Is this image just not beautiful? Man, it makes me hungry just looking at it!

Click on the image to get the recipe.  Feel free to cook the rice the way you always do.  I love my rice cooker.  Remember basmati and Thai rice are the best for health reasons and they cook quickly, too.  Stay away from long gran rice.  The varieties of rice are just insane.  Be adventurous and try out a new one!


Tuesday:  Huge Salad

That's right!  Don't be chinsy on the good stuff either.  I'm no fan of Iceburg lettuce. I like romaine and rucola.  Chop up some onions, hard boiled eggs, cucumber, tomatoes,  croutons, ham, chopped chicken...The most dangerous thing you can add is your dressing.  Make something fresh!  An Italian dressing is always easy and healthy.  You may find a lot of recipes for this and they put in sugar, but DON'T do it.  Stay away from sugar as much as possible.


I've got the image all hooked up to this Greek salad recipe with a lovely dressing, too.  If you are laughing at this thinking, "I will be opening a bag of chips 30 minutes later."  Then add some chunks of lovely Feta cheese and or some pasta!  Perfect!

Wednesday:  fresh pasta, chicken and sauce of your choice

OK,  wow!  I was going to look for a basic cream sauce and stumbled across this, baby.  I think this could be a family favourite for you!  Check it out.  Of course, you can add chicken or substitute the bacon with it, but bacon sure does add a hell of a lot of flavour.  Let the bacon be your salt.


Thursday:  M, S,V  = Meat, starch, veg or flex

This day is up for grabs.  Bring home some rotisserie chicken or steak sandwiches or heat up some left overs.  I'll be making my boys favourite which is hot dogs and rostis/hash browns.  Hehehe...

You can also go back a couple of menu's and choose something from there.

Fun Food Friday:  Ever hear of a smorgasbord or pu pu platter?  We LOVE this!  

Throw some of your favourite cold cuts and cheeses on a tray along with some fresh bread or some of that yummy half baked bread that ya just pulled out of the oven and couple that up with some nice, fresh, chopped, raw veggies like carrots, celery, peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes...You can make a sauce or dressing for dipping.  Sit at the living room table, sit on the floor, put in a good family flick and enjoy!


I've got this image linked up to a fantastic site with so many great ideas like this! A pu pu platter is just a little bit of everything really.  It's a great way to empty out the fridge, too!

Saturday:  Monte Cristo or grilled cheese or grilled ham and cheese


The image is all set with a recipe for you to follow, of course!

Sunday:  Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken


Awwe, Man!  I'm ready to eat this now!  I love the versatility of this dish and I most certainly love dumping all of my ingredients in the slow cooker and a couple hours later, it's finished!  You have all day to take the kids to games, scouts, dance...Put it over rice, pasta, eat it as is,with some bread or on a tortilla!

Shhhooooo!   That's it for this week.  Stay away from the restaurants and all of that processed food loaded with conservatives and junk.  Cut back on sugar and feel better!  Save time, money and hassle by planning.

Thanks for coming by.  Have a super week!

(This is also week #7, if ya thought it looked familiar.  I've got a Lego party to plan.  I'll be back with pictures and very cool ideas for you.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Throwing Some scraps Around Inspiration And A Freebie

Hey there, Happy Scrappers!

Throwing Some Scraps Around is back in action and creating as wonderfully as usual.  It's so fantastic of Jody to continually let me play with her kits and give you FREEBIES, don'cha think?!  Not to mention how insanely inexpensive her kits are.  Click on this image of her new kit and go see what I'm talking about, AFTER you've check out the inspiration and grabbed your freebie!

 Etsy shop

Here, you have how I started with this kit.  These colours matched my favourite, Spanish dress perfectly!  Yay!  Hehehe...  Now, take note of the cluster on top.  Not bad, right?!

Ya better hope not, because it's your FREEBIE!  Hehehe...It's a cropped cluster.  Something totally different.  Now, you may be asking yourself, "What on earth am I supposed to do with this?!"  I've got you covered, of course!  Silly!  Look below at the next two layouts.  I used this cluster in both.  In the last one, it's ALL I used!

Go BIG and bad with your clusters!  With good quality products like you get from TSSA, you can totally do this, right?!  Switch it up by doing a horizontal or vertical swap.

This freebie is no longer available.

 FREE download

Feel free to breeze through older blogs for mega freebies, visit my FB Page where I post dozens of freebies daily or my Pinterest Boards where you can find even more inspiration and free stuff.  Doesn't that sound great?!  So come on!  Do it!!!!  Hehehe...  Pushy, little critter, eh?!

There is another freebie available over on Jodi's blog, too!  Head over there and get it while the get'nz good!

 Free Download

Thanks for hanging out with The Cherry!  Make sure ya do it, again!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week #27 Menu Planner From TCOT

Welcome to Week #27!

I'm changing it up a bit just to try something different.  I get bored easily and that's why I make so many kinds of different foods.  Chinese, Italian, Mexican, American, Belgian, Spanish...It's all very good! OK, you won't find too much Scandinavian or English fare here because lets' face it, I'm just not THAT brave.  Hehehe...

Meatless Monday:  Leek and Potato Soup

I just whipped up some hardy, leek and potato soup. It took me 8 minutes to prep it.  OK, it's not faster than opening a can or bottle and pouring it in the pot, but EIGHT minutes?!  That's pretty darn good and I'm a terrible chopper!  Hehehe...  With soup, you can go big.  I chopped 3 leek, 4 potatoes (peeled), a small onion and 3 smaller gloves of garlic.  I sautéed the garlic, onion and leek for about five minutes in some olive oil and butter, then added the potatoes, salt, pepper, water (just until ingredients are nicely covered) and mixed, dried herbs.

There are a couple of good things about making your own soup.  Of course, you know everything thing that is going into it and all/most of it better be fresh food!  I like most of my food with hardly any salt, so that I can control by making it myself.  This soup, I like with a little more pepper than usual, too.  Everyone in my family likes their soup different.  Rrrr...  I like mine big and chunky, like a stew.  My hubby and kids prefer their soup Belgian style, which is completely processed.  With this recipe, I dished out some before zapping it with my staff mixer.  You can also add a touch of creme to it if someone prefers and if you do a taste and think it's bland, then add a couple of pinches dried bouillon.  Mmmm...

Another thing you can do is dump all of the above ingredients (except the creme) into your slow cooker and let it sit all day.  Then prepare it to your preference when you get home.

If soup just isn't enough, consider some fresh baked bread with soft herb cheese.  Yummy!

Tuesday:  salmon (fish) rice n' veg

I didn't get around to making the salmon last week, but it was on promotion today at the store and I'll be get'n that ready for tomorrow.  You can follow last weeks recipe, which was a ginger and sesame salmon or make something completely different.  Serve it with quinoa or rice and a steamed veggie of your choice.  I've got recipes for both of these side in other menu's.

Wednesday:  pork chops and a salad with mixed greens

I bought a kick @ss pork chop.   That's right!  Just one!  It's absolutely enormous and enough to feed all four of us.  Daily requirements of meat are actually a lot lower than what most people think.  (3x 3 ounce meat servings a day is all ya need.)  The only way I like my pork chops are grilled or baked in the oven.  I bought a couple kinds of lettuce that I'll chop up with tomatoes, shredded carrots, cucumbers and maybe a little bit of shredded cheese.  Add croutons if you like and your favourite dressing.  I love balsamic with olive oil and herbs.

I've got a recipe hooked up for you.  Click the image and follow the link to a fantastic way to prepare your chops before they hit the grill!

 recipe for grilled chops

Thursday:  lamburger Greek dish

I love lamb.  If it ain't yo' thang, then use regular hamburger.  Try to get it as lean as you can and watch out for grease.  Lamb is especially greasy!  So hold off on the olive oil a bit.  I've got my own recipe somewhere on here, but I found another one that is really similar to mine.  I do NOT use cinnamon even though it's super healthy.  I only like it with sweet stuff and my husband cannot stand it.  If you don't know about all of the health benefits of cinnamon, you may want to read about it.  Especially, in the case of diabetes!  I also really like peppers in this as well as egg plant, but you don't have to put those in there.  Click on the image, below and see how easy it is to make this fabulous meal.  I also use lamburger because it's a fraction of the cost of lamb cut any other way.

 recipe for Greek dish

Fun Food Friday:  chicken enchiladas

Another thing I bought today was ground chicken.  You could totally use it for chicken enchiladas.  It will cook up in a snap and you won't have to shred it.  There are so many fantastic recipes for enchiladas.  I was drooling over at Pinterest!  This one is so easy, it comes with directions and a video, too.  Click on the link and see how easy enchiladas are to make.  You may be surprised!  Look for other lovely sides for this like refried beans, salsa, guacamole and Mexican rice.  I've linked up these sides up to my all time favourite recipes.

I'm gonna warn ya, here.  If you make this entree and the sides using the recipes above, you and your family may never want to go to a restaurant for this, again.  It's really THAT good!

 enchilada recipe

Saturday: mini turkey meat balls in a creamy sauce

More promotions at the store today.  Something new, mini turkey meat balls.  I plan on sautéing them with mushrooms (huge chunks so I can swim around them for the kids), onions, garlic, salt, pepper and then melting in some cream cheese.  That's it!  Serve it over potatoes, rice or pasta.  This meal might take 10 minutes to make, depending on the starch you choose.

Sunday:  spekske sauce

That's right!  This is something I ate growing up in a Pennsylvania German household.  In America, we call it bacon dressing.  In Belgium it's a super popular dish called spekske saus.  I was shocked to see it here and to find there was only ONE ingredient different.  Wow!

I now have a mission!  To make the recipe, take photos and supply you with that because all of the recipes I went through are not nearly as healthy and delicious as my own.  Hehehe...  This one was the closest I could find.  I do not use celery (because we just don't like it).  I would NEVER use sugar. Eeeew!  Since you are using the totally recommended apple cider vinegar, that's sweet enough!  I used to use other vinegars, but apple cider vinegar is way, way better.  I make mine with potatoes for a fuller meal and I use the water from there to make my sauce.   You can choose any type of green that you like as well. 

 bacon dressing

So, I made you a menu this week from all of the things I just purchased at the grocers which is the opposite way than how I normally do it!  LOL!

I hope you enjoy your meals this week.  See ya next Monday!

Monday, September 15, 2014

TCOT Weekly Menu Planner #26

Welcome to The Cherry On Top's Weekly Menu Planner!

I've been researching the Paleo diet and have found it very interesting for our family.  My hubby is a heart patient, both my boys have Autism and I've always had digestion issues, so I thought I might take on some of the ideas from this diet.  

It certainly hasn't been easy and a lot of peeps are not at all into this kind of eating.  So far, my two issues are, I'm ALWAYS hungry and that's because of number 2 reason.  I always feel like I'm in the kitchen preparing or cooking.  I really feel it's just a matter of making it routine and I've had few digestive issues since I started even though I haven't gone hog wild.

I actually feel a bit guilty about sharing recipes that totally goes against, what seem to be good reasons for cutting particular food out of our diet.  I'll put in a couple of notes and links to explain or replace some ingredients that ya may want to try illuminating from your cabinet/fridge.

Meatless Monday: Salad  Yip!  I really love this blog that this recipe is hooked up to.  Head over and check out how to prepare this yummy, filling salad or make a salad that your family can sink their teeth into.  Of course you can add some prosciutto, ham or chicken!  (Paleo Tip, no beans.  If you were like myself and thought that beans/legumes were good for us, read here.)


Tuesday:  Monterrey Chicken and these awesome baked fries

I would eat just these two and lay it out over a nice mix of salad greens, like rucola. One of my favourite.  (Click here to get the skin about potatoes and why you might consider cutting them out.  Especially, if you are diabetic.)

 recipe  recipe

Wednesday:  Linguini Rosa and shrimp

I'll be whipping up this recipe with a lot less dairy and quinoa or rice pasta.


Thursday:  sesame ginger salmon 

I'll be enjoying some rice and carrots with this salmon.


Fun Food Friday:  Burgers, Baby!  Check out this amazing page full of awesome burger ideas and head to the site for more details.  It's pretty funny.
I leave out the bread and cheese and turn these into a big chopped salad that is more Paleo friendly.


Saturday:  sausage, mashed potatoes, veg

I make sausage on my grill pan with peppers and mushrooms.  No onions for me, but you can throw them in there as well.  My boys love mashed potatoes, so I'll whip some up without milk because I'll be having gravy to serve with it.  Choose a family favourite vegetable or try something new.  (If you want to go Paleo, you'll have to rethink those potatoes.  Instead of cutting them out, I'm cutting way back to once or twice a week.)


Sunday:  Rustic Italian Beef Ragu

Get that crock pot out and give yourself a break on Sunday!  Have the kids set the table and clean up. Hehehe...Serve this with bread, pasta, rice, potatoes or wrap it in some lettuce.


If you want a handy place to write out your weekly menu, then click on the below image to print this out and get some ideas.

 free download

You're set!  Enjoy your meals this week.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Free Lego Goodies and Ideas

 A super, happy day to you!

Since there is little reaction in Liam's class when it comes to outside of school, I often arrange mini parties.  We had an awesome Lego party last year, just for the fun of it and I'll be doing it again, in a couple of weeks or sooner.

I got to thinking of this great kit I just worked with from Boomer's Girl Designs.  It's perfect for this party!  I might make a few more things for those who are coming.  Maybe some book markers or cup cake toppers.  If I do, I'll be back with those as well.

These lovely items will be FREE for two weeks and then they are going in the shop.  So do not delay.  Download today!  Hehehe...

Here's the layouts I made with the kit.  There is also a girlie Lego kit, too!

Really fun, right?!  Fabulous colours and cute kids, too!  If you want to scrap your own layouts or make your own party stuff with this great kit, then just click on the image and it will take you to the store where you can purchase it.


I created these invitations on a 12x12 and measured them to fix on a 6x6 space.  Make sure your printer is all set to print properly.  You can either turn the image so that you can type your information in or write it in.

 FREE Lego Printable Invitation

Click on this image to go to my TOTALLY AWESOME LEGO blog.  I've got tons or FREE printables there and a lot of fun ideas for your party.

 Lego Party Ideas

Click on this image to see how I deal with the Lego Land of the Lost.

 TCOT Lego Organization

I hope you enjoyed today's blog and that you'll come back again for more of....well, just about everything!  I invite you to scroll through previous blog entries where you'll find a ton of FREE stuff and inspiration of all kinds.